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Game

‘Valheim’ is heading to Xbox Game Pass in the first half of 2023

The hit Viking survival sim Valheim is heading to Xbox and PC Game Pass, complete with full crossplay support with the Steam version of the game. Valheim will hit PC Game Pass first, landing in fall of 2022. It’ll come to Xbox Series X and S, and hit Xbox Game Pass same-day in early 2023.

Valheim was a breakout hit of 2021, selling nearly 6 million copies in its first five weeks on Steam Early Access and outstripping established titles like Dota 2 in terms of active players. It ended up as one of the top-earning games on Steam in 2021 overall. The original development team at Iron Gate was just five people, but they’ve since hired on some more folks.

“We’re doing our best,” Iron Gate co-founder Henrik Tornqvist told Engadget in March 2021. “It has become pretty hectic around here since launch.”

Valheim offers an expansive, collaborative universe of hunting, crafting, sailing, building and defeating mythical Norse beasts, and its launch on Xbox Game Pass marks its debut outside of the Steam ecosystem. With so many players already on Steam, crossplay support is key.

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Computing

Nvidia’s new liquid-cooled GPUs are heading to data centers

Nvidia is taking some notes from the enthusiast PC building crowd in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of data centers. The company announced two new liquid-cooled GPUs during its Computex 2022 keynote, but they won’t be making their way into your next gaming PC.

Instead, the H100 (announced at GTC earlier this year) and A100 GPUs will ship as part of HGX server racks toward the end of the year. Liquid cooling isn’t new for the world of supercomputers, but mainstream data center servers haven’t traditionally been able to access this efficient cooling method (not without trying to jerry-rig a gaming GPU into a server, that is).

In addition to HGX server racks, Nvidia will offer the liquid-cooled versions of the H100 and A100 as slot-in PCIe cards. The A100 is coming in the second half of 2022, and the H100 is coming in early 2023. Nvidia says “at least a dozen” system builders will have these GPUs available by the end of the year, including options from Asus, ASRock, and Gigabyte.

Data centers account for around 1% of the world’s total electricity usage, and nearly half of that electricity is spent solely on cooling everything in the data center. As opposed to traditional air cooling, Nvidia says its new liquid-cooled cards can reduce power consumption by around 30% while reducing rack space by 66%.

Instead of an all-in-one system like you’d find on a liquid-cooled gaming GPU, the A100 and H100 use a direct liquid connection to the processing unit itself. Everything but the feed lines is hidden in the GPU enclosure, which itself only takes up one PCIe slot (as opposed to two for the air-cooled versions).

Data centers look at power usage effectiveness (PUE) to gauge energy usage — essentially a ratio between how much power a data center is drawing versus how much power the computing is using. With an air-cooled data center, Equinix had a PUE of about 1.6. Liquid cooling with Nvidia’s new GPUs brought that down to 1.15, which is remarkably close to the 1.0 PUE data centers aim for.

Energy usage for Nvidia liquid-cooled data center GPUs.

In addition to better energy efficiency, Nvidia says liquid cooling provides benefits for preserving water. The company says millions of gallons of water are evaporated in data centers each year to keep air-cooled systems operating. Liquid cooling allows that water to recirculate, turning “a waste into an asset,” according to head of edge infrastructure at Equinix Zac Smith.

Although these cards won’t show up in the massive data centers run by Google, Microsoft, and Amazon — which are likely using liquid cooling already — that doesn’t mean they won’t have an impact. Banks, medical institutions, and data center providers like Equinix compromise a large portion of the data centers around today, and they could all benefit from liquid-cooled GPUs.

Nvidia says this is just the start of a journey to carbon-neutral data centers, as well. In a press release, Nvidia senior product marketing manager Joe Delaere wrote that the company plans “to support liquid cooling in our high-performance data center GPUs and our Nvidia HGX platforms for the foreseeable future.”

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Game

‘Cyberpunk 2077’ gets more crash fixes before heading back to the PS Store

CD Projekt Red has rolled out several bug fixes for Cyberpunk 2077 since December, enough for Sony to consider the game stable enough to be relisted on the PlayStation Store in a few days’ time. There’s still work to be done, though, and the developer has released another patch just before the title becomes available for download on the platform again. Patch 1.23 was designed to improve the game’s stability even more by preventing numerous crash fixes in animations, UI, scene, physics and gameplay.

It fixes quite a lengthy list of issues, from minor ones that can be ignored to several major bugs that can impede gameplay progression. Fixed bugs that fall into the latter type include one that made an Arasaka officer’s body, which a player has to loot to make progress in the game, inaccessible.

The developer announced a few days ago that Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) decided to reinstate the availability of Cyberpunk 2077 on the PS Store on June 21st. Sony pulled the game from its store back in December, just over a week after it became clear that the game was riddled with bugs and didn’t run well, especially on the previous generation of consoles. It even offered full refunds for those who’d rather not wait for the game to become playable. 

SIE confirmed to Engadget that the title will once again be available on the PS Store, but a spokesperson warned that it still won’t be running flawlessly on the PS4. “Users will continue to experience performance issues with the PS4 edition while CD Projekt Red continues to improve stability across all platforms,” the spokesperson said. For the “best experience,” playing on the PS4 Pro or on the PS5 is recommended. 

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Game

Resident Evil Village demo coming, RE4 heading to Oculus Quest 2

Capcom has plenty of original IPs but Resident Evil is perhaps its most notable in terms of disturbing imagery and stories. It’s a franchise that has gone beyond just games and even has its own live-action film series. In fact, it has one more coming, a reboot that will be joined by a Netflix CGI series. Those, however, weren’t the only things announced at Capcom’s Resident Evil Showcase, revealing details about the next major installment in the long-running series as well as its first VR incarnation.

Resident Evil Village marks the eighth (or twelfth) major installment in the survival horror series, putting players in the shoes of Ethan Winters as he attempts to rescue his daughter in the eponymous location. Slated for a May release on all major gaming platforms, including Stadia, Capcom announced some dates that might excite fans, especially those on Sony’s PlayStation consoles.

Capcom will be releasing a 30-minute demo of the Village map from April 17 to 18 as well as the Castle from April 24 to 25. These, however, will be exclusive to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Another and longer 60-minute demo for both locations will be available from May 1 to 2 on all supported platforms.

Capcom also finally revealed what would be its first virtual reality game and, perhaps to the disappointment of some, it won’t be this Resident Evil Village. Instead, Capcom and Oculus have decided to port of the 2005 hit Resident Evil 4 to the Oculus Quest 2. It will be a Quest 2 exclusive apparently, which will make it an important demonstration for the standalone headset’s capabilities.

What that port exactly has in store hasn’t been revealed yet but Capcom promises more details when Oculus holds its first-ever Gaming Showcase on April 21. In the meantime, Resident Evil will be celebrating its 25th anniversary alongside the fifth birthday of Dead by Daylight with a crossover that will take place in June this year.

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Game

Sony’s most popular PlayStation game franchises are heading to mobile

Sony is planning a big push into the mobile gaming world, according to a new job listing from the company. Unlike Nintendo with its lukewarm mobile gaming effort, Sony plans to adapt some of its most popular game franchises for Android and iOS, something it makes clear will be a big effort toward “the future of gaming.”

Sony Interactive Entertainment has published a job listing that seeks a new ‘Head of Mobile’ for its PlayStation Studios, which is comprised of many game studios and collaboration with indie developers. Under the ‘Head of Mobile’ role, the new employee will, according to the job listing:

… promote the vision, mission, strategy for mobile game development within PlayStation Studios and be responsible for driving the business unit commercial success and profitability. Build and execute against a mobile 3-5yr business plan, outlining growth targets, resources needs & KPI’s
Partner with PlayStation Studios Leadership Team to develop mobile product roadmap for a 3-5-year time frame … Manage existing mobile slate already in development while delivering against revenue and profitability goals.

The job listing reveals that PlayStation Studios already has some mobile games in development and that it is looking several years into the future. Though we don’t know when it plans to start releasing these games, the fact that it already has started development on some indicates it won’t be too long of a wait.

Of course, questions remain about the nature of the games Sony has planned. Will they be fairly simple titles based on popular game characters, giving mobile players more endless runners and puzzle games, or will they be more substantial story-driven and online multiplayer offerings that take advantage of high-end phones? The job listing doesn’t shed light on this key question.

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Game

Diablo II remastered with 4K support is heading to consoles and PC

Blizzard has announced a remastered version of Diablo II for gaming consoles and PC. The updated version is called Diablo II: Resurrected, and it’ll offer gameplay at up to 4K with remastered graphics and cross-platform progression alongside the classic gameplay. Blizzard is currently in the technical alpha phase.

This is a substantial Diablo II remaster effort ‘for a new generation’ of players, Blizzard announced in the newly released Resurrected trailer. The remastered version will bring the original game with entirely updated graphics, as well as the Lord of Destruction expansion.

Players will be able to play the remastered version and the original for those who are feeling nostalgic with a quick toggle. The cross-progression support will enable players to quickly access their game regardless of which platform they’re currently using.

For example, players who primarily enjoy the game on PC at home will be able to get back in the action using their Nintendo Switch console when away from home. All supported platforms will give players access to their loot, characters, levels, quests, skills, and more. You’ll need a Battle.net account to enable this, plus you’ll have to buy the game separately for each platform.

The remastered Diablo II: Resurrected will be available on the Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4 and 5, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. Fans can ‘pre-purchase’ the remaster now, plus there’s a technical preview underway with potential future tests noted on the game’s website. The pre-purchase price sits at $39.99 USD for the game or $59.99 USD for the Diablo Prime Evil Collection.

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Game

Another classic Star Wars game may be heading to Nintendo Switch

Over the past couple of years, Disney and LucasArts have been releasing classic Star Wars games on the Nintendo Switch. Not only is the console home to the Jedi Knight series, but these days we also have Star Wars Episode 1: Racer to play. Aspyr is the company responsible for porting most of those old games over to the Switch, and soon, we might see another classic Star Wars game join the existing lineup.

As discovered by dataminer and leaker NWPlayer123 on Twitter, Aspyr seems to be in the process of porting Star Wars: Republic Commando over to the Switch. A bit newer than anything in the Jedi Knight series or Episode 1: Racer, Star Wars: Republic Commando was first released for Xbox and Windows back in 2005.

The game is a tactical first-person shooter in which players step into the role of leader of Delta Squad. Throughout the single-player campaign, players are accompanied by three squad members and can issue orders to them as they play. Republic Commando was an interesting take on Star Wars first-person shooter games, and it’s still fondly remembered today by a lot of those who played it back when it was new.

The information NWPlayer123 discovered suggests that Aspyr has been preparing the Switch version of Republic Commando for launch, but for now, the company hasn’t made anything official. We’re not sure if this is going to be a straight port or if it’ll be some kind of remaster, but one has to imagine that some improvements will be made to the game in the jump to the Switch.

We’ll see what happens from here, but Republic Commando is certainly a good candidate for classic Star Wars Switch ports, especially given that it was previously only available on Xbox and PC. Whether the announcement is a while off or right around the corner, we’ll let you know if Aspyr makes things official, so stay tuned for more.

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