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Gaming

Nintendo Follows NES Classic With SNES

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Nintendo Follows NES Classic With SNES

After the runaways success that was the NES Classic Nintendo presents a 16-bit sequel-- the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a palm-size version of the legendary games machine.

Released in Europe back in 1992 (nearly 2 years after it first hit the Japanese market), the SNES is considered as the home of some the greatest games of all time. These include classics such as Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario Kart, Super Metroid and F-Zero. The miniature rerelease has all those titles built-in, together with the likes of Final Fantasy III, EarthBound and Street Fighter II.

In total the SNES Classic contains 21 games, one of which was actually never released-- Star Fox 2, the sequel to Star Fox (aka Starwing in Europe), a shoot 'em up one can also find in the machine. Like the NES Classic, the SNES Classic connects to modern TVs via HDMI, a USB cable provides power and a pair of wired controllers is included.

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Microsoft Presents Xbox One X

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Microsoft Presents Xbox One X

E3 2017 has Microsoft detail the next iteration of the Xbox games console-- the Xbox One X, a 4K-capable machine described as "the world's most powerful console."

First announced back at E3 2016 as "Project Scorpio," the Xbox One X (not to be confused with the Xbox One S, the more compact version of the Xbox One) promises to be more powerful than the Sony take on the 4K-capable consoles, the PlayStation 4 Pro. How so? Microsoft says it carries a custom 8-core AMD CPU clocked at 2.3GHz, a 6 teraflop GPU clocked at 1.17GHz and 12GB of GDDR5 video RAM. In comparison, the PS4 Pro has a 4.2 teraflop GPU.

The result is a machine able to push 4K resolution visuals at 60fps, as well as HDR and Dolby Atmos support. Customers without a 4K TV should also get some visual improvements, since the Xbox One X can refine 1080p visuals further through supersampling. Also included in the machine are a UHD Blu-ray drive for 4K movies and 1TB storage.

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Switch Gets Crowdfunded Battery Case

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Switch Gets Crowdfunded Battery Case

The Nintendo Switch currently lacks an official solution for charging on the go, opening an opportunity for third parties such as InDemand Design and the SwitchCharge battery case.

The SwitchCharge is a fairly simple accessory, being a protective case with a built-in 12000mAh battery. It promises to add up to 12 hours of gaming time to the portable console. The battery uses high output to provide quick charging during use, while the case is built from "durable" ABS plastic to prevent drops and scratches.

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A Stream Deck for Streamers

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A Stream Deck for Streamers

Elgato announces a controller for streamers of all kinds-- the Stream Deck is a hardware device with 15 keys for users to access shortcuts to programs or features.

The Stream Deck connects to PCs via USB 2.0 and essentially is a miniature TV studio control board. Each of the 15 buttons has a tiny LCD display, allowing customisation with different icons for different functions. In total the Stream Deck handles up to 210 actions per configuration, since one can organise shortcuts into folders with the companion Stream Deck app.

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Nintendo Finds Early Success With Switch

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Nintendo Finds Early Success With Switch

It might be early days for the Switch, but so far the curious hybrid of tablet and console shows success-- so much so the Wall Street Journal reports Nintendo needs to double planned production in order to meet demand.

The Japanese company was supposedly going to make 8 million Switch units in fiscal 2017 (starting in April), but higher-than-expected sales have lead to a doubling of the figure to 16 million, unnamed supply chain sources claim. The WSJ adds the widely praised Zelda game sold 1.5m units in its first week, and sales for March 2017 can total up to 2.5m.

Such reports follow tweets by New York Times journalist Nick Wingfield, who says the Switch was the fastest selling Nintendo machine in the Americas, with launch title Zelda: Breath of the Wild as best selling standalone launch title.

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What Does the Future Hold for the Switch?

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What Does the Future Hold for the Switch?

March 2017 sees the next Nintendo games machine hit the market-- the strange tablet-console hybrid known as the Switch. Will the 127-year old Japanese company find success with the machine, or will it break it? Analysts are weighing in, and the predictions are, inevitably, varied.

First presented to the world through a slick announcement video on October 2016, the Switch is a machine of many parts. One can play it as one does a tablet or handheld console, but it can also be connected to a dock for home console gameplay on an HDTV. It has two controllers users can either connect to the tablet portion of the machine, use separately as Wii-style motion controllers or even use as single gamepads for 2-player action.

Whichever way one plays with it, the Switch is crucial for a Nintendo reeling from the commercial failure of the Wii U, whose global sales clock at just 13 million units during a 4-year lifespan. Will the Switch buck the trend? Analyst DFC Intelligence predicts Switch sales will reach 40m in 3 years-- behind Playstation 4 sales reaching 50m during the same timeframe, but ahead of the XBox One's 26m units sold.

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Thrustmaster Intros "Ultimate" TS-PC Racer Wheel

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Thrustmaster Intros

PC gaming accessory maker Thrustmaster announces the TS-PC Racer-- a racing game controller featuring an "open wheel" design together with a brushless 40W motor featuring embedded cooling.

According to the company, the motor generates "dynamic and powerful effects," with exceptional velocity manifested in all racing conditions, from long stall curves (STALL mode) to zigzags (DYNAMIC mode). The aforementioned embedded cooling ensures the motor maintains performance levels throughout quick successions of power demands with no overheating, as well as 50% more dynamic response and 4 times greater stall force compared with other Thrustmaster wheels.

Another addition is a new FOC (Field Oriented Control) algorithm controlling the HEART (HallEffect AccuRate Technology) system. In a few words, this ensures the motor responds swiftly to increased torque requirements, offsetting and preventing power losses. A final feature is an external TURBO power supply designed to provide continuous 40W power within a finless design.

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Nintendo Presents the Switch

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Nintendo Presents the Switch

Nintendo officially reveals its next piece of gaming hardware-- previously known as the "NX," the Switch is revealed to be a tablet-console hybrid with detachable controllers.

A slick announcement video has fashionable youths playing with the Switch in a variety of ways. For instance, a man first plays with the machine at home on an HDTV, before removing the tablet-style console from a base station, attaching a pair of controller accessories, and heading for a spot of outdoor gaming. Another scene has the two-part controller take the role of two separate gamepads, and players are also seen using regular wireless joypads.

The video also shows the machine used in a tournament setting (maybe a sign Nintendo wants to target the lucrative competitive e-sports scene?) between scenes of seamless transitions between home and portable gaming, as well as what looks like to be a built-in kickstand. As for games media, cartridges appear to be making a comeback.

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A Wireless Controller for the Apple Anniversary

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A Wireless Controller for the Apple Anniversary

Retro-style controller maker 8bitdo celebrates the 40th anniversary of Apple with a cute accessory-- the AP40, a wireless controller designed to look like the classic rainbow Apple logo.

The controller is compatible with PC, Mac, iOS and Android devices, as well as old game consoles when paired with the company's Retro Receiver adapter. Looks-wise it is similar to the SNES controller, if with the addition of a pair of analogue sticks, and the package comes complete with a little green leaf for plugging into the USB port when not in use and a stand modeled after the Apple II computer.

Speaking of old Apple computers, 8bitdo is also working on a version of the Retro Receiver compatible with the Apple II and IIc, meaning customers will be able to play games on a 1970s computer using a wireless controller modeled after the old Apple logo from 2016. Truly, what a time to be alive.

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PlayStation 4 Goes Pro

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PlayStation 4 Goes Pro

Sony details the long rumoured 4K-capable version of the PlayStation 4 console-- the PlayStation 4 Pro (formerly known as the "Neo"), an upgrade featuring an improved GPU and a boosted clock rate.

The PS4 Pro is designed for use with the latest TVs, and as such it outputs both 4K and HDR video. However it is not meant to be a next generation console, at least according to Sony. "PS4 Pro is not intended to blur the line between console generations," chief architect Mark Cerny says. "Instead, the vision is to take the PS4 experience to extraordinary new levels."

For the curious, the console carries an AMD "Jaguar" 8-core processor clocked at 2.1GHz together with a Radeon-based GPU able to push 4.2 TFLOPs of performance, 8GB GDDR5 memory and a 1TB HDD. The result should allow for games with higher resolutions (up to 2160p) and frame rates, as well as 4K video support and the 4K upscaling of previous PS4 titles.

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Sony to Reveal Two PlayStations on September?

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Sony to Reveal Two PlayStations on September?

The Wall Street Journal reports Sony is to launch two PlayStation 4 models come 7 September 2016-- while the company already confirmed the "Neo" 4K/UHD-capable upgrade, it will also announce a slimmer version of original console.

The story comes after images of the slimmer PS4 (aka "PS4 Slim") appeared on UK auction site Gumtree. The auction was first discovered by a Twitter user, before a person claiming to have bought the auctioned machine posted more images of the console in various states of boxing and unboxing on gaming forum NeoGAF.

Further confirming the existence of the machine was Eurogamer's Digital Foundry, whose journalist managed to get an own photo of the PS4 Slim. Judging from the various images available so far, the console appears to be a European model with a 500GB HDD.

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