The Morning After: Microsoft changed its mind about an Xbox Live price hike

The price of the brick is staying the same, and Facebook had a weird iPhone mass-logout event.

343 Studios

Usually, a company releasing news late on a Friday night is a bad sign, but Microsoft went the other way. After starting off Friday by awkwardly announcing revised pricing for Xbox Live Gold that would’ve doubled the cost for new Xbox accounts to access multiplayer, it backtracked. Admitting that “We messed up today and you were right to let us know,” the company announced that not only will pricing not change, but it’s also working on enabling free multiplayer for free-to-play games like Fortnite and Apex Legends and its upcoming title Halo Infinite.

Xbox Series X

There’s no word on how long it will take for the free part of the announcement to turn on, but since that’s already free on PlayStation Network, it can’t come soon enough. Even with the existence of Game Pass, asking $120 annually for new players would’ve made Xbox by far a second-class multiplayer experience for new customers and existing ones.

It’s good that Microsoft reconsidered the move (after shipping $60 6-month Xbox Live cards that now feel like collector’s items), but if it really wanted to turn the tide in the console wars then free multiplayer for all would be a better choice. Hey, they seem to be open to suggestions, so why not ask?

-- Richard Lawler

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Facebook logged out iPhones for some reason

Ok, but why?

Facebook logout

If you use iOS and still have a Facebook account, you probably got logged out on Friday night. In a statement to Engadget the company said “We believe this was due to a configuration change” and that they’re looking into it, but didn’t provide any more information.
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The best deals we found this week: $40 off Google's Pixel 4a 5G and more

The latest MacBook Pro with the new M1 chipset is $80 off at Amazon.

Pixel 4a 5G

This week brought a return of some holiday sale prices, plus a few deals that are even better than those we saw late last year. Google’s Pixel 4a 5G fell to a new record-low price, while the 8th-generation iPad remains on sale for $299. If you want to up your smart-home game, August’s WiFi smart lock is more than $65 off and some Beats headphones are 50 percent off, too.

Here are all the best deals from the week that you can still snag today, and remember to follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for more updates. 
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The Engadget Podcast

Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra review

Engadget podcast logo

Cherlynn dishes her thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra, and whether they’re worthy upgrades over last year’s phones. Do all those cameras make a difference? And is there a point to releasing a Galaxy Note this year? Also, Devindra discusses the virtual inauguration for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, as well as the rumors around Apple’s upcoming and potentially pricey VR headset. Is this the best strategy to get to an AR headset?

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts or Stitcher.
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The first big 'Cyberpunk 2077' patch has arrived

There are also fixes for a number of quests and bugged achievements.

Cyberpunk 2077

As promised, the first of two early-2021 patches for CD Projekt Red’s troubled Cyberpunk 2077 has arrived. This updates the game to version 1.1 on PC, consoles and Stadia, and according to the notes it lays the groundwork for future updates, while also addressing memory usage and crash problems. These patches are supposed to make the game more playable on PS4 and Xbox One consoles, and the one planned for February is apparently going to be more significant.
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But wait, there’s more...

President Biden appoints 'world-class' cybersecurity team in wake of hacks

Democrats ask Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to rework their suggestion algorithms

Amazon will start streaming Robert Kirkman's 'Invincible' on March 26th

Cadillac's upcoming Celestiq flagship EV has a tint-shifting smart roof

Donald Trump pardons ex-Waymo, Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski

Synthetic cornea helped a legally blind man regain his sight

Put Bernie Sanders almost anywhere with this Google Street View app

Paramount+ will replace CBS All Access on March 4th

New White House website includes a hidden recruitment message for coders

Mercedes-Benz' EQA crossover is its first sub-$50,000 EV

Scientists may have found the background ripples of the universe

Elon Musk announces $100 million prize for new carbon capture tech

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