Shared posts

23 Jun 11:01

Sony: PlayStation Neo /PS4K Won’t Shorten PS4’s Lifecycle – Yoshida Surprised to See Project Scorpio at E3

by Fahad Arif

Last week during this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Sony confirmed the existence of previously rumored upgraded, more telling version of its PlayStation 4 system that will come packed with advanced hardware and will mainly be aimed at delivering wholly on the 4K gaming and virtual reality front. However, Sony wants you to make it very clear in your mind that the dawn of PS4K (or PlayStation Neo as it’s known internally), in no sense means the end of currently available, standard PlayStation 4 console.

PlayStation Neo

Shuhei Yoshida Says PlayStation Neo is Not Going to Be a Problem for PS4’s Lifecycle – “Wasn’t Expecting” Microsoft to Talk About Scorpio at E3

Sony’s PlayStation Neo may seem like a great leap ahead the current PlayStation 4 console in terms of computing and graphical horsepower, but the Japanese platform holder wants players to clear away any doubt they might have about the future of the standard PlayStation 4. Shuhei Yoshida, president of worldwide studios at Sony Interactive Entertainment recently reiterated that Sony’s PlayStation Neo won’t affect the PlayStation 4’s life cycle. So if you’re worried that the incoming new hardware will invalidate your current PlayStation 4; don’t be.

“The PlayStation 4 is the PlayStation 4” and the “new high-end PS4 is still PS4, so the life cycle is not going to be shorter,” Yoshida said in an interview with Gameswelt.TV (via NeoGAF). He said this in response to a question that asked if the gap between console generations is getting shorter as platform holders are preparing to release new, upgraded hardware in the middle of current generation console cycle.

The point Yoshida is trying to make here apparently is that PlayStation Neo and PlayStation 4 will rather complement each other instead of presenting a challenge among them. It can be understood that both the consoles will be kept under the same umbrella. PlayStation Neo will be the high-end model that will offer better hardware at a higher price, while the standard PlayStation 4 will continue to be the more affordable one that will allow players to enjoy latest games all the same. Yoshida’s comments also suggest that a proper 9th generation PlayStation console is yet to come.

PlayStation president Andrew House made similar comments earlier this month when he announced Neo. “It is intended to sit alongside and complement the standard PS4,” he said at the time. “We will be selling both [versions] through the life cycle.” As for why Sony felt a need to bring new hardware to the market in this way to begin with, House said is the matter of how the company responds to consumer behavior. “The consumer is attuned to a different cadence of innovation in technology thanks in great part for the upgrades cadence on mobile phones or PCs,” House said regarding this new strategy of offer an upgraded version of the same console.

Talking about Microsoft’s upgraded version of Xbox One, Shuhei Yoshida himself was surprised to see the platform holder unveil Project Scorpio at its E3 press conference. When asked if he was surprised to see Microsoft officially brining Project Scorpio under the spotlight at E3, Yoshida said: “Yeah, I was not expecting them to talk about it. It’s very very super interesting what they are doing.” Sony itself has decided to wait with the PlayStation Neo reveal until they are ready to “show it properly.”

The post Sony: PlayStation Neo /PS4K Won’t Shorten PS4’s Lifecycle – Yoshida Surprised to See Project Scorpio at E3 by Fahad Arif appeared first on WCCFtech.

21 Jun 15:46

Outcast episode 3 review: All Alone Now

by louisamellor

Outcast certainly looks the part, but underneath the tasteful visuals, is it really the quality horror it announces itself to be?

This review contains spoilers.

1.3 All Alone Now

The synopsis for Outcast’s third episode reads: “Kyle and Anderson confront an unusual possession”. You need only substitute Mulder and Scully or Dean and Sam for those names to see how this show could take a turn towards the procedural. All Alone Now’s freak-of-the-week structure could form a pattern for future episodes: a cold open introduces new characters and a new demon, then Kyle and Anderson arrive to daub the possessed with holy water and aggressively punch them in the head. Get the central double-act right and it’s a formula that could run and run.

A gloomier answer to Supernatural though, is a step down from what Outcast initially promised to be. Its design, direction and serious tone announced it to be a quality horror, leagues away from the genre’s campier, more tongue-in-cheek side. Just look at those uncanny and atmospheric opening credits. This is television with taste, they say. Prepare yourself for greatness.

With each passing episode though, it’s clear that greatness isn’t what Outcast is offering. It looks good, its cast is solid and it continues to find innovative ways to build a sense of unease and surprise--the menacing opening shots of some infernal machine turning out to be the innards of a cheery All-American bowling alley was an effective punch line this week--but none of that has added up to real quality. Not yet, at least.

What’s getting in the way is an overreliance on generic supporting characters. Take Blake Morrow. Lee Tergesen clearly had a ball with the role of the nasty, grinning, unrepentant psychopath, but it’s an over-familiar archetype. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

(Incidentally, who knew that demonic possession could do that much injury to your bowling average? Next time I bowl an 80 game, I know what my excuse is going to be.)

The same goes for the fastidious, nattily dressed manifestation of evil, aka Brent Spiner in a black hat. He can take a straight razor to all the kindly neighbours in the world, but it’s hard to feel the chill of any character reproduced from a TV Tropes page. Ditto for the police chief who is Covering Something Up. By the time it was suggested that Megan was a rape survivor (well, how else could a female character possibly be made interesting?) you’ll permit me an eye-roll.

And yet, Outcast still has plenty going for it. The central double act and its two lead actors for starters. All Alone Now spent some welcome time developing the dynamic between its main players. It asked who’s in charge, who has the power and what motivates each in the fight against demons (Kyle is looking for answers while Anderson is looking to save souls).

There was even a brief moment of buddy-cop levity between the pair on the topic of Pina Colada-flavoured vaping. Add that to the domestic comedy of Megan and Mark’s daughter walking in on them in bed, and you could even have said that Outcast was experimenting with an alternative to bleakness. That is, until Megan’s flashback in the couple’s next sex scene put paid to that idea.

Three episodes in then, and Outcast is still getting comfortable in its own skin. So far it does a lot well (the restraint of focusing only on Luke Masters’ disbelieving face when he discovered his wife’s bloody corpse pre-credits was a class act, even if the mangled body did make a later appearance) and it does a lot merely okay. We’re still waiting and hoping for it to do something wholly great.

Read Louisa’s review of the previous episode, (I Remember When) She Loved Me, here.

Review Louisa Mellor
21 Jun 2016 - 23:00
25 May 18:46

“Unprecedented” discovery of mysterious structures created by Neanderthals

by Annalee Newitz

Inside Bruniquel Cave, where scientists have discovered an elaborate stone structure created by Neanderthals more than 175 thousand years ago. (credit: Etienne Fabre / SSAC)

176,500 years ago, long before modern humans left Africa for the Eurasian continent, a band of Neanderthals conducted an elaborate ritual deep inside Bruniquel Cave in a region we know today as southern France. The Neanderthal group wrested hundreds of stalagmites from the floor of the cave to build elaborate circular structures, their work illuminated only by firelight. Discovered by archaeologists in the 1990s, the cave system is so large that many of its great treasures are hidden far from its entrance, which suggests it was thoroughly explored and probably inhabited for some period of time. This new part of the cave, analyzed only recently, adds to our understanding of Neanderthal social life.

The Neanderthal structure was mostly undisturbed for tens of thousands of years with the exception of a few hibernating bears. Recounting their discovery in Nature, a group of archaeologists say there is no question that the structures were created deliberately by humans, especially because there is evidence that the stalagmites were wrenched from the cave floor and stacked in circular patterns. Burn marks on the roughly 400 stones show that fires were built inside the structure, and one area contains burned bones. The bones could mean that this was a feasting place, but its difficult-to-reach location and the nature of the design suggest a more symbolic use. Based on the burn patterns, it seems that the structures themselves were designed to light on fire, creating what would have appeared to be circles of flaming stone in the otherwise pitch-black cave.

The stalagmite structures in Bruniquel Cave are curved lines and circles built from layered stalagmites, some of which were hollowed out. Burn marks reveal that fires were lit inside the stalagmite structures, creating what were probably burning circles of stone. The orange spots represent the heated zones, and the red spot (structure B) represents a char concentration (mainly burnt bone fragments) on the ground.

There is little evidence of human activity in the space other than the unusual structures, which don't resemble any of the art or funeral rites associated with more recent Neanderthal dwellings we've discovered. Most Neanderthal sites are from the past 50 thousand years, and these contain paintings, ochre for body decoration, and graves full of flowers. Some contain complex tools made after contact with modern humans from Africa, and it's often difficult to say whether they were made by Neanderthals, Homo sapiens, or some combination of the two. After all, there was a roughly 10,000 year period when Neanderthals and Homo sapiens co-existed in Europe, and we know they formed families and had children together.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments