Thurrott Daily: March 2

Posted on March 2, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Games, Windows 10, Xbox One with 0 Comments

Thurrott Daily: March 2

Yesterday was a monster, but today is going much slower so far. So here are a few tidbits from around the web.

3/2/2016 7:54:03 AM

Windows 10 finally surpasses Windows 8.x usage

Last month, I reported that Windows 10 usage finally pushed past that of Windows XP, landing the OS in third place behind Windows 7 and Windows 8.x. This month, however, NetApplications data shows that Windows 10 is now the second-most-used OS on earth, behind only Windows 7. Gregg Keizer handles the heavy lifting:

Windows 10 powered 14.2% of all Windows PCs in February, a 1.1-point increase from the month prior.

Windows 10’s 14.2% [usage] share put it ahead of the combined share of 2012’s Windows 8 and its 2013 upgrade, Windows 8.1, for the first time in Net Applications’ tracking.

Internet Explorer could drop from top spot this year

And speaking of Gregg Keizer:

IE and Edge — Net Applications dumps the latter’s user share into the bucket labeled “IE” — accounted for 44.8% of all browsers used to reach the Web last month. A year earlier, that number was 57.4%.

Microsoft’s browsers dipped under the major milestone of 50% only in December, but if the user share drain stays on the pace set in the last three months, it will slip under the 40% bar sometime in May.

IE’s plunge was mirrored by the rise of Google’s Chrome, which is poised to replace Microsoft’s browsers as the world’s most-used in the same months that IE is projected to drop below the 40% mark. Chrome ended February with a user share of 36.6%, up 1.5 percentage points from January and 11.9 points higher than 12 months earlier.

Let’s just say that Edge is a non-event until it gets extensions. And that it may never happen quickly enough to matter.

EA says that there are a combined 60 million PS4/Xbox One consoles in use

EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said this week that the current generation of video game consoles is going gangbusters, Gamespot reports:

There are now around 60 million combined PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles out there, according to EA CFO Blake Jorgensen. This is up from his estimation of 55 million console sales at the end of 2015.

He referenced the console figure as context for why EA isn’t jumping on board fully with VR at the moment. It’s simply because VR is unproven, with a small install base today because the platforms aren’t even out yet.

He described the console markets today as “large,” estimating PS4/Xbox One to make up 60 million and 150 million-plus for PS3/Xbox 360.

The bad news?

With close to 36 million units sold worldwide, the PS4 is the global sales leader. If Jorgensen’s 60 million estimation is correct, that means PS4 accounts for a much larger chunk than Xbox One.

Hm. That’s not that bad, actually. The running theory is that PS4 has been outselling Xbox One by 2 to 1. But if this is true, then there are 24 million Xbox Ones out there. That’s much better than 18 million (suggested by the 36 million figure for PS4).

Second-class gamers on Xbox One finally get first Black Ops III DLC map pack

One of the more depressing things to happen with the Xbox One over the past year is that Activision signed up with Sony to deliver Call of Duty DLC (downloadable content) on PlayStation 4 ahead of Xbox One. So PS4 gamers have had access to the first COD:BO3 map pack since February 1, while I (and other Xbox One COD fans) have had to suffer another 30 days with the original maps. That, finally, is changing.

The first Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 DLC pack, Awakening, will finally hit Xbox One and PC tomorrow, March 3rd, but if you’re playing the game on Xbox One and have purchased the Season Pass, you can already get it.

The pack includes additional multiplayer maps as well as the first chapter of a new Zombie adventure. The Awakening launches officially on both Xbox One and PC tomorrow, March 3rd.

Gears of War for Windows 10 ships with tons of issues

And that’s one of the many reasons that normal people prefer consoles over PCs for games: PC games often ship with issues. But it’s a bad sign for a platform (Windows 10/Windows Store) that is supposed to just work. PC World reports:

Problems with AMD graphics cards, Nvidia G-Sync monitors, and integrated Intel graphics ding the Windows 10 launch for one of Microsoft’s biggest gaming brands.

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition for Windows 10 produces unplayable framerates at high settings on AMD Radeon R9 Fury, R9 Nano, R9 Fury X, and R9 380 graphics cards, as well as image artifacting. Microsoft says the problems should be fixed “quickly in an upcoming update.”

Users of Nvidia G-Sync monitors may also experiencing framerate issues with Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Microsoft says. These may be resolved by unlocking the frame rate in the game’s settings menu, but if not, users will just have to disable G-Sync completely for now. Laptops with discrete Nvidia graphics cards may also fail to switch over from integrated graphics when the game starts, so users must manually switch to the GPU before playing until Nvidia addresses the issue with a software update.

I can’t even get the game to launch on most of my PCs. After working initially on Surface Book, the game just stopped working. And on other devices—the HP Spectre x360 15, the HP Envy AIO, and so on—the game never gets past the title screen and just crashes right to the desktop. Not good: Rise of the Tomb Raider works fine on all these devices.


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