Eli Ridder | Report
Google on Tuesday announced a video game streaming service called Stadia, its response to a $140 billion gaming industry dominated by Sony and Microsoft.
Stadia does not need a console. All of the work to render games is done in the cloud and will allow those interested to play them without waiting on long download times or purchase hardware such as a Playstation or Xbox.
“Our platform vision for Stadia is to reduce the friction between getting excited about a game and playing a game,” Google’s speaker said on stage at the 2019 Game Developers Conference — a much awaited announcement.
Google explained one scenario where if people were watching a video about a game on its video service YouTube, a digital button would allow them to quickly load and hop into the featured game.
The service will work on the Chrome browser on desktop, mobile and tablet operating systems as well as on TVs and Chromecast. Gamers can tap in with their keyboard and mouse or a Stadia controller sold by Google.
It is clear that a strong Internet connection will one of the only requirements.
The controller looks similar to those of other gaming companies such as Playstation and its Dualshock 4 for the PS4 and the controllers for the Microsoft Xbox One, who also profits off of PC gaming.
Stadia, however, includes the a Google Assistant button so users can access the voice assistant that runs on Android and Chrome products. The gaming platform will support 4K games at 60fps with HDR, and 8K in the future.
It will also change the way that gaming is captured. Users will be able to easily press the capture button found to the right of the Google Assistant icon on the controller and send their gameplay to YouTube.
In this, Google also challenges Twitch, which has risen up in recent years to be a dominant place for gamers to live stream and upload gaming.
Gamers can bring their own controllers via USB, Google said.
The biggest struggle for Google now will be to entice studios to build games for Stadia and bring triple A titles to the service. The gaming industry has been largely focused on Playstation, Xbox and PC for the last nearly 20 years.
While Stadia is new for now, Microsoft will soon be launching a streaming video game services. Analysts say that it is “better poised” to offer such a service as it has the ties to major studios and a large fan base.
Microsoft will call the service xCloud.
“I’d favor Microsoft’s chances given it too has the scale and technology but has been successfully engaged in the gaming industry via Windows and XBox for over 30 years,” Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy told CNBC.
Playstation has not announced a competing service at this time, but both it and Microsoft are reportedly planning to launch the next generation of gaming consoles in the form of “PS5” and “Xbox Two” by 2019 or 2020.
Image of Stadia from Google. ■
Smartphones and students: What to buy?
On Sept. 10, Apple held their annual keynote event which showcased their upcoming devices and services.
Just as the sun rises and sets, Apple steps into the spotlight every September to unveil their new and shiny technology ranging from the newest iPhones to iPads to Macbooks to Watches.
For technology lovers, it’s like an early Christmas, but for most, it’s a question of “how much will this cost me?”
It’s no secret that while we would love to have the newest and prettiest devices, companies like Apple don’t exactly offer new phones for friendly prices. If you’re looking for a new phone for the school year, or in general, let’s take a look at what the market has to offer!
We may as well begin with the company making news right now. The iPhone 11 was just announced and it was met with lukewarm responses. To compare, I’m going to look at the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the iPhone Xs Max. Both phones have a 6.5″ display screen but the 11 Pro Max has a super retina XDR display as opposed to the super retina HD display on the Xs Max. The Xs Max has a 12MP Wide and Telephoto Lens, however the 12MP Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto Lens with a night mode on the 11 Pro Max.
If you’re looking to record video, the Xs Max has a 7MP TrueDepth camera which can record 1080p HD video up to 60fps while the 11 Pro Max as a 12MP TrueDepth camera with 4K video recording up to 60fps. The Xs Max’s battery lasts 1.5hrs longer than the iPhone X and the 11 Pro Max lasts 5hrs longer than the Xs Max.
If you’re the type to drop your phone in water (which I don’t recommend regardless of build) the Xs Max is water-resistant to a depth of 2 metres for up to 30min and the 11 Pro Max is water-resistant to a depth of 4 meters for the same length of time.
Truth be told, unless you are planning to invest heavily in your career as a social media icon on Instagram and need the highest end camera, the iPhone X and Xs models offer better bang for your buck. I myself just bought an Xs Max back at the beginning of Aug. and it has served every purpose thus far.
If the above text is a bit too much jargon for you, you can follow this link and scroll down to select and compare iPhone models for yourself to better see what version offers what. You can preorder an 11 Pro Max from Apple’s main site for $1,499.99 (which will be unlocked and not restricted to a carrier)
If you’re not an Apple fan, let’s take a look at some other options that won’t break the bank.
The Huawei P30 runs on a 2.6GHz Octa-Core processing chip and comes with 6GB of built-in RAM plus 128gb for data storage.
The front camera has 32MP and on the rear is a 40MP camera with features like optical zoom, auto flash, face detection and touch to focus.
Of course the big concern with Huawei is the fact that the phones have been known to send user information to the Chinese Government, but how much you buy into that and how much that bothers you will vary from person to person.
The P30 runs for a retail price of $940 without a contract.
Samsung is the leading smartphone company (as far as units produced and sold worldwide) and that’s because their products are more affordable. The latest device is the Samsung Galaxy A70.
The phone comes equipped with a 2.7GHz Octa-Core processor, 6.7″ super AMOLED display, 32.0MP camera equipped with UHD 4K video recording at 30fps. The phone itself will cost $629.99 which is a massive step down from Apple and Huawei’s asking price.
Now for those of you who are, in fact, looking for something more fancy and can afford to shell out the extra cash – Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is expected to launch in February 2020. It’s a wide phone that will have a folding screen to become more compact. It features a 7.3″ QXGA+ dynamic AMOLED display and a 16MP ultra wide angle rear camera. The phone itself comes at no easy price with a tag of $1,980.00.
So – what do I buy?
In the end, it can’t hurt to look at Samsung or older models of Apple iPhones such as the X, Xs Max; or even 8 and 8 plus. Gone are the days where Apple’s latest devices are the must-have mobile devices as soon as preorders go live on the website. The iPhones are far from terrible smartphones, despite the constant internet bickering between fanbases, but overpriced is the correct term in any case.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly device, of the 3 listed companies and devices above, Samsung is the best option which is a win-win for you, the buyer – it’s the cheapest option and eco-friendly.
In the end – choose the device that’s best for you. Nobody knows what you need better than you do! ■
This fall, students may break up with Netflix
Disney Plus may offer an alternative.
While “Netflix and chill” has become a common term, it may only be a verb for some students come November with the launch of competitor Disney Plus, which will be priced at only $8.99.
The media company announced on Monday that its anticipated streaming service would launch on Nov. 12 alongside the United States and the Netherlands, with other countries to join in down the road.
Disney Plus will be accessible via Apple, Google’s products, Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s Playstation, and Roku’s TV box. It will also be available to bundle with Disney-owned ESPN Plus and Hulu for under $20.
Though Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access and other streaming platforms have existed as competitors for several years, there has not been one service that dramatically shifted audiences away from Netflix.
Disney Plus, however, will have Star Wars, Marvel, fairytale animated classics and everything that Disney acquired when it bought out 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets earlier this year, bringing properties such as Deadpool and the Simpsons under one roof.
Disney on Monday released a video on social media that gave a highlight reel of the properties that would be included come November. The company also became active on social media for the first time.
Netflix’s most popular standard plan, one level up from the starter plan that costs $9.99, is priced at $13.99, putting it $5 above the starting plan for Disney Plus. The plans are differentiated by the number of screens one account can play on at one time.
However, the competitive edge does not stop there. The ESPN Plus and Hulu bundle, which is priced at $13.99 in the United States, will offer live programming all in one place at a low cost in comparison to competitors.
Where Disney Plus, will lack, according to chief executive Bob Iger in 2017, will be content. Netflix produces its own shows and movies alongside the blockbusters it brings onto its service, and Disney will take some time to catch up to Netflix and Amazon Prime in this respect.
In the end, students may have to make a choice between the established and familiar Netflix or make the jump to the new but blockbuster-stocked Disney Plus. Only time will tell. ■
Apple TV, News and more announced from California
Apple is adding new products.
Eli Ridder | Report
From the Steve Jobs Theatre in California, Apple announced their new TV+ streaming service, a bundling news app and more.
Image of Apple TV from Apple. ■
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