Xbox announced a bunch of new stuff over the weekend — here are the 8 things to get excited about

Xbox leader Phil Spencer with host Julia Hardy.

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Xbox leader Phil Spencer with host Julia Hardy.
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Microsoft/YouTube

While you were out picking apples and making Thanksgiving plans this past weekend, Microsoft’s Xbox group was in Mexico City dropping a bunch of major announcements.

What kind of announcements? We’re talking about major game release dates (“Crackdown 3” is coming in February), major additions to Microsoft’s killer Game Pass service (“PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds”!), and even a couple of full-on acquisitions.

Here’s the most important stuff Microsoft announced on Saturday:


1. “Crackdown 3” is finally arriving on February 15.

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Microsoft Studios

“Crackdown 3”? Yes, “Crackdown 3”!

After years of delays and trailers, it looks like “Crackdown 3” is finally coming out on February 15. The game is exclusive to the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, and will be free for any Game Pass subscribers at launch.

There’s even a new trailer:


2. Microsoft is buying Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment — two RPG powerhouse game studios.

Two new game studios are joining Microsoft’s growing portfolio of game makers: Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment, both known for creating western-style RPGs that gamers love.

That brings Microsoft’s list of new studios up to seven, a growing army dedicated to building the future Xbox game library.


3. One of the biggest console exclusive games, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds,” is heading to Game Pass.

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Bluehole

If you’re one of the millions of people paying for Microsoft’s Game Pass program – a $60 annual service that grants users access to a massive library of Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games – then you’re in luck: “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” is headed to the service on November 12.

Two other major titles – “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” and “Ori and the Blind Forest” – are also headed to Game Pass in December.


4. A major expansion is coming to “Forza Horizon 4” in December: Fortune Island.

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Playground Games/Microsoft Studios

The first major expansion for “Forza Horizon 4” arrives on December 13: it’s called “Fortune Island,” and it adds … a new island to the game’s already massive open-world environment.

The island aims to recreate “the remote northern reaches of the British Isles,” and will double down on the game’s weather-based gameplay. Expect “extreme” weather conditions, including “fierce lightning,” “perilous cliffside dirt roads,” and other such weather events. A smattering of new cars are arriving alongside the addition.

Check out those new cars in this video:


5. The Xbox One will be less expensive than ever this holiday: both the Xbox One S and Xbox One X are getting a $100 price drop during November.

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The Xbox One X (left) and Xbox One S (right).
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Microsoft

Starting on November 18 and extending through to November 26, you’re going to be able to get a killer deal on Xbox One consoles. Whether you’re buying the normally $300 Xbox One S or the normally $500 Xbox One X, you’ll see a $100 price drop for Microsoft’s annual Black Friday sale.

To be all the way clear: during that week, the Xbox One S can be found for as low as $200, while the Xbox One X will cost $400. If you’re at all interested in buying an Xbox One, or maybe buying one for a loved one, this will be the week to do it.


6. A mess of “Final Fantasy” games are coming to the Xbox One.

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Square Enix

Here’s hoping you like “Final Fantasy” a whole bunch, because there are a ton of “Final Fantasy” games headed to the Xbox One in the next year.

There are literally too many to detail here, so I’m just including the full list with as many release dates as are available:

  • “Final Fantasy XIII” – Available November 13 through Backwards Compatibility
  • “Final Fantasy XIII-2” – Available November 13 through Backwards Compatibility
  • “Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII” – Available November 13 through Backwards Compatibility
  • “Final Fantasy XV Pocket Edition HD” – Available now
  • “World of Final Fantasy Maxima” – Available now
  • “Final Fantasy VII” (the original, not the upcoming remaster) – 2019
  • “Final Fantasy IX” – 2019
  • “Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster” – 2019
  • “Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age” – 2019

That’s a lot of “Final Fantasy”!


7. A bunch of games are getting mouse-and-keyboard control support, including “Fortnite.”

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“Fortnite:Battle Royale”/Epic Games

Tired of blaming your Xbox One gamepad for all those lost games of “Fortnite”? Great news: In the not-so-distant future, you can play “Fortnite” – and a smattering of other Xbox One games – using a keyboard and mouse.

Support starts next week, with “Fortnite” leading the charge. Here’s the full list of games getting mouse-and-keyboard controller support this month:

  • “Bomber Crew”
  • “Deep Rock Galactic”
  • “Strange Brigade”
  • “Vermintide 2”
  • “War Thunder”
  • “X-Morph Defense”

Additionally, “Children of Morta,” “DayZ,” “Minion Master,” “Moonlighter,” “Vigor,” “Warface,” and “Wargroove” will get mouse-and-keyboard support “in the future.”


8. Microsoft is bringing back its “Summer of Arcade” promotions in a new form: “Winter of Arcade,” kicking off in December.

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“Below” has been in development for years — a gorgeous-looking indie title from Capybara Games. Could it be among the games released during “Winter of Arcade”? It could!
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Capybara Games

In years past, during the golden years of the Xbox 360, Microsoft held an annual summer event named “Summer of Arcade.” It was where games like “Braid” and “Geometry Wars 2” were first released – and it quickly became an annual to-do.

Sadly, after several years of success, it faded. But apparently Microsoft is resurrecting the concept, albeit for a different season: “Winter of Arcade” is coming in December, starting on December 6. What games are planned for launch? It sounds like we won’t find out until early December.