Blizzard's global esports director quits amid turmoil
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 June 2019, 7:11 pm

Blizzard's esports team just lost another major leader -- global esports director Kim Phan has left Blizzard to pursue a "new endeavor" in the gaming industry. The veteran didn't harbor ill will against Blizzard in her farewell post (she plans to attend BlizzCon as a fan), but the move came just under a month after Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer left for Epic Games. It's not clear who's filling Phan's old role.

Via: Esports Observer, Windows Central


This week in tech history: Nintendo's N64 goes on sale in Japan
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 23 June 2019, 9:00 am

At Engadget, we spend every day looking at how technology will shape the future. But it's also important to look back at how far we've come. That's what This Week in Tech History does. Join us every weekend for a recap of historical tech news, anniversaries and advances from the recent and not-so-recent past. This week, we're looking at the N64, which arrived in Japan 23 years ago.

Steam will stop supporting Ubuntu Linux over 32-bit compatibility
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 June 2019, 10:03 pm

If you're a Linux gamer who prefers Ubuntu, you might want to look for another distribution in the near future. Valve is dropping official support for Ubuntu in Steam as of the operating system's upcoming 19.10 release, which will cut 32-bit x86 components. The Steam crew aims to "minimize breakage" for existing Ubuntu users, according to Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais, but it'll shift its attention to another distribution in the future.

Via: Phoronix

Source: Pierre-Loup Griffais (Twitter)

'Harry Potter: Wizards Unite' rolls out to 25 more countries
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 June 2019, 4:26 pm

If you were disappointed at being left out of the initial Harry Potter: Wizards Unite launch, don't worry -- there's a good chance you can play now. Niantic's augmented reality sorcery is now available on Android and iOS in 25 more countries. This includes Canada and Mexico in the Americas as well as several European and Scandinavian countries, including France, Ireland, Germany, Norway and Sweden. You can also expect to play in a handful of other places around the world, such as India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Source: TechCrunch, App Store, Google Play

Watch Games Done Quick's summer charity event starting June 23rd
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 June 2019, 12:28 pm

If you're hoping to immerse yourself in video games now that summer has officially reached the northern hemisphere, you're in luck. Games Done Quick is kicking off its annual summer charity livestream (below) on June 23rd at 12:30PM ET, and you can expect some very eclectic speedrunning in the name of a good cause -- this time, for Doctors Without Borders. The week-long event will include more than its fair share of classics, but you'll also find relatively recent games as well as the occasional left-field game to keep it fresh.

Source: Twitch, Games Done Quick

The Morning After: The problem with the PlayStation Classic
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 22 June 2019, 9:45 am

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Welcome to your weekend! We'll recap a few highlight stories from the last week, plus some new items like our thoughts on Google getting out of the tablet business and a hands-on test of Tesla's latest in-car games. Oh, and if you prefer to read this recap in the afternoon, it's alright -- we understand.

'Dota Underlords' has more people playing now than 'Artifact' ever did
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 June 2019, 11:57 pm

Just a day after going live, the Dota Underlords beta is off to a great start. According to stats from SteamDB, as of Friday night it had over 84,000 players at once -- higher than Valve's troubled Dota 2 spinoff Artifact ever had. It topped out at around 60,000, while Underlords has already had over 179,000 simultaneous participants -- a number that the tracking site believes includes players on mobile devices.

Source: Steam, SteamDB

Why is the PlayStation Classic so unpopular?
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 June 2019, 2:00 pm

Given the popularity of other nostalgic throwbacks like the NES and SNES Classic consoles, it's easy to see what Sony was trying to do when they released the PlayStation Classic in December. Devindra Hardawar even pointed out in his review that the system was "a quick attempt by Sony to cash in on the micro-console trend." While the Classic did have a decent look and feel, the 20 game selection was unlikely to satisfy fans, the controllers lacked DualShock and the inclusion of the PAL versions of some titles was baffling. These disappointments -- and an initial price point of $100 -- were enough to push the console's score down to 67.

'Sea of Solitude' looks like a brilliant, emotional horror show
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 June 2019, 3:00 pm

Sea of Solitude feels like coming home.

Footage of a hulking black monster swimming among the rooftops and balconies of a waterlogged Berlin plays on repeat like a GIF in my psyche, as comforting as it is terrifying. I've been viscerally afraid of giant creatures in deep waters for as long as I can remember -- it probably has something to do with my after-school routine as a kid. My older brother, dressed in steel-toed Docs and long-sleeved black shirts even in the mid-year Arizona sun, would walk me home and we'd plop down in front of the TV. Sometimes it was Baywatch, sometimes it was Terminator 2, but the afternoon our parents told us they were getting a divorce, it was Jaws.

Control a fake Tesla while charging your real Tesla
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 June 2019, 1:00 pm

It's easy to get caught up in the drama of Tesla. The weirdness runs the gamut from Robo-taxis, to CEO Elon Musk's bizarre tweets, vehicle demand, manufacturing tents, and investor events. But if we step back for a moment, it's worth reminding ourselves that it's a company that enjoys having fun.

Sony discounts tons of PlayStation games in its latest flash sale
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 June 2019, 11:21 am

Hot on the heels of its major Days of Play E3 sale and adding a bunch of games to its PlayStation Hits lineup, Sony is back at it with a Flash Sale on a wealth of PS4, PS3 and Vita games. As you'd expect, PS4 gets the lion's share. Among the more notable deals are Dark Souls II ($10), Just Cause 3 ($6), the full season of Life is Strange ($4), all episodes of Life is Strange: Before the Storm ($5.09) and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 ($10).

Source: PlayStation Blog

Esports return to the X Games with 'Apex Legends'
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 June 2019, 7:55 am

It's been three years since electronic sports were a feature of the X Games, but this year marks its glorious return to the tournament. ESPN has announced that Apex Legends'will be the star of this year's show, with invitational qualifiers taking place on June 29th.

Source: ESPN, (2)

The Morning After: Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro battery recall
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 21 June 2019, 6:30 am

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Feeling alright after last night's Neon Genesis Evangelion binge? Let's catch up with the news. Google is getting out of the tablet business, and Apple might need to take a look at your 15-inch MacBook Pro. Also there's a robotic fish that runs on 'blood,' and a Raspberry Pi causes computer security problems for NASA.

Valve's 'Dota Underlords' open beta launches on Android, iOS and PC
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 June 2019, 10:53 pm

Less than a month after it was announced and just a week after being properly revealed, Dota Underlords is available for play. Valve's take on the popular Dota 2 mod, Dota Auto Chess, is a stategic battle game where players try to dominate the city of White Spire. The last Dota 2 spinoff, Artifact, did not enjoy a gracious reception, but Underlords is already topping that game's peak number of players, and seemingly with good reason.

It's been stress testing with Dota 2 Battle Pass owners for the last week and now anyone can try it for free. The plan is for it to remain in early access for "a few months" before it launches fully with more Underlord characters, ranked play and seasonal changes. It's available now on Steam, Google Play and the iOS App Store, complete with cross-play so you can start a game on one platform and finish it on another.

'Friday the 13th' is coming to Nintendo Switch... on a Tuesday
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 June 2019, 3:10 pm

You'll soon be able to don Jason Voorhees' iconic hockey mask and try to wipe out a group of campers (or flee from the masked menace) on Switch, as there's at last a release date for Friday the 13th: The Game on Nintendo's console. It emerged back in March developer Gun Media had a spring release window in mind for the Switch version, so it'll arrive a bit later than planned when it lands on August 13th.

Microsoft wants to make 'Minecraft' easier for kids to read
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 June 2019, 3:33 pm

Microsoft is bringing its Immersive Reader to Minecraft: Education Edition. The tool will let users expand the text in character dialogue, settings and boards. Immersive Reader will dictate each word as it is highlighted, so users can follow along, and it will add Minecraft-specific images for words like "Creeper" and "Mooshroom."

Via: ZDNet

Source: Minecraft

Respawn will share more about its 'AAA' VR shooter later this year
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 June 2019, 11:41 am

Back in 2017, Facebook and Respawn Entertainment revealed the developer was working on a virtual reality AAA shooter. While things have been fairly secretive since (so much so that it might have fallen off your radar), we'll hear more about it at this year's Oculus Connect, which is scheduled for September 25th to 26th in San Jose.

Source: Oculus

'Harry Potter: Wizards Unite' is available to play a day early
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 June 2019, 12:42 pm

Niantic's Harry Potter: Wizards Unite officially debuts on June 21st, but you won't have to wait until then to play if you live in the right country. The location-based game is already available for would-be Android and iOS spellcasters in the US and UK -- not surprisingly, Niantic is welcoming early adopters in a likely effort to minimize Pokémon Go-style server overloads. Australia and New Zealand have had the game for weeks in a pseudo-beta test, but Niantic is clearly expecting the broader launch to be particularly demanding.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: App Store, Google Play

EA tells UK Parliament loot boxes are 'quite ethical'
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 June 2019, 10:25 am

With loot boxes receiving heavy scrutiny lately, EA has come up with a novel explanation for what the controversial game mechanic should be considered perfectly legal. Appearing before the UK Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee, EA's vice president of legal and government affairs Kerry Hopkins insisted that loot boxes aren't akin to gambling but are instead "surprise mechanics" like Kinder Eggs, the popular chocolate candy with toys inside.

Via: PCGamesN

Source: UK Parliament

What do you think of the Radeon VII graphics card?
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 June 2019, 11:30 am

A cousin of AMD's Instinct M150 gaming card, the Radeon VII was released in February with an eyebrow-raising asking price of $699. In his review, Christopher Schodt commended the card's speed, 16GB of HBM2 memory and performance during graphics testing. The first card built on a 7nm manufacturing process, the Radeon VII was clearly intended to compete with NVIDIA's RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti. However, it wasn't always faster than those NVIDIA cards.

The Morning After: Microsoft's cheaper 15-inch Surface Book 2
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 June 2019, 6:30 am

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Hey there! The birthplace of Juul (and many other players in the vape world) is closing in on an e-cigarette ban, and while Adam Sandler remains one of Netflix's big-hitters, more Stranger Things and Queer Eye episodes are incoming. Anything else? Kano made what's ostensibly a Microsoft Surface For Kids.

'Human Fall Flat' lands on iOS and Android June 26th
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 20 June 2019, 1:39 am

Human Fall Flat has proven a big hit on consoles and PC, with more than five million copies sold by last February as players hopped into No Brakes Games' hilarity-filled world. It emerged back then that a mobile port was on the way, and now we know you'll be able to play it on Android and iOS starting June 26th.

Source: 505 Games (Twitter)

Microsoft is selling a cut-back 15-inch Surface Book 2 for $1,999
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 June 2019, 3:13 pm

When Microsoft introduced the Surface Book 2 in 2017, it added a 15-inch screen option. While that gave the Macbook Pro some serious competition, it still started at $2,499. Now, Microsoft is offering a 15-inch Surface Book 2 configuration for $1,999 -- a full $500 less than the previous entry point. As you'd expect, the price cut does come with a few trade offs.

Via: Windows Central, Neowin

Source: Microsoft

The latest version of Monopoly is voice-activated
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 June 2019, 11:15 am

We've seen a ton of different Monopoly versions over the years, including ones based on Fortnite, Mario Kart and Overwatch. Now, Hasbro is releasing the franchise's take on voice-assisted technology. Seriously. The Monopoly Voice Activated Banking Game turns Mr. Monopoly into a voice assistant, giving him the task of keeping tabs on your money and properties. Yes, Rich Uncle Pennybags speaks and answers your questions in this version of the game through a device shaped like his top hat.

Source: Walmart

Intel's Performance Maximizer tool overclocks CPUs with one click
Posted by Engadget RSS Feed [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 19 June 2019, 8:29 am

Intel has launched a new feature designed to make overclocking more straightforward. Called the "Intel Performance Maximizer," the tool examines your processor's individual settings, then uses what Intel calls "hyper-intelligent automation" to tweak them for a performance boost. Basically, it's overclocking without having to fiddle around with custom settings in BIOS yourself.

Via: PC Gamer

Source: Intel

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