Capcom has officially unveiled Devil May Cry 5 Special Edition during Sony’s PlayStation 5 event, where it revealed that the game will launch on the same day the console becomes available. The upgraded version of DMC5, which was originally released in 2019, takes advantage of the upcoming device’s ray tracing capabilities to enable realistic shadows and lighting. You’ll also be given the choice between prioritizing resolution (up to 4K at 30fps) and prioritizing frame rate: the game will come with a 120fps mode, so you can better appreciate its insane weapon combos.
Special Edition also makes Vergil a playable character, granting the request of fans who’ve been asking for the feature since the original DMC5 was announced years ago. But if you’re not getting a PS5 yet and still want to play as Vergil, you’ll be able to get him as a $6 DLC for the original game on older consoles, as well.
Cowboy electric bikes getting automatic crash detection for free
Owners of older Cowboy 2 and brand-new Cowboy 3 e-bikes will receive a free software update that adds crash detection by the end of September. It’s an industry-first safety feature, according to the Belgian startup that recently took in €23 million for expansion.
Cowboy can detect a fall using the bike’s built-in sensors. The company uses the speed sensor in the wheel, the torque sensor to check if force is being applied to the pedal, and the accelerometer to determine if an accident has occurred. The company says that its algorithm is able to reduce the number of false positives “close to zero.” Emergency braking, dropping your bike on its side, hitting a pothole, or riding over cobblestones won’t trigger a crash response, the company says.
If a rider doesn’t confirm they’re okay within 60 seconds of a measured accident, the bike alerts the rider’s emergency contact(s) with the rider’s real-time position on a live map. Cowboy bikes are fitted with their own SIM card and use proper GPS signaling for location tracking (not GSM like VanMoof bikes). That not only increases the accuracy of tracking a Cowboy e-bike outside, it also allows the bike to notify emergency contacts when the rider’s phone isn’t available or is broken.
The Sports Grind Entertainment has a Cowboy 3 in for review. Crash detection is just one of the features we’ll be testing on this €2,290 (about $2,690) e-bike, so… wish us luck?
Will Bethesda games still come to PS5 and Switch?
Microsoft has acquired ZeniMax Media and publisher Bethesda Softworks, the companies announced Monday. The deal means that Microsoft will control some of the biggest franchises in gaming, including Doom, Fallout, Dishonored, The Elder Scrolls, and Wolfenstein, among other one-off titles and upcoming releases.
Announcing the acquisition a day before pre-orders for Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Series X and Series S consoles is a masterstroke, a way to make sure anyone sitting on the fence is cleanly pushed toward the “just buy the system, already” option. The fact that both companies were able to keep the deal from leaking before it was officially announced is an impressive achievement.
The bigger question, however, is whether upcoming Bethesda games will be exclusive to Microsoft’s platforms, or if they will still be coming to PlayStation and Nintendo platforms.
The situation will likely go one of two ways.
Future Bethesda games will be exclusive to Xbox and PC
This is where I would put my money, were I a betting man.
Microsoft lacked a portfolio of strong exclusives for a long time, and this acquisition solves that problem in one fell swoop. The $7.5 billion purchase price for ZeniMax Media is a lot of money, but the long-term gains Microsoft could experience by keeping Bethesda games exclusive — and launching them on Xbox Game Pass on day one to get even more people interested in the service — is hard to fathom.
Microsoft is all about growing its ecosystem during this upcoming generation, and strong exclusives are the best way to do that, as evidenced by the company’s ongoing shopping spree.
It’s also possible that Microsoft gives itself timed exclusivity of these games, making sure they launch on Xbox and PC first, before arriving on PlayStation and Switch to maximize revenue. The message would still be the same: If you want to play Bethesda’s biggest games without waiting for months, if not years, you’ll need to get an Xbox console or a gaming PC, or subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Each option brings Microsoft more power.
Xbox chief Phil Spencer wrote an Xbox Wire post that indicates some form of exclusivity may be the case. “One of the things that has me most excited is seeing the roadmap with Bethesda’s future games, some announced and many unannounced, to Xbox console and PC including Starfield, the highly anticipated, new space epic currently in development by Bethesda Game Studios,” he stated.
Spencer did not mention any other consoles.
This move would help push players toward an Xbox Series X or Series S pre-order, and likely a Game Pass subscription as well — and it would mean that Microsoft suddenly has an array of exclusive games that rivals Sony’s. That’s a huge win, even with that gigantic purchase price for ZeniMax.
This may not be the case, however, because …
Bethesda games could still be released on multiple platforms
Both Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo have been announced as timed console exclusives for PlayStation 5, and Microsoft has already stated that it plans to honor those agreements, reports Bloomberg.
Microsoft has a history of not keeping its acquisitions strictly to itself, after all. The company purchased Mojang, creator and developer of Minecraft, for $2.5 billion in 2014, and Minecraft continues to be sold on mobile devices, every major gaming console, and PC platforms.
Microsoft knew it would make more money if Minecraft remained available on as many gaming devices as possible. That’s not to mention the negative PR the company would have to deal with if it suddenly made one of the most popular games in the world exclusive to Xbox and PC.
Despite what I said above, those are the two reasons Microsoft might not keep Bethesda’s games for itself: It would mean leaving large revenue streams on the table in the hopes of long-term growth, while also enraging a huge swath of customers who suddenly can’t buy any of their favorite Bethesda games without investing in a new platform or service. Microsoft risks both consumer ire and short-term profits if it decides to keep these games as exclusives, and Minecraft proves that the company knows how to share. A comment from Phil Spencer to Bloomberg on Monday morning indicates that Microsoft itself may not know the answer yet.
To answer the question everyone is asking: Phil Spencer tells @dinabass that Xbox plans to honor the PS5 exclusivity commitment for Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo.
Future Bethesda games will be on Xbox, PC, and “other consoles on a case by case basis.” https://t.co/Agyttr53LO
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) September 21, 2020
If the Xbox division has any pressure from Microsoft corporate to justify that $7.5 billion cost for Bethesda in the next few years, it’s very possible the company will continue to sell these games on every platform possible. Would Microsoft really have the discipline to stop all those well-known, and likely lucrative, Skyrim ports? I’m not so sure.
So which will it be?
It may be a while before Microsoft makes it plans for these games known, but I’m still leaning toward exclusivity after seeing how much Microsoft is focusing on growing its ecosystem in the next generation (and not on the purchase of a single new piece of hardware). This is a strategy the company has been working on for years, and this acquisition could be a huge boost in making it happen.
But then, can Microsoft afford to make so many Bethesda fans its enemy? And is the company really willing to say no to all the money that comes from selling these games on multiple platforms? There’s no clear path forward, with pluses and minuses to each approach.
We’re stuck waiting to see what will happen, but in the meantime, I’m going to make sure I put some money down on an Xbox Series X tomorrow, and my last upgrade to a year of Game Pass Ultimate now feels really, really smart.
Bird doubles down on selling electric scooters directly to customers
Bird, the electric scooter startup that helped kick off the shared micromobility boom, is doubling down on personal ownership. Over the weekend, the company unveiled its new, foldable electric scooter, the Bird Air, which can be purchased for $599.
It isn’t the most powerful scooter on the market, with a top speed of 16 mph (25 km/h) and a range of 16 miles (25 km). But at $599, the Bird Air is significantly cheaper than the company’s first retail scooter, the Bird One, which retails for $1,299. That puts the Bird Air in the same category as other mid-priced electric scooters like the Razor E Prime III or Segway Ninebot’s Max.
The Bird Air is designed in-house by Bird’s team of “aerospace and automotive engineers,” the company says — though the company won’t disclose its manufacturing partner. The company manufactured its Bird Zero scooters in cooperation with Okai, a Chinese scooter company, and previously sourced scooters from Segway Ninebot.
Bird first made the shift to selling scooters in mid-2019. When the company launched in Santa Monica, California, in 2017, its fleet was comprised mostly of consumer scooters made by Xiaomi and Segway Ninebot, which were never intended for heavy fleet use and depreciated quickly. Bird lost money on each trip, but it managed to scale up after raising millions of dollars in venture capital funding. Bird also offers its scooters for monthly rentals.
Bird announced that it had raised $75 million in a Series D funding round last January. Since then, the company has lost two of its bids for citywide permits in Paris and Seattle, and it won one in Chicago.
Initially, COVID-19 brought the scooter sharing industry to a halt. Ridership plummeted as scooter companies yanked their vehicles from city streets. Bird and Lime, the two biggest companies in terms of fleet size and valuation, went through mass layoffs, eliminating around 580 full-time positions. Uber offloaded its Jump shared bike and scooter business on Lime as part of an investment that would see Lime’s valuation drop by nearly 80 percent.
But the industry is slowly recovering, thanks to a resurgence in interest in biking and other alternate forms of transportation. As they look for safe ways to get around, city dwellers are using scooters for longer trips, too. Last week, Lime reported that on average scooter trips have been 34 percent longer in duration and 18 percent farther in distance since the pandemic started.
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