Gaming

Is Nintendo ending production of Wii U this week?

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This year could be the end of the line for the struggling Wii U. Nintendo will reportedly halt production of its current home console this Friday, Japanese newspaper Nikkei and gaming site Eurogamer have claimed in separate reports, citing “multiple sources.”

To quote Eurogamer:

‘Nintendo’s Japanese production line will shut down for the last time this week after the final deadline for orders passed yesterday… Only a small number of further orders were placed.’

The news is hardly surprising, as the Wii U had struggled to draw an audience away from the Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One following its well-received debut run. In July, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima concluded that confusion between the Wii and Wii U hurt the latter badly. The system’s odd and unwieldy tablet controller certainly didn’t help its cause.

Released in November 2012, the Wii U had big shoes to fill. Nintendo’s insanely popular Wii, the console that immediately preceded it, sold 101 million units; the GameCube and N64, 21 million and 32 million, respectively. Initial sales of the Wii U were strong, no doubt buoyed by the popularity of its predecessor and the novelty of exclusive, first-party games.

But since moving a few million units at launch, sales have been slow, and support from third-party game publishers withered as successes were few and far between. Nintendo eventually repeatedly lowered its sales forecasts for the console, blaming poor numbers throughout its lifespan. It has sold just 13.36 million systems worldwide as of the end of September. Its last earnings report shows that Wii U sales were down 53 percent versus the same period in 2015. Ouch.

All this isn’t to say the Wii U is dead as a door nail. In fact, it has one more noteworthy title slated for release sometime next year: Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. But then again, that game is coming out on the Switch as well, and most people may prefer playing it on new hardware. And after what Nintendo has shown in the Switch trailer, we wouldn’t blame anyone for not thinking twice about abandoning the Wii U altogether.

Source: Eurogamer

 

Gaming

Singtel introduces PVP eSports Championship

The telco’s next step in the world of gaming

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Singaporean telco giant Singtel has announced its latest eSports initiative, the PVP eSports Championship. It will be a multi-title regional eSports league from October 5 to 7, 2018 with a prize pool of US$ 300,000. For executives, the tournament is part of their efforts towards gaming within the Asia-Pacific region.

The tournament is done in partnership with industry players Razer, MET, Garena, and Blizzard. It will feature the popular PC game Dota 2 and Garena’s popular mobile game Arena of Valor. The Singapore leg of Blizzard’s global tour will also feature their popular game Hearthstone during the tournament.

Teams from Australia, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines will compete in local qualifiers organized by Singtel. The winning teams will then move on to the Grand Finals in Singapore, where they will compete against professional teams from North America, Europe, and China. The tournament also serves as Singtel’s opportunity to scout for Singapore’s own eSports team, which they wish to sponsor for future competitions.

Singtel hopes that the tournament builds upon current gaming initiatives from telcos like Globe in the Philippines and Telkomsel in Indonesia. Singtel CEO Arthur Lang recognizes the power of mobile gaming within the region, with smartphones being the main gaming device. “Telcos have every right to play in the growing gaming ecosystem,” Lang said in a statement.

To know more about the upcoming tournament and how to get there, you can visit its official website or MET’s official post. Singtel will provide details on streaming services for the tournament in the future.

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Gaming

Huawei’s GPU Turbo update will start rolling out in August

A number of Huawei phones are getting a GPU boost!

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Huawei is keen on giving their phones a performance boost through a software update. If you own a recent Huawei device, you must have heard of the upcoming GPU Turbo feature that the company claims will drastically improve graphics performance of existing smartphones.

The Chinese company has announced the official list of Huawei smartphones that’ll be getting the GPU Turbo feature. Along with it are the target release dates. Check out the table below:

Image credit: Huawei

A total of 14 devices will soon receive the update. Current flagships like the Mate 10 and P20 series will get GPU Turbo first by August, followed by the recently released midrange phones, such as the P20 Lite and Nova 2i, sometime in September. Thankfully, Huawei didn’t forget about last year’s P10 phones as well as the Mate 9 series from 2016; both will get the update in November.

Huawei’s claims about the GPU Turbo feature leave us wondering how it’ll actually work, so we’ll see whether it lives up to the promise when it launches. Just so you know, Huawei states it will improve graphics processing efficiency by 60 percent and reduce power consumption by 30 percent. AR and VR performance will also be improved.

Keep in mind that GPU Turbo will only work with PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang at launch. More games will be supported in the coming months.

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Genki finally gives us Bluetooth audio support for the Nintendo Switch

It’s about time!

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When I first bought a Switch, I knew I was getting the best-possible mobile gaming experience available today. However, my high hopes suddenly went downhill once I realized there’s no way of connecting my favorite Bluetooth headphones.

That’s right: Despite being designed for gaming on the go, the Switch has no way of accepting any form of Bluetooth audio — a feature that’s been present on smartphones and other gaming consoles for ages.

If you want sound outside of the built-in stereo speakers, you’d have to connect your headphones or portable speaker to the 3.5mm port. That’s not too bad, but it goes against the truly wireless era smartphones and mobile gadgets are (forcefully) ushering us into.

This is where Genki comes in. It’s a straightforward dongle that plugs into the USB-C port of the Switch and enables you to connect any Bluetooth audio device to the Nintendo console.

What’s great is that Genki draws minimal power from the console and can even provide sound to two devices at once thanks to the power of Bluetooth 5.0.

This is a simple solution to a problem Nintendo should’ve addressed long time ago. The Switch has been available for over a year now, and no first-party accessories have been released to add Bluetooth support.

It’s currently being funded on Kickstarter with only four days left to reach it’s US$ 30,000 goal. Clearly, people are seeing the need for Genki, since it has already amassed nearly US$ 400,000 as of writing!

There’s still time to pledge, but the cheapest US$ 29 deal is already gone and the US$ 49 Day One Edition is also no longer available. The estimated delivery date is October 2018.

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