A lot of people are excited about the new Xbox and the new PlayStation. Both are set to arrive later this year, with fantastical graphic fidelity, minimal load times and all kinds of hardware specs.
Then, last week, Microsoft revealed 13 third-party games heading to the Xbox Series X during the console’s launch window this fall. It also gave us a glimpse at ninth-generation console gaming, which left me a little cold. Maybe it’s because Microsoft is going to stretch out the teasers for the Series X across multiple livestreams and videos. Maybe it’s because stream quality is temperamental, and it’s hard to hit those crisp 4K visuals on even decent internet speeds.
I think the main issue is a lot of these games (Assassin’s Creed, Yakuza 7, to start with) will be on other platforms -- including the rival PlayStation. A lot of the other teasers left me with more questions than answers and didn’t make me marvel at the future of gaming. (I might have to wait till July, when Microsoft plans to showcase Xbox Game Studios titles and hopefully a closer look at Halo Infinite.)
Why am I complaining about last week’s Xbox news on a Thursday? Well, it’s because a game engine gave me goosebumps yesterday.
Epic’s Unreal engine has powered an awful lot of games over the last few console generations -- and Unreal Engine 5 is pitching itself as a tool for making immersive games even if you’re not a multi-million dollar studio. And if you are, hey, it’s a shortcut. Hopefully, this lays the groundwork for new unique games that’ll sell us all on getting a new console.
Epic Games teases its new, nearly photorealistic Unreal Engine 5
It’s approaching movie-quality CG.
If you needed something to hold on to ahead of next-gen consoles actually getting here, Epic is happy to oblige. It’s released an early showreel of the Unreal 5 engine, showcasing its new Nanite system (in charge of generating tiny polygon geometry to add detail) and Lumen, which is a dynamic lighting system that can transform how scenes look on the fly.
Both will address two major factors in game development: money and time. UE5 should help small teams get a level of graphical fidelity closer to those of major gaming companies. But we will have to wait for it. Unreal Engine 5 will be first available to preview early in 2021 with full access expected by the end of that year.
And it wouldn’t be an Epic news event without something to do with Fortnite -- yes, it’s behind that, too. The battle royale title will be a launch title for both the PS5 and Xbox Series X. The company plans to migrate Fortnite to the Unreal Engine 5 in mid-2021, which should enhance the game’s visuals (big time) and greatly expand its capabilities.
Sony's new image sensors will make cameras smarter with onboard AI
Promising privacy and intelligence.
Meet the IMX500 and IMX501, two 12.3-megapixel sensors with onboard AI processing chips. They'll be able to handle "light" machine learning tasks — like recognizing if a stray dog or cat enters your backyard — on their own, without sending any video to the cloud or another system. Instead, they can deliver anonymous metadata pings to alert you about what they've seen.
Dell’s modern design comes to the XPS 15 and revived XPS 17
Tiny bezels help make these big laptops smaller than the competition.
Dell’s XPS line has always been at the front of eliminating bezels. The 13-inch models recently expanded their screens to wipe out plastic along the bottom, and now the design language has reached larger models. That includes a redesigned 15-inch model with the new look, as well as a back-from-the-dead 17-inch version.
Additionally, thanks to the new design, Dell is pitching these as the “smallest” 15- and 17-inch laptops you’ll find anywhere. It turns out that not only does the screen give you more to look at with a 16:10 aspect ratio, it also shrinks the frame so they’re a little easier to carry around or slide into a bag. Naturally, they have 10th-gen Intel Core CPUs inside, as well as NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPUs in the 15-incher and up to RTX 2060 GPUs in the 17-inch.
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Engadget's Guide to Health and Fitness Tech: The best GPS running watches
Something for casual runners, marathoners and everyone in between.
As the weather turns nicer and many of us venture outside for the first time in months, runners will be out in full force (if they haven't been already). If you're a newbie runner or a seasoned athlete, you may be considering investing in a GPS running watch to map training routes, collect pace data and more. But there are a plethora of options out there, not to mention the many smartwatches that have built-in GPS -- how do you choose? Engadget tested out numerous GPS running watches and highlighted the best of the bunch to make your decision a little bit easier.
Chrome will soon group tabs together to save pack rats from themselves
Improve your organization.
Starting with the next version of the company's browser, which the search giant will begin rolling out next week, you'll be able to organize tabs together into customizable groups. To start sorting your tabs, right-click on a single one and press the "Add Tab to Group" option. When you create a new group, you can assign it a name and color to make it easily identifiable. If you feel like moving a tab to a different group afterward, you can do so by dragging and dropping it.