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Microsoft News Roundup: Palworld loses top spot on Steam, no Windows 12 in 2024, and Xbox fans debate console exclusivity

 Lenovo ThinkBook Plus (Gen 4).
Lenovo ThinkBook Plus (Gen 4).

Another week gone by means another wave of stories. This week we saw a surprise game surpass Palworld on the Steam Top Seller list, received confirmation that Microsoft will not ship Windows 12 this year, and laughed at a funny video comparing Microsoft HoloLens and Apple Vision Pro. It wasn't all laughs, however, as we also saw debates rage about how Microsoft should handle Xbox exclusivity on consoles.

Here are all the biggest stories from the last week, plus a roundup of our reviews and the best deals that are still live.

No Windows 12 this year

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3 in photos
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3 in photos

Microsoft will release a new version of Windows in 2024, but it will not be Windows 12. Instead, the major update rolling out in autumn (in the northern hemisphere) will be called Windows 11 version 24H2. This name convention aligns with previous major releases from Microsoft, but it also confirms that we won't see Windows 12 any time soon.

"Starting with Build 26-xx today, Windows Insiders in the Canary and Dev Channels will see the versioning updated under Settings > System > About (and winver) to version 24H2. This denotes that Windows 11, version 24H2 will be this year’s annual feature update." said Microsoft in the notes for Windows 11 Build 26052 (emphasis Microsoft's).

Some had speculated that Windows 12 would come out this year, but Microsoft's build notes clarify that not to be the case. Our Senior Editor Zac Bowden explained why the next release won't be Windows 12 last week. Bowden appeared to hit the nail on the head, as less than one week later Microsoft confirmed Windows 11 version 24H2 will be the next major update to the OS.

Palworld loses top spot on Steam

Helldivers 2 gameplay
Helldivers 2 gameplay

Palworld has been the talk of the town since it launched, but a lesser-known title beat out Palworld on Steam's Top Sellers list. Helldivers 2, a co-op third-person shooter, worked its way all the way up to the number two spot on that list, only trailing Valve's Steam Deck.

It's important to note that Helldivers 2 did not surpass Palworld in terms of total installs. Rather, the revenue generated by Helldivers 2 over the last 24 hours compared to Palworld's revenue in the same timeframe is what's being compared. That figure includes all sources of revenue driven by a game, including base game purchases, DLC content sales, and in-game transactions. Steam explains how its top sellers chart works in an FAQ page:

"For each game, we roll up all the player spending from the trailing 24 hours, and then add extra weight to spending in the last 3 hours. That extra weighting of the most recent spending helps Steam to more quickly reflect changes, like a popular new release or a game trending upward."

Helldivers 2 is also notable because it is the first PlayStation exclusive that launched on PS5 and PC simultaneously. While popular titles such as God of WarMarvel's Spider-Man, and Death Stranding are available on PC, they were exclusive to PlayStation for either months or years depending on the game.

While Helldivers 2 is near the top of Steam's top seller list, the game has mixed reviews due to matchmaking issues and crashes. Those issues occur on both the console and PC version of the game. A hotfix already rolled out, but problems remain.

Helldivers 2 | was $39.99 now $33.19 at GMG (Steam) with discount code FEB17

Team up with friends to fight aliens across PC and PS5. Hordes are attacking, and humanity needs defenders. This third-person shooter appears to evolve the formula of the original arcade-like experience, and cross-play ensures players can stay together.
View Deal

Apple Vision Pro vs HoloLens

On the lighter side of things, a funny satirical video about Apple Vision Pro and HoloLens made the rounds this week. YouTuber SAMTIME pokes fun at all big tech companies, and his latest video compares Microsoft's HoloLens to Apple Vision Pro. In it, he pretends to be a Microsoft employee complaining about how Apple Vision Pro copied HoloLens.

While SAMTIME's video is playful and entertaining, it does raise some good points. Microsoft had a fully functional augmented reality headset years ago but has since abandoned it. Windows Mixed Reality is being deprecated. In fact, the latest Windows 11 Insider build is the first to not support Windows Mixed Reality.

Xbox exclusivity drama

Hi-Fi Rush Chai and 808
Hi-Fi Rush Chai and 808

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Poll: Should Microsoft's games be console exclusive to Xbox?

Following rumors of Hi-Fi Rush and Sea of Thieves potentially launching on PlayStation or Nintendo Switch, Xbox fans and the gaming industry as a whole started asking questions about the future of Xbox. Some are worried that a shift away from console exclusivity could lead to Microsoft abandoning its gaming hardware efforts. Others believe Microsoft is trading short term gains for long term issues. The noise got so loud that Microsoft announced a "business update event" to clear things up.

"We're listening and we hear you," said Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer. "We've been planning a business update event for next week, where we look forward to sharing more details with you about our vision for the future of Xbox. Stay tuned."

While that event should answer some questions, it hasn't happened yet, so debates continue. Of course, even if that question answers what Microsoft's plans are, it won't end arguing about if those plans are good.

I shared a poll this week asking if Microsoft-made games should remain exclusive to Xbox when it comes to console gaming. Thousands of votes have poured in, and the majority of people (54% at time of publication) believe that all Microsoft-made games should be exclusive to Xbox consoles. Another 27% think games from certain studios should remain exclusive to Xbox hardware. Somewhat surprisingly, 19% of voters said that no Xbox games should be exclusive.

That poll is still live, and I'll keep it up over the weekend to get more input.

Reviews

HYTE Y70 Touch
HYTE Y70 Touch

From a game console that looks like a slider phone from 2004 to a gaming PC with a screen built in, we look at some fun gadgets each week at Windows Central. Toss in some reviews of the Halo TV series and a controller and you have a lot of reviews to catch up on!

Deals

Turtle Beach Stealth Pro
Turtle Beach Stealth Pro

Tech is great. Spending too much on tech is not. That's why each week we keep an eye out for the best deals. Recently, we spotted a huge discount on the Turtle Beach Stealth Pro Xbox Headset and a great deal on the Surface Laptop Studio 2. There are also some older deals that aren't quite as good as when they launched but that are still live.

Turtle Beach Stealth Pro Xbox Headset | was $329.99 now $219.99 at Woot

Our Managing Editor, Jez Corden, awarded the Turtle Beach Stealth Pro a rare 5-star review. With maximum comfort, top-tier construction, swappable batteries, interference-free Bluetooth, and Xbox wireless sound mixing, along with a great mic, superb on-ear controls, and a sleek design, it's the epitome of excellence in Xbox headsets. Think of it as the Mary Poppins of gaming gear — practically perfect in every way. (Be sure to select Xbox in the version drop-down.)

✅Perfect for: A flawless gaming and audio experience across Xbox and Windows PC devices.

❌Avoid if: You need SPDIF optical audio inputs to mix audio from a TV or secondary source with audio from your PC (more applicable to content creators).

💰Price check: $329.99 at Amazon

🔍Hands-on review: Turtle Beach Stealth Pro reviewView Deal

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 | was $1,999.99 now $1,899.99 at Microsoft

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 is a unique item in the market; its adjustable screen allows easy sketching and note-taking. This is one of the only Surface devices that can handle gaming with the most powerful configurations. The base configuration has a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and Intel Iris Xe graphics. Some of the better configurations have an NVIDIA RTX 4050 or 4060. View Deal

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 8) | was $4,039 now $2,139.99 at Lenovo

This business 2-in-1 laptop runs on a 13th Gen Intel Core i7, has 32GB of RAM, and comes with 1TB of storage. It promises all-day battery life, versatility when it comes to input methods, and has the infamous TrackPoint nub.View Deal

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 | was $1,499 now $1,299 at Dell

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is a beautiful tablet that you can use as a PC with a folio keyboard (sold separately). Dell's convertible is a better bargain than the Surface Pro 9 any day of the year, but that's even more true thanks to a discount on the XPS 13 2-in-1.