Microsoft reveals first Xbox and Halo 20th anniversary goodies

Later this year, the Xbox brand is turning 20 years old. The original Xbox was released on November 15th, 2001, which means that Microsoft has been in the console business for two decades at this point. That date also marks the 20th anniversary of the Halo franchise – one of Microsoft’s biggest first-party franchises this side of Minecraft – so all in all, 2021 is a big year for the company’s gaming arm. Today, Microsoft revealed what it’s doing for the 20th anniversary of the Xbox and Halo brands, and those plans at least in part include launching new gear.

If you take a look at the Xbox Gear Shop at the moment, you’ll see that there are a number of new products for the 20th Anniversary of both Xbox and Halo. There are T-shirts, trucker hats, tote bags, tumblers, coffee mugs, and even a throw pillow. All of the products show a “20” with either the Xbox logo or Master Chief depicted in the zero.

Microsoft’s anniversary plans don’t stop at gear, though. There are also some new 20th anniversary backgrounds for both Halo and Xbox that you can download for your various devices, with Microsoft noting that all of them are compatible with Microsoft Teams. Those can be found over on the Xbox website.

In addition, Microsoft has also put together a collection of games on the Xbox Store that does a pretty good job of hitting the high points throughout Xbox history. Obviously, you’ll still need to buy the games in order to play them, but if you’ve been an Xbox gamer from the start, browsing the collection could be a good way to discover forgotten classics. Original Xbox games like Psychonauts and Knights of the Old Republic are present on the list, and Xbox 360 enthusiasts will probably be thrilled to learn that Microsoft hasn’t forgotten about Hexic HD, which is there as well and free to download.

This, it seems, is just the tip of the iceberg regarding what Microsoft is plotting for Xbox’s 20th anniversary. In a post to Xbox Wire, the company says that it has more to share as we get closer to November 15th, so we’ll let you know when Microsoft reveals what those plans are.

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This thin and light $310 Acer laptop is loaded with goodies most budget laptops lack

Today’s deal features a star from Amazon Prime Day, and while today’s price isn’t as good last month’s all-time low, this is still pretty sweet. Amazon is selling the Acer Aspire 5 Slim laptop for $310. That’s $40 below this sleek laptop’s MSRP, and $20 below its previous price of $330.

The notebook features a 15.6-inch 1080p IPS display (a rarity in a cheap laptop), a 2.6GHz dual-core AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. It’s also rocking a backlit keyboard (another rarity in this price range), a speedy USB 3.1 port, two USB 2.0 ports, and one HDMI. For Wi-Fi, the laptop has 802.11ac. 

A loadout like this should be able to handle day-to-day tasks easily. Heck, you could even play esports and other low-intensity games thanks to the Radeon Vega graphics cores infused in the Ryzen processor. You can’t say that about budget laptops very often!

The overall design of this laptop is very nice, with an aluminum lid atop a slim aluminum-looking chassis. It’s very reminiscent of Acer’s Chromebooks, but it’s packing Windows 10 in S Mode instead. If there is a downside to this laptop, that’s it. Windows 10 in S Mode means you can only use Windows Store apps on your device. The good news is getting the full version of Windows requires a few clicks in the Windows Store and no extra fees.

Overall, this should be a great-looking, well-performing laptop capable of a few unique tricks for this price range, and it’s available at a solid price today.

[Today’s deal: Acer Aspire 5 Slim for $310 on Amazon.]

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Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn’t like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he’s not covering the news he’s working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.

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