Categories
Computing

BMW shipping cars sans advertised Apple and Google features

The global chip shortage continues to cause problems for automakers to the point where some are shipping vehicles without all of their advertised features.

BMW, for example, is shipping some of its new cars without support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, according to a recent report by Automotive News.

In an email to affected customers, the German auto giant confirmed that some vehicles built between January and April of this year contain chips that require updated software in order to be able to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The necessary update will be rolled out “by the end of June at the latest,” the automaker said.

The issue is reportedly the result of BMW changing chip supplier in a bid to deal with the shortage in the most efficient way possible. In other words, changing supplier prevented it from halting shipments while it waited for the chips to come in. Instead, it’s been able to add the new supplier’s chips and then ship the cars, the only challenge being that it needs to roll out updated software to activate certain features.

It’s not clear how many customers and vehicle models are impacted by BMW’s decision to ship vehicles without CarPlay and Android Auto, but Automotive News’ own research suggests the situation involves the automaker’s American, British, French, Italian, and Spanish markets.

While the issue may be an unwelcome annoyance for customers, it shouldn’t prove to be too much trouble provided BMW delivers on its promise to resolve the problem by the end of next month. It’s certainly better than the automaker holding on to the vehicle until the functionality can be added.

Digital Trends has reached out to BMW for more information on the situation and we will update this article when we hear back.

BMW’s decision to ship vehicles without all of the advertised features is similar to moves made by other car companies in recent months. Ford, for example, also cited the global chip shortage for its decision to ship some of its Explorer SUVs without particular features, though it promised to add them when the chips become available.

In Ford’s case, it meant shipping some of its Explorers without functionality for rear seat controls that operate heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, though they are controllable from the driver’s seat.

Caused by pandemic-related supply chain problems and other factors, the chip shortage isn’t expected to end anytime soon, with Intel’s chief saying last month that it could take several more years for his company to get on top of the situation.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Game

GTA Online’s next big update features Dr. Dre and Franklin from ‘GTA V’

Rockstar Games will soon release another big update for , which includes a story mission featuring one of main characters. “The Contract” centers around Franklin Clinton and his friends, who aspire to be problem solvers for celebrities and “rich folk who got rich folk problems.”

One of those potential clients is Dr. Dre, who appears as himself in the story. A phone containing unreleased music from the rapper and producer has gone missing. As a potential partner for Franklin’s new enterprise, it’s your job to get it back.

You’ll be able to hear those Dre tracks and other fresh music when the update arrives on December 15th. Rockstar “an eclectic new radio station from some very special guest hosts” and big changes to current radio stations. Expect additional side missions, weapons (including an EMP launcher), vehicles, locations and more. Rockstar will reveal more details about “The Contract” in the coming days.

A few other well-known figures have appeared as themselves in the Grand Theft Auto series. Phil Collins was in GTA: Vice City Stories, while Katt Williams and Ricky Gervais performed stand-up sets in GTA IV.

Still, it’s notable that Dr. Dre is taking a bigger role in GTA Online — he popped up briefly during 2020’s Cayo Perico heist. Other major ongoing games like Fortnite include versions of and from other properties. Perhaps GTA Online is becoming a metaverse too.

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Categories
Game

‘Fall Guys’ season six features a party theme and a ‘Ghost of Tsushima’ crossover

The next season of Fall Guys starts on November 30th and the beans are getting into the party spirit. Developer Mediatonic took inspiration from festivals, carnivals and the circus for season six. New obstacles include a water balloon cannon, vacuum tubes, a circular version of the infamous seesaw and a platform that flips vertically after a certain length of time. What’s more, there are trapezes that players can swing from.

There are more crossover costumes on the way in season six. Between December 1st and 5th, you can complete challenges to earn a Sackboy skin — the adorable PlayStation mascot is a perfect fit for Fall Guys. In addition, the Fame Pass, which players level up during the season, includes two rad costumes depicting Jin Sakai from Ghost of Tsushima.

Meanwhile, cross-progression is coming to the battle royale platformer in season six, building on the cross-play feature that arrived in May. So you’ll be able to access all of your costumes and other cosmetics across PlayStation and Steam. In addition, PC players will be able to select custom usernames again instead of whatever moniker Fall Guys generated for them.

As such, you’ll soon need an Epic Games account to play Fall Guys. Epic bought Mediatonic earlier this year, and Rocket League and Fortnite use the Epic account system for cross-progression too.

You’ll need to select a primary Fall Guys account, which is the first one that you link to an Epic account. Although you won’t lose costumes, nameplates and so on from either platform, you’ll only retain your season progress, crowns, shards and kudos from your primary account. So, it’s probably best to spend your crowns and kudos on your secondary account before the new season starts.

Mediatonic also notes that if players have different costumes and DLC content across both platforms, they should contact the support team after linking to their Epic Games account. The team will transfer over those items, so you won’t lose them. In addition, all players will receive a bonus of 10 crowns.

During the season six showcase, Mediatonic didn’t mention when the Nintendo Switch and Xbox versions of Fall Guys will be released, even though they’re still supposed to arrive by the end of the year. However, the developer did provide a peek at an upcoming round that features invisible beans.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Categories
Game

Pokemon GO Festival of Lights event’s most important features

Today we’re taking a peek at the Pokemon GO Festival of Lights, an event that releases one of the most cute Pokemon in the Pokemon universe. This event continues the Season of Mischief, makes Gifts far more awesome, and lets you level up your Friendship with a Buddy Pokemon twice as fast! This event is all about becoming better friends with in-game associates and Pokemon alike.

4. Festival of Lights shirt

While the event is running you should drop in on the in-game shop for a free Festival of Lights t-shirt. There’ll be new Dedenne-inspired avatar items in the shop as well – though not quite as free as the shirt. Now’s a pretty good time to flip over to some warmer layered clothing while you’re at it – it’s getting chilly out there!

While there’s little reason why a clothing item would disappear after it’s been made available in the shop, there’s a decent possibility that items you’ve never worn have less of a chance of sticking around in the game than those you’ve worn even one single time. As such, it’s not a bad idea to go in and place any Free Avatar Item on your Avatar when it’s launched, even if you then go back and switch to your otherwise standard attire.

3. Dedenne!

The Festival of Lights reveals the first-ever appearance of Dedenne in Pokemon GO. This Pokemon was originally discovered in the Kalos region and is long overdue for a Pokemon GO release. This monster is effectively an alternate-universe Pikachu, with a bit of Fairy type power mixed in. At launch there is no Shiny Dedenne, and Dedenne does not evolve into any other Pokemon.

2. Shiny Seekers

If you’re seeking Shiny Pokemon during this event, keep your eyes on Blitzle, Pikachu, Electrike, Whismur, Darumaka, and Magnemite. Every single Pokemon appearing in 7km eggs that you find during this event have the potential to be Shiny Pokemon, too.

If you’re out there Shiny hunting in the wild, you can still tap away at the non-Shiny Pokemon Cottonee, Tynamo, Litwick, Fennekin, Dedenne, and Slugma, but there is no chance they’ll appear as Shiny Pokemon – they literally do not have their Shiny iterations loaded in the game’s files.

1. So much friendship

During the entirety of the event, you’ll get the ability to open 45 gifts per day. You’ll get “increased gift rewards” as well – so if you’ve ever wished for top-tier gift action before, now’s the time. This event also has 2x friendship increase between human friends and Buddy Pokemon – go level up!

One excellent way to level up your friendship with in-game friends is via Raid Battles. Raid Battle action just changed in a big way with some fantastic top-tier Raid Bosses during this event, so you’ll need to keep your eyes open and your invite button tapping finger strong!

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Categories
AI

Cisco launches new AI-powered and hybrid event features for Webex

Join gaming leaders online at GamesBeat Summit Next this upcoming November 9-10. Learn more about what comes next. 


Cisco today unveiled updates across its Webex portfolio of communications products, including an integrated asynchronous camera feature, AI-powered sound, video enhancements, and a management service for hybrid in-person and virtual events. The company’s upgrades are designed to power events and meetings “at scale” while maintaining interoperability with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and other third-party meeting platforms.

Headwinds from the pandemic have driven the value of the global videoconferencing market in 2021 to an estimated $6.03 billion. Sixty percent of respondents to an Owl Labs survey reported participating in video meetings more often in 2020 than in 2019, a bigger rise than other workplace staples like email saw year-over-year. Dovetailing with this, hybrid events are expected to continue to have a presence in work life, with 79% of companies expecting to host events that include a virtual attendance option, according to Martech.

“Technology has many powers, and the greatest of all is its ability to connect people and level the playing field for so many across the globe,” Cisco security and collaboration executive VP and general manager Jeetu Patel said in a statement. “Our new Webex innovations mark a significant step forward in helping our customers unlock the potential of their hybrid workforce — enabling them to collaborate in new ways and drive [an] inclusive experience.”

AI and hybrid work

Cisco is rolling out “AI-powered audio intelligence” in Webex, leveraging an AI algorithm to optimize all participants’ voices during meetings. The setting equalizes voices regardless of how close they’re to their devices, automatically differentiating intended speech from background noise.

Another AI-powered feature, People Focus, will be available in December. It will provide “better clarity” and “optimized visuals” of in-room attendees’ facial gestures and body language, Cisco says. Additional camera-related enhancements coming in early 2022 will further improve the interface in meeting rooms, including showing conference room participants in individual boxes on-screen — regardless of which meeting platform they use.

In related news, Webex Assistant, Cisco’s virtual meeting tool, now supports French, German, Spanish, and Japanese in addition to English. In August, it gained the ability to translate closed captions from English into more than 100 languages with a paid add-on. And starting this week, developers can work with partners to design custom commands for Webex Assistant running on Cisco’s Webex devices such as desktop cameras, headsets, and conference room phones.

Vidcast, an asynchronous communication service, also joins the list of new Webex features. Currently in beta at Vidcast.io ahead of integration with the Webex App in Spring 2022, it provides the ability to record, watch, comment, and react to meeting clips on-demand.

Meanwhile, Webex’s new Whiteboarding tool enables users to create, find, edit, and share whiteboards with anybody, not excluding people outside their organization. Users can annotate using any device — mobile, tablet, laptop — in addition to Webex devices.

Webex also now features Collaboration Insights, offering personalized details like the top ten people a user collaborates with weekly, new colleague titles, and more. Two complementary capabilities — Well-being and Cohesion — in the previously announced People Insights tab give teams a view into anonymous work time patterns, sentiment ratings, and focus time goals. Exclusively for Webex Suite customers, there’s Thrive Reset, a collection of wellness topics, and a gallery where users can upload photos. It’s based on research showing that it takes 60 to 90 seconds to course-correct from stress, Cisco says, and designed to help users “focus on breathing, reflect on what they’re grateful for, reframe problems, or simply stand up and stretch.”

“[W]hen we provide insights … to an individual, the individual owns the data, not the organization because we don’t believe that without your explicit permission, you’d want to have your boss see that,” Patel told VentureBeat in a previous interview regarding Webex’s new monitoring features. “Engagement should not be measured based on having a judgment on someone saying, ‘I’m judging that you look sad, and therefore I’m going to do certain things’ … at that point in time, in my mind, you could cross a boundary where there’s more bad that can come out of that than good … There’s a fine line between ‘This is super productive’ and ‘We can’t do this because it violates my privacy, or it’s just outright creepy.’”

Events, integrations, and devices

Following Cisco’s acquisitions of Socio Labs and Slido earlier this year, the company unveiled an expanded Webex Events product targeting enterprises hosting hybrid events. Management capabilities spanning badging and printing for ticketing, monetization, and networking are available, and customers can now host events via Webex Webinars with Slido’s polling, quizzing, and Q&A technology up to 10,000 attendees (in webinar mode) or 100,000 (in webcast mode) in size.

Today, Cisco also announced its 60-plus new partner integrations to Webex including Smartsheet, Hacker Rank, Thrive Reset, Miro, and Mural.

Against this backdrop, new Webex devices are coming to market — among them the Webex Desk Mini. The Webex Desk Mini, which comes in a range of colors, features a 15.6-inch, 1080p interactive display; a 64-degree HD camera; a full-range speaker; and a background noise removal mic array. Meanwhile, the new Webex Board Pro sports dual 4K cameras, directional audio, two active styluses, and a choice of a 55- or 75-inch display.

Webex Desk Mini will be available to order in early 2022 for $1,695. Existing Webex enterprise customers will receive the “cloud promo” price of $999. The Webex Board Pro will launch in available in November, priced at $11,995 (55 inches) and $19,995 (75 inches).

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Categories
Computing

Apple Launches MacOS Monterey Without Its Best Features

Apple has launched the latest version of its Mac operating system, MacOS Monterey. First announced at WWDC 2021, the software has been in beta since the summer and is finally ready for release. Ready to run it? Here’s how to install MacOS Monterey.

It brings a slate of great new features to the Mac. You can copy and highlight text directly from photos using Live Text and create custom Do Not Disturb modes with various settings using Focus mode — two features that are also on iOS 15.

AirPlay and Shortcuts, longtime stalwarts on iOS, are now on the Mac for the first time. And Apple has introduced iCloud+, which adds premium features like email masking and iCloud Private Relay for no additional cost to existing iCloud paid plan subscribers.

Then there’s Shared with You, which adds a new section to apps like Photos, News, and Podcasts, showing relevant content that has been shared with you in the Messages app. You will see pictures and videos sent over Messages in the Photos app, for instance, and shared movies and shows in the TV app.

However, not everything Apple showed off at WWDC has made it into the final release, and the company has said a few headline features will be coming “later this fall.” Among the omissions is Universal Control, which lets you control a Mac and an iPad using a single keyboard and mouse. Place the devices next to each other and when your mouse pointer reaches the edge of one display, it can “jump” across to the other device. You can even use it to quickly move files from one platform to another. It could be Monterey’s best feature, but evidently is not yet ready for prime time.

Universal Control on MacOS Monterey at Apple's WWDC event

Aside from Universal Control, another feature that is currently absent is SharePlay. This is aimed at FaceTime group calls, and allows participants to all watch the same content together. For example, you might want to share the latest episode of an Apple TV+ show and have a watch party with your friends while on a FaceTime call. SharePlay lets you do that — or rather, it will once it launches later this fall.

Apple says MacOS Monterey will run on the following devices:

  • MacBook Air (early 2015 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (early 2015 or later)
  • 12-inch MacBook (early 2016 or later)
  • iMac (late 2015 or later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or later)
  • Mac mini (late 2014 or later)
  • Mac Pro (late 2013 or later)

Some features, like Live Text and background blurring in FaceTime, will be exclusive to Apple Silicon Macs and unavailable on Intel-based machines.

If your Mac will run MacOS Monterey and you want to get started, we’ve put together an easy guide on how to install MacOS Monterey on your Apple computer.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Game

Pokemon Unite Could Really Use These 5 Features

Two weeks after its release, Pokémon Unite is still going strong. Nintendo and TiMi’s new Pokémon-themed multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) debuted two weeks ago on the Switch, and it’s already received its first balance patch. (Charizard got a buff, thank goodness.)

Though it’s a fun game at its core and the gameplay is solid, this Pokémon adventure is marred with a lot of junk and missing some important features. As a free-to-start game, Unite is extremely likely to continue receiving new content and gameplay updates in the future, particularly with a mobile launch on the way in September. With that in mind, here are five things that we really want to see in future updates.

Expanded in-game information

One of Unite‘s most baffling omissions is the lack of information presented on the screen during a match. While the game was undoubtedly designed to be played on smaller screens and the developers likely didn’t want to crowd the player’s view with too much information, they erred on the side of too little.

Besides the remaining match time, players should be able to see what the current score is for both teams. The fact that this information is hidden until the match is over and only limited score information is given to players during the match (for example, you might get a pop-up speech bubble that says “We have a huge lead!”) is frankly ridiculous. My guess is that Nintendo and TiMi were hoping to discourage players from dropping out early if their team started to fall behind in numbers, but all hiding the score does is make matches an exercise in guesswork.

In the same vein, I hope the developers add a way for players to see basic move descriptions in matches. To figure out what each move does, players have to navigate to the Pokémon menu outside of battle and pick a particular creature to see its move choices. The existing descriptions are far too long to be included in battle, but condensing them down into one or two sentences would allow players to quickly gauge which move would be better based on their current match situation. As it stands now, players have to memorize what each move does to ensure that they make the best choices in battle. While this will come naturally with time and practice, the likely addition of new Pokémon and moves in the future means that it will always be useful to have a little more information mid-battle.

More Pokémon

This one is pretty obvious: Give us more Pokémon! The existing roster does a great job of featuring some of the greats from Pokémon history, from oldies-but-goodies like Pikachu and Charizard to newer friends like Eldegoss. Last week, the development team released Gardevoir, a new ranged attacker, so we know that the roster is far from complete. Everyone has their favorite ‘mons that they want to see, but we certainly won’t get every single one of the 800+ Pokémon in existence. How, then, do you choose who makes the cut?

Alolan Nintetails in the Pokemon select screen.

I would love to see more support/healing Pokémon outside of Eldegoss, Mr. Mime, and Wigglytuff. The support role is often the role with the most varied abilities in MOBAs, as there is a myriad of different ways you can support, heal, and buff your teammates. Making attackers and all-rounders have less in the way of self-heal and shielding abilities and giving enemy debuffing abilities to supporters would give the role a little more depth. I could see Milotic or Chansey functioning well as supports (though Milotic’s strange movement style means that it’s unlikely we’ll see it in the game).

Outside of playable characters, more and varied legendary Pokémon would be great additions. Nintendo and TiMi are likely saving these Pokémon for events, which makes me genuinely excited to see whether Articuno pops up during winter in the northern hemisphere, and so on.

Additional communication options

We knew what we were getting into with this one. Nintendo’s communication options for both text and voice are famously obtuse and geared towards kids, making it difficult for anyone who wants to play in a competitive manner to communicate with their teammates. The game does allow for voice chat, but only within matches, not in menus, making it hard to decide who’s going to play what Pokémon and argue with your teammate when they keep auto-locking Gengar.

The text chat system is woefully inadequate, allowing for a handful of greetings and phrases designed to tell the team your rotation or scoring plans. (Also, why does “cancel” equate to “retreat”? I just want to get out of the menu!) While the game isn’t that deep, there’s enough strategy involved that being able to use a more robust text chat system or voice chat across menus would be extremely helpful.

The game's very minimal ping wheel.

The friend system is also fairly archaic. Players can add friends by sharing their Trainer ID, a unique string of letters and numbers, with others. It’s another twist on the friend code system that Nintendo has been using since the DS, and it’s extremely outdated. If you run into a friend in real life and you want to add each other, but you don’t have your Switch with you, it becomes all the more complicated to remember or even find their friend code.

Like the limited text and voice chat system, this is a hallmark of Nintendo’s dedication to kids’ safety first and foremost. It’s nice to know that the company is looking out for its littlest fans, but they need to remember to appease adult fans who want the fleshed-out communication systems present on Xbox, PlayStation, and PC.

More wearables and cosmetics

Like some of the more recent main series Pokémon games, Unite allows players to purchase outfits and other cosmetics to dress up their Trainer avatar – just with the help of real money this time around instead of only in-game currency. When I first started playing the game at launch, I’ll admit that I was a little excited to see the clothes I could buy. I was disappointed to see that there wasn’t much at all.

The game's very cute Snorlax jacket.

Certain items are available through the battle pass, but the clothes section of the in-game shop is more than a little empty at the moment. Hopefully, this is something that will come with time — the developers almost certainly have plans to release additional clothes as the game moves away from its Switch launch and into more seasons of battle passes. Only time will tell if they release anything as cute as the Snorlax outfit.

More depth

This is probably the longest shot of anything on this list. Unite was designed to be easy to pick up and play. If you’re looking for serious depth and strategy in your MOBA, you’re better off playing something like DOTA 2 or League of Legends. However, that’s not to say that I don’t think the game could be a little deeper. As it stands right now, the game lacks some of the battle mechanics from both mainline Pokémon titles and other MOBAs.

My team jumps into a team fight with one second left on the clock.

Once players have had a few weeks to get the basic game down, it would be great to see a future update introduce type advantage mechanics, new categories of Pokémon, or new moves for existing Pokémon. Imagine if Charizard players got a small stacking damage bonus for attacking Alolan Ninetails, an ice-type, with fire-based abilities. Perhaps it wouldn’t work exactly like that, but something similar that uses some of the tips and tricks Pokémon players already know would be great for fleshing things out a little bit.

There’s a lot on this list that will likely come true — event legendary Pokémon, new outfits and cosmetics, and new playable Pokémon — but in truth, I’m more excited about some of the pie-in-the-sky items, like better communication options and type advantage mechanics. The developers won’t be able to add everything that players want, but Nintendo does listen to its fans, so hopefully, some of our biggest concerns will be addressed over the next few months of the game’s life. Unite is likely to experience a pretty big user boost when it releases on mobile in September, and perhaps the expanded player base will encourage Nintendo and TiMi to try something a little more out of the box. (Like making a Pokémon Ranger sequel. Anyone? Just me? Okay.)

Pokemon Unite is available now on Nintendo Switch and releases on mobile devices in September.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

Windows 10 Is Getting One of Xbox’s Biggest Gaming Features

When Microsoft announced several Xbox features coming to Windows 11, it said that DirectStorage would only be available on the upcoming operating system. A recent DirectX developer blog post says otherwise. Some developers already have access to DirectStorage on Windows 11, which will also work on Windows 10 machines.

The blog post details that Windows 10 machines running version 1909 or newer will be able to use the DirectStorage feature. This is an application programming interface (API) that Microsoft debuted with the Xbox Series X and Series S. Essentially, it bypasses the processor to quickly load data into the graphics card, which can decrease load times and allow developers to push more impressive visuals.

As Hassan Uraizee, DirectX program manager, points out, there are three main benefits to DirectStorage. The first is batch input and output requests. Instead of applications dealing with requests for various game assets, DirectStorage can lump them together to make getting through the thousands of requests faster.

In addition, DirectStorage provides GPU decompression. Developers compress assets like textures, models, and music to decrease the install size and improve performance on some machines. The CPU usually handles decompression, but with DirectStorage, the GPU can handle it. That decreases load times as the assets are decompressed and offers options for streaming assets into the game in real time.

Finally, DirectStorage can take advantage of the storage software stack inside Windows 11, which should further improve performance. Uraizee writes that Windows 10 will also benefit from the system with its older storage stack.

“This means that any game built on DirectStorage will benefit from the new programming model and GPU decompression technology on Windows 10, version 1909 and up,” Uraizee writes.

Developers working with DirectStorage only need to implement the feature once, and it will work across Windows 10 and Windows 11. Uraizee says that Windows 11 will see a larger benefit because it was designed with DirectStorage in mind, but gamers sticking with Windows 10 will see the benefits of DirectStorage, too.

A big part of DirectStorage is a solid-state drive, which enables assets to be quickly streamed from storage into the graphics card’s memory. As high-capacity, high-speed SSDs become more commonplace, it’s an essential feature to make games load faster and run with larger assets. That said, users still running games off of spinning hard drives will be able to play games with DirectStorage.

“Compatibility extends to a variety of different hardware configurations as well. DirectStorage enabled games will still run as well as they always have even on PCs that have older storage hardware (e.g. HDDs),” Uraizee writes.

DirectStorage requires a PCIe 3.0 NVMe drive or PCIe 4.0 SSD. Although games using the feature will still run off of a spinning hard drive, they won’t see any performance benefit.

Someone mounting an SSD inside a PC.

Although DirectStorage isn’t as exciting as Auto HDR and the redesigned Xbox app in Windows 11, it’s a bit of a secret sauce that will make PC gaming feel better. The benefits are already clear on the Xbox Series X, which can load games in a matter of seconds and seamlessly switch between multiple games at once.

It’s clear Microsoft has been focused on overhauling the gaming experience on Windows 11. Today’s news shows that at least some of those features will trickle down to Windows 10, too.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

New Microsoft Edge Features Coming Soon Include Tab Groups

Microsoft Edge, the company’s signature browser, has been receiving updates throughout the year — and there is more to come. The current feature road map for Edge reveals that some interesting changes to the browser are coming soon. While there are also some smaller updates in development, the two standouts include tab groups and Video Picture in Picture (PiP).

The road map presented by Microsoft covers a timeline from late last year through September 2021 and includes over 70 changes to Microsoft Edge. A lot of these changes have already been implemented, such as the addition of the date of birth to autofill or the ability to bulk-delete passwords. However, Microsoft’s plans for the rest of the year are slightly more interesting than the minor quality of life changes we’ve received thus far.

One change that many Edge users may have been looking forward to is tab grouping. Already present in Google Chrome, tab groups allow users to organize browser tabs. Edge users will be able to categorize them according to user-defined groups. The tabs will then show up in separate sections and will be easy to distinguish from other groups of tabs. It will also be possible to move tabs within their designated groups in order to organize them. This change is going to be added with version 93 of Microsoft Edge, which according to Microsoft should be released this month.

The next feature of note is related to the Video Picture in Picture (PiP) function. This feature is already available in Chrome via an extension. While PiP has already been a part of Edge for some time, finding and using it wasn’t a very intuitive process. Microsoft is bringing improvements that might make it more widely used.

Video Picture in Picture allows users to watch videos in a floating window in the corner of their screen. The video can be interacted with at any time in order to maximize the window, pause the video, and more. The small video preview can also be moved around the screen, and even off-screen. In Edge, accessing this feature used to be a bit of a chore. Starting with Microsoft Edge version 93, PiP will be accessible from a hover toolbar. Simply hovering over an active video will allow users to watch it in PiP mode. This improvement is still in development and is set to launch in September.

Microsoft Edge logo.

Other features that are coming to Edge soon include automatic translation for unknown languages, improved family safety measures, and price history on Amazon Prime as well as nine other retailers. According to Microsoft, we can expect to see all of these in September or later.

As Microsoft recently announced the sunsetting date of Internet Explorer, the new, Chromium-based Edge is its main browser. It’s likely that the company will keep updating Edge in order to try to compete with other major browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox, but also to match the productivity-oriented Windows 11, set to release sometime this year.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Psychonauts 2 Features an ‘Invincibility Toggle’ for Players

Psychonauts 2 will feature an optional invincibility toggle for players who want to use it. This feature will allow players to complete the game without worrying about the difficulty.

This announcement came from Double Fine’s Twitter account to a response to a tweet made by the official Xbox Twitter account. Originally, Xbox tweeted that completing a game on the lowest difficulty still counts as completing the game. Double Fine quote tweeted this and stated that completing Psychonauts 2 with the invincibility toggle on still counts as completing the game.

If you beat Psychonauts 2 with the invincibility toggle on, you still beat P2. https://t.co/OinBv1nuNr

— Double Fine (@DoubleFine) July 9, 2021

Since it is called a “toggle” instead of a “mode” it is assumed that this feature will be able to be turned on and off at any point during the game. The invincibility toggle will presumably allow players to play Psychonauts 2 without incurring any damage from combat or other factors. That will give players the ability to experiences sections of Psychonauts 2 that might have been too hard for them in other circumstances.

Double Fine seems to be staking a claim in the difficulty debate that rages on the internet. The developers have no qualms with players playing its games at any difficulty. The invincibility toggle for Psychonauts 2 will allow a multitude of gamers to complete this game that may have an issue completing it otherwise, which is a step in the right direction for accessibility in video games.

Regardless of the reason, players can now play Psychonauts 2 at their own pace and will still get the full experience that Double Fine intended. Psychonauts 2 launches on August 25 and will be available via Xbox Game Pass.

Editors’ Choice




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