Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Nintendo Switch’s next big reveal will be livestreamed on January 12

(credit: Nintendo of America)

As expected, last week's official reveal of the Nintendo Switch game system both answered questions and created new ones. That was followed this week by an announcement of the next announcement: the Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017.

This will take place, as you might expect, next year—as in, on January 12. Both the company's Japanese and American arms made announcements via Twitter on Thursday, so we expect that the livestream will occur simultaneously in multiple languages, much like the company has done for its Nintendo Direct YouTube events in recent years. The Japanese notice mentions a formal Switch event taking place in Tokyo on January 14 and 15, as well.

Curiously, Nintendo described the Switch in this Wednesday night announcement as its "new home gaming system," in spite of its August 20 reveal video revolving very loudly around its portability. In that peppy, millennial-loaded advert, young people were seen satisfying their Switch gaming addiction while attending parties, walking dogs, and taking a halftime break at a pick-up basketball game.

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Hands on with the Surface Studio, Microsoft’s first desktop computer

We use the Surface Studio. Video by Jennifer Hahn (video link)

NEW YORK—Microsoft has built a really strange computer.

As a piece of design, there's a lot to like about the Surface Studio. There's no avoiding the fact that its screen, a custom built 28 inch 4500×3000 unit that's barely more than a centimeter thick—is strikingly gorgeous. It's large, it's bright, its colors are glorious (it supports the DCI-P3 color space with 30 bits per pixel, which gives it much more punch and depth, especially for reds), and its thickness, or rather, lack thereof, is remarkable. There's no taper or anything like that; the display is a uniform 12.5mm/0.5" thick and it looks incredible. It makes the LCDs that sit on my desktop at home look as dated as my LCDs make a CRT screen look.

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National Geographic brings Mars to Manhattan

The National Geographic Channel, fresh off its sale to Fox, is now focusing on creating premium original content. Its first effort: a fact-based dramatization of what it might be like to send the first human visitors to Mars in the 2030s. As part of that effort, the company has taken over an empty lot in downtown Manhattan and seeded it with a collection of interconnected domes meant to evoke what the first habitations on Mars might look like.

The place is set up as if it were a recruitment center for Mars-bound astronauts. And the hardware inside is set up to allow visitors to experience a bit of what it might be like to arrive on Mars through some pretty impressive virtual reality hardware.

The press got a chance to check things out today as part of the launch of the miniseries, entitled simply Mars. Everyone involved in it, including the large panel of the technical consultants on hand to talk about the program, said the emphasis was on making it as fact-based and realistic as possible. We'll have a discussion of their efforts a bit closer to the program's airing. For now, we'll focus on the Earth-bound Mars experience that National Geographic has put in place in Manhattan.

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