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This is a discussion on Game Tech News within the Electronics forums, part of the Non-Related Discussion category; This has been an incredible year for the Xbox team. There’s new hardware on store shelves, cross-platform play is going ...

      
   
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    Ultimate Xbox One holiday gift guide



    This has been an incredible year for the Xbox team. There’s new hardware on store shelves, cross-platform play is going strong, and the Xbox 360 backwards compatible catalog continues to grow. In spite of the platform’s rough launch in 2013, the past three years have been very kind to the Xbox One. And if nothing else, 4K UHD TV owners have a very good reason to grab a new console this holiday season.

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    Ultimate PlayStation 4 holiday gift guide



    Sony has been extraordinarily busy in recent months. In 2016 alone, we’ve seen two major revisions of the PS4 hardware, the release of a new VR helmet, a revised DualShock 4 design, and loads of excellent new games. If you’re shopping for a die-hard PlayStation fan this holiday season, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

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    The best science gifts for kids in 2016



    The idea of a “science toy” sort of breaks down below a certain age. A toddler who cannot yet read does not need a scientific calculator, for example, and even the most science-oriented second-grader might struggle to make it through the collected works of Stephen Hawking. If you’ve got a youngling to buy for, we’ve put together some gift ideas we think they’ll enjoy: things that will cultivate curiosity and stand up to whatever a kid might put them through, or at least be inexpensive enough to use hard and then grow out of, while respecting the idea that kids can be interested in things they maybe can’t yet do with all the finesse of an adult. Fear is the mind-killer. Don’t let that new microscope collect dust in a closet because your budding biologist is afraid to break it and get yelled at. Remember, kids: the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.

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    Holiday gifts for every major species of geek fandom



    “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” William Morris once wrote. In the spirit of that quote, here’s a gift guide that’s got something for every major species of geek fandom. In fact, many of these are inexpensive enough to be suitable for a $20 or less gift exchange.

    Classic sci-fi

    William Gibson’s Neuromancer punches well above its weight as a founding member of the cyberpunk genre. When I read this in high school, I took it with me everywhere until I was done with it, reading it in class and shamelessly ignoring teachers.

    Doctor Who

    Be a Time Lord for a little while and swoop in wielding this sonic screwdriver that’s also actually a real, useful screwdriver. It’s $35, and it takes the same size hex-stock mini screwdriver bits as your electronics micro screwdriver set.

    Fantasy

    George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, the books behind the Game of Thrones, is a sprawling, intricate and engaging read. Good for someone who really likes to hate antagonists and watch people die. Hardbound, so that when your giftee inevitably starts throwing the books, the resulting destruction is more satisfying.
    For someone who tends to fall for protagonists, enjoys Scottish accents, or has a thing for time travel, check out the Outlander series: after reading it I now want to be Claire when I grow up. If your giftee is already into the series and they’ve read the books, try a fuzzy blanket with Jamie Fraser’s crest and clan motto on it.
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    GPU sales surged in 2016 on strong demand for high-end desktop, laptop gaming



    After Nvidia’s record-breaking quarter earlier this month, it was clear that the overall gaming market had to be in fairly good shape. New data confirms this trend, both relative to the previous quarter and the same period a year ago. No matter where you look, overall gaming shipments are up — but the gains from those improvements aren’t being spread equally between AMD and Nvidia.

    This new information is courtesy of John Peddie Research and has been extensively discussed by Anandtech. First, the general market news — gaming GPU sales have rebounded to an estimated 13 million unit shipments between AMD and Nvidia, with AMD accounting for roughly 3.8 million units compared to Nvidia’s estimated 9.25 million units. That’s the best quarterly performance since 2013 and it arrives while the rest of the PC industry continues to contract. Clearly there’s some truth to the argument that gaming and other high-end boutique products have become the success story of the PC business. It also explains why we’ve seen so many firms trying to push into high-end machines as opposed to refreshing mass market hardware.

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    No Manís Sky ĎFoundationí update is live, but donít expect a whole new game



    It would be fair to say No Man’s Sky has been one of the biggest disappointments in modern gaming history. After two years of extraordinary hype, the game launched earlier this year to mostly negative reviews. Many of the features that were promised by developer Hello Games were missing, and the final game was scarcely a match for the awe-inspiring trailers, and the company’s silence after months of frantic communication went over poorly with much of the community, to the point that hackers took over the firm’s social media accounts (briefly) to apologize for the game. Hello Games is trying to redeem itself after months of silence with the “Foundation” patch, which has just launched on PC and PS4.

    I’ve been playing around with the Foundation patch (AKA v1.1) to see if it fundamentally changes the experience. The headlining change in this patch is the option to build bases. Yes, in a game of exploration, you can choose a home planet. The resources you gather from around the galaxy can be used to build new sections of the base, eventually leading to complex, labyrinthine corridors. Your bases can be used to grow resources, research new technologies, and house your alien helpers.

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    Final Fantasy XV compromises visual quality differently in every version



    Few games have been through ten years of development hell, and come out the other side in good shape. Final Fantasy XV has been through numerous platforms, names, and directors in the last decade, but it’s finally made its way to store shelves this week.

    Final Fantasy XV began its life as Final Fantasy Versus XIII — a PS3 game in the same setting as Final Fantasy XIII. The dev team spun its wheels for years under the Versus XIII banner, but the game was eventually internally rebooted as the 15th numbered installment in the series. After a bit more turmoil, and some lackluster demos, we get to see for ourselves if all of this time and effort was worth it in the end.

    Over at our sister site IGN, the game received a “Great” rating of 8.2/10. The reviewer spoke highly of the characters and environment, but the real-time combat and limited magic system were a bit disappointing. Similarly, the PS4 version of Final Fantasy XV currently holds an 84/100 on Metacritic based on 35 reviews. Sadly, the Xbox One version hasn’t been widely reviewed yet, so there’s not a great apples-to-apples comparison available.

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    Gears of War 4 competitive cross-play being tested this weekend between PC, Xbox One owners



    If you’re still playing Gears of War 4’s multiplayer, this weekend has something special on offer. The Coalition team has decided to enable competitive cross-play for this weekend in hopes of gathering data on what it’s like for Xbox One and PC gamers to go head-to-head. Unifying the PC and Xbox audience has recently been a priority at Microsoft, and 2016 has seen some massive steps forward. The Play Anywhere initiative allows gamers to buy a single copy of a game, and play it on both console and PC. Similarly, Redmond has made major strides in the cross-play department as well.

    Gears of War 4 launched with cooperative cross-play support, so PC players and Xbox One players have been teaming up for the last two months. The only major limitation was the lack of public match-making for competitive multiplayer. If everyone’s on the same team, no big deal. But the second you have KBAM and controller players going up against each other, then it becomes a problem. To solve the balance issue, The Coalition first needs to get a clear picture of how the two platforms stack up.

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    Latest Steam update adds full PS4 controller support, 4K in-home streaming



    Steam released an updated client in the last few days, with some noteworthy features and updates. The big news from this patch will be welcome for*anyone who likes using a PS4 controller on the PC — it’s now fully supported in Steam’s Big Picture mode. According to Valve, you can configure the PS4 controller the same way you’d configure a native Steam controller, with native API support and robust button mapping. You can even make use of the PS4’s gyro and map various functions to it.


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    Report: Nintendo Switch is Maxwell-based, built on 20nm technology



    For well over a decade, Nintendo has pursued a console strategy that put an emphasis on new and emerging gameplay as opposed to pushing graphics and CPU horsepower. This strategy has had decidedly mixed results, and with the Nintendo Switch, there was speculation that the company might have adopted a fundamentally different approach. Unlike the Wii and Wii U, Switch is supposed to be a hybrid mobile and living room console, suggesting Nintendo might put much more emphasis on adopting a leading-edge process node and cutting-edge graphics technology to reduce power consumption and improve performance-per-watt.

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