A mysterious briefcase showed up at GN labs today, bearing the above blackened metal triangle. On the triangle is emblazoned a code, which we entered into the orderof10.com redemption page. The box is branded with a “10” enclosed by a triangle, the same as seen above. Entering the triangle's code into the webpage unlocked our “COMPUTE” piece (Leibniz); the rest of the pieces can be found here. We know that we've got COMPUTE, SlashGear's Chris Barr has Vision, Jack Pattillo of Rooster Teeth has a piece, and Devindra Hardawar of Engadget has a piece.
I tasked GN's Patrick Lathan with assisting in decoding the cryptic message. He's our “puzzle guy,” known recently for reviewing Johnathan Blow's The Witness, and has already made major progress that isn't contained in our below video.
We have updated this article with advancements below.
Logitech's new Chaos Spectrum G900 mouse has definitively settled the wireless gaming mouse debate: Wireless mice can respond just as fast – if not faster – as their wired counterparts. This topic is one we've explored in-depth below, including discussion on wireless interference and cross-talk/impedance, battery life and weight trade-offs, accuracy, and more.
The Chaos Spectrum G900 was unveiled at GDC as a “wired-wireless” mouse, embodying Logitech's devout effort to demystify wireless mice as “unreliable” for gaming. Logitech informed us that their wireless G900 tested as performing minimally equal to wired competition for responsiveness, and sometimes better.
The new G900 RGB mouse costs $150, making it one of the most expensive gaming-class mice currently on the market. It also makes some of the biggest promises, like 24-hour run-to-die battery life (with RGB LEDs on) and exceedingly tight tolerances for click force variance from mouse-to-mouse. It's a uniquely high-end peripheral that requires a properly in-depth review. Starting us off, the usual specs sheets:
Software publisher and game development studio Bethesda has silently rolled-out its alpha version of the “Bethesda.net” launcher, posted alongside card game Elder Scrolls: Legends. Plans for the launcher are yet undisclosed and the store front isn't active, but a key code redemption link indicates that Bethesda will soon be moving product through its store.
This is not a departure from Steam (at least, not yet), but is almost certainly a move to bypass the revenue share with Valve. Bethesda isn't the first publisher to explore this route. EA's Origin took the more extreme approach, simultaneously launching its storefront and completely removing its games from Steam. Ubisoft's uPlay doesn't do this, but buying a Ubisoft title on Steam will invariably launch the uPlay launcher, which then requests a sign-in – and that game may request its own sign-in, in case two weren't enough. GOG Galaxy is perhaps the least offensive in its authentication practices and most neutral, but is still closely related to CD Projekt Red.
Industry analyst Newzoo reports that PC gaming is now projected to generate $31.9 billion in game software sales annually, or 32% of annual global games market revenue with +2.1% YoY growth. Its closest and longest competitor, console gaming, is projected to generate $29.0 billion in 2016 (29%) with a +4.5% YoY growth. Despite this growth pattern, both device categories are expected to stagnate in marketshare through 2019, their segments beset upon by mobile devices.
The freshman effort from studio Fool’s Theory looks promising. A small group of seasoned game developers that comprise the studio has been together now for about a year – including former CD Projekt Red (The Witcher) team members – and PAX East 2016 offered our first look at their game, Seven: The Days Long Gone. The Polish group set out to do something they said “no one has done,” which was to create an isometric, parkour-style, jump-and-climb action RPG. We got the chance to play Seven: The Days Long Gone, an Unreal Engine game, and speak with project lead Jakub Rokosz at PAX East.
The game takes place in a “beyond post-apocalyptic” future where mankind is slowly rebuilding. The plateau of Peh begins our story, and players get to explore the Empire of Vetrall throughout the campaign. We were placed in the game as protagonist Teriel the thief, but were informed that Fool's Theory also intends to allow players to choose their own character when the game is complete. Teriel is possessed by a demon, Artanak, who has an agenda of his own. The demon and its host work together to learn about the Empire of Vetrall, aiming to discover much about the ancient world and its secrets. Gamers can expect about 10 hours of campaign play with many more added, assuming all the side quests and adventures are also completed.
PAX East's show floor was flooded with as many attendees – if not more – as we've seen in the past five years, but this year marked a major milestone: The wireless internet was usable. Traditionally, the sheer size of PAX begins an onslaught upon the internet which is unsustainable by convention center networks. This year, the BCEC stepped-up its game with the Aruba WiFi project and went forth to release statistics on bandwidth consumption, active concurrent users, and total user count for the weekend. The project was a culmination of work from Aruba Networks, MCCA, and M S Ben Bow, and has been underway since 2014.
This also gives an updated idea as to the size of PAX. We haven't received numbers in years, but the show should be in excess of 70,000 attendees at this point. The wireless network is not, of course, used by every attendee (none of our staff connected to it with mobile devices), but it's still heavily saturated.
Here are a few charts:
A show floor crawling with tens of thousands of people is an interesting environment for a PC tear-down – certainly more chaotic than in our labs. Still, whenever we've got an opportunity to take something apart during an unveil, we take it. MSI's recently unveiled Aegis (video below) fancies itself a barebones machine that borders on a display unit, mounted atop a power-supply enshrining pedestal that resembles Hermes' winged shoes.
While at PAX East, we weaponized our camera toolkit to disassemble MSI's Aegis barebones gaming PC, which includes a custom case, motherboard, and unique CPU cooler. Side panels came off, the video card was removed, and we more closely examined the custom cooler that MSI's packed into its compact enclosure.
The first “Ask GN” since leaving for PAX East, we delve into topics exploring voltage configurations for overclocking, AMD's Zen / Polaris architectures and the make-or-break pressure, alternatives to FRAPS in DirectX 12/Vulkan, and upgrades.
The questions are posted below the video with timestamps, as always.
For anyone interested in the final question in the video (paraphrased: “Should I buy Polaris or Pascal and sell my 980 Ti?”), you may be interested in our recent “Polaris & Pascal: Buy or Wait?” content we published.
Torn Banner's Mirage: Arcane Warfare made its inaugural press tour at GDC a few weeks ago, but we weren't allowed to play it until last weekend's PAX East. Previewing a mechanically deep game from a show floor environment is always difficult – you've got a few minutes to figure out the controls, and it's normally just enough to get a good “base feeling” for the heart of the game. That's it, though, and there's little to be learned in the form of combat or mechanics intricacies.
We previewed Mirage: Arcane Warfare gameplay at PAX East in a full multiplayer match, managing to play each class at least once between the two of us. One class remained locked, but the rest were open to play.
To Broadwell-E or not to Broadwell-E. That is the question!
If you're an enthusiast and that Nehalem or Sandy Bridge setup you built years ago is ready for a replacement, you might be considering an X99 motherboard build. The operative question then becomes, "should I wait for Broadwell-E or just buy Haswell-E and be done with it?" After a weekend at PAX East talking to several SIs, Intel employees, and all the other hardware vendors, we were able to get a few bits and pieces of information that may help you make your decision, but first, let's look at some numbers.