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Last of Us Part II: Is this the most accessible game ever? – BBC News

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The first time Steve Saylor fired up the hotly-anticipated new game The Last of Us Part II, he burst into tears.

“Y’all don’t even know how much…” he says between sobs in his video of the moment, which has now had nearly half a million views.

“I’m sorry. I don’t even know what to say.”

Steve is legally blind, and was looking at the overwhelming accessibility options menu.

Courtney Craven, editor of accessibility-focused gaming site Can I Play That, is hard of hearing and has some motor-control issues, and had a similar reaction.

“The first thing I did upon launching [the game] for the first time was FaceTime a friend and cry,” she says.

The game has already been dubbed “the most accessible game ever”.

It has more than 60 different accessibility settings, allowing an unprecedented level of customisation and fine-tuning.

Every button can be changed, and one-handed control schemes are available by default.

Players like Courtney can turn on direction arrows on subtitles to indicate where the sound is coming from; players like Steve can outline characters and enemies in vivid colours.

‘The first time in my life’

Steve, who goes by the name “Blind Gamer” online, has nystagmus – an involuntary eye movement that blurs his vision. Ever since he was a child playing the original Nintendo Entertainment System, he has had to sit extremely close to the screen, and his reflexes haven’t always fitted into what modern games expect.

“For the first time in my entire life, I was able to sit back on the couch and play the game without any barriers getting in the way.” he says.

“I was able to sit comfortably and play a game just like if my friends were in the room playing with me. And that, to me, was extremely opening. It was emotional.”

In the interest of honesty, Steve is keen to let people know that he did consult with the game’s developer, Naughty Dog, when they were exploring accessibility issues – but he was never paid for it.

Courtney, meanwhile, suffers from being surprised by enemies that she is expected to hear, among other things.

“So many games have directional audio with characters saying things like, ‘over here!'” she explains.

“Hearing players can follow the direction of the voice but I’m often standing there like: ‘Uhhh, where is here?'”

A years-long battle

Game accessibility has come a long way in recent years, but gamers largely depend on individual developers to decide how much – or how few – accessibility options to include.

In recent years, a willingness by major developers such as Ubisoft to incorporate accessibility into the early stages of big-budget game design has helped push the subject forward.

In 2015, the Playstation 4 became the first major system to allow re-mapping of controller buttons at a system level, rather than relying on developers to include the option in their games. For many people with motor or dexterity impairments, that opened up the possibility of playing games that may previously have been unplayable.

A watershed moment came in 2018, with the release of Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller – a customisable unit which allowed disabled gamers to use a wide range of assistive devices such as switches and bite pedals. But it only solves problems for those who have trouble using a standard controller.

And big titles still come in for criticism from the community. Activision’s Spyro Reignited Trilogy was criticised when it was released without subtitles in its cut-scenes – while CD Projekt Red had to release a patch for blockbuster game The Witcher 3 to enable players to adjust the font size.

It is against that kind of backdrop that many are calling this latest success “the most accessible game ever”.

“We’re going to look back on this and [see] everything for accessibility before The Last of Us Part II, and after,” Steve says.

Courtney, who founded Can I Play That in November 2018 to focus on gaming accessibility, says the effort is unprecedented.

“A lot of games do some of these things. None of them have done all of them until now,” she says.

More players, more dollars

She hopes this game will be a blueprint for others to follow – and thinks there are rewards for developers who do.

“I think the monetary payoff will really be obvious,” she says. “So many people have told me that Can I Play That’s coverage of it was the deciding factor in them buying the game”.

But more importantly, she urged people to “make accessible games because you should. It’s the right thing to do.”

Steve puts it simply: “It just makes their game that much better.”

He points to friends without a diagnosed disability who told him their experience was made better by using some of the same options.

And he believes that this is the beginning of a new wave of advancement to come in the next decade.

“Obviously, the more accessible it can be the more that people can play, and that just means more dollars,” he says, pointing to a vast untapped audience.

“And as a developer, they want everyone to be able to play their game, so why not make it so that it’s accessible to those players?”

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iPhone 12 display leaked

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We’re getting an early glimpse at the display on the iPhone 12 thanks to an online leak, and it looks a lot like the screens on the most recent iPhones. That’s bad news if you were hoping that Apple would shrink the notch on its upcoming phones.

The leaked image comes from Mr. White, a Twitter user who has a habit of posting pictures of various iPhone components, like the upcoming A14 Bionic processor. That tweet, showing what appears to be an iPhone 12 panel, has since disappeared from Twitter, but MacRumors captured it before it vanished.

A subsequent tweet by Mr. White shows the panel in sharper detail, and this time the leaker notes that the new panel sports the “same Face ID size.”

If so, that’s going to disappoint people who’ve been clinging to the rumor that Apple would reportedly shrink the distinctive notch on its phones, as it would need less space to house the sensors and cameras that make up the iPhone’s Face ID image recognition system. Just a few days ago leaker Jon Prosser had said the move to a smaller notch was “mostly confirmed.”

It’s no secret that Apple would like to eventually downsize and maybe even do away with the notch on its smartphones. Reports from last year suggested that future Apple smartphones wouldn’t include a notch, though that wasn’t expected to happen until 2021.

It’s safe to say the iPhone’s notch divides opinion. First introduced with the iPhone X in 2017, the notch gives Apple phones a distinctive look that Android device makers have rushed to copy. The notch also supports Face ID, which gives Apple an edge over other devices with its secure face unlocking feature, not to mention fun messaging capabilities featuring animoji.

But the iPhone’s notch means that Apple phones still have a bit of a bezel bulging into the display. You only need to look at the just unveiled Samsung Galaxy Note 20 to see the benefits of uninterrupted display real estate.

As more Android phone makers adopt minimal bezels for their phones, Apple might feel pressured to do the same. Whether or not that begins to happen with the iPhone 12, however, remains very much up in the air.

Source- Tom’s Guide

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Smartphone chips running out under US sanctions, Huawei says – The Globe and Mail

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In this Oct. 31, 2019 photo, man uses his smartphone as he stands near a billboard for Chinese technology firm Huawei at the PT Expo in Beijing.

Mark Schiefelbein/The Associated Press

Chinese tech giant Huawei is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to U.S. sanctions and will be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive says, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from American pressure.

Huawei Technologies Ltd., one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the centre of U.S.-Chinese tension over technology and security. The feud has spread to include the popular Chinese-owned video app TikTok and China-based messaging service WeChat.

Washington cut off Huawei’s access to U.S. components and technology including Google’s music and other smartphone services last year. Those penalties were tightened in May when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using U.S. technology to produce components for Huawei.

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Production of Kirin chips designed by Huawei’s own engineers will stop Sept. 15 because they are made by contractors that need U.S. manufacturing technology, said Richard Yu, president of the company’s consumer unit. He said Huawei lacks the ability to make its own chips.

“This is a very big loss for us,” Yu said Friday at an industry conference, China Info 100, according to a video recording of his comments posted on multiple websites.

“Unfortunately, in the second round of U.S. sanctions, our chip producers only accepted orders until May 15. Production will close on Sept. 15,” Yu said. “This year may be the last generation of Huawei Kirin high-end chips.”

More broadly, Huawei’s smartphone production has “no chips and no supply,” Yu said.

Yu said this year’s smartphone sales probably will be lower than 2019’s level of 240 million handsets but gave no details. The company didn’t immediately respond to questions Saturday.

Huawei, founded in 1987 by a former military engineer, denies accusations it might facilitate Chinese spying. Chinese officials accuse Washington of using national security as an excuse to stop a competitor to U.S. tech industries.

Huawei is a leader among emerging Chinese competitors in telecoms, electric cars, renewable energy and other fields in which the ruling Communist Party hopes China can become a global leader.

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Huawei has 180,000 employees and one of the world’s biggest research and development budgets at more than $15 billion a year. But, like most global tech brands, it relies on contractors to manufacture its products.

Earlier, Huawei announced its global sales rose 13.1% over a year ago to 454 billion yuan ($65 billion) in the first half of 2020. Yu said that was due to strong sales of high-end products but gave no details.

Huawei became the world’s top-selling smartphone brand in the three months ending in June, passing rival Samsung for the first time due to strong demand in China, according to Canalys. Sales abroad fell 27% from a year earlier.

Washington also is lobbying European and other allies to exclude Huawei from planned next-generation networks as a security risk.

In other U.S.-Chinese clashes, TikTok’s owner, ByteDance Ltd., is under White House pressure to sell the video app. That is due to fears its access to personal information about millions of American users might be a security risk.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced a ban on unspecified transactions with TikTok and the Chinese owner of WeChat, a popular messaging service.

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Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G unboxing – PhoneArena

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Boom, there she goes – the humongous Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G jumps out from the box and is ready for action, but before we get to the fun stuff, let’s stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Time for a Note 20 Ultra unboxing video!

This time, we don’t seem to get anything too fancy, but what we do get is pretty sweet:

  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • Powerful 25W fast charger
  • AKG-powered wired earphones with additional rubber eartips
  • SIM ejector tool
Do note that this is a review sample, so the contents might differ slightly from some retail packages, but hey – let’s just be happy that we’re still getting actual earphones and charger in the box! Don’t forget to check out our detailed Galaxy Note 20 Ultra hands-on for more info.

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