OUR STREAMERS

Update 30/3: Microsoft has issued a statement saying that the PC Game Pass will cost RM0.50 for the duration of the preview.

Good news, PC gamers! Microsoft's video game subscription service, PC Game Pass, is finally making its way here for the first time! The company announced that starting today, you'll be able to subscribe to the PC Game Pass if you're in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand or Vietnam. With PC Game Pass, you'll have access to a library of over 100 games including new Xbox Game Studio releases on day one, iconic Bethesda games and an EA Play membership - essentially, more games than you have time to enjoy (let's not forget your existing Steam backlog!).

This includes Minecraft, Forza Horizon 5, Age of Empires IV, Sea of Thieves and Microsoft Flight Simulator, as well as new Xbox Game Studios titles like Halo Infinite and iconic franchises like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls from Bethesda Softworks. EA Play is also included with the service, featuring some of the world’s biggest franchises including FIFA, Battlefield, The Sims and Mass Effect.

The service, which is scheduled to officially launch later this year, can be trialled for merely RM1 RM0.50 for the duration of the preview. All you have to do is download Xbox Insider, sign in, navigate to Previews, and join the PC Game Pass Southeast Asia Market Expansion preview. Once you're registered, you're good to go. Because this service is in preview, participants are encouraged to test and share their feedback on how the service can be improved.

There's no mention of how long this trial period will be (Microsoft has announced that they will release more info later this year) but RM0.50 to access Microsoft's huge catalogue of games for a short time is a pretty good deal regardless!

If you enjoy the power of a high-performance computer but appreciate the flexibility of a tablet, Microsoft has something for you to spend that money on! This morning they announced the official availability of the Surface Laptop Studio in Malaysia. Touted to be the most powerful Surface ever, this hybrid machine is designed with everyone in mind - developers, creatives, and gamers. What sets this 2-in-1 apart from other devices is its special "Dynamic Woven Hinge" that allows it to be used in three different positions: the typical Laptop mode, Stage mode for presentation, media consumption and gaming, and Studio mode which turns it into a tablet.

Like with everything that's fancy in the world of tech, it won't come cheap. Expect to pay more than the price of a gaming desktop for this device. Features like the 14.4” touchscreen (120Hz display) and Quad Omnisonic™ speakers, Dolby Atmos® Experience and Precision Haptic touchpad might have something to do with it. It also supports the Surface Slim Pen 2 (sold separately) and has a dedicated storage/charging compartment for it beneath the keyboard.

Here's a quick breakdown of the available versions of the Surface Laptop Studio:

ModelEstimated Retail Price
Intel® Core™ i5, Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics, 16GB, 256GB SSDRM7,399
Intel® Core™ i7, NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3050 Ti, 16GB, 512GB SSDRM9,399
Intel® Core™ i7, NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3050 Ti, 32GB, 1TB SSD (Exclusive to Harvey Norman)RM11,999

If the Surface Laptop Studio is out of your budget, there are other Surface machines to consider: the recently launched in Malaysia: Surface Pro 8, Surface Pro 7+, and the Surface Pro X (WiFi).

The Surface Laptop Studio is available for purchase via commercial authorized reseller, Maxis; and authorized retailers such as All IT, Gloo by SNS Network, Harvey NormanLazada-Microsoft Authorised store, PC Image, Senheng,  Shopee-Microsoft Authorised store and TMT by Thundermatch.

In addition to launching the Surface Laptop Studio, Microsoft announced new Microsoft Concierges where the public can seek advice on the right Microsoft Surface and Windows devices to buy, receive assistance in setting up their new devices or upgrading them to Windows 11. Users will also be guided on how they can get the most out of their Windows and Microsoft Surface devices. The new Microsoft Concierges are located at Harvey Norman in Pavilion Bukit Jalil and Gloo in Low Yat Plaza.

Looks like things are shaking up in the world of livestreaming - Microsoft announced in an unexpected blog post yesterday, the shutting down of its streaming platform, Mixer. Come 22nd July 2020, the platform will cease to exist. While technically sound, and some would even say superior to the competition, Mixer has failed to capture a significant portion of the population, so it wasn't too shocking to hear the news. What was more surprising was the fact that Microsoft threw in the towel this early. Regardless, Microsoft announced that Mixer will now be integrated with Facebook Gaming, so Mixer users won't be left homeless when it shuts down.

This transition to Facebook Gaming means that all Mixer Partners will be granted partner status with Facebook Gaming, streamers using Mixer's open monetization program will be granted eligibility for Facebook Gaming Level Up, and Mixer viewers with leftover Embers, channel subscriptions or Mixer Pro subscriptions will receive Xbox Gift Card credit as compensation. Will we see a sudden influx of users moving over to Facebook Gaming? Only time will tell.

With the news of Mixer's closure, it has also been reported that Ninja and Shroud (streamers that they poached from Twitch in the past) are now free agents and can go wherever they please. No word on where they'll be moving to yet - they could potentially return to Twitch or explore new options with YouTube or Facebook Gaming.

Mixer was always behind the big three when it came to viewership numbers. Getting big names on board with the platform didn't do much for its growth either, proving that livestream audiences are somewhat loyal to their platforms and don't switch easily. Could this mean that giants like Twitch are too big to compete against? What will YouTube or Facebook Gaming do in the future to obtain a bigger slice of the pie? Maybe it's time for streaming platforms to reassess their strategies for the future. Are alternative platforms viable at this point?

Rest In Peace Mixer, we hardly knew you.

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