‘The Division 2’ Restarts Its ‘PvE Dark Zone’ Debate With The Arrival Of 515 Gear

The Division 2

I thought we would be having this conversation again at some point after The Division 2’s launch, but I didn’t think it would be this soon, or for this reason.

Massive recently introduced 515 Gearscore gear, over the current cap of 500, to drop in the Dark Zone. While 515 gear will join it when the raid arrives, many players are upset that they are being forced to travel to the DZ as the only place to farm this gear as it’s something that doesn’t interest them, at least not in its current form.

This has resparked a very old debate, one from the early days of The Division 1, where there’s an idea that there should be a PvE version of the Dark Zone free from Rogues and gank squads, so people can explore and farm these areas without being bothered by other players when they have no interest in PvP.

The counterpoint to this is that removing PvP and Rogue would destroy the entire concept of the mode, and people just need to “get good” if they want to survive in what is supposed to be the most harrowing zone on the map. This is roughly the position that Massive has taken as well, as despite all the requests for a PvE Dark Zone in The Division 1, that never happened.

The Division 2

The Division 2

MASSIVE

Instead, what we saw was kind of alternative for PvP-focused players rather than the thing PvE players wanted. That’s how we have Conflict, a dedicated PvP experience which improves PvP play for those who were tired of trying to kill enemies in the Dark Zone who didn’t want to fight at all and just wanted to run and be left alone. But the PvPvE element of the Dark Zone remains, and now some people are getting annoyed by it once more.

It may not surprise you to learn that I am on the side of “yes, the Dark Zone would benefit from a PvE option.” I don’t think you need to remove the PvPvE mode that currently exists for the game. Those that like that aspect can still play it, but offering a PvE version has too many upsides to ignore. I know plenty of players that have not even done so much as the intro quest for the Dark Zone because they remembered how much they disliked it in The Division 1. I did the intro quest and got up to level 10 or 15 or so in the DZ, but I haven’t been back since for the same reasons. I have no real interest in fighting other players, be it well-geared adversaries or easily killable noobs. I have no interest in farming for loot only to end up losing it because of ganks or other mishaps. And so I farm activities that are more reliable, won’t pit me against other players and don’t have the risk of losing anything. But I would love to explore an additional 25-30% of the map in the Dark Zone areas with a PvE version of the DZ, because otherwise it’s just wasted space to me. This was also true of the first game where the DZ was even larger and kept getting larger with future updates.

There is always a hardcore contingent of Dark Zone players who push back on all this, but I am genuinely unsure of what they’d lose if PvE was just an option for the Dark Zone. Players who like the current Dark Zone could still queue up for that version. To me, this is more about denying players zones and loot they haven’t “earned” because they can’t stand the heat of the “real” Dark Zone which is stupid gatekeeping I don’t respect or appreciate.

The Division 2

The Division 2

MASSIVE

I have no way of checking this, so far as I can tell, but I am willing to bet that as vocal as the hardcore Dark Zone community is, the DZ has a fraction of the players of the larger PvE world, and probably only a fraction of those actively want to be there and would care if there was a PvP option. I think there’s a reason that Massive put 515 gear in the Dark Zone, because they’re trying to lure people to actually play it. Right now, tons and tons of people are avoiding it completely because it’s much easier to queue up for missions or bounties or strongholds with a more straightforward path to loot, working with other players rather than against them. And if they do want to fight other people? That’s what Conflict is for, and that too comes with no risk of surprise attacks and lost loot.

The Dark Zone has always been Massive’s pet project, the concept that was supposed to make The Division stand out compared to its competition. And yet it has always remained my least favorite aspect of the game, and that has not changed in the sequel. If we didn’t see a PvE Dark Zone in all the years of The Division 1 doubt we’ll see one now, but I think it’s a bad path forward for Massive to try and simply bribe people to play the DZ when clearly something is gone wrong if they have to do that in the first place.

[“source=forbes”]

Microsoft Expands Azure Cloud Service in Push for $10 Billion Pentagon Contract

Microsoft Expands Azure Cloud Service in Push for $10 Billion Pentagon Contract

Microsoft Corp said on Tuesday its expanded Azurecloud service to help government clients save data on their own servers would be available by the end of the first quarter of 2019, as it battles with Amazon.com for a $10 billion (roughly Rs. 74,200 crores) Pentagon contract.

The two companies are left in the fray for the lucrative contract after Alphabet’s Google dropped out on Monday, saying the company’s new ethical guidelines do not align with the project.

Pentagon’s JEDI, or Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, cloud computing solution contract is part of the Department of Defense’s efforts to modernise its IT infrastructure.

The expanded Azure Government Secret cloud service will make Microsoft “a strong option for the JEDI contract,” said Julia White, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure, adding that the company is capable of meeting the highest classification requirement for handling “top secret US classified data”.

[“source=gsmarena”]

LG Display Struggles for Footing After LCD Forecasting Error Leads to Crisis

LG Display Struggles for Footing After LCD Forecasting Error Leads to Crisis

The chief executive of South Korea’s LG Display, Han Sang-beom, was determined to deliver a strong message when he appeared before 1,000 employees at the firm’s main manufacturing plant last spring.

So he donned a pair of goggles, picked up a hammer, and smashed a liquid-crystal display screen to bits.

The symbolism was impossible to miss: LCD panels, the company’s mainstay for years, were being relegated to the industrial dustbin. The company’s future would depend on a newer technology, organic light-emitting diode, or OLED.

“I’ve never seen him do such a thing,” said one company official who was present. “His performance showed a grim determination to weather this crisis.”

Yet LG Display’s predicament was in many ways one of its own making. Less than a year earlier, the company had showered employees with perks and bonuses as profits rolled in, driven by the company’s leadership in LCD screens for TVs, computer monitors and smartphones.

But LG Display had misread the market: Chinese competitors were coming on strong, and by early this year prices for LCD screens were plummeting. The fat profits of 2017 turned into big losses in 2018 – and the company abruptly announced in July that it would slash $2.7 billion in capital spending it had planned through 2020.

It did not reveal its total or previous targets but made about $6 billion in capital expenditures in 2017, according to Eikon data.

The company’s troubles stand as a stark example of the risks inherent in hotly competitive technology businesses that require massive capital investment.

“It seems that LG Display made a major miscalculation on its LCD business, not accurately judging the timing to pull away when they could see China’s rapid catch-up,” said Lee Won-sik, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities.

“We knew from last year LCD prices would go down but we did not expect this big and fast fall,” acknowledged one LG Display official, who, like others in this article, declined to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media. “Customers had been asking for price cuts, but we didn’t act until it got too late.”

Prices in free fall

LG Display posted five straight years of strong profits after Han took the helm in 2012, riding a tide of LCD screen orders from Apple and strong demand for both phone and TV screens from LG Electronics, which owns more than a third of the display-maker.

LG Display also began to invest in OLED displays, which unlike LCD screens don’t require backlighting and can deliver more natural-looking colours. OLED screens also consume less energy and can be bent and folded.

But the technology is expensive, and LG Display was earning the vast majority of its revenue from LCDs. Until its recent cutbacks, it was running eight LCD production lines in South Korea and another in China.

While LG Display hummed along, Chinese companies, led by BOE Technology Group, were pouring huge sums into LCD production.

By January 2017, BOE had become the No. 1 supplier of LCDs larger than 9 inches, according to market tracker IHS Markit, taking 22.3 percent of unit shipments versus 21.6 percent for LG Display. It was the first time a Chinese display maker had taken the top spot.

By early 2018, prices for many types of LCDs were in free-fall. Prices for 50-inch LCD television panels, for example, slid 32 percent in August versus the same month last year, according to IHS Markit.

LG Display’s big South Korean rival, the display unit of Samsung Electronics, had begun pulling back from LCD years earlier, shutting down older LCD production lines in South Korea beginning in 2010, according to a Samsung Display official. The company now has just two LCD factories in South Korea and one in China.

But LG Display was caught flat-footed and is now furiously slashing LCD capacity. It has closed three LCD production lines since last year and abandoned plans for a new one.

The company in April also rolled out an “emergency management system,” with employees being told to use cheaper flights and cut back on group meals, company sources told Reuters. Cash flow has become a concern: it was negative 838.2 billion won ($743.93 million) in the second quarter, according to Eikon data, and has been negative for three straight quarters.

Three company sources say the company is not planning layoffs for fear of losing talent to China, but some employees are frustrated with cuts in benefits.

“Executives are trying to keep the morale up, telling us media reports about a voluntary redundancy program are false,” a company source with knowledge of the matter said.

OLED a game changer?

LG Display is now betting the house on OLED, and says it can fund $17.6 billion in OLED investments over the next three years. It expects the newer technology to account for 40 percent of revenue by 2020, up from just 10 percent today.

As OLED becomes more prevalent, LG Display’s fortunes could turn, analysts say.

LG Display’s OLED panels have helped its sibling, LG Electronics, take the lead in high-end televisions. Some analysts believe LG Display has been pressured to supply those panels cheaply, hurting its profitability, though the company denies that is the case.

But the OLED market promises to be tough. Samsung boasts that it has been investing in OLED since 2005. BOE is getting into OLED too. There are also still technical challenges in making large-panel OLED TV screens that don’t wear out too quickly, noted Ross Young, CEO of research provider Display Supply Chain Consultants.

Son Young-jun, LG Display’s vice president of public relations, said in a statement that the company is the only producer of large-size OLED displays and had “unmatched technological expertise” in OLED. “The potential and outlook ahead is promising,” he said.

LG Display says its OLED division will turn a profit in the third quarter. It also expects LCD prices to stabilise, enabling it to squeeze profits from the older technology until the newer one matures.

“Given OLED is our answer and solution to the crisis, there’s nothing else we can do other than tightening our belts and pushing for OLED,” a company official said.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Honor Magic 2 With Sliding Camera, FullView Display, Kirin 980 SoC, 40W Magic Charge Support Teased at IFA 2018

Honor Magic 2 With Sliding Camera, FullView Display, Kirin 980 SoC, 40W Magic Charge Support Teased at IFA 2018

Honor showed up at IFA 2018with a surprise this year – Magic 2

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Honor Magic 2 to come with a ‘Magic Slide’ camera
  • The smartphone will be powered by a Kirin 980 SoC
  • Magic 2 also comes with the 40W Magic Charger

Honor is jumping on the sliding camera bandwagon with its Magic 2 smartphone. During its event at IFA 2018 in Berlin, the Huawei sub-brand teased a smartphone called Honor Magic 2 that is claimed to come with a bezel-free display by leveraging a sliding camera functionality. The handset is a successor to the Honor Magic that was launched back in 2016 with display curves and AI-based features. The Magic 2, meanwhile, comes with a ‘Magic Slide’ feature that enables the phone to have a nearly 100 percent screen-to-body ratio.

At the IFA trade show, Honor only showed the Magic 2 briefly onstage. The successor to Magic phone did not get a proper announcement, but Honor President George Zhao teased some of the key features. However, the company did not provide too much information regarding the price, specifications, and availability of the smartphone. A zoomed-in image from Honor’s event shared by GSMArena, showcases the interesting-looking device that lacks any bezels or notches.

The most interesting feature in the Honor Magic 2 is its FullView display. There are no display notches or any significant chin at the bottom. It resembles the Oppo Find X that was launched earlier this year. Xiaomi has also recently teased a Mi Mix 3 with an “all-screen” display that moves the frontal paraphernalia to the slider behind the screen. Interestingly, as per the images, unlike the Find X, the Honor Magic 2’s camera slider appears to open manually. However, it may also be due to it being just an engineering sample and not a final product.

Additionally, the Honor Magic 2 will be powered by a Kirin 980 processor. At the same event, Huawei had launched the HiSilicon Kirin 980 as the ‘world’s first commercial 7nm SoC’. Compared to the previous generation 10nm process, the 7nm process is said to deliver 20 percent improved SoC performance and 40 percent more efficiency. Also, the Honor Magic 2 will come with a 40W ‘Magic Charge’ fastcharging technology. It is claimed to be very fast and safe. Honor, in a press release, said, “to further ensure safety, 15 layers of protection are also embedded in the smartphone. The phone can automatically identify the battery, cable and charger and only when all of the three parts are identified as safe, the Super Charger will start.”

“The launch of Honor Magic two years ago introduced the concept of the AI smartphone to consumers”, noted Zhao. “The first-generation Honor Magic was an era-defining smartphone that transformed the industry. In addition to AI-features that make the phone truly smart, Honor Magic’s ground-breaking all-curved panel design and powerful 40W charging support have reshaped smartphone design and become a benchmark for all smartphones. The developments of these futuristic flagship devices are closely followed by the smartphone and AI industry, and now the Honor Magic 2 has arrived.”

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]