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Its another bleak day for the gaming industry as theres more news of mass layoffs. This time around, its PlayStation thats gutting its studios. Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) says its laying off around 900 staff from its PlayStation division, roughly 8 percent of that departments headcount.
Insomniac (Spider-Man and Ratchet and Clank), Naughty Dog (The Last of Us) and Guerrilla (Horizon) are all affected by the cuts. Those studios are behind some of PlayStation's most important franchises. For instance, within three and a half months, Marvel's Spider-Man 2 had sold 10 million units.
Sony's London Studio, which had been working on a co-op multiplayer game for PlayStation 5, is shutting down entirely, while Firesprite will also lose some staff. In addition, PlayStation will lay off workers from its Technology, Creative, and Support teams.
PlayStation employees in the US who are losing their jobs will be informed today. Sony will adhere to local laws and regulations for carrying out layoffs in other territories the company says people in all of its global regions will be affected.
"After careful consideration and many leadership discussions over several months, it has become clear changes need to be made to continue to grow the business and develop the company," outgoing SIE president and CEO Jim Ryan told staff in an email. "We had to step back, look at our business holistically, and move forward focusing on the long-term sustainability of the company and delivering the best experiences possible for our community. The goal is to streamline our resources to ensure our continued success and ability to deliver experiences gamers and creators have come to expect from us."
Meanwhile, Hermen Hulst, the head of PlayStation Studios, said that SIE leadership evaluated its studios and portfolio and looked at projects that are in various stages of development. Some of those projects have now been canceled. Hulst didn't provide more details, but the projects that have been canned surely include the one that London Studio was working on. According to Bloomberg, a live-service Twisted Metal game that was in early development at Firesprite is among the canceled projects.
"I want to be clear that the decision to stop work on these projects is not a reflection on the talent or passion of team members," Hulst wrote in a memo. "Our philosophy has always been to allow creative experimentation. Sometimes, great ideas dont become great games. Sometimes, a project is started with the best intentions before shifts within the market or industry result in a change of plan."
Hulst also noted that SIE is re-assessing its approach to delivering the kinds of expensive blockbuster single-player games that PlayStation has become known for over the last decade or so, and balancing that out with its desire to create long-tail multiplayer games. "Delivering the immersive, narrative-driven stories that PlayStation Studios is known for, at the quality bar that we aspire to, requires a re-evaluation of how we operate," Hulst wrote. "Delivering and sustaining social, online experiences allowing PlayStation gamers to explore our worlds in different ways as well as launching games on additional devices such as PC and mobile, requires a different approach and different resources."
Sony is working on multiple live-service games and had planned to release 10 of them by 2026. At least one of those The Last of Us Online was shelved. However, the company has seen some success on the live-service front, with Helldivers 2 becoming one of the biggest hits of the year so far.
However, it emerged this month that Sony doesn't plan to release any sequels for its major first-party franchises until at least April next year. It's relying on third-party titles such as Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth and the Elden Ring expansion to help cover the gaps in its own pipeline. The company also lowered its PS5 sales forecast for the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31. It expects to sell 21 million consoles in fiscal 2023, down from the previous estimate of 25 million.
This slate of layoffs brings the total number of job losses in the games industry so far this year to more than 7,000 (we haven't even reached March yet). That's on top of the more than 9,000 people who were laid off from the industry in 2023.
Microsoft conducted sweeping cuts in its gaming division in January, laying off around 1,900 people. Riot Games, Unity, Twitch (which is games-adjacent instead of a gaming company), Supermassive Games, Dead by Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive and Sega of America are also among those who have carried out layoffs.
Update 2/27 10:53AM ET: Added a note about a Twisted Metal project reportedly being one of the canceled games.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/playstation-is-laying-off-900-staff-across-naughty-dog-insomniac-and-other-studios-145323606.html?src=rss
Starting on March 5, GeForce Now users enjoying the service for free will find themselves faced with ads while they're waiting for their turn to play. NVIDIA has sent out an email to free users, telling them that they'll experience "up to two minutes of video sponsorship messages before each gaming session while in queue." It will provide support for the free service, the company said. NVIDIA also believes that the ads will lead to shorter wait times for free users. Company spokesperson Stephanie Ngo has confirmed the change to The Verge.
GeForce Now gamers in the free tier can enjoy one hour of gaming at no cost, but they get cut off and have to wait in queue every time their hour-long gaming session is done. The most avid gamers who don't want to pay for GeForce Now's $10 Priority or $20 Ultimate subscription tiers will have to sit through ads multiple times. That said, the ads only show up in queue and not in the middle of a user's playtime, so they're not intrusive in the way Netflix's or Amazon Prime Videos' ads are.
NVIDIA recently became the third most valuable company in the United States, overtaking Alphabet, and the fourth overall worldwide. The company is now valued at $1.83 trillion and has an 80 percent share in the high-end chip market, thanks to the AI boom over the past year. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/nvidia-geforce-now-gets-pre-roll-ads-for-free-users-125754649.html?src=rss
Lenovos Project Crystal is definitely sci-fi tech come to life. Currently, there are no plans to turn the concept laptop into a retail product. Yet. Instead, its ThinkPad division commissioned an exploration into the potential of transparent microLED panels and, sigh, AI integration.
The most obvious use for the transparent laptop display would be sharing info at a doctors office or hotel desk. Instead of needing to flip a screen around, you could simply reverse the devices output via software. According to Sam Rutherford, the transparency effect is bewildering. When closed or turned off, Project Crystals screen almost looks like an ordinary piece of glass with a brownish tint. But at a moments notice, the whole thing lights up like a battleship. Its definitely the most intriguing thing so far at MWC 2024. Catch all the announcements right here. No tricorders, though.
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Netflix removes grandfathered accounts access to Apple iTunes billing
If youve been paying through Apple, you will now have to pay directly.
If youve been paying Netflix through iTunes, youll soon have to say goodbye to your discounted rates. The company has confirmed to The Verge that its started removing users access to their iTunes billing plan for the streaming service. Members on the basic plan paying through iTunes will now have to pay the company directly using a credit or a debit card. Netflix stopped letting new customers sign up for in-app subscriptions on Apple devices way back in 2018 to avoid giving the latter a commission.
NVIDIAs RTX 500 and 1000 Ada GPUs bring more AI smarts to thin and light laptops
They will debut in laptops this spring.
NVIDIA unveiled its latest laptop GPUs and, what a surprise, theyre largely to assist AI processing. The RTX 500 and 1000 Ada Generation graphics cards are primarily for thin and light laptops. While they wont offer as much TOPS AI performance as current higher-end mobile GPUs, they could be handy for on-the-go AI processing for researchers, content creators and video editors. These are workstation GPUs, so theyre not for your gaming demands. The company says the GPUs, based on the Ada Lovelace architecture, offer up to twice the ray-tracing performance of previous-gen GPUs (they employ third-gen ray-tracing cores). Fourth-gen Tensor Cores, meanwhile, deliver up to twice the throughput of previous GPUs.
This robot lawnmower runs Doom
Were not sure why.
Landscaping technology company Husqvarna just announced the game will run on some of its robot lawnmowers. So you can mow down hellspawn and grass. You play the game using the lawnmowers onboard display. Rotating the control knob turns your character left and right and pressing the knob makes you shoot. Holding down the start button initiates forward movement.
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-lenovos-project-crystal-laptop-looks-like-a-star-trek-prop-121555581.html?src=rss
The US military has ramped up its use of artificial intelligence tools after the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel, based on a new report by Bloomberg. Schuyler Moore, US Central Command's chief technology officer, told the news organization that machine learning algorithms helped the Pentagon identify targets for more than 85 air strikes in the Middle East this month.
US bombers and fighter aircraft carried out those air strikes against seven facilities in Iraq and Syria on February 2, fully destroying or at least damaging rockets, missiles, drone storage facilities and militia operations centers. The Pentagon had also used AI systems to find rocket launchers in Yemen and surface combatants in the Red Sea, which it had then destroyed through multiple air strikes in the same month.
The machine learning algorithms used to narrow down targets were developed under Project Maven, Google's now-defunct partnership the Pentagon. To be precise, the project entailed the use of Google's artificial intelligence technology by the US military to analyze drone footage and flag images for further human review. It caused an uproar among Google employees: Thousands had petitioned the company to end its partnership with Pentagon, and some even quit over its involvement altogether. A few months after that employee protest, Google decided not to renew its contract, which had ended in 2019.
Moore told Bloomberg that US forces in the Middle East haven't stopped experimenting with the use of algorithms to identify potential targets using drone or satellite imagery even after Google ended its involvement. The military has been testing out their use over the past year in digital exercises, she said, but it started using targeting algorithms in actual operations after the October 7 Hamas attacks. She clarified, however, that human workers constantly checked and verified the AI systems' target recommendations. Human personnel were also the ones who proposed how to stage the attacks and which weapons to use. "There is never an algorithm thats just running, coming to a conclusion and then pushing onto the next step," she said. "Every step that involves AI has a human checking in at the end."This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-pentagon-used-project-maven-developed-ai-to-identify-air-strike-targets-103940709.html?src=rss
Those who've been paying Netflix through iTunes over the past years will soon have to say to goodbye to their lower, discounted rates. The company has confirmed to The Verge that it has started removing users' access to their iTunes billing plan for the streaming service. "Members on the basic plan who were using an iTunes method of payment" will now have to pay the company directly using a credit or a debit card, Netflix representative Momo Zhao told the publication.
Netflix stopped letting new customers sign up for in-app subscriptions on Apple devices way back in 2018 to avoid giving the latter a commission. It allowed those who've already been paying through Apple to keep their payment preference, though, and at least one person said they were still enjoying the service's $10-a-month price until they got booted off their grandfathered pricing.
The company killed its $10 basic plan in the US and the UK last year, which used to be its cheapest ad-free option in the regions. After a price increase a few months following that event, new customers have had to pay at least $15.49 to get a viewing experience that's not interrupted by ads. The ad-supported option now sets them back $7 a month, while the Premium tier that comes with support for four devices and Ultra HD now costs subscribers $23. Customers who used to pay through iTunes will now have to pay these prices that is, if they still want to keep their subscriptions active.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/netflix-removes-grandfathered-accounts-access-to-apple-itunes-billing-055305616.html?src=rss