One of the more interesting things to come out of the Xbox leaks related to the Activision merger (and there was a ton of cool stuff) was Microsoft’s consideration of moving to Arm. It’s something that’s had my head spinning, especially with news cracking that Nvidia and AMD are serious about delivering ARM based processors. As someone who subscribes to Xbox Game Pass, the closure of the Activision Blizzard deal is nothing but good news for a consumer like me in the short to medium term. In fact, I’d call it good for most consumers on those terms. But I can’t help but feel like Microsoft played this case perfectly. They are disadvantaged globally, but the leaks from this case along with Xbox’s general investments make it clear that they, at the very least, have an idea as to how things could flip in the long term.
Windows Snap is an incredibly useful tool for productivity and multitasking at large. It allows those using a larger monitor or TV to emulate the functionality of having multiple displays to work with. Its greater purpose comes from the ability to reference while writing, troubleshooting, or using any other work related software, but it’s also fantastic for throwing video or messaging to the side while playing games. Lately, I’ve noticed that Windows Snap behaves differently when used with some Xbox Game Studios games.
Almost immediately, Starfield felt fragmented to me. Navigating the UI was a chore, and every move I made inevitably required awkward loading screens. Most of all, the entire experience felt obscured. Starfield is overstuffed with things to do, but most of the time it feels like you’re going against the grain. For me, the biggest appeal of Skyrim was the effortless flow of its open world. Anything I did felt in line with everything else in the game.
And that’s what was most jarring about Starfield – it lacked direction or even a sense that what I was doing was right (it can still feel this way). There are an endless amount of great quests, things to build, places to make sense of, and general paths of exploration. Bethesda clearly swung wide with this game, and at many points during my time with the game so far I was overwhelmed by possibility. But it also feels very uneven and, above all, feels like a whole that’s very systems driven. Right down to its exploration, each of these major aspects can feel very siloed off.
Halo Infinite has been in an absolute groove ever since the December 2022 update, and it looks like 343 Industries has got plenty steam in them yet with Season 5: Reckoning. Whether its Pierre Hintze taking over or the usual drawn out wind up of live service games, Season 5 has again addressed why Infinite hasn’t felt like prior games.
I’ve always been fascinated by networking, and diving into the fundamentals of IT with academics only took that need to know further. It turns out games have been a great way of going hands on thanks to the incredibly powerful Wireshark (a free and open source packet sniffing application). Poking around at multiplayer games has been an awesome way to see how things play out in real time.
Most recently, following the path between my PC and a game’s servers with the tracert command has been a great way of understanding more about real world networking practices. The tracert command uses the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) – a diagnostic protocol of the network layer – to map out each stop from your computer to an endpoint designated by you (IP address or domain name).
Deleting WindowsApps, Program Files, and XboxApps on your external hard drive is a matter of:
- Changing ownership of this files over to your new computer
- Editing permissions so that you have full control over these files
- Booting into safe mode and deleting each folder
The official Xbox app for PC has gotten much better over time (especially with the release of Starfield), but you’ll still find yourself running into infuriating bugs. Steam is still far ahead in user experience despite Microsoft’s investment into both speed and functionality.
A perfect example of Steam’s seamless user experience over the Xbox app is in the process of managing external hard drives across two different computers. Whether you’re moving to a new PC or like to switch between a laptop/desktop, you’ll find that the Xbox PC app will refuse to cooperate between two distinct installs.
I’ve found that there are two main issues that crop up when using an external hard drive between two PCs:
- You won’t be able to play previously installed games on a different PC
- You won’t be able to install games on an external hard drive if games were previously installed through a different PC
To solve this, I deleted the contents of WindowsApps, XboxApps, and Program Files without having to wipe the drive completely (these were the folders I found to have associations with previous PC Game Pass installs).
The best ways to lower input lag:
- Always choose Game Mode on your TV (other modes can have more than 1/10 of a second of input lag)
- If you’ve been having spikes of input lag that seem strange, switch to a wired controller
- Microsoft optimized the official wireless controller for latency, but it can still be prone to interference
- Choose Performance Mode over Quality Mode (30 FPS has double the input latency of 60 FPS)
I’ve had the Xbox Series X for about two years, and in that time it’s been mostly smooth sailing when it comes to input latency. There’s been a little weirdness at times (I’ll get to that below), but for the most part, responsiveness has come down to:
- The display I’m using
- The type of controller I’m using
- The game I’m playing
Quickly manage and delete files in the D:\ drive’s Recycle Bin:
- Navigating to the Recycle Bin of your C:\ drive will show all files/folders originating from the D:\ drive
- Delete all files taking up space on your D:\ drive’s Recycle Bin by using the Disk Cleanup utility
- Right click your external drive in Window’s File Explorer and click Properties
- Click Disk Cleanup under the storage visualization of the General tab
- Select Recycle Bin and confirm to delete all contents originating from the D:\ drive
- Windows 11 handles drive management differently
- Click Details under the general tab of Properties (replaces the Disk Cleanup button)
- Click Temporary files
- Select the check mark for Recycle Bin
- Click Remove Files to confirm the deletion
If you’ve ever toyed around with the Xbox PC app then you know just how finicky it can be with external drives. After moving to a new computer I realized that it would take a little more than hitting the delete key on a few leftover files and folders. In the end, it was more tedious than it had any right to be, but I did eventually figure out how to install Game Pass PC games on a different computer with the previously used external drive.
Getting right to it:
- Modern HDMI gaming monitors do support 75 Hz
- Starting with HDMI 1.3 (2006) displays using the standard could output 1080p at 120 Hz
- HDMI 2.0 (2013) introduced support for 1080p at 240 Hz
Despite the push for high refresh rate displays, 75 Hz monitors are still a great option for low latency gaming. They’re much lower priced than 144 Hz monitors, often have low input lag, and are usually 1080p (great for all PC build types). When it comes to hooking your monitor up to your GPU you’ve got two options: HDMI and DisplayPort.
First things first: refresh rates and how many frames you get in game are related to one another but not quite the same thing. If you’re someone with a 75 Hz monitor (refresh rate) you can output 120 FPS (or more) depending on your setup. The only catch is that the end result may not be to your liking.