EA will host four ‘Spotlight’ panels ahead of Play Live event on July 22nd

Before it hosts its Play Live event on the 22nd, EA will stream a series of “Spotlight” panels throughout the month of July. In all, fans can look forward to four such panels. The series will start on July 8th with an event devoted to ,  and first-person shooters more broadly. The panel will feature contributions from both Dice and Respawn Entertainment.

The next one falls on July 13th. It will consist of a conversation on indie games that EA promises will be “spirited.” Given that Josef Fares of  and  developer Hazelight Studios is taking part, we believe it. Then, it’s an EA Sports double-header, with back-to-back panels scheduled for July 19th and 20th.

The first will offer a detailed look at Madden NFL 22 and how fan input has shaped the game’s updated franchise mode. EA is also promising a look at a new scouting feature that it hopes to release in September. When it comes to the July 20th panel, meanwhile, EA is being tight-lipped. “Look, we’re not allowed to tell you much about this one yet, sorry,” the company said. “But we can say this Spotlight will highlight an extremely cool new addition to an extremely popular and long-running EA Sports franchise.”

Part of the reason EA plans to host these panels is so that it can make games the “unwavering” focus of its July 22nd event. From start to finish, the publisher says its main showcase should clock in at about 40 minutes. Outside of more details on upcoming titles like Battlefield 2042, EA will reportedly show off a Dead Space remake at the event. 

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Nanoleaf Elements bring woodgrain to smart lighting panels

Nanoleaf Elements were just revealed by the folks that delivered the original triangular light panels. Elements begins with “Wood Look Hexagons”, panels with individual wood grain faces and much of the same smart lighting feature set included with each previous Nanoleaf product – save the wide array of color options. These panels are made to be simpler – and more usable by the masses who aren’t always seeking full spectrum lighting.

Each Nanoleaf Elements panel is approximately 7.75-inches (20 cm) by 9-inches (23 cm) with a thickness of 0.24-inches (0.6 cm). Including the mounting system Nanoleaf recommends, each panel is approximately 0.39-inches (1 cm) (mounted thickness). Each panel weighs in at 0.46-lbs (208 g).

The Nanoleaf Elements system works with touch controls – on each panel, you have the option to affect the color and brightness of the panel. This addition to the Nanoleaf system works with Music Sync, too – reacting to audio it hears in any given room.

The most major difference between this newest member of the Nanoleaf collection is the vaneer material. With Nanoleaf Elements Wood Look Hexagon, you get a laminate with a wood grain finish (PVC). Because of this, the luminous flux per panel is significantly lower than that of, for example, Nanoleaf Shapes. Where Shapes have 100 lumens luminous flux per panel, Nanoleaf Elements (Wood Look Hexagon) clock in at 22 lumens.

These new panels also do not work with the same RGBW color system as previous panels. They’re meant to be limited to a set of colors that work well with the wood look. As such, you’ll have “Cool White” and “Warm White” to choose from.

This newest Nanoleaf panel system still has the same 25,000 hours “lifetime”, the same cable (length 8.2-feet, 2.5m), and the same dimmability (with the Nanoleaf App, Voice Control, and Touch). These new panels work with the same communication protocol as earlier models, with WiFi 2.4 GHz b/g/n. This newest set does not work with the Nanoleaf Remote, but does work with everything else: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and SmartThings.

You’ll still be able to control the lights with the Nanoleaf App for Android or iOS and/or the Nanoleaf Desktop App for Windows or Mac.

The first Nanoleaf Elements Smarter Kit will include 7 Wood Look Hexagon panels, 7 mounting plates, 8x double-sided adhesive mounting tape, 8x “linkers” to connect the panels together and to the controller, one power supply, one controller, and a quick start guide.

The Elements Smarter Kit price is approximately $300 USD. There’s also an Elements Expansion Pack available for around $100, that’ll include 3x Wood Look Hexagon panels, 3x Mounting Plates, 4x double-sided adhesive mounting tape, and 3x linkers for connecting panels.

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How to watch BlizzConline’s opening ceremony and game panels

Thank to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year Blizzard decided to not only delay BlizzCon – its annual event where it details new games and major updates to its existing lineup of titles – but also to turn it into an online-only affair. This new event, dubbed BlizzConline, is finally happening this weekend, and judging by some of the leaks so far, it’ll definitely be worth tuning into despite the fact that it’s going to have a very different feel.

This year, things are running a bit differently than they normally would. While Blizzard usually broadcasts the BlizzCon opening ceremony free for everyone to watch, typically the panels and deep dives that follow require a virtual BlizzCon ticket. That isn’t the case this year as everything is free to watch, and you have a lot of options when it comes to how to watch everything the company has prepared for BlizzConline.

The main attraction for most, however, will be the BlizzConline opening ceremony, which is where Blizzard will make all of its big announcements for the year ahead. The easiest way to watch is through the Blizzard channel on the BlizzCon website, though Blizzard and The Game Awards will both be hosting the opening ceremony on their respective YouTube channels. If you want to watch in a language other than English, Blizzard likely has you covered there too, and you can find links to foreign language streams in this blog post on the BlizzCon site.

It’s there that you’ll also find links to various game channels that will host panels and deep dives following the opening ceremony. The Blizzard channel linked above will be rotating through events and panels from all six channels, but if you’re primarily interested in one game over any of the others – say, World of Warcraft or Diablo – you’re probably better off tuning into that game’s specific channel.

Even without an in-person event, it seems like BlizzConline will have a packed schedule. The hour-long opening ceremony kicks off today at 2PM PST/5 PM EST, so if you’re a fan of one or multiple Blizzard games, be sure to set aside some time later today to catch it.

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