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Windows 11 gets a window into gaming with this new widget

ZDNet

Microsoft is testing a new PC Game Pass widget in the latest preview of Windows 11 to give its Xbox gaming-subscription service a visual bump on the desktop. The new Game Pass widget is rolling out in the Windows 11 Insider preview build 25174 for the Dev Channel, offering a visual shortcut to Xbox games in the Windows 11 widget panel. "This widget is a window to the extensive PC Game Pass library – it will show the latest additions, games leaving soon, and others from highlighted categories and then take you to the Xbox app where you can install them, see reviews, and go all in," Microsoft said. SEE: The 4 best game consoles: Which knocks it out of the park? PC Game Pass for Windows 10 and 11 is the Windows sibling to the Xbox Game Pass for Xbox consoles, offering a catalog of downloadable games for $9.99/€9.99/£7.99 a month. Microsoft released the PC subscription in 2019 ahead of Google launching its gaming-subscription service Stadia.


The Morning After: Did Microsoft just neg Blizzard Activision?

Engadget

In a recent filing, Microsoft told New Zealand's Commerce Commission that Blizzard Activision produces no "must-have" games. Weird thing to say when the company plans to spend $68.7 billion to buy the gaming giant behind Call of Duty, Overwatch, Diablo, World of Warcraft and plenty more. In the document, Microsoft said: "There is nothing unique about the video games developed and published by Activision Blizzard that is a'must have' for rival PC and console video game distributors that give rise to a foreclosure concern." Attempting to downplay the importance of Call of Duty is just one of the ways Microsoft has tried to placate regulators. In February, the company pledged it would continue to make the franchise available on PlayStation consoles beyond any existing agreements between Sony and Activision. Apple's 10.2-inch iPad is back on sale for $300 at Amazon Sony is retiring the PlayStation 5's Accolades feature because people aren't nice An e-bike- and scooter-sharing startup co-founded by Olympian Usain Bolt appears to have stopped operations.


Pressing paws: Stray, the video game that's a hit with cats (and their humans)

The Guardian

When a video game has us playing as an animal, it's usually some psychedelic anthropomorphic cartoon creature such as Crash Bandicoot or Sonic the Hedgehog. Rarely do we actually behave like an animal, although when we do, it can be hilarious: 2019's breakout cult hit Untitled Goose Game stars a nasty goose honking, pecking and chasing its way around a village of peeved humans, for instance. Stray, released last week, has us playing as the internet's favourite animal, a cat, doing cat stuff: pattering across roofs, snoozing on cozy cushions, pushing things off shelves for no discernible reason. Players and critics have lapped Stray up. But it's also been winning over the feline population.


Dine like Da Vinci, unleash your inner diva – 101 ways the arts can slightly improve your life

The Guardian

If you're seeing something long and challenging, remember that having an alcoholic drink beforehand is asking for trouble. So be sure to do it. Decorate a room as if you're a set designer, letting your imagination run wild. As William Morris said, bin whatever isn't useful or beautiful. Study your favourite standup and learn their best joke off by heart. It's not just about making your friends laugh: comedy teaches confidence and communication. From Evan Hansen to Alexander Hamilton to Mary Poppins, find a character whose feelings mirror yours – then unleash that emotion. Improvisation isn't just some zany thing comedians do on telly. It's a philosophy, as Pippa Evans' recent book Improv Your Life shows. When you're thrown a curveball, deviate from your standard script.


A Father's Quest for an Accessible Game Controller

WIRED

In June, 8BitDo, known for creating third-party controllers and adapters, announced their latest controller for the Nintendo Switch and Android devices. The Lite SE, created through collaborative efforts with father and son team Andreas and Oskar Karlsson, is designed specifically for physically disabled players with limited strength and mobility. The launch of this controller not only marks the culmination of years of hard work by Andreas to search for an affordable and accessible controller for his son, but it also expands the market of accessible gaming tech. At a young age Oskar was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy type II, a neuromuscular disorder that progressively weakens muscles over time. Despite playing games throughout his life, his father regularly adapted standard controllers to meet his son's needs.


The delay to the online safety bill won't make it any easier to please everyone

The Guardian

The Goldilocks theory of policy is simple enough. If Mummy Bear says your latest government bill is too hot, and Daddy Bear says your latest government bill is too cold, then you can tuck in knowing that the actual temperature is just right. Unfortunately, the Goldilocks theory sometimes fails. You learn that what you actually have in front of you is less a perfectly heated bowl of porridge and more a roast chicken you popped in the oven still frozen: frosty on the inside, burnt on the outside, and harmful to your health if you try to eat it. To its supporters, the online safety bill, which was dropped from the legislative calendar last Wednesday to make space for a no-confidence motion in the government, sits firmly in the Goldilocks zone. The bill is a monster piece of legislation, with its roots in a green paper published way back in October 2017.


By signing stars, YouTube aims to replicate Twitch's secret weapon: culture

Washington Post - Technology News

As far as major creators are concerned, at least, that collaborative approach seems to be paying off. Allen said that after Ahgren hosted a live, cameo-packed version of his "Mogul Money" game show earlier this month, his livestreams have consistently drawn over 30,000 concurrent viewers -- putting him well above all but the highest highs of his Twitch run. With a growing number of big-name streamers leaning into a new streaming "meta" that favors game shows and other live events, collaborations will likely continue to take center stage.


The 79 Best Prime Day Deals Under $50 (Day 2)

WIRED

Amazon Prime Day promises hundreds of thousands of deals, but not everyone has been saving all year for a big-ticket purchase. Beneath the noise, there are some great finds on deals under $50. We've rounded up some of our favorite items on sale, from smart home products to books and board games. The WIRED Gear team tests products year-round and sorted through hundreds of thousands of deals by hand to make these picks. Crossed-out products are out of stock or no longer discounted. Our Amazon Prime Day coverage page has the latest stories, and our Prime Day Shopping Tips will help you avoid bad deals. You can also get a 1-Year Subscription to WIRED for $5 here. We've also updated prices and links where necessary. If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Click the coupon button to see the discount at checkout. If you frequently get packages, a box cutter is a good idea. We love this model because its ceramic blade won't cut you. It's large, but that just makes it easier (and safer) to wield. If you spend at least $50 on food and beverages from Target, choose free same-day pickup or delivery to snag a free $10 gift card.


The 92 Absolute Best Prime Day Deals We've Found (Day 2)

WIRED

Amazon Prime Day is winding down, ending in just a few hours (11:59 pm PT to be exact). Most of the deals are for Prime subscribers, but there are great discounts for non-members as well. We've spent hours combing through thousands of deals; these are our favorites on WIRED-tested gear, from Alexa-enabled speakers and robot vacs to laptops and tablets. The WIRED Gear team tests products year-round. We sorted through hundreds of thousands of deals by hand to make these picks. Crossed out products are out of stock or no longer discounted. Our Amazon Prime Day coverage page has the latest stories, and our Prime Day Shopping Tips will help you avoid bad deals. You can also get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 here. Updated July 13: We've added new deals, including the OnePlus 9 Pro, Logitech K380 Keyboard, and Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones. We've also removed expired deals and updated prices. If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. We've got a separate roundup of more great home and kitchen deals right here. There are blenders, and then there are Vitamix blenders. I was skeptical, but like my fellow Gear reviewer Joe Ray, the Vitamix made me a blender person.


The 88 Absolute Best Prime Day Deals We've Found (Day 2)

WIRED

Amazon Prime Day is here. The mega-retailer's two-day sales event for Prime subscribers is in full swing, and there are plenty of deals on some of our favorite gear and gadgets, from Alexa-enabled speakers to robot vacs to laptops and tablets. The WIRED Gear team tests products year-round. We sorted through hundreds of thousands of deals by hand to make these picks. Crossed out products are out of stock or no longer discounted. Our Amazon Prime Day coverage page has the latest stories, and our Prime Day Shopping Tips will help you avoid bad deals. You can also get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 here. Updated July 13: We've added five new deals, including JackRabbit eBike, Apollo City 2022 electric scooter, and more. We've also shifted a few sections around to highlight new deals, removed a number of expired deals, and updated prices and links throughout. If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. We've got a separate roundup of more great home and kitchen deals right here. There are blenders, and then there are Vitamix blenders. I was skeptical, but like my fellow Gear reviewer Joe Ray, the Vitamix made me a blender person. A blender is, essentially, just a blade atop a motor.