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The Kinect will never die.

Microsoft debuted its motion-sensing camera on June 1st, 2009, showing off a handful of gimmicky applications for the Xbox 360; it promised easy, controller-free gaming for the whole family. Back then, Kinect was called Project Natal, and Microsoft envisioned a future where its blocky camera would expand the gaming landscape, bringing everyday communication and entertainment applications to the Xbox 360, such as video calling, shopping and binge-watching.

This was the first indication that Microsoft's plans for Kinect stretched far beyond the video game industry. With Kinect, Microsoft popularized the idea of yelling at our appliances -- or, as it's known today, the IoT market. Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana (especially that last one) are all derivative of the core Kinect promise that when you talk to your house, it should respond.

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PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has been teasing its upcoming third map for a month now, and this weekend, players on all platforms will be able to test it out -- no invite required. The newly-named Sanhok (formed from the Thai word for 'fun' and the Tagalog word for 'chicken') features ruins and jungle inspired by areas in Southeast Asia. And like the game's unpopular second map Savage, this one is a much smaller 4km x 4km -- just a quarter of the size of PUBG's original arena Miramar.

Source: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds blog

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If you thought Avengers: Infinity War was the ultimate pop-culture mashup, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has another cameo up its sleeve. Franchise villain Thanos will make a limited appearance in Fortnite: Battle Royale starting May 8th, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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The North American League of Legends Championship Series has a home for its summer finals... and you'll definitely recognize it. Riot Games has announced that the Summer Split finalists will play on September 8th and 9th at Oakland's Oracle Arena -- you know, the home of the Golden State Warriors. This isn't completely surprising when the Warriors are an affiliate of the league's Golden Guardians team, but it's still rare for regional eSports competitions to get such a prominent venue.

Source: League of Legends

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The fate of humanity, or at least a slim and freezing remainder of it, rests upon the bewildered shoulders of someone who can’t even keep a basil plant alive for more than 24 hours. Frostpunk does not forgive. Frostpunk does not have mercy. Frostpunk will kill everyone. Unless I can stop it.
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NVIDIA has canceled the GeForce Partner Program (GPP) just two months after announcing it. The GPP began with little fanfare in early March, but it quickly became clear (thanks to work by HardOCP's Kyle Bennett) that it was more than a simple branding initiative. Bennett showed that GPP was encouraging manufacturers to solely produce PCs and laptops with NVIDIA GPUs inside. Manufacturers could still opt for AMD cards, but they would have to be sold through a different brand. Should a manufacturer not play ball, NVIDIA would at best not include it in marketing efforts, and at worst actively hold back inventory to exclude it from upcoming GPU launches.

Via: Anandtech

Source: NVIDIA

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Last year, Niantic hosted a day-long Pokémon Go festival in Chicago with 20,000 diehard fans of the smash hit mobile game. Unfortunately, it was a disaster, with both the local data networks, and the game's servers, unable to cope with that many players at once. It recovered from that initially bumpy (and expensive) start to host events in Japan, Korea and Europe, and now it's hoping to maintain that streak this year.

Source: Pokémon Go Live

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It's a busy week coming up. Microsoft's Build conference kicks off today, then, with no time for a break, it's Google I/O. What to expect from Microsoft? This. What does Google have planned? Something like this. Oh, and then there's all the things from the weekend.

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Radical Heights is the 80s retro battle royale blastathon that’s the newest kid on the battle block. Whether you like shooting up arcades or shooting up other, different arcades, Radical Heights has you covered; all wrapped up in a sense of gnarly attitude not seen since Sunset Overdrive. That’s right, I invoked Sunset Overdrive in the first paragraph. I’m on a warpath today. Sorry, back to the issue at hand: Radical Heights has a second update that introduces a number of new elements to the game. This includes bug fixes (obviously) but also a range of BMX bikes and bike ramps and cosmetic options. There’s also a scanner that reveals enemy locations on the map. That’s the bigger thing. Unless you’re into battle royale games for the bike ramps. TBH a Paperboy Battle Royale does sound kinda great. I just want to deliver newspapers and murder indiscriminately. Give it to me.

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Bluehole ran into a serious issue this week, as their servers crashed 24 hours into the return of their 50 player deathmatch mode. War Plunkbat was the temporary return of the team deathmatch from last month, which breaks from PUBG’s traditional ‘once you’re gone you’re gone’ structure and allows you to respawn. There are ten teams of five and everyone starts with top-tier loot. Or, would start with top-tier loot, if anyone was able to connect to the game. Desert Knights mode was supposed to run until the end of the weekend, but had to be yanked by Friday afternoon after a Thursday night launch.
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