Microsoft news recap: Free-to-play games no longer require Xbox Live Gold, plans for 50-100 new datacenters per year, and more

Jack Wilkinson

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Microsoft news recap is a weekly feature highlighting the top Microsoft news stories of the past week. Sit back, grab some coffee, and enjoy the read!

Microsoft plans to build 50-100 new datacenters a year, to add 10 new countries in 2021

By the end of 2021, Microsoft is aiming to add 10 new countries to its datacenter portfolio. In addition, the company is aiming to expand its network by 50 to 100 new datacenters per year. To put that into context, Microsoft currently manages around 200 datacenters.

Microsoft data center virtual tour

Nintendo shuts down Xbox Cloud Gaming on Switch rumors

Rumours of Xbox Cloud Gaming coming to the Nintendo Switch have been shot down by Nintendo. Despite Xbox Cloud Gaming now being able to run in a web browser (for those invited to the roll out), the service does not work on the Switch’s browser, and Nintendo has said that it won’t be allowing streaming services to work on its consoles.

Microsoft News app updates on iOS with a new design and several cool features

iOS users of the Microsoft News app were greeted with a new update this week that brought a new design, bringing it more in-line with the Bing app, whilst also receiving some new features, including the ability to search by image or speech from the search bar, and a new function to allow specific news sources to be hidden. Reactions have also been added, allowing you to see how others feel about the article.

Microsoft News app

Free-to-play games on Xbox no longer require Xbox Live Gold starting today

As of this week, free-to-play games on Xbox no longer require an Xbox Live Gold membership, meaning that as long as you have an Xbox One or Series console, free-to-play games are entirely free to play. Party Chat and Looking For Group features also no longer require an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

Xbox Live Gold

This week in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams public preview adds over 800 emojis and new in-meeting sharing experience

The public preview of Microsoft Teams has received a new update that brings over 800 emojis, up from 85, as well as adding a new category/skin tone selector and shortcode picker. In addition, a new in-meeting sharing experience has arrived.

Microsoft Teams app updates on Android and iOS with nice extra functionality

Android and iOS apps for Microsoft Teams have received some minor new features this week. From being able to invite distribution lists and Modern Groups during the schedule creation process, to being able to join a meeting as a view-only participant when the user limit is reached. Take a look at the full changelog for each app here.

Microsoft delays the rollout of Shared Channels in Teams to November

The new Shared Channels featured has been delayed. Originally expected this summer, it is now expected in November.

Microsoft Teams on the desktop now lets users merge calls

The desktop app of Microsoft Teams now allows you to merge multiple calls together. The new functionality is rolling out and should be completed by the end of the month.

Microsoft Teams desktop app will add option to lock ongoing meetings

A new feature that will allow organisers to lock in-progress meetings is coming to Microsoft Teams’ desktop app. This will prevent more participants joining during a call once a lock has been activated, which could prove useful for those in education settings where students might join late.

Microsoft Teams now lets meeting organizers set a time limit for Breakout rooms

Meeting organisers can now set a time limit on Breakout rooms. Once a time limit has passed, the room will close and participants are moved back to the main room.

That’s it for this week. We will be back next week with more Microsoft news.