Microsoft Ends Xbox 360 Production

Even we look forwards towards a potential Xbox One revision, Microsoft is turning over a page to their past. After nearly 11 years in production, Microsoft is finally ending Xbox 360 manufacturing. This means while Xbox 360s will continue to be sold and Xbox Live related services supported, once the stock runs out, that will be it for the console. Over its lifetime, the 360 sold at least 84 million units.

Like most consoles, the 360 went through a number of hardware revisions throughout the years. As we all remember, the original Xenon release ended up suffering from the infamous red ring of death. It wasn’t till 2 revisions later with the Falcon and a core die shrink that Microsoft finally got the situation under control. Since then Microsoft has continued to release upgraded versions till the most recent one in September 2014.

In concert with Xbox Live, the Xbox 360 changed the gaming landscape for consoles. In addition to allowing a unified online presence for consoles, the Xbox also ushered in easy streaming for Netflix. For now, continued support is expected till 2018 but for Microsoft’s backwards compatibility efforts may mean you can always play some retro games on the Xbox One. If you do want a 360 though, you’ll have to grab them quickly before they disappear.

DOOM Will Not Be Locked to 60 FPS on PC – Glorious!

When it comes to the PC vs Console argument there is one topic that always seems to emerge no matter how the discussion starts, frames per second. With consoles having optimised programming and locked hardware many are locked to lower frame rates while PC users are often after a smoother experience at a higher frame rate. People who took part in the DOOM open beta were worried when they found the PC version had in fact been locked to 60 FPS, something the developers has now stated to reassure the crowds that DOOM will not be locked to 60 FPS on the PC.

The confirmation comes from the official DOOM twitter page, reassuring players that the game was only locked to 60 FPS for beta purposes, but at launch the game will enjoy unrestricted frames.

Releasing on May 13th the new game engine used to power the game, id Tech 6, also supports multi-GPU’s, meaning those graphics cards can let you enjoy unleashing hell in full graphical glory. With games like Dark Souls 3 getting warnings from their fans when Capcom, publisher for the game, stated that it would run at 30 FPS on PC (something which the Dark Souls twitter account quickly confirmed as misinformation), frames per second means a lot to some gamers, with the smoother experience often making or breaking their enjoyment with the game.

While you are waiting for the release of DOOM why not try converting your original DOOM game into 007 Goldeneye?

Nintendo NX May Feature 14nm Polaris GPU

Battered on both the CPU and GPU fronts, consoles have been one of the few areas AMD has managed to outplay the competition. With competitive CPU and GPU architectures in one platform, AMD was able to secure Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft’s current-gen consoles. Nintendo is also set to continue to use AMD chips for the Nintendo NX console and that device will reportedly use a 14nm Polaris like GPU.

From previous rumours, we’ve already learned that the Nintendo NX will use an x86 architecture chip paired with at least 6-8GB OF DDR4. What more, the new console will also feature 4K support via upscaling, streaming media and likely playback as well. To wrap it all up, AMD is reportedly supplying Nintendo with a 14nm Polaris-like GPU for their upcoming console. This is similar to how the PS4 and Xbox One used GPUs that were a merger of GCN 1.1 and 1.2. The Nintendo NX may use a something beyond the GCN 4 that is Polaris.The OS also will use Vulkan as it’s graphics API.

With a strong Polaris chip on 14nm, Nintendo will have a chance at seizing the performance crown for once. Nintendo consoles have proven weaker generally and have suffered from lesser third-party support as a result. With 4K support, the NX may well match the PS4K and the rumoured replacement for the Xbox One. Hopefully, we will finally get 1080p 60FPS with decent graphics on consoles soon enough.

Campaign to Return Spyro the Dragon Underway

A new campaign has appeared online and caught our attention, to bring back Spyro the dragon. The campaign has been ongoing for a few months now on the popular petition website, change.org and is hoping to get enough supporters to make Sony acknowledge the fans and bring back the adorable little purple dragon to our consoles.

The petition was made by a fan page available on Facebook called Spyro HD Collection who have been trying to raise awareness about the iconic dragon for the past few years. So far the petition has 374 supporters out of their 1000 goal.

Spyro was born in late 1998 (I was one year old then!) and has since appeared on 4 generations of console, with his most recent appearance in the Skylanders series from Activision. This appearance, however, has caused big controversy amongst Spyro fans. Although the character is rumored to be moving back to Sony alongside his rival, Crash Bandicoot. In a set of interviews in 2014, the CEO of Sony stated that they were considering attempting to bring back both Spyro and Crash Bandicoot. He said that the iconic characters are “never off the table” and “we shouldn’t close the door on that one yet.”

If you fancy bringing back the iconic purple dragon to our consoles, sign the petition here.

Microsoft Releases Statement on Xbox neXt Rumor

Yesterday, we reported on a rather interesting development regarding an undisclosed project entitled Xbox neXt. This information was acquired from David Gardner’s LinkedIn profile, the Visual Design Leader at Xbox. Of course, whenever any evidence comes to the forefront, it’s important to not jump to conclusions and wait for official confirmation. This hasn’t taken long and a Microsoft spokesperson told IGN:

“Xbox neXt was an old internal team name for a group that worked on releasing Xbox One and is not related to a future console,”

“We have nothing further to share.”

This clearly debunks any suggestions that the Xbox neXt is a recent phenomenon and Microsoft’s attempt to create an updated Xbox One with enhanced power. Saying that, just because the Xbox neXt refers to an early phase in the Xbox One’s development, it doesn’t mean Microsoft isn’t working on new hardware. Whenever a console is released, research and development starts on designing the next console. Phil Spencer has clarified Microsoft’s intentions to stick with the Xbox One, and release a big update in the form of a brand new system. It’s unlikely that they’ll offer a hardware revision apart from redesigning the fairly clumsy housing and opting for a slimmer frame.

On another note, Sony is apparently producing the PlayStation 4.5K due to the technical demands of virtual reality. The company is really wanting to push PlayStation VR and the current PlayStation 4 isn’t powerful enough. In contrast to this, Microsoft hasn’t really shown any interest in virtual reality technology for this console generation. Perhaps, this is due to the incredible Hololens or they believe it’s going to be a considerable amount of time before VR becomes affordable. Whatever the case, at least Microsoft has clarified the situation in a very clear manner and addressed concerns regarding the Xbox neXt project.

HyperX Cloud Revolver Pro Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


HyperX is one of the most instantly recognisable brands in the PC market today, and that’s no surprise given that they have produced many fantastic quality memory products that are in countless systems around the world. They took a dive into the world of peripherals a few years ago, releasing their much-praised Cloud headset, and later their Cloud II. Now HyperX is back again with what is set to be their greatest headset to date, the HyperX Cloud Revolver.

Studio-grade sound stage for a competitive edge.

“HyperX Cloud RevolverTM has a wider audio range that creates depth and width for improved audio precision. Get the competitive edge by hearing your opponents’ location more accurately, even when they’re further away. Re-engineered audio pro les create a larger sound stage that’s ideal for FPS and open-environment gameplay and for a concert hall-like experience when listening to music.” – HyperX

Equipped with high-performance 50mm drivers, HyperX memory foam padding, a detachable noise-cancellation microphone, multi-platform support and TeamSpeak, Discord, Skype, Ventrilo, Mumble and RaidCall certification, the HyperX Cloud Revolver is one of the best equipped headsets you’ll find, so let’s jump right in and take a closer look at what it has to offer.

Specifications

Headphone

  • Driver dynamic, 50mm with neodymium magnets
  • Type circumaural, closed back
  • Frequency response 12Hz–28,000 Hz
  • impedance 30 Ω
  • Sound pressure level 104.5dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
  • THD < 2%
  • Input power rated 30mW, maximum 500mW
  • Weight 360g
  • Weight w/ mic 376g
  • Cable length and type headset (1m) + audio control box (2m)
  • Connection headset – 3.5mm plug (4 pole) + audio control box – 3.5mm stereo and mic plugs

Microphone

  • Element electret condenser microphone
  • Polar pattern uni-directional, noise-cancelling
  • Frequency response 50Hz–18,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity -40dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)

The packaging is nicely designed, with a great image of the headset on the front, as well as a quick rundown of the main features and supported devices.

Around the back, a quick rundown of the steel frame design, control box, detachable microphone and more.

The box has a slip cover, behind which you’ll find a durable presentation box.

In the box, you’ll find extensive foam padding with the headset stored nice and snug in the middle, as well as the control box.

Finally, you’ll find the control box comes with dual 3.5mm gold-plated headers, and a small in-line controller. There’s also a fully detachable noise-cancelling microphone with a durable boom and a good-sized head.

Sony ‘PlayStation 4K’ Probably Won’t Game at 4K

Right now, it has more or less been confirmed that Sony is working on an update to the PlayStation 4. Referred to as the PlayStation 4K by multiple sources, the console won’t be running any games at 4K anytime soon. Contrary to the expectations from its name, the new console probably won’t be able to game at 4K, with the update more of a performance bump rather than a giant leap.

From the various leaks, it looks like the update will be based on the new 14nm process AMD is using for Polaris. With the new process, Sony has a chance to use cheaper and more power efficient dies to either cut cost or grow performance for more or less free. Right now the PS4 has hardware similar to the 7870 based on GCN 1.1. With an update, Sony has a chance to jump to Polaris with GCN 1.3/4.0 along with a significant power efficiency increase, allowing the console to stuff a 7970 class GPU in the console. While not enough for 4K, this should allow many more titles to run at 1080p and at a higher level of quality. From what Sony has hinted at, the PS4K will simply be the same PS4 but with improved graphics and higher FPS. This should allow for a similar gameplay experience for users and ensuring games still work fine with the stock PS4. The update to a new architecture will also bring HDMI 2.0 support, which will allow for 4K at 60fps, a first for a console. This pairs up nicely with the Ultra HD Blu-Ray support we are expecting which will allow for 4K content at 60fps.

Wii U Production Could Cease Before the End of the Year

Despite boasting a number of games such as Smash Bros and Splatoon, the Wii U has struggled for sales throughout its lifespan, which could now be coming to an early end according to a report published in the Japanese newspaper Nikkei. Their article explains that Nintendo is planning to cease production of their current home console before the end of 2016, which may just be set to line up with the release of their upcoming console currently known as the NX.

When it launched in 2012, the Wii U had a one year advantage in release date compared to its competitors, Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. Despite this, the Wii U has only managed to sell 12.6 million units worldwide, a figure which is dwarfed by the PS4’s 36 million sales and predecessor, the Wii, shipping over 100 million systems between 2006 and 2013. The main issue that the Wii U faced was that it lagged behind its competitors in both graphical power, online capabilities and support from third-party developers. Added to this was scepticism over the usage of the tablet-like gamepad controller, with the only real advantage left for the Wii U was its lineup of quality games from Nintendo themselves, which clearly wasn’t enough to drive sales alone.

Despite its weakness in the home console department this generation, Nintendo’s handhelds are still going strong and Nintendo’s first foray into mobile development, Miitomo, saw the company’s stocks jump as it topped the Japanese app store’s free download charts.

There has been no word on how the end of production of the Wii U will affect its availability to retailers and no further word on the release of the NX has been given despite this news. Was the Wii U your favourite console this generation and are sad to see it go, or do you think Nintendo are doing the right thing to cut their losses and move on with the NX?

Is Sony Developing a 4K-Capable PlayStation 4?

With Microsoft already admitting that they want to make the Xbox One upgradable and Nintendo developing the NX, it should come as no surprise that Sony seems to have future plans for their Playstation 4 in the works. According to developer sources, Sony has begun briefing them on a new version of their popular Playstation 4 console, currently nicknamed the PS4.5 or PS4K, which will include improved graphical output as well as support for 4K resolutions.

Currently, the only things the PS4 is capable of displaying natively in 4K are photos and videos, with all of the current console’s games running at a still-respectable 1080p. Comparatively, 4K resolution includes approximately four times the pixels of 1080p, which requires far more power in order to run. Even many respectable gaming PCs are unable to run many games smoothly at 4K. A more powerful PS4 may also be able to deliver higher quality graphics to the upcoming PlayStation VR headset which may be able to bring its VR resolution and quality closer to that offered by the PC’s VR peripherals. Whether this upgrade to the PS4 will require the existing user-base to purchase all-new consoles or that current consoles will be upgradeable to the newer specification is unknown as details are thin on the ground.

It is important to remember that while a number of sources all support one another in that this new evolution of the PS4 is in the works, it may also just be a rumour. One source went so far as to say that the idea of such a mid-life upgrade for the PS4 is more of an exploratory and vague idea and may never be realized. How well such an upgrade would go down with the community may make this a risky move for Sony, as there would be many tough questions to answer, such as whether games that are “PS4.5 only” start to be released. It may only be rumours at this point, but it is interesting to think that Sony may be planning a revamped PS4 before moving onto a potential PlayStation 5.

Sony Open to Considering Cross Platform Play

One of the biggest dreams of gamers has been cross-platform play, being able to play with friends on all different platforms. Shortly after Microsoft expanded some Xbox One titles to Windows 10 PCs, the software giant dropped a major bombshell, that they would allow Xbox One titles to have crossplay, provided their competitors allow it. Now Sony has responded and has said they are open to considering the idea.

Sony’s statements on the issue have been vague and hard to understand for now. In a statement to Gamespot, the company had this to say: “PlayStation has been supporting cross-platform play between PC on several software titles starting with Final Fantasy 11 on PS2 and PC back in 2002. We would be happy to have the conversation with any publishers or developers who are interested in cross-platform play”

While it appears to say that Sony is open to talks about allowing cross-play, it doesn’t really say that Sony will allow it. From the sounds of it, Sony is a bit wary of allowing unfettered cross-platform play, wanting to look at it on a game by game basis. It may well be that Sony is holding their cards close to see how Microsoft will react. Rejecting Microsoft may look bad but opening up things too much risks losing some PSN users. On the other hand, the PS4 could also gain some users leaving the Xbox and the 2 consoles still continue to cater to different audiences today.

Nintendo NX May Contain Kinect-Like Features

Rumours galore surround the Nintendo NX, the successor to the Wii U. Now it seems like another one has come forward thanks to a patent showing off what seems to be Kinect-like features.

Nintendo took the console market by storm when it released the Wii back in 2006. Featuring motion controllers through the Wii remotes, the console saw entire families playing bowling together in their sitting room and racing around tracks with Luigi and Mario against the grandparents. Since then several consoles have used similar methods to achieve motion capture gameplay, from the use of light orbs to accelerometers in controllers the consoles have experienced an influx of movement related gameplay features. The Kinect took it to a whole new level and it looks like a similar method could be used to take the NX that little bit further.

The Kinect used cameras to not only recognise who was playing the game but also their movement and distance (something that proved difficult for other consoles). The methods listed for the depth tracking software include everything from a distance measuring laser to using the thermal signature of a person to determine how close / far away from the camera they are.

Combined with the depth measuring technology there also appears to be gesture recognition, something which could see you swirling your arms around like Iron man as you power up and play your favourite games.

Are you excited for the NX? We are excited to see how it will turn out and what rumours are included in the latest console from Nintendo!

Microsoft to Allow Cross Platform Gaming

Microsoft is announcing a massive new feature for all Xbox owners today, Cross-platform gaming! The giant tech corporation has been hinting at the addition of this for the past few years and today it seems to have become reality. PS4, Xbox One and Windows 10 will be able to support the new feature, providing Sony and others partake. The feature will be dependent on game developers incorporating it into their game releases, chances are this will become a very large part of the releases we have ahead of us for the rest of this year.

Microsoft has confirmed that Rocket League will be one of the first games to take advantage of the new feature between Xbox One and PC players, with an open invitation to other networks such as Nintendo’s own platform, utilised on their Wii and DS products.

This change could reshape gaming’s future for the better, people who don’t have gaming rigs but own consoles can play games with others on PC’s. I think that’s awesome! Currently, you are restricted to playing games released for your platform. Opening up cross-platform networking capabilities will remove a big restriction in console gaming. Although it may open up a conversation around which titles should allow PC gamers to play against console gamers, a mouse and keyboard still have some huge advantages on most fps games so could cause for some interesting challenges for the game developers.

Amazon.JP Delivering Japanese Video Games Worldwide!

We all like that new game smell. Opening up the post to find that new game, the case screaming for you to open it up and slide in the disk. Sometimes the game you want to play isn’t available in your country, a case that is most common with Japanese releases. Don’t worry, as Amazon.JP has started delivering Japanese video games worldwide.

With select games and even consoles now available for international shipping, you can enjoy some of those releases that you’ve missed out over the years. Currently, the offer only applies to items sold directly by Amazon.jp with international shipping.

In order to do this, you may want to view Amazon.jp in English, an option that you can find on the right-hand side of a product page (shown below).

With fair prices for games like Dark Souls 3 costing just ¥ 6,473 (around £41 without shipping), you could soon find yourself building up an international collection of games. Some consoles these days don’t care about the region of the game, for example, the PS4 and Xbox One while others you may have to reorder to enjoy the Japanese releases (the Wii U and 3DS among them).

Are you looking forward to ordering your first game from Japan? What games are you going to pick up? Tell us your experience in international games and delivery services in the comments below.

Sony Brings PS4 Remote Play Streaming to PC and Mac

Streaming is becoming ever more a necessary feature and Sony is expanding the number of compatible devices for the PS4. Starting with the PS4 System Update Version 3.5, PS4s will now be able to stream to PC and Mac devices access an in-home network. The new feature will hit beta very quickly and will roll out to the rest of the PS4 install base by the end of the month.

Before this update, Sony had only allowed PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV as well as certain Xperia phones, all Sony made, to utilize the streaming feature. By expanding to all PC and Mac devices, Sony will be able to counter Microsoft’s move last year that enabled streaming Xbox One games to Windows 10 and Valve’s own Steam streaming. In fact, Sony’s system is more flexible than Microsoft as it is not limited to just Windows 10, but all PCs and Macs assuming they can run the application.

With the big 2 console makers already in on the streaming game, one could expect that the Nintendo NX will probably allow for streaming as well. Of course, streaming still requires a robust home network with good WiFi speeds and high-speed router. What application that playing device needs remains to be seen.

Sony Discontinues PlayStation TV in the US And Europe

Sony’s first entry into the handheld market was originally very successful although it struggled to match the appeal of the Nintendo DS. Despite this, the PSP had a great library of games, and became quite popular as an emulation device. During the last decade, the market has changed at a rapid pace due to the advent of smartphones and mobile gaming. This means, that the dedicated handheld sector is quite niche, and extraordinarily difficult to get a return of investment. Clearly, the exception to this rule is the Nintendo 3DS which continues to sell remarkably well in Japan despite mobile puzzle games being very successful in the Asian market. Perhaps this is down to Nintendo’s incredible software library, and selection of exclusive games you simply cannot experience on a mobile handset.

In contrast to this, the PlayStation Vita didn’t appeal to a large number of people and resulted in poor system sales. To be perfectly frank, this is Sony’s own fault and I’m sure they could have forged a larger community to keep their handheld section profitable. Instead of adopting a respectful attitude, the company forced users to pay absurd prices for proprietary memory, which didn’t even come with the console. As you might expect, this deterred many consumers from investing because it increased the asking price by a significant amount.

Later on, Sony launched the PlayStation TV, which is a tiny console designed for media streaming and capable of playing Vita games on a large screen TV. However, the console’s lack of a gyroscope and microphone meant certain features couldn’t be used in the same manner as Sony’s handheld device. On another note, Sony did a terrible job marketing the console and didn’t provide a clear message about its functionality. It’s a shame because the console has a lot of potential and should have done better with proper software support.

As expected, Sony has officially discontinued the PlayStation TV in the USA and Europe, although it’s still in stock from some retailers. When this stock disappears, I doubt the retail channels will be replenishing their supply.

Microsoft Promises to Fix Windows Store VSync Lock

Microsoft’s relationship with the PC gaming audience has been fairly turbulent due to the advent of Games for Windows Live and focus on console development. Many users are still haunted by Microsoft’s atrocious form of DRM, which resulted in lost saves, regional restrictions and a very basic accounts system. Furthermore, they never really showed any interest in the PC platform, and didn’t support it when there were concerns about its future. Thankfully, Valve stepped in and catapulted the popularity of PC games. There’s a certain irony though because Microsoft could be in Valve’s position if they catered to the PC community properly.

Thankfully, times have changed and Microsoft is adopting a more unified approach to mobile, PC and console. This means, the company is open to cross-platform releases and giving the PC key franchises which remained a console exclusive for some time. Admittedly, there’s still no Halo or Forza on the PC platform, but I cannot see an announcement being too far off. Instead of releasing their own games on Steam, Microsoft is pushing the Windows Store and trying to encourage people to upgrade to Windows 10. This makes sense because Valve takes a significant portion of a game’s revenue, simply for allowing a game to be sold on their service.

Sadly, the Windows Store has some major issues and Microsoft has to address them to even consider making PC gamers part with their hard-earned money. For example, a post on Reddit suggests there’s no SLI/Crossfire support, no modding support, no refund policy, and VSync is always on! Not only that, the game files are protected, monitoring software doesn’t work properly, and borderless full screen is your only option. Clearly, these are some very severe restrictions and concerning given Microsoft’s history with DRM.

Mike Ybarra, Partner Director of Program Management, Xbox and Windows Platform at Microsoft addressed some of these concerns and said:

Apparently, SLI/Crossfire is already functional, and depends on the developer. However, I encountered some problems with dual card setups on Rise of the Tomb Raider but only with the Windows Store version. I’m pleased to see the news that VSync will become optional because many people dislike the stutter it creates or use a G-Sync panel instead. Only time will tell if Microsoft creates an open PC platform, but it’s clear that the current store needs a lot of work.

Call of Duty: Ghosts 2 Leaked by UK Gaming Magazine

Call of Duty is one of the most profitable franchises in the gaming industry and continues to set unbelievable sales records. There are many consumers out there who own a console, and play Call of Duty every year without looking into other gaming experiences. The same applies to sports games which seem to hold people’s attention despite each release being fairly iterative. Of course, users can spend their money as they choose, and the hundreds of hours invested into a Call of Duty’s multiplayer provides a great reason to buy each year’s release. Personally, it’s not for me, but I’m pleased to see different games which cater to unique audiences. Call of Duty: Ghosts received fairly disappointing reviews and sparked debate about the lack of innovation in the series.

It’s quite uncommon for a Call of Duty game to have widespread criticism from the press, as most websites usually opt for high scores. However, Call of Duty: Ghosts didn’t offer anything new, and ran extremely poorly on PC. To this day, the PC version is plagued by terrible optimization, a mundane single player and lacklustre gameplay. It’s really not worth bothering with and a waste of your time. Given the negative publicity surrounding Call of Duty: Ghosts, you might expect its sequel to undergo a re-branding exercise. Despite this, a scanned version of the February issue of GamesTM contains Call of Duty: Ghosts 2 in a segment entitled, “2016 Most Wanted Games”. The issue was scanned by Mari Fernett, and sent into the publication FragHero. Here we can see the front cover:

According to the magazine, Call of Duty: Ghosts 2 will launch in November 2016, and be produced by Infinity Ward.

A transcription of the game’s description reads:

“When creative strategist Robert Bowling exited Infinity Ward in 2012, he put the departure down to the studio doing “too much ‘pew pew’ not enough new new.” We got a look at what he meant with the release of Call of Duty: Ghosts – a solid, yet unspectacular next-gen debut for the franchise. Infinity Ward will have had three years to work on a follow up, and it needs to showcase the same creative spark that once put in on the map with Modern Warfare back in ’08 if it wants any chance of standing shoulder to shoulder with Sledgehammer and Treyyarch.”

Are you a fan of the Call of Duty franchise?

New Rumours About The Nintendo NX Have Been Revealed

Nintendo’s upcoming console, codenamed NX, is rumoured to arrive later this year and could feature a revolutionary handheld/home console hybrid design. This is pure speculation though and Nintendo has done their utmost to keep details of the NX confidential. I applaud this approach because it creates a web of intrigue and makes the official unveiling very exciting. Recently, new information regarding Nintendo’s upcoming console was revealed by Geno, and published by the website, DualPixels. Geno accurately predicted the latest Pokemon game announcements which suggests the leaked NX details might be credible. Here’s a detailed run-down of what Nintendo apparently has planned:

“I don’t have many details on the device itself but I do have some background for it and some PR techniques they will use for it. A thing to note about this device is that much of it’s production was started in 2014 and many of the stuff I list here was outlined by the late Satoru Iwata before his passing. Hence in the company, the NX is considered the last project of their late president. Employees since his passing utter a phrase at the end of meetings and during idea brainstorms which is “岩田のために!” which roughly translates “For Iwata!”

“The importance of this is that this “new” Nintendo is highly motivated in delivering a fantastic system and games, something that I quote from an employee “have not seen this much forward momentum on a project since they launched the original Famicom”.

  1. It has a wireless HDMI dongle that attaches flush to the back of the device. A user can pull it out and insert it into any display with a normal sized HDMI output and the devices uses an evolved version of the Wii U’s streaming tech to display in HD to the TV screen.
  2. Allegedly the analog controls for movement has small motors in them for full haptic feedback. Meaning if you control a character and hit a wall, the sticks move away from the direction of that wall to simulate running head first into it. This can also be used for jerking when firing a gun, taking damage, moving over rough terrain, ect.
  3. It can literally Bluetooth synch with everything, especially smart phone and tablets to the point where one feature is that it can answer phone calls and display text messages from your phone onto the screens itself so you don’t have to stop and answer your smart device.
  4. The closest in terms of “power” it gets to is the Xbox One, but an app idea is Wii U x50 and Playstation Vita x100. The key is that all the tech is exactly the same hardware layout as the PS4 and Xbox One which then combine it with the OS’s strong emulation functions and compiler means that any game that can run of a Playstation 4 or Xbox One can easily run on the NX with near-zero modification to the original source code, especially if it runs in Android OS or Unreal Engine 4. This is allegedly why Nintendo has given out the dev kits so late, as one 3rd Party dev put it “It’s the easiest device we’ve ever developed for. You just take your code, compile it and it works.”
  5. Look to Pokemon GO to get the idea of the type of social features that will be in NX that will take multiplayer, AR and the StreetPass concept to a whole new level.
  6. The real strengths of the device is its usability and ease of use. Developers have described to me more than once that it visually and functionally looks as if “Samsung and the Nintendo 2DS” had a baby, in that it looks friendly but unlike what most people visualize a Nintendo device to typically look. The operating system, named NintendOS alone is very powerful and has so many modern features of mobile operating systems today that Nintendo is trying to be very careful in showing it off for fear that it would be mistaken as running Android. It also has a very strong networking functions as it ties into multiple devices and services allowing a very competent and pervasive eco-system designed to constantly involve the consumer’s lives.

As always, this could be pure fabrication, and it’s unknown what Nintendo’s new system entails. However, the source has been known to be accurate in the past. I’m slightly concerned by the power issue though because Nintendo needs to offer some additional graphical grunt to keep it relevant after the current console generation has subsided.

Sony Claims PS4 is More 60% Efficient than PC at VR

With VR headsets nearing launch, the focus has turned to looking at the platforms driving them. For the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, the PC is the obvious choice but Sony will be rolling their own with the PlayStation VR. Richard Marks, the head of the PlayStation Magic Lab at Sony has recently shared more information about how VR will work on the PS4. The biggest points, however, are what Marks has to say about the performance.

“The hardware was designed and built for real time. It’s  a video gaming system so the operating system is very low latency and very tunable.”

According to Marks, the PS4 will be a better platform for VR. Most of the benefits are the usual ones that the console has, mainly the uniform hardware, setup and accessories that all PS4 owners will have. This will make it easier for developers to create games for the console. Performance is also better as the PS4 OS is designed for real-time gaming and is able to have much lower latency, in the area of 18ms. Low latency as we know is very critical to have an optimal VR experience.

“This isn’t my number, this is some middleware people said, that a console about the same specs as a PC, the console is about 60% more powerful, because of all that kind of direct access you have and knowing every piece as it should be and not having variability like this is a different process here and things like that. You can just tune things and get effectively 60% more performance.”

Finally, the main point Marks hammers home is that consoles simply perform better at VR than PCs. According to middleware vendors he has talked to, the PS4 should be 60% faster than a comparably specced PC.  This is due to the OS and the direct access to hardware the PS4 offers. Furthermore, the PS4 should be in the realm of a GTX 970 equipped PC in terms of VR.

It’s well-known that consoles are more tunable due to the direct hardware access it offers. A 60% boost might even be believable. The claim about the PS4 matching the GTX 970 though is pretty outlandish, though. That would entail an 110% boost in performance which is incompatible with the 60% figure. With DX12 and Vulcan coming as well, the PC may very well catch up to consoles very soon.

Xbox Steam Page is Reportedly in Development

Microsoft’s initial unveiling of the Xbox One received a fairly polarizing reception due to the hefty price point and disdain surrounding its TV focus. Furthermore, the console’s lacklustre specification resulted in cross-platform games running at a lower resolution than the PlayStation 4. Microsoft also angered their core fan base with plans to block second-hand sales and underestimate the huge number of people who rely on cheaper, used games. Arguably, Sony had similar plans, and cancelled them after witnessing the chaotic backlash. All of this contributed to Microsoft’s poor market share in the current console generation and it looks unlikely that the Xbox One will recover from this poor start.

Perhaps the Xbox One’s situation has made Microsoft more open to PC gaming and cross play between the two platforms. Recently, the company announced it would release Quantum Break on the Windows Store at the same time as the Xbox One version. This is fantastic news for PC gamers, and showcases Microsoft’s new inclusive policy. However, some might argue they are doing this because of the weak market position of the Xbox One. Whatever the case, this new approach is commendable and suggests other key Xbox One titles might come to the PC including Halo and Forza.

According to Reddit, the domain name “xbox.steampowered.com” has been in development recently and fuelled rumours about a very exciting announcement. The most logical theory revolves around the idea that Microsoft is bringing Steam to the Xbox One and allowing its user base to play PC games. This would massively expand the console’s library and might encourage PC players to use the Xbox One as a secondary console. I doubt this move is anything to do with bringing Xbox games to Steam, because Microsoft wants to push their own Windows Store exclusively on Windows 10. Hopefully, the advent of Steam on Xbox is the start of a closer relationship between PC gaming and the Xbox brand.

Corsair Void Surround Hybrid Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Corsair blew us away with their new Void gaming headsets, offering exceptional performance, comfort, style and very competitive prices that have made them an instant success with gamers around the world. Now Corsair is back again with their latest model, the Corsair Void Surround Hybrid Gaming Headset and if it’s anything like their Void USB Dolby 7.1 RGB, Void RGB Wireless 7.1 or their Void 3.5mm Stereo , we’re going to be in for a real treat with their latest.

“Enter the VOID—the innovative and exciting new family of advanced gaming headsets from Corsair. Whether you choose wireless, USB, or stereo powered audio gear, you will always be one step ahead of your enemies with fast forward design, spectacular fidelity, universal compatibility, and innovative on-headset controls – enabling you to command your gaming soundscape without hitting pause.” – Corsair

The Void Hybrid comes very well equipped, with a unique USB adapter system that allows it to work effortlessly on PC, Mobile, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, meaning it’s going to be a one-stop shop for all your gaming needs, at home, or on the go. Of course, you’ll also find the usual thrills from the Void headset, such as that comfortable microfiber padding, a noise-cancelling microphone, on-headset controls and more!

  • Genuine Dolby 7.1: Treat yourself to 7.1 channels of accurate and immersive surround
  • Universal Compatibility: The mobile-compatible connector works with PlayStation 4, Xbox One and mobile devices. The included USB Dolby 7.1 sound card unlocks genuine Dolby surround for PC
  • Embark on Marathon Gaming Sessions: Microfiber-wrapped memory foam ear pads enable extended play
  • Unlock legendary audio: Oversized 50mm neodymium drivers bring the action to life with brilliant range and precision
  • Crystal Clear Voice Communication: The noise-canceling microphone on the VOID headset puts your voice in the spotlight—and nothing else

The packaging is nicely designed, keeping in theme with other Corsair Gaming hardware and the previous Void series headsets. On the front, we can see that it supports Dolby, Corsair Utility Engine, multiple devices and features 50mm drivers.

Around the back, a more detailed run down on how the headset can connect to multiple devices, as well as some information on the noise-cancelling microphone, format support, and on-headset controls.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual documentation as well as a simple quick start guide.

There’s a small USB dongle soundcard included, this isn’t needed for connecting to all devices, but as you can see, it takes a USB port and outputs it to a 3.5mm jack for the headset, and there’s a small LED indicator on there for the Dolby feature.

Ubisoft Displays Beautiful Hand Carved PlayStation 4

The open nature of PC gaming and huge array of component choices means it’s possible to create a custom design which follows a particular colour scheme. Talented modders also manage to honour their favourite game, or produce something which looks absolutely stunning. However, the locked hardware on consoles means it’s up to the manufacturer to offer any variation on the standard skin. Thankfully, there are quite a lot of these which helps to cater towards console players rather well.

For example, the limited edition Destiny PlayStation 4 opts for a white theme, and gorgeous logos. On another note, part of the appeal of using consoles to some users is the single specification. As a result, it’s easy to find the correct hardware to play games without any technical knowledge.

To mark the upcoming release of Far Cry Primal, Ubisoft commissioned a custom PlayStation 4 which adopts a very archaic design. The project was spearheaded by stonemason, Nick Roberson who has over 20 years of experience in Hollywood creating similar concoctions. When speaking about the design, he said:

“This project was a great challenge for me and I really enjoyed seeing the modern and techy items come together in this natural form. The buttons of the controllers were certainly tricky but I’m delighted with the final results and the fantastic way they’ve been collated for the shoot.”

Tom Goldberger, Senior PR Manager at Ubisoft also weighed in on this wonderful creation and said:

This project was undertaken to highlight the vast landscape and rich setting of the Stone Age era in Far Cry Primal,”

“Nick has managed to immortalize, in stone, the beautiful, elegant designs of these iconic items with unbelievable accuracy.”

As you can see from the photos below, the finish is absolutely breathtaking and exemplifies an unprecedented level of craftsmanship.

 

What is your favourite limited edition console design?

Xbox To Receive The Division Content 30 Days Early

When it comes to choosing where to play your game the fight is never-ending. From the Console Wars to the PC master race, people have preferences based on everything from initial cost to the games that are available. With consoles like the Xbox One looking to give you the ability to play those old games, people are often looking to find not only how to play those new games but to do so without having to buy their favourites all over again. One of the biggest debates when it comes to games is exclusive content, or even delaying content on certain platforms, something that Ubisoft are looking to do with Tom Clancy’s the Division.

After being praised for its PC settings and for not being just another PC port, Ubisoft is desperate for PC gamers to like them as release after release they seem to only end up with bad press and annoyed customers. The cherry atop these comments was made that claimed PC gamers were just “pirates”, a phrase used to describe people who obtain illegal copies of games without paying for them. This was found to be particularly insulting given Ubisoft’s lack of support and regard for their PC releases (often considered poor ports).

Now it would seem they are looking to insult gamers once more, this time on for people using the PS4, as Tom Clancy’s The Division is to release content 30 days early to Xbox One players. This isn’t the first time that games have done this, with many games releasing content just for a certain platform but sometimes just delaying its release for other platforms.

In the video below, which seems like a giant sales pitch for the Xbox One more than the game at times, it explains that the Xbox One will receive content earlier than “Sony will see it”. Not explaining if this delay also applies to PC gamers, people are often held back by their choices but delaying content seems to be a favourite for companies, which only seems to annoy players. Why does one group get content before another for anything other than a paycheck for the companies?

https://youtu.be/aN0-hartAJc

What do you think? Are you annoyed by companies getting content early or exclusively? Tell us your thoughts about this below and if this will even impact in which platform you’ll be getting the game for.

Roccat Renga PC and PS4 Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Roccat is one of the most popular gaming brands on the market, so we’re very happy to see their latest headset, the Renga, in the eTeknix office today. Having already produced some of our favourite headsets, such as the Kave XTD True 5.1 and my own personal in-ear headphones/headset, the Syva, I have high expectations for their new multi-format lightweight stereo gaming headset. Roccat has always worked hard to push innovative features to their products, and you only have to take a quick look at their Ryos and ISKU FX keyboards, Tyon gaming mouse, or any other products they’ve produced, to see how they’ve innovated in terms of design, features, performance and their feature-packed desktop software.

“Renga is ROCCAT’s vision for a studio grade over-ear stereo gaming headset that creates the utmost audio experience for gamers. With multi-platform support, its over-ear design with optimally aligned 50mm driver units ensures comfort and deep, powerful bass for completely undivided in-game focus. Its reinforced structural housing provides the framework for a super comfortable build, with ergonomic headband and ear cushions. Perfect for gaming, music playback, movies and more, Renga is developed for gamers who demand more from their headset.” – Roccat

The Renga has been designed for serious gamers, both at home and within the eSports community. It’s open-backed design will help you stay focused on your environment and your game, with a high-quality fold up microphone that will give you the performance you need for team chat or even a few Skype calls at home. It promises a durable and highly flexible design that should ensure the headset takes more than a few knocks and bumps too, handy for those heading out to a lot of gaming events. To add further value to the Renga, you’ll also find it support PC, PlayStation 4 and mobile devices, giving you more bang for your buck by only needing one headset for multiple gaming devices. So let’s go take a closer look at what Roccat’s latest headset has to offer.

The packaging is typical Roccat, with the strong black and blue theme, a great photo of the headset and all the major specifications listed right on the front. As you can see, we’ve got multiformat support, powerful stereo drivers, and an open-back ventilated driver design.

In the box, you’ll find the headset, which comes hard-wired with a dual 3.5mm cable for desktop use, a Y-split to single 3.5mm cable for console/mobile use, as well as the usual documentation.

The cables are fantastic quality, with a thick rubber anti-tangle coating in stunning electric blue. There’s also a hard-wired in-line controller that gives you quick and easy access to the microphone mute switch, as well as a master volume dial.

Arctic Reveal P533 Gaming Headset


Arctic may be better known for their high-performance air cooling products, but this last year has seen them pushing more into other markets. With the release of their fantastic AIO water cooling products, to their new P533 gaming headset range. There are two new headsets launching from them, the P533 Military and the P533 Racing. Fundamentally these are still the same headset, but rather two different visual designs of the same model.

“The conquest of new worlds, all-powerful enemies, great battles and wild chases – ambitious gamers are daily confronted with the toughest challenges. With the P533 stereo gaming headset they get the right equipment.” Arctic

The designs certainly look great, although I personally prefer the racing model, it just looks nice and sleek. There’s leather padding on the drivers, a closed back design and a thick layer of padding on the metal frame headband, so it certainly look robust and pretty capable overall. Of course, we’re eager to hear how it performs ourselves, as I’m sure you are, so we’ll be reaching out to Arctic to see if we can test it.

“Like the player itself the gaming headset must show performance at the highest level. The perfect fit is determining because you easily forget the time while gaming. However burning ears and uncomfortable pressure can bring you back to reality faster than favored. In contrast the P533 headset with its soft foam ear cushions and the equally padded and light headband keeps you comfortable for even the longest sessions. Nothing stands in the way for non-stop gaming. To really bring the action on the screen to life best audio quality is just as well under obligation. The lifelike stereo sound of the P533 catapults the gamer with a slam into the middle of the virtual world and makes it even more perceptible and spectacular. But even at the most hectic multiplayer combats, you can rely on the absolute precision of the integrated boom microphone. The sound volume can be directly adjusted through the headphone.” – Arctic

The headsets come with a protective clam-shell style case, great for storage. The P533 work with both console and PC, the 2m extension cable with 2 x 3.5 mm Jack leaves full freedom of movement.

  • P533 Stereo Gaming Headset
    Strong Bass and Crisp Treble
    Powerful Neodymium Driver
    Unparalleled Comfort Through Extra Smooth Earpads
    Compatible with Xbox, Playstation, Tablet, Smartphone, Laptop and PC
    Images for download
    The P533 is now available at ARCTIC for a price of 79.99 £ and also at Ebay and Amazon.

For more information, please check out the official product page here.

Dreamcast 2 Project Getting “Inviting Response” From SEGA

I have many fond memories of SEGA consoles, having owned the original SEGA Master System, the Master System II, Megadrive I and II, SEGA CD, 32X, Saturn, Dreamcast, Game Gear and finally, I was hoping to get my hands on the Dreamcast 2, but that plan never really saw the light of day. Some of you may know that when SEGA threw in the hardware towel, the Xbox from Microsoft was the next thing on the horizon and was released as a spiritual successor to the Dreamcast, which is why we saw games like Shenmue released on the system.

Project Dream have been working hard to revive SEGA consoles for real, not just in spirit, pitching the idea of a new Dreamcast and they’ve even gathered over 27 thousand petition signatures. Now they’re getting some more important names to support them; people who work at SEGA.

Two of Project Dream’s leaders, Bertie Wiseman and Joanne Freeman, spoke with Twinfinite about their involvement with SEGA, saying interactions so far have been fairly inviting. “It went from me ringing up to pester them for not replying to our mail and the receptionist asking for a full lowdown on what we wanted to talk to people about,” said Joanne. After multiple pitches, contacts and phone calls, the team says they have made contact with multiple SEGA names, including a senior member of SEGA Sammy.

“It all kind of happened quite quickly, and by the end of it, he finished chatting with me on the phone and sent one of our team members a message to say ‘send what you got through when you’re ready, and I’ll make sure it gets to the right people.’”

“We’ve been messaging a few other people. Some have gotten back to us and some haven’t,” Joanne continued, “but we haven’t had a negative response from SEGA, I can 100% say that. It’s been a mildly inviting response.”

“We don’t know what’s going to happen, but hope it’s a situation where it all goes well and they say ‘yep, great, we love the idea we’ll run with it.’” Should SEGA decide not to associate with the project, the team “would like to carry on with a spiritual successor to the console.”

Project Dream are getting ready to present their ideas to SEGA and see if they can get a real product and a real business idea together. The fact SEGA isn’t shutting them down at the first hurdle is promising, but there’s still a few major hurdles to cross.