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Microsoft Confirms E3 2020 Presence, Xbox Series X Details; Sony Makes a Pass on the Expo

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (hence, E3) was, for years, one of those unmissable tech events with an unmistakable gravitas. All companies that actually meant something took attendance to woo the globe with the latest games, entertainment systems, and advances in technology. It still retains most of that glamour, even if some of its sheen is slightly rubbed off already. However, we can expect E3 2020 to the stage for a number of reveals from companies, and one of those companies is Microsoft. Phil Spencer has already confirmed that Microsoft will have a strong presence at E3, and with that being the case, you can expect new games, more information on already announced games (more Halo Infinite, please), and additional information pertaining the company's Xbox Series X games console.

But while some are still betting on E3, others have started to go their own way by organizing their own events. Sony has announced that they will be skipping E3 2020 in favor of hundreds of smaller, yet more globally seeded events, citing that the Entertainment Software Association's (ESA) vision for their 2020 show doesn't exactly align with what Sony is aiming at with its products. Still, you know 2020 will be a packed year for gaming, both in the console and PC spaces.

Console Makers, Publishers Agree to Disclose Loot Box Odds for "Ethical Surprise Mechanics"

We've been covering the loot box controversy for a while on TechPowerUp now. Independently of which side of the fence you're on - that loot boxes are akin to gambling and thus unethical in some of their implementations, or just cold to the entire issue - it's likely good news for everyone that these so-called "surprise mechanics", as they've been called, will now see their odds being disclosed by console makers and publishers.

Entertainment Software Association Puts Its Hat in Court Against Net Neutrality Repeal

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has gone to court to fight against the FCC's plan at averting net neutrality. This is a deep, important issue that's seen rivers of ink flow already; but this take from the association that represents companies such as Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Bethesda, Capcom, Disney, EA, Epic Games, Konami, Magic Leap, Nvidia, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and Warner Bros. comes out to show the impacts that the end of net neutrality could bring about for gamers.

The concerns put forward stand at various levels: one, internet speed throttling could end up giving players negative experiences in connected gaming scenarios (and most games nowadays employ - or try to employ - some sort of online portion as it is). Two, online gaming, by its very nature, sees what could be some solutions to the problem that can be used by other services (such as buffering) unavailable to it. Moreover, the ESA refers the court to troubles in digital game distribution (as ISPs could throttle time and data-consuming digital game downloads.

Digital Purchases Make Up Majority of US Video Game Sales, and Other ESA Stats

In the latest edition of "RTB's Obvious News," I present you with an alarming statistic:

Digital purchases make up most video game sales in the United states at around 74% of purchases, according to a study by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

I know, I can hear it now: "Obvious news is obvious, R-T-B. Why'd you post this? Your news sucks!" etc etc. Believe it or not, I have a reason for bringing this seemingly lame study to your attention, and that's because despite the headline being lame, the study actually contains some interesting tidbits about the gaming market in general.

MSI Announces the Cubi N Palm-sized Desktop

MSI proudly announces an upgrade of its smallest mini-PC to date: the MSI Cubi N. This tiny desktop is built on a concept of nifty technology and a brilliant design to suit the needs of both consumers and businesses. Thanks to the implementation of a wide range of the Braswell Intel processors, users can benefit from a palm-size PC that is now more powerful than ever! It is capable of carrying multiple modular hard disks drives that provide a large base for data storage and has a new fanless design to insure ultra-silent operation.

MSI Cubi N is mountable to a wall by VESA standards or can be combined with an Ultra-HDTV, so the user can enjoy Ultra High-Definition and high quality media entertainment at home. For commercial applications, Cubi N comes with plenty of ports to connect external devices, and is the essence of small, smart computing. The MSI Cubi N is globally available by end of October 2015.

Shuttle Unveils Robust PCs with Built-in Broadwell Core i3, i5 and i7 Processors

Up to now, absolute noiselessness combined with compact dimensions meant sacrificing computing performance. Whenever high performance was called for, an active cooling system always had to be fitted. Shuttle now makes a difference and demonstrates that fanless computers and speed are no longer mutually exclusive.

Shuttle is adding three new models to expand its DS series in one fell swoop. The existing DS57U is now complemented in European stores by the DS57U3, DS57U5 and DS57U7 all with soldered Intel Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors. The four models, all in black, are based on 14 nm Broadwell micro-architecture, featuring extremely low energy consumption and an improved graphics unit.

Club 3D Announces MST Display Hub

Club 3D are proud to announce the world's first Multi Stream Transport (MST) Hub. This practical device is probably the most budget friendly way to add more display devices to existing desktop or mobile systems fitted with a DisplayPort (DP) output.

Display devices have always been an integral part of the PC experience. Whether it is in the form of a desktop monitor, a notebook's embedded panel, or the touch screen of a PC tablet, display devices play a vital role in defining the user's visual experience. Connecting more display devices to existing systems has become increasingly more important. Whether it is for home use, allowing different display devices showing different applications or multimedia, more display devices means more possibilities. Or for corporate use, allowing the productivity per work station to increase drastically if more display devices can be used.

Shuttle Announces X70S All-in-One Desktop

Shuttle Computer Handels GmbH, the European subsidiary of Shuttle Inc., one of the leading developers and manufacturers of compact PC solutions such as the world-renowned XPC Mini-PC Barebones, expands its range of All-in-One PCs with integrated monitors and adds a 46.7 cm (18.5") version to its original 39.5 cm (15.6") machines.

As well as offering a larger display, the new Shuttle All-in-One Barebone X70S also provides significantly more power. For the first time conventional Intel desktop processors can be used for the LGA1155 socket, e.g. Intel Core i3/i5/i7 (up to 65 W TDP, heatpipe-cooled). DDR3 RAM up to a total of 16 GB can be installed in the two SO-DIMM slots. The 5.7 x 46.8 x 36.4 cm (DWH) chassis of the X70S also has space for a 2.5" drive (SSD/HDD) as well as expansions via the Mini-PCIe slot, which can be fitted, for example, with an mSATA module.

VESA Showcases DisplayPort Enabled Product Momentum at International CES

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) today announced the rapid growth of certified DisplayPort products during 2012. Over the last twelve months, the number of certified DisplayPort products increased by 80 percent, further establishing the DisplayPort ecosystem as planned by the personal computer industry to increase display and system performance.

During 2012, DisplayPort certifications have increased across all device categories and have expanded into new categories. Certification in computer monitors has grown 95 percent, projectors 100 percent, and graphics cards 18 percent, and there was a 20 percent increase in cable products. New categories experiencing certification growth include handheld devices, notebooks and adaptors. With the introduction of MyDP (Mobility DisplayPort) the DisplayPort ecosystem has been further extended into the tablet and smartphone market.

New Acer T2 Series Displays Designed to Maximize Touch Benefits of Windows 8

Acer America today is bringing its Acer T2 Series touch displays to customers in the U.S. and Canada. Featuring a premium blend of aesthetics and performance, these slender and elegant monitors include the Acer T232HL with a 23-inch screen and the Acer T272HL with a 27-inch screen. Both displays are Windows 8 compliant, enabling consumers to take advantage of the features in Windows 8 with a 10-point multi-touch screen, whether using a new PC or an old PC upgraded to the new operating system.

The new displays tout edge-to-edge glass in an elegant design that will enhance any room in the home. Supported by an asymmetrical stand, the monitors have an aesthetically-pleasing look. The stand enables users to view images tilted back up to 80 degrees, which is practically flush with the desk for enhancing comfort and ergonomics to make the most of the capacitive-touch capabilities. This tilt feature is especially beneficial for touch-friendly activities like playing games, viewing photo albums and cookbooks as well as Web surfing. The monitors also come with VESA mounts for hanging them on a wall.

ViewSonic Takes TAA Compliant Displays to the Next Level

ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of computing, consumer electronics and communications solutions, today announced four new trade (TAA) compliant VESA mountable displays ideal for corporate, government and education environments -- including the VG2239m-TAA, VG2439m-TAA, VA2251m-TAA and VA2451m-TAA.

"We value our customers, and look to provide them with solution choices that fit their individual needs. As a part of this commitment, we felt it was important to bring our display heritage and expertise to the TAA compliant monitor market to help federal governments get onto GSA Schedule Contracts with a display partner they know and trust," stated Erik Willey, LCD monitor and PC product marketing director at ViewSonic.

Big Dollars Not Enough? SOPA Support Continues To Wither Away

The draconian internet censorship bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) being lobbied for by wealthy big media corporations (mostly fronted by the RIAA/MPAA, News Corporation and the like) and currently being debated in Congress is still losing support wherever one turns. A week ago, we reported that GoDaddy initially supported it, but soon changed its mind as it immediately began to haemorrhage customers. Now, it turns out that many video games companies are also coming out against it and with no pressure against them required.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) is the game industry's trade association and stands firmly behind the much-despised bill, which means that the gaming industry as a whole is deemed to support SOPA. However, while some members openly support it, others just won't say so publically and some of its members actively do not support it, having made official statements to this effect. Here are just three of them:

AOC Announces the Ultra-Slim Aire Black LED Monitor

AOC, the world's largest manufacturer of LCD/LED Monitors and HDTVs, reveals the Aire Black LED, a glossy piano-black monitor featuring one of the world's slimmest display panels. This new all-black addition to the popular AireLED Series offers bonus features like embedded Screen+ software that allows the user to divide the screen into four self-contained work areas. The Aire Black LED monitor comes in 20-inch (e2043Fk, $129), 22-inch (e2243Fwk, $149) and 23-inch (e2343Fk, $179) screen sizes, and is now available at national retailers including Best Buy, Radio Shack, Office Max, Fry's, TigerDirect/CompUSA and PC Richards, among others.

The sleek widescreen Aire Black LED Monitor is one of the slimmest display panels on the market at 12.7 cm throughout. The monitor also offers impressive image quality with a 50,000,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio, 5ms response time, and a DVI-D with HDCP input for the ultimate HD viewing experience. Along with being EPEAT Gold Certified for its green packaging and production, the Aire Black LED Monitor on average consumes only 15 watts of energy and includes an eSaver feature that lets the user preset power conservation modes for the display when the PC is not in use. The monitor's Power Saving Mode uses 50 percent less power, and Standby Mode uses only 0.1W.

ViewSonic Announces VX2258wm Touchscreen Monitor and VPC220T All-in-One PC

ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of computing, consumer electronics and communications solutions, today announced commercial availability of its latest solutions to bring touch compatibility to the desktop - the VX2258wm display and VPC220T all-in-one PC.

"Businesses and consumers alike are engaging with more touch interactive applications," said Sally Wang, senior director of product marketing, ViewSonic. "To address this need, ViewSonic has announced two new multi-touch solutions to enhance the computing experience. The VX2258wm is our first touch screen, energy-efficient monitor display, while our VPC220T is our multi-touch second-generation all-in-one PC, bringing intuitive touch navigation to SMBs and the enterprise."

USB Joins Enthusiast System Architecture

NVIDIA Corporation today announced that the Enthusiast System Architecture (ESA) communications protocol has now officially been adopted by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), paving the way for widespread industry adoption. As a result, the ESA protocol, which details the way PC peripherals can communicate with each other, will now be added into the next revision of the USB human interface device (HID)-class definition. Continued development and refinement on the ESA specification standard will now be controlled by a USB-IF sub-committee, made of up voting members from the USB-IF.

Silverstone TJ10 ESA Edition Available Next Month

Silverstone has informed VR-Zone that Temjin TJ10 ESA Edition is slated to start retailing by the end of February (pricing to be updated later). The difference from the original TJ-10 is that Silverstone has implemented an ESA (Enthusiast System Architecture) controller in the new version that works with ESA certified motherboards to provide full system monitoring and thermal control. What is ESA?

Codemasters and Epic Games Join ESA

Codemasters and Epic Games are the latest publishers to join the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which represents U.S. computer and video game publishers, the ESA announced today. These two new additions bring the association's membership to 29, and highlight the expanding role of the association in the ever-growing computer and video game industry.
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