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Report: Unboxing Images Point To Imminent ‘PS4 Slim’ Announcement

After announcing, but not revealing, the PlayStation 4 Neo right before E3, Sony has kept quiet any updates it might have planned for the PlayStation 4. Now, images have appeared online of an alleged PlayStation 4 redesign, and it's not the suped-up Neo we're expecting.

The first images came from Twitter user "shortman82", who seemed to have found a listing for the new model in his local classifieds on eBay-owned auction site Gumtree. The images they found were of a box that seemed to indicate redesigned PlayStation 4 consoles were out in the wild. The conversation then moved over to gaming forum NeoGAF, which argued over whether the alleged photos of the box art were legitimate.

Hours later, NeoGAF user "Venom Fox" began posting images of the unit outside of its box from multiple angles, along with pictures of all the accompanying cables.

We've emailed Sony for comment on this story, and we'll update should we receive a response.

[Source: Gumtree, NeoGAF. Images: NeoGAF user "Venom Fox"]

 

Our Take
A redesigned console making its way to the public could point towards an announcement at Sony's September 7 event. As someone who's been holding off on buying a PlayStation 4 of their own for a while, having a new console on the way this early is tempting.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Report: Creator Confirms Dragon Quest XI On Nintendo NX

Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii has confirmed Square Enix's intent to bring Dragon Quest XI to the Nintendo NX in a Japanese interview with Nintendo Dream as translated by Gematsu.

The game (also coming out on the PS4 and 3DS in Japan) had previously been linked with Nintendo's upcoming system, but at the time Square Enix only said that the system was under consideration.

Also in the interview, Horii says that all three versions of the game will be released simultaneously to avoid spoilers.

Recently, Dragon Quest X (an MMO only announced for Japan) was also confirmed for the NX.

For those of you hoping that XI makes it to North America, Kim and Dan have a few things to say on the topic.

[Source: Gematsu]

 

Our Take
Given that DQ X is coming out on the system, it's no surprise that the more traditional, story-based DQ XI is as well.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Report: Creator Confirms Dragon Quest XI On Nintendo NX

Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii has confirmed Square Enix's intent to bring Dragon Quest XI to the Nintendo NX in a Japanese interview with Nintendo Dream as translated by Gematsu.

The game (also coming out on the PS4 and 3DS in Japan) had previously been linked with Nintendo's upcoming system, but at the time Square Enix only said that the system was under consideration.

Also in the interview, Horii says that all three versions of the game will be released simultaneously to avoid spoilers.

Recently, Dragon Quest X (an MMO only announced for Japan) was also confirmed for the NX.

For those of you hoping that XI makes it to North America, Kim and Dan have a few things to say on the topic.

[Source: Gematsu]

 

Our Take
Given that DQ X is coming out on the system, it's no surprise that the more traditional, story-based DQ XI is as well.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Report: Unboxing Images Point To Imminent ‘PS4 Slim’ Announcement

After announcing, but not revealing, the PlayStation 4 Neo right before E3, Sony has kept quiet any updates it might have planned for the PlayStation 4. Now, images have appeared online of an alleged PlayStation 4 redesign, and it's not the suped-up Neo we're expecting.

The first images came from Twitter user "shortman82", who seemed to have found a listing for the new model in his local classifieds on eBay-owned auction site Gumtree. The images they found were of a box that seemed to indicate redesigned PlayStation 4 consoles were out in the wild. The conversation then moved over to gaming forum NeoGAF, which argued over whether the alleged photos of the box art were legitimate.

Hours later, NeoGAF user "Venom Fox" began posting images of the unit outside of its box from multiple angles, along with pictures of all the accompanying cables.

We've emailed Sony for comment on this story, and we'll update should we receive a response.

[Source: Gumtree, NeoGAF. Images: NeoGAF user "Venom Fox"]

 

Our Take
A redesigned console making its way to the public could point towards an announcement at Sony's September 7 event. As someone who's been holding off on buying a PlayStation 4 of their own for a while, having a new console on the way this early is tempting.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Report Details The Dangers Of Developer Crunch Time & Its Solutions

The road of video game development is long and hard. Studios have to deal with internal and publisher deadlines – not to mention the public's expectation that the game come out on time – that push the time and dedication of developers beyond the confines of a normal work week. This deadline push, which can happen several times during a project, is called crunch time, and it has become an accepted reality of making video games. A 2015 survey by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) revealed that 62 percent of respondents said their projects had a crunch, and half of those said this consisted of working more than 60 hours a week.

However, some have questioned the practice, its effectiveness, and most importantly, its effect on developers. Take This is a non-profit charity organization created by ex-Polygon founding editor Russ Pitts, executive editor of GamesRadar+ Susan Arendt, and clinical psychologist Dr. Mark Kline aimed at addressing mental health issues in the industry. Take This and the IGDA have published a report entitled Crunch Hurts outlining the problem. "While crunch may be an inevitable part of the game making process," it states, "understanding the mental and physical impact of the practice can lead to better work practices overall, and ultimately happier (and more productive) employees."

The paper cites industry studies that show that longer hours have a positive effect initially, but this decreases. After five weeks of 10-hour days, productivity falls to levels lower than a normal 40-hour work week. The paper also points out a tangible cost: A study of four U.S. companies found that employee fatigue cost an estimated $ 1,967 per employee each year. Take This co-founder Pitts told us that the organization consulted with its advisory board, which contains developers from around the industry, and received feedback from people with different levels of experience. "People with 'on the ground' perspectives on crunch – both its positive and negative effects – were absolutely a part of this paper's creation," he said.

Being overworked in any industry leads to increased health risks, including worse sleep and a higher risk for heart disease and stroke, and "significantly higher" levels of anxiety and depression, and the disorders associated with them. Long hours also influences employees' home life and therefore those family members' lives as well. In the end, the stresses of overwork can cause some to leave the industry altogether, ending a possibly promising career.

As if the human toil wasn't bad enough, Crunch Hurts cites two studies that state that the crunch itself isn't helping the titles they ostensibly serve. A paper entitled, Impact of Overtime and Stress on Software Quality by James Cusick and Balaji Akula said that software defects were higher for games that required overtime compared with those that didn't, and according to Paul Torzour's Games Outcomes Project, those that reported high crunch had lower Metacritic scores and return on investment.

Crunch Hurts certainly makes the case for the harmful effects of overwork, but it also presents solutions and acknowledges that even if crunch exists, it doesn't have to be detrimental to the game nor developers. "Crunch isn't all bad," says Pitts. "In fact, crunch, in limited, regulated doses, can lead to great leaps in creativity. And we know that if we were to try and tell studios to radically change their process, with no use cases or hard data to back that up, we'd get nowhere fast. Our goal was to provide not only the factual, scientific perspective on the impact of overwork, but also provide real-world suggestions that developers could implement without completely up-ending the process of making games."

The paper advocates short crunch periods followed by short periods of reduced hours or the ability to work from home. Other ways of successfully dealing with crunch outlined include more focused work (set hours, lunches, and breaks) and fewer meetings before milestones to help alleviate the stress; healthy food offerings by companies versus junk food; incentivized health screenings and gym memberships; and telling sick employees to stay home so they not only get better, but so they don't make others sick.

Perhaps most important of all, the paper says that changing crunch culture starts at the top, with management that prioritizes work/life balance and leads by example – including not speaking ill of those who don't overwork – and promoting and backing employees who work more efficiently versus those who simply work more.

Pitts believes the industry has made progress since 2004, when most of the public became aware of the dangers of crunch thanks to developer Erin Hoffman's then-anonymous blog post under the moniker "EA Spouse."

"Companies are now at least taking work-life balance seriously," say Pitts. "I don't think their solutions are always correct, or that they're always looking in the right places, but I do think today you have a lot more people thinking a lot more seriously about employee health, talent retention, and survivability. EA in particular. They've made survivability a huge focus, and as easy as it can be to pile on them with grief, they really are working hard on the problem. Unfortunately, it's a big problem. And game making is still a young industry. Things like mental health, for example, where companies in all industries struggle, are still areas where I see game companies falling down. We've come a long way in the 12 years since EA spouse, but we still have a long way to go."

TTCrunch by Michael Futter on Scribd

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Report: Xbox One S Brings Slight Performance Boost Over Launch Units

Microsoft's Xbox One S is out today in its Launch Edition configuration, which gets you the 2 TB version of the hardware for about $ 300. As we wrote in our review, it adds some bells and whistles for people who have taken the 4K plunge, but it looks as though it might come with some bonuses where it counts: games. According to an in-depth hardware analysis from Digital Foundry, players may see some performance boosts on the new hardware.

We've known all along that the revised hardware has a slightly faster GPU clock speed, but Microsoft has gone out of its way to say that it wouldn't affect gaming at all. Thanks to Digital Foundry's benchmarking, however, we have some real-world examples of how that's not exactly true. The results varied depending on where the bottlenecks were. In games that were particularly CPU intensive, the increased GPU horsepower did little, if anything. In some cases, such as Project Cars, it resulted in a maximum increase of 9 FPS.

The entire breakdown is interesting, and well worth the read. The short version is that it's far from a framerate panacea, but it does help out in some games. Not bad.

[Source: Digital Foundry]

 

Our Take
I just bought a gaming PC, so the Xbox One S isn't even on my radar at this point. It's nice to see that some games can get a nice boost with the hardware. I suppose this is the part where I snicker at 30 FPS gaming. 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Apple iPads make a brief surge in 2016 third-quarter report

Apple’s numbers remain steady as iPad revenues move upward for the first time in a while thanks to the launch of the iPad Pro. …


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Report: NX could be a handheld system with detachable controllers

Anonymous sources have hinted Nintendo’s next console, codenamed NX, could be a powerful handheld system with detachable controllers. …


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Report: Man Shoots At Pokémon Go Players, Mistaking Them For Burglars

Early Saturday morning, a 37-year-old man from Florida fired shots at two teens who were stationed in a car in his neighborhood at 1:30 a.m., thinking they were looking for a house to rob. Turns out that all they were after were Pokémon.

According to The Orlando Sentinel, the two were playing Pokémon Go, the augmented reality mobile game that's become a cultural phenomenon since its launch earlier this month. After being awoken by a loud noise, the man noticed a strange, white car parked outside his house. He went outside to investigate while holding his handgun. When approaching the car, he heard two teens inside it say to one another, "Did you get anything?" which immediately made him suspect that they were attempting to rob his home. He stepped in front of the car and ordered the boys not to move. However, the car sped off and that's when the man started to fire shots at it.

No one was injured. Police say that the boys were in search of two Pokémon: a Marowak and a Tauros.

Officials are still investigating the incident, and we will update the article should we hear more. This isn't the first time Pokémon Go has spurred unfortunate or criminal events. Last week, armed robbers lured unsuspecting players to a secluded PokéStop. Find out more about Pokémon Go by reading editor Jeff Marchiafava's humor column and watching our Test Chamber.

[Source: The Orlando Sentinel]

 

Our Take
There's been plenty of crazy stories resulting from Pokémon Go, from a girl in Wyoming finding a dead body whilst playing the game, or armed robbers setting up ambushes near a PokéStop. This story about a man mistaking two kids for burglars is a frightening situation, but it's not surprising since Pokémon Go takes you to some random places, at random times. Stay safe when you're playing.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Report: Google halts development on standalone VR headset

Recode reports that Google has abandoned its efforts at producing a standalone VR headset, choosing to focus on its recently announced mobile VR platform Daydream. …


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