Check out the DC Fandome trailer for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

The odds aren’t in the squad’s favor, but that’s the point.

What you need to know

At DC Fandome 2021, Rocksteady Games showed a new trailer for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.
The trailer shows Harley Quinn, King Shark, Captain Boomerang and Deadshot fighting various members of the Justice League.
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is slated to launch at some point in 2022.

During DC Fandome 2021, Rocksteady Games and WB Games shared a new trailer for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. This new in-engine story trailer gives an overview of the four members in the titular squad: Harley Quinn, King Shark, Captain Boomerang and Deadshot. The trailer also shows several members of the Justice League, including Wonder Woman, Superman, the Flash and Green Lantern.

You can check out the trailer below:

In Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, the members of the Justice League seem to be controlled by Brainiac, prompting Amanda Waller to authorize use of the squad to try and take down the League. The keyword being try.

Rocksteady Games previously developed the three mainline Batman Arkham games, with the latest one being Batman: Arkham Knight, which launched in May 2015. The only entry series not handled by Rocksteady was Batman: Arkham Origins, which was instead developed by WB Montreal, a team that acted in a support capacity on the other games, as well as handling some of the DLC packs.

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is currently scheduled to arrive at some point in 2022 on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC and PS5.

Unlike Gotham Knights, another WB Games title being developed by WB Montreal, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League was never intended to launch in 2021 and as such has not yet been delayed.

Check out the DC Fandome trailer for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League

Here's everything announced during Minecraft Live 2021

Minecraft Live 2021 sets the tone for Mojang Studios and Minecraft in 2022 and beyond.

Mojang Studios is a huge developer behind one of the greatest games of all time, Minecraft, which means a neverending stream of news and updates throughout time. Today, Mojang hosted Minecraft Live 2021, a stream that condenses some of the biggest Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons announcements into one entertaining livestream. With the tail-end of the event disappearing in the rearview mirror, we compiled all the biggest reveals and updates from Minecraft Live 2021 right here.

Minecraft Live 2021 included breakdowns of the next major update for Minecraft, the reveal of next year’s Minecraft release, the results of the annual Mob Vote, what’s next for Minecraft Dungeons, and more. Here’s everything that was announced during Minecraft Live 2021.

Jump to:

What is Minecraft Live 2021?
Every announcement

Minecraft ‘The Wild Update’
Minecraft Dungeons ‘The Cloudy Climb’
Minecraft Mob Vote
Minecraft PC Bundle
Minecraft ‘Caves and Cliffs Update’
Minecraft numbers update
Other announcements

A gaming masterpiece

Minecraft

$30 at Microsoft (Xbox Starter Collection)
$30 at Microsoft (Windows Starter Collection)

Available everywhere you play.

Minecraft is an inarguable and complete success. It has sold copies in the hundreds of millions, has a huge following of dedicated players, and lets you unlock your every creative desire. It’s also available on every platform imaginable, including Xbox, Windows 10, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS. Play with anyone and play anywhere.

What is Minecraft Live 2021?

Minecraft Live 2021 is the second annual livestream hosted by Mojang Studios, which delivers the year’s most important Minecraft-related updates remotely in place of Minecon. Minecraft Live 2020 was where we first learned of the Caves and Cliffs Update, the Howling Peaks DLC for Minecraft Dungeons, and much more.

Minecraft is one of the most successful games of all time, and as such boasts a huge community of dedicated fans that are always looking to what’s next for their favorite game. Minecraft Live is where Mojang can drop a ton of information on everything players can expect over the next year and beyond, and Minecraft Live 2021 was absolutely no different. From an update on an imminent release for Minecraft to the future of Minecraft Dungeons, Minecraft Live 2021 was packed from end to end with delicious details and information.

Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons both deserve a place on the list of best Xbox games and best PC games, so Minecraft Live understandably garners a ton of attention from all over the world. Minecraft Live 2021 gave us an appreciation for the community, inspiration for the next era of Minecraft toys and gifts, new ways to access our favorite games, and much more.

If you couldn’t catch Minecraft Live 2021 while it was, you know, live, then you can catch up right above. Otherwise, we have all of the important announcements and reveals below, so you don’t miss anything.

What is every announcement from Minecraft Live 2021?

While Minecraft Live 2021 was generally busy from start to finish, moments and sections of the event definitely deserve more attention than the others. Here is every announcement from Minecraft Live 2021, with all the details you need to know.

Minecraft ‘The Wild Update’

Arguably the biggest single announcement during Minecraft Live 2021, Mojang Studios has revealed its plans for the Minecraft update following the ambitious Caves and Cliffs Update. The Wild Update is official, and it intends to embrace Minecraft’s Overworld with plenty of new features and significant improvements to existing mechanics when it releases sometime in 2022.

The Wild Update is understandably a more minor release than its predecessor, but Mojang still has big plans for what’s to come in this release. Including the arrival of the Deep Dark (which was delayed from the Caves and Cliffs Update and expanded upon), frogs, mangrove swamps with a new kind of tree, a focus on parity and feature quality, and more, The Wild Update is shaping up to be an exciting addition to Minecraft.

Details are a little scarce on The Wild Update right now, and that will likely be the case until after 1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update Part Two is officially released. Still, we’ve compiled everything we know about The Wild Update for Minecraft, and we’ll continue to update it as we learn more about what’s to come.

Minecraft Dungeons ‘The Cloudy Climb’

Minecraft Dungeons also got plenty of love during Minecraft Live 2021. After the conclusion of Minecraft Dungeons’ first story arc with the release of the Echoing Void DLC, Mojang teased that something big was still coming to Minecraft Dungeons in the future. Now, we know the next project for Minecraft Dungeons is The Cloudy Climb update, which includes a ton of new features and gameplay for players (and outlines a plan for the future).

In a nutshell, The Cloudy Climb includes two major new features: Seasonal Adventures and The Tower. Seasonal Adventures feature battle pass-like tiers filled with all kinds of rewards for players, including cosmetic goodies and in-game currency, with a paid premium option for additional cosmetic rewards. The Tower, on the other hand, is a challenging multi-level obstacle for players to overcome with generic characters, for a chance at rare and powerful rewards for their main Minecraft Dungeons character. Both of these features aim to offer renewable and rewarding gameplay over time.

The Cloudy Climb update is heading to Minecraft Dungeons with the first Seasonal Adventure during the Holidays in 2021, and there are likely more Seasonal Adventures planned for the future. If you want to learn more, we’ve compiled everything we know about The Cloudy Climb update for Minecraft Dungeons, which we’ll update as we learn more.

Minecraft Live 2021 Mob Vote

The Minecraft community had the opportunity to participate in today’s event during the annual Minecraft Live 2021 Mob Vote, which saw three different brand-new mobs on the roster. Whichever mob won the Mob Vote would be added to Minecraft in a future update, and every mob featured possessed unique attributes and behaviors.

This year, the choices were between the glare, which warns when it’s dark enough for hostile mobs to spawn; the allay, which will collect dropped items similar to anything you give it and return them to you; and the copper golem, a crafted mob that loves pushing copper buttons in its area.

In the first round of the Mob Vote, the glare was unfortunately disqualified with only 11.2% of the votes versus 37.8% for the copper golem and 51% for the allay. In the second (and final) round between the copper golem and allay, the allay won with 54.3% of the votes, while the copper golem lost with 45.7%. This means that allay will be added to Minecraft in a future update, while the two losing entries are relegated to the secret Mojang Studios mob vault.

Minecraft PC Bundle & Xbox Game Pass

During Minecraft Live 2021, Mojang Studios revealed what’s next for Minecraft specifically on PC. Right now, Minecraft: Bedrock Edition and Minecraft: Java Edition are fighting for PC dominance, while also catering to two entirely different audiences. With the new Minecraft PC Bundle announced during Minecraft Live 2021, Mojang is bringing the two versions together in one package. The Minecraft PC Bundle brings both titles to Xbox Game Pass for PC for the very first time, with players being able to use their Microsoft Account to access the games through the Minecraft Launcher, as part of their subscription.

Players have been waiting for Minecraft to come to Xbox Game Pass for PC for a long time now, and now those prayers are being answered. The Minecraft PC Bundle will be available through Xbox Game Pass starting on Nov. 2, 2021. Later in 2022, Mojang intends to release the bundle as a standalone purchase for players, with owners of one of the editions eligible to get the other for free.

Minecraft ‘Caves and Cliffs Update’

The Caves and Cliffs Update is arguably the most ambitious update Mojang Studios has ever attempted for Minecraft, with a list of features so long it defies reason. This ultimately meant the update was split into two parts and partially delayed, with the larger second half still in development. During Minecraft Live 2021, Mojang shared its appreciation with the Minecraft community for helping it make the Caves and Cliffs Update better than it ever could have been otherwise with a lovely video.

We also learned that 1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update Part Two is still absolutely slated for release later this year, and will include some new features that Minecraft players who test early builds may already be familiar with. When the update drops later this year, players will be able to take advantage of world blending to seamlessly mix their existing worlds with the brand-new world generation features. Additionally, brand-new cave biomes and structures can still appear within loaded chunks in the world, underneath player builds and explored areas.

The Caves and Cliffs Update will also introduce seed parity for the very first time between Bedrock and Java Editions of Minecraft. This means that world seeds (basically a unique code that every single world possesses) will generate nearly identical worlds no matter where you play Minecraft, with only very minute differences. This is a huge deal, and speaks a lot to the improvements to parity Mojang has made. If you need more info, we’ve broken down exactly what the Minecraft PC Bundle is.

Minecraft numbers update

Minecraft being one of the most successful games of all time means it boasts some impressive statistics and numbers. During Minecraft Live 2021, Mojang Studios provided an update of where Minecraft currently stands, and the momentum it built up (especially during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic) appears to be continuously growing. As of Aug. 2021, Minecraft had over 141 million monthly active users, which is frankly ridiculous when compared to Minecraft’s rivals at the top of the best-selling games list.

The Minecraft Marketplace has also generated over $350 million in revenue for creators so far, driven by how over 67% of Minecraft players use the Marketplace to customize their experience. Minecraft multiplayer also continues to be popular, with over 1 billion hours spent playing online. Finally, Minecraft was the most-watched topic on YouTube in 2020, with over 201 billion accumulated views under its belt. The only number that seemingly wasn’t updated during Minecraft Live 2021 was the number of copies solid, which still holds steady at 238 million.

Other announcements

Alongside all the major news during Minecraft Live 2021, Secretlab had an announcement of its own. The popular premium gaming chair company collaborated with Mojang Studios on a Minecraft-themed special edition chair, which is launching now. The chair is built on the latest Secretlab platform, known as TITAN Evo 2022, and is inspired by the Minecraft Creeper. Using Secretlab’s signature SoftWeave Plus fabric, the TITAN Evo 2022 Minecraft Edition certainly looks the part, and will likely deliver plenty of quality as well.

A gaming masterpiece

Minecraft

$30 at Microsoft (Xbox Starter Collection)
$30 at Microsoft (Windows Starter Collection)
$30 at Amazon (PlayStation Starter Collection)
$30 at Amazon (Switch)

Available everywhere you play.

Minecraft is an inarguable and complete success. It has sold copies in the hundreds of millions, has a huge following of dedicated players, and lets you unlock your every creative desire. It’s also available on every platform imaginable, including Xbox, Windows 10, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS. Play with anyone and play anywhere.

Ultimate collection

Minecraft Dungeons Ultimate Edition

$40 at Microsoft (Xbox)
$40 at Microsoft (PC)
$20 at Microsoft (Xbox add-on)
$20 at Microsoft (PC add-on)

Everything Dungeons and more.

Minecraft Dungeons has released a ridiculous amount of content since its launch, and now players can gain access to it all in one fell swoop with Minecraft Dungeons Ultimate Edition, a value-driven bundle that includes the base game, all six DLC expansions released so far, and the Hero Pass DLC. If you already own Minecraft Dungeons, you can also get the Ultimate Edition add-on for all the DLC.

Here's everything announced during Minecraft Live 2021

Minecraft officially crosses over 141 million monthly active users

No update on sales, but Minecraft certainly continues to grow over time.

What you need to know

Minecraft is one of the most successful games of all time, and boasts some absolutely ridiculous numbers and statistics.
During Minecraft Live 2021, Mojang Studios has updated some of the key statistics for Minecraft up until now and through the last two years.
While we don’t have a new number for number of copies sold, Minecraft saw over 141 million monthly active users in Aug. 2021.
Minecraft was also the most-watched topic on YouTube in 2020, with over 201 billion accumulated views.

With Minecraft Live 2021, Mojang Studios is revealing all the biggest updates and announcements the Minecraft community needs to know about the growing Minecraft universe. Beyond reveals as to what’s coming next for Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons, though, Mojang also updated some of the statistics we have on the momentum that Minecraft continues to grow over time.

In April, 2021, we reported that Minecraft had nearly 140 million monthly active users. It seems that momentum has impossibly managed to sustain and even grow since then, with Minecraft boasting over 141 million monthly active users in Aug. 2021. That means the number of people that actively played Minecraft just in Aug. approached and even surpassed the number of copies sold by some of the best-selling video games of all time. This shows that an incredible number of people are still investing plenty of time in Minecraft in 2021.

That’s not all we learned, however. Below are some of the key statistics on Minecraft, all of which are up to date as of Aug. 2021. Unfortunately, Mojang did not provide an updated number for how many copies of Minecraft have been sold so far, meaning that number is still officially 238 million.

There were over 141 million monthly active users in Aug. 2021
Over $350 million in revenue has been generated by creators in the Minecraft Marketplace so far
Over 67% of players actively customize their Minecraft experience using the Marketplace
Over 1 billion hours have been logged in Minecraft multiplayer
Over 201 billion hours of Minecraft YouTube videos were watched in 2020, making it the most-watched topic on YouTube that year

With such staggering numbers, it’s clear Minecraft is holding on tight to its title as the greatest game ever made. None of these numbers seem to apply to Minecraft Dungeons, but we reported that Minecraft Dungeons crossed 10 million players in Feb. 2021, an impressive milestone for a relatively young game. Because of this, both Minecraft and Minecraft Dungeons have secured their spots as some of the best Xbox games.

We’re covering everything announced at Minecraft Live 2021. The event covers a lot more than these Minecraft-related numbers, including the results of the annual Mob Vote, and we’re keeping track of it all to keep you up to date.

A gaming masterpiece

Minecraft

$30 at Microsoft (Xbox Starter Collection)
$30 at Microsoft (Windows Starter Collection)
$30 at Amazon (PlayStation Starter Collection)
$30 at Amazon (Switch)

Available everywhere you play.

Minecraft is an inarguable and complete success. It has sold copies in the hundreds of millions, has a huge following of dedicated players, and lets you unlock your every creative desire. It’s also available on every platform imaginable, including Xbox, Windows 10, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS. Play with anyone and play anywhere.

A catalog of games

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

From $1/month at Microsoft
$45 at Amazon (3-month subscription)
$15 at Amazon (1-month subscription)

All your gaming needs, in one subscription.

Is the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate the best value in all of gaming? It’s possible. Ultimate bundles your Xbox Live Gold subscription, an Xbox Game Pass subscription for both Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, and Xbox Cloud Gaming for on-the-go. That means access to hundreds of games, with more added all the time, for a single monthly subscription cost.

Minecraft officially crosses over 141 million monthly active users

Here's everything we know about 'The Wild Update' for Minecraft

Minecraft is about to get a lot more wild with its next major update, releasing in 2022.

Minecraft is a game that constantly improves over time, with Mojang Studios usually releasing at least one major update per year. For 2022, we now know The Wild Update is what’s next for Minecraft after the release of the massive Caves and Cliffs Update. The Wild Update adds some awesome new features, improves existing mechanics, and highlights Mojang’s commitment to making Minecraft a better game with every single release.

Here’s everything we know about The Wild Update for Minecraft, including its release date, features, and much more.

Jump to:

What is The Wild Update?
Release date
Features & gameplay

Biomes
Mobs
Blocks & items
Other changes

Getting wild

Minecraft

$30 at Microsoft (Xbox Starter Collection)
$30 at Microsoft (Windows Starter Collection)

Frogs and darkness.

Minecraft is an inarguable and complete success. It has sold copies in the hundreds of millions, has a huge following of dedicated players, and lets you unlock your every creative desire. The next update for Minecraft has been revealed as ‘The Wild Update,’ and it’s coming in 2022 with new areas, mobs, and the spooky Deep Dark.

What is The Wild Update for Minecraft?

The Wild Update is Minecraft’s 2022 titular release, and will bring new levels of polish and quality to the game after the fundamental shifts and changes introduced in the gargantuan Caves and Cliffs Update. The Wild Update will be smaller than its predecessor, but will also have a finer focus on parity between Bedrock and Java Editions of Minecraft, achieving a greater level of quality for new and existing features, and making Minecraft’s Overworld a more exciting and diverse place with which to explore and interact.

The Wild Update was announced during Minecraft Live 2021, The Wild Update will follow 1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update Part Two, still slated for release later in 2021, with a fresh batch of additions and features for all platforms Minecraft is available. It will also likely introduce the winner of the Minecraft Live 2021 Mob Vote, alongside all the other changes and brand-new features.

On the surface, The Wild Update may not be as immediately exciting as the Caves and Cliffs Update’s major shifts to world generation and mining (a key pillar of Minecraft’s gameplay loop), but it’ll still contain plenty to get players excited. The Wild Update will, hopefully, do nothing but contribute to why Minecraft is the greatest game ever made. As we learn more about The Wild Update and everything it entails, we’ll continuously update this space with all the information we have.

When is the release date of The Wild Update for Minecraft?

With the second half of the Caves and Cliffs Update not even officially released to players yet, the question of when The Wild Update can be expected is met with an understandably vague answer. Mojang Studios has elected not to share any release dates or even a target window, which aligns with how the developer usually works (Minecraft updates usually are tested with the community for months before a general release). At least for now, the release date for The Wild Update is simply “2022,” with nothing more specific than that.

1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update Part Two is expected later in 2021, and then we’ll likely begin to learn more about The Wild Update and what’s to come. Right now, The Wild Update looks to be one release instead of the two-part drop that the Caves and Cliffs Update was, but plans could change later on (the Caves and Cliffs Update was also meant to be one part).

Like with every Minecraft release, The Wild Update is heading to Minecraft: Bedrock Edition and Minecraft: Java Edition, which is available on practically every gaming platform imaginable. The Wild Update should also be closer in parity across Minecraft versions than previous updates.

We’ll continue to update this section as we learn more about when The Wild Update is coming to Minecraft players everywhere, including when Mojang begins early testing of features and changes through its beta and snapshot programs.

What are the features and gameplay of The Wild Update for Minecraft?

The Wild Update may not be quite as grand in scale as the highly ambitious Caves and Cliffs Update that predates it, but it still contains a plethora of brand-new features and improvements to Minecraft. As Mojang Studios divulges more details on what’s included in The Wild Update, we’ll update the below sections with everything we learn. With new biomes, mobs, blocks and items, and several other changes, The Wild Update is another exciting addition to everything that makes Minecraft great.

Biomes

Minecraft has many biomes to speak of, each with its own unique attributes and reasons for players to visit. With The Wild Update, Mojang is planning to add at least two brand-new biomes to the mix, which aim to diversify the Minecraft Overworld and make it more interesting to explore, even when you’re underground. Here’s what you need to know about the new biomes in The Wild Update for Minecraft.

Mangrove swamps. The first new biome being introduced in The Wild Update are mangrove swamps, which tweak the classic and beloved swamp with a brand-new kind of tree. You guessed it, Mojang is adding mangrove trees to Minecraft. These trees feature a unique design with massive roots, but that’s not all that makes the mangrove swamps interesting. Some of the features include:

The aforementioned mangrove trees, which are made of an all-new variant of wood that players can use for crafting or building
Mud blocks, which can also be used for crafting or building, like for creating the awesome-looking mud bricks
Frogs, which are a passive mob with unique behaviors and attributes, including a separate form when they’re babies (tadpoles!)
Fireflies, which are the favorite food of frogs

The Deep Dark. There’s also The Deep Dark, a biome that many Minecraft players may already be familiar with. That’s because this biome was originally intended to drop with the Caves and Cliffs Update, but has been postponed so that Mojang can expand and improve upon it with new features. Some of these features include:

Being an underground biome, buried deep under mountains of deepslate
Ancient ruins of cities and long-lost civilizations, which may be filled with treasure and secrets
The enigmatic sculk blocks, which are able to detect sound through vibrations in the air, and give off redstone signals
The Warden, an incredibly dangerous mob that tracks down players by detecting sound, and guards the secrets of The Deep Dark

Mobs

With the addition of new biomes, of course comes the arrival of new mobs. Mojang is expanding the Minecraft ecosystems with a variety of new mobs, all of which add something new to the game. You may have already spotted them up above, but here are even more details on every mob being added in The Wild Update for Minecraft.

Frogs. For some reason, frogs may end up being one of the most exciting mob additions to Minecraft in a long time. These adorable hoppy peeps aren’t just here for show — they’re also first to do a few things in Minecraft. Some of the highlights of frogs include:

Being the first cold-blooded mob in Minecraft, which means that their appearance as fully grown adults changes depending on where they grow up! Tadpoles can grow into one of three different variants, with each one corresponding to a different temperature
Having a different form as a child. That’s right, frogs are the first mob in Minecraft that aren’t just miniature versions of themselves as babies. Tadpoles are coming to Minecraft, and they’ll be the ones growing into these cute frogs
Loving to jump and hop on dripleaf and lilypads. Frogs are known for their hopping, and that certainly isn’t changing here. Frogs in Minecraft will hang out on dripleaf and lilypads, and they’ll be sure to get in plenty of leaps while doing so
Feeding on fireflies. Another new mob being added in Minecraft with The Wild Update, frogs will actively seek out and feast on any nearby fireflies

Fireflies. As mentioned above, fireflies are also being added to Minecraft in The Wild Update. We don’t know much about these bugs at the moment, other than they’ll be the favorite food of frogs everywhere.
The Warden. This terrifying mob is almost boss-like, and will prowl The Deep Dark biome in search of trespassing players. The Warden doesn’t have any vision, which means it relies on sounds and vibrations to make its way around. If you want to avoid a fight with The Warden (recommended unless you’re seriously powered up), you’ll need to sneak around The Deep Dark to survive.
Allays. The winner of the Minecraft Live 2021 Mob Vote, the allay is officially heading to Minecraft with The Wild Update. This adorable flying mob can be given items, even those that don’t stack, and will explore the chunk it’s in to find similar items that have been dropped on the ground. Here are some of the most interesting features of the allay:

The allay can’t duplicate items, can’t mine or destroy blocks for items, and can’t take items from chests
The allay loves music, so it’ll take items it has found and drop them off by note blocks it enjoys, but will keep the original item it was given
The allay is able to move around quite well, but it’s not able to leave the loaded chunk it’s on
Players are already strategizing how the allay might be useful for automatic farms and other purposes
Of course, the allay is a friendly mob, so it poses no threat to players or other mobs

Blocks & items

Minecraft is a game all about blocks. The entire world is made of blocks, after all. Minecraft is also all about crafting, and these two facets often go hand-in-hand. With The Wild Update, Mojang is introducing a variety of new blocks and items for players to use. Here’s what you need to know about the blocks and items coming in The Wild Update for Minecraft.

Mangrove wood. A new kind of wood, mangrove wood can be found in mangrove trees, which are in turn found in mangrove swamps. Nothing surprising there.
Mud blocks. The latest building block to join Minecraft is the mud block, which features a unique look and a variety of use cases, including being crafted into mud bricks.

Mud blocks can be found in swamps, but you can also create mud by adding water to dirt
You can dry out mud blocks in a furnace for an easy source of clay
Mud bricks are created by adding sand and wheat to mud bricks

Sculk blocks. One of the most interesting additions to Minecraft in ages, sculk blocks are a peculiar form of block found only in The Deep Dark biome. These blocks can detect sound and vibrations in the air, and give off a redstone signal corresponding to the strength of the vibrations. Players are sure to find some amazing uses for this unique redstone-related block.

Sculk can appear in The Deep Dark as both blocks and a moss-like substance, both of which can be harvested with a hoe
Sculk can be crafted into sculk sensors, which are what detects sound and gives off redstone signals, which can also be found in The Deep Dark. Sculk sensors are mined with a pickaxe.
There are also sculk shrikers. This abnormal block tends to live near sculk sensors and blocks, and makes a ton of noise whenever a nearby sculk sensor detects movement or vibrations. This terrifying shriek can attract The Warden, so watch out! Also, sculk shriekers cause the surrounding area to darken considerably for a few moments when it screams.

Boats with chests. This is probably one of the most requested features from the Minecraft community. While minecarts with chests have been in the game for a while, players have been looking for a way to transport goods over water for a while. With The Wild Update, players will be able to craft boats with chests to accomplish exactly that. Yes, you can use the new mangrove wood, too.

Other changes

Beyond the big three categories, there are other changes and tweaks Mojang Studios might be planning on incorporating with The Wild Update for Minecraft. We’ll keep track of any features that slip between the cracks here, as well as the overarching focuses of The Wild Update.

A renewed focus on parity. Parity between Minecraft: Bedrock Edition and Minecraft: Java Edition has been steadily improving for years, and has reached new milestones with the Caves and Cliffs Update. However, with The Wild Update, Mojang intends to continue focusing on bringing these two wildly different versions of the same game closer together. It remains to be seen what exactly this will look like, but any improvement to Minecraft parity is welcomed.
A focus on feature quality. The Wild Update is understandably smaller in size than the Caves and Cliffs Update, but this also means that Mojang Studios can focus wholeheartedly on not only ensuring The Wild Update features are polished and complete, but that existing mechanics and systems are improved and provide the experience Mojang originally intended them to. It’s not clear exactly what improvements we can expect from The Wild Update yet, but it’s always good to hear these intentions.
A change to how sound works. You may have already guessed from the addition of sculk blocks and The Warden, but Mojang intends to drastically alter how sound works in Minecraft (a lot of this has already been in testing). Different actions and sounds will cause various levels of vibration, which can be detected by The Warden and sculk blocks. This includes walking and running, eating, using tools and weapons, placing blocks, mob and villager noises, and more.

The Wild Update is the next Minecraft release, and will undoubtedly help secure Minecraft’s position as one of the best Xbox games you can play. It will also likely inspire a new wave of Minecraft toys and gifts, especially The Warden.

Getting wild

Minecraft

$30 at Microsoft (Xbox Starter Collection)
$30 at Microsoft (Windows Starter Collection)
$30 at Amazon (PlayStation Starter Collection)
$30 at Amazon (Switch)

Frogs and darkness.

Minecraft is an inarguable and complete success. It has sold copies in the hundreds of millions, has a huge following of dedicated players, and lets you unlock your every creative desire. The next update for Minecraft has been revealed as ‘The Wild Update,’ and it’s coming in 2022 with new areas, mobs, and the spooky Deep Dark.

A catalog of games

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

From $1/month at Microsoft
$45 at Amazon (3-month subscription)
$15 at Amazon (1-month subscription)

All your gaming needs, in one subscription.

Is the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate the best value in all of gaming? It’s possible. Ultimate bundles your Xbox Live Gold subscription, an Xbox Game Pass subscription for both Xbox consoles and Windows PCs, and Xbox Cloud Gaming for on-the-go. That means access to hundreds of games, with more added all the time, for a single monthly subscription cost.

Here's everything we know about 'The Wild Update' for Minecraft

What do you want to see in our Surface Duo 2 coverage?

We’re open to requests with Surface Duo 2 coverage.

Microsoft’s Surface Duo 2 starts shipping on October 22, 2021. The foldable looks to be a significant upgrade over the original Surface Duo, so there will be plenty of things to test out after its release.

Our senior Windows Editor Zac Bowden pre-ordered his Surface Duo 2 a few weeks ago, putting his money where his mouth is (he also bought Surface Duo 1 last year). He has just been charged by Microsoft, meaning it should be in his hands this Thursday, October 21, when it goes on sale. He’s in for the black 128GB model and is already gearing up for an unboxing video when it arrives next week (assuming deliveries hit that Thursday).

When he gets the gadget, he’ll run through its specs, design, performance, and other core aspects, but with a device as different as the Surface Duo 2, there are bound to be unique angles worth investigating. A niche piece of hardware calls for special attention, which is where you come in — please let us know in the comments anything specific you’d like to see regarding the Surface Duo 2.

Hardware

The Surface Duo 2 has much more powerful specs than its predecessor. Its Snapdragon 888 processor is the same CPU seen in many flagship phones, which should result in dramatically better performance. Are you ever held back by the hardware of the original Surface Duo? Are there combinations of apps you’d like us to try once we have the device in hand?

Moving to the back of the foldable, the triple-camera system of the Surface Duo 2 should be much better than the camera of the original Surface Duo, but judging a camera based solely on its specs is never a great idea. Which scenarios are you most concerned about when it comes to the Surface Duo 2’s camera?

Software

Arguably the biggest downfall of the original Surface Duo was its software. Strange bugs plagued it at launch and several linger to this day. Some issues only affect certain devices. Other problems are bound to specific situations that most people won’t stumble upon. Are there any bugs from the original Surface Duo you’re concerned might crop up on the Duo 2?

Comparisons

Since the Surface Duo 2 is unique, it can be difficult to judge against popular hardware. Are there specific phones or tablets that you’d like to see the Surface Duo 2 stacked up against?

Many people won’t be able to compare a Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2 side by side. However, once we have the Duo 2 in hand, we’ll be able to compare things down to the pixel. Do you want to know how the middle gaps between the devices compare? Perhaps you’re curious about how different apps might look on the two devices. For example, some have complained that the bar in the middle of the original Surface Duo cuts content in certain apps. If you’re affected by that issue, you may want to see if it sticks around with the Duo 2.

Great expectations

When Microsoft announced all its new Surface hardware, the Duo 2 drew the most interest from our readers. Compared to its predecessor, the spec sheet is better, and the design looks more refined. Now, it’s time to see if the Duo 2 meets expectations.

Surface Duo 2

From $1,500 at Microsoft

From $1,500 at Best Buy

The Surface Duo 2 looks to be a major upgrade over its predecessor. It has a Snapdragon 888 processor, supports 5G, and has NFC. It starts shipping on October 22, 2021.

What do you want to see in our Surface Duo 2 coverage?

Microsoft breaks down how it shrunk Windows 11 updates by 40%

You may need a few textbooks to understand the answer.

What you need to know

Microsoft has revealed the secret behind its ability to shrink Windows 11 update sizes by 40% as compared to the size norms of previous operating system updates.
The methods employed by Microsoft are very technical.

Microsoft says its Windows 11 update sizes are 40% smaller than what the company’s operating system updates used to be. Curious how the tech giant has managed such a feat? Well, after reading the explanation, you may have more questions than answers, as well as a desire to get an advanced computer sciences degree.

In the blog post where Microsoft reveals its methodology, we find out the secret sauce is “reverse update data generation.” As to what that is? Well, you’ll have to read the post yourself to find out, possibly in addition to some textbooks on data transmission. Here’s a sample of Microsoft’s explanation as to what would’ve constituted a non-viable approach in the pursuit of 40% size reduction:

Binary deltas utilize transforms and patching instructions to transform a file from its base version to a target version. While some patching and transforms that add data to a file are non-destructive, transforms and patches may delete data needed for a reverse delta. For this reason, a bidirectional delta would need to store the content added in the forward delta and the content deleted during the forward apply. Because the data in forward and reverse deltas are largely disjoint, little efficiency is gained from a bidirectional delta over paired forward and reverse deltas.

If none of those words make a lick of sense to you and you’re not familiar with topics such as the hydration of target revisions, you may be out of luck. But for those who do get this stuff, perhaps Microsoft’s post makes for an interesting read.

Microsoft breaks down how it shrunk Windows 11 updates by 40%

Windows is a ransomware magnet, according to a new VirusTotal report

Ransomware likes Windows — a lot.

What you need to know

VirusTotal released a report on ransomware activity.
It’s loaded with statistics on ransomware, including freshness of attack samples, attack volume figures, and which operating systems are getting hit the most.
Windows was the target for 95% of the ransomware files VirusTotal evaluated in its October 2021 report.

Ransomware is becoming a bigger and bigger deal by the day. The U.S. government is focusing energies on cryptocurrency sanctions in large part to combat ransomware. The attack type has been at the core of national incidents. And now, there’s a report on how the ever-expanding problem links back to Windows.

Based on the ransomware files VirusTotal analyzed for its October 2021 report, 95% of all of them are for Windows PCs. A hair over 2% go after Android, and every target of ransomware beyond those two makes up a micro percentage of the overall pie.

The report goes over loads of other ransomware statistics if you want to find out which countries are the most targeted by the threat (spoiler: Israel saw a big increase in attacks in 2021), how often new families of the software type are cropping up, and more.

This news may or may not come as a surprise to Windows users who constantly see reports of ransomware. Recently, there was LockFile, which targeted Microsoft Exchange servers. There was even the threat of ransomware when it came to basic Windows-based printing activities.

The threat isn’t going away anytime soon, hence why it’s even now being addressed by Microsoft in an insurance capacity. As the years stretch on, we may see more and more measures being taken by companies and governments to combat the form of cybercrime. Until then, take precautions to not get swept up in the growing ransomware storm.

Windows is a ransomware magnet, according to a new VirusTotal report

Windows 11 Build 22000.282 arrives for Release Preview and Beta Channels

Prepare for a laundry list of issue fixes.

What you need to know

Windows 11 Build 22000.282 is here for everybody in the Beta and Release Preview Channel.
It packs many, many fixes and improvements for various Windows 11 issues.

Insiders in the Beta Channel, as well as those on the Release Preview track, can now get Windows 11 Build 22000.282, which is jam-packed with new fixes for a plethora of problems that have been beleaguering users.

There are so many improvements, in fact, that they won’t all be copy-pasted here, but rest assured: If you want the scoop on every last fix, you can check them all out at Windows Blog post dedicated to discussing build 22000.282. A sampling of the build’s items is listed below.

We fixed an L3 caching issue that might affect performance in some applications on devices that have AMD Ryzen processors after upgrading to Windows 11 (original release).
We fixed an issue for a small number of users that prevents the Start menu from working and prevents you from seeing the updated taskbar design after upgrading to Windows 11 (original release).
We fixed a race condition that occurs during the early part of startup that might cause a stop error.
We fixed a regression that might cause stop error 0x38 on some machine configurations that use non-ASCII text in the registry.
We fixed an issue with the interrupt handling of certain processors that might cause devices to stop responding.
We fixed an issue that causes PowerShell to create an infinite number of child directories. This issue occurs when you use the PowerShell Move-Item command to move a directory to one of its children. As a result, the volume fills up and the system stops responding.
We fixed an issue that causes the Server Manager application to disappear after you use it to remove Hyper-V features. This issue occurs when you install Server Manager on Windows 11 (original release) clients using Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT).

We also have a post overviewing what’s going on with the latest build of Windows 11 in the Dev Channel.

Windows 11 Build 22000.282 arrives for Release Preview and Beta Channels

Xbox Chaturdays 44: Xbox mini fridges and game reviews with Mike Minotti

Join the conversation live!

For episode 44 of Xbox Chaturdays, we’ll be joined by one-half of The Beef And Cheddar Boys, Mike Minotti of GamesBeat. We’ll be discussing the Xbox mini fridge, the power of meme-marketing, the current state of video game reviews, Xbox’s early success in Japan, Dragon Age 4, and so much more! If you’re excited to catch up on all the biggest gaming news of the week, tune in to Xbox Chaturdays live every Saturday at 12 p.m. ET!

What is Xbox Chaturdays?

Xbox Chaturdays is our weekly Windows Central Gaming podcast. Every Saturday, we sit down with various Xbox developers, enthusiasts, and industry figures to chat about all things Xbox. We designed our show to provide exciting and engaging content for Xbox and PC players, highlighting what we love about gaming. From the best games on Xbox Game Pass to the titles we can’t wait to play, there’s always something fun to chat about.

With Xbox Chaturdays, we’ve built up a pretty incredible audience of live viewers that consistently keeps the show fresh and exciting with questions. Our show promotes community interaction, and we strive to immerse our viewers in the experience. If you haven’t caught an episode before, head on over to the Windows Central Gaming YouTube channel to watch past episodes.

All the games

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

From $1/month at Microsoft
$40 at Amazon (3-month subscription)
$15 at Amazon (1-month subscription)

The best deal in gaming!

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is the gift that keeps on giving. With over 100 awesome games and extra perks, this is hands-down the best deal in gaming right now.

Xbox Chaturdays 44: Xbox mini fridges and game reviews with Mike Minotti

Microsoft's next big Xbox acquisition should be a mobile games publisher

Sacrilege!

It’s a buyer’s market, make no mistake. Companies like Tencent, Sony, and even Netflix are dishing up cash to take ever-increasingly lucrative slices of the big gaming industry pie. Microsoft’s blockbuster Bethesda acquisition last year sent shockwaves throughout the industry, leading other big companies to sit up and take notice.

Most of Microsoft’s internal efforts to adapt Xbox franchises to mobile have fallen short.

Most of Microsoft’s major acquisitions in this space have been for “core” game studios that build mature-rated games, leaving fairly large holes in their efforts to court more casual players. Of course, Microsoft owns Minecraft, which is not only one of the biggest mobile games on Earth, but one of the biggest media franchises period. However, most of Microsoft’s internal efforts to adapt Xbox franchises to mobile have fallen short.

Outside of the purchase of Minecraft Pocket Edition, the company somewhat lacks the expertise to really target the mobile market, and that could be a big problem ironically for its efforts around Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft has made no secret that its intentions with Xbox Game Pass and its cloud platform are to grow beyond the console, but if people didn’t want mature core console-style games via Xbox, why does Microsoft think they’re going to want to play them on their phones?

This is why I think Microsoft really needs to buy in some expertise in this space. Mobile gaming is a completely different beast to console gaming, and if Microsoft is going to adapt and grow the Xbox footprint, ignoring this could be at their peril.

Massive industry, with massive potential

I don’t need to reiterate just how big the mobile gaming market is. We’re not talking about the console’s install base of a couple hundred million users give or take, split across Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch. We’re talking about literally billions of gamers, who have either grown up in markets where consoles are taxed too heavily, or simply aren’t interested in the paradigm. Free-to-play games that run perfectly fine on mobile devices are more than enough for most players, with mobile publishers like Gameloft, King, and Tencent spending millions of dollars in user acquisition via ads and other means.

Microsoft’s efforts have generally been a bit low ball you could say. Minecraft Earth was a staggering failure, with gameplay that was aggressively locked behind paywalls, without enough of a base game to get people hooked. Furthermore, Microsoft did practically zero marketing for the game whatsoever, which is a big no-no in the mobile gaming industry. Forza Street seems to have fared better, but again, it hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire, and Gears POP! was also killed off last year.

These games weren’t completely lacking in quality, but they didn’t have the right gameplay loop for the market. Gears POP! especially was hilariously low-budgeted, and didn’t really do the brand justice. The old Halo Spartan Assault and Strike games were much better titles, but again, they could’ve been a bit more exciting in terms of their combat feel. They were also quite tough, which isn’t really the experience you want while playing casually, at least generally speaking. These games were also initially exclusive to Windows Phone, which obviously stunted their growth potential.

However Microsoft decides to tackle this incredibly lucrative industry, it seems to me that they really, really need to get some outside help.

Microsoft’s mobile games were also stupidly aggressive with their paywall models. I remember playing Tentacles: Enter the Mind on Windows Phone and adoring it — I’d go as far to say it’s one of the best mobile games I ever played — but you’d come to a point where you hit a progression wall so, so damn hard you couldn’t really continue without spending loads of cash. The same was true of Age of Empires: Castle Siege as well.

These games chase “whales” for monetization, i.e., either rich players with more disposable income than good sense, or those susceptible to predatory gameplay design decisions that trigger addiction responses. Given the controversy around loot box mechanics in recent years, I’m not sure Microsoft would be a fan of going down that route for monetizing its mobile games, should it ever make any. However, mobile games like Fortnite, Pokémon Go, and Genshin Impact have managed to build decent games that don’t really require players to spend anything to enjoy them, yet still manage to take in hundreds of millions of dollars per quarter, purely on the basis of how fun they are. A crazy concept, I know.

However Microsoft decides to tackle this incredibly lucrative industry, it seems to me that they really, really need to get some outside help on board to make it all happen.

Bringing cloud games to mobile needs a mobile touch

If there’s one thing Microsoft does know how to make, it’s console games. Games like Halo Infinite, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Starfield, and many others, have huge potential to grow Xbox Game Pass, and Xbox Game Pass’s mobile footprint along with it. The problem is, a lot of these TV-first games just don’t play well on mobile devices, and even the best Xbox controller phone mount clips don’t really help.

Sadly, because of how these games are designed, many Xbox cloud games on smaller screens with touch controls are a menace.

We’ve written about this extensively before, but just to reiterate, games designed for large TV screens often have user experiences to match, i.e., on a mobile device screen, UI elements and fonts will often be too small to see and interact with. Touch controls will overlay onto the screen, obscuring the UI too, making some games simply impossible to play. Turn-based games like Wasteland 3, Darkest Dungeon, and Gears Tactics, you’d think, would be ideal for mobile gaming on Xbox Game Pass. Sadly, because of how these games are designed, many Xbox cloud games on smaller screens with touch controls are a menace.

You’re not going to entice new customers who are used to premium mobile-first experiences with this, nor are you going to attract console players who are used to full-blown tactile controls and legible user interface elements. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope.

Microsoft has a small team within their cloud gaming effort that is dedicated to improving the mobile gaming experience of specific games that are in Xbox Game Pass. Thus far, only HADES and Minecraft Dungeons are truly optimized for mobile device play. Minecraft Dungeons even has touchable menus. Both games re-arrange their user experience to suit mobile device play, and the difference it makes is truly staggering.

I think if Microsoft really wants to grow Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming’s opportunity, they need to really get a tight grip over the quality of the library therein. Only two games, two are truly optimized for touch-based play, out of dozens. The rest require either bigger screens, or full-blown controllers to really enjoy, save for a couple of outliers like Streets of Rage 4.

This won’t be an issue when Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming comes to TV sets as an app, nor is it an issue on full-size laptop displays streaming from the Xbox app on Windows 10 or Windows 11. It’s only an issue really on mobile touch devices. And considering that’s where most of the growth potential probably is, getting more developers on board that can either build or adapt games to be touch-first capable is going to be key to growing out that platform.

Building an Xbox mobile pillar

Minecraft on Windows Phone, rest its gentle soul.

Microsoft does already have millions of users in the mobile space, across Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming, Minecraft, and Solitaire, but we’re talking about billions here. I believe casual gaming via Xbox Game Pass cloud or native Xbox games on mobile could help onramp users who typically aren’t interested in console games, or those who may not even consider themselves to be gamers at all.

If Microsoft truly intends to burst free of the console install base, gaming mobility has to become a bigger pillar at Xbox.

Whatever the vehicle is, growth for Xbox will ultimately benefit the core, giving Microsoft more tools to grow its console and PC gaming platform as well, leading to more high-end experiences such as Starfield and the like. But, I don’t think it’ll work with what they are offering today. Games that are designed for TVs are only going to appeal to people who want to be in the console ecosystem, and sure, there are countries where consoles are prohibitively expensive, and Xbox Game Pass cloud will find success there. Microsoft also wants inroads in those core markets too, like the U.S., where it was revealed recently that Apple is technically the biggest gaming company of the lot, owing to its large 30% iOS app storefront cut.

I suppose the real problem is availability, ultimately. Many of the biggest mobile game devs and publishers are already owned or part-owned by Microsoft rivals like Tencent. It’s hard to say which of the big mobile publishers, if any, would even be available to acquire. Sometimes you need more than money.

Either way, I’m confident that if Microsoft truly intends to burst free of the console install base, gaming mobility has to become a bigger pillar at Xbox. I’ll leave it for people paid far more than I am to figure out the details on how to do that, though. Ahem. Good luck, Microsoft!

Microsoft's next big Xbox acquisition should be a mobile games publisher