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Microsoft News Roundup: Palworld breaks the internet, Microsoft lays off 1,900 employees, and Apple clears the way for better Xbox Cloud Gaming on iPhone

 ROG Ally Palworld .
ROG Ally Palworld .

With so much news coming out each week, it's easy to miss out on some juicy stories. Thankfully for anyone wanting to catch up, we gather all the biggest news in one convenient piece each week.

Many of this week's biggest stories relate to gaming, including Palworld breaking records, Microsoft laying off a large part of its gaming team, and Apple changing its rules to allow for game streaming apps for iPhone and iPad.

We also covered the biggest and best deals in tech and shared several reviews. Here's everything you need to catch up on the last week from the world of Microsoft, Windows, and PC and Xbox gaming.

Xbox News Roundup

With this week's roundup focusing so much on gaming news, it's a great time to introduce our Xbox News Recap. By coincidence, this week's biggest stories across all of Microsoft happen to be gaming related, so many of the stories in the video roundup go more in-depth into the stories I cover below.

Palword breaks records

Palworld on Steam Deck.
Palworld on Steam Deck.

More Palworld

Palworld is launching into early access and game preview on Steam, Windows, and Xbox. The game will also be available via Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.
Palworld is launching into early access and game preview on Steam, Windows, and Xbox. The game will also be available via Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.

Palworld FAQ
Palworld review
Palworld Ore locations
Palworld base guide
7 Palworld beginner's tips

Palworld took the gaming world by storm this past week. Despite being in early access, Palworld is the second-most-played game in Steam history in terms of concurrent players. The survival game peaked at 2,101,535 concurrent players at the time of publication, but that number could go up.

Incredibly, Palworld was so popular that Pocketpair, which makes the game, had to have an emergency meeting with Epic Games to keep Palworld running well. Over one million copies of Palworld sold within 8 hours.

It's not all good news for Palword, however. Many of the game's creatures are similar to Pokémon. They aren't identical, but they're close enough to draw criticism and force the makers of Pokémon to issue a statement.

Our gaming team smashed it when it comes to Palworld coverage. I tend to try to keep these roundups more general than sharing my own opinion, but you really need to take a look at all of Windows Central's Palworld coverage. The team has guides, funny pieces, news stories, and an early access Palworld review.

Xbox Series X (Brooklin)

Xbox Series X 2024
Xbox Series X 2024

Microsoft usually refreshes its console hardware mid-cycle, but we know a bit more about the next Xbox than usual. Codenamed Brooklin, the next Xbox Series X is expected in late October or early November 2024. Pricing is expected to be $499, which aligns with the current Xbox Series X. But notably, Brooklin should have double the storage, bringing it to 1TB or 2TB.

Many of these details come from the unredacted FCC documents accidentally shared by Microsoft. Details could change or prove to be incorrect, but we have a good idea of what the new Xbox Series X will be like.

After Brooklin launches, you should expect to see the current version of the Xbox Series X discounted. The new Brooklin console and the discounted Xbox Series X should provide excellent options for those shopping for a console this holiday season.

Microsoft's Project Brooklin will still have a vertical orientation like the current Xbox Series X, but it will be cylindrical rather than a large rectangular prism.

Controversially, the new Xbox Series X will not have a disc drive. Microsoft graphics that appeared by accident in an FCC filing call the Xbox Series X refresh "adorably all digital."

As you'd expect from a console refresh, the new Xbox Series X will have the latest tech, such as Wi-Fi 6E. It will also have Bluetooth 5.2, which would be the first time an Xbox console supports Bluetooth.

Activision Blizzard layoffs

Blizzard logo
Blizzard logo

Unfortunately, it wasn't all good news on the gaming front this week. Microsoft has laid off 1,900 employees from its gaming teams. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer announced the cuts to employees in an email, which we also shared in our post about the news.

We also learned that Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Ybarra will leave the company. Ybarra worked for Microsoft for over 20 years before leaving to join Activision Blizzard. He said on X that it was time to "(once again) become Blizzard’s biggest fan from the outside."

On top of the layoffs and leadership changes, Blizzard has canceled its survival game known for now as Project Odyssey.

While layoffs are common when two companies merge, the sheer number of affected employees upset many. Our Samuel Tolbert said "gross doesn't cover it" and called the move "counter-productive and insulting."

Tolbert isn't alone in his thoughts, as many have expressed similar feelings across the web.

Xbox Cloud Gaming on iPhone and iPad

Xbox Cloud Gaming on Backbone controller
Xbox Cloud Gaming on Backbone controller

Streaming Xbox Cloud Gaming on an iPhone or iPad is about to get a lot better. Following a European Commission antitrust investigation, Apple announced changes to its App Store policies that allow developers to create single apps for streaming a library of content. That means Xbox Cloud Gaming and all of the games available on Xbox Game Pass through game streaming could appear within single apps on iOS and iPadOS.

The news only dropped late this week, so we haven't heard anything from Microsoft on the topic. But a dedicated app for streaming Xbox Cloud Gaming will undoubtably work better than using a browser. Microsoft already has a similar app for Android, so I expect to see iOS and iPadOS versions soon.

Windows Central Podcast

If you prefer to hear your news rather than read it, or if you want to hear additional analysis and insight from our experts, make sure to check out the latest episode of the Windows Central Podcast.

Review Roundup

Palworld
Palworld

We don't just talk about gadgets and games here, we go hands-on. From Palworld to an ultrawide monitor, here are all our reviews from the past week:

Deals

Unfortunately, some of the best deals we saw this week lasted for a limited time. The deals below are all live at the time of publication.

Surface Pro 9 with Surface Pro Keyboard| was $1,539.99 now $999.99

Microsoft's flagship 2-in-1 tablet runs Windows 11, offers amazing performance, and provides two USB-C ports. Combined with the detachable keyboard and Surface Pen, it can turn into a very great portable laptop.View Deal

Dell XPS 13 (9315) | was $799 now $599 at Dell

This laptop stands as the pinnacle of the classic XPS design. It's sleek, dependable, and builds on years of Dell making many of the best laptops on the market.  While this discounted model has entry-level specs when compared to more expensive XPS 13 models, it's an excellent laptop that can zip through productivity work.


View Deal