Microsoft could launch an Xbox store on iOS and Android as early as next year, according to a Financial Times interview with Phil Spencer. Microsoft first revealed it was working on an Xbox store for mobile devices in a document filed with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last year. The head of the company’s gaming division said the plan depends on regulators approving Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. “The Digital Markets Act (DMA) that’s coming – those are the kinds of things that we are planning for,” he said. “I think it’s a huge opportunity.”
Under the DMA, major platforms the European Union designates as “gatekeepers” will be required to open their devices to competing app stores. Bloomberg reported last year that Apple was already preparing to make iOS compliant with this legislation ahead of its March 2024 deadline. Spencer also noted in the interview it would be “pretty trivial” for Microsoft to adapt its existing Xbox and Game Pass apps to sell games and subscriptions through mobile devices.
– Mat Smith
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Acer is making a serious left turn. Typically known for its PCs, laptops and accessories, the company has revealed the ebii, an e-bike for cities, with AI features that learn riders' personal preferences and change gears depending on road conditions. It's about 35 pounds, making it lighter than most e-bikes. Acer claims it has a maximum assist speed of 20MPH and can go just under 70 miles on one charge. For now, there’s no date or price.
A true ceramic grill with two big upgrades.
Ceramic kamado-style grills have been some of the best grilling gear available for backyard cooks for a long time. However, it takes practice to master lighting them and maintain cooking temperatures. But the new Konnected Joe has a push-button charcoal igniter to get the grill going and a digitally controlled fan system to keep the heat level where you need it. The 18-inch diameter cooking surface gives you enough room for 13 burgers, four whole chickens or two pork butts, the latter being my new favorite unit of measure for area.
The 'Monument Valley' series will hit the service in 2024.
Netflix continues to build up an incredible library of mobile games that (surprisingly) aren’t awful. Maybe because it’s been buying established titles – and developers. Apparently, Netflix is just getting started and plans to add around 40 more games throughout the year. The company has revealed a few of those titles, including reverse city-builder Terra Nil (March 28th) and Paper Trail, in which you fold parts of the world to solve puzzles. Netflix has also struck a deal with Ubisoft for three exclusive games.
The updated model can haul more weight and reach farther.
Agility Robotics announced an updated version of its bipedal Digits warehouse robot. Designed to take on repetitive or injury-risking tasks, the new version adds a head (with LED animated eyes) and hands, and it can handle a wider variety of demanding workloads than its predecessor. The company is opening applications for spots in its Agility Partner Program (APP), which will be the only place to purchase them initially. Pricing has yet to be announced, but the first units should ship in early 2024.
Six models are compatible now, and more are incoming.
8BitDo, makers of some of our favorite (and well-priced) smartphone gamepads, has confirmed its controllers now officially support iPhones, iPads and Macs, thanks to firmware upgrades and Apple's recent iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3, tvOS 16.3 and macOS 13.2 updates. The compatibility is limited to the Lite SE, Pro, Pro 2, SN30 Pro+, SN30 Pro for Android and Ultimate Controller 2.4g, but more models are "incoming."