Despite an incredible few months for Microsoft's finances, it would seem that faithful Xbox fans will have to wait longer before they see more units hit the stores.
Microsoft: No Xbox Series X Stock Until April
If you've been hanging on for the Xbox Series X or Series S stocks to replenish, then the sad news is that you will have to remain patient. Units, according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, won't be available until April at the very least.
If you're the kind of person who likes to track these things, you can check how long you've spent playing games on your Nintendo Switch.
Whether you’re concerned you are overdoing it with your gaming, or you’re wondering how long it took you to complete the latest open-world epic, Nintendo has you covered.
The information may not be comprehensive, and has its typical quirks, but here are the basics of checking your Nintendo game play time, along with any necessary workarounds.
Check Play Time Across All Titles on One Switch Console
The All Software screen presents the most basic information across your entire games library. You can access this screen by scrolling to the right of all game icons on the Home screen.
The Switch lists every digital and physical game you’ve played, provided you haven’t deleted it. You can sort the list By Longest Total Play Time to show, quickly, which games you’ve played the most:
Note that these are total play times across all user profiles on a single Nintendo Switch console. If you share play across more than one profile or play on more than one console, they don’t give the full picture.
Check Your Most Played Switch Games by Profile
To view play times for a single profile, look at your profile page. Under Play Activity, you’ll see the 20 most recently played titles, with approximate play times. Times are in the format Played for n hours or more, where Nintendo rounds "n" up to the nearest hour for the first five hours of play, and the nearest five hours beyond that.
To view play times outside of your top 20 most recently played games, simply open the game then return to your profile. It doesn't lose times outside of this list; the Switch just doesn't display them.
Note the Switch won't show times during the first ten days of play. If you like seeing play times as early as possible, open your game as soon as you’ve downloaded it. This ensures the information will be available as soon as possible, even if games sit in your backlog for a while.
All play times shown on this screen are specific to your profile. The total includes the time you might spend playing the same games on another Nintendo Switch, using the same profile.
To hide play times, start by going to User Settings from your main profile page. Then, select Play Activity Settings and ensure Who do you want to see your play activity? is set to No one.
To make sure that you're not displaying the game that you’re currently playing, to anyone else, select Friend Settings from the previous User Settings page. Then, set Who do you want to see your online status? to No one.
Get More Detailed Information Via the Parental Controls App
The play time data shown by the previous methods is far from comprehensive. If you’re looking for more, consider using Nintendo’s Parental Controls app. This is a tool for parents to control their children’s game time, but there’s nothing stopping anyone from using it to view details of their own play.
The app gives much more detailed information, including play times down to the nearest five minutes. It also shows which games you played on specific days and a summary of the previous month’s activity. The app also reports time spent on the Home menu or other system screens, should that interest you!
The first of the images shows a Monster Hunter Rise bundle, with themed console and Joy-Con controllers. The rear of the console and Joy-Cons (hopefully without the lawsuit attracting Joy-Con drift issue) feature tonal detailing, with the front carrying some gold Magnamalo designs to complete the sleek finish.
There is also going to be a Switch Pro Controller decked out similarly, with a gold Magnamalo printed on the front, surrounding the action buttons.
Both launch first in Japan, with a release date of March 26th. This coincides with the date Monster Hunter Rise launches. We don't have a USD price just yet, but we imagine it will be around $370 given that it will cost around that in yen (38,400¥).
Where Will the Monster Hunter Rise Bundle Be Available?
Don't panic, just because Nintendo of Europe tweeted about this doesn't mean that it is only available in Europe and Japan. At least, we hope not for the sake of American Monster Hunter fans!
Nintendo has confirmed release of the console and the controller in both of those locations up to now, but you should be able to get hold of the special edition Monster Hunter Rise console in most places. We're awaiting Nintendo of America's announcement...
If you want to reserve either of the two, then it is likely that each territory will do so separately; currently, Japan's reservations are opening on February 27th.
Monster Hunter Rise Special Edition Switch Releases Soon
So, now you know when Nintendo is going to release the Monster Hunter Rise Switch. Just make sure you're on the ball when the console reservations open. You don't want scalpers getting hold of them all before you do.
Plex is becoming more than just a platform for streaming movies, TV shows, and music. The service is now rolling out Plex Arcade, a game streaming subscription specifically for classic Atari titles.
Plex Arcade Revives the Best of Atari
In an announcement on the Plex Blog, the platform introduced an exciting addition to its library of content: Atari games. By subscribing to Plex Arcade, you can get unlimited access to these classics for a monthly fee.
While most game streaming services don't require you to install a server, Plex does. This means that you'll need to install the Plex server on your Windows or Mac computer (Linux isn't supported) in order to use the service. To learn how to set up a Plex server, you can find out more in our guide to Plex.
Once you have Plex set up, you'll be able to access Plex Arcade from your TV, Chrome browser, as well as your iOS or Android device. And as for your controller, the service is compatible with "just about any Bluetooth-enabled controller."
The Plex Arcade library currently consists of 27 popular Atari games. Some of the most exciting games in its lineup include Centipede, Millipede, Super Breakout, Lunar Ladder, Missile Command, and more. You can check out the full list of games on the Plex Arcade Library.
In addition to the games that the service comes with, it also gives you the option to use your own ROMs and emulators. This way, you can play just about any classic game that you want.
Plex calls the Arcade "a kind of internal Kickstarter-type project," and notes that "if there’s interest and we see some subs, it’ll grow into the glorious pheasant we know it can be." However, if the service doesn't take off, it'll likely be dropped.
If you're a Plex Pass subscriber, Plex Arcade will cost you $3/month; otherwise, you'll have to pay $5/month. But if you want to try it out for free first, you can sign up for a free trial on the Plex Arcade site.
Will Plex Arcade Take Off?
The addition of Atari games to Plex's lineup is a bold mood, especially considering the fact that the Atari VCS system is set for release in the spring of 2021.
Despite this, the Plex Arcade might attract a hoard of nostalgic users. It's unclear whether or not Plex plans on adding more games to its library, but it might need to consider doing so to justify the cost of the subscription.
Retro games remain surprisingly popular, with websites and even magazines dedicated to their continued appreciation. One perennially popular system is the Commodore Amiga, a desktop computer with surprising graphics ability and a desktop environment.
However, unless you own an Amiga, you'll need an Amiga emulator to play games on PC or Mac. Fortunately, various emulator solutions are readily available.
Emulating the Amiga on Windows, Linux, and Mac
Emulators suitable for playing Amiga game and app ROMs are available on almost all current platforms. On desktop, you can use a selection of emulators that have been under development for years.
Once you're running an emulator, you'll need some games to play. As with any copyrighted material, you must own a copy of a game to be able to legally play it. Classic Amiga games can be bought individually and in bundles on eBay. If you need some ideas, our list of the top Amiga games should help.
Due to its cross-platform support, this guide looks at emulating Amiga games with FS-UAE Amiga Emulator. Furthermore, it offers emulation of all key Amiga models:
Amiga CD32 games should run under A1200 in most cases, but settings can be used to create "custom" Amigas.
Emulate Amiga Games on Windows, Mac, Linux, and More
Arguably the best choice, FS-UAE Amiga is available for almost any desktop operating system you can think of. However, the steps below assume you're using Windows (differences between platforms are minimal).
After downloading and installing the emulator, run FS-UAE Launcher. The launcher is arranged into eight tabs:
Main Configuration Options
ROM and RAM
These tabs are used to configure all aspects of Amiga emulation on your computer.
On the first tab, select the appropriate Amiga model for the game you wish to play. You can choose from the original Amiga 1000 all the way through to the CD32 and CDTV. Note that you can also quickly load up a game ROM here, as well as configure a controller.
Next, choose a Kickstart ROM. You can do this by clicking the status bar, or the ROM and RAM tab.
Kickstart was the bootstrapping firmware that prepared the Amiga for running software from an inserted diskette. Various versions of Kickstart were issued.
With FS-UAE, you can use the default replacement Kickstart ROM. But if you have Kickstart ROMs on disk, Import these instead.
Learn more about Kickstart ROMs at www.amigaforever.com where you can purchase official Amiga ROM bundles and games.
Loading an Amiga Game ROM in FS-UAE
Loading up a game (or app) can be done from the Main screen, where there are slots for two floppy disk game or app ROMs.
Meanwhile, if you have a CD-ROM based ROM, you'll be able to load this up from the CD-ROM Drives tab. Similarly, there is also a Hard Drives tab, which you can use to configure a directory on your PC to be used as a HDD. Finally, if the title is across several disk images, you can use the Floppy Drives tab to load up the disks.
With your ROM in place, click Start. The FS-UAE emulator will play rattling disk-reading sound FX, presumably recorded from a genuine Amiga, and the game will launch.
Problems Emulating Amiga Games? Try This
Load issues can be resolved by tweaking the configuration; perhaps adding memory, or using a genuine Kickstart ROM. The Additional configuration screen (the right-most tab) should help you out here.
As an example, to run the classic LucasFilm Games title The Secret of Monkey Island with FS-UAE, I had to:
Increase the available RAM to the emulated Amiga from the default 512KB to 1.5MB.
Use the Kickstart 1.3 ROM.
If you're having problems, find the original box (or an image of it) to check the system requirements. While most games will run on Kickstart 1.3 with 1MB of RAM, this isn't always the case.
Use the hamburger button in the upper right of the FS-UAE window to toggle the main Settings. Here you can adjust scaling, aspect, and set the display resolution. There's also a windowed and full-screen toggle button next to the Start button.
Amiga Controller Options on Your PC
Configuring a controller should be straightforward. By default, FS-UAE will rely on your mouse and keyboard, but in the Input Options view you can select which connected devices represent the Amiga Joystick and Amiga Mouse ports.
Some controllers will be ideal for this, others, less so. For example, there is little point in connecting an Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller to your PC. With so many buttons and joysticks, it can be confusing and that's if the game will even be playable.
Instead, aim for gamepads with just a few buttons, or, better still, traditional two-button joysticks. Several models have been revived in the past few years, particularly suited to 16-bit emulation. To all intents and purposes, they're the same as the joysticks available 30 years ago. The only difference is a USB connector.
If your intended Amiga gaming is mouse and keyboard only, however, there is no need for a joystick.
Advanced Amiga Emulation Options in FS-UAE
As well as supporting basic Amiga emulation, FS-UAE also lets you create customized emulated systems. Over the years, Amiga systems have been graced with memory expansions, accelerator boards, graphics cards, network cards, and more. These can be toggled and selected in the Expansions screen.
For Additional Configuration options, floppy drive speed, CPU model, and even freezer cartridge models can be selected.
Find Amiga Games From Official Sources
Over the past few years, retro gaming has seen a noted revival, one that increased throughout 2020. As a result, the Amiga gaming scene is bigger than it has been since the 1990s.
Recognizing this, several publishers have made their games available to buy online, or download for free from their websites. These are official releases, hosted by the original publishers or current license holders.
One such example is Factor5, which has made three games available: R-Type, Katakis, and BC Kid. While the perennial favorite Turrican is not in this list, Factor5 does make a available a free version of the original Manfred Trenz soundtrack.
Yes: You Can Run Amiga 500 Games on Windows 10
All Amiga models can recreated in an emulator on Windows 10, on macOS, and on the latest Linux and BSD distros.
With an emulated Commodore Amiga running on your PC or mobile device, you immediately have access to a library of over 5000 titles, many of which set the groundwork for the way games are played 30 years later.
Furthermore, with the explosion of retro gaming, you'll find there is a resurgent Amiga games market. New games and even magazines are available, while Amiga hardware is being licensed.
Looking for some more retro gaming fun on PC? Almost any classic system can be emulated.
SCUF creates custom controllers for the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One consoles designed for competitive play. SCUF markets its controllers with the claim that its patented rear bumpers technology gives gamers a competitive edge.
But do SCUF controllers actually make you a better gamer? Let's find out.
What Is a SCUF Controller?
A SCUF controller is a third party, custom-designed, easily modifiable controller that offers additional buttons that are useful in PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games. At first glance, SCUF controllers might not look that different from a standard PlayStation or Xbox controller. Unless you get a custom design, the faceplates are essentially the same.
The little changes that SCUF makes are where the visual differences start. For instance, instead of locating the standard PlayStation or Xbox logo in the center of each controller, SCUF includes its own custom logo on certain models.
On some of SCUF's PlayStation 4 controllers, like the SCUF Impact, instead of the typical PlayStation button symbols, it leaves the buttons blank.
The rear of the controller is where you’ll see the most differences from a standard controller. SCUF equips all of its controllers with rear paddles that take on the actions typically assigned to the face buttons like jump or crouch. SCUF also allows for custom paint jobs to personalize each controller.
What Can SCUF Controllers Do?
The thing that sets SCUF controllers apart is customization. Unlike conventional offerings, SCUF controllers are fully customizable out of the box.
SCUF builds its controllers with comfort in mind. SCUF controllers allow you to change out the analog sticks, the shape of the D-Pad, and the triggers on the back of the controller. The only official controller that allows this level of customization is the Xbox Elite controller.
Customizable analog sticks give gamers enhanced comfort during long play sessions. Instead of finding your thumbs slipping from the controller during a heated gunfight, a textured grip makes precise control much easier. A swappable D-pad makes selecting through menu options faster and more comfortable, especially with the optional circular design.
Customization doesn’t stop with the face of the controller. Every SCUF controller comes with paddles on its back. Paddles are essentially programmable buttons that expand your gameplay options.
The paddle system takes advantage of the fingers on the back of your controller that aren’t doing anything. Instead of taking your thumbs off the analog sticks, you’re able to use the rear paddles for in-game actions.
A common paddle layout will assign paddle one to crouch, paddle two assigned to swapping weapons, paddle three assigned to reload, and paddle four assigned to jump.
The paddle system can give you an advantage in shooters or fighting games where split-second decision making leads to life or death. Instead of having to let go of your thumbstick and try to crouch and take cover in a firefight, you can use a paddle on the back of your controller.
The trigger system also deserves special attention. SCUF designed its triggers to have modifiable sensitivities suited to the game you’re playing.
SCUF’s Adjustable Hair Triggers allow you to use an attachment that comes with the controller to adjust the trigger pull. You can even set up a digital trigger system that will mimic a mouse click for instant reactions. SCUF also includes trigger extenders for people with large hands.
To use it, plug your SCUF controller into your PC using a micro USB cable and run the app. Once the app detects your controller, it will give you full access to its software suite.
You can completely customize the paddles and assign them to any in-game action you want. The analog sticks can have their dead zones customized to change how much or how little movement of the stick is necessary before the game detects your actions.
Vibration settings are customizable, allowing gamers to heighten or lessen the amount of vibration felt as well. SCUF also provides an option to save profiles, with fifteen slots that allow you to create custom layouts for each game you play.
Downsides To SCUF Controllers
While SCUF controllers do work and have benefits, they also have drawbacks. You can’t turn your console on with a SCUF controller, you turn your console on using its power button. While not the end of the world, when you’re paying a premium, certain features should be standard.
Unfortunately, while the features on the SCUF are great and can work well, they don’t always function as intended. Bluetooth connectivity isn’t always effective. When the Bluetooth doesn’t work, you connect the controller through a micro-USB cable.
Button layouts don't always properly save in their profile setting, so you may have to re-setup your layout after games. Stick drift can also cause issues in activities that require precise movement.
Durability is also a concern because the rear paddles can randomly break or stop working. If SCUF feels the issue falls under its warranty, you’ll get a replacement. But if SCUF feels the issue falls under general wear and tear, you must buy a new controller.
Taken on their own, these issues may sound minuscule or like something fixable with a software update. But when you’re paying $150 or more for a controller which is at least double the price of a regular PlayStation or Xbox controller, these issues are worth mentioning.
Will SCUF Controllers Make Me a Better Gamer?
SCUF controllers and feature sets can be extremely useful, but it’s important to know that extra buttons don’t make you a better gamer. Being able to slide without taking your finger off the trigger is a wonderful addition in a shooting game. But having rear bumpers or adjustable triggers doesn’t improve the quality of your aiming or your knowledge of the maps you’re playing on.
SCUF controllers are optional accessories that give you the ability to do things you couldn’t do on a standard controller. SCUF controllers don’t make you a better gamer, they just remove some annoying gameplay limitations.
Are SCUF Controllers Worth The Investment?
SCUF controllers offer a gaming experience that’s unmatched by other third-party competitors and official controllers. Long-term durability is an issue, but while the paddles are in working order, they’re absolutely game-changing.
SCUF makes the best custom controllers on the market. SCUF controllers may not be for everyone because of the high price, and they definitely can’t fix poor aim, but the paddles are useful enough to be worth the price of admission.
As one of the first major battle royale games to kick off the trend, Fortnite's popularity continues to stay high even years after release. And since it's available on multiple platforms, you might wonder what you need to play Fortnite online.
Do you need PlayStation Plus to play Fortnite on your PS4 or PS5? Let's find out.
Do You Need PlayStation Plus to Play Fortnite Online?
The short answer is: No, you do not need PlayStation Plus to play Fortnite online on your PlayStation console.
Fortnite is a free-to-play game, meaning you can download it at no cost and play it without paying anything either. PlayStation's policy on free-to-play games is that you can play them online without needing a PlayStation Plus subscription. This also applies to other free-to-play titles, like Call of Duty: Warzone and Rocket League.
Keep in mind that you do need a PlayStation Plus subscription to play paid multiplayer games online, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.
As it turns out, being able to play Fortnite without a subscription depends on the platform, not the game itself. You can play Fortnite on Nintendo Switch without a Switch Online subscription, and don't need to pay on PC either. But if you're on Xbox One or Series X|S, you do need Xbox Live Gold to play Fortnite.
Since you don't need PlayStation Plus to play Fortnite, you can download the game for free and start enjoying it right away. It doesn't take up a ton of space, so it's a great title to enjoy at absolutely no cost (aside from optional in-game purchases for cosmetics).
Make sure you know all of the Fortnite controls and top tips to give yourself an advantage over the competition, too.
So you can't decide between getting a PS5 or a gaming laptop? You wouldn't be the only one; both Sony's new console and gaming laptops, current and upcoming, offer an impressive and promising gaming experience.
Before you commit to one, however, it's worth getting to know a bit more about each. To help you decide which is best for you, here's a head-to-head between the two gaming platforms.
PS5 Vs. Gaming Laptops
Sony's next-gen console is proving to be an impressive offering, if you can get your hands on one. The PS5's much-improved features over the PS4 make it a worthy upgrade if you're looking to dive into the next generation of gaming.
However, it's the same case if you buy a gaming laptop.
This is not a bad thing—it just shows how much gaming laptops have improved. Especially in the last few years, gaming laptops have come a long, long way with 2021 onwards being a truly exciting time. Like the PS5, the pandemic has also affected gaming laptops with stock shortages and delays.
Despite the frustration that comes with not being able to acquire these coveted devices, the silver lining is that you've got some time to make an informed decision about which one you should get.
Here are a few different areas which you should consider before you finally decide to take the plunge.
How Does the PS5 Compare to Gaming Laptops?
These are the four areas that we're going to cover:
Customization and Convenience
Let's dive in.
PS5: The PS5's RRP is at $500 for the standard PlayStation 5 and $400 for the PS5 Digital Edition. When it comes to the PS5 vs. the PS5 Digital Edition, the main difference is that PS5 Digital Edition does not have the Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Drive.
For the hardware alone, the value both PS5s offer is simply outstanding. You're getting a most-likely 4K/60fps performance, up to 4K HDR/120fps, and also 8K support. At that price point, you can't complain.
One thing to note, however, is the added cost that will come if you decide to buy new games—which are rising to $70—as well as recurring payments to subscription services such as PS Plus and PS Now, the former of which you need to access online features (such as multiplayer).
Also, if you haven't got a 4K display, you're missing out on the full potential of the PS5's combination of resolution and performance; buying one will set you back a few hundred dollars.
Gaming Laptops: If you're looking at gaming laptops with roughly PS5 specs (due to the PS5's custom architecture, a 1:1 comparison is not possible), it's going to cost you over $1,500 easily. Even though upcoming gaming laptops may reduce the price of current ones, you're still not going to find a gaming laptop equivalent to a PS5, price-wise, for a while.
You can buy gaming laptops with lower specs and manually upgrade certain components which is a little cost-effective, but it still won't bring you anywhere close to the cost of a PS5.
A big pro, however, if you buy a gaming laptop is the abundance of sales, which can prove very cost-effective. Yes, there's the PS Store sales, but they aren't comparable to the epic Steam sales, as well as the slew of discounts and free giveaways from other launchers, sites, and developers.
You'll find endless gaming deals if you buy a gaming laptop.
PS5: The PS5 is backwards compatible with 99% of PS4 games, meaning that you can play essentially all of your existing PS4 library on your PS5. The PS5 also provides some welcome improvements such as quicker load times, performance boosts up to 60fps, and increased resolution in some games.
You've got a strong case here if you buy a PS5, with the combination of backwards compatibility with PS5-enhanced features, incredible Sony exclusives, and a promising future of upcoming games.
Gaming Laptops: If you buy a gaming laptop, there are 1000s more games available than the PS5, spanning multiple generations. All the acronyms are here: FPSs, RTSs, MMOs, RPGs, etc. There are also loads of PC exclusives and early access games for you to play.
If there are any games you've missed over the years or genres you want to explore, you can find them on a gaming laptop.
You can also take advantage of a wide variety of community mods available game-to-game. You won't have to just wait for additional content/fixes by the developers, instead using a vast range of mods made by fans of the game to build upon, tweak, and improve your experience.
Customization and Convenience
PS5: It's safe to say you won't find much customizability with the PS5. Maybe a few years down the line, there could be a PS5 Pro, but for now, you can buy either the standard Console Edition or the Digital Edition, with both editions featuring upgradeable SSDs.
With games, you've got a few options to tweak and some performance/fidelity modes, but that's about it. You've just got to hope that the developers optimize their games well for your console.
In terms of convenience, we could see this as a good thing—you just plug in the console and play. It takes care of everything else for you. However, if you're the type of person who likes to fine-tune their gaming experience, this might not be the best choice for you.
Gaming Laptops: Although not as customizable as their PC counterparts, there's still a lot more choice here for you, both hardware and software-wise, than if you get a PS5.
You can find a range of different gaming laptops at different specs, price-points, and by different brands, meaning that whatever you're looking for, there'll be something on offer. You can manually upgrade some components, such as storage space and RAM, and, with most games, you can use either a controller or a mouse and keyboard.
When it comes to customizing your games, there's really no competition between a PS5 and a gaming laptop. You're going to find a lot more options here, with a plethora of in-game settings that come with most PC games, allowing you to create the best possible gaming experience on the hardware that you have.
Convenience here is a double-edged sword. Finding the right gaming laptop for you requires research, learning how to tweak and improve your laptop, and finding the best in-game settings for your machine. That being said, you can find an incredibly rewarding experience here and one that will give you the best setup suited to your needs.
A big plus in terms of convenience is also that gaming laptops are a lot more portable than a PS5. That being said, gaming laptops rarely have the best battery life, so regardless of where you are, you're going to want to play plugged in.
PS5: Though Sony might discontinue the PS4, its support for the last-generation console is going to continue for a few more years after the PS5's release. For the PS5, this could be the same case, giving it a life cycle of roughly 10 years, in line with its predecessors.
This doesn't mean that games will run consistently during these 10 years: already the PS4 is showing its age with some newer titles. You should expect the same for the PS5.
Gaming Laptops: The average lifespan of a gaming laptop depends on a lot of factors, but mainly on the manufacturer, specs, and how well you look after your machine.
However, you can expect your laptop to give its best performance for at least 3-5 years and though you could take it up to 10 years if you wanted, your tech will essentially be obsolete by that point.
Gaming laptops are, with a few exceptions, known to lack a decent battery life as well heat up massively because of their demanding components. You should aim to clean your laptop's internals regularly, removing any dust buildup.
Also, despite its name, you should never put your laptop on your lap, or any soft surface. This obstructs airflow and traps hot air, resulting in overheating which could shorten your device's lifespan.
An Exciting Future Ahead for Both the PS5 and Gaming Laptops
There are pros and cons to both sides whether you're looking at getting a PS5 or a gaming laptop. However, one thing that is true for both is that whichever one you go for, you're in for a good time.
If you buy a PS5, you'll find that Sony's next-gen console is an enormous step up from the PS4. With much-requested backwards compatibility finally included and the games in the next few years likely adding to Sony's already incredible list of exclusives, your PS5 will serve you well.
Gaming laptops this year onwards are coming in full force, with MSI already revealing powerful new gaming laptops. With new CPUs and GPUs coming at the same time, if you buy this year's gaming laptops, you've built at a device that is going to last awhile.
Whether you're looking to get a PS5 or gaming laptop, it's an exciting future ahead for gamers.
Users of Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold service have been told that, despite what Microsoft initially said, it won't be increasing the price of Xbox Live Gold.
No Xbox Live Gold Price Increase
In a news post on xbox.com, the Xbox Live Gold Team has now stated that there will be no changes to the Xbox Live Gold pricing, and it will unlock games that are free-to-play (like Fortnite, for example) so everyone can play.
In a bold move, the team has admitted in front of everyone that it was wrong to attempt to raise the price of Xbox Live Gold:
We messed up today and you were right to let us know. Connecting and playing with friends is a vital part of gaming and we failed to meet the expectations of players who count on it every day. As a result, we have decided not to change Xbox Live Gold pricing.
So, you can carry on using your Xbox Live Gold without paying a bit extra. This means Xbox Live or Xbox Live Gold customers are able to continue playing without forking out more cash.
What Was the Price Increase?
This is an update to an existing post, which previously said this (Microsoft has redacted this from the article, but you can still see it, just with a strike through the passage):
The price of a 1-month Gold membership is increasing $1 USD and the price of a 3-month membership is increasing $5 USD or the equivalent amount in your local market.
However, the update to the post now says, in nice bold letters so you can see Microsoft is serious about it... :
If you are an Xbox Live Gold member already, you stay at your current price for renewal. New and existing members can continue to enjoy Xbox Live Gold for the same prices they pay today. In the US, $9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for retail 12-months.
Continue to Enjoy Xbox Live Gold
So, there it is, if you have Xbox Live Gold then you actually won't need to pay any more money for it.
This is a very quick u-turn from Microsoft. $1 a month isn't a huge amount of money when you think about it, but add up all those Xbox Live Gold subscriptions and you're probably looking at a lot of cash that Microsoft won't be making.
However, it is great to see Microsoft responding to its community and listening to its users, ensuring that it is not biting off the hand that feeds it and keeping gaming accessible to as many people as possible.
CES is one of the biggest events in the tech calendar. Each year it brings with it new and innovative technology, with rumors and hype flying around long before the event even starts.
CES 2021 was different. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers took the decision to deliver the event virtually. While this presented its own problems, there was still a whole host of brands ready to show off their wares.
One sector of the industry that had some really exciting news to share was gaming. So here are some of the gaming tech highlights from CES 2021.
Games Consoles at CES 2021
There is no denying that consoles have been absolutely massive news over the past year.
However, CES 2021 lacked any major announcements from the big-hitters. Sony was present, but gave nothing away in terms of the PlayStation 5 hardware, instead teasing a few new PS5 games.
That doesn't mean CES 2021 fell short on the console front, though.
The Atari VCS
We did see some exciting console-based tech at CES 2021. First off was the new-and-improved Atari VCS, an all-in-one media device from the gaming giant. The Atari VCS is capable of all manner of things, from 4K media streaming to next-gen gaming.
The VCS looks like a very exciting device. VCS Developer, David Lowey, states that the intention is for the Atari VCS to liberate the user. Looking at its capabilities, we fully expect a revolutionary device to land in living rooms around the world once the VCS ships out to the general public.
The Analogue Pocket
Also present was Analogue, who brought its Analogue Pocket to the virtual event. The device, which looks a lot like a Game Boy in terms of form factor and layout, can play a whole range of retro console games.
The Pocket, however, is no emulator. You don't load gray-area ROMs onto the device to launch through emulation software. Instead, you use adapters at the back of the device to play Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance cartridges.
That's right, the Pocket plays original carts that would also work perfectly well in an original Game Boy. Rather than game emulation, this is a device with game preservation at its core.
Gaming PCs at CES 2021
CES 2021 also saw plenty of action from the gaming PC arena. Gaming laptops were a major focal point, with several brands vying for our virtual attention.
Here's what we found in terms of gaming PCs at CES 2021.
All the new laptops feature Nvidia's next-gen graphics cards, so if ray-tracing is high on your list of gaming requirements, you're in luck.
MSI also stepped up to the plate with a bunch of new gaming laptops. Like the Razer Blades, MSI's machines pack Nvidia 30-series graphics, so you're in for a visual treat at the very least.
They boast plenty of other pleasant features, too, particularly when we consider the GE76 Raider Dragon Edition Tiamat. Looking at the specs, this laser-etched beauty has as much fire in its belly as any flame-breathing serpent.
The Knuckles-5 really was a joy to encounter at CES 2021. Not least because it controls both UAVs and video games, but also thanks to the heartwarming story behind its new-found direction as a product.
Initially, founder Kostiantyn Borysov intended you to use the contraption to control your RC drone. It is highly customizable, with more axes of movement than you can shake a stick at, so it is an ideal solution for the serious UAV enthusiast.
However, an internet plea left Borysov wondering if he could modify his existing flight controller for use as a joystick, too. It turns out he can, and he has, which is what we see with the Knuckles-5 today.
Presumably, improving your game is going to be something that all players want to do. Impulse helps you do that. How? By allowing you to control your mouse with your mind, of course!
It is a glove that its makers claim measures muscle contraction with incredible accuracy, meaning you can pop head shots off before you realize you've even thought about it and pressed the mouse button.
The Impulse doesn't replace your mouse, but it works with it to provide reaction times that are 50-60 milliseconds faster than with a mouse. The video above explains exactly how Impulse operates.
Miscellaneous Gaming Tech at CES 2021
The nature of a tech show like CES means that you will always come across some cool or wacky stuff that isn't another curved 1440 monitor or a gaming chair. The kind of stuff that blows you away even though it isn't a console.
We saw some really cool, leftfield gaming tech at CES 2021. Here's a little selection.
OK, so it might not be strictly the kind of tech you'd expect to see at CES 2021, but we couldn't see the opportunity to give Stern's new Led Zeppelin pinball machine a Whole Lotta Love.
This is an awesome pinball machine which offers a lot to the player. The machine plays a different Led Zeppelin track every time you progress to a new game level, with new game features popping up with each chorus and verse.
The backbox comes complete with high-powered speakers and an LCD display for score and animations. Anyway, if you think a pinball machine isn't a complicated, highly technical device, you should check under the hood of a modern game.
Bigger Inside hit CES 2021 with its awesome-looking Protocol 223 game. A blend of laser tag and virtual reality, the game looks like Tron on steroids, and looks fantastic fun to boot.
Players wear a full body suit, headphones, and a VR headset. The immersive experience sees them traversing an existing "real world" venue (which, at present, there is one of, and it is in Marseille, France) with a completely virtual reality before their eyes.