Until Dawn and The Quarry developer Supermassive is reportedly laying off around 90 workers

Yet another notable game studio is laying off a significant chunk of its workforce. Supermassive Games, the developer behind interactive horror titles Until Dawn and The Quarry, is cutting around 90 jobs, according to Bloomberg. That's nearly a third of the studio's more than 300 employees.

Supermassive confirmed in a statement that the studio will reorganize. "As a result, we are entering into a period of consultation, which we anticipate will result in the loss of some of our colleagues," it said. "This is not a decision that's been taken lightly, with many efforts made to avoid this outcome."

Supermassive notes that it's not safe from the "significant challenges" facing the games industry. More than 6,000 workers in the industry have lost their jobs since the beginning of the year and we're not even into March yet.

Meanwhile, indie studio Die Gute Fabrik has paused production amid funding difficulties. The developer of Saltsea Chronicles and Sportsfriends will use its remaining funds to give staff a month of paid time "to catch their breaths" while they look for new jobs. The studio is still seeking backers to help it resume production and hopes to bring back current team members in the future. However, it notes that "the publishing and investment scene is so tough for companies and projects of our scale right now it's made it extremely difficult to secure funding for our next project without a gap in income."

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/until-dawn-and-the-quarry-developer-supermassive-is-reportedly-laying-off-around-90-workers-165747517.html?src=rss

Can your robot lawnmower run Doom? This one can

Did you think you’ve seen the last of Doom running on random stuff? Think again. Landscaping technology company Husqvarna just announced that the game will run on some of its robot lawn mowers. So you can mow down hellspawn just ahead of mowing down errant blades of grass.

Here’s the deal. It’ll only be available on the company’s Automower Nera robotic lawn mower models, beginning this April. Once downloaded, you play the game via the lawn mower’s onboard display. Rotating the control knob turns Doomguy left and right and pressing the knob makes you shoot. Holding down the start button initiates forward movement. It’s Doom. You know the drill.

There are some caveats here. First of all, you have to sign up to download the software by September 9. It won’t be available for US residents, despite Husqvarna making a concerted effort to sell more robot lawn mowers in the United States. Finally, this is just the game running on the onboard display. It’s not as if the mower turns your yard into an actual level, with unwanted greenery representing demonic enemies. Still, it’s always nice to see Doom continue to do its thing.

The idea to make the shooter available to lawn mower enthusiasts came after a successful test run at the gaming event DreamHack Winter 2023, which was held in Sweden last December. This is just the latest example of Doom popping up where it shouldn’t. We’ve seen the FPS running on pregnancy tests, rat brain neurons and even inside of other games, like the sequel Doom II and Minecraft. Most recently, Doom was spotted running on actual gut bacteria with a frame rate so atrocious it would take 600 years to reach the ending.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/can-your-robot-lawnmower-run-doom-this-one-can-162641979.html?src=rss

NVIDIA’s RTX 500 and 1000 Ada GPUs bring more AI smarts to thin and light workstations

Just ahead of Mobile World Congress, NVIDIA unveiled its latest laptop GPUs and, what a surprise, they’re designed largely to assist with AI processing. The RTX 500 and 1000 Ada Generation graphics cards are primarily for thin and light laptops. While they won’t offer as much TOPS AI performance as current higher-end mobile GPUs, they could be a handy option for on-the-go AI processing for the likes of researchers, content creators and video editors. It's worth noting they're workstation GPUs rather than ones designed for gaming.

NVIDIA says the GPUs, which are based on the Ada Lovelace architecture, offer up to twice the ray-tracing performance of previous-gen GPUs (they employ third-gen ray-tracing cores). Fourth-gen Tensor Cores, meanwhile, deliver up to twice the throughput of previous GPUs, according to NVIDIA. The company says this helps with “accelerating deep learning training, inferencing and AI-based creative workloads.”

The RTX 500 has 4GB of dedicated memory, while the RTX 1000 has 6GB. NVIDIA says they deliver up to 154 and 193 TOPS of AI performance, respectively. Compared with a CPU-only AI configuration, the RTX 500 is slated to provide up to three times faster AI-powered photo editing, as much as 10 times the graphics performance for 3D rendering and up to 14 times the generative AI performance for various models.

The GPUs also support DLSS 3, the company’s upscaling tech. In addition, an eighth-gen encoder includes AV1 support. NVIDIA says this video codec is “up to 40 percent more efficient than H.264, enabling new possibilities for broadcasting, streaming and video calling.”

If you’re interested in picking up a laptop with an RTX 500 or 1000 GPU, you won’t have to wait long. They’ll debut this spring in laptops from the likes of Dell, HP, Lenovo and MSI.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/nvidias-rtx-500-and-1000-ada-gpus-bring-more-ai-smarts-to-thin-and-light-workstations-161517977.html?src=rss

Our favorite budget wireless earbuds are down to $53 right now

High-end wireless earphones like the AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM5 are great, but getting the absolute best performance doesn't come cheap. If you want a more affordable pair that's actually decent, the Anker Soundcore Space A40 is the top pick in our budget wireless earbuds buying guide, and a new deal has dropped it to $53 at Amazon. Outside of a brief dip to $50 during Cyber Monday, that's the lowest price we've tracked. It's also $47 below Anker's list price, though the set has usually sold for $79 for most of the past year. In recent weeks, we've seen it fall to $59. Still, this is a good chance to save a little extra. This deal applies to the black colorway, but blue and white models are available for a dollar more. You can also get the earbuds for $53 at Anker's online store by clipping an on-page coupon. Anker's listing says the offer will run through Sunday.

As noted in our guide, we like the Space A40 for delivering the kind of features we'd expect from earphones that cost two or three times as much. Its active noise cancellation (ANC) isn't as powerful as something like the Sony XM5s, especially with higher-pitched sounds, but it's still superb for the money. It'll adapt to your surroundings by default, but you can manually set it to strong, moderate and weak levels as needed. The earbuds themselves are light, comfortable and water-resistant with an IPX4 rating, so they'll survive most gym sessions. Battery life sits at a good eight hours or so, with an additional 40-ish hours available through a compact case, which also supports wireless charging. The pair can connect to two devices simultaneously, plus there's a usable transparency mode.

The Space A40's sound quality won't blow anyone away, but it's better than many budget earbuds we've tested. It has a warm profile by default, so there's a bump in upper-base range and the treble is a bit underemphasized. It can't capture as much crisp detail as the best premium pairs as a result, but it's far from a mess and still pleasant with most popular music. If you don't like how it sounds out of the box, you can customize the EQ curve fairly effectively through the Soundcore app.

The big tradeoff to all of this is mic quality. The Space A40 can still work for phone calls in a pinch, but your voice will sound muffled, and it can get lost in noisy environments. This pair also lacks wear detection, so it won't auto-pause your music or podcast when you take an earbud out. Still, it's a great value on the whole, and this discount only amplifies that.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/our-favorite-budget-wireless-earbuds-are-down-to-53-right-now-154024026.html?src=rss

Amazon takes up to $1,800 off LG’s 2023 C3 OLED TVs

With the writers and actors strikes in the rear view mirror, many great shows and movies are on the horizon. If you're looking for a solid TV to watch it all on, you're in luck: LG's 2023 C3 Series OLED TVs are having a big sale on Amazon. Take the 77-inch C3 Series, which is down to $1,949 from $3,499 — a 44 percent discount. The deal brings this model down to its all-time low price since debuting last spring.

The LG 2023 C3 Series is available in six sizes, ranging from 42 to 83 inches. It has the new a9 AI Processor Gen6, which is exclusive to LG OLEDs and offers HDR tone mapping, object-based picture sharpening and AI upscaling. The company also introduced the WOW Orchestra feature, which integrates the speakers from the TV and newer soundbars. Plus, there's the Brightness Booster, which helps keep the screen easily visible even in well-lit rooms (though it's still not as effective as some of its competitors).

On top of being great for good old-fashioned program viewing, we recently included LG's C3 Series in our roundup of the best TVs for gaming. This designation is thanks to features like supporting ALLM, the big HDR standards like Dolby Vision and the major VRR formats. The C3 series also follows HGIG's guidelines and comes with four HDMI 2.1 ports that have an output of 4K 120Hz when connected to a PC, Xbox or PS5. 

Currently, sales are running on all sizes, starting with a 25 percent discount on the 42-inch model, dropping its price to $897 from $1,197. The $1,800 discount comes courtesy of the LG C3 Series 83-inch TV, thanks to a 34 percent discount cutting its cost to $3,499 from $5,300. 

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter and subscribe to the Engadget Deals newsletter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/amazon-takes-up-to-1800-off-lgs-2023-c3-oled-tvs-151354354.html?src=rss

AMD’s budget version of the 7900 XT GPU is coming to the US for $549

AMD will start selling the Radeon RX 7900 GRE (Golden Rabbit Edition) graphics card in the US, offering users a detuned version of its 7900 XT flagship for $549. For a savings of around $350 over the latter, it has performance on par with NVIDIA's RTX 4070 Super for some games at some settings, according to AMD. 

It offers impressive specs for that sum, including a Navi 31 XL GPU with 80 compute units (5120 stream processors), 160 AI accelerators and 16GB of GDDR6 memory. That's just a bit less than the 20GB of GDDR6, 96 compute units and 168 AI accelerators in the 7900 XT. With that, it offers 26 to 46 FP32 TFLOPS, a bit lower than the 700 XT's 32 to 51.6 FP32 TFLOPS. However, that means it also consumes less power — 260W TGP compared to the XT's 315W. 

All of that should make it a powerhouse at its 1440p resolution sweet spot. AMD claims it offers 14 percent more FPS per dollar at 1440p settings than the $549 RTX 4070 12GB. That includes games like Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, Cyberpunk 2077 and others at 4K. In some settings (comparable DLSS/FSR modes), it outperforms the NVIDIA RTX 4070 Super, AMD claims. 

AMD's budget version of the 7900 XT GPU is coming to the US for $549
AMD

At the same time, the 7900 GRE comes with new AI accelerators as part of the unified AMD RDNA 3 compute unit. With 160 AI accelerators and 16GB of DDR6 memory, it can generate Stable Diffusion images in less than a second, AMD said, or let you load your own large language model (LLM).

The 7900 GRE isn't exactly an unknown entity, as it has been sold with PC builds (and even standalone), in Europe for awhile now as well as China. In general, you can expect better performance and lower power consumption than the 7800 XT (for just $50 more), and about a 20 percent drop off compared to the 7900 XT (for $350 less). 

The 7900 GRE goes on sale starting tomorrow (February 27, 2024) for $549. That's likely to be a sweet spot for a lot of US buyers, so if you're looking to get one, act quickly. And if you want to spend a bit less, AMD is also lowering the US price of the RX 7700 XT to $419, $40 less than the original price, starting today.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/amds-budget-version-of-the-7900-xt-gpu-is-coming-to-the-us-for-549-140050596.html?src=rss

The Morning After: Why Google’s Gemini image generation feature overcorrected for diversity

After complaints that Google’s image generator built into its Gemini AI was (ugh) woke, Google explained why it may have overcorrected for diversity. Prabhakar Raghavan, the company’s senior vice president for knowledge and information, said Google’s efforts to ensure a wide range of people generated in images “failed to account for cases that should clearly not show a range.”

Users criticized Google for depicting specific white figures or historically white groups of people as racially diverse individuals. In Engadget’s tests, asking Gemini to create illustrations of the Founding Fathers resulted in images of white men with a single person of color or woman among them. When we asked the chatbot to generate images of popes through the ages, we got photos depicting Black women and Native Americans as the leader of the Catholic Church. The Verge reported that the chatbot also depicted Nazis as people of color, but we couldn’t get Gemini to generate Nazi images. “I am unable to fulfill your request due to the harmful symbolism and impact associated with the Nazi Party,” the chatbot responded.

Raghavan said Google didn’t intend for Gemini to refuse to create images of any particular group or to generate historically inaccurate photos. He also reiterated Google’s promise to improve Gemini’s image-generation abilities.

However, that entails “extensive testing” before the company switches the feature back on.

— Mat Smith

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The first phone reveal at MWC 2024 is this official Barbie Flip Phone

C'mon Barbie let's go party.

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HMD

MWC 2024 kicks off this week, and while Engadget is covering it all remotely — no tapas for Mathew — this is one we’d be unlikely to book a meeting for. HMD (or Human Mobile Devices) has been making Nokia phones for the past few years and announced at MWC it’ll release an official Barbie Flip Phone this summer, in partnership with Mattel. It’ll be pink, obviously, with a dash of “sparkle.” It’ll be a feature phone, not a smartphone, with HMD marketing it as an accessory geared toward “style, nostalgia and a much-needed digital detox.” That also means it should be cheap.

Continue reading.

Samsung’s Galaxy Ring gets officially revealed at MWC

It’ll be on display alongside its Galaxy AI mobile experience.

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Samsung

Samsung has put its Galaxy Ring on public display for the first time at its booth at MWC, which starts today. The health and wellness device, available in platinum silver, gold and ceramic black, will go on sale later this year. The company said little about the Galaxy Ring when it first displayed a render of the device at Unpacked last month. We learned that it would be a wellness-oriented wearable to rival Oura, and it would have a suite of unknown sensors.

Journalists weren’t allowed to photograph it, but some additional images from Samsung show it to be a chonky, concave ring about the same size as the Oura. The extra girth isn’t surprising, given the electronics cached inside. The company described the Galaxy Ring as “a new health form factor that simplifies everyday wellness, supporting smarter and healthier living via a more connected digital wellness platform.” So, a smart ring then?

Continue reading.

Let’s talk about Xbox

This week’s gaming news.

No one is suggesting Microsoft should stop making video-game hardware. But should Microsoft keep making generationally distinct consoles in the traditional hardware cycle? Does Xbox need a box? The company calls its cloud game streaming service xCloud for a reason, right?

Watch here.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-morning-after-why-googles-gemini-image-generation-feature-overcorrected-for-diversity-121506687.html?src=rss

Samsung unveils the Galaxy Ring as a way to ‘simplify everyday wellness’

After teasing it (again) yesterday, Samsung has finally shown off the Galaxy Ring in physical form at Mobile World Conference (MWC 2024) and revealed some additional details. The device is of course centered around health and wellness and will come in three colors, platinum silver, gold and ceramic black. It's set to go on sale later this year.

Samsung didn't say much about the Galaxy Ring when it first displayed a render of the device at Unpacked last month. All we knew at the time was that it would be a wellness-oriented wearable positioned to rival Oura and that it would have a suite of unknown sensors. 

Journalists weren't allowed to photograph it today, but some additional images from Samsung show it to be a chonky, concave ring about the same size as the Oura, according to a supplied image (below). The extra girth isn't surprising, given the electronics cached inside. 

Still, The Verge noted that it was lighter than expected and will be offered in sizes 5 to 13, marked S through XL inside the band. The size of the battery (and thus time between charges) will vary depending on the size, ranging from 14.5mAh to 21.5mAh. Battery life is unknown, but the Oura can go up to seven days between charges.

Samsung unveils the Galaxy Ring as a way to 'simplify everyday wellness'
Samsung

According to a blog from Samsung VP Dr. Hon Pak, the ring will track sleep based on heart rate, movement and breathing, then provide users advice based on that. The company will also glean data from partner Natural Cycles, which already does fertility tracking on the Galaxy Watch, matching a key Oura feature. 

The Galaxy Ring will also offer a new tool called My Vitality Score that measures alertness so users can see if they're at their best. Feedback will be available via "Booster Cards" that offer science-based tips using sleep and other data gathered by the device.

The Galaxy Ring will be part of the Samsung Health ecosystem and be compatible with the Galaxy Watch. That means you'll be able to use both devices at once to track your health and get higher quality data as a result. That said, the advantage of a ring wearable is that it's far less annoying to sleep with it.

We'll learn more in the months ahead, including the exact sensor suite, pricing and sale date. The Galaxy Ring will only be compatible with Samsung Galaxy phones, though the company is planning to make it work with other Android devices later on. iOS compatible is still to be determined, though, Pak said. 

Samsung unveils the Galaxy Ring as a way to 'simplify everyday wellness'
Samsung

Catch up on all of the news from MWC 2024 right here!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/samsung-unveils-the-galaxy-ring-as-a-way-to-simplify-everyday-wellness-080134421.html?src=rss

Google brings Gemini to Messages and adds AI text summaries for Android Auto

Google has announced a slew of Android updates to kick off MWC this year, including Gemini integration with Messages and AI-powered text summaries for when you’re driving. As of this week, Messages users will be able to access Google’s chatbot without leaving the texting app. Gemini in Messages can handle basic tasks like drafting messages and helping to plan events, or you can just chat with it if you’re bored. The feature is still in beta, and it’s only available to English-language Messages users for now, Google says.

Android Auto is also getting a boost from AI that could help minimize distractions from people texting you while you’re on the road. If the group chat is blowing up your phone with nonstop messages or if someone is sending you novels of text, Android Auto will automatically summarize the messages and read you its more succinct version. It’ll also suggest replies and actions based on the messages, like sharing your ETA, so you can respond with a single tap and focus on driving.

Android Auto displayed on a rendering of a car infotainment screen showing a message to a contact named Brianna Travis asking
Google

Google also announced some new accessibility features for Android at MWC, including AI-generated image captions in the Lookout app. It’ll be able to generate descriptions for images found online or received in messages and read them aloud to the user. The feature is only available in English to start, but is rolling out globally. Google’s Lens feature in Maps is getting an enhanced screen reader option as well, which will allow users to point their phone’s camera at something in front of them, like a restaurant or transit station, and hear information about it.

The Android updates also include new casting controls for Spotify called Spotify Connect so users can switch seamlessly between their devices, like from your headphones to a speaker. This feature was already available for YouTube Music.

A phone showing Spotify Connect casting controls, with options for several devices for the user to choose from
Google

Catch up on all of the news from MWC 2024 right here!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-brings-gemini-to-messages-and-adds-ai-text-summaries-for-android-auto-080051647.html?src=rss

You can now mark up your Google Docs with handwritten notes on Android devices

Google Docs is getting an annotation feature that will let you mark up your documents just like you might with a pen and paper. With today’s update, announced at MWC 2024, Google Docs users on Android devices can use a finger or stylus to write notes, highlight text and circle words to their heart’s desire. Google says the feature will work on Android tablets and smartphones, so it’s got some real potential to give devices like foldables even more of a productivity boost. It should also make for a smoother way to sign digital documents.

Android users will have access to multiple pen colors and highlighters with the new annotation tool for Google Docs, which is good news for anyone who loves color-coding their notes. If the popularity of digital notebooks like reMarkable’s tablets or Amazon’s Kindle Scribe has taught us anything, it’s that, as speedy as typing may be, plenty of people still prefer writing by hand when it’s an option. The only thing this update seems to be missing is the ability to convert handwriting to text, which would allow for more extensive writing tasks. Apple is a few steps ahead in that regard, offering the feature for Apple Pencil users on several of its native iPad productivity apps, like Pages and Numbers.

Catch up on all of the news from MWC 2024 right here!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/you-can-now-mark-up-your-google-docs-with-handwritten-notes-on-android-devices-080050320.html?src=rss