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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)

Google GDC 2019 Gaming Announcement

Here is the Google GDC gaming announcement.

Gather around as we unveil Google's vision for the future of gaming at #GDC19.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 19, 2019 12:23 PM (CDT)

All Myspace Data Before 2016 is Gone

Thanks to a "faulty server migration," MySpace has lost all data uploaded to the site before 2016. MySpace users started noticing the problem over a year ago, but tech support staff only recently started acknowledging that users' data may never come back. The Guardian claims "50m tracks from 14 million artists have been lost," and according to one of their articles from last year, the site still has many dedicated users.

Some have questioned how the embattled company, which was purchased by Time Inc in 2016, could make such a blunder. "I'm deeply sceptical this was an accident," wrote the web expert Andy Baio. "Flagrant incompetence may be bad PR, but it still sounds better than, 'We can't be bothered with the effort and cost of migrating and hosting 50m old MP3s.'" Myspace initially claimed the deletion was a temporary error, with customer support staff telling one user: "I have been informed the issue will be fixed." But by July last year it was publicly acknowledging that no such fix was forthcoming.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 19, 2019 8:39 AM (CDT)

Gaming Display Prices are Dropping

As anyone who recently built or updated a PC probably noticed, memory and GPU prices were conspicuously high throughout most of 2018 and late 2017. But, as we've said before, memory prices are dropping like a rock, while GPU prices are starting to level out thanks to the crypto mining bust. According to a recent report, another important component for any PC is expected to get cheaper throughout 2019. Digitimes claims that competition among "gaming monitor" manufacturers is starting to "heat up" as more Chinese LCD manufacturers enter the market. TV-size panel production is expected to grow as well, and OLED TVs in particular could get significantly cheaper as more OLED factories come online.

However, China's panel makers including BOE Technology, CPC-Panda LCD Technology and China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) have recently stepped into the gaming panel sector, encouraged by government policy support and high profits generated by such products. The growing competition has sent gaming monitor panel prices falling sharply, with models with refresh rates of 144Hz and below being hit hardest, indicated the sources. Prices of 144Hz and below gaming panels fell 10% on average in 2018 and has dropped another 5% so far in 2019, as most China-based suppliers are focusing on this segment, said the sources, noting that the prices of 144Hz models will continue to fall in the second quarter.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 14, 2019 8:47 AM (CDT)

YouTube Adds Feature to Fact-Check Viral Conspiracy Videos and Fake News

Continuing its effort to combat misinformation, YouTube has announced that future searches involving sensitive topics will be accompanied by "information panels" with debunks from fact-checking partners to alert users of potentially incorrect content. The videos themselves will not be fact checked, however; they will still appear in the search results.

Videos containing misinformation can still appear in the search results, but YouTube will generate these disclaimers when a query involves sensitive topics, with the intent to inform viewers as the company deals with the spread of misinformation on the platform. The feature is currently available to a limited number of users in India, one of YouTube’s largest markets with nearly 250 million users, for search queries in English and Hindi. The company said it will eventually expand it to users across the world, but declined to say when.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 11:30 AM (CDT)

MSI Gaming Monitor Stops a Stray Bullet (and Still Works)

PC gamer Eric Gan had five gunshots fired into his room Monday, one of which managed to hit the back of his monitor, an MSI Optix G27C2. Even if he were gaming at the time, he’d still be alive thanks to the display, which blocked the bullet from getting any further into the room. Incredibly, the monitor still works, but MSI is sending him a replacement anyway.

Of course, the bullet had already lost a significant amount of kinetic energy from penetrating through the wall before hitting the monitor. Had that not been the case, we expect the monitor would be in much worse shape. Either way, we're glad that Gan and his neighbors were unharmed in the incident.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 10:50 AM (CST)

Rotten Tomatoes Bans "Want to See" Score, User Comments before Films' Release

The world’s most popular review aggregator for film and television has announced it is making two significant changes to its website: Rotten Tomatoes will no longer show the "Want to See" percentage score for a movie during its pre-release period, nor will it allow comments prior to a movie’s release date. Many are convinced this decision was prompted by the recent review bombing of "Captain Marvel," but Paul Yanover, president of Fandango, which owns the RT, claims that had nothing to do with it. Yanover is a former Disney executive.

According to Rotten Tomatoes’ official statement, it eliminated the Want to See percentage score because it was sometimes confused with the Audience Score (submitted by those who have seen the movie), which is also represented as a percentage. There’s likely another reason Rotten Tomatoes wants to discourage negative buzz for movies ahead of their release: The site is part of NBCUniversal’s Fandango, which acquired the movie-ranking site in 2016 from Warner Bros. -- and negative comments and lower "Want to See" scores, whether those are from trolls or anyone else, may depress pre-release ticket sales.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 02, 2019 12:10 PM (CST)

Phil Spencer Comments on Developer Acquisitions and PC Gaming Plans

Microsoft recently acquired the long-running RPG developers Obsidian and inXile, and, given Microsoft's track record with acquisitions and PC titles in general, many fans were justifiably worried about what that means for either studio. But, in a recent interview with PC Gamer, Microsoft's Phil Spencer not only seemed cognizant of these concerns, but did his best to quell them. He said that it's "up to the studios to decide what platforms to make games for," and that he doesn't expect either developer to shift their focus away from PCs. Overall, it looks like both developers have plenty of leeway to make whatever they want, which mirriors what both studios have been loudly telling the public ever since they were acquired by Microsoft. Additionally, PC Gamer asked if gamers can expect Xbox games to show up on Windows, or if Microsoft Store games will ever show up on Steam. He said "It's a good question and something we've spent a lot of time thinking through. I expect us to share more details on our plans here soon." As they often have in the past, Microsoft repeatedly promised to do right by PC gamers this time around, but only time will tell if they follow up on that promise.

"While we are proud of our PC gaming heritage, we've made some mistakes along our journey. We know we have to move forward, informed by our past, with the unique wants, needs and challenges of the PC player at the center of decisions we make. I know we've talked quite a bit over time about what we want to deliver for the player on PC, but at E3 this year, and throughout 2019, you'll begin to see where we've been investing to deliver across Store, services, in Windows and in great games. It's just the beginning."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 27, 2019 9:52 AM (CST)

Valve Is Removing Steam Video Section; Retiring Non-Gaming Content

Valve’s plan for selling hit Hollywood blockbusters on a digital distribution platform meant for games didn’t turn out so well, it seems: the company has announced it is scrapping Steam’s movie catalog so it can focus primarily on gaming. The good news is that gamers won’t lose any of their previously purchased titles.

"In reviewing what Steam users actually watch, it became clear we should focus our effort on offering content that is either directly related to gaming or, is accessory content for games or software sold on Steam," Valve wrote in a blog post. "As part of this refocus, we have retired the Video section of the Steam Store menu with an expectation that video content is discovered via the associated game or software store page, or through search, user tags, recommendations, etc."

Discussion
Posted by Megalith February 24, 2019 1:40 PM (CST)

Linux Gaming Is on a Life-Support System Called Steam

Linux gamers should get on their knees and give Gabe’s feet a good kissing because Steam is largely responsible for keeping gaming on that platform alive, according to a piece by Engadget. While the percentage of Linux gamers hasn’t really grown and still represents a tiny fraction of the gaming market, some argue Valve’s enthusiasm for technologies such as Proton (which has brought thousands of Windows games to the open-source OS) is a great reason to back Steam instead of competitors such as the Epic Games Store, which lacks this kind of support.

One of the only reasons Linux is even a conversation nowadays is because Steam has kept its embers warm all these years. "The pro of supporting Linux is the community," Super Meat Boy Forever creator Tommy Refenes said. "In my experience, Linux gamers tend to be the most appreciative gamers out there. If you support Linux at all, the chances are they will come out of the woodwork to thank you, offer to help with bugs, talk about your game, and just in general be pretty cool people. The con here unfortunately is the Linux gaming community is a very, very small portion of the PC gaming market."

Discussion
Posted by Megalith February 23, 2019 4:25 PM (CST)

Got a Spare $43,000? You Could Spend It All on This Monster Gaming PC

OverclockersUK is selling a gaming PC that costs almost as much as a Tesla Model 3: for $43,000, filthy rich enthusiasts get a tower that is actually two systems in one, comprising three NVIDIA Titan RTX GPUs, a liquid-cooled and overclocked 18C/36T Intel Core i9-7890XE and 8C/8T i9-9700K, 144GB of DDR4 RAM, eight 2TB Samsung SSDs, and a 2000W power supply. Handle with care, UPS.

For those of us who fantasize about the dream PC we’ll buy as soon as our lottery numbers come up, here’s an option to consider: the OrionX2 from OverclockersUK. It costs the equivalent of just over $43,000, or around 20 high-end gaming PCs. 43 grand is, of course, an awful lot of money for a computer, but this isn’t your everyday PC. Designed by overclocking champion Ian "8Pack" Parry, the OrionX2 is actually two overclocked systems packed into one case, making it a workstation/gaming machine combo.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith February 23, 2019 2:25 PM (CST)

A "Legend" Reborn: Logitech Brings Back the MX518 Gaming Mouse

Logitech has announced it is re-launching what "many consider to be the finest gaming mouse of all time," the MX518. The original, which was launched over a decade ago, has been updated with the latest, next-generation technologies including a HERO 16K sensor and 32-bit ARM processor allowing for a super fast 1ms report rate. Also featured are eight programmable buttons for custom commands, as well as onboard memory for saving preferences directly to the mouse.

As one of the most-beloved gaming mice ever, MX518 has inspired legions of fans around the world to ask Logitech G to bring it out of retirement. And we heard you. We pulled the original tools from the Vault and meticulously restored them -- right down to the original glossy keyplate. It’s the classic, comfortable shape you know and love, now with modern components that perform to today’s advanced standards and a new, updated Nightfall color scheme.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith February 23, 2019 9:55 AM (CST)