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'Horizon Forbidden West' pricing mess underscored need to standardize PS5 upgrades – The Washington Post

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Last week’s surprise announcement that anyone who buys “Horizon Forbidden West” on the PlayStation 4 will not have a free upgrade path should they eventually get a PlayStation 5 received harsh criticism, which led to some sorely needed clarity.
PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan announced Saturday that the company is walking back the Thursday decision for the “Horizon” upgrade pipeline to PS5 by keeping it free, but maintaining that future first-party games like the next “God of War” will come with a $10 upgrade price. Ryan told The Post last September that launch games would receive free PS5 upgrades. While Ryan did not mention “Horizon” by name, the title was still implied as a launch title at the time.
Ryan’s decision to charge $10 for future first-party, cross-generation upgrades to the PS5 versions finally puts into place some kind of standard for the PS4 to PS5 pipeline. The messy and incoherent PS4-to-PS5 upgrade pipeline has only grown worse since the console launched last year, even when we’re only talking about Sony exclusives. The PlayStation 5 platform needed a clearer distinction, especially since it continues to rely on upgraded versions of PS4 titles to maintain sales.
‘Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut’ is one of the finest-looking games ever
Here’s a look back at the mess:
Contrast all of the above with the upgrade path on Xbox’s latest series of consoles: Simply hit the “update” option of the game you already own, and, presto, you have the next-gen, Xbox Series X or Series S version of the game via the Microsoft-coined “Smart Delivery” system. The option isn’t available for every game on the Xbox platforms, but many of the biggest multiplatform titles offer free upgrade paths on Xbox, as do all of Microsoft’s exclusives.
Xbox CEO Phil Spencer explained to me in February of last year that the company coined the phrase “Smart Delivery” to arm customers with publisher expectations.
All this confusion over upgrades may seem like it won’t matter to owners of a PlayStation 5 or anyone only concerned with the latest and greatest titles. But it also ignores the reality that many of today’s most-played games are several years old, yet still maintain healthy communities. The act of playing old games is more relevant today than ever.
‘Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart’ is the best PlayStation exclusive since ‘Bloodborne’
The confusion may also seem foreign to anyone who’s traditionally played video games only on consoles. But the PC and mobile spaces have trained millions of users on how software works in the modern world. People who buy “Stardew Valley” for their iPhone X don’t have to repurchase another “iPhone 12” version of the game when upgrading to an iPhone 12. You just get the same game on a different device. That’s the kind of cross-gen capability Xbox is shooting for — something Sony hasn’t been able to maintain.
Nintendo, meanwhile, operates on its own, indecipherable logic and doesn’t offer its consumers any choice in how to play old games besides either playing them on old devices or repurchasing them on the Nintendo Switch.
For now, Sony seems to want it both ways: It wants to maintain the perspective that its exclusives are a luxury you can only get with a PS5, all the while acknowledging that the PS4 library is too valuable to gather dust by frequently updating some of its beloved titles. At least some of these Sony upgrades include additional content, like “Ghost of Tsushima” and its Iki Island expansion.
These various upgrades raise the question: Just how valuable are the lines of codes that distinguish a PS4 or PS5 version of otherwise the exact same content? It’s not a question customers should be expected to answer, especially this early in the console generation. For now, Sony has an answer: That’ll be $10. The remaining questions include how developers will now address that $10 value attached to upgrading to a PS5 version, and whether that consistency and price is reasonable enough to keep players of both PS4 and PS5 happy.
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Boy's Suicide Puts Spotlight On Online Gaming, Madhya Pradesh Plans Law – NDTV

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The pandemic has forced children to spend a lot of time unsupervised online.
The Madhya Pradesh government will soon enforce a law in the state for regulating online gaming for children. This comes after an 11-year-old boy from Bhopal died by suicide last week after spending money on online games without the knowledge of his family.
The proposed law includes declaring online gaming, gambling, and betting as crimes. Websites and applications hosting addictive games will be banned. There will also be a provision for a jail sentence and a fine for creating and operating online games that harm children.
11-year-old Suryant Ojha from Shankaracharya colony in Bhopal had last week died by suicide after he spent Rs 6,000 on online games without the knowledge of his parents, according to the police.
“It is a very serious issue. These suicides are connected to online gaming. To prevent such incidents, we are bringing in an Act to regulate gaming. The draft of the law is ready and we will soon finalise it,” Dr Narrottam Mishra, Law Minister of the state, said.
Many parents, concerned after the news of the suicide, have also demanded that the government regulate online gaming. The pandemic has forced children to spend a lot of time online unsupervised, they say. 
Eelizaa Khan, a two-year-old girl, is one of several children in the state who are now spending a lot of time on online games. Her parents fear she might develop health issues and want the government to regulate addictive games to protect children.
“Ever since the pandemic started, children have been studying on laptops and mobile phones. It has caused health issues like back pain and issues with eyesight as well. They also play games, we can’t keep checking on them all the time,” Fahim Khan, Eelizaa Khan’s father, told NDTV. 
Mr Khan says that bringing a law to regulate gaming is a welcome step but the government should strictly implement it as well. 

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In August, the state government had filed a police case against the developers of the online game “Free Fire” for creating such addictive games for which children are putting their lives at stake.
The first draft of the law is ready and officials are busy giving the proposed bill a final shape, sources said.
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AMD Moves GCN 1, 2, & 3-based GPUs and APUs To Legacy; Also Drops Win7 Support – AnandTech

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Alongside today’s release of their new Radeon Software Adrenalin 21.6.1 driver – the first to bring support for FidelityFX Super Resolution tech – AMD is also using this opportunity to clean house on supported graphics products. As announced in a new blog post and effective immediately, AMD is moving all of its 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation Graphics Core Next (GCN) based GPUs and APUs to legacy status. As a result, pre-RX 400 series video cards and pre-Ryzen APUs are no longer supported by AMD’s current drivers, and AMD’s previous 21.5.2 driver set will be the final release for those products. 21.5.2 will also be the final driver that supports Windows 7, as AMD is also using this opportunity to drop support for that already-retired OS.
This week’s change in support marks the first time since 2015 that AMD has moved any video hardware to legacy support. At the time, the company retired its pre-GCN hardware, leaving AMD’s GCN-based Radeon HD 7000 series and newer products as their support baseline. And, after nearly 10 years of support for the oldest pieces of GCN hardware – the then-revolutionary Radeon HD 7970 was launched at the very start of 2012 – AMD is finally winding down support for the first couple of waves of GCN hardware.
First introduced in 2011, GCN was a major overhaul of AMD’s graphics architecture, moving from an ILP-centric design to a more modern and compute-friendly TLP-centric design. GCN itself has since been supplanted by the RDNA family, but many of the basic design principles of GCN are still alive today in AMD’s enterprise compute-focused CDNA architecture.

As for this week’s product support changes, AMD is essentially retiring all graphics hardware – GPU and APU – that pre-dates 2016’s Polaris (GCN 4) architecture. Consequently, AMD’s lengthy legacy list includes the Radeon 7000 and 8000 series, as well as the 200, 300, and Fury series. Even a few pieces of mobile-focused M400 hardware are on there, since those low-end parts were based on older GCN chips. Overall, this marks a roughly 5-year span of hardware being retired this week, with the youngest parts just turning 5.
On the APU front, the legacy list includes several of AMD’s popular pre-Ryzen APUs, including Bristol Ridge, Carrizo, and Kaveri, which were predominantly sold under the AMD A-series moniker (e.g. A10-9700). It’s worth noting that the resulting support window for these products does end up being a bit shorter than the discrete GPUs, since AMD didn’t release their first Ryzen + Vega APUs until 2018.
As things stand, I’m not surprised to see AMD lump together GCN 1/2/3 from a driver support standpoint. Despite some very material architecture tweaks among those successive generations, from a product development standpoint they all represent one extended product family, as AMD introduced and replaced GPUs in a piecemeal fashion. Combined with the fact that AMD continued using early GCN parts in newer cards for years, it wasn’t until Polaris in 2016 that AMD finally executed a complete top-to-bottom refresh of its entire GPU product stack. In other words, GCN 1/2/3 are being retired in the same way they lived: together.
Otherwise, as previously mentioned, AMD is also using this opportunity to retire support for their last pre-Windows 10 OS. Like most other hardware vendors, AMD had opted to continue developing drivers for Windows 7 even after the OS itself was retired at the start of 2020, owing to the fact that it was still seeing significant use in some locales. But, after another 18 months of extended support, Windows 7 support is also being dropped. As of today’s 21.6.1 drivers, the only versions of Windows supported are 64-bit editions of Windows 10.
For their part, AMD’s blog post on the retirement notes that “This change enables AMD to dedicate valuable engineering resources to developing new features and enhancements for graphics products based on our latest graphics architectures.” It’s also worth noting that this announcement comes less than 2 weeks after NVIDIA’s own legacy announcement, where the company announced that the similarly aged Kepler architecture will be moved to legacy status later this summer.
Closing out support for all these legacy products then will be AMD’s 21.5.2 driver. The company has posted a fresh “legacy” version of the driver just for these retired products, though it doesn’t look like there’s anything new versus AMD’s existing drivers. According to the company, there are no further driver released planned, and the announcement makes no mention of a security update support period.
Overall, AMD’s early GCN architecture parts marked an important transition for AMD, and the resulting hardware, for all of its merits and weaknesses, kept AMD in the game during a very tough period for the company. So for GCN 1, 2, and 3, this is a retirement that’s well-earned.
Source: AMD

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MaximBet Picks Kambi, White Hat to Provide Online Gaming… – Casino.Org News

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Posted on: January 24, 2022, 11:25h. 
Last updated on: January 25, 2022, 08:43h.

MaximBet announced on Monday that it has signed long-term deals with Kambi and White Hat Gaming to serve as its sports betting and iGaming platform providers, respectively.
The agreements fulfill a pledge to its users that the online gaming operator would provide them with “the very best experience, both online and in the real world,” MaximBet CEO Daniel Graetzer said in a statement.
This partnership will enable MaximBet to allocate more resources to its rapid expansion and real-life experiences that set it apart from the traditional, by-the-book sports betting platforms,” Graetzer said. “If MaximBet users thought the exclusive rewards, prizes, events and experiences were incredible before, they haven’t seen anything yet.”
Carousel Group owns MaximBet, which debuted its sports betting app last September in Colorado. Access rights have also been secured for Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In addition, there’s also a free-to-play app, MaximBet Play, that’s available nationwide.
Additional states will be revealed in the near future, according to the MaximBet release.
The gaming app tied to the men’s lifestyle media brand also has plans to launch in Canada.
MaximBet will integrate its sportsbook operations onto the Kambi platform. That includes utilizing Kambi’s risk management and compliance solutions. MaximBet users will be able to take advantage of Kambi’s BetBuilder feature and in-game betting and special parlay products.
In its own statement, the Malta-based gaming technology provider said the move will help MaximBet grow faster in North America.
“The management team at Carousel Group understand the benefits of Kambi’s scalable sports betting technology and services, as well as the flexibility to innovate on top of its own platform and leverage the strength of the Maxim brand,” Kambi CEO Kristian Nylén said in his company’s release. “This is an important partnership for Kambi as we continue to strengthen our global network and we look forward to working closely with MaximBet to aid its expansion across the US.”
Kambi’s platform is currently in use in 18 states. Rush Street Interactive, Churchill Downs, and Penn National Gaming also use Kambi’s platforms to power their sports betting operations.
Besides its iGaming platform, White Hat will also provide its player account management solution to MaximBet. That includes White Hat’s traveling wallet.
“Outsourcing core technology like the platform and PAM solution will enable MaximBet to focus on its expansion, player acquisition, and retention whilst guaranteeing a best-in-class product,” White Hat CEO Phil Gelvan said in a statement.
Unlike some states, Colorado does not break out its sports betting numbers by operator or gaming partner. Because of that, it’s uncertain how much of the market MaximBet holds in the state.
MaximBet is one of 25 mobile sports betting applications available in the state. Its partner is Johnny Nolon’s Casino in Cripple Creek.
In its release, it did not disclose any handle or revenue figures. However, MaximBet did claim it has “achieved rapid market acceptance” in Colorado since rolling out the app. That includes month-to-month handle increases of 50 percent and above expected customer retention rates.
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