With no E3 this year due to the pandemic, and new consoles launching this holiday season, what are companies to do? Do the Nintendo thing – announce a bunch of…
Schools around the country and the world are closing to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means many students and teachers are using online tools for education. Microsoft is helping teachers and students stay connected by offering Minecraft: Education Edition for free to all educators through June 30.
In order to qualify, teachers will need to have a valid Office 365 Education account, and fill out this form. You’ll also need to make sure your school is eligible. If you receive access, you can download Minecraft: Education Edition for Windows, Mac or iOS (iPad). If you don’t have a valid account, or just want to check it out, you can still download the game and try a free demo lesson.
Microsoft has also put together a remote learning toolkit that includes 50 lessons, activities, and projects that educators can use with Minecraft: Education Edition. A new category of educational Minecraft worlds are also available in the Minecraft Marketplace. All of these worlds are free to download through June 30.
“Distance learning requires students to be engaged in content in news ways,” said Becky Keene, Minecraft certified trainer and educator. “As they work remotely, they need to have activities and environments that motivate them to learn. Minecraft supports almost any content area, and students can show me their learning without missing a beat!”
Microsoft and developer Moon Studios have released Ori and the Will of the Wisps on PC (Steam, Windows 10 Store), and Xbox One, for $29.99.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the sequel to 2015’s gorgeous 2D action-platformer, Ori and the Blind Forest. The sequel features an improved combat system, and spirit shards that let players customize Ori’s powers. Players can also choose between three difficulty levels to help tailor the experience.
The sequel continues the series tradition of beautiful environments, large enemies, and a sweeping musical score composed by award-winning composer Gareth Coker.
“Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a game that everyone at Moon Studios has poured their hearts and souls into developing over the last five years so that our community can play the best version of the game possible,” said Thomas Mahler, Co-Founder of Moon Studios. “We believe we’ve delivered on that promise to players and are looking forward to the response from the community.”
To celebrate the launch, Microsoft teamed up with the San Diego Zoo to host a livestream event, where they revealed the name of the Zoo’s newly hatching owl. Naturally the owl is named Kuro after the large, prominent owl antagonist from the Blind Forest.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is now available on PC and Xbox One. It’s also part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription (as is Ori and the Blind Forest). A Limited Collector’s Edition is also available for $49.99, which includes a Steelbook case, soundtrack CD, and art book.
Microsoft has announced two new Special Edition Wireless Controllers: Phantom Magenta and Arctic Camo. Both controllers are Bluetooth compatible with Xbox One, Windows 10, mobile devices, as well as the upcoming Xbox Series X console this Holiday Season. They’re available for pre-order now.
The Phantom Magenta Special Edition wireless controller is the third in the Phantom series. The ultra-saturated purples, pinks, and black transitions from opaque to translucent. It’s inspired by cyberpunk sci-fi like Ghost in the Shell, and could fit perfectly with upcoming action-RPG Cyberpunk 2077. It’s releasing on March 17 for $69.99 at Microsoft Stores and select online retailers.
The Arctic Camo Special Edition wireless controller is the second Camo series controller, and features a white and grey camo design. The controller uses a frosted transparent resin to appear camouflaged from the inside-out, and features diamond-texture on the triggers. The Arctic Camo Special Edition is launching in May exclusively at Walmart and Microsoft Stores.
Both controllers will also feature optional matching charging stands. Each charging stand includes a battery cover, rechargeable battery, and 6-foot power cord for $49.99. The Phantom Magenta charging stand will be available the same day as the controller, March 17. The Arctic Camo charging stand will release April 27.
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