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    Sony confirms “PlayStation Q,” a handheld device for streaming PS5 games / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 24 May - 22:44

Amid a plethora of game trailers, Sony dedicated a single minute of its more-than-an-hour-long PlayStation Showcase livestream on Wednesday to reveal two new hardware products.

The most buzzworthy of these is surely Project Q—that's the internal name, as the final name is still pending. Whatever it is called in the future, Project Q confirms a long-standing rumor: It's a new PlayStation handheld.

The device will be focused on streaming; Sony says it will allow users to stream any non-VR game from a local PlayStation 5 console using Remote Play over Wi-Fi. In fact, it won't be able to play games on its own; it's all about the streaming functionality.

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    Alan Wake II coming in mid-October, promising another cryptic PC powerhouse / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 24 May - 22:37

Alan Wake trailer image

Enlarge / There's really not much more context for what's going to happen in Alan Wake 2 than what you can see in this image. Well, maybe a typewriter.

Alan Wake 2 has a release date, an evocative trailer, and the requisite amount of meta-contextual horror to come.

The latest title from Control maker Remedy Entertainment, a sequel to the acclaimed Alan Wake will arrive on October 17, 2023, on PC (exclusive to the Epic Games Store), PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S. Given the studio's track record, we expect to see some impressive ray tracing, storylines that make you question what a story really is, and novel gameplay conceits.

In typical Remedy style, you don't get much direct information, but instead, some teasing hints. After some flashes of cultish horror, we meet Saga Anderson, an FBI agent that Remedy states ( in a PlayStation blog post) will be a second playable character.

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    Sony’s $1,400 phone has a “functional tactile design,” hits the US in July / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 May - 18:38 · 1 minute

Sony is still pumping out smartphones, and the latest flagship is the Sony Xperia 1 V . Believe it or not, this has a US price, and you can order it online!

You can never call Sony generic. This is the only company in the world that ships a "4K" (3840×1644) smartphone, giving the 6.5-inch, 120 Hz OLED a ridiculous 643 PPI. We've seen some of these in person—Sony's densest smartphone displays hit 801 PPI once upon a time —and these ultra-dense displays always seemed far past what anyone can see at a reasonable distance. The other uniquely Sony design traits are symmetrical top and bottom bezels and a camera shutter button. There's also a side power button fingerprint reader. I'm starting to think Sony's fancy 4K displays don't support any of the normal under-screen components like a hole punch camera or in-screen fingerprint reader, and that's how this entire design happened.

There are a bunch of lovely textures happening all over this phone. The back is still glass, but it has a small diamond dimple effect sort of like a diamond plate, and that's in the glass, not under it. Apparently, you can feel it, as Sony calls it a "functional tactile design." The band that wraps around the phone's perimeter is ribbed, and there is diamond knurling on the camera shutter button. There's also a slick-looking matte finish to the glass.

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    The Last of Us’ first PC port is riddled with apparent performance issues / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 29 March - 15:16

PC Shaders go brrrrr
by u/chrysillium in thelastofus

Naughty Dog says it is "actively investigating multiple issues" as complaints about graphical and performance issues continue to flood in following the PC release of The Last of Us: Part 1 on Tuesday.

The thousands of reviews on Steam —67 percent of which are negative, as of this writing—tell the tale of players facing massive problems simply playing the game they purchased. There is an overwhelming number of complaints about everything from frequent crashes and extreme loading times to "severe stuttering" during basic gameplay. Even with some positive reviews on the site supportive of the game's underlying console versions, others complain that the PC edition is currently "stuttering, crashing, and unplayable."

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    Microsoft signs another Call of Duty deal in bid to impress regulators / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 14 March - 20:13

Artist's conception of Microsoft marching on regulators with fresh evidence of its cross-platform intentions for Call of Duty.

Enlarge / Artist's conception of Microsoft marching on regulators with fresh evidence of its cross-platform intentions for Call of Duty. (credit: Activision)

Microsoft announced Tuesday that it has signed a 10-year deal to bring its Xbox PC games to little-known Ukraine-based streaming platform Boosteroid . The move is being positioned in part to "mak[e] even more clear to regulators that our acquisition of Activision Blizzard will make Call of Duty available on far more devices than before," as Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith said in a statement .

Started in 2017, Boosteroid boasts 4 million streaming customers using servers based in nine European countries and six US states. Those customers pay 7.50 euro per month to stream games from those servers to any smartphone, Windows/Mac/Linux-based PC, or Android TV device.

Boosteroid currently links to users' accounts on other PC-based platforms—including Steam, the Epic Games Store, Blizzard's, EA's Origin, the Rockstar Game Launcher, and Wargaming—and lets them play games from those services without having to install them on a local gaming PC. With this new deal, that access will expand to include games available through Microsoft's Xbox app on the PC.

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    Why Sony says it can’t trust Microsoft’s Call of Duty offer? One word: Bethesda / ArsTechnica · Monday, 13 March - 15:42

No one really expects any of these Microsoft-owned Bethesda characters to have much of a presence on PlayStation going forward...

Enlarge / No one really expects any of these Microsoft-owned Bethesda characters to have much of a presence on PlayStation going forward...

For months now, Microsoft has sworn up and down that it doesn't want to take the Call of Duty franchise away from PlayStation if and when it finalizes its proposed acquisition of Activision . But Sony is citing the history of Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax as a primary reason why it doesn't exactly trust Microsoft on this matter.

In a filing with the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published last week, Sony pointed to the European Commission's decision to allow Microsoft's acquisition of ZeniMax in 2021. In that decision, the EC cited Microsoft's planned business strategy in concluding that "the combined entity would not have the incentive to foreclose rival console video game distributors by engaging in a total or partial input foreclosure strategy [emphasis added]."

In other words, the European Commission said it felt Microsoft would have no reason to withhold future Bethesda games from rival platforms like PlayStation. Shortly after the deal was approved, though, Microsoft seems to have found that "incentive" quite easily.

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    PlayStation’s new Discord integration is a key step for the cross-play dream / ArsTechnica · Friday, 10 March - 12:24

Cross-platform voice chat has arrived on the PlayStation 5.

Enlarge / Cross-platform voice chat has arrived on the PlayStation 5. (credit: Samuel Axon)

This week, Sony rolled out Discord voice chat support for PlayStation 5 consoles, marking the first time a third-party OS-wide game voice call option has been available on Sony's consoles.

Previously, PlayStation 5 users could display what game they were currently playing on their Discord profiles, but they couldn't communicate with other players without using their phones, tablets, or computers.

The rollout follows a similar one on Microsoft's Xbox consoles last fall. Discord voice calls had long been available on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. The only major gaming platform outlier is Nintendo's Switch.

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