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Nvidia Reportedly Ending Production of Nintendo Switch Processor

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Nvidia has been interested in making its own mobile chips for years, going all the way back to 2008 and the original Tegra chip that powered the Microsoft Zune HD. Tegra has been at the heart of more successful devices in recent years, most notably the Nintendo Switch. Things might be changing in Nintendo’s lineup if a new report is to be believed. According to “a person familiar with the matter,” Nvidia is ending production of the Tegra chip that powers the Switch, PCMag reports. 

The Tegra X1 system-on-a-chip (SoC) is designed around technology that’s a few years old, but it can still pull its weight thanks to the powerful GPU. The original Switch used the stock Tegra X1 (codename Erista), but that chip had a vulnerability that modders used to modify the Switch’s system software. Nintendo updated the console in 2019 to use a new Tegra X1+ (codenamed Mariko). Now that chip is apparently finished. 

There are a few ways this could affect Nintendo, including not at all. It’s possible Nintendo intends to use the same Mariko chip for all its future Switch hardware, and Nvidia ending production won’t change that. Nintendo could be working to stockpile all the chips they’ll need for the rest of the Switch’s life cycle, in which case, this news won’t affect you at all. 

It’s also plausible that Nintendo plans to upgrade the Switch with better hardware. There are rumors of a high-end Switch revamp, featuring a larger OLED display and support for 4K docked gaming. The current Tegra X1+ would struggle with 4K, so many have speculated it could use AI-powered DLSS to upscale graphics. However, a more powerful SoC could just do 4K natively. 


Nvidia, which is trying to acquire UK-based Arm Holdings, has several newer Tegra chip designs, but they’ve only appeared in developer-focused products and a few cars. The newest is Orin, which was announced in 2019, but we know almost nothing about it other than it would be much faster than the Mariko chip. 

There may also be an outside chance that Nintendo is going to struggle to get enough parts to keep building the Switch. Although, I have to think Nvidia wouldn’t end production if Nintendo was still buying millions of current-gen Tegras. If this report proves accurate, I think it will serve to legitimize the rumors of a revamped Switch console. When we’ll see that is anyone’s guess, though.

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Japan reportedly to stage Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics minus overseas spectators

Japan has decided to stage this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics without overseas spectators due to public concern about COVID-19, Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday, citing officials with knowledge of the matter.

The Tokyo 2020 games organizing committee said in response that a decision would be made by the end of March.

The Olympics, postponed by a year because of the pandemic, are scheduled for July 23 to Aug. 8 and the Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

Kyodo said the government had concluded welcoming fans from abroad would not be possible given public concern about the coronavirus and the detection of more contagious variants in many countries, Kyodo cited the officials as saying.

The opening ceremony of the torch relay would also be held without any spectators, Kyodo said.

“The organizing committee has decided it is essential to hold the ceremony in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima behind closed doors, only permitting participants and invitees to take part in the event, to avoid large crowds forming amid the pandemic,” Kyodo said, quoting the officials.

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto has said she wants a decision on whether to let in overseas spectators before the start of the torch relay on March 25.

“Five parties, the IOC, the IPC [International Paralympic Committee], Tokyo 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the national government, came together for a meeting via online just last week,” the organizing committee said in response to the Kyodo report.

“The decision regarding allowing spectators from overseas to attend the Tokyo 2020 Games will be made by the end of March based on factors including the state of infections in Japan and other countries, possible epidemic-prevention measures, and expert scientific advice will be considered.”

Public wary

In the last Olympic Games, the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, local fans accounted for 80 per cent of all ticket sales, with international fans buying 20 percent.

While coronavirus infection numbers have been relatively low in Japan compared with the United States and many European countries, the country has been hit hard by the third wave of the pandemic and Tokyo remains under a state of emergency.

Japan has recorded more than 441,200 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with the death toll at more than 8,300.

Most Japanese people do not want international visitors to attend the Games amid fears that a large influx could spark a resurgence of infections, a Yomiuri newspaper poll showed.

The survey showed 77 per cent of respondents were against allowing foreign fans to attend, versus 18 per cent in favour.

Some 48 per cent said they were against allowing any spectators into venues and 45 per cent were in favour.

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Man arrested in Capitol Hill attack was reportedly bodyguard for Trump confidant Roger Stone

Two men wanted in the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol were arrested over the weekend, including one who reportedly served as a bodyguard to former president Donald Trump’s longtime political confidant Roger Stone, federal authorities said Monday.

Roberto Minuta breached the Capitol grounds and “aggressively berated and taunted U.S. Capitol police officers” during the Jan. 6 insurrection, the FBI said in court papers.

Also arrested over the weekend was Isaac Steve Sturgeon, 32, of Dillon, Mont., who is charged with shoving a metal police barricade into police officers during the insurrection, according to court records.

Meanwhile, Jacob Chansley, the Phoenix man who sported face paint, no shirt and a furry hat with horns while inside the Capitol during the siege, will remain jailed until trial, a judge in Washington ruled Monday.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth explained that Chansley carried a spear into the Capitol, ignored orders from police to leave, used a bullhorn to encourage other rioters and was among the first rioters into the building.

Jacob Chansley is pictured inside the Senate chamber after the U.S. Capitol was breached Jan. 6, 2021. Chansley was denied bail after a judge ruled he was unlikely to follow release conditions. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Oath Keepers provided illegal ‘freelance security’: lawyer 

Chansley doesn’t fully appreciate the severity of the charges against him, Lamberth said. The judge said he has no faith that Chansley would follow release conditions.

At least five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the violence at the Capitol, and two other officers took their own lives in the days after. More than 300 people have been charged with federal crimes.

Minuta, 36, of Hackettstown, N.J., had been “equipped with military-style attire and gear, including apparel emblazoned with a crest related to the Oath Keepers,” the FBI said, referring to the far-right antigovernment militia.

The New York Times identified Minuta as one of six people who provided security to Stone in the hours before the assault on the Capitol. Stone, who was pardoned after his sentence for several felony charges was initially commuted by Trump, was in Washington the day of the assault but has denied any involvement.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Gianforti told a magistrate judge in White Plains federal court that Minuta was among Oath Keepers who illegally provided freelance security in Washington for “various high-profile individuals who I won’t name.”

Minuta, who was arrested at his tattoo shop in Newburgh, N.Y., told federal agents “something to the effect of: ‘Why am I being targeted here? Why aren’t you going after Antifa and Black Lives Matter members?”‘ Gianforti said.

The prosecutor said the statements suggest “a lack of remorse for his actions and an ongoing allegiance to the ideology that led him to break the law.”

He accused Minuta of “screaming at Capitol Police officers on Jan. 6 and indeed spitting at their feet, which is one of the most disrespectful gestures that one can do.”

Gianforti said Minuta had cancelled his phone account on March 1 and gotten rid of his iPhone while moving between a Texas dwelling and his New York business.

Insurrectionists loyal to Donald Trump try to open a door of the U.S. Capitol as they riot in Washington on Jan. 6. The charges against Minuta say he entered the Capitol forcefully. (Jose Luis Magana/The Associated Press)

Ben Gold, Minuta’s court-appointed attorney, said his client was not violent on Jan. 6. A magistrate judge agreed, letting him be freed on $ 150,000 US bail despite the prosecutor’s request he be held as a danger to the community and risk to flee.

“He’s not a flight risk. He’s not a danger to the community,” Gold said.

The lawyer said a criminal complaint describing the charges says Minuta entered the Capitol forcefully, but yet the description afterward “doesn’t say he used an ounce of force.”

Authorities said Sturgeon, the Montana man, was identified through police body camera video and photographs posted to social media.

The FBI said Sturgeon, who owns a lawn care business, traveled to Kenya on Jan. 24 and was deported from that country to New York. He was arrested Saturday at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Sturgeon told a federal magistrate Monday he “wasn’t trying to flee,” adding he’s a frequent traveller.

His defence attorney declined to comment on the charges.

Prosecutors said Sturgeon faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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18 reportedly killed in Myanmar anti-coup protests; Canadian Embassy condemns crackdown

Security forces in Myanmar made mass arrests and appeared to use lethal force on Sunday as they intensified their efforts to break up protests a month after the military staged a coup. At least four people were reportedly killed.

There were reports of gunfire as police in Yangon, the country’s biggest city, fired tear gas and water cannons while trying to clear the streets of demonstrators demanding that the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi be restored to power. Photos of shell casings from live ammunition used in assault rifles were posted on social media.

Reports on social media identified by name one young man believed to have been killed in Yangon. His body was shown in photos and videos lying on a sidewalk until other protesters were able to carry him away.

A violent crackdown also occurred in Dawei, a much smaller city in southeastern Myanmar, where local media reported that at least three people were killed during a protest march. The fatalities could not immediately be independently confirmed, though photos posted on social media showed a wounded man in the care of medical personnel, and later laid out in a bed under a blanket with flowers placed on top.

Protesters gather in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city, on Sunday. (The Associated Press)

Confirming reports of protesters’ deaths has been difficult amid the chaos and general lack of news from official sources.

Prior to Sunday, there had been eight confirmed reports of killings linked to the army’s takeover, according to the independent Assistance Association of Political Prisoners.

The Feb. 1 coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy after five decades of military rule. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party would have been installed for a second five-year term in office, but the army blocked Parliament from convening and detained her and President Win Myint, as well as other top members of Suu Kyi’s government.

Sunday’s violence erupted in the early morning when medical students were marching in Yangon’s streets near the Hledan Center intersection, which has become the gathering point for protesters who then fan out to other parts of the city.

Videos and photos showed protesters running away as police charged at them, and residents setting up makeshift roadblocks to slow their advance. Some protesters managed to throw tear gas cannisters back at police. Nearby, residents were pleading with police to release those they picked up from the street and shoved into police trucks to be taken away. Dozens or more were believed to have been detained.

Protesters take cover as they clash with riot police in the country’s largest city, Yangon, on Sunday. (Reuters)

Demonstrators regrouped later Sunday and security forces continued to chase them in several neighbourhoods.

There was no immediate word on Yangon casualties. Sounds of gunfire could be heard in the streets and there were what appeared to be smoke grenades thrown into the crowds.

“The Myanmar security forces’ clear escalation in use of lethal force in multiple towns and cities across the country in response to mostly peaceful anti-coup protesters is outrageous and unacceptable, and must be immediately halted,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for New York-based Human Rights Watch. “Live ammunition should not be used to control or disperse protests and lethal force can only be used to protect life or prevent serious injury.”

“The world is watching the actions of the Myanmar military junta, and will hold them accountable,” he said.

On Saturday, security forces began employing rougher tactics, taking preemptive actions to break up protests and making scores, if not hundreds, of arrests. Greater numbers of soldiers have also joined police. Many of those detained were taken to Insein Prison in Yangon’s northern outskirts, historically notorious for holding political prisoners.

Protesters run after police fire tear gas to disperse them during a demonstration in Yangon. (Sai Aung Main/AFP via Getty Images)

According to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, as of Saturday, 854 people had been arrested, charged or sentenced at one point in relation to the coup, and 771 were being detained or sought for arrest. The group said that while it had documented 75 new arrests, it understood that hundreds of other people were also picked up Saturday in Yangon and elsewhere.

MRTV, a Myanmar state-run television channel, broadcast an announcement Saturday night from the Foreign Ministry that the country’s ambassador to the United Nations had been fired because he had abused his power and misbehaved by failing to follow the instructions of the government and “betraying” it.

Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun had declared in an emotional speech Friday at the UN General Assembly in New York that he represented Suu Kyi’s “civilian government elected by the people” and supported the struggle against military rule.

He urged all countries to issue public statements strongly condemning the coup, and to refuse to recognize the military regime. He also called for stronger international measures to stop violence by security forces against peaceful demonstrators.

WATCH | From The National on Feb. 22 — Widespread strikes in Myanmar:

Protests and strikes in Myanmar against the military government following a coup three weeks ago have become so widespread the regime is using soldiers to try to fill workers’ jobs. People are demanding the elected leaders, including Aung San Su Kyi, be released from detention and their democracy be restored. 2:02

The Canadian Embassy in Yangon issued a statement on Sunday saying it is “appalled” by the increased use of force against the protesters.

“We unequivocally condemn any use of force by security forces against unarmed protesters, as well as ongoing arrests and detentions of protesters, politicians, civil servants, civil society activists, journalists and pro-democracy leaders.” the embassy said.

It called on Myanmar’s military and police to immediately cease “all attacks, intimidation and threats against protesters, and to release those detained.”

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Source Code Stolen from Cyberpunk 2077 Developer Reportedly Sold

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Polish game developer CD Projekt RED (CDPR) announced earlier this week that it had been the victim of a ransomware hack. As part of the operation, the attackers stole internal documents and source code, which they threatened to sell if CDPR declined to pay the ransom. Cybersecurity experts now say that the hacking group has followed through and sold the stolen data for an undisclosed sum

When it announced the hack, CDPR confirmed it would not pay any ransom. As part of the intrusion, the unknown perpetrators encrypted data in hopes of forcing CDPR to negotiate. However, the developer says it will simply restore backups and move forward. Naturally, the hackers sought to auction the stolen data online. Shortly thereafter, the source code from CDPR’s Gwent card game leaked, effectively confirming the hackers had the goods. 

Several cybersecurity Twitter accounts that were monitoring the sale have now confirmed the auction has ended early. According to posts from a representative of the group, they received an offer from outside the hacking forum where the action was running. They decided to sell the data to this buyer and end the auction early. Before the mysterious outside offer, the hackers were asking for bids of $ 1 million or more with an eBay-style buy-it-now price of $ 7 million. 

CDPR has not confirmed exactly what materials were stolen, but the cache of data is believed to include source code for Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher 3, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, and an upcoming ray-traced version of The Witcher 3. The hackers also claimed in the ransom note that they had also obtained internal documents that would be embarrassing to CDPR. The stolen data might begin appearing online in the future, but someone might have spent millions of dollars buying it. It’s unlikely anyone would do that just to release the source code, but perhaps it was those internal documents that interested the buyer. 

In just the last few months, CDPR has seen its reputation take a beating. The incredible success of The Witcher 3 and the hype for Cyberpunk 2077 made it the darling of the gaming community, but the sad state of Cyberpunk at release cost CDPR dearly. The game was barely playable on current-gen consoles, and even the PC version required flagship video cards to run acceptably. Sony and several other vendors offered refunds to unhappy gamers — Sony even pulled the game from its online store.

CDPR has promised it will roll out several updates to address the shortcomings in Cyberpunk. Several small bug fix updates have rolled out, but you still can’t get a haircut in the game. 

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Myanmar army takes control of country after leader Aung San Suu Kyi reportedly detained

Myanmar military television said Monday that the military was taking control of the country for one year, while reports said many of the country’s senior politicians including Aung San Suu Kyi had been detained.

A presenter on military-owned Myawaddy TV made the announcement and cited a section of the military-drafted constitution that allows the military to take control in times of national emergency.

He said the reason for takeover was in part due to the government’s failure to act on the military’s claims of voter fraud in last November’s election and its failure to postpone the election because of the coronavirus crisis.

The move comes after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the powerful military that stirred fears of a coup in the aftermath of an election that the army says was fraudulent.

A military spokesman did not answer phone calls seeking further comment.

Phone lines to Naypyitaw, the capital, were not reachable in the early hours of Monday. Parliament had been due to start sitting there on Monday after a November election the NLD had won in a landslide.

Soldiers took up positions at city hall in Yangon and mobile internet data and phone services in the NLD stronghold were disrupted, residents said. Internet connectivity also had fallen dramatically, monitoring service NetBlocks said.

NLD spokesperson Myo Nyunt told Reuters by phone that Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other leaders had been “taken” in the early hours of the morning.

“I want to tell our people not to respond rashly and I want them to act according to the law,” he said, adding he also expected to be detained.

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is seen in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, in January 2020. (Aung Shine Oo/The Associated Press)

Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi, 75, came to power after a 2015 landslide election win that followed decades of house arrest in a struggle for democracy that turned her into an international icon.

Her international standing was damaged after hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled army operations into refuge from Myanmar’s western Rakhine state in 2017, but she remains hugely popular at home.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States expressed “grave concern and alarm” over reports of the detention of government officials and civil society leaders. In a statement, Blinken called on Myanmar’s military leaders to release the detained leaders and respect the will of the people “as expressed in democratic elections on November 8.”

Earlier, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement that President Joe Biden has been briefed on the situation and that the U.S. “will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed.”

Supporters of Myanmar’s military take part in a protest against election results in Yangon on Saturday. (Shwe Paw Mya Tin/Reuters)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also condemned the detentions and said the developments “represent a serious blow to democratic reforms,” according to a UN spokesperson.

“All leaders must act in the greater interest of Myanmar’s democratic reform, engaging in meaningful dialogue, refraining from violence and fully respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Myanmar’s military had said on Saturday it would protect and abide by the constitution and act according to law after comments earlier in the week had raised fears of a coup.

Myanmar’s election commission has rejected the military’s allegations of vote fraud, saying there were no errors big enough to affect the credibility of the vote.

The constitution reserves 25 per cent of seats in parliament for the military and control of three key ministries in Suu Kyi’s administration.

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Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly breaks COVID restrictions with mountain getaway

Cristiano Ronaldo could be in trouble after apparently breaking coronavirus restrictions on a two-day trip to the mountains.

The Juventus star and his partner Georgina Rodriguez spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Courmayeur in the Valle D’Aosta region in northwest Italy.

Video of them on a snowmobile was posted on social media and then removed.

Ronaldo lives in the nearby region of Piedmont and current coronavirus rules prohibit travel between regions unless in specific cases, such as going to your second house.

Police are reportedly looking into the matter.

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Microsoft’s Xbox Series X Reportedly Runs Quiet, Quite Hot

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When Microsoft unveiled the Xbox Series X, it was obvious that the console was going to have some serious heat to dissipate. Its components — an eight-core Ryzen CPU, powerful SSD, and 52-CU RDNA2 GPU running at over 1.8GHz — were all guaranteed to be power-hungry parts. The Xbox Series X was accordingly large (though not as large as the PlayStation 5), and mounted a 130mm fan to vent heat from the entire console.

There are reports that the console, while quiet, runs quite warm. It sounds as though it’s hovering around the point where touching certain parts of it, like the expansion card for SSDs, can be uncomfortable while the console is in operation.

Our sister site PCMag quotes multiple individuals who have tested the console remarking on just how hot it is, with Jeux Video’s Ken Bogard saying in a no-longer-available video that: “The Series X is hot, like really hot! It doesn’t make any noise, but damn it’s hot! The console is emitting heat like crazy. It’s almost like a fireplace shaft. You can heat up your flat with it.”

Admit it. There’s a resemblance. Image by Mike Coghlan, CC BY-SA 2.0

PCMag does make one statement I want to unpack a little bit. It writes: “More worryingly, the games being played and producing so much heat are backward-compatible games. No next-gen titles have been played yet, which will surely push the Series X harder.”

This is not automatically true.

Turning on the ray-tracing capabilities of the RDNA2 GPU could add additional power consumption, but it will also lower the frame rate, partly offsetting the increase. We also don’t know what the penalty for enabling RT on RDNA2 will be, or how much additional power it consumes. The frame rate penalty could completely offset the heat increase if enabling RT leads to other parts of the GPU idling more often. We also cannot assume that AMD and Nvidia will pay the exact same penalty for enabling ray tracing — in the past, when AMD and Nvidia have implemented a feature in different ways, like tessellation in the days of the Fermi architecture, the power consumption of these features differed as well. AMD has not yet revealed if they dedicated specific parts of the chip to these workloads the way Nvidia did, or if they opted for a different strategy.

Games running in backward-compatibility mode could actually be drawing more power than a modern title will, not less. This might seem counterintuitive — but imagine that a game which previously ran relatively inefficiently on the Xbox 360 or even Xbox One now runs remarkably better on the Xbox Series X, thanks to increased L2, higher cache bandwidth, a higher efficiency architecture, and a faster memory bus. The Ryzen CPU core is also better at feeding the GPU than the older Jaguar core was. In these cases, the game would execute far more efficiently on the new console than the old one — and could burn more power in the process.

The game that causes the highest power consumption isn’t necessarily the title with the biggest visual effects or fastest frame rates. I used to use Left 4 Dead 2 for GPU power consumption testing long after it was outdated visually because it was extraordinarily good at pushing GPUs to use high amounts of power. It is entirely possible that playing last-generation games at top speed represents a worst-case scenario for the Xbox Series X, thermally speaking, compared with playing modern titles at slower frame rates. I’m not saying this is the case, but we don’t know enough either way to rule it out.

The final reason I suspect that the console’s ambient temperature is unlikely to change is this: If it’s uncomfortably hot to the touch now, it doesn’t have a whole lot more headroom before “uncomfortably hot” becomes “first-degree burn.” Microsoft has little interest in boosting sales of Neosporin and certainly not at the expense of its gaming division.

Note: Microsoft doesn’t seem to be using Dynamic Resolution Scaling this time around, but there’s no reason the company couldn’t use frame rate locking to maintain appropriate thermals if required. Clamping a game to 60fps or 30fps for a short period of time during a peak scene would reduce power consumption and thermals dramatically. The difference between unlocked >60fps and a static 60fps is fairly small, and even a rock-steady locked 30fps is acceptable (if less desirable). I’ll take a solid, consistent 30fps over an inconsistent 45-60fps with 15-20fps dips at random intervals any day of the week, even if I prefer higher in general.

It’s entirely possible that Microsoft needs to increase its fan speeds a bit, but I wouldn’t assume that the platform will automatically heat up even further during regular play. That could go either way.

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Sony Reportedly Increases PlayStation 5 Production by 50 Percent

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Sony and Microsoft are gearing up to battle for game platform supremacy with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and this is an unusual time to do it. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, people are spending more time than ever alone in dark rooms where some games can really come in handy. Determined to avoid another PS3-style console shortage, Sony has reportedly ramped up PS5 production

As recently as several weeks ago, analysts believed Sony was on-track to produce about six million consoles for the late 2020 launch. Today, Nekkei says Sony’s new target is 9 million, and Bloomberg believes 10 million is more accurate. So, we’re looking at a roughly 50 percent boost in production. Both publications agree that increased demand from quarantining gamers is the driving force behind the move. 

If these numbers are correct, Sony could be looking at a huge launch success even if there are ample units left on the shelves after holiday shopping tapers off. Sony reported just 4.2 million sales in 2013 when the PlayStation 4 launched. It has since passed 100 million sales globally. Microsoft, by comparison, moved just 2 million Xbox One units. 

Sony PS5 DualSense.

Sony most likely sees this as an opportunity to get more people invested in its next-generation console. Microsoft will also be pitching the Series X hard this holiday season. If more people than usual buy consoles to stave off quarantine boredom, they’re likely to buy the occasional game in the next few years. It’s not uncommon for console hardware to earn very little (or even zero) profit. It can be worth taking a hit on the console to get people buying those high-margin games. 

Gaming products, in general, have been in higher demand during the pandemic. Coming off a huge 2019 holiday season, Oculus has been unable to keep its VR headsets in stock for more than a few days at a time. Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch was in such short supply this spring that third-party resellers were selling them above retail price. 

Speaking of price, we still don’t know how much the PS5 or Xbox Series X will cost. Sony and Microsoft seem to be locked in a game of chicken — neither one wants to announce pricing first and give the other company a chance to undercut them and win the news cycle. Someone’s going to have to crack eventually.

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Capcom Reportedly Gearing Up to Remake Resident Evil 4

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The first Resident Evil game I ever played was Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube. While I’ve never been much of a console gamer, one of my exes owned the diminutive console. I found the conceit of “you can’t move while shooting” fantastically annoying, given that “moves while shooting” had been a feature of literally every FPS game I’d ever played. But the gameplay and atmosphere of RE4 hooked me immediately — so much so, that I recently replayed it using upscaled textures and updated assets on the PC.

Capcom hasn’t formally announced anything yet, but given the success of RE2 and RE3, it’s inevitable that the company would look back to one of its seminal titles in the entire franchise. Reportedly, the game will release in 2022, with development led by Osaka-based MTwo. Original game director Shinji Mikami isn’t leading development, but has blessed the effort and provided unofficial support. This effort has attracted a larger team than the remakes of RE2 or RE3 and has received more internal support from inside Capcom as well.

RE4 is considered to be the highest-rated game in the Resident Evil franchise and is the top-selling title overall, with more than 7.5M copies sold. RE4 was the first Resident Evil game in which weapons could be shot out of an enemy’s hands, or where shooting at their feet could cause them to stagger. Controls are often context-sensitive (you’ll hop through a window but start climbing a ladder with the same button, depending on what you’re near), and it relies on plenty of the game tropes you’ve come to know and love, like quick time events.

Pssst. Hey, Capcom. Feel free to leave those out.

Fans released their own remaster of the game fairly recently and a trailer for the fan-made project is embedded below. This is the version of the game I recently played.

Playing RE4 on a modern system is a split experience. On the one hand, the updated textures genuinely look great. On the other, it’s painfully obvious that you’re looking at higher-detail textures paired with a lighting model straight out of 2005.

Hopefully, the remaster will do a bit to spruce up the voice acting and overall plot. It would be easier to make a list of the lines in RE4 that aren’t delivered in cheesy, sneering villainspeak than those that are. Also curious to see if the remake will clear up whether Ramon Salazar is an exceptionally evil little person or a demented adult in a child-size body that never grew to adulthood on account of being infested with an ancient parasite while still a child. It didn’t help that in the original game, he appeared to have a physical age somewhere in between 10 and 70 (the GameCube wasn’t exactly a great machine for fine facial detail, even by 2005 standards, especially compared with demos like Nvidia’s Dawn). Canonically he’s only 20. He’s a very strange-looking 20.

It’s at least a little surprising.

I’ll be curious to see how much they change in RE4. Certain aspects of the game’s design, like the use of a contextual “Do” button, are still modern. Others, like not being able to shoot while moving, felt archaic even in 2005. Problem is, they were also part and parcel of what made the game play as it did. Not being able to move and fire meant that positioning Leon prior to shooting from stealth was critical, as was timing your run-and-gun moments. As much as I disliked the limitation at first, I can’t deny that it also created a unique challenge and ultimately contributed to the fun I had playing the game.

Based on Capcom’s previous practices, we’d expect the game to release on Sony, Microsoft, and PC platforms. Switch support is unknown, but neither RE2 or RE3 have a Switch version.

Feature image by Capcom, from previously released RE4 HD (Official). 

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