How to connect an Xbox controller to your iPhone to play games and more

An Xbox Series X/S wireless controller.
Connecting an Xbox controller to your iPhone is a great way to enhance your games.

  • To connect an Xbox controller to your iPhone and play games with it, you’ll need to have at least iOS 13.
  • You can connect nearly any Xbox controller, whether it’s from the Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S.
  • Make sure that your Xbox controller has Bluetooth and is in pairing mode before trying to connect it.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Thanks to some recent updates, you can now connect nearly every popular video game controller to your iPhone. This includes Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S controllers, which are considered some of the best on the market.

Although not every game supports the use of controllers, several of the more popular games on the App Store allow it, including nearly every game in the Apple Arcade.

Pairing your Xbox One controller to your iPhone is pretty straightforward. Here’s how to do it.

How to connect an Xbox controller to your iPhone

Now, if you have an Xbox controller with Bluetooth:

1. Hold down the Xbox logo button, located at the top-center of the controller, until it starts flashing. If it doesn’t flash and instead just glows solidly, it’s already paired to a nearby Xbox – if this is the case, hold the small button located next to the charging port until the Xbox logo flashes.

2. Grab your iPhone and open the Settings app, then tap Bluetooth.

3. Once you’re in the Bluetooth menu, you should see a device named “Xbox Wireless Controller” or something similar. Tap it, and your iPhone will ask you if you want to pair the device.

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Make sure the controller isn’t paired with anything else, or otherwise it won’t appear here.

4. Select Pair.

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Once the device is paired, you can start using it.

5. Later, if you’re done using the controller and want to disconnect it, go to the Bluetooth menu again, tap the small i icon next to the device’s name, and then tap Disconnect.

Image 4
Pairing and unpairing your controller is simple.

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The 6 best gaming headsets in 2021 for consoles and PC

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

As the video game industry continues to grow, more and more people are gaming online via PS5, PS4, Xbox, PC, and the Switch. But, not all gaming setups are created equal. For the best multiplayer experience, you’re going to want a an over-ear headset with a built-in microphone.

Thankfully, gaming headset options are plentiful. We’re no longer forced to use cheap bundled headphones with limited features. Instead, 3.5mm ports, stereo support, surround sound capabilities, and wireless connectivity abound. This means that everyone can plug in, hear better, communicate better, and be more comfortable – all while alleviating noise pollution for everyone else in your home or office.

To meet today’s gaming needs and beyond, we put together the following headset recommendations. Through hands-on testing, our picks represent the best gaming headsets you can find across a range of budgets and platforms. We’ve selected our picks based on a number of important factors, and we personally own or have thoroughly tested every headset on this list.

Here are the best gaming headsets you can buy:

The best gaming headset overall

SteelSeries Arctis 7X and 7P

The SteelSeries Arctis 7X is a versatile, comfortable, lightweight, and dependable wireless headset.

Pros: Multiplatform wireless and wired support, retractable mic, comfortable fit, strong battery life, lightweight design

Cons: Uses Micro USB cable for charging, no game/chat mix control when used on PlayStation, mobile cable has a proprietary port on the headset side

SteelSeries’ Arctis 7X, carries over several familiar options from previous models while adding some important new features. Chief among those new features is a handy USB-C dongle for convenient multiplatform wireless support. 

The dongle is compact enough to connect directly to a smartphone or Nintendo Switch when it’s in tablet mode. Thanks to the included USB-C to USB-A cable, it’s also easy to connect to larger systems, like the Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and even a PC.

There’s a little switch on the transmitter that lets it go from Xbox mode to USB mode for everything else. The headset uses a 2.4GHz wireless connection which has a strong signal that avoids dropouts and lag.

The 40mm speaker drivers are the same ones that SteelSeries uses in more expensive headsets, and they’re not overpowering or bass-heavy. Audio performance is strong in single player and multiplayer games, letting quiet environments breathe while keeping chat audio clear.

The drivers go well with the headset’s retractable microphone which does a great job of minimizing background noise. There’s a mic mute button on the left ear cup and, when muted, a red light on the mic activates. 

Even though the headset supports just about every gaming device under the sun via wireless, it still comes with a mobile 3.5mm cable to ensure compatibility with wired devices, like a 3DS or older iPad.

On the downside, while the included dongle uses USB-C, the headset itself is charged via Micro USB, which is less convenient. Fortunately, the build quality and general feel are both top-notch.

The best gaming headset for PS5

sony pulse 3d bottom view

Sony’s Pulse 3D is wireless, seamlessly pairs with the PlayStation 5, and has helpful controls for game and chat mixing built right in.

Pros: Integration with PlayStation consoles, wireless support, game/chat mix controls, PS VR compatible, stylish design, USB-C charging, 3.5mm port

Cons: No boom mic, some questions about long term durability

To coincide with the launch of the PS5, Sony debuted the Pulse 3D. It’s a wireless headset that uses a small USB-A dongle, and it should be very familiar to gamers who owned the PlayStation Gold Wireless or Platinum Wireless headsets. 

Like those headsets, the Pulse 3D integrates seamlessly into the PlayStation ecosystem, with an onscreen UI indicating power, battery level, and volume level. The Pulse 3D also has controls on the left ear cup for setting game/chat mix, volume, power, mic mute, and even a toggle for turning mic monitoring on or off.

The Pulse 3D works with the PS5, PS4, PC, and even a docked Nintendo Switch. The performance of the drivers is similar to the PlayStation Gold headset, which I really like. Unfortunately, the invisible mic design is similar as well. It works fine, but this style just isn’t as good as a boom mic as it lets in a lot of background noise.

On the plus side, the headset achieves the rare feat of not only being compatible with PlayStation VR via its 3.5mm jack, but also actually being able to fit over the VR headset. It’s a nice match for the DualSense controller as well since the Pulse 3D can charge over USB-C. 

When it comes to aesthetics, the Pulse 3D has been designed to complement the PS5, as it perfectly matches the color scheme and general style of the console and its controllers. Coupled with the headset’s solid performance and easy integration, this look helps make the Pulse 3D an ideal fit for PS5 owners.

The best gaming headset for Xbox

xbox headphones

Microsoft’s official Xbox Series X|S wireless gaming headset can connect to Xbox consoles without a dongle and supports multipoint connection.

Pros: Xbox Wireless radio support without dongle, works with gaming PCs, simultaneous support for Xbox and Bluetooth devices, physical dials for volume, game audio and voice chat balance, microphone mute button

Cons: No 3.5mm headphone port, plain design, lacks versatility for use with PlayStation and Switch

Xbox consoles use a proprietary radio signal to give wireless headsets and controllers a better connection than Bluetooth offers. Microsoft’s official Xbox headset isn’t the only set that works with this signal, but it is one of the most affordable while offering quite a few premium features.

The headset also works with Bluetooth devices, and you can even pair it with an Xbox and Bluetooth device at the same time, so you can listen to music from your phone or computer while still hearing game audio and voice chatting on Xbox Live.

The Xbox Series X|S headset feels lightweight but sturdy; the headband contains a steel band with foam cushioning, while the ear cushions use polyurethane leather and foam. Like the PlayStation 3D Pulse headset, the Xbox wireless headset features two dials on either ear cup, allowing you to control the volume and manage the balance between your game audio and voice chat. The microphone can be folded around the left ear cup when not in use and features a physical mute button as well.

The Xbox Series X|S headset has an average battery life lasting about 15 hours, and can be used in wired mode with a USB-C cable on Windows computers.

The best budget wired gaming headset

HyperX Stinger

The HyperX Cloud Stinger is the ultimate distillation of everything important in a wired headset, and it has a price that’s tough to beat.

Pros: Good build quality, comfort, and sound at an affordable price, swivel to mute mic, on-ear volume control

Cons: No mesh ear option, fixed cable

To be sure, the majority of first-time or repeat headset buys happen right around the price point where the HyperX Cloud Stinger lands. The Stinger is a wired passive stereo headset with 50mm drivers, a flip-down boom mic, swivel ear cups, a volume slider on the right ear, and a fixed in-line volume control. 

It’s suitable for connecting to PS5/PS4 controllers, Xbox controllers, the Switch, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and most anything modern with a 3.5mm jack. Unlike many nicer and more expensive headsets, the HyperX Cloud Stinger isn’t impedance hungry. This means it works fine connected to a PlayStation DualShock 4 controller, but does still have some headroom for improved performance with a better source.

When it comes to HyperX and its headsets, the company owes much of its reputation to the imperfect but still stellar HyperX Cloud. With the Cloud Stinger, HyperX has taken almost everything that made the Cloud great and put it in a lighter, more essential, and more original package.

The build of the Stinger is light but solid, and the headset is comfortable while having a sedate look. It’s a purposeful headset that should satisfy the majority of users looking for something wired to connect right to the headset jack. When HyperX made the Cloud Stinger, it made sure that anyone trying to dip their toes into gaming headsets would have a quality option.

The best wireless gaming headset for the money

SteelSeries Arctis 1 wireless headset for xbox

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless for Xbox makes impressive wireless performance affordable for Xbox, PlayStation, PC, and Switch buyers.

Pros: Painless multiplatform wireless support with good sound, strong mic, excellent battery life

Cons: No chat/game mix controls on headset, headset and mic don’t sit well when not being worn

The Arctis 1 Wireless was pretty incredible when it debuted as a PlayStation-focused headset, and the Arctis 1 Wireless for Xbox is not only just as good, it’s better. That’s because the new model adds support for Xbox platforms.

There’s a little switch on the USB-C wireless dongle. Buyers can simply flip the switch to Xbox for Xbox platforms, and to USB for everything else. The small USB-C dongle is also compatible with the Nintendo Switch (both in dock and tablet mode) and even some smartphones (including my LG V40) for 2.4Ghz wireless audio. 

Under the hood, the Arctis 1 features speaker drivers taken from the main Arctis line. This helps the Arctis 1 provide well-tuned sound out of the box. The mic is also excellent, with performance so good it’s likely to draw compliments from fellow players. The battery life is stellar as well. It’s rated at 20+ hours, and boy, does it last.

While the headset is wireless on just about every recent console, the device also retains a 3.5mm jack and cable. This means that it can be used on a ton of devices in wired mode. That extra bit of functionality is a handy feature, and it doesn’t seem to make the headset bulkier, heavier, or more expensive.

The best audiophile gaming headset

Sennheiser Game One

The comfortable, open design of the Sennheiser Game One headset offers the high-quality sound performance most audiophiles crave.

Pros: Open-back design, comfortable, good mic, fabric pads, won’t break the bank, on-ear volume wheel and flip to mute mic, detachable cable

Cons: Needs a Mixamp rather than controller jack for optimal performance, will leak sound

Combining a gaming headset with audiophile performance is tricky. The audio punch that we seek when we game isn’t necessarily the same tuning we’d enjoy when listening to music. And often, the microphones on certain audiophile headsets just don’t impress. 

Fortunately, I’ve found the Sennheiser Game One to be one of my favorite headsets in all aspects. What really gives it that audiophile feel is the open-back design. Open-back headphones are known for their sublime audio performance, and this design allows the ears to breathe more. With that said, open-back headsets are prone to sound leakage, so they’re not ideal if you have someone sitting within a few feet as they are sure to hear everything you hear.

The heavy duty boom mic doesn’t merely look serious, it delivers — as I can attest since it’s my choice for gaming while having a sleeping newborn in the next room. Likewise, the headset contains a volume wheel on the right ear, a satisfying click -to-mute function in the mic, and a composition of fabric, padding, and shape to achieve maximum comfort. The cabling is detachable, and this is really helpful when choosing between a long split cable on PC or a short combined cable on console.

While the comfort, feel, and quality are ever-present, to get the best sound performance, you’ll need a dedicated source such as a MixAmp or GameDAC. With that in mind, we recommend pairing the headset with an Astro Gaming MixAmp Pro TR.

Other gaming headsets we considered

Arctis 9x headset on desk

The $150 Hyper X Cloud II Wireless is an excellent wireless headset that will suit most gamer’s needs on PlayStation, PC, and Switch. It boasts an impressive 30-hour battery life, USB-C charging, and a detachable microphone with physical mute and volume controls. However, it lacks wired support, and physical controls to balance game and chat audio. Ultimately, there are more versatile choices in the $100 range, so the Cloud II Wireless ranks below our top recommendations.

The $200 SteelSeries Arctis 9X can connect wirelessly to an Xbox console without the need for a dongle, while also being able to simultaneously pair to a mobile device via Bluetooth.

The headset’s ski goggle headband is also convenient since it’s removable for cleaning or even replacement — and there are some different designs available. That said, I wouldn’t recommend walking around much while using the Bluetooth function as the Arctis 9X will tend to move around on your head.

The Arctis 9X has a retractable mic with a mute light, 40mm drivers, and reliable controls built right onto the headset. These functions include a mute toggle, volume wheel, power button, and chat/game mix controls. The battery life is rated for 20 hours, which is solid but not as good as some competing models. Another minor drawback is that the headset still uses a Micro USB connection for charging rather than USB-C.

The $270 Corsair Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT gaming headset offers an impressive set of features, including memory foam earpads, multipoint Bluetooth connection, customizable lighting, a Dolby Atmos license, and an automated sleep function that will detect when you put the headset down. Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT also boasts a wider frequency response range than competing headsets, reaching up to 40 kHZ as well as support for hi-res 24bit, 96KHz audio, but those features usually won’t come into play when gaming.

More importantly, the Virtuoso RGB Wireless XT only works in wireless mode with PlayStation consoles and PC, forcing you to use 3.5mm wired mode for Switch. Additionally, you need to use Corsair’s iCue software to make the most of the headset’s lighting and EQ features, which might be disappointing for console gamers.

The $250 SteelSeries Arctis Pro + GameDAC was previously one of our top picks but has been downgraded in favor of newer models. That said, the headset  continues to be an excellent choice, particularly for the PC and PS4/PS4 Pro. On the PS5, it loses the ability to control game/chat balance and its integrated surround sound feature, so it’s not as easy to recommend for gamers primarily using Sony’s new console.

How to pick the best gaming headset

SteelSeries Arctis 1 wireless headset

Wireless versus wired support: Determining whether you want a wireless or wired headset is one of the first decisions you’ll have to make when choosing a gaming headset. Wireless headsets are untethered by pesky cables so they’re typically more comfortable to use. Wireless headsets tend to use a 2.4GHz signal in order to avoid the audio lag associated with Bluetooth. 

With that said, since many home Wi-Fi networks also use 2.4GHz, a smaller home (like an apartment) that’s saturated with a bunch of different Wi-Fi signals can be problematic due to interfering signals. If interference is an issue for your setup, then a wired headset is probably a better choice. Wired headsets also don’t require charging, and are generally compatible with any system that has a headset jack. 

Platform support: With gaming spread over PC, consoles, and even tablets and smartphones, it’s important to know which platform you plan to use your headset with. Though most wired models offer compatibility across different devices, platform support is especially important to keep in mind when choosing a wireless headset.

Xbox consoles, in particular, only support specific wireless headsets. Meanwhile, the Switch has a headphone jack on the console but not on the Joy-Cons or the Pro Controller. Pay close attention to the connection specifications and compatibility details listed by the manufacturer in order to ensure that the headset you choose has the necessary wired or wireless connections for your devices. 

Comfort and build: A good headset should be comfortable to use for hours on end, but that comfort will be influenced by both the ambient temperature and the size of a user’s head. These factors are nearly as important as the design of the headset itself. Generally speaking, if a headset doesn’t feel comfortable to wear after a few gaming sessions (around two hours each), then it’s likely a poor fit. The more durable headsets tend to use stronger materials, but that means that they’re likely to be heavier. On the other hand, plastic headsets are lighter but more fragile. 

Surround Sound: One attractive feature that’s pretty common in nicer gaming headsets is surround sound. This effect is usually done by processing sound to the left and right drivers to simulate the effect of audio coming from multiple directions. Though not true surround sound in the strictest sense, these simulated effects can create a more immersive experience.

In addition to surround sound options included with certain headsets, both the PC and Xbox One have an array of virtualization solutions (like Windows Sonic) to enable surround sound on any headset model. Meanwhile, the PS5 features Sony’s Tempest 3D audio tech. Of course, it’s worth noting that regular stereo sound is still quite good on many platforms, including PS4 and Switch. Stereo sound also tends to be less laggy since it isn’t as processed as surround sound. 

Price: Most gamers should be satisfied with a headset in the $50 to $150 price range. That said, if a headset is being used every day, it becomes difficult to expect years of use out of cheaper models. Frequent users can expect their headsets to wear out a bit faster than their controllers. Headsets that cost $300 or more usually include extra features, some of which can help extend their lives, such as replaceable earpads and even batteries. 

The best deals on gaming headsets from this guide

Whether you’re a pro gamer or a first-time player, a quality headset is essential for sprucing up your interactive experience. Not only will a good pair help give you an edge during gameplay, they will save those around you from hearing your game. 

Gaming headset deals are scattered throughout the year. The best time to shop for one is Black Friday or Cyber Monday, since they’re popular gifts. Discounts on our SteelSeries picks rarely exceed $15, but the affordable HyperX Cloud Stinger drops by up to $20 during the holidays. 

Below, you’ll find deals on our picks for the best gaming headset, from top brands:

Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

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7 reasons why ‘Hades’ is my favorite game included with Xbox Game Pass right now

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Screenshot of the video game Hades with blue flames on screen
“Hades” is now available as part of an Xbox Game Pass subscription.

  • Hades” is an action game where you attempt to escape from the pits of Hell.
  • In addition to Nintendo Switch and PC, the game is now available on Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
  • Members of Xbox Game Pass ($10/month) can currently play “Hades” at no additional cost.

Game Pass Ultimate 3-Month Membership (Digital) (small)(Xbox) (small)

“Hades,” one of the most critically acclaimed games of 2020, is now available to play on Xbox and PlayStation consoles. For a limited time, you can play “Hades” at no additional cost if you have an Xbox Game Pass subscription. Game Pass starts at $10 a month and gives members access to more than 100 titles. Meanwhile, PlayStation owners can buy “Hades” for $25 from the PlayStation store.

The action game is a dungeon crawler that lets you play as the underworld prince Zagreus. In defiance of your father Hades, you battle your way through Hell in an attempt to breach the surface. After every failed escape, you emerge from a pool of blood right back where you started.

From the soothing soundtrack and cool power-ups to the interesting dungeons and dog-petting feature, these are the reasons why I think “Hades” is a must-play title, especially for Xbox Game Pass members.

The exciting gameplay and story keep you invested for hours on end.

The final boss battle of "Hades."

“Hades” is considered to be a “roguelike” action game, which means it features procedurally generated levels and a fresh start after each death. If you die, you return to the beginning location, which adds a fun yet challenging element to the gameplay.

During each playthrough you lose certain power-ups collected during the last run. That said, you can still accumulate certain special abilities, unlock new weapons, and continue character relationships.

I love fighting the enemies in each dungeon chamber and trying to preserve my health for the final boss fight, but it’s ultimately the engaging storyline that keeps me coming back to “Hades” over and over again.

The dungeons for each area in ‘Hades’ feel both new and familiar.

Screenshot of the video game Hades with a large character on screen

“Hades” is divided into four core sections: Tartarus, Asphodel, Elysium, and the Temple of Styx. As you ascend through the dungeon chambers, you encounter distinct foes in each area.

While you do fight against similar bosses at the end of each section, your path changes from run to run based on the choices you make. Instead of feeling repetitive, I found myself looking forward to noticing the differences and similarities between runs.

The power-ups gifted by the Olympians keep the gameplay feeling fresh.

Screenshot of the menu in the video game Hades

As you fight your way through the game’s dungeon chambers, the Olympians bestow you with boons that only last for your current escape attempt. Choosing from one of three possible gifts and attempting to create the perfect stack of power-ups makes the action feel unique and invigorating on each run.

‘Hades’ lets you pet the dog.

Screenshot of the video game Hades with a dragon

When it comes to gauging whether or not a video game is a good fit for my gameplay style, there’s one question always at the forefront of my mind: Can you pet the dog?

Yes, you can pet Cerberus, the three-headed hound of hell, in “Hades.” Give Cerberus enough head pats, and you can even unlock a special achievement.

Check out the popular Twitter account @canyoupetthedog for more video games featuring interactions with man’s best friend.

You can have it both ways in ‘Hades.’

Screenshot of the video game Hades with instructions

During your quest to fight your way out of Hell, you encounter Olympians who assist you in various ways with your journey. You can build up relationships with the Olympians through chatting and exchanging gifts.

Whether you want to romance Thanatos (your childhood friend and death incarnate) or Megaera (your former foe and one of the Furies), “Hades” gives you the choice of who you want as your underworld lover, and even allows you to build a special relationship with both characters. 

The ‘Hades’ soundtrack is so soothing.

Screenshot of the video game Hades with a character names Orpheus on screen

From the crescendoing drumbeat of “No Escape” to the soothing falsetto of “Hymn to Zagreus,” the incredible soundtrack by composer Darren Korb cultivates the perfect vibe for hours and hours of relaxing gameplay.

The “Hades” album is available for listening on music streaming platforms such as Amazon Music and Spotify.

I enjoy ‘Hades’ even more on my Xbox than when I played on Switch.

Screenshot of the video game Hades with blue flames on screen

When I played “Hades” on my Nintendo Switch, I completed most of the game in handheld mode. The Switch is very convenient and fits well into my lifestyle, but I enjoyed playing the hellish action game even more on my Xbox One.

The controls feel smoother when using my Xbox, and I love how the animation looks on the big screen in 1080p. Xbox Series X|S owners can enjoy the game with even better quality in up to 4K Ultra HD.

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‘NBA 2K22’ launches on September 10 and you can preorder the game now to snag exclusive bonuses

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Luka Doncic NBA 2K22
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic appears on the cover of “NBA 2K22” ahead of his fourth NBA season.

2K22 (medium)

NBA 2K22,” the world’s top basketball simulation game, will launch on September 10 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. Special editions of the game are available in celebration of the NBA’s 75th anniversary and the 25th anniversary of the WNBA.

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic graces the cover of the standard edition, while the 75th anniversary edition features Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, Mavericks all-time great Dirk Nowitzki, and NBA all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Chicago Sky forward Candace Parker is the first WNBA player to be featured on an “NBA 2K” cover, appearing on the WNBA 25th anniversary edition.

Players interested in upgrading their game from PS4 to PS5 or Xbox One to Xbox Series X|S will need to buy the digital cross-gen version of the game from the respective console store for $80.

In the past, 2K has given customers who preorder a chance to play the game a few days early, but “NBA 2K22” will have a simultaneous release for all versions. All players who preorder “NBA 2K22” will receive in-game rewards when it launches, as long as they buy before September 10.

What’s new in ‘NBA 2K22?’

“NBA 2K” saw major graphical improvements with the leap to the next-gen PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles last year. “NBA 2K22” further optimizes those visuals on the new consoles, while players on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC can expect improved animations compared to last year’s game.

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions will also let players explore a new city environment in the game’s MyCareer and Neighborhood modes. Meanwhile, the neighborhood mode on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC will be staged on a cruise ship.

All versions of “NBA 2K22” incorporate seasonal rewards across multiple modes, challenging players to complete tasks and unlock in-game items. Each season will last six weeks, with nine total seasons of rewards planned before the release of “NBA 2K23.”

NBA 2K22” will also include more robust features for WNBA modes, like improved progression during season and MyCareer modes, and easier matchmaking with friends when playing online. 2K Games plans to release more details about the MyCareer mode and gameplay changes in the days before release.

‘NBA 2K22’ preorder bundles

NBA 2K22 Covers
The cover stars of “NBA 2K22” include Candace Parker, Luka Doncic, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant.

NBA 2K22” will launch with four different editions on September 10. Every edition includes preorder bonuses, but they vary based on which version you buy.

The standard version of “NBA 2K22” starts at $60 on Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Players on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X|S will have to pay $70. If you think you’ll be upgrading to a PS5 or Xbox Series X|S in the future, you can pay $80 for the cross-gen bundle (PlayStation, Xbox) to access “NBA 2K22” on current and next-gen consoles without having to re-purchase the game.

The $100 NBA 75th anniversary edition of “NBA 2K22” offers the most rewards, while the $70 WNBA 25th Anniversary Edition features the same rewards as the standard edition, but with a special cover featuring Candace Parker that’s only available from GameStop or the 2K store.

Here’s a full breakdown of preorder bundles for each ‘NBA 2K22’ edition.

‘NBA 2K22’ standard edition

  • Price: PS5 ($70), Xbox Series X|S ($70), all other platforms ($60)
  • Virtual currency: 5,000 VC
  • MyTeam points and tokens: 5,000 MyTeam points
  • MyTeam packs: 10 MyTeam promo packs (one per week)
  • MyCareer boosts: A boost for each MyCareer skill type
  • Gatorade boosts: A boost for each Gatorade boost type
  • MyTeam cards: 95 Rated Luka Doncic MyTeam free agent card
  • MyPlayer rewards: Luka Doncic MyPlayer Jersey

2K22 (medium)

‘NBA 2K22’ cross-gen edition

  • Price: PS4/PS5 ($80), Xbox One/Xbox Series X|S ($80)
  • Virtual currency: N/A
  • MyTeam points and tokens: 10,000 MyTEAM points, 10 MyTeam tokens
  • MyTeam packs: 22 MyTEAM promo packs (receive 10 at launch, then three per week for four weeks), 10 MyTEAM tokens
  • MyCareer boosts: 10 boosts for each MyCareer skill boost type
  • Gatorade boosts: 10 boosts for each Gatorade boost type
  • MyTeam cards: Sapphire Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant; Diamond Jordan Shoe; and Coach card MyTeam pack
  • MyPlayer rewards: MyPlayer backpack and arm sleeve, custom-design skateboard, four cover athlete t-shirts

‘NBA 2K22’ 75th anniversary edition

  • Price: All platforms ($100)
  • Virtual currency: 100,000 VC
  • MyTeam points and tokens: 10,000 MyTEAM points, 10 MyTeam tokens
  • MyTeam packs: 22 MyTEAM promo packs (receive 10 at launch, then three per week for four weeks), 10 MyTEAM tokens
  • MyCareer boosts: 10 boosts for each MyCareer skill boost type
  • Gatorade boosts: 10 boosts for each Gatorade boost type
  • MyTeam cards: Sapphire Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant; Diamond Jordan Shoe; and Coach card MyTeam pack
  • MyPlayer rewards: MyPlayer backpack and arm sleeve, custom-design skateboard, four cover athlete t-shirts

‘NBA 2K22’ WNBA 25th anniversary edition

  • Price: PS5 ($70), Xbox Series X|S ($70)
  • Virtual currency: 5,000 VC
  • MyTeam points and tokens: 5,000 MyTeam points
  • MyTeam packs: 10 MyTeam promo packs (one per week)
  • MyCareer boosts: A boost for each MyCareer skill type
  • Gatorade boosts: A boost for each Gatorade boost type
  • MyTeam cards: 95 Rated Luka Doncic MyTeam free agent card
  • MyPlayer rewards: Luka Doncic MyPlayer Jersey
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‘Madden NFL 22’ shines on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, but the franchise is still getting stale

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Madden 22 cover
“Madden NFL 22” is the first “Madden” game to launch on PS5 and Xbox Series X.

  • Madden NFL 22” is now available for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
  • Multiple gameplay styles will satisfy sports fans of all types, and some new next-gen features add value.
  • But, while “Madden” fans will appreciate the upgrades, the series has started to show its age.

for PS5 (small)for Xbox Series X|S (small)

Madden NFL 22,” the latest entry in EA’s series of football games, is now available worldwide on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, PC, and Google’s Stadia. As usual, the launch of “Madden” coincides with the start of the NFL season; Super Bowl LV MVP Tom Brady and Super Bowl LIV MVP Patrick Mahomes are this year’s cover stars.

EA is the NFL’s exclusive partner for football simulation games, a deal that began in 2005 and will continue through at least 2026. Football fans have driven “Madden” to the top of the annual sales charts for more than two decades, with each year’s new release offering updated rosters and improved features to bring the game closer to the real sport.

However, EA’s annual release schedule for “Madden” has come under increased scrutiny as more games adopt live online services to support and monetize the same title for years. While “Madden” was one of the first games to adopt weekly updates for online play, the yearly launch cycle means major issues are often left unaddressed until the next release.

Madden NFL 22” brings meaningful improvements to the series but, even though I appreciate these new features, some areas show signs of neglect. “Madden” offers a lot of variety to satisfy football fans, but as a gamer who has followed the series from Genesis, it feels like the current version of “Madden” lacks the focus to grow beyond its aging formula.

Below, we’ve detailed some of the biggest quality of life changes in “Madden NFL 22,” highlighting why the game is still worth buying for football fans. That said, I think competition from another football simulation game could help motivate “Madden” to make more aggressive changes.

The jump to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X sets ‘Madden NFL 22’ apart from its predecessors

Madden 22 Mile High Stadium
Unique home field advantage for each team and real-time crowd momentum are two of the biggest additions in “Madden 22.”

Last year’s “Madden” was released before the launch of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, so “Madden NFL 22” represents a full leap to next-gen consoles, and it doesn’t disappoint.

In-game player models, animations, and the overall presentation have been noticeably improved. The solid state drives used in next-gen consoles lead to better loading times across the board, making things like highlight videos appear faster between plays.

Many of the game’s next-gen features are designed to make the on-field gameplay feel more impactful, an experience EA calls Dynamic Gameday. Each NFL team now has a special home field advantage that will impact gameplay; the crowd will react as either team builds momentum, and the players and coaches on the field will respond in turn.

These features work well with the game’s returning Superstar X-factor feature, which emphasizes the strengths of star players on the field. For gamers who are less familiar with the NFL, Dynamic Gameday and X-factor demonstrate what makes each team special, and the differences in matchups are immediately felt.

‘Madden NFL 22’ offers 3 styles of gameplay and an even wider range of modes

Madden 22 Los Angeles Chargers
“Madden NFL 22” reaches new heights with its graphics and overall presentation.

“Madden” has separated its gameplay into three main categories: simulation, arcade, and competitive. While the core controls and presentation don’t change between the three settings, they still greatly impact how “Madden” feels to play, and demonstrate the wide range of players the series wants to cater to.

Simulation seeks to bring the game as close to the real sport as possible, with EA going so far as to incorporate real player data and metrics – a feature “Madden” calls Next-Gen Stats.

Competitive “Madden” players expect the gameplay to remain consistent from year to year and are the game’s most active critics, even as they help build up the “Madden” esports community.

The arcade mode is simply designed to let casual players pick up the game and play without worrying about the fine details of football.

Satisfying these three diverging paths of authenticity, competition, and just plain fun is a difficult balancing act. I feel that EA would be better served by focusing on one or two styles of gameplay rather than having three separate experiences that don’t see much growth year to year.

In addition to the three main styles, players can split their time between an ever-growing variety of modes in “Madden NFL 22.” This year’s game allows you to create and develop a defensive player for the first time in the Face of the Franchise campaign mode. The Yard, a six-on-six football mode introduced last year, allows players to take on specific challenges with a friend, and progression extends to Face of the Franchise mode.

Classic modes like Franchise and Career have also gotten long-requested improvements with new cut scenes and better team management features. The popular Ultimate Team mode seems largely unchanged, but it does make use of Next-Gen Stats and Dynamic Gameday features.

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of ‘Madden NFL 22’ are missing this year’s most important upgrades

We didn’t get a chance to play the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One versions of “Madden NFL 22” before launch, but they did receive some quality of life improvements. Unfortunately, impactful features like Dynamic Gameplay and Next-Gen Stats aren’t present on older consoles, so the game will likely feel even more similar to “Madden NFL 21.”

While next-gen features captured my interest in “Madden NFL 22,” it’s hard to recommend buying the game in its current state on PS4 or Xbox One, unless you’re already a dedicated player who loves to play online. If you want the option to upgrade a PS4 or Xbox One version to its next-gen version later on, you’ll have to buy the more expensive Dynasty or MVP edition of “Madden NFL 22.”

‘Madden NFL 22’ will satisfy football fans and newcomers on next-gen systems, but the series has started to show its age

Madden 22
New features like the weekly strategy menu are welcome in “Madden 22,” but not much of a gamechanger.

The idea that “Madden” has worn out its bestselling formula is not new, and it won’t stop millions of gamers from buying and enjoying “Madden NFL 22” the same way they have in the past. After all, EA has exclusive rights from the NFL.

But with the franchise entering yet another generation of consoles, “Madden” has resisted making drastic changes that would refresh the experience entirely. With no competitor to challenge “Madden” as the top football game, there’s little incentive for EA to change course.

That said, “Madden NFL 22” does offer a wide variety of gameplay that will satisfy sports fans of all types, and the improvements on next-gen consoles make it a worthwhile upgrade from “Madden NFL 21.”

‘Madden NFL 22’ MVP and Deluxe edition differences

Madden 22 Cover Purchase Options

“Madden NFL 22” launched with three versions: an MVP Edition for $100, a Dynasty Edition for $120, and the standard edition, which costs $70 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, and $60 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

If you want to upgrade your PlayStation 4 or Xbox One copy of “Madden NFL 22” at a later date, you’ll need to buy the $100 MVP edition, which will let you access the game on next-gen consoles with dual entitlement.

The MVP Edition comes with 40 franchise staff points, extra player progression points in The Yard and Face of the Franchise, a Tom Brady gear capsule, 11 team fantasy card packs, and your choice of Brady or Patrick Mahomes elite item for Ultimate Team mode.

The $120 Dynasty Edition comes with all the MVP bonuses but offers a total of 100 franchise staff points, 22 fantasy team packs, and your choice of an NFL star for ultimate team mode.

‘Madden NFL 22’ – Standard Edition (PS5)

for PS5 (button)

‘Madden NFL 22’ – Standard Edition (PS4)

for PS4 (button)

‘Madden NFL 22’ – Standard Edition (Xbox Series X|S)

for Xbox Series X|S (button)

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How to enable Xbox accessibility features to get closed captions, a magnifier, and more

a gamer sits on the couch while another game sits in a wheelchair playing console games
Xbox offers some of the most expansive accessibility settings in gaming.

  • The Xbox’s accessibility features let you enable closed captions, high contrast colors, a screen magnifier, and more.
  • You can find the accessibility features in your Xbox Series X/S or Xbox One’s Settings menu.
  • These accessibility tools are meant to help users with visual, auditory, and neurological disabilities.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Video games are more advanced than ever. And while that means bigger games and better consoles, it also means that a lot of gamers are left behind.

That’s why more and more companies are investing in accessibility tools. These tools are designed for gamers with disabilities, and help them enjoy games without restrictions.

One console that has a wide range of accessibility tools is the Xbox. Both the Xbox Series X/S and the Xbox One have a variety of features that make gaming accessible.

Here’s everything to know about the Xbox’s accessibility features, including why they’re made and how to enable them.

Why Xbox offers accessibility features

In its 2020 annual report, the Entertainment Software Association found that 46 million people who play video games have some kind of disability or require the use of assistive technology.

Yet, the industry still has a long way to go in terms of increased accessibility, according to Ian Hamilton, a committee member of IGDA-GASIG, an advocacy group aimed at removing the barriers to better accessibility in gaming.

“We’re not yet at the stage when it can be assumed that even the basics – subtitles, remapping, text size, color blindness, effect intensity – will be covered, let alone the point where we really need to be, where anyone can pick up any game and have a reasonable expectation that they won’t be unnecessarily locked out,” Hamilton said.

By including these features on the Xbox, Microsoft is serving a community of gamers that’s both incredibly large and historically neglected. It’s an important step in making sure that video games are for everyone, not just those who can play them perfectly.

Xbox consoles have some of the best accessibility features

Gamers tell Insider that when it comes to accommodating players with the widest range of disabilities, from auditory, visual, and physical impairment, Microsoft – the parent company of Xbox – is ahead of the rest on several fronts.

Since Microsoft debuted its controller and additional accessories, the company has gone one step further. Last year, they announced the Xbox Accessibility Guidelines, which outlines better gameplay settings for players with disabilities.

The Game Reliability Engineering team and the Gaming Accessibility Team also now offer an “industry-first, platform-provided game accessibility testing program,” according to Xbox, that encourages developers to have their games evaluated and tested before release.

Microsoft has made sure that both consoles and PCs have built-in settings accessible to all players, including a larger suite of accessibility accessories.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller, pictured here, is built to “meet the needs of gamers with limited mobility.”

How to enable accessibility features on an Xbox

To adjust the accessibility features on your Xbox Series X/S or Xbox One, you’ll first need to open your device’s Settings menu.

If you don’t know where to find it, use your controller to select My games & apps, then scroll through the app menu.

You can also find it by pressing the Xbox button on your controller and navigating to Profile & System panel. Once you find the Settings option, select it with your controller.

After you’ve opened Settings, use your controller to scroll down to the Ease of Access menu. From here, you can customize your accessibility settings.

Narrator

The Narrator will narrate on-screen and in-game text for you. You can enable it from the Ease of Access menu.

1. In the Ease of Access menu, select Narrator.

The Xbox ease of access menu, with the Narrator option highlighted.
You can enable the Narrator to have text on screen read to you.

2. Use your controller to select the Narrator on option. If the box is checked, Narrator is enabled; if the box is unchecked, it means Narrator is turned off.

3. Once you’ve enabled Narrator, you can customize various features associated with it. Move your cursor to the Narrator options field. This will let you adjust the Narrator’s voice, volume, and pitch, among other options. Choose the settings that best suit your needs.

The Xbox's Ease of Access menu, with the Narrator options displayed.
The Narrator can have a variety of voices.

To turn the Narrator on or off quickly while playing, press and hold the Xbox button until it vibrates, and then select the Menu button.

Magnifier

The Magnifier is essentially a digital magnifying glass; it zooms in on specific parts of the screen so that they’re easier to see.

1. In the Ease of Access menu, select Magnifier.

2. Use your controller to select the Magnifier on option. If the box is checked, the Magnifier is enabled; if the box is unchecked, it means the Magnifier is turned off.

3. To learn more about the Magnifier and how to use it, select Controller shortcuts.

An Xbox's Ease of Access menu with the Magnifier options displayed.
The Magnifier is made for users who have trouble seeing the screen.

By default, you can turn the Magnifier on during gameplay by pressing and holding the Xbox button until it vibrates, and then selecting View. You can then use the triggers to zoom in and out, and the right stick to pan around the screen.

If you then rapid-tap the Xbox button twice, you can resume playing with a magnified screen.

Closed captions

If you’ve ever watched Netflix with subtitles, you already know what closed captioning is. But for the uninitiated: closed captioning is an on-screen transcription of what’s being said during a video or game, so that viewers can understand what’s happening even if they can’t hear everything.

1. In the Ease of Access menu, select Closed captioning or just Captioning.

Xbox assitive tools menu
Select “Captioning” to set your in-game captions.

2. To enable closed captioning in your device’s default style, select On using default style. To enable closed captioning and customize its features, select On using custom style.

If you’ve chosen to customize your closed caption style, you’ll see a variety of different options appear on your screen in drop-down menus. Use your controller to select the settings you want.

The Xbox's Ease of Access menu, with the Captioning options displayed.
You’ll also get a preview of what the captions look like.

Game transcription

Transcription is a process that converts speech or dialogue into readable text. It’s useful for multiplayer games where there are often many voices speaking at once.

Keep in mind that game transcription is only available for certain games; if the game you’re playing doesn’t support this feature, you won’t be able to use it during said game.

1. On the Ease of Access menu, select Game transcription.

Xbox ease of access menu with red arrow on
Select “Game transcription” in the Ease of Access menu.

2. There are separate options available for game transcription and party chat transcription (for online multiplayer gaming). The Speech-to-text option will transcribe other players’ voices on your screen. The Text-to-speech option will read your typed chat messages aloud so that other players can hear them, while Let games read to me will narrate in-game text for you. You can also choose between several voices for these narrators via a drop-down menu.

3. Once you’ve decided what setting(s) you want to enable, select those options. When you’re finished, each of the options you chose should have their boxes checked, and the drop-down menu will list the voice that you’ve chosen.

An Xbox's Ease of Access menu, with the transcription options displayed.
There are several ways to enable transcription.

High contrast colors

“High contrast” is a feature that adjusts your console’s colors and screen brightness to make it easier on the eyes. If contrasting colors make gaming visually easier for you, you may want to enable this.

1. In the Ease of Access menu, select High contrast.

2. Select the High contrast drop-down menu.

3. Select either the light theme or dark theme, depending on your preferences. Press A once you’ve chosen the option you want.

An Xbox's Ease of Access menu, with the High Contrast options displayed.
The high contrast options will change the colors on your screen.

4. Select Apply to make the change.

How to use Microsoft Family Safety to manage your family members’ app usage, screen time, and more6 ways to make Xbox One games download fasterHow to connect your Xbox One controller to a PC in 3 different waysHow to gameshare on your Xbox One to share your Xbox Live account and game library with friends

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Forget about the Xbox: Microsoft is all-in on its ‘Netflix for gaming’ subscription service

Starfield (Xbox/PC game)
Concept art for “Starfield,” the next major game from Microsoft-owned Bethesda Game Studios. It will arrive on Game Pass at launch, Microsoft says.

  • The focus of Microsoft’s big annual Xbox briefing this year was games, from “Halo” to “Starfield.”
  • A not-so-subtle message was highlighted throughout: Play all of these games on Xbox Game Pass.
  • Of the 30 games shown, 27 will be available on Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass service.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

During Microsoft’s big annual Xbox presentation on Sunday, there was one clear message: If you don’t already have a subscription to the Netflix-like game service Xbox Game Pass, you’re going to want it sooner or later.

Both of the companies upcoming marquee games, “Halo Infinite” and “Starfield,” will arrive on Game Pass at launch. You could drop at least $60 apiece on those games, or you could sign up for Game Pass starting at $10 per month.

That has become Microsoft’s key argument for the Xbox brand, and the company cemented that during the presentation streamed on Sunday afternoon. Of the 30 games shown, 27 are coming to the Xbox Game Pass service, and many will arrive at launch.

Microsoft has been planting the seeds leading to Game Pass’ wild success since it first debuted in 2017.

The service granted subscribers access to a curated library of over 100 games, and it cost just $10 per month. Moreover, every major Xbox game published by Microsoft, from “Halo” to “Gears of War” to “Forza,” would be published to the service at launch as part of the library.

If you’re thinking, “That sounds sort of like Netflix,” you’d be right, although with Game Pass you can download or stream games.

In the four years since, Game Pass has grown tremendously – it now boasts over 18 million subscribers across Xbox and PC, according to Microsoft. More than just its own games, the service offers a variety of major games from third-party game studios.

To that end, Microsoft made two major announcements on Sunday: “Back 4 Blood” and “Stalker 2” are among several upcoming third-party games that will launch on the service.

Xbox Game Pass (E3 2021)
Games like “Among Us” and “Hades” are among a variety of third-party games on Game Pass.

There was no talk of Xbox hardware or services, and no mention of upcoming operating system updates. The nearly 90-minute presentation was focused solely on games, the vast majority of which were punctuated with the same message: “Play it day one with Game Pass.”

In just a few words, that phrase is sending a message: You’ll get this game and dozens of others for just $10 to $15 per month, instead of paying $60 or more to play this game on a PlayStation or PC.

It’s a good argument, and one that applies to many more millions of people than just Xbox and PlayStation owners – anyone with a PC has access to Xbox Game Pass, and anyone with a smartphone is able to stream Game Pass games.

“There are 2 billion people who play video games on the planet today. We’re not gonna sell 2 billion consoles,” Xbox leader Phil Spencer told Insider in a June 2018 interview. “Many of those people don’t own a television, many have never owned a PC. For many people on the planet, the phone is their compute device. It’s really about reaching a customer wherever they are, on the devices that they have.”

And that’s the point of Game Pass: to move beyond consoles and widen Microsoft’s potential customer base beyond just console buyers. Sunday’s Xbox presentation was the strongest demonstration yet of Microsoft’s dedication to that mission.

Check out the full presentation right here:

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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From a new ‘Halo’ game to the long-awaited ‘Starfield,’ Xbox just showcased a huge slate of new games coming to its consoles

Starfield (Xbox/PC game)
Concept art for “Starfield.”

  • Major upcoming Xbox games like “Halo Infinite” and “Starfield” were shown in detail on Sunday.
  • Microsoft held its annual Xbox briefing, which was focused on the Xbox Game Pass subscription service.
  • The presentation is part of the game industry’s annual trade show, E3, which is taking place virtually.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
1. The highly-anticipated new Bethesda project ‘Starfield’ was given a release date in a debut trailer: It’s scheduled to launch on November 11, 2022 exclusively on Xbox consoles and PC. The game will be available day one for Xbox Game Pass subscribers, Microsoft said.

Starfield (Xbox/PC game)
Concept art for “Starfield.”


2. The next major “Halo” game, “Halo Infinite,” is launching this holiday season. The multiplayer is free-to-play, and the story campaign will cost money. Both versions will launch on Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s subscription-based gaming service, on day one.

Halo Infinite (multiplayer)


3. A gorgeous new version of “Forza Horizon” is scheduled to launch on November 9, and it’s the best example yet of what the new Xbox consoles are capable of powering.

Forza Horizon 5 (E3 2021)


4. The first gameplay for this year’s big “Battlefield” game, “Battlefield 2042,” is another example of what the new consoles can do: Massive-scale battles with shockingly detailed visuals and dozens of players, all at once. The game is scheduled to launch on October 22.

Battlefield 2042 (E3 2021)


5. Microsoft’s subscription service, Game Pass, is getting a ton of new games and was ultimately the focus of the 90-minute presentation.

Xbox Game Pass (E3 2021)


Watch the entire presentation below!

Halo Infinite (E3 2021, campaign)

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Apple and Epic Games are revealing a ton of industry secrets in court filings – from untold billions in ‘Fortnite’ profits to private email exchanges, these are the 5 juiciest bits

Tim Cook Tim Sweeney 2x1
Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, right.

  • “Fortnite” maker Epic Games is suing Apple, and the bench trial started this week in California.
  • Epic says Apple’s App Store is a monopoly. Apple says Epic broke its developer contract.
  • Through court filings, major secrets from Apple, Epic, Microsoft, and more have been revealed.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Apple and the maker of “Fortnite” are currently at war in a California courtroom – the culmination of a yearlong spat between the two American business giants.

Epic Games filed suit against Apple last summer after its hit game, “Fortnite,” was pulled from Apple’s App Store.

Apple says it pulled the game because Epic violated the terms of its developer agreement when Epic implemented a payment system in the game that enabled players to circumvent Apple’s App Store. Epic says the App Store is a monopoly, and argues that iPhones and iPads are no different from computers.

The in-person trial began Monday at the US District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland, California. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is scheduled to oversee approximately three weeks of hearings before a verdict is rendered, according to court filings.

After just one week, we’ve already learned a lot: Between major financial disclosures, company secrets, and private emails between executives made public, evidence in the trial is a treasure trove of information.

1. Xbox console sales aren’t profitable, according to Microsoft, and they never have been.

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S
The Xbox Series X, left, and the Xbox Series S, right.

After nearly two decades of sales, Xbox consoles have never been a profitable product for Microsoft.

The Washington-based tech giant sells every Xbox at a loss, according to sworn testimony from Microsoft’s VP of Xbox business development Lori Wright.

“Has Microsoft ever earned a profit on the sale of an Xbox console?” she was asked on Wednesday, May 5. “No,” she said.

Wright appeared as a witness in the ongoing trial, where she answered a variety of questions about Microsoft, Xbox, and digital storefronts. Microsoft has openly supported Epic’s suit against Apple.

The subject of Xbox profitability came up in questioning because of how Microsoft’s console business works: Instead of making money on the console itself, the company makes money from games sales through its digital storefront, from subscription services like Xbox Game Pass, and from sales of accessories like gamepads.

Microsoft, like other console makers, takes a cut of every sale on its digital storefront. That cut is usually about 30%, which has become a standard in the video game distribution market. Apple takes a similar cut from games sold on its iOS App Store, which is part of what Epic is contesting in its court case against Apple.

2. Apple’s reportedly making huge margins on the App Store.

Tim Cook WWDC 2020
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

One of Epic’s expert witnesses, Berkeley Research Group managing director Ned Barnes, said that Apple is enjoying enormous margins on the App Store: In the high 70s for the last two years at least, according to Barnes.

“In my expert report dated February 16, 2021,” Barnes writes, “using Apple testimony and financial information available to me at that time, I calculated the App Store’s operating margin percentage to be 79.6% for each of FY2019 and FY2018.”

He also said that Apple “produced additional documents” for the trial that demonstrate slightly lower percentages for the two years, but that the numbers are “consistent with and confirm the reasonableness of the calculations presented in my expert report.”

Apple, however, disputes Barnes’ report. “Epic’s experts calculations of the operating margins for the App Store are simply wrong,” an Apple representative told The Verge.

Core to Epic’s argument in the trial is that Apple operates a monopoly with the App Store by refusing to allow competing app stores on the iOS platform, in addition to not allowing third-party payment systems. High profit margins from the App Store, Epic argued, is part of the reason for Apple won’t allow either.

3. “Fortnite” is making Epic billions of dollars every year, especially on the PlayStation 4.

Fortnite (loot chest)

In one of the less surprising secrets unearthed from evidence presented during the trial, “Fortnite” is making a huge amount of money – to the tune of several billion dollars every year for the last several years.

In 2020 alone, Epic made over $5 billion in revenue according to sworn testimony from Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. Between 2018 and 2019, “Fortnite” brought in over $9 billion.

Epic makes more than “Fortnite” – the gaming giant produces the Unreal Engine, operates the Epic Games Store, and owns and publishes several other big games (“Rocket League” and “Fall Guys”). Data from Epic presented during the trial shows that those projects, while moneymakers in the hundreds of millions, don’t generate anywhere near as much revenue as “Fortnite.”

4. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney sent Apple CEO Tim Cook a 2 a.m. email declaring war.

tim sweeney epic games fortnite
Epic Games cofounder and CEO Tim Sweeney.

At 2 a.m. PT on August 13, 2020, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney sent an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook and several other Apple executives that laid out Epic’s plan to cut Apple out of payments in “Fortnite” on iPhone and iPad.

It was intended as a declaration of war.

“I’m writing to tell you that Epic will no longer adhere to Apple’s payment processing restrictions,” Sweeney wrote. “Today, Epic is launching Epic direct payments in ‘Fortnite’ on iOS, offering customers the choice of paying in-app through Epic direct payments or through Apple payments, and passing on the savings of Epic direct payments to customers in the form of lower prices.”

In response, Apple pulled “Fortnite” from its iPhone and iPad store, and the game has been unplayable on both ever since. Epic sued Apple on the same day, and this email was one of many private messages between the companies that was uncovered as evidence.

5. “Fortnite” was such a big deal on the PlayStation 4 that Epic was able to force Sony to overturn a longstanding precedent in gaming.

Fortnite

In September 2018, after months spent fighting a losing battle in the court of public opinion, Sony gave in: “Fortnite,” the company announced, would be playable on the PlayStation 4 with friends on other platforms.

“Fortnite” was the first-ever game to allow players on all platforms to play together. “This represents a major policy change for Sony Interactive Entertainment,” Sony said in its announcement. It was clear at the time that, with the game playable across all other platforms, Sony was almost certain to give in: Tens of millions of people were playing “Fortnite,” and they were earning the most from players on Sony’s PlayStation 4, according to documents from Epic presented as evidence in the trial.

Between January 2019 and July 2020, just before “Fortnite” was removed from the App Store, Epic was earning just shy of $150 million each month on average from PlayStation players, according to Epic. By comparison, the company was earning about $23 million per month on average from iOS players, Epic said.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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‘Resident Evil Village’ is the most visually stunning game of the PlayStation 5 era so far

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Resident Evil Village Capcom
The werewolf- inspired lycans in “Resident Evil Village” are much more dangerous than zombies.

  • Resident Evil Village” will release on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox consoles on May 7.
  • It’s a survival horror game set in a European village stalked by werewolves and demons.
  • “Village” is one of the best looking games ever made, mixing atmospheric horror with tense gameplay.

(PS5) (small)(Xbox) (small)

Resident Evil Village,” the latest game in Capcom’s legendary survival horror franchise, will launch on Xbox, PlayStation, Stadia, and PC on May 7. The game is a direct sequel to “Resident Evil 7,” which has sold more than 8.5 million copies since 2017.

Village” is also the first “Resident Evil” game made for the next-gen PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles. “Resident Evil” is well known for its striking visuals, and the extra horsepower of the new consoles helps deliver remarkable graphics.

Simply put, “Resident Evil Village” is one of the best looking games ever made, creating a haunting atmosphere that will stick with you long after you’re done playing. Players can look forward to a game that blends cinematic presentation with tense gunplay and puzzle-solving as “Village” explores a series of maze-like destinations hidden in a remote European town.

Though we played the PS5 version for review, whether you’re playing on a next-gen console or an older machine like the PS4, “Resident Evil Village” is a well-built game that should satisfy series veterans and newcomers alike with its stunning presentation and gameplay variety.

‘Resident Evil Village’ is a direct sequel to ‘Resident Evil 7’

Resident Evil Village Capcom

Village” stars “Resident Evil 7” protagonist Ethan Winters, picking up three years after that game’s conclusion. After the Winters family is attacked by original “Resident Evil” hero Chris Redfield, Ethan sets out to find his infant daughter. The journey brings Ethan to a European village stalked by werewolves and demons, all led by a mysterious cult figure named Mother Miranda.

As Ethan’s adventure unfolds, players find hints that explain why Ethan’s family was attacked, Chris’s role, and what Mother Miranda has planned. Players will gradually explore the legends that haunt the village through castles, factories, and swamps as they search for Ethan’s family and work to escape.

For those who haven’t played “Resident Evil 7,” a brief recap video with minimal spoilers is offered in-game. Ethan’s story is not directly connected to the early “Resident Evil” titles, so don’t worry if you don’t know the series’ history.

The ‘Resident Evil’ series defines the survival horror genre

Resident Evil Village Capcom
Lady Dimitrescu is unstoppable while she chases players through her castle.

Resident Evil Village” is a first-person survival horror game; that means bullets are scarce and players won’t be able to shoot themselves out of every situation. Instead, Ethan scavenges the village for resources and key items to make his escape. In many cases, solving puzzles is more important to escaping the maze-like village than actually fighting enemies.

Constant exploration is necessary for progress, and players are encouraged to learn the map and village layout to avoid danger as much as possible. Ethan can craft items using found supplies, and eventually a merchant arrives that makes it easier to resupply and buy or upgrade weapons.

If you just want to enjoy some gunplay, “Resident Evil Village” also has a special mode called Mercenaries that lets you fight endless waves of enemies until you die or the round timer runs out. Capcom has also included an online multiplayer mode called Re:Verse, but it won’t be ready to play until later this summer.

‘Village’ offers unmatched visuals on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X

Resident Evil Village Capcom

Resident Evil Village” is one of the most impressive looking games I’ve played to date, offering 4K resolution, HDR color and contrast, and ray tracing on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Without getting too deep into the technical specifications, the environments of “Resident Evil Village” are beautifully crafted and life-like, creating an ideal atmosphere for survival horror.

Capcom’s RE Engine continues to create some of the most realistic human faces we’ve seen in video games, adding to the expressive personalities of the game’s characters. The lighting of indoor spaces feels particularly effective too, creating a dark, cramped feeling that stands in stark contrast to the snow and fog that cover the surface of the village.

While “Resident Evil Village” will certainly look best on PC and next-gen consoles, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners will still be able to enjoy the game as intended, albeit with a slight visual downgrade.

‘Village’ is terrifying, but not too tough

Resident Evil Village Capcom
Not all lycans are created equal.

Resident Evil Village” delivers atmospheric horror, gruesome monsters, and a fair share of jump scares, but players can control the pace and difficulty to limit the terror.

As a horror game, “Resident Evil Village” is designed to be challenging, but it does offer a casual setting for new players. Veterans will also be able to try the game on harder difficulties, including one that unlocks after completing the game.

Though “Village” does include an option for aim-assist, there aren’t many ways to fine tune the experience. Players can expect to die a few times from unexpected traps or monsters, but luckily “Resident Evil Village” has frequent checkpoints.

Resident Evil Village” can be completed in about 10 hours, though that time could be cut shorter if you’re more willing than me to run into danger.

‘Resident Evil Village’ is available in deluxe and collector’s editions

Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil Village” will be released on May 7 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia. The standard version of the game costs $60; the $70 deluxe edition includes several in-game rewards like a special gun, max difficulty, and a visual filter.

The $220 collector’s edition comes with a map of the village, a statue of Chris Redfield, an artbook, and all the deluxe edition rewards.

The bottom line

Resident Evil Village Capcom
Statues like this are often key to “Resident Evil” puzzles.

Resident Evil Village” feels like a must-play for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X owners thanks to its unmatched graphics and tight gameplay. It’s a beautiful, cinematic experience that’s engaging from start to finish, delivering a satisfying story that builds directly from the most popular “Resident Evil” game to date.

Survival horror isn’t a genre for every player, but “Village” does a fantastic job creating a haunting atmosphere that spans castles, factories, snowbanks, and swamps; turning the game’s destinations into an interwoven environment.

While the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions are the most impressive, players on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can also enter “Village” knowing that they’re getting a complete experience. Extra game modes like Mercenaries and Re:Verse bring even more value to the $60 package.

‘Resident Evil Village’ (PS5)

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‘Resident Evil Village’ (PS4)

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‘Resident Evil Village’ (Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One)

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