So this is it: the new consoles are here. Well, not here, not both (or all) of them: along with many of you in the UK and Europe, I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of my own PlayStation 5 next Thursday. But look, there on my desk, peeking discreetly out from behind the monitor as I type this: a real, live, retail Xbox Series S. Isn’t it lovely?
And here’s the thing. Whisper it, because it feels like there has been too much good news already this week, and we’re not used to it, it’s making us suspicious. I think it’s going great. This is the best generational shift in consoles in a long time; not necessarily the most exciting, but the most upbeat. The most optimism-inducing. It’s certainly better than last time. PlayStation 4’s launch slogan was “for the players”, which was an effective rejoinder to Microsoft’s ill-begotten Xbox One strategy, but away from that flattering mirror, it never really felt true. The PS4, with its conventional architecture and basic feature set, its overpowered graphics processor and underpowered CPU, its emphasis on the same but more, was a tactical retreat onto safe ground. It was simple, it was sensible, it was effective, but did it really make things better for us? Did it move our gaming lives forward? Barely.
This time, it’s different.
Well – it’s not all different. Once again, there is not much between the PlayStation and the Xbox in power or design (leaving the outlier of Xbox Series S to one side). Their engineers were working from the same basic silicon, and seem to have agreed on the same priorities: that a big boost in CPU power was a must, after a generation of graphically lavish but computationally weak consoles held back developers’ ability to innovate; and that fast storage and vastly reduced loading times were also essential to improving the experience for players. It may take years for the first of these priorities to bear fruit, but the second is the most tangible quality of life improvement when using one of these consoles now – and it may not be glamorous, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hugely impactful. It means hours of your life reclaimed, the distance between you and the games you love reduced, and those games materially improved (taking Forza Horizon 4 as a personally game-changing example).
Another thing that is reminiscent of 2013 is that behind these similar boxes lie strikingly different strategies on the part of their makers. But here the similarities end – and here is where things also get much more interesting and encouraging. In 2013, the difference had little to do with video games and everything to do with marketing. Microsoft did everything wrong – some things too soon or presented in the wrong way, others of no interest to any humans who weren’t on the board of Microsoft – while Sony just did the opposite of whatever Microsoft was doing (which usually meant not doing much at all) and got rapturous applause for it. It wasn’t about ideas, it wasn’t about games, it was just an ugly PR war.
This time, it’s a matter of philosophy. Sony says it believes in console generations as tectonic shifts that usher in a new era of gaming. Now, this happens to be consistent with this consumer electronics company’s metier – putting gadgets in boxes and selling them – not to mention PlayStation boss Jim Ryan’s record as a retail marketeer of the old school. It has also been a little easier to poke holes in this conviction than you might hope. But credit where it’s due, when you unbox a PS5 and plug it in, it produces exactly that tingle of excitement, that thrilling feeling of the start of something new. This is because Sony has put its money where its mouth is, investing in a sparkling front-end, an innovative controller with a a joyous pack-in game to show it off, a gasp-inducing PS5 version of a cross-gen blockbuster and, in the form of Demon’s Souls, a single, actual, honest-to-god, big-time PS5 exclusive.
Over the aisle, as it were, it is a different story. It is a terrible shame and an unprecedented let-down that the new Xboxes arrive without a big new game to call their own – though Halo Infinite’s delay was doubtless the right thing for that game, the Halo series and the staff at developer 343 Industries. But Halo Infinite never belonged just to the Xbox Series consoles, or even to the wider family of Xbox consoles. It is also a PC game, and a game you will be able to stream on Android phones. It is, above all, a Game Pass game, and Game Pass, not Halo Infinite, is the killer app for Xbox.
Even Game Pass does not make up the whole of Microsoft’s big picture, though. Fire up an Xbox Series X or S and it is the incredible seamlessness of the experience that strikes you. There’s no data to be transferred, there are no saves to be copied to a USB stick. Everything has already been backed up without you having to think about it. All your Xbox games are only a download away, your progress will sync in a few seconds, and the games’ compatibility with the new machine has been quality assured and, in many cases, carefully optimised. You can set preferences for how they run at system level. Did you buy Destiny 2 on PS4? Doesn’t matter, it’s on Game Pass (with all expansions) and there’s cross-save, so your characters carry over. It all just works. This is for the players.
On Game Pass, you will find Final Fantasy 7 taking pride of place alongside a shiny new version of Gears 5; trashy bargain-bin deep cuts like Black alongside curated indie darlings like Don’t Starve and Night in the Woods. It might not feel as much like the future of gaming, but it’s a joy and relief to encounter a new console that isn’t so desperately keen to turn its back on the past. Best of all, Microsoft’s assiduous work in this area since its backwards compatibility drive began in 2015 has pressured Sony into following suit, with the result that PS5’s compatibility feature is also excellent, if less full-formed and well-tested. The same is true of Microsoft’s eager embrace of cross-play and cross-save in the last few years. Competition, of course, cuts both ways, and I am sure the game-makers at Microsoft’s many newly acquired studios will be inspired by the next-gen visions of Spider-Man: Miles Morales and Demon’s Souls.
Sony’s eyes are over the hill and on the horizon; it is thinking about what’s next. That’s vital to the creative and technological health of the medium. But gaming has been on a relentless forward path for too long now. Microsoft’s broad-church, platform-agnostic approach, also evidenced in the existence of the low-cost Series S, is here to make sure nothing and nobody gets left behind. That’s just as important for the future of video game culture.
These are differing philosophies, yet they’re both right. Better still, they’re actually complementary. Under each others’ influence, both platforms should come out stronger. It is a cliché to say we’re all winners in this fight – but this time, I think it might actually be true.
(MENAFN – GlobeNewsWire – Nasdaq) iPhone 11 Pro, 11 & 11 Pro Max deals for Cyber Monday, featuring unlocked and carrier-locked Apple iPhone 11 phone sales
Here’s a round-up of the latest iPhone 11, 11 Pro & 11 Pro Max deals for Cyber Monday, featuring the top discounts on 256GB & 512GB Apple iPhone 11 phones. Browse the full selection of deals using the links below.
Best iPhone 11 Deals:
Save up to 50% off on the Apple iPhone 11 at ATT.com – Black Friday deals are here! See the latest deals on Apple iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max at AT & T, including trade-ins
Get up to $200 on the Apple iPhone 11 series at Verizon.com – check the latest deals on iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. New line req’d for 50% off iPhone 11 deal
Save up to $700 on the Apple iPhone 11 Pro & Pro Max at ATT.com – click the link for live savings including trade-ins on iPhone 11 Pro & Pro Max available in midnight green, silver, space gray and gold colors
Save $100 off iPhone 11 with Plan Purchase at StraightTalk.com
Save on prepaid & no contract iPhone 11 models at BoostMobile.com – the iPhone 11 cell phones are available in 64GB (iPhone 11), 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB (iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max) storage configurations
Save up to $350 on the iPhone 11 Pro & iPhone 11 Pro Max at Verizon.com – see live prices on Apple iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max available in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB storage capacities
Save on unlocked & carrier-locked iPhone 11 handsets at Amazon – check the latest deals on the Apple iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and Pro Max cell phones
Best iPhone Deals:
Save up to $700 on a wide range of Apple iPhones at ATT.com – Black Friday deals are here! Check the latest deals including trade-ins on the iPhone 12 & 12 Pro, SE, 11 Pro & Pro Max, iPhone XS, XR & more
Save up to $350 on Apple iPhones at Verizon.com – click the link to check the latest Apple iPhone 12, 11, XR, X, 8 & more top-rated smartphone deals
Save up to $350 on prepaid & no contract Apple iPhones at BoostMobile.com – check the latest savings on the iPhone 11, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone 8 & older models
Save up to 25% on unlocked Apple iPhones at Amazon – check live prices on Apple iPhone 12, 11, XR, XS, X, 8, & 7 smartphones
Looking for more deals? We recommend checking Walmart’s Cyber Monday sale and Amazon’s Cyber Monday deals to view even more active offers. Deal Tomato earns commissions from purchases made using the links provided.
About Deal Tomato: Deal Tomato reports on popular sales events. As an Amazon Associate and affiliate Deal Tomato earns from qualifying purchases.
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Black Friday has come and gone, but the savings on holiday gifts continues online thanks to the event known as Cyber Monday. The online shopping event happens all over the world, including Canada. If you’re shopping from our neighbor to the North, here are the best Black Cyber Monday deals still available in Canada.
We have a number of categories for you to browse, but you may want to make sure your Amazon settings are up to date. Many of these deals are straight from Amazon, though there are a few choices from Best Buy and Walmart too. Ready to get spending? Let’s hop to it.
The best Cyber Monday deals in Canada:
While there are tons of deals to be had, here are just a few of the best ones. We’ll update this section often to keep you on top of the latest and greatest savings.
Cyber Monday Canada 2020: All of the deals
Credit: David Imel / Android Authority
There’s no such thing as a bad time to upgrade your phone. Right now you can save on a number of top models, including phones from Huawei that aren’t available in the United States. Here are a few top picks:
Even though they may not have replaced laptops as expected, tablets are still tons of fun. They’re a great way to video call your family members, especially if you can’t be together this holiday season. Check out these deals:
Cyber Monday Canada Audio deals
Credit: Adam Molina / Android Authority
The holidays can get pretty loud, and sometimes you just need to tune it all out. Here are the best deals we could find on headphones, speakers, and more:
Credit: Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
If you want to make life a little easier, why not make your home a little smarter? Here are speakers, appliances, and more that you can control from your phone or with your voice:
Cyber Monday Canada TV deals
Whether you want to enjoy a holiday flick like Die Hard or watch a Yule log crackle on screen, a good TV is a must-have. Check out these picks and save a little bit of cash:
We’re mostly used to working from home at this point, but sometimes your setup needs an upgrade. Here are a few great laptop deals that can get you back on track after the holiday season:
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 vs Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch
After you pack on the holiday pounds, it might be time to set a fitness-friendly resolution for 2021. Tracking your steps is a great way to get started, so try these wearables on for size:
Let’s be honest — gaming is way more fun than fitness, especially now that we have new consoles to dig into. Here are some deals on the latest and greatest games, accessories, and more:
Even though we all have cameras built into our phones, they’re not always the perfect way to get the shot. Check out these camera deals to upgrade your photo game:
Misc. Black Friday Canada deals
Credit: Jonathan Feist / Android Authority
If we gave every deal a category, we’d be here all day. Here are the best deals that just don’t seem to fit anywhere else:
A report fresh out of South Korea has reiterated rumors that the Galaxy S21 will be released in January, and the highest-end model will support the S Pen stylus.
ET News (translated here) says (via leaker cozyplanes) that Samsung has ordered digitizers for the Galaxy S21 Ultra and mass production is set to begin soon. Digitizers are sensors that are placed beneath the display of a device to ensure stylus compatibility.
The South Korean giant is seemingly in a rush to launch the next S series flagships earlier than usual to counter Apple’s first 5G-enabled smartphone, the iPhone 12. The chaebol also wants to take advantage of the sanctions imposed by the US on Huawei, which has severely impacted its capability to meet consumer demand for its smartphones.
2021 could be the beginning of the end of the Samsung Note series
Today’s report also corroborates an earlier rumor that said Samsung will start laying the groundwork for the replacement of the Note series with Galaxy S and Z smartphones this year. Earlier leaks had hinted that Samsung would nix the Galaxy Note lineup in 2021, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Samsung is reportedly planning to release five foldable smartphones in 2021 and at least two of them are expected to offer S Pen integration. The company is reportedly considering a new digitizer technology for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and is also going to increase the thickness of its display so that it’s able to withstand the pressure from the stylus.
The Galaxy Note 21 will supposedly be unveiled alongside the Z Fold 3 in June. The foldable phone will likely take the center stage, and Samsung will only release one variant of the Note 21.
The idea is apparently to de-emphasize the next Note handset during the summer Unpacked event and migrate existing Note users to the Galaxy S and Z flagships. If this strategy works as intended, Samsung will likely discontinue the Galaxy Note lineup in 2022.
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