Microsoft News Roundup: Closing studios, controller controversy, and more – Windows Central

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This week was a big one for Microsoft news, though unfortunately much of it was negative. The tech giant shocked many when it announced that several game studios will be shut down, including the studio behind Hi-Fi Rush. A controversial controller launch followed that announcement as well, adding more bad news to the pile. We also saw Apple unveil a new processor that will compete with the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite and a Windows bug block VPNs from working.

Microsoft closing gaming studios

(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Microsoft shocked the gaming world by announcing the end of Arkane Austin, Alpha Dog Games, and Tango Gameworks. In addition to those three studios being shut down, Roundhouse Studios will be folded into ZeniMax Online Studios. The news surprised many, but the planned shutdown of Tango Gameworks was particularly surprising. Tango Gameworks released Hi-Fi Rush in 2023, a game which earned critical acclaim and received honors at the Game Awards and the BAFTAs.

Microsoft laid off 1,900 people across Activision Blizzard, Xbox Game Studios, and ZeniMax Media earlier this year. At the time, that seemed like potentially the worst news of the year when it comes to people working within the industry. Unfortunately for those working at Arkane Austin, Alpha Dog Games, and Tango Gameworks, more bad news came out this week.

Our Samuel Tolbert said “there aren’t words to describe how idiotic, short-sighted, and downright grim this move is,” and he was far from alone in feeling that way.

Tone deaf Xbox controller

Picard meme covering his face over the reveal of a new controller

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Microsoft told people to “feel the burn” with a new controller on the same day it announced the shutdown of several studios. (Image credit: Microsoft and HiClipArt with edits via Michael Hoglund)

Controversy emerged as Microsoft announced a new Fire Vapor Special Edition Controller this week. On most other news days, the announcement of a new Xbox controller would be welcome news. Many people love collecting Xbox controllers and gamepads top our collection of the best Xbox accessories. But the “Feel the burn” tagline originally used to market the controller proved controversial with the unveiling of the Fire Vapor Special Edition Controller.

Microsoft has since changed its marketing material to say “Introducing the Fire Vapor Special Edition Controller.” While that phrasing is less charged, the fact that Microsoft announced a new controller the same day it announced plans to shut three studios was received poorly, regardless of marketing language.

Apple unveils M4

Apple iPad Pro with M4 processor

Apple’s new iPad Pro has an OLED display but its M4 processor stole the show. (Image credit: Future)

Apple had the biggest story in tech this week. The company unveiled its new iPad Pro, which is powered by the brand-new M4 processor. The M4 promises 50% faster CPU performance than Apples M2 and is four times faster than the M2 on the GPU side of things.

The comparison to the M2 is interesting, though there is some logic behind it. The previous iPad Pro features an M2 processor, so it makes sense to share figures comparing the M4 to the last chip inside an iPad Pro. But Apple not including comparisons between the M4 and M3 made some question if the tech giant is trying to frame the conversation about new Arm processors in 2024. Apple has been accused of rushing the M4 to market by some who argue the company rolled the chip out in an iPad Pro to ensure the M4 hit the market before the upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite or the lower-tier Snapdragon X Plus

While it’s fun to compare tech and decide which side “won” the year, the bottom line is that consumers will have some excellent options when it comes to tablets in 2024. The new iPad Pro looks fantastic, and Microsoft has a new Surface Pro 10 on the way. Other OEMs are ready to ship devices powered by new Snapdragon processors as well.

GPT-5 news

ChatGPT privacy settings

OpenAI’s CEO says GPT-5 will be better than its predecessor while insulting GPT-4. (Image credit: Future)

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has an interesting habit of criticizing his company’s own products. Altman said GPT-4 is “mildly embarrassing at best” and promises “with a high degree of scientific certainty” that GPT-5 will be better. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a shock that GPT-5 will likely be better than GPT-4, but the way Altman phrased the claim is interesting.

“GPT-4 is the dumbest model any of you will ever have to use again by a lot,” said Altman. That quote echoes previous comments when the CEO said GPT-4 “kind of sucks.” The good news for users of GPT-based technology is that GPT-5 will be better. Altman said with “a high degree of scientific certainty that GPT-5 is going to be a lot smarter than GPT-4.”

Windows 11 VPN bug

Downloading and installing new update on Windows 11

A recently discovered bug in Windows prevents PCs from connecting to a VPN. (Image credit: Kevin Okemwa)

Some users of Windows 11 and Windows 10 ran into a bug recently that prevents PCs from connecting to a VPN. The bug, which was acknowledged by Microsoft, is included in the April 2024 update for both versions of Windows. “Windows devices might face VPN connection failures after installing the April 2024 security update (KB5036893) or the April 2024 non-security preview update,” said Microsoft.

The tech giant is aware of the issue and is working on a fix. For now, it’s likely best to pause Windows updates for a bit. Microsoft will give people the green light to upgrade PCs again after the fix is addressed.

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HYTE THICC Q60 FP12

(Image credit: Ben Wilson | Windows Central)

Our experts take a close look at the latest gadgets each week. Recently, our team checked out a CPU cooler with a “THICC” radiator and Homeworld 3.

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