Photographer removes phones in photo series to illustrate addiction

Sean Ridgeley | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Oct 14, 2015 1:51 PM CDT

The new "Removed" photography series by American photographer Eric Pickersgill aims to illustrate our addiction to technology, and the ironic social disconnection it produces. Perhaps the most disturbing of the series is pictured below; the rest can be found on his website below.

Pickersgill paints a stark picture of his inspiration: "The joining of people to devices has been rapid and unalterable. The application of the personal device in daily life has made tasks take less time. Far away places and people feel closer than ever before. Despite the obvious benefits that these advances in technology have contributed to society, the social and physical implications are slowly revealing themselves. In similar ways that photography transformed the lived experience into the photographable, performable, and reproducible experience, personal devices are shifting behaviors while simultaneously blending into the landscape by taking form as being one with the body. This phantom limb is used as a way of signaling busyness and unapproachability to strangers while existing as an addictive force that promotes the splitting of attention between those who are physically with you and those who are not."

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Underdog Aussie CS:GO team topples Cloud 9, takes 19th global ranking

Chris Smith | Gaming | Oct 14, 2015 6:29 AM CDT

Over the weekend, the land down under saw its biggest CS:GO tournament to date with international powerhouse teams Cloud 9 and Virtus Pro making the trip to Australia in order to play in the $55,555 Crown Casino invitational. With Australia's Renegades and Team Immunity qualifying to play against these top-tier teams, hopes weren't too high for the first draw of Immunity versus Cloud 9.

After choosing the maps and Cloud 9 goofing around on stage, the teams went to work on a digital battlefield. After a back and forward tussle, the first map went the way of Immunity on De_Cache, seeing a 16-12 victory. Next up was De_Dust 2 which saw Cloud 9 steamroll through at a 16-7 scoreline and finally a massive 16-3 win to Immunity on De_Overpass secured the series to the Aussie underdogs.

This victory not only saw them secure second place at the Crown tournament and push them into the grand finals to play against Virtus Pro, it also meant that Team Immunity cracked hltv's top 20 team rankings. Now sitting at number 19, the only other Australian team on this list is Renegades at 17th, a team which Immunity beat 2-0 in its last tournament.

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Star Wars Battlefront was the biggest beta in EA history

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Oct 14, 2015 2:35 AM CDT

Now that the open beta of Star Wars Battlefront is over, EA has announced that it was the biggest beta in its history, with over 9 million gamers participating.

Senior Producer on Star Wars Battlefront, Sigurlina Ingvarsdottir, said it was the latest beta in EA history. The development team at EA DICE will now use all of the information and feedback from the beta to "to tune and balance the game" for its big launch next month. It was only a day ago that we found out that EA will be offering a $50 season pass with the game, a week after we heard there would be no microstransactions in Star Wars Battlefront.

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Oculus will sell 5 million Rift headsets in 2016, will be sold at cost

According to analyst firm Credit Suisse, Oculus will sell as many 5 million Rift headsets next year, with analyst adding that it doesn't expect the Facebook-owned VR startup to make any money on the first batch of headsets.

Barron's picked up Credit Suisse's report, with it reiterating that it is making the estimate of the sales projection without official information, based on the $350 estimate. Credit Suisse wrote: "We expect Facebook to price the headsets at cost in an attempt to drive initial consumer adoption - with the expectation that the company plans to monetize the devices overtime via associated software revenue. Note that our current projections do not contemplate any software revenue, although at launch Oculus will be offering a number of made-for-VR games and video content from partnering developers and content owners - which include Sega, Lionsgate, Fox, Twitch, Hulu, and Vimeo".

The firm added: "Net-net, we expect Facebook will grow hardware revenue generated from Oculus at a 4 percent five-year CAGR from $2.1 billion in FY16 to $2.6 billion in FY21. However, given our assumption that Facebook will once-again demonstrate a willingness to forgo near-term monetization in return for increased product adoption, we are modeling an initial negative gross profit impact from the initiative - with Oculus gross margins reaching breakeven by 2021 and contributing ~$50 million in gross profit by FY22".

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Region coding removed from UltraHD Blu-ray spec

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Oct 13, 2015 6:18 PM CDT

With movie studios such as Twentieth Century Fox gearing up to release movies on the upcoming UltraHD Blu-ray format, which offers feature films in resolutions up to 3840 x 2160, comes today's news that the most hated part of the Blu-ray specification has been removed from UltraHD Blu-ray - region coding.

According to HighDefDigest "all UHD Blu-rays are region free", signalling an end to the anti-consumer stance that was bought over from the DVD format in order to control distribution. Although many studios such as Universal, Paramount and Warner Brothers mostly refused to employ region coding on their discs, the fact it won't be part of UltraHD Blu-ray is certainly cause for celebration.

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We've seen it all - there are now SSD water blocks

Chris Smith | Cases, Cooling & PSU | Oct 13, 2015 5:17 PM CDT

With the rebirth of custom liquid cooling taking the PC DIY world by storm, we've seen companies such as Bitspower and EK Water Blocks lead the charge by releasing quality components time and time again for the latest motherboards, video cards and processors alike. But what about a water cooling solution for the modder who has it all?

In a recent press release, EK Water Blocks announced the release of its Intel 750 series PCIe SSD water block. Listed as full coverage, this block covers the entire PCB and has been "designed in cooperation with Intel".

Currently available for purchase, the EK-FC I750 has been quoted as the "first solid-state drive water block" and it's quite possibly not the last. Useful or not, that's up to you - but we're sure that it will make some kick-ass looking systems.

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Black Ops 3 campaign lets you fast-forward right to the end

Derek Strickland | Gaming | Oct 13, 2015 4:54 PM CDT

In an effort to give Call of Duty players more freedom, Treyarch has revealed that all levels of the game's campaign will be accessible when the game ships this November.

"[This new feature] gives players the flexibility to consume the content how they want," Jason Blundell, the director and manage of Call of Duty campaigns at Treyarch, told Eurogamer. "The unlocking level system is an archaic mentality we've had since we did bedroom development back in the day - you do this, then go on to the next one. Consumers and game players in general are far more mature these days. There are so many things vying for our interests today. It's about, how do they want to consume it? Maybe they put it down on level two, and then they're in work the next day, and some guy says, 'dude, you've got to check out level four!' And he's like, 'okay, I'll have a quick look.' That's totally fine. I think it's their choice."

This is a surprising move that seems to hint at the instant gratification culture of specific game genres. This looks like somewhat of a killing blow to the coherency of singleplayer campaigns, and Treyarch has delivered the ultimate concession to gamers who don't want to take the time to beat missions.

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Nexus 6P and 5X unboxing videos surface

Google's new Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X Android handsets have already shipping in India, so naturally users like Intellect Digest are sharing their unboxing videos and early impressions on the new phones.

Nexus 6P and 5X unboxing videos surface

Both phones come in stylish cases, with the larger 6-inch Nexus 6P being the premium model at $499. As far as form factor and looks, the 6P has a nice flair to it thanks to the strong aluminum-grade metal shell, with accenting all around the edges. Performance-wise the 6P is described as fast and zippy thanks to its 3GB RAM and octacore processor, and just as Google said the new 13 MP camera seems to do exceedingly well in low-level conditions.

The Nexus 5X is the smaller 5-inch handset that starts at $379, and is described as a very "compact and handy phone". Although comparatively weaker in its specs with just 2GB of RAM and quad-core Snapdragon 808 processor at 1.8GHz, the Nexus 5X still is a strong contender that maintains most of the features of the 6P including low-light video and picture capturing.

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VR games will be quality over quantity, says Epic Games CEO

With 2016 fast approaching, virtual reality integration is almost here, bringing a whole dimension in video game experiences. Rather than being huge narrative-driven games with open-worlds and AAA budgets, the first VR games are going to be high-quality bite-sized chunks that feel out the new tech.

"With the move to VR and AR, it's going to be a very competitive market. [VR] is going to lead to very high-quality game experiences, but that doesn't necessarily mean huge ones," Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney told VentureBeat at GamesBeat 2015.

Sweeney goes on to explain that VR is still very new and developers have yet to fully tap the potential of the new frontier. Devs are more like voyages fleshing out and experimenting with a new medium, so the First VR and AR games will be more flashy and gimmicky than meaningful.

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Capcom's Resident Evil 7 could be in VR

Capcom's Resident Evil division is currently working on developing a game engine to power VR-ready games, which could pave the way for a terrifying undead shooter set in the landmark series.

The Resident Evil franchise is prime for a thrilling VR experience: imagine something like an immersive House of the Dead shooter with lightguns where you're exploring a creepy, dark atmosphere just riddled with surprises. VR is the next major platform for gaming, and Capcom's Division 1--the division that handles the development of new IP's that deliver fresh experiences--recognizes the importance of virtual reality to the future of video games.

"At present, we are focusing our energy on challenging the virtual reality (VR) game market," said Capcom's Division 1 manager Jun Takeuchi, who lent his talent to games like Resident Evil 5. "Currently, we are building a new game development engine able to support VR, which is the hottest market right now, while simultaneously developing titles for current game consoles. We have just set sail on our latest voyage."

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