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Netgear Announces Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR700 WiFi Router

NETGEAR , Inc. today debuted during IFA 2018 tradeshow its latest member of the Nighthawk Pro Gaming product family, the Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR700 WiFi Router, the industry's fastest home router for gaming. In addition to its award-winning DumaOS for greater network control over who and how you play, the NPG XR700 router sports cutting-edge hardware with its AD7200 Quad Stream Wave2 WiFi. Whether you're an avid or a casual gamer, the NPG XR700 router will deliver the control you need to dominate opponents in online multi-player scenarios.

Similar to the rest of the award-winning Nighthawk Pro Gaming family, the groundbreaking NPG XR700 router is purpose-built and fine-tuned to address the unique networking challenges of gamers. It optimizes network connections by stabilizing ping, reducing lag spikes, and keeping you always-on with the fastest wired and wireless connectivity for advanced online game play. The XR700 leverages exclusive state-of-the-art gaming software powered by DumaOS for critical pro gaming capabilities such as an intuitive and interactive Gaming Dashboard, a Geo Filter to guarantee local game hosts, and Quality of Service (QoS) to control and eliminate lag. This rich set of software features enables customization and gaming performance unmatched in the router space.

Microsoft at Gamescom 2018: Where's the Heart of Gaming After All?

We stopped by Microsoft's booth at Gamescom 2018 in Koln, Germany, to see what the behemoth company was pushing for its Xbox family of products - and, of course, Windows 10. However, the company's presence lacked most of its heavy-hitters - Halo was absent, Gears of War was as well. In fact, Microsoft's presence at this years' Gamescom was limited to Forza Horizon 4 and Ori and the Will of the Wisps, when it comes to in-house exclusives. Though that McLaren does look great over there, doesn't it? Oh my.

Riding on Strong Azure Performance, Microsoft Crushes Estimates, Jumps 4% in Stock Valuation

Following Microsoft's Earnings report last Thursday, the company enjoyed a smooth uphill with its stock value in after-hours trading. Riding on the strong of greater than expected Microsoft Azure Cloud earnings, Microsoft beat all estimates by a margin: earnings per share were announced at $1.14, versus $1.08 expected (GAAP), and revenue was declared at $30.1 billion, versus $29.2 billion expected. That's an extra billion dollars in revenue for all intents and purposes - and stock pricing increased by more than the additional revenue did, with investors expressing confidence on "strong guidance".

Productivity and Business Processes, with Microsoft Office, was up 13% from the year-ago period, to $9.7 billion. Intelligent Cloud, which encompasses the Microsoft Azure cloud-computing platform and related technologies, was up 23%, to $9.6 billion. And More Personal Computing, which includes Windows, the Xbox, and the Surface hardware business, was up 17%, to $10.8 billion (7% up in the Windows business alone). The Azure folder was the one with the most growth, by far: it saw revenue growth of 89% from the same period in 2017. LinkedIn revenue went up 37% from the same time last year, and gaming revenue saw a 39% increase - a boost not related to hardware, but Xbox software and services, which accounted for 36% of that figure. The Surface business is up 25% from this time last year, something Microsoft credits to both a strong hardware lineup this year and a less than stellar 2017 performance.

Xbox Architect Rob Wyatt Joins the Atari VCS Team

Atari - one of the world's most iconic consumer brands and interactive entertainment producers - today announced that game platform architecture expert Rob Wyatt and his Boulder, Colorado-based company Tin Giant, are officially joining the Atari VCS team. Wyatt, an expert in GPU Hardware and 3D graphics, has worked on everything from hardware design to graphics applications for a variety of well-known game systems and software platforms. While at Microsoft, Wyatt held roles on the development teams on DirectX and the Windows kernel before becoming the system architect of the original Xbox game console. Wyatt later contributed to the graphics systems of the PlayStation 3 before moving on to become the graphics architect at Magic Leap, an augmented reality startup. Along the way, he has also lent his expertise to many AAA video games and high-end movie special effects.

The Atari VCS is a completely new connected gaming and entertainment device slated to begin shipping in mid-2019. Atari has partnered with chipmaker AMD, who will provide the Atari VCS custom processor featuring Radeon Graphics Technology. The operating system of the Atari VCS is based on Linux, and the platform's highly-anticipated open Sandbox will allow users to create and port additional content to personalize their experience.

Microsoft and Razer Collaborating on New Gaming Keyboards and Mice for Xbox

Microsoft has been in and out of the PC gaming peripherals business with its Sidewinder family, and is heavily invested in gaming with the Xbox console and its ecosystem. The company is looking to expand the functionality of the console to bring more PC-like input to the console for certain game genres that cannot be played well with a gamepad or an Xbox controller. RTS games, for example, require rapid, high-precision pointing, and dozens of macros quickly accessible via a keyboard. Microsoft seems to have decided that it's time Xbox has proper keyboard+mouse input, and so it's collaborating with Razer to design new peripherals.

Microsoft already shared the implementation plans of bringing keyboard+mouse input to the Xbox platform, with game developers earlier this year, so they could either retrofit their released titles, or develop future titles with it (and work on ports of popular RTS games that are exclusive to the PC). This includes two new APIs for the console - "Windows.Input.Devices" and "Windows.UI.Core.CoreWindow," which brings a semblance of the UWP to the console. It also proposed new multi-player matchmaking rules to ensure players with keyboards+mice don't get into lobbies with players that have controllers, and end up with an advantage in genres such as FPS. Razer's Xbox peripherals could be both cost-effective keyboards and mice sold separately from each other; or contraptions such as the Razer Turret, which combine a keyboard, mouse, and mousepad into a single, living room-friendly, wireless device that you can put on your lap. Since UWP on the Xbox also paves the way for certain non-gaming apps, one can expect Razer to bring Synapse and Chroma to the platform.

Rare's Sea of Thieves Now Launched For Xbox, Windows 10

Rare's latest (and first in a long time) original, full fledged video game has just been made available. Done under the umbrella of Microsoft, Sea of Thieves promises to bring back the fun in games, with a ludicrous setting and an entire design philosophy that just speaks "fun". The first-person, multiplayer co-op and player vs. player game has both sea and land fights, treasure and player hunting, so there's enough there to sate the tastes of different players altogether.

Sea of Thieves is part of Microsoft's Game Pass subscription, which means that for $9.99 monthly, users have the chance of trying out the game and playing it, no holds barred, with no additional payment (you can always purchase it for the usual asking price of $59.99/£49.99/€69.99 - and don't you just love the price differences across currencies?) This "Games as a Service" is being hailed as one of the solutions for triple-A game development, bringing companies like Microsoft steady streams of revenue they can then re-inject into their in-house game studios. Furthermore, Sea of Thieves is part of Microsoft's Play Anywhere program - meaning a digital purchase on either Xbox or PC will grant you the ability to play it on both platforms. So go out there and walk the plan, drink rum, shoot some cannons, and drink some gallons of salt water, you old sea dog!

The Raven Remastered is Out Today on PC/Mac and Consoles

The Raven - Legacy of a Master Thief, the classic whodunit adventure by KING Art, has been fully remastered and will be released on PC/Mac, PlayStation 4 and across the Xbox One family of devices including Xbox One X today. The game goes by the name of The Raven Remastered and does not only feature fully remastered animations, lighting and hair in full HD resolution, but also subtitles in French, Spanish and Simplified Chinese for the first time (already available in German, Russian, Polish and Italian).

About The Raven Remastered
London, 1964. An ancient ruby is stolen from the British Museum. At the crime scene: a raven feather. Is somebody trying to follow in the footsteps of The Raven, the legendary master thief who disappeared years before?
Constable Anton Jakob Zellner finds himself in the middle of the kind of murder mystery he so far only knew from reading his favorite crime novels. Nothing is what it seems. Everyone has something to hide. And the Raven is always one step ahead...

NVIDIA Turing is a Crypto-mining Chip Jen-Hsun Huang Made to Save PC Gaming

When Reuters reported Turing as NVIDIA's next gaming graphics card, we knew something was off about it. Something like that would break many of NVIDIA's naming conventions. It now turns out that Turing, named after British scientist Alan Turing, who is credited with leading a team of mathematicians that broke the Nazi "Enigma" cryptography, is a crypto-mining and blockchain compute accelerator. It is being designed to be compact, efficient, and ready for large-scale deployment by amateur miners and crypto-mining firms alike, in a quasi-industrial scale.

NVIDIA Turing could be manufactured at a low-enough cost against GeForce-branded products, and in high-enough scales, to help bring down their prices, and save the PC gaming ecosystem. It could have an ASIC-like disruptive impact on the graphics card market, which could make mining with graphics cards less viable, in turn, lowering graphics card prices. With performance-segment and high-end graphics cards seeing 200-400% price inflation in the wake of crypto-currency mining wave, PC gaming is threatened as gamers are lured to the still-affordable new-generation console ecosystems, led by premium consoles such as the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X. There's no word on which GPU architecture Turing will be based on ("Pascal" or "Volta"). NVIDIA is expected to launch its entire family of next-generation GeForce GTX 2000-series "Volta" graphics cards in 2018.

Razer Lifts the Curtain on New Wolverine Tournament Edition Gaming Controller

Razer, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today unveiled the Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition, an addition to its Razer Wolverine XBOX controller line designed specifically for professional gamers. The new controller retains the ergonomic design and highly praised features of Wolverine Ultimate. Tested and validated by many of the world's best professional esports athletes, the Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition ensures the highest levels of performance and comfort.

"Razer has been great to work with throughout the development of the Wolverine Tournament Edition, taking direct feedback from our professional players and implementing it into the controller," says Alex Gonzalez, Head of Red Reserve's North American Operations. "This process has helped guarantee that the wolverine gives our players the biggest edge over the rest of the competitive scene.

Your PC Will Soon be Able to Become Local Server for Halo 5: Guardians

Microsoft has announced that a Windows UWP app will soon enable your PC to become a local server for your Halo 5: Guardians local LAN parties. this announcement comes ahead of its November 2nd release of the "Overtime" content and fix drop for Halo 5: Guardians that brings with it a plethora of fixes and 4K support for its latest XBOX One X console.

Dubbed the "Halo 5: Guardians Local Server" app, the piece of software will be available for download through the Windows store, turning your computer into a local server so XBOX One consoles in the same network can experience "easy, low-latency Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer matches." The app will also bring support for custom games loading on your server, including those created on your PC through Halo 5: Forge, which arrived on Windows 10 PCs last year. The Local Server app "provides a method for tournament organizers to set up their own events in a scenario that mirrors the environment used for professional matches. With these new options, you can create a local server similar to those used for the Halo Championship Series events, providing an ideal proving ground for everything from professional and amateur competitive teams to friendly tournaments."

Microsoft Kills Off Kinect for Xbox

Microsoft has discontinued Kinect, the gesture-tracking accessory for Xbox which was all the rage a couple of years ago. The company has stopped manufacturing Kinect, and at its last count, sold over 35 million units of it (including standalone units and bundled with Xbox consoles). Gesture and voice recognition flourished as Kinect formed Microsoft's answer to Nintendo Wii and its WiiMotion controller, that enabled sports games in the living room. Kinect added another dimension to it, by taking input from not just your hands' 3D spatial orientation, but also that of your entire body. The accessory also doubled up as a web-camera for your living room. Microsoft plans Windows Mixed Reality headsets to succeed Kinect, as they combine several of its functions with VR and AR.

Microsoft Acknowledges Gaming Performance Issues Under Win 10 Creators Update

Microsoft made considerable noise on their vaulted Game Mode, a Windows feature which made its appearance in their latest Creators Update version of Windows 10. Game Mode was one of the foremost features in the latest Windows update, which was supposed to deliver improved performance in gaming or other full-screen 3D applications, by enabling more of the available CPU and GPU resources to be tapped into by specific applications. Specific CPU (through winding down of non-crucial processes) and GPU (through prioritization of game-related graphics memory allocation) improvements were baked into this latest version; supposedly, only performance improvements should result from this effort on Microsoft's part.

HyperX Reveals Next Generation Cloud Alpha Gaming Headset

HyperX, the gaming division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., today unveiled its next generation gaming headset - HyperX Cloud Alpha. The first gaming headset to feature revolutionary dual chamber technology, Cloud Alpha delivers incredible audio quality designed to enhance the PC, console and mobile gaming experience. Cloud Alpha maintains the DNA of previous award-winning HyperX headsets and replaces the popular HyperX Cloud Gaming Headset, delivering unmatched fit and comfort for extended gaming sessions, as well as rich, textured sound for extraordinary spatial awareness.

"The new HyperX Cloud Alpha is the first gaming headset to include our dual chamber technology to deliver unrivaled sound quality," said Tyler Needles, global audio business manager, HyperX. "Designed and tested in the HyperX labs, Cloud Alpha delivers the best possible audio performance, comfort, and build quality for the ultimate competitive advantage and will be used by top eSports pros globally."

Microsoft Wants in on the Summer Sales: Announces "Ultimate Game Sale"

Summer is getting known more by the amount of game sales than by days spending creating a sunny side up on your skin. After GOG's Summer Sale and Steam's Summer Sale (which is still going strong until July 5th, to the woe of many households), Microsoft has just announced the "Ultimate Game Sale", which is striving to be the game sale to end all others.

Microsoft's sale isn't restricted to a single marketplace, encompassing all platforms where Microsoft does gaming business: Windows Store, Xbox Store, and Windows store. This sale also encompasses hardware, so if you're looking for some, this might be your chance. You'll have to wait for June 30th to get a look at the deals (the sale starts on June 30th and goes on through until July 10th), but you should temper expectations. Microsoft says games on this sale will be available for up to 50% off, which while welcome, isn't that much of a steep discount as it is. If that makes you twitch your face in discontent, you might want to take a selfie, so you can participate on Microsoft's "Ultimate Game Face Sweepstakes".

Metro: Exodus Announced at Microsoft's XBOX E3 Presentation

At Microsoft's XBOX E3 presentation, the worldwide premier trailer for the next in the Metro line of games debuted. Named Metro: Exodus, the new Metro game is expected to continue 4A games' mastering of graphical showcases and of atmospheric game worlds. The new game is still based on Dmitriy Glukhovskiy's books, Metro 2033 and Metro 2035, though there is now a divergence between the game and the story that has already been portrayed in the books.

4A games' have been known for being graphical powerhouses, especially the Redux versions (which you should grab if you already haven't). The new Metro takes away from the previous games' linear exploration towards an open-world approach. The jury, as always, is still out to see in what manner that will impact the studio's focus and storytelling ability. This is one of the more cinematic first-person experiences, if the trailer is anything to go by. Captured in-engine, I have to say this really got my eyeballs staring in awe at the amount of detail and atmosphere in the game world. And did you see those animations? Here's hoping they make the final cut for the 2018 release date of the game. At this time, Metro: Exodus has only been announced for Windows PCs and the XBOX family of consoles. Check the games' trailer after the break.

Microsoft to Launch First-Party Titles for Its Mixed Reality HMDs?

Microsoft has been slowly building up its mixed reality endeavor, by baking in support for the platform in its latest Windows 10 updates, as well as the recent announcements of actual HMDs from hardware partners like HP and Acer. Acer's solution, their Mixed Reality HMD, will ship to developers and customers with a $400 price-tag for both the headset and a pair of 6 DoF controllers, which easily remind users of HTC's Vive and Oculus's Rift controllers. Microsoft's implementation, however, makes away with the Rift's and Vive's ouside-in trackers, only needing to be within "sight" of the sensors on the front of the HMD to which they're connected, thus making them truly world-scale (if at the expense of some sweet swordplay moves, but I digress.)

Upcoming XBOX "Project Scorpio" to Support Freesync 2, HDMI 2.1 VRR

In what could spell very interesting things for the uptake of the Freesync 2 open-standard, Digital Foundry has confirmed that Microsoft's upcoming "Project Scorpio" console will leverage AMD's FreeSync 2 standard so as to improve fluidity of frames. The objective is, as usual, to eliminate tearing and reduce stutter, allowing the GPU to trigger the display refresh rate at exactly the same frequency as it can churn out frames. The FreeSync 2 revision of the open standard is HDR-compatible, which means it supports what is being touted as The Next Big Thing in image quality. Like always, the available FreeSync-supported band will still depend on the panel's actual specifications. Additionally, the Scorpio is going to offer support for the upcoming VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) implemented within the HDMI 2.1 specifications.

Though TV panels don't support either of those standards currently, AMD has teased that FreeSync support on TVs would be possible - and upcoming. If true, and if this FreeSync support were to take off, this might spell an increased uptake on AMD's open standard implementation of VRR over NVIDIA's G-SYNC. The adoption of these VRR technologies would also allow developers to perhaps change their performance targets (say, from 60 FPS to 45 FPS), while also increasing fluidity of games that struggle to maintain their target frame rate. The Scorpio could be the first mainstream piece of tech to offer widespread support for VRR standards, thus increasing the user base and industry adoption rate of this technologies, which can only be good. To say that this adoption spells the death of NVIDIA's proprietary G-SYNC is nothing more than wild, boastful speculation; saying it could drive FreeSync and HDMI's VRR implementation towards mainstream usage is not. And that could mean a slow push of G-SYNC towards a niche PC-monitor solution with reduced uptake from monitor manufacturers.

Microsoft Announces Q2 2017 (Fiscal Year) Results - Beating Expectations

This afternoon, Microsoft had its earnings announcement for the second quarter of their 2017 fiscal year, beating Wall Street expectations with revenue of $26.1 billion (beating estimates of $25.3 billion), net income of $6.5 billion, and earnings per share of $0.83 (predicted at $0.79).

Microsoft has shuffled their product groups around a bit for reporting, and they now have three groups: Productivity and Business Processes, Intelligent Cloud, and More Personal Computing. LinkedIn results, when aggregated to Microsoft's subsequent earnings reports (which have been included separately due to the acquisition having been completed on December 8th 2016), will fall in the first group.

Linksys Introduces the Velop Full Range Router

Linksys, the home router pioneer and first to sell 100 million routers globally, today announced the introduction of Velop, its premier Whole Home Wi-Fi product. Velop is the first Tri-Band modular Wi-Fi system that can be installed in various mesh configurations providing fast and reliable Wi-Fi to the edge of a home network. Velop is designed for performance as well as elegance; it's small enough to be placed anywhere with a clean and attractive look that appeals to everyone. Each Velop "node" is a powerful Tri-Band AC2200 device that serves as router, range extender, access point, and bridge which provides users the future proof technology they need as they bring new and more devices into the home.

Each node is configured during setup by the accompanying Linksys app (available for iOS and Android), which provides the industry's simplest and most intuitive setup leveraging Bluetooth to securely communicate between the mobile device and each node. After setup is complete, the Linksys app serves as a powerful Wi-Fi management tool with useful features, such as guest access, parental controls, device prioritization, and more. Velop helps users get the most out of their broadband subscription by delivering 100% of their Internet speed to the edge of their network. Velop is available in 3-pack, 2-pack and 1-pack options. Linksys is launching Velop globally with retail, ecommerce, and service provider partners, including Best Buy, Amazon, Curry's, PC World, and PCCW.

Resident Evil 7 for PC will support HDR and 4K, No Cross Saves for Steam

Japanese developer and publisher Capcom has publicized that the PC version of their anticipated Resident Evil 7 game will support up to 4K resolutions and HDR. Naturally HDR will remain dependent on being connected to a compatible TV or panel, whereas high resolution support could provide additional levels of image quality through the use of super sampling on screens that do not support such resolutions natively. It is said that HDR will complement the immersive experience, better enabling the game to deliver overwhelming fear and ultimate horror.

As previously revealed by Capcom, Resident Evil 7 will also support cross saves between the PC and Xbox One versions of the game, however this will only be possible if you purchase it for PC on the Windows Store. Resident Evil 7 is also available on Steam and this version will not support cross saving. Resident Evil 7 will be available for PC on the 25 January, 2017.

Seagate Enhances Gaming Experience with New Game Drive for Xbox SSD

Seagate Technology plc, a world leader in storage solutions, today announced the new Game Drive for Xbox SSD, offering elite gamers fast boot and load performance. Designed exclusively for Xbox, it's an ultra-portable way to store this holiday season's most popular AAA titles. The Seagate Game Drive for Xbox SSD uses flash storage to improve the gaming experience. Helping gamers get into the action quicker, the Seagate Game Drive reduces waiting at welcome screens and enables quicker transitions between levels in top titles like Forza Horizon 3 and Gears of War 4.

With limited console internal drive capacity and game install sizes continuing to increase, users are looking for ways to expand storage. With 512GB of capacity, the Seagate Game Drive lets gamers store approximately 15 of their favorite titles and downloadable content. Users can archive less frequently played games on their console and keep a huge library of games at their fingertips on the Seagate Game Drive.

Microsoft XBOX Scorpio SoC Powered by "Polaris" and "Zen"

It looks like Microsoft will overpower Sony in the next round of the console wars, with a more powerful SoC on paper. The new XBOX "Scorpio" 4K Ultra HD game console will feature a custom-design SoC by AMD, which will combine not just a GPU based on the "Polaris" architecture, but also a CPU based on the "Zen" microarchitecture. This is significant because it sees a departure from using 8 smaller "Jaguar" CPU cores, and upshifts to stronger "Zen" ones. The chip could be built on the 14 nm process.

The SoC powering the XBOX Scorpio could feature a CPU component with eight "Zen" CPU cores, with SMT enabling 16 logical CPUs, and a "Polaris" GPU with 6 TFLOP/s of compute power. The combined compute power is expected to be close to 10 TFLOP/s. The Radeon RX 480, for instance features 5.84 TFLOP/s of power at its given clock speed. The CPU and GPU will likely share a common memory interface, belting out a memory bandwidth of 320 GB/s. The silicon muscle of this console should power 4K Ultra HD, 1080p @ 60 Hz HDR, and "good VR" solutions such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Games for the console could leverage DirectX 12.

Microsoft Acquires Havok Physics from Intel

Microsoft acquired Havok Physics, the industry's most popular in-game physics API, from Intel. Microsoft intends to add Havok's IP to its existing tools and platforms, including DirectX 12, Visual Studio, and Azure. Havok will continue to remain accessible to all its existing licensees and partners, including Activision, EA, Ubisoft, Nintendo, and Sony. It currently features in more than 600 AAA game titles across major platforms, such as the PC, PlayStation, Wii, and Xbox.

Next Gen Nintendo Console to Do Away with Optical Disc Media

Nintendo's upcoming high-performance game console, codenamed "Nintendo NX," could be the first major console in 15 years to completely do away with optical disc media. Patent applications covering the console, filed in February by Nintendo, with the USPTO, and unearthed by NeoGAF, describe a console that "is not provided with an optical disc drive." Nintendo is expected to reveal the NX some time in 2016.

This points at a new direction in which Nintendo wants to guide the console gaming industry - one in which an Internet connection is mandatory, games are bought from a centralized marketplace online, downloaded to your console's local storage (HDDs/SSDs), and played. DLCs and in-game purchases are as seamless as possible, and game progress, settings, etc., are stored on the cloud. Such a system already existed for close to a decade, with Xbox Live and PSN, but Nintendo NX will be the first platform to completely do away with optical disc media. This method could also curb piracy, since the only way your console can receive games to play is through that online marketplace.

Google Chooses Vulkan as the 3D Graphics API for Android

Google announced that it chose Vulkan, the next-generation, cross-platform 3D graphics API from Khronos, the people behind OpenGL; as the default API for upcoming versions of its Android operating-system. It currently uses OpenGL ES. GL-ES is widely supported across several embedded platforms, with its most recent update, GL ES 3.2, being released as recently as last week. What makes Khronos particularly interesting is that it's heavily based on AMD Mantle, a low-overhead API that proved its chops against DirectX 11 on the PC platform, before being withdrawn by AMD, in favor of DirectX 12.

Google will be helping developers through the transition between OpenGL ES and Vulkan using a suite of documentation, SDKs rich in compatibility test suits, and more. Vulkan's march to the PC could be a lot less straightforward. It's still being seen as rebranded Mantle, and while AMD announced support for all its Graphics CoreNext GPUs, there's no such announcement from NVIDIA. It could see good adoption with Apple's Mac OS, and desktop *nix. Vulkan could see a lot of popularity with game consoles other than Microsoft Xbox. Sony PlayStation 4, and Nintendo's upcoming console, which use AMD GCN GPUs, could take advantage of Vulkan, due to its lower CPU overhead and close-to-metal optimizations, compared to OpenGL.
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