The backwards compatibility work at Xbox keeps getting better. Microsoft has just announced that Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be getting a free next-gen update to take advantage of the capabilities of the Xbox Series S and X. The upgrade will roll out November 17th, just one week after the launch of the Series S and X.
Among the highlights of the update, Microsoft confirmed that the title will be optimized to play at 120 FPS on both Xbox Series X and S for both multiplayer and the single-play campaigns. The Series X version will also be optimized to render at 4K while still achieving the 120 FPS benchmark. Other highlights include improved split-screen functionality, FOV sliders, and cross-gen play.
This announcement stands as a testament to Microsoft’s dedication to the backwards compatibility program. After an embarrassing launch back in 2014, the company has been steadily working to improve to title which has since seen vast improvements across the board including reduced bugs and online lag while continuous work has also been done to improve the multiplayer portions of each game.
The next-gen upgrade for Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be free to anyone who has already purchased the game or for anyone who downloads it through a paid Game Pass subscription.
After coming to a widely publicized standstill with Apple in regards to bringing their much anticipated cloud gaming service to their platform, it appears that Microsoft is now working on a direct browser-based solution. The evolutionary service, previously known as Project xCloud, is now expected to arrive on iOS and iPadOS devices in 2021.
As reported by Business Insider and The Verge, Xbox head Phil Spencer stated, “We absolutely will end up on iOS. We’ll end up on iPhones, and iPads with Game Pass.” He further commented that he “feels good” about the company’s iOS progress.
While Microsoft was recently able to launch their Xbox cloud gaming service on Android devices for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, their ambitions for Apple devices was hit with an unfortunate roadblock courtesy of Apple’s App Store policies and guidelines. The main issue was that the tech giant required developers to individually submit their games as separate apps in order to be on a streaming app. This restriction was quite unexpected and rather contradictory in comparison to how other streaming services on the platform function (e.g., Netflix).
While Spencer has yet to address the issue publicly, he did say that there is a long list of “cool things the xCloud team is working on” that includes having xCloud on Xbox consoles and PC, however, these plans are “just a bit further down” the road right now. The Xbox game streaming service is currently expected to arrive on iOS and iPadOS devices in 2021.
In a blog post earlier today, Microsoft announced that they will soon be adding EA Play, formerly known as EA Access, to their subscription service known as Xbox Game Pass, for no extra cost. For those who may be unfamiliar, EA Play is also a subscription service run by a completely different publisher — Electronic Arts.
According to the announcement, the deal will begin “this holiday,” and will include both the PC version of Game Pass, which currently costs $4.99 per month, and Game Pass Ultimate, which is $14.99 per month. EA Play currently costs $4.99 per month on console and either $4.99 or $14.99 per month on PC, depending on how many games you wish to access.