Forza Horizon 4 content updates to stop as Playground shifts focus to Forza Horizon 5

Posted on June 29, 2021 by

Playground Games is almost ready to wrap up its work on Forza Horizon 4.

As Playground Games diverts its attention to the upcoming Forza Horizon 5, the developer has announced that it will soon stop releasing new content for 2018’s Forza Horizon 4.

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Playground revealed this in last night’s Forza Monthly livestream, in which the team dished on Horizon 5’s lighting and skybox tech. The Series 37 update – due out today – will be Forza Horizon 4’s last content patch for the time being. Although the game will continue receiving updates, their content will be remixes and rehashes of earlier Series releases, meaning no new cars or features.

“Starting with Series update 38, players who know the game well will start to see the return of content from Series 7 to 32,” Playground senior producer, Tom Butcher, said (via VGC).

“Think of it a bit like a mix tape, featuring the return of some of your favourite content combined with recently added new features. Although we aren’t planning to add all-new cars and features over these next months, you should have a lot of fun revisiting these moments and seeing how you handle them the second time around.”

Forza Horizon 4 players can expect future Series updates to also include the usual assortment of photo challenges, Forzathon Shop refreshes, and event rewards.

Since the game’s initial release three years ago, Playground has been putting out regular content updates that included everything from new cars, to new modes, and entirely fresh experiences, to say nothing of the studio’s constant improvements to the game’s performance and backend systems.

Forza Horizon 5 is set for a November 9 release on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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Windows 11 could support AMD Zen and Intel Kaby Lake CPUs after all Microsoft Windows 11 Insider Build on day-one

Posted on June 29, 2021 by


It was looking like it was all over for any CPU older than Intel's 8th Gen and AMD's Ryzen 2000-series chips and Windows 11, forever to be locked out of the new OS. Thankfully, though, that might not actually be the case: Microsoft has confirmed it is looking into AMD Ryzen 1000-series and Intel 7th Gen CPU support with the release of the first Windows 11 insider build.

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"As we release to Windows Insiders and partner with our OEMs, we will test to identify devices running on Intel 7th generation and AMD Zen 1 that may meet our principles," the company states in a blog post.

"We’re committed to sharing updates with you on the results of our testing over time, as well as sharing additional technical blogs."

Microsoft's Windows 11 CPU requirements may be subject to change, then, which is bound to be music to some PC owners' ears. Microsoft currently holds that anything below Intel's 8th Gen or AMD's Ryzen 2000-series won't cut it for Windows 11, but it's not yet clear what exactly prevents older CPUs, some of which are still relatively modern, from operating as intended with the new OS. 

For example, Microsoft says Ryzen 2000 CPUs will work with Windows 11 yet Ryzen 1000-series chips won't, despite there being relatively little changed between the Zen and Zen+ architectures at their core.

Intel's chip generations are perhaps even more iterative at the point of no return for Windows 11. Intel's 7th Gen Kaby Lake and 8th Gen Coffee Lake are built on near identical architectures, yet only the later chips will function.

Most modern chips, even, will top the actual minimum specification for Windows 11: a 1GHz or faster processor with two or more cores.

Microsoft holds there's more to it than that, and calls fourth three guiding principles for Windows 11: security, reliability, and compatibility. They don't really clear things up all that much, it must be said, and Windows 11's actual underlying requirements are still as nebulous as ever.

Microsoft also removed a line from its latest blog post that specified that Intel 6th Gen and pre-Zen AMD chips would definitely not work with Windows 11, reports The Verge's Tom Warren. Not sure what that means for older CPU support? Neither are we.

There will be more to report on the Windows 11 compatibility saga before the OS launches later this year, though, that much seems clear. For now, Microsoft has pulled its Health Check PC App, so you'll have to dig into your PC specs to find out if yours is compatible with the OS upgrade.

Another id Software game has been rated

Posted on June 29, 2021 by

Another new id Software title has been rated in Australia, and this time the classification documents refer to Project 2021B – but what could it be?

Earlier this year, we saw Doom Eternal VR revealed early by the Australian ratings board when a game called ‘Project 2021A’ was classified under the “virtual reality” category. Two months after the classification was spotted, the studio announced it was for Doom 3: VR Edition.

Now, the ratings board is at it again (via Gematsu). This time, we’ve seen a slight progression in the naming convention and the feature of the game is listed as “online interactivity”. And unsurprisingly for an id property, it’s been rated M.

But what could this newly uncovered rating be for?

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Rumours have been doing the rounds online that this could be the mysterious new Quake game in development at the studio.

XboxEra’s Nick Baker has posted a video in which he cited sources familiar with the developer have said a new Quake game is in the works at id Software and MachineGames. The game reportedly has single-player and multiplayer content, so that would line up with the Australian board’s classification.

It’s also possible that, given the age rating, this could be a remaster or re-release of classic Quake games. Adding fuel to that fire, we also know that QuakeCon returns August 19-21. Would Bethesda and id be trying to get the classification filed ahead of a stealth drop at the show? Stranger things have happened.

QuakeCon events have recently been shaped to include much more than id Software’s games, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a MachineGames collaboration appear at the event, too.

If the game is real, you can expect it to come to Xbox Game Pass on Day One, and join a healthy roster of other Bethesda titles on the service, too.

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Intel’s 11th Gen H-series processors are the next big leap in gaming laptops Intel 11th Gen H-series cpu

Posted on June 29, 2021 by


PC gaming has evolved exponentially in the last few years. Gamers are no longer bound to desktops to unleash the potential of high-end systems to enjoy graphics intensive games. The new breed of laptops have emerged as a viable, and in some cases, a sensible alternative to conventional desktops. These gaming-centric and yet all-in-one notebooks enable on-the-go gaming to help gamers participate in competitions and build communities. 

Intel has done a lot towards bringing revolutionary changes to the PC gaming industry. The chipmaker has constantly pushed the boundaries of notebook performance with industry-leading PC gaming innovations. Intel is now further fueling the progression of professional gaming with its 11th Gen H-series processors. Faster and more efficient than their predecessors, the new Tiger Lake H45 processors power your dream gaming notebooks, offering desktop caliber performance. 

Faster, smarter and power-efficient

 Built on Intel's 10nm Willow Cove architecture, the new 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors offer industry-leading gaming performance and content creation capabilities, being the world's fastest single-threaded laptop processor. This means the new class of ultraportable gaming systems lets users accomplish more with less power consumption. The 11th Gen Intel Core H-series processors also feature the company’s Turbo-Boost Max Technology 3.0, Speed Optimizer, and Extreme Tuning Utility. Here's how these advanced computing technologies enhance the notebooks’ performance.

  •  The Turbo Boost 3.0 technology enables notebooks to deliver up to 5GHz turbo frequencies by employing the best-performing cores to increase performance. The technology ensures better optimization for a higher power and performance range. 
  •  Intel Speed Optimizer is a one-click overclock functionality tool to improve the system’s multithreaded performance. The easy-to-use tool analyzes the CPU’s voltage and temperature to increase the speed for better overall response time during heavy tasks. 
  •  The Extreme Tuning Utility (Intel XTU) further makes it possible for gamers to overclock, monitor, and stress the system.  
  •  The new processors also feature built-in AI acceleration to dramatically accelerate the AI-enhanced applications and modern workflows. 

Empowering ultraportable gaming notebooks 

Intel 11th Gen H-series cpu

(Image credit: Intel®)

Laptops powered by 11th Gen Intel Core H-series processors offer a perfect balance of mobility and performance. In addition to the fastest single-threaded performance, the CPUs also bring 19% multithreaded performance improvement over last-gen hardware, making new notebooks significantly faster and efficient even while running the most complicated tasks such as 3D rendering and video editing. Based on the new Willow Cove Core microarchitecture, the 11th Gen Intel Core H-series processors are fabricated using Intel's third-generation 10 nanometer SuperFin process technology and offer 20 lanes of PCIe Gen 4 with RST bootable RAID.

That said, Intel 11th Gen Core H-series processor-powered high-performance laptops deliver an unmatched gaming experience by allowing you to fully immerse yourself in single-player and multiplayer games like Valorant, Call of Duty: Warzone, CS:GO, and more. 

Faster storage and enhanced connectivity 

Moreover, the 11th Gen Intel Core H-series chipsets employ Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology that improves the system’s responsiveness and expandability. With 20 PCIe Gen 4 lanes direct from the CPU, it accelerates the notebook's gaming performance and enables the use of the latest SSDs and reduces power consumption even with multiple SATA or PCIe drives. Intel RST-backed laptops offer transfer speeds up to 1 GB/s to maximize storage performance and response time of the machine with heavy memory tasks. More importantly, a select few laptops come equipped with Intel’s third-generation Optane H20 memory for substantially faster sequential read and write speeds.

The powerful H-series lineup offers the latest connectivity standards. These processors offer built-in support for Thunderbolt 4 to offer a maximum throughput of 40Gbps, USB4 support, and video signal support to two 4K displays. Besides, the 11th Gen Intel Core H-series processors feature the new 6GHz Discrete Intel® Killer™ Wi-Fi 6E (Gig+) wireless standard to reach gigabit speeds with lower latency. Laptops powered by the 11th Gen Intel Core H-series processors offer Wi-Fi 6/6E, 3 times faster network speeds and up to 75% lower latency.

Intel 11th Gen Core CPU powered laptops 

Based on your requirement and budget, you can choose from a myriad of design and hardware options. Intel’s 11th Gen Intel Core H-series processors power over 80 laptops. With Intel, more than 30 laptops are offered under the ultraportable category. These notebooks measure a mere 20mm in thickness or even less and yet offer a full suite of Intel’s latest storage, power and connectivity technologies. 

By the end of June, Acer and Asus will unleash their gaming laptops powered by the 11th Gen Intel Core processors. Acer will launch the Predator Helios 300 powered by the Intel Core i7, and the Nitro 5—which is also powered by a Core i7 processor. Meanwhile, Asus also plans to release a couple of laptops. This includes the Intel Core i9-powered Asus TUF F15 and the Asus TUF F17 that is powered by a Core i5. Over the next few months, we should see other companies like Dell, HP and Lenovo release powerful gaming devices.

You will be able to buy them from the leading e-commerce portals and offline retailers across the country. More information on Tiger Lake-H CPUs can be found on Intel's website, along with more information on the 11th Gen H-series.

 *For details, visit: www.intel.com/PerformanceIndex . Results may vary. 

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is currently super cheap on Amazon AU AMD Ryzen 7 5800X

Posted on June 29, 2021 by


If you're putting together a new build this is worth considering: Amazon Australia is currently selling the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X for AU$595.48. It ships from the US, but if you're an Amazon Prime subscriber (or just create a free trial account) you can get it shipped over for free. Normally you'd pay anywhere between AU$620 and AU$700 for this chip.

This is a great mid-range choice for gaming, especially if you're reluctant to splurge nearly a thousand big ones for a 5900X. You can see our thorough benchmarks and performance results in our Ryzen 7 5800X review,  where Alan wrote that it's "an impressive CPU that is finally Intel's equal in gaming, but is undermined by its high price." This somewhat sweetens the deal on that price gripe.

The Ryzen 5 5600X is also going relatively cheap on Amazon, though the discount isn't quite as good at AU$420—you'd normally pay around AU$440. This all comes nearly a week after Amazon Prime Day 2021 wrapped up. The event may be over, but there's still a ton of good deals to be had as collected in our best Australian PC gaming deals guide.

Seattle got so hot today Bungie shut its doors early Bungie office

Posted on June 29, 2021 by


The National Weather Service warned of "unprecedented heat" in Northwest Washington today, with temperatures expected to reach up to 113 degrees fahrenheit (45 degrees celsius). That's very hot weather indeed, and Seattle-based Bungie had to shut its doors early as a result.

Bungie tools engineer James Haywood confirmed as much on Twitter. "Bungie is shutting down all the things because of the heat," he wrote. "Guess that's a wrap on work today."  

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Seattle is not known for its heat, with the average June temperature over the last decade hitting a high of 72F (22C) and falling as low as (54F) 12C—that's very moderate for summer. The Washington Post reports that Seattle itself hit "at least" 107F today. 

The weather event is so extreme and unexpected that Amazon has turned its downtown Seattle headquarters into a "public cooling centre," along with droves of other sites as listed by the City of Seattle. These public cooling centres, which are air conditioned, are necessary in a city where air conditioning isn't usually necessary due to a lack of hot weather.

Temperatures are expected to ease tomorrow, with highs of 89—still above average, but hopefully a nice respite from melting roads

Xbox Cloud Gaming has rolled out for Windows 10 PCs halo

Posted on June 29, 2021 by


After a prolonged Android exclusivity, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can now stream games in-browser on Windows 10 PCs. The service went into beta in April, but now it's available to all subscribers of Ultimate—so long as you're in the right region. The United States, UK and a handful of European countries are among the 22 countries supported, though the service hasn't rolled out in Australia just yet.

If you are a subscriber, you can head to xbox.com/play to access in-browser streaming. The service supports Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Safari, and has also rolled out on iOS devices. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate costs $15 a month (£10.99 / AU$14.95) but if you're a newcomer you can get it for $1 / £1 / AU$1 for the first two months.

Xbox Cloud Gaming currently supported more than 100 titles, including Halo: The Masterchief Collection, Outriders, Minecraft Dungeons, Doom and more. Some games, including Minecraft Dungeons, even have touchscreen UI added, in case you're playing them on Android or iOS devices.

In its announcement, Microsoft confirmed that Xbox Cloud Gaming is being powered by custom Xbox Series X hardware. "We’ve been upgrading Microsoft datacenters around the globe with the fastest, most powerful Xbox hardware to give you faster load times, improved frame rates, and an experience of a new generation of gaming," the announcement reads

"To ensure the lowest latency, highest quality experience across the broadest set of devices, we will be streaming at 1080p and up to 60fps."

Respawn promises to crack down harder on Apex Legends cheaters valkyrie apex

Posted on June 28, 2021 by


Apex Legends is a really good battle royale, but like so many popular online games, it has a problem with cheaters. Pop around to the Apex subreddit and you can find all kinds of complaints about players breaking the rules instead of competing fairly, over the past few months the game has also been struggling with DDoS problems. Thankfully, Respawn said on Twitter today that it is "pursuing several options to crack down on cheating."

Those options include:

  • Hiring more people to bolster its ability to manually ban cheaters
  • Developing new tools to automatically detect and stop DDoS attacks
  • Look into new ways “to more quickly catch and remove cheaters from games”

"Playing against cheaters sucks," Respawn tweeted. "We'll keep you updated as we ship the above changes and pursue new ones."

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As updates go, there's really not much to see, especially when compared to detailed anti-cheat updates and reports from games like Call of Duty: Warzone and Rainbow Six Siege. But that doesn't reflect a lack of aggressiveness on Respawn's part when it comes to dealing with cheaters: In March it dropped the hammer on more than 700 high-ranked Apex players, including over 180 at the Diamond and Predator ranks—the top two ranks in Apex Legends competitive play—and in May it warned that players exploiting a "ghost rock" bug is a bannable offense.

Apex's recent bump in popularity (thanks in part to Season 9 being really fun) makes it a larger target than ever for cheaters looking for an easy win and Respawn will have to crank up its efforts to keep up.

The first Windows 11 preview build is available right now Windows 11 widgets

Posted on June 28, 2021 by


Windows 11 is coming, sooner for some and later for others—the new OS will be out later this year, but free upgrades for existing Windows 10 PCs won't start rolling until 2022. Windows Insiders, however, can get their first shot at the latest and (hopefully) great version of Microsoft's long-running operating system right now.

Windows 11 build 22000.51, as it's formally known, includes "many, but not all" of the new features revealed last week. The updated UI is the most in-your-face aspect of the new Windows, but Insiders will also have a chance to play with the new widgets, multitasking options, and "beautiful, easy to use and inclusive" settings menu, test out Wi-Fi 6E support (assuming they have a 6E router, of course), and poke around the updated Microsoft Store. Office Insiders can check out a preview build of Windows 11 Office, too.

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Predictably, there are some known issues with this build—I'm willing to bet there are a few unknown issues too, but here's the known list for now:

Taskbar:

  • Taskbar will not be shown across multiple monitors but will return in an upcoming build.
  • The preview window may not display the entire window when hovering over Task View on the taskbar.

Settings:

  • When upgrading a device with multiple user accounts to Windows 11, Settings will fail to launch.
  • A small set of Settings legacy pages as well as fit and finish bugs will be addressed in future releases.
  • The ‘Power mode’ setting does not show up on the Power & battery page.
  • When launching the Settings app, a brief green flash may appear.
  • When using Quick Settings to modify Accessibility settings, the settings UI may not save the selected state.

Start:

  • In some cases, you might be unable to enter text when using Search from Start or the taskbar. If you experience the issue, press Win + R on the keyboard to launch the Run dialog box, then close it.
  • We’re working on fixing an issue that’s preventing unpinning apps from Start, making the command bar in File Explorer disappear, or hiding snap. To work around these, restart your PC.

Search:

  • App icons in the Search panel may do not load, and instead appear as gray squares.
  • When hovering your mouse over the Search icon on the taskbar, the third recent search does not load and remains blank.
  • After clicking the Search icon taskbar, the Search panel may not open. If this occurs, restart the “Windows Explorer” process, and open the search panel again.
  • When you hover your mouse over the Search icon on the taskbar, recent searches may not be displayed. To work around the issue, restart your device.
  • Search panel might appear as black and not display any content below the search box.

Widgets:

  • System text scaling will scale all widgets proportionally and may result in cropped widgets.
  • Launching links from the widgets board may not invoke apps to the foreground.
  • When using screen reader/Narrator in widgets may not properly announce content
  • Widgets board may appear empty. To work around the issue, you can sign out and then sign back in again.
  • When using the Outlook client with a Microsoft account, Calendar, and To Do changes may not sync to the widgets in real time.
  • Widgets may be displayed in the wrong size on external monitors. If you encounter this, you can launch the widgets via touch or WIN + W shortcut on your actual device monitor first and then launch on your secondary monitors.
  • After adding multiple widgets quickly from the widgets settings, some of the widgets may not be visible on the board

Store:

  • The install button might not be functional yet in some limited scenarios.
  • Rating and reviews are not available for some apps.

Also be aware that "when upgrading to Windows 11 from Windows 10 or when installing an update to Windows 11, some features may be deprecated or removed." Full details on that are available here.

If you'd like to take this preview build for a test drive yourself, you can register for the Windows Insider program here. You'll have to be logged in with your Microsoft account, and you'll probably want to be aware of a few important points before you jump in with both feet:

  • The experimental and early prerelease software and services made available to you in the Program might not be tested.
  • You might experience crashes, security vulnerabilities, data loss, or damage to your device.
  • When the software is installed on a mobile device: (i) it is not intended as a substitute for your primary means of telecommunications; (ii) in some circumstances, you may not be able to place calls (including calls for emergency services); (iii) it may inadvertently damage your device rendering it inoperable; and (iv) you may experience increased data charges.
  • Running this software requires participants to opt-in to send to Microsoft “Full Diagnostic Data” (also known as “optional”), which collects and transmits certain data to Microsoft regarding activities on your device, including personal     information; Microsoft shares some data with partners. See the     Privacy     Statement for more information.
  • You will receive communications about the Program and related promotions. Once you’ve joined the Program, to stop receiving such communications you must leave the Program.

If, on the other hand, you'd rather just get a look at what's coming, watch some videos, and sign up for the Windows 11 newsletter, you can do so entirely without commitment at Microsoft's Inside Windows 11 website.

Nier Reincarnation launches in the West in July

Posted on June 28, 2021 by

Nier Reincarnation

Nier Reincarnation, the mobile RPG spin-off coming to Android and iOS, will launch later this month – and you can get bonus items if you pre-register.

The game, developed by Applibo and published by Square Enix, will launch on July 28 (thanks, IGN). As per the site’s announcement, pre-registering on the App Store and Google Play will grant you bonus Gems in the final game that you will be able to spend on in-game summons.

For every additional 100,000 players that register, the number of Gems will go up. So it looks like we’re all in it together.

Announced back in March 2020, Nier Reincarnation has been in development for mobile devices for a little while now, and the trailer below sets the scene for the mood of the game, and teases a bit of gameplay.

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If you’re eager to get more Nier in your life, you can take a look at our Nier Replicant review.

“This new release of Nier goes to great lengths to improve the 2010 original – and while it’s no Automata, it’s now a fantastic experience,” wrote our own Alex Donaldson of the title.

The game contains content that wasn’t included in the first iteration along with the 15 Nightmares dungeon which was originally released as DLC for the original game. If you clear the dungeon, you’ll be able to obtain bonus costumes and weapons.

It was received well, so we’re hoping between this and the impending launch of Nier Reincarnation, we can expect more entires in the esteemed Bier series sooner, rather than later.

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