Microsoft Expects Xbox Series X/S Shortages to Extend to Next Year

The next generation of consoles is here but in only a few lucky hands.

And that could be the case for quite some time as Microsoft is now reporting that their latest consoles, the Series X and S, could be in short supply until at least April 2021.

Blame the weird nature of the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic or really high demand for the system, either way, it looks like things are going to be tough for Xbox diehards that weren’t lucky enough to get a console in the first wave.

Xbox’s experiences and platforms boss Liz Hamren acknowledged the gap between demand and supply, noting, “We know that not everyone was able to get an Xbox Series X|S immediately and are working tirelessly with our partners around the world to bring as many new consoles to as many of you as possible over time and encourage you to check in with your local retailers directly for more details on availability in your market.”

That doesn’t mean it will be totally impossible to get Microsoft’s newest machine. Retailers are being told to expect “sporadic” shipments of the system, Video Games Chronicle reports. Naturally, you’ve always got eBay as an option with scalpers already filling the search results with overpriced next-gen hardware. Of course, this isn’t an Xbox-exclusive phenomenon as much the same thing is happening with Sony’s newest platform.

Microsoft’s brass expects the “demand profile” for their newest systems to level out in the spring of next year.

Or, as Xbox chief financial officer Tim Stuart said at the Jefferies Interactive Entertainment conference, “I think we’ll continue to see supply shortages as we head into the post-holiday quarter, so Microsoft’s Q3, calendar Q1…And then when we get to Q4, all of our supply chain continuing to go full speed heading into kind of the pre-summer months. And that’s where I start to — I expect to see a little bit of the demand — the supply profile, meeting the demand profile. You’ll be outside of a holiday window. We’ll have supply cranking over the next, what, 4, 5, 6 months. And that’s when I expect to see really that demand profile start to be met, which will be really, really great.”

In other news, it seems like random issues are plaguing both the latest Xbox and Sony’s PS5. Outside of that, Microsoft clarified their stance with Bethesda releasing games on other platforms with a “first and best” experience being reserved for their systems – whatever that means. Reading between the lines, it doesn’t look like Microsoft is going to prevent Bethesda from releasing its games on other consoles which is a good thing for the industry overall. 

Did you pick up a new Xbox Series X or S? What do you think of the system so far? Does the prospect of a long wait make you impatient or are you cool with getting Microsoft’s latest at a later date? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Also, don’t forget to check out our other video game content by clicking this link right here.

Microsoft’s Latest Earnings Boom Driven in Part by Video Games

To call 2020 a strange year might be somewhat of an understatement. With COVID-19 wreaking economic chaos across much of the globe, it is hard to believe that anyone is “doing well” from a revenue standpoint right now.

But there has been one boom during the world’s collective shut-in saga, and that is the video game industry. Not only is it posting record revenues and profits but also the current growth trajectory puts it on pace to displace more traditional titans of entertainment.

The only question is whether any of this will last once people are allowed to socialize again. Analysts with some history of hitting things right on the head when it comes to predicting the often wild ride that is the video games industry say that growth will not only continue but accelerate.

Perhaps that’s why Microsoft was more than happy to take a long-term bet on gaming way back in the Gates era with its Xbox. Now they’re reaping the profits of that foresight as Redmond’s latest earnings reports not only showed a significant contribution from its other “visionary” initiatives like cloud computing but also from its Xbox gaming division.

The company just reported $37.2 billion in revenue, beating Wall Street expectations of $35.8 billion, with video games surging forward to help bring home the bacon.

Microsoft’s director of investor relations Kyle Vikstrom told CNN Business, “Gaming is one of the largest and fastest-growing forms of entertainment in the world. We expect there to be more than $200 billion of revenue in this industry in 2021…We’re seeing a really great early response to the console that’s going to launch next quarter.”

Aside from the Xbox, Microsoft also owns Minecraft and recently acquired Bethesda, maker of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout along with id Software’s DOOM series. Interestingly, Bill Gates wanted to acquire DOOM’s makers back in the early days of PC gaming because it, at one point, was more widespread than the Windows operating system itself. It looks like the company has finally fulfilled that wish.

Moving on to the next generation with Sony, Microsoft is putting forth two visions for the future of gaming, the “budget” Xbox Series S and the high-end Xbox Series X. There are also rumors that the company is putting out feelers to Japanese publishing houses in the hope of acquiring them and adding to the growing stable of developers and IP that Redmond is amassing. Perhaps noting that Sony’s strategy of high-quality, triple-A exclusives helped secure it the lead in the last generation, Microsoft’s strategy makes sense if the company sees gaming as a major contributor to the bottom line going forward.

What do you think of Microsoft’s next-gen plans? Are you planning on picking up one of the company’s systems? How do they stack up against Sony’s PS5? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below if you like.

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Microsoft Buys Bethesda in Surprise Next-Gen Power Move

The next-gen console wars are already underway and we don’t even have machines in our hands yet. Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda was definitely a “shots fired” move for the gaming press but does it really matter in the large scheme of things? Well, it depends on how much you love Bethesda’s stable of games – among which include The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and DOOM – as well as whether or not these will be Microsoft PC/Xbox exclusives moving forward.

In a post on their website title “Why Microsoft is a perfect fit,” Bethesda explains that the new ownership, “…allows us to make even better games going forward. Microsoft is an incredible partner and offers access to resources that will make us a better publisher and developer. We believe that means better games for you to play. Simply put – we believe that change is an important part of getting better. We believe in pushing ourselves to be better. To innovate. To grow.”

Of course, $7.5 billion in cash probably didn’t hurt things either. Nonetheless, Bethesda and Microsoft are casting this move as a natural evolution for both parties.

“[We] have a long history of working with Microsoft. Our companies share many of the same basic principles. We believe in a culture that values passion, quality, collaboration, and innovation. When I think back to the first time we decided to shift from being a PC-only developer and make Morrowind for the original Xbox, it was a move that countless people said would never work…nobody on consoles wanted a game that big and complex. But Microsoft believed in us and so did you. And now RPGs of all shapes and sizes are hugely successful on consoles.”

As many people are pointing out, this purchase doesn’t necessarily mean that Microsoft will limit Bethesda’s games to just its platforms. As with Minecraft, Microsoft could go with a broader route given the huge popularity of titles like The Elder Scrolls.

Looking forward, optimists also highlight that Microsoft’s deep pocketbooks could result in better games moving forward. We’re not going to name any specifics here but we’re sure any true Bethesda fan can name more than a couple of things they’d like to see change in the future.

The press release from Pete Hines did tease Starfield, the company’s big new mysterious IP, but it didn’t really divulge any information on one of the more anticipated titles rumored to be in development. Since we don’t really know much about that game in general, speculation as to whether or not it will be an Xbox exclusive is premature at this point.

Interestingly, Microsoft’s presser also mentioned Starfield:

“With unique investments in content, community, and the cloud, Microsoft’s gaming strategy differs from others by empowering people to play the games they want, with the people they want, anywhere they want. Games are the primary growth engine in gaming, and games are fueling new cloud-gaming services like Xbox Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 15 million subscribers. With the addition of Bethesda, Microsoft will grow from 15 to 23 creative studio teams and will be adding Bethesda’s iconic franchises to Xbox Game Pass. This includes Microsoft’s intent to bring Bethesda’s future games into Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or PC, like Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios.”

What do you think of Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda? Do you play Bethesda’s games? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments section below if you like.

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Microsoft to Purchase Bethesda Company

What does this mean for Bethesda Games?

Microsoft has officially announced that they will move forward with the purchase of game company Bethesda. Most of you are probably familiar with Bethesda or their huge blockbuster game franchises such as Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Doom, Wolfenstein, and more. Microsoft has agreed to purchase the company for $7.5 Billion.

More specifically the purchase for is ZeniMax Media – the parent company of Bethesda and Id software. The deal is stated to close in 2021. Microsoft has stated that Bethesda will still operate in its own division and retain current company structure.

So what does this mean?

Aside from giving Microsoft even more game studios under its belt and some control of these franchises, many may be worried about games becoming exclusive to only Xbox/PC. I personally don’t think the biggest franchises will become exclusive to Xbox and PC. The bottom line is if they did become exclusive they would be missing a lot of sales from people who only have a different platform. Exclusivity may drive demand for Xbox up, but at the same time Microsoft is pushing for cloud gaming with their newly released XCloud. This would remove some need for consoles, thereby making sales of copies of the games a bigger source of revenue.

Official Microsoft Release

Xbox Game Pass Adds EA Play for no extra charge

EA Play coming this holiday to Xbox Game Pass.

You heard that right, Microsoft is partnering up with EA to add the entire EA Play collection to the Xbox game pass for no extra cost. You might remember EA’s service as EA Access or Origin Access, but it has been re-branded to EA Play.

You will soon be able to play the entire EA Play library with your $4.99 game pass subscription. That includes more than 60 of EA’s greatest games like Battlefield, FIFA, Mass Effect, and Need for Speed titles just to name a few. Also, yes it will be for both Xbox consoles and Windows PC.

In my opinion it would be silly to not have a $4.99 game pass subscription once this comes out. Also don’t forget new members can get game pass for only $1 for the first month.

Full details from Microsoft here.

Microsoft xCloud Out on Sept 15th

xCloud will be included with Game Pass and run on Android devices.

Microsoft had just announced more details surrounding their new xCloud gaming service. In addition to being able to play any game in their game pass library for a monthly fee, the cloud service will be free for Ultimate Game Pass holders. The ultimate game pass subscription costs just $15 per month.

Microsoft states that most titles in the library will be available on xCloud which includes popular games such as Gears of War, Halo, Grounded, Destiny 2, and upcoming games like Tell Me Why. Microsoft revealed a few weeks earlier that all their upcoming games will be immediately available on Game Pass.

xCloud will not be available for PC at launch and will only support Android phones and tablets. They have not yet addressed the situation of iPhones or iPads.

Microsoft also has some hardware displayed on their website that is designed to transform your phones into a full gaming experience by adding proper controls. This includes the Razer Kishi that mounts your phone and their mobile gaming clip that hooks your smartphone onto an Xbox controller.

Razer Kishi

Microsoft xCloud details can be found here

Backwards compatibility preserves gaming history like never before on Xbox Series X

Final Fantasy XIII Xbox Backwards Compatibility

Backwards Compatibility brings 4K resolution and HDR to games with up to 120 FPS on the Xbox Series X

Microsoft continues to impress with new Xbox Series X details. This time, Xbox highlights backwards compatibility (BC) enhancements on the new console. After 100,000 hours of testing, BC titles can achieve 4K resolution, maintain up to 120 FPS, and feature HDR.

While the improvements are impressive, the core of the program is to preserve this wonderful art form we all love. One of my favorite quotes from the update really gets to the core of why sustained backwards compatibility is important.

“In addition to preserving the legacy of our loyal fans who have been with us since the beginning, we enable entirely new generations of gamers to play and enjoy the timeless games from our past while respecting and honoring their creators.”

This is just one of the reasons I am passionate about Xbox. The dedication they have towards preserving past titles as well as enhancing the experiences they offer resonates with me.

Too many games on other platforms have been lost to older hardware that will eventually become inoperable. Xbox has spent the past five years developing their backwards compatibility program. You can even use the same discs you’ve owned from the original Xbox nearly 20 years ago. If you can’t find a physical copy, digital versions are available as well.

With every game being brought with you from the last three generations into the next, the future of these experiences is looking brighter than ever.

Wanna read more about how the Xbox Series X uses its impressive architecture to enhance your favorite games? Check out the whole update here!

Do you want to know what is already possible with backwards compatibility on Xbox One? Take a look at this in-depth analysis by Digital Foundry focused on the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy.

Source: Xbox

Unbiased Review: Gears Tactics, Not the Gears You Know

Gears of War makes an entry into the turn based world.

Microsoft has pulled the old trick once again, releasing Gears Tactics as their turn based game spinning off of the Gears of War world. A little different than how they created Halo Wars as a real time strategy game. Many compare Gears Tactics directly to X-COM.

Gameplay

The Gears of War franchise has largely used almost the exact same gameplay mechanics since 2006 with its original installment. I found myself losing interest after heavily playing GoW2 and a little of GoW3. Gears tactics brings a very refreshing and much needed break from the typical third person shooter style.

This game is immediately enjoyable from the start. I started the game in normal mode and it definitely has a great difficulty balance off the bat, you will easily die if you don’t actually put some thought into your moves.

Each character has a certain number of action moves they can pull each turn, such as shooting, reloading, healing, or tossing nades. They also have an interesting mechanic called overwatch, in which your characters (or enemies) can cover an area and shoot at anyone that moves through it.

Playing this game gave me flashbacks to Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which I had beaten a little while ago. You have a set of main characters, and along with them, you can recruit a rotating pool of soldiers as well. There’s also a mix of classes such as support, heavy, sniper, etc.

There is no grid system that you have to move your characters through, which makes the game feel very fluid and open. You will also be using the good old signature GoW slide into cover pretty much every move, which is as satisfying here as it is in third person (so is the chainsaw).

Gears Tactics Trailer

Visuals

The game surprised me with how they blend the bird’s eye view with third person action views. I thought the graphics would be dumbed down like how most strategy games are, but when action scenes are shown, it looks almost exactly like a regular Gears game.

There were times where I thought to myself, “oh the animators/designers definitely cheaped out here, like when I chainsawed someone in the upper body and somehow his legs fall off instead, or when you rescue someone from a torture chamber and he looks fully intact and healthy. But nothing was bad enough to subtract from the experience, I just chuckled to myself and kept playing. Attention to detail is not this game’s strong suite.

This game can push your PC pretty hard; I am running it at 1440p, 144hz on ultra. It looks wonderful and as a PC player, I couldn’t ask for more.

TLDR

If you like strategy games or are a Gears of War player – don’t sleep on this title. I am thoroughly enjoying this and I would recommend it. The combat is surprisingly fluid and the level design is excellent in providing a challenge. Everything that was satisfying in a regular Gears game is still satisfying here – chainsaws, headshots, explosions, sliding around, etc.

You can get Gears Tactics on Steam, but I would recommend getting the Xbox/PC Game Pass from Microsoft for a much lower price.

Entertain Yourself with Xbox Game Pass for PC

Grab the game pass on PC for only $1 on the first month and $4.99 per month after.

Xbox game pass for PC has been around for a little while now, but it has been revamped with updates over the last few months. It’s a great time to re-explore all the PC games it has to offer.

New App and UI

If you are running a windows 10 computer, you might have seen your Xbox apps updating, disappearing, or changing over the last year or so. It seems Microsoft has been trying to find the right formula to properly integrate a game launcher into your PC. Even the current Xbox app is labeled as a “beta”. I personally am enjoying their latest iteration of the Xbox app. The game bar integrates well and includes a game pass specific section, so you can quickly navigate every game you have at your disposal. The social tab is nicely integrated as well and you can create group chats or DMs.

A simple and well organized interface

Some of my game picks:

There is plenty in the library to keep you entertained for a hot minute.

Stay tuned for my thoughts on some of these games!
Check out the Game Pass