We're over in chilly Beijing, China at the moment checking out the 2013 Beat It Grand Finals being hosted by MSI. Between CS:GO games, we went down and hit the floor to see what was going on in the few booths that have been set up by the sponsors of the event.
Two items that really got our attention are the new mITX weapons that MSI are showing off that are due to hit in the first week of December. One is the upcoming Z87I Gaming AC motherboard. As the name suggests it's based on the Z87 chipset.
Alongside that we've also got GTX 760 Gaming ITX, a smaller GTX 760 designed to be installed in a MITX case that you can see above. We've got samples of both products already so keep an eye out for a review in early December. We always love those mITX products and we can't wait to see how they perform.
Rumor has it that LG is working on its on system on a chip (SoC0 that is known as Odin. There are reportedly going to be two versions of this new SoC, one will be a quad-core part, while the other will be an eight-core part.
Both SoCs will be based on ARM's Cortex A9 and A15 cores, with LG using ARM's architecture, and tweaking it to create a customized version for its devices. This isn't any different to what Qualcomm does with the Krait line of chips, or Samsung and its Exynos range. The difference will come with LG using TMSC's facilities to manufacture the SoC, as it doesn't have its own in-house fab unit like Samsung does.
This is all coming from Korean news site, DigitalTimes, who reports that the quad-core Odin chip would be baked into LG's smart TVs in 2014 and beyond. The eight-core version will most likely be baked into the next-gen G2 smartphone and future LG-made slates. I'm guessing it might even be used in an upcoming Nexus device, as LG is the company building the Nexus smartphones right now.
Microsoft has evolved Windows over the years, to the point where Windows 8.1 is all but unrecognizable to its older operating systems - like Windows 95/98. Of course, time goes by, and we can't expect Microsoft to stay in the dark ages, while everyone wants something better. Well, Windows 8 ushered in a touchscreen interface for Microsoft, something that most people don't like because, well, they don't own a touchscreen. Sure, it's great for tablets and touch-enabled PCs, but not for normal desktop users, like myself.
There's some concept art that users have made for Windows 9, that address some of these problems that Windows 8 ushered in. The Windows 9 concepts all use a Start button, something that was complained about so much with Windows 8, that Microsoft was forced to provide a Start button in Windows 8.1. They look absolutely gorgeous, but I know Microsoft won't go in this direction, unfortunately.
I wish they would offer us a touch-enabled UI (that we see in Windows 8) but with a professional/desktop-based UI, as we see in these concept pieces. This would help Microsoft gain some of those lost customers back, and it would help the company get people to upgrade from Windows 7, instead of not providing anything to the user as an incentive to upgrade.
I'm sure Katie Couric was yelling out 'yahoo' when she received the call from search giant Yahoo, regarding a job offer as the role of "global news anchor" for the company.
Couric will host a high-profile interview show for the company, according to sources of All Things D. The deal has reportedly been months in the making, with Couric and Yahoo in talks since August. ABC apparently owns the rights to Couric's digital output, as per her contract. All Things D's source have said that Couric's show will include exclusive interviews with a bunch of high-profile celebrities, and business executives.
Couric was intrigued by the idea of a web-only show after she attended a Yahoo advertising event in the Caribbean last fall. The bigger bet here is from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, as she continues to provide reasons for people to visit Yahoo. Couric, though, is a big fish, and should bring in a slew of new viewers.
Instagram has shifted from a photo-sharing application, mainly for your food, to a video-sharing app to compete with other apps and social networks, but now there's news that the Facebook-owned company is working on a private messaging function.
According to "well-placed" sources of GigaOm's, the new feature would compete with Snapchat, who is rumored to be worth up and above $4 billion. The new feature would have group messaging functions, and would be baked into the upcoming new version of Instagram, which is expected to hit before the end of tthe year.
We should find this quite ironic, because Instagram is owned by Facebook, and we posted up a story about Facebook trying to acquire Snapchat for $3 billion, but were declined.
The developers of FlatOut did have a Kickstarter set up for their upcoming game, Next Car Game, but it looks like it has met a metal-crushing death. Not many gamers coughed up the funds to back the project, so Bugbear pulled the Kickstarter.
Bugbear will still continue Next Car Game through its Early Access program, going as far as offering a demo for early backers. Bugbear explained why it pulled the game from Kickstarter:
Although our Kickstarter campaign has attracted tremendous enthusiasm, during the last couple of weeks it's become obvious that we are not going to meet our goal. Because of this we have decided concentrate on our efforts on the pre-order campaign. As a thank-you to our faithful fans, we have decided to release a PLAYABLE technology sneak peek, and it's available RIGHT NOW to all our pre-order supporters. The sneak peek features a playground that we use internally to test various features various like car damage and environment destruction. The best thing about it is that you will get a chance to have fun and wreak havoc with an amazing 24 cars!
EA and DICE are offering up some double XP for Battlefield 4, which begins on November 28 and goes for seven days through to December 5. If you're like me, you haven't clocked up that much time on the game yet, and this is the perfect opportunity to clock those experience points up.
DICE has explained: "To show our appreciation for your patience as we work through these issues, we are announcing that from November 28 through December 5, we will reward all players with Double XP for every multiplayer match they complete. We understand that the launch issues may have impacted your progression, and we want to do everything we can to help you get back the XP that you may have lost."
It looks like DICE is apologizing to BF4 players through this double XP period, even offering the M1911 pistol scope on the 5th of December, which was previously something you could only own as a DICE developer. DICE added: "You are the heart and soul of Battlefield. We thank you for your support in these early days of the launch, and will continue to show our appreciation as time goes on."
Update: It seems that there wasn't 'someone' or a company that purchased these Bitcoins, but rather a transfer of Bitcoins. It could be that Bitstamp possibly moved its own funds around, which made this look (to a Bitcoin novice like myself) a massive transfer worth $150 million, and thus, major news - but it looks like it was not. Apologies.
Bitcoins have been going up and down in price, where we saw it rise past $600 in value just a few days ago, but now the price is beginning to stabilize. Bitcoin has been making the mainstream headlines quite a lot, but this latest transaction should see much more attention paid to the digital currency.
Someone in Germany must have quite a lot of cash on-hand, as they just acquired over 194,000 Bitcoins... which has a value of approximately $150 million. Yes, $150,000,000 in Bitcoins. Even the richest people around don't just have $150 million in cash to just spend, so are we looking at a central bank or government scooping up all these Bitcoins?
Also remember, that Germany has recently recognized Bitcoins as a "unit of account" which means it can be used for private transactions. This means that the German government can now tax owners of Bitcoins, and this new $150 million transaction will have quite the tax bill, won't it? Whatever has happened, and whoever has bought these Bitcoins, some serious money just changed hands.
Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, is one of the best-looking PC games on the market right now, with the developer coming out and saying that it is pledging its commitment to optimizing its games for PC.
We've just lived through the launches of both next-gen consoles, and now Sylvain Trottier, Associate Producer of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag has had some wise words on the Ubisoft Blog. Trottier talked about Ubisoft finishing up the R&D stages of Black Flag, where they began working on optimizing the PC version of the game first.
There are three reasons behind this: the first, is that every team member has a PC at their desk, most engineers are more experienced and familiar with the PC environment in the early stages of next-gen consoles, and finally, the PS4 and Xbox One are pretty much PCs with their x86-based architectures. He said: "It's not 100 percent linear, but at least it gives you an order of magnitude."
Microsoft has over 1 million Xbox Ones in the wild, but it looks like some of these next-gen consoles are having issues with the internal Blu-ray drive. Problem is, Microsoft has no solution just yet.
The problematic Xbox Ones are seeing a bad grinding sound when the Xbox Ones Blu-ray drive attempts to read discs. The other issue is, we don't know how many Xbox One units have been affected. Kotaku reported the issue earlier on this evening, seeing over 100 people e-mail them, with the problem on their Xbox One unit, or knowing someone with the issue.