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The best Xbox games for 2023

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 12:30

A series of missteps put Microsoft in second place before the Xbox One even came out. With the launch of the Xbox Series X and S, though, Microsoft is in a great position to compete. Both are well-priced, well-specced consoles with a huge library of games spanning two decades.

Microsoft’s console strategy is unique. Someone with a 7-year old Xbox One has access to an almost-identical library of games as the owner of a brand-new Xbox Series X. That makes it difficult to maintain meaningfully different lists for its various consoles — at least for now. But while next-gen exclusives may be few and far between, with PS4 outselling Xbox One by a reported two-to-one, there are a lot of gamers who simply haven’t experienced much of what Microsoft has had to offer since the mid ‘10s.

It’s with that frame of mind that we approach this list: What are the best games we would recommend to someone picking up an Xbox today — whether it’s the best Xbox One games or the top picks for a Series X, a Series S or One S — after an extended break from Microsoft’s consoles?

This list then, is a mixture of games exclusive to Microsoft’s consoles and cross-platform showstoppers that play best on Xbox. We’ve done our best to explain the benefits Microsoft’s systems bring to the table where appropriate. Oh, and while we understand some may have an aversion to subscription services, it’s definitely worth considering Game Pass Ultimate, which will allow you to play many of the games on this list for a monthly fee.


Deathloop, from the studio that brought you the Dishonored series, is easy enough to explain: You’re trapped in a day that repeats itself. If you die, then you go back to the morning, to repeat the day again. If you last until the end of the day, you still repeat it again. Colt must “break the loop” by efficiently murdering seven main characters, who are inconveniently are never in the same place at the same time. It’s also stylish, accessible and fun.

While you try to figure out your escape from this time anomaly, you’ll also be hunted down by Julianna, another island resident who, like you, is able to remember everything that happens in each loop. She’ll also lock you out of escaping an area, and generally interfere with your plans to escape the time loop. (The online multiplayer is also addictive, flipping the roles around. You play as Julianna, hunting down Colt and foiling his plans for murder. )

As you play through the areas again (and again) you’ll equip yourself with slabs that add supernatural powers, as well as more potent weapons and trinkets to embed into both guns and yourself. It’s through this that you’re able to customize your playstyle or equip yourself in the best way to survive Julianna and nail that assassination. Each time period and area rewards repeat exploration, with secret guns, hidden conversations with NPCs and lots of world-building lore to discover for yourself.

Originally a timed PlayStation exclusive, Deathloop landed on Xbox in September 2022.

Overwatch 2

Even though Blizzard has improved the onramp for new players this time around, Overwatch 2 still has a steep learning curve. Stick with it, though, and you’ll get to indulge in perhaps the best team shooter around. Overwatch 2 has a deceptively simple goal — stand on or near an objective and keep the other team away long enough to win. It’s much more complex in practice. To the untrained eye, matches may seem like colorful chaos, but Overwatch 2 has a deceptively simple goal — stand on or near an objective and keep the other team away long enough to win.

It’s much more complex in practice. Blizzard reduced the number of players on each team from six to five. That, along with across-the-board character tweaks, has made gameplay faster-paced and more enjoyable compared with the original Overwatch. There's a greater emphasis on individual impact, but you'll still need to work well with your teammates to secure a victory.

Now featuring a cast of more than 30 heroes, each with distinct abilities and playstyles, you’ll surely find a few Overwatch 2 characters that you can connect with. The first batch of new heroes are all a blast to play. There are many great (though often fairly expensive) new skins to kit them out with too. The game looks and sounds terrific too, thanks to Blizzard’s trademark level of polish. At least until you figure out how to play Overwatch 2, you can marvel at how good it looks.

Elden Ring

Why would we not include Elden Ring? The strengths of FromSoftware’s latest action-RPG are many, but what’s most impressive about the game is how hand-crafted it feels despite its scale. Elden Ring is big, but it never feels like it’s wasting your time. Far from it; FromSoftware has created a rich open world, with something surprising, delightful or utterly terrifying around every corner. I’ll never forget the moment I found a chest that teleported my character to a cave full of Eldritch monsters. Elden Ring is full of those kinds of discoveries.

And if you’re worried about hitting a brick wall with Elden Ring’s difficulty, don’t be. Sure, it can be tough as nails, but it’s also From’s most accessible game to date as well. If you find combat overly punishing, go for a mage build and blast your enemies from afar, complete side quests and more. And if all else fails, one of the rewards for exploring Elden Ring’s world is experience that you can use to make your character stronger.


Take the weird Twin Peaks narrative of Alan Wake, smash it together with Quantum Break's frenetic powers and gunplay, and you've got Control. Playing as a woman searching for her missing brother, you quickly learn there's a thin line between reality and the fantastical. It's catnip for anyone who grew up loving The X-Files and the supernatural. It's also a prime example of a studio working at their creative heights, both refining and evolving the open-world formula that's dominated games for the past decade.

Control on the last-gen Xbox is a mixed affair, with the One S struggling a little, but the One X being head-and-shoulders above the PS4 Pro when it comes to fidelity and smoothness. With the launch of the next-gen consoles, an ‘Ultimate Edition’ emerged which brought the ray-tracing and higher frame rates that PC gamers enjoyed to console players. Although you’ll only get those benefits as a next-gen owner, it also includes all the released DLC and is the edition we recommend buying, even if you’re not planning to immediately upgrade.

Dead Space

The Dead Space remake feels like a warm, juicy hug from a murderous necromorph, and we mean that in the best way possible. The 2023 version of Dead Space spit-shines the mechanics that made the original game so magically horrific back in 2008, and it doesn’t add any unnecessary, modern bloat. The remake features full voice acting, new puzzles and expanded storylines, and it introduces a zero-gravity ability that allows the protagonist, Isaac Clarke, to fly through sections of the game in an ultra-satisfying way.

None of these additions outshine the game’s core loop: stasis, shoot, stomp. Isaac gains the ability to temporarily freeze enemies and he picks up a variety of weapons, but he never feels overpowered; he’s always in danger. Mutilated corpse monsters appear suddenly in the cramped corridors of the space station, charging at Isaac from the shadows, limbs akimbo and begging to be shot off. The first game of Dead Space popularized the idea that headshots don’t matter and the remake stays true to this ethos – yet its combat rhythm still feels fresh.

The 2023 version of Dead Space proves that innovative game design is timeless (and so are plasma cutters).

Halo Infinite

Master Chief's latest adventure may not make much sense narratively, but it sure is fun to play. After the middle efforts from 343 Industries over the last decade, Halo Infinite manages to breathe new life into Microsoft's flagship franchise, while also staying true to elements fans love. The main campaign is more open than ever, while also giving you a new freedom of movement with the trusty grappling hook. And the multiplayer mode is wonderfully addictive (though 343 still needs to speed up experience progression), with a bevy of maps and game modes to keep things from getting too stale. The only thing keeping it from greatness is its baffling and disjointed story, but it's not like Xbox fans have many options when it comes to huge exclusives right now.

Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 deftly walks a fine line by being an extremely deep and complex racing game that almost anyone can just pick up and play. The game has hundreds of cars that you can tweak endlessly to fit your driving style, and dozens of courses spread all over a gorgeous fictional corner of Mexico. If you crank up the difficulty, one mistake will sink your entire race, and the competition online can be just as fierce.

But if you’re new to racing games, Forza Horizon 5 does an excellent job at getting you up and running. The introduction to the game quickly gives you a taste at the four main race types you’ll come across (street racing, cross-country, etc.), and features like the rewind button mean that you can quickly erase mistakes if you try and take a turn too fast without having to restart your run. Quite simply, Forza Horizon 5 is a beautiful and fun game that works for just about any skill level. It’s easy to pick up and play a few races and move on with your day, or you can sink hours into it trying to become the best driver you can possibly be.

Gears 5

Gears 5 tries to be a lot of things, and doesn't succeed at them all. If you're a Gears of War fan, though, there's a lot to love here. The cover-shooter gameplay the series helped pioneer feels great, and the campaign, while not narratively ambitious, is well-paced and full of bombastic set pieces to keep you interested. As they stand, the various multiplayer modes are not great, but Gears 5 is worth it for the campaign alone.

It’s also a true graphical showcase, among the best-looking console games around. Microsoft did a great job optimizing for all platforms and use-cases, with high-resolution and ultra-high (up to 120fps on series consoles) frame rates.

Nier: Automata

It took more than a while to get here, but Nier: Automata finally arrived on Xbox One in the summer of 2018. And boy, was it worth the almost-18-month wait. Nier takes the razor-sharp combat of a Platinum Games title and puts it in a world crafted by everyone's favorite weirdo, Yoko Taro. Don't worry, you can mostly just run, gun and slash your way through the game, but as you finish, and finish and finish this one, you'll find yourself pulled into a truly special narrative, one that's never been done before and will probably never be done again. It’s an unmissable experience, and one that feels all the more unique on Xbox, which has never had the best levels of support from Japanese developers.

On Xbox One X and Series X, you effectively have the best version of Nier: Automata available, short of a fan-patched PC game. On Series S and One S... not so much, but you do at least get consistent framerates on the Series S and a passable experience on the One S. 

Ori and the Blind Forest

Arriving at a time when "Gears Halo Forza" seemed to be the beginning, middle and end of Microsoft's publishing plans, Ori and the Blind Forest was a triumph. It's a confident mash of the pixel-perfect platforming popularized by Super Meat Boy, and the rich, unfolding worlds of Metroidvania games. You'll die hundreds of times exploring the titular forest, unlocking skills that allow you to reach new areas. It looks and sounds great — like, Disney great — and its story, while fairly secondary to the experience, is interesting. Ori might not do much to push the boundaries of its genres, but everything it does, it does so right. Its sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, is very much “more of everything,” so if you like Blind Forest, it’s well worth checking out too.


Pentiment is a 2D-adventure-meets-visual-novel set in 16th-century Bavaria. You play as Andreas Maler, a young artist from a well-to-do family who gets caught up in a murder mystery while trying to complete his masterpiece. The game itself hinges on its artwork and writing. Both are remarkable: The former is like a medieval manuscript brought to life, while the latter is at once warm and biting, but always in complete control of what it’s trying to say. What starts as a seemingly straightforward whodunit turns into a sweeping, soulful meditation on the nature of history, power, community and truth itself. Time and again, it subverts the “your choices matter!” promise video games have long tried (and mostly failed) to fulfill. You don’t expect one of Microsoft’s best first-party Xbox games to be a riff on Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, but, well, here we are.

Hi-Fi Rush

Hi-Fi Rush is a hack-and-slash action game built entirely around its soundtrack. You can move and jump freely, but all of your steps and attacks are timed to the beat of the backing music. If you time your moves right on the beat, you can do more damage and pull off combos. Everything else in the world pulsates and takes action to the same rhythm, from enemy attacks to lights flashing in the background.

Is this revolutionary? Not really. Every hack-and-slasher has a sense of performance and musicality to it; Hi-Fi Rush just makes the subtext explicit. It’s Devil May Cry on a metronome. But it’s fun. Ripping through a room of goons is satisfying in most video games; ripping through them entirely in rhythm, with each dodge and final blow punctuated by a beat, is even more so. It helps that the soundtrack is actually good and that the combat system never punishes you too hard for button mashing in a panic. It also helps that the tone is that of a cel-shaded Saturday morning cartoon, starring a lovable doofus named Chai as he takes on a comically evil megacorp. Hi-Fi Rush has issues – its stages can drag, for one – but it plays like a passion project from the PS3/Xbox 360 era. It has ideas, and its main concern is being a good time.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 is the kind of game no one but Rockstar, the team behind the Grand Theft Auto series, could make. Only when a studio is this successful can it pour millions of dollars and development hours into a game. Rockstar's simulation of a crumbling frontier world is enthralling and serves as a perfect backdrop to an uncharacteristically measured story. While the studio's gameplay may not have moved massively forward, the writing and characters of RDR2 will stay with you.

While Rockstar hasn’t deemed fit to properly upgrade Red Dead Redemption 2 for the next-gen yet, Series X owners will at least benefit from the best last-gen (Xbox One X) experience with the addition of improved loading times. The Series S, on the other hand, gets the One S version, but with an improved 30 fps lock and swifter loading.

Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil Village is delightful. It’s a gothic fairy tale masquerading as a survival-horror game, and while this represents a fresh vibe for the franchise, it’s not an unwelcome evolution. The characters and enemies in Village are full of life — even when they’re decidedly undead — and Capcom has put a delicious twist on the idea of vampires, werewolves, sea creatures, giants and creepy dolls. The game retains its horror, puzzle and action roots, and it has Umbrella Corporation’s fingerprints all over it. It simply feels like developers had fun with this one, and so will you.

A word of caution before you run to buy it, though: This game doesn’t play great on every Xbox. On Series X, things are great: There's the option to turn on ray-tracing with the occasional frame rate issue, or to keep it off and have perfect 4K/60 presentation. With the Series S, while there is a ray-tracing mode, it’s almost unplayable. With ray-tracing off, the Series S does a decent job, though. The One X’s 1080p/60 mode is also fantastic, although its quality mode feels very juddery. If you own a base Xbox One or One S, though, there’s really no mode that actually feels enjoyable to play.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice isn't just another Dark Souls game. FromSoftware's samurai adventure is a departure from that well-established formula, replacing slow, weighty combat and gothic despair for stealth, grappling hooks and swift swordplay. Oh, and while it's still a difficult game, it's a lot more accessible than Souls games — you can even pause it! The result of all these changes is something that's still instantly recognizable as a FromSoftware title, but it's its own thing, and it's very good.

This is one game that’s really not had a lot of love from its developer or publisher, as, despite the fact next-gen consoles should be easily able to run this game at 60 fps, the Series S is locked to an inconsistently paced 30 fps, while the Series X doesn’t quite hold to 60 either. With that said, it’s more than playable.

Lost Judgment

This is private eye Takayuki Yagami’s second adventure; a spin-off of Sega’s popular, pulpy and convoluted Yakuza saga. He lives in the same Kamurocho area, the same yakuza gangs roam the streets, and there’s the very occasional crossover of side-story characters and, well, weirdos. But instead of punching punks in the face in the name of justice or honor, which was the style of Yakuza protagonist Kazuya Kiryu, Yagami fights with the power of his lawyer badge, drone evidence and… sometimes (read: often) he kicks the bad guys in the face.

The sequel skates even closer to some sort of serialized TV drama, punctuated by fights, chases and melodrama. For anyone that’s played the series before, it treads familiar ground, but with a more serious (realistic) story that centers on bullying and suicide problems in Japanese high schools, which is tied into myriad plots encompassing the legal system, politics and organized crime.

Yagami has multiple fighting styles to master, while there are love interests, batting cages, mahjong, skate parks and more activities to sink even more hours into. On the PS5, Lost Judgment looks great. Fights are fluid and the recreated areas in Tokyo and Yokohama are usually full of pedestrians, stores and points of interest. While Yakuza Like a Dragon takes the franchise in a new (turn-based, more ridiculous) direction, Lost Judgment retains the brawling playstyle of the Yakuza series, with a new hero who has, eventually, charmed us.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

We already mentioned this one but it's difficult to overemphasize how good a deal Game Pass is for Xbox owners. For $15 a month you get access to a shifting and growing library of games. The company does a good job explaining what new games are coming and going in advance, so you won't get caught out by a game disappearing from the subscription service just as you're reaching a final boss. There are 11 games mentioned in this guide, and seven of them are currently available with Game Pass. The full library is broad, and, while Microsoft's cloud service is still just in beta, you'll have access to many of the games on your tablet, phone or browser through xCloud at no extra fee.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Watch Europa League Soccer: Livestream LASK vs. Liverpool From Anywhere - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-09-21 12:30
The Reds sally forth into Europe once again, with Austria's LASK their first opponents this year.

Period Food Cravings Are Real. A New Brain Finding Could Explain Why They Happen

Scientifc America - Thu, 2023-09-21 12:30

A new study suggests that changes in the brain's sensitivity to insulin during phases of the menstrual cycle may be linked to appetite

Microsoft Refreshes 3 Surface Lines With AI and New Internals - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-09-21 12:29
The premium Surface Laptop Studio 2, budget Surface Laptop Go 3 and detachable Surface Go 4 for Business will feature Windows Copilot and upgraded parts.

Surface Laptop Go 3 hands-on: Microsoft makes a better case for its cheap PC

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 12:17

The Surface Laptop Go has always been an interesting experiment for Microsoft: What if you took the basic design of the Surface Laptop, but diminished its specs to make it far more affordable? We've always found them intriguing, but with the Surface Laptop Go 3, Microsoft has finally transformed its cheap PC into a potentially great computer. Mostly, that's due to the new Intel 12th-gen CPU, which makes the entire computing experience feels far zippier than before. It feels so good, you might not even notice that the Laptop Go 3's screen doesn't quite hit 1080p (it's still 1,536 by 1,024, like before).

Other than the internals, though, the Surface Laptop Go 3 is pretty much the same as before. The 12.4-inch PixelSense screen is decently bright at 300 nits, the keyboard has enough depth and responsiveness to handle my furious typing, and the trackpad is wonderfully smooth and responsive. It would have been nice to see some port upgrades this year; it's still equipped with a single USB-C connection, one USB Type A port and a slot for the Surface charger. 

If you can live with some of those compromises, though, the Surface Laptop Go 3 is a compelling machine for $799. Zipping around the web and launching multiple apps felt no different than a typical ultraportable. I was even able to get some gaming on, thanks to Xbox cloud gaming. I played several minutes of Need for Speed Unbound and was surprised that it felt no different than being played locally. That was especially surprising since I was playing over Wi-Fi in a crowded event space with over a hundred attendees. You can probably get some local gameplay in too, thanks to Intel's Iris Xe graphics, but certainly not Need for Speed

Our demo unit was also configured with 16GB of RAM, a first for the Surface Laptop Go line. That upgrade, along with the CPU bump, further erodes the line between the Surface Laptop Go and the more powerful Surface Laptops. It'll be interesting to see how Microsoft upgrades those machines next. For now, though, the Surface Laptop Go 3 may be all the PC some users need.

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Vizio Quantum Pro TV Promises Bright Images, Starts at $700 for 65-Inch - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-09-21 12:00
The successor to one of our favorite midpriced TVs of last year goes on sale soon.

Cisco Buys Splunk for $28 Billion in Massive AI-Powered Data Bet

SlashDot - Thu, 2023-09-21 12:00
Cisco agreed to buy Splunk in a deal valued at about $28 billion, representing its biggest acquisition yet and a massive push into software and artificial intelligence-powered data analysis. From a report: Cisco will pay $157 a share in cash, the companies said in a statement Thursday, or a 31% premium to Splunk's previous closing price on Wednesday. Cisco has been expanding its software and services business in an attempt to rely less on its hallmark networking hardware. The Silicon Valley giant has traditionally generated the bulk of its revenue from equipment that forms the backbone of computer networks, but that's been changing. Last month Cisco outlined the headway it's making in artificial intelligence and security technology. The deal is also arguably just as much a bet on artificial intelligence as it is on the business of software and data security. Earlier this year, Splunk announced a new line of AI offerings that it said would, among other things, allow companies to detect and respond to anomalies in their data faster. The merger offers the companies' AI products "substantial scale" and more visibility into data, they said in Thursday's statement.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

NASA's Gorgeous New Moon Image Paints Shackleton Crater in Light and Shadow

Scientifc America - Thu, 2023-09-21 11:30

A new NASA instrument allows researchers to view the bright and permanently shadowed portions of the moon’s Shackleton Crater at the same time

How to pre-order the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 11:29

While Microsoft's event on Thursday focused on AI, the company spent some time debuting a few new Surface devices as well. The new Surface Laptop Studio 2 is supposedly the most powerful Surface device Microsoft has made, with support for the latest Intel processor, NVIDIA RTX 40 series GPUs and the first Intel NPU on Windows to power AI effects. The Surface Laptop Go 3, on the other hand, is the company's newest small laptop and it's billed to have significant performance improvements and up to 15-hours of battery life. Here's how you can pre-order the new Surface Laptop Studio 2 and the Surface Laptop Go 3.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

The updated Surface Laptop Studio 2 is even more powerful than the previous version, sporting 13th-gen Intel i7 H-class processors, NVIDIA RTX 4050 and 4060 GPUs and it can be configured to have enterprise-level RTX 2000 Ada Generation graphics as well. The 14.4-inch touchscreen tilts forward so you can use it in studio and stage modes (in addition to the standard laptop mode), and the machine has Dolby audio-powered speakers, a touchpad that supports adaptive touch and an included Surface Slim Pen 2. The latest model can be configured to have up to 64GB of RAM and up to 2TB of storage.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3

The new Surface Laptop Go 3 is the latest iteration on Microsoft's tiny notebook. Coming in at under 2.5 pounds, it has a 12.4-inch touchscreen, a fingerprint-toting power button for biometric logins and improved performance that should make it 88 percent more powerful than the original Laptop Go. Microsoft claims the Laptop Go 3 will have up to 15 hours of battery life and it will come in four colors: platinum, sage, sandstone and ice blue. It will run on Intel Core i5 processors and can be configured to have up to 16GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage.

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

OpenAI Brings ChatGPT and Dall-E Together for Next-Gen Image Creation - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-09-21 11:28
The new version of OpenAI's Dall-E will be available to select customers in the coming months.

Microsoft's Surface Laptop Studio 2 has a 13th-gen Intel CPU and RTX 40 series GPU options

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 11:25

During its annual fall event on Thursday, Microsoft announced the (previously leaked) sequel to the Surface Laptop Studio, and it appears to come with plenty of much-needed improvements. 

For starters, the Surface Laptop Studio 2 will offer twice the CPU and GPU power of its predecessor, thanks to Intel 13th-gen i7 H class processors and NVIDIA RTX 4050 or 4060 GPUs. Those GPU options are geared toward speed and gaming, but can be traded for RTX 2000 Adas for those doing intensive graphical rendering work. During a demo of the machine during the event, Microsoft made a point of showing it smoking the M2 Max MacBook Pro in Blender. 

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 can also be loaded with up to 2TB of storage and 64GB of RAM. It will sport an adaptive touch-enabled trackpad, and come packed in with the Surface Slim Pen 2. The touchscreen will still clock in at 14.4 inches, with a 120Hz refresh rate, Dolby IQ and HDR. And, yeah, the screen tilts forward. Because of course it does. As for battery life, Microsoft is claiming the Surface Laptop Studio 2 will get up to 18 hours of runtime on a charge.

Notably, the Surface Laptop Studio 2 will also feature a neural processing unit, which can power AI effects — seemingly the first Intel NPU in a windows laptop . And just for good measure, it'll host a USB-A port, two slots for USB-C and a microSD card reader. 

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 will be available for customers on October 3, and starts at $1,999. 

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Surface Laptop Go 3 starts at $799 and arrives on October 3

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 11:07

Although Microsoft's annual fall event largely ended up being focused on AI, the company did have some new Surface hardware, too, as we all expected. Microsoft unveiled the new Surface Laptop Go 3, which it says will run for up to to 15 hours on a single charge while still being thin and light (0.62 inches and just shy of 2.5 pounds). The lightweight machine has a 12.4-inch touchscreen with a 3:2 ratio, a resolution of 1,536 x 1,024 and a brightness rating of 320 nits. At first glance, the bezels don't seem to have changed much from previous iterations. 

Performance-wise, Microsoft claims the Surface Laptop Go 3 is 88 percent faster than the original model, which came out three years ago. Inside, it runs a 12th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU along with Intel Iris Xe graphics. You can configure it with up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of storage (512GB in the commercial version). 

In addition, there's a 720p HD front-facing camera; a power button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor; dual far-field Studio Mics; and Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Audio. As for connectivity, you'll get a USB-C 3.2 port that you'll use for DisplayPort and fast charging; a USB-A 3.1 socket; a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Surface Connect port. There's also Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 support. 

Unsurprisingly, given Microsoft's focus on AI over the last year, the laptop will embrace Copilot AI, which the company is baking into Windows 11. The Surface Laptop Go 3 will be available in four colors — Platinum, Sage, Sandstone and Ice Blue — and will start at $799. It ships on October 3.

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Windows 11's Next Big Update Arrives on September 26th With Copilot, RAR Support

SlashDot - Thu, 2023-09-21 11:02
Microsoft will release its next big Windows 11 update, 23H2, on September 26th. The update will include the new AI-powered Windows Copilot feature, a redesigned File Explorer, a new Ink Anywhere feature for pen users, big improvements to the Paint app, native RAR and 7-zip file support, a new volume mixer, and much more. From a report: Windows Copilot is the headline feature for the Windows 11 23H2 update, bringing the same Bing Chat feature straight to the Windows 11 desktop. It appears as a sidebar in Windows 11, allowing you to control settings on a PC, launch apps, or simply answer queries. It's integrated all over the operating system, too: Microsoft executives demoed using Copilot to write text messages using data from your calendar, navigation options in Outlook, and more. This is also Microsoft's latest attempt to deliver a digital assistant inside Windows after the company shut down the Cortana app inside Windows 11 last month. It might be more successful this time, particularly as it's powered by the same technologies behind Bing Chat, so you can ask real questions and get answers (that might not always be accurate) in return. [...] Microsoft is also adding native RAR and 7-zip support to Windows 11 with this update. That means you'll be able to easily open files like tar, 7-zip, rar, gz, and many others using the libarchive open-source project that's now built into Windows 11. Microsoft is also planning to provide support for creating these file formats in 2024.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Microsoft Copilot Brings AI to Windows 11, Works Across Multiple Apps and Your Phone - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-09-21 10:55
Microsoft is reimagining Windows 11 with deep AI integration, inspired by ChatGPT.

George R.R. Martin and Other Authors Sue ChatGPT-Maker OpenAI - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-09-21 10:36
Authors are protesting the unlicensed use of their books to allegedly train AI technologies.

Microsoft wants its Copilot AI to be your personal shopper

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 10:36

During its largely AI-focused annual Surface event on Thursday, Microsoft announced that its generative AI assistant, Copliot, will also be available to help with shopping on Bing and Edge. Broadly speaking, the company plans to make Copilot a part of all its flagship products, including Windows, Edge and more. When it comes to shopping specifically, Copilot can help you decide on a style, locate a specific item and, of course, eventually buy it. 

But the new launch may be more about playing catch-up with its competitors than actually innovating. Google Lens, for example, lets you find products to buy by just snapping a picture of them. That means you can find results that fit what you're looking for, even if you don't have the right words to type it in the search bar. Google even started using your data across the company's apps, including Lens, to help its Bard AI chatbot provide more relevant and actionable chatbot responses.

Copilot for shopping works by asking additional questions based on your search to provide recommendations specific to you. Using a photo or saved image to search with Copilot will be available soon. 

Copilot AI will start rolling out to devices on September 26. Microsoft spent a significant portion of its event on Thursday talking about updates to the AI product. While it's currently a bit of a scattered setup, with different iterations on across Microsoft platforms, an update to Copilot will create a single generative AI assistant that spans across products. 

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Windows' Copilot AI starts rolling out September 26

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 10:31

Despite it nominally being a Surface-centric keynote, Microsoft sure spent a lot of time talking about AI during its annual event on Thursday. "We believe it has the potential to help you be more knowledgeable, more productive, more creative, more connected to the people and things around you," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the assembled crowd of reporters. "We think there's also an opportunity beyond work and life to have one experience that works across your entire life." 

To that end, Microsoft announced that its Copilot AI, which currently exists in various iterations in the Edge browser, Microsoft 365 platform and Windows, will be bundled into a single, unified and ubiquitous generative AI assistant across all of Microsoft's products — from Powerpoint to Teams.

"It's kind of like your PC now it's kind of becoming your CP. We believe Copilot will fundamentally transform the relationship with technology and user in a new era of personal computing, the age of Copilots," Nadella said. He also noted that the new AI will also have the "power to harness all your work data and intelligence," inferring that the system will be tunable to a customer's personal data silo.

One example of that provided during the event would be using Copilot on your laptop to pull data from your phone. You can ask Copilot to find your flight information, which it can pull from your phone's text messages or Bing Chat history (or wherever the data might be hiding), and then subsequently upsell you on stage plays happening during your trip and assist you with those ticket purchases. Remember, the point of all of this exists specifically to get you to buy more stuff. 

The updated AI will offer a number of features and functions that we've already seen in other rival systems, like being able to shop for clothing based on a picture of them with Microsoft Shopping with AI, a la Google Lens, or have it summarize the contents of complicated email chains, a la ChatGPT. "Now you can copy, paste and do," Carmen Zlateff, VP of Product Management, told the crowd. What's more, the existing Bing Image Creator is scheduled to be upgraded to the new DALL-E 3 model soon.

A demo video played during the event also showed people using the AI to organize their desktop windows, generate Spotify playlists and remove photo backgrounds on command, similar to Google's Magic Eraser. One handy feature, especially for those of you with school-aged kids, is the new Windows Ink Anywhere. With the Surface's stylus in hand you'll be able to write in any textbox across the Windows OS. As my colleague Devindra Hardawar explained in our liveblog, "With math, you can write complex equations into the field and get a solution. You can also use your pen to snip a photo of a math problem, which pushes Copilot to solve it." The system will even be able to explain its reasoning in solving those equations.

It will roll out on September 26, "informed by what you're doing on your PC," Yusuf Mehdi, CVP Consumer Chief Marketing Officer, said on stage. The AI will arrive as part of the new Windows 11 release, which Medhi confirmed will "have over 150 new features and be the biggest update since it was first released."

Microsoft has been at the forefront of the generative AI revolution since the debut of ChatGPT last November. The company has spent years and millions of dollars in R&D working on the technology, including purchasing GitHub in 2019 and dramatically expanding its ongoing partnership with OpenAI that past January.

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

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'Everywhere' gameplay trailer shows off an ambitious sandbox with a Fortnite aesthetic

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 10:02

Build a Rocket Boy has unveiled a new trailer for Everywhere, an ambitious sandbox title that will enable players to build their own experiences and explore others. If that sounds a bit like Fortnite on the surface, just wait until you see the art style. It looks very much like Epic’s game, right down to the stylized character models.

The clip provides the first look at gameplay. It's clear Everywhere has much more to offer than shooting and driving around pretty landscapes — the trailer shows a skeeball game and one character dodging obstacles in a gauntlet. It puts a heavy onus on the building aspect too, via the narration and some of the creative tools it shows off.

Build a Rocket Boy, which is led by former GTA producer Leslie Benzies, says the trailer shows off some of the "scale and variety" of what Everywhere has to offer. It says the project “seamlessly blends gameplay, adventure, creativity and discovery in an all-new multi-world gaming experience that redefines how players connect with one another and the digital world around them," according to VGC.

The studio announced Everywhere at Gamescom 2022 and it said at the time that the game would arrive sometime this year. There's no release date as yet, but Build a Rocket Boy plans to host a closed alpha test soon. You can create an account and claim your username now to have a shot at taking part in the first PC test.

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Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds review: Spatial audio makes all the difference

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 10:00

Most earbud and headphone makers are starting to skip the annual update cycle. Sure, many of them release a new model regularly, but in terms of overhauling a previous product, the timelines are typically more extended. Bose has made an exception, choosing to reveal the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds ($299) alongside its new QuietComfort Ultra Headphones a year after their predecessor. The new earbuds bring a familiar design and the same outstanding active noise cancellation (ANC), but the company is also promising a big boost in sound quality with its new Immersive Audio tech. For the same price as the set they replace, the QC Ultra Earbuds deliver spatial audio without the requirement, or the headache, of having to stream specialized content.


Bose made minimal changes to the design, retaining basically the same formula from the QuietComfort Earbuds II . One key difference is the touch panel on the outside, which is now silver instead of matching the earbuds (which were black, gray or white). It’s still plastic, but it’s just a different hue. Second, the company changed the “stability bands” or fit wings so they’re easier to properly install. That’s a welcome update since getting those securely in place was an issue on the QC Earbuds II.

With an almost entirely identical design from model to model, Bose didn’t reduce the size of the earbuds. This means they’re still quite large at a time when a lot of the competition continues to get smaller. However, the trade-off is the outer touch panel is larger than on tinier models from other companies. This translates to more reliable controls on the QC Ultra Earbuds and allows Bose to throw in a dedicated swipe gesture for volume adjustment, which is rare in this category.

Software and features Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds reviewPhoto by Billy Steele/Engadget

All of the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds’ features are accessible from the Bose Music app. Here, the company gives you battery percentages for each bud and a volume control at the top of the main screen. Below, you can access controls to toggle listening modes (ANC, transparency and Immersive Audio), the EQ, detailed settings, earbud seal test and options to reconfigure the shortcut gesture.

Under Immersive Audio, the app lets you switch between off, Still and Motion modes. They’re pretty self-explanatory, but I will point out that the Motion setting keeps the sound in front of you when you’re moving so music, movies and other content doesn’t stay in a fixed place or seem like it’s coming from behind or your pocket when you leave your desk. And since Bose lets you reconfigure the long press action on the earbuds, you can choose to have one side cycle through Immersive Audio modes while the other is set to shuffle through ANC (Quiet), transparency (Aware) and Immersive.

Sound quality

Bose’s new Immersive Audio is a big leap for sound quality on the company’s earbuds. The QuietComfort Earbuds II and the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds both sound good right out of the box. But with this Ultra model and its spatial audio tech, Bose finally has the sonic chops to compete with comparable products from Sony and Sennheiser. And the best part is that you don’t need specially created content or a specific streaming service to unlock it. Immersive Audio works with everything, no matter where you’re playing it from.

Like most implementations of spatial audio, Bose’s version takes the stock tuning and makes it louder. There’s more presence to the sound, and noticeably more volume, but there’s also more clarity and detail. The company says it achieves this with virtualization tech that seeks to eliminate the sensation that sound from earbuds is inside your head. Instead, it makes it seem like you’re sitting in the “acoustic sweet spot” with speakers placed in front of you. The result is not only the feeling that you’re not wearing the earbuds at all, but also extremely natural-sounding audio that’s immersive without having to be dimensional to have an impact.

I noticed the biggest difference between the stock tuning and Immersive Audio on acoustic-driven albums like Zach Bryan’s self-titled release, Gregory Alan Isakov’s Appaloosa Bones and Noah Kahan’s Stick Season. All three are able to harness the effect of Bose’s spatial sound to the point that sometimes it seems like Zach Bryan is sitting right in front of you picking his guitar. When it’s just strings and a voice, you can really hear what Bose has achieved, but it doesn’t just work for folksy country or singer/songwriter ballads. You can clearly hear the influence of Immersive Audio throughout a range of genres, including metal, hip-hop and electronic tunes. At first you notice it’s louder, but after the initial jolt, the amplified details like texture in distorted guitars and synths, as well as reverb on the drums and layered instruments, become more apparent.

Noise cancellation performance Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds reviewPhoto by Billy Steele/Engadget

The QuietComfort Earbuds II have been our top pick for pure ANC performance in our best wireless earbuds guide since their debut. Bose has a long history of stellar noise cancellation and it’s still at the top of the heap. With the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds, the company remains the best at blocking distractions, and these buds are especially good at reducing airplane noise to near silence during a flight. This new model struggles with voices, but that’s a pitfall of many earbuds and headphones. Still, when you encounter any kind of constant clamor, the QC Ultra Earbuds are likely your best choice if ANC effectiveness is top of mind.

Call quality

Bose says it made improvements with dynamic microphone mixing and adaptive filters. According to the company, the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds can also prioritize which earbud is getting the least wind interference while picking from a number of noise filters to keep you sounding clear – all in real time. During my tests, voice quality wasn’t exactly pristine, but the earbuds did a great job of blocking background sounds to reduce distractions. Is it the best? No. Will it get the job done with minimal fuss? Absolutely.

Battery life

The new Immersive Audio tech will impact battery life, and Bose is upfront about that. The company says that with that spatial sound enabled, you can expect two hours less of playing time per charge. So instead of six hours with ANC, you’ll get around four, but that’s with noise cancellation and Immersive Audio turned on. During my tests, the QC Ultra Earbuds outperformed those estimates as the Bose Music app was still showing 30 percent left after four hours. What’s more, there are three additional charges in the case for a total of 16 to 24 hours of use.

The QuietComfort Earbuds II didn’t have wireless charging and the new model doesn’t either – at least not out of the box. If you want to top them up without a cable, you’ll have to buy a silicone cover for the charging case, which will cost an additional $50. Sure, it’s better than not offering wireless charging at all, but it would’ve been nice if the company had just built it into the product without requiring another component and an extra purchase.

The competition Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds reviewPhoto by Billy Steele/Engadget

Bose’s main competition for full-featured, noise-canceling earbuds is Sony, which debuted its WF-1000XM5 model in July, improving upon what was already a stellar formula. Simply put, no other company packs in as many features as Sony, and it manages to keep top-notch sound quality and ANC performance while doing so. The M5 is more expensive than previous models at $300, but that’s on par with the QC Ultra Earbuds. Sony also didn’t improve battery life from the M4, which is eight hours, and some of those handy features still need fine tuning.

For the Apple faithful, the second-gen AirPods Pro are also worth considering. Apple’s earbuds are loaded with features that make them the perfect companion for the iPhone and its other devices. The company has consistently put out the most natural-sounding transparency mode and new tricks enabled by the H2 chip, like Adaptive Audio, have made the year-old model even better. Great sound quality and solid ANC performance are also part of the appeal.


The QuietComfort Earbuds II were already the best true wireless model Bose had ever built, mostly due to their superior active noise cancellation. Add spatial audio that doesn’t require you to jump through any extra hoops to use and the QC Ultra Earbuds are immediately a worthwhile upgrade. Sure, there’s still work to be done on things like transparency mode, call quality and built-in wireless charging. But perhaps for the first time, Bose has a set of earbuds that can compete with the best sonically and not just purely on its noise-blocking merits.

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