First Xbox Series X Ad Is A Psychedelic Dreamscape (Featuring Master Chief)

Xbox Series X and Series S are launching in just over a month, and Microsoft has put out the first ad for the new hardware. The Xbox Series X and Series S ad is light on the gameplay imagery and instead sells the Xbox as a gateway to fantasia. It features Academy Award-nominated actor Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out, Black Panther).

In the ad titled “Us Dreamers,” a young man comes home, puts on his headset, and is transported to a variety of locales. Those include hovering over a Viking naval battle, facing some kind of monstrous world-eater, and becoming/meeting Master Chief, who then grows larger than the planet he’s standing on. This may have been in production before Halo Infinite, which was to be the Series X’s big launch game, was delayed into 2021.

The accompanying tweet emphasizes the “dream” aspect, though it leans less on psychedelia and more on “blazing fast speeds” and “high visual fidelity with higher frame rates.”

In an announcement, Microsoft said this is the first of its Power Your Dreams ad campaign.

“We invite you to come on this journey with us,” the announcement says. “To dream of more vibrant and living gaming worlds. To dream of being instantly transported to your games at blazingly fast speeds. To dream of discovering your full gaming potential through high visual fidelity and even higher framerates, never experienced on consoles before.”

This is similar to the latest PlayStation 5 ad, which also featured dream-like imagery to showcase the hardware as transporting the player to new worlds. It was slightly more grounded and focused mostly on a narrative around ships at sea. That followed the very first PS5 ad, which centered almost entirely on the DualSense controller.

For more information or to find where you can preorder, check out

SHI International Achieves VMware Master Services Competency in Cloud Management and Automation

SHI International, one of the largest IT solutions providers in the world, has achieved a Cloud Management and Automation VMware Master Services Competency. This competency demonstrates SHI’s commitment to helping organizations accelerate their digital transformations by leveraging their validated services delivery capabilities around advanced VMware technologies.

“This competency not only proves that SHI is VMware validated for our full capabilities around Cloud Management and Automation, but also confirms the quality of our service delivery and the caliber of talent on our team,” said Jon Palmer, VMware Solutions Engineering Manager at SHI International.

SHI’s VMware Master Services Competencies in Cloud Management and Automation designates expertise in delivery of VMware Cloud Management and Automation solutions and services with deep understanding and execution of cloud management design principles and methodologies.

“VMware is pleased to recognize SHI for achieving a Cloud Management and Automation Master Services Competency. This achievement shows customers that partners like SHI are dedicated, invested, and have validated expertise in advanced VMware technologies,” said Sandy Hogan, SVP of Worldwide Commercial and Partner Sales. “We value SHI as a VMware partner, and appreciate its efforts in achieving this VMware distinction as it works to increase its service delivery capabilities.”

In addition to cloud Management and Automation, SHI has also achieved VMware Master Services Competency in Digital Workspace and VMware Cloud on AWS. VMware Master Services Competencies are designed to help partners demonstrate customer-centric solutions and technical proficiency, with proven success and expertise in a specialized area of business. These competencies also allow partners to differentiate in six specific solution areas.

VMware partners can achieve VMware Master Services Competencies in:

  • Cloud Management and Automation – Designates expertise in delivery of VMware Cloud Management and Automation solutions and services with deep understanding and execution of cloud management design principles and methodologies.

  • Cloud Native

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Maps From Free-To-Play Russian Game Halo Online Could Come To The Master Chief Collection

In 2015, Microsoft worked with Saber Interactive on a free-to-play Halo game for Russia called Halo Online. It was short-lived, however, as Microsoft canceled it before it even left beta.

The game may get a new lease on life, as Microsoft has teased that maps from Halo Online could be incorporated into Halo: The Master Chief Collection in the future.

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Design director Max Szlagor said in a blog post that included among the many, many other new features that are being discussed for MCC are Halo Online maps. “Is there an opportunity to bring over some of the Halo Online maps? There’s a lot of options out there and it’s all dependent on what’s feasible and everything takes time and has to be measured against the bug list, backlog, and feature priorities,” Szlagor said. “All in all, we are definitely looking towards more goodness and continuing with more seasons.”

The original Halo Online ran on a “highly modified” version of the Halo 3 engine, and Microsoft says it was “optimized for smooth performance” on lower-end computers. Its announcement in 2015 was a big deal given that Microsoft hadn’t released a Halo game on PC in years before then. The game was only ever officially released in Russia, where it was published by Innova Systems, but now it appears people around the world may have a chance at experiencing it.

Given that Halo Online ran on a modified version of the Halo 3 engine, it’s not immediately clear how it might be incorporated into MCC. It’s still early days, of course, and Microsoft is only talking about Halo Online maps in an exploratory means for now.

Microsoft might have canceled Halo Online, but the company believes in the free-to-play model, as it’s been announced that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer will be free.