Pokémon Go creator Niantic Labs says its augmented reality multiplayer feature, Buddy Adventure, is coming “very soon” to the iOS and Android versions of the mobile game. Buddy Adventure was first shown off last month at a press event, and it allows players to use the existing buddy system in Pokémon Go to bring a more realistic version of their favorite pokémon into the real world using more sophisticated AR technology.
Niantic’s says Buddy Adventure takes advantage of Pokémon Go’s existing AR+ mode, which launched first in 2017. AR+ taps into Apple and Google’s respective AR platforms to access more detailed depth maps and other data necessary to create advanced AR visualizations. Once it’s active, you’ll be able to see your buddy pokémon more realistically blended with the real world where you can then interact with it and feed it snacks to earn special perks that help the pokémon grow over time.
“Each Pokémon has different quirks and ways to express itself. Watch closely to see a diverse range of movements and expressions, whether you and your buddy are playing together or exploring the world around you,” the company said in a blog post. “Along with feeding your buddy, you can also play with it. Watch what your buddy does when you interact with it in AR+ mode. Different Pokémon react in different ways.”
Niantic is also bringing a tiered level feature to its buddy system that lets you build a relationship with a pokémon through feeding it and playing with it in AR+ mode. Higher levels unlock better perks as your buddy pokémon’s mood improves.
Soon, Niantic says you’ll also be able to use its so-called Shared AR Experience mode, which is the multiplayer component of Biddy Adventure. That will let two players exist in the same shared AR world, meaning you’ll be able to see a friend’s buddy pokémon, interact with it, and also take photos with all four of you in the same frame. The multiplayer component is launching at a later date after the initial launch of Buddy Adventure sometime in early 2020.
PS5 Disc And Digital Pre-Orders Continue To Sell Out Nightmarishly Fast – Forbes
One criticism of Sony’s rollout of PS5 pre-orders this week is that they were dropped like a bomb without any warning. Or in fact, the opposite, a promise that they wouldn’t start until a day later when they went live that evening.
Xbox began to snarkily counter with an exact date and time that Series X/S pre-orders would go live, but even when potential Sony buyers know when pre-orders are going up now, that isn’t helping either.
Last night there was a message on the Walmart website that gave a specific time that PS5 pre-orders would open. Everyone sat there on the page, ready for the clock to strike the hour and…
…about thirty seconds later, the stock was completely sold out.
Whether it’s seconds or minutes, trying to get your hands on a PS5 has been nothing short of a nightmare for many potential buyers so far, and that’s across every retailer, be it GameStop selling out of the 12 units per store they were allocated for in person reservations, or megacorp Amazon selling out because someone found the link early. As expected, PS5 pre-orders are already popping up on Ebay topping $1,000.
Another aspect to this story is that many consumers who are landing a PS5 are not able to get the one they want. Sony made headlines when they revealed the all-digital console was $400 compared to the $500 of both the disc model and the Xbox Series X. But at least in this early batch of pre-orders, it absolutely seems like Sony has made way, way more of the higher priced disc stock available, meaning that those lucky enough to snag a pre-order are often doing so for an extra $100, even if they have no interest in the disc one.
There is not a full collection of data about pre-orders, but some early results are…illuminating:
While I don’t believe that’s the true ratio of disc to digital Sony has made available, it is not anywhere close to 50/50, and I would not be surprised if it was in fact something like 10:1. I’ve seen digital models sellout before the link was even fully live for a page at numerous storefronts.
What’s unclear is how many PS5s Sony has sold through pre-orders already and how many more of these restocks are going to happen in the next two months. I do think it’s too early to be worried that if you didn’t get one in these wild last 36 hours, you won’t get one at all. But it’s very clear that Sony has A) mangled this launch from a consumer perspective (though they’re still getting paid, obviously) and B) heavily limited stock of the cheaper console on purpose to ensure most early adopters get the pricier model.
Stay tuned for more updates about PS5 pre-orders, as when they come in, it’s going to be a feeding frenzy to snag one from now until release, it seems.
The new iPad Air reminds us just how bad most Android tablets really are – Android Central
Samsung can make a damn nice tablet. I don’t much care for tablets, but even I was really impressed with the Galaxy Tab S6 while I had it here for a review, and I’ll be the first to say that a Samsung tablet is a well-built piece of machinery that looks and feels like it justifies its price. But that’s not the problem — it’s the apps.
The most expensive Windows laptop is hundreds of times faster than a new iPad or Chromebook or crappy Windows laptop.
Forget all the PR mumbo jumbo Apple’s slick new iPad Air presentation about how much more powerful it is than practically every Chromebook and Android tablet out there. That’s all hogwash — an expensive product from one company was compared to the best-selling budget models from others. The new Galaxy Tab S7 with Qualcomm’s latest processor is plenty powerful enough to do everything the new iPad can do. The iPad is overbuilt so Apple has fewer components to manage and that saves money in the long run.
No, what’s frustrating about Android tablets isn’t the hardware. It’s not even the platform. It’s the apps.
The only great apps on a brand new Galaxy Tab S are the ones Samsung wrote for it. You can use the S Pen with oodles of pressure sensitivity, you can transfer handwriting to text, you can even draw a crummy circle and an app can make it look geometrically accurate instead of like the blob you drew. But when you open the Play Store it all comes crashing to a halt.
I feel like I keep writing this over and over, but Google just doesn’t seem to care about tablet apps the same way Apple does. That’s a shame because something like a Galaxy Tab deserves great apps like Pixelmator or any of the other “must-have” apps for the iPad. It just doesn’t get them.
There isn’t much Samsung can do about it other than pay thousands of developers to write those apps and games. Samsung probably could afford to do it, but it’s not going to when it can spend that money developing its own first-party apps that are pretty awesome on the Galaxy Tab. No, this problem is something only Google can solve.
That’s not an easy task, either. Google basically has two choices: it could go the Apple route and if an app isn’t tablet-optimized it’s not listed on the device’s Play Store at all. That means close to 90% of the apps — including ones you want to use — would be gone when you hit up the Play Store with a new Android tablet. Or it could pay cold hard cash to get developers to do it. Google is going to do neither, so it just gave up.
It’s all about the mighty dollar. You’ve heard it before but developers don’t make much money from Android apps when compared to apps for iOS. That goes double (at least) for tablet apps. I don’t know if that’s because Android users have been trained not to pay for things after years of getting most apps and services for free, or whether because of Android’s open nature piracy is just rampant. But I do know it’s true because I’ve seen the same studies and reports you have. Apps written for iOS make a lot more money than ones written for Android even though there are twice as many people using Android.
When there’s no money to be made, nobody cares. I can’t fault a developer who wants to feed their family by sticking with iOS. That’s a smart move and exactly what I would do if I were in their shoes. I’m actually impressed that some third-party apps, like Sketchbook (a must-have app for any Galaxy Tab or Galaxy Note, in my opinion) are so great on a tablet because I know they aren’t making much money.
I want to recommend a new Galaxy Tab to someone looking for a great tablet, but I can’t because iOS has apps that are so much better.
There is no easy answer. Most Android apps work on an Android tablet or a Chromebook but they look like crap or don’t work correctly. Google keeps making it easier to design and lay out apps for bigger screens — because it hasn’t given up on great Chromebooks like it has for tablets — but it’s not making a difference. Google Play is a desert for good tablet apps. You’ll find an oasis once in a while, but there is a lot of empty sand not worth paying attention to in between.
If someone were to ask me which tablet I recommend I’d either steer them to a Fire tablet if they were all-in with Amazon Prime — or an iPad. And I hate that because Android is just better than iOS. You can simplify Android down so it “just works” but you can’t upscale iOS so it does more than just work. I want to be able to recommend Samsung’s great line of premium tablets, but until Google gets the app gap sorted, I can’t.
Console Makers Now Have Bigger Game to Play – The Wall Street Journal
The two companies have dueled over price since 2006. That is when Sony launched its PlayStation 3 for $100 more than Microsoft was asking for its Xbox 360, which hit the market the year before. That cost Sony some valuable ground, as the PlayStation 3 ultimately sold a little over half the amount of the previous PlayStation model. Microsoft made the same mistake in the next cycle, initially charging $100 more for the Xbox One than the PlayStation 4 when both made their debut in 2013. The Xbox One likewise is estimated to have sold just a little over half the units of its predecessor—and less than half of what the competing PlayStation 4 has sold to date.
Both companies seem to have tired of this particular fight. The new flagship models of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 coming out this fall will carry the same price for the first time since 2001, when Microsoft’s first Xbox came on the scene to challenge Sony’s game business. The flagship version of each console will cost $499 when they go on sale in early November.
So who wins? Analysts still give an edge to Sony, given the company’s longer history in games, better-known brand and strength in markets such as Europe and Japan. The initial stock of PlayStation 5 units available for preorder sold out fast this week, and Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., noted Thursday that the console was already fetching a 50% premium over its sticker price on eBay. Microsoft, which opens preorders next week, will also lack the next version of its popular Halo game, which was delayed into next year.
However, Microsoft may appeal to some bargain hunters with a $299 version of the new Xbox that lacks an optical drive. But that device also carries a slower processor and less system memory than the flagship, while Sony’s $399 “digital edition” of the PlayStation 5 carries the same components as the main version. Still, Wedbush Securities Inc. analyst Michael Pachter notes that $299 for a next-gen console is a “pretty compelling entry point.”
But ultimately, a war over unit sales becomes less important as the game business evolves. Now entering their third decade of competition, both Sony and Microsoft have enormous bases of players with established game libraries—a growing portion of which is digital games run as a service. Such players are less likely to switch over, given their investment. In its last earnings call in July, Microsoft reported that its Xbox Live membership has hit nearly 100 million players. Notably, Xbox Live membership has more than tripled during the lifespan of the Xbox One, even given that console’s relatively poor performance.
The success of Xbox Live reflects Microsoft’s larger corporate goal of driving use of its software and cloud services. The company even sells PlayStation versions of Minecraft—the popular world-building game it spent $2.5 billion on in 2014. Sony, by contrast, is far more dependent on its games business, which made up more than a quarter of the company’s revenue for the trailing 12-month period ended in June, compared with about 8% for Microsoft for the same period.
Microsoft’s overall cloud strategy has garnered the company a market value of more than $1.5 trillion—up nearly fivefold since the start of the most recent console cycle in late 2013 and more than 16 times that of Sony’s. PlayStation may keep winning the console war, but Microsoft will be very hard to catch in the much bigger game.
Write to Dan Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org
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