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2024-06-12 18:00:26| Engadget

Sony takes games seriously. Thats reflected in its tentpole releases, which are overwhelmingly gritty, adult affairs like Horizon, God of War and The Last of Us. Its surprising, then, that its Summer Game Fest demo area replaced Sad Dads and apocalypses with cutesy Astro Bot figurines and Lego. Lots of Lego. Lego Horizon Adventures might not have generated the Summer Game Fest headlines that the new Doom and Assassins Creed games did, but in many ways its legacy may be more interesting. Co-developed by Guerilla Games (known for the Horizon and Killzone series) and the AAA support team Studio Gobo, it aims to bring the world of the Horizon games to a new generation and a new platform, the Nintendo Switch. Horizon Adventures isnt the first Sony game on Switch. MLB: The Show routinely comes to both Nintendos console and Xbox, but thats a licensed sports game, and Horizon is a key PlayStation franchise. It has a VR spin-off, a live-action adaptation confirmed for Netflix and an MMO heavily rumored in its future. Bringing the latest iteration of the series day one to Switch, then, is unusual. Were trying to bring in as broad an audience as possible, Guerilla Games narrative director James Windeler told Engadget. The collaboration with Switch, thats an incredibly unique opportunity it will really help bring in a family-friendly audience. Its also just a plain bigger audience. Nintendos console has been around since 2017, and the market for Switch games is over 140 million. (For context, there are around 58 million PlayStation 5s in the wild.) Lego titles are also in a tiny minority of non-Nintendo games to top the Switch retail sales charts. The game itself, from the 30-minute demo I played, seems delightful. The world of Horizon translates well to Lego, with the robodinos in particular being a highlight. There is already a Forbidden West Tallneck Lego set and it would be extremely surprising if we dont see Thunderjaws and Scrappers showing up in Lego stores soon. Combat is surprisingly faithful to the original games, with Aloy sneaking around tall grass to get a good angle on an enemy and using her Focus to spot weak points. Also faithful to the original games is that stealth can very quickly fall by the wayside in favor of frenetic dodging. Less faithful: I got through one tricky fight by repeatedly summoning a hot dog vendor to throw exploding franks all over the place. It is a Lego game, I guess. Tone-wise, Guerilla is shooting for the Lego Movie-like cross-generational irreverent humor, which isnt really my jam but I appreciate it. Windeler said Guerilla is trying to hit key elements of the first game without directly remaking it: It's definitely not a one-to-one retelling, but neither is it a parody in the sense that you don't need to be a Horizon aficionado to really kind of respond to the humor. It's broader in that way. The voice cast from the original games, including Ashly Burch as Aloy and JB Blanc as Rost, is back for Horizon Adventures and seemingly having a lot of fun. Burchs delivery in particular is ultra wide-eyed and excited, more like her work as Tiny Tina in the Borderlands series or one of her many animated characters. Its a fun spin on a traditionally stoic character. Sony Co-op is a big feature for Horizon Adventures. Local co-op is a drop-in, drop-out affair, which, as with most Lego games, enables an adult to easily help a kid get past a tricky area. But Lego games are also a lot of fun to play among consenting adults if youre both into the particular franchise I know plenty of grown-ups who live for Lego Star Wars. Away from the couch, there is online multiplayer, which is obviously more targeted at adults. I am not a huge Horizon fan. Of all the open-world collect-a-thons, its one of my favorites, but it is very much not my genre. My partner is a fan, though, and were always on the lookout for middle-ground co-op games that can bridge the gap in our tastes. Maybe Horizon Adventures could be that, and Ill become a real Horizon head because of it? Finding new audiences is something Sony and Microsoft have been grappling with over the past couple of years. This Xbox-PlayStation generation has not seen as explosive growth as the last, and the kind of AAA experiences they typically shoot for are expensive to produce. Microsoft seems to be committed to multiplatform releases for several established franchises its acquired, like Call of Duty, Diablo and Doom. It also ported four formerly exclusive titles Hi-Fi Rush, Grounded, Pentiment and Sea of Thieves to rivals machines earlier this year. Sonys approach has, until recently, been to court PC players with ports of older titles such as Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War. This year it also released Helldivers 2 on PC day one, which went very well until it didnt. Company president Hiroki Totoki told investors in February that he would like to go aggressive on improving our margin performance (what a gamer!) by focusing more on multi-platform releases. The assumption at the time was that he was solely referring to PCs, but the Switch release of Horizon Adventures seemingly opens this effort up to more platforms. Its unlikely that Sony will bring its giant AAA games to a rival console at launch. But it could be that Sony begins to treat the Switch much like Nintendo used to treat mobile devices. The mid '10s saw an influx of Nintendo games on iPhone and Android, including Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp and Mario Kart Tour. The strategy was pretty clear: Introduce Nintendo characters to a more casual audience, and convert a number of them over to the full experience. If Horizon Adventures goes well and why would it not? its easy to see Sony opening the floodgates and sending a bunch of its franchises to Nintendos mass-market console. Lego Horizon Adventures launches 'Holiday 2024' on PlayStation 5, PC and Nintendo Switch. Catch up on all of the news from Summer Game Fest 2024 right here!This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/lego-horizon-adventures-might-be-sonys-most-important-game-of-the-year-160026354.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-06-12 17:15:42| Engadget

The Anker 334 MagGo magnetic power bank is on sale via Amazon for just $31. Thats a discount of over 20 percent and a record low price for this particular model. The sale even applies to all of the available color options, five in all, which is something of a rarity. Lets go over some of the features. This device boasts a 10,000mAh capacity, which should allow for around 20 extra hours of smartphone use. It charges wirelessly with 10N of magnetic force and can both juice up your phone and charge itself simultaneously, when plugged into some power. Its also pretty small, easily fitting into a pocket or bag, and downright cute. The varied color options help with that. There are integrated temperature sensors to prevent overheating and handy LED lights on the exterior to let you know when it's charging. This is, more or less, an entry-level power bank, so it doesnt have some of the high-tech bells and whistles of its more expensive cousins. It cant charge multiple items at once, like some of the 3-in-1 products out there, and takes around four hours to fully charge a modern smartphone. Still, it is an Anker product, and the company makes good chargers and power banks. Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/pick-up-this-anker-magnetic-power-bank-for-only-31-151542078.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-06-12 16:38:01| Engadget

You folks out there who have been waiting for a good deal before picking up Amazons Kindle Scribe, the companys first Kindle with stylus support, now may be your time. The device has dropped to an all-time low price of $240. Thats 29 percent off the regular price for the base model with the Basic Pen and 16 GB of storage. In addition, theres an option you can plump for that includes three months of Kindle Unlimited. That bundle costs the same price, but remember to cancel Kindle Unlimited before the three months are up if you don't want to keep using it (the service typically costs $12 per month). One important thing to bear in mind here is that Amazon Prime Day is slated to take place in July. That mega sale always includes steep discounts on Amazons own products. While $240 is the best offer weve seen for the Kindle Scribe, theres the possibility that the price will drop even lower for a couple of days in July. That said, a discount of $100 is nothing to sniff at for our pick for the best e-reader E Ink tablet around. The 10.2-inch touchscreen has auto-adjusting front lights to make it easy to use in a variety of lighting conditions. The stylus and tablet combine to deliver a low-latency writing experience, which makes writing on the device by hand feel more natural. You can create multiple notebooks too, adding pages as you see fit. The Kindle Scribe's battery can power the device for months between charges as E Ink screens are incredibly efficient. You can, of course, read e-books from Amazon and Amazon Unlimited. You can also listen to audiobooks thanks to Audible and Bluetooth support. On the downside, we found it somewhat frustrating that it's not possible to write notes in the margins of most books. For the time being, that function is limited to a selection that's made up of journals and puzzle books such as crosswords and sudoku ones. In fiction and non-fiction books, you'll need to hold the stylus against the screen to highlight a word or phrase and add notes there. If that's not an issue for you, we reckon you can't go too far wrong with the Kindle Scribe. Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/amazons-kindle-scribe-drops-to-a-record-low-of-240-143801159.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-06-12 16:00:01| Engadget

Pew Research and the Knight Foundation just put out a pair of lengthy reports on how Americans are experiencing news and politics on social media. There are a number of noteworthy stats in the research but, for me, it mostly underscores that news distribution is kind of a mess. Its not that news has disappeared from X, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram, but the way that most users are encountering news content is vastly different from platform to platform. And much of what people say they are seeing is not coming from journalists and media organizations but influencers other unconnected accounts. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the researchers found that most people arent on social media to follow news. A minority of TikTok (41 percent), Instagram (33 percent) and Facebook (37 percent) users reported that getting news was a major or minor reason they used the platform. X, as Pew points out, was a notable exception, with 65 percent of people reporting news as a reason they use the service. That may not be especially surprising, given Twitters long-running reputation as a news source and Metas more recent shift away from the media industry. And even though majorities of Facebook, Instagram and TikTok said they didnt seek out news, most people reported that they see some kind of news-related content on the platforms. But when you dig into the kind of news participants say they see, the top categories were opinions and funny posts about current events. Look at the breakdown below: opinions and funny posts were significantly more prevalent than news articles or information about a breaking news event on every platform. (Again, the only exception was X, where people said they see articles at roughly the same rate as funny posts about the news.) Pew research Its also striking to consider the sources for news-related posts reported by the study's participants. On every platform except X, the top source of news and news-related content is not journalists or media orgs. On Facebook and Instagram, its friends and family, and on TikTok its other people. The other people category is also quite high for X, with 75 percent saying they see news from these accounts. This suggests that much of the news content people see on X and TikTok is being driven by those platforms recommendation algorithms. Pew Research While Pew typically repeats the same sorts of studies at regular intervals, allowing readers to extrapolate trends over time, this study is brand new, so unfortunately, we dont have historical data to compare all these stats to. But they do broadly reflect what many in the media industry have been experiencing over the last few years. Publishers are getting far less traffic from social media, and news is increasingly filtered through influencers, meme creators and random algorithmically-surfaced accounts. Its also worth noting that for every platform, most people said that at least sometimes they see inaccurate news. And for X, which had the biggest share of news consumers and people seeing journalistic content, 86 percent of participants reported seeing news that seems inaccurate. The reports authors dont draw a conclusion about what this all means in general, let alone in an election year when there is increasing anxiety about the spread of AI-fueled misinformation. But the report suggests that finding reliable and accurate news on social media is far from straightforward.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/news-on-social-media-is-a-fractured-mess-pew-study-indicates-140001507.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


2024-06-12 15:00:46| Engadget

The European Union is going impose additional tariffs of up to 38 percent on Chinese-made electric vehicles in an effort to protect the region's manufacturers from unfair competition, according to The New York Times and the Financial Times. The European Commission has already warned Chinese carmakers about the additional taxes, which will go on top of the existing 10 percent tariff on their EVs and will be different for each manufacturer. BYD's and Geely's vehicles will be hit by tariffs between 17.4 and 20 percent, while SAIC will face an additional 38 percent in taxes.  Rates for other carmakers vary, depending on whether they've cooperated with an ongoing EU investigation into the Chinese government's subsidies for its EV manufacturers. Because of those subsidies, China-made EVs can be sold at much lower prices than their European competitors'. The Chinese carmakers that have cooperated with the probe will be subjected to an additional tariff of 21 percent, while those who didn't will get an extra 38 percent. The Financial Times says European Commission's Margaritis Schinas has reached out to Chinese authorities to "explore possible ways to resolve" the issue. The new tariffs will be enforced on July 4 if they fail to reach an agreement.  While the EU said that it's introducing additional taxes on Chinese EVs to protect the bloc's manufacturers, some authorities and European automakers oppose the move out of concern that it could lead to retaliation from China. They're specifically worried that China's response would make EVs more expensive in general, which in turn could drive away customers, especially those who are still not wholly convinced that they should switch to electric.  The EU's announcement comes a month after the US quadrupled the import tariff for Chinese EVs. It was part of a bigger move by the US government to quash China's influence on its economy, along with imposing additional taxes on Chinese-made semiconductors, solar cells, batteries and medical products. This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/chinese-ev-makers-face-additional-tariffs-of-up-to-38-percent-in-the-eu-130046170.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising


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