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Reality Distortion Field: 10 Things Apple Won't Directly Say But We'll Infer About the iPhone X

With the long-awaited iPhone X now official and set for release in November, tech conversation will be saturated in the weeks to come on how good the phone will be, what it brings to the table (or doesn’t), how will it compare to the best of Android, whether people will fork over $1,000 for a new phone, and the list goes on.

But those questions aside, on September 12 Apple confirmed that more than a tech icon, it’s become a cultural phenomenon. The company’s message extends beyond the boundaries of tech in a way very few in the history of the industry have achieved. It starts with the anticipation and the showmanship, a trait Apple has been known for for over two decades. This year the company was also debuting its amazing new campus, which went swimmingly along the usual gimmicky yet effective delivery of product message.

The term ‘reality distortion field’ was coined as far back as 1981 to describe how Steve Jobs’ keynotes had a convincing effect on those developing for the original Macintosh. Today, in his absence, the show has suffered but Apple’s effect is still felt throughout the most diverse groups of people worldwide, creating buzz and conversations even in the most unimaginable non-tech circles.

With such potential for truth bending, we’ve put together a short list of our thoughts and implications now that Apple’s latest is out of the bag, not in their words but ours:

  • iPhone X is not the future: Considering Apple’s track record, that ugly notch is not going away next year. In fact, the company will embrace it for now. But don’t be deceived. Inside Cupertino, the number one priority will be about minimizing or getting rid of that notch completely in the next 1-2 generations by doing the logical thing: have a minimal top bezel and a complete rectangle screen. If confronted with the question: would Steve Jobs have allowed the iPhone X “notch” design? Many believe that’d be a resounding no.
  • In establishing and embracing the notch, Apple made the deliberate decision to do a near-full display phone without sacrificing on durability so badly — unlike Samsung’s (subjectively more beautiful) yet very fragile curved screen phones.
  • A year or two from now Apple will try to sell you the “same phone” with less or no notch and tell you it’s magical.

    Long time rumors indicate that both Apple and Samsung have been working on a fingerprint reader that works on the display, but so far they haven’t been successful. Thus creating the trade-off in this last phone generation by removing the Home button and gaining screen real estate, but at the expense of less than ideal authentication methods.

  • If Apple is daring enough to call the iPhone 8 an all-new design, then I’ll dare to say the opposite. iPhone 8 is the “same phone” as the 3-year-old iPhone 6 with better internals and wireless charging.

    Now, wireless charging truly is a great feature to have. We know that because it’s been available on over a dozen high-profile devices released in the last 2-3 years. Most notably, on the last three generations of Samsung Galaxy S phones. The good news though is that with iPhones adopting the same Qi standard, not only will it enjoy an already established platform, but it’ll also drive mainstream adoption for wireless charging everywhere.

  • Apple will make you pay handsomely for extra memory (again). 64GB is good as a base but no memory expansion means you can’t pay $35 for an extra 64GB microSD card. Instead you are faced with the option of paying $150 more to go from 64GB to 256GB, thus an iPhone X with memory to spare will set you back $1150.
  • That price. If you’re willing to spend upwards of $2,000 on a high-end workstation laptop (or desktop), a capable mobile device that is the primary computing device for many, sure can sell for $999+. It’s not about cost of manufacturing or even prestige — even though that’s a factor — it’s about elasticity of demand. If proved right, Apple will have established a new pricing segment for their current flagship phone and those that follow.
  • A brief list of key features that are making it to iPhone X months or years later than the competition include: a thinner bezel / “edge-to-edge” display, wireless charging, OLED display, fast charging, 64GB base model, AR support.

  • Apple’s A11 “Bionic” processor used in the iPhone X and iPhone 8 sounds like yet another gimmick. But it turns out this SoC developed in-house by Apple is one of the most impressive technical features you will find in the new phones. That goes for both the chip’s performance and efficiency. In fact, the A11 is reaching such an impressive performance output that many suggest the next step for Apple would be to drop Intel and put one of these SoCs on its MacBook line.

    Just like they transitioned OS X from PowerPC to Intel many years ago, we bet Apple’s already got macOS running smoothly on the iPhone platform, but the reason they don’t make switch (for now) is that given the manufacturing constraints, they’re better off selling more profitable iPhones than they do laptops.

  • For the time being, the TrueDepth front facing camera will be unique to the iPhone X (not available from Android devices either). It will come accompanied by Face ID and animojis, the latter of which have the potential of becoming the #1 killer feature of the new iPhone if users adopt them en masse.
  • Users who simply are simply looking for an “iPhone experience” on a budget should look into the iPhone 6S at $450 as their best value bet. Considering the average iPhone user doesn’t really care about performance increases, and these increases are barely noticeable in day to day tasks, you will forgo other incremental upgrades to the camera or water resistance, but essentially get the same basic phone for less. Oh, and get the 3.5mm headphone jack back in the process.

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Intel Coffee Lake Coming October 5, Here Are The Details

As if in swift response to AMD’s nearly year-long Zen onslaught, Intel will release the desktop parts (S Series) of its 8th Gen Coffee Lake CPU on October 5, a mere 10 months after unsheathing Kaby Lake. The upcoming products include Core i3, i5, and i7 CPUs in both locked and unlocked versions. More importantly, the Core i5 and i7 will feature six cores (a first for the i5 part), and the Core i3 will have four cores (also a first).

As we reported in early August, these CPUs will require a new chipset (Z370) and thus new motherboards. Intel has also confirmed that previous generation CPUs will not work with the new chipset. The company said that there will be more than 50 new Z370 motherboards to support these CPUs. We’ve reported on other rumors that suggest next year we’ll see eight-core parts and yet another (Z390) chipset.

Intel indicated that this 8th-generation part is built on what it calls a 14nm++ process. The company would not comment on the die size or transistor count at this time. However, Intel is promising gamers an approximately 25% improvement in performance over Kaby Lake–this is using a direct comparison of the Core i7-8700K versus i7-7700K in Gears of War. You can bet that we’ll provide a thorough set of benchmarks across several taxing games come launch time. 

The company has added a few more knobs for the overclocking crowd to turn, as well. Turbo Boost 2.0 is still supported, but you now get per-core overclocking, a maximum memory ratio up to 8,400 MT/s, memory latency control, and PLM Trim controls.

We’ve included a slide from Intel’s press deck below. It lists some of the key specs and pricing. Notably, the high-end Core i7 part is $20 higher than initial Kaby Lake pricing; the Core i5 sits $15 higher. This move is likely designed to cover the additional costs of the silicon along with avoiding cannibalizing the existing Kaby Lake models. Cache sizes are higher and base clocks are lower, comparatively, but the single-core max frequencies are higher. TDP is also higher, presumably to support the higher core count.

This information was initially under embargo until October 5, but a media leak has convinced Intel to let us run with the information immediately. We’ll provide a more detailed breakdown and analysis in the ensuing hours.

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68 Things You Cannot Say on China’s Internet

“Detailed” plots involving prostitution, rape and masturbation are also forbidden. So are displays of “unhealthy marital values,” which the guidelines catalog as affairs, one-night stands, partner swapping and, simply but vaguely, “sexual liberation.”

Despite the efforts of censors, the internet has long been the most freewheeling of China’s mass media, a platform where authors and artists — as well as entertainment studios — could reach audiences largely free of the Propaganda Department’s traditional controls on broadcasting, publishing, cinema and stage.

But the new restrictions — which expanded and updated a set of prohibitions issued five years ago — reflect an ambitious effort by President Xi Jinping’s government to impose discipline and rein in the web.

They were issued by the China Netcasting Services Association, which includes as members more than 600 companies, including the official Xinhua News Agency, the social media giants Sina and Tencent, the dominant search engine Baidu and the news aggregator Jinri Toutiao.


How China Is Changing Your Internet

What was once known as the land of cheap rip-offs may now offer a glimpse of the future — and American companies are taking notice.

By JONAH M. KESSEL and PAUL MOZUR on Publish Date August 9, 2016.

Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters.

Watch in Times Video »

David Bandurski, an analyst and editor for the University of Hong Kong’s China Media Project, said the association’s rules created the illusion of industry consensus as the company’s acquiesced to what party officials call “self-discipline.”

“Many of these companies are private, so it’s important for the leadership to have a means of bringing them together and creating a means of applying pressure on the collective,” he wrote in an email. “It is a tactic of co-option.”

Writers, filmmakers, podcasters and others attributed the guidelines and other measures to a new prim and paternalistic ideology taking shape under Mr. Xi, who has called on party members to be “paragons of morality” in pursuit of what he calls the “China Dream.”

Many also attributed the tightening of controls to official nervousness ahead of a major Communist Party congress scheduled for October. The congress is expected to reshuffle the country’s leadership and consolidate President Xi’s already formidable power.

“I feel like people say all the time that after the big congress, things will be O.K.,” said Fan Popo, a documentary filmmaker whose work has run afoul of online censorship because it explores the country’s conflicted views about homosexuality. But then he noted how online censorship has also spiked ahead of important state holidays and following unexpected events like the death of the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

“It’s still going on,” he said, “and it’s getting worse.”

In June, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television announced a new rating system for online bookstores and publishers based on criteria that included upholding moral values.

The powerful Cyberspace Administration — the ultimate authority over what is online in China — also shut down dozens of blogs and social media accounts for covering celebrity news and gossip that month.

Regulators also ordered two popular video streaming sites, AcFun and Bilibili, to stop showing hundreds of foreign television programs, while other state agencies issued a new rule this month prohibiting video sites from streaming even domestically produced shows without a license.

That essentially subjects online programs — often considered edgier — to the same restrictions governing what is broadcast on television, which critics say is dominated by trifles and propaganda.

The directive also ordered online producers to submit plans for creating new dramas between now and 2021 that “praise the party, the nation and heroes so as to set a good example.”


Fan Popo, a young Chinese filmmaker who is leaving China for Germany because of China’s growing censorship, at his apartment as he was packing for a flight to Berlin.

Bryan Denton for The New York Times

The new industry regulations provoked outrage — online, of course.

The country’s leading scholar of sexuality, Li Yinhe, wrote in a scathing commentary on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, that the new regulations violated two basic freedoms. “The first is a citizen’s constitutionally protected right to freedom of creativity; the second is the constitutionally protected right to sexual freedom of sexual minorities.”

When Ms. Li called on people to “work toward abolishing screening and censorship rules,” her posts were deleted, too.

Much of the online discussion has focused on the new prohibitions of sexual content and the inclusion of homosexuality among a list of “abnormal sexual relations” that also included incest and sexual assault. Critics said the regulation appeared to contradict the government’s own position on homosexuality, which it decriminalized in 1997 and removed from an official list of mental disorders in 2001.

China’s censorship agencies exercise overlapping jurisdiction over the internet and often employ policies that create confusion. The result has been a layered system of control that begins with self-censorship by those who create online content, followed by policing by web platforms, which are often private enterprises, and finally, when necessary, intervention by government regulators or the police.

Some regulations are explicit — no depiction of killing endangered species or underage drinking, for example. Others are imprecise. One, for example, prohibits blurring the lines between “truth and falsity, good and evil, beauty and ugliness.”

Critics say the rules are meant to be so vague that the authorities can justify blocking anything, as circumstances dictate.

“The tightening of content censorship is the general trend, but for content creators, they never know where exactly the lines lie,” said Gao Ming, who until recently produced a satirical podcast on current affairs called Radio HiLight.

Like others, Mr. Gao acknowledged softening his commentaries to avoid trouble, trying to work around, or one step ahead of, the censors. For profit or in pursuit of art, many performers and producers have learn to live with the party’s limitations.

Ms. Song, the writer, works mostly in a literary genre known as danmei that has become hugely popular among young women. Taking its inspiration from Japanese stories and manga, it typically involves homoerotic romances. Ms. Song’s work is often serialized, with readers paying for new chapters as they are posted on one of the biggest publishing sites, Jinjiang Literature City.

“If I want to publish it,” she said of her work, “then I need to follow the rules.”

Ms. Song, who lives in Wuhan, an enormous city in central China, said some of her chapters have been blocked because “sensitive keywords appeared in high frequency.” Usually, she then edits enough of those words out to get her writing past the censors and to her readers.

Ms. Song said she was not particularly worried about the new regulations. “Authors cannot use their works to encourage or incite criminal acts, especially among younger readers,” she said. “Literature, after all, has a guiding effect.”

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Samsung SM-G888N0 “Galaxy X” foldable phone certified in Korea

It seems that Samsung is really making true its word that it will finally be making available one of its most hyped moonshot devices. Over at Korea’s National Radio Research Agency, the country’s equivalent of the US FCC, a certain SM-G888N0 popped up for certification. This model number has been previously spotted in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi certifications last April and has been associated with Samsung’s foldable smartphone, codenamed “Project Valley” or “Galaxy X”. While this certification doesn’t say much, it does imply that Samsung might indeed be on track to debut the device next year.

Samsung has been talking about the possibilities of foldable mobile devices as far back as 2012 when it boasted of its YOUM flexible OLED technology. But while it did make progress on the display front, it has had less success in actually bringing all the parts together to create an actually usable foldable smartphone or tablet.

Samsung’s foldable smartphone is one of those things that get pushed back year after year as far as rumors go. And then Samsung got distracted by problems with its finances, its executives, and then exploding phones. This has given other manufacturers, particularly Lenovo, a chance to actually put out a working prototype before it could.

All of that is behind Samsung now. With the success of the Galaxy S8 and the so far successful (and fortunately uneventful) launch of the Galaxy Note 8, it seems that the company now has more time to devote to more experimental activities. Indeed, after the debut of the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung mobile division head DJ Koh has been quoted to say that the foldable phone would make an appearance next year.

Having been certified by a Korean government agency does take it one step closer to that goal. It doesn’t however, provide any insight as to what the foldable smartphone will look like, much less if it will actually come in a final form before 2018 is over. There have been several patents filed by Samsung that could have been used in this eccentric device, from a very long phone that slightly curls in the middle to a tablet that folds outward to form a phone, much like Lenovo’s prototype.

VIA: SamMobile

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SNES Classic Mini Edition: Release Date, Games, And Everything You Need To Know

Much like the NES Classic console from last year, the SNES Classic is a bit of a hot commodity. With an assortment of retro games from the SNES library, there are many games getting a second chance in the spotlight, along with others that have stood the test of time and still hold up as some of Nintendo’s finest games.

We at GameSpot are here to give you everything you need to know about Nintendo’s throwback console; such as good places to keep an eye out for ordering your console, what games are available on the system, and what sort additions have been added to make the experience of replaying these games feel a bit more unique. Be sure to check back with us for more info about our hands-on time with the console, along with our official review coming soon.

When Is The Release Date For The SNES Classic?

Set for release on September 29 for $80 USD/60 GBP/7,980 Yen, the SNES Classic will be available in most markets. Much like the NES Classic, Japan will have a Famicom version known as the Super Famicom Classic the following week on Oct 5, along with some games unique to their market such as Ganbare Goemon: Yukihime Kyūshutsu Emaki (Legend of the Mystical Ninja). Though the Western release of the Classic console will be missing some titles from its Eastern counterpart, there’s still plenty of great games to enjoy.

How Can I Find An SNES Classic?

Learning from the extreme shortages of the NES Classic, Nintendo has increased the amount of units in distribution, and will also be producing them in larger quantities. Moreover, Nintendo has urged fans not to purchase SNES Classic consoles sold at significantly higher rate, as there will be more available for buyers compared to the NES Classic. Much like the pre-ordering phase, it would be best to keep watch of established stores such as Amazon, Target, GameStop, Walmart, and Best Buy for available units as they come. Be sure to check back with GameSpot for updates on availability of units.

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What Games Are Available On The SNES Classic?

The SNES Classic features a number of games that fans will recognize, but also a number titles that may have flown under the radar. Including first and third party titles, such as Final Fantasy III, Kirby Super Star, Street Fighter II Turbo, Super Mario Kart, and many others–the collection of games present in the Super Nintendo Classic system will hit a nerve for many fans who grew up during its heyday. Though we at GameSpot came up with our own list of titles that we hoped would have made it onto the list–such as the glaring omission of Chrono Trigger–what’s present in the official collection is still a solid list of games.

Here’s a complete list of the games present in the SNES Classic library.

What Is So Special About Star Fox 2?

Aside from Earthbound, Super Mario RPG, and Super Metroid, there’s one game that’s been getting a lot of attention, and that’s Star Fox 2. Unlocked after completing the first stage in the original Star Fox, Star Fox 2 introduced a number of interesting gameplay innovations, new characters, and brand new vehicles to control. However, for a variety of reasons, it was shelved around the time of its completion. Though unofficial copies have made the rounds over the years, this marks the first time that Nintendo will be releasing the game in an official capacity. To mark this occasion, GameSpot will be publishing a review for the newly released Star Fox 2, which will be our first SNES review in two decades.

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What Is The Setup And User-Interface Like?

While the original Super Nintendo was designed for standard definition TVs, the SNES Classic features an updated setup including HDMI cables, and a home menu where you can access all the games. Much like the NES Classic, the Super Nintendo mini-console will give players access to all the games from the menu, where they can jump around between each game. Each game allows for four different save slots, allowing you to save your game on the internal system. Though unlike the NES Classic, the SNES will be a bit more comfortable to play this time around, featuring longer control cables at around 5 feet. Moreover, the UI will also feature a number of tweaks and customization options for players, such as a set of custom borders you can apply to the 4:3 games, CRT filters, and also a rewind option–allowing you to as rollback a bad move in a game and try again.

Keep checking back with GameSpot during the lead up and after the release of the SNES Classic for more information as it comes. Check out some of coverage with our hands-on time below, along with updates from Nintendo, and along with our full-review.

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Celebrating Nintendo's 128th Birthday With A Not-So-Typical History

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By now, most gamers realize just how big a presence Nintendo has in the video game industry. The company has been around for decades now, riding high on the success of its own hardware (particularly the Nintendo Switch), as well as franchises like Super Smash Bros., Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Pokemon and, of course, Mario.

But things weren’t always that way. Despite the company’s recent history in video games, it’s actually been around for a lot longer, and got its start in a much smaller industry – 128 years ago. No, we’re not kidding. Let’s take a look now at the history of the company that built Mario and other legends, becoming a major force in the industry as a result.

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Dealing The Cards

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Nintendo actually got its start wayyyyy back in 1889, when Fusajiro Yamauchi founded the company to create hanafuna playing cards. The company rode high on this success for years, and then tried to venture out into other areas in 1963, including cabs and…love hotels. (Yeah, how great would it have been to go to a Nintendo-branded love hotel?!).

But it was when the 1970’s came around that the company decided to try its hand at video games, opening up a new venture that would deviate from its card business. And it’s here that it would begin to cement its legacy in the gaming world.

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Do The Donkey Kong

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In the late 70’s, the company gave handheld gaming a try with its line-up of game & Watch games, created by the late Gunpei Yokoi (who would also work on the company’s highly successful Game Boy handheld in 1989). The line-up did well, but it was when the company tried its hand at arcade gaming that things began to get interesting.

Following its release of its first coin-op, EVR Race, in 1975, the company would try the more contemporary Donkey Kong in 1981. The game became an immense success for years to come, and introduced the world to two major gaming forces – the plumber Mario, who would attempt to rescue his beloved Pauline from the clutches of the evil ape; and designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who would be a force in the company – and the industry – for years to come.

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Taking The Home Market By Storm

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Following its line-up of Game & Watch toys – which would gain novelty with the Nintendo elite – Nintendo decided to give the home gaming market a try with the release of the Famicom (Family Computer) console in 1983. It ported a number of its popular arcade games to the system at the time – including Donkey Kong – but it would take a while for Nintendo to consider the U.S. market, especially with the video game crash of 1983.

But in 1985, the company moved forward with its launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System, bundling it with select titles like Gyromite and Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt. As you might guess, the Mario bundle did way better, and became a major selling point for Nintendo – and brought back the home gaming market as well. Other competitors jumped into the fray, including Atari and Sega, but none could keep up with Nintendo.

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Moving Into Portable And 16-Bit Territory

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Nintendo found some major competition over the years, with the Sega Genesis gaining speed as the first “true” 16-bit console, as well as other systems like the Turbo-Grafx 16 and the Game Gear. But it would maintain its lead with the release of key technology.

In 1989, it released the Game Boy, a handheld system that scored major points with audiences, thanks to games like Tetris and Super Mario Land. It also gained attention in the 16-bit realm in 1991 with the release of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a console that thrived with games like Super Mario World and F-Zero, amongst other hit releases.

But by the mid-90’s, things would change dramatically, thanks to a key decision by thee company that created one of its biggest competitors…

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Its Own Worst Enemy

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In 1993, Nintendo put together a CD-ROM add-on for its Super NES that would bring its technology into the CD realm, under the code name “Play Station”. Sony partnered up with them on the project, before Philips stepped in later. However, Nintendo opted to cancel the project, instead working more on a cartridge-based system, known as the Nintendo 64.

While the N64 did very well on the market, Nintendo didn’t realize just what kind of competitor it was creating. In 1995, Sony created the PlayStation system from the remnants of the cancelled project, and soon became a major competitor to Nintendo – and it’s still dominating the industry today, thanks to the PlayStation 4.

That said, Nintendo kept its stance in the industry, thanks to memorable N64 games like Super Mario 64 and Star Fox 64, amongst many others.

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Its First Real Failure

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While Gunpei Yokoi gained fame for his Game & Watch and Game Boy inventions, he also gave Nintendo its first failure in 1995 with the Virtual Boy system. Meant to provide 3D gaming experiences in an on-the-go format, the system was at first hailed for the use of its technology, as well as innovative games like Mario Tennis and Teleroboxer.

But the fame was short-lived. People became nauseous with the red-and-black 3D display, and the system had limited third-party support. As a result, Nintendo closed up shop on it, and Yokoi retired shortly thereafter.

It served as a lesson that not everything Nintendo produced was gold – and even with the greatest franchise stars, the system needed more to go on.

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Getting Through The Motions and Double Screens

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Nintendo would continue success over the years with its Game Boy reiterations – including the Color and the Advance – as well as the GameCube, its first CD-based console, which was a hit for several years, despite having to keep up with the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

However, things would change dramatically for the company in 2006 with the introduction of the Wii. This motion-based system was a big hit with fans, thanks to games that utilized the tech brilliantly, like Wii Sports (the pack-in) and Super Mario Galaxy.

The system would become one of Nintendo’s most popular in the company’s history, even though it eventually folded up shop to make room for the Wii.

Meanwhile, in handheld land, Nintendo introduced the Nintendo DS in 2004, introducing a dual-screen handheld that would be the business model for handhelds for years to come, including the Nintendo 3DS and the 2DS. The system would sell millions of units, again continuing the company’s dominance in the handheld front. (The Pokemon games that came out for it didn’t hurt either.)

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Enter The Wii U and 3DS

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Nintendo tried to adapt to the times in the 2010 era with the release of the Wii U in 2012, a console that would make use of HDMI technology, as well as better connectivity. However, the system’s odd design and lack of third-party support left a lot of gamers feeling burnt out, despite stellar first-party games like Bayonetta 2 and Mario Kart 8. The system only sold 12 million units in its lifetime, a mere fraction of the Wii’s sales.

The company also launched its 3DS handheld system in 2011, producing a neat little effect for games like Super Mario 3D Land and Super Smash Bros., amongst others. The system was a hit for several years, but Nintendo eventually did away with 3D with later models, even though its New Nintendo 3DS works with the format. The Nintendo 2DS XL was just introduced, and it appears to be the business model moving forward. In fact, some future games don’t even support 3D display.

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And Here We Are With Switch

After learning its lessons with the Wii U, Nintendo opted to go with a different approach to the Nintendo Switch, reaching out to millennials as well as family gamers. As you can see from the above commercial, it’s a shake-up from its usual path, just catering to kids, and it paid off big time.

Throw in a Super Bowl commercial and the announcement of several games (including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild), and the system took off like a rocket. It’s sold several million units in its first few months of release, and has a killer line-up of games for the forthcoming year, including Super Mario Odyssey, Fire Emblem Warriors and a new Kirby game.

The company’s handheld line-up continues to thrive, too, with games like Metroid: Samus Returns and Fire Emblem Warriors promising to be big sellers for the holiday season. And, again, more Pokemon games are coming too, including enhanced versions of Sun and Moon.

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Remembering Satoru Iwata

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Nintendo has had a lot of people attached to its success over the years, including Fusajiro Yamauchi, Hiroshi Yamauchi (who would serve as president of Nintendo during its 8-bit and 16-bit heights), Shigeru Miyamoto and Reggie Fils-Aime. However, one name that truly resonates with gamers is Satoru Iwata.

Iwata-san was with the company since its humble beginnings in the video game industry, starting in 1980 alongside the team at HAL Laboratory, which worked on Earthbound and the Kirby franchise. He also helped with development of the popular Super Smash Bros. series, which got its start on Nintendo 64 before moving on to other consoles.

Iwata would become the company’s president in 2002, when Yamauchi opted to retire. He would lead it to many successes over the years, including the Wii, the Nintendo DS, and many popular game releases, and also set the framework in place for the Nintendo Switch.

Sadly, he would never see it through to completion. Iwata passed away on July 11th, 2015 of a tumor in his bile duct at the age of 55. His passing saddened the industry, but pushed Nintendo to strive to get its stance back in the world of video games – something it’s easily done with the help of the Nintendo Switch.

There’s talk of a special tribute included with the Nintendo Switch where you can unlock one of Iwata’s most iconic titles, Golf from the NES era, by performing a hand gesturing of his on his birthday. We haven’t tried it yet, but we’re eager to give it a try. Farewell, Iwata-san. You are missed.

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So What’s Next?

Now lies the big question – where can Nintendo go from here? Well, the Switch is firing on all cylinders, and is promising to be a big seller this holiday season; the SNES looks to live again, thanks to the forthcoming release of the SNES Classic Edition, which arrives this Friday with 20 titles, as well as the unreleased Star Fox 2; and many games look to be big hits, including Odyssey and Pokken Tournament DX.

The company has good third-party support again, and it’s likely to continue growing with the success of the Switch, especially after this holiday season.2018 also looks to be huge with games like Kirby, Yoshi, and Pokemon rarin’ to go., along with the announced return of Metroid Prime.

So it looks like Nintendo is ready to be back to its old self again, learning its mistakes from the Wii U and hoping that it can be a favorite again. It all depends on its stock this holiday season, but all signs are pointing to the big “N” being something great…just like how it started 128 years ago.

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Layoffs At Everybody's Gone To The Rapture Dev, As Studio Plans To "Go Dark"

The Chinese Room, the British studio known for games like Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, is facing an uncertain future, it seems. In a blog post, founder Dan Pinchbeck confirmed layoffs and said the studio is “going dark.”

Pinchbeck said he had a non life-threatening health issue in June, which gave him pause and led him and the team to “have a serious think about things.” This happened at the end of the developer of the studio’s newest game, So Let Us Melt, and after a stressful-sounding time when the team was conducting game pitches and negotiations to sign a deal for a new game.

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

“To cut a long story short, the situation–between financial pressures, trying to keep the lights on for the employed team, the stress of end-of-development, health issues–just wasn’t a tenable thing anymore. It was time to take a break, recharge, recover, and have a good think about the future,” Pinchbeck said.

The result was that it was decided to lay off the development team. “So we let our team go,” Pinchbeck said. “Layoffs are never pleasant, particularly when you’re all trying to wrap a game. We did our best to try and help the team secure new positions, and then we all–the whole team–threw everything we had at wrapping the game. It didn’t feel fair to anyone, least of all people who had spent a year working on a project, to have its completion and release overshadowed by news about the studio closing, so we’ve held off on the announcement until we felt we were clear of all of that.”

Also in the blog post, Pinchbeck confirmed that The Chinese Room is not ending. This is only “a pause.” The Chinese Room’s games are staying on sale, as are things like merch and soundtracks, while Pinchbeck says the team will stay active on social medial. Right now, it sounds like The Chinese Room is only three people. They are working on a game called 13th Interior (formerly known as Total Dark) and will bring on a bigger team when needed. Looking ahead, Pinchbeck said the studio has secured funding for a new game called Little Orpheus, and this project will go into the prototyping phase at the end of this year.

“So we’ll still be about, just not a fully active development team for the time being,” Pinchbeck said.

Pinchbeck also said the The Chinese Room grew faster than it intended. “We’re makers, fundamentally, and our roles were increasingly making it very difficult to be practically involved in doing the things we love and we started the company to be able to do,” Pinchbeck said. “We’re taking time to figure that out; how we get to be creatives, not managing directors. That’s a whole other job and skill set and lots of people do it really well and love doing it. But it’s not for us–it just led to stress and burn-out and a desperate need to actually make stuff again–whether that’s art, music, games, writing. So this break is a chance to reconnect with all of that, and we figure we’ve earned that time.”

“Is it the end of The Chinese Room? No, I don’t think so. But it’s the end of a chapter, and we hope you can all be patient with us whilst we figure out what happens next.”

There will be a media story tomorrow (September 25) in which Pinchbeck says he will share further insight into the current sit The Chinese Room. Keep checking back for more.

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Fire Emblem Warriors DLC plans revealed

Hope you weren’t expecting Ike

During Tokyo Game Show 2017, Koei Tecmo revealed the DLC plans for the upcoming Fire Emblem Warriors. The company will be taking an approach similar to how Hyrule Warriors went, with each pack focusing on a different game, and a unique costume for buying all the packs in a bundle.

That being said, if you were expecting a new game to be included through the DLC, you’ll be disappointed.

The three add-ons the company has planned, along with general release windows, are as follows:

  • Fire Emblem Fates Add-On Pack (1,400 yen) – End of 2017
  • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon Add-On Pack (1,400 yen) – Winter 2018
  • Fire Emblem Awakening Add-On Pack (1,400 yen) – Spring 2018

As you can see, the packs will only be further expanding upon the three main games already featured. If you were hoping for the likes of Alm, Ike, or Hector, then it’s not happening this wave. At this time, it’s not clear what characters and weapons are included, however there may be more per pack than the Hyrule Warriors DLC due to each pack having a higher price tag.

The packs will also be available in a bundle for 3,000 yen, which will also include a bride costume for Lucina. This is a reference to the development of the bride class in Awakening, as Lucina was used as the basis for it in concept art rather than a generic character like the other classes.

Now, we can probably guess what’s in these packs based on the leak our own Bass reported on. Assuming everything is known and shown before release like Hyrule Warriors, Azura is in the Fates pack, Draug is in the Shadow Dragon pack, and Tharja is in the Awakening pack. Outside of that, who knows what else is included.

Fire Emblem Warriors launches this week on September 28 for Japan, and on October 20 for the rest of the world.

Fire Emblem Warriors DLC [GAMECITY]

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Nintendo Now Has Two-Step Verification for Online Accounts

switch online

Nintendo has made a player-friendly move by implementing a two-step authentication system in order to add an extra level of security to players’ online accounts.

The move seeks to protect eveyrbody’s online accounts if they so choose to take part in the new feature. But if you’re fine with the level of security you currently have on the Nintendo Switch and 3DS, you’re more than welcome to opt out of the optional verification layer and keep your account settings as they are now.

Nintendo’s new two-step verification method works through the Google Authenticator app, a simple way to implement the security for everyone. From now on, Nintendo players with online accounts will have the option to enable the supplemental feature on their own and will be prompted to enter in a six-digit code. The code in question is randomly generated by the Google app, and after it’s sent to players via a text message, they’ll have to enter it when signing in in order to gain access to their account.

Two-step verification for online accounts may seem unnecessary to some, but for those who’ve invested quite a bit into online purchase or simply their own time, the second authentication method is an easy way to be reassured of your protection. In the event of a lost password or other account-losing scenario, your account will still remain safe through the secondary messages being sent to your phone while you attempt to sort out the issue.

By no means is Nintendo the first company to add such a measure to their online systems, but it’s not really important who got it first as long as Nintendo fans also have it now. PlayStation added a two-step verification method over a year ago, and other sizable, individual games have created their own protection methods.

The two-step authentication method for Nintendo is live now if players wish to activate it.

[via Gamasutra]



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