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Action RPG ‘Project Eve’ will finally debut in 2023 as ‘Stellar Blade’

Shift Up’s long-touted Project Eve is finally nearing release. The Korean developer has announced that the action RPG will arrive in 2023 as Stellar Blade. It will be a PS5 exclusive on consoles. Accordingly, the studio used Sony’s State of Play event to share a trailer outlining the game’s apocalyptic premise.

You play Eve, a warrior who returns to a shattered Earth to rebuild the last city (Xion) and protect it against “NA:tives.” Naturally, there will be some intrigue between humans alongside the usual battles against horrific-looking creatures. The action RPG mechanics will sound familiar, but could be intriguing if you thrive on perfecting your gameplay. You’ll need “precise timing” with combos, defensive maneuvers and skills to succeed against regular foes, while boss fights will demand a more “strategic” approach.

Project Eve has garnered increasing buzz since the first teaser trailer appeared in 2019, in no small part due to its eye-catching visuals. Whether or not the finished Stellar Blade lives up to those expectations is another story. This is Shift Up’s first console game, not to mention its first AAA release. While the company has had success with the mobile-oriented Destiny Child, it’ll need to show that its experience translates well to other platforms.

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Yakuza spinoffs ‘Judgment’ and ‘Lost Judgment’ finally arrive on Steam

In a surprising turn of events, Sega has released Yakuza series spinoffs Judgment and Lost Judgment on Steam. The former first arrived on PlayStation 4 in before making its way to current generation consoles and Stadia . Judgment casts players as Takayuki Yagami, a private detective investigating a serial murder case in a fictional part of Tokyo modeled after the city’s famous Kabukicho district. The game’s 2021 sequel, Lost Judgment, takes place three years later and has a darker tone and new gameplay elements.

The likelihood of the Judgment franchise ever making its way to PC seemed bleak before this week. According to a report published last year by Japan’s (), the series was unlikely to continue due to a dispute between Sega and the talent agency representing Takuya Kimura, the actor who lent his likeness and voice to its protagonist. Kimura’s agency was reportedly against a PC release, fearing it would hurt its business model. At one point, the two sides were so far apart it seemed unlikely Sega would make another Judgment game.

But that was before and now you can buy and  on Steam either separately or as part of a that includes the sequel’s Kaito Files expansion.

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Computing

The Pixelbook dream may finally be gone for good

Google’s flagship Chromebook may finally be dead and gone, even before the line could make its official comeback.

A recent report from The Verge cites an unnamed source that claims Google has canceled work on a new Pixelbook and shut down the team working on the product. Pixelbook team members have supposedly been transferred to other positions. Google hasn’t commented on the rumor; however, CEO Sundar Pichai’s memo in July 2022 stated the company planned to slow hiring and cut some projects.

Riley Young / Digital Trends

This revelation shouldn’t come as a big surprise since Google hasn’t updated the Pixelbook in the last three years. While the original Pixelbook was a high-end laptop that ran ChromeOS, it never ended up getting a true sequel. Instead, Google tried its hand at a 2-in-1 with the Pixel Slate, and then a midrange Chromebook called the Pixelbook Go.

The Pixel Slate was shuttered shortly after launch. And though Google still sells the Pixelbook Go, it’s long overdue for an update. The entire Pixelbook production was seemingly shut down in 2019, but some reports in 2021 pointed to a possible launch sometime in 2023. But the report from The Verge seems to indicate that those plans have changed yet again.

It could be that Google has stopped Pixelbook production because several high-quality Chromebooks are already available from other manufacturers. Rather than compete with Asus, Acer, Lenovo, Samsung, HP, and Dell for Chromebook shoppers, Google may have decided to use its resources on improving its other products, such as the long-neglected Android tablet.

But Pixelbook fans always hoped that the “Pixel” brand meant it was a true consumer product that would get updates year over year, much like the Pixel smartphones. Unfortunately, these ChromeOS devices have been treated more like Google’s early Nexus program — products meant to stir interest in the platform, not necessarily become a best-seller.

Google Pixel Tablet on an off-white background.
Google

As further evidence of Google’s shifting strategies, a new Pixel tablet was announced at Google I/O in May of 2022, slated to be launched as soon as 2023.

With a Google Pixel tablet on the horizon, having more developers and designers focusing on a well-designed and supported tablet is a wise move. Apple has a dominant position with its incredibly popular iPad, leaving Google facing a challenge to prove itself to be a serious tablet manufacturer.

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Computing

We finally might know what Apple will call its AR/VR headset

We have been patiently waiting for Apple to drop its much-anticipated virtual reality headset, and now it seems we’re closer than ever. Apple filed some trademark names for its upcoming AR/VR headset, indicating it’s one step closer to launch.

The trademarks were filed simultaneously in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, and Uruguay. The trademarks protect the names “Reality One,” “Reality Pro,” and “Reality Processor.” Apple used the same law firms it has used in the past in these countries to file the trademarks.

Apple AR/VR headset render Ian Zelbo

The trademark filings were all made under a shell corporation called Immersive Health Solutions LLC, which is itself owned by another shell corporation named The Corporation Trust Co. While Apple has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of an Apple AR/VR program, these filings follow closely on its trademark application for realityOS earlier this year, which was also filed under The Corporation Trust Co.

Apple’s entry into virtual reality represents the first new Apple hardware release in seven years, when the Apple Watch first dropped. It also represents a serious threat to Meta’s Quest VR line of business.

Meta’s Quest 2 line of VR headsets dominate the virtual reality market thanks to their ease of use and cheap price. While Apple’s AR/VR headset is expected to cost thousands, it could put a dent in Meta’s business model.

Rumors point to Apple releasing a headset that offers both augmented reality, or AR, and virtual reality, or VR. The AR setting would allow you to wear the headset out and about while seeing everything around you. However, there would be digital overlays you could potentially interact with, such as maps and messages. The VR mode would allow you to become fully immersed in VR, much like the Meta Quest 2.

We still have no idea when Apple will officially release this headset, or if Reality One or Reality Pro will be the final name. Apple could simply be protecting all possible names and there could be more coming in the future. We’ll just have to continue waiting.

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Game

‘Dark Souls 3’ PC servers are finally back online, seven months later

Seven long months after shut off the Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2 and Dark Souls 3 PC servers due to a security issue, it’s finally starting to bring them back online. “Online features for the PC version of Dark Souls 3 have been reactivated,” on the official Dark Souls Twitter account reads. “We are working to restore these features for all other #DarkSouls titles and will inform you when they are back in service.”

Back in January, that attackers found an exploit in Dark Souls 3 that enabled them to remotely execute code and hijack a player’s PC. From and publisher Bandai Namco the player vs. player servers for the PC versions of the Dark Souls games while they worked on a fix.

They hoped to have the servers online again in time for the release of in February. That obviously didn’t happen. In May, it was “currently in the process of restoring the online servers for the Dark Souls series on PC,” starting with Dark Souls 3. It’s not clear why that process took another three months. Hopefully, From and Bandai Namco will get the Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 servers up and running again soon. In the meantime, you can once again invade another player’s Dark Souls 3 game on PC.

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Computing

Data recoverers finally cracks the locked down Apple M1 chip

Apple’s highly secure M1 chip is a tough nut to crack, but it appears the experts at DriveSavers have finally done it. The company announced they “may be the first” to recover data from the M1 in a recent press release.

DriveSavers is confident in this because the company’s engineers successfully transplanted an M1 chip from a faulty logic board to a functional one, which enables them to access the data.

It’s quite a feat, particularly because the M1 has a lot of security measures preventing outside users from manually accessing the data. For one, the SSD controller — the component that controls the input/output of data on the drive — is housed in M1 itself. That means, if the SoC fails, the ability to access the drive goes with it. Combine that with the T2 security chip’s encrypted data storage functionality, and it’s clear to see that accessing an Apple SSD is no easy feat anymore.

Then, there’s the logic board itself. As DriveSavers mentions in the press release: “There are thousands of surface-mounted micro-components on a logic board, and Apple has done their best to obfuscate what is necessary to gain access to the encrypted data. Without that knowledge, data recovery from a failed logic board is impossible.”

So, in order to access the M1 SSD, the data engineers had to remove the SoC from the faulty logic board and reattach it to a functioning one, all while nailing every micro-component needed to allow the logic board and the system components to communicate. It no doubt took a lot of trial and error, but this is a big step for data recovery on Macs.

While Apple’s obtuse data security measures sound great in theory, they can be a disaster if you lose important data. That’s why it’s important to create backups of Mac and any other Apple devices. Utilizing functions like Time Machine and even an external backup will stop you from trying to swap out a logic board on your own.

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Game

The PS5 finally gets 1440p support

The PlayStation 5 now supports 1440p, at least for gamers with access to its beta software. While the console has supported 1080p and 4K output from the start, 1440p support is still a much-requested feature by players who use monitors instead of TVs. It provides a middle ground between full HD and 4K, after all, and is a popular choice for gamers who also play on their PCs. Testers who get the latest beta software for the PS5 will now see a 1440p HDMI video output option as an additional visual setting when they use the console with a compatible monitor.

Obviously, they can enjoy the full benefits of 1440p rendering if the game they’re playing supports the resolution. But if they’re playing a game that supports 4K, they could also benefit from the feature, because the option downsamples the visuals for 1440p output and that leads to sharper images. As VG247 notes, though, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), which rolled out for the console in April, is only available for 1080p and 2160p. VRR gives the screen the ability to sync its refresh rate with that of the game for a smoother experience, and it’s not quite clear why it’s not available for 1440p output. 

In addition to 1440p support, the latest beta software also gives users a way to create gamelists in their Game Library so that they can better organize all the titles they own. Players can create up to 15 gamelists with 100 games each. Their in-progress activities will now be shown prominently at the top of the game hub when they resume a game, as well, and they can now request party members to share their screens so that they can watch their gameplay. Plus, when they enter a party and a member is playing game they can join, they’ll now receive an alert and then join the game directly from that notification.

Sony has introduced more experimental features with the new beta and has listed them all on the PlayStation blog.

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EA’s last FIFA game is finally making women’s soccer a priority

After revealing Chelsea star Sam Kerr on its cover earlier this week, EA has unveiled the first trailer for FIFA 23 showing that women’s soccer will finally be a key part of the game. It will include women’s club teams from the top leagues in England and France, along with both the women’s and men’s competitions in both the 2022 Qatar World Cup and 2023 Australia/New Zealand World Cup. 

International women’s teams have been available in EA FIFA games since 2016, but this will be the first edition with club teams. The women’s game has climbed in popularity thanks in part to the Olympics and other international competitions, and the 2022 World Cup will provide another huge boost. Two leagues is far short from the dozens available for men’s soccer, but it looks like EA plans to add more via future updates. “We’re committed to building an equitable experience and aspire to help grow women’s football,” said FIFA 23‘s Matt Lafreniere.

FIFA 23 also introduces cross-play functionality and more “realistic” gameplay via its latest evolution of HyperMotion2 technology, EA said. That feature applies machine learning to motion capture data to create smoother player movements during gameplay.

FIFA 23 will be EA’s last version of the game with the FIFA name, as it failed to come to terms with FIFA over financial and exclusivity issues. However, EA still holds licenses for more than 300 soccer partners and has exclusive agreements with the likes of the Premier League, MLS, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A. The series will be rebranded as EA Sports FC in its future versions.

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Computing

Intel Raptor Lake finally makes DDR5 memory worth it

The upcoming Intel Raptor Lake processors will support both DDR4 and DDR5 memory, but it seems that the 13th generation of Intel CPUs might finally convince many users to switch to DDR5.

In a new benchmark, the Core i7-13700K was tested with DDR4 and DDR5 RAM. The latter truly made it shine, delivering a huge uplift in multicore performance.

Wccftech

The benchmarked processor is Intel’s next-gen Core i7-13700K, which comes with 16 cores (eight Raptor Cove performance cores and eight Gracemont efficient cores) as well as 30MB of L3 cache. The base clock is rumored to be 3.4GHz with an up to 5.3GHz boost. Although the chip was already spotted in previous benchmarks paired with DDR4 RAM, today’s leak, first found by Benchleaks,  shows that DDR5 unlocks its true potential.

In the tests, the Core i7-13700K was paired with an ASRock Z690 Steel Legend Wi-Fi 6E motherboard for the DDR4 option, while the DDR5 system had the D5 version of that same motherboard. The only difference between the two boards lies in their memory slots. The tester used DDR4-3200 memory for the DDR4 test and DDR5-5200 for the DDR5 benchmark, which is the native memory supported by Raptor Lake. Both systems were running a total of 32GB RAM, meaning two sticks of 16GB each. However, the benchmark doesn’t reveal the timings or the exact model of RAM that has been used.

Now, let’s take a look at the scores each system was able to achieve. The DDR4 platform managed to hit 2,090 points in single-core and 16,542 in the multicore test. The DDR5 system reveals a tiny decrease in the single-core result (down to 2,069), but that’s within the margin of error. In multicore, the DDR5 platform managed to hit a 20% performance increase with a 19,811 score. This benchmark was first reported by Tom’s Hardware.

A similar benchmark was recently unearthed by VideoCardz, this time featuring an engineering sample of the mid-range Core i5-13600K. This time, the system was still proven to be faster when paired with DDR5 RAM, but the performance boost was limited to just 11%. Even then, these improvements, as well as future-proofing your computer through the use of a DDR5 motherboard, might be enough to make many customers consider trying out DDR5.

Intel introduced support for DDR5 memory with its current-gen Alder Lake platform, but so far, the adoption has been slow. DDR5 RAM is still overpriced, although costs have been slowly improving. As the technology becomes more widespread, the prices should continue to normalize.

AMD’s next-gen Ryzen 7000 processors will not offer DDR4 support at all, which means that Team Red enthusiasts will need to splurge on some of the best DDR5 RAM instead of sticking to DDR4. Both Intel Alder Lake and Intel Raptor Lake let you choose between DDR4 and DDR5, but clearly, using DDR5 might be a good way to make the most of your new CPU.

Intel Raptor Lake is reported to launch soon, with a rumored October release date, alongside a slew of other next-gen releases from AMD and Nvidia.

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Game

Discord voice chats are finally coming to Xbox consoles, but it’s complicated

Discord voice chats are coming to Xbox. Starting today, those enrolled in Microsoft’s Xbox Insider beta program can test the functionality before a wider rollout later this year. The feature allows Discord users on Xbox, PC and mobile to join the same voice channel, thereby making it easier to communicate when playing cross-platform games like . That said, the integration isn’t as seamless as simply downloading Discord on your Xbox.

You first need to connect your Xbox Account to Discord. If you previously did that so that your Discord contacts could see your , you’ll need to do so again to grant the app voice permissions on your Xbox console. You’ll find the option to connect your accounts within Discord’s User Settings. Click or tap the cog icon, navigate to the “Connections” menu, select the Xbox icon and then follow the on-screen instructions.

Screenshots detailing the process for transferring Discord voice chats to an Xbox console. The user must first join a voice channel and then select

Discord

Because the entire process works through a series of hand-offs, you’ll then need to download the Xbox mobile app. To talk with your friends, join a voice channel through Discord, where you’ll see a new “Join on Xbox” button. Tap that and the Xbox app will automatically open on your phone, solely to ask what console it should forward the call audio to. Now imagine doing that every time single time you want to use Discord on your Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S.

It’s not the most elegant process, but it’s still something Discord users have been waiting for the company to add since it first announced . The integration may also offer a glimpse at how Sony plans to add Discord voice chat to its . Discord did not say exactly when voice chat would be available to all Xbox users, though the feature is expected to arrive sometime later this year.

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