Fallout 4 Update Improves Performance by Downgrading Graphics?

Fallout 4’s first patch is out of beta on the PC and has hit the PS4 and Xbox One as well. It promises a slew of fixes, most of which have been outlined by Bethesda on its Steam Community Page.

However, it seems to bring with it some undocumented downgrades. According to Gearnuke, some users have been reporting a loss in visual fidelity across all platforms. It’s odd considering that Fallout 4 looks like a shinier, crisper step up from previous entries in the franchise rather than something that takes full advantage of current hardware.

Right now, the most cited example of this is the Corvega Assembly Plant area of the game wherein shadows are now non-existent. Although the frame rate has been improved. It’s unclear if there’s a loss of effects in the rest of the game at the moment.

Graphical downgrades are not exactly a new occurrence. In the past we’ve seen this with games such as Grand Theft Auto V and Far Cry 4 albeit for the PS4 and Xbox One. To see this for a game like Fallout 4 is telling. Even more so considering that it impacts the PC, a platform with potentially the most powerful hardware to run the game.

Hopefully Bethesda fixes this in the next patch for all platforms.

Xiaomi’s 12.5-Inch Laptop to Start Shipping in April: Report

Xiaomi has been now for months rumoured to be working on its first laptop that will look like Apple’s MacBook Air. Now, a new report citing supply chain makers claims that Inventec will start ODM (original design manufacturing) for Xiaomi’s 12.5-inch laptop. The report adds that shipments of the Xiaomi’s 12.5-inch laptop are expected to begin in April.

Digitimes claims Xiaomi initially planned to launch a 12.5-inch model and another 13.3-inch model with two separate ODM manufacturers – Inventec and Compal Electronics – in-line with an earlier report. The company however now plans to launch just the 12.5-inch model initially, according to the report.

Xiaomi’s 12.5-inch laptop, which is said to look like the MacBook Air, is likely to be priced at CNY 2,999 (approximately Rs. 31,000), according to the sources. The components in Xiaomi laptops will be mostly made by manufacturers based in China.

This is not the first time that Xiaomi has been rumoured to be working on not just one but two laptop models. Back in October, a report claimed that Xiaomi’s both laptop models – 12.5-inch and 13.3-inch – will enter mass production in the first quarter of 2016. The report had also added that Xiaomi had placed orders for about 250,000 units for the 12.5-inch model, and 500,000 units for the 13.3-inch model. Inventec was said to be tasked to produce the 12.5-inch model units, while Compal Electronics will manufacture the 13.3-inch model.

Back in September, Inventec Chairman Richard Lee had suggested that the first laptop from Xiaomi’s stables could be expected to start shipping in the first or second half of 2016. Lee had further tipped that Xiaomi’s entry into laptop segment could shake up the laptop market the same way it did with smartphones. For those unaware, Inventec has assembly lines for Xiaomi smartphones.

Gadgets 360 had reached out to Xiaomi for a response on the earlier report, but the company refused to comment. In an emailed response, Xiaomi said “We would not like to comment on the speculation.”

PS4’s Sharefactory Video Editing App Gets New Features, Hits 5.1 Million Downloads

Sony’s Sharefactory video editing app for the PS4 just received a massive update. You can now add slow motion and time lapse effects to your videos. According to Stuart Platt, Senior Producer at Sony Computer Entertainment America, it’s been a popular request from vocal PS4 users.

In addition to this, there will be Sharefactory Events. These will be conducted by game developers and publishers, allowing you to show off your editing skills. As per Platt’s post on the PlayStation blog, the first event is being planned and will happen soon. Furthermore, you can now add up to 50 video clips to a Sharefactory project and up to 12 music track clips as well.

There are other changes. Text is now referred to as overlays, and stickers can be layered. Two music tracks, three filter effects, three wipe transitions, five dissolve transitions, a new colour picker, and an enhanced text colour palette also are present with the latest update.

Perhaps the most telling piece of information is how Sharefactory is performing.

“Since launch, we’ve seen an explosive growth, with more than 5.1 million downloads of the Sharefactory app, and more than 18.9 million awesome projects created by our PlayStation Nation,” wrote Platt in his post. Even with over 30 million PS4s sold, it’s not too surprising to see so few with the Sharefactory app. Although sharing game videos and screenshots is a heavily touted feature, not everyone is inclined to do so, and Sharefactory’s prevalence, or lack thereof, cements this.

Microsoft Band 2 Software Update Adds Ability to Control Music

Microsoft Band 2 fitness tracker that was launched in October this year has started receiving an update that brings new features. The features, Microsoft claims, are based on the feedback it has received from customers. Just to clear, the update is only for the Band 2 and not the original Microsoft Band.

The latest Microsoft Band update fetches ‘all-new’ music controls, which now let you control pause, play, skip forward or back an audio file on the smartphone. The band not only gives the ability to control the audio volume, but also shows the song title on the display. The feature works with any music app on the smartphone.

The update additionally will now remind users to get up and move when it notices them staying still for too long. This functionality is already present in Apple Watch.

“You choose the time intervals and the days you want to be reminded. You can also set a period of time when you don’t want to receive reminders, like when you’re sleeping or driving,” the Microsoft Devices Team said via a blog post.

The Microsoft Band update makes it easier to track the duration, calorie burn, and heart rate for a particular exercise while using the Exercise Tile. The summaries and observations will be grouped by exercise type in the Microsoft Health app or Web Dashboard. A ‘What’s New’ tile has also been introduced in the update that simply lets you know about the new features for the Microsoft Band. It will appear on the band once the updates are available.

Microsoft launched its Band 2 alongside the Microsoft Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, as well as theMicrosoft Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book in October. The device comes with Cortana integration and can preview emails, get calendar and call alerts, receive text messages, and see social updates, apart from reply to text messages with quick responses, or dictate responses using Cortana. It costs $249 (approximately Rs. 16,300).

XCOM 2 System Requirements Released

Turn-based strategy game XCOM 2 is out on February 5. Unlike its predecessor, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you won’t be able to play it on consoles. It’s exclusive to the PC.

And with PC exclusivity comes the need to know what kind of a machine you need to get the best out of the game. Thankfully developer Firaxis has revealed the minimum and recommended specifications for XCOM 2 via the game’s Steam page.

Minimum requirements:

  • OS: Windows 7, 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E4700 2.6 GHz or AMD Phenom 9950 Quad Core 2.6 GHz
  • Memory: 4GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5770, 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or better
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 45GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX compatible sound card

Recommended requirements:

  • OS: Windows 7, 64-bit
  • Processor: 3GHz Quad Core Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Graphics: 2GB ATI Radeon HD 7970, 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 or better
  • Storage: 45GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX compatible sound card

Like most PC games these days, you’ll need to connect to the Internet the first time to authenticate it via Steam. XCOM Enemy Unknown was well-optimised for PCs when it hit in 2012 and we’re expecting nothing less from XCOM 2. Hopefully Firaxis bucks the trend of only having a small portion of the game on disc. Something companies like Bethesda and Konami have ascribed to with their games, namely Fallout 4 and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

PS4 Buy One Get One Free Digital Sale Now Live

While Microsoft India went to town with Black Friday digital deals, Sony India was surprisingly quiet. Not any more. We were checking out the Indian PlayStation Store and were pleased to see a rather sweet deal for those who have the capacity to buy games digitally.

Until December 25, 5:29am IST, you can buy one game and get the other free on the PlayStation Network. These include a titles such as sleeper hit Until Dawn, The Order:1886, Watch Dogs, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, and Evolve to name a few. If you’re a PS3 or PS Vita owner, you’re out of luck. This is for PS4 games only.

To avail of this offer, simply add two or more products to your shopping cart on the PlayStation store and use the code J7P8G8P3DH to get one game free. There’s some legal fine print to go with it on another page obviously, which you can check out here. What’s important to note is that the discount code will apply to the cheapest product in the cart and that this does not work for pre-orders.

Also, according to the PlayStation blog, you can use the discount code for as many times as you like. While some of these deals might sound great, you can do a whole lot better buying used or waiting for a sale on sites like Amazon or Flipkart.

Aside from India, the PS4 buy one get one free offer applies to the following countries: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom.

HTC Vive Headset Pre-Order to Start in February 2016, Says Company

Earlier this week, HTC had finally announced a release date for the HTC Vive virtual reality headset, which was first unveiled at MWC 2015. HTC has now confirmed in a blog post that the Vive pre-orders will start in February, followed by commercial availability in April.

The Vive, made in partnership between Valve and HTC, is one of the few serious comeptitors to theOculus Rift, and our first experience with the headset really blew us away.

A second update on Thursday confirmed that the Vive will be launching next year; HTC also noted that apart from the units that have already been distributed, an additional 7,000 developer kits are being distributed in early 2016, and it promises that by the time the consumer headsets are on sale, a large library of virtual content will be available.

In the new update, HTC also talks about the content that will power virtual reality, beyond games and entertainment.

Regarding the depth and breadth of content that can be expected, we are looking at a wide variety of different VR content, from games to experiences, and beyond. We are working to ensure every piece of content put out will provide the incredible experience made possible through the room-scale technology of the HTC Vive, and we’re striving for perfection.

We are proud to have recently co-hosted a symposium with Professor Neil Martin, Chair of the Neurosurgery Department at UCLA, who is widely recognized as one of the best neurosurgeons in the world. Along with several attending medical professionals, he emphasized how HTC Vive can transform the training of future medical students, especially in the area of dissection, by helping to reduce the dependency on cadavers for dissection, which is currently estimated at 30-40 per med student). Vive simulates real life situations and medical crises, providing better training for students and improving patient outcomes. Attendees who experienced the Vive at this event were very inspired and felt that the virtual reality experience HTC delivered far exceeded their expectations.

The Vive Unbound show that is taking place in Beijing on December 18 will have more details, and should give us all a better idea about Vive’s retail price.

Google Chromecast Audio Update Brings Multi-Room Feature and Hi-Res Audio Support

Google’s Chromecast Audio, the audio streaming device that was launched in September has started receiving a software update. The update adds two new features that will “elevate your listening experience,” according to the company.

The highlight of the Chromecast Audio software update is the inclusion of multi-room support. The feature will enable users to group Chromecast Audio devices together to listen to a song simultaneously on multiple devices. For this, users will need to connect and setup a Chromecast Audio for each speaker and then use the Chromecast app to create a group. Casting audio content to a group is similar to casting content to a single speaker.

The second feature that comes as a part of the software update is the Hi-Res audio support. The Hi-Res audio support will let Chromecast Audio play audio of up to 96KHz/24bit, delivering ‘higher-than-CD-quality audio’ on the audio device, says Tomer Shekel, Product Manager, Google in the company blog post.

Google launched the Chromecast Audio streaming device alongside the refreshed Chromecast video streaming dongle in September. Priced at $35 (roughly Rs. 2,300), the Chromecast Audio allows one to stream music to their regular speakers directly from a smartphone or laptop. The company said that the Chromecast Audio doesn’t compress audio, assuring the audiophile inside you that the device wouldn’t compromise on audio quality. It works with Android and iOS devices, apart from PCs. The device supports high-quality audio, 2 watt RMS, and an optional optical digital out that sits in the hybrid port. It additionally includes a feature called guest access, allowing others to stream even if they are not connected to the user’s Wi-Fi network.