Nintendo has discontinued every model of the 3DS, according to its Japanese website. The page listings for the New 3DS LL, New 2DS LL, and 2DS are still live, but each product lists “out of production” under its name. It’s not clear when the change was made; several Japanese Twitter users noticed it this afternoon.
Nintendo’s US site, meanwhile, appears to have scrubbed all mention of the 3DS sometime in the past few hours. The homepage doesn’t feature the handheld console at all other than a support link all the way at the bottom — under a similar link for the definitely-dead Wii U.
The 3DS was announced in 2010 and released the following year. It suffered a rocky launch, with low sales and little software of note, but started to pick up momentum after a dramatic price cut just a few months after its release. By way of apology to early adopters, Nintendo made 20 NES and Game Boy Advance games available for free.
The 3DS received several revisions throughout its life: the larger 3DS XL, the improved New 3DS, the cut-price 2DS, and finally the sleek 2DS XL. In total, Nintendo shipped more than 75 million 3DS consoles worldwide — fewer than half as many of its predecessor, the phenomenally popular DS. But overall, the system can be seen as a success, and helped steer the company through the rocky Wii U years with more than 384 million games sold.
Nintendo’s focus is now fully on the Switch, of course, with the console’s hybrid nature removing the need for a dedicated handheld system. The company has shipped more than 61 million Switch consoles as of the end of June — a figure that is likely to overtake the 3DS this holiday season.
Photoshop’s sky replacement tool makes it easier to fake a perfect sunset
Adobe is preparing to add an AI-powered sky replacement tool to Photoshop that makes it easier to swap out the sky in any picture with just a few clicks. The company previewed the tool on YouTube ahead of its Adobe Max conference, scheduled for October 20th–22nd.
The tool uses machine learning to automatically identify the foreground and background of a picture, saving people from creating complicated masks to separate the two. You can load in a number of dramatic preset skies, and the algorithms will automatically tweak the warmth and temperature of the foreground to match the new sky. If you add in a warm, golden sunset, for example, it’ll update the coloring of the rest of your picture to match.
Adobe isn’t the first company to offer this sort of tool. AI-powered picture editor Luminar has offered one-click sky replacement since last year, for example. But it is the latest example of Adobe enhancing its premier picture editor with the help of machine learning.
The Sports Grind Entertainment’s art crew had mixed feelings about the tool. They thought the color-matching looked well-done but were cautious about evaluating the feature from a simple demo video. Like any company demoing a new product, Adobe is only going to pick the most flattering examples. They did also note, though, that Adobe’s automatic cutout tools generally work pretty well and would definitely make this sort of edit a lot easier.
A sky replacement feature could be particularly useful for Instagram influencers, always looking to create the perfect travel shot. Last year, one influencer was criticized after it was spotted that she was using fake clouds in her photos. She later said that she had always been open about editing her images but perhaps needed more variety. “Maybe I just need to change the sky I pick — but I kinda like the one I use!” she added. Photoshop could help.
Adobe didn’t say when this new feature would be added to Photoshop, but you can expect to hear more details at the company’s upcoming Max conference.
Bethesda and Microsoft: Their timeline up to the acquisition
Bethesda Softworks and Microsoft’s games division have had a tight relationship going back to the first Xbox. It’s about to get a lot closer.
Though Bethesda’s big works have also launched on PlayStation 3 and 4, if games like The Elder Scrolls or Fallout series had a lead platform over the past 18 years, it’d be Xbox. Todd Howard, the creative director of Bethesda Game Studios, said as much in a note Monday morning about the acquisition. He pointed out that The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind’s launch on Xbox in 2002 was a gamble for both companies.
“I was dubious Xbox Morrowind would be worth the time, somewhat on a technical level, but more so from taking a hardcore RPG and moving it from a PC desktop experience to a controller-and-sofa experience,” Howard wrote in a note to fans today. “If we made it work, would people want it?”
Morrowind did not launch on PlayStation 2, the best-selling console of its (or any) generation. The game still sold more than 4 million copies on the Xbox, numbers that put it in the company of Halo: Combat Evolved. Its successor, The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, launched on PlayStation 3 four months after that console hit shelves. By then it was already a critical and commercial smash hit on Xbox 360, and along with BioWare, Bethesda solidified Xbox as the western RPG platform of choice.
A reputation for especially bugged launches on the PlayStation 3 certainly did not help Bethesda’s standing with Sony’s fans. In particular, 2008’s Fallout 3 and 2010’s Fallout: New Vegas (developed by Obsidian Entertainment, which is now also owned by Microsoft) were major launches whose PlayStation shortcomings drove mainstream attention toward their Xbox 360 releases, even if those versions had their own issues.
“With each new console cycle, we evolved together,” Howard wrote. “From bringing mods to consoles with Fallout 4, now over a billion downloads, to the latest technologies fueling Xbox Series X/S. These new systems are optimized for the vast worlds we love to create.”
Mod support for console versions of Fallout 4 is particularly illustrative of Bethesda’s relationship to both Xbox and PlayStation. Howard took the stage at Microsoft’s E3 2015 news conference to announce that Fallout 4, launching later that year, would support PC-created mods. Microsoft also announced Xbox 360 backward compatibility at this showcase, illustrated by Bethesda giving Fallout 4 buyers a free copy of Fallout 3.
Mod support would join Fallout 4 (and The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim Special Edition) in May 2016 via the Bethesda Creation Kit, which the PlayStation 4 did not support at launch. Four months later, Fallout 4 on PS4 still didn’t have modding, which Bethesda blamed entirely on Sony. Mod support for Bethesda games ultimately joined PlayStation 4 the next month.
Two years later, Howard showed Fallout 76’s first gameplay trailer at Microsoft’s news conference, then later directly called out Sony when asked why his game wouldn’t support cross-platform play. Microsoft made hay with both of these issues, trying to drive Fallout and Elder Scrolls fans to its console or PC.
It’s true that Bethesda Softworks encompasses more than just Bethesda Game Studios, and that Bethesda-published games like Doom (2016) and its sequel, Dishonored and its expansions and sequel, and Rage 2 have all launched day-and-date on PlayStation alongside Windows and Xbox.
It’s also true that Bethesda having its own E3 showcase (beginning in 2015), and the end of Sony’s presence at E3, can explain why Bethesda Softworks didn’t show off its new games on PlayStation’s stage. Bethesda was also starting to publish PlayStation exclusives — Arkane’s Deathloop and Tango Gameworks’ Ghostwire: Tokyo, both due in 2021, agreements the company will still honor following Microsoft’s acquisition.
But a personal anecdote Howard shared at the end of his note says the most when explaining Bethesda’s tight association with Microsoft over the past 20 years. In 2016, Howard accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Game Developers Choice Awards and joked about how many “achievement points” it was worth, a reference to Xbox Live’s Gamerscore.
“A few months later I was given a code to a game [Microsoft] had created, named after me and locked to my account,” Howard wrote. “When ran, it unlocks a single achievement — ‘Lifetime – 1000pts.’ It still sits in my list when I check, and I smile every time.”
Pokémon Go partners with French fashion brand for cute in-game backpacks
As part of The Pokémon Company and Longchamp Paris’ fashion collaboration, Niantic is adding special in-game items for players to dress up their trainers. A Longchamp backpack will be available beginning on October 2nd, starting at 11AM ET.
The backpack is Pikachu-themed, adding the iconic character to the black-and-white Longchamp logo. The event will apply to some pokémon, which will be dressed up in special bow ties and hats. The promotion lasts until October 8th; it’s timed to the beginning of Paris Fashion Week.
Pokémon Go continues to be a huge hit four years after its release; 2019 marked its most lucrative year yet. During COVID-19, Niantic has also made it easier for players to catch pokémon inside. In August, the developer announced that it will end support for older iOS and Android phones in October.
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