We've decided, clearly, to cancel the China leg of our upcoming factory tour series as a result of the Coronavirus, which is a word that YouTube is currently demonetizing for being "controversial" (working around that one is fun). That said, it has enabled us to extend our Taiwan trip, and we've found new factories we didn't know even existed. More on that in the news video, if interested, but rest assured that we'll be safe in Taiwan as it has very few cases and, despite being a neighbor to China, seems to have things under control. We're greatly looking forward to visiting power supply factories, supply chain factories, raw metal factories, and more in Taiwan in March.
There's nothing quite as validating as finding out that your hobby is featured in a political misspending and wire fraud case and, for many hardware enthusiasts, that day came when a US politician was found guilty of illegally spending campaign money on over $1300 of Steam games. In the meantime, though, we've got news on AMD RX 5500 XT listings in China, AMD CPU marketshare growth via Steam Hardware Survey, NVIDIA saying that more FPS = more kills, and more.
EA's Origin launcher has recently gained attention for hosting Apex Legends, one of the present top Battle Royale shooters, but is getting renewed focus as being an easy attack vector for malware. Fortunately, an update has already resolved this issue, and so the pertinent action would be to update Origin (especially if you haven't opened it in a while). Further news this week features the GTX 1650's rumored specs and price, due out allegedly on April 23. We also follow-up on Sony PlayStation 5 news, now officially confirmed to be working with a new AMD Ryzen APU and customized Navi GPU solution.
Show notes below the embedded video, for those preferring reading.
Hardware news always slows slightly before Computex, but the industry still seems to be operating at full bore. If you're not already tuned-in, be sure to pay attention during June 4th to June 11th (or thereabouts) for major news from all aspects of the industry. Computex will be in full swing then, and there's always some straggler (and some early) coverage that's worth checking. We'll be at the show for its duration, plus some time for a short trip to Japan.
This week's hardware news recap can be found in video form below, or if you prefer written articles, we have the show notes below that. The anchor item for the week is Sony's PlayStation 5 and its potential usage of Zen architecture CPUs.
Last month, we published an article detailing the FTC addressing predatory warranty conditions, and in so doing, the FTC notified six companies of infractions violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. At the time of that writing, the names of the notified companies were not disclosed; however, Motherboard obtained the names via a Freedom of Information Act request, and they are as follows:
The right-to-repair bills (otherwise known as “Fair Repair”) that are making their way across a few different states are facing staunch opposition from The Entertainment Software Association, a trade organization including Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo as well as many video game developers and publishers. The proposed legislation would not only make it easier for consumers to fix consoles, but electronics in general, including cell phones. Bills have been introduced in Nebraska, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Kansas. Currently, the bill is the furthest along in Nebraska where the ESA have concentrated lobbying efforts.
Console makers have been a notable enemy of aftermarket repair, but they are far from alone; both Apple and John Deere have vehemently opposed this kind of legislation. In a letter to the Copyright Office, John Deere asserted—among other spectacular delusions, like owners only have an implied license to operate the tractor—that allowing owners to repair, tinker with, or modify their tractors would “make it possible for pirates, third-party developers, and less innovative competitors to free-ride off the creativity, unique expression and ingenuity of vehicle software.”
The last week's worth of computer hardware news contained a few disappointments – the removal of non-K overclocking from some boards, for one – and a few upshots. One of those upshots is on the front of VR, headed-up by Epic Games in a publicly released video reel of unique implementations. Virtual reality's use cases also expanded this week, as developers Epic Games have learned new means to utilize the technology (something we think needs to happen).
Our weekly hardware news recap is below, though the script has been appended for the readers out there. Topics for this week's round-up include Intel's crack-down on non-K overclocking, editing games within VR, AMD's Wraith, a Sony SSD, and some new peripherals.
Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA) recently filed to receive a trademark for the term “Let's Play,” best-known for its tenure and long history in the YouTuber gameplay video space. SCEA's filing for the “Let's Play” trademark was blocked by the US Patent and Trademark Office on the grounds of being “confusingly similar” – a legal control for excessive trademarking in a similar vertical – to the “Let'z Play of America” organization's trademark.
The annual Game Developers Conference is this week, with PAX East overlapping the tail-end of the event. We’ll be at both GDC and PAX, followed by the GPU Technology Conference about two weeks later.
Long-standing giant Microsoft posted its quarter four earnings and revenue report just recently, claiming 6.6 million Xbox units (One, 360) shipped during 4Q14. The company says its remarkably high console sales volume is a large contributor to a $26.5B gross revenue, producing $5.8B net income for the software and hardware company.
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