Displaying items by tag: Gaming

Apple has announced news, gaming and TV/streaming services which will be launched later this year.

Apple has set out to build a streaming and TV service which will offer original content and programs, on-demand and ad-free.  The price of this new service is yet to be determined.

Several people have been recruited to collaborate with Apple on this project such as Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Jennifer Aniston.

Apple TV is expected to be launched in May and be available on all Apple devices with a new feature for Channels where users will be able to subscribe to a variety of additional streaming services such as Showtime and HBO.

The app will also be available on Amazon Fire TV as well as smart TVs from Sony, LG and Samsung.

In addition to this, Apple has also been working to increase the popularity of mobile gaming so it also plans to launch Apple Arcade. This service will require the user to subscribe to it where they would receive access to over 100 exclusive games which could be played on any Apple device whether it be online or offline.

As part of its offer, Apple emphasized that privacy was part of their new offer and mentioned that Arcade will not track what gamers play or which devices they play from.

Apple has not disclosed the expected price of this service as well but they have stated that it will be offered to more than 150 countries.

Apple also announced a news service called Apple News+ which will collect content from 300 magazines. There will also be live covers, infographics, lists of trending stories and personalised recommendations to give the users a more interactive experience.

The News+ subscription would cost $9.99 per month according to Apple, which includes family sharing.

The service was made available in the US on Monday and will be released in Canada soon before it reaches the rest of the world.

Published in Apps

Samsung launches quantum dot curved gaming monitor

Written on Wednesday, 21 December 2016 07:42

Samsung has announced the launch of its newest industry-leading gaming monitor. The CFG70 curved monitor, designed specifically for professional gamers, includes enhanced picture quality and player-friendly features for a truly immersive gaming experience. The display was first introduced at the Gamescom 2016 and IFA 2016 conferences.

As the industry’s first curved gaming monitor to feature quantum dot technology, the CFG70 monitor (24- and 27-inch models) expresses brilliant and accurate colors across a 125 percent sRGB spectrum. This added luminance produces a 3,000:1 contrast ratio and amplifies previously-hidden gaming details in both light and dark settings. The monitor also employs an environmentally-safe, cadmium-free design.

Fast Speed and Smooth Game Play

By combining Samsung’s advanced motion blur reduction technology with its VA panel, the CFG70 is the first curved monitor to produce a 1 ms moving picture response time (MPRT). The rapid MPRT rate reduces display transitions between moving and animated objects, and in turn eliminates potential visual distractions. The CFG70 also leverages integrated AMD FreeSync Technology over HDMI functionality to synchronize the screen’s 144 Hz refresh rate with users’ AMD graphics cards. This connectivity minimizes image tearing and input latency and stutter that can disrupt game-play and escalate visual fatigue.

Optimized Gaming Experience

Samsung has equipped the CFG70 with a range of user-friendly gaming UX that drives more convenient and easily-accessible game management. The CFG70 includes a dedicated gaming interface with an intuitive settings dashboard to better allow gamers to modify and personalize their game-play settings. Each CFG70 monitor also offers a series of hotkeys on the front and back of the display for users to easily adjust game-play settings. 

To further inspire gamer immersion and bring out the best in even the most complex game designs, including compatibility with the FPS, RTS, RPG and AOS genres, each CFG70 monitor undergoes rigorous pre-shipment factory calibration. This process optimizes various settings, including contrast ratios, black gamma levels for enhanced brightness and white balance levels for temperature management. As a result, gamers can enjoy a sharp and brilliant picture regardless of the game in play.

Comfortable and Immersive Viewing with the Curved Design

The CFG70’s “Super Arena” design, featuring industry-best 1,800R curvature and a 178-degree ultra-wide viewing angle, is formatted to match the natural curve of the human eye. Complementary sound-interactive LED lighting further creates a lifelike presentation and keeps users focused during the most paramount moments.

Published in Gadget

Virtual Reality: The next big thing in content consumption

Written on Monday, 01 August 2016 08:03

The explosion of video consumption and the different ways that people now view content has caused internet traffic to grow exponentially. Think phones are a big part of our digital life. Virtual and augmented reality will be even bigger; a key player in the tech industry. It’s the next big thing in content consumption that will be used in all manner of activities, not just games.

“It’s going to be huge... It has the opportunity to eclipse the smartphone market,” said Clive Downie, chief marketing officer of Unity Technologies, whose software is used to build thousands of games on phones, personal computers and game consoles. “VR and AR will be the next in a series of technologies - electricity, radio, movies, TV, smartphones - that profoundly changes everything we do,” he said.

Virtual reality presents a computer-generated 3D world to people wearing special goggles that track head motion to offer an immersive artificial realm. Augmented reality is related, but adds a virtual layer atop a view of the real world. Both require you to buy high powered, expensive computing equipment and burden your head with awkward gear, but computing giants like Google, Facebook, Samsung and Microsoft are scrambling to improve the technology so they’ll be at the center of the next stage of digital living.

What makes the development of virtual reality worthwhile?  The potential entertainment value is clear. Immersive films and video games are good examples. The entertainment industry is, after all, a multi-billion dollar one and consumers are always keen for novelty. VR has many more applications which include architecture, sports, medicine, art and entertainment.

Moreover, virtual reality can lead to new and exciting discoveries in these areas with the capacity to impact our day-to-day lives. Wherever it’s too dangerous, expensive or impractical to do something in reality, virtual reality is the answer. From trainee fighter pilots to medical applications as trainee surgeons, virtual reality allows us to take virtual risks in order to gain real world experience. As the cost of virtual reality goes down and becomes more mainstream, you can expect more serious uses, such as education or productivity applications to emerge. Virtual and augmented reality could change the way we interface with our digital technologies, continuing the trend of humanizing technology.

When it first started, initial attempts at VR failed to take off, with the Virtual Boy headset by Nintendo, for example, discontinued after one year following an influx of customer complaints. However, where Virtual Boy failed, many more are now gaining momentum. In fact, a report by CCS Insight predicts that augmented and VR hardware will become a $4 billion market by 2018, increasing from 2.2 million shipments to 20 million in the next three years.

Understandably, VR is a concept that many people are extremely excited about, and when VR is done right, it can create incredible results. One of the most exciting areas that VR presents for content creators is shared experiences such as the Eve: Valkyrie game due to ship with Oculus Rift. Then there’s Red Bull and its plans to launch a full-time linear Red Bull TV channel, which will bring virtual reality elements to its sports, music and entertainment content. Imagine putting on a headset, which transforms your surroundings and puts you in the midst of your favorite band performing to a crowd on their headline tour, live.

While all of this sounds exciting, the additional strain that VR will put on networks is a major concern. To be able to support data-powered innovations such as VR, global connectivity providers have invested heavily in capacity, engineering a future-proofed backbone that shouldn’t buckle under the extra pressure. The biggest challenge lies in last-mile networks which need to be able to carry VR content to homes and provide a seamless, genuinely immersive experience for consumers.

The issue is the huge increase in bandwidth demand generated by VR content: VR requires about five times as much bandwidth as HDTV, as well as very low latency to support an immersive experience. While large service providers offer the backbone capabilities, cloud footprint, advanced traffic management and content delivery networks at the core, many of today’s access technologies at home do not support such requirements, preventing high quality live streaming of VR content from the cloud. Instead, the user will need to buffer or store the content locally, which limits commercial opportunities with VR, starting with online gaming.

Intelligent traffic management solutions, compression algorithms and investments in very low latency, high throughput networks will help last-mile networks to cope with the demands of VR content. Only such investments will prevent a stop-start and delayed connection that could dampen the experience, or potentially destroy it.

In the future, as VR begins to reach the masses, the next natural development will be for these technologies to go mobile. Today’s 4G connections won’t be able to handle VR, so fiber networks will play a central role as the backhaul for delivering the seamless, high quality connectivity that these immersive experiences will demand.

Beyond the hype of the latest and greatest VR gadgets, there needs to be a deeper understanding of the pressure that this rich traffic will place on networks, to ensure that networks are smart enough and robust enough to provide the brilliant user experience that consumers expect.

According to Downie, VR and AR will be for gaming first, but eventually will spread far beyond that, touching upon training, education, virtual travel, and just hanging out with our fellow humans. It’ll add another very significant twist to social media and how people interact with each other, including virtual meetings and collaboration at work.

VR’s success will be largely dependent on last-mile networks which will enable it to flourish – taking entertainment to a new level and opening up new revenue streams for content providers through cloud-based distribution on-demand. Investments in low latency, high throughput and intelligent networks could mean that a technology that was dreamt up around 60 years ago will finally become a reality for millions.

Published in Featured

Pokémon Go, a new gaming app launched last week, has skyrocketed to success, boosting Nintendo’s share price 24.52 percent on Monday, June 11, to ¥20,260 ($193) which is the highest single day surge the company has seen since 1983. The surge singlehandedly added $7.5 billion to Nintendo’s market value. But how long will the sweet taste of success last for the new app?

Topping app download charts in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, Pokémon Go, according to researchers cited by The Verge, has already been installed on 5 percent of all Android smartphones in America. It’s a massive boost for Nintendo, but unfortunately the game isn’t exclusive to the Japanese company. In fact, Pokémon Go was created by Niantic, an augmented reality game-maker which branched off from Google in October 2015. The game was built in collaboration with Nintendo.

Nintendo has invested in both Niantic and the Pokémon Company, receiving about 30 percent of Pokémon Go’s revenue, according to the Financial Times. Since the app is free to download, profits are generated by “in-game micro-transactions.” To truly impact Nintendo’s overall profits, analysts say Pokémon Go will need to create around $140 million to $196 million in turnover each month. The game is already estimated to have made $3.9 million to $4.9 million on the day of its release. In order to make significant profits, the app will need to maintain its position as one of the top apps.

It is really a matter of whether Pokémon Go is able to remain popular or fade away. Comparing the launch of Pokémon Go to the launch of the Nintendo Wii in 2007, Bloomberg’s Tim Cuplan has pointed out that the Wii contributed to Nintendo’s stock price increase to a high of ¥67,600 before levelling out two years later. He believes that the release of a new hardware ecosystem will ensure sustained growth for Pokémon Go.

The game is currently straight forward to use and appeals to users because of its similarity to the original, beloved television show and hit Nintendo games before it. Pokémon is one of the most well-know gaming franchises in the world. The game has proven to be so popular that its launch in countries like the UK has been postponed because the app is experiencing difficulty keeping up with heavy usage. It proves how much potential there is in the mobile market, with more people engaging with gaming, content and interaction via their phones. The question is: will Nintendo see Pokémon Go users stick around, or will its popularity diminish? 

Published in Apps

Comparing the Xbox Scorpio to the PS4 Neo

Written on Wednesday, 22 June 2016 05:51

A report by Trusted Reviews compares the Xbox Scorpio (to be released in 2017) to the rumored PlayStation 4 Neo. The report says the PS4 and Xbox One will be getting “half-generation” upgrades in the coming 18 months, with both the PS4 Neo (PS4.5) and Xbox Project Scorpio confirmed.

With the rise of both VR (virtual reality) and 4K TV, both Microsoft (Xbox) and Sony (PlayStation) are racing to take the lead. As the two companies gear up to release their new consoles, we are witnessing the prospect of two powerful consoles “battling it out” for market dominance.

To compare the PS4 Neo with the Xbox Scorpio, Trusted Reviews had to rely on leaked reports and a Microsoft announcement video. This makes for a difficult comparison, in addition to the fact that the Scorpio is expected to be released a year from now, while the Neo is expected later this year.

In terms of processing power, the Neo is rumored to have a 2.1Ghz 8-core processor. It will probably be made by AMD, while the Scorpio is also said to get an 8-core CPU with an unknown clock speed. The review points out that, more important to worry about than CPU, is actually GPU and graphics memory which will benefit VR and 4K performance down the line.

Assuming the figures (some rumored) about the Xbox Scorpio and PS4 Neo are accurate to go by, comparing the two at this early stage might not result in 100% accuracy. So far it’s said that the Xbox Scorpio will come equipped with 8GB of graphics memory which is the same as the Neo’s rumored 8GB.

But in terms of memory bandwidth, which some consider to be the most important figure when it comes to VR and 4K performance, the Scorpio appears to be the better option to choose from with 320GB/s bandwidth compared with the Neo’s rumored 218GB/s bandwidth.

Another direct specification that the Trusted Reviews makes is the GPU’s floating point operations per second. This is the most basic way of measuring pure performance, except it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. The Xbox Scorpio is said to be capable of 6TFLOPs (trillion floating point operations per second) while the Neo is rumoured to be capable of 4.14TFLOPs. For PC gamers, that’s roughly the difference between a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 and a previous-generation GTX 970. But until the official specs for the PS4 Neo are released, there’s no certainty how big the difference will be.
Regarding VR, the PSVR will have the advantage that it has just one screen, reducing the processing requirements compared to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive with their two, high resolution screens. If, as some have speculated, the Xbox supports Oculus or Vive for VR, the Scorpio's extra power will help immensely, says the report. However, these are just ‘ifs’ and gamers need to wait for more information before clear comparisons can be made.

The review finished with this summary: “By the time these consoles come to market, they’ll represent the equivalent of year-old, upper-mid-range gaming PCs in terms of performance. With today’s graphics cards only just able to start tackling 4K and VR effectively, this might leave you concerned.”
But consider this: “Games consoles are much more efficient than their PC counterparts; they’re designed for one thing and one thing only: gaming. This means the graphics APIs are tuned to perfection, with low overheads and plenty of room for extra performance in the future.”

 

Published in Gadget