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2021 BMW 4 Series Coupe: Nosing Into a New Era – The Truth About Cars

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BMW has dropped the curtain on its next-generation 4 Series coupe, the first member of what will become a broad family of revamped right-sized offerings.

To not mention the redesigned 4 Series’ new schnoz would be akin to staying mum on a two-ton elephant scattering canapés at a garden party, so let’s get started with that.

Spy photos, as well as a heavily foreshadowing concept coupe, told us we’d be in for a surprise when the new 4 Series debuted. Well, consider us rattled. Not since Jennifer Grey went under the knife has there been this much ink spilled about a new beak. It’s big, and it’s tall — so tall, in fact, that the lower air opening is forced to partial wrap itself around it, making for a partial grille-within-a-grille. On either side are aggressive (and large) side vents.

If BMW’s plan was to make sure the new 4 Series gets noticed, its designers certainly did their job. And it may very well be the right thing to do, given the need for any passenger car still on the market to attract the attention of buyers.

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Overall, the 4 Series coupe grows in every direction. Compared to the outgoing model, the new car grows 5.2 inches in length, 1 inch in width, and boasts a 1.6-inch longer wheelbase. Front and rear tracks grow 1.4 and 1.2 inches, respectively. The roofline now reaches four-tenths of an inch closer to heaven. Beneath it all, a new CLAR platform lends the model additional stiffness.

Despite the larger footprint, the 4 Series coupe slips through the air with more ease, what with a coefficient of drag lowered from .29 to .25.

Out back, L-shaped LED taillights share fascia room with slits designed to mimic (mock?) the breathable front gills. This styling flourish was more impressive before it showed up on the Toyota Camry. Of course, choosing the M Sport Package will increase the presence of mesh both front and rear.

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Regardless of whether you opt for the four-cylinder 430i or six-cylinder M440i xDrive, you’re in line for more power. The base turbocharged 2.0-liter four now makes 255 horsepower and 294 lb-ft of torque, up from 248/258. The 3.0-liter turbo inline-six now sports a 48-volt mild hybrid system and an output of 382 hp and 369 lb-ft — up from 320/330.

Offered with standard rear-drive or optional xDrive all-wheel drive in 430i form, the 4 Series coupe will be joined by a convertible and gran coupe (sedan) before long, while the upcoming i4 will ditch internal combustion altogether. All 4 Series coupe models carry an updated eight-speed automatic, with M440i xDrive variants donning an M Sport rear differential for even torque distribution to the rear wheels during quick takeoffs.

As seen on the recently revealed 5 Series, the six-cylinder’s mild hybrid system will shut the engine off at 9 mph when braking to a stop. Under hard acceleration, the starter-generator can add 11 hp to the fray. Fuel economy for either engine is TBD.

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Inside the cabin, drivers will be greeted by an analog gauge cluster, assuming they haven’t sprung for the 12.3-inch digital display. Found as standard fare in all 4 Series models are a healthy list driver-assist features; among them, lane departure warning with steering correction, pedestrian warning with braking function, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, rear collision preparation, and automatic high beams.

The rear seat is still a two-person affair, now with a threesome of pass-throughs for hauling large objects in the trunk.

Hitting global markets in October, the 2021 4 Series carries a U.S. base price of $45,600 (before destination) for the 430i Coupe, $47,600 for the 430i xDrive Coupe, and $58,500 for the M440i xDrive Coupe.

[Images: BMW AG]

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Epic Games Receives Strategic Investment from Sony Corporation – Business Wire

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TOKYO & CARY, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sony Corporation (“Sony”) and Epic Games, Inc. (“Epic”) are pleased to announce that Sony has agreed to make a strategic investment of $250 million to acquire a minority interest in Epic through a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. The investment cements an already close relationship between the two companies and reinforces the shared mission to advance the state of the art in technology, entertainment, and socially-connected online services.

The investment allows Sony and Epic to aim to broaden their collaboration across Sony’s leading portfolio of entertainment assets and technology, and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem to create unique experiences for consumers and creators. The closing of the investment is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

“Epic’s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations. There’s no better example of this than the revolutionary entertainment experience, Fortnite. Through our investment, we will explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Corporation.

“Sony and Epic have both built businesses at the intersection of creativity and technology, and we share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences leading to a convergence of gaming, film, and music. Together we strive to build an even more open and accessible digital ecosystem for all consumers and content creators alike,” said Tim Sweeney, Founder and CEO of Epic.

About Sony Corporation

Sony Corporation is a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology. From game and network services to music, pictures, electronics, semiconductors and financial services – Sony’s purpose is to fill the world with emotion through the power of creativity and technology. For more information, visit: http://www.sony.net/

About Epic Games

Founded in 1991, Epic Games (epicgames.com) is a leading interactive entertainment company and provider of 3D engine technology. Epic operates Fortnite, the world’s largest game with over 350 million accounts and 2.5 billion friend connections. Epic also develops Unreal Engine, which powers the world’s leading games and is being adopted across industries such as film and television, architecture, automotive, and manufacturing for visualization and simulation. Epic has over 2,200 employees across 35 offices worldwide with headquarters in Cary, North Carolina. Follow @EpicGames for updates.

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Sony invests $250 million in Fortnite maker Epic Games – VentureBeat

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Sony has invested $250 million for a minority stake in Fortnite maker Epic Games, the companies announced today. With the new money, Epic Games has raised $1.83 billion to date.

The companies said the deal cements an already close relationship and reinforces their shared goal to advance the state of the art in technology, entertainment, and socially connected online services. This close relationship was underscored in May when Epic first showed the upcoming Unreal Engine 5 graphics running on a PlayStation 5. As the company itself has disclosed, Epic Games raised $1.58 billion to date in three previous funding rounds. In 2012, the company received a $330 million investment from Tencent for a 40% ownership stake.

Under the deal, the investment enables Sony and Epic to broaden their collaboration, with Sony’s portfolio of entertainment assets and technology and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem (think Fortnite’s increasing use as a social space or the Epic Games Store), to create unique experiences for consumers and creators. The closing of the investment is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Epic confirmed it will still be able to publish to other platforms. As noted, Sony is acquiring only a minority part of Epic Games, and it is not acquiring a controlling stake in the company. (Update: Sony is acquiring a 1.4% stake of Epic, which means the deal values Epic Games at $17.86 billion).

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The deal is important for Sony because it needs allies in the upcoming console war. Later this year, Sony plans to launch the PlayStation 5 game console in competition with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. But Epic has said that its Unreal Engine 5 and Fortnite will work with all game platforms, as Epic has generally been neutral when it comes to making cross-platform technology. If Sony gets any advantage from investing in Epic, it isn’t clear from this deal.

In a statement, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said that Epic’s technology keeps it at the forefront of game development and that is exemplified in the features of Fortnite. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, meanwhile, said in a statement that both Sony and Epic have created businesses at the intersection of creativity and technology and they share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences that will lead to a convergence of gaming, film, and music. He also said the parties plan to build a “more open and accessible digital ecosystem for all consumers and content creators.”

The music reference seems like a call out to the recent virtual Travis Scott concert in Fortnite, which drew more than 27 million people. The mention of a more open and accessible digital ecosystem is also a surprise, as Sweeney has long been a proponent of open systems, while Sony has been an example of a company that protects its proprietary technology. Sony has, however, enabled Fortnite to function as a crossplay game that also lets friends play each other across other platforms.

A separate deal

The deal is different from the one that Bloomberg reported in June, which we independently confirmed, that Epic Games was seeking to raise $750 million at a pre-money valuation of $16.3 billion, with a post-money valuation (the value of the company after the deal is done) of $17 billion. Epic declined to comment on that deal.

Epic Games is both the developer and publisher of Fortnite, which has more than 350 million registered users. And it is also the creator of the Unreal Engine, a fundamental toolset for building many games (and increasingly, making movies and TV).

Bloomberg said in June that new investors participating in the separate round are T. Rowe Price Group and Baillie Gifford. Existing investors KKR & Co. will also participate, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources. Epic did not comment on that detail either.

Above: This Lara Croft-like character is not a glimpse at the next Epic Games title.

Image Credit: Epic Games

Epic’s financials, based on sources

As we reported earlier in June, Epic Games’ fundraising gave us a window into the company’s current financial picture, as the privately held Epic does not disclose its revenues or profits. Epic has declined to comment on the below numbers.

Sources told GamesBeat that in 2019, Epic Games reported $4.2 billion in revenue and $730 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA, a key measure of profitability). Revenue for 2020 is forecast to be $5 billion, with EBITDA of $1 billion.

In April alone, thanks to the pandemic, Fortnite revenue was $400 million, sources told me. In April, players spent 3.2 billion hours in the battle royale shooter, sources said.

In 2018, Epic Games did better than it did in 2019. Revenue in 2018 was $5.6 billion, with EBITDA of $2.9 billion, sources said. Epic used a lot of that money to invest in its Epic Games Store, expanding its staff for Fortnite and Unreal Engine, and some acquisitions.

The Unreal Engine 5 can handle global illumination.

Above: The Unreal Engine 5 can handle global illumination.

Image Credit: Epic Games

In 2017, the company received a strategic investment from Disney as part of the 2017 Disney Accelerator program. And in October 2018, Epic raised $1.25 billion at a $14.5 billion post-money valuation. Investors in that round included KKR, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Ventures, Smash Ventures, and Iconiq.

As part of the Unreal Engine 5 announcement in May, Sweeney said in an interview with GamesBeat that Epic had a close relationship with Sony. “We’ve been working super-closely with Sony for quite a long time on the storage architecture and other elements. It’s been our primary focus. But Unreal Engine 5 will be on all next-generation platforms, and so will Fortnite,” Sweeney said at the time.

He added, “Sony has done an awesome job of architecting a great system here. It’s not just a great GPU, and they didn’t just take the latest PC hardware and upgrade to it, following the path of least resistance. The storage architecture in PlayStation 5 is far ahead of anything that you can buy in any PC for any amount of money right now. It’s great to see that sort of innovation. It’s going to help drive future PCs. They’ll see this thing ship and realize, ‘Wow, with two SSDs, we’ll have to catch up.’”

Epic Games didn’t say what it would use the money for. But it’s a good bet the company will continue to make acquisitions, invest in its Epic Games Store, expand Fortnite, and drive toward the creation of the Metaverse. The latter is the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. Sweeney has said this is one of his goals.

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Sony reveals the PS5 game box design – The Verge

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Sony revealed what the physical boxes for PlayStation 5 games will look like in a blog post on Thursday, using the upcoming Spider-Man: Miles Morales as an example. While they look a lot like, well, game boxes, there are still a few interesting design details to note.

Sony will once again sell games in blue cases, similar to PS4 games, but the PS5 cases are a slightly darker blue that seems to match the blue accents on the PS5 console and controller. And the PS5 header at the top of the game label is white and black (instead of the blue of the PS4 header), also matching the design of the PS5 hardware family.

The PS5 game box doesn’t appear to have any language indicating that you’ll need the PS5 with a disc drive to play games that come in physical boxes — but if you opt to get the digital-only PS5 when the consoles are released, you probably won’t be shopping for physical games anyway.

If you want to make more comparisons between the PS5 and PS5 game boxes, here’s the game box for Spider-Man on PS4:

Sony plans to launch the PS5 and Spider-Man: Miles Morales this holiday season.

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