Valorant is Deranking Everyone??

Riot claims there is a bug that is deranking people faster than it should.

Many people have been complaining that climbing ranks has been extremely difficult and/or they are losing ranks far faster for losses. Even Ninja has chimed in on twitter stating that he was deranked after only 1 loss against higher ranked players. He even flamed the Riot ranking system in the same tweet, saying it was so toxic.

I have experienced the same difficulties with my rank, having to win 8+ games before seeing a rank up and losing ranks with only 2-3 losses. Although not as extreme as Ninja’s case. Riot released a statement saying there is a bug in the system and that your “hidden” rating will be retained. Winning a game will supposedly restore the correct visible rank… We’ll see how this gets resolved. So maybe you don’t suck as much as you think you do.

Another issue Riot has yet to acknowledge let alone tackle is…smurfing. Smurfing has become a huge issue in Counter Strike and Valorant is very closely following in its path. Even in the lowest rank possible in CSGO, players were still godlike at aiming, so either they were mega smurfs or hacking…a new player in the lowest tier should not be able to headshot and ace the other team every round.

The same is beginning to happen in Valorant as the barrier to entry to ranked is extremely low. You only need 20 games on a brand new account to begin ranking again. Anyone could pump out a new smurf everyday if they wanted to. If you observe the high ranked streamers, you can see them all playing on multiple accounts. I’ve even seen people log into new accounts mid stream going from immortal to gold. I’m sure many have noticed that one gold game is a pub stomp, then suddenly the next gold game is a blowout loss. Ever seen a random silver player wipe a gold/plat game?

Hopefully Riot acknowledges this and provides some kind of balancing to combat smurfs. Although, it would be to their benefit to have players keep making new accounts and padding their player count.

Intel’s Next-Gen, Next-Gen Alder Lake Already Showing Up on Benchmarks

The future might be here sooner rather than later.

Because Intel’s next-gen, next-gen processors are already appearing on the SiSoft Sandra database.

Slated for release in 2022, this represents Intel’s path forward. Called Alder Lake, these processors will arrive following the 11th generation Rocket Lake that is on tap for next year. That could change pending a September 2 announcement from Intel though that would be a big surprise indeed.

It is also the processor destined to bring to the desktop Intel’s vaunted “Hybrid Technology” or the use of a larger CPU core in tandem with four smaller ones as PC Gamer is reporting.

In terms of design, the Alder Lake will employ a big.LITTLE configuration with a top-end processor of eight Golden Cove cores. The big.LITTLE design choice is seen as somewhat noteworthy. While it remains to be seen what Intel does with it, many industry watchers are somewhat perplexed by what they are hearing thus far about Alder Lake.

So why is this showing up on SiSoft this early?

Well, some people speculate that the Alder Lake processor could be coming out sooner than 2022 – like in 2021 to be exact. Thus far people are trying to read the tea leaves about what Alder Lake will be able to do based upon what we know about Rocket Lake.

That’s an inexact science at best. Another issue is that, as noted above, we won’t see Rocket Lake on PCs this year which makes a 2021 release for Alder Lake concurrent pretty much with Rocket Lake. Given that, the 2022 timeframe seems to make more sense but who knows. As we noted above, everything could change with a surprise from Intel on September 2.

TechRadar published the following rumored specs for Rocket Lake nearly one month ago.

The website cited the following:

  • “RocketLake S
  • Intel 0000
  • 1 Processor 8 Cores, 16 Threads
  • Genuine Intel Family 6 Model 167 Stepping 0
  • Base: 3.19 GHz
  • Maximum: 4.28 GHz
  • Intel(R) Gen12 Mobile Graphics Controller
  • Compute Units: 32
  • Maximum: 1.15 GHz
  • Device Memory: 6.33 GB

Tech Radar continues: “In addition, this latest leak details the processor’s built-in iGPU, which reportedly sports 32 Compute Units, with a core clock frequency of 1.15GHz and 6.33GB of VRAM. However, although the iGPU is expected to be using the Intel Xe graphics architecture, early benchmarking scores don’t look promising.”

Launching two generations in one year would be a big deal, it wouldn’t be unprecedented for Intel to do. Dave James of PC Gamer points to the Broadwell generation as one example of this.

What is undoubtedly clear is that Alder Lake will be a significantly different processor than those previously released by Intel.

What do you think? Do you follow Intel as a company? How about its tech compared to its competition? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section below.

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Source here

Could AMD Big Navi Challenge Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 in the Marketplace?

AMD is having a moment and the company looks set to extend it if tech rumors are to be believed.

The graphics card arms race continues and it looks like AMD is about to shake up the current world order with its Big Navi high-end option. Some people even think that Big Navi’s stats put it in line to challenge Nvidia’s own GeForce RTX 3080 but, with only paper to back up that claim, we’ll take a wait-and-see approach on that.

So what makes Big Navi special?

While reports prior to an official launch are necessarily vague, what we can tell you with some certainty is that the Big Navi graphics card will be a pretty big leap over rival Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 ti. A lot of the specs for Big Navi are referenced in comparison to that card. YouTube channel Moore’s Law is Dead said, for example, that the GPU for Big Navi is 40 – 60 percent more powerful than the RTX 2080 ti. The source for this claim is “someone who hasn’t been wrong in the past” for whatever that is worth.

For reference, the (Founders Edition) GeForce RTX 2080 ti’s specs are as follows: GPU Architecture: Turing, RTX-OPS 78T, Boost Clock: 1635 MHz (OC), Frame Buffer: 11GB GDDR6, Memory Speed: 14 Gbps.        

And the entire basis for the claim is that the Big Navi’s performance eclipses the RTX 2080 ti in such a way that it is seemingly positioned right behind or on par with Nvidia’s next-gen graphics card.

Multiple reports indicate that Big Navi will use AMD’s next-gen RDNA 2 graphics architecture and that we can expect to see it, as well as the RTX 3080 from Nvidia, this September. For what it is worth, the Nvidia graphics card will use the company’s new Ampere graphics technology.

Much of this caps off a year of pretty big wins for AMD. Both console titans Sony and Microsoft announced their next-gen consoles would be using RDNA-2 architecture. Naturally, that doesn’t mean much for the PC graphics card race. Given that both will be debuting around the same time, it will be interesting to see which company comes out on top.

What do you think? Does AMD’s Big Navi sound like something that could bring Nvidia down a peg or two or just more boastful marketing? Does it even matter? What graphics card would you choose if you had the option? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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Microsoft’s Cloud Gaming Service Coming in September 2020

Microsoft’s vision for the future of video games is almost here and we’re not talking about its next-gen console. Announced for September of this year, Microsoft’s long-anticipated cloud gaming service called Project xCloud will be arriving and for free for holders of its Game Pass membership. The service promises gamers the ability to “game” on the device of their choosing such as a phone, tablet, or console.

If that’s a promise you think you’ve heard before, well, let’s just say that Microsoft isn’t the first mover in this space. But they might be one of the biggest and sooner rather than later.

Of course, with the next-gen hardware right around the corner, people might not be as interested in or paying as much attention to things like a cloud-gaming service with the Xbox branding. Yet, for industry watchers, this news is probably as big as the details we got about the new console coming out. All of it paints a picture of a company dedicated to its gaming division – a fidelity that many people have questioned in the past. After all, let’s not even get into how wary some consumers are about Stadia given Google’s history with abandoning projects.

The chief of Microsoft’s Xbox division, Phil Spencer said of the new service in a blog post, “We’re bringing Xbox Game Pass and Project xCloud together at no additional cost for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. With cloud gaming in Game Pass Ultimate, you will be able to play over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles on your phone or tablet.”

While some people are comparing it to rival services from Nvidia and Google, analysts point to one key distinguishing difference between the xCloud service and its rivals: The integration with Xbox Game Pass and the broader Xbox user base.

Highlighting this, the research director of games at analytics firm Ampere Analysis Piers Harding-Rolls told CNBC, “Integrating the offer into Xbox Game Pass Ultimate fully commercialises the technology and gives people using it the ability to game with the almost 100 million Xbox Live community of users across console,  PC and mobile.”

Describing how it will bring streaming to a mass audience, Harding-Rolls continued:

“The fact the feature is free means that usage of the technology is likely to be widespread across the subscriber base and will give many the first taste of this distribution technology, its advantages, and its limitations.” There’s little doubt that streaming platforms will be a part of the future composition of the gaming landscape. It’s just a question of how important they are and the kind of value proposition they offer gamers. Another aspect of this debate is that “streaming” means different things in gaming than it does for the often-cited Netflix business model. Offering a Netflix-style library of triple-A games, as opposed to an iTunes style option of buying a game and then streaming it (a la Stadia), could be the true breakthrough moment for video games in the cloud space.

Ninja Makes Huge Debut on YouTube

The sudden shutdown of Mixer left many gamers wondering what would happen to some of the platform’s biggest stars, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins among them.

Of course, all of the big names were released from their contracts as we reported but the speculation was more about where these streamers would go. Back to Twitch? As anyone who has followed his career can tell you, that might be an awkward move for him. After all, they parted on somewhat awkward terms.

Then again, the Facebook Gaming alternative wasn’t really viable – for multiple reasons.

Given such a narrow range of options, it only makes sense that Ninja decided to throw his hat in with YouTube. It’s a savvy move for multiple reasons and we’ll tell you why.

For one, YouTube is much, much more than gaming and, with an audience generator like Ninja joining its gaming arm, YouTube looks set to extend its reach even further.

Yet, no need to worry, YouTube hasn’t inked some kind of exclusivity deal with Ninja. He just chose them over the competition. That probably pays more free dividends to YouTube than we can imagine and the service seems to be more than happy to have him on board, even in an unofficial capacity.

Talia Yates, a rep from YouTube, said they welcome him on board.

Even before going live on the service, he had amassed 24 million followers.

Chief executive of the livestreaming services provider StreamElements Doron Nir said to the New York Times, “The power in the livestreaming gaming industry has gradually shifted from the platforms to the creators since they now have more options for where to build their brand.”

“While lucrative exclusivity deals are commonplace we expect to see the rise of transcendent creators. These are individuals who are able to be bigger than any one platform with the freedom to reach a much broader audience by leveraging all of them. Oprah, Ellen and Bill Simmons have all exemplified the benefit of not tethering themselves to a single platform, and Ninja can easily follow suit,” he continued.

Looking ahead, most analysts expect that Ninja and those like him will avoid exclusivity agreements and, instead, will likely use a multiplatform approach. For one, it might not be more lucrative to do that, but it is way more diversified.

And it isn’t just the streaming aspect of everything that makes creators money. As more and more Internet personalities break out into the mainstream, the more they become like other celebrities out there. Endorsements, sponsorships, and other business ventures are part and parcel with streaming success no matter what platform you use as a host. It will be interesting to see how companies like Twitch and YouTube monetize this moving forward.

As for Ninja, in particular, the move to Mixer was a smart career decision for one simple reason: He got to keep most of his contract money without having to fulfill it. Now he’s not only free to do as he pleases but also can weaponize that capital to help advance his other ventures.

Sony Plunges $250 Million Into Epic Games

Things just keep getting better for Epic Games. Japanese gaming and electronics giant Sony just announced that they are putting up no less than $250 million in an investment in the Fortnite maker and it has industry tongues wagging with speculation.

Could this be a power move on Sony’s part to secure Fortnite exclusivity moving into the next generation? Who knows but if speculation could power a city, we’ve got enough for the whole US East Coast from this story alone.

Polygon quotes the official press release on the deal which said that the two companies wanted to “broaden their collaboration across Sony’s leading portfolio of entertainment assets and technology, and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem to create unique experiences for consumers and creators.”

IMAGE SOURCE: EPIC GAMES.

While that is vague in and of itself, it could also speak to other possibilities outside of the next console generation. Sony could be looking for a partner in the PC gaming space. You know, one that could sell their exclusives to a ready and waiting PC audience.

CEO of Sony Corporation Kenichiro Yoshida said of the investment, “Epic’s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations. There’s no better example of this than the revolutionary entertainment experience, Fortnite. Through our investment, we will explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape.”

“Sony and Epic have both built businesses at the intersection of creativity and technology, and we share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences leading to a convergence of gaming, film, and music. Together we strive to build an even more open and accessible digital ecosystem for all consumers and content creators alike,” Founder and CEO of Epic Tim Sweeney remarked of Sony’s contribution.

You have to hand it to them, Epic knows how to make big moves in the video game industry and do they ever garner attention. From securing exclusives to paving the way for a monetized-everything future, Epic’s influence on the current direction of video games cannot be denied.

Still, one does have to wonder where Sony’s head is in all of this. It can’t just be about one thing over all else but Fortnite’s popularity (and ability to make money) means that Epic is playing with a powerful deck. One salient fact of the past five years or so of Sony’s run is that much of the PlayStation 4’s staying power comes from the fact that the console commands one of the most impressive libraries of exclusive games for this generation.

As we move closer to the next generation systems, it looks like Sony is going to double down on that strategy and is even reaching out to other companies, like Epic, in aggressive ways to do just that. Even timed exclusives are better than nothing at all.

Razer Releases First 60% Mini Keyboard

Razer releases its hit keyboard, The Huntsman, in mini form.

The Huntsman mini has already launched in its clicky key variation. Supposedly linear switches will be coming soon as well. Most importantly, the keyboard is available in WHITE and black. I have been dying to get a white viper ultimate, but sadly they have not hinted at even producing that at all, such a bummer.

The Huntsman keyboard has been quite popular in the gaming scene, as its optical switches are something new in a stale keyboard market. Everyone that has a huntsman of any variation has raved about it.

Now gamers have the mini 60% option so they can maximize their mousepad space for those low sensitivity flick headshots.

Find the keyboard here

Halo 3 Drops on PC July 14th

Halo fans that have skipped out on the current gen Xbox and even the previous one will finally get the chance to play Halo 3 albeit on PC. Why has it taken so long for Microsoft to bring one of its most popular titles to computers? Apparently it is not as easy as it looks or one would think.

But Halo 3 isn’t the only thing up Microsoft’s sleeve on July 14th. The company has a slew of other announcements as well. As The Verge reports, this isn’t that surprising given Microsoft’s shopping spree of late to acquire game developers.

One game series that is expected to make a renewed appearance is the Fable series though that is purely gossip at this point. Microsoft has filed some legal paperwork around that IP but that doesn’t really mean much of anything.

Other titles include Hellblade II and Psychonauts II. Surprise titles could be another Perfect Dark game or a Banjo Kazooie title.

Of course, the majority of the anticipation is going to be for what comes for the next generation of consoles. With Sony already outlining its plans for the PS5’s next-gen games, Microsoft might be feeling the pressure to roll out its own titles.

It’s hard not to acknowledge that this year has been weird for the whole industry and well beyond. What would normally be revealed in massive public press outings is now instead relegated to the online space. It hasn’t seeped the hype away from many games but it has put a damper on some of the excitement. Not to mention the delays plaguing big-name titles from this generation (is anyone else expecting Cyberpunk 2077 to be delayed again? This author sure is).

Back to Halo 3, it’s interesting that Microsoft is revisiting that title and for PC no less. While many people might think the game’s day has come and gone, it has some staying power in terms of a compelling multiplayer experience and even a do-it-yourself mode when it comes to stage design. 

What do you think Microsoft will reveal on July 14th? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Watchdogs 2 FREE from Ubisoft

Ubisoft was giving Watchdogs 2 out for free during their Forward Conference event, but you can still claim the free gift.

Some users were having some issues claiming the game during the actual event, so it looks like Ubisoft is allowing anyone who visits their web page to claim the digital free game. Head over to this page to claim it now!

You’ll be asked to login and then be notified of your confirmation. Pictured below