It is no secret that Apple is working on mixed reality technology and has been stocking up on IP and buying out smaller companies to further its goals. This year, Apple is reportedly adding another piece to the puzzle, with sources indicating that it will be buying NextVR.
NextVR is a streaming provider that aims to bring sports and entertainment to virtual reality. It already has partnerships with leagues like the NFL, NBA and WWE for streaming content and likely had other deals in the works, which may now be on hold while the Apple acquisition details get hammered out.
The report comes from sources speaking with 9to5Mac, which claims that NextVR employees are being informed that they need to relocate from San Diego due to changes in the company. We don’t know how much Apple will be paying for NextVR, but the company is estimated to be worth more than $100 million.
This acquisition would be another step in Apple’s lofty VR and AR goals. Previous acquisitions have focused on hardware development, whereas NextVR signals that Apple is beginning to think about its content library too, all in time to launch an AR wearable in 2022.
KitGuru Says: Streaming entertainment is going to be a big aspect of VR/AR in the future, so this is an acquisition that makes good sense for Apple. We’ll keep an eye out for any updates but for now, nothing is officially announced.
Recently there have been a number of big video game delays due to logistics issues brought on by the current coronavirus pandemic. One of the biggest games of 2020, The Last of Us Part II, was recently delayed, so there are concerns about other big releases scheduled for this year. Fortunately, in the case of Cyberpunk 2077, the game is still on track for its new September release date.
Cyberpunk 2077 was going to come out this month, but was delayed earlier this year, prior to the coronavirus breakout. Since then, CD Projekt Red has shifted to remote work, with all employees working from home and continuing progress on the game.
Speaking with investors during an earnings report, CD Projekt’s Adam Kicinski, gave a status update on the game: “There is no shortage of motivation and we also possess all the tools needed to facilitate remote work. We’ve been operating in this mode for over three weeks and to-date results confirm that we can carry on with all our operations without major disruptions. Our plans haven’t changed – we’re steaming towards the September release of Cyberpunk”.
In other news, CD Projekt Red has also seen a 44 percent boost in sales revenue year-on-year this quarter, in large part thanks to the success of The Witcher 3 on the Nintendo Switch and continued sales on other platforms.
KitGuru Says: Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most anticipated games of the year, so another delay would be sure to disappoint. However, we are also in rare circumstances right now, so disruptions wouldn’t be completely out of the blue. Hopefully things will remain on track during the upcoming Summer months.
If you haven’t had the chance to check out Gears 5 since its launch late last year, then now is the perfect opportunity. The game is currently free to play on PC through both Steam and the Windows Store.
The free play period lasts until the 12th of April, giving you plenty of time to dabble in both the campaign and multiplayer modes. The campaign itself is quite ambitious but it is certainly beatable before April 12th if you have some time to spend.
Of course, if you have Game Pass, then you will already have access to Gears 5. Those who subscribe to Xbox Live Gold on PC will also get to play the game for free until the 12th of April.
This all comes in time for the latest season of Gears 5 multiplayer content, which introduces the new ‘Gridiron’ game mode.
KitGuru Says: Gears 5 is one of my favourite campaigns in the series, so I’d recommend giving it a go if you haven’t. That is mainly a recommendation for the single-player though, I have not spent as much time on the multiplayer side. Are any of you thinking about playing Gears 5 while it is free this week?
Back when Google first pitched Stadia, it was with a free tier for 1080p streaming and a pro tier for those who want up to 4K visuals. Since launch in November 2019, Stadia has only had the Pro subscription tier available but as of today, the free streaming tier is opening up to everyone. All you need is a Gmail address.
All you need to access Stadia is a supported device. That list includes the Chromecast Ultra, a PC with Chrome, or a supported smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy S series, Razer Phone, ROG Phone or Pixel 2/3/4.
Anyone who signs up for Stadia will get two months of the Pro tier for free, which means you will also get access to a free selection of games. That includes the likes of Destiny 2: The Collection, Gylt, GRID and a few others.
You can choose to not auto-renew the Pro subscription once you are signed up. If you leave automatic renewal switched on, then Stadia Pro will cost $10 per month after your free trial period runs out.
KitGuru Says: It looks like the launch of GeForce Now has spurred Google into action with its long-awaited free tier. Will any of you be trying out Stadia now that it is open to everyone?
Back when the Nintendo Switch launched, Gamevice filed a patent infringement lawsuit, claiming that the detachable controller design infringes on its own IP. A few weeks ago, Nintendo successfully got that case thrown out, but Gamevice is being persistent, with another legal dispute now coming to light.
This time around, Gamevice is calling on the U.S International Trade Commission to block imports of Nintendo Switch stock and investigate the patent infringement claims. The claims once again pertain to the detachable controllers that the Nintendo Switch ships with.
Gamevice is in the peripheral space and sells controllers intended for use with smartphones and tablets. At one point, it also launched the Wikipad,an Android gaming tablet.
Of course, Nintendo is no stranger to patent infringement lawsuits and has already managed to get a court to take its side once. With that in mind, it seems unlikely that Switch imports will be blocked. However, the ITC has not yet made a decision on whether it will investigate or not.
KitGuru Says: Gamevice is pursuing more legal routes, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. So far, the ITC and Nintendo have not commented, so there should be more updates soon.
Riot Games has always had a high ranking on Twitch thanks to League of Legends but it would seem that the buzz surrounding its new shooter, Valorant, is pushing things even further. During the launch yesterday, 1.7 million concurrent viewers were watching various streamers playing the game on Twitch, rivalling some of Fortnite’s biggest streams.
At the moment, 1.7 million is the record for live concurrent viewers on a game, which was previously set by Fortnite during its ‘Black Hole’ event. Valorant is more of a competitive shooter though, aiming to compete with the likes of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Rainbow Six Siege.
Aside from being huge on Twitch already, Riot had another advantage when it comes to racking up views. Instead of having standard closed beta sign-ups, Riot asked interested gamers to connect their Riot accounts with their Twitch accounts and actively watch streamers. Then, beta access would be randomly given away to viewers who had their two accounts connected.
As noted by Dot Esports, it is likely that people set up multiple Twitch and Riot accounts in order to improve their chances of getting beta access. For now, Valorant will remain in closed beta for a while, before transitioning to a full free-to-play release later in the summer.
KitGuru Says: I played a few rounds in the beta last night and so far, Valorant does seem fun. Although I still need to learn the ins and outs of the different maps and weapon spray patters. Have any of you been able to get into the beta yet? What do you think of Valorant so far?
Today we take a look at not one, but three new all-in-one CPU coolers from Fractal Design. The new Fractal Design Celsius+ series offers consumers a few more choices than usual from an AIO cooler series, with three different radiator sizes and fan options available. Aside from the choice of physical size, there is also the option for either high static pressure RGB fans, or non-RGB fans for a more understated and low noise output system.
One of the features that all of the Fractal Design Celsius+ coolers include is an integrated Fan/RGB Hub mounted to the radiator. This allows users to connect the 4-pin PWM power cables and RGB cables to a single control hub. This should provide a neat and tidy appearance and simplify cable management since the cables have been cleverly concealed within the braided sleeving covering the tubes.
Another design choice shared by all of the Celsius+ series is the switching method between automatic and PWM pump speed control. The top portion of the pump housing has an integrated switch to flick between auto or PWM mode. A twist of the top section of the pump housing switches between the two options.
Auto fan mode aims to keep the pump noise at the same level or below fan noise, while still ensuring maximum performance is maintained across the temperature range. PWM mode allows the user some flexibility, while still ensuring that the liquid inside the AIO is kept within pre-set safe limits so that the CPU will not overheat.
The main upgrade from the previous Celsius coolers is an updated pump unit. Since Fractal Design uses an Asetek based platform, the new Celsius+ AIOs are equipped with a 6th generation Asetek pump, with a rotational speed range of 800-2000 RPM in normal mode and a 3500 RPM maximum speed in thermal protection mode. Asetek 6th generation pumps are equipped with a ceramic bearing/shaft, a maximum pressure of 1.46mm H2O and output 20 dBA noise at full speed.
Fractal Design Celsius+ AIO coolers are available with two different fan options. Fractal Design Prisma AL series RGB fans or the more understated, all-black Dynamic X2 PWM fans in either 120mm or 140mm variants. The main difference between the two is the RGB, or lack of RGB in the case of the Dynamic X2 fans. 120mm versions have a speed range of 500-2000 RPM and 140mm fan speeds range from 500-1700 RPM, all producing around 30-35 dBA noise at maximum RPM.
As is typical of most mainstream all-in-one CPU coolers, the Fractal design Celsius+ series uses an aluminium radiator with a pump mounted above a copper thermal transfer plate featuring micro-fin channels to aid heat dissipation evenly. At the base of the CPU block, the tubing connects on rotatable fittings which makes positioning and installation easy.
All of the Celsius+ coolers feature RGB lighting in some form, with the top section of the pump housing featuring a tinted glass face that is backlit with an RGB LED ring and Fractal Logo. The addressable RGB lighting connects directly to 3-pin RGB motherboard headers and can be configured or synchronised with other RGB components via motherboard manufacturer software, such as Asus Aura Sync, Gigabyte RGB Fusion, MSI Mystic Light and ASRock Polychrome.
The entire Fractal Design Celsius+ AIO series is available from today (8th April). Prices start from £119.99 for the 240mm S24 with Dynamic X2 non-RGB fans, increasing up to £185.99 for the Celsius+ S36 with Prisma addressable RGB fans.
|Pump speed||800-2000 RPM|
|Pump voltage||5.5-13.2V DC|
|Pump power consumption||4.32W at full speed|
|Pump maximum pressure, 50°C||4.396 kPa / 1.46 mm H2O / 2.0 PSI|
|Pump MTTF||50,000 hours|
|Fittings, block side||Articulating 90-degree elbow|
|Fittings, radiator side||Straight rotary|
|Radiator dimensions S36||123 x 30 x 403 mm|
|CPU block height||45 mm|
|CPU block measurements (with fittings)||86 x 75 mm|
|CPU block diameter (main block body)||62 mm|
|Fan speed, S24/S36 Prisma||500-2000 RPM|
|Fan airflow (max)||85.71 CFM|
|Fan Control Method||4-pin PWM|
|Fan RGB lighting (Prisma)||5v 3-pin Addressable RGB|
|CPU socket support||AMD – AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, AM4, FM1, FM2, FM2+, TR4Intel – 1150, 1151, 1155, 1156, 1366, 2011, 2011-3, 2066|
It seems as though the world currently can’t go a day without more news related to COVID-19. The effects of the virus have been global and have affected nearly every single industry. Though a number of games have already been delayed by studios due to COVID-19, it looks like many more are set to see a similar fate – regardless of publisher intentions – as the Japanese ratings board CERO will be ceasing operations for the next month, affecting all future titles.
The Computer Entertainment Rating Organisation (CERO) is the Japanese ratings board, and is responsible for approving the publishing and sale of any and all video games in its country. The company has now announced that it will cease operations for the next month, until the 6th of May. This move comes in the wake of Tokyo being declared to be in a state of emergency, and will likely have much greater effects than one might initially assume.
Though some games still receive a staggered release, most titles launch globally during the same window. For a publisher to release its game, it needs to seek approval from the ratings board of each country which it intends to release the game in. Though only the Japanese ratings board has closed, any games that publishers were planning to seek certification for in the next month, will no longer be able to do so – if it was intended for a simultaneous worldwide release.
With all the self-imposed delays by studios and publishers themselves, it’s unlikely that many games were planning to request certification in the near future anyway. Regardless, the news of its temporary closure is still significant, and shows just how far reaching the effects and decisions of a single company could have on an entire market.
KitGuru says: Are you disappointed to see all of these delays taking place? Which game would you be most disappointed about if it were to be delayed? What have you been doing to pass the time during these times of quarantining and self-isolation? Let us know down below.
SK hynix likes to bring out products based on new technologies – whether it be SSDs or memory. The South Korean company has now announced the availability of the PE8000 series, an SSD line aimed for datacenter costumers.
To re-iterate, the products are aimed for ‘professional’ costumers, specifically those who run a datacenter. However, the new SSDs introduces new technologies to the market that should be of interest for everyone. Two of the products from the series – PE8010 and PE8030 – “are the Company’s first Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) SSDs supporting the PCIe Gen4 Interface”.
Both PE8010 and PE8030 features “96-layer Triple-Level Cell (TLC) 4D NAND flash” with a maximum capacity of 8 TB. PE8010 is designed to work well with “read-intensive workloads”, while PE8030 is “optimized for mixed-use”. However, perhaps the most impressive feature of the SSDs is their speed in relation to their power consumption.
Image credit: SKhynix
SK hynix says that PE8010 and PE8030 have the “strongest performance among low-power PCIe Gen4 SSDs in the market”. The numbers given by the semiconductor supplier for both SSDs are “sequential read speeds of up to 6,500MB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 3,700MB/s, with random read and write of up to 1,100K and 320K Input/output operations per second (IOPs)”.
To gain some perspective on how fast the new SSDs are, SK hynix compares the new drives to its previous-gen models released in 2019 – saying that the new SSDs have 103% faster sequential reads and 357% faster random writes. This is all accomplished while keeping a maximum power consumption of 17W.
Samil Kim, head of the eSSD business at SK hynix, stated “We will reinforce our technology leadership through the mass production of our PCIe Gen4 products in the second half of this year, and also provide eSSDs with high performance and reliability to our hyperscaler and enterprise OEM customers.”
The full press release can be found HERE.
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KitGuru says: Even though the new SSDs are aimed for datacenters, they show what can be expected for the consumer market in the not too distant future. When do you think we can see something similar for regular costumers?
Intel, Apple, Nvidia, AMD – just to mention a few companies – all have one thing in common, they all strive to reach smaller node sizes in their chips. The are numerous benefits, ranging from less power consumption, better performance, less heat and cheaper production costs. Much of the worlds chip production is handled by either TSMC or Samsung. Both companies have reported that they are soon to begin volume production of 5nm nodes. But the struggle for ever smaller node sizes continue as the companies set their aim at 3nm.
Improvements in manufacturing technology don’t come overnight. It’s takes vast amounts of money and dedicated research to be able to achieve a smaller node size. Therefore, companies make a habit of planning each step years in advance to make sure that they are on track – usually with the goal of beating the competition.
Now DigiTimes declares Samsung’s “3nm ambition hindered by pandemic”. The reason given for this is that the “coronavirus pandemic is delaying equipment installation. In China, the outbreak may have eased, but consumer confidence has yet to recover, sending consumer NAND flash prices falling.”
Samsung still hasn’t said anything about changing its production plans. The Korean semiconductor manufacturer had previously announced it plans to start volume production of 3nm in 2021, but whether this is possible or not with the recent developments remains to be seen.
Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.
KitGuru says: Let’s hope that Samsung is able to work out a way to start production of 3nm as soon as possible. Improvements in manufacturing technology bring many benefits to us consumers. What do you think, will Samsung be able to start volume production of 3nm in 2021?
Disco Elysium was one of 2019’s breakout hits. As the debut title from Ukraine-based studio ZA/UM, the PC RPG went on to win a plethora of awards, including receiving the most awards from any game at the 2019 Game Awards. While it was already known that the developers were intending to release the game onto PS4 and Xbox One in the future, we now have direct confirmation from the studio itself that a Switch port for the critically acclaimed title is currently in development.
During an interview with the game’s Art Director, Aleksander Rostov, for BBC Radio 5’s ‘Game On’ podcast, the studio rep stated in a tongue-in-cheek manner that “this interview is, at this very moment, interrupting me from writing up design documentation for the user interface and input systems for the Switch port.”
This is the first confirmation that the RPG is coming to Nintendo’s handheld hybrid. It was previously confirmed that the game would be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2020, though no mention was made of a Switch port at the time.
To further add to the excitement, it seems as though fans eager for a console release won’t have to wait too long, as the Narrative Lead, Helen Hinpere, followed up Rostov’s statement by saying that “it’s going to happen soon.”
To many, Disco Elysium was 2019’s standout title. For this reason it is exciting to see that more fans will soon get the opportunity to play the much talked about, and highly regarded, role playing game.
KitGuru says: What did you think of Disco Elysium? Are you glad to see it coming to the Switch? What was your favourite game from 2019? Let us know down below.
Crytek rendering engineer Ali Salehi stated in an interview that PS5 was the best next-gen console out of both Microsoft’s and Sony’s platforms. After Salehi’s comments about PS5, the interview was removed and the Crytek engineer retracted his previous statement.
During an interview made by Vigiato with Ali Salehi, the Crytek engineer was asked about how both Xbox Series X and PS5 compare. He then stated that he prefers Sony’s console because “is the easiest console they have ever coded on to reach its peak performance”. Some parts of the interview were translated by @man4dead and posted on Twitter.
Despite the impressive tech specs of Xbox Series X, Salehi claims that there are bottlenecks that make it harder to achieve peak performance with the console. Additionally, according to Salehi, it’s much easier to code on PS5 and some of its features “make the devs so free”.
As per TomsGuide, Ali even stated that there’s no “programmer that could name one advantage that XSX has over PS5”, but it seems that all is in the past now, as the Crytek employee retracted everything he said. The same Twitter user that posted the translation of the interview made a new post stating that “Ali Salehi doesn’t confirm the content of the interview anymore due to personal reasons”.
After this post, all previous posts containing the translated quotes of the interview were removed. It’s not clear if Crytek wanted this interview to disappear or if another third party enforced its removal. There’s also the possibility that some kind of non-disclosure agreement (NDA) was broken in this interview, enforcing Vigiato and @man4ded to take down the interview and translated quotes.
Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.
KitGuru says: Out of PS5 and Xbox Series X, which are you more excited about? Do you think the hardware advantage of Xbox Series X will be a decisive factor?
After the iPad launch earlier this year, it’s now time for the iPhone and Android to receive Company of Heroes. Feral Interactive, the developer responsible for porting Company of Heroes to the iPad, has announced that the award-winning strategy war game will be released to these new platforms later this year.
The work made by Feral Interactive on porting Company of Heroes to tablets was remarkable. As tablets differ greatly from PCs, the platform for which Company of Heroes was initially designed, the team at Feral Interactive had to readjust some core mechanics and gameplay features of the original game, including a new way to organise units through the “Command Wheel”. Following a touchscreen-focused approach, by pressing and holding a unit, a list of available actions will be displayed for the player to choose.
Part of the UI was also adapted for touch screens, while an alternative, more “old-school” way to play is also present. Some adjustments on squad managements and more details on the tactical map were also added.
Company of Heroes is coming to iPhone and Android later this year.
The classic World War II RTS is set to invade new territory with its compelling combination of a fast-moving campaign, dynamic combat environments, and squad-based tactics, all optimised for mobile gaming. pic.twitter.com/1w7lf6kG09
— Feral Interactive (@feralgames) April 7, 2020
Given the “limited” storage of some mobile devices, Feral Interactive also added an option to reduce the game’s size. For example, the game’s iPad version occupies 5.2GB of the device’s free space, but it’s possible to remove campaign missions, maps and high-resolution models after the installation is complete to reduce the total application size.
According to PocketGamer, the mobile versions of the game will cost the same as the iPad version on App Store, which is $13.99. If you already have the iPad version of the game, you can install it on your iPhone. You can learn more about Company of Heroes mobile if you click HERE.
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KitGuru says: Have you played the original Company of Heroes? Will you try the mobile version once it has been released?
Ever since PlayStation Now received its soft-relaunch back in October 2019, the game subscription service has focused much more heavily on giving its users higher quality titles. Previous months have seen PS4 juggernauts such as God of War and Persona 5 join the line-up. The stand out title for the month of April is far and away 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man – though it’s not the only game being added.
Three new titles are being added to PlayStation Now this month: Marvel’s Spider-Man, Just cause 4, and The Golf Club 2019.
Marvel’s Spider-Man needs no introduction. The 2018 open-world title from Insomniac Games quickly became one of the consoles most successful titles. The game received universal praise from both fans and critics alike, selling over 3.3 million copies in its first three days and becoming the fastest selling first/second-party release in Sony’s history. The game went on to sell more than 13 million copies as of August 2019 – meaning that sales figures are likely even higher now.
Just Cause 4 is the latest title in Avalanche Studios’ open-world destruction haven. Released in late 2018, the game continued to evolve what the series is known best for – its destruction. Once again, you play as Rico Rodriguez trying to take down the bad guys. This time however, the private military organisation has found a way to weaponise the weather. With an improved toolset at his disposal, Rico now has more mobility and a greater capacity for destruction than ever before. Though critical reception was mixed, Just Cause 4 is a great companion for those who wish to have some mindless fun in a large open world.
The final game being added is The Golf Club 2019 – or more accurately, The Golf Club 2019 featuring PGA TOUR. This golf sim includes seven real world golf courses for that added sense of realism. When combined with the game’s mechanics, alongside a golf course designer, fans of the sport will have a near endless supply of things to do in The Golf Club 2019.
These three titles are available from now to stream or download to your PS4 systems. Spider-Man will be available on the service until the 7th of July, while Just Cause 4 will remain until the 6th of October. The Golf Club 2019 meanwhile will be a permanent addition to the service. These titles join last month’s line-up of Control, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – among others.
KitGuru says: What do you think of this month’s line-up? Are you subscribed to any games services? What was your favourite game from 2018? Let us know down below.
After a rough launch, Donkey Crew decided to pull the plug on Last Oasis’ servers for seven days and offered refunds to consumers regardless of the number of hours played. This past weekend, the game was relaunched and currently seems stable.
The game had multiple bugs and stability problems at launch, forcing the Donkey Crew team to shut down all servers so they could identify the issues affecting the backend. As stated by Donkey Crew, during last year, the team made multiple “large-scale load tests”, ran a beta for over a year and fixed all the issues they’ve found, but unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to prepare for Last Oasis’ launch.
Despite all the testing and fixing, the problems that turned the game’s launch into chaos only became known recently. Basically, the game servers were “stuck in a loop”, shutting down and restarting continuously. As if that wasn’t enough, the game’s queue system wasn’t optimised for the number of players that were trying to join the servers and the client kept spamming the servers with requests to join.
After identifying the problem and fixing it, the studio decided to relaunch the game during the weekend, by starting a public stress test. If no major new problems arise, there will be no more wipes or server shutdowns. According to TheGamer, the servers seem to be stable and playable for now. The game isn’t perfect, as there are still some issues reported by some players, but let’s hope that the worst of it is over now.
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KitGuru says: Have you already tried Last Oasis? What do you think of the way Donkey Crew handled the situation?
Folding@Home is making headlines through its rapid growth – going from 30 petaflops to over 1.5 exaflops in the matter of weeks. The software is aimed at those who have an idle desktop or laptop and are willing to donate their computing power. Now Vodafone Foundation and Imperial College London scientists have released an app called DreamLab that lets you use the computing power of your smartphone, all in an effort to fight COVID-19.
Many are home in self-isolation and might be using their phones to watch videos or memes. There’s nothing wrong with using a phone for entertainment, however, now the DreamLab app offers a ‘nobler’ usage of one’s smartphone – using the phone to help speed research into effective treatments for COVID-19.
For those who aren’t comfortable cutting down on leisure time there is good news, the app and all its functionality can be run during nighttime while being charged. That way anyone with a smartphone can help out in the strive towards finding treatments for COVID-19 as you sleep.
For those who want to get involved the steps are few and easy. Step one, download the DreamLab app. Step two, activate the app before falling asleep. There is no step three.
Vodafone Foundation and Imperial College London are hoping that as many people as possible will connect so that millions of calculations can be processed to push the research regarding the infectious virus forward.
Dr Kirill Veselkov from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, who is leading the research, says: “We urgently need new treatments to tackle Covid-19. There are existing drugs out there that might work to treat it; and the great thing about repurposing existing drugs is that we already know they are safe and therefore could get them to patients quickly. However, we have to do difficult and complicated analyses using artificial intelligence and all of this takes a huge amount of computing power. DreamLab creates a supercomputer that enables us to do this important work in a relatively short timeframe.”
Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.
KitGuru says: People have different reactions during a virus outbreak. Let’s do our best to help each other out in these though times and work towards a solution for the benefit for ourselves and all the people around us.
When Sony first revealed details on its upcoming PlayStation 5 console, one of the areas the console manufacturer chose to focus on was its new controller. With a new form of haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, it was clear that Sony was putting a lot of thought into how it could evolve the feeling of playing a game. The company has now officially shown off its first piece of PlayStation 5 hardware – the DualSense – replacing its DualShock moniker and making it clear that Sony is taking a new step into what they deem to be the future of gaming.
Announced on its blog, PlayStation have officially shown off its new DualSense controller. While the Dualshock 1 through 4 look relatively familial, the new DualSense controller has opted for a much more striking design. According to Sony, this new controller “will captivate more of your senses as you interact with the virtual worlds in PS5 games. The features of DualSense, along with PS5’s Tempest 3D AudioTech, will deliver a new feeling of immersion to players.”
The reason for this radical departure in design is due to the fact that in Sony’s eyes “the sense of touch within gameplay, much like audio, hasn’t been a big focus for many games”. The company is attempting to remedy this through “haptic feedback, which adds a variety of powerful sensations you’ll feel when you play, such as the slow grittiness of driving a car through mud,” as well as adding “adaptive triggers into the L2 and R2 buttons of DualSense so you can truly feel the tension of your actions, like when drawing a bow to shoot an arrow.”
Due to these feature decisions, the company needed to evolve its design in order to utilise these new functionalities to its maximum. Some of the ways in which this was done is through “chang[ing] the angle of the hand triggers and also ma[king] some subtle updates to the grip” alongside other evolutions including an overall increase in the roundedness of the controller in order to maximise the number of contact points that the hardware makes with the player’s hands.
Other feature changes with the new DualSense is the removal of the Share button. In its stead is a new ‘Create’ button – though few details have been provided regarding its functionality. Sony have also added a microphone to the controller, allowing players to chat with teammates without the need for a headset and dedicated microphone.
The DualSense controller is said to be the result of “several concepts and hundreds of mockups”. The goal for Sony is “to give gamers the feeling of being transported into the game world as soon as they open the box,” wanting “gamers to feel like the controller is an extension of themselves when they’re playing – so much so that they forget that it’s even in their hands!”
Sony is clearly attempting to change the way we play games, going far beyond expected upgrades such as simple power increases and added teraflops. Many of the announcements made so far have proven that this is where their priorities lie. If the rest of the PlayStation 5 is as radically different as the new DualSense controller, then the next generation of PlayStation will certainly be an interesting one.
KitGuru says: What do you think of the DualSense controller? Do you agree with Sony that controllers have remained too stagnant? What’s your favourite announced feature of the DualSense controller? Let us know down below.
The first ‘Inside Xbox’ episode of 2020 aired today and while we’re a little too close to the summer for announcements of secret projects or Halo Infinite gameplay, Microsoft still had plenty to show. The episode brings updates for Obsidian’s Grounded, the upcoming Gears Tactics, Xbox Game Pass, Sea of Thieves and the Game Bar on PC.
You can watch the full episode above, but we’ll be breaking down the bigger announcements below.
Grounded is Obsidian’s take on multiplayer survival. The game is coming to Game Pass on PC/Console and Steam as an early access game on July 28th. While this is likely best as a co-op survival experience, Obsidian has also worked on ensuring a solid single-player experience too. During the game, you will be shrunk down to the size of an ant and end up chatting with a robot named BURG.L. You will then be sent on a mission to fix the machine that will turn you back to normal size, all while fending off backyard insects and attempting to survive.
For Xbox Game Pass on console, Nier Automata: Become as Gods Edition and Totally Reliable Delivery Service are both available to download and play now. On the 9th of April, Alvastia Chronicles and Journey to the Savage Planet will also be added. For Xbox Game Pass on PC, you can expect Overcooked! 2, Football Manager 2020, Alvastia Chronicles, Mistover and Stanger Things 3: The Game. Yakuza Kiwami is also heading to Game Pass across PC and console soon.
Unfortunately, there will always be a list of games also leaving Game Pass. As of April 15th, the following games will be removed: Valkyria Chronicles (PC), Samurai Showdown II (Console), Prey (PC and Console), Into the Breach (PC), Fez (PC), MX vs ATV Reflex (Console), The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 (Console) and Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition (Console).
The Gears of War franchise is being pushed beyond third-person shooters and into the strategy genre. Gears Tactics has now gone gold for PC, meaning the game is ready for its April 28th release date. Later in the year, Xbox owners will also get to play the game.
The story is set 12 years before the first Gears of War. Our main protagonist is Gabe Diaz, the father of Kait Diaz from Gears 4 and Gears 5. As the Locust Horde begins to take down cities across the planet Sera, Gabe Diaz and his squad will be setting off on a mission to stop Ukkon, a Locust geneticist responsible for creating some of the worst monsters available to the horde.
Just in time for the game’s launch on Steam, Sea of Thieves is getting another major update- Ships of Fortune. This new update introduces a new mechanic, allowing ships to represent specific trading companies and gaining increased rewards for quests and uncovered treasure.
The Arena, Sea of Thieves’ PvP mode, is also getting an overhaul, replacing treasure maps with a single chest and a cash-in location to ensure faster, more frantic matches. Crews now also get a limited time to revive their squad mates that have fallen in battle. This new revive mechanic is coming to both ‘The Arena’ and the standard Adventure mode.
The Game Bar is getting a few new features, including additional widgets. For streamers, you can now open and manage XSplit from the Game Bar overlay, allowing you to start, stop, adjust and monitor your stream on the fly. Other new widgets are also coming, including one for Spotify if you like to listen to some music while playing. A Razer Cortex widget is also coming, which includes a ‘boost’ feature to stop unneeded background processes and free up RAM while you play.
Microsoft is also partnering with Intel to bring Intel Graphics Command Center to the Game Bar, providing access to Intel’s streaming, capture, power profile and display setting features.
Developers are now able to get the Game Bar SDK and build their own custom widgets, so we can expect more to come in the future.
Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.
KitGuru Says: I use Game Bar myself, so I’m quite interested in these new widgets. On the gaming front though, Gears Tactics is the main thing calling to me this month. What did you all think of the latest episode of Inside Xbox? Is there anything in particular that you are excited about?
Back in 2019, Microsoft officially began work on a Chromium-based version of its Edge browser, bringing full compatibility with Google Chrome extensions and other new features. The browser spent many months in beta testing before launching earlier this year and already, Edge is beginning to give Firefox some competition.
For years now, Google Chrome has been the most popular web browser, followed by Firefox. However, as statistics from NetMarketShare show, Microsoft Edge has surpassed Mozilla Firefox this year in the months following Edge’s Chromium upgrade.
Of course, Chrome still far exceeds all of the competition in market share, accounting for 68.50 percent of browser usage. As of March 2020, Edge is at 7.59 percent while Firefox is at 7.19 percent. It is worth noting that Firefox has been in decline for a while now, dropping from a 9.27 percent market share in March 2019.
As Bleeping Computer points out, Edge has been on the rise in that same time period, rising from 5.20 percent to the 7.59 percent figure it sits at today. Soon, Microsoft will also make the new version of Edge the default browser on Windows 10, which should bring another boost.
Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.
KitGuru Says: I haven’t tried out Chromium Edge myself yet, but it does seem to be doing quite well. Have any of you tried it out? What did you think of it versus the competition?
Back in 2018, AMD launched its 2nd Gen Ryzen processors and also introduced new features for AM4 motherboards. One such feature was ‘StoreMI’, which allowed you to set up a fast cache on an SSD to help boost loading times on a HDD. Now, StoreMI is being discontinued, although a replacement is on the way.
As of March 31st 2020, StoreMI is no longer available to download from AMD and while those who currently have it installed can continue to use it, AMD is not planning any additional support or updates.
In the meantime, AMD is working on a replacement solution for storage acceleration. That new software is planned to release in Q2 2020, so any time before the end of June. That release window could slip though, particularly with COVID-19 hampering businesses around the world.
You may find StoreMI on a mirror site for download but of course, AMD has not authorised these websites as distributors of the software and can’t guarantee its authenticity.
Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.
KitGuru Says: StoreMI didn’t garner much chatter over the years, so it will be interesting to see AMD’s new and improved solution. Did any of you use StoreMI at all? What did you think of it?
Easter is coming up, which means we are back in the middle of sale season. This week, Overclockers UK is launching its Easter sale with the first wave of deals, with more discounts to come over the course of this week.
The sale has price cuts across most products, including RTX 20 series GPUs, RX 5700 XT graphics cards, Ryzen 3rd Gen and Threadripper CPUs, RAM kits, cases, peripherals, gaming laptops and more.
On the gaming laptops front, the Asus ROG Strix G531GU is one of the best deals, packing an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, a 512GB SSD, a GTX 1660TI, a 1080p/120Hz display and 8GB of RAM for £1,199.99. There is also a Ryzen 7 3750H version of this laptop going for £1,149.95.
If you’ve been meaning to pick up a new gaming mouse, the Glorious Model O Odin is on sale for just £40 and is one of the best light-weight mice around. 16GB of Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro at 3200MHz can be had for £109.99, meanwhile 1TB SSDs can be found for under £100.
You can check out the full sale, HERE. Be sure to check back later in the week as new deals will be added.
Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.
KitGuru Says: If you are planning on making some PC upgrades this month, then be sure to shop around for deals. Are any of you planning on picking up something?
There’s no denying that COVID-19 has had a monumental effect on the gaming industry. Aside from the obvious negative side effects of the virus itself, its widespread nature has led to a near standstill when it comes to future gaming events and conferences. Though it is unknown when it may once again be safe for companies to host large gatherings, Microsoft appears to be taking extra precautions, announcing that all future internal and external events through July 2021 will be hosted digitally.
First reported by ZDNet, and later confirmed by Microsoft themselves, the console manufacturer stated that “In light of the challenges presented by Covid-19, Microsoft has been closely monitoring the developing global situation and re-assessing the overall company-wide in-person event strategy. As a company, Microsoft has made the decision to transition all external and internal events to a digital-first experience through July 2021. This will include future MVP & RD Summit which is currently scheduled for March 28-April 2, 2021. We will continue to evaluate the situation and look forward to connecting in person when the situation allows.”
What this means is that events such as XO20 (Xbox’s annual fan experience expo) will take place online. It’ll also be interesting to see how this will affect the marketing and launch of the Xbox Series X. Though many details on the next generation console have already been revealed, the company has yet to host its big blowout event. It now looks like whatever Microsoft had planned for the console will be instead altered to fit an online experience.
Other events in which Microsoft often have a large presence includes The Game Awards and, of course, E3. How Microsoft chooses to approach these two events will certainly be interesting – especially as the company has relied so heavily on its physical presence in the past (unlike PlayStation and Nintendo, which have both established online digital events). 2020 is certainly an odd year for the games industry.
Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.
KitGuru says: What do you think of Microsoft’s decision to go all-digital? Is it a smart move or are they being overly cautious? How would you like to see the company tackle the Xbox Series X’s big blowout event? Let us know down below.
No Man’s Sky has been on quite the journey since its initial release. What was once an overhyped disaster has transformed into a positively received space sim with a ton to do. This year, the game is getting another solid update, with Exo Mech suits being added to the game.
This update previously leaked but it has since been officially announced. Check out the official trailer below to get a look at how Exo Mechs work in No Man’s Sky:
The mech is known as ‘The Minotaur’ and it’ll help shake things up while you explore planets, mine for resources or get into trouble with aggressive alien life. For those that play No Man’s Sky in virtual reality, there is an immersive cockpit mode, so you can pilot the mech from within the cockpit, rather than in third-person.
As you would expect, The Minotaur has a powerful jetpack, so you can jump much longer distances. You will also be immune to planetary hazards, manipulate terrain and collect resources. There is a lot more to Update 2.4, so be sure to check out the patch notes and update your game to give it all a try.
Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.
KitGuru Says: I picked No Man’s Sky back up when the Beyond update released but it has been a while since I last booted it up. This Exo Mech update has me convinced though. Are any of you still playing No Man’s Sky? Are you going to try the new update?
At this point, we are all well aware that The Last of Us Part II is not coming out in May, as Sony has issued an indefinite delay due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now due to this, Sony is doing something that is quite rare for the company- it is offering refunds on all digital pre-orders for the game.
With no new release date announced, Sony has also taken down listings for both The Last of Us Part II and Iron Man VR, meaning you can’t pre-order them digitally at this time. Anyone who did pre-order will be getting a refund as long as you purchased through PSN. Sony has no control over refunds from third-party retailers.
You don’t have to do anything to obtain this refund, it will just come through automatically, so keep an eye on your emails. This applies to both The Last of Us Part II and Iron Man VR.
Interestingly, The Last of Us Part II is seemingly on track for its original release date, with developers just fixing up the final bugs over the next couple of months. Once the coronavirus situation begins to clear up and businesses can return to normal operation, we will likely see a new release date announced pretty swiftly.
Discuss on our Facebook page, HERE.
KitGuru Says: At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Last of Us Part II was held for a late 2020 release window to coincide with the PS5. Although console launches could also be delayed. Did any of you happen to pre-order either of these games? Has Sony already emailed you about a refund?
COVID-19 is a word that can be found in almost every news article as of late. Most news regarding the virus is bad. However, it’s important to note that some news is good and some news is even encouraging. But there is some news out there that is just plain odd – including coronavirus conspiracy theories leading people to burn 5G towers.
3G has been around for almost 20 years, 4G for almost 10 years and 5G is in the process of being rolled out to the public in many countries. These are technologies that many enjoy in their daily life and each iteration has brought faster internet and better usability. However, “online conspiracy theories have misleadingly linked the cell towers to the coronavirus pandemic”, The Verge reports.
Image credit: Raconteur
The image above shows a picture of an ordinary 5G mast. These are made to connect mobile phones to the internet, but some people are linking them to the spread of coronavirus. Some of these people haven’t only made the connection in their mind, but they have also taken action – to put fire to 5G masts.
The arsonists seem to be diligent since The Verge reports that “At least one tower in Birmingham, operated by EE, doesn’t even provide 5G services but was still set on fire”. The same report shared that a spokesman from Vodafone said that four of its towers had been targeted in a 24-hour period.
According to the conspiracy theories, the city of Wuhan started getting the virus right after making 5G available. However, the theories seems to be somewhat lacking in logic, since 5G is far from being rolled out in all countries hit by the virus. It’s hard to determine how long time the conspiracy theories will continue to circulate.]
Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.
KitGuru says: It’s difficult to understand the reasoning behind the conspiracy theories that are saying that 5G is the culprit behind the COVID-19 virus. Hopefully the arsonists will calm down soon enough and stop their destruction of valuable technology.
Microsoft’s Project xCloud is the console manufacturer’s online game streaming platform. Announced back in 2018, the service is in its preview testing phase. Currently available only to users in a small number of countries including the US, UK, Canada and South Korea, the service is set to expand greatly, adding 11 more countries to the list of those who can preview xCloud prior to its official launch some time in the future.
Announced via Xbox Wire, the countries set to receive Project xCloud’s Preview are: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden. Due to COVID-19, no set date has been given for this expansion, though Microsoft has stated that they “will begin rolling out the Project xCloud preview across [these] 11 Western European countries when we are confident it is sensible to do so.”
Though xCloud is currently available for both Android and iOS devices in the UK, US, Canada and South Korea, users in the aforementioned 11 countries will only see access to the service on Android devices – at least initially. In order to participate, users must first sign up, with Microsoft later sending an email giving them access to the service.
Project xCloud is – in Microsoft’s own words – “a multi-year journey” and so its slow and careful expansion of both territories and games highlights Microsoft’s determination to get the service running as smoothly and as consistently as possible. Over 90 games are currently available in the Preview, with more being added over time.
Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.
KitGuru says: Are you participating in Project xCloud’s Preview program? What do you think of the service? Do you think game streaming services will ever be able to compete toe-to-toe with local gaming? Let us know down below.
Corsair has launched the Dark Core RGB Pro mouse, with three connectivity modes, nine RGB zones, OMRON switches and something they call “hyper-polling”. Should you purchase one? While you contemplate it, what happens If you own the world’s largest desk? You’ll be needing one of the world’s largest mouse mats! We also check out Corsair’s MM500 3XL mouse pad today.
You can purchase the MM500 3XL mouse pad, from Overclockers UK for £39.95, HERE!
The Dark Core RGB Pro has an MSRP of £89.99
Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.
KitGuru says: the MM500 3XL mouse pad is outstanding quality and despite being a simple bit of tech, can really make all the difference to a well-oiled setup, ensuring ease of use and consistency between matches. We definitely recommend it but only if you have a desk large enough! The Dark Core RGB Pro is also an excellent bit of kit, the design choices are great but is “hyper-polling”, 2000Hz polling rate, really the next big thing to happen for PC gamers? We were impressed with how responsive the Dark Core RGB Pro performed but only time will tell if other companies adopt this tech. The Dark Core RGB Pro by Corsair is worth buying in our opinion.
The Call of Duty series is always consistently one of the best selling games each year. Though critical reception varies from title to title, the games prove to be lucrative for Activision time and time again. It seems however that 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot may have been particularly successful, as rumours now suggest that three more Modern Warfare titles have been planned, which would make it one of the longest running sub-series in the franchise.
According to TheGamingRevolution “there’s planned to be FOUR Modern Warfare games right now and each story is going to take down a horseman and give more story to other characters, such as Sandman, Ghost, Soap, etc”. This outline for the next few games is in service of “want[ing] to expand on all of the main characters’ stories.”
The Call of Duty series is developed on a three year cycle (with some exceptions). As the Modern Warfare series is developed by Infinity Ward, the fourth game could be as far away as 2028. Though it may seem a little extreme to be planning four games ahead, this is perhaps testament to how successful 2019’s Modern Warfare reboot was.
The 2019 Call of Duty broke records when it made over $600 million in its first three days. This put it above Treyarch’s Black Ops 4 when it came to first week sales. Furthermore, six days after its release, the game became the best selling title of the year, and maintained its position. Roughly two months after its release, the game was announced to be the most played Call of duty title for the entire generation.
On top of its commercial success, Modern Warfare saw a great critical reception. It is therefore not surprising, when put into context, that Infinity Ward is planning to continue the series for years to come. The story also lends itself to this release strategy – as mentioned by TheGamingRevolution – and so if each subsequent title makes as big a leap for the franchise as Modern Warfare did, then there is still a lot to look forward to in the world of Call of Duty.
Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.
KitGuru says: What did you think of Modern Warfare? Would you like to see more games in the series? Do you agree with the direction that Infinity Ward is taking the series? Let us know down below.
iOS 14 is set to bring full mouse support and may also feature the ability to convert handwritten words into typed text. But these aren’t the only new features that might be introduced in the next iteration of Apple’s OS – iOS 14 may finally bring home screen widgets to your iPhone.
The image below shows widgets being used on an Android device – a sight that many are familiar with. Widgets are nothing new and have been a feature of the Linux based operating system for as long as most people can remember. However, 9to5Mac now reports that widgets might finally be introduced to iPhones with the upcoming iOS 14.
Image credit: computerworld
The statement from 9to5Mac reads: “We can say that Apple is working to provide real widgets on the iPhone and iPad home screen for the first time. Instead of pinned widgets like on iPadOS 13, the new widgets on iOS 14 can be moved around, just like any app icon. The feature is still being implemented and may be scrapped by Apple.” 9to5Mac also says that the discovery is based on code from a beta version of iOS 14.
In short. the report says that the widget functionality is in the works and can be used similarly to Android. It’s important to note that the new feature is not fully confirmed and might be postponed to later versions or updates of iOS. An illustration is added below for those who want to see a representation of how widgets on an iPhone might look.
Image credit: Parker Ortolani
To summarise, support for widgets has reportedly been found in beta code for iOS 14. It looks like Apple finally has decided to include the widgets in its next big update of iOS.
Discuss on our Facebook page HERE.
KitGuru says: Do you think Apple will finally introduce widgets in iOS 14? What kind of widgets would you like to have on your homescreen?
We are back with another giveaway! This time around, we are teaming up with Philips to give you the chance to win a 32-inch 4K monitor with FreeSync support, making it a great display for both work and play.
The Philips 328E1CA launched in late 2019 and is the top end for the E1 series, offering a curved 32-inch VA panel, 4K resolution, Adaptive Sync, 120.5% sRGB coverage and 97.8% NTSC colour support. At 60Hz, it isn’t necessarily a gaming display, but if you are aiming for 4K/60 frames per second, then it can get the job done and look great while doing it.
Entering this competition is simple, all you have to do is send us an email at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org‘ with the subject line ‘I want to win a Philips 4K monitor!‘. In your email, please include an answer to the following question: “What is the curvature of the Philips 328E1CA?“. If you need help finding the answer, then be sure to check out the spec sheet on Philips’ website, HERE.
This competition is open to residents of the UK and EU. We are running it from the 7th of April until the 21st of April. A winner will be picked and announced shortly after that date. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, shipping is reliant on the courier operating as normal which we cannot guarantee, but we will keep the winner updated following the closing of the competition. In compliance with GDPR, your emails will be deleted from the inbox after the competition is closed and your details will not be shared, we respect your privacy.
KitGuru Says: Good luck to all those who enter! We’ll be back soon to announce our winner.