A virtual tour through Night City, as powered by NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 30 series of graphics cards, where impressive real-time ray-tracing, DLSS rendering, neon lighting, rule the streets. Alongside corpos and gangs.
A taste of our look at all seven Night City districts. From Watson to Westbrook to Heywood to the Badlands.
We sit down with The Elder Scrolls Online’s Creative Director, Rich Lambert, to discuss all things Elder Scrolls, the return of a certain Daedric Prince, the arrival of Companions, and the return of Oblivion in this year's new story chapter The Elder Scrolls Online: Blackwood.
“One of the things we love is having that sense of nostalgia, and the Blackwood zone stretches from the southern tip of Cyrodiil all the way to the eastern border of Shadowfen,” The Elder Scrolls Online Creative Director Rich Lambert tells me. “In terms of iconic cities that give us Leyawiin, which will act as a kind of home base. As you venture east, you’re going to also get to explore Gideon, which hasn't been seen in an Elder Scrolls game since Arena in 1994. Which means, it'll look a lot different than it did back then.”
As The Elder Scrolls Online’s Creative Director, Rich Lambert was actually a part of the team that developed 2006’s Oblivion. In preparation for Blackwood, Rich pulled out an old copy of an Oblivion ‘Player’s Guide’ to re-acquaint himself with the feel of that game. Others in the team did the same, albeit in other ways. Some replayed The Elder Scrolls IV from start to finish, others watched Let’s Play videos that ran for several hours. “Across the board somebody on the team knows the answer to pretty much any question that anyone could ask,” Rich explains. “Not just with that game but any Elder Scrolls or what happened in a specific era or place. It's awesome working with a group of people that invested in Elder Scrolls.”
It's an expenny upgrade, no doubt. It's a point we can't deny, but the term "future-proof", which we might have gone overboard with in our in-depth review, still stands. But what this panel does is equally elevate current media through AI upscaling, making a very strong case for that potential upgrade you've maybe been thinking of following through with.
From our review:
Like panels of the past, the 8K QLED Q950TS 75” display comes equipped with a “One Connect” box. For the uninitiated, this is basically your Xbox to run your TV. It features four HDMI inputs, an ethernet port and USB ports. From your telly, there’s a single cord that makes this work and given its size, it’s versatile in movement; meaning the giant, heavy 75” panel you just made your home display, remains that way.
There’s a single 2.1 HDMI input for 8K and upscaling that both warrants pause and no concern; pause being why not have all ports 2.1, the no concern is there’s a very good chance down the track new One Connects will rectify this in triplicate (heh). What’s important to remember here is you’re buying the panel. Everything else is pretty much digitally upgradeable, but the future-proof stuff comes in the form of the display.
Okay, sure, blank stares and confusion and all that. But today comes word that RTFKT (Artifact Studios) creators of "virtual and physical next-gen collectible sneakers for the best esports, gaming, and entertainment celebrities" are partnering with NZXT for a GeForce RTX 3080 sneaker. The Ampere shoe is a Gaming PC in sneaker form, and it's glorious.
Yeah that's a RTX 3080 Founders Edition right there, with fans that look to be taking NVIDIA's new cutting edge cooling and using that to keep your feet cool. Also, the NZXT liquid cooler with temp readouts is seemingly functional too. Now, this doesn't look like a practical sneaker in the "go for a walk" sense but hey -- it is a high-end RTX 3080 Gaming PC in shoe form.
And for that it's kind of amazing. Odds are these new sneaks will become a limited run of some kind (hopefully), or remain a very cool prototype.
With plates on both the console itself and the controller being removable, the option to change up the colour when it comes to the PlayStation 5 is strong. And the Adelaide-based OzPlay Accessories is all about the colour with a range of PS5 DualSense Controller faceplates and console faceplates on offer.
Of course these are non-licensed and not official PS5 accessories.
As per the video below, the default faceplate can be removed fairly easily and replaced in seconds. As a nice little bonus the people at OzPlay are shipping out handy little guitar picks to make the process as smooth as possible.
We were sent a couple to check out and it couldn't have been easier. As for the console faceplates, they're expected to ship next month -- which is when you'll be able to make your PS5 look more like a fancy PlayStation 5. They're going to retail for $59.99 AUD. Head here for the PS5 Faceplate store page.
With the arrival of new GeForce RTX 30 Series and AMD RX 6000 Series graphics, the dawn of HDMI 2.1, and PC gaming more popular than ever -- we’re bringing you our picks of the best gaming displays as announced at CES 2021.
When looking for a competition-grade esports display there’s a few things that will define 2021’s offerings -- IPS panels with excellent colour accuracy, refreshing refresh rates, low response times, and VRR support. Out sometime later this month the MSI Oculux NXG253R goes one step further by offering NVIDIA G-Sync, a 360Hz rapid-IPS display, 1ms GTG, and NVIDIA Reflex Latency Analyzer -- which is a mix of hardware and software that improves system latency to ensure the best possible performance. A serious esports display for those serious about competitive gaming.
When the ACER Predator XB273U NX launches it will no doubt present one of the fastest 1440p IPS panels to date, something backed up not only by G-Sync and NVIDIA’s Reflex Latency Analyzer hardware but also HDR support and colour accuracy for an extra dose of cinematic presentation. A competitive beast this new Predator will also allow for high-end AAA gaming -- though we’re not sure if there’s a recent release that could even hit 275-fps at 1440p. That aside, this new Predator from ACER is looking to continue the company’s focus on premium high-performing displays that leverages cutting-edge tech.
The latest in NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Ryzen is going mobile. Taking a look at all the announcements from CES 2021 we’re bringing you our picks of the gaming laptops to keep an eye on this year.
Lenovo Legion 7 and Lenovo Legion 5
The Lenovo Legion 7 is the company's flagship gaming laptop, and as such it’s something of a beast -- building on the impressive Legion range that has proven to be one of the best performers in recent years. With the Legion 7 featuring up to the AMD Ryzen 9 5900H Mobile Processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, performance will be a major step up over the 2020 model -- so much so that this Legion will also ship with a crisp QHD 2560x1600 16” 165Hz IPS display that also features Dolby Vision support. Couple this with the latest version of the Legion TrueStrike Keyboard and advanced cooling and this will no doubt be one of the high-end gaming laptops of 2021. Lenovo will also be releasing a RTX 3060 Max-Q powered Lenovo Legion Slim 7, a new ultrathin that looks slick.
Availability: March 2021 Price: from $3299 AUD
On the more affordable tip the impressive and versatile Lenovo Legion 5 range is also getting its AMD and NVIDIA Geforce RTX refresh this year with the base model supporting up to a AMD Ryzen 9 5800H Mobile Processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPU -- offering up, again, a sizeable performance jump over last year’s model. Keeping the price down the Legion 5 will retain its 1080p IPS display, though on that front it’s bumping up the refresh rate to 165Hz.
The new MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Suprim X graphics cards sees MSI release its most premium GPU to date -- from exceptional build quality, to cooling, to performance. It's also something of a beast in terms of stature.
As per our full review from RTX enthusiast (in that he's been waiting months to get his hands on one) Joab Gilroy, it didn't disappoint.
The GPU shortage is real and up there with the very real and still fresh hype surrounding the release of the GeForce RTX 3080 -- NVIDIA’s latest flagship.
And if you can get a card, you can do a lot worse than the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Suprim X. Actually, scratch that. Based on our testing, short of getting an RTX 3090 all you can do is get an RTX 3080 worse than MSI's RTX 3080 Suprim X. This is like shopping for a new car and driving straight past your Toyotas and Fords and heading straight to that one swanky part of town where the Jaguar and Bentley dealerships are found.
"Better normal for all". Nice words, in actuality. You could palm the marketing phrase off as just that, "marketing", but in the world in which we live today, there's some merit behind its intention. We're no strangers to a classic spiel, but this feels different.
Most pertinent here, however, isn't so much that Samsung's CES virtual presentation often looked like IRL The Sims but that we caught glimpses of their new panel range, which includes the 2021 Neo QLED, MICRO LED and Lifestyle TV Lines. Before we get there though, there's a couple of important highlights around the future of business at the South Korean-based electronics giant:
A Highlighted Look into Sustainability
It sounds cliched today, but when you consider the size of Samsung and other tech giants, to see them leading a path towards a cleaner future where technology is still driven to new heights, it's kind of cool. Here's words from the company's mouth on how they intend to work and manufacture moving forward:
Over the next few years, Samsung will embark on a journey of “Going Green” in aligning TV business operations through the following long-term sustainability programs:
Reducing Carbon Footprint and Improving Energy Efficiency: Samsung will seek to systematically decrease its overall carbon footprint in TV manufacturing. The company will also seek to lower user power consumption and use more recycled materials across its entire TV line.
Sustainable Packaging Design: Building on valuable consumer feedback, Samsung is expanding its award-winning ‘Eco-packaging’ design to all 2021 Lifestyle TVs and most of the 2021 Neo QLED line. This sustainable solution can upcycle up to 200,000 tons of corrugated boxes each year.1 By minimizing text and graphic imagery on the Eco-packaging, the oil-based ink from color printing that’s traditionally used on TV boxes is eliminated, helping to further reduce waste.
Solar Cell Remote Control: In 2021, Samsung TVs will come with a solar-powered remote control that can be recharged by indoor light, outdoor light or USB—a first-of-its-kind innovation for the brand. This will help prevent waste from a projected 99 million AAA batteries over seven years.2 To construct the remote, Samsung innovated manufacturing process that upcycles plastics from recyclable bottles –including 24% recycled content.
Now, this is when even the jargon starts to make me feel old. Mind you, however, we've been in charge of a Samsung 8K Q950TS panel for a few months now (Science, how good it makes Assassin's Creed Valhalla alone look so good...) and can say the company's charge into an 8K future supported by a HDMI 2.1 connection which upscales even 4K-ready content gives us a smile we consistently can't shake from our face (full review incoming). But anyway, here's that time and space-bending wordage Samsung has shared:
Samsung is introducing a whole new display technology, Neo QLED, to its flagship 8K (QN900A) and 4K (QN90A) models. Samsung is taking QLED to the next level enabled by new light source, Quantum Mini LED precisely controlled by Quantum Matrix Technology and Neo Quantum Processor, a powerful picture processor optimized for Neo QLED.
Samsung designed the Quantum Mini LED to be 1/40 the height of a conventional LED. Instead of using a lens to disperse light, and a package to fix the LED in place, the Quantum Mini LED has incredibly thin micro layers filled with many more LEDs. Quantum Matrix Technology enables ultra-fine and precise control of the densely packed LEDs, preventing blooming—and allowing viewers to enjoy content as its meant to be seen. Neo QLED increases the luminance scale to 12-bit with 4096 steps; this helps make dark areas darker and bright areas brighter, resulting in a more precise and immersive HDR experience. And Neo QLED benefits from Samsung’s proprietary, powerful Neo Quantum Processor with enhanced upscaling capabilities. By using up to 16 different neural network models, each trained in AI upscaling and deep learning technology, the Neo Quantum Processor can optimize picture quality to 4K and 8K picture output regardless of the input quality.
Samsung’s 2021 Neo QLED 8K features a new Infinity One Design—a nearly bezel-less screen providing an even more immersive viewing experience in a sleek design and form factor. And Neo QLED 8K’s attachable Slim One Connect box—an all-new cable management system that can be attached to the TV’s back—allows for an easier install and cleaner aesthetic. The 2021 Neo QLED 8K also packs in several premium, room-filling audio features; Object Tracking Sound (OTS) Pro’s dynamic sound corresponds to the movement of objects on screen, and SpaceFit Sound analyzes the installed TV’s physical environment and outputs immersive sound tailored specifically to your space.
Samsung’s 2021 Neo QLED 8K and 4K models offer smart features that expand the role of the TV and help consumers meet their changing needs when it comes to fitness, entertainment and the home office.
Samsung Health seamlessly transforms the home into a personal gym, and the new Smart Trainer feature tracks and analyzes posture in real time, just like a personal trainer. During and post-workout, Smart Trainer provides feedback on form, helps you count your reps, and estimates calories burned. With video and interactive training via Bixby-enabled voice control, Samsung Health Smart Trainer elevates and personalizes the home workout experience.
With two new exclusive features, Samsung is delivering the ultimate TV gaming experience. Super Ultrawide GameView gives gamers the option to play not only at the wide 21:9 aspect ratio, but even at the ultrawide 32:9 ratio. The wider field of view ensures gamers don’t miss a moment of the action. And Game Bar lets players quickly monitor and adjust critical aspects of play—whether that’s switching aspect ratios, checking input lag, or connecting a headset. Finally, FreeSync Premium Pro minimizes stuttering so players enjoy smooth picture quality throughout gameplay.
With Google Duo, consumers can use their phone to initiate a high-quality, high-speed video call that up to 32 people can join—no matter which operating system they’re using. With Google Duo app, you can make video calls directly through an optional USB-connected And with smart camera solution, the camera can follow your movements. It will automatically zoom in and out so you’re just the right size, always in focus.
PC on TV on Samsung devices allows consumers to connect a PC to the TV, enabling working and learning from home through the TV screen with a connected mouse, keyboard, and PC. Consumers can also directly access MS Office 365 through the TV’s web browser to create and edit documents. Simply install an Easy Connection app on your computer and log into your Samsung Account—and your TV will automatically connect to your PC, making working from the living room seamless.
Opening a New Era of Breathtaking Picture Quality and Design With MICRO LED
In 2021, the promise of Micro LED comes home. With the new MICRO LED line, Samsung has made Micro LED available in a traditional TV form factor for the first time—bringing consumers a breathtaking visual experience on an ultra-large next-generation screen.
Available in 110", 99", and smaller sizes by the end of the year, the new MICRO LED line uses micrometer-sized LED lights to eliminate the backlight and color filters utilized in conventional displays. It is self-illuminating, producing stunningly lifelike colors and brightness through its 24 million individually controlled LEDs. And with a Monolith Design defined by over 99% screen-to-body ratio, all you will see is the breathtaking picture quality.
Samsung has innovated its Smart TV features to take advantage of the new MICRO LED line’s massive screen. For example, consumers can use the 4Vue(Quad View) feature to comfortably watch up to four different content sources simultaneously on one screen. Viewers can connect multiple external devices to keep up with multiple playoff games at once, or stream a walkthrough while playing a video game—all in stunning quality and size.
Finally, the new MICRO LED’s dynamic audio experience is just as immersive as its visuals. With Majestic Sound, it delivers breathtaking 5.1 channel sound with no external speaker—transforming any room into a luxurious home theater.
Alongside its high-end competitors in LG, Sony and Carnivale, Samsung looks to be forging a serious panel future that's not just progressive from a tech perspective, but also from a perspective of green.
Watch the full Samsung CES virtual preso embedded below.