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"Star Trek 4" Rumored to Feature Female Villain, New Female Hero

The follow-up to 2016’s Star Trek: Beyond will be the first Star Trek movie ever directed by a woman, but not only that, rumors claim it will also feature a female villain and new female team member, potentially filling the void left by Anton Yelchin (Pavel Chekov), who died in a freak accident. Chris Hemsworth is reprising his role as George Kirk, who will cross paths with son Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine).

The fourth Star Trek film was announced shortly before Star Trek Beyond opened in theaters. However, Paramount went silent on the film for over a year after Star Trek Beyond underperformed at the box office. Paramount saw some leadership changes at the executive level and reconsidered its box office strategy and now Star Trek 4 is back on track.

Posted by Megalith July 15, 2018 3:55 PM (CDT)

No Next-Gen Radeon until February 2019?

Based on information gleaned from roadmap slides posted at XFastest, VideoCardz predicts that a new Radeon series (i.e., 600) will not appear (from ASRock, at least) until February or March, at earliest. Optimists say there could be an NDA in play, but in any case, the company’s lineup of 500-series cards ends two months into 2019.

According to some rumors, ASRock was planning to introduce RX Vega graphics cards with custom cooling solutions, but the slide does not seem to confirm that such graphics cards are planned, at least not yet. The most interesting tidbit from this roadmap is lack of any future Radeon series till at least February/March. One would guess this is when new series (600) could appear or when Radeon 500 series will no longer matter.

Posted by Megalith July 15, 2018 3:30 PM (CDT)

Intel Board Partners Add Support for Next-Generation CPUs to Z370 Motherboards

Major manufacturers have released new BIOS updates for their Z370 motherboards, and these happen to include support for Intel’s next-generation CPUs. The expected target is Coffee Lake Refresh, which includes an 8-core model (Core i9-9900K).

With the actual 9th-generation core, codenamed "Ice Lake," still far away from launch on desktop PCs, it looks like the 9th-generation branding will be coming to desktops early but in the form of Coffee Lake Refresh. This lineup is also expected to feature the much awaited 8-core option from Intel which will put them next to AMD’s Ryzen processors in the mainstream desktop segment.

Posted by Megalith July 15, 2018 10:25 AM (CDT)

Uber Invests in Scooter Rental Company Lime

The New York Times is reporting that Uber has made a significant investment into the scooter rental company Lime. Lime was recently able to secure an additional $335 million in overall fund raising which elevated the value of the company to $1.1 billion. Uber has gained the right to display Lime scooters as a rental option in their app and some Lime scooters will bear the Uber logo. At $1 to unlock the scooter and $0.15 a minute to ride, the Lime scooter rental experience seems to be priced appropriately. Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is positioning Uber as a hub of transportation activity so the cross-branding makes sense; but I have yet to see how either company is going to handle the problems with bike returns. In many cities where these bike and scooter rental companies do business, the customers aren't parking the returned vehicles properly. It has led to articles like this detailing the stacks of jumbled bikes in Dallas left by customers of Limebike and others. San Franciscans are not happy about this either. That all said, Bird Hunters have shown that scooter collection can lead to fun and profit.

Uber’s investment in Lime is part of a furious land grab in the transportation world. After Uber acquired Jump in April, Lyft said it was also getting into bike-sharing. Last week, Lyft said it was buying Motivate, the parent company of CitiBike and other similar programs in American cities. The financial terms were not disclosed, but media reports said Lyft was in talks to pay about $250 million for the company.

Posted by cageymaru July 10, 2018 9:24 AM (CDT)

Chinese Wind Turbine Company Convicted of Stealing Trade Secrets

ASMC of Massachusetts won their court case against a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer in January and was awarded nearly $60 million in restitution payments. Sinovel Wind Group was convicted of conspiracy, theft of trade secrets and wire fraud by a federal jury for conspiring with former AMSC engineer Dejan Karabasevic to steal ASMC's source code for software crucial to regulating the flow of electricity from the turbines to the electrical grids. They were hit with an additional $1.5 million dollar fine, which is the maximum allowed by law, on July 6, 2018 in federal court. ASMC which relied on Sinovel for 70% of their revenue was immediately fired from all contracts with the Chinese company after the theft of intellectual property. They had to shutter one field office and scale back operations in another. This loss of income caused the American company to fire 700 workers as their stock price tanked by 50% in one day. American prosecutors are touting this as a win because Sinovel's total assets dropped from $3.4 billion to $1 billion. I fail to see this rosy ending as Sinovel is still making wind turbines within China and ASMC lost $1.1 billion in value. That's like getting back $60 when someone steals $1,100 from you.

During the trial, prosecutors provided evidence of how in 2011 a disgruntled AMSC engineer, Dejan Karabasevic, who was based in Austria, conspired with two Sinovel officials, Su Liying and Zhao Haichun, to steal AMSC’s copyrighted information and trade secrets to produce wind turbines and retrofit existing wind turbines. A jury learned that Karabasevic downloaded the source code for AMSC software needed to operate its wind turbines from a server located at AMSC’s Middleton office. Karabasevic, who lives in Serbia, and Su and Zhao, both of whom live in China, have been charged with the same crimes but their countries are not extraditing them to the U.S., O’Shea said.

Posted by cageymaru July 10, 2018 7:51 AM (CDT)

Tencent Going After Steam With WeGame Launching Worldwide

Tencent has announced that it plans to take it's PC games marketplace, WeGame, worldwide starting with a Hong Kong version. The announcement comes shortly after Valve announced a Chinese version of it's PC games marketplace, Steam. While WeGame is tiny compared to Steam, currently having only 220 titles on the platform, Tencent, the Chinese conglomerate that owns it has invested in, or acquired several major games firms according to a report from GamesIndustry. Tencent's reach includes Riot Games, Epic Games, Glu Mobile, Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft and more.
Competition is always a good thing. And Lord knows that the Microsoft Store isn't giving Valve and headaches.

It's likely new releases will also be able to reach Chinese gamers faster than they do under the current system. All games headed for China must be reviewed by the government, and are often rejected for even the slightest hint of violence or sexual content. By launching games via a Hong Kong-based site, which is accessible to Chinese gamers but not under the restrictions of the government, Tencent can rapidly expand WeGame's catalogue.

Posted by rgmekanic July 09, 2018 6:38 PM (CDT)

Video Gamers May Soon Be Paid More than Top Pro Athletes

Due to the growing economic outlook for video gaming sports, which continues to attract both fans and increasing advertisers, eSport stars may be getting rewarded just as handsomely as pro athletes in traditional sports. According to one trend report, eSports could reach revenues as high as US$2.4 billion by 2020.

This popularity also opens up more opportunities to compete on the professional level and earn huge endorsements, prize money and salaries just like LeBron James, Serena Williams, Danica Patrick or Sidney Crosby. In fact, higher education eSports programs are already launching across the country and college scholarships are now commonplace, further acknowledging the economic viability and social acceptability of this phenomenon.

Posted by Megalith July 08, 2018 9:45 AM (CDT)

Nintendo Trademark Sparks GameCube Classic Edition Rumor

New trademarks discovered by fan blog Japanese Nintendo suggest a GameCube Classic could be on the way. While Nintendo recently revealed that GameCube controller support would be coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, these are multiple trademarks, all of which "specifically pertain to video game software and video game machines."

Unsurprisingly, the news of the trademarks has sent rumors flying in the Nintendo fan community. One popular theory is that Nintendo is preparing a GameCube Classic Edition for release. Like the company did with the NES Classic and SNES Classic Edition consoles, Nintendo could potentially release a miniaturized GameCube with a selection of much-loved games.

Posted by Megalith July 07, 2018 3:05 PM (CDT)

Valve Leaks Steam Game Player Counts

Thanks to a (now patched) hole in Valve's API, there is a definitive ranking of Steam games (with developer-defined Achievements) based on player estimates. Team Fortress 2 is in first place with over 50 million players, trailed closely by Counterstrike 2 at 46 million. The full CSV may be accessed here.

Because this data is derived directly from Steam's API for each game, it ends up much more precise than the old Steam Gauge/Steam Spy estimation methods, which relied on random sampling of a small portion of the Steam player base. But this method only works for games with developer-defined Achievements, so it covers about 13,000 of the roughly 23,000 games now on Steam.

Posted by Megalith July 07, 2018 2:25 PM (CDT)

Microsoft Is Seeking Input from Japanese Developers for the Next Xbox

In an interview with popular Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, Microsoft’s Xbox Head Phil Spencer not only confirmed that his team has started planning the next Xbox console, but that they have also been working closely with Japanese developers on how to better design it. This could mean that the console will offer a unique gameplay experience, and not just brute performance.

The company has been discussing with Japanese developers on the innovations they want to bring to the whole architecture of the gaming industry. Spencer acknowledged the importance of resolution and framerate but also added that the future Xbox will not be just about that; they want to make something that would be significantly better than what came before.

Posted by Megalith July 07, 2018 1:35 PM (CDT)

Anthem Full Gameplay Demo - E3 Best Action Game Winner

A lot of people have been looking forward to BioWare's Anthem and a few details and videos have dribbled out over time. The video we're taking a look at today comes directly from BioWare and shows 20 minutes of gameplay featuring teamwork, how the exosuits fly, and even has a boss fight. I like how the developer explains what's going on. Check it out.
Posted by Montu July 06, 2018 8:35 AM (CDT)

Best Steam Games of 2018 So Far

Steam has published its "The Best of 2018 (SO FAR)" list that covers its Top Sellers, Top New Releases, Top Selling VR Games, and the Most Simultaneous Players. Interestingly, the number 2 and 3 spots on the Top Sellers list are Free to Play.
Posted by Kyle July 05, 2018 3:50 PM (CDT)