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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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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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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