Tesla Drastically Increases Supercharger Prices around the World

As if the end of free Supercharging periods wasn’t bad enough news, Tesla has now drastically increased Supercharging prices around the world. Downtown locations in New York have been hit with a 33% increase ($0.24/kWh to $0.32/kWh), while prices in California have gone from $0.26/kWh to as high as 0.36 per kWh. This is the result of Tesla transitioning from state/region pricing to per-station pricing, which “better reflect differences in local electricity costs and site usage.”



Last year, Tesla already increased Supercharger costs in the US. In some places, the increase was as much as 100 percent — though most regions saw their rates increase by 20 to 40 percent. This time around, prices are going up globally and the US is getting another price increase. In Norway, one of Tesla’s most important markets and where there’s one of the highest concentration of Superchargers, the cost of using a Supercharger station went from 1,40 NOK to 1,86 NOK per kWh. It looks like the price went up globally by roughly 33% based on most markets reviewed by Electrek.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – Tesla Drastically Increases Supercharger Prices around the World

FDA Chief Threatens to Take E-cigarettes off the Market

“Horrified” at the rapid rise in teen vaping, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb says he is “about ready” to stop e-cigarette sales and force makers through the formal drug approval process. The tobacco industry has repeatedly been told to stop marketing to teens and advertising candy-flavored products, but words have evidently fallen on deaf ears. “It will be game over for these products until they can successfully traverse the regulatory process.”



There’s little debate that vaping has hit record highs among children and teens. Last November, the figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 78 percent increase in vaping by high school students, with 3.6 million high school and middle school students now using e-cigarettes. Gottlieb said he has met repeatedly with the vape industry. “I find myself debating with tobacco makers and retailers the merits of selling fruity flavors in ways that remain easily accessible to kids,” he said.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – FDA Chief Threatens to Take E-cigarettes off the Market

Free-to-Play Games Were Responsible for 80% of 2018's Digital Game Revenues

The free-to-play model is working out extremely well for game developers, particularly in Asian territories. According to the latest numbers from Nielsen’s SuperData, 2018 was the biggest year for digital games and interactive entertainment due to F2P games, which earned 80% of the revenue. While traditional titles still performed well, F2P led the race with $87.84 billion in earnings.



The digital market pulled in $109.8 billion throughout 2018, up a strong 11% year-over-year and sending clear signals to publishers like EA, Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft, Tencent and Nexon that their live service plans are working. Asian territories fueled these billions and the region generated the lion’s share of earnings for the segment. Conversely, areas like North America and Europe prefer bigger buy-to-play games like Red Dead Redemption 2, PUBG, and Black Ops 4.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Free-to-Play Games Were Responsible for 80% of 2018’s Digital Game Revenues

Free-to-Play Made 80% of 2018 Digital Game Revenues

The free-to-play model is working out extremely well for game developers, particularly in Asian territories. According to the latest numbers from Nielsen’s SuperData, 2018 was the biggest year for digital games and interactive entertainment due to F2P games, which earned 80% of the revenue. While traditional titles still performed well, F2P led the race with $87.84 billion in earnings.



The digital market pulled in $109.8 billion throughout 2018, up a strong 11% year-over-year and sending clear signals to publishers like EA, Activision-Blizzard, Ubisoft, Tencent and Nexon that their live service plans are working. Asian territories fueled these billions and the region generated the lion’s share of earnings for the segment. Conversely, areas like North America and Europe prefer bigger buy-to-play games like Red Dead Redemption 2, PUBG, and Black Ops 4.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Free-to-Play Made 80% of 2018 Digital Game Revenues

Blizzard Hiring Spree Suggests Diablo 4 Is Being Fast-Tracked

Blizzard may have gone all-in for a legitimate Diablo sequel due to the backlash they received from Immortal, their ill-received mobile spin-off. The careers page currently shows 19 open positions, one of which calls for a “Quest Designer” that has PC and console experience.



Take a look at the various roles for the Diablo series and you’ll see that the company is looking for everything from artists to designers. There still hasn’t been any official announcement from Blizzard concerning Diablo 4, though a return to the series may be exactly what the developer needs to win back fans and inject a little stability into Blizzard.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – Blizzard Hiring Spree Suggests Diablo 4 Is Being Fast-Tracked

All of Machinima's Videos Were Removed without Any Prior Warning

RIP, Machinima? In a complete surprise, practically every single video from the classic gaming-related media network has been wiped clean on YouTube. Content creators reportedly had zero indication this was going to happen. According to Destructoid, “This comes as a result of a planned merger with Ellation, which is a part of Otter Media, which is actually a division of AT&T and WarnerMedia.”



Moving forward, it’s anyone’s guess as to what AT&T plans to do with the Machinima network. It’s still a valuable channel, as it has approximately 12.4 million subscribers on YouTube. But this story isn’t about the future. It’s about the thousands of hours of original video game content that suddenly disappeared into the ether — beloved series like Two Best Friends Play, Arby ‘n’ the Chief, Teenage Pokemon (which was created by Destructoid’s own Jonathan Holmes), and so many more.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – All of Machinima’s Videos Were Removed without Any Prior Warning

Windows 7 Support Ends in One Year

After a decade of fruitful service, Microsoft is putting Windows 7 out to pasture on January 14, 2020 by ceasing any and all support (unless the customer pays): “That means no more updates or fixes, including security fixes after that date, which is the first Patch Tuesday of 2020.” Users are being advised to suck it up and upgrade to Windows 10.



Microsoft officials have announced two ways that Windows 7 users can continue to get security updates beyond the January 14, 2020 date. Both of these ways are designed for business customers, not consumers. Microsoft will sell paid Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESUs) on a per-device basis, with the price increasing each year. Microsoft also will provide ESUs for no additional cost to customers who buy the Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop service.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Windows 7 Support Ends in One Year

AdoredTV: Comprehending the Navi No-Show

Having received criticism for leaks that weren’t entirely accurate, AdoredTV’s Jim Parker has returned with a new video that attempts to explain what went wrong and why Navi was a no-show. While critics are calling this another round of damage control, AMD hopefuls say that a leak doesn’t have to be 100% accurate to be “right.”



Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – AdoredTV: Comprehending the Navi No-Show

Digital License Plates Coming to Michigan

Michigan residents have been authorized to swap their static plates for electronic ones, as lawmakers have passed a bill enabling digital license plate technology in the state. The only option thus far is Reviver Auto’s Rplate, “the world’s first and only digital license plate.” While some question their necessity, the company argues the platform can “simplify daily life” in a variety of ways.



The Rplate’s connected car platform can automate vehicle renewals, replacing legacy stickers with digital decals, and add new levels of personalization to the license plate, including promoting charitable causes, passion for a sports team, or even a child’s academic/athletic achievements. The Rplate also enables stolen vehicle and plate detached information, as well as geo-fencing capabilities for business and/or governmental entities. Future features include Amber and weather alerts, automated parking, trips taken, vehicle miles traveled, marketing capabilities and much more.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Digital License Plates Coming to Michigan

Rogue One Writer Blasts EA for "Catastrophically Mismanaging" the Star Wars License

Following the Battlefront II microtransaction controversy and the recent cancellation of another potentially epic Star Wars title, Rogue One writer Gary Whitta appeared on Kinda Funny Games this week to blast Electronic Arts for “catastrophically mismanaging” the Star Wars license, which it earned in 2013 but has been pissing away since. Whitta can’t believe how hard EA fumbled with Battlefront (the first didn’t even have a campaign) and is stunned at the shelving of Amy Hennig’s “Star Wars Uncharted” project. “If I was an EA shareholder, I’d be f*cking furious.”



Whitta criticized EA for publishing the first Battlefront without a story, and for the “embarrassing fiasco” surrounding Battlefront II’s microtransactions, which prompted Disney executives to step in. He also blasted the company for cancelling Amy Hennig’s Star Wars project (codenamed ragtag), which he thinks would have turned out fantastic with one of the best writers in the industry at the helm. The Rogue One writer went on to suggest that if he was at Disney and there was some kind of a “get out” clause in the contract with EA, he would revoke the license and “pull the plug.”

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Rogue One Writer Blasts EA for “Catastrophically Mismanaging” the Star Wars License

IBM HR Made Me Lie to US Government, Says Axed VP in Age-Discrimination Legal Row

IBM’s former vice president in its Global Engagement Office, Catherine Rodgers, has filed new documents supporting a class-action lawsuit alleging Big Blue discriminates against older workers. Rodgers, who says she was terminated for “raising concerns” regarding the firing of post-50 staff, claims in her affidavit “her superiors directed her to hide information about staff leaving from the US Department of Labor.”



The lawsuit, Rusis et al v. IBM, was filed in September 2018. Along with similar age discrimination claims brought against IBM in California and Texas, it followed a March 2018 report from ProPublica and Mother Jones that said the global IT biz over the past few years engaged in a systematic campaign to get rid of older workers. According to the expose, about 60 per cent of the 20,000 people laid off over a five year period were over 40.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – IBM HR Made Me Lie to US Government, Says Axed VP in Age-Discrimination Legal Row

Microsoft Wants to Know How It Can Improve Windows 10 PC Gaming

Gamers who aren’t happy with Windows 10 now have a channel to vent their frustrations: Microsoft has launched a new “Xbox Ideas” UserVoice page, which will allow visitors to submit and vote on potential ideas for improving PC gaming on Windows 10. Some of the ideas that have been posted so far include a version of Windows that is specifically designed for gaming, and having the OS automatically disable unnecessary background processes while a title is running.



Team Xbox would love to hear how you’d like to see gaming on Windows improved. How can Windows 10 enhance your gaming experience? What features would you like added or changed to make gaming on Windows 10 even better? Create suggestions, vote for suggestions, and leave comments below! *What do you want Windows to do (or stop doing) while you’re playing a game? *What can Windows do to optimize your gaming experience? *What other gaming features would you like to see?

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Microsoft Wants to Know How It Can Improve Windows 10 PC Gaming

PCIe 5.0 Is Ready for Prime Time

PCIe 4.0 is expected be a short-lived standard, as PCI-SIG, the organization behind the interface, is already close to releasing finalized specs for PCIe 5.0: the group announced it ratified Version 0.9 this week, leading the way to a final revision in Q1 2019 and potential products at by the end of the year. While PCIe 4.0 granted 64GBps of throughput, PCIe 5.0 doubles that to 128GBps.



PCIe 5.0 also brings other features, like electrical changes to improve signal integrity, backward-compatible CEM connectors for add-in cards, and backward compatibility with previous versions of PCIe. The PCI-SIG also designed the new standard to reduce latency and tolerate higher signal loss for long-reach applications.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – PCIe 5.0 Is Ready for Prime Time

Ford Is Developing a Powerful All-Electric F-Series Truck

At the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference at the MGM Grand Detroit, Ford’s president of global markets, Jim Farley discussed the F-series trucks and future plans to electrify them. Not only did he say, “We’re going to be electrifying the F-series — battery electric and hybrid,” he also announced an all-electric version of the Transit van. Ford confirmed it is launching an electric SUV that is inspired by the Mustang. When asked about the SUV, Farley said, “Trust us, it’s a rocket ship,” Ford also announced a global alliance with Volkswagen AG where the companies would collaborate on future commercial vehicles such as vans and pickups. The collaboration is expected to yield new autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles; with the possibility of other vehicle programs being added in the future.



“With the F-150 electric, you don’t have to have an expensive generator on site now,” he said. “You can just plug your tools into your truck and that electric powertrain will run all the tools on the job site. Customers will pay for that because now they don’t have to buy a expensive $10,000 generator.”

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Source: [H]ardOCP – Ford Is Developing a Powerful All-Electric F-Series Truck

Here Is AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su's Interview from CES 2019

AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su was interviewed by the tech press after giving her keynote speech at CES 2019. PC Games Hardware on Youtube documented the interview and recently released a condensed version. Enjoy!



After the CES keynote, Lisa Su (CEO of AMD) joined a roundtable with a small group of journalist to answer some questions about Radeon VII, Ryzen 300 etc. PCGH was lucky enough to be part of the roundtable and we were able to record some of the questions.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – Here Is AMD President and CEO Dr. Lisa Su’s Interview from CES 2019

Windows 10 Mobile Is Officially Dead

Microsoft has officially signed the death certificate for Windows 10 mobile as it recently posted a “Windows 10 Mobile End of Support: FAQ.” On December 10, 2019, “Windows 10 Mobile users are no longer eligible to receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft for free.” Microsoft has a suggestion for users of Windows 10 mobile; “move to a supported Android or iOS device.”



The Windows 10 Mobile end of support date is the same for consumer and enterprise. Microsoft encourages all customers to move to a supported Android or iOS device. The end of support date applies to all Windows 10 Mobile products, including Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – Windows 10 Mobile Is Officially Dead

Tesla Stock Drops Following Employee Layoff Announcement

In an open letter to employees, Tesla announced plans to cut their workforce by about 7% this morning. The letter written by Elon Musk notes that they grew by 30% last year, suggesting that Tesla may have expanded a little too quickly, and that the staff cut is necessary for Tesla to meet its low Model 3 price targets. Naturally, stockholders reacted negatively to the announcement, and the stock dropped about 10% this morning. Bloomberg notes that this is just another line in the wild history of Tesla’s stock price, as it has been extremely volatile over the past 2 years. One of Elon Musk’s other companies, Space X, announced plans to lay off about 10% of their staff last week, but that company isn’t publicly traded yet. Thanks to YeuEmMaiMai for the tip.



However, some bullish analysts said the job cuts were part of “business as usual,” and a sign that Tesla is trying to rein in its spending. The relentless bull-bear debate on Tesla has recently been focused on how the company would tackle the gradual phase out of a federal incentive on electric cars that had helped to boost the demand for the company’s cars.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Tesla Stock Drops Following Employee Layoff Announcement

Digital Foundry Compares Ace Combat 7 PC and Console Versions

Digital Foundry just uploaded a great overview of Ace Combat 7. They start off by going over the history of the franchise, and note that the Playstation 2 versions of the game in particular really pushed the visuals of the series forward. I tend to agree with that sentiment myself, and also agree with the huge importance of high, consistent framerates in the series. Going from 60 FPS in the previous titles to 30 in Assault Horizon was like night and day, and thankfully, DF confirmed that the game targets 60 FPS on all the consoles, and runs well above 60 FPS on the PC. The original Xbox One and PS4 run the game at relatively low resolutions and occasionally drop below their 60 FPS target, while the upgraded PS4 Pro and Xbox One X are stuck at a slightly more reasonable 1080p. Meanwhile the PC has plenty of graphical options to play with, but only supports 16:9 and FXAA anti aliasing out of the box. Realistically, I don’t think this is a deal breaker, as ReShade can easily inject SMAA while GeDoSaTo can probably change the aspect ratio if a modder doesn’t come along and do it, but it is disappointing to have to mod those features in. DF also took a hard look at the game’s VR mode on PlayStation, and has some performance tips for the consoles and PC. Check it out below:




It’s been 12 years since the last series entry, but Ace Combat is back, bolstered by Unreal Engine 4 and looking utterly spectacular. In this extended video, John takes a look at the series’ history and runs the rule over every single version of the game.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Digital Foundry Compares Ace Combat 7 PC and Console Versions

Active HDMI 2.1 Cables Might Be More Common

8K displays were everywhere at CES this year, which means HDMI 2.1 had to be there to actually drive them. HDMI 2.1 basically existed as a standard and little more in 2018, but the Japanese site 4Gamer took a particularly hard look at the state of HDMI 2.1 at the trade show. Apparently, the chips used to transmit and receive HDMI 2.1 signals are just now going into production. Some 8K TVs will get 2.1 support right off the bat, while others will enable it later through a firmware update. But 4Gamer noted one particular limitation that could hinder the adoption of the display standard: cables over 3 meters (which is just under 10 feet) will have to be active, powered cables.



Additionally, cables over 5 meters will have to be active optical cables. While such cables usually draw the power they need from the HDMI port itself, 4Gamer notes that active cables are significantly more expensive than “dumb” copper ones. And unlike passive cables, active HDMI cables are directional, meaning users will have to plug the correct ends into the source and the display if they want to get a signal through.

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Active HDMI 2.1 Cables Might Be More Common

Nexon Is up for Sale According to Reports

According to reports, video game publisher Nexon is up for sale. Nexon founder Kim Jung-joo and his wife Yoo Jung-hyun are seeking to sell their 98.64% equity stake in the company. But the sale is complicated as NXC only own 47.98% of shares in Japan. “Nexon Korea is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nexon Japan.” In addition regulatory rules could see major parts of Nexon not included in the sale such as NCSoft and Netmarble. Regardless of the mess that the sale will create, suitors are lining up to purchase the company. Activision Blizzard, EA, Walt Disney, Tencent, and lots of U.S. private equity funds that are willing to fund video game companies against the financial might of China’s Tencent. It is reported that the shares available for sale exceed 10 trillion won or ($8.9 billion).



A foreign IB official said, “In Japan, securing more than one-third of the total stake in the company is an obligation to acquire a tender offer against a minority shareholder in order to become the largest shareholder,” he said. “If this is not enough funding, It’s hard. ” For this reason, it is expected that participation of Nexon in domestic game companies such as NCsoft and Netmarble will be difficult.

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Source: [H]ardOCP – Nexon Is up for Sale According to Reports