IKEA and ASUS Team Up for Custom Gaming Furniture

One of the fastest growing niches in the furniture and office equipment segment are those products that are tailored for and built according to a gamer’s needs.

That’s not really that shocking when you consider how fast eSports is growing as both a profession, hobby, and entertainment outlet. To capitalize on this newfound love for all things gaming, IKEA and ASUS’s gamer-focused subbrand Republic of Gamers are teaming up to develop a line of gaming furniture.

We’d expect it will combine Ikea’s sleek design and affordable price with features that gamers could use. As things stand now, we’ll have to use our imaginations as for what this partnership could potentially produce because both companies were mum on specifics only going so far as to say that this would be a new “ecosystem” of products according to PC Gamer. The furniture will be designed by ASUS Design Centre in Taipei and Shanghai where IKEA also has an outpost that will enable the companies to work together. Aside from making things that look compelling, the companies will also make sure that the furniture is optimized for gaming and performance particularly among the eSports set.

We won’t have to wait very long to see what these two companies design. The first products are slated for a release in February 2021 in the Chinese domestic market with an eventual global rollout occurring after that.

The only hurdle we could potentially see to this is that IKEA isn’t really the first name in gaming furniture but neither is ASUS for that matter. If they can get the word out there about these products, they could be a pretty big success but these just don’t come to mind when you think of durable gaming furniture, chairs, desks, and other accessories.

What do you think of IKEA and ASUS’s partnership? Would gaming furniture be something that you would be interested in buying? Why or why not? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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What We Know About Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30 Series

As much of the console world waits with bated breath for Sony and Microsoft’s new systems to drop this fall, Nvidia was kind enough to show us all what the future of PC gaming – and consoles – is going to look like in the future.

The GeForce RTX 30 Series promises to bring more of everything to users and, as Nvidia’s history has proven, it isn’t all marketing hype.

From Nvidia’s own marketing hype: “GeForce RTX 30 Series GPUs also feature several world firsts: they’re the first gaming-class graphics cards with up to 24GB of new, blazing-fast GDDR6X VRAM; they’re the first GPUs with HDMI 2.1, for 4K high refresh rate and 8K gaming; they’re the first discrete GPUs with support for the AV1 codec, enabling you to watch high-resolution streams using significantly less bandwidth; and our Founders Edition cards are the first with innovative dual axial flow through cooling solutions.

And of course, GeForce RTX 30 Series GPUs come packed with new technologies for esports competitors, livestreamers, creators, and gamers alike – NVIDIA Reflex reduces system latency, providing split-second PC gaming responsiveness; NVIDIA Broadcast turns any room into a home broadcast studio with AI-enhanced video and voice comms; updates to NVIDIA DLSS make 8K HDR gaming a reality on the GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card; and new NVIDIA Studio enhancements make creative applications run faster than ever before.”

NVIDIA also showed off their so-called Reflex tech that will help  “improve esports reaction time,” among other things. As anyone who follows eSports knows, that’s no small thing and lag can often mean the difference in many matches. The company also showed off a host of new streaming features to make it easier for gamers using NVIDIA tech to put their gameplay online. The company also demonstrated the NVIDIA Omniverse Machinima with Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord working the crowd.

NVIDIA Omniverse Machinima “gives you the power to remix, recreate, and redefine animated video game storytelling” the company claims. NVIDIA also displayed their next-gen ray tracing, DLSS, and discussed the RTX Ampere GPU. Of course, the marquee event of all of this talk was the demonstration of the next-gen games using this tech including Cyberpunk 2077.

All of this was capped off with a thorough introduction to the GeForce RTX 3080:

“Powered by the NVIDIA Ampere architecture, our second-generation of RTX, GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards deliver staggering rasterized, ray-traced, and AI-enhanced horsepower, giving you the performance to make your games more beautiful and realistic with maxed out settings.

GeForce RTX 30 Series GPUs power the next wave of amazing game titles, including Cyberpunk 2077, Fortnite with RTX, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Minecraft with RTX for Windows 10. And they give competitive gamers the lightning response times needed to win in games like Valorant and Fortnite.”

What do you think about the GeForce RTX 30 Series? Did you watch the presentation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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DCFandome’s Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Surprises Audiences

DCFandome was an event to remember this year even with all of the restrictions COVID-19 has placed on live events.

Of course, front and center for gamers were the new titles based upon DC Comics iconic properties and, in addition to a new Batman game, it looks like the media darlings that are better known as the Suicide Squad will also get a game. And it is coming from the same teams as those that have brought us the legendary Arkham titles. While most of us were surprised by this news, fans that have followed the Suicide Squad game and its development have waited since 2011 for something like this to finally become reality.

Back then there were rumors of an open-world, “violent” game based upon the Suicide Squad property and it looks like Kill the Justice League is set to be just that game.

Interestingly, this title will also be a continuation, lore-wise, of that established in the Arkham games. The trailer for the game introduced Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Deadshot, and Kingshark but it is expected that more characters will be introduced over time or after release as DLC.

One character that is unmentioned but that will be omnipresent is the city of Metropolis itself. Rocksteady’s own Sefton Hill called it the “fifth character” in the game.

“One thing we’re really excited about is bringing Metropolis to life. It’s really the fifth character in this game,” Venture Beat quotes Hill.

As for what the game is all about, Hill also outlined how it is about “supervillain empowerment” and providing gamers with a unique gameplay experience.

“Suicide Squad really spoke to us how fascinating these flawed characters are,” he explained.

In terms of the general outline of the story, it looks like DC villain Braniac is back to terrorize yet another set of people (not heroes in this case). As with the other game Rocksteady showed off, Gotham Knights, multiplayer cooperative gameplay will be a huge feature of Kill the Justice League but not a necessary one. In fact, during solo play, you will be given the option to switch between the four characters in real-time. This means that gamers will be tasked with mastering who is best for what situation and how to coordinate the Suicide Squad’s actions in the most optimal way. In other words, it sounds like an Arkham game with RPG elements…not too unlike the Gotham Knights game that was also revealed at DCFandome.

One marked difference between Gotham Knights and this game, however, is that Suicide Squad will be a next-gen only game. That’s probably indicated by its release date more than anything else: Sometime in 2022. By then, the current generation systems will be coasting on fumes and the next era will be well underway. How this will manifest itself in unique gameplay options remains to be seen but, given Rocksteady’s work with the Arkham games, this game could be more than hype.

What do you think? Does Kill the Justice League sound like something you’d like to buy? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments section below.

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The Epic versus Apple Battle Ratchets Up in Intensity As Cupertino Terminates Fortnite Maker’s Dev Account

The war being waged by Epic on multiple fronts took a new turn on the Apple side of things when the iPhone maker decided to terminate the Fortnite company’s dev account. This comes on the heels of arguments by Epic that devs are “fleeing” Unreal Engine because of the potential impact of Apple’s actions against the company. All of this stems from Epic’s decision to go up against both Apple and Google for not allowing them to make their own in-app payments system for their popular Fortnite game. Naturally, such a system goes against both Apple and Google’s terms of service that stipulate that transactions need to be conducted through the user’s Google Play or Apple App Store account respectively.

A lawyer from firm Gibson Dunn, Richard Doren, representing Apple, noted that the actions taken by the company were in line with its user agreements and that all parties were aware of what would happen should Epic decide to take the actions it did.

“When Apple is dealing with an entity that is breaching its contracts, its practice is to terminate the accounts of all related parties. The reason Apple does this is so that it doesn’t become a shell game… The concern is that the misconduct will simply be transferred to another Epic entity,” he argued according to The Verge.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers did acknowledge the legitimacy of Epic’s claims about harming the Unreal Engine, but also noted the company’s own role in bringing about the entire case. After all, none of these actions were initiated by Apple unilaterally or without cause. Nor were they done by Google in such a manner. Both companies responded to Epic’s going it solo with a ban on Fortnite, but a ban on the Unreal Engine probably won’t stand.

The more recent news of Apple’s decision to ban Epic’s developer account does show an even further escalation in tensions between the two companies. That said, CNBC reports that a dev account associated with Unreal Engine remains active.

Of the move to ban Epic’s dev account, Apple released the following statement:

“We are disappointed that we have had to terminate the Epic Games account on the App Store. We have worked with the team at Epic Games for many years on their launches and releases. The court recommended that Epic comply with the App Store guidelines while their case moves forward, guidelines they’ve followed for the past decade until they created this situation. Epic has refused. Instead they repeatedly submit Fortnite updates designed to violate the guidelines of the App Store. This is not fair to all other developers on the App Store and is putting customers in the middle of their fight. We hope that we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.”

A spokesperson for Epic told CNBC in response to Apple’s statement, “Apple is asking that Epic revert Fortnite to exclusively use Apple payments. Their proposal is an invitation for Epic to collude with Apple to maintain their monopoly over in-app payments on iOS, suppressing free market competition and inflating prices. As a matter of principle, we won’t participate in this scheme.”

Where do you stand on the Epic versus Apple (and Google) battle? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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EA Really Wants to Buy WB Games – And It Just Might Happen

Rumors are what help drive a lot of gaming news media forward but also they act as a kind of signal to elicit some kind of response.

In this case, we’re wondering if EA is trying to come on a little strong in expressing its interests.

WB Games might not be one of the first publishers that come to mind when you think about the big names out there like Capcom, Sega, and Square, but they not only publish some pretty big titles but also they have some hot properties on the horizon.

And EA would like to scoop them up in a deal, for better or worse. That’s right, gaming’s own Cronus wants to devour yet another titan of the scene and who knows what kind of impact that will have on Batman games and the upcoming open-world Harry Potter title, if anything.

But EA has never let their reputation for sterilizing creative forces stop them from making a major acquisition in the past.

Could the WB Games thing actually happen?

Well, one major roadblock might be other gaming publishers themselves. If WB Games makes it known that it wants out of the business, this could lead to a veritable feeding frenzy among the big names out there. Also, while EA has deep pockets, many of its competitors have caught up with and some names surpass it entirely, like Microsoft for example. One name bandied about as a potential suitor for WB Games should it come up for acquisition is none other than the Redmond clan behind the Xbox, a console relatively starved for exclusive content when compared with Nintendo and Sony and which could really benefit from something like a triple-A open-world Harry Potter game and the license to the Batman property. Spider-Man on PS, Bat Man on Xbox, anyone?

That brings up the second aspect of all of this and that is anyone who buys WB Games will likely need deep pockets. It isn’t that EA isn’t capable of buying it, it’s all a matter of who else wants a piece of it. 

Some analysts have cited the business impact of the novel coronavirus and, specifically, finance. The implication here is that a company that doesn’t have the cash on hand might not be able to secure financing for such a purchase given the current environment. Yet, on the other hand, one industry that has boomed while everything else has largely suffered is video games. In other words, we don’t think EA would have to try too hard to find someone willing to help it cough up the cash for a WB Games acquisition if it comes down to that.

What do you think of EA’s desire to buy WB Games? Let us know what you think about this story in the comments section below.

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Destiny 2’s Next Expansion Delayed Until November 2020

Expansions are pretty much the lifeblood of MMOs hence why delays make people upset in more ways than one.

But this delay might be understandable from a range of circumstances, not least among them the current global pandemic that is bringing the world to a halt.

It looks like the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t just impacting daily life and the economy in a broad sense but also the development of updates such as the much-anticipated expansion for Destiny 2, Beyond Light. That’s the reason behind the delay of Beyond Light until November 2020, an announcement that has come as a disappointment for many content-starved Destiny 2 fans.

In a game update, community manager David “Deej” Dague posted: “As the first chapter in a new trilogy of expansions, Beyond Light is the beginning of a new era of Destiny 2. We have a powerful story to tell and incredible new features that we’re really excited for players to experience. As always, our goal is to make the coolest, most entertaining expansion we can possibly make for our fans. To that end, we are doing what’s best for the game and moving the launch date. The past few months have been a challenge and will continue to be during this pandemic. We’ve learned to create together in a new way, by having to work apart from one another. Despite these hurdles, we’re still committed to the same level of quality that our fans expect.”

Though the delay is a disappointment for many, the devs promise to make up for it with a stellar expansion. They also are going to keep the community in the loop as to what they are developing and what that roadmap is looking like moving forward. And, to be clear, Beyond Light isn’t just your average expansion either. It is the beginning of a new yarn in the Destiny 2 saga and likely to bring a host of changes with it. It’s not quite World of Warcraft: Cataclysm level changes, but they’re a pretty big deal in terms of the game itself.

“Over the coming weeks, we’ll be unveiling more of what we’re working on for Beyond Light and what that also means for Season of Arrivals, which will now extend to November 10. Beyond Light sets the stage for an incredible future in Destiny 2 and, though it’s coming later than we originally anticipated, we’re excited to continue that journey with you this November.”

As for the current Season of Arrivals, it will extend until the November 10 launch of Beyond Light. Luckily for Destiny 2 players, Bungie has one of the most robust community support teams around so we’re likely to hear a lot more about Beyond Light in the coming weeks to keep us enthusiastic. 

Were you looking forward to the Beyond Light expansion? What would you like to see Bungie do with it? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section.

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GOG Galaxy 2.0 Adds Epic Games Store to Growing List of Gaming Portals

It looks like GOG Galaxy 2.0 is adding a big name to its already healthy roster of gaming services.

The ever-controversial Epic Games Store will join the likes of Xbox Live on the GOG one-size-fits-all app that connects gamers with all of their digital libraries without them having to sign in to each individual service. It’s basically a major life convenience – especially if you play the online sales and shop the best price no matter who the vendor is.

Of course, Epic is more than enthusiastic about this integration.

General Manager of the Epic Games Store Steve Allison said of being added to GOG Galaxy 2.0, “We’re excited that Epic Games Store integration has come to GOG GALAXY 2.0…It’s an important step towards breaking down walls between PC stores, as it enables a unified experience for players to manage their PC games library independent of where their games were purchased.”

Meanwhile, Epic’s Tim Sweeney tweeted, “Ultimately, ownership of digital items should be a universal notion, independent of stores and platforms. So much of the digital world today is frustrated by powerful intermediaries whose toll booths obstruct open commerce to keep customers and their purchases locked in.”

Gamers, on the other hand, are torn into multiple camps on this issue, as is to be expected. Some are grateful that yet another service is coming to GOG Galaxy. But others, particularly GOG diehards, see any involvement by Epic as a necessarily bad thing. You see, in case you haven’t followed the controversy, the Epic Games Store has gone somewhat hard in the race to win market share. Aside from having a title like Fortnite to buoy it, Epic also went after “exclusives” for certain games that left Steam gamers out in the dark. Naturally, the solution for those gamers, if they chose to do so, was to join up with the Epic Games Store and use both but the whole “timed exclusive” thing for some big name titles really rubbed people the wrong way. It seems they’re still pretty upset about it.

And it’s not like they’re totally out of left field. Exclusives on a PC were pretty much an unheard of concept. Normally that’s something you see on consoles. But here we are. On top of that, it seems some gamers want to question any firm associated with Epic no matter what the format. More than one Internet commenter has voiced concerns that this is evidence of Epic trying to buy GOG or something like that. There is absolutely nothing to back that up.

What about you? Will you be using GOG Galaxy 2.0 or will you wait until more services sign up for it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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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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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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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.