Apple’s rumored game service wouldn’t include ‘freemium’ titles


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It’s now a little clearer how Apple’s rumored game subscription service might work — including what you wouldn’t get. Bloomberg sources claim the service will bundle paid games (most likely the more popular ones) for a flat monthly rate, and would likely exclude “freemium” games where you need to make an in-app purchase to unlock everything. Don’t expect to get a Fortnite Battle Pass or Super Mario Run, then.

Source: Bloomberg

‘Angry Birds AR’ on iOS lets you fling fowl in the real world


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Angry Birds has already made the leap from smartphones to augmented reality and VR. But now, Rovio is bringing some of those lessons back to the iPhone. With Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs, the latest game in the blockbuster franchise, you’ll be able to take down evil swine in your living room — or anywhere else you can find a flat surface. It uses Apple’s ARKit to construct virtual stages atop the real world, while you use your phone as a slingshot to topple them with irate birds. Isle of Pigs is available for pre-order today on iOS devices, and it’ll officially launch as a free app later this spring (you can bet there will be a plethora of micro-transactions).

The best games for your smartphone


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Sorry, but mobile gaming is the biggest player in the video game market. In 2018, it made almost half of the industry’s global revenue. Smartphone games once existed separately from console and PC titles, but in the wake of titles like Fortnite, it’s all got a little blurry. You’ll find several games in our selection that are also available on your home consoles and PCs, but most of them sing on your smartphone, and the fact that you can play them absolutely anywhere makes up for any other pitfalls. Whether it’s Android or iOS, here’s some crucial games to start with.

Sony finally brings PS4 Remote Play to iPhone and iPad


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The latest update to the PlayStation 4 operating system has a feature that some users have craved for years. From today, the console will now properly sync with iOS devices, giving iPhone and iPad users the ability to game with the PS4 Remote Play app. Given that Sony first launched remote play (for its Xperia Z3) in October 2014, it’s certainly been a long time coming.

Source: App Store (UK), App Store (US), App Store (AU)

Engadget at 15: A look at how much tech has changed


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A lot has changed since Engadget was born, both in the gadgets we use and what we do with them on a regular basis. When the site started in 2004, fitness trackers, voice assistants and electric cars were the stuff of fiction. Now most of these are commonplace, so much so that we put our trust in them on a daily basis. To celebrate Engadget’s 15th birthday, here are 15 things that didn’t exist 15 years ago.

Western Digital’s Black SSD is now focused on gaming, can come with a heatsink


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Western Digital has begun shipping the WD Black SN750, the latest in its popular Black line of performance-oriented, solid-state hard drives. The company is also pivoting the Black brand to be primarily focused on gamers; this is part of an ongoing trend that high-end PC hardware is getting categorized as gamer gear.

Western Digital claims the newest entry will offer an option to help PC gamers reduce risk of throttling-related performance dips. That’s thanks to an optional heatsink add-on, but the company also credits improved performance to firmware refinements. Other than that, the WD Black SN750 is a modest update over its predecessor. Anandtech benchmarked it and saw some performance improvements over the previous drive, but nothing dramatic—and what improvements were there were largely thanks to the firmware.

The SN750 still uses the same 64-layer 3D NAND we’ve seen

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Greetings from CES 2019!


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It feels like CES only just ended, but we’re back in Las Vegas for the 2019 edition and we couldn’t be more excited. Just like always, there will be plenty of cars, TVs and smart appliances. But, we’re here to separate the wheat from the chaff and bring you only the best (or at least the most interesting) tech from CES 2019. The show floor hasn’t even opened yet and already several companies have made a splashincluding Apple, which continues to skip the event in any official capacity. But that hasn’t stopped it from grabbing some attention.

Of course, you don’t want to miss out on all our liveblogs, our three epic days of live stage shows which all culminates with the official Best of CES awards on Thursday at 8pm ET / 5pm PT.

Killing in the name of: The US Army and video games


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Two unlikely allies: the US Military and the video game industry. Who knew?

Two unlikely allies: the US Military and the video game industry. Who knew?

Update: It’s New Year’s Day and Ars staffers are enjoying a winter break (inevitably filled with some wishful vacation research and cooking). As such, we’re resurfacing a few favorites from the site archives—like this look at how the military has used video games (and vice versa). This story originally ran on December 7, 2008, and it appears unchanged below.

The branches of the United States military have had a strong presence in video games since the dawn of the medium, with appearances in genres from primitive arcade shooters to real-time strategy, first-person shooters, scrolling shooters, to the occasional beat-’em-ups. Few of these titles have actually had official military involvement or input, but recently that has begun to change. Not only have the different branches sponsored “official” games, but they have also used serious games to

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Drawn together: The love affair between comics and games


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Ready to save the day, one side quest at a time.

Enlarge / Ready to save the day, one side quest at a time. (credit: Insomniac / Sony)

Update: It’s Christmas Eve and Ars staffers are enjoying a winter break (inevitably filled with Santa horror movies and ample video game time). As such, we’re resurfacing a few favorites from the site archives touching on such topics—like this look at the intertwined lives of comic books and video games. This piece originally ran on November 25, 2008, and it appears unchanged below.

Growing up in the 1980s, video games and comic books were part of the regular media diet for America’s youth. Despite the fact that comics and games often featured similar storylines and protagonists, there was very limited overlap between the two industries; games weren’t yet advanced enough to compete with the rich art of the comic world. Witness: a Wolverine game in 2D, where the titular hero’s main

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Epic pulls its ‘Infinity Blade’ mobile games from the App Store


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Ever since being introduced as Project Sword alongside iOS 4.1 back in 2010, the Infinity Blade games have shown the kind of graphics and action that are possible on Apple’s mobile devices — until now. At the same time owner Epic Games is launching its own game store and pricking Apple over App Store policies that impact its Fortnite juggernaut, the company has decided to pull all three games without warning. In a post the company said “it has become increasingly difficult for our team to support the Infinity Blade series at a level that meets our standards.”

Via: Touch Arcade

Source: Epic Games

Study: Tetris is a great distraction for easing an anxious mind


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A giant Tetris board illuminating the windows of the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality in 2016. Playing Tetris provides a useful distraction during anxious waiting periods.

Enlarge / A giant Tetris board illuminating the windows of the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality in 2016. Playing Tetris provides a useful distraction during anxious waiting periods. (credit: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

There’s nothing worse than waiting to hear potentially upsetting news, whether it’s a bad medical diagnosis or learning if you got into your top college choice. These kinds of stressful periods can produce intense anxiety. Playing Tetris might be the perfect coping mechanism, according to a new study in the journal Emotion.

There have been a number of scientific studies involving Tetris, one of the most popular computer games in the world, in which players flip falling colored blocks every which way in order to neatly stack them into rows. For instance, a 2009 study found that one’s brain activity becomes more efficient the longer one plays Tetris. The more proficient a player becomes, the less glucose the brain

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Those painted sculptures in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey are true to history


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The view of the Athenian Acropolis in <em>Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey</em> shows ancient Greece in all its colorful glory.

Enlarge / The view of the Athenian Acropolis in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey shows ancient Greece in all its colorful glory. (credit: Screengrab courtesy of Dr. Kira Jones)

When Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey debuted earlier this month, it received widespread praise for the quality of its world-building and narrative. Some historians say it also deserves high marks for its attention to historical detail in recreating ancient Greece. Notably, the game showcases colorfully painted statues, temples, and tombs dotted about the virtual city.

Yes, it’s true: contrary to all those pristine, gleaming white marble sculptures we see all the time in museums—the ones we long thought defined the Western aesthetic of the Classical era—Greco-Roman art was awash in color. Art historians have known this for awhile, of course, but the knowledge hasn’t really moved beyond the confines of that rarefied world. That might change, now that it’s a feature in a hugely popular

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Microsoft pulls ‘Minecraft’ for Apple TV due to low demand


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You probably didn’t have a hankering to build Minecraft worlds on your Apple TV, and Microsoft has quietly acknowledged that reality. The company recently started notifying players that it had stopped updating and supporting the Apple TV version of the game on September 24th in order to “reallocate resources to the platforms that our players use the most.” To phrase it differently, there weren’t enough people playing to justify the investment. The game will continue to work, including Marketplace purchases, but you won’t see new features. It’s not available in the App Store, either.

Via: The Verge

Source: Mac-Interactive (Twitter)

War Stories: Serious Sam almost didn’t happen—until crates saved the day


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Video shot by Nikola Mosettig and edited by Lee Manansala. Click here for transcript. Ars would also like to extend special thanks to Croteam members Davor Hunski and Damjan Mravunac, who were instrumental in helping this video project come together.

Welcome to another edition of “War Stories,” where we coerce developers into talking about problems that almost kept them from making the games that made them famous. We’ve previously chatted with the likes of Ultima‘s Lord British, Thief’s Paul Neurath, and Stardock‘s Brad Wardell. Today’s video takes us across the Atlantic to Eastern Europe, to the offices of Croatian developer Croteam—the folks who brought us the classic FPS Serious Sam.

Serious Sam is a fast-paced explosion-fest, filled with Duke Nukem-esque one-liners and gibs galore. Released way back in 2001, the first game spawned a bloody dynasty that continues to this day and even has a

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Elder Scrolls Online will move to Metal from OpenGL


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c/o Khronos

c/o Khronos

Apple’s move to deprecate OpenGL in favour of its own powerful Metal technologies caused the usual suspects to say the move would kill gaming on the Mac. They were wrong, at least according to the people behind The Elder Scrolls Online.

Games developers heavy on Metal

Apple prepared for the move to Metal early on – when it did it chose a standards-compliant way to make it a little easier for developers to move to Metal.

That’s when Khronos introduced open-source tools to port Vulkan applications to Apple’s platforms in early 2018. (You can read an interview I conducted at that time with Khronos Group President Neil Trevett).

Trevett told me that this support would let developers “bring their Vulkan-based applications to macOS and iOS with very little or no re-writing of the GPU compute and rendering functionality.”

Higher specs, higher performance

This appears to be the

PlayStation VR

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Facebook hopes to prove AR is more than selfie filters and games


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As I’m surrounded by software engineers in a conference room with no natural light, playing augmented reality games on an iPhone, I forget for a second that I’m in Seattle visiting Facebook. Not Amazon or Microsoft. Facebook, a company that’s evolved from a simple social network to a full-on technology behemoth. Here, inside the largest engineering hub outside its Menlo Park headquarters, Facebook says people are working on many of the projects that will impact its 10-year roadmap and mission of “bringing the world closer together,” including Games, Groups, Messenger and, of course, ads. But I’m there to talk about one particular emerging technology that the company believes will be key to its future: augmented reality.

Logitech’s new mouse packs gaming prowess in a workplace-friendly design


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Enlarge / The Logitech G Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse. (credit: Logitech)

Gaming hardware is not often known for the tastefulness of its design, but the $150 Logitech G Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse bucks that trend—you could use this in public without drawing any undue attention to yourself.

The new mouse has been designed with the feedback of more than 50 pro gamers—including a pro Overwatch team that used it when it won the first Overwatch League—to ensure a comfortable size and shape. The gaming cred shows in a few places: it has a new 16,000 dpi sensor that can track movement at over 400 inches per second to enable quick, precise motion, and it can report its motion up to 1,000 times per second to ensure low latencies. Its low weight (80 grams) and lack of cable mean that it can be thrown around effortlessly, enabling the fastest reactions.

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Valve’s “Steam Play” uses Vulkan to bring more Windows games to Linux


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(credit: Aurich Lawson)

Valve announced today a beta of Steam Play, a new compatibility layer for Linux to provide compatibility with a wide range of Windows-only games.

We’ve been tracking Valve’s efforts to boost Linux gaming for a number of years. As of a few months ago, things seemed to have gone very quiet, with Valve removing SteamOS systems from its store. Last week, however, it became clear that something was afoot for Linux gaming.

The announcement today spells out in full what the company has developed. At its heart is a customized, modified version of the WINE Windows-on-Linux compatibility layer named Proton. Compatibility with Direct3D graphics is provided by vkd3d, an implementation of Direct3D 12 that uses Vulkan for high performance, and DXVK, a Vulkan implementation of Direct3D 11.

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Netflix tries bypassing Apple’s App Store for payments


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Netflix is bypassing App Store for its recurring subscription fees. Currently, Netflix pays a 30 percent cut of first-year subscription fees to Apple and 15 percent for each recurring year. But now in 33 countries, TechCrunch reports that new or lapsed customers in places including Canada, Germany, Mexico and Poland will be asked to pay via mobile web rather than in-app. The streaming service did something similar on Android earlier this year.

Source: TechCrunch