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Nintendo Switch voice chat app stumbles out of the gate

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: 15 hours, 39 mins ago

Nintendo today launched its hotly debated Nintendo Switch Online smartphone chatting app, and it's just as bad as you predicted.

 

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The Nintendo Switch has two major online-based first-party games: ARMS and Splatoon 2. Rather than allowing players to easily hook up third-party headsets directly to the Switch, or into the Switch's Pro or JoyCon controllers, the company has taken a more confusing integrated approach: by forcing users to download an app to their phones for voice chatting. The app, which is required to chat with friends in parties in online games like Splatoon 2, launched today to strong frustration from the community.

 

Splatoon 2 isn't yet available, so only games press currently have full functionality of the app. And from what we're hearing it's quite awful, and Switch owners aren't happy. According to Forbes' Paul Tassi, the app is marred with a litany of problems including: the phone's screen must stay on to chat, you can't chat with friends when the app is minimized so say goodbye to communication while you answer a phone call, and, of course, there's real issues of battery drain considering the phone's screen must stay on and connected to the internet at all times to work.

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Ubisoft's digital-first plan is paying off big

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: 16 hours, 32 mins ago

Ubisoft's move to future-proof its games and embrace the digital market is paying off big as the French games-maker reports big earnings despite not releasing any new games.

 

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In the last few years Ubisoft has transformed from a company that relies strongly on game sales into a massively profitable business whose games now make money long after their initial sale. This paradigm shift made Ubisoft one of the most interesting companies to cover, and now the European titan has created a billion-dollar empire with strong recurring revenues. Case in point: Ubisoft just made 202.1 million euros ($232.71 million) in its first quarter 2017 without releasing a single new game.

 

In the first quarter of FY18, Ubisoft pulled in total sales of 202.1 million euros ($232.78 million), up 45.2% year-over-year since Q1'16. Total Q1 sales exceeded Ubisoft's 170 million euro target by 18.88%. The company reports that digital is making up more and more of its total sales revenue, and for Q1'17 digital accounted for a staggering 80.4% of sales, or 164.2 million euros ($189.07 million). Microtransactions, season passes, DLC, and in-game purchases continue earning big for Ubisoft: the games-maker earned 83.1 million euros ($95.69 million) in the first quarter, with PRI (player recurring investment) up an impressive 73.4% over last year's first quarter. In fact, these digital in-game purchases made up 41.1% of total sales in the first quarter.

 

I've included an extensive breakdown of graphs to illustrate Ubisoft's growing success in the digital games segment.

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ASUS to launch three ZenFone 4 series phones next month

By: Lana Jelic | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: 17 hours, 24 mins ago

ASUS recently launched the ZenFone 4 Max with 5,000 mAh battery, but we are still waiting for three new ZenFone series smartphones. It was initially expected that the company would launch the phones during Computex, but that didn't happen due to, according to a source, "design overhaul and efficiency upgrades."

 

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Now, a new report states that the company is ready for the launch and it should unveil the devices on August 17th. August is clearly going to be busy since we are also expecting Samsung to launch the Note8 and LG should unveil its V30.

 

ASUS is expected to launch three new devices - ZenFone 4 Pro, 4 Selfie, and 4V.

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New Note8 leak shows unexpected design: Big top bezel

By: Lana Jelic | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: 18 hours, 29 mins ago

Just a couple of days ago, one of the first images of the Note8 surfaced showing a beautiful Infinity display. However, now a new leak shows a bit different image.

 

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Case maker Nillkin has released an image of its Note8 case, and it is clear that the design of the phone doesn't match the one we saw in the images earlier this week.

 

The phone still has a curved screen and almost no bezels on the side. However, the bottom bezel is smaller, which makes sense since the fingerprint sensor should be on the back of the device. Interestingly, it appears that the top bezel is now significantly larger than previously expected.

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Woman caught smuggling 102 iPhones strapped to her body

By: Lana Jelic | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: 19 hours, 21 mins ago

The prices of iPhone devices vary from country to country. We recently reported that the iPhone 7 could cost anywhere from $815 to $1200, depending on where you try to buy it. Knowing this, it shouldn't be surprising that individuals try to make some money on black market selling iPhones.

 

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One woman was caught while trying to sneak 102 iPhones from Hong Kong to China. Apparently, this isn't uncommon since the iPhone prices are lower in Hong Kong.

 

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The woman strapped 102 iPhones on her body, adding around 40 pounds (around 18kg) extra weight. Photos show different models of the iPhone device, so it's hard to guess the total value of the haul, but rest assured that we are looking at tens of thousands of dollars worth of phones.

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Apple patents a feature that could save lives

By: Lana Jelic | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: 20 hours, 24 mins ago

In a patent published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Apple describes a feature that could literally save lives.

 

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The tech giant submitted a patent for a feature that would allow users to call emergency services "when a conventional method may not be practical." The patent describes how a user could call 911 by simply using a fingerprint.

 

It is already possible to call 911 from the lock screen on iOS devices, but this feature would allow users to call the emergency services even if they find themselves in a situation where an assailant or attacker is watching them.

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Razer seeks $5 billion valuation via overseas IPO

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: 21 hours, 15 mins ago

PC peripherals-maker Razer hopes a new IPO will raise the company's valuation to as much as $5 billion.

 

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After 12 years of being private, Razer currently plans to go public with its shares with an IPO. The company will open its shares in an initial public offering in Hong Kong, China, this October, sources familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg. The Singapore-founded American company is most known for its vibrant PC gaming products including keyboards, mice, and headsets, as well as premium-priced laptops like the Razer Blade.

 

With its IPO, Razer aims at a valuation of anywhere between $3 billion and $5 billion. Sources say the launch in Hong Kong is no mistake: the company is pursuing China's massive $27 billion games market, which is largely set on the mobile games segment. The company has already made its mark within the massively lucrative region with its first retail store based in Hong Kong.

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Cosmetic microtransactions fund StarCraft II tourneys

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: 1 day, 13 hours ago

Blizzard is taking a page out of Valve's playbook to fund StarCraft II eSports tournaments.

 

 

With its new War Chest initiative, games titan Blizzard is essentially mimicking Valve's unique interactive Battle Pass monetization program to raise money for competitive StarCraft II competitions. War Chest essentially allows StarCraft II players to purchase cosmetic skin packs via in-game microtransactions and earn exclusive rewards while taking part in an engaging marketing campaign.

 

Blizzard notes that 25% of all War Chest purchases go directly to StarCraft II eSports ventures. Official pricing of the skins remains unknown, and Blizzard will add the first $200,000 raised via War Chest to the BlizzCon 2017 tournament pool making a total prize pool of $700,000.

 

It'll be interesting to see how well this initiative goes, and how much revenue Blizzard can rake in to fund more eSports ventures and future productions and events.

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Samsung will manufacture 7nm chips for Apple's iPhone 9

By: Lana Jelic | More News: CPU, APU & Chipsets | Posted: 1 day, 14 hours ago

Samsung will produce chips for Apple's next year's iPhone, claims a new report. It appears that Samsung and Apple have already signed a deal regarding iPhone 9's processors.

 

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This is a huge accomplishment for Samsung since the company lost the deal with Apple back in 2013 to its Taiwanese rival TSMC. TSMC is currently working on 10nm A11 chips for the iPhone 8.

 

Next year's iPhone, the iPhone 9, will be powered by the expected 7nm A12 chipset.

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It's not you; Crash Bandicoot remaster jumps ARE off

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: 1 day, 15 hours ago

The developers at Vicarious Visions have played some mind games with old-school Crash fans.

 

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If you've played the new Crash Bandicoot remaster, you're probably having a tough time with the jumps. Thankfully we finally know why. It's not just you: Crash isn't jumping right, and his jumps really are off. These aren't the old-school PlayStation games you remember just updated fancy graphics, the devs at Vicarious Visions finally admitted, but a new game with an altered physics system.

 

"Many fans have picked up on the fact that Crash's jump isn't quite the same as it was, particularly in the first game, Crash Bandicoot," the dev team said in a recent Activision blog post. "The reason for that is because we want the best experience for all players, and Crash's handling falls into this category. We spent a lot of time studying the three titles and chose the handling from Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped as our Trilogy's starting point. An increased precision is now required in the first game, which makes the gameplay experience different."

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