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Security

Samsung says a data breach revealed some customers’ names, birthdays, and more

Samsung is warning customers about a cybersecurity incident in July, where “an unauthorized third party acquired information from some of Samsung’s U.S. systems,” including things like names, birthdays, contact info, and product registration information. The company says it discovered the breach on August 4th, and is currently investigating it with “a leading outside cybersecurity firm.”

According to the company’s FAQ about the incident, it’s sending emails to customers who were specifically affected, and it will continue doing so as its investigation progresses. Samsung says that not everybody will have had the same info leaked. The company didn’t immediately reply to The Verge’s request for comment on which of its systems were specifically affected.

While the company says that no Social Security numbers or debit / credit card numbers were taken, the type of info that the hackers did end up getting can be very useful in social engineering attacks on other services you use. If you’ve been putting off activating two-factor authentication on some important accounts, it’s probably not a bad idea to get it done as soon as you can.

Samsung says that at the moment you don’t have to change your password, or take any specific steps to keep your Samsung products or accounts safe, as “consumer devices were not affected in connection with this incident.” However, the company does recommend keeping an eye out for any unusual activity on your account, and being extra vigilant when it comes to phishing emails.

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Game

Logitech’s upcoming gaming handheld may have been revealed in a leak

Earlier this month, Logitech announced that it was working on a handheld gaming device with Tencent that would “support multiple cloud gaming services” including NVIDIA’s GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming. Now, it looks like we’re getting our first look at the device thanks to prolific leaker Evan Blass. We also know that it should be called the G Gaming Handheld as Logitech has listed that name on a recently published landing page

It looks just like many other gaming handhelds, with left and right joysticks, a direction pad, ABXY buttons, a home button and shoulder pads, along with a custom “G” button. Another image also shows what looks like the home screen, with icons for Google’s Play Store, Xbox, GeForce Now, Steam, Chrome and YouTube. We also see icons for user profile, messages, settings and power.  

You could compare the G Gaming Handheld to a Steam Deck or even Nintendo’s Switch Lite in terms of the basic design. The cloud gaming aspect means it’s likely to have similar capabilities to a smartphone, albeit with a more convenient form factor and gaming-centric UI. As such, it’ll compete not just with other handhelds but numerous controllers designed for smartphones like Razer’s Kishi V2, the 8bitDo Pro 2 and SteelSeries Stratus+ — so it’s level of success will depend strongly on the price. 

There’s no word yet on when it’ll arrive, but as mentioned, Logitech now has a landing page in place, so you can submit your email address to get more details. 

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Computing

Intel Arc Pro is real — three new workstation GPUs revealed

Intel has three new graphics cards coming up, but they don’t include the gaming Arc Alchemist that you probably had in mind. The company has just announced the Intel Arc Pro A-series, a new discrete graphics card line made for professionals.

Announced during SIGGRAPH 2022, the range includes the Arc Pro A30M for mobile workstations and the Arc Pro A40 and Arc Pro A50 for small-form-factor desktops.

It seems that the previous rumors were true — there is, in fact, an Intel Arc Pro lineup, and the company has just officially unveiled it. With three new GPUs coming soon, Intel is entering the workstation market with its discrete graphics cards.

Intel said that the new GPUs were made to meet the requirements of all kinds of professional software. This includes applications within the design, manufacturing, media, entertainment, architecture, engineering, and construction segments.

Although the exact specifications of these new workstation GPUs have not yet been revealed, we know that the Arc Pro A30M will find its way into laptop workstations and the other two will be installed in compact desktops. One more thing we know is that the Arc Pro A40 is a single-slot GPU and the Arc Pro A50 is a dual-slot model. Given the naming convention, we expect that these will be entry-to-midrange options, seeing as Intel’s flagship Arc GPU is the A770.

Intel promises support for all the latest technologies utilized by professionals. The new graphics cards all feature built-in ray tracing, AV1 hardware encoding acceleration, and machine learning capabilities. This includes the widely used Blender as well as various open-source libraries included in the Intel oneAPI Rendering Toolkit.

Intel is demo-ing the cards in a few different applications during this year’s SIGGRAPH, marking the first time that the Arc Pro is running live in public. The manufacturer will be showing off its new product, and more precisely its hardware-accelerated artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, in Topaz Video Enhance AI, a software that enhances video quality and resolution.

Intel's demo of Topaz, comparing the quality of two images.
Intel

The GPUs will also be seen running Trimble’s SketchUp, a 3D designing app often used for architectural purposes. This will be done to show that even an entry-level workstation running an Arc Pro GPU will be able to perform these tasks due to hardware-accelerated ray tracing and hardware-assisted A.I. via Intel’s XeSS.

You don’t have to be there in person to see what Intel Arc Pro can do — Intel has little previews on its official website with sliders that let you compare the “before” with the “after.” The video enhanced by Topaz loses some of its colors and contrasts but turns out a whole lot less grainy. The SketchUp preview turns a drawing into a lifelike-looking render.

Intel Arc Pro A-series graphics cards will be available at an undisclosed time later this year. For now, there’s no info on pricing, though. Seeing as we’re also awaiting the official and global launch of the Intel Arc lineup made for consumers, it now seems that Intel will be releasing several GPUs before the year is done.

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Computing

AMD Ryzen 7000 mobile specs revealed, may rival Intel’s best

A new leak gives us more insight into the specifications of the upcoming AMD Dragon Range and AMD Phoenix CPUs. Both of these lineups are the next-generation Zen 4 processors made for laptops, although each will have its own niche.

With the specifications of Dragon Range and Phoenix now coming into play, it seems that AMD will be well-positioned to compete against its rivals, Intel and Nvidia, in future gaming laptops.

Red Gaming Tech (RGT) on YouTube talked about the capabilities and specifications of some of the Ryzen 7000 processors for the mobile sector. AMD Dragon Range and Phoenix will each power laptops for gamers, but while Dragon Range will focus on delivering the best possible CPU performance, Phoenix will be competitive thanks to its built-in RDNA 3 iGPU.

Let’s start with Dragon Range. According to Red Gaming Tech, AMD is approaching the lineup much the same way Intel did with Alder Lake-HX. This means that the manufacturer is downsizing its desktop Raphael CPUs to fit inside laptops without needing to compromise on the specifications too much. As a result, the top processor of the four leaked today will have the most cores of any AMD mobile CPU so far.

As per the rumor, the Ryzen 9 7980HX will come with 16 cores, followed by the Ryzen 9 7900HX with 12 cores. There’s also a Ryzen 7 entry, the Ryzen 7 7800HX with eight cores, as well as the Ryzen 5 7600HX with just six cores. Clock speeds will vary and may reach as high as 5GHz and above in boost mode while ranging between 3.6GHz to 4GHz+ at base frequencies.

AMD Dragon Range will be powerful in terms of CPU performance, but it will fall behind when it comes to the integrated graphics card. The idea here is that AMD wants to offer these CPUs in enthusiast gaming laptops, which will typically have one of the best GPUs installed anyway. As such, Dragon Range will only come with two RDNA 2 compute units, which won’t be enough to power any serious gaming. However, it doesn’t really need to — CPUs of this caliber are going to be paired with a discrete graphics card.

Red Gaming Tech

Moving on to AMD Phoenix (also known as Phoenix Point), the CPU clearly takes a much different approach. While it’s still a Zen 4 processor, the focus here has shifted to providing a good gaming experience even with thin and light laptops. Seeing as it was made to power lightweight notebooks, Phoenix will run on 35 to 45 watts, keeping power requirements low and battery life higher. This oftentimes translates to poor gaming performance — but AMD has an ace up its sleeve in the form of RDNA 3 graphics.

Compared to Dragon Range, Phoenix is said to serve up to six times more GPU cores, which means up to 12 compute units. As noted by RGT, this means up to 1536 shaders and an iGPU clock frequency of up to 3GHz. AMD may be hoping to rival the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 mobile with the top variant of Phoenix.

In this lineup, RGT also expects four different processors, the AMD Ryzen 9 7980HS, the Ryzen 9 7900HS, the Ryzen 7 7800HS, and, lastly, the Ryzen 5 7600HS. These processors would provide better graphics at the cost of significantly lowered core counts, ranging from eight to six cores.

If the rumors prove to be true, next-gen gaming laptops based on AMD CPUs and APUs will have a lot to offer. However, before they ever hit the market, we have the Ryzen 7000 for desktops and the Intel Raptor Lake launch to look forward to later this year.

Editors’ Choice




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Computing

Meta just revealed how VR headsets could look in the future

Meta recently previewed a futuristic-looking VR headset concept in a metaverse promotional video. There’s no confirmation that this is an actual product in development, but the new device is clearly much more advanced than a Quest headset and even slimmer than the upcoming Cambria headset.

Fingertip sensors are also shown and might help to quickly identify finger location with great precision, as well as provide haptic feedback.

These glimpses of the future were found as part of Meta’s pattern of posting a few videos each month that represent some near-term hardware and others a bit further out to future VR headsets.

In the most futuristic video, Meta imagines a time when the metaverse might have rendering quality that’s indistinguishable from reality, or perhaps the company simply took artistic license. There’s little doubt that this will be possible someday but it’s hard to say when that might come to pass. Three practical examples of the metaverse were given in the video.

When attending a lecture that’s accessible via the metaverse, students will be able to either be physically present or teleport into a seat and the professor can manipulate virtual 3D objects such as a biological cell to discuss its metabolism. The cell can be tossed to a student and examined more closely as it’s in the process of dividing.

A bit further in, a medical student practices for surgery on a virtual patient using an advanced VR headset and fingertip sensors that might provide greater precision and haptic feedback. This type of training, which can be repeated hundreds or thousands of times, would be very useful before moving on to cadavers for hands-on experience.

Meta VR fingertip sensors shown on someone's hands.

Finally, Meta’s concept video demonstrates history coming to life with modern students visiting ancient Rome and watching Mark Antony engage in a debate over the flaws and merits of Julius Caesar as a ruler. The students can walk around and examine the scene as if actually there.

Another video illustrates the current state of VR and how a father and daughter can connect while fishing despite being separated by nearly 2,000 miles. Meta didn’t identify the app, however, it appears to be Real VR Fishing, a multiplayer fishing simulation that’s available right now for Quest and Quest 2 VR headsets for $20. That’s right, the metaverse is already here in some respects.

While the potential of the future metaverse is certainly very enticing, plenty of work must be done before this vision becomes a reality. The early versions of classrooms, hands-on training, and historical locations already exist in various apps and are well done within the limitations of the current hardware. The near future and what will become possible with more advanced headsets remains to be seen.

The wait won’t be long since Meta’s Cambria, a more expensive VR headset, is expected later this year. It will be interesting to see how well Meta’s Cambria can render the early metaverse and how immersive the experience might be.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course DLC release date finally revealed

“The Delicious Last Course,” the hotly anticipated Cuphead DLC that has been in the works for years, finally has a release date. Though fans have known for a while that another DLC is in the pipeline, they’ve been left to speculate about when it may finally arrive. That changed at The Game Awards 2021 with a precise launch date.

Studio MDHR Corp.

Cuphead took the video game market by storm when it launched in 2017, introducing addictive and maddeningly difficult 2D gameplay styled after cel-animated classics from studios like Fleischer. The popularity led to an animated TV series based on the game called The Cuphead Show, which will hit Netflix next year.

Studio MDHR, the company behind Cuphead, previously announced plans to release a final DLC for its hit title called “The Delicious Last Course.” Unfortunately, the wait for this release has proven extensive, though that’s not entirely the studio’s fault. In November 2020, Studio MDHR said it had to delay The Delicious Last Course because pandemic-related changes in workflow made it “extremely challenging” to complete the DLC.

The work is nearly complete, Studio MDHR revealed as part of its The Game Awards announcement, and it is finally ready to make a release date known. Cuphead fans will be able to purchase the DLC starting on June 30, 2022, for PC, Xbox One, the PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. The announcement was joined by a new trailer that mixes clay-like animation with the game’s familiar, classy retro style.

The DLC will arrive around five years after the game’s initial launch, which is a considerable time to wait, but all signs point toward it being worth it in the end. Though the DLC will bring Cuphead the game to an end, the Netflix series will give fans a look at the game as an actual cartoon.



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Game

God of War PC requirements revealed: What you’ll need for top performance

Next month, we’ll see what is almost certainly the biggest Sony PC release yet. After bringing Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone to PC, Sony will be bringing 2018’s God of War to the platform in January. Today, Sony’s Santa Monica Studio revealed the PC specifications for the game, and it looks like it will run on a rather large array of configurations.

Santa Monica Studios/Sony

Minimum specs and maximum performance

Sony Santa Monica shared lists for five different specifications today, starting with the minimum required specifications ranging all the way up to the hardware needed to run God of War at ultra settings. As you might imagine, there’s a pretty big disparity between those two specs, with “recommended,” “high,” and “performance” specs in between.

The minimum required specifications will be good enough to run the game on the low graphics preset in 720p at 30fps, which isn’t great. Still, we work with what we’ve got in the world of PC gaming, and if you have at least an NVIDIA GTX 960 (4GB)/AMD R9 290X (4GB) GPU in your rig along with an Intel Core i5-2500k/AMD Ryzen 3 1200 CPU and 8GB of RAM, it’s good enough to run God of War.

Compare that to the ultra specification, and you’ll see just how big the difference between the minimum and maximum are. In order to run God of War on the ultra graphics preset in 4K at 60fps, you’ll need an RTX 3080 (10GB)/RX 6800 XT (16GB) along with an Intel Core i9-9900k/AMD Ryzen 9 3950X and 16GB of RAM. Considering how hard it is to get both the RTX 3080 and RX 6800 XT, we’re guessing that most gamers will probably have to settle for a lower spec.

Santa Monica Studios/Sony

Thankfully, that’s what is required to run the game at 4K60, so lower resolutions will ease up on the hardware requirements a fair amount. You can check the other specifications in the image we’ve embedded above, but hardware specifications aren’t the only thing Sony’s Santa Monica Studio revealed about the PC version of God of War today.

The studio also confirmed today that God of War will support NVIDIA DLSS in rigs with an RTX GPU, which uses supersampling to allow the game to run at higher resolutions without sacrificing framerates. The game will also support NVIDIA Reflex to cut back on system latency, though that requires at least a GTX 900-series GPU. Finally, God of War will support AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution, so Sony Santa Monica’s partnership with NVIDIA doesn’t mean that AMD users have to be left out in the cold.

You can see a sampling of God of War‘s PC features in the trailer above. Otherwise, look for God of War to land on Steam and the Epic Games Store on January 14th, 2022.

Sony’s PC game port plans

God of War screenshot

Sony/PlayStation Blog

In March 2020, PlayStation Worldwide Studios head Herman Hulst confirmed Sony’s plan at the time to bring Horizon Zero Dawn to PC (via PS Blog). The port raised new questions about the company’s plans for future major PlayStation exclusive games and whether they, too, would eventually make their way to desktop. At the time, Hurst reassured PlayStation fans that Sony is “very committed to dedicated hardware” and “very committed to quality exclusives.”

With that said, Hurst also went on to note that the company was “going to be very open to experimentation,” one example of which was the eventual Horizon Zero Dawn PC release. The studio’s leader indicated bringing a major PS game to PC served as a way to “introduce more people to PlayStation,” potentially making them aware of the kinds of games they can enjoy if they pick up a PlayStation console.

Hurst went on to state that “releasing one first-party AAA title to PC doesn’t necessarily mean that every game now will come to PC.” The statement left many doubtful that select other major PlayStation titles — including God of War — would make their way to PC. Fast-forward nearly two years and it’s clear Sony is continuing with this plan, though if the trend holds, it looks like PC gamers can expect to wait a couple of years after a major game’s release before it (potentially) makes its way to desktop systems.

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Game

Analogue Pocket release date revealed at last (for pre-orders anyway)

It’s been a rough road to launch for the Analogue Pocket. First announced way back in October 2019, the Pocket – an FPGA-based handheld console – didn’t go up for pre-order until August 2020 because of challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though pre-orders sold out quickly, the shipment date for those pre-orders was then pushed back several times. Now we finally have a ship date for those initial pre-orders, and that’s good news for everyone interested in picking up a Pocket.

Pocket pre-orders begin shipping out in December

With the latest delay, Analogue said that Pocket pre-orders placed in 2020 would begin shipping out in December 2021. At the time, we weren’t given a specific date, but now we have one: on its website today, Analogue announced that those initial orders would begin shipping on December 13th. The company says that emails are being sent out to those who pre-ordered today.

Because of “unprecedented shipping congestion,” Analogue says that Pocket pre-orders shipping on that date will arrive sometime between December 14th and the 30th, giving us roughly a two-week window for delivery. This, of course, is not great news for those who were planning to travel for the holidays, but Analogue has a solution for that as well.

If you won’t be around to accept your delivery and you don’t want it sitting outside your house or apartment until you get back, you can contact Analogue and have it put a hold on your order until the new year or ask it to change your delivery address. That can be done by replying to the email you received or emailing support@analogue.co with your request. Analogue says that the last day customers can change their orders is November 28th, so keep that in mind if you need an address change or a hold.

Good news for everyone – not just those who pre-ordered

The fact that these initial Pocket pre-orders will soon begin shipping is good news for everyone interested in the Pocket, even if you can’t order one at the moment. When Analogue announced this delay back in September, it also noted that Pocket and its accessories would be restocked following the holidays, and orders would open up once more.

So far, there’s only been one round of Pocket pre-orders, so if you didn’t order back in August 2020, you haven’t had another chance yet. That will presumably change shortly after 2022 begins, but Pocket hasn’t given us the specific date that it will open up orders again.

There’s seemingly a lot to love about Pocket if you’re a fan of handheld gaming, too. Built on two FPGAs, the Pocket will come with out-of-the-box support for Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance cartridges, with adapters available for many other retro handhelds. The Pocket will also have an optional dock that can be used to play those retro handheld games on a big screen, Super Game Boy-style.

So, if you’re a fan of Analogue’s FPGA consoles and you’ve been waiting for a chance to order a Pocket, it sounds like that chance is coming. You can read more about the Pocket, including full specs, over on Analogue’s website, but otherwise, we’ll let you know when Analogue gives us a specific date for Pocket’s 2022 restock.

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Game

AGDQ 2022 full schedule revealed: Speedruns we’re looking forward to

The schedule for Awesome Games Done Quick 2022 has been revealed, and as always, we’ve got a week’s worth of speedruns to sift through now that it’s live. Previously, Games Done Quick announced the games list for AGDQ 2022, but now with the full schedule out in the open, we get to see how each day of the event will play out. For Games Done Quick veterans, there’s even one surprising change this year.

Image Credit: BONDART PHOTOGRAPHY/Shutterstock

AGDQ 2022 schedule and details

The full schedule can be found on the Games Done Quick website. Awesome Games Done Quick will run 24 hours a day for nearly an entire week, starting at 11:30 AM EST on Sunday, January 9th, 2022, and wrapping up sometime after midnight on Sunday, January 16th. In fact, the schedule says that the finale should be going live right around midnight on the 16th, but Games Done Quick events tend to run long by a few hours.

For those who may be new to Games Done Quick, the gist is that the organization hosts a pair of week-long speedrunning marathons each year in which speedrunners from all over the world attend to show off their skills and their games. Awesome Games Done Quick takes place in the winter, while Summer Games Done Quick takes place in – you guessed it – the summer. At AGDQ, the money raised goes toward the Prevent Cancer Foundation, while SGDQ raises funds for Doctors Without Borders.

Recent events have been forced to go online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and AGDQ 2022 will be no different in that regard. There was some hope that Games Done Quick would be able to resume in-person events beginning with AGDQ 2022, but with the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing in many regions of the world, we’ll have to wait until at least SGDQ 2022 – and possibly even later – before in-person events resume.

AGDQ 2022 runs we’re looking forward to

Since AGDQ 2022 is a week-long event, it’ll be packed with a ton of speedruns. There are too many good speedruns to count, but there are a few we’re looking forward to specifically. The marathon gets off to a strong start with speedruns of Deathloop, Mega Man 2, The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, and a blindfolded tanker run of Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance all on the first day, though that last one is a bonus run that will only be played if a certain donation incentive is met.

Throughout the rest of the marathon, a few of the runs that stick out include Gunstar Heroes on expert difficulty, a Super Mario Galaxy Luigi race between four different players, a New Game+ speedrun of the fantastic Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart on PS5, and a speedrun of Sonic Jam on the beyond terrible Game.com handheld.

The last day, as always, is filled with some big runs, including Mario Kart Wii, Earthbound, Subnautica, Sonic Adventure DX, and Halo: Combat Evolved. The show will be closing with a speedrun of Metal Gear Solid, so there won’t be any six-hour RPG runs to cap off AGDQ this time around.

Interestingly, there’s a rather sparse showing from the Metroid series at AGDQ 2022. While Games Done Quick marathons typically have a Super Metroid speedrun or race toward the end of the show – such as the Super Metroid Impossible run by Oatsngoats that we’ve embedded above – there will be no Super Metroid at AGDQ 2022. The only Metroid speedrun comes on the very first day, with a run of Metroid Prime Hunters on the Nintendo DS.

Still, even without Super Metroid or a long RPG to end the show, AGDQ 2022 is looking like a pretty stacked marathon. Sadly, we’ve still got a couple of months to wait before the marathon kicks off, as the show won’t be kicking off until Sunday, January 9th 2022. When the time comes, you’ll be able to watch the entire marathon on the Games Done Quick Twitch channel.

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Game

Among Us new Imposter role revealed as the Shapeshifter

Last year’s biggest hit game Among Us is getting a big update in the near future, one that will, among other things, bring new Roles to the title. Innersloth says it is still keeping most of the details about its upcoming update a secret, but it is revealing one big change early to get players excited: the new Imposter role.

All but one of the new roles added to Among Us will involve the Crewmates — the innocent players who run around completing tasks while trying to avoid death at the hands of one or more Imposters. The new Imposter role, Innersloth says, will be Shapeshifter, a foe who can disguise their appearance as that of an existing crew member.

The shapeshifting process involves an egg-like object appearing over the Shapeshifter; Crewmates will be able to see this transformation process, making it a risky move that may pay off if carefully used. As well, the default settings will result in the Shapeshifter returning to its regular state after a short period of time.

Game hosts will be given the ability to choose how many Shapeshifters can be in a match and the odds that an Imposter will spawn with the shapeshifting ability. One example provided is that a host may limit matches to a maximum of two shapeshifters with a 30-percent chance that Imposters will spawn with the extra ability.

Though this is the only update to the game’s Imposter role, it represents a massive change in how matches will play out. The increased complexity is arguably a necessity at this point in the title’s lifespan, as the game has grown a bit stale over recent months.

Innersloth reveals that Among Us matches conducted for internal playtesting have been “extremely chaotic” due to the Shapeshifter role. With this revelation, one big question remains: what are the new Crewmate roles and how will they help guard against the Shapeshifter?

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