Electronic Arts' infatuation with rival video game maker Take-Two Interactive have been anything but secret, nor has Take-Two's rejection. In late February, Take-Two publicly rejected EA's unsolicited takeover bid worth roughly $2 billion, a move Take-Two accused of being "opportunistic" with Grand Theft Auto IV nearing release. Not taking the rejection well, EA threatened with a hostile takeover in the following months, but has since backed down.
Now it appears the two game makers may be on the road to recovery, but unlike the previous spats, the current negotiations are being kept secret. According to EA's recent regulatory filing, both companies have signed a confidentiality agreement after agreeing to hold private talks about a potential transaction.
"As a result, EA does not intend to make any further announcements regarding the status of any discussions or negotiations with Take-Two unless and until discussions between EA and Take-Two have been terminated or such parties have entered into a transaction," EA wrote.
3DFX changed the gaming landscape forever when it brought 3D graphics to the masses, and in a similar fashion, ray tracing technology looks to be the next big revolution on the horizon. The promise of photo realistic scenery has provoked both developers and gamers, but is real-time ray tracing in games anywhere close to being a reality?
In an interview with Tom's Hardware, Intel's Daniel Pohl talked about the API Intel is using to showcase ray tracing demos and what he thinks needs to happen before the technology will be ready for commercial development.
"Creating higher image quality even faster. That requires smart anti-aliasing algorithms, a level of detail mechanism without switching artifacts, particle systems that also work in reflections, a fast soft shadowing algorithm, adoption to upcoming hardware architectures. We have some topics to keep us busy," said Pohl.
In the case of ray tracing, it's a matter of the hardware needing to catch up with the software. Pohl and his team of ray tracing researchers have been "targeting future architectures that consists out of tens, hundreds, and even thousands of cores," noting an almost linear scaling of frame rates with the number of processor cores.
Intel isn't the only one looking to push ray tracing technology into the mainstream, with Nvidia putting on demonstrations of its own. Here's hoping the race to the finish line ends up resembling more of a sprint than a marathon.
Remember those happy-ending fairy tales your mother used to tell you? Well, your mama was feeding you sugar-coated rehashes of the original morbid tales. Grimm, the mischievous protagonist of this episodic platform game, wants to set the record straight—and he’s using his soot-spreading powers to do it.
No one has been more critical of Nvidia then rumor and news outlet The Inquirer, who recently declared that all of the chipmaker's G84 and G86 parts are bad. The extent of the problem is still to be determined, but here's what's known so far.
A batch of bad GPUs have found their way into the wild causing an "abnormal failure rate" among certain laptop models
To deal with the problem, Nvidia said it was setting aside a one-time hit of $150 to $200 million to cover warranty and repair costs associated with the faulty mobile parts
Both HP and Dell have released a list of notebook models potentially affected by the faulty GPUs and are encouraging owners to update their BIOS as a preventive measure (the newer BIOS kicks on the cooling fan earlier than it normally would). HP has also extended their warranty for the affected models.
Nvidia has since moved on to its 9-M series GPUs, and in the process has presumably solved whatever problem affected the previous generation parts, right? Not so fast, says the The Inq. According to the rumor site, the fundamental flaw in the manufacturing process still exists, and now G92 and G94 parts are reportedly failing. The Inq claims that no less than four partners are already seeing the new chips go bad at high rates, and believes that Nvidia "is simply stonewalling everyone" about the alleged problem.
If true, another batch of parts could be disastrous for the chip maker, who continues to lose graphics market share to Intel and has seen its stock price plummet in the wake of a disappoint 8-K filing.
Is the problem bigger than Nvidia's letting on, or will it be this latest rumor that ultimately turns out to be the dud?
Not without their share of pre-release hype, AMD's 4870 X2 videocards lived up to every bit of it by obliterating the competition in this year's Dream Machine (a single 4870 X2 churned out twice as many frames as Nvidia's GTX280 in 3DMark Vantage). And they did it months before they were supposed to go public, which means there were architectural tweaks yet to be made.
The wait is over, and at long last, AMD has finally announced what it rightfully calls the world's fastest graphics card, the ATI Radeon 4870 X2. Built on a 55nm manufacturing process, the dual-GPU videocard comes with the computational muscle to deliver 2.4 teraFLOPS, and ATI can still lay claim as the only manufacturer to support DirectX 10.1 instructions. Rounding out the feature-set, the 4870 X2 ships with 2GB GDDR5, 1600 stream processors, and a 750MHz core clockspeed (reference). MSRP has been set to $549 with stock available now.
AMD also made mention of it's upcoming 4850 X2 videocard. As the name implies, this card will also be a dual-GPU solution (clocked at 625MHz), and like it's bigger brother it will come with 1600 stream processors. Instead of GDDR5, the 4850 X2 will ship with 2GB of GDDR3. Look for availability this September with an estimated sub-$400 street price.
NZXT, the company best know for its lineup of flashy enclosures, looks to expand its horizon by getting into the gaming peripheral market with its new Avatar mouse. The uniquely shaped rodent comes ready for both left and right handed gamers and sports a rubber grip to prevent slippage. NZXT says the "small, light form factor allows for faster and quicker movements," and the company bills the new mouse as being ergonomic.
The Avatar also comes equipped with a 7-button configuration and boasts a high 2600 DPI. Other features include:
40 inches/second max speed
15g max acceleration
6469 max fps
5.8MP per second
Up to 1000 USB reports per second
One of the more interesting marketing bullets, NZXT claims the 7 buttons will last for 5 million clicks, which sounds like a really, really long time. Available now, the new Avatar has been given an MSRP of $60, which works out to about $.000012 per click.
Our help was needed—again. Such is the fate of a hero. In the world of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures all manner of fishermen, pirates, merchants, guards, beer wenches, and assorted ne’er-do wells require assistance. This motley cast of characters imbues the game with a vibrant sense of life; we just wish that they showed even a bit of initiative and took care of some of their own problems. We were tasked with passing along loads of messages in order to drive the story forward, but in truth, we quickly lost interest in the game’s narrative, as it simply took away from the game’s finest achievement: its fighting system.
Gamers have enough trouble trying to come up with a game plan to beat pesky end bosses and single-handedly defeat armies of mutant soldiers. Saving often gives gamers an endless advantage and cheat codes can help in a pinch, but neither of these tactics will do any good against an increasing amount of real-life threats the online gaming scene.
More than just an annoyance, time spend in virtual worlds like Second Life can translate into real currency and it's attracted the attention of organized criminal gangs. According to security software vendor ESET (best known for its NOD32 Antivirus products), "high volumes of malware intended to steal passwords for online gaming and virtual worlds" have been detected since 2007, resulting in a "dramatic upsurge."
The alarming news comes courtesy of ESET's mid-yearly Global Threat Report, which focuses on broad trends in malware over the past six months. In addition to an upsurge in attacks against gamers, ESET notes that malicious software that tries to use the Windows Autorun facility to self-install from removable media continues to flourish.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the company reports email bound malware is in "dramatic decline," at least when it comes to dirty attachments. Malicious URLs passed through email messages have taken the place of attachments.
Further reading to keep yourself (and your virtual self) protected:
The contest prompt: Create your best mod featuring a brand, character (or characters), or theme from a game of your choice. Winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip to PAX.
We had a really hard time picking the winners for this one - they were all so good, we wish we could have chosen them all. But that's not how this works, so in the end our intrepid panel of judges had to pick just three: one Grand Prize winner, one Second Place, and a Juror's Prize for best first-time mod.
You knew it would happen sooner or later, and now it has; a Wii controller knockoff for the PC. Sort of. Asus has dubbed its new Wii remote lookalike as the Eee Stick, "an easy-to-sue use yet highly versatile Plug and Play wireless controller for the PC platform that translates users' physical hand motions into corresponding movements onscreen."
Interestingly Asus has no plans of selling the Eee Stick as a standalone peripheral and will instead bundle the motion controller exclusively with select models of the Eee PC and the Eee Box. Huh? We don't understand it either, but Asus justifies the move by saying the Eee Stick is "perfect for gaming on-the-go."
The vibration capable controller connects via a 2.4GHz RF dongle with a broadcast range of 10m. Two AA batteries are required to power the Eee Stick, which Asus claims will provide up to three days (72 hours) of continuous play.
Will the Eee Stick entice potential customers to pick up an Eee PC or Eee Box, or is Asus making a mistake by not offering the controller as a standalone device?