Archive for the ‘Switch’ Category

Hands-on: Switch’s NES controllers offer unmatched old-school authenticity

December 13th, 2018
Now you're playing with power.

Enlarge / Now you're playing with power.

Playing old-school games on the Switch thus far has been a choice between various control compromises. You can use two Joy-Cons held in two hands, but the tiny buttons and lack of a true d-pad make this setup less than ideal. Holding a single Joy-Con sideways eliminates the d-pad completely and forces you to curve your grip around a hand-crampingly small control surface. A Switch Pro Controller or various third-party solutions can solve these problems, but they come with relatively high prices and some added features you don't need for classic games.

Enter Nintendo, which is offering subscribers to its new Online service the ability to buy two wireless, Switch-compatible replica NES controllers for $60 (on top of the $20 a year subscription). After spending a few hours testing the little guys (just before pre-orders start shipping out) we found them to be competent, authentic throwbacks with some important limitations.

Truly authentic

Anyone with fond memories of gripping an NES controller in their youth will be happy to hear that Nintendo got the authenticity darn-near perfect with these replicas. Everything from the sizing to the tactile feel to the springiness of the buttons and the d-pad is practically indistinguishable from a brand-new NES controller you might have bought three decades ago. This isn't that surprising, since the wired NES Classic Edition controllers had the same level of fidelity, but it's still nice to see.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, NES, Nintendo, Switch | Comments (0)

We’ve run wild on the Switch version of WarFrame—and it’s solid

November 16th, 2018

Video shot and edited by John Cappello. Click here for transcript.

If you had asked us a year ago whether the Nintendo Switch would ever deliver a shooter on par with the online team-questing of Destiny, we would surely have laughed you off. A solid, connected, shooting-filled 3D game for Nintendo's handheld? Go back to Mario Kart, dreamer.

But the past year has seen developers unlock serious power—and reasonable compromises—in impressive Switch ports. Now, one of the industry's best Switch wranglers, Panic Button, has worked its magic on the free-to-play multiplayer shooter WarFrame, out this week on the platform.

Ahead of the launch, we had the opportunity to sit with the combined brain trust behind WarFrame on Switch—a producer at series creator Digital Extremes and the head of Panic Button's porting team—and rap about what they made happen. We also went hands-on with the results and enjoyed the tweaked options laid out, including joystick sensitivity, button mapping, and—a rarity on the Nintendo Switch—a field-of-view slider, which first-person junkies will surely appreciate.

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Posted in Ars Technica Videos, ars video, Gaming & Culture, Switch, warframe | Comments (0)

Microsoft wants Azure to be the multiplayer server solution for every platform

November 14th, 2018
<em>Sea of Thieves</em> is a game already using Azure for its server hosting and scaling.

Enlarge / Sea of Thieves is a game already using Azure for its server hosting and scaling. (credit: Rare)

Microsoft today launched a preview of PlayFab Multiplayer Servers, a new Azure-based service giving game developers dynamic, on-demand scaling of multiplayer servers.

Microsoft bought Seattle-based PlayFab earlier this year with a view to using it to expand Azure's reach in the gaming world. PlayFab is building all the cloud-based infrastructure needed for today's games: matchmaking (using the same algorithms as Xbox Live to try to group players of similar skill together), leaderboards, server hosting, player identity/profile management, commerce, and so on. Broadly speaking, the intent of PlayFab is to let games developers focus on their games, taking care of the server-side work for them. PlayFab's services are platform agnostic, and Microsoft has preserved this aspect: there are SDKs for Xbox, Windows, PlayStation, Switch, iOS, and Android.

At the time of the purchase, PlayFab ran atop Amazon's AWS. Some parts still do, but others have moved to Microsoft's own Azure. The Multiplayer Server feature, released in preview today, is one of the services on Azure. Microsoft has more Azure data centers in more parts of the world than Amazon or Google, which in turn means that Azure servers should generally be closer to where the players are. This should ensure lower latency and a better gaming experience for games on those servers.

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Posted in azure, cloud, development, Games, Gaming & Culture, microsoft, Multiplayer, Nintendo, playfab, PlayStation, servers, Sony, Switch, Tech, XBox | Comments (0)

Nintendo recommits to “keep the business going” for 3DS

October 31st, 2018
Can't afford a Switch? Mario has a suggestion for you...

Enlarge / Can't afford a Switch? Mario has a suggestion for you... (credit: Nintendo of America)

In the age of the Nintendo Switch, the company's older 3DS handheld tends to get the short end of the stick in terms of press and player attention. But Nintendo has maintained that it's not going to abandon the dedicated portable, which showed surprisingly resilient sales as recently as this January.

In a recent financial briefing, Nintendo recommitted to keep selling and supporting the 3DS, and the company explained why the eight-year-old system continues to have a place next to the Switch.

Nintendo 3DS is set apart from Nintendo Switch by its characteristics as a handheld game system that is lightweight, price-friendly, and highly portable. Affordability is the strong point that positions Nintendo 3DS in a niche clearly separate from Nintendo Switch. In the grand scheme of things, Nintendo 3DS has a prominent position as the product that can be served as the first contact between Nintendo and many of its consumers, and for this reason we will keep the business going.

Keeping the 3DS around as a form of "entry-level" Nintendo hardware makes a lot of sense. The New 2DS XL now retails for just $150—half the price of a new Switch—and that's with a copy of Mario Kart 7 bundled. And until major Nintendo franchises like Pokemon and Metroid come to the Switch, the 3DS represents the best way to enjoy them in relatively modern forms.

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Posted in 3DS, Gaming & Culture, Long Tail, Nintendo, portable, sales, Switch | Comments (0)

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a great introduction to tactical RPGs

August 28th, 2017

Enlarge

It’s a bit odd that Mario’s first completely fresh appearance on the Nintendo Switch isn’t a traditional run-and-jump platform game but a novel foray into the tactical RPG genre. It’s even odder that Mario has to share that debut with Ubisoft’s incredibly annoying (yet ostensibly popular) Rabbids. Oddest of all, Nintendo’s iconic mascot largely takes a back seat to those over-the-top, screaming humanoid rabbits in the game.

Sure, Mario might get top billing in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. All told, though, it feels like Mario and crew were thrown into an existing Ubisoft game midway through the process. The game’s plot, to the extent that it exists, uses a stolen “SupaMerge” device that literally fuses crazified Rabbids with well-known Mario antagonists like Donkey Kong and Piranha Plants, while merging “good” Rabbids with good guys like Mario, Luigi, and Peach to create completely new unholy abominations. There’s also an intelligent Roomba named Beep-o that explains all this with a lot of wordy exposition that the other characters’ wordless vamping for the camera can’t really convey.

While Mario staples like coins and mushrooms make appearances, Ubisoft’s characters and design aesthetic seem to win out most of the time. Heck, the Mario characters can’t even jump without help from an ally, which is practically treasonous in a Mario game. This isn’t really a knock against a title that maintains strong (if silly) visual and gameplay themes throughout. Just don’t go in expecting a Mushroom Kingdom adventure in the vein of the Paper Mario or the Mario and Luigi games.

Take your positions

Anyone familiar with the positional battles in a game like XCOM, Fire Emblem, or Final Fantasy Tactics will recognize the same essential DNA in Kingdom Battle. While there are some perfunctory and simplistic coin-collecting and block-pushing puzzles forced in between the fights, the bulk of the game involves taking turns moving characters around a grid-based map so they’re in place to attack the enemy while avoiding the incoming counter attacks.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, Mario, Nintendo, rabbids, Switch, Ubisoft | Comments (0)

Flaw In D-Link Software Affects 400K Devices

July 8th, 2016

In-brief: A vulnerability in software by device maker D-Link is much more widespread than initially believed, affecting hundreds of thousands of Internet connected devices, including cameras, home routers, wireless access points and network attached storage. A vulnerability in software by device maker D-Link is much more widespread than initially believed, affecting hundreds of thousands of Internet connected devices, including cameras, home routers, wireless access points and network attached storage. The security firm Senrio said on Thursday that a vulnerability it first disclosed in June in D-Link’s DCS-930L Network Cloud Camera also affects “a huge range of products” made by that company. More than 120 models across Connected Home Products, including cameras, routers, access points, modems, and storage, are affected by this single vulnerability, Senrio said in a statement. As many as 400,000 D-Link devices that are accessible from the public Internet are vulnerable to remote attack as a result of the remote code […]


Definitive Guide to DLP

Posted in broadband router, cameras, critical infrastructure, customer premises equipment (CPE), d-link, embedded device, hardware, home gateway, Internet of things, NAS, Patching, router, Senrio (Xipiter), supply chain, Switch, system on chip, trends, vulnerabilities | Comments (0)