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It might not get the same kind of attention as Google and Apple, but Microsoft is still one of the biggest and most powerful tech companies operating today. It runs Azure, one of the biggest cloud computing services, and maintains Windows 11 and the whole Office suite of software. It also makes plenty of Surface hardware and has a whole slew of gaming products, including the Xbox Series X. But the company is ever expanding — building new hardware, acquiring new game studios, and making sure that even if Microsoft doesn't run your phone, it can touch plenty of the apps on it.

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One month with Microsoft’s AI vision of the future: Copilot Pro

Copilot Pro is a $20 per month subscription that includes AI features in Office apps and better image generation tools.

Xbox-exclusives Hi-Fi Rush and Sea of Thieves officially coming to PS5

Hi-Fi Rush is coming to PS5 on March 18th, with Sea of Thieves arriving on April 30th

Microsoft now offers Copilot GPTs to help you work out, find recipes, and more.

When you open Microsoft Copilot, you’ll notice a new list of Copilot GPTs tailored for fitness training, designing, planning vacations, and helping you cook. You’ll also be able to create your own Copilot GPTs soon, as Microsoft corporate vice president Jordi Ribas says the feature is currently in testing.

Microsoft’s PS5 version of Pentiment runs better than the Xbox version due to a bug.

Pentiment, previously an Xbox-exclusive game from Microsoft-owned Obsidian Entertainment, launched on PS5 last week running at 120fps. The Xbox version of the game is locked to 60fps, leading to a weird situation where a PS5 version of an Xbox game actually runs better than the Xbox version — even though it’s a 2D game. Thankfully it’s just a bug, so a 120fps mode is coming to Pentiment on Xbox “in the next patch.”

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Microsoft will detail its new DirectSR super resolution next month.

Microsoft appears to be working on its own DLSS-like AI upscaling feature for PC games, and it’s about to detail it next month. Microsoft will introduce “DirectSR” during a GDC session on March 21st, a technology that makes it “easier than ever for game devs to scale super resolution support across Windows devices.” An “Auto SR” feature was found in recent Windows 11 builds, promising to use AI to “make support games play more smoothly with enhanced details.”

DirectSR GDC session


Microsoft says its automated AI red teaming tool finds malicious content “in a matter of hours.”

PyRIT, or Python Risk Identification Toolkit, can point human evaluators to “hot spot” categories in AI that might generate harmful prompt results.

Microsoft used PyRIT while redteaming (the process of intentionally trying to get AI systems to go against safety protocols) its Copilot services to write thousands of malicious prompts and score the response based on potential harm in categories that security teams can now focus on.

From ChatGPT to Gemini: how AI is rewriting the internet

How we use the internet is changing fast thanks to the advancement of AI-powered chatbots that can find information and redeliver it as a simple conversation.

Microsoft confirms the four Xbox-exclusive games coming to PS5 and Switch.

Microsoft is bringing Sea of Thieves to the PS5 on April 30th. It’s the second previous Xbox-exclusive that’s coming to PS5, with Hi-Fi Rush available on the PS5 on March 19th. These are part of four Xbox games coming to PS5 and Nintendo Switch:

Pentiment - PS4, PS5, and Switch on February 22nd
Hi-Fi Rush - PS5 on March 19th
Grounded - PS4, PS5, and Switch on April 16th
Sea of Thieves - PS5 on April 30th

Xbox exclusive games are coming to PS5 and Switch.
Xbox exclusive games are coming to PS5 and Switch.
Image: Microsoft
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Starfield gets FSR 3 and XeSS support.

After launching with just FSR 2 support, Starfield has been gradually getting the very latest upscaling tech. Now Bethesda is adding the latest FSR 3 version, alongside support for Intel’s XeSS upscaler.

The latest update also includes some DLSS fixes, and a change to stop the data menu opening when you take a screenshot.

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Microsoft is developing server tech to make AI chips run faster.

The Information reports Microsoft’s server network cards, which are currently in development, could replace the ones offered by Nvidia and save the company cash. Server cards move data quickly between servers. These new server cards should not only improve the performance of Nvidia chips, but Microsoft’s upcoming Maia AI chips as well.

The Verge
Apple’s cloud gaming changes don’t “go far enough” for Xbox.

At one point, Xbox wanted to get its cloud gaming service on the App Store — but now that Apple will actually allow it, the gaming giant isn’t biting. Here’s Xbox boss Phil Spencer:

There’s not room for us to monetize Xbox Cloud Gaming on iOS. I think the proposal that Apple put forward... doesn’t go far enough to open up. In fact, you might even say they go the opposite direction in some way, but they definitely don’t go far enough to open up competition on the world’s largest gaming platform.

Watch Phil Spencer and co. talk about what’s next for Xbox.

You can read all of the news right here, but if you want to check out the podcast where Xbox leadership discussed everything from platform exclusives to the state of Game Pass to some vague talk of new hardware, the whole thing is embedded below.

Microsoft’s gaming chief on Xbox games coming to PS5, next-gen hardware, and more

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer is looking to rivals to boost the future of Xbox.

The Verge
Xbox marks the spot.

Later today Microsoft will be sharing “updates on the Xbox business” in an episode of the Xbox podcast that will feature Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, head of Xbox game studios Matt Booty, and Xbox president Sarah Bond. If rumors are to be believed, we’ll be hearing about multiplatform games and possibly even new hardware. It’ll be available at 3PM ET and you can check it out on the Xbox YouTube channel — and, of course, stay tuned to The Verge for all the news.

Is OpenAI the next challenger trying to take on Google Search?

A source for The Information says OpenAI is working on web search (partially powered by Bing) that would more directly compete with Google. It’s unclear if it would be standalone, or a part of ChatGPT.

This comes one year after Microsoft CEO (and OpenAI backer) Satya Nadella targeted Google by adding Copilot AI tools to Bing, saying on Decoder, “I want people to know that we made them dance.”

Between Google’s Bard / Gemini, Copilot, and newcomers like Perplexity, the dance floor is filling up quickly.

The Verge
Xbox touch controls are now available for remote play.

The Xbox updates for February 2024 include Xbox touch controls for remote play with the iOS and Android Xbox apps. Improved filtering and sorting for the Xbox dashboard and a new thumbstick calibration tool are also available on Xbox consoles. Microsoft also has a new access restriction option to make it easier for player’s profiles to be deleted when they sign out, a good option for shared consoles in hospitals.

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Your Core 2 Duo and Athlon 64 might not run Windows 11 anymore.

Originally, Microsoft made it hard — but not impossible — to install Windows 11 on older machines. That’s reportedly changing. Bob Pony:

So HUGE discovery found in Windows 11 Version 24H2, since build 25905.

A CPU with the instruction “POPCNT” IS NOW REQUIRED!

“That effectively bars mid-2000s Intel Core 2 Duo systems and early Athlon 64-era PCs from booting Windows 11 at all,” writes Ars Technica.

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Microsoft Edge and Bing avoid the EU’s latest regulations.

The European Commission is forcing Microsoft to make changes to Windows 11 in EU countries, but Microsoft Edge, the company’s Bing search engine, and Microsoft Advertising have all been spared from the EU’s Digital Markets Act. EU regulators have analyzed Microsoft’s argument against the DMA for Bing, Edge, and Microsoft Advertising and agreed they do not qualify as gatekeeper services.

“We welcome the Commission’s decision to exempt Bing, Edge, and Microsoft Advertising, which operate as challengers in the market,” says Microsoft spokesperson Robin Koch in a statement to The Verge.

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[European Commission - European Commission]