Take-Two Kills Popular GTA V Modding Tool

Take-Two Kills Popular GTA V Modding Tool

Modding has been a huge part of the Grand Theft Auto games on PC ever since Grand Theft Auto III debuted a then-new 3D engine and a much larger world. Because Rockstar doesn’t provide any kind of formal editing tools, however, the end-user community took it upon themselves to create the necessary software.
One of the most popular editing suites used in GTA V was a program called OpenIV, which supported database manipulation and could be used to create a vast range of gameplay changes, effects, and content swaps. If you’ve ever seen videos of the popular Vehicle Cannon mod, you’ve got some idea of how zany some GTA V modders are (and to be fair, it looks hilarious).

OpenIV has been indispensable to the larger modding community, which why Take-Two’s recent cease-and-desist order against the mod has sent players into revolt. The makers of OpenIV announced earlier this week that they had received an order from Take-Two’s lawyers telling them to cease and desist from distributing their ..

The Best Games of E3 2017

The Best Games of E3 2017

In one sense, E3 2017 was something of a disappointment. Sure, Microsoft had its new half-step console to unveil, but we spent the majority of the press events watching trailers for games that we already knew about going in. But in spite of the lightly crushed expectations, there were still plenty of games to get excited about. So let’s move past the dashed hopes, and explore the 10 best games from this year’s show.

Now read: The Best Gaming Gift Cards

There’s No Profit Margin for Microsoft on the Xbox One X

There’s No Profit Margin for Microsoft on the Xbox One X

Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One X is an impressive piece of kit, given its $499 price point. But Microsoft could only hit the specs it targeted by compromising on one critical issue: Profitability. Unlike the Xbox One and Xbox One S refresh, both of which made money from Day 1 and were profitable pieces of hardware, Microsoft isn’t earning a cent on the Xbox One X.
That’s the word from Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox division. When asked by Business Insider if the Xbox One X would be profitable for Microsoft, Spencer flatly answered “No.” When Business Insider asked if that meant Microsoft was taking a loss on the hardware, Spencer stated “I didn’t answer it that way.” That’s not quite a denial, but it definitely implies that the console’s price makes it revenue neutral, at best.

Prior to this generation, it was normal for Sony and Microsoft to launch consoles at a loss and then make back their investments via software sales royalties. But the Xbox 360 and PS3 generations changed all ..

Minecraft’s New 4K Textures Don’t Even Look Like Minecraft

Minecraft’s New 4K Textures Don’t Even Look Like Minecraft

Minecraft became a smash hit without all the fancy high-resolution textures and lighting effects that other popular games hype. In fact, developer Mojang intentionally eschewed that in the name of building a simple, block-based world that could be rendered on even mediocre PCs. With Microsoft at the helm, Minecraft has added new features and come to more platforms, but it hasn’t looked any different until now. Microsoft expects to launch a new texture pack alongside its 4K update later this year that completely changes how the game looks.
There are actually a number of big changes coming to Minecraft this year. First, there’s the Better Together update, which will be a free part of the base game. This unifies most versions of Minecraft under the same game engine, known as Bedrock. That’s already what powers the mobile, Windows 10, Amazon Fire, and VR versions. The update converts Xbox One and Switch to bedrock. The PS4 and PS4 Pro are going to remain an outlier for now. Microsoft isn’t..

New Logitech Mouse Pad Offers Wireless Charging for Supported Mice

New Logitech Mouse Pad Offers Wireless Charging for Supported Mice

I’ve never been all that interested in wireless mice for gaming. While they work great for traveling with a laptop, I’m one of those people who frets about battery life in my devices — call it “click anxiety” instead of range anxiety. Wireless charging has been supported in a variety of devices over the last few years, but nobody apparently thought to combine the use of a wireless charging pad with the hardware that could best benefit from it — at least, not until now.
Logitech’s new G Powerplay mouse and accompanying surfaces (both cloth and hard surface) are a “Have your cake and eat it too” solution that continuously tops up the mouse’s charge while you play. There’s a video of the platform in action below. The mouse pad you choose fits on top of the Powerplay base, where the Lightspeed receiver is embedded.

The G Powerplay is compatible with two different Logitech mice, the G703 and the G903. The base specs on the mice are the same — they support Windows 7 – Windows 10, have a ..

Microsoft Exec: PS4 Pro Competes With Xbox One S, not Xbox One X

Microsoft Exec: PS4 Pro Competes With Xbox One S, not Xbox One X

Microsoft’s Xbox One X, née Project Scorpio, has been a major topic at E3 2017. As we’ve previously written, the updated console packs considerably more firepower than anything Sony currently has on the market, though it’ll also debut at a higher $499 price as opposed to the PS4 Pro’s $399. According to Microsoft’s Phil Spencer, that premium position is no accident. It’s a reflection of who the Xbox One X is meant to appeal to, and should signify that the console really doesn’t have any competition.
“I look at Pro as more of a competitor to S than I do to Xbox One X,” Spencer told Eurogamer in an extensive interview. “This is a true 4K console. If you just look at the specs of what this box is, it’s in a different league than any other console that’s out there. When I think about techniques to somehow manufacture a 4K screen like what some other consoles try to do, this is different than that.

“This is 40 per cent more GPU,” he continued. “The amount of RAM we have in this, the spe..

E3 2017 Proves Sony Hasn’t Forgotten Beloved Franchises, PSVR

E3 2017 Proves Sony Hasn’t Forgotten Beloved Franchises, PSVR

E3 2017 has been really weird. Not only is the show itself morphing into a consumer-focused entity, but the press conferences have been oddly muted this go ’round. At last night’s Sony event, only a single person (Shawn Layden, CEO of SIEA) spoke on stage, and the rest of the night was made up of only music and trailers. But in spite of the wonky presentation, it’s crystal clear that Sony is doubling down on games — including VR titles.
During Microsoft’s press event on Sunday, we saw a similar scenario play out: A minimal stage presence; mostly trailers for new games and DLC. Still, Redmond had shiny new hardware to show off, so it felt more substantial. On the Sony side, it was little more than trailers with crowd cutaways.

Heavy-hitting exclusives like God of War, Spider-Man, and Days Gone got some attention, and the surprising Shadow of the Colossus reboot was there to please the diehard Sony fans.
However, DLC for Horizon: Zero Dawn and a follow-up to Uncharted 4 were among th..

Microsoft Adds Local Multiplayer From the Original Xbox to the Xbox One X

Microsoft Adds Local Multiplayer From the Original Xbox to the Xbox One X

Update: The original version of this story referred to the Xbox GPU as being derived from the GeForce 2 generation of GPUs. It was actually a modified GeForce 3. ExtremeTech regrets the error.
Once upon a time, if you wanted to play multiplayer on a game console, you had to do it with a common television and multiple controllers. This worked plenty well, if you had the right setup — I spent more than a few nights at college slugging it out against friends in Mario Kart — but local multiplayer on a common screen has been superseded by remote multiplayer across multiple consoles in many titles.

Whether one option or the other is “better” is a topic best evaluated on a game-by-game basis, but plenty of gamers have wished for more cooperative or split-screen options when playing. Now, according to Microsoft’s E3 show, some of those options are coming back to the Xbox One. Marketing director head Alex Penello confirmed in a tweet that these options would be available across all four Xbo..

Microsoft’s 4K-Ready Xbox One X Launches November 7th at $499

Microsoft’s 4K-Ready Xbox One X Launches November 7th at $499

During last night’s E3 press conference, Microsoft unveiled the finished version of its long-awaited half-step console. Dubbed “Xbox One X,” this high-powered gaming machine is designed for full-on 4K gaming and media playback. And when it ships on November 7th, it’ll cost $499 — twice that of the current Xbox One S.
The console formerly known as Scorpio is Microsoft’s answer to the PS4 Pro, and a compelling offering for gamers with deep pockets. After the somewhat disastrous original Xbox One launch, Redmond has learned its lesson about cutting corners. With a UHD Blu-ray drive, Dolby Atmos support, and blazing internals, Xbox head Phil Spencer isn’t fooling around.

SpecsGoing in, we had a fairly good idea of what the specs would look like. We’re getting a 6-teraflop GPU at 1.172GHz, a high-end liquid-cooled vapor chamber for heat management, 12GB of GDDR5 RAM, and a whopping 326GB/s of memory bandwidth. By all accounts, these internals can provide honest-to-goodness 4K gameplay with..

Microsoft Files Trademark Application for ‘DirectReality’ as E3 Approaches

Microsoft Files Trademark Application for ‘DirectReality’ as E3 Approaches

Microsoft has been teasing its E3 show for the past week or so, with hints about Project Scorpio. Now, we know the company is possibly looking to emphasize VR or AR with a new trademark filing for DirectReality. The single-word trademark describes itself as applying to “Computer software; computer game software; computer software for holographic applications… Online computer software; online computer game software; online computer software for holographic applications; Software as a Service (SaaS).”
There’s been a lot of chatter about whether this means VR, AR, or something altogether different. On the surface, it invites comparison to DirectX, Microsoft’s API for tasks related to multimedia programming, including video playback, gaming, 2D graphics, and GPU compute. The name “DirectReality” aligns well with the names of these other components. Direct3D (which is what most people mean when they reference DirectX) is a single word, as is Direct2D, DirectWrite, and DirectCompute. The API..

CD Projekt Red: Hackers Are Ransoming Stolen Game Data

CD Projekt Red: Hackers Are Ransoming Stolen Game Data

Polish game developer CD Projekt Red has built up a rabid fan base thanks to its work on The Witcher games, most recently the widely praised The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The company has long been working on another game not connected to the Witcher universe, known as Cyberpunk 2077. According to a statement on Twitter, CD Projekt Red has been hacked and game files from Cyberpunk 2077 are in the hands of unknown people who are demanding money for their return.
Cyberpunk 2077 is supposed to be an open world RPG not entirely unlike The Witcher games, and it will be running in CD Projekt Red’s custom REDengine 4. The game was announced way back in 2012, but there’s been little information about what the final game will be like — we don’t even know if it will be played in first or third-person. It’s based on the Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop role-playing game, which itself is based on the works of William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and other authors in the cyberpunk genre.

With The Witcher 3 being ..

Gamers Claim to Want Backwards Compatibility. Why Don’t They Use It?

Gamers Claim to Want Backwards Compatibility. Why Don’t They Use It?

A brace of news reports this week highlighted an interesting scenario in console world (and arguably for PCs as well, though I’ll address that separately). First, Sony executive Jim Ryan was openly dismissive of backwards compatibility as a major focus or feature for the PS4, noting that few console players actually took advantage of the feature when it was available and that it wasn’t seen as important within Sony.
“When we’ve dabbled with backwards compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much,” said Ryan, in an interview with Time. “That, and I was at a Gran Turismo event recently where they had PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 games, and the PS1 and the PS2 games, they looked ancient, like why would anybody play this?”

Second, a report from Ars Technica on how Xbox One and Xbox 360 users actually use their devices was released. The report includes information on how they gathered their data and the caveats to how it should be treat..

How BioWare Went Wrong With Mass Effect Andromeda

How BioWare Went Wrong With Mass Effect Andromeda

Just over five years ago, BioWare released Mass Effect 3, the final title in the original Mass Effect trilogy and the most controversial of them all due to its various endings and how player choices did — or, more accurately, didn’t — impact the endgame outcome. BioWare would later take the unprecedented step of patching the game’s ending in an attempt to placate angry fans. But while the game was controversial, it also did quite well, with over 6 million copies sold by January 2017.
It would’ve been extremely difficult to follow up the plot of Mass Effect 3 with a new sequel that took place with the original cast of characters, and BioWare opted not to try. Instead, the next ME game would focus on an entirely new galaxy with new alien species, a fresh cast of characters, and a plot arc that only tenuously connected to the original Mass Effect universe.

The new game would focus explicitly on planetary exploration, which was an interesting departure from the original three titles. M..

HP Omen Accelerator Adds External GPU, SSD, and More for Laptop Gaming

HP Omen Accelerator Adds External GPU, SSD, and More for Laptop Gaming

For the past few years, companies like Alienware and Razer have worked to push the idea of external GPU boxes as upgrades for PC laptops. Alienware has had their own solution, customized for their own systems, while companies like Intel, AMD, and Razer teamed up to create the XConnect platform last year. We’re finally seeing more OEMs opting for this approach, and HP’s new Omen Accelerator extends it from graphics into other performance areas as well.
Unlike other GPU accelerators we’ve seen, the new Omen Accelerator will include a 2.5-inch dock for an SSD and gigabit Ethernet support, with an integrated 500W PSU to support the entire affair. HP has stated that the dock will support GPUs that can draw up to 300W (that likely refers to sustained power draw). It echoes some of the configurations we expected a year ago when AMD’s XConnect first debuted. Four USB ports and a USB-C port are also provided at the rear of the chassis, as shown in the image below:

Base price for the Omen Accel..

macOS 10.13 High Sierra Focuses on Performance, Launches Fall 2017

macOS 10.13 High Sierra Focuses on Performance, Launches Fall 2017

On stage at today’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote, Apple SVP Craig Federighi gave us a glimpse at the next version of macOS: High Sierra. Drug jokes aside, this derivative name harkens back to the days of Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion — polish-focused releases that eschew loads of flashy new features in favor of performance and quality of life improvements.
Some new and notable user-facing features include HEVC video support, enhanced privacy controls for Safari, faster web rendering, better text-to-speech, and more sophisticated editing tools included in the Photos app. To be sure, those are all excellent improvements, but we’re obsessed with two features in particular: The new file system and VR support.

File systems are easy to forget about. They’re not sexy like virtual reality or sassy AI secretaries, but they play a major role in the overall computing experience. Speed, resilience against corruption, data security, and ease of search are all impacted by which f..

First Voice Chat Headset for Nintendo Switch Requires Smartphone, Dongle

First Voice Chat Headset for Nintendo Switch Requires Smartphone, Dongle

You’d think the question of how to connect headsets to game consoles would be a settled issue by now, given that voice chat has been a standard feature of Xbox and PlayStation games for years. Nintendo, however, has never supported such options in the same way. Prior to the Switch, voice chat was implemented on a per-game feature in selected titles. Earlier this year, Nintendo announced that it would use a smartphone app for many of its basic matchmaking and lobby functions, as well as for handling voice chat capabilities. The third-party peripheral manufacturer Hori has released a diagram showing how its new, Splatoon 2-themed headset will work, and the diagram isn’t exactly simple.

Hori is clearly trying to inject some custom design into the process — the squid-shaped splitter echoes some of Splatoon’s themes — but there’s no denying how bass-ackwards this entire setup is. You’ve got a splitter for a smartphone and the Switch (Buy now on Amazon), with a third cable for the headse..

Rime Devs, Pirates Spar Over Whether Denuvo DRM Slows Down the Game

Rime Devs, Pirates Spar Over Whether Denuvo DRM Slows Down the Game

There’s always been a tug-of-war between pirates, developers, and the purveyors of various DRM solutions. Over the years, we’ve seen a variety of DRM schemes come and go, with varying degrees of effectiveness. Over the last few years, one system, Denuvo, has developed a reputation for being difficult to crack. At one point pirates thought the system might be uncrackable, and while that’s since proven untrue, Denuvo is still used by some games for at least short periods of time as a way to boost sales. Now, there’s a three-way argument over Rime, an adventure-puzzle game released on May 26, over whether the Denuvo DRM baked into the title is slowing down the game.
According to the cracker, known as Baldman, Rime implements Denuvo by conducting hundreds of thousands of “trigger” events per second to ensure that the version of the game being used is, in fact, legitimate, as described below:

Click to enlarge.
Rime’s developers, it should be noted, take some exception to this. According..

Seagate, Microsoft Debut Xbox One Storage Options With Game Pass

Seagate, Microsoft Debut Xbox One Storage Options With Game Pass

Seagate and Microsoft have teamed up before to offer Xbox-branded external storage options, and the storage manufacturer has recently refreshed its product line to match the style of last summer’s Xbox One S. Beyond that, however, these new drives also offer a several-month subscription to Microsoft’s new Xbox Game Pass subscription service.
We haven’t covered Game Pass before, so let’s take a moment to do so. Game Pass is, to some extent, an answer to Sony’s PlayStation Now game-streaming service, but there are some key differences between the two. Like the Sony program, Microsoft’s has a monthly fee attached — $9.99 — but unlike Sony, these games aren’t streamed to you as you play them. Instead, you download them directly, which is where Seagate comes in. With game download sizes ballooning in recent years, it’s not exactly difficult to fill the base storage that modern consoles ship with.

Some of the titles available in Microsoft’s new service.
While the Xbox One is compatible w..

AMD’s Epyc Servers Launch June 20, Consumer Vega GPUs Follow in July

AMD’s Epyc Servers Launch June 20, Consumer Vega GPUs Follow in July

AMD made a number of concrete announcements at Computex, building on what we heard from the company last week and the week before at its Financial Analyst Day. AMD has confirmed that its Epyc server family, which we’ve covered several times in the last few weeks, will launch on June 20th. AMD doesn’t expect a quick server ramp — CEO Lisa Su has told investors that the company will bring up production over the next few quarters — and has set a goal of retaking 10 percent of the data center business. To put that in perspective, Intel’s data center business was worth $17.2 billion in 2016. Even a 5 percent revenue share, half of AMD’s current target, would be worth about $215 million per quarter to AMD, and those are high-margin dollars that improve the company’s overall financials.
Threadripper, with up to 16-cores, 32 threads, quad-channel memory, and AMD’s new X399 platform, will also debut later this summer, though the company hasn’t given a launch date beyond “later this summer.” All..

AMD’s Epyc Servers Launch June 20, Consumer Vega GPUs Follow in Late July

AMD’s Epyc Servers Launch June 20, Consumer Vega GPUs Follow in Late July

AMD made a number of concrete announcements at Computex, building on what we heard from the company last week and the week before at its Financial Analyst Day. AMD has confirmed that its Epyc server family, which we’ve covered several times in the last few weeks, will launch on June 20th. AMD doesn’t expect a quick server ramp — CEO Lisa Su has told investors that the company will bring up production over the next few quarters — and has set a goal of retaking 10 percent of the data center business. To put that in perspective, Intel’s data center business was worth $17.2 billion in 2016. Even a 5 percent revenue share, half of AMD’s current target, would be worth about $215 million per quarter to AMD, and those are high-margin dollars that improve the company’s overall financials.
Threadripper, with up to 16-cores, 32 threads, quad-channel memory, and AMD’s new X399 platform, will also debut later this summer, though the company hasn’t given a launch date beyond “later this summer.” All..

Nvidia-powered Max-Q Laptops Target Thin and Light Gaming

Nvidia-powered Max-Q Laptops Target Thin and Light Gaming

Most gaming laptops are very obviously gaming laptops thanks to their substantial girth and weight. After all, it takes a lot of cooling to keep a high-power GPU running in such a small case. Nvidia is looking to change that with the Max-Q technology it announced at Computex in Taipei. By optimizing performance, Max-Q can make gaming laptops with a desktop-class GTX 1080 almost as thin as a standard ultraportable notebook.
Max-Q takes its name from the aerospace industry, where it means the point at which aerodynamic stress on the craft is at its highest. Therefore, all engineering tolerances are developed with Max-Q in mind. It’s similar with Nvidia’s Max-Q, which is a combination of both hardware and software. Each laptop with Max-Q technology has to be developed in partnership with Nvidia in order to tune the performance. These devices will all run GTX 1080, 1070, or 1060 GPUs, and these are the same core components you’d find in a giant desktop video card.

The design of Max-Q g..

AMD’s RX Vega Won’t Launch Until Later This Year

AMD’s RX Vega Won’t Launch Until Later This Year

AMD’s Radeon Technology Group (RTG) held a Reddit AMA session yesterday and answered a number of questions about their upcoming Vega GPU. Those of you hoping for a quick launch are going to be disappointed. While the company demoed and discussed its Vega Frontier Edition this week at its financial analyst day, the company will not be launching a consumer Vega GPU at Computex or in June. The Frontier Edition, for professionals and scientists, will absolutely run games. But Raja recommends rather strongly that consumers not buy one if they’re looking for any kind of value on the purchase (as it happens, we agree, since professional cards are vastly more expensive than their consumer counterparts).
Here’s that particular section of the AMA:

We’ll be showing Radeon RX Vega off at Computex, but it won’t be on store shelves that week. We know how eager you are to get your hands on Radeon RX Vega, and we’re working extremely hard to bring you a graphics card that you’ll be incredibly prou..

Are Valve and Steam Helping PC Gaming or Hurting It?

Are Valve and Steam Helping PC Gaming or Hurting It?

When Valve launched Half Life 2 back in 2004, it didn’t just ship the sequel to one of the greatest first-person shooters ever made. Bundled along, as a mandatory component of the experience, was a service called Steam. Gamers, including those who bought boxed copies of the title in their local computer stores or GameStop (back when GameStop had a PC section) had to sign up for a Steam account and register the game online. The nascent Steam servers promptly buckled under the load, and the reaction from PC gamers was harsh, to say the least. Gamers hated Steam when it debuted, which makes it all the stranger that the service has gone from a loathed component required for a specific title to the primary means of delivery for nearly every PC game.
Over at Polygon, Tim Colwill has written a lengthy article on how “Good Guy Valve’s” reputation is both unearned and, in some cases, directly contrary to its own actions. He writes: “Perhaps Good Guy Valve did exist, at one time. But beneath the..

Star Trek: Discovery’s First Real Trailer Finally Drops

Star Trek: Discovery’s First Real Trailer Finally Drops

It’s been well over 18 months since CBS first announced that it would bring a new Star Trek TV show to television, and we’ve still only gotten bits and pieces of information about the first new Trek property on the small screen in over a decade. The show, Star Trek: Discovery, has been through several retoolings, including the addition (and departure) of Brian Fuller. Now, the first “real” trailer for the TV show has finally leaked — and while it answers some questions about the show’s premise and characters, it raises plenty of others.
Before you hit “Play” on the video, here are the salient facts to know: Star Trek: Discovery is set ten years before the events of the original series and takes place in the original timeline, not the alternate future the Romulan Nero created when he traveled back in time, killed George Kirk, and later destroyed Vulcan. Its lead character is Commander Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Unlike previous Star Trek sh..

What Is Mixed Reality, and Can It Take Augmented Reality Mainstream?

What Is Mixed Reality, and Can It Take Augmented Reality Mainstream?

The term “mixed reality” has been thrown about a lot as of late, but pinning down a precise definition has proven elusive. After spending the day at Stanford University’s SCIEN-hosted workshop, which was full of augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) luminaries, it appears the one thing everyone can agree on is there isn’t a standard definition for either term. Let’s see if we can do a bit better.
AR now covers a broad spectrum, from Instagram Stickers and Pokemon Go, to sophisticated onsite walkthroughs of rooms of virtual furnishings. Technically, MR covers that, plus virtualized surroundings as context for physical objects–for example, visiting an appliance showroom and seeing an oven nestled in a model of your kitchen.

For now, though, high-end AR companies have adopted MR as a marketing buzzword to describe Head Mounted Displays (HMDs), which present an integrated view of digital content and the real world as seen through the mostly transparent goggles. Loosely speaking..

Prey’s Demo Is Well-Optimized on PS4 and Xbox One

Prey’s Demo Is Well-Optimized on PS4 and Xbox One

Last year, Bethesda ruffled many feathers by announcing that reviewers will no longer get early access to new games. So with this week’s release of Prey, the reboot of the tumultuous franchise of the same name, Bethesda can’t rely on pre-release reviews to help move copies. Their solution? Bring back the good ol’ days of the pre-release demo!
If you’re curious about how well Prey looks and plays on consoles, you can see for yourself with the “Opening Hour” demo on both PS4 and Xbox One. We’ve spent some time with the demo running on the PS4, and found it to be entertaining if a bit hammy at times.

Dan Stapleton, writing on our sister site IGN, likes this solution so much that he calls it a “model for the future of demos.” That’s high praise — especially when you consider the long history of hostility between developers and the press over this title.
While you’d expect a new game coming out of Arkane Studios to be running on either the id Tech engine or its derivative Void engine, P..

Nintendo Hopes You’ll Love the Switch So Much, You’ll Buy More Than One

Nintendo Hopes You’ll Love the Switch So Much, You’ll Buy More Than One

Back in the 1960s, Alka-Seltzer found an incredible way to double its sales volume. It involved no new products, no dramatic advertising campaigns, and no celebrity spokespeople or clever jingle. The company simply started showing two tablets dropping into water, rather than just one. This didn’t quite double sales, but it did send them soaring — and the rest, as they say, is history.
Nintendo seems to be betting that it can sell the Switch similarly, despite having previously forecast that supplies will remain constrained through the end of the year. In an investor Q&A session, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima gave some additional information on what Nintendo plans to do through the end of the year and how it’s thinking about its new console property.

According to Kimishima, Nintendo is on track to build more than 10 million Switches this year, up from 2.74 million shipped in its last fiscal year (Nintendo’s fiscal year isn’t aligned to the calendar year). Interestingly, Kimis..

How Do SSDs Work?

How Do SSDs Work?

Here at ExtremeTech, we’ve often discussed the difference between different types of NAND structures — vertical NAND versus planar, or multi-level cell (MLC) versus triple-level cells (TLC). Now, let’s talk about the more basic relevant question: How do SSDs work in the first place, and how do they compare with new technologies, like Intel Optane?
To understand how and why SSDs are different from spinning discs, we need to talk a little bit about hard drives. A hard drive stores data on a series of spinning magnetic disks, called platters. There’s an actuator arm with read/write heads attached to it. This arm positions the read-write heads over the correct area of the drive to read or write information.

Because the drive heads must align over an area of the disk in order to read or write data (and the disk is constantly spinning), there’s a non-zero wait time before data can be accessed. The drive may need to read from multiple locations in order to launch a program or load a file,..

Nintendo Defends Killing NES Classic, Even With 2.3 Million Sold

Nintendo Defends Killing NES Classic, Even With 2.3 Million Sold

Most companies, having unexpectedly stumbled into an extremely popular product, would gear up for production, hire more people, increase supply, and ride the revenue train for as long as they could. Nintendo is not most companies. According to Reggie Fils-Aimé, the company killed the NES Classic Edition after selling 2.3 million units, because it had a lot of other stuff to do.
“We had originally planned for this to be a product for last holiday,” Fils-Aimé told Time. “We just didn’t anticipate how incredible the response would be. Once we saw that response, we added shipments and extended the product for as long as we could to meet more of that consumer demand.”

This is an absurd justification. Nintendo isn’t a fly-by-night startup struggling with its production chain or a cash-strapped newcomer in a crowded market. Despite the Wii U’s complete failure and the 3DS’ waning sales, the company reported $2.4 billion in profits through 2016. Nintendo has longstanding relationships with..

Sony Announces 60 Million PS4s Shipped–Can Microsoft Catch Up?

Sony Announces 60 Million PS4s Shipped–Can Microsoft Catch Up?

Sony shared good news last week as part of its quarterly report. The company has shipped a full 60 million PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro ($399 at Amazon) consoles. The company also sold 2.9 million devices in the past three months, up from 2.3 million devices shipped in the same period last year. That’s a significant achievement given the PS4 is now a mature console, and it implies Sony has had good luck with its PS4 Pro hardware refresh cycle.
Exact details on how the PS4 Pro is selling compared with the conventional PS4 remain elusive. In mid-March, Media Create estimated Sony had sold 200,000 PS4 Pros in Japan alone since launch, which isn’t great compared with the 4.5 million PS4s it sold in that country since the console debuted. On the other hand, Sony’s CFO Kenichiro Yoshida told investors back in February that “PS4 Pro is running as we had expected, as we assumed, but Pro maybe is doing more than we anticipated.”

Product sales by division, in millions of units.
This year, Sony ..

Nintendo Announces New 2DS XL, Returns to Clamshell Design

Nintendo Announces New 2DS XL, Returns to Clamshell Design

A few years back, Nintendo launched a low-cost follow-up to its 3DS. The 2DS was a slate instead of a clamshell, and it dropped the 3D capabilities Nintendo built into the 3DS, all while selling for a lower price ($129 at launch compared with $170 for the 3DS at the time). Now, Nintendo has released a new budget-oriented version of its 3DS XL, the New 2DS XL.

The New 2DS XL drops the slate form factor that the 2DS favored and returns to a clamshell design. As the name implies, the “2DS” still can’t handle the stereoscopic 3D effects that the 3DS uses — though these were generally limited to eye candy and minimal changes, unless you consider high battery life consumption to be a feature. Otherwise, the hardware between the New 3DS XL and New 2DS XL is identical, though not always laid out in the same fashion. The front camera has been moved to the hinge on the 2DS XL, while the rear camera is now on the bottom of the system. This means the New 2DS XL should also feature a quad-core ..

Nintendo Switch Sales Boom, Could Surpass Wii U in Just Over a Year

Nintendo Switch Sales Boom, Could Surpass Wii U in Just Over a Year

When Nintendo announced the Switch, many weren’t quite sure what to make of it, or how much of an opportunity it represented. The platform’s hybrid living room / portable mode was something new and the launch lineup was frankly anemic. Fortunately for Nintendo, all of these issues have proven minor hiccups rather than show-stopping problems. The Switch ($299.99 at Amazon) is reported to have sold 2.74 million units in March, with Nintendo claiming it now expects to ship up to 10 million Switches this year. The Wii U, for comparison’s sake, sold 13 million consoles throughout its entire run.
What’s even crazier is, some analysts think Nintendo is actually lowballing its estimates. Ace Research Institute’s Hideki Yasuda projects the company could sell up to 15 million systems. Nintendo expects its profits to surge on these results, up to $585 million for its fiscal year (Nintendo’s new fiscal year began on April 1). The game company is expected to ramp up advertising and marketing for it..

AMD Updates Ryzen’s Windows Power Plan, Boosts Performance With New Chipset Driver

AMD Updates Ryzen’s Windows Power Plan, Boosts Performance With New Chipset Driver

When AMD launched Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 earlier this year, it recommended that reviewers test with Windows 10’s power plan set to “High Performance,” as opposed to the “Balanced” configuration we typically prefer for testing and that Windows uses by default. Now, the company has released a new chipset driver that will add and automatically activate a power profile that gives Ryzen more control over its own power states.
The problem initially occurred because of a mismatch in how AMD’s SenseMI technology operates compared with Windows’ native power management. SenseMI is AMD’s brand name for a set of technologies related to power management, fine-grained clock speeds, and prefetch behaviors. In this case, AMD designed SenseMI to make changes to the CPUs clock and voltage with as little as 1ms latency between frequency and voltage shifts. The problem is, this runs counter to Windows 10’s own power management, which sets higher thresholds and longer timers when transitioning in and out of P..

New Graphics Comps Highlight Project Scorpio’s 1080p, 4K Prowess

New Graphics Comps Highlight Project Scorpio’s 1080p, 4K Prowess

Microsoft is working to build buzz behind the scenes for its upcoming Project Scorpio and what that console can do in 4K. The company has a heavy lift in front of it — Scorpio is more powerful than Sony’s PS4 Pro, but Sony has a 12-month first mover advantage and approximately double the Xbox One’s install base. That discrepancy is having real impacts on Microsoft’s ability to land exclusive titles for its console, and exclusives are still an important part of how consoles differentiate from one another, even if they aren’t as important as they used to be.
Windows Central has gotten its hands on technical assets from various demos Microsoft has put together. These demos don’t use game assets, but they are indicative of how developers can leverage the improved performance of Project Scorpio over and above what’s offered by the Xbox One. We’ve got some highlights here; for full details and comparisons check Windows Central’s article.

First, here’s 1080p versus downsampled 1080p, vers..

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Is a Phenomenal Performer on the Switch

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Is a Phenomenal Performer on the Switch

If you’re on the fence about the Nintendo Switch, you might just change your mind by the time the weekend rolls around. On April 28th, an updated version of Mario Kart 8 is being released on Nintendo’s new hybrid console, and it’s getting rave reviews.
Back on the Wii U, Mario Kart 8 sold over 8 million copies, and received excellent review scores. For example, it earned an “Amazing” score of 9.0/10 on our sister site IGN. And based on 82 reviews aggregated on Metacritic, number 8 has an average score of 88/100. Even though the Wii U could only handle the game at 720p, it was visually striking, and it played like a dream. And in spite of the social limitations of the online mode, it’s still incredibly fun to race against 11 other real people.

Now on the Switch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe doesn’t have much to offer in the innovation department, but it still ranks as the most impressive Mario Kart release to date. Running at a native 1080p while docked, and maintaining 720p in handheld mode..

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