Microsoft Weekly: More funding for PC game developers, a patch for an update, and a strong quarter

Microsoft Weekly: More funding for PC game developers, a patch for an update, and a strong quarter

The last seven days saw the arrival of a rather impressive Q3 FY21 earnings report, the implementation of a bigger cut for PC game devs, and even a fix for the update that caused all sorts of gaming performance issues. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of April 25 – May 1.

Adding yet another piece to the strategy puzzle above is Halo Infinite, which is set to feature cross-play and cross-progression between Xbox and PC when it arrives later this year. It could be argued that so is the rumored exclusive AAA fantasy game that Hitman developer IO Interactive is putting together for Microsoft.

We should open with what is perhaps the bigger news of the week – at least in terms of gaming -, namely that Microsoft will be lowering its cut from 30% to 12%. This will impact PC game devs specifically, and is set to take effect starting in August. Not just that, the firm is also promising “improved reliability and faster download speeds” are coming, with the Microsoft Store proper set to receive a UI update too.

Staying on the subject just a tad longer, there’s now something called Xbox Academy, meant to inspire UK kids to get into game development. If you’re in the UK but are not a kid though, EE has a new deal whereby you get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and unlimited data for £10 per month.

Happily however, Microsoft has released what it calls a Known Issue Rollback or KIR update that essentially disables the code of the offending update, thus mitigating the problem.

For folks looking forward to playing Fall Guys on Xbox consoles, the party game has been delayed out of summer, though there are a number of Deals with Gold to keep you company until the game releases, as are the May Games with Gold titles like Armello, Lego Batman – both of which are available to claim now – Dungeons 3, and Tropico 4 to take a peek at.

In addition to this, the firm also released a set of optional updates for those on Windows 10 v2004 and 20H2, which brought the News and Interests feature to these variants of the OS. It bears repeating that these are optional, i.e. you’ll need to search for and install them. While Microsoft did say it would bring this capability to Windows 10 1909 and above, as per AdDuplex, more than 80% of users are already on the two latest versions of the OS, hence why the optional set of updates was made available in this way.

Insiders in the various channels also got some builds to play with, as the Redmond giant pushed out build 21363.1011 to the Dev channel to test the servicing pipeline, followed by 21370 which ushered in improvements to Bluetooth audio management.

For multi-monitor users, a bug that’s been around since times immemorial has been confirmed to have been fixed. What happens is that when you have an external monitor connected, and your device goes to sleep, all the windows you had moved to your second (external) monitor move to your primary device (laptop, 2-in-1, or whichever other device you have). As per Michelle Xiong, PM of the Graphics Team, the issue has been addressed as of preview build 21287 and newer. Another change is the one that hit the Beta and Release Preview rings in the form of Feature Experience Pack v120.2212.3740.0, which removes “nonfunctional hyperlinks from the Input Method Editor (IME) candidate window.”

And speaking of the various channels, the Windows 10 May 2021 Update, otherwise known under its 21H1 development codename, is now available in the Release Preview channel, sporting build 19043.962. If you want to get your hands on it right now, here’s how. Right on cue, Microsoft released its earnings report for Q3 of its fiscal year 2021 – the quarter ending March 31. The firm posted a very impressive $41.7B in revenue (up 19%), with operating income rising 31% to $17B, and a net income of $15.5B (up 38%).

The three business categories, Productivity and Business Processes, Intelligent Cloud, and More Personal Computing brought in $13.6B (up 15%), $15.1B (up 23%), and $13B (up 19%), respectively. Starting with the first one, we see an increase of 14% in Office Commercial products and cloud services revenue, a 22% increase in Office 365 Commercial revenue, and 15% increase in seats. For the non-cloud offerings, there was a decline of 25%, while LinkedIn revenue grew 25%, and Dynamics products and cloud services grew 26%. Dynamics 365 revenue itself grew by an impressive 45%. It’s also worth mentioning that Teams, the firm’s ‘chat-based workspace’ solution has crossed the 145 million daily active user threshold.

Moving onto the second category, Intelligent Cloud, server products and cloud services revenue increased by 26% off the back of a very impressive 50% growth in Azure revenue. For the on-premise and hybrid service solutions revenue there was a 3% increase, while the install base for Enterprise Mobility grew by 30%, crossing the 174 million seat mark. Last, but most certainly not least, More Personal Computing saw an increase of 10% for Windows OEM revenue, with non-Pro revenue seeing a 44% uptick (offset by a 2% downturn in Pro revenue). Windows commercial products and cloud services revenue did however increase by 10%. Windows 10 itself is now on more than 1.3 billion active devices.

Additionally, Surface revenue grew by 12% to more than $1.5B, while Search adverting revenue was up 17%. The gaming side saw increases too, with revenues growing by 50% as Xbox hardware revenue rose by 232% due to Series X and S demand, while Xbox content and services revenue – which includes first-party titles, third-party titles, and Game Pass subscriptions – was up 34%.

News Summary:

  • Microsoft Weekly: More funding for PC game developers, a patch for an update, and a strong quarter
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