Epic’s approach to taking on Steam has been a controversial one, but that hasn’t stopped the company so far.
Instead of aiming to compete with Steam’s features, Epic’s primary method of drawing in users has been to snap up much-hyped titles and make them Epic Games Store exclusives; timed or otherwise.
It’s already happened with XCOM-like strategy game Phoenix Point, Metro: Exodus, and now — to the inevitable disappointment of many — Obsidian’s highly-anticipated “The Outer Worlds.” This news was announced by Epic during its GDC 2019 keynote.
According to PC Gamer, the game will also launch on the Microsoft Store, but it won’t be coming to any other digital distribution platforms for a full year, especially not Steam.
If you’ve never heard of The Outer Worlds before, we’ve covered it in more detail severaltimesin the past. In short, it’s a first-person sci-fi RPG that draws heavy inspiration from Fallout: New Vegas.
It will have multiple endings, RPG attributes and skills, companions for players to befriend, and a major focus on giving users freedom of choice; both in terms of the title’s story and gameplay.
While The Outer Worlds is still technically listed on Steam, its release date has been changed to 2020 to reflect a new bit of text added to the top of the game’s description: “The Outer Worlds will be available on Steam one year after launch on other exclusive digital PC platforms.”
So, if you had the game wishlisted on Steam with the intent of pre-ordering it sometime this year, now might be the time to reconsider. Alternatively, Steam fans may wish to wait for the game to officially arrive on the platform next year.
Whatever trouble Apple has had recruiting publishers for its paid news service, it appears to have scored at least one big coup. New York Times tipsters claim the Wall Street Journal has agreed to join the service mere days ahead of Apple’s March 25th event. It’s not certain what prompted the decision, although Apple’s pitch has reportedly centered on giving publications access to millions of new readers.
Other outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post are still holding off, according to the sources. Like before, Apple is not only asking for a 50 percent cut but requiring unlimited access. Publishers have supposedly balked at a lack of direct access to customer info like email addresses.
Apple, the WSJ and others have declined to comment.
Whichever publishers are available on March 25th, the business model is likely to remain consistent. Apple would still offer its usual smattering of articles for free in the News app, but paying a monthly fee would open the floodgates. Combined with Apple Music and the forthcoming video service, it would represent the company’s big push into services as its hardware sales slow down.
Microsoft really, really wants you to know that Windows 7’s security updates will end soon. A newly deployed update will warn users that Microsoft will stop providing security updates for the operating system after January 14th, 2020, with a not-so-subtle reminder that the software has been around for 10 years. The updates should start appearing on April 18th. The alert will be hard to miss when it arrives the first time, though you’ll thankfully have the option of disabling future reminders.
Many people are likely to see the notice. Net Applications data suggested that Windows 7 represented nearly 40.2 percent of desktop usage as of February, or slightly more than were using Windows 10. Whether or not they can heed the message is another story. Many of those people are either on PCs that would struggle with Windows 10 or are using corporate machines where OS updates might be out of their control. Microsoft is no doubt hoping that the message will persuade at least some of those holdouts, though.
There is a strong incentive to make the jump, at least for businesses and institutions. Once official support ends, Microsoft only provides consistent security updates to companies that pay for extended support, which ends in 2023. It’ll make very rare exceptions for instances like the WannaCry ransomware outbreak. Although a Windows 10 upgrade won’t necessarily guarantee protection against security threats, it’ll at least prevent attacks where solutions have existed for years.
Alongside today’s announcement of a new V11 cordless vacuum, Dyson also announced updates to its lighting and air purifier products. The first is the Dyson Lightcycle, its desk and floor lamp that can automatically adjust its lighting temperature based on ambient light or time of day. The high-end lamp also includes a scheduled lighting mode that gadgets like the new Casper Glow offer: you can now set wake and sleep times to gradually adjust as you prepare to rise or wind down.
Everything about the Lightcycle is as over-engineered as you’ve come to expect from Dyson products. It has a new control panel above the bulb (which Dyson claims can last up to 60 years) that uses touch-capacitive taps and slides to control the power, lighting temperature, and brightness. Buttons along the bottom let you turn on the ambient mode that allows the Lightcycle to change lighting temperatures based on the natural light it finds in the room.
Along the side of the stand, there’s a single USB-C port. Dyson did not get back to us in time for publication on the output power, only describing speeds as “fast” for smartphones, “medium-fast” for gadgets like a Nintendo Switch, and slower for larger devices like a laptop. We’ll update this post if we get an exact number.
It’s also now connected to the Dyson app where you can set your location so the Lightcycle can match the lighting to the exact lighting conditions based on where you are. I imagine this feature will be seldom used because I’m not sure who travels with their desk lamp often enough to have to periodically update its location. One feature that is interesting and can only be activated through the app, however, is precise lighting modes such as study, precision (Dyson says this is designed for engineers, artists, or other handiwork), and relax. You can also add your age so the Lightcycle adapts its brightness to a level it deems appropriate for your vision.
In addition to the lamp, Dyson is also updating its air purifier that launched last year with a miniaturized version for tabletops. The new Dyson Pure Cool Me (a mouthful of a name) has a ball-like top that you can tilt forward and back to control the direction of air flow. It also includes oscillation modes and a timer through the remote. Unlike the Lightcycle or the Pure Cool Link, the new Pure Cool Me won’t be able to sync to Dyson’s app. The company says this is designed for personal uses rather than to cool and clean the whole room, so adding app functionalities didn’t seem like it was necessary.
Unlike its bigger counterpart, the Pure Cool Me won’t tell you the types of microns and impurities it’s eliminating from your room while in use. You can, however, still use the remote to find out how your filter is faring and see when to swap it out. According to the company, the filters will last about a year with daily use.
The Dyson Lightcycle has already launched in China, but it will be globally available in April. Preorders begin today on Dyson.com, starting at $599.99 for the desk lamp and $899.99 for the floor lamp. Despite those steep prices, however, expect to only use the Dyson Link app to control the lamps. It will not ship with third-party functionalities with smart assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant. The Pure Cool Me is available now through Dyson for $349.99, and it will come to Target, Best Buy, and Amazon in April.