Facebook packed its Connect virtual and augmented reality conference into a single day this year, and it announced a lot of news during its two-hour keynote. That included a new VR headset, the retirement of an old headset, and a long list of upcoming games and apps.
As usual, Connect centered on Facebook’s VR division Oculus. But we also learned about Facebook’s plans for Ray-Ban “smart glasses,” as well as a more advanced AR initiative called Aria. Here are some of the details.
Facebook is unifying its entire VR hardware lineup into one headset: the Oculus Quest 2 all-in-one headset. The Quest 2 bumps up the original Quest headset’s specs, particularly its screen, and integrates improvements the Quest has gotten since launch, like Oculus Link. It’s also the first headset to require a mandatory Facebook login, not a separate Oculus one.
Preorders for the Quest 2 opened today, and the headset will ship on October 13th in 22 countries, including the United States. A 64GB version of the headset is selling for $299, and a 256GB one for $399.
Facebook is retiring the Rift S next year. But Oculus is still pushing PC-exclusive VR games, including Respawn’s upcoming Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond. It’s banking on the Oculus Quest 2’s Link feature, which lets users plug their mobile headsets into a PC via USB-C.
Link is coming out of beta this fall, following an experimental launch last year. It’s getting an upgrade as well: the feature will support a 90Hz refresh rate (instead of 72Hz) and will be able to take advantage of the Quest 2’s higher resolution.
Facebook has been talking about augmented reality glasses for years, and it’s taking a concrete step toward them next year with a Ray-Ban partnership. The new glasses don’t have traditional AR capabilities — in other words, they don’t project holograms into your world. We’re actually not totally sure what they do, but it could involve things like feeding information to you via audio.
Meanwhile, Facebook has a more advanced AR initiative called Project Aria. It’s starting to send Facebook employees out with Aria glasses for testing, hoping to figure out tough problems like how to maintain privacy with a pair of camera-studded glasses. The company has laid out a set of research principles like “never surprise people” and “provide controls that matter,” and it’s offering two grants for researching the potential social impacts of VR and AR.
Oculus is announcing new features to make the Quest more useful outside gaming.
Oculus Move is designed to keep track of fitness goals, building on the popularity of apps like Beat Saber as exercise systems. Facebook Messenger is getting integrated into the Quest 2 — offering users some perks with that Facebook login — and you’ll get the ability to cast gameplay sessions to a browser window.
Meanwhile, Facebook is promoting the Quest as a business tool. Along with virtual workplace apps like Spatial, it promoted Infinite Office, a tool that will combine multiple customizable screens with a passthrough camera feed. Ideally, it’s like having an infinite number of monitors while still getting to see the real world. The feature will launch in the winter.
Oculus has announced a long list of new games for the Oculus Quest 2 and offered trailers for some we’d already heard about. In the former category, there’s a sequel to Crytek’s Oculus Rift climbing game The Climb, a shooter called Warhammer 40,000 Battle Sister, and an adaptation of Myst, plus confirmation of Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell installments for Oculus headsets.
In the latter category, we got a brief look at Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, developed by Lucasfilm effects studio ILMxLAB. You can see that video above.
Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna review: the ending fans waited for
Fights like Star Wars vs. Star Trek or Marvel vs. DC have made it clear that it’s impossible for fandoms to agree about anything. But for a certain type of ’90s kid, there was no fight more important than the war between Digimon and Pokémon. Though the franchises have similar names, were both born as video games, and feature kids going on adventures with strange monsters that fight for them, their latest-feature film projects show the core difference between the two series.
Where Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back – Evolution is a shot-for-shot remake of the first Pokémon movie, with updated CGI animation and without the original songs, the newly imported movie Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna is the conclusion of 20 years’ worth of stories, closing the book on a beloved franchise by looking back at what made it so special, then acknowledging that neither the characters nor the audience can remain kids forever.
In its opening scene, Last Evolution begins by taking us back to where it all began, to the streets of Tokyo, where a giant Parrotmon crosses over from the Digital World and starts wreaking havoc, while Maurice Ravel’s “Boléro” plays in the background. Viewers who find it off-putting to see the film blatantly wearing nostalgia on its sleeves by playing the original musical arrangement of the 1990s anime theme song should be warned: this movie probably isn’t for you. But if the mere sound of the late Kouji Wada’s “Butter-Fly” brings tears to your eyes, then you better bring a towel when you watch, because Last Evolution is like Toy Story 3 for anime fans.
Though the opening scene directly reflects the opening of 2000’s Digimon: The Movie, it quickly lets the audience know that things have changed. This isn’t the ’90s anymore, and technology has grown along with the DigiDestined, who are now coordinating battle strategies in mid-fight like an anime version of The Avengers. Five years after the events of the 2015 film series Digimon Tri, and 10 years after the events of the original series, the DigiDestined have grown up just like the audience has. Izzy (Mutsumi Tamura) is now the CEO of a tech company. Joe (Junya Ikeda) is in medical school. Mimi (Hitomi Yoshida) is working as an influencer who says she’s “spreading kawaii” across the world. Sora (Suzuko Mimori) has apparently left the DigiDestined behind to focus on following her family’s business, as seen in the short film prequel “To Sora.” Even the kids from 2000’s Digimon Adventure 02 are back, after an egregious absence during Digimon Tri. After the nostalgia-filled opening credits, a new threat emerges and goes after all DigiDestined across the world. And Tai (Natsuki Hanae) discovers a timer in his Digivice, counting down to the moment his partnership with his Digimon Agumon will end forever.
Kizuna is fast-paced and features gorgeous fighting animation, including scenes that combine the art style of the original Mamoru Hosada-directed films with new digital animation techniques. But director Tomohisa Taguchi and the animation team at Yumeta Company clearly made this film for the millennials who grew up with the franchise and want a little more than constant battle scenes. The plot is a detective story with an intriguing central mystery, and the tone is much more melancholic than most modern anime movies, as the end of the partnership between the DigiDestined and their Digimon casts a large shadow over every scene they share. Thankfully, the film gives the characters enough moments to breathe, with mostly silent sequences where they contemplate their future and their past, without dialogue and with a minimalistic score.
The original Digimon Adventure portrayed some heavy themes for a kids’ show, including divorce, depression, and death. And as the characters grew up, the themes continued to mature. Tai goes out for drinks with Matt (Yoshimasa Hosoya), and he’s now working part-time at a gambling parlor, and has a porn stash in his apartment. He has no idea what he’ll do with his future. Though Joe, Izzy, Mimi, and Sora seem well-adjusted in their 20s, Tai and Matt struggle with deciding what to do with their lives and how to let go of their childhoods as they prepare for an uncertain adulthood.
The film begins with the text “the more that people accept the future chosen for them, the less they will age,” and viewers’ enjoyment of the film will depend on how they interpret that phrase. Though we know the film is counting down to the moment the DigiDestined grow up and leave their old adventures behind, there’s no clear idea about what the film considers “growing up.” It’s more specifically about the moment when people realize they can no longer juggle what their lives used to be like when they were kids, and the life they’re now entering.
But it’s also about the danger of forcing yourself to grow up before you’re ready. It’s about those who think they have to leave their old friends and lives behind, and those fighting to embrace both the past and future as much as they can. Like Toy Story 3, Kizuna goes for a bittersweet conclusion that waves goodbye to childhood while suggesting that eventually, we all learn to find a balance between our responsibilities and our desires. Some audiences may not agree with the way the film handles this theme and its connection to the infamous epilogue from Digimon Adventure 02, which reunites both teams of DigiDestined, as well as their Digimon and their children, in the far future. But for those who are on board with the way the film handles the transition out of childhood, Last Evolution will be like saying goodbye to a childhood friend you don’t often speak to, but still hold close to your heart.
Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna manages to be the best addition to the Digimon franchise since Mamoru Hosoda was at the helm. Its references to previous franchise installments, its surprising cameos, and its emotional story all help put a bow on 20 years of adventures, while providing a nice returning point for fans who may have skipped the underwhelming Tri series of films. It’s a love letter not only to the entire franchise, but to those who have grown up watching these characters throughout the years. This is the conclusion fans have been waiting for.
Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna is available for digital rental or purchase on iTunes or Microsoft, and will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD on October 6.
Atari VCS backers should get their consoles ‘very soon’
More than two years and multiple delays after its original announcement, the Atari VCS is finally making its way to people who helped crowdfund the console. In an update over on Medium, Atari says it’s putting the “finishing touches” on the first batch of production VCS units. The company is in the process of sending the consoles to the US, where they’ll be then shipped out to Indiegogo backers “very soon.” It also shared photos from the factory floor to prove manufacturing has been coming along.
If you backed the VCS, you might still have to wait a while before getting your unit. Almost 12,000 people supported the VCS Indiegogo campaign. In May, when Atari announced it hoped to ship the first production units in mid-June, it said 500 consoles were on their way. A caption of one of the photos Atari shared indicates “thousands” of systems are ready for shipping.
Here’s why PC builders are demanding to know how many capacitors are in the RTX 3080
Following multiple reports of third-party Nvidia RTX 3080 cards crashing, PC builders are now trying to figure out how many capacitors are in their new GPU.
That’s right: capacitors. On Friday, concerned buyers stumbled upon one theory for the crashes: a site called Igor’s Lab speculated that Nvidia’s partners were cheaping out on the capacitors used in their third-party RTX 3080s. And over the weekend, that theory spread: numerous outlets cited Igor’s Lab to publish headlines like “NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Stability Woes Traced To Cheap Capacitors” and “Capacitor issues are causing RTX 3080/3090 crashes.”
A day later, it appeared there might actually be some evidence that capacitors could have caused the cards to crash. EVGA weighed in on the RTX 3080 capacitor controversy on Saturday, citing its own issues with the capacitor layout it originally used in its RTX 3080 cards, although the company claims it never shipped the original layout to customers. In that note, EVGA explained that while a design with six POSCAPs “cannot pass the real world applications testing,” it later tried a design with four POSCAPs and 20 MLCC caps that worked better.
As Tom’s Hardware explains, there are typically two types of capacitors found underneath a modern GPU’s chip: MLCC and POSCAPS. Both capacitors reportedly have pros and cons; MLCC is smaller but performs better at higher clock speeds. POSCAPS are larger but are not as good when running at high clock speeds.
At this point, we don’t actually know whether capacitors are causing these crashes, but the demand has certainly gotten the industry to respond: MSI, Gigabyte, and Zotac have all issued statements claiming the capacitors are not the problem, and that new Nvidia drivers can address any stability issues in the cards. That’s Nvidia’s position too, and it released a new driver today to address stability issues with the RTX 30 GPU line.
PC World reports one of its cards that was previously crashing doesn’t do it after the update. The outlet had a pre-production EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 for review, which had the original capacitors instead of the ones shipped out to retailers. PC World notes that there’s a tradeoff: the update “slightly limits” the top clock speed on the GPU boost.
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