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Intel Launches Low-Power, High-Performance Silvermont Microarchitecture

Intel Corporation today took the wraps off its brand new, low-power, high-performance microarchitecture named Silvermont. The technology is aimed squarely at low-power requirements in market segments from smartphones to the data center. Silvermont will be the foundation for a range of innovative products beginning to come to market later this year, and will also be manufactured using the company's leading-edge, 22nm Tri-Gate SoC manufacturing process, which brings significant performance increases and improved energy efficiency.

"Silvermont is a leap forward and an entirely new technology foundation for the future that will address a broad range of products and market segments," said Dadi Perlmutter, Intel executive vice president and chief product officer. "Early sampling of our 22nm SoCs, including "Bay Trail" and "Avoton" is already garnering positive feedback from our customers. Going forward, we will accelerate future generations of this low-power microarchitecture on a yearly cadence."

Treyarch says Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Doesn't Need a New Engine to Advance Graphics

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 doesn't need a brand new game engine to improve the graphics over previous games in the series, Treyarch has insisted. Black Ops 2 is built using the latest, most advanced version of the engine that Call of Duty developers have used to build the first-person shooter series since 2005's Call of Duty 2: a heavily modified version of the id Tech 3 engine. Some fans have called on Activision to invest in a brand new graphics engine in order to spruce up Call of Duty's visuals. But Treyarch chief Mark Lamia said continuing to upgrade the current engine was enough to meet the development team's design goals. "People always ask me, 'Is this a new engine?' he told One of Swords. "I liken it to people who live in an older house that has been remodelled. Just because you're remodelling the house and it will look new or it will have a new kitchen, you don't tear out the foundation, or break out some of the framing. You might even go as hardcore as replacing the plumbing, and we will do that sort of thing, as an analogy. It's a gross simplification, but it's one way to say that. There's a lot of good still in that foundation that you wouldn't get rid of, and we don't. We look to advance in the areas that support our game design.

"Engines, each time they get touched, they change. The creators alter them; they don't modify what they don't need to, and then they alter what they need to. You can't make a competitive product if you're not upgrading that engine along the way." He added: "I think the whole thing about a new engine... sometimes that's a great buzzword. Well, I have a new graphics engine - is that a new engine? Where does it start and stop? Elements of the code, you can trace back for a very, very long time... but whole parts of the code are entirely new. Two areas we did focus on for this game were the graphics and the lighting - a pretty significant amount of work is going into that."When Activision announced Black Ops 2 earlier this month it promised a "visual overhaul", with graphical upgrades a mix of "tech and technique". In a demo to press played on an Xbox 360 build of the game, an unpopulated level set on Socotra Island in Yemen showed HDR lighting, bounce lighting, self-shadowing and a new texture technique called reveal mapping - all running at 60 frames per second.

Report: PC Gaming On The Rise

This may not be a surprise to the PC enthusiast community but, the PC gaming market has never been healthier, according to a report from the not-for-profit consortium PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA). The report claims that in 2011, the industry reached a global record $18.6 billion, a growth of 15 percent over the prior year. The report cites burgeoning foreign markets and social games as large factors in the findings. The results of the PCGA's third annual "Horizons" research report found that China is growing at almost twice the rate of the global market, bringing in $6 billion for a total growth of 27 percent. The US, UK, Korea, Japan, and Germany saw increased revenue of 11%, by comparison. Asian companies, in general, are noted for spurring on sales in their markets.

The report also cites Zynga and Nexon (of MapleStory fame) as frontrunners in the PC space. Zynga in particular doubled its revenue to roughly $1.1 billion, putting it on-par with Nexon. Zynga and the German company Bigpoint were noted for pushing the free-to-play model, already popular in Asian territories, into North America and Europe. The report also notes the movers and shakers of big-budget PC games from the western market, like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Rift, along with multiplatform titles like Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Looking forward, the report speculates that the industry will grow to $25.5 billion (37 percent increase) by 2015, thanks to increased broadband penetration and digital delivery. The report is from a PC gaming coalition with a vested interest in trumpeting the industry's health, but even so, the rumors of PC's death have greatly exaggerated.Source: Shacknews

Infinity Ward Lawsuit Going to Trial with EA and CoD Creators

Apparently the war between the original creators of the Call of Duty franchise and Activision is going in front of a jury. The big "he said, the monolithic corporation said" video games kerfuffle of 2010, the fallout from Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vincent Zampella leaving Activision then signing up with Electronic Arts, is indeed going to trial. On Wednesday, a California Superior Court judge denied EA's motion for summary judgement on the complex lawsuit, as well as one from West and Zampella, meaning the big Call of Duty mess will go before a jury next year.

PC CoD Elite No Show: The Backpedal!

Today, we brought you the depressing news that Activision are unlikely to bring the Call of Duty social network called Elite, to the PC platform, despite all their loyal PC gamers, who have bought every iteration of the game going and in particular helped them achieve their blockbuster sales of $400M last week. This delight came courtesy of this tweet:
@thejuggz We are working towards a universal Elite experience but we cannot guarantee if or when a version will be available for the PC.
Well, what do you know, but it looks like Elite is coming to the PC platform after all. Yes, you heard that right. In a tweet a while later, Activision claim to have "misspoken", like this:
We misspoke. Our goal has always been to provide a free PC offering for ELITE. Stay tuned for an update as timing is still being determined.
So PC gamers will at least get the free version. Fantastic. Still second class, but better than nothing. Probably best to keep a close eye on those tweets and a sceptical outlook on this one until it happens. You couldn't make this stuff up.
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