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Gaming News

The One Thing Windows Vista Did Right

July 20, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

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Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty)

Vista was bad. Coming five years after XP, it was heavily anticipated by Windows users who were impatiently awaiting something interesting from Microsoft as Apple’s star was on the rise. Yet when the OS dropped publicly in January 2007, it was immediately reviled by, well, everyone (except our expert reviewers). It was slower than XP, had annoying DRM that grossly restricted what people could do, and removed a ton of features people liked. It is not hyperbole to say it might be the most hated software product Microsoft has ever produced—impressive for the company that gave us Internet Explorer and Clippy. But Vista did one thing very, very right, and 11 years later, it’s never been more in fashion.

So what was Vista actually prescient about? Translucent design elements.

All the way back in Vista, Microsoft introduced Aero, a design language intended to be a futuristic update to XP. Aero’s most eye-catching feature was the Glass theme, which could make elements throughout the UI transparent. When it was released, it didn’t get more than a passing nod from reviewers who noted it was slick if somewhat irrelevant to the actual performance of the OS.

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Aero lasted through Windows 7—Microsoft’s most critically lauded OS until Windows 10. Then in Windows 8, Microsoft introduced a new design language: Metro. Metro actually kicked off another major trend in user interface design: flat design elements. But it still maintained some of the cool translucent effects introduced in Aero.

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Those translucent effects were carried over to Windows 10 and are easily seen in Edge, the Start menu, and the Notifications panel. They’re so popular, some Windows 10 users are even hacking the OS to add translucency and transparency to everything else!

The effect is super noticeable in the start menu.Screenshot: Windows 10

The trend isn’t reserved to Windows. Apple seems to have been inspired, too. That’s because UI designers, like everyone else, are subject to trends. Once upon a time, everyone tried to make their app icons and buttons look rounded because of iOS. Then, after Windows and Android embraced a flatter look, iOS followed suit with iOS 7 in 2013. It also began sprinkling that sweet, sweet translucent design throughout.

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Look at these pretty menus!Screenshot: macOS Mojave

The translucent elements first appeared in Mac OS X Leopard 10.5 as an option to turn the menu bar translucent. That was in November 2007, nearly a year after Vista launched. Apple seriously began showing off translucent elements when iOS 7 added translucent menus and notifications in 2013. MacOS 10.10 Yosemite began embracing translucency a year later.

Since then, both Apple operating systems have added more and more translucent elements. The most recent additions come courtesy of the betas for macOS Mojave and iOS 12. That’s because both are adding dark translucent elements, which seem to highlight the translucency effect even more. It is reminiscent of glass that’s been frosted and tinted. It’s very attractive. Sometimes I get distracted into marveling at it instead of doing work.

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I mean just look at it in Safari!

GIF: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo)

It’s so good, I find myself using Safari instead of Chrome just so I can watch stuff I’m scrolling through turn blurry as it hits the browser frame.

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The transparent elements, while not as ubiquitous in iOS, are still present there too—particularly in the iOS 12 beta, which has done away with the garish white panels in the notification center and embraced a dark and translucent look.

Screenshot: iOS 12 Beta

Since Microsoft introduced Aero in 2007, the transparent elements of the Windows UI have evolved and been refined from an operating system’s splashy party trick to an elegant element you might not even notice. Apple has embraced the trend, and even Android is now flirting with translucency. Since Android Oreo was released last year, more and more translucent design elements have appeared throughout Android. It’s especially noticeable in the beta for Android P, the next version of Android expected later this year.

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From left to right: The Notification menu in Android P. Top view of open apps in Android P. The notification menu on a Samsung Galaxy S9.Screenshot: Android

Google’s Android, like Apple, is embracing the trend begun with Vista. Which means, yeah, one of the touchstone design ideas in operating systems and apps today didn’t come from Microsoft’s best operating system. It came from its worst.

Tech News

PlayStation and Xbox sales discount 'Fortnite' and 'Shadow of War'

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Jerritt Clark via Getty Images

Summer tends to have few new video game releases, but that also tends to have an upside: loads of discounts. Both Microsoft and Sony are running limited-time sales on games that promise some steep price drops, and not just on old titles. Microsoft’s Ultimate Game Sale, for instance, is promising up to 67 percent off Xbox One games between now and July 30th. You won’t get that cut on the biggest games, but there are still some solid offerings. A Fortnite Standard Founder’s Pack is 40 percent off (down to $24 in the US), while Assassin’s Creed Origins is 40 percent off ($36). And if you missed out on Titanfall 2, you can get the Ultimate Edition for 75 percent off ($10). And this is before the Xbox Live Gold discount, so you can expect better bargains if you’re paying to play online.

Sony’s Flash Sale only lasts until July 23rd at 11AM Eastern and tends to focus on older titles, but there’s some definite gems. For one, this might be your chance to try Middle-earth: Shadow of War now that Monotlith has removed all the microtransactions that arguably hurt its gameplay — it’s 60 percent off ($20). It’s also a good time to be a Telltale fan, as Back to the Future and Guardians of the Galaxy have dropped from $20 each to $6 and $8 respectively. Other notable breaks include Human Fall Flat (down to $6) and Warhammer Vermintide‘s Ultimate Edition (half-price at $25).

These discounts may only have so much appeal if you’re saving your money for sequels and seasonal updates. With that said, there are some good offers if you’re determined to keep your gaming schedule full during the summer doldrums.

Tech News

Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter unite to simplify data transfers

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Dean Mouhtaropoulos via Getty Images

Four of the biggest technology companies are banding together to make it easier for users to download and transfer their data between services. Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter formally announced The Data Transfer Project (DTP) today, an open-source initiative to create new tools that “enable people to freely move their information across the web,” Damien Kieran, Data Protection Officer at Twitter explained. It’s early days, but the group has published a white paper that details its vision for an easier, more flexible “data portability ecosystem.” The group says it wants an open dialogue with developers and users alike moving forward.

At its core, the DTP will use a series of “adapters” that can unravel propriety APIs into easily understandable data packets. Adapters will come in two types: import and export data adapters, and authentication adapters for verifying and protecting users. In practice, a person could transfer their Instagram photos to Flickr, or Google Photos, without having to mass-download and upload their library. Once it’s finalized, the new system should cover all types of data including email, contacts, calendars and tasks. Individual data types, called Data Models, will be grouped together under Verticals. A service like YouTube Music, for instance, could have Data Models for playlists and music videos under its music Vertical.

The challenge for Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Twitter, of course, will be getting everyone to adopt and maintain the most popular Data Models.

The DTP is still in development and not available to the wider public. There are, however, a couple of GitHub-hosted methods that curious engineers can try out right now. The end-goal is to get companies outside of the current contributors to embrace the new system. That way, users will have true flexibility over the services they use and the amount of data each one holds. You might have all your running data on Strava, for instance, and suddenly discover a new app with a superior service. Or decide that actually, you would prefer to do all of your social networking on Google+.

The announcement follows the introduction of GDPR in the EU. The legislation adds a number of consumer-focused protections inside the European Union, including the requirement that all companies offer some kind of data download tool. The DTP is meant for everyone — not just the EU — but has likely been accelerated because of the new regulations. “This will take time but we are very excited to work with innovators and passionate people from other companies to ensure we are putting you first,” Kieran added. “Fundamentally this is about pushing towards a more open and dynamic internet.”

Tech News

Microsoft detected Russian phishing attacks on three 2018 campaigns

July 19, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Russia is still launching cyberattacks against the US, a Microsoft exec has revealed, contradicting what the President claimed just a few days ago. According to Microsoft VP for customer security and trust Tom Burt (shown above second from right, with his hand raised), his team discovered a spear-phishing campaign targeting three candidates running for office in 2018. Burt announced his team’s findings while speaking on a panel at the Aspen Security Forum, where he also revealed that they traced the new campaign to a group believed to be operated by the GRU, Russia’s largest foreign intelligence agency. In other words, those three candidates are being targeted by the same organization that infiltrated the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign in 2016.

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The US recently indicted 12 Russian GRU officials, 11 of whom are accused of hacking the DNC and leaking the party’s emails with the purpose of influencing the 2016 elections. If you’ll recall, a “Guccifer 2.0” dumped names, phone numbers, emails and a bunch of other information stolen from the party, from Hillary Clinton and from the Clinton Foundation on the internet.

The last GRU official named in the indictment is accused of breaking into the state board of elections and the systems owned by companies making election software to steal half a million voters’ information.

While Burt divulged Microsoft’s findings to the public, he refused to name the targets and their parties due to security concerns. He did say, however, that they’re “candidates of note” who are “running for reelection.” Neither party would confirm whether their candidates are being targeted, but DNC rep Xochitl Hinojosa told BuzzFeed News: “We saw the Russians attack our democracy in 2016 and we know they’re a threat in 2018, 2020 and beyond.” He added that it’s unfortunate how the President isn’t taking the issue seriously and how House Republicans refuse to increase funding for election security.

Tech News

Microsoft's strong quarter was powered by the cloud, Surface and Xbox

July 19, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Bloomberg via Getty Images

It’s honestly getting a bit tough to write about Microsoft’s quarterly earnings without sounding like a broken record. For years, its booming cloud business has pushed revenues higher, and the same is true for the past fourth quarter. The company reports that its revenue is up 17 percent from last year, reaching $30.1 billion compared to just $25.6 billion. Mostly, that’s due to the continued strength of its cloud segment, which is up 23 percent ($9.6 billion) compared to last year.

Additionally, its More Personal Computing group, which includes Windows, Surface and Xbox, increased by 17 percent ($10.8 billion). Drilling down a bit, the Surface line continued to have a strong year with 25 percent revenue growth, while gaming revenues increased by a surprising 39 percent. The company points to third-party titles as a big reason for the growth. But really, it’s probably all about Fortnite.

Gaming News

The 12 Best Games For The Xbox One

July 19, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

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Illustration by Sam Woolley

You’re heading to the store to get an Xbox One right now, and need to know which games to get. Or you’re at work or in school, daydreaming about what you want to play next. Or maybe you’re suiting up for a battle in the console war, cinching on your armor and trying to remember which games will best help you make the argument for Microsoft’s new console. We’re here to help.

These days there are more good Xbox One games than ever, with new contenders arriving all the time. In the list below, we’ve listed the games we recommend for Microsoft’s machine. We will, of course, continue to update the list regularly as more games are released for the Xbox One.

We’ve capped the list at 12, and will continue to remove old games to make way for new, better entries. Here goes…

Rise of the Tomb Raider does much of what its predecessor did: It gives us a relatable, less superhuman Lara Croft and sets her loose in a hostile environment with only her wits and a pickaxe to stay alive. While the story may not be ultimately as gripping or cathartic as the first game, the full experience is knit together very effectively, with a good mix of puzzle solving, exploration, sneaking and fighting. Things get more interesting with the game’s downloadable add-ons, too, which have Lara taking on zombies and swamp witches along with a repeatable survival mode that’s so good it could be the foundation of a standalone game. All that and the game is so beautiful it’ll often have you pausing just to take in the view.

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A Good Match For: Fans of Crystal Dynamics’ 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, bow and arrow enthusiasts, anyone who really hates bears.

Not A Good Match For: Folks looking for a deep or nuanced story, people who hate collectibles.

Read our review.

Watch the game in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

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Cuphead doesn’t look or sound like any other video game—take one look at the gorgeous backdrops, 1930s-inspired art style, or take one listen to the Ellington-infused big band soundtrack. It plays more familiarly, a side-scrolling shoot-em-up that turns players into perfectionists. Each boss requires precision, planning, and perfect timing to defeat, and the rush of victory is like nothing else. Come for the beautiful art and music, stay because you can’t stop playing until you finally beat this next boss.

A Good Match For: People who like mastering brutally difficult games, anyone who wants a video game that looks unlike any other.

Not A Good Match For: The easily frustrated, those who don’t love old-school side-scrolling shoot-em-up games.

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Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available digitally from the Xbox Store.

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In Hitman, a simple setup paves the way for an unusually complex game. You enter a level with a target. You can eliminate that target in any way you see fit. Maybe you’re in a Paris fashion show, maybe you’re in the market outside a Moroccan embassy. Maybe you’re in a sprawling Italian villa, maybe a posh Bangkok hotel. Wherever you are, you’ll likely be impressed by Hitman’s painstakingly detailed clockwork communities as they tick along, inviting you to explore and exploit them. The main story assassinations are the tip of the iceberg here, as repeatable escalations, player-made challenges, and miss-and-you-fail elusive targets round out a supremely satisfying collection of sneaking, costumery, and espionage challenges. Yes, Blood Money was great, but this new Hitman represents a pinnacle for the series.

A Good Match For: Fans of classic spy movies, people who like playing dress-up, meticulous folks who love hatching a plan.

Not A Good Match For: People hoping for a good straight-up action or straight-up stealth game—Hitman has elements of both but is kind of its own thing.

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Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | Gamestop

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Epic Games’ goofy, chaotic take on the Battle Royale formula has become a global sensation for a reason: it’s a really fun, good game. It starts with the familiar Battle Royale formula: 100 people land in a massive arena, and only one can win. Then it polishes things up with colorful characters, funny items, and a level of technical polish you’d expect from the people who make and maintain the Unreal Engine. It works great on consoles, just like it works on PC and even phones. And unlike its competitors, it has a ridiculous crafting component carried over from the base version of Fortnite. Getting shot at? Time to build a panic-wall. Want to get the drop on an opponent? Time to build a huge tower and get the angle. A constantly changing, constantly entertaining game, Fortnite Battle Royale is easily one of the best zero-dollar gaming investments you can currently make.

A Good Match For: Anyone looking for some silly competition, fans of competitive online games, world-famous rappers.

Not A Good Match For: Those who like to win. There’s only one winner per Fortnite match, and it probably won’t be you, at least not for a while after you start.

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Read our take on why we like the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Available (for free) on the Xbox Store.

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You’re alone on an island, surrounded by puzzles. That’s The Witness, an extremely complicated game that is really very simple. Some of the puzzles are obvious: They’re on screens right in front of you, stacked in orderly rows. Other puzzles are much less easy to find. All of them will stymie and confound you, but over time you’ll gradually dismantle them until the game’s grand design is laid out in front of you like the workings of a finely crafted watch. Some games make you level up your character to access new areas; this one makes you level up yourself. There are few more satisfying feelings in gaming than when you finally realize the solution to a puzzle in The Witness. With a click, a new door opens.

A Good Match For: Puzzle fiends, people who like a challenge, anyone who liked Myst and wants to see what a modern evolution would be like.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone wanting action, the easily frustrated, people who don’t like puzzles in games and generally just go look up the answers.

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Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Purchase From: Available from the Microsoft store.

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Titanfall 2 gave us what we were expecting—more of its trademark fleet-footed, giant robot-enhanced competitive multiplayer. It also gave us an unexpectedly fantastic singleplayer story campaign, and that’s really what sets it apart. What could’ve been a series of botmatches or boring corridor shootouts instead was an uncommonly well-designed hybrid of platforming and action movie gymnastics. The spirits of Valve and Nintendo are alive and well at Respawn Entertainment, evidently.

Read our review, and a breakdown of the best level.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

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XCOM 2 refines or overhauls almost every little thing about 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a game that was already good enough to win Kotaku’s 2012 Game of the Year award. The game is meaner and faster than its predecessor; most missions have timers that push you forward and force you to take risks, and the new alien types will break even your most time-tested strategies. You’ll get more attached to your team of customizable soldiers than ever, which makes it all the harder to watch them die horribly in the field. As if the original version of XCOM 2 wasn’t good enough, the brilliant 2017 expansion War of the Chosen makes the game bigger and better in almost every way.

A Good Match For: Strategy fans, people who liked the first game, anyone who’s ever wanted to understand just how difficult it is to fight off an occupying force from the inside out.

Not A Good Match For: The easily frustrated, those looking for a simple game, anyone who rages at missing point-blank shots due to dice rolls.

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Read our review, and our take on the 2017 War of the Chosen expansion.

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for playing the game.

Purchase From: Available digitally from the Microsoft Store.

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Forza Horizon 3 just wants you to have fun, man. It sets you loose on a huge chunk of Australian land, gives you a bunch of really fast cars, and wishes you luck. If you like racin’ and rampin’, collecting cars and taking on your friends’ best times, this is your game. Forza Horizon 3 is all about the thrill of the drive, and it’s a larger, longer drive than ever before.

Read our impressions of the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

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There’s no shortage of ambition in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Geralt of Rivia’s latest adventure is massive, a world you can get lost in for hours and still have plenty to do. And while many games these days have sprawling landscapes, The Witcher 3 is utterly dense. Every nook and cranny is filled with memorable characters, clever writing, and rewards for curious players. The main story is as thrilling as it is emotionally draining, and the side quests are actually worth doing! Best of all? You don’t need to have played a Witcher game to enjoy the heck out of the third.

A Good Match For: Open-world fans, especially those who enjoyed Skyrim but were disappointed by the combat. In The Witcher 3, fighting is nearly as enjoyable as exploration.

Not a Good Match For: People who value their time and social life, or those who prefer their games hyper-polished without any framerate drops or other nagging technical flaws.

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Read our review, and thoughts on the game’s (excellent) free DLC.

Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game, and catch up on The Witcher lore.

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Gears of War 4 might just be more Gears of War, but hey, Gears of War kicks ass. The latest game in the series shifts focus to a new generation of Locust-stompers, 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3. Decades may have passed, but much remains the same: Humans are once again under attack by a subterranean threat. Levels are still a mix of chokepoints and cover-filled open arenas, enemies are still squishy and relentlessly flank you, and guns still have chainsaws attached to them. That fundamental gameplay remains as fun as ever, particularly in online co-op. The series’ much vaunted Horde mode is elaborate and arguably overly punishing, but still a lot of fun with the right group. Microsoft keeps releasing major free updates, too, meaning Gears 4 should continue improving for months to come.

A Good Match For: Anyone looking to play games with a friend, anyone looking for a co-op challenge. Horde mode gets extremely difficult and will require a lot of careful planning to come out on top.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who played earlier Gears games and didn’t like them. There isn’t much here that’ll attract anyone who wasn’t a fan of the early games.

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Read our review.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | Gamestop

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It’s a fan-art generator. It’s pure cosplay fodder. It’s a meme machine, a water-cooler mainstay, and a cultural obsession. Overwatch is all of those things, but above all else it’s a finely tuned competitive video game that manages to encourage pitted competition and enthusiastic teamwork while ensuring everyone is having a good time.

A Good Match For: Team Fortress 2 fans, people who liked banging action figures together as a kid, people who’ve wanted to try a competitive first-person shooter but haven’t yet found the right fit.

Not A Good Match For: Anyone who wants to play offline, or who is hoping for a substantial single-player story campaign. Overwatch is strictly multiplayer-only.

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Watch it in action.

Study our tips for the game.

Read our review.

Purchase From: Amazon | Wal-Mart | Best Buy | Gamestop

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For years, the best way to understand why so many people love Monster Hunter games was to play one on a mobile device. With Monster Hunter: World, everything that makes Capcom’s long-running series so great is finally playable on a modern, big-screen gaming system. World takes advantage of that screen real estate, and the massive beasts you’ll fight look just as fearsome as you’d expect. World may be the most approachable Monster Hunter game yet, but it’s still a complex, rewarding game that you can play for hundreds of hours without running out of things to do. It’s fun to play solo, fun to play with friends, and basically just really fun.

A Good Match For: Anyone looking for a thick, complicated game; those who like Dark Souls-style combat against huge enemies; people who’ve been intrigued by Monster Hunter and looking for a way to get into the series.

Not A Good Match For: Those who want a game that’s straightforward and easy to get into; vegetarians.

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Read our review.

Study our tips for playing the game.

Watch it in action.

Purchase From: Amazon | Walmart | Best Buy | Gamestop

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How has this list changed? Read back through our update history:

Update 4/30/2018: We’ve added Monster Hunter: World and Fortnite Battle Royale while taking off Resident Evil 7 and Inside.

Update 10/20/2017: We’ve added Cuphead and XCOM 2 and taken off Dark Souls 3 and Grand Theft Auto V.

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Update 6/7/2017: We’ve added Gears of War 4 and taken off Destiny, which Bungie has been winding down in anticipation of the sequel later this year.

Update 2/24/2017: We’ve added Resident Evil 7 and taken off Diablo 3.

Update 12/21/2016: We’ve added Titanfall 2 and Hitman while cutting Ori and the Blind Forest and Metal Gear Solid V. 

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Update: 10/28/2016: We’ve cut Sunset Overdrive and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and added Forza Horizon 3 and The Witness.

Update 7/21/2016: Goodbye to Batman: Arkham Knight and Forza Horizon 2; hello to Overwatch and Inside.

Update 2/27/2016: Fallout 4 and Dying Light come off the list, while Dark Souls 3 and Rise of the Tomb Raider make it on.

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Update 11/26/2015: Fallout 4 and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate make their way onto the list, edging out Dragon Age: Inquisition and Assassin’s Creed IV. We’re still keeping an eye on Halo 5’s to see if it’ll earn it a spot on the strength of its multiplayer.

Update: 10/15/2015: We’ve added Metal Gear Solid V to the list and taken off Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin. We’ve also updated our entry for Destiny to account for the Taken King expansion and cleared out old comments to make room for new ones.

Update 7/16/2015: These swaps are getting harder. After much deliberation we cut Wolfenstein: The New Order, despite our affection for the surprisingly good story-driven first-person shooter. We’re also saying goodbye to another over-achiever, Shadows of Mordor, whose best trick, the Nemesis System, isn’t enough to keep it on our ever more competitive top 12.

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Update 5/5/2015: We’ve taken off Super Time Force, The LEGO Movie Videogame, and Rayman Legends to make room for Dying Light, Ori and the Blind Forest, and Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin. Nearly half of the games on this list now begin with “D.” Mission accomplished.

Update 11/25/2014: Three new games make their way onto the list: Dragon Age: Inquisition, Grand Theft Auto V and Sunset Overdrive edge out Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3 and Titanfall.

Update 10/17/2014: We’ve cleared out Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, and Need For Speed: Rivals to make room for Destiny, Forza Horizon 2, and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor.

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Update 8/29/14: Strider hops out of the way to clear space for Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition.

Update 6/17/2014: The list continues to mature, as Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Peggle 2 leave to make room for Wolfenstein: The New Order and Super Time Force.

Update 4/17/2014: Three games enter, two games leave. Our list hits its limit of 12 games, with Titanfall, The LEGO Movie Videogame and Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes walking on while Powerstar Golf and LEGO Marvel Superheroes exit.

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Update 3/10/2014: Four games walk on to the list: Rayman Legends, Strider, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare and the newly multiplayer’d Peggle 2 bring our grand total of games up to eleven. One more and we’ll be at twelve, and will have to start cutting games to make additions.

Update 2/14/2014: Our first addition to the Xbox One Bests list is the lovely-looking Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. Go, Lara, Go.

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Want more of the best games on each system? Check out our complete directory:

The Best PC GamesThe Best PS4 GamesThe Best Xbox One GamesThe Best Nintendo Switch GamesThe Best Wii U GamesThe Best 3DS GamesThe Best PS Vita GamesThe Best Xbox 360 GamesThe Best PS3 GamesThe Best Wii GamesThe Best iPhone GamesThe Best iPad GamesThe Best Android GamesThe Best PSP GamesThe Best Facebook GamesThe Best DS GamesThe Best Mac Games

Note: While some games on this list are download-only, all of them can be purchased on the Xbox One’s online store. If you buy any of these games through the retail links in this post, our parent company may get a small share of the sale through the retailers’ affiliates program.

Tech News

VR standard promises an end to headset connector headaches

July 18, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Engadget

If you’ve used a wired VR headset, you probably know the connector situation is inconsistent and messy: you frequently have to plug multiple cables into your PC, which is space consuming at best and potentially impractical if you have a laptop. That might not be quite such a thorn in your side if a handful of tech industry leaders have their way. AMD, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Oculus and Valve have unveiled VirtualLink, an open standard that would whittle VR headset connections down to a single USB-C cable. It would take advantage of the newer port format to deliver four lanes of DisplayPort video, USB data (for cameras and sensors) and 27W of power. It’s optimized for VR, too, promising low lag and a highly optimized path that would enable the “next generation” of headsets.

The technology is very young. The VirtualLink alliance has only published an “advance overview” of their specification for companies that want to take advantage of it ahead of a 1.0 release, and it will be a while after that before headsets adopt the technology. It’s also based on an assumption that wireless VR won’t become the dominant format. And you may have noticed that HTC isn’t involved, at least at this stage — it might not achieve true harmony so long as Vive owners are using another connector.

Even in this rough state, the appeal is clear. It’d lead to faster setup times even as it remained relatively future-proof, and would bring VR to virtually any laptop with enough power to handle it. You could plug a VR headset into a sufficiently speedy ultraportable. This kind of accessibility could be crucial to making VR accessible to more people, not just enthusiasts with desktops and beefy gaming laptops.

Tech News

Microsoft promises 'all-new Xbox hardware' next month

July 18, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Timothy J. Seppala, Engadget

Microsoft is bringing new Xbox hardware to Germany next month for Gamescom. The news comes from Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb, who teased “all-new Xbox hardware and accessories” in a blog post this morning. What could it be? Well, there have been rumors (and leaked images) surrounding a revised Elite controller with three-way hair-trigger locks, tension control for thumbsticks, a magnetic USB-C connector and new grips since January, which makes it a good candidate. The last Elite controller was released in 2015. Or, it could be a new SKU of the Xbox One.

While it’d be nice to get a One X with more than 1TB of onboard storage, it’s more likely that Microsoft will show off an even cheaper One S instead. The previous model was released almost two years ago to fanfare from critics and players thanks to its svelte design and better performance. Now that 4K TVs with HDR are becoming more commonplace, the value proposition for the One S is a lot more tangible. A lower price could make it even more attractive for first-time buyers — a market Microsoft would be keen to exploit given the Xbox One’s current position in the console landscape.

Whatever happens, we don’t have to wait too long to find out. Gamescom begins August 21st, with Microsoft’s opening keynote scheduled for 10:30 AM Eastern the same day. The event will be livestreamed, and we’ll be on the ground covering the biggest news and coolest games all week long.

Tech News

'Black Friday: Revolution 1979' is coming to consoles starting July 31st

July 18, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

iNK Stories

“We need more games like 1979 Revolution: Black Friday,” Engadget Senior Reporter Jessica Conditt wrote in 2016. Two years later and the historical title chronicling the Iranian revolution will make its way from PC and mobile platforms to the Nintendo Switch. We now know when it’ll be released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well.

Come July 31st (Harry Potter’s birthday, mind you) you’ll be able to take the role of a photojournalist covering the titular event on PS4, while the Switch and Xbox One versions will be released two and three days later, respectively. Pre-order pages aren’t live just yet, but once they are, your lack of patience will be rewarded with a 20 percent discount.

In her game of the year write-up, my colleague Jess called 1979 “intense, emotional and thoughtful,” continuing that it “humanizes a crucial moment in history” despite gameplay feeling clumsy in spots. Soon, you’ll get to experience that on a home console for yourself.