Sunday, October 18, 2015

Nintendo NX in 2016

There have been rumours concerning a new Nintendo console on the internet for quite some time. That’s mainly thanks to a December 2014 Associated Press interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Mario and other iconic Nintendo games, who stated “While we’re busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be.”

There wasn’t much else mentioned about the next gen console until Nintendo’s press conference on 17 March 2015, where the company announced that they were going to be creating mobile games for smartphones and tablets.
As well as announcing the venture into mobile gaming, Nintendo’s late Chief Executive Santoru Iwata said "As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business, let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand-new concept under the development codename 'NX'."
Before anyone could ask for further information on the new console, Iwata continued "It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project, but we hope to share more information with you next year."
This sentiment of keeping quiet was later re-iterated by Nintendo President of America Reggie Fils-Aime while on stage at Nintendo’s E3 conference. He remarked “We'll talk more about our next system, code named Nintendo NX, more in 2016”
It makes sense for the company to start teasing a new console, as the Wii U seems to be Nintendo’s worst performing console ever, selling only 10 million units in the two and a half years that its been on sale. Lets compare that to the PlayStation 4, which has been out for around a year and a half but has sold over 18.5 million units worldwide.
So, what do we know about the next generation Nintendo console dubbed “NX”? Read on and find out.

Nintendo NX console rumours: Design

There isn’t much to go on, in the way of design. When the upcoming console was teased it was referred to as a ‘new concept’, which could mean an entirely new design. Opposing that are rumours that it’ll have a similar design to the Wii U, but with enhanced capabilities. We cover that in more detail below.

Nintendo NX console rumours: Unique features

Nintendo has always done extremely well with not competing with the likes of Sony and Microsoft, and instead breaking away from what other gaming manufacturers are producing. Think back to the Nintendo Wii – when the Wii was first announced, it was welcomed by excited consumers because they hadn’t seen anything quite like it before, and its technology that both Microsoft and Sony are still trying to perfect.
Nintendo described the NX as a “brand new concept” which could mean anything given Nintendo’s track record. Talking about the NX, the late Iwata said “if you only expand upon existing hardware, it's dull”. He followed up the comment with “In some shape or form, we're always thinking about how we want to surprise players as well as our desire to change each person's video gaming life.”
With that being said, there are rumours that the new Nintendo console will come with a completely new control method. This is mainly because the screen-controller hybrid that shipped with the Wii U hasn’t taken off like the company had planned, with many developers not using the hybrid controller to its full potential.
There are also counter rumours that suggest the next generation Nintendo device will have a similar design to the current Wii U, but with improved capabilities. Nintendo introduced a way for gamers to play games directly from the controller without the need for a TV, using the inbuilt touchscreen display. It’s a popular feature, especially with homes that share a TV because it allows gamers to carry gaming when somebody else wants to watch TV.
But what about if you could leave home and carry on playing? As it stands, you have to be within proximity to the Wii U to play your game via the controller screen. Rumours suggest that Nintendo could be upping the anti, so to speak, working on a way to allow gamers to carry on playing even if they’re not at home.
If Nintendo manufactures a console that has gameplay that rivals the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and also allows you to play directly on the controller when you’re away from home, that could be a winning combination. Sony offers Remote Play on the PS4 via a PS Vita but there’s a split second of lag, which in some games makes the difference between life and death. Microsoft also recently released a similar feature for Windows 10 and Xbox One, though you have to be on the same network to be able to stream gameplay.

Nintendo NX console rumours: Processor

When it comes to the internal mechanics of the new console, there’s not much online. There is some speculation that the NX will use an AMD SoC, namely the x86 APU, just like the Xbox One and PS4. If it were true, it’d make it the first time that all main manufacturers would use the same chipset.
Could AMD’s CFO Devinder Kumar have been referencing to the NX when discussing upcoming AMD products? “I will say that one is x86 and the other is ARM, and at least one will be beyond gaming … They [the customers] are going to announce it and then … you will find out that it is AMD’s APU that is being used in those products” he said.
However, with this being said, another report claims that the Nintendo NX wont be as powerful as the PS4 (which means we can wave bye-bye to this). The report is based on tweets from Liam Robertson of Unseen64, a man with a great track record when it comes to insider info. He claims that the NX is “definitely not aiming to compete with the likes of PS4 on a power level”. You can see his tweet below:

When asked by @RunJumpStomp “What makes you say that?” he simply replied “Talking to the right people :)”. Until Nintendo officially announces the NX, no one can be completely sure of its spec, but judging by Robertson’s track record and past Nintendo consoles, we think he’s on the right track.

Nintendo NX console rumours: Games

So, what kind of games can we expect on the next-generation Nintendo NX console? According to one report, Nintendo is said to have started talking to third-party developers about the system at this years E3 event. Apparently the developers reacted positively to the concept shown to them at E3, but no details about the concept device have been leaked.
The only games to have been officially confirmed for the Nintendo NX thus far are Dragon Quest X and Dragon Quest XI, courtesy of Square Enix. DQX was originally released for Wii U, 3DS and PC whereas the newer DQXI will be headed to not only the Nintendo NX, but also the PS4 and 3DS.
Nintendo on the other hand, has kept tight lipped regarding its upcoming Nintendo NX titles (as promised) but with a less-than-amazing E3 announcement, many gamers are starting to wander whether the company has given up developing for the Wii U, and is instead turning its efforts towards making games for the NX.

Nintendo NX console rumours: Price

While there are no real rumours surrounding the price of the new Nintendo console, we can speculate about its price by looking back at previous console launches. Nintendo aims for its consoles to be cheaper than the competition – look at the DS and Wii. The Nintendo DS was only £99.99 when it came out and the Wii, even with the breakthrough motion technology it offered, was only £179.99.
Nintendo knows where the sweet spot lays with regards to pricing its consoles, whether it’s handheld or tethered to your TV. Based on this, we can only assume that the next Nintendo console will be cheaper than Xbox One and PlayStation 4, possibly around the £200 mark.

Nintendo NX console rumours: Release date

With Iwata stating that more information about the new console wouldn’t be released until next year, we’re assuming that the NX will have a 2016 launch. Why? Simply because it looks like the Wii U isn’t doing as well as Nintendo had hoped, and it gives the company a chance to generate some interest around the new console before launch, without waiting so long that the hype dies down again.
However, since this announcement, Iwata has sadly died, and it remains to be seen whether the executive shake-up will impact the console’s release date plans.
Interestingly, Nintendo has announced that the upcoming Zelda game for the Wii U isn’t coming out until 2016. Zelda developer Eiji Aonuma said that the development team has “discovered several new possibilities for the game” and would like extra time to “bring all these ideas to live”. Could the company be waiting to announce Zelda so that both the game and the NX can be released at the same time? Nintendo has a habit of releasing a Zelda or Mario game alongside a new console, with the only exception being the launch of the Nintendo DS (in Europe, anyway).
More recently, an article by DigiTimes claimed that Nintendo is starting production of the next-generation Nintendo NX console as soon as October 2015 with a July 2016 launch date, and is looking to ship 20 million units in its first year of production. However, an analyst at Forbes disagrees with the report, claiming that the schedule is “insanely fast” and he coins a later release date, possibly Christmas 2016 or even 2017 depending on how much work has been done on the console thus far.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

PS4 exceeds expectations

Shuhei Yoshida, Sony’s head of worldwide studios for PlayStation, has said that his team has been surprised by the success of the PlayStation 4, with the machine well exceeding internal sales predictions, and continuing to do so.
Speaking to Eurogamer in an interview at last week’s EGX event, Yoshida explained that the number of PS4s in the hands of consumers is around two million more than his department predicted, and that this success has forced them to re-evaulate the resource provision for online first party games like DriveClub.
“DriveClub has sustained its momentum,” the executive explained. “They needed to spend time to really rewrite the server-side of the game. We weren’t expecting this many people would buy a PlayStation 4, and have PlayStation Plus membership. Because the title was originally titled for the launch of the system, the number of potential people to download for free for the PS Plus version would be much smaller than two years after the launch. We realised the daunting task of supporting potentially millions and millions of people to download and play. The team needed to go back to the drawing board and re-engineer the server-side.
“While they were doing this, they kept releasing new content and people continued to play the game and enjoy it. I’m really happy with how things went forward.
“We had a specific target,” said Yoshida of the platform itself. “5 million units – against what we did, 7 million I think, and it just kept going. We had more modest projections before the launch.”
As well as the unexpected load on the servers DriveClub, Yoshida says that the PS4’s success at retail has also put Sony’s first-party line-up in something of an unfavourable light, because its ubiquity has made third-parties more prolific, making Sony’s home field line-up seem a little anemic in comparison.
“Typically – it’s ironic in a sense, when a platform’s doing really well, studio side kind of struggles,” Yoshida believes. “It probably has some relationship to these two things. When a platform’s doing well, third-parties support it more. So from a pure software standpoint, there’ll be more competition. When the platform’s not doing so well, our games become more prominent, and we get larger market share within the same platform. Because we continue to support the PS3, in the launch year of the PS4 we had The Last of Us and Gran Turismo 6 and Beyond and so on, many games, we were still working hard. We’re just head-down, focussed on delivering the games for the near future. We’re happy with how it’s going, and we’re excited about welcoming PlayStation VR. From a delivering games standpoint, we have work to do. People constantly ask us for the big exclusive triple-A games.”
Although there might not be a great deal on the slate on Sony’s software side, Yoshida is optimistic about the forthcoming launch of the newly re-monikered PlayStation VR, something which he sees as akin to the launch of a new platform.
“It’s like launching a new platform, and it’s a huge effort, and it’s super-exciting. As far as VR, for the future, is concerned, I have no question that in a few years everyone will be using some VR tech as a part of their lives. Even outside entertainment systems. It’s a new tech, it’s a new media. How well PlayStation VR will do in that trajectory is a big question. We believe we have a unique position in this effort. I always say we’re not just competing with the other companies like Oculus or Valve. We are almost collaborating to make this thing happen, and get people to try and get excited and talk about it to other people. Because we’re focussed on delivering the VR experience on the game console as opposed to PC or mobile, and that’s their focus, we’re covering all the bases together.
“In that, it’s just how well we deliver the system, how easy it is to use, how comfortable, how exciting the contents are, the price point is right for the consumer – all these things, it’s our effort, so I hope PlayStation VR will do extremely well. As a developer, I’m super-excited about the potential of using VR tech. I feel like, working on PlayStation VR, is like when we were working on the original PlayStation 20 years ago, when we were very excited to use 3D real-time graphics for the games. After 20 years, we’re still making even bigger, better 3D games, so I see a long-term great future for VR entertainment for the coming 20 years.
“As PlayStation, we’re always gaming focused. But you know that lots of people use PlayStation for non-games, like consuming entertainment, streaming… So we believe the same for PlayStation VR. The people who know PlayStation as a great entertainment system, a gaming system, and enjoying video contents as well. In the same way, because it’s such a new thing, VR, most people, for the first time really try the modern VR, so instead of putting some exotic names for that, we believe that it’s better to associate with PlayStation brand that people know as a fun product.”

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Illegal Immigration Affects Electoral Votes

Amid lipstick smears and distortions from both presidential candidates, a forgotten issue that was once the biggest concern of this election cycle has largely faded from public consciousness: illegal immigration.
If John McCain really wants to distance himself from Barack Obama in the polls, it will require yet another Maverick flip-flop. His newfound stance on illegal immigration could help rally the conservative base and have a direct impact on this and future elections.
Aside from the burdens posed by illegal immigrants on crime, detention facilities, job security, taxes, wages, social security, medicare, Medicaid, violence, terrorism and drug and human trafficking, illegal aliens are slowly eroding the power of American voters.
Though illegal immigrants dont have an effect on the popular vote, they are changing the electoral vote, and this change benefits Obama.
Hispanic voters historically vote Democratic, and as reported by USA Today in July, Hispanics will become decisive swing votes in future elections.
With the Hispanic population set to double to 30 percent by 2042 because of relatively higher birth rates and immigration and with leaders like Obama and McCain who support amnesty for illegal aliens this traditionally Democratic-leaning population will likely tip future elections in favor of Democrats.
Indeed, the effects of Hispanic voters on this election are already being felt. A Pew Research Center survey showed 66 percent of Hispanics favored Obama to McCains 23 percent.
USA Today reported the Hispanic vote is now large enough to determine outcomes in key battleground states, like Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Florida.
Familial and cultural ties effectively concentrate legal and illegal immigrants together with ethnically similar foreign-born populations. Though this is not the only factor in the redistribution of seats in the House of Representatives, it is a major contributor. And with 70 percent of the foreign-born population living in just six states, the Center for Immigration Studies expects this rearrangement to continue for decades, resulting in changes to the U.S. House of Representatives and Electoral College.
The distribution of seats in the House is referred to as apportionment, which is based on states total population and includes illegal immigrants. A national census is taken every 10 years to apportion seats in the House, but as CIS reported, the Constitution offers no method for apportionment, nor a method for compiling total population for apportionment. Currently, the resident population includes illegal aliens.
Illegal immigration played a significant role in the redistribution of seats in the past. In 1990, 12 seats were redistributed, and in 2000, 16 seats were redistributed. Louisiana was one of the states adversely affected.
In 2000, four states either lost a seat or didnt gain a seat they otherwise would have, and five states had one seat fewer than it otherwise would have.
Five states actually gained seats because of illegal aliens. Nine redistributed seats went to California alone.
These non-citizens also change the landscape of the electoral map because the Electoral College is based on the size of congressional delegations.
The Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR), which twice led unsuccessful campaigns to remove illegal immigrants from the process of apportionment, reported the 2004 election benefitted Kerry with a net gain of two Electoral College votes.
Though the results were insignificant in that particular race, the reapportionment of seats caused by illegal aliens has affected the past two presidentil elections and will continue to do so in the future.
This doesnt mean illegal aliens are the winners. Voters living in high-immigration districts consequently have much more influence than those living in low-immigration districts. Because they play no part in political life, illegals are being exploited to increase the power of voters living in high-immigration districts. This unfairly shifts seats from states all over the country to states mostly found in the Southwest.
CIS contends that reapportionment is a zero-sum game and concludes that excluding illegal immigrants from apportionment is highly unlikely because of opposition from states that benefit politically from illegal immigration.
The only solution appears to be the enforcement of stronger illegal immigration regulations. As far as apportionment reform is concerned, that duty might fall into the hands of the aforementioned swing voters of the future.