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Aujourd’hui — 24 septembre 2021Microsoft

Halo Infinite beta: List of known bugs and launch issues

It's a technical preview, so there will be some issues.

The Halo Infinite technical preview is live, with many of the players who registered for testing access trialing a new gameplay build ahead of Halo Infinite's launch. As this is a technical test, we're tracking known problems players encounter. 343 Industries has also helped in this endeavor, giving a pre-launch list of issues and bugs players might run into in their time with these pre-release builds of the game. We're also adding every problem we've run into or see numerous players encountering so far.

If you run into any problems while playing, be sure to submit a support ticket directly to 343 Industries, as feedback is necessary for this to be one of the best Xbox games available.

What are the top bugs and issues in Halo Infinite multiplayer beta?

Given the pre-launch nature of these technical previews, it's fair to expect a wide range of problems that need to be resolved across the list of maps and modes in the Halo Infinite multiplayer beta. Some of the more annoying problems include assorted crashes, as well as an issue where players will be timed out of a match and kicked to the main menu.

343 Industries has explicitly stated that the reason these "flights" are referred to as a technical preview is that they are meant to stress all the different systems in the game. More specifically, 343 Industries is seeking to understand where server strain is the worse, what bugs need to be prioritized for fixing above others and so on. The goal is that by discovering and hammering these issues right now, they won't be in the full game.

If you haven't been selected yet, don't despair, as there will be many tests and there are plenty of weapons in Halo Infinite to test out, so keep an eye on your email inbox.

Insider App pending

Summary When trying to acquire the Technical Preview from the Xbox Insider App, you may get stuck on a spinning "Pending" logo.

Quick fix Cold boot (or hard reboot) your console and this problem should be solved.

Update needed

Summary On console (Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One X, Xbox One S), after downloading the initial Halo Technical Preview, you may be try to fully install the Technical Preview and be given an "Update Needed" error.

Quick fix Cold boot (or hard reboot) your console and this problem should be solved.

Account not authorized

Summary You might run into a problem where the game errors at the main menu, telling you your account isn't authorized to play.

Quick fix Restarting the application may fix this issue.

Play button grayed out

Summary Occasionally, players may see the "Play" button grayed out with "unknown error" listed underneath it.

Quick fix Visit your Privacy & online safety > Xbox One/Windows 10 Online Safety settings and set "You can join multiplayer games" to Block, then submit changes. Then change it back to Allow and submit changes again.

Can't leave fireteam

Summary Trying to press Leave Fireteam from the Social or Fireteam menus does not work.

Quick fix Use the Leave Fireteam option from the Player Profile, as it still works if the Fireteam is not currently searching.

Problem with dedicated server

Summary If the servers are down or partially down, you may get an error message that says there was a problem connecting to the dedicated server.

Quick Fix Continue to try joining matchmaking, eventually when the issue subsides you'll get through. Also, make sure that you're trying to connect while matchmaking is active.

AMD Graphics Drivers

Summary If you are playing on a PC and using AMD hardware, your graphics driver needs to be updated to version 21.6.1 or later. Otherwise, you may run into serious performance and stability problems.

NVIDIA 900-series GPUs

Summary Players using NVIDIA 900-series GPUs will experience poor performance due to the fact that these graphics cards do not meet Halo Infinite's minimum specs.

Timing out of matchmaking

Summary Players might try to join a session, time out, and get kicked to the main menu.

Various crashes

Summary 343 Industries is currently investigating a few reasons why the game crashes, which the technical preview is meant to test. It is known that users with AMD 6700 and NVIDIA 970 GPUs may experience crashing on startup of the game.

Stutter and de-sync

Summary Occasionally, players may run into stuttering or warping across the map before they re-sync with the servers correctly.

Missing player scores

Summary Player scores sometimes don't appear at the end of the match, or the post-game carnage report won't load properly.

Spawn problems

Summary Players may start a match and have low audio, or with an invisible gun.

Melee hit detection

Summary Players might sometimes hit an opponent with a melee attack and the attack fails to register properly.

Main menu lag

Summary From time to time, the main menu may take longer than expected to load different sections like Challenges, Customization, or Commerce.

Settings will reset

Summary Many settings will revert to their default state after closing and relaunching the game.

Work in progress

The current Halo Infinite beta dates and times originally saw testing run for four days from July 29 through August 1. This was extended through following a delay in getting the technical preview out. Therefore, it's possible that the developers may extend the second flight as well if enough users end up experiencing particularly disruptive issues. We'll keep this article updated with the latest news about bugs and issues, as well as any known solutions to them.

Halo Infinite is currently slated to launch on Dec. 8, 2021 and will be available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and PC.

A new journey awaits

Halo Infinite

$60 at Microsoft $60 at Amazon $60 at Best Buy $60 at Steam

The next big adventure

Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021 and Gamescom, we can't wait for the full release.

Halo Infinite system requirements: Can my PC run it?

Is your PC up-to-snuff, Spartans?

The first Halo Infinite beta test proved to be a massive hit despite its rough edges, and the second one is finally available. But just how powerful of a PC do you need to play Halo Infinite, anyway? Microsoft and 343 Industries have answered that question by revealing Halo Infinite's full PC specs to the public. Here's what you need to know, including what the minimum and recommended specs for Halo Infinite are as how you can check if your PC meet these requirements easily.

List of Halo Infinite system requirements

Halo Infinite's minimum requirements will likely be fairly accessible for most players, as they're not too demanding. With that said, more powerful hardware never hurts to have, especially if you want to push for a sky-high framerate on one of the best PC gaming monitors available.

Here's what 343 Industries lists as the minimum required specs for Halo Infinite:

  • OS: Windows 10 RS3 x64
  • CPU: Intel i5-4440 or AMD FX-8370
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti or AMD RX 570
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 50GB

With this hardware, you'll be able to play Halo Infinite with decent visuals and an acceptable framerate. However, you're going to need beefier specs if you want to enjoy the game on higher settings with smoother FPS.

Here's what the developers list as recommended specs for Halo Infinite:

  • OS: Windows 10 19H2 x64
  • CPU: Intel i7-9700K or AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2070 or AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 50GB

These specs will give you the power you need to play Halo Infinite at high settings with buttery smooth framerates, although it's worth noting that many of these components (particularly the GPUs) are hard to come by right now. If your specs don't match or surpass these recommended ones, you may want to turn some settings down.

Will my PC run Halo Infinite?

If you're unsure whether or not your PC meets the minimum and/or recommended specs listed above, don't worry — there's an easy way to check. All you need to do is do a quick analysis with the DirectX Diagnostic Tool, which allows you to review what hardware you've got installed in your system with just a few clicks. Here's how to use it.

  1. Click the Windows button on your taskbar.
  2. Type dxdiag.
  3. Click dxdiag in the search results. Windows will then show your PC specifications.
  4. Navigate to the System tab for details on your processor, memory, and Windows version.
  5. Navigate to Display tab for details on your graphics hardware and video memory (VRAM).

If a part of your PC isn't up-to-spec for Halo Infinite, you'll be able to tell with this handy tool. Don't forget to check out our guides to the best cheap graphics cards and the best budget CPUs if you need to make an upgrade, as the minimum specs for Halo Infinite are pretty affordable. Alternatively, you can also check out our roundup of all the best graphics cards and the best processors for your custom PC if you want to make some big upgrades to your rig. Hopefully you'll be able to find powerful GPUs in stock despite scalpers' efforts to ravage retailer inventories.

For more information on Halo Infinite itself and future betas, make sure you check out our full coverage on the Halo Infinite beta schedule. Also, make sure you read our guide on how to play the Halo Infinite beta so that you can properly sign up for the next flight if you haven't already.

The first Halo Infinite beta test focused primarily on Arena matches against AI bots, weapon drills, and a brief stint of Arena PvP before access to the test build closed. Players were also able to interact with a limited version of Halo Infinite's customization and progression systems. The current beta is centered strongly around Arena and Big Team Battle PvP, and it also includes a new training mode that allows players to practice against bots with "training wheels" like invincibility and infinite ammo. It also features a new map called Behemoth and a creative new weapon called the Shock Rifle that shoots deadly electric bolts. These bolts can ricochet off of players or map objects and hit other players in the immediate vicinity, giving it a unique functionality.

Unlike the previous beta, the current one is also being split up across two different weekends. Players will be able to try out Arena PvP from Sept. 24 to Sept. 26, while Big Team Battle PvP will be available from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3. PvP sessions will only be available during specified playtimes of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT / 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET. Training mode, weapon drills, and customization content can be accessed at any time. However, access to the beta will close on 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET each Monday.

Halo Infinite is expected to launch on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, and Windows 10 (and Windows 11) PCs on Dec. 8, 2021. With any luck, it will end up being one of the best Xbox games ever.

A new journey awaits

Halo Infinite

$60 at Microsoft $60 at Amazon $60 at Best Buy $60 at Steam

The next big adventure

Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021 and Gamescom, we can't wait for the full release.

Here's everything we know about the next Halo Infinite beta

Join the Halo Insider Program today, Spartan.

343 Industries and Microsoft are planning to launch Halo Infinite later in 2021, and based on what was said during the Xbox E3 2021 show, 343 Industries is planning to use the Halo Insider Program to roll out test flights before the game launches. These test flights help the developers identify and fix bugs that may have otherwise gone unnoticed (check out my spotlight of the Master Chief Collection's incredible 2020 journey to see just how effective Insider flighting has been for 343 Industries thus far), and they also give fans an opportunity to go hands-on with Halo projects before they release.

Considering the game in question is Halo Infinite, that's quite an exciting prospect. You'll need to sign up for the Halo Insider Program to have a chance at participating in Halo Infinite beta playtests, but thankfully the process to do so isn't difficult at all and will only take a few minutes. Here's a quick guide on how to sign up and become a Halo Insider.

Halo Infinite beta:

What is the Halo Infinite beta and 'flighting'?

Test flights are periods of time in which 343 Industries provides Halo Insiders with access to a test build of a game. These flights usually last about a week or two and are active 24 hours a day, but could be shorter or longer and may also have more specific start and end times. The content available in the flight can vary widely depending on what 343 Industries wants to test. For Halo Infinite, we expect that the flights will focus on the multiplayer primarily, but may include campaign content down the line.

Halo Infinite's flights will operate mostly the same way, with the Halo Infinite team planning to release different technical previews and betas for players to test, each with a different focus. The goal is for 343i to collect information they otherwise wouldn't be able to collect on their own, in order to "stress test" Halo Infinite ahead of a wider launch.

When is the start time and date for the Halo Infinite beta?

  • Last flight: The previous Halo Infinite beta flight ran from Thursday, Jul. 29, 2021, until Monday, Aug. 2, 2021.
  • Next flight: The current Halo Infinite beta flight will run from Friday, Sept. 24, 2021 until Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 and Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 until Monday, Oct. 4, 2021.

The first official Halo Infinite beta test flight recently took place on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Windows 10 PCs (via Steam). When future flights occur, Halo Insiders should check their email address and their profile on Halo Waypoint to see if they were chosen to participate in the flight. If so, they should then follow the official instructions on how to download the Halo Infinite beta. Notably, all players who registered as a Halo Insider before Sept. 13, 2021, are able to participate in the second test flight according to 343 Industries.

Access to the second beta is now live, but the flight will only have matchmaking active at specific times during each test day. These times are as follows:

  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT / 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET
  • 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET

The Halo Infinite Insider program will likely feature multiple flights spread across several weeks or even months in the future, so there is no definitive start or end time for all Halo Infinite testing. Most of the flights will likely live relatively short lives before 343i and the Halo community moves on to the next one, so we'll update this section and our guide below regularly.

If you want to stay up to date with every Halo Infinite flight as it happens, be sure to bookmark our ultimate guide for the Halo Infinite beta schedule and start time, which will include dates and related times for every flight as it happens.

What can I expect from the Halo Infinite beta?

Players can expect Halo Infinite's beta tests to be centered around the game's action-packed and sandbox-driven multiplayer experience. Halo Infinite's multiplayer has been broken down by 343 Industries in a recent overview, with the developers explaining that the core focus of the game is to encourage players to use anything they can find on the map to take down other players skillfully and creatively. Flights will test a lot of aspects of the game, including Halo Infinite's weapons and Halo Infinite's maps and locations.

In terms of game modes, we know that traditional Arena modes, as well as the brand new Halo Infinite Big Team Battle with 24 players will be available for beta testing. It's also possible that campaign content will enter beta testing at some point, too, but right now there's no official word on this.

Every flight will likely focus on a different element of Halo Infinite, with 343i wanting to collate feedback and suggestions to help push Halo Infinite to the finish line. Early flights of the Halo Infinite beta, called technical previews, will focus more on the foundational technologies of the game and will likely be very rough around the edges. To keep track, be sure to bookmark our guide on all the Halo Infinite beta known bugs and issues.

What are all the flights in the Halo Infinite beta?

We're expecting Halo Infinite to feature multiple flights and beta builds on the road to launch later this year, and it could become easy to lose track of them over time. We're going to update this section regularly with every Halo Infinite flight, what content they covered, and how Halo Infinite has evolved with the help of the passionate Halo community.

The first flight

Halo Infinite's first flight was a technical preview that focused on early stress tests for Halo Infinite's servers and commerce engines, and various elements of the game, including:

  • Arena maps. Three maps (Bazaar, Recharge, and Live Fire) from the Arena game mode were introduced in the first Halo Infinite test, letting players explore the environments for themselves.
  • Gameplay vs. bots. On the three aforementioned maps, players were able to square up against the newly introduced bots, which are positioned as a way for new players to become accustomed to the game through the new Halo Academy.
  • Gameplay vs. players. During the evening of Aug. 1, the developers briefly enabled Arena PvP between players.
  • Weapon drills. Players were also able to use an assortment of Halo Infinite weapons for the first time through the Halo Academy weapon drills. The weapons featured included:
    • MA40 AR
    • BR75
    • MK50 Sidekick
    • CQS48 Bulldog
    • Needler
    • VK78 Commando
    • S7 Sniper
    • Plasma Pistol
    • Pulse Carbine
    • Ravager
    • Heatwave
    • Skewer
  • Battle Pass and menu UI. An important aspect of any game is the UI players use to navigate, and 343i is looking for feedback here. Players were able to test the Halo Infinite menus, customization, and Battle Pass UI. Players were even given a bit of Halo Infinite currency to help with the testing, although anything that was unlocked will not carry over to the main game.
  • New Halo Waypoint. Halo Waypoint is being rebuilt from the ground up for Halo Infinite, including a new mobile app. The first Halo Infinite technical preview included the first tests for the new Waypoint experience on web, Android, and iOS.

If you want to learn more about the first Halo Infinite flight, you can check out the stream above (which also includes plenty of hands-on footage of Halo Infinite, including debut Halo Infinite footage on Xbox One and a full match played on Xbox Series X).

The first Halo Infinite flight ran from July 29 to Aug. 2, 2021, and was available through Steam for PC players. Because this was the first Halo Infinite flight, the number of players that were invited to participate is relatively small. Future flights should include many more players.

The second flight

Developers have provided some details about what to expect in the second Halo Infinite test flight in the July "Inside Infinite" blog post as well as within a recent Halo Infinite Development Update video. Here's what you can expect:

  • Arena PvP. The developers have confirmed that future flights will include a longer and more focused test of Halo Infinite's Arena PvP modes.
  • Big Team Battle. 343 Industries has also confirmed that it's planning on testing Big Team Battle, Halo Infinite's premiere 12v12 game mode, in the second test flight.
  • Behemoth and Fragmentation maps. Two maps we know about but haven't been able to play yet are Behemoth and Fragmentation, both of which appear to be Big Team Battle maps based on trailer footage. Behemoth features sandy terrain that reminds us of Zanzibar/Last Resort from Halo 2 and 3, while Fragmentation looks a lot like Valhalla from Halo 3 and 4. We expect to be able to play on both of these maps during any future Big Team Battle tests.
  • Vehicle combat. Big Team Battle wouldn't be Big Team Battle without vehicles, so we anticipate their presence in the second flight if it includes the mode. Light vehicles may appear in Arena tests as well, as the developers have confirmed that they'll be in some of the game's Arena maps. Some of the vehicles we're expecting to see based on previous trailers include:
    • Warthog
    • Rocket Warthog
    • Razorback
    • Mongoose
    • Ghost
    • Chopper
    • Wraith
    • Wasp
    • Banshee
    • Scorpion
  • Expanded customization test. Though the initial Halo Infinite flight only included a small number of customization items to unlock and use, we anticipate that the developers will want to expand what's available to beta players in the future to test the unlock system thoroughly.

In terms of when players can expect the second Halo Infinite beta flight to begin, we know that it's slated to launch on Sept. 23, 2021, although matchmaking won't begin until the day after on Sept. 24. The second weekend of the testing begins on Sept. 30, 2021, though matchmaking will again not be available until Oct. 1, 2021.

How can I sign up for the Halo Infinite beta?

The Halo Insider Program is 343 Industries' official system for testing upcoming Halo experiences, and it proved itself very effective with the Master Chief Collection. Both Xbox and PC players (through Steam and the Windows 10 Store) can sign up for the program, and since Halo Infinite will be released on both of those platforms, testing will likely be done on both platforms for the game.

To get started with your registration, follow the steps below.

  1. Visit the Halo Insider page on Halo Waypoint.
  2. Click Signup.
  3. Under "Sign in to your Xbox Live account," click Sign In.
  4. Sign in with your Microsoft Account credentials.

  5. Grant Halo Waypoint access to your Xbox Live information if requested.
  6. Confirm that you are 18 or older.
  7. Confirm that you agree to the Halo Insider Program Confidentiality Statement.
  8. Click Join the Program.

  9. In the provided fields, enter your preferred email, location, time zone, and experience with Halo games.
  10. Click Continue.
  11. If you're an Xbox player, click Yes when asked if you'd like to be considered for console flighting.
  12. Fill out your console ownership and setup details and then click Continue.

  13. If you're a PC player, click Yes when asked if you'd like to be considered for PC flighting.
  14. Follow the on-screen instructions to obtain and upload your PC specifications with Windows 10's DirectX Diagnostic.
  15. If you use Steam, click the Link Steam Account button and login with your Steam credentials.
  16. Click Continue.

  17. When asked about flight availability, select the days and times you are typically available for test sessions.
  18. Click Complete Signup.
  19. Open the Halo Insider email sent to your provided address.
  20. Click Verify my Email Address in the email.

You're done! Your Halo Insider profile will automatically pop up once you're finished, and your information can be edited at any time if something changes. Keep in mind that the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles haven't been listed as consoles you can say you use yet, so if you own one of these consoles, check back frequently and select the appropriate option when it's added. You'll also need to sign up for the Xbox Insider Program if you play on Xbox since you'll need access to the Xbox Insider Hub application.

Will there be rewards in the Halo Infinite beta?

Previous Halo betas and flights have granted certain rewards to testers, like unique nameplates and other cosmetic items, but it's not been clear whether that will be the case for Halo Infinite.

What we do know is that players should assume that any progression or unlocks in a Halo Infinite flight will not carry over to the main game, including purchases and cosmetic items. In fact, the first Halo Infinite flight gives players a load of in-game currency and encourages them to buy everything they can (to test the commerce engine).

It has been confirmed that Halo Infinite Insiders will get a unique nameplate when Halo Infinite launches that was also present in Halo 5 and partially in Halo: The MCC, so there's at least one reward heading our way for helping to shape Halo Infinite.

Will there be an open beta for Halo Infinite?

While Insider test flighting is confirmed, many wonder if a traditional public beta will be held for the game. At the time of writing, this is unclear. Many believe that 343 Industries will hold a beta because, in a 2015 interview with Game Informer, Head of 343 Industries Bonnie Ross stated that all future Halo titles would have a beta following the disastrous launch of The Master Chief Collection.

"Going forward, you will never see a Halo game coming out without a beta. It (The Master Chief Collection) was obviously painful for our fans and for us," Ross said. "But it won't happen again."

However, it's also entirely possible that 343 Industries considers Insider test flighting to fit the definition of what a "beta" is. It's also important to keep in mind that Ross's comments were made years before the Halo Insider Program was created; the Insider Program may be a system that 343 Industries developed for long-term use to keep its word. Ultimately, only time will tell whether Halo Infinite will have a traditional-style open beta.

When is the release date for Halo Infinite?

Halo Infinite is expected to release in Holiday 2021 on the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows 10 PCs. It's expected to cost $60 when it releases (the multiplayer is free to play) and it will hopefully end up being one of the best Xbox games. In the meantime, we highly recommend the Master Chief Collection, which bundles all of the pre-Xbox One Halo shooters for an incredible price.

The next adventure in the saga

Halo Infinite

$60 at Best Buy $60 at Microsoft $60 at Steam

A new Great Journey awaits

Halo Infinite is sure to be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta experience and what was seen at E3 2021, we can't wait to play it at launch.

Finish the Fight

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

$40 at Microsoft (Xbox One) $40 at Microsoft (PC) $40 at Steam

Experience the entirety of Halo history

The Master Chief Collection is a collection of every Halo shooter from the pre-Xbox One era, offering incredible value at an incredible price.

The Halo Infinite beta is live on Xbox and PC, focuses on Arena PvP

Big Team Battle is coming next weekend.

What you need to know

  • The Halo Infinite beta is now live on Xbox and PC.
  • The test will run throughout the weekend, but there will also be another test next weekend.
  • This weekend's test focuses on Arena PvP, while next weekend's will focus on both Arena and Big Team Battle.
  • The beta also has a training mode where players can play against bots offline with "training wheels" features like god mode and infinite ammo.
  • PvP and bot AI matchmaking begin on Sept. 24 and are only available between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT / 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET. Training mode and weapon drills are always available.
  • This weekend's test includes a new map called Behemoth as well as a new weapon called the Shock Rifle.

The Halo Infinite beta is now live on both Xbox and PC, provided you signed up to be a Halo Insider and were invited to participate in the test. Based on what the developer has shared regarding the Halo Infinite beta schedule, the beta will be available until Monday, Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET. At this time, access to the test build will close. Access will reopen during the following weekend from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, however.

In terms of what content players can enjoy during the beta test, 4v4 Arena PvP will be available during this weekend's test while 12v12 Big Team Battle and Arena will be available next weekend. Players will be able to play on a new vehicular Arena map called Behemoth, and will also be able to use a new weapon called the Shock Rifle that deals lots of damage and can arc off of players and map objects. Additionally, players will also have access to matchmaking against AI bots as well as an offline training mode that allows players to play against bots with "training wheel" features like invincibility or infinite ammo.

Concept art of the Behemoth map.

Unlike the previous Halo Infinite beta test, matchmaking against other players and AI bots will only be active during certain hours on each testing day. Specifically, matchmaking will only be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT / 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET. Players are be able to access the training mode, weapon drills, and customization content before, after, and between these playtimes.

If you signed up for the Halo Insider program before Sept. 13, 2021, you'll be able to participate in this beta test. Make sure you check your email and your Halo Insider profile for everything you need to get in the game (also, refer to our Halo Infinite beta download guide).

Halo Infinite is expected to launch in full on Dec. 8, 2021. The campaign costs $60, but the multiplayer suite will be completely free-to-play. Halo Infinite preorders are also available now, and there are a few different editions to choose from that come with special bonuses and collectibles.

A new journey awaits

Halo Infinite

$60 at Microsoft $60 at Amazon $60 at Best Buy $60 at Steam

The next big adventure

Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021 and Gamescom, we can't wait for the full release.

A new update is rolling out to the Xbox ecosystem with new features

From browsing the web to streaming great games, this update has it all.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft regularly rolls out updates to the Xbox ecosystem, and usually announces them once a month.
  • The Xbox September Update is now available, and features a little something for every part of the widening Xbox platform.
  • Xbox consoles are finally gaining the new Edge browser, including syncing and mouse and keyboard support.
  • PC players will also be able to stream Xbox games through Xbox Cloud Gaming and from their console through the Xbox PC app.

The time has come once again for the Xbox ecosystem to become a little better. Microsoft has just detailed the Xbox September Update, which includes a host of new features that benefit practically any gamer, no matter where you choose to play on the Xbox platform. PC players, especially, have plenty to get excited about in this round of updates. Unfortunately, there aren't any significant OS-level features for Xbox consoles this time around, but Microsoft is busy testing plenty of new features on that front.

There are essentially three exciting new features included in the Xbox September Update, so let's get started.

  • PC players can stream Xbox games. The Xbox app on PC is getting a big boost in functionality with this update, in that PC players will now be able to stream games through Xbox Cloud Gaming, allowing them to access the very best games available through Xbox Game Pass. Also, if you own an Xbox console and and PC, you'll be able to stream your games straight to your PC.
  • Xbox Game Pass gains "Play Later" feature. Xbox Game Pass is also gaining a new feature, which should, hopefully, make it easier to manage growing backlogs. With "Play Later," you'll be able to keep track of interesting games that you may want to play later on. With all the games coming to Xbox Game Pass soon, this could be a very handy feature. When your "Play Later" list is empty, Xbox Game Pass will try and recommend new titles to populate it.
  • Xbox consoles gain a new browser. We've known that Microsoft was testing bringing the brand-new Chromium Edge browser to Xbox consoles, which features nearly innumerable improvements over the current aging browsing solution. With this update, it's finally happening! Players on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One consoles will be able to use the new Microsoft Edge, complete with profile syncing and full mouse and keyboard support, to browse the web quickly.

If you were hoping for more in this particular update, not to worry! Microsoft is testing plenty of features in the background right now, which will likely head to the general Xbox population at some point. Xbox Series X|S should work better with certain TVs over HDMI-CED, older Xbox controllers should gain new features, and Xbox Series X|S should look better on 4K TVs after all of this comes to pass. The Xbox ecosystem is constantly evolving with new features over time, culminating in the three new features we're getting today.

A catalog of games

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

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All your gaming needs, in one subscription.

Is the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate the best value in all of gaming? It's possible. Ultimate bundles your Xbox Live Gold subscription, an Xbox Game Pass subscription for both Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, and Xbox Cloud Gaming for on-the-go. That means access to hundreds of games, with more added all the time, for a single monthly subscription cost.

Monster Hunter Rise's PC release teased by Sunbreak expansion trailer

Nintendo indirectly gives us a better idea of when Monster Hunter Rise on PC will launch.

What you need to know

  • Nintendo revealed a major expansion for Monster Hunter Rise, called Sunbreak.
  • According to Capcom, Sunbreak will release on PC and Switch at the same time in Summer 2022.
  • This means that Monster Hunter Rise will likely come to PC by the time Sunbreak launches.

The first thing revealed at today's Nintendo Direct event was an expansion for Monster Hunter Rise, called Sunbreak. This would have been a strictly Switch-based announcement, except that Capcom revealed in a follow-up tweet that the expansion would be coming to PC as well. That means that the PC version of Rise will likely be released by Summer 2022.

(https://twitter.com/monsterhunter/status/1441161848422756354) that the expansion would also be released on PC in Summer 2022.

Capcom had previously revealed that the game would be coming to PC at some point in 2022, but it hasn't given any specific release date. While the trailer for Sunbreak doesn't give a release date for the expansion or the PC version of the game, it does narrow the window for when the PC version will be released. At the moment, the official Monster Hunter Rise Twitter still says "early 2022" for the PC release date.

Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics is helping make Perfect Dark

Big update on the developers of the upcoming reboot.

What you need to know

  • The Initiative is a part of Xbox Game Studios, first founded in 2018.
  • At the Game Awards 2020, The Initiative revealed that it is working on a reboot of Perfect Dark.
  • The Initiative announced on Thursday that Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics is aiding the project.

The Initiative, developer of upcoming first-person shooter Perfect Dark, announced on Thursday that the team is partnering with Crystal Dynamics in order to develop the upcoming near-future spy thriller.

Best of all worlds

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate 3 Month Subscription

Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold in one

Xbox Game Pass gives you access to over 200 games for one monthly fee. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also adds Xbox Live Gold to the package so you can play online with your friends. You also get access to EA Play.

Hyperkin announces Cortana Edition Duke Xbox controller

The controller is striking. Are you going to get one?

What you need to know

  • Hyperkin has announced a Cortana Edition Duke Xbox Controller.
  • The controller uses a wired connection and features precision analog triggers and vibration feedback.
  • The controller features a deep purple color similar to the color of Cortana in Halo: Combat Evolved. It also has an image of Cortana herself on the right side.
  • The controller can be preordered now for $80 and is expected to release on Nov. 15, 2021, which is Halo: Combat Evolved's 20th Anniversary.

Following the success of the Hyperkin Duke Xbox One controller, Hyperkin has chosen to create a brand new version of its callback to the original Xbox controller with the Cortana Edition Duke Xbox controller. This version of the controller, created in celebration of 20 years of Halo, has a deep purple color reminiscent of Cortana in Halo: Combat Evolved. The design also prominently features a picture of Cortana herself on the right side of the controller, and there's even a small Cortana "montage" video built into the Xbox button that plays when you press it.

The controller, like the original Hyperkin Duke, also comes with precision analog triggers and vibration feedback. It uses a wired connection and is compatible with both Xbox consoles and Windows PCs. The huge chassis may be difficult to use if you have small hands, but most people generally don't have issues using the Duke otherwise.

Do you think the controller is one of the best Xbox accessories for retro players, or are you not a fan? Let us know in the comments. The Cortana Edition Duke Xbox controller is expected to release on Nov. 15, 2021, which is Halo: Combat Evolved's 20th Anniversary. The controller costs $90 and can be preordered now from Hyperkin's website.

Bet you can't stick it

Hyperkin Cortana Edition Duke Xbox controller

$90 at Hyperkin

A blast from the past

This Cortana version of Hyperkin's Duke is quite a striking option if you're looking for a retro-style Xbox controller.

Halo Infinite concept art treasure trove released ahead of beta launch

"Beautiful" doesn't even begin to describe these artworks.

Ahead of the launch of the next Halo Infinite beta later this evening, 343 Industries has chosen to publicly release over 60 pieces of concept art in a new blog post. In the post, 343 Industries' Head of Creative Joe Staten explained that due to a mistake, several concept images were included in the files of the beta test build that is being deployed to Halo Insiders later today. Instead of delaying the beta test so that the images could be removed from the build, the studio instead decided to share all of the concept artwork ahead of time. Staten confirmed that none of the images spoil the Halo Infinite campaign in any way.

"This art represents a wide range of ideas that we explored early in pre-production and that we planned to share at a later date, as part of Infinite's pre-launch promotion and other initiatives such as the upcoming "The Art of Halo Infinite" from our partners at Dark Horse," Staten said. "For a time, we used these images as loading screens for internal studio builds — and that's how they accidentally ended up in the Tech Preview build."

Have a look at some of the concept pieces below (the rest are available to download in the post):

If you enjoy concept artworks like these and want to see more, the upcoming artbook The Art of Halo Infinite from Dark Horse Comics will be a must-buy for you. The book will contain hundreds of concept images like these, and if it's anything like previous Halo concept art books, it will also contain lots of details about how and why 343 Industries' art teams designed Halo Infinite's world, characters, weapons, vehicles, and more the way they did. The book is expected to release on Dec. 14, 2021 and can be preordered for $36.

Halo Infinite itself is expected to officially launch on Dec. 8, 2021, and the second beta is expected to go live this evening. For more details on the beta, including when it will be available and what content it will include, review our coverage of the Halo Infinite beta schedule and check out our guide on how the Halo Infinite beta download process works. When the game launches in full, the campaign will cost $60 but the multiplayer will be free-to-play.

Amazing artwork

The Art of Halo Infinite

$36 at Amazon

The foundations for Halo Infinite's world

The Art of Halo Infinite will feature hundreds of artwork pieces that showcase how 343 Industries' artists conceptualized the world of Halo Infinite from the ground up.

A new journey awaits

Halo Infinite

$60 at Microsoft $60 at Amazon $60 at Best Buy $60 at Steam

The next big adventure

Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021 and Gamescom, we can't wait for the full release.

Should you get a Surface Pro 8 or a Surface Pro X?

Big update

Surface Pro 8

From $1,100 at Microsoft (preorder)

Pros

  • Same larger display as the Surface Pro X
  • Latest generation Intel processors
  • Thunderbolt 4
  • Supports new Slim Pen
  • Wi-Fi 6 and optional LTE

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Still requires extra purchase for keyboard

The Surface Pro 8 is the biggest redesign to the Surface Pro lineup in a number of years. It now combines the sleek, improved form factor of the Surface Pro X with powerful internals, optional LTE and finally, Thunderbolt 4.

ARM-powered

Microsoft Surface Pro X

From $900 at Microsoft (preorder)

Pros

  • Adreno GPU is pretty potent
  • LTE connectivity standard
  • Two USB-C ports
  • Thin and light
  • Smart design with Surface Slim Pen

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
  • Still requires extra purchase for keyboard
  • No 3.5mm audio jack

The Surface Pro X is powered by a custom Microsoft SQ1 or SQ2 CPU with Adreno 685 or 690 graphics (GPU) for ARM power and good battery life. The redesign to the Surface Pro 8 overshadows it, though.

Surface Pro 8 vs. Surface Pro X: Tech specs

While the Surface Pro 8 has seen a significant hardware bump over its predecessor, the Surface Pro X has remained mostly identical, with the only really noticeable change being the availability of a Wi-Fi-only version.

Category Surface Pro X (late 2021) Surface Pro 8
OS Windows 11 Home on ARM
Windows 10 Home on ARM (LTE)
Windows 11 Pro on ARM (commercial, LTE)
Windows 11 Home
Windows 11 Pro (commercial)
Windows 10 Pro (commercial)
Processor Microsoft SQ1
Microsoft SQ2
Consumer:
11th Gen Intel
Core i5-1135G7
Core i7-1185G7
Commercial:
11th Gen Intel
Core i3-1115G4
Core i5-1145G7
Core i7-1185G7
RAM 8GB, 16GB
LPDDR4x
8GB, 16GB, 32GB
LPDDR4x
Graphics SQ1 Adreno 685
SQ2 Adreno 690
Intel UHD (i3)
Intel Iris Xe (i5, i7)
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB SSD
Upgradeable
128GB, 256GB SSD (Wi-Fi, LTE)
512GB, 1TB SSD (Wi-Fi)
Display 13 inches
2880x1920
267 PPI
3:2 aspect ratio
Touch
13 inches
2880x1920
267 PPI
3:2 aspect ratio
Up to 120Hz (60Hz default)
Touch
Ports Two USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2)
Surface Connect
Nano SIM (LTE model)
Two Thunderbolt 4
Surface Connect
3.5mm audio
Audio Dual 2W speakers
Dolby Audio
Dual far-field studio mics
Dual 2W stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos
Dual far-field studio mics
Connectivity Wi-Fi 5
Bluetooth 5.0
Snapdragon X24 LTE
Nano SIM, eSIM support
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.1
Snapdragon X20 LTE
eSIM support
Camera IR camera
Front-facing 5MP (1080p)
Rear-facing 10MP (1080p, 4K)
IR camera
Front-facing 5MP (1080p)
Rear-facing 10MP (1080p, 4K)
Keyboard Surface Pro Signature keyboard
Surface Pro keyboard
Not included
Surface Pro Signature keyboard
Not included
Touchpad Precision Precision
Pen Surface Slim Pen 2
Not included
Surface Slim Pen 2
Not included
Security Firmware TPM
BitLocker support
IR camera
TPM 2.0
IR camera
Battery Up to 15 hours Up to 16 hours
Dimensions 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.28 inches
(287mm x 208mm x 7.3mm)
11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches
(287mm x 208.3mm x 9.4mm)
Weight From 1.7 pounds (774g) 1.96 pounds (891g)
Color Platinum
Matte Black
Platinum
Graphite

Surface Pro 8 gets its biggest upgrade in years

As much of a game-changing device the Surface Pro has proved to be for the Windows ecosystem, every year there has always been something missing. With the Surface Pro 8 that finally goes away, as the device has seen its biggest upgrade in some years.

On the outside, it now looks basically identical to the Surface Pro X. It's a little thicker and a little heavier, but the display has been bumped to the same 13 inches as you find on the Pro X with the same super skinny bezels. The Surface Pro 8 also supports the newest signature keyboard cover and the Surface Slim Pen. And like the Pro X, it also comes in both Wi-Fi-only and cellular versions.

But one of the biggest omissions has always been Thunderbolt, which for a device with "Pro" in its name, felt like a mistake. That's now finally been rectified, and Thunderbolt 4 is on the Surface Pro 8 for superfast data transfer. If you always wanted to use an eGPU, a Thunderbolt dock, or a Thunderbolt-enabled external display with your Surface Pro, now you can.

Thunderbolt doesn't come at the expense of anything else, either. It retains the Surface Connect port so legacy docks and chargers can still be used.

Surface Pro X is now the cheaper option

With the addition of a Wi-Fi-only version of the Surface Pro X, it now becomes the cheapest option for a 2021 model Surface Pro. Starting at $900, removing the cellular connectivity drops $100 off the entry-level model and $200 off more expensive specifications.

By comparison, a Wi-Fi-only Surface Pro 8 starts at $1,100. Naturally, even the base model benefits from features the Surface Pro X doesn't have, like Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 4, but at $200 more expensive. If these features don't interest you, then you stand to save a good chunk of change going with the Surface Pro X.

If price is important and you're looking to get a new Surface Pro for the lowest possible price, then the Surface Pro X certainly has the edge.

Windows 11 out of the box (mostly)

Naturally, the newest Surface Pro devices will ship with Windows 11. Mostly. The new Wi-Fi-only model of the Surface Pro X will ship with Windows 11 pre-installed, though Microsoft is currently saying that the LTE model will still ship with Windows 10 and that you'll have to do the upgrade yourself.

It's also worth remembering that the Surface Pro X will be running Windows 11 on ARM. Windows for ARM processors has come a long way, but it should still be remembered that you may encounter issues with compatibility. That said, if you mostly use Microsoft Store applications, you should be OK.

The enterprise versions of the Surface Pro 8 are also available with Windows 10, but the upgrade to Windows 11 isn't a difficult process if you do need to do it yourself.

Difficult but not impossible choice

With two devices that are extremely close to each other, choosing can be difficult, but not impossible. Ultimately you should consider a couple of things.

If you want to spend the least, the Surface Pro X is a perfect choice. It's close enough to the Surface Pro 8 for the average user that you shouldn't notice much difference in overall use. It supports the same keyboard and pen, looks the same, has similar battery life and is actually slimmer and lighter.

If performance is more important, as are features like Wi-Fi 6 and Thunderbolt 4, then you're better off with the Surface Pro 8.

Surface Pro 8

From $1,100 at Microsoft (preorder)

Microsoft thinned the bezels and refined the design of its flagship 2-in-1 to make the Surface Pro 8. It's more than twice as fast as the Surface Pro 7 as well.

Surface Pro X

From $900 at Microsoft (preorder)

The Surface Pro X didn't get a design refresh or a spec bump. It did, however, gain an option for a model without LTE, which lowers the starting price of the device.

Hier — 23 septembre 2021Microsoft

Microsoft Teams' VaxApp is here to help employees share vaccination status

Teams wants to know if you've been jabbed.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft Teams' new VaxApp has arrived on GitHub.
  • It's a means for employees to share whether they've been vaccinated.
  • It exists to help companies comply with the U.S. government's mandate that organizations with over 100 employees must show that their employees are vaccinated or regularly test negative for COVID.

Microsoft Teams is constantly expanding its services to address every kind of workforce need under the sun, and it has now stretched to cover one more sector: Government vaccination mandates. Teams now has VaxApp, a tool with which employees can attest to having had a vaccination.

VaxApp comes in response to the U.S. government's new rule that employers with over a hundred employees need to verify that their workers have been vaccinated or are testing negative for COVID on a weekly basis. Now, organizations utilizing Microsoft Teams have an easy, PowerApp-based way to get their employees' statuses accounted for.

You can check out VaxApp over on GitHub, where you'll also find the full deployment guide for how to jab it into your organization's Teams infrastructure. These are the key features of VaxApp:

  • Submit an Attestation: Easily submit an attestation for yourself or on behalf of another person.
  • View Attestations: Easily review your history of attestation submissions.
  • Admin Console: Export attestation data for simplified reporting.

Microsoft's already made its own stance on vaccinations clear, so the company's rollout of technology to help monitor the situation can be seen as an extension of its existing policy.

Microsoft Teams

Free at Microsoft Free at App Store Free at Google Play Store

Microsoft Teams is now in the business of making sure your teammates are jabbed. With VaxApp, it's easy to confirm whether you've been vaccinated and are helping your employer comply with new policies and rules.

We pit the Surface Pro 8 against the legendary Dell XPS 13

Best overall

Dell XPS 13 (9310)

From $951 at Dell

Pros

  • Excellent specs
  • Plenty of RAM and storage options
  • 4K display option
  • Less expensive
  • No separate keyboard purchase

Cons

  • Less flexible overall
  • Worse battery life
  • No 120Hz display option

The Dell XPS 13 will be the better choice for most people since it has a lower price and more display options. However, the clamshell design makes the Dell XPS 13 less flexible than the Surface Pro 8, and it also has worse (albeit good) battery life.

Best convertible

Surface Pro 8

From $1,100 at Microsoft

Pros

  • Excellent specs
  • Plenty of RAM and storage
  • More flexible overall
  • Better battery life
  • 120Hz display

Cons

  • More expensive
  • No 4K display option
  • Type Cover sold separately

The Surface Pro 8 is one of the Dell XPS 13's closest competitors due to its equally superb specs and its convertible design, but it's more expensive. Also, the Type Cover is sold separately, meaning you have to spend even more.

Overall, the Dell XPS 13 will be the better choice for most people due to the fact that it's more affordable across the board and doesn't require purchasing the keyboard separately. With that said, the Surface Pro 8 is a phenomenal device that goes toe-to-toe with the Dell XPS 13's specs, and also offers additional flexibility thanks to its convertible nature and slightly better battery life.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Surface Pro 8: Clamshell or convertible?

In several ways, the Dell XPS 13 and the Surface Pro 8 are very similar. Both devices feature near-identical CPU and GPU specs, and both also have tons of options for lots of RAM and storage (the Dell XPS 13 has an additional option for a 2TB SSD as well as a microSD slot). Both also have fantastic displays; the Dell XPS 13 even has a 4K variant available, though the Surface Pro 8 has the edge in terms of refresh rate as its display is 120Hz. The devices both also support Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0, though the Surface Pro 8 can also be configured with LTE connectivity if you want internet connectivity on the go and don't mind the increased cost or the impact on battery life.

Dell XPS 13 Surface Pro 8
CPU Intel i3-1115G4
Intel i5-1135G7
i7-1185G7
Intel i3-1115G4
Intel i5-1135G7
Intel i5-1145G7
Intel i7-1185G7
GPU Intel UHD Graphics
Intel Xe Graphics
Intel Iris Graphics
Intel Xe Graphics
Memory 8GB
16GB
32GB
8GB
16GB
32GB
Storage 256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD
128GB SSD
256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
Display 13.4-inch FHD+ 1920x1200 60Hz InfinityEdge non-touch anti-glare display (500 nits)
13.4-inch FHD+ 1920x1200 60Hz InfinityEdge touch anti-glare display (500 nits)
13.4-inch OLED 3.5K 3456x2160 60Hz InfinityEdge touch anti-reflective display (400 nits)
13.4-inch UHD 4K 3840x2400 60Hz InfinityEdge touch anti-reflective display (500 nits)
13-inch 2880x1920 (267 PPI) 120Hz PixelSense Flow touch display
Biometrics Windows Hello-compatible camera Windows Hello-compatible camera
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4
1x microSD card slot
1x 3.5mm headphone/mic combo
2x Thunderbolt 4
1x Surface Connect
1x 3.5mm headphone/mic combo
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
LTE (optional)
Battery 10-14 hours Up to 16 hours
Dimensions 0.58 x 11.64 x 7.82 inches 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches
Weight Up to 2.8 pounds 1.96 pounds
Price Starts at $1,000 Starts at $1,100

The primary things that separate the Dell XPS 13 and the Surface Pro 8 are pricing and form factor. Every single configuration of the Dell XPS 13 is more affordable than their Surface Pro 8 equivalent, which makes the XPS 13 more affordable and accessible overall — especially since the Surface Pro 8's Type Cover keyboard is sold separately. That being said, the convertible design of the Pro 8 does make it more flexible, and its Type Cover even comes with a handy slot for charging and storing a Surface Slim Pen 2.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Surface Pro 8: Which should you buy?

While both the Dell XPS 13 and Surface Pro 8 are fantastic, we ultimately feel that the Dell XPS 13 will be better for most people since it delivers the same top-notch performance as the Surface Pro 8 for a lower cost. There's also an option for a 4K display, a 2TB SSD, and a slot for additional microSD storage that you can take advantage of.

If you want the versatility of a convertible, slightly better battery life, LTE connectivity, or a 120Hz display, the Surface Pro 8 is a superb alternative. It may be more expensive than the Dell XPS 13, but it's one of the best Microsoft Surface PCs yet, and we definitely recommend getting it if its advantages appeal to you.

For more high-quality options to consider, don't miss our roundup of the best Windows laptops available.

Best overall

Dell XPS 13 (9310)

The king holds onto its crown

From $951 at Dell $1,693 at Amazon

The Dell XPS 13 will be the better choice for most people since it has a lower price and more display options. However, the clamshell design makes the Dell XPS 13 less flexible than the Surface Pro 8, and it also has worse (albeit good) battery life.

Best convertible

Surface Pro 8

Arguably the best Surface yet

From $1,100 at Microsoft

The Surface Pro 8 is one of the Dell XPS 13's closest competitors due to its equally superb specs and its convertible design, but it's more expensive. Also, the Type Cover is sold separately, meaning you have to spend even more.

Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover hits the street October 21 and costs $64.99

Surface Duo 2 with the Glacier White Pen Cover and Slim Pen.

More details about the hard-shell cover that recharges Surface Pen for Surface Duo 2 are slowly coming out.

What you need to know

  • The Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover has a landing spot at the Microsoft Store.
  • It has a "Coming soon" placeholder for now.
  • It comes in Glacier White or Obsidian black colorways and is in three parts.
  • It goes on sale on October 21 for $64.99.

One of the most intriguing accessories for Surface Duo 2 is the new Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover. Luckily, we can see the cover listed on Microsoft's website, and the company has gotten back to us with pricing and availability.

The Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover clips to the front of Surface Duo 2 and lets you stick Surface Slim Pen 2 to the cover and wirelessly recharge the pen as well. Additionally, two "soft-touch" bumpers fit on the rear panel similar to existing Surface Bumpers.

Windows Central understands the Surface Bumper materials are stiffer and don't pick lint up as easily this time.

Microsoft has a store listing for the Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover, but it is just a placeholder until the company is ready to sell it. Microsoft confirms with Windows Central that the cover will cost $64.99 and be available the same day as Surface Duo 2 on October 21.

We can learn a few other things from the landing page. For one, the cover works with either the new Surface Slim Pen 2 or the older Surface Slim Pen. That should include charging as it is presumed both pens recharge similarly, but we're not 100 percent certain.

Surface Slim Pen 2 is not included with the cover either, so that users can buy it for extra protection. Microsoft could also release other colors later to help give a more custom feel to Surface Duo 2.

Surface Slim Pen 2 also brings haptic feedback to simulate writing on paper. That has been confirmed to work with Surface Pro 8 and the new Surface Laptop Studio so far. However, we have heard Surface Duo 2 may get an update to enable the haptics, although Microsoft has not publicly confirmed that information.

In our brief time with the Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover, we were impressed with it. It has a textured feel and seems more resistant to fingerprints (making it ideal for the Obsidian Surface Duo 2). When installed, it made Surface Duo 2 feel more substantial and easier to handle while also blending in nicely with the device's curves. The pen sticks very firmly to the cover, making it likely to survive being put into your pockets, which is ideal.

It should be noted you won't need the cover for the pen to stick to the Surface Duo 2, only to stick and recharge while offering more protection.

We'll have more on Surface Duo 2, Slim Pen 2, and this new Pen Cover closer to release in our forthcoming review. Stay tuned.

Super cover

Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover

$64.99 at Microsoft

Extra protection

The Surface Duo 2 Pen Cover is a hard-shell case that clips onto the device's front with smaller bumpers for the rear. Besides protection, it lets the Surface Slim Pen 2 stick to it and even recharge.

Which new Surface devices our writers want the most

Microsoft's Surface lineup piqued the interest of several of our team members.

Microsoft announced five new Surface devices and three new accessories at yesterday's hardware event. With that many new pieces of hardware, there's something for just about everyone here at Windows Central. We know from our recent poll that our readers are most excited about the Surface Duo 2, but did that hold true with our writers and editors? Let's take a look at the Surface devices the Windows Central team is most excited about.

Surface Pro 8

Brendan Lowry is part of our team focusing on gaming. His head was turned by the Surface Pro 8:

I've been in the market for a new laptop for a few months now, and Microsoft won me over with the Surface Pro 8. Between its fantastic specs and its impeccable compact design, it's perfect for people like me who need something portable yet also quick and responsive to use while away from my beloved desktop. The addition of Thunderbolt 4 ports also means I can potentially plug in an eGPU and do some serious gaming while away from home (or in my living room).

Our senior writer Cale Hunt has seen plenty of laptops and tablets in his day. He's also excited for the Surface Pro 8:

There's no shortage of laptops and PCs in my life due to work as a reviewer, but the Surface Pro 8 is finally a Pro that I'd consider buying and using for work. My main gripe about the Pro lineup has always been port selection, but that's changed with the inclusion of not one but two Thunderbolt 4 connections. Surface Connect is still there, but the best Thunderbolt 4 docks and hubs do a better job than the Surface Docks. With Intel Tiger Lake performance, a new inking experience (though I'm a dreadful artist), and a larger display, the Pro 8 definitely seems like it can handle my daily workflow. I could also add LTE connectivity and forget about working from my home office on warm summer days.

Our senior writer Richard Devine saw the refreshed design of the Surface Pro 8 as a welcome change to the flagship 2-in-1:

Admittedly, I've never really been a Surface person; they just don't generally fit what I want from a laptop or what I'm prepared to pay. I also still have a perfectly good Surface Go 2 LTE which really doesn't need replacing. As such, I'm not going to be buying anything Microsoft announced, but the Surface Pro 8 was the standout for me. It's been a long time coming, but the redesign, the addition of Thunderbolt, and the improved display finally make it almost impossible to pick fault with.

Surface Pro 8

From $1,100 at Microsoft

The Surface Pro 8 is the most significant leap forward since the Pro 3, according to Microsoft. It turned the heads of many of our writers and editors.

Surface Laptop Studio

The Surface Laptop Studio introduced a unique form factor to the Surface family. It's a non-detachable 2-in-1 and the most powerful Surface ever, according to Microsoft.

Cole Martin has reviewed devices like the XP-Pen Artist 24 Pro. As a writer with a particular set of skills with a pen, Martin was intrigued by the Surface Laptop Studio:

I only have desktop devices, so I've found myself drooling over the Surface Laptop Studio. It's reminding me it would be nice to draw on the go when we're out camping or even if I just want to sit on the couch instead of at my desk sometimes.

Editor-in-Chief Dan Thorp-Lancaster is excited about the Surface Laptop Studio. He's even promised he won't spill a glass of water on it if he ever picks one up:

My time with my Surface Book 2 (which met an untimely demise involving a glass of water) was, for my money, one of the best Windows laptops around. So color me intrigued when Microsoft replaced the Book line with a completely new take on what a Surface can be: the Surface Laptop Studio. While you lose the ability to detach the display, the Studio makes up for it with Microsoft's signature Surface hinge magic.

It won't be for everyone, and the weight alone will turn some off. But, I've got to say, the ability to shift between a standard screen orientation for work, then pull the display forward (or flat!) for immersive gaming or drawing in a traditional laptop form factor is plain awesome.

I won't be killing my wallet on a Surface Laptop Studio any time soon, but it's the one device that got me most excited for this year's Surface slate.

Surface Laptop Studio

From $1,600 at Microsoft From $1,600 at Best Buy

Microsoft says that the Surface Laptop Studio is the most powerful Surface ever. That power and its unique design were enough to draw in a couple of people from our team.

Surface Duo 2

Anyone who's listened to the Windows Central Podcast or follows our senior editor Zac Bowden on Twitter knows his passion for mobile Surface devices. It should come as no surprise that his favorite new Surface device is the Surface Duo 2:

I'm a huge fan of the first Surface Duo, and I've wanted nothing more than for that hardware to improve. The Duo 2 is finally a better phone with good cameras, which makes it so much more useful for me. I can use it to pay for things, and the touch digitizer is much more responsive compared to the Duo 1. Fit and finish is much better too, and it has stereo speakers.

Surface Duo 2

From $1,500 at Microsoft From $1,500 at Best Buy

The Surface Duo 2 is a major jump over its predecessor in terms of design and specs. Our senior editor loves the original Duo 2 and is excited about its follow-up.

Honorable mention: Surface Pro X

Microsoft didn't announce a spec bump or design refresh for the Surface Pro X yesterday. It did announce a version without LTE for a lower starting price. I wrote a piece yesterday about why the Surface Pro X without LTE is perfect for me.

Surface Pro X

From $900 at Microsoft From $900 at Best Buy

The Surface Pro X didn't get a spec bump or a redesign, but it did get a lower starting price.

Halo Infinite beta download: How to install on Xbox consoles and PC

The Halo Infinite preload looks set for tonight ahead of a slated Sept. 24 kick-off.

Microsoft is soon expected to debut its second Halo Infinite multiplayer beta on Xbox consoles and PCs, providing a work-in-progress glimpse into its player-versus-player (PvP) action. The upcoming technical preview means more hours with Halo Infinite before release, including the world-first hands-on with its expanded Big Team Battle mode.

Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries has outlined plans to offer a beta preload later today, providing a small window to download the game, before matchmaking servers go live on Friday. Here's what you need to know before the Halo Infinite beta goes live.

What to expect from Halo Infinite beta

The Halo Infinite multiplayer technical preview returns this week, providing the latest hands-on opportunity with Microsoft's upcoming shooter before its Dec. 8 street date. This week's flight returns bigger and better, bolstered with more multiplayer content than the previous July trials, and available to all Halo Insiders who registered on time.

Successful applicants score two weekends with Halo Infinite's multiplayer, and for 343 Industries, that means larger player counts to test its online offerings. With playtimes slated for Sept. 24 through Sept. 26, the first weekend centers around its traditional four-versus-four arena modes. Big Team Battle, now upgraded with up to 24 player lobbies, arrives one week later, from Oct. 1 to Oct 3.

The first Halo Infinite preview spotlighted its new Training Mode, featuring AI-controlled bots designed to emulate real-world players and sharpen your aim. While 343 Industries has published a strict schedule of Halo Infinite beta times for matchmaking, its bots will remain playable throughout the three-day test windows. Halo Infinite's battle pass and new customization systems also return in this flight.

When is the Halo Infinite beta available for download?

343 Industries has outlined plans to release its latest Halo Infinite build on Sept. 23, preluding its initial playtesting sessions on Sept. 24. We expect pre-loads to go live on the "evening" of Sept. 23, although the team operates out of Washington, implying Sept. 24 for those in Europe and regions further east.

However, the team has stated "late-breaking issues" have arisen, with the beta rollout suffering a brief delay. While the download remains set for Sept. 23, the beta now opens one hour before the first matchmaking session at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT/5 p.m. BST on Sept. 24.

We expect further clarity around downloads over the coming hours, with 343 Industries currently preparing for the initial rollout.

Thank you to everyone for tuning into the live stream today! Awesome to share the team's work and very excited to play it together soon.
No updates on flight timing yet, we're in a holding pattern as work continues. We'll see how things are looking tomorrow AM and make the call.

— Brian Jarrard (@ske7ch) September 23, 2021

Halo Infinite beta download size

Halo Infinite technical preview remains unclear ahead of launch, although we don't have long to wait, with flighting expected to commence on Sept. 23. While 343 Industries has announced a strict schedule of Halo Infinite beta times for matchmaking, the build download will go live ahead of the first scheduled play session, providing ample time to download the initial build.

The first Halo Infinite technical preview weighed in between 11GB and 19GB, with Xbox Series X|S and PC boasting larger file sizes. We expect marginally larger download sizes with this next round of testing, given the new Big Team Battle maps and modes available.

We may also see an additional update for the Halo Infinite preview later this month ahead of the second week of playtesting. This update would precede the addition of Big Team Battle with various bug-fixing tweaks, not uncommon, given the work-in-progress nature of the project.

How to download Halo Infinite beta

While the second Halo Infinite technical preview build is yet to roll out among accepted applicants, we expect Microsoft to adopt the same installation process as its first test.

The previous July preview leveraged Microsoft's Xbox Insider Program on Xbox consoles, requiring players to register for access before downloading the title via the Microsoft Store. A redeemable Steam key, used to unlocked the build, was provided to testers on PC.

We've provided a brief overview of steps likely required of users to download the forthcoming Halo Infinite technical preview. This guide will be updated with additional guidance once the second flight commences.

How to download Halo Infinite beta on Xbox One, Series X|S

Microsoft distributes its Halo Infinite flights via the Xbox Insider Program, its dedicated channel for pre-release Xbox OS updates, games, other work-in-progress software. Those successfully registered and invited to Halo Infinite tests can download the game to their Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S console via the following steps.

  1. Open the Microsoft Store on your Xbox console.
  2. Select the Search tile.
  3. Search for "Xbox Insider"
  4. Open the Xbox Insider Hub app. Install the Xbox Insider Hub app, if not currently installed.

  5. Navigate to the Previews tab.
  6. Select Halo Infinite — Insider from the "Available" previews list.
  7. Select Join. The registration process will now commence.

Those who join the Halo Infinite flight via the Xbox Insider app will receive on-screen steps, walking applicants through terms and conditions, before triggering a download via the Microsoft Store. Once installed, Halo Infinite is playable via the "My games & apps menu," alongside other titles installed on your console.

How to download Halo Infinite beta on PC

Downloading and installing the Halo Infinite beta on PC is equally simple, provided you signed up as a Halo Insider before Sept. 13, and received an invite. Microsoft is once again expected to use Steam for testing on PC.

  1. Navigate to the Halo Insider profile page (make sure you login to your Halo Waypoint account).
  2. Navigate to the My Flights tab at the bottom of your profile.
  3. Under the Additional Info heading, look for a Steam Key listing next to the name of the current beta test.
  4. Click on Steam Key to display the Steam download code for the beta test.

  5. On Steam, click on the Add A Game button found in the bottom-left corner of the Steam client.
  6. Select Activate a Product on Steam...
  7. Select Next.
  8. Select I Agree after reading the Steam Subscriber Agreement.
  9. Paste the Halo Infinite beta code into the code box.
  10. Select Next.
  11. Select Install when asked if you want to install the game.

Once the beta build of the game finishes installing, you can launch and play the Halo Infinite beta.

Chip shortage draws Microsoft, Intel, and others to White House meeting

The Biden administration wants chip updates just like the rest of us.

What you need to know

  • The global chip shortage has strained many industries' technology supply chains for much of the past two years.
  • The Biden administration has expressed interest in not only staying on top of the situation, but helping alleviate problems where possible.
  • Microsoft, Intel, TSMC, and others were set to attend a virtual meeting today to update the Biden administration on the state of the shortages.

Though not every industry has felt the chip shortage with equal impact, if you've been brave enough to attempt buying one of the best graphics cards anytime in the past year or so, you know full well that many people in the PC world are being starved of the tech they want due to the ongoing semiconductor crisis.

That's one of the many reasons why major companies and countries are taking extensive measures to combat the shortages. Parties impacted by a lack of chips range from automobile manufacturers to PC part makers, hence why entities from those industries and many others have gathered at a virtual White House meeting today (via Reuters).

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger is on the list of attendees, as are Microsoft, Apple, and Samsung personnel, as well as representatives for chipmaking behemoths such as TSMC. The meeting is set to address the coronavirus Delta variant's chip supply impact, as well as how producers and consumers can improve communication during the strained period.

Though the U.S. Senate passed a bill not too long ago greenlighting $52 billion to semiconductor funding, it'll be a while before that money, or today's meeting's consequences, trickle down to consumers in the way of heightened supplies. So until the global situation starts to get better, keep your fingers crossed and keep that shiny RTX 3060 Ti on your watch list.

All the Xbox Game Pass games coming and leaving soon

Discover every new game coming to Xbox Game Pass right here.

Xbox Game Pass is the ever-expanding Netflix-like gaming subscription from Microsoft, the makers of Xbox. For a monthly subscription, Xbox Game Pass partakers gain access to a constantly rotating catalog of hundreds of high-quality Xbox games. The best Xbox Game Pass games include third-party multiplayer games, older AAA titles, indie projects, all first-party Microsoft games, and pretty much everything in between.

Xbox Game Pass is also included in Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, an all-in-one subscription that gives players full access to Xbox Game Pass on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Xbox One consoles, Xbox Game Pass on PC, Xbox Live Gold, Xbox Cloud Gaming (Project xCloud), and even EA Play. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate represents one of the best values in gaming, and that value only increases from month to month.

That's because Xbox Game Pass is always adding new games, with announcements once or twice a month. While games occasionally leave the service, the number of games available through Xbox Game Pass has been steadily growing since its launch. In this Xbox Game Pass guide, we'll go over all the new games coming to the service, the games about to leave, and the top games you should be keeping an eye on.

If you want the complete list, be sure to bookmark our ultimate guide to every game on Xbox Game Pass.

Note: Bold text indicates the game in question is coming to that platform, but is already available on other platforms through Xbox Game Pass.

Jump to:

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

From $1/month at Microsoft $40 at Amazon (3-month subscription) $15 at Amazon (1-month subscription)

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate includes everything you could possibly need for gaming, including Xbox Game Pass for consoles and PCs, EA Play, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and Xbox Live Gold. Xbox Game Pass gains new games all the time, and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate keeps getting better.

Best new Xbox Game Pass games: September 2021

You'll rarely go wrong with the diverse selection of games on Xbox Game Pass, but there are always a handful of titles that stand above the rest — including but not limited to exceptional indie games, addictive multiplayer games, expansive AAA games, and Microsoft's first-party games. These are the best new games that have recently arrived on Xbox Game Pass.

Sable

  • Available: Sept. 23 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)

Another fantastic indie addition to Xbox Game Pass, Sable is an open-world journey about self-discovery that features unique and beautiful visuals and a frankly terrific soundtrack. There are some technical issues to work around when playing Sable, but that doesn't stop it from being an endearing adventure and well worth your time.

Aragami 2

  • Available: Sept. 17 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)

Aragami 2 is the sequel to a well-loved stealth adventure, and it ups the ante with a bigger adventure and tons of more fast-paced stealth-based gameplay. Some mission repetition and low-quality animations only slightly detract from is one of the best "ninja adventures" you can play. Being able to slink through the shadows with up to two additional friends is another great reason to download Aragami 2.

The Artful Escape

  • Available: Sept. 9 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)

Another wildly unique indie game, The Artful Escape weaves a tale of self-actualization through gorgeous landscapes, captivating music, and simple gameplay that anyone can get into. The Artful Escape is a short adventure, but it's a powerful one, meaning there's no excuse not to download it through Xbox Game Pass (or even play it on the cloud).

Xbox Game Pass new games: Full list and schedule

It can be easy to lose track of all the new games coming to Xbox Game Pass, so we've compiled the full list for your convenience. In this section of our Xbox Game Pass guide, learn what games have been released on Xbox Game Pass recently, when they became available, and what platforms on which they're available.

Sept. 23

  • Sable (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)
  • Lost Words: Beyond the Page (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)
  • Subnautica: Below Zero (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)
  • Tainted Grail: Conquest (PC)

Sept. 17

  • Aragami 2 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)

Sept. 16

  • I Am Fish (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)
  • SkateBIRD (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)
  • Superliminal (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)

Sept. 15

  • Flynn: Son of Crimson (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)

Sept. 9

  • Breathedge (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)
  • Nuclear Throne (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & PC)
  • The Artful Escape (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)

What's coming to Xbox Game Pass soon

Microsoft loves to give Xbox Game Pass subscribers plenty of time to prepare for upcoming additions by announcing them early. This section of our Xbox Game Pass will help you keep track of all the games coming to Xbox Game Pass shortly, so you can decide what you want to play and whether you need to free up some space.

Sept. 28

  • Lemnis Gate (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, & PC)

Sept. 30

  • Astria Ascending (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & PC)
  • Unsighted (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & PC)

Oct. 1

  • Phoenix Point (Xbox Series X|S & Xbox One)

Nov. 9

  • Football Manager 2022 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming)

What's leaving Xbox Game Pass soon

For the most part, more games join Xbox Game Pass than leave. However, most games do leave the service eventually, so Microsoft likes to give players a heads up if they hadn't gotten around to playing that game yet. Keep an eye on this section of our Xbox Game Pass guide for games you still want to play. If you see a game you've played and loved, be sure to purchase it with your Xbox Game Pass discount so you can keep it forever.

Sept. 30

  • Drake Hollow (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC & Xbox Cloud Gaming)
  • Ikenfell (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC & Xbox Cloud Gaming)
  • Night in the Woods (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC & Xbox Cloud Gaming)
  • Kathy Rain (PC)
  • Warhammer: Vermintide 2 (Xbox Series X|S & Xbox One)

Upcoming games launching on Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft gives us updates on games heading to Xbox Game Pass a few weeks before those games become available, usually twice a month. However, Xbox and [email protected] events toss aside this expectation to announce a flurry of games that are hitting Xbox Game Pass day and date, meaning they're launching into the service when they land on Xbox platforms. That means day one access to all of these games for Xbox Game Pass subscribers, including some of the best upcoming Xbox games.

Many of these games are far enough out that they don't even have a release date, and we're not certain exactly which platforms they'll come to through Xbox Game Pass. Still, this list in our Xbox Game Pass guide will give you an idea of what to look out for in the future of Xbox Game Pass. We'll constantly update this list as we get new information about release dates, when games become available, and what platforms are getting them.

The following events have been added to this section:

[email protected] Games Showcase — March 26, 2021

  • Astria Ascending (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — 2021
  • Among Us (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, & PC) — 2021
  • Backbone (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — Unknown release date
  • Dead Static Drive (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & PC) — Unknown release date
  • Edge of Eternity (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — 2021
  • Hello Neighbor 2 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — 2021
  • Little Witch in the Woods (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — Unknown release date
  • Moonglow Bay (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Xbox Cloud Gaming, & PC) — Oct. 7, 2021
  • Nobody Saves the World (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — 2021
  • She Dreams Elsewhere (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & PC) — Unknown release date
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — April 28, 2022
  • Undungeon (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Xbox Cloud Gaming, & PC) — Unknown release date
  • Way to the Woods (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — Unknown release date

Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase at E3 2021 — June 13, 2021

  • Starfield (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — Nov. 11, 2022
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — April 28, 2022
  • Back 4 Blood (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & Xbox One) — Oct. 12, 2022
  • Contraband (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — No release date
  • Party Animals (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — 2022
  • Somerville (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — 2022
  • Halo Infinite (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — Dec. 8, 2021
  • A Plague Tale: Requiem (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — 2022
  • Slime Rancher 2 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — 2022
  • Shredders (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — December 2021
  • Atomic Heart (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — No release date
  • Replaced (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, & PC) — 2022
  • Among Us (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, & PC) — 2021
  • Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — 2022
  • Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — 2023
  • Age of Empires IV (PC) — Oct. 28, 2021
  • The Outer Worlds 2 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — No release date
  • Forza Horizon 5 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — Nov. 9, 2021
  • Redfall (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — Summer 2022
  • Scorn (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — Fall 2021
  • The Anacrusis (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — Fall 2021
  • Hello Neighbor 2 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — 2021
  • The Gunk (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — December 2021

[email protected] Games Showcase — Aug. 10, 2021

  • Evil Genius 2: World Domination (Xbox Series X|S & Xbox One) — Winter 2021
  • Pupparazzi (Xbox Series X|S & Xbox One) — No release date
  • Stardew Valley (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & PC) — Fall 2021

Xbox Gamescom 2021 event — Aug. 28, 2021

  • Age of Empires IV (PC) — Oct. 28, 2021
  • Archvale (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — No release date
  • Bushiden (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — No release date
  • Chinatown Detective Agency (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — No release date
  • Crusader Kings 3 (Xbox Series X|S & PC) — No release date
  • Forza Horizon 5 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — Nov. 9, 2021
  • Into the Pit (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & PC) — Oct. 19, 2021
  • Midnight Fight Express (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — No release date
  • Next Space Rebels (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — No release date
  • Signalis (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — No release date
  • The Gunk (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & PC) — December 2021
  • Unpacking (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — No release date
  • Unsighted (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — No release date

Xbox Game Studios and Bethesda Softworks upcoming games

  • Halo Infinite (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — Dec. 8, 2021
  • Senua's Saga: Hellblade II (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — Unknown release date
  • Avowed (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — Unknown release date
  • State of Decay 3 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — Unknown release date
  • Fable (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — Unknown release date
  • Everwild (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — Unknown release date
  • Forza Motorsport (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — Unknown release date
  • Perfect Dark (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — Unknown release date
  • Forza Horizon 5 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized, Xbox One, PC, & Xbox Cloud Gaming) — Nov. 9, 2021
  • Starfield (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — Nov. 11, 2022
  • Contraband (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — No release date
  • Age of Empires IV (PC) — Oct. 28, 2021
  • The Outer Worlds 2 (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — No release date
  • Redfall (Xbox Series X|S Optimized & PC) — Summer 2022

Xbox Game Pass adds new games all the time, but there's already a vast selection of high-quality titles available for gamers to play. Check out our list of best games on Xbox Game Pass for some fantastic ideas on what you should play next. You can also pick up one of the best external SSDs for Xbox Series X|S to ensure you always have enough storage for all these games.

A catalog of games

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

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All your gaming needs, in one subscription

Is the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate the best value in all of gaming? It's possible. Ultimate bundles your Xbox Live Gold subscription, an Xbox Game Pass subscription for both Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, and Xbox Cloud Gaming for on the go. That means access to hundreds of games, with more added all the time, for a single monthly subscription cost.

Surface Pro 8: Release date, specs, and everything you need to know

The all-new Microsoft Surface Pro 8.

Microsoft's Surface Pro 8 is arriving Oct. 5, 2021. Here's what we know about the iconic 2-in-1 PC.

Microsoft's line of Surface Pro 2-in-1 laptops is undoubtedly the most popular and well known of all the Surface PCs — after all, it is the original that started it all.

But Microsoft hasn't given the Surface Pro a significant makeover since 2015's Surface Pro 4 where it picked up Windows Hello, its 12.3-inch PixelSense display, improved pen, and more. And while Surface Pro 7+ is actually quite impressive, it's also aimed at enterprise and not consumers.

Announced on Sept. 22, 2021, Surface Pro 8 matches with our earlier reporting that the overall look and style of the device remains, but it has been updated with modern components, a larger display, new ports, and more.

Here's what we know about the all-new Surface Pro 8 for 2021.

Surface Pro 8: Release date and availability

Update Sept. 22, 2021: Microsoft has officially revealed Surface Pro 8 to the public.

Surface Pro 8 goes on sale in select markets on Oct. 5, 2021. Those markets are:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Austria
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Switzerland
  • France
  • Japan

Due to an ongoing global chip and processor shortage that affects Microsoft quite substantially, some markets may not see Surface Pro 8 until early 2022, while others may see it in late 2021. Those markets include:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • Poland
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • The Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

Surface Pro 8: What's new

Here are some of the significant changes in Surface Pro 8 (compared to Surface Pro 7):

  • New processors: Intel 11th Gen U-series
  • New Surface Type Cover: Matches Surface Pro X, including Surface Slim Pen dock
  • Refined hardware design that tappers more in the rear
  • Larger display: Surface Pro 8 gets a 120Hz 13-inch display with thinner bezels instead of a 12.3-inch 60Hz display with thick bezels
  • Removable SSD (following Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop designs)
  • No more 4GB RAM model
  • 2x Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • Support for Surface Slim Pen 2 with haptics

Windows 11 also delivers some new hardware features that Microsoft could enable with Surface Pro 8, including:

  • Dynamic Refresh Rate: This feature enables a higher-refresh display of 120Hz instead of standard 60Hz, but only when scrolling or using the pen, thereby saving battery life. It sounds like Apple's ProMotion display technology. This feature is expected to launch late with Surface Pro 8. By default, Surface Pro 8 is 60Hz, but users can set it to 120Hz manually.

  • Wake on touch: When Surface Pro 8 is in standby with the display off, users can turn on the device simply by tapping the screen, similar to how smartphones work (the Pro 8 can then auto-login to Windows using Windows Hello).

  • New Haptic Surface Pen: Windows 11 also supports smartpens with haptic feedback, which lets the pen simulate writing with different materials like pencil or pen on different types of paper. Customers need to purchase the new Surface Slim Pen 2 for these features.

Many more changes were detailed in a Microsoft Mechanics video, posted above. Those changes and improvements over Surface Pro 7 are:

  • Rounded chassis "compliments fluid UI design of Windows 11"
  • Thinner bezels expand the display real estate by 11%
  • Chassis is made from recycled anodized aluminum (vs. magnesium)
  • New ambient color sensor to dynamically adjust display colors based on room lighting
  • Display brightness peaks at 450 nits
  • 120Hz display makes pen latency "seemingly undetectable"
  • IR camera has been improved substantially for speed and accuracy
  • Microsoft's AI lets Windows Hello dynamically adapt to changes in your appearance (glasses and facial hair)
  • 5MP full HD RGB camera has larger 1.4-micron pixels for better low-light performance
  • The camera also has tuning optimizations to keep your face in focus
  • Dolby Vision (HDR) and Dolby Atmos (surround sound)
  • Surface Pro 8 supports up to 23-watt TDP for the 11th Gen Intel processor
  • You can get LTE in Core i3 and Core i7 models for the first time (commercial markets)
  • Battery has increased to 50.4WHr up from 43.2WHr
  • Uses new carbon composite thermal dissipation system
  • 46% faster compute and 75% boost to graphics processing compared to Surface Pro 7

It is safe to say that Surface Pro 8 is a complete redesign from the ground up compared to Surface Pro 4, Pro 5, Pro 6, and Pro 7.

With Thunderbolt 4, users can now plug Surface Pro 8 into an eGPU to provide even more graphics power for gaming or video editing, while also keeping the benefits of the magnetic Surface Connect port.

Surface Pro 8: Specs

Here are the current Surface Pro 8 specs as noted by Microsoft:

Category Surface Pro 8
OS Windows 11 Home
Windows 11 Pro (commercial)
Windows 10 Pro (commercial)
Processor Consumer:
11th Gen Intel
Core i5-1135G7
Core i7-1185G7
Commercial:
11th Gen Intel
Core i3-1115G4
Core i5-1145G7
Core i7-1185G7
RAM 8GB, 16GB, 32GB
LPDDR4x
Graphics Intel UHD (i3)
Intel Iris Xe (i5, i7)
Storage 128GB, 256GB SSD (Wi-Fi, LTE)
512GB, 1TB SSD (Wi-Fi)
Display 13 inches
2880x1920
267 PPI
3:2 aspect ratio
Up to 120Hz (60Hz default)
Touch
Ports Two Thunderbolt 4
Surface Connect
3.5mm audio
Audio Dual 2W stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos
Dual far-field studio mics
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.1
Snapdragon X20 LTE
eSIM support
Camera IR camera
Front-facing 5MP (1080p)
Rear-facing 10MP (1080p, 4K)
Keyboard Surface Pro Signature keyboard
Not included
Touchpad Precision
Pen Surface Slim Pen 2
Not included
Security TPM 2.0
IR camera
Battery Up to 16 hours
Dimensions 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches
(287mm x 208.3mm x 9.4mm)
Weight 1.96 pounds (891g)
Color Platinum
Graphite

In May 2021, Intel announced it had refreshed 11th Gen U-series processors, which bump existing clock and turbo speeds over earlier models. Those chips are not expected to ship until the fall, aligning with the Surface Pro 8 release.

While that extra 100MHz may not make a big difference compared to Surface Pro 7+, the consumer version of Surface Pro 7 only ships with 10th Gen chips, making it a much better upgrade.

There is no 5G option for Surface Pro 8, but there is for 4G LTE. However, those models are not expected to launch until later in 2021 (December) and may be for commercial markets. However, instead of LTE only being available in the Core i5 model, it will be an option for Core i3, i5, and i7 Surface Pro 8 SKUs.

While consumer editions of Surface Pro 8 all ship with Windows 11, commercial purchases will have an option for Windows 10 or Windows 11.

Surface Pro 8: Price

Surface Pro 8 pricing is mostly similar to Surface Pro 7 at launch. However, there are some subtle differences due to the availability of options for configurations at this time. Here is the current pricing at launch for Surface Pro 8:

SKU Price
Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB Storage $1,099.99
Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB Storage $1,199.99
Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB Storage $1,399.99
Intel Core i5, 16GB RAM, 256GB Storage $1,399.99
Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB Storage $1,599.99
Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage $1,899.99
Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB Storage $2,199.99
Intel Core i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB Storage $2,599.99

As always, these prices do not include the Surface Pen and Surface Type Cover. Those necessary accessories add between $100 and $230 extra to the cost.

Previously, Surface Pro 7 started at $749 for the Core i3 model to well over $2,000 for the Core i7 with maxed out RAM and 1TB of storage. Microsoft has not announced pricing or availability yet for the Surface Pro 8 Core i3 models, so the starting price seems higher at $1,099 (Core i5, 8GB, 128GB) instead of $749 (Core i3, 4GB, 128GB).

That said, the entry-level Core i5 model is $100 more with Surface Pro 8 compared to Surface Pro 7, but all other models are priced the same as Surface Pro 7 when it launched. Indeed, Surface Pro 7 with i7/16/1TB launched at $2,299, but the same Pro 8 model is $100 less at $2,199.

New for Surface Pro 8 is a higher top-tier model with 32GB of RAM instead of 16GB, along with a Core i7 and 1TB SSD, which is priced at $2,599.

Classic 2-in-1

Surface Pro 8

From $1,100 at Microsoft

Updated design, same 2-in-1 form factor

The Surface Pro 8 finally adopts the modern design that Microsoft first introduced with Surface Pro X, now with two USB-C ports that are Thunderbolt 4 enabled, an upgraded 13-inch display with a high-refresh rate of 120Hz, and support for the Surface Pro X style Type Covers with the Slim Pen charging cradle.

Surface Pro 8 latest news

Steam Deck gets its first official anti-cheat support from Epic Games

It's really happening.

What you need to know

  • Epic Games has announced that its Easy Anti Cheat service is now available to use on Linux.
  • The popular anti-cheat software was previously exclusive to Windows, and also becomes available on Mac.
  • The Steam Deck is an obvious winner as Easy Anti Cheat will also work with WINE and Proton.

One of the big flies in the Steam Deck ointment has always been how anti-cheat software will be handled. The truth is that a lot of the popular Windows games that can't be played on Linux through Steam's Proton Compatibility layer, or through WINE, are because of anti-cheat software.

The first big step forward has just happened, though, right as game developers are starting to receive their Steam Deck dev kits. Epic Games, owner of Easy Anti Cheat, has announced that the software is now compatible with Linux, including WINE and Proton, as well as macOS. And all for the low price of free.

"To make it easy for developers to ship their games across PC platforms, support for the Wine and Proton compatibility layers on Linux is included. Starting with the latest SDK release, developers can activate anti-cheat support for Linux via Wine or Proton with just a few clicks in the Epic Online Services Developer Portal."

It isn't an automatic affair, there is still minimal work to be done by the developers. But if a few clicks are all it takes to provide anti-cheat and Linux/Steam Deck compatibility, there's not much of an excuse to ignore it. Epic did all the hard work.

So, what games use Easy Anti Cheat that you might be interested in? Plenty as it happens, you only have to glance at the partner page to see some big hitters. One of the most obvious from a Steam Deck perspective is Apex Legends, because it'll almost certainly run well on the Steam Deck hardware. Gears 5, New World, Fall Guys, Halo Master Chief Collection, the list is long and the possibility of playing some of these titles on the Steam Deck is mouthwatering.

Epic Games has been in the press a lot lately, but this time they're definitely deserving of a pat on the back.

An ultimate PC handheld

Steam Deck

From $399 at Steam

Play your Steam library anywhere

Wanted more places to play your Steam library? Now you'll be able to with the Steam Deck. This machine comes in three iterations, each allowing you to play your games locally and portably.

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