Even Microsoft is feeling the sting of ongoing Xbox shortages. Kotaku notes Microsoft resorted to using Xbox Series X dev kits (not pictured) to run the first big Halo Infinite tournament, the Halo Championship Series' Raleigh Major, this weekend. Simply put, the company couldn't find enough retail consoles to use -- the "global supply chain shortage is real," 343 Industries' eSports lead Tahir Hasandjekic said. The dev kits are "functionally identical" to off-the-shelf consoles and will operate in that mode, Hasandjekic added. They don't look quite the same, but competitors shouldn't notice any differences from the systems they have at home.
If you've started to generally understand the ebbs and flows of cryptocurrencies, the volatility of Bitcoin and the rest, and started to comprehend why blockchain tech has a big future beyond Dogecoin, well, it probably means you're late to the NFT party. Non-fungible tokens are, well, unique. These digital goods are shaking up the art world, sports collectibles and many other fields. And you're late to the party because, well, Adidas is making bank, and Nike is chasing the NFT bucks as well. Over the weekend, Adidas' first NFT effort made over $23 million in Ethereum, from a $15.5 million Early Access phase and $7.5 million in general sales.
Porsche has just signed a six-year partnership with Microsoft, confirming its iconic cars will be making their first appearance in Forza Horizon 3. Kicking off the new deal is Forza Horizon 3's Porsche Car Pack, a new DLC bundle out now which brings seven different Porsche vehicles to the game. With Forza boasting gaming's largest online racing community, Porsche has also chosen to align with Microsoft for its first ever sponsored eSports tournament. Both PC and Xbox One players can now register to compete in Forza Racing Championship Season 3: The Porsche Cup, which boasts a prize pool of $100,000. With the Forza Racing Championship amassing over a billion impressions across its first two seasons, it's easy to see why the automobile firm chose Forza over the competition. Wanting to entice both simulation and arcade racing fans, Microsoft is allowing Season 3 players to participate in either Forza Motorsport 6 or Forza Horizon 3 competitions.
"Madden NFL 21" is getting a midseason makeover for the latest video game consoles. On Dec. 4, versions of the game for the Microsoft Xbox Series X and S systems and the Sony PlayStation 5 will get an update that takes advantage of those new systems' graphic firepower. In the game, which will play out in 4K video, players will look and move more realistically, the stadiums will have improved visuals and sound, and you can more easily call plays for teams' superstar playmakers. With the update, the game's artificial intelligence will drive all the players using real-world data from NFL Next Gen Stats, which includes all of the 2019 NFL season and part of the current one. That data comes from sensors in each player's shoulder pads tracking their movements on the field.
The AI win stunned the gaming community, because bots are generally considered inferior to expert human players. This one from Open AI -- a nonprofit artificial intelligence research firm known mainly for its backing by serial entrepreneur Elon Musk, of Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX fame -- is a different story, and possibly a cautionary one. Open AI says its mission is to promote "responsible" AI development. Or, as Musk puts it, to ensure that AI doesn't grow unchecked and become the death of humanity. Musk said Saturday via Twitter that AI is "more [of a] risk than North Korea."