E3 2014 - Most gamers think the world of Skyrim is absolutely huge, but behind closed doors at E3 2014, Square Enix was showing off something much, much bigger, with what they're calling "Project Flare".
Project Flare is cloud gaming technology, which uses supercomputers as servers to produce gaming world's that simply aren't capable on consoles, or regular PCs. Square Enix said that what they were showing off to Polygon was "not representative of a final product," with the demo showing off a huge forested world that could be explored quite quickly from a bird's eye point of view, or much slower through the perspective of a little creature.
Square Enix said that the full world map shown off was 32 kilometers by 32 kilometers - a mind-blowing 17x the size of Skyrim. Better yet, none of this was being streamed into the computer, it was being fully rendered, in full detail, across the entire gigantic game world - this included over 600,000 trees, hundreds of packs of creatures, hills, mountains, and much more.
It is pretty obvious that the new GeForce GTX 880 will be faster than the GeForce GTX 780, but what is interesting, is that it will be both cheaper, and more power efficient - something nobody can complain about.
The news is slowly floating out that the 20nm-based Maxwell-powered GeForce GTX 880 will be faster, cheaper, and more power efficient - but that is only one GPU in a massive lineup of cards. We should expect the new high-end Maxwell-based 20nm GPU late this year, or early 2015. NVIDIA could be forced to reveal 28nm-based Maxwell GPUs, but right now there's no threat to force their hand.
If NVIDIA do release the Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 880 on the cheap, faster than what we have with the GTX 780, or even the GTX 780 Ti, at around 200W power consumption, it would really put the pressure on AMD. This only ends up being great for consumers, though.
Telephone giant AT&T confirmed subscriber personal information was accessed in a data breach that took place sometime from April 9 to 21. AT&T reported the incident in a California regulatory filing, confirming three employees working with a partner vendor accessed the information. It is believed they were trying to unlock devices for re-sale, and accessed Social Security numbers and birth dates along the way.
If a smartphone is unlocked, the device can be easily re-sold by AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers, and the phone can be used on most mobile phone networks outside of the country. Many lost smartphones are quickly available on international markets, outside of the United States.
"Employees of one of our service providers violated our strict privacy and security guidelines by accessing your account without authorization," AT&T warned customers in a letter. "AT&T believes the employees accessed your account as part of an effort to request codes from AT&T that are used to unlock AT&T mobile phones in the secondary mobile phone market."
We now know that Grand Theft Auto V is coming to next-gen consoles and PCs, but what will the limitless technology in PCs be capable of playing GTA V at? Well, Rockstar has outlined some of the improvements to GTA V on PC on a blog post about the game.
The studio said that Grand Theft Auto V for PC will have "across-the-board graphical and technical improvements to deliver a stunning new level of detail. Increased draw distances, finer texture details, denser traffic, and enhanced resolutions". Not only that, but next-gen console owners and PC gamers can also expect "new wildlife, upgraded weather and damage effects, and an array of new details to discover".
Rockstar has teased GTA V on Steam, where it also promises that the PC version of the massively popular game will be "packed with layers of new detail" that will also include "all new content and gameplay created and released since the launch of Grand Theft Auto Online including new Jobs, an arsenal of new weapons, scores of new vehicles, new properties and player customizations". PC gamers will also be excited to hear that they will receive an exclusive video editor designed for "advanced movie making".
E3 2014 - Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR, has had some absolutely beautiful words to say about the world of 30FPS gaming - which seems to be the center of the console world, even with the next-gen consoles in the Xbox One and PS4.
At E3 2014, Luckey was interviewed by LinusTechTips, where they asked what Luckey what he thought about 30FPS gaming, to which he replied with a very simple, but very precise: "it's not a good artistic decision, it's a failure". Personally, I 100% agree with Luckey, and have been a huge pusher of high refresh rate screens for quite some time. For the last 5 years or more, I have run 120Hz panels for gaming, as I cannot go back to 60Hz - no matter the panel, even at 4K.
It's great to see Luckey taking a huge stab here - but that quote is just glorious. 30FPS gaming does suck, and we're not sitting here laughing at everyone who doesn't have the hardware to run it, but once you do - 60FPS (or higher) and even more, 120FPS+ is where it is at. With the right panel, and a game that can truly handle 120FPS+, it is glorious.
Apple iPhone owners already pay a steep price to have an iPhone, but according to Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt, consumers are willing to pay an even higher premium when it comes to the iPhone 6.
We've heard that there will be a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch version of the next-gen iPhone, but McCourt believes that the larger model will carry a $100 premium, and that consumers are willing to pay the premium for the slightly larger iPhone. He said: "Our June consumer survey points to continued growth in the willingness of iPhone users to pay $100 more for a bigger screened iPhone, with now a full one-third of survey respondents willing to pay a $100 premium".
McCourt continued: "data seems to suggest meaningful demand for a larger screen, which should logically mean the iPhone 6-cycle will be strong for upgrade sales, which combined with modest contribution from wearables should cause a modest acceleration in revenue growth in fiscal 2015". With the iPhone 5S still selling for $600+, the new 4.7-inch iPhone 6 would have to debut at the same price of around $600-$700, meaning that the 5.5-inch version would be hitting the $800 mark - if Apple doesn't debut the new iPhone models at a cheaper price. Are you willing to pay that much for the new, bigger iPhone?
The VR space is definitely heating up, with Oculus VR wanting to get its Rift headset into as many consumers' hands as possible - but what about Sony's PS4-exclusive VR headset, Project Morpheus?
Well, Sony is beginning to tease the specifications inside of its VR headset, something that should arrive with a 5-inch 1920x1080-pixel panel, with 90-degrees field of view. Where it'll get interesting, is that the PS4 game that the VR headset is rendering, will have to be running at 1920x1080 - which nearly half or more of the games on PS4 do not - and at a very high frame rate.
The increased FOV also doesn't help, as there are more things to render because of the higher field of view - so Sony is going to run into a few problems here. Anton Mikhailov, an Engineer from the Magic Lab in PlayStation's R&D group has said: "It is a tricky balance between all of these things. "Essentially, for a given resolution, let's take 1080p. It's a good sweet spot for developers: 1080p/60, it's a target they understand. If you go with 1080p/60, FOV over 100°, the pixel density starts to be quite low. So it starts to be hard to read text, stuff like that. So I feel for 1080p, [FOV of] 90°, 100° is a good sweet spot. If the screen res goes up, you can start to have higher FOVs. So I think there is a balancing game there. We're trying to make the most balanced system we can".
Google has finally baked in 480p and 1080p streaming options into the latest version of its YouTube app. In order to get the supported resolutions, you'll need to update your YouTube app, of course.
As you start your video, simply tap the three-dot overflow menu in the top right, where you'll be greeted with a gear icon - tap that, and choose your desired resolution. This hasn't rolled out to everyone just yet, but it shouldn't take too long to have this new option in your YouTube application.
Jesse Pinkman is waking your Xbox One up! Don't believe me? It's true, I swear. Microsoft have taken in Aaron Paul, who played Pinkman in AMC's hit show Breaking Bad, in its new Xbox One commercials.
Paul says some of the key Xbox One commands such as "Xbox On" in the commercial, with some hilarious results on the Internet - with one user on Twitter known as @DrW_Qass saying: "@aaronpaul_8 just turned my Xbox One via the Xbox advert. (Which triggered the IR blaster to switch my TV off..) Amazing". @TomNeal tweeted: "@Xbox your new TV advert is annoying the hell outta me. Aaron Paul keeps turning my console on... #stoooop".
Now gamers are wondering why Paul's other filmed voice commands aren't working, and whether this is some next-gen advertising campaign to have the Xbox One turn on from the advert. Whatever it is, it's working, b*tch.
Google Maps is a widely used application, with the navigation app now passing 1 billion installations on devices across the world. It's a little easier for Google to get there, as Maps is pre-installed on quite a number of Android-powered devices.
Google has crafted one of the most important mobile apps on the market with Maps, but passing 1 billion downloads is a huge milestone. I'm sure they're definitely popping some champagne over in Mountain View right about now.