The Nintendo Switch 2 or Just a Switch Pro? What We Know

There’s little denying the popularity of the Nintendo Switch, but, with Sony and Microsoft’s new systems right around the corner, Miyamoto and company have to be feeling pressure at this point from the market to do something “more.”

But the problem is that no one knows exactly what this “more” might mean. An upgraded console? Entirely new hardware? Or a diversification of the hardware options to accommodate a range of gamer types and budgets.

While we don’t have any news on a new console – as in a Switch 2 – we do have some indication of where Nintendo’s mind is heading and what the future of the company’s hardware could look like.

Basically, it looks like the second and third predictions are spot on yet we don’t have enough information yet to definitively say that Nintendo might be exploring an iterative approach to the Switch which would obviate the need for a “Switch 2.” In other words, though we don’t know anything about a Switch 2 as of yet, and all indications are looking like Nintendo is going to keep farming the current system, that doesn’t mean that Nintendo isn’t considering a “next-gen” system separate and apart from the Switch one day. What this is really about is a question of backward compatibility and, if Sony’s moves are any trend indication, we think Nintendo is possibly exploring ways to make console generations less meaningful when it comes to disruption in a gamer’s core library.

Nintendo’s president Shuntaro Furukawa said of the release of the next-gen consoles from other companies this year, “We do not believe that the business trends of other companies will have a significant impact on our business.”

It’s also looking increasingly likely that Nintendo is developing or considering the oft-reported “Pro” line of consoles. These models would offer graphical upgrades to the current mainline console as well as rumored access to services like Twitch and Discord. This goes back to the tier idea that seems to be floating around Nintendo’s offices and could possibly determine the future of the Switch more than anything else. We already have the entry-level Lite pure handheld version, and of course, there’s the main system itself but now with upgraded bits here and there to make batteries last longer, among other things. It looks like all we are missing is the oft-rumored though never seen Switch Pro.

And it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing it this year. Nintendo brass has already said, definitively, that no new consoles will be coming out this year nor will they really be discussing that. So, Sony and Microsoft, it’s your stage.

Even though we don’t have any rumors about a Switch 2, we think the idea that Nintendo might diversify with different hardware models could be a good sign of where the company is heading in the short term. We’re also pleased to see that the considerations for a “high-end” version seem to be geared towards the “hardcore” crowd. It’ll be interesting to see where Nintendo’s new, vastly more complex, hardware structure ends up taking it. After all, everyone else is following the traditional rule book – the one that Nintendo helped write – while the former hanafuda company is looking for new ways to bring gaming to the masses.

What do you think of the possibility of a Switch 2? What would you want out of that kind of machine? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Also, don’t forget to check out our other articles by clicking here.

Discord Moves Into the Mainstream

Change comes to us all, and, for popular gaming chat service Discord, the hope is that a few tweaks here and there will allow the platform to move into the mainstream and diversify its audience away from gaming.

Much like the efforts of Twitch in the past several years to move away from being a gaming-exclusive platform, Discord’s attempts to do the same is part of a broader shift in gaming media towards the mainstream in general.

“Games are what brought many of you on the platform, and we’ll always be grateful for that. Today, many of you use Discord for day-to-day communication. You’re sharing thoughts about books, music and art, creating servers to just be yourself and share moments with friends,” the company said in a press release about the pivot.

So, a chatroom service with fancy features? A forum with modern amenities? What is Discord going for exactly?

Let’s look at the press release discussing the change for clarification.

“We designed Discord for talking. There’s no endless scrolling, no news feed, and no tracking likes. No algorithms decide what you ‘should’ see. We designed Discord to enable the experience and feelings we wanted to recreate: being together with your community and friends. You’ve made your servers into personal spaces filled with people you invited and set the topics of discussion. Your communities all have their own rules and norms of engagement, giving people fun roles and adding inside-joke emojis.”

Looks like a chat room/message board to me, but with the Discord branding and user base, it could become so much more than that.

The company is almost pursuing a pseudo-social media strategy. Call it “Diet Facebook,” but what Discord is talking about, with the “community” and desire to fashion a “hub” for everyone, is nothing less than that. We know the company wants to move away from the video gaming niche or, at least, the perception that video games is what the company is all about. But what if Discord becomes one of the first major social networks out there dedicated to video games and the lifestyle? That would be a big development, but it’s not where the company wants to go…judging by this press release.

Yet that could end up happening anyway as more and more people log on and notice that Discord might offer a lot of options but its most robust content is in the gaming sector.

There is some reason to be skeptical that all of this will work out. Twitch, with Amazon’s push and money, is still largely regarded as a live-streaming service for gamers. That might change, but the battle is pretty uphill so far and the horizon really isn’t in sight. Plus, it isn’t like Twitch doesn’t have a lot of well-heeled competition in the form of Facebook and its properties as well as Google’s YouTube.

When it comes to big name services like Discord, however, the company seems to stand somewhat alone. Maybe there’s a chance it will all work out.

Do you use Discord? What do you think of the company’s proposed changes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Also, don’t forget to check out our other video games news by clicking here.

Ryzen 4000 Reportedly Delayed

Current events in the world have hurt tech manufacturers in particular.

The novel coronavirus has brought life to a standstill around the world, and it looks like it is hitting tech manufacturing particularly hard.

In fact, it could lead to the delay of the much anticipated Ryzen 4000.

And that has more than a few people disappointed, particularly PC gamers eager to show that, yes, PCs still have better capabilities than the latest consoles coming this winter from Sony and Microsoft.

Tweaktown reports, “According to motherboard manufacturers, due to the pandemic and competitive reasons, Intel and AMD kept changing their 2020 desktop roadmap and launch schedules, causing major headaches for the supply chain. In addition, NVIDIA and AMD are also keeping the launch schedules for their next-gen GPUs secret, to avert pricing manipulations by their opponents.”

For those of you that might remember, the Ryzen 3000 launched around this time last year so anticipating a followup around the same time this year not only makes sense, it’s pretty much expected. After all, those that can’t keep up are often left behind in the tech race – and AMD is keen to not be seen as lagging behind anyone, especially competitors like Nvidia.

Then again, how much pressure could you really feel if sales of your current-gen hardware are on fire? That might be helping AMD weather the lull caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s not a strategy for future growth. Nonetheless, the strength of the Ryzen 3000 line is impressive.

“According to motherboard manufacturers, sales for Ryzen 3000 series are hot. Accordingly, AMD is extending its life cycle, and definitely will not be launching the next-gen Ryzen 4000 series, based on Zen3 architecture and using TSMC’s 7nm EUV process, in Sep. The earliest Ryzen 4000 series will enter mass production is end of 2020, and launch in Jan 2021 at CES. Whether it will be changed to 5nm EUV process is unclear at the moment,” Tweaktown reports.

Another notch in AMD’s column is the struggles of rival Intel. Intel’s not had an easy road of late and the recent announcement that Apple would be dropping its silicon in favor of its own in-house manufacture only adds to those problems. Persistent issues with Intel’s latest Comet Lake line are getting tougher to ignore and the move by the company in Cupertino to ditch their longtime partner only underscores all of that.

“As understood, following Comet Lake, Intel will launch Rocket Lake at the end of 2020, at the earliest. But it will still stay on the 14nm process. The first 10nm desktop processor Alder Lake will only be released at the end of 2021 at the earliest, which is to say Intel is yet to fully enter the 10nm era for another one and a half years.”

What do you think of the possible delay of AMD’s Ryzen 4000? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Also, don’t forget to check out our other video game articles by clicking here.

Viotek’s 144 Hz 4K Gaming Monitor Arrives

A budget friendly brand with unheard of specs for even from top brands!

Monitors are a pretty big deal and for a solid reason. After all, no one cares about your powerful graphics card if it is being displayed like a watercolor painting. Even so, monitors are not a cheap accessory and, as Viotek’s latest shows, they’re definitely not without their own complications.

We might be entering a new promised land for resolution in gaming monitors as Viotek’s latest promises 4K at 144 Hz – something pretty much impossible with most of the equipment on the market right now.

So how does it work?

Since it can’t promise that kind of refresh rate using any cables out there right now, Viotek has the novel solution of using not just one but two cables to make sure its monitor delivers the promised performance.

That is, the monitor requires two DisplayPort 1.4 ports to get 140 Hz. Just one cable puts out 120 Hz. The 27-inch GFI27QXA also happens to be a pretty decent monitor all around as many reviewers are pointing out. It supports G-Sync and Freesync from 48 Hz to 144 Hz as well as a sturdy stand and a glare shield. In other words, Viotek has covered most all of the necessary bases. That’s probably a good thing because they’re not asking for just a few pennies.

But, as with anything hardware-related, the final and most pressing question for many of us is the price. At $750, the Viotek isn’t a cheap alternative by any means but, then again, what it is promising is different from most others out there on the market. That has a price, too.

If you are interested this monitor is available on amazon.

Does the new Viotek 4K monitor sound like something you would like to own? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section below.

Also, don’t forget to check out all of our other awesome video game articles by clicking here.

Intel Core i5 9600K on Sale for $175!

Although it may be a last generation Intel desktop chip, it is no slouch. With 6 cores and and a base clock of 3.7GHz and boost clock of 4.7GHz the price drop from $259.99 to $174.99 makes it the perfect option if you are planning a budget build with a z390 Motherboard. With this price drop it will allow you to invest in other parts of your PC Build!

Here is the link to the deal: https://bhpho.to/2NpGkoh

Also they offer free shipping for any order over $49.00

Is Anyone Adopting Google Stadia?

When it first arrived, Google Stadia joined an already crowded console scene but stood out on its own for being one of the first for trying to merge gaming with streaming. Early adopters were met with some hiccups. That is to be expected with any launch. However, the Stadia has been a pleasant surprise for some while it “still isn’t there quite yet” for others. To be real, the promise of the Stadia was basically that it would act as a kind of a “Netflix for video games”.

In theory, we were going to get access to a triple-A library of titles and even new games would be added to this list. Is this what we’re getting?

Yes and no, and I know that isn’t a very specific answer. You see, it’s hard to pin down where the Stadia is going and what its strengths are. The complaints about lag in fighting games and others is a real thing and that’s a dealbreaker for many gamers.

Given the rise of competitive gaming, that’s a problem that needs to be overcome and quickly for the Stadia to be taken seriously. But games that don’t rely on blazing fast internet speed or lightning response times can still be enjoyable on the Stadia.

In fact, the biggest promise here is Stadia’s “go anywhere” gaming. If Google can somehow lock this down and make the Stadia a truly seamless experience between console, tablet, and phone then we’ve got something really powerful here.

As it stands now, everything is still relatively conceptual if that is even possible for a console that is already on sale right now.

While the Stadia has a great library of available games, there does seem to be a lot of industry resistance to it. One of the more recent examples of this is that the most-anticipated title of 2020, Cyberpunk 2077, won’t be releasing on the Stadia until after it has come out for console and PC.

That’s a pretty big blow because, in theory, the availability of Cyberpunk 2077 on Stadia on day one would be a pretty deal.

Another nagging issue that we don’t blame Google for nor do we know how the company is going to solve is the fact that, unlike Netflix, you actually have to pay to play these games.

You don’t get to just browse through a library of the best games currently out there and play whatever you want. If that were the case, then Stadia’s lag and other issues would be the tiniest of concerns and we doubt any of us would be able to log on to the service or get a console because it would be so popular. As it stands now, Stadia is a bridge between the past and the future.

The legacy elements of the former are what is holding it back. Don’t get us wrong, we understand why Stadia has to charge for triple-A titles and sell them just like any other console’s digital store would. It’s just that it kills much of the buzz and novelty of the console.

The result is something that shines a lens on the console and its many flaws. Still, Stadia has promise and it will be fun to see what Google does with it in the future. 

Minecraft Dungeons is the Diablo Clone You Didn’t Know You Wanted in Your Life

Whether or not you’ve played Minecraft before, you know about it.

It’s a veritable multimedia powerhouse and for good reasons.

Minecraft is a fun, addictive game that comes with endless possibilities.

The spinoff titles take the core game into new directions but none have done it so boldly as Minecraft Dungeons.

In many ways, this isometric dungeon crawler is nothing more than a Diablo clone with Minecraft’s IP thrown in the mix.

And let’s not pretend like it is controversial or even innovative to say that this game is a Diablo clone.

Everyone and their mom is calling it that and, as a huge Diablo fan, that’s not a knock on the game. Sure, I could be esoteric and say something like, “Minecraft Dungeons is a great Path of Exile-style title using Mojang’s beloved franchise’s art assets,” but that would be too try-hard for me right now. So, what can you expect if you pick up Minecraft Dungeons?

One of the more fun and casual dungeon crawlers to come out anywhere in some time.

But don’t confuse fun and casual for lacking in depth. Some people are trying to call this a “kiddie” Diablo clone but what does that even mean?

The video games from my childhood confound me now with their arbitrary mechanics and shameless difficulty settings.

What I think people mean by that is that Minecraft Dungeons isn’t as intense as Diablo 3 – whatever that means. If you’re a fan of the genre, however, this game deserves a pickup and soon.

The graphics are pretty glorious and everything clicks in terms of in-game mechanics.

There is nothing exceedingly novel here but it hits all of the right points when it comes to balancing combat with moving forward to accomplish objectives.

In other words, the game has rhythm and it’s a balanced one that maximizes your joy from the title.

That said, it can become difficult at points and for gamers  that have never played this type of game before it will be more than enough of a challenge. Of course, we have to address the elephant in the room which is: “That’s nice, but what does this have to do with Minecraft?”

Very little, my friend, outside of the use of the game’s intellectual property, lore, and art assets. Like any dungeon crawler, you have your loot and all that entails, but you’re not going to construct fortresses or roller coasters in this game like you do in the main title.

They are totally different games and they are only tied together by a shared universe.

Really, that’s to be expected and isn’t a knock on the game at all. We’re just throwing that out there because it might be jarring for the little kiddos out there that are used to building huts and farms.

Should you buy it? That’s a hot yes. You don’t have to take my word for it. Just look at the charts. It’s awesome to see a dungeon crawler post up sales like this game is and it bodes well for Blizzard’s Diablo 4 (whenever that arrives). The more isometric action RPGs we can get, the better.

Legends of Runeterra Review

Does the world need another fantasy-based card game?

Card games are a genre that has transitioned into the digital era with grace but also with a lot of legacy features that some of us don’t really find appealing.

Sure, you can justify that the business models that underpin games like Hearthstone by pointing out all of the free content you get but it still makes it a bit annoying to have to shell out cash each and every time you want to upgrade your deck.

At least with a physical game you have cards to hold. In the virtual world, you have nothing other than a printout of your receipt (if you want that).

One game that is charming enough to make us forget the DLC tax that holds it all together is Legends of Runeterra, a fun deck game based on the League of Legends IP.

You don’t need to be familiar with that game, but it might help make everything click with you that much more. One thing that we had a hard time wrapping our head around is the “why” behind this game. Does the world need another fantasy-based card game?

The jury is still out on that and it is a shame that almost any contender in this genre is compared with the aforementioned Blizzard property or the real OG, Magic the Gathering.

It might strike you as a copy of something superior at first glance, but what we have on offer here is innovative enough to warrant a second look.

For one thing, the action of the game moves much faster than either of the other games we mentioned. There is some tie in with the League of Legends lore but it won’t impact the game nor how you play it.

Again, we enjoyed how it assumed we knew nothing about one of the world’s biggest multiplayer games and that helped acclimate and establish the game as its own thing.

Another thing that we appreciated is that the game somewhat holds your hand or even helps guide your strategy.

A gameplay feature called the “Oracle’s Eye” will show you the impact of your moves down the road and this gives you loads of insight into how the mechanics of everything works. It’s pretty invaluable, especially if you’re not familiar with this kind of card game.

Graphics are serviceable if somewhat bright and generic from some perspectives. Overall, Legends of Runeterra delivers where it matters but there is one nagging issue.

The purchase of new cards is just a frustrating feature for a video game. We get it: If you’re used to this kind of thing, that mechanic probably isn’t a big deal. And for gamers raised in mobile ecosystems, the occasional purchase is justified. But when you’re trying to fall in love with a game and decide whether or not you want to put more of your time into it, the last thing you want to think about is a potential tax on your fun.

Because let’s face it, you’re going to have to upgrade your deck eventually. That’s just the way these games are. If you can stomach that, then Legends of Runeterra offers just enough of a change in the core game play that we think it merits a look.

New Paper Mario Announced for Release!

Paper Mario Returns in the New, Foldable Format with The Origami King This Fall!

Pre-Order HERE: https://amzn.to/2XH9F2y

The Mario saga is long and involved, but we often only get glimpses of the “lore” that ties the Mushroom Kingdom together in the mainline games.

For those of us that need a little bit more time with Mario – as well as the opportunity to get to know him and his universe better – the Paper Mario series has provided a wealth of joy and entertainment ever since it debuted on the Nintendo 64 in Japan back in 2001.

If you aren’t all that familiar with the Paper Mario series, think of it as the RPG counterpart to the platforming classic.

Originally drawing inspiration from the once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between Square and Nintendo that resulted in Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario takes the story elements and general adventure structure of that game and ports it all over into its own unique series of Mario games.

What makes Paper Mario fun for fans is that it is often a game focused heavily on story and typically features witty dialogue and novel situations for our titular hero.

The Origami King looks set to largely continue this tradition when it launches on July 17, 2020.

The official Paper Mario The Origami King trailer from Nintendo

So what’s the big deal with The Origami King, aside from its unexpected announcement and concomitant imminent release date?

From what we can tell, The Origami King looks set to bring back all of the charm and characters that people know and love but the tone of the story is, at least from the trailer, darker than we’re used to from a Mario game.

It looks like Bowser and Mario will be teaming up against whoever has “creased” the Mushroom Kingdom into an origami-style bondage which is both a nice shift from the typical scenario between the hero and villain as well as allows for interesting storytelling opportunities.

As anyone who has played the Paper Mario games can tell you, Bowser often ends up stealing the show when he’s around.

Aside from its bright and colorful graphics done in a unique “paper” style, Paper Mario is also a compelling game when it comes to combat and interacting with its world.

While world interaction isn’t anything new to these games, the origami effect allows for some unique ways that of doing so that promise to help this title continue the tradition of excellence established by its forbears.

Specifically, Nintendo highlights Mario’s new ability “called 1000-Fold Arms, allows you to interact with the landscape by stretching out and pulling, peeling and revealing new locations, helping you to solve puzzles and uncover unexpected surprises.”

Also unique to The Origami King is what the Big N is calling a ring-based combat system that combines elements of a puzzle with the RPG mechanics we know and love. Again, none of this was expected just in case you were wondering why this hype machine appeared out of nowhere.

While we do know that this is Mario’s anniversary and that Nintendo is pulling out all of the stops to make 2020 a big deal for their mascot, no one really thought a Paper Mario game was in the mix. Now we do and we won’t have to wait long to bring a swift end to the Origami’ King’s reign.

Razer’s New 300hz Blade Pro

Are 300 Hz displays and 10th gen Intel processors enough to get consumers to pick up the Razer Blade Pro 17?

That’s what the company hopes and they’re throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the project in order to woo the often fickle PC consumer back to Razer.

A notch above the Blade Stealth and Blade, the Blade Pro 17 is the one with the big 17 inch screen and it comes in three hot configurations that are all ready to burn a hole through your wallet.

These are the $2,599.99, $3,199.99, and $3,799.99 version with the cheapest variant rocking the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q and the middle-tier and top-tier iterations use the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q.

All share the same CPU, a Intel Core i7-10875H, and 16GB DDR4 RAM. The models also share the same battery, a 70.5 WHr, and the same wireless Intel AX201 Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0.

The cheapest and middle versions of the Blade Pro 17 use a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD for storage while the top-of-the-line model uses a 1TB PCIe NVME SSD.

The Razer Marketing Video of Razer Blade Pro 17

When it comes to the display, the Blade Pro 17 truly distinguishes each model from one another with different variants geared towards gamers who really care about this kind of thing.

The cheapest and middle versions of the computer come with a 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080, 300 Hz display while the most expensive version has a 17.3-inch, 4K, 120Hz.

Basically, the display is pretty amazing at any level. But that’s also where we had our biggest issues with the product. More on that later.

To round out the Blade Pro 17’s list of features, you get an SD card reader, 3 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, RJ45 Ethernet,  HDMI, Thunderbolt 3, and  2 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports.

The Razer Blade Pro 17 should start shipping to consumers and retail outlets later this month. In our opinion, it’s a pretty solid offering and we think the specs justify themselves.

The prices are also not uncommon for this kind of laptop and we didn’t really expect Razer to engage in intense price competition. What we did expect were the specs and the display, in particular, and that’s where we are concerned.

Can a gaming laptop consistently maintain 300 Hz over its lifetime?

We doubt it. Thermal throttling should become an issue because that’s a ton of power just to the display alone without even considering the rest of the power-hungry components that make up this system.

Outside of that, though, we’re impressed. If the system holds up when it starts to be subjected to real world conditions across multiple users, then we’ll change our mind but, for now, we’re cautiously optimistic.

Some people might take a wait-and-see approach as a verdict to not buy the product but, really, we just want to make sure its capable of delivering on the promises it is making.