TrueAchievements lets you analyze your decade history on Xbox

How did you do?

What you need to know

Microsoft isn’t holding its annual “Year in Review” for 2019.
It allowed you to look at your statistics for the entire year and see which games you played most.
Luckily, TrueAchievements is holding a “My Decade on Xbox” event.
You can go here and see how you did the past 10 years.

Every year, Microsoft holds a “Year in Review” event where you can go to the console manufacturer’s Xbox website and check out how you did over the past year. You can view your best achievement, most-played game, and more. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided to not do that for 2019. Luckily, TrueAchievements was able to save the day.

Today, the outlet announced that it’s doing a “My Decade on Xbox” event. Just go to the proper TrueAchievement’s page here, sign on with your Xbox Live account, and you’re good to go. You’ll be able to see the number of games you’ve played over the past 10 years and much more. Our favorite statistics has to be the value of games. No wonder we’re always broke!

How did you stack up? Let us know.

Best of the best

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

It’ll last you a couple of months

Xbox Game Pass gives you access to over 200 games for one monthly fee. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also adds Xbox Live Gold to the package so you can play online with your friends.

$45 at Amazon $45 at Best Buy

Xbox

Xbox One S or Xbox One X?
Killer Xbox One Accessories in 2020
Must-buy Xbox One Headsets
Our Favorite Xbox One Wireless Headsets
Best Upcoming Xbox Games for 2020
Charge Up With These Xbox Battery Solutions

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TrueAchievements lets you analyze your decade history on Xbox

Someone made a LEGO Superhot VR and now I want a sequel more than ever

This version might be table-top exclusive, but it gives us dreams of a glorious future.

When you experience something as amazing as Superhot VR, it’s nearly impossible not to want more. The unique time-stopping mechanics that define Superhot work unbelievably well in VR, as time moves when you do and it encourages players to scope out the area with their eyes and heads before moving their fists and blindly jumping into the action. The game has made its way onto our top VR games lists more than once, and seeing this amazing LEGO set conjures up thoughts of what could possibly make an appearance in the next Superhot VR title.

While the team is still feverishly working away on the rogue-like expansion SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE, plenty of folks have been clamoring for more white-and-red VR action in a more involved way. Thankfully, for those of us that have a longing desire to return to the world of Superhot, the developers haven’t counted out a possible sequel or expansion to the incredibly popular title. After all, the VR version of the game made $2 million in a single week during the Holiday 2019 time period, and it’s clear that plenty of folks love the ideas put forth in the game.

So what can we expect, going forward? Realistically, some form of MIND CONTROL DELETE could be added to the VR version of Superhot, but it would take a fair bit of modification if the current style of play in Superhot VR is maintained. Alternatively, now that VR gamers are used to walking around virtually and all major VR systems support roomscale VR natively, there’s little reason the real meat of the main game can’t make its way to your favorite virtual reality platform.

We need melee weapons in Superhot VR.

At this juncture of time, we’ve got plenty of examples of successful shooters and full-length games that translate perfectly into the VR space. The non-VR version of Superhot features full-sized levels with guns, katanas, platforming, and plenty of other elements that fill the spaces in-between what is experienced in the standing-only VR version.

The biggest hang-up is likely the developer’s size, which is focused solely on Superhot’s future development and is busy spending its cash funding other development studios to provide for the indie gaming market, at large. Could we see a true VR sequel to Superhot? The likelihood is incredibly high, given the success of the original, and it’s hopeful that the game will include enhanced mechanics and additional content that we’re seeing from the development of SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE.

While it’s less likely that we’ll get a real LEGO version of the VR game, we’ve seen LEGO partner with plenty of other properties in the past, so we wouldn’t put it past them to do it. Plus, given the fact that enemies explode into little triangles in the current version of the game, exchanging that triangular aesthetic for a brick one certainly wouldn’t be far-fetched.

Time-stopping fun

Superhot VR

$25 at Green Man Gaming

Time moves when you do

Superhot VR is one of the most amazing ways to experience VR, and it all starts with how you move. Strategize and plan while time stands still, and then move into action as the enemies move with you.

Someone made a LEGO Superhot VR and now I want a sequel more than ever

The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor collector's edition goes up for preorder

Return to Skyrim.

What you need to know

The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr recently launched on Xbox One.
The expansion adds a new region and brings back dragons.
The next Chapter of the game takes you to Skyrim.
The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor collector’s edition can be purchased for $130 on Amazon.

The Elder Scrolls Online is popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) which has garnered a strong player base over the years. A large part of the game’s success can be attributed to a steady influx of new content. Towards the beginning of June 2019, The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr launched on Xbox One and it adds dragons to the game. However, gamers missed the lands of Skyrim the most.

At The Game Awards 2019, Bethesda revealed that The Elder Scrolls Online will be heading to Skyrim. If you’re a fan of the MMORPG, be sure to check out The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor Physical Collector’s Edition Upgrade. It comes with coins, a map, and an amazing statue of a demon. It’s safe to assume that that’s probably the main villain of the expansion.

The collector’s edition is going for $130 right now so be sure to reserve yours before they run out. I just preordered mine. Oddly enough, I’m mostly excited about the coins!

Save Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor collector’s edition

$130 at Amazon

Take on ferocious demons

The Dark Heart of Skyrim beats from the depths in The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor. Explore the snow-swept region of Western Skyrim and face an ancient vampiric army as part of a year-long gothic adventure.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor collector's edition goes up for preorder

First Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary PC test flight begins in February

Soon, the remaster of the game that started it all will be playable by select Halo Insiders.

What you need to know

343 Industries announced plans to begin Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary PC flights in February.
The flight will Campaign, Multiplayer, Customization, and Progression content.
Some improvements to Halo: Reach on PC will also be tested in the flight.
You need to sign up for the Halo Insider Program to have a chance to participate.

Halo developer 343 Industries announced in a blog post that Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is slated to begin public flighting in February. This is a slightly later than the expected January tests, but the flights are nevertheless coming soon. The game is expected to begin being tested privately during January, and then if all goes well, the scope of the testing will expand and a public flight will begin next month. The content of the flight itself will include a variety of content from Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, including Campaign (both solo and co-op), Multiplayer, and even the title’s Customization and Progression systems.

On top of this, the flight is also going to contain some improvements to Halo: Reach that 343 Industries is looking to test. The only specific example given in the blog post is a change to the way that crouching works while moving, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a fix for Halo: Reach’s audio bugs being tried out. Hopefully the developers will tell us more in the coming weeks.

To have a chance at participating in this upcoming flight as well as ones beyond that, you’ll need to sign up for the Halo Insider Program. It’s quick to do, and you get the opportunity to both play some Halo for free and help 343 Industries squash bugs while doing so, making it a win-win. Make sure to follow our guide on how to sign up here.

If you want to hop into some official, fully-polished Halo on PC, make sure to check out Halo: Reach. Aside from the aforementioned audio mishaps, the port is fantastic, and playing Halo on mouse and keyboard is truly a great time. The modding community for the game is super active, too, and has already created a ton of mods that bring unique gameplay experiences to the table.

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary on PC will be available as part of the Halo: Master Chief Collection bundle that costs $40 or for $10 on its own. Halo: Reach on PC can be purchased right now as a standalone title for $10 as well. The games are available on both Steam and the Windows 10 Store.

Finish the Fight

Halo: The Master Chief Collection on PC

$40 at Microsoft
$40 at Steam

Experience the entirety of Halo history

The Master Chief Collection is a collection of every Halo shooter from the pre-Xbox One era, offering incredible value at an incredible price.

Remember Reach

Halo: Reach on PC

$10 at Microsoft $10 at Steam

From the beginning, you know the end

The Halo: Reach PC port is excellent, bringing the classic title to modern hardware in a superb way.

First Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary PC test flight begins in February

Microsoft Teams' new TV spot puts Slack on notice

Office work is boring. But it doesn’t have to be, if Microsoft has its way.

What you need to know

Microsoft debuted a new TV spot for Microsoft Teams this week.
The ad focuses on transforming boring office work into something a little more fun.
It also serves as another reminder that Microsoft is ready to aggressively compete with Slack.

Coming off of the explosive growth it saw with Microsoft Teams in 2019, Microsoft debuted a new TV spot for the team communication app this week (via The Verges). The ad spot is called “The Power of Microsoft Teams,” and it starts out be flatly going over the drudgery of typical office meetings, with charts aplenty and boring presentations. It then flips things on their head by showing off how Teams can jazz things up by letting you take part in meetings from anywhere, collaborate in brainstorming sessions, and more.

Throughout the ad, we get a look at features of Teams, ranging from the ability to blur your background in video calls, to sharing GIFs and collaborating in Whiteboard. There’s also the integration between Teams and all of Microsoft’s other Microsoft 365 services, which is a big selling point for the company.

The ad comes after after Microsoft saw Teams surge to 20 million daily active users by November. Earlier in the year, Slack’s CEO, Stewart Butterfield, said he didn’t see Teams as a threat, and that’s a line he stuck to in the company’s most recent earnings call. Slack and Teams, Butterfield said, “are different tools used for different purposes and our customers achieve markedly different results.”

“Teams has the potential to grow as large as Office 365 will allow it,” Larry Cannell, a research director covering enterprise collaboration for Gartner, recently told us. But Slack has plenty of positives to draw on as well, including a base of loyal users. “Slack has a strong, passionate user community as well as a large ecosystem of Slack apps to draw on,” Cannell said.

We’re likely to see Microsoft Teams continue to hit new milestones in the coming months, and it will be interesting to see how it and Microsoft adjust as the competition heats up. Ultimately, however, there’s likely plenty of room for both apps in the market.

Microsoft Teams' new TV spot puts Slack on notice

As Alphabet crests the $1T mark, SaaS stocks reach all-time highs of their own

Continuing our irregular surveys of the public markets, two things happened this week that are worth our time. First, a third domestic technology company — Alphabet — passed the $1 trillion market capitalization threshold. And, second, software as a service (SaaS) stocks reached record highs on the public markets after retreating over last summer.
The two milestones, only modestly related events, indicate how temperate the public waters are for technology companies today, a fact that should extend warmth into the private market where startups, and their venture capital backers, work.
The happenings are good news for technology startups for a number of reasons, including that major tech players have never had as much wealth in hand with which to buy smaller companies, and strong SaaS valuations help both smaller startups fundraise, and their larger brethren possibly exit.
Indeed, the stridently good valuations that major tech companies and their smaller siblings enjoy today should be just the sort of market conditions under which unicorns want to debut. We’ll continue to make this point so long as the public markets continue to rise, pricing tech companies that have already floated higher like the cliche’s own tide.

How many unicorns will exit before the market turns?

But while Alphabet, Microsoft and Apple are worth $3.68 trillion as a trio, and SaaS stocks are now worth 12.3x times their revenue (using enterprise value instead of market cap, for those keeping score at home), not every private, venture-backed company will necessarily benefit from public investor largesse.
What about tech-ish startups?
How much the current public-market tech valuation expansion will help companies that are increasingly sorted into the tech-enabled bucket isn’t clear; some companies that went public in 2019 were quickly spit up by investors unwilling to support valuations that matched or rose above their final private valuations. SmileDirectClub was one such offering.
The dividing line between what counts as tech — often fuzzy — appears to be slicing along gross margin lines, and the repeatability of business. The higher margin, and more recurring a company is, the more it’s worth. This market reality is why SaaS stocks’ recent return to form is not a surprise.
For Casper and One Medical, the first two venture-backed IPO hopefuls of the year, the more tech-ish they can appear between now and pricing the better. Because technology companies today are valued so highly, perhaps even a faint dusting of tech will save their valuations as they cross the chasm between private and adult.

One Medical’s IPO will test the value of tech-enabled startups

As Alphabet crests the T mark, SaaS stocks reach all-time highs of their own

Where FaZe Clan sees the future of gaming and entertainment

Lee Trink has spent nearly his entire career in the entertainment business. The former president of Capitol Records is now the head of FaZe Clan, an esports juggernaut that is one of the most recognizable names in the wildly popular phenomenon of competitive gaming.
Trink sees FaZe Clan as the voice of a new generation of consumers who are finding their voice and their identity through gaming — and it’s a voice that’s increasingly speaking volumes in the entertainment industry through a clutch of competitive esports teams, a clothing and lifestyle brand and a network of creators who feed the appetites of millions of young gamers.
As the company struggles with a lawsuit brought by one of its most famous players, Trink is looking to the future — and setting his sights on new markets and new games as he consolidates FaZe Clan’s role as the voice of a new generation.
“The teams and social media output that we create is all marketing,” he says. “It’s not that we have an overall marketing strategy that we then populate with all of these opportunities. We’re not maximizing all of our brands.”

Where FaZe Clan sees the future of gaming and entertainment

Hunt: Showdown gets solo mode and cross-play soon

Hunt: Showdown is about to get a lot better.

What you need to know

Hunt: Showdown is a first-person multiplayer shooter where you hunt monsters.
Today, developer Crytek just announced the title for PlayStation 4.
The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions will get cross-play soon.
You can purchase Hunt: Showdown for $40 on the Microsoft Store.

Hunt: Showdown is a stunning multiplayer shooter from Crytek. You have to go around investigating clues, shooting lesser monsters, and then fighting an even bigger threat at the end of the match. However, it’s not that easy. Along the way, other players will try to kill you and claim the reward for themselves.

Hunt: Showdown has been available on Xbox One for a while now, having initially launched in Xbox Game Preview. However, there are a lot of features that are still missing. For example, if you don’t want to get slaughtered by other players, there is no solo mode. Luckily, the team at Crytek heard us loud and clear and will be adding it in a future update. The bigger story is that the game is getting cross-play between Xbox One and PlayStation 4. You can read a statement from the developer below.

We have so much big news for you today, Hunters. Hunt is getting a new publisher! From here on out, Koch Media will be publishing Hunt on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Koch Media will be responsible for both the global retail and digital releases of the game on these platforms. Hunt is coming to PlayStation on… February 18… In the next year, you can expect even more content to be added to the game, and a lot of things you’ve been asking us for are on the way! Very soon, Update 1.2 will bring us random teams of three, an advanced tutorial, new Legendary Hunters, and new equipment and weapons across the board. You can also expect server-side performance improvements… performance fixes, and a number of other general bug fixes… looking beyond Update 1.2, Hunt will see even bigger updates arriving, including cross-play between Xbox and PlayStation, a Solo… mode, live-event, outfit customization, and a new map.

I’m mostly excited about the solo mode because, right now, the learning curve for new players is quite high. Hopefully, it won’t disappoint and we’ll be graced with a concrete release date soon.

In Windows Central’s review, I said, “Overall, Hunt: Showdown is a good game, but it needs a stronger single-player component. Going up against higher-level players again and again is quite frustrating. Sometimes, you just want to track the monster by yourself and explore the map without the fear of someone killing you along the way.”

Swarming monsters

Hunt: Showdown

$40 at Microsoft Store

Keep on shooting

Hunt: Showdown is a first-person shooter which features a blend of competitive and co-op combat. Monsters have taken over the world, and in order to survive, humanity must hunt them as close to extinction as possible.

Xbox

Xbox One S or Xbox One X?
Killer Xbox One Accessories in 2020
Must-buy Xbox One Headsets
Our Favorite Xbox One Wireless Headsets
Best Upcoming Xbox Games for 2020
Charge Up With These Xbox Battery Solutions

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Hunt: Showdown gets solo mode and cross-play soon

Chromium Edge has a tool to declutter web pages – Here's how to use it.

Yes, the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge comes with an immersive reader, and these are the steps to use it on Windows 10.

On Microsoft Edge Chromium, “immersive reader” is a feature that provides a clutter-free experience to read content online.

When you come across an interesting article online, sometimes, it’s difficult to concentrate on the content with all the visual elements, advertisements, and links around the page. The immersive reader is a feature available with the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge, which strips out the distractions and converts the page in an ebook-like experience with better fonts and background allowing you to focus on the main content.

Also, the immersive reader includes settings to customize the experience, and features like read aloud and grammar tools to help improve text comprehension.

In this Windows 10 guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to get started with the immersive reader in the Chromium version of Microsoft Edge.

How to enable or disable immersive reader on Microsoft Edge
How to customize text preference for immersive reader on Microsoft Edge
How to use grammar tools for immersive reader on Microsoft Edge
How to use read aloud for immersive reader on Microsoft Edge

How to enable or disable immersive reader on Microsoft Edge

To enable and disable immersive reader on Edge, use these steps:

Open Microsoft Edge.
Navigate to the website that you want to read.
Click the immersive reader (book and speaker) button.

Quick note: Immersive reader is only available for specific web pages. If you don’t see the button in the address bar, the page doesn’t support the feature.

Once you complete the steps, the immersive reader feature will remove the clutter and re-format the page using more readable text and background using a warmer color to make it easier on the eyes.

If you want to disable the experience on the page, click the immersive reader button again from the address bar.

How to customize text preference for immersive reader on Microsoft Edge

To customize the text size and background color while viewing a website with the immersive reader, use these steps:

Open Microsoft Edge.
Navigate to the website that you want to read.
Click the immersive reader (book and speaker) button.
Drag the mouse cursor towards the top of the page to reveal the immersive reader toolbar.

Quick tip: You can click the Pin button from the right side to make the toolbar always visible while in the immersive mode.
Click the Text preference button.

Use the Text size slider to make the text on the page smaller or larger.
Use the Page theme option to change the background color. Option available, include White, Sepia (default), Gray, and Dark.

After you complete the steps, pages you open with the experience will use the customization settings that you specified.

How to use grammar tools for immersive reader on Microsoft Edge

Grammar tools is a feature designed to help anyone to improve their reading comprehension with tools to separate words into syllables and options to highlight verbs, nouns, and adjectives. However, the tool is still under development, and you have to enable it manually using the hidden advanced settings.

Enabling grammar tools

To enable the grammar tools for the immersive reader before the feature is officially available, use these steps:

Open Microsoft Edge.
Type the following command in the address bar and press Enter:

edge://flags/#edge-reading-view-grammar-tools

Quick tip: Because Microsoft Edge is based on the Chromium engine, you can also use the chrome://flags to open the advanced flags settings page.
Use the Grammar Tools in Reading View menu and select the Enabled option.

Click the Restart button.

Once you complete the steps, you’ll find the grammar tools in the toolbar of the immersive reader experience.

Using grammar tools

To get started with grammar tools on Microsoft Edge Chromium, use these steps:

Open Microsoft Edge.
Navigate to the website that you want to read.
Click the immersive reader (book and speaker) button.
Drag the mouse cursor towards the top of the page to reveal the immersive reader toolbar.
Click the Grammar tools button.
Turn on the Sy-lla-bles toggle switch to break words into syllables.

Using the Parts of speech options, you can highlight nouns, verbs, and adjectives on a page.

Quick note: At the time of this writing, the “Parts of speech” option may not work correctly until a later update.

After you complete the steps, you’ll be able to use the tools to improve reading comprehension.

How to use read aloud for immersive reader on Microsoft Edge

On Microsoft Edge, read aloud is a simple, but powerful, tool that allows you to use a voice engine to read text aloud using different speeds and voices.

To use read aloud to have the browser read the page content aloud, use these steps:

Open Microsoft Edge.
Navigate to the website that you want to read.
Click the immersive reader (book and speaker) button.
Drag the mouse cursor towards the top of the page to reveal the immersive reader toolbar.
Click the Read aloud button.

Use the controls in the middle of the toolbar to start or pause, and jump to the previous or next paragraph.

Alternatively, you can also activate read aloud by highlighting the text, right-clicking the selection, and using the Read aloud selection option.

While read aloud has been available for a long time, Microsoft has made it significantly better for the Chromium version of Edge by adding new engines to make the voice sound more natural and less robotic.

Customizing read aloud

To customize the read aloud settings on Chromium Edge, use these steps:

Open Microsoft Edge.
Navigate to the website that you want to read.
Click the immersive reader (book and speaker) button.
Drag the mouse cursor towards the top of the page to reveal the immersive reader toolbar.
Click the Read aloud button.

Click the Voice options button.
Use the Speed slider to set the voice speed to Slow, Normal, or Fast.

Use the Choose a voice menu to select the kind of voice (male, female, different accents, etc.) you want to hear.

Once you complete the steps, you’ll be able to hear content aloud. This would come in handy as an accessibility feature, help you better understand a piece of content, or catch you up on different topics while you’re working in another task.

We’re focusing this guide on Windows 10, but the instructions should also work for the version of the browser available on macOS, and older versions of Windows.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

Windows 10 on Windows Central – All you need to know
Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks
Windows 10 forums on Windows Central

Chromium Edge has a tool to declutter web pages – Here's how to use it.

Plugable's Thunderbolt 3 NVMe 1TB SSD is blazing fast and very compact

Speedy, compact, and with plenty of storage capacity, this portable SSD is the real deal.

Portable hard drives are one of the most useful accessories a laptop user can get, as they allow them to take significant amounts of data on the go. There are tons of options for this portable storage on the market. Still, Plugable’s new Thunderbolt 3 NVMe 1TB SSD soars above the competition thanks to its stellar transfer speed, large data capacity, and travel-friendly size. It may be pricey, but you get what you pay for.

Storage on the go

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 NVMe 1TB SSD

$299

Bottom line: Offering blazing fast transfer speed, plenty of storage space, and a super compact size, this SSD is a slam dunk across the board.

Pros

Amazing transfer speed
Plenty of storage
Compact, travel-friendly size

Cons

Expensive

$299 at Amazon

What you’ll love about this SSD

The transfer speed on this SSD is crazy fast, meaning you’ll be moving large files to and from your system in no time at all.

Above all else, I think the best thing about this SSD is the data transfer speed it brings to the table by taking advantage of the power of Thunderbolt 3. The manufacturer advertises 2400+ MB/sec reading and 1800+ MB/sec writing for the hard drive, and after testing the SSD out for a while, my results were consistent with those numbers. Video files, even very large ones like full-length 4K movies, can be moved to and from the drive-in under a minute or less. This makes life for the user incredibly convenient and saves them a significant amount of time.

Secondly, the drive comes with a large capacity of 1TB, which should be more than enough for nearly all users. If you find that you want or need more space (for instance, if you want to have more than a handful of 4K films and videos on hand at once), there’s a 2TB version of the SSD available, but most folks won’t need more than 1TB.

Lastly, as you can see in the above image, the SSD is pretty compact and can fit into the palm of your hand. This makes it perfect for use while traveling around, as it won’t burden you by taking up a lot of space.

What you’ll love less about this SSD

Honestly, I have no serious qualms with this SSD at all. The size of the Thunderbolt 3 cord could be a little longer, but that’s a very minor issue. On top of that, the price of the drive is pretty high, but it’s not overpriced; you get what you pay for. Overall, while these two things may bug some, they’re by no means big problems.

Should you buy this SSD?

If you need a portable Thunderbolt 3 SSD with tons of speed, a lot of storage space, and a small physical size, it doesn’t get any better than this one from Plugable.

5
out of 5

Designed to be the ideal choice for anyone who wants to have a reliable tool for transferring large files while on the go, you should absolutely get this SSD if you have a Thunderbolt 3 device, and you’re one of those people.

Storage on the go

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 NVMe 1TB SSD

$299 at Amazon

Incredible performance that fits in your pocket

Offering blazing fast transfer speed, plenty of storage space, and a super compact size, this SSD is a slam dunk across the board.

Plugable's Thunderbolt 3 NVMe 1TB SSD is blazing fast and very compact