Dying Light Season Pass And Expansion Get Price Increase

Dying Light sees players running through a zombie filled world using both their skills, weapons and parkour movement to fight and outrun their enemies. That is until night time when the creatures suddenly empower and hunt the player, quickly turning the tide on their attackers. The developers for the game at Techland have recently announced that their latest expansion may have been a little more than they expected, as a result, they will be raising the price to match the expanded size and features of the expansion this December.

The reason for the price increase, from £9.99 to £15.99, was given as follows:

“Over the past weeks Dying Light: The Following has almost reached its final stage: main quests, side quests, new skills, and driving challenges are ready. Looking at it, it’s clear how big the expansion pack has grown – it would be a stand-alone title, but since it would mean a launch delay, we decided against it”

With the expansion being part of the season pass, that will also receive a price increase from £15.99 to £23.99. The price changes won’t come into effect until December 8th so you still have a chance to grab the game at a discounted price.

Dying Light is currently on sale till December 1st on Steam for 66% off (£39.99 to £13.59).

Virgin Media Increases Broadband Prices by 5.4%

Virgin Media recently implemented a significant speed increase for customers on 50Mbps, 100Mbps and 152Mbps connections to 70Mbps, 150Mbps and 200Mbps. Initially, the speed boost appeared to be a free promotion to encourage more customers to join Virgin Media. However, Virgin Media has admitted there will be a price hike by up to £3.99 per month. Additionally, the line rental fee will also increase by £1 which signifies a 5.4 percent change. The company explained on social media why the higher prices are necessary and said:

“The price changes are put in place to sustain and build on our network to give you even better quality”.

Virgin Media’s managing director, Gregor McNeil, told The Register:

 “We are doing everything we can to keep prices as competitive as possible. Through the continuing investment in our network we are again upgrading our customers’ broadband speeds and providing unlimited downloads – meeting the growth in data consumption we see.” 

Unhappy customers can cancel their Virgin Media subscription as the increased prices are technically a breach of contract. I think the company has to be extremely careful as consistently increasing the package prices will result in mass cancellations. Faster broadband speeds are vital when you consider the huge data demands with modern gaming, and 4K video streams. However, the packages need to remain affordable or people will simply go for a cheaper, slower option.

Greeks Are Flocking to Bitcoin as Banks Close Doors

Banks in Greece stayed shut on Monday as officials scrambled to prevent the country’s financial system from collapsing. Account holders were facing tough limits on what they can withdraw from ATMs, and trading in Greek stocks and bonds was also halted as measures to prevent Greece from sliding entirely out of the euro zone.

As that happened, the Greek population was looking for alternative currencies and it looks like they’ve found Bitcoin. International Bitcoin marketplaces all around the world are noticing increased traffic from Greece. Ten times as many Greeks are registering to trade Bitcoins on the german marketplace Bitcoin.de than usual and LakeBTC in China also saw a 40% increase in visitors from greece IP addresses.

Over the weekend, the Polish exchange Bitcurex also got flooded with emails from Greeks that wanted to know if Bitcoin is legal currency in the EU, if they can use it as a bank account and where in Greece they can find a Bitcoin ATM.

And while Bitcoins are a perfectly legal currency in the EU, getting them, using them, and trading them for other currencies is where the trouble starts. There is only one Bitcoin ATM in Greece at a bookstore in Athen. Generally just spending the Bitcoin can be difficult too as there only are half a dozen spots in Athens that accept Bitcoin as payment. Among them are a family restaurant, a head-and-neck surgeon, and a yacht rental company – maybe not the optimal choices for a country in trouble.

Thank You CNN for providing us with this information

Apple Increases Prices of Its Products in Non-US Countries

While Apple has discounted the price of its Apple TV in North America to $69, the company seems to be doing the exact opposite to a lot of its products around the world. This comes as a result of the US Dollar gaining some ground and becoming stronger in the market.

Apple products which suffered an increase in pricing include the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Thunderbolt Display, and are now more expensive in countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and other countries to reflect currency adjustments.

For example, the Canadian Apple Store shows an increase in unlocked iPhone 6 from between $749-$969 to $839-$1,099, Thunderbolt Displays from $999 to $1,199, and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros from between $2,099-$2,699 to $2,449-$3,049. Apple also upped the price on its 15-inch MacBook Pro in France, with the base model now starting at €2,249 up from €1,999, and the higher-spec model up to €2,799 from €2,499.

Apple is said to continue to make the adjustments in order to ensure that its products and services are as consistently priced as possible throughout the world. However, in some cases, international prices will remain higher than North America prices as a ‘safety’ against currency fluctuations.

Thank you MacRumors for providing us with this information

Sony’s PlayStation Reported to Outsell Microsoft’s Xbox by 3:1

Sony’s first quarter 2014 financial report is looking very good for the company, having posted a net income of $261 million. The company is said to have sold 3.5 million PS4 and PS3 consoles, a 2.4 million increase compared to the Q1 2013 statistics. Aside from PS3 and PS4 sales, Sony shows its Vita, PSP and Vita TV sales figures separately, having them up from 600,000 units last year to 750,000 units this year.

Sony’s game division also reported a $43 million profit this year, compared to the $164 million operation loss last year. Sony and its PlayStation have had some rough times in recent years, having its PS3 show gradual declines in sales. This means that PS4’s figure could be estimated to be at around 2.4 million yearly increase. The company is said to also note a major increase in revenue from its network services, leading to the conclusion that users have a high rate of using the PS+ subscription with its new PS4 console.

Microsoft is also said to have sold only 1.1 million Xbox units over the same time period, which means that Sony is outselling Microsoft’s consoles at a ratio of 3:1. Though the Xbox is still selling very well, it is no match when comparing it to its PS4 rival. This means that PS3 sales do not look too bright, but Sony is showing signs of another console dominance, similar to the PS2 back in its days.

Thank you Forbes for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Forbes

Intel Reveals Details Regarding Intel’s “Knights Landing” Xeon Phi Coprocessor

Intel has announcement the ‘Knights Landing’ Xeon Phi Coprocessor late last year, having released very few details about the lineup back then. As time passes, details are bound to be revealed and Intel is said to start shipping the series next year. This is why Intel apparently has decided to reveal some more details regarding the ‘Knights Landing’ Xeon Phi Coprocessor.

The announcement from last year points to the Knights Landing taking the jump from Intel’s enhanced Premium 1 P54C x86 cores and moving on to the more modern Silvermont x86 cores, significantly increasing the single threaded performance. Furthermore, the cores are said to incorporate AVX units, allowing AVX-512F operations and provide bulk Knight Landing’s compute power.

Intel is said to offer 72 cores in Knight Landing CPUs, with double-precision FP63 performance expected to reach 3 TFLOPS, having the CPUs boasting the 14nm technology. While this is somewhat old news, Intel revealed some more insights at the ISC 2014.

During the conference, Intel stated that the company is required to change the 512-bits and GDDR5 memory present in the current Knights Corner series. This is why Intel and Micron have apparently struck a deal to work on a more advanced memory variant of Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) with increased bandwidth.

Also, Intel and Micron are said to be working on a Multi-Channel DRAM (MCDRAM) specially designed for Intel’s processors, having a custom interface best suited for Knights Landing. This is said to help scale its memory support up to 16 GB if RAM while offering up to 500 GB/s memory bandwidth, a 50% increased compared to Knights Corner’s GDDR5.

The second change made to Knights Landing is said to include replacing the True Scale Fabric with Omni Scale Fabric in order to offer better performance compared to the current fabric solution. Though Intel is currently keeping this information on a down-low, traditional Xeon processors are said to benefit from this fabric change in the future as well.

Lastly, compared to Intel’s Knights Corner series, the Knights landing will be available both in PCIe and socketed form factor, mainly thanks to the MCDRAM technology. This is said to allow the CPU to be installed alongside Xeon processors on specific motherboards. The company has also emphasised that the Knights Landing version will be able to communicate directly with other CPUs with the help of Quick Patch Interconnect, compared to current PCIe interface.

In addition to the latter, having the Knights Landing socketed would also allow it to benefit from the Xeon’s NUMA capabilities, being able to share memory and memory spaces with the Xeon CPUs. Also, Knights Landing is said to be binary compatible with Haswell CPUs, having the company considering writing programs once and running them across both types of processors.

Intel is expected to start shipping the Knights Landing Xeon Psi Coprocessor somewhere around Q2 2015, having the company already lining up its first Knights Landing supercomputer deals with National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center with around 9300 Knights Landing nodes.

Thank you Anandtech for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Anandtech

Study Shows 20% Of All Transactions Were Generated By Mobile Purchases

It appears that payments made with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets rose 55 percent over last year, reaching a total of 19.5 percent of all transactions processed worldwide in December by Amsterdam’s Adyen.

The most used devices that generated the reported numbers were, of course, Apple iPads and iPhones. The iPad accounted for 41 percent of mobile transactions during the busy September to December holiday shopping period, while the Apple iPhone took the second spot with 31.6 percent of mobile-payment transactions, having Android smartphones stand at 20 percent and Android tablets at just 6.6 percent. Microsoft Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices each accounted for less than 1 percent.

Adyen saw iPhone’s share drop from 68.5 percent in April 2013 to 60 percent in December, while Android devices rose from 30.7 percent to 38.6 percent. The shift is said to be due to the increasing numbers of Android devices, particularly those from Samsung.

This trend in payments made via smartphones and tablets will influence how merchants design payment pages, Adyen points out, adding it’s worth noting that tablets are the preferred mobile device among shoppers now for more high-transaction purchases.

Adyen processes over 250 payment methods, including Visa, MasterCard and American Express, and 187 currencies on six continents, for a total of about $14 billion in payments, and its customers include Groupon, Mango, KLM, CityJet, and Vodafone. The outfit’s analysis covered industries that include travel, retail, ticketing, gaming, and digital goods.

In retail, individuals are said to be spending more on average through payments made on tablets than PCs. Roelant Prins, chief commerce officer at Adyen, said it’s vital for merchants to keep up with the evolution of mobile devices and consumer behavior and use this knowledge strategically in their planning.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information

Rumors Indicate That March Update For Win8.1 Could Bypass Start Screen Automatically

It seems that there are some interesting news about the upcoming Windows 8.1 update scheduled for March. Wzor.net reported that it could bypass the Start screen by default and boots directly to the desktop. Windows 8.1 already allows users to bypass the Start screen, of course, but users have to enable that option themselves. Booting to the desktop automatically would roll back one of the most controversial changes introduced in Windows 8.

There have been reports from The Verge that users “can’t always replicate the boot to desktop changes,” so it’s unclear if Microsoft’s backpedaling will stick. Booting to the desktop automatically could be reserved for machines that lack Metro-friendly touchscreen interfaces. Microsoft is reportedly implementing several other changes aimed specifically at keyboard and mouse users, and booting to the desktop certainly makes sense for that audience. That should probably be the default behavior for any system that isn’t a tablet or convertible.

Other tweaks include more scaling options for high-PPI displays, allowing OS elements to be blown up to as much as 500% of normal size. There are currently sizing options up to 500% in the control panel, though the layout of the interface is slightly different from what’s pictured in Wzor’s screenshots. Windows 8.1 still has scaling issues on high-PPI displays. Making the OS and applications work better with higher pixel densities should be a priority for Microsoft, especially with a wave of cheaper 4K monitors destined to hit desktops in the coming months. We’re starting to see more and more Windows notebooks and tablets with high-PPI displays, too, but the software support just isn’t there yet.

Thank you Tech Report for providing us with this information

AMD’s Revenue Propels By 38% At The End Of Q4 2013, $1.59 Billion Recorded

AMD has related its financial situation today at the Q4 2013 Earnings Conference, where they have detailed their milestones, earnings and overview of their company’s financial situation. They have stated that they were successful in executing their “3 step strategic turnaround”, which ultimately lead to “transform” AMD.

According to AMD’s officials, they have accelerated their business growth during the 2013 year, leading to profit growth in the second half of 2013 by diversifying their product range from semi-custom SoCs, ARM and all the way to the PC component market.

In Q4, AMD reported a $1.59 billion revenue, a 9% sequential increase and 38% annual increase since 2012. They have also exceeded the goal for the semi-customed and embedded market with a 20% revenue growth in this sphere for the Q4 2013, ultimately leading to their expectations of reaching a 50% increase in revenue by 2015.

The embedded and semi-customed market propelled the business in Q4, where the demand for Sony and Microsoft had been met and both companies combined sold and estimate of 7 million next-gen consoles in less than 2 months (double than the previous number of consoles sold in their first quarter).

In terms of graphics solutions, AMD pointed to an excellent year in growth revenue, pointing to the dual FirePro graphics solution inside Apple’s Mac Pro. Though, the R7 and R9 chips have also been brought up, where they related a sequential increase in revenue from the chip demands, which they are expected to see in 2014 as well.

APUs and FX CPUs have also seen a steady increase during the third and all the way to the fourth quarter of 2013, having the launch of the Kaveri chipset market as a turning point and an exponential increase in revenue. AMD is aiming to provide a performance oriented solution at a reasonable price, having mentioned the A8 and A10 series of Kaveri CPUs as the best alternative to other competitors, which we mainly think is Intel’s Haswell.

The hardest part comes last, where AMD is aware of the 2013 decrease in the PC market, which they felt as well, and are continuing to cautiously approach it during 2014. They have predicted a slight decrease in 2014 as well and have stated to tackle the decrease quarter by quarter, while managing their expansion into other areas where AMD is not strongly represented to compensate their estimated loss in the PC sphere this year.

All in all, AMD has been keeping in on the green last year, and are going to do the same in 2014 by getting more involved in the semi-customed SoC, embedded and ARM markets.

Facebook Exceeds Expectations With 874 Million Monthly Mobile Users

Due to mobile advertising, Facebook’s growth in Q2 substantially increased and continued to climb up and over the 1 Billion target. Moreover, the social network’s Analysts had their expectations exceeded with over $2.02 Billion in revenue for the Q3, 2013.

The key things to point out in Facebook’s growth are:

  • September averaged 728 million, a 25% increase year-over-year, with monthly active users up to 1.19 Billion
  • Mobile check-ins grew to 874 million monthly, a 45% year-over-year increase, and 507 million daily users compared to 819 million and 469 million for those sectors during Q2
  • Ads on users’ daily drivers accounted for 49% of all ad revenue in Q3 2013 compared to 41% last quarter
  • Revenue from ads on the whole is up 66% from Q3 2012 totaling $1.8 billion
  • Net income is at $425 million in this year’s Q3 in comparison to the net loss of $59 million the outfit saw during Q3 2012

These numbers show that the gap between mobile and total active users continues to draw closer with each passing three-month period as Facebook continues the mobile push and social media increasingly becomes a chore for handsets and tablets on-the-go.

If the current pattern holds, the fourth quarter report could show that over half of the outfit’s revenue is coming from mobile advertising, especially with Instagram ads on the way shortly for its 150 million monthly active users.

“The strong results we achieved this quarter show that we’re prepared for the next phase of our company, as we work to bring the next five billion people online and into the knowledge economy,” said founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. He also stated that 48 percent of daily Facebook users log-in on mobile which lends a big hand to those mobile ad numbers.

Facebook also shifts dedication to improving ads as the company focuses on “making money to make better services”. COO Sheryl Sandberg mentioned that Facebook and Instagram users spend more of their time on those two social networks on mobile, more specifically one user in every five minutes, than other popular streams like YouTube, Tumblr, Pandora and others combined in the US.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information.