Acer just unveiled its latest gaming laptop at IFA 2018, and it comes with a twist — literally. The newly announced Predator Triton 900 looks a lot like Acer’s other laptops, but with a convertible screen that flips around.
The screen itself isn’t a slouch, either. Convertible nature aside, it’s a 4K UHD touchscreen with Nvidia’s G-Sync that’s all supported by the CNC-machined hinge. The idea is that in addition to using it like a regular laptop, you’ll be able to bring the screen closer to you (and the front-mounted keyboard) while also being able to flip it around or convert it into a tablet.
The Predator Triton 900 also features the latest fourth generation of Acer’s Aeroblade 3D fans, a full mechanical keyboard, and a switchable trackpad with a hidden, light-up number pad underneath.
Acer hasn’t said anything about the specs for the Predator Triton 900, and there’s no word yet on what kind of processor or GPU it will have. We also don’t know a price or release date, but given the Predator line’s pedigree, it’ll likely be pretty powerful whenever it does hit stores.
Turtle Beach is launching a new version of its popular Elite Pro gaming headset today. The Elite Pro 2 has been developed alongside esports teams like OpTic Gaming, Splyce, and the Houston Outlaws, and it includes a new SuperAmp to balance out game sound on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The amp provides Windows Sonic surround sound on Xbox One, and DTS 7.1 surround sound on PS4. It’s designed to connect via Bluetooth to a mobile app for Android and iOS that will let gamers control game and chat mix, mic monitoring, and other equalizer settings.
While the Elite Pro 2 is designed for Xbox One and PS4, it can also be used on a PC. The headset itself includes a new metal headband with suspended pads, and Turtle Beach is using its cooling memory foam ear cushions and glasses-friendly design for comfort. Gamers will also be able to remove the high-sensitivity microphone and swap magnetic deco plates to customize the Elite Pro 2 further. The Elite Pro 2 will be available in black or white, which will also match Microsoft’s new Xbox Elite controller in robot white.
Microsoft is releasing a robot white version of its Xbox One X console. The color was first used on the Xbox One S, and the company moved to a black finish for the Xbox One X release last year. The new white console will be available exclusively at GameStop or Microsoft Stores in the US, priced at $499.99. It will also include a copy of Fallout 76 and early access to the game’s beta, and will ship to retailers worldwide starting November 14th.
Microsoft is introducing a new version of its popular Xbox Elite controller today. While many had been hoping for a second-generation controller with three-level Hair Trigger Locks and an adjustable lock design for the thumbsticks, Microsoft is introducing a robot white design of its existing Xbox Elite controller that matches the company’s Xbox One S console and new Xbox One X in white.
The updated controller, previously codenamed Washburn, strangely won’t include Bluetooth support for wireless connections to Windows 10 PCs or a modern USB-C port. It has the same design and features as the original Xbox Elite controller that shipped back in 2015. Those features include four programmable paddles, four alternate joysticks, and an alternate omnidirectional pad. All of these swappable components can also be programmed to set presets for different games using a customization app.
Rumors have suggested Microsoft cancelled its Xbox Elite V2 controller that leaked earlier this year. It appears the follow-up is at least delayed, as new stock of the original started appearing in recent weeks and now this white version all but confirms we won’t see a second-generation any time soon. Hopefully Microsoft has addressed the problems of the grip sections wearing down over time with this white version, and we’ll find out later this year when it’s available to Xbox players.
Microsoft’s new white Xbox Elite controller goes on sale at Microsoft Stores and GameStop (and other retailers worldwide) on October 16th priced at $149.99.
Update, August 29th 9:38AM ET: Article updated to clarify controller does not include Bluetooth support.
You have to commit for two years, but with that subscription, you get Xbox Live Gold, which lets you play multiplayer games online and access free titles and other benefits every month, and Xbox Game Pass, the game subscription service Microsoft sells for $9.99. If you do the math, you’d actually save money over the course of 24 months, but only about $20.
In reality, this is more a way for Microsoft to simplify the costs of owning an Xbox. By doing so, the company seems to be trying to incentivize some gamers to try out an Xbox before the next generation of hardware inevitably dominates the news cycle and discourages new buyers from the existing platform.
There are a couple caveats here. You can only purchase the subscription in person at a participating Microsoft Store. The company is also asking customers to sign up for a Dell Preferred Account, which is essentially a line of credit you’ll have to qualify for before Microsoft will let you sign up. (It’s similar to how smartphone leasing programs work today.)
Microsoft will let you pay for the whole cost of the bundle upfront, but again, then you’re just committing to Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass when you could simply by the hardware and monthly subscriptions piecemeal.
Microsoft is planning to unveil an Xbox All Access service that will bundle the company’s Xbox One consoles with Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass for a monthly fee. Codenamed Project Largo, Microsoft has been working towards the subscription service in recent months. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that both the Xbox One S and Xbox One X will be offered as a subscription, and that Microsoft is planning to offer its Xbox One X bundled with Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass for $34.99 per month over 24 months.
The subscription will be available from Microsoft’s retail stores, and the company is also working with PC makers to try and offer this bundle elsewhere. Windows Central reported on Xbox All Access today, after I teased details of the new service three weeks ago. Microsoft will limit its Xbox All Access service to US consumers initially, but if it’s successful then it could appear in other markets in the future. Microsoft also offered a subsidized Xbox 360 bundle with Xbox Live Gold more than six years ago.
Microsoft is also working on a new Xbox accessory codenamed Washburn. The software maker had planned to unveil the $149 accessory at Gamescom this week, and accidentally teased an “all-new Xbox hardware” announcement before the company’s plans changed. The mysterious accessory is due to launch in October, just after Microsoft’s launch of Forza Horizon 4. It’s not an Xbox Elite successor, but expect the company to detail its new hardware accessory soon.
Nvidia is unveiling its new GeForce RTX 2000 series of graphics cards at Gamescom in Germany today. While we’ve seen a number of teasers and plenty of card leaks recently, the GeForce RTX 2080 is finally official. Based on Nvidia’s new Turing architecture, the RTX 2080 is designed to succeed the popular GTX 1080 and push new real-time ray-tracing effects in upcoming games.
At Nvidia’s event, the company is unveiling the RTX 2070, RTX 2080, and RTX 2080 Ti. Nvidia is promising “up to 6X the performance of previous-generation graphics cards,” and real-time ray tracing for these cards. Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, PNY, and Zotac will all have RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti cards available for preorder today, with cards available on September 20th. RTX 2070 cards will start at $499, with RTX 2080 at $699, and the RTX 2080 Ti starting at $999. Nvidia is also offering Founders Editions for all three graphics cards. The GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition will be priced at $599, with the RTX 2080 Founders Edition at $799, and the RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition at $1,199. The Founders Edition cards will ship on September 20th.
Nvidia says the RTX 2080 is designed for overclocking, and the RTX 2070 will offer more performance (for ray-tracing) than Nvidia’s Titan XP card. The RTX 2080 Ti is the flagship, clocked at 1350MHz with 4352 CUDA cores and 11GB of GDDR6 RAM (full specs here), while the regular RTX 2080 will be clocked at 1515MHz with 2944 CUDA cores and 8GB of GDDR6 RAM (full specs here). The RTX 2070, meanwhile, is clocked at 1410MHz, with 2304 CUDA cores and 8GB of GDDR6 RAM. Nvidia is recommending PC gamers have a 650W power supply, as the base RTX 2080 draws up to 215 watts of power.
The main promise of these new cards is ray tracing, which is a rendering technique that results in real-time light reflections and cinematic effects that can make games look a lot more like movies. Ray tracing is something PC gamers have been promised for years, and it has long been considered the “holy grail” of video games. Nvidia is now aiming to bring it in real time to the masses.
The performance and ray-tracing support on the new RTX 2000 series is all thanks to it being based on Nvidia’s latest Turing architecture. “This is a new computing model, so there’s a new way to think about performance,” says Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. “This new Turing processor is just a monster, it’s incredible.” Nvidia is now measuring its ray-tracing performance as a key target for these new cards. Huang showed off a number of demonstrations of existing cards and new rendering techniques with the RTX series.
The ray-tracing demonstrations were impressive, but most were limited to physically modeled materials, and reflections and lighting indoors. It’s the real-world game support that matters, and Nvidia is promising real-time ray tracing in Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, and performance gains in lighting and other effects in Battlefield V and Metro Exodus. The demonstration of Tomb Raider was particularly impressive, with realistic shadows and lighting shown in nighttime scenarios.
The Metro Exodus demo involved sunlight from a window entering a room through a window in real time, with Nvidia’s RTX rendering the light inside a room far more accurately so that game developers can hide enemies and other objects out of a view without having to light up the entire room in a non-realistic fashion.
Battlefield V was easily the most impressive example of Nvidia’s RTX system. Reflections from explosions were accurately rendered onto nearby objects like cars, tanks, and even the ground and soldiers in the WW2 first-person shooter game. Flames and explosions will even reflect off of the metal on guns or even diffuse into the wooden parts of older guns in Battlefield V.
Nvidia is promising that even more games will get ray-tracing support than just the three titles it demonstrated today. The company briefly revealed 21 games will get RTX support soon, including Hitman 2, We Happy Few, PUBG, and Final Fantasy XV. 21 games is moderate for launch, but Nvidia will need to keep pushing game developers to adopt this new technology. Nvidia is also working with Microsoft to push ray-tracing, thanks to the company’s new DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API in Windows 10 to complement Nvidia’s RTX work. Epic Games will also make real-time ray-tracing available to Unreal Engine developers later this year.
While Nvidia is claiming “6 times more performance” with its Turing RTX cards over its Pascal-based GTX GPUs, the company is attempting to redefine performance comparisons that are limited to how well the new cards perform. Nvidia doesn’t even list the traditional floating point operations per second (known as teraflops), and has opted to hype two new performance capabilities. These are RTX-OPS, an average of the card’s performance across operations like shading, ray-tracing, etc, and giga rays per second which measures how well the new cards can ray-trace. Nvidia didn’t spend 10 years building its GTX Pascal-based GPUs to perform ray-tracing, so the performance comparison here feels less relevant.
We should get to spend more time with Nvidia’s latest RTX 2000 series at Gamescom this week, and we’re particularly interested to hear how the company will adapt these GPUs for laptops. Stay tuned for more information on Nvidia’s new RTX 2080.
The Xbox One version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will leave the Game Preview program on September 4th, its developers have announced at Gamescom 2018, marking the battle royale game’s progression from early-access beta to official full product. The 1.0 update will bring the smaller Sanhok map with new weapons and dynamic weather changes, War Mode deathmatch, and in-game microtransactions for cosmetic items as well as the recently introduced Event Pass. There’ll be limited-edition Xbox-branded cosmetic DLC available for current and new players once the update goes live.
Of course, getting a 1.0 release doesn’t mean that PUBG development is done. The PC version left Steam Early Access back in December, but as a live, online-focused game, new features, weapons, and maps have been continually added since. Perhaps more notably, the development team recently admitted the extent of the game’s bugginess and instability by launching a high-profile “Fix PUBG” campaign. The Xbox version has been in even worse shape ever since it launched in Game Preview, so it’s safe to say that there’ll still be a lot of work to be done beyond September.
Microsoft is also announcing a PUBG limited edition Xbox One controller featuring “new and exclusive trigger grips” and a digital camo design. It’ll also come with matching PUBG DLC. The controller is available to pre-order now and will ship on October 30th for $69.99.
Forza Horizon 3 first introduced the ability to drive Halo’s famous Warthog nearly two years ago, and Forza Horizon 4 (due October 2nd) is taking that Halo combination a step further. Playground Games has worked closely with current Halo developers 343 Industries to create a miniature Halo experience inside of Forza Horizon 4. It’s essentially a side quest that teleports you into a drivable Warthog, while Banshees chase you along the beautiful route of the British countryside.
I got an early look at the Halo “experience showcase” at Gamescom today, and Cortana narrates the whole thing. The Warthog you drive is piloted by Master Chief, and a Pelican aircraft follows you along the route. News of this experience leaked out (see image below) last week, but Microsoft is still not providing screenshots or a video of it for everyone to see just yet.
Halo fans will enjoy this fun crossover, and it’s something we might see a lot more of now that Playground Games has been acquired by Microsoft. It’s a brief encounter until whenever Halo Infinite launches, but Forza Horizon 4 also includes the ability to freely explore the British countryside. Combined with dynamic seasons, Forza Horizon 4 looks like it will include some challenging changes to its typical arcade racing style.
Forza Horizon 4 is set for release on October 2nd for Xbox One and PC.
Nvidia is introducing a new series of GeForce gaming GPUs today. Teasers and leaks have revealed that the graphics card maker will announce at least two new cards, aimed as successors to the popular GTX 1080 series. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti has leaked multiple times over the weekend, with specifications that reveal it’s a powerful card. Nvidia is expected to focus on real-time ray-tracing during its RTX series introduction, showing how it will allow games to render new cinematic lighting effects.
While most of Nvidia’s main announcement appears to have leaked, the company appears to have partnered with a number of studios for game announcements. Both the Tomb Raider and Battlefield V Twitter accounts have teased their involvement, suggesting we’ll see some new game content and demos alongside Nvidia’s new GPUs.
The key for Nvidia today will be explaining why its new Turing architecture matters to gamers, and just how different ray-tracing will make games look and feel. The ray-tracing rendering technique produces real-time light reflections and cinematic effects that have been demonstrated under Nvidia’s RTX moniker in recent months. Game developers can make use of the rendering technique in titles, and Microsoft has created a new DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API to complement Nvidia’s RTX work. Epic Games will also make real-time ray-tracing available to Unreal Engine developers later this year.
Nvidia’s new GPUs will likely be powerful, but for many, the price will be key. With rumors that Nvidia will start selling its new RTX 2080 series today, we should hear about pricing at the event.
Follow along with The Verge, as we’ll be covering the event live from Gamescom in Cologne, Germany and posting stories as they happen.