Blizzard may have canceled a ‘World of Warcraft’ mobile spinoff (updated)

Arclight Rumble wasn’t going to be the only upcoming Warcraft mobile game, according to a report. Bloomberg sources claim Blizzard and NetEase have canceled a World of Warcraft spinoff mobile title that had been in development for three years. Nicknamed Neptune, it would have been a massively multiplayer game set in a different era of the fantasy universe. It wouldn’t simply have been a WoW phone port, to put it another way.

While the exact reasons for the cancelation weren’t mentioned, one of the insiders said Blizzard and NetEase “disagreed over terms” and ultimately decided to scrap the unannounced game. NetEase supposedly had over 100 developers attached to the project. The two were rumored to have previously canceled another Warcraft mobile release, a Pokémon Go-style augmented reality game, after four years of effort.

Spokespeople from both companies declined to comment. If the rumor is accurate, it suggests Blizzard is struggling to adapt to the rise of mobile gaming. While Diablo Immortal appears to be a success and is joining the well-established Hearthstone, the developers will still have sunk massive resources into other games that never reached players.

There are strong incentives to take these risks, however. Mobile games can be highly lucrative, particularly in countries like China — Genshin Impact has pulled in $3 billion since release, according to Sensor Tower estimates. A hit could easily boost Blizzard’s bottom line, not to mention spur demand for its existing computer- and console-bound games.

Update 8/5 9:49AM ET: Spokesperson Andrew Reynolds told Engadget that Blizzard still has an “extremely successful relationship” with NetEase, and said it was “entirely untrue” that there were any financial disagreements between the two companies. There was no mention of the spinoff or its current status.

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‘World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic’ arrives on September 26th

World of Warcraft Classic will return to the Wrath of the Lich King era on September 26th, Blizzard . WotLK is widely considered one of the best expansions in World of Warcraft’s nearly 20-year history. Even if subsequent releases went on to expand the game’s mechanics in more interesting and creative ways, few hit thematically in the way that WotLK did. For those who loved Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, it felt special to set foot on the shores of Northrend for the first time and explore the continent from a new perspective, and then eventually fight Arthas as part of the Icecrown Citadel raid.

Ahead of the expansion’s arrival, Blizzard is introducing a new leveling mechanic called Joyous Journeys. Starting today, Burning Crusade Classic players can visit an innkeeper at one of their faction’s capital cities to toggle a 50 percent experience boost. You can use the boost to finish leveling an existing character or start working on a new one. The boost will be available until the launch of WotLK Classic. For those who want to create a Death Knight once the expansion arrives, you won’t need an existing level 55 character on a server to do so as was the case with the original release.

Blizzard will include Wrath of the Lich King Classic with all World of Warcraft subscriptions, meaning you won’t have to purchase the expansion separately if you want to bring your old guild back together.

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‘World of Warcraft: Dragonflight’ won’t use gendered language in its character generator

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight is joining the ranks of games with more inclusive character generators. Both Wowhead and Polygon note the expansion’s new alpha release has dropped gendered language from its character creator. Instead of the male and female options you frequently see in these tools, they’re now divided into respective “Body 1” and “Body 2” sections. While they effectively offer the same characteristics as before, you can now build a gender non-conforming adventurer without any awkward wording.

Wowhead also found code suggesting that you may get to choose he/him, she/her and they/them pronouns in a future release, which could help other players address your character accordingly. Game director Ion Hazzikostas also suggested in an interview that there might be a way to choose your character’s voice at some point, although the most recent alpha version pulled references to that potential feature.

The changes might not be as substantial as you’d like. You can’t have facial hair and breasts on the same character in the alpha, for instance. Still, this could make World of Warcraft more appealing if you’re non-binary, transgender or otherwise don’t fit neatly into conventional gender representations.

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Twitter Communities: A Reddit-like world within Twitter

Twitter’s latest offering, Twitter Communities, seems to be the microblogging platform’s response to a question for its more casual users: How can you cultivate real community around your interests without making your interests the only focus of your tweets? It can be hard to create a real sense of community around your interests on Twitter while retaining a social media identity that is still separate from them.

And it appears Twitter Communities is the bird app’s solution to that issue, which makes it easily the most exciting new service in Twitter’s future.

What is Twitter Communities for?

imagine an alternate timeline where everyone just gets you

say hi to Communities—the place to connect with people who Tweet like you. testing now on iOS and web, Android soon!

— Twitter Communities (@HiCommunities) September 8, 2021

Twitter Communities is more than just a new feature — it’s an entirely new way of experiencing and contributing to the conversations happening on Twitter. Most notably, it feels like a better fit for casual tweeters like myself who want content curation and a sense of community in our Twitter experience.

The new service lets you create and join communities that are centered around a specific interest. Each Community allows members to tweet about that Community’s designated subject matter. These tweets must follow the rules stated by a given Community, and for many Communities the most important rules are to be respectful of other members and to make sure your tweets stay on topic.

So, if it’s a Community about fashion, all tweets posted in the Community should be about fashion. Community tweets generally don’t show up in the main timeline and each Community has its own timeline of posts. You can view these posts by visiting a Community or, after you’ve joined a Community, Twitter will generate a timeline of tweets that is comprised of tweets from all of the Communities you’ve joined. This timeline is also separate from the main timeline. The user interface for Twitter Community timelines still look similar to the main timeline (with some key differences), but I’ll get into that later.


You may be wondering: Isn’t that what hashtags are for? Well, yes. But some of us are casual tweeters who want the space to tweet about all kinds of subjects, meet new people, and have the option to tweet about something we love without that subject becoming our whole identity on the site. Sometimes you just want to connect with communities centered around your interests for a little while and then hop back out into the main timeline. And Twitter Communities lets you do just that.

Twitter Communities is free to join and use, but currently appears to have limited availability as you have to either be invited to join a Community or given a link to one to see the service in action. I’ve been playing around with it for a few days now, though, and I’m excited about how it could change Twitter for the positive.

A bare-bones Reddit or a more chill Facebook group?

Searching for communities on Twitter Communities.

Each Community lets its members post tweets related to the topic the Community is centered around. And in that way, Twitter Communities is a lot like the subreddit communities of Reddit and/or Facebook Groups. Each Community feels like its own little world within Twitter. A world away from the messiness of the main timeline.

But there are ways Twitter Communities has distinguished itself from Reddit and Facebook Groups. Reddit is easy to use and navigate but it does tend to be visually chaotic (more features, longer posts). In contrast, Twitter Communities’ user interface is a bit more streamlined, aesthetically pleasing, and easier to scroll through if you’re looking for more bite-sized content about your interests.

Facebook Groups have a (deserved) reputation for being tumultuous and messy online communities, even when they, like Twitter Communities, have moderators and admins to help keep discussions orderly and respectful. So far, while trying out Twitter Communities, I haven’t seen any dramas like that unfold. And it feels a lot calmer and more laid-back than a Facebook Group. And it certainly has less drama than Twitter’s main feed.

But it’s still early and Twitter Communities is a fairly new service in which the number of members is still growing and currently limited by the fact that you have to be invited (or sent a link to a Community) in order to join and have access to the service at all. So it’s still possible that the current peace Twitter Communities members enjoy now may not last once more people join.

But for now, it’s nice to have dedicated spaces on Twitter where you can be enthusiastic about your interests, meet new people, and not get shouted at.

Posting in a Community means tweeting directly to it

Sending a Twitter Community tweet.

Once you a join a Community, Twitter gives you two more features to support your use of Twitter Communities: A Communities tab on the left side of your screen (on the web) so that you can visit the Communities you’ve joined and have the option to choose your desired audience for the tweets you post. Essentially, you can choose to tweet to everyone on Twitter or you can choose one of the Communities you’re a member of to tweet directly to. If you choose to tweet directly to one of your Communities, then that tweet doesn’t get posted to your profile — it tweet only shows up in the Community you selected to be your audience and nowhere else.

That is kind of nice when you think about it. If you have a lot of things to say about a personal passion of yours, you don’t necessarily need to clog up the main timeline with those tweets. You can tweet your fandom or hobby-specific tweets directly to the people who will appreciate them most. And you’ll likely receive a more enthusiastic, more relevant response to your tweets in return.

It’s easier to ask questions and actually get an answer

If you don’t have a lot of followers on Twitter (or you’re not a verified account), it can sometimes feel like sending tweets into a void. Sometimes you’ll get a response and sometimes it’s just crickets. And the latter likely happens because of a number of factors, including the fact that Twitter is a platform in which so many tweets are constantly sent out at once that it’s easy for your own tweets to get lost in the sheer volume of tweets that show up in someone else’s timeline.

But I’ve noticed in Twitter Communities, because each Community is a decidedly much smaller subplatform within Twitter’s larger platform and each Community is dedicated to a specific topic, that tweets you send can end up being much more visible. You’re not competing with as many people for attention. And so, in the Communities I’ve joined so far, I’ve noticed that most people who post questions in a Community will often get a response instead of just being ignored.

The discussions are moderated

Main screen of Twitter Cooking's Community page.

Twitter is known for being both wonderful and a horrifying hellscape. And there are days where it seems like there is no middle ground. Content moderation has long been considered the main answer to the bird app’s problem with abusive tweets or content. But there are some that believe Twitter is more of a town square and as such would benefit from less content moderation.

Twitter Communities seems to be another answer to Twitter’s long-standing issue of balancing the need for freedom of speech with the need for responsible stewardship of a massive social media platform and keeping its users safe. In Twitter Communities, there are actual rules you need to follow and you have to stay on topic. Those rules can lead to less abuse and more relevant and engaging discussions.

Like Reddit, Twitter Communities often feature a posted set of rules members are expected to follow and Communities have moderators that enforce community rules. Twitter Community moderators can also remove members from a Community if that member breaks that Community’s rules, or they can hide posts that violate a Community’s rules.

On the main timeline, content moderation exists but it doesn’t seem as strong as the moderating you might find in a Community. Since members are expected to follow an additional set of rules on top of Twitter’s own rules, discussions and tweets tend to stay on track and are almost always related to the topics the Community was created to address.

It almost feels like Twitter Communities — and your mileage may vary depending on the Communities you choose to join — are an escape from the chaos of the main timeline and trending topics. When you’re viewing a Community timeline (or the timeline Twitter creates for you that’s made up of all the tweets from all the Communities you’ve joined), it feels quieter and more focused. It doesn’t feel like a jumble of emotions and memes and hot takes. Instead, you can peacefully scroll through a long timeline of dog photos, or food photos, or whatever tweets about whatever hobby.

How retweeting works in Twitter Communities

Twitter Communities Quote Tweet menu option on Android.

As mentioned, each Community has its own timeline of posts that are separate from the main Twitter timeline. You can tweet to a Community, but that tweet won’t show up anywhere but that Community. This limited visibility of Community tweets in other sections of Twitter also extends to retweets. You can’t really retweet a tweet you see in a Community and share it to your own profile.

So if you can’t retweet a Community tweet, what can you do? You can like it, quote tweet it, and reply to it. Liking a Community tweet doesn’t appear to show up under your profile’s Likes tab as it would for tweets from your main timeline. Your replies to others’ Community tweets will not show up on your profile either.

Twitter will sort of allow you to post a quote tweet from a Community to your own profile, but it doesn’t show up fully: The comment you added on top will be visible, but the Community tweet you’re quote tweeting will not appear. Instead, there is just a notice that says “This tweet is unavailable. Learn more.” So basically, your full quote tweet of someone else’s Community tweet will only show up in the Community itself.

Editors’ Choice

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‘Diablo IV’ lands in 2023 with Necromancers and an open world

Given that Microsoft will soon be the new owner of Blizzard Activision, there was bound to be some kind of Diablo announcement at its Summer Game Fest showcase. While we knew a direct sequel was coming as far back as November 2019, we got yet another deeper look at Diablo IV, which was once pushed back… indefinitely. Now expect to see it land sometime in 2023. 

The developers are promising a different style of Diablo, with open-world exploration, more substantial character customization and what appears to be the ability to switch playstyle with different skills. 

If players clear out the evil from certain areas, and they’ll turn into friendlier places for trade and everything that isn’t hacking away at monsters. Expect to see specific zones for PvP duels, and a kind of adaptive difficulty where talented players will get marked out in the open world.

For anyone not quite taken by the mobile-centric Diablo Immortal, it can’t come soon enough. There hasn’t been a new Diablo game in 10 years. If you have been waiting that long, beta pre-registration is now open here.

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Super Nintendo World opens at Universal Studios Hollywood in early 2023

Universal Studios Hollywood is aiming to open Super Nintendo World sometime in early 2023, the theme park today. The Nintendo-themed amusement park is currently being built inside the existing Universal Studios theme park in California, and will feature rides, games and an immersive environment modeled after the Super Mario video game franchise. According to Disney Parks news site , construction is currently underway on Bowser’s Castle and other areas of the park.

The theme park also released a of its signature ride, Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, where riders will collect coins and throw shells in order to defeat Team Bowser. Riders will don Mario hats and special AR goggles while aboard a four-seat Mario Kart-style vehicle. The same ride is also a part of , which opened last year.

“Ready to experience Mario Kart like never before? Put on the special goggles and battle Team Bowser on iconic Mario Kart courses alongside Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach,” says a of the ride on the theme park’s website.

It’s unclear whether the US-based Nintendo parks (an is planned for 2024) will be inspired by the Japan park or a carbon copy. If they follow Japan’s lead, US fans of Donkey Kong could be in for a treat in a few years. According to , Super Nintendo World Japan is currently building a Donkey Kong-themed area that will include a roller coaster and branded merchandise and food.

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Leveraging small data for insights in a privacy-concerned world

Hear from CIOs, CTOs, and other C-level and senior execs on data and AI strategies at the Future of Work Summit this January 12, 2022. Learn more

This article was contributed by Dmytro Spilka

When we hear the term ‘artificial intelligence,’ it’s natural to think of big data and the task of sifting through volumes of information in order to achieve qualitative insights. Many AI breakthroughs in the past few years have been heavily dependent on big data. For instance, image classification grew exponentially over the last decade owing to ImageNet – a data set built upon millions of images that were manually sorted into thousands of categories. However, it’s important for businesses to appreciate the power of small data, too. This often forgotten part of data collection is set to blossom in a decade dominated by GDPR and privacy control.

We can see plenty of examples of small data working in recent years too, with transfer learning emerging as a successful interpretation of the approach. Also known as ‘fine-tuning’, transfer learning works by training a model on a large dataset before retraining it using far smaller data sets.

When Christian Nielsen and Morten Lund of the University of California conducted a case study on how Sokkelund, a Copenhagen restaurant grew its turnover from $1.1 million to $6.1 million within two years whilst depending on small data insights, we saw the traditionally non-digital business, they observed the streamlining of data flows and the elimination of inefficient processes in the wealth of insight they obtained.

In digitizing its business, Sokkelund opted to rely on the smaller, more manageable data the restaurant produced. This concerned the following areas:

  • Customer data, such as booking information, meals bought, turnover per seat, and seasonal variations in customer flow – all of which can be easily accessible.
  • Supply chain information was also streamlined to become more manageable
  • Energy and water consumption
  • The digitization of staff planning
  • The emergence of social media and a digital presence

By tracking the data listed above – all of which is easily accessible, manageable, and actionable without the need for large-scale servers and costly AI algorithms, Sokkelund was able to make progressive decisions regarding its growth and acted on them in a timely manner.

But this isn’t to say that small data can’t be more intelligent, and organizations have the potential to use complex algorithms as a means of making small data go further. For instance, researchers in India used the big data from an ImageNet classifier and used it to train a model designed to locate kidneys in ultrasound images using just 45 training examples.

Small data can be more practical for small businesses to gather due to its cost-effectiveness, whilst still remaining sufficient for analysis. In the age of GDPR and heightened awareness of consumer privacy, big data can be far more difficult to access for businesses, but small data insights may yet steer companies to a qualitative decision-led future.

With GDPR forcing businesses to seek permission before collecting consumer data, we’re set to see more gaps in the information we can collect, with data models becoming considerably lighter than before. With this in mind, more businesses should consider how small data can work for them.

What is small data?

While big data focuses on the huge volumes of information that individuals and consumers produce for businesses to look at and AI programs to sift through, small data is made up of far more accessible bite-sized chunks of information that humans can interpret to gain actionable insights.

While big data can be a hindrance to small businesses due to its unstructured nature, masses of required storage space, and oftentimes the necessity of being held in SQL servers, small data holds plenty of appeal in that it can arrive ready to sort with no need for merging tables. It can also be stored on a local PC or database for ease of access.

However, as it is generally stored within a company, it’s essential that businesses utilize the appropriate levels of cybersecurity to protect the privacy of their customers and to keep their confidential data safe. Maxim Manturov, head of investment research at Freedom Finance Europe has identified Palo Alto as a leading firm for businesses looking to protect their small data centrally. “Its security ecosystem includes the Prisma cloud security platform and the Cortex artificial intelligence AI-based threat detection platform,” Manturov notes.

There are some challenges that small data poses to businesses also. Cybersecurity represents one area of concern, where centrally stored datasets may be more liable to be stolen by hackers – whilst big data is likely to be stored on external servers. While it can be a cost-effective way of gathering actionable insight, there’s also more danger of misinterpretation and biases emerging due to the smaller volumes of data available.

Because of the scale of the data you’re collecting, it’s possible to look at small data to answer specific questions or address emerging problems within your company. This data can include anything from sales data, website visits, inventory reports, weather forecasts, usage alerts, and just about anything that’s accessible and easy for a human to fetch.

The challenges of small data

According to Gartner analysts, as much as 70% of businesses will shift their focus from big data to small and wide data by 2025. Like small data, wide data relies on businesses tying together the data it produces across a range of different sources – like website traffic, store visits, social media engagements, and telephone inquiries. This is a seismic shift that points to more organizations opting to act on more cost-effective but powerful data insights in the coming years.

There are a number of challenges that come with working alongside small data, particularly when it comes to managing data imbalances, and difficulties in optimizing fewer data sets. Though we can also see that there are a number of approaches to data collection that can help small businesses to make the most of the information they can access.

While it can be difficult for businesses to understand the volume of data they need for a project, there can be plenty of non-technical solutions that can be explored. With this in mind, it’s worth decision-makers to spend more time looking at the volume of data that they can collect from customers before embracing more intricate machine learning algorithms to sift through data.

One-shot learning

While humans are often capable of learning from a single example and possess the ability to distinguish new objects with high accuracy, the same qualities are far harder for machines to master.

Deep neural networks require large volumes of data to train and generalize their results. This can be a drawback when it comes to businesses that aren’t blessed with huge volumes of data to draw on. However, one-shot learning has been developed as a way of training neural networks with extremely small data sets.

This means that by analyzing one big data set, one-shot learning will learn from its processes and repeat them on significantly smaller – or even singular – data. This can certainly be useful for small businesses that don’t have the levels of customer flows to call on AI to generate actionable insights. Simply put, one-shot learning requires just one big data set to apply its processes to subsequent small datasets that otherwise would be too scant to understand.

We’ve seen plenty of examples of one-shot learning emerge in recent years, with the most common arriving in the form of passport control scanners, which are tasked with recognizing your face from your passport image – a picture that it’s never before come into contact with.

This technology can be trained to learn from extremely small samples of customer data, like past purchases (not in the case of biometrics, of course).

Utilizing analytical tools for small data insights

Small data means that businesses can tap into more manageable data sources like Google Analytics and Hotjar – with both platforms offering comprehensive insights into how users interact with host websites.

As the name suggests, analytical tools can generate a healthy level of insight into the performance of a company’s website. This is significant for developing small datasets and accessing information that can help to corroborate emerging data trends.

Google Analytics, for instance, has the ability to collect valuable information surrounding the interactions websites receive whilst interpreting the numbers via a digestible visualization. From basic info like unique visits and time-on-site to more advanced data sets like scrolls and goal conversions.

This example of small data in practice can help businesses to act on high bounce rates across landing pages, for instance, or drops in returning visitors.

For small businesses, the small data insights that analytics tools can deliver are capable of leveraging far greater levels of engagement and more strategic marketing campaigns.

Learning from causal AI

Small data calls for more tailor-suited AI systems, too. Causal AI represents the next frontier of artificial intelligence. This technology has been developed to reason about the world in a similar way to humans. Whilst we can learn from extremely small datasets, causal AI has been developed to do the same.

Technically speaking, causal AI models can learn from minuscule data points owing to data discovery algorithms, which are a novel class of algorithms designed to identify important information through very limited observations – just like humans. Causal AI can also enable humans to share their own insights and pre-existing knowledge with the algorithms, which can be an innovative way of generating circumstantial data when it doesn’t formally exist.

In business terms, this means that casual AI algorithms can be fed small data across a range of different sources to identify recurring themes that typical augmented reality would be unable to address. As the technology continues to emerge, we’re likely to see casual AI identify more consumer insights for marketers through the wealth of information businesses generate across a range of touchpoints. This can breathe new life into small data models and equip businesses with a more manageable approach to organizing their data in the future that may offer fewer insights into the behavior of consumers.

While big data is the word on everyone’s lips, small data may emerge as an essential part of a future dominated by GDPR and a greater emphasis on privacy.

Dmytro Spilka is a writer based in London. Founder of Solvid, a creative content creation agency based in London, UK. His work has been published in The Next Web, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur, Kiplinger, Financial Express and Zapier. 


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Take-Two buys ‘OlliOlli World’ developer Roll7

Take-Two Interactive, the owner of Rockstar Games and 2K, has added another studio to its roster. Roll7, the small team behind the OlliOlli skateboarding series, is joining the company’s Private Division publishing label.

Private Division will release Roll7’s next game, OlliOlli World, in the first quarter of 2022. It seems both sides found they worked well enough together to make their partnership a permanent one, with Roll7 becoming one of Private Division’s in-house studios. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Roll7 is known for its flow state approach to games, the idea bring that players will become completely immersed in a game and focus entirely on it. The original OlliOlli was released in 2014 on PlayStation Vita, and Roll7 earned a BAFTA best sports game award for it the following year.

In OlliOlli World, you’ll rack up points for nailing tricks while navigating each level. Roll7 opted for a hand-drawn art style this time around, following the pixel art design of the first two games in the series. The result is a gorgeous-looking title that I’m looking forward to checking out. OlliOlli World is coming to PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

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Nvidia Says the Metaverse Will Be Larger Than the Real World

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang says that the virtual world will soon be larger than the physical one, not in terms of scale, but in terms of economics. In a Q&A following Nvidia’s fall GTC 2021 event, Huang described a world where companies put a greater focus on developing everything from cars to buildings in the virtual world.

“The virtual world will be larger in economics than the physical world,” the executive said. The comment stems from Nvidia’s Omniverse platform, which unifies A.I. platforms, 3D modeling, simulation, and animation under a single roof. Out of the event, Nvidia announced Omniverse Replicator, which is a tool focused on creating digital twins.

We’re not talking about people here. In April, Nvidia showed how it was able to create a digital twin of a BMW assembly factory. With the digital model, BMW has been able to reorganize machines to accommodate new launches, and even load them into the virtual space to walk around and see the assembly line in progress.

Models of virtual spaces are nothing new, but Omniverse Replicator goes further. It’s not a 3D modeling engine — it’s a synthetic data generation engine. Digital twins are physically simulated, allowing companies, governments, and more to simulate situations through the digital twin to anticipate problems or quickly react to them.

Nvidia Drive Sim, one of the two replicators available now, is an example. Instead of using data in the physical world, which is hard to control for, Drive Sim can generate data based on randomized conditions to better train autonomous vehicles. Nvidia suggests that the applications reach much further, though. Huang said these “virtual worlds will crop up like websites today,” tackling everything from social gatherings and games with friends to wildfires and the best way to combat them.

“Creators will make more things in virtual worlds than they do in the physical world.”

In the future, Huang says that “we will buy and own 3D things, like we buy 2D songs and books today.” The CEO even pointed to a future where we buy and own 3D homes, cars, and art. Perhaps the boldest claim is that “creators will make more things in virtual worlds than they do in the physical world.”

With Facebook’s recent name change to Meta, there has been a lot of talk about the metaverse and how it will impact the future. Huang suggests that the metaverse is the future, where we replace or at least augment the physical world in a dystopian scene ripped straight from a sci-fi novel.

Everyone from Facebook to Apple is in on the virtual world craze. The world’s largest companies are all gunning for the top slot in an innovation that they say will be as significant as the internet.

But will it?

Digital twins and virtual worlds have a lot of applications, particularly in enterprise spaces, solving logistical problems, tackling large-scale threats, and generating data that would otherwise be impossible to gather physically. Whether that makes the jump to the consumer space, as Facebook and others have suggested, is a different matter.

Huang recognized this in the Q&A, saying that “virtual worlds have to be indistinguishable from the real world,” and that’s not where we’re at today. Nvidia announced Avatar at GTC, which is meant to build the A.I. models, voices, and more that will live in these virtual worlds. But a remarkably detailed render of a toy version of the CEO wasn’t enough to distract from the robotic A.I. voice.

Outside of accuracy, virtual worlds have more pressing, real-world issues to overcome. As the internet has already shown, the spread of misinformation has the potential to translate into real-world tragedy, and if left unchecked, the metaverse could amplify those issues like never before.

As for if the metaverse will be larger than the physical world, we’ll just have to wait and see. Regardless, there are a lot of exciting technologies, and a lot of lingering issues to address before we get to that point.

Editors’ Choice

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New World is getting a ton of new content: Here’s how to try it before launch

New World is getting a massive update later this month, and the update is adding so much that Amazon is launching a Public Test Realm (PTR) to put the new content through its paces first. A number of video games have PTRs to test updates before they go live for everyone, including some MMOs. New World‘s PTR is going live later today and will give players a chance to test out these upcoming features – which include a new weapon, new quests, and new enemies – for themselves.

New World PTR details

To start, it should be noted that all of the new content detailed in this article is not going live in the game yet, only on the PTR. The PTR itself is opening later today, at 12 PM PST/3 PM EST, with two servers, one on US East and one on Central Europe. That, as New World players have likely already guessed, means that access to the PTR will be limited.

Everyone who owns a copy of New World will find that the New World PTR has been added to their Steam libraries. I don’t see it in my Steam library at the moment, so the rollout may be taking Amazon longer than anticipated. In any case, the New World PTR will be a standalone application that needs to be installed before users can join.

Like other games that offer a PTR, New World‘s PTR won’t always be accessible. Instead, Amazon will open it up for predefined test periods, and at the end of those test periods, the servers will be closed, and progress will be wiped. Amazon also asks those who join the PTR to submit feedback on the PTR sub-forum or through the in-game feedback tool.

What the first PTR test includes

The inaugural PTR patch has a significant amount of new content in it. This update introduces a new weapon called the Void Gauntlet, which scales with both Focus and Intelligence. While that Intelligence scaling makes it a good choice for any mage players out there, the Focus scaling means that players using Life Staff now have a more offensive tool at their disposal for the times they aren’t frantically healing their friends and party members.

Amazon explains that the Annihilation tree for the Void Gauntlet will center on close-range damage with the Void Blade, while the Decay tree will be more support-based with the Orb of Decay, which can heal allies and place debuffs on enemies.

The update also introduces a new enemy type – Varangian Raiders consisting of Hewers, Scouts, Knights, and Archers – and has increased enemy variety. The announcement of greater enemy variety will likely be a welcome one among New World‘s player base, as the lack of variety has been a sticking point for some since launch.

The Varangian Raiders will also be the subject of two new quests, the first of which can be obtained by Abigail Rose in Western Everfall. Since Amazon says the level range of these new enemies will be 16-20, the quests associated with them will likely be similarly low-level. Those who have reached the level cap may not want to bother seeking out these quests, but it may not be a bad idea for those having some trouble earning gold in the endgame.

This update also contains new content for endgame players in its new Legendary Weapon Quests for the Void Gauntlet. You’ll need to be level 60 and have the Void Gauntlet’s level maxed before you can start this quest, and when you’ve accomplished that, you’ll want to find Antiquarian Abbington in Reekwater to begin.

With this PTR update, Amazon has also made some improvements to main storyline quests, implemented some changes to PvP missions, and has linked all of the trading posts in the game – something it signaled it would do last week. We don’t have any indication of when this update will be hitting live servers, but you can read more about it and the PTR over on the New World website.

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