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Audeze Mobius Review

Hardware Canucks has reviewed the $400 Audeze Mobius premium 3D gaming headset. The reviewer loved the 3D mode for movies, but didn't see the point in it for gaming. He also noted the decreased sound quality in 3D mode. The 3D tracking would lose the headphone's position and was entirely too slow to react to head movements when it worked. The reviewer didn't think the virtual 7.1 surround mode on the headset was that great, and the short range on the headset's Bluetooth would cause him issues if he walked around the office. The cabling included with the Audeze Mobius was subpar and the microphone quality was lackluster. He did appreciate the immersive sound quality that the planar magnetic headset exhibited when in Hi Rez mode. You can read our review of the Audeze Mobius here.

The Audeze Mobius is supposed to be a gaming headset that will satisfy audiophiles with incredible planar magnetic drivers and 3D positional audio. It has literally every feature but it also costs $400. But if you have the money, this might be the best gaming headset available.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 22, 2019 12:04 PM (CDT)

Sound BlasterX G6 Review

Audio Science Review has tested the Sound BlasterX G6 and found it to be surprisingly good for a budget device in a feature-filled package. During DAC testing it was discovered that the device's SINAD would rocket up to 112 dB if the level was dialed down by 2 dBFS (digitally.) Linearity was spot on but intermodulation distortion was a concern. Amirm discovered that dialing down the device by 2dBFS fixed the issue. He speculated that "The G6 is USB powered and likely doesn't have enough capacitance in its DC input to ride out the lasting peaks at low frequencies." The headphone amplifier measured great, and the output was decent but "there is no sensation of infinite power and you would be operating near or at max volume" when using the amp with a pair of Sennheiser HD-650 headphones. The last issue that irritated him was the lack of a properly working ASIO driver on Creative's website. He really liked the Sound BlasterX G6 and the review is full of charts and measurements conducted with a $28,300 Audio Precision APx555.

ADC Audio Measurements I was pleased that feeding the G6 2 volt, resulted in 0 dBFS showing no overflow. Performance though is not all that great with SINAD in the high 70s. We have lots of distortion components together with mains leakage. Compared to high-end products, we are short some 40 dB! Definitely not splitting hairs here.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 21, 2019 7:32 PM (CDT)

Intel Previews Processors and Graphics Software at GDC 2019

At their GDC 2019 conference, Intel confirmed that they'll launch 9th generation mobile processors in the 2nd quarter of 2019. While 9th generation H-series and Y-series "Ice Lake" parts recently showed up on the EEC website, Intel told PC World that these parts are based on 14nm Coffee Lake Silicon. The company also mentioned that one of their goals with his release is "longer battery life" for gamers and more casual users alike, and they're promoting their Wi-Fi 6 capable AX200 chip and 3D XPoint memory with the new chips Meanwhile, Intel also showed off a new software suite for their modern IGPs and (presumably) their future GPUs. The "Intel Graphics Command Center" is essentially their answer to Nvidia's GeForce Experience and AMD's Game Advisor, as it automatically scans your PC for supported games and applies the optimal settings for your current hardware. An "early access" version of the control panel is available on the Microsoft Store, and oddly enough, it says it was "released" on 11/26/2018. Unlike other app stores, the Microsoft Store doesn't log updates or list old changes, so it was presumably in some kind of closed alpha before being officially launched today.

We asked, you answered. You're tired of our 'old, boring, corporate-looking' Graphics Control Panel. We were too and we designed a completely new one from the ground up! We're incorporating the changes you - the gamers, home theater enthusiasts, professionals, and everyday tinkerers requested. Using a phased approach, we're rolling out something we're proud to share with you: introducing the Intel Graphics Command Center.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 21, 2019 9:54 AM (CDT)

Linux Gaming Across 9 Distros [Review in Progress]

Jason Evangelho of Forbes has started a Linux series where he reviews various Linux distributions (distros) for ease of use and performance in regards to Linux gaming. Jason's series isn't about just running benchmarks as he asks questions that everyday users would need to find out. Where am I going to get up-to-date graphics drivers for my AMD or NVIDIA graphics card? How is the default state of gaming on the Linux distro? Can I get Steam working right out of the box or am I going to have to tweak my system to accomplish this task? The 9 Linux distros that he is going to test in the series includes: Fedora 29 Workstation, Pop!_OS 18.10, Debian 9, Solus 4, Manjaro 18, Linux Mint 19, elementary OS 5, Deepin 15.9, and Ubuntu 18.10. His test system consists of an AMD Ryzen 5 2600, Radeon Sapphire RX 580, Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 1080 and more. So far he has tested Fedora 29 Workstation and Pop!_OS 18.10 with Pop!_OS 18.10 easily winning hands down in usability and performance. With the recent announcement that Google is leveraging Linux, Vulkan, first party games, and open-source AMD drivers for games running on its Google Stadia game streaming service; Linux gaming performance may enter into our PC gaming world very soon!

If you're an NVIDIA user, good news: Pop!_OS has a separate installer image for you which automatically installs the proprietary (and far more performant) graphics driver. Again, there's no need to enable alternative software sources or hit the command line. The moment your OS is installed you're ready to start gaming. You'll be using the latest and greatest stable driver, Nvidia 418.43. Radeon gamers have an advantage across several Linux distributions: the open source driver is part of the kernel (and thus ready to use immediately), well maintained and quite performant. This typically means less steps to get up and running with Steam and Steam Proton. One distinct difference between Pop!_OS and Fedora, however, is that Fedora runs with a much newer MESA driver. Specifically, Fedora 29 uses MESA 18.3.4 while Pop uses MESA 18.2.8. The kernel on Pop is also a bit older, but again I noticed no disadvantage on the gaming side save for one: updating your kernel to 5.0 will add Freesync support which is a feature I can't live without. It is quite literally a game-changer.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 20, 2019 12:23 PM (CDT)

Valve Addresses Review Bombing on Steam by Removing Them from Review Scores

To mitigate the effects of review bombing, Valve announced Friday it has a built a tool that would identify and alert the moderation team of any game with "anomalous review activity." After a case of review bombing is confirmed, the reviews submitted under this time period would then be removed from the review score calculation. Gamers can opt out of this change, however, and "off-topic review bombs" will remain on the site for anyone curious enough to read them.

Once our team has identified that the anomalous activity is an off-topic review bomb, we'll mark the time period it encompasses and notify the developer. The reviews within that time period will then be removed from the Review Score calculation. As before, the reviews themselves are left untouched - if you want to dig into them to see if they're relevant to you, you'll still be able to do so. To help you do that, we've made it clear when you're looking at a store page where we've removed some reviews by default, and we've further improved the UI around anomalous review periods.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 9:30 AM (CDT)

Hunt: Showdown Is Coming to Xbox Game Preview

Crytek has announced that Hunt: Showdown is coming to Xbox Game Preview this Spring. Game Preview allows Xbox users to support and play games that are still in development. Follow the game's development on social media to find out when the game is released.

It is official: Hunt: Showdown will be coming to Xbox Game Preview this Spring! Game Preview gives Xbox players the chance to support and play games--like Hunt: Showdown--that are still in development. Here's our sweet new teaser to celebrate the announcement--and a clip from a new song written exclusively for the game. Check it out, and tell all your Xbox-loving friends! We'll be announcing the exact date on all of our social media channels, so follow us on Discord, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 11, 2019 6:22 PM (CDT)

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - Senpou Temple Region Preview

IGN has released 11 minutes of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice game footage that focuses on the Senpou Temple region of the action RPG. Even though the game exudes its Dark Souls and Bloodborne heritage through its "sprawling world full of darkness and mystery around every corner;" it is clearly its own beast. IGN says the game mechanics are what set the title apart from other Dark Souls adventures and copycats. The game launches onto consoles and PC on March 22, 2019.

Perhaps the biggest departure, though, is the fact that Sekiro has no customizable stats, no character classes, no souls or blood echoes, no crafting mechanics, and the sword that you start with is the sword that you'll be using throughout the rest of the game. Basically, instead of having a traditional stamina meter, Sekiro allows you to attack, jump, and roll as much as you like. This facilitates an extremely fast and relentless pace to the action. To succeed at Sekiro's combat, you absolutely must balance a steady stream of offense, while also being constantly at the ready to defend, because even the most basic of enemies will parry your own strikes and deliver a counter of their own to turn the tide of a battle.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 06, 2019 2:17 PM (CST)

ACG Reviews Devil May Cry 5

Karak of ACG on YouTube has released his latest review for the action packed, hack and slash, Devil May Cry 5. The game launches onto consoles and PC on March 8, 2019. In this review he covers everything from the game's environments, game engine improvements from prior titles in the series, voice acting, soundscapes, riveting gameplay, and overall value. At the end he gives it a "buy, wait for sale, rent, or never touch" rating.

Karak reviews DMC 5 coming out the 8th for PC, PS4, and Xbox.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 06, 2019 11:33 AM (CST)

German Court Upholds Paid Amazon Review Case

Representing another win in the fight against paid reviews, a recent report claims that a German court upheld an Amazon case against undisclosed, paid reviews on their site. The provider supposedly offered 3rd party Amazon sellers positive reviews in exchange for some sort of compensation, such as a discount on the product, but the court banned the company from publishing reviews without advertising their "commercial background."

The ruling is not yet legally binding as the company can still appeal. Amazon's community guidelines prohibit compensation for reviews, but the practice has still proliferated, prompting Amazon to seek to sue sellers who buy reviews. Amazon tightened up its rules in 2016 to only allow reviewers to accept a free or discounted product as long as they disclose that fact, and use the Amazon "Vine" program to post their opinions.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 05, 2019 11:51 AM (CST)

FTC Fines Amazon Merchant $12.8 Million for Fake Advertising and Paid Reviews

Yesterday, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced what it says is "its first case challenging a marketer's use of fake paid reviews on an independent retail website." The FTC claims that Cure Encapsulations, Inc. paid third party reviewers to write and post fake reviews on Amazon, and that they also made "false and unsubstantiated claims" about the weight loss supplement they were trying to sell. In addition to forcing the Amazon merchant to provide "competent and reliable scientific evidence" to back up the claims about the company's current and future products, the proposed FTC court order "imposes a judgment of $12.8 million, which will be suspended upon payment of $50,000 to the Commission and the payment of certain unpaid income tax obligations. If the defendants are later found to have misrepresented their financial condition to the FTC, the full amount of the judgment will immediately become due." Thanks to KitGuru for the tip.

"People rely on reviews when they’re shopping online," said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "When a company buys fake reviews to inflate its Amazon ratings, it hurts both shoppers and companies that play by the rules..." The FTC alleges that the defendants paid a website, amazonverifiedreviews(dot)com, to create and post Amazon reviews of their product. The FTC contends that Jacobowitz told the website's operator that his product needed to have an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars in order to have sales and to, "Please make my product … stay a five star." As described in the FTC's complaint, the reviews the defendants bought were posted on Amazon.com and gave the product a five-star rating. The complaint charges the defendants with representing that the purchased Amazon reviews were truthful reviews written by actual purchasers, when in reality they were fabricated.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 27, 2019 9:23 AM (CST)

Post Release Reviews of Anthem are Still Mixed

Anthem had a rather complicated release schedule, so complicated that EA had to publish a 4 by 5 chart just to let players figure out when they can play the game. But as of February 22nd, Anthem is out for pretty much everyone, and the gaming press has had a whole weekend and a few weekdays to digest Bioware's latest RPG. While a "day one" patch has addressed many of the issues earlier reviewers had with the game, it seems that other still aren't satisfied with with the title's core features. IGN's review, for example, says that "Only during two major plot developments during the approximately 15-hour storyline do the things being discussed here appear to have actual consequence beyond the gates of Fort Tarsis, pairing unique mission gameplay with story elements in a meaningful way - even though there are no meaningful decisions to be made that affect outside gameplay." This stands in stark contrasts to Bioware's previous titles, and seems to get in the way of the story aspects Bioware tried to insert into the multiplayer action. Combat is generally a positive point, as it was in Andromeda and Mass Effect 3, but overall I get the impression that the core combat loop feels grinder and less diverse than it did in previous games. The "repeating waves of enemies" The Guardian mentioned in their review are reminiscent of Mass Effect 3's multiplayer mode, but I've seen more than one journalist draw unfavorable comparisons to the WoW-like repetition of Star Wars: the Old Republic.

Anthem has been built to serve its audience long-term, so it is probable that the game will improve in the coming months. An exhaustive list of technical hitches are due to be fixed imminently, for instance. But even where it is strongest, Anthem rarely stretches beyond the derivative. The combat, while well-designed, is little more than Gears of War with jetpacks, and narratively it veers between inconsequential and downright irritating. This anthem is, sadly, a tedious and conservative dirge that we've all heard before.

After the commercial failure of Mass Effect: Andromeda, many view Anthem as one of Bioware's last chances to keep the themselves afloat, but the studio does seem committed to the long-term support of the game. Thanks to gamesindustry.biz for the helpful review roundup. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 26, 2019 12:13 PM (CST)

Nokia 9 PureView: The World's First Quintuple Camera Smartphone

Because one, two, three, or even four cameras isn’t enough, Nokia has announced a new PureView phone that boasts five rear sensors: "ZEISS optics on the back, two of which are RGB and the other three - monochrome." These work in unison, capturing lighting, detail, and color data to stitch a 12MP image. "According to HMD, taking a single photo results in at least 60 MP of imaging data being processed."

This is made possible with a dedicated image co-processor, which helps out with the heavy task. Every picture is HDR, can have up to 12.4 stops of dynamic range, and ends up with a full scene 12 MP depth map. Yes, this means that you will be able to use a depth editor to specifically adjust bokeh effects after the photo has already been taken. It'll even allow you to tweak colors and contrast between different depth fields. And yes, it can shoot RAW.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith February 24, 2019 11:25 AM (CST)