Tuesday, June 15, 2021

It’s virtual E3 season, with dozens of major games announcements over the weekend. Here’s just a few of that caught our eye.

Starfield won’t PlayStation: Bethesda’s Starfield had its first game footage, though still incredibly vague apart from the obvious “you’ll be on spaceships visiting far away worlds” vibes. But the big news was the confirmation this game is the first Bethesda title to be announced as a full Xbox exclusive, scheduled for release on November 11, 2022. It was notable that the combined Xbox and Bethesda event was opened not by Microsoft’s Phil Spencer but by Bethesda’s Todd Howard, a big statement on the unification of the massive developer with the platform giant.

Xbox Cloud Gaming is a full fledged platform: In another crucial development during the Xbox event was the consistent foregrounding of how most every game was announced as day one on Xbox Game Pass, pushing the subscription service as the primary mode of access to Xbox first-party games, but also that Xbox Cloud Gaming is no longer being mentioned as a side project but as one of the ‘platforms’ games are being launched on. At every end screen where platforms were mentioned, Xbox Cloud Gaming sat clearly alongside Xbox Series consoles and Windows 10 PCs. That pre-announcement of the increased cloud delivery format made it easy to just slide this in everywhere, but it is perhaps the most important development for the future of Microsoft’s gaming business – as a service you join, not a box you buy.

LOTS OF E3: Elsewhere in E3 news, dozens of games have had announcements and dates across the various conferences, including Left 4 Dead spiritual successor Back 4 Blood coming on October 12, Halo Infinite still coming ‘this year’ but getting an entirely free multiplayer mode, a Jack Sparrow crossover in Sea of Thieves, Ubisoft announced a new Mario + Rabbids game coming next year, Diablo II Resurrected is coming September 23, Rainbow Six Extraction is coming September 16, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands – a Borderlands fantasy D&D inspired spin-off – is coming early 2022, Forza Horizon 5 is taking this show to Mexico, and perhaps my personal favourite of the show so far is a vampire shooter called Redfall from the team behind Dishonored.

“It should have been obvious…”: The Federal Court has approved the $112M settlement in the robo-debt court battles, with presiding judge Bernard Murphy has delivered an unequivocal rebuke to the federal government, calling it an unlawful program. “The proceeding has exposed a shameful chapter in the administration of the Commonwealth social security system and a massive failure of public administration… It should have been obvious to the senior public servants charged with overseeing the robo-debt system and to the responsible minister at different points that many social security recipients do not earn a stable or constant income…” The settlement means the federal government does not have to admit any liability regarding the scheme.

NBN feels competitive heat: NBN Co is considering whether to pursue a request to have its monopoly broadband provider status revoked in markets where it is facing competition from 5G services. The National Broadband Network is held to a special access undertaking agreement until the year 2040, which must have any changes or updates cleared by the ACCC. The NBN points out that one in three homes are not using the NBN, calling this a reflection of the dynamic nature of the market and not that the NBN is delivering a poorer quality of service than alternatives in many locations. NBN has a long term target of of 73-75% uptake, which has been pushed outward over the years from an original target of 2021 out to today’s target of 2024.

Google Workspace for everyone: Google has just opened up Google Workspace for everyone that has a Google account, allowing people to go beyond just collaborating on documents and folders toward a much more unified space for project work. Now you can create a shared Space for invited members to use a secured chat space alongside documents, to hold Google Meet calls, and to assign tasks amongst the group. Let’s pretend Google Wave never happened (I really liked what it was trying to do, personally) and see this as Google’s best effort yet to create an accessible way for anyone to collaborate deeply with family, friends or community groups.

Byteside

What does the end of HyperX mean for Kingston? Righteous Fury

Kingston Technology sold HyperX to HP, but it still owns the memory lines – so it needed a new name. Turns out the name isn’t all that new…

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I built a tiny gaming PC and I'm never going back

It’s a tough market for PC parts, but one intrepid gamer built an SFF PC and found it to be exactly the task he was looking for.

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Brain food

AI ‘dominated scientific output’ in recent years, UNESCO report shows

The UNESCO Science Report 2021 discusses AI, robotics, Industry 4.0, and a spike in scientific research, patents, and spending.

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The dark, democratizing power of the social-media stock market

BitClout collapses everything—art, humor, personhood—into money, laying bare just who, and what, we are willing to pay for.

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Apple’s iPadOS 15 breaks the app barrier

An interesting interview piece from Panzarino talking to two key members of the Apple team about the improvements to multitasking coming to iPad in the next big OS update later this year.

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Billionaire Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk is making an all-in bet on robot air taxis

The company is buying 3D Robotics, founded by ex-Wired Editor Chris Anderson.

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SurveyMonkey rebrands as Momentive to fuel its growing enterprise business

Smart move to, well, smarten up the name as it competes with ‘serious’ sounding companies, while it keeps SurveyMonkey as a consumer brand.

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On this day...

1911: The Computing – Tabulating – Recording Co. (C-T-R) was founded on this day through the merger of three companies (the C, the T, and the R). 13 years later it would rename itself International Business Machines – IBM.

Trivia

What’s the name of the ship from the original Alien film?

Friday’s answer: Bluetooth

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