CES 2017 - Acer has announced its new Aspire GX desktop PC aimed at both mainstream and performance gamers.
The Acer Aspire GX desktop can be tailor-made in various flexible price-per-performance configurations to meet the needs of various consumers, offering builds with specs up to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, Intel i7 Kaby Lake CPU, 64GB of dual-channel DDR4-2400 RAM, and 3TB HDD storage with a 256GB SSD.
The Aspire GX starts at just $899, but a quick look at the spec sheet below shows the graphics options go as low as a GeForce GTX 745 video card, so don't expect to get a lot of bang for your buck at the starting price. The desktop will launch in North America in March 2017.
In a very Microsoft kind of move, it appears Windows 10's new Game Mode feature will only work with PC games tied to Windows 10's UWP ecosystem.
Windows Central seems to have confirmed my initial prediction: Windows 10's upcoming Game Mode feature--which allocates system resources on an OS and hardware level and optimizes them specifically for gaming, thereby boosting game performance--will only work with UWP-enabled PC games. This means only PC games purchased on the Windows Store can leverage the benefits of Windows 10 Game Mode, so everyone's entire library of Steam games may not work.
"Previously, we were unable to ascertain whether Game Mode would be a feature restricted to games built for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), but it does appear that this could be the case. Our information states that games developed for the Windows 10, Xbox One, and Project Scorpio ecosystem specifically need to be "Game Mode enabled" Universal Windows Apps (UWA)," reads Windows Central's report.
Microsoft's new "beastly" high-end 4K-ready Project Scorpio console may leverage a new Windows 10 Game Mode feature that allocates system resources specifically for gaming.
Earlier we reported on Windows 10's new Game Mode functionality, which essentially flips a switch to optimize key OS resources, CPU and GPU hardware for gaming experiences. Now Windows Central is reporting that Microsoft's Xbox ecosystem and it's new enthusiast-grade Project Scorpio will benefit from Game Mode as well.
This isn't really a surprise considering the Xbox One, Xbox One S and Project Scorpio are now running Windows 10 via a new custom OneCore OS, with the systems being tethered to Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP) ecosystem. This means that all UWP apps can be used across the full ecosystem, and the Xbox consoles are now compatible with specific UWP apps and programs.
Mass Effect: Andromeda will release on March 31, 2017 on all platforms, according to Microsoft's Xbox LIVE Rewards page.
If you've paid attention to our Andromeda coverage, this release date won't be a surprise; we originally reported the game would launch in March 2017. This might be a slip-up on Microsoft's part, but March 31 is usually a placeholder. However this lines up with BioWare's "Spring 2017" launch window, and underlines our previous reports as well.
Although BioWare has showcased Andromeda running in 4K 30FPS on a PS4 Pro, the devs are optimizing the game to leverage high-end enthusiast PCs as well; the game won't have an FPS cap on PC, and will likely tap NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 series GPUs for extra performance and features. It will also support UltraWide 21:9 resolution on release.
Steam's December 2016 Hardware Survey sees Microsoft's latest cross-platform Windows 10 continue as the preferred operating system among Steam gamers.
The data indicates Windows 10 adoption has jumped by 0.73% throughout the month, putting the modern OS at 50.35% of all Steam users. Most gamers, all 49.10% of them, are using Windows 10 64-bit, with at tiny fraction of 1.25% of users stuck with Win 10 32-bit.
Despite Windows 10 now technically running on more than half of all Steam user's machines, Windows 7 is still quite popular at 33.8% of total Windows users (64-bit and 32-bit combined).
Nintendo has touted its third-party support for its new Switch console-and-handheld hybrid system, but they said the same thing about the Wii U, and devs eventually pulled out due to dismal console sales and underwhelming specs and power. Here we do a quick comparison of the third-party confirmations and take a look at the rumored Switch specs to gauge our games library expectations from the new platform.
Forty-seven of the games industry's top third-party publishers and developers have already pledged support to Nintendo's new Switch platform, and Nintendo says that's only a sampling. During the Wii U's pre-release third-party confirmations, however, only 21 or so publishers and devs pledged support for the lackluster system--and that number eventually petered out dramatically over time. Could the same thing happen to the Switch?
The main reason developers stopped making games for the Wii U was the system's complexity and lower-end performance. It was a nightmare for devs, requiring a lot of extra work to scale their games on an underwhelming specced system. With the Switch, however, Nintendo enlisted leading graphics card-maker NVIDIA. NVIDIA has a proven track record with its integrated Tegra chip, which powers its Shield TV and Shield Tablet hardware. The Switch rocks a highly customized Tegra chip (possibly based on NVIDIA's new high-end 16nm Pascal graphics architecture) that incorporates both a CPU and GPU on the same chip, and essentially melds NVIDIA's two Shield products together, while providing HD gaming performance, power efficiency, optimum heat mitigation, flexibility for developers, and unique hardware scaling optimized for the Switch's dual-factor hardware (switching from handheld mode to docked console mode).
A new highly ambitious GTA V mod will add Liberty City into the game, rendering in Rockstar's high-end engine.
The mod is being developed by the OpenIV Team, who has been working on the project since GTA V released. "Today we are proud to announce the project we worked on since initial GTA V release. Liberty City is finally coming into GTA V in all its glory," reads the the announcement on OpenIV Team's blog.
Liberty City won't actually replace Los Santos--the two areas will co-exist and essentially merge two massive GTA games together. Due to legal concerns, the mod will essentially transfer Liberty City from a player's owned copy of Grand Theft Auto IV into their copy of GTA V. So the mod itself is a converter of sorts that takes the older GTA IV files and transforms them into high-def assets, textures, etc usable on the GTA V engine. "Because Liberty City takes a lot of space and we do not have rights to distribute it as our work, we decided to make this mod as an automatic converter that converts Liberty City from your copy of GTA IV into your copy of GTA V," reads the mod's FAQ.
Dishonored 2 was a mess when it launched a few months ago, with PC gamers upset at the state of the game - and Arkane Studios trying to fix as much as it could, but it was a case of too little, too late.
Arkane Studios is currently hard at work on the reboot of Prey, which is powered by CryEngine - with the studio to not make the same mistake twice. During an interview with Game Informer, Arkane's Creative Director Raphael Colantonio and Lead Designer Ricardo Bare explained: "We've had a rough launch on the PC with Dishonored 2. In development, you never really know what you're going to see, especially on the PC with so many configurations. Unfortunately it is what it is, it shipped but now it runs really well after some patches. Of course, we are paying attention to make sure that this time the PC version is really flawless when we ship".
They continued: "A bit more Q&A time, also it's a different engine so the constraints are different. In the case of Dishonored 2 we created a new engine really, even though it's based on idTech most of it has been redone. In the case of Prey we're using CryEngine and it's an engine that's already shipped stuff before, so it's not the same configuration. We are, nevertheless, aware of the problem; we were already but it got us by surprise, this time we'll be paying more attention for sure".
We've already reported that Nintendo's new Switch console-and-handheld hybrid system would leverage modern engines and APIs like Vulkan and Open GL 4.5, DICE's Frosbite 3, Unreal Engine 4, and now it looks like we can expect to see quite a few UE4 games cross over to the Switch.
According to NeoGAF, Epic Games Japan manager Takayuki Kawasaki says a lot of Nintendo Switch's games will use UE4, including "releases of already announced major titles and new games." Takayuki also confirmed that Dragon Quest XI would use Unreal Engine 4 on the Switch, alongside other upcoming titles including Square Enix's hotly anticipated Final Fantasy VII: Remake, Kingdom Hearts III, Tekken 7, and the yesteryear Street Fighter V.
As for performance in Unreal Engine 4, we've uncovered the Nintendo Switch's UE4 graphics presets. Nintendo's new Switch hybrid can hit high graphics preset in 1080p in Unreal Engine 4 while in docked console mode, and medium GFX preset in 720p in handheld mode.
Microsoft has kicked off the first day of 2017 by asking Xbox fans if they're "ready for the beast," aka their upcoming enthusiast-grade 4K-ready Project Scorpio console.
Project Scorpio has been described in a whole manner of colorful ways, with devs calling it a "monster" and Microsoft affirming it'll deliver "the best resolution, best frame rates, no compromises," but now the company has tossed around another term by calling the next-gen Xbox a "beast."
Xbox exec Aaron Greenberg Tweeted an interesting post that tells us two things: the company is extremely confident in Project Scorpio, and it will meet its Holiday 2017 release. Greenberg has recently been quite vocal about the console, saying that it will "usher in a new era of 4K gaming"