Introducing Playbox, the ultimate console machine

The Xbox One side
The Xbox One side

Hardcore gamers who can’t make up their minds on which console machine they like the most might want to check out this – the Playbox. This modded contraption actually marries two competing consoles – the PS4 and Xbox One into a single machine with a 22-inch screen; a beautiful monstrosity that looks like a giant, thick laptop at first glance.

The Sony PS4 side
The Sony PS4 side

Users still have to choose which console to play at the bootup since the both consoles are powered by same power cord. That means that both aren’t accessible at once in real time but it also makes heat management easier.

The Wi-Fi is functioning for both consoles and there’s a  HDMI cable port available. Switching the consoles is easy as flipping the red switch according to its creator. He incorporated a Smart HDMI switcher so users don’t have worry about the right input, just plug in and play straight away. However, it does come with a cost as the USB ports of Xbox One is not available in the Playbox.

Sadly, this is just a prototype and not for commercial sale. However, the creator does say if anyone is serious enough to acquire this, he/she is welcome to contact him for further details.

Image credit: Ed’s Junk

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The X-Files might just be making a comeback

The famous pair in 90s TV
The famous pair in 90s TV
The famous pair in 90s TV

Fox might just be attempting to reboot the long dormant, but once seriously popular sci-fi thriller series, The X-Files. Apparently, one of the biggest hurdle they have to face is the availability of its original cast – David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and its creator Chris Carter, who are busy with their own respective projects.

The original series ran for nine seasons, two movie adaptations and extremely memorable theme music it also had inspired few copycat series from around the world alongside a host of comics. So far, it is not known in what shape this return to the series might look like, but recent success of 24’s return might hint at what we might be seeing. Apparently this is not the first time Fox has considered this, as rumours of its return has been discussed many times over. However, this might be the strongest case for it so far.

Given the really sub-par movie release in 2008, many fans of the franchise might clamour for the reboot or continue the old series just to give it justice.

Source: Deadline

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Kekkai Sensen anime confirmed

The casting announcement of the anime

Jump Square’s December issue and Studio Bones has laid out plans and a new trailer for another Spring 2015 anime release – Blood Blockade Battlefront or Kekkai Sensen, illustrated by mangaka Yasuhiro Nightow (Trigun).

So far, nine volumes of the manga have already been published in Japan whereas the Dark Horse English adaptation totals seven so far.

Anime Visual for Kekkai Sensen
Anime Visual for Kekkai Sensen

Studio Bones will handle the series with Rie Matsumoto (Kyousogiga) as director. Scripting is by Kazunao Furuya (Blackjack the TV movie) and Cowboy Bebop’s character designer, Toshihiro Kawamoto is on the board too.

Confirmed casts are Akira Ishida (Accel World, Angel Beats), Unshou Ishizuka (Black Bullet, Berserk), Akio Ohtsuka (Sgt Frog, Ghost in the Shell), Shinji Ogawa (St Seiya, Dragonball), Ai Orikasa (Sakura Taisen, Saiyuki), Rie Kugimiya (Zero no Tsukaima, Tora Dora!), Yu Kobayashi (Attack on Titan, Air Gear), Rikiya Koyama (Hajime no Ippo, Akagi, Fate/Zero), Daisuke Sakaguchi (Pokemon, Mobile Suit Gundam Victory), Kazuya Nakai (Ai Yori Aoshi, Aldnoah Zero), Keiji Fujiwara (Attack on Titan, Baccano!), Hikaru Midorikawa (Photokano, Diabolik Lovers), Mamoru Miyano (Valrave The Liberator, Free!) and Mitsuru Miyamoto (Tiger & Bunny, Katanagatari). To check out the rest of character designs, head out to their official site to look at it.

An astute reader might notice most of the cast are very seasoned and quite established in the voice acting world in Japan here.

This is the synopsis from Dark Horse that is translating the manga in America:

A breach between Earth and the netherworlds has opened up over the city of New York, trapping New Yorkers and creatures from other dimensions in an impenetrable bubble. They’ve lived together for years, in a world of crazy crime sci-fi sensibilities. Now someone is threatening to sever the bubble, and a group of stylish superhumans is working to keep it from happening.

Source & Image: Official Site

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Magic: The Gathering Fate Reforged on sale late January

This block is all about the dragons


The latest set for the Khans of Tarkir Block is fast approaching its release date, with players getting a taste of it during the pre-release event over the weekend.

In this block, players get to travel back in time with Sarkhan Vol to a war-torn Tarkir where five clans clash with dragonkind for supremacy. Players will be able to live the story as it unfolds, aligning themselves with a clan and compete to heal the Spirit Dragon, Ugin to gain a glimpse into the future.

The event mostly consists of specially formatted Sealed Deck events with Prerelease packs to construct 40-card decks with the contents of their packs and do battle.

Players got to choose from multiple pre-release packs, with each one representing individual clans and their respective colours. Inside each pack were boosters, the associated event booster, badge and dice in clan colours. The pack also had an achievement card in which completion of certain actions will result in opening up Ugin’s Nexus.

If the conditions of each phase is met, players will successfully heal up Ugin, open up Ugin’s Nexus and help themselves to the special boosters within; each having a chance to get Ugin’s card itself.

This block is all about the dragons
This block is all about the dragons

The Fate Reforged set will be available in the form of 15-card booster packs, preconstructed 60-card intro packs that also include a foil premium rare and two sealed boosters, Fat Packs that include two full deck boxes with nine booster packs, 80 basic land cards, a special-edition life counter as well as a Player’s Guide with pictures of all cards in the set. For those looking to just jump into the fray, there are also Clash Packs which have two ready to play decks, six premium cards with alternative art, a deck box, a Magic rules reference card and a strategy insert with strategies on how to combine the two decks into a more powerful single deck.

The launch date for Fate Reforged will be on 23 January, worldwide at all participating game stores.

That’s not all, there will also be a special Game Day on 14 and 15 February where players get to try out their cards in a Standard Constructed tourney. The Fate Reforged Game Day events are Swiss-style tournaments to be held in participating game stores.

Ghost in the Shell singer Origa passes away

The singer herself
The singer herself

Still remember that haunting sounds of “Inner Universe”, the opening for Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex?

It was sung by  Russian singer, Origa (real name Ol’ga Yakovleva) who went on to sing for a few more series in Ghost in the Shell franchise namely 1st Gig, 2nd Gig and Solid State Society. Sadly, voice actress Jenya confirmed on her official Twitter account that Origa passed away on Saturday due to lung cancer. She was 44 years old.

Origa first came to Japan on a home stay program after studying at the Novosibirsk Specialized Music School from 1986 to 1990 and was subsequently signed up by EMI Japan in 1995. Her breakthrough in Japan came when Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 1st Gig first aired with the opening theme “Inner Universe“. Her haunting and unique Russian vocals which accompanied the catchy, electronic pulses of the song with a lack of J-pop beats won accolades from the fans worldwide.

She didn’t stop at the cyperpunk franchise either as she also sang for other anime including  the themes for Fantastic Children, Princess Arete, as well as games like Gust and Ar nosuge. Yoko Kanno, the prolific music composer in the anime industry of Japan was a good friend and long time collaborator of the singer and undoubtedly some of the best songs and themes we’ve heard from the anime music world was a result of their work.

We hope you find your Inner Universe Origa. Rest in peace.

Via Otakomu
Image credit: Otakuru

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I have to admit, despite there being 52 titles in DC’s New 52, this list was harder to build than I thought. Of course, I made it harder for myself by not including the obvious choice – Batman (who would have been a shoo-in for this list anyway, 75th anniversary and all) – but still, with 52 titles in total, it shouldn’t have been this hard to pick six characters that had a good year.

Google is pulling the plug on the Glass

Google Glass with prescription frame
The product in question

In what many people consider as a major blow to Google, the American tech giant pulls the plug on Google Glass, confirming that they will halt sales of it starting next week.  Besides that, they will also stop “Explorer” programme which was aimed at seeing how people will use the technology and harvest their feedback on it.

In an attempt to salvage whatever is left of the wreckage, the company insisted that they will not completely walk away from the project. Google will continue to invest in Glass at Work specifically for enterprise developers and companies. In addition to that, they stated that they are planning to release a new version of the wearable device “when it’s ready”.

The Google Glass team has been relocated from the Google X division and has become it’s own entity under the leadership of Ivy Ross. The team will under the supervision of Tony Fadell, founder of Nest Labs, bought over by Google last year. Despite the seeming independence, it is actually a step back for it according to industry experts. The fissure began with the departure of its greatest advocate, Babak Praviz. Then Google tried to get Intel into the game when Texas Instruments threw in the towel. Things aren’t looking up for the team. In November 2014, almost all app developers for the Glass stated that they have either abandoned it or scrapped their work due to lack of demand.

Some experts feel that Google is too hasty to market the Glass without many apps and usage for it. What’s more there is ethical issue because the Glass ‘s ability to record or snap photos which has irked many people that values privacy. Reportedly, some business establishments in the USA banned the device from its premises and Google was forced to issue a guideline for users, asking them not to be “Glassholes“. The strong nerd image did not help either, despite efforts by designers like Luxoticca (makers of Rayban and Oakley) to make it look cool.

Last but not least, the hardware pricing (RM5500) is quite steep with lack of apps support, hence less incentive for consumers. It is a sad day for the pioneering field of wearable tech.

Source: ZDNet & WSJ

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The LG G3 screen with NUCLUN processor (Image from Androidcentral)
The LG G3 Beat, the G3's slightly smaller sibling
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LG has produced some of the best smartphones in the flagship market with its G2 and G3 being considered some of the best smartphones over the last couple of years.

Not wanting to be left in the dust by competitors like HTC, Apple, Samsung or emerging Chinese powerhouses like Xiaomi, they might be quietly working on their next flagship model, the G4 in secret. A recent leak indicates that the new LG will be driven by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor which means LG will not be using their NUCLUN CPU after it failed to meet the expectations in the LG G3 Screen in South Korea.

Besides the Snapdragon CPU, the model is expected to have 3GB RAM and and it potentially has a 5312 x 2988 resolution screen from the Android 5.0 dump. People are already speculating that this might lead LG to bump up the rear camera from old 13MP to 16MP instead.

The Android 5.0 dump for LG G4
The Android 5.0 dump for the LG G4

The new LG flagship is expected to be announced at MWC 2015 in Barcelona soon. This leak already shows an intense rivalry between major manufacturers in 2015 for sure.

Source: PhoneArena

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Xiaomi reveals the Mi Note and Mi Note Pro

The flagship Mi Note
The flagship Mi Note

The Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi reveals the Mi Note and Mi Note Pro, ostensibly to challenge Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus directly. While the specs for the Mi Note are nothing much to shout about, but the Mi Note Pro has all the bells and whistles enough to make anyone’s mouth water in anticipation. Now let’s get down to the specs.

The Mi Note side profile
The Mi Note side profile

The Mi Note is a 5.7-inch smartphone with dimensions of 155.1 x 77.6 x 6.95 mm and weighs around 161g. It also features curved glass on the front and back, made of Gorilla Glass 3. The camera is a 13MP Sony Exmor rear camera sensor with f/2.0 aperture and 4MP front camera with a 2-micron pixel sensor which allows it clearer low light performance. The rear camera packs inbuilt optical image stabilisation (OIS) while the front camera has a dual tone LED flash manufactured by Philips.

At the heart of the Mi Note is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz quad-core CPU with Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB RAM. Internal storage comes with two choices – 16GB or 64GB variants with large 3000mAh battery. Interestingly, it has nano and micro SIM dual SIM card tray which supports dual standby, a pretty commonplace feature for China-branded phones these days. The model also supports HiFi audio for lossless audio playback on APE, FLAC, DSD and WAV formats.

The Mi Note will have both FDD LTE and TDD LTE support with pricing around RM1320 (16GB) and RM1610 (64GB).

Mi Note Pro
Mi Note Pro

The Mi Note Pro features 5.7-inch display with a  resolution of 2560 x 1440 (515ppi) and similar in dimension with Mi Note. Besides that, the Pro has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core CPU (Four 2.0 Cortex-A57 cores and four 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 cores) with Adreno 430 GPU and impressive 4GB RAM.

The Snapdragon 810 SoC
The Snapdragon 810 SoC

Other notable difference is a 64GB eMMC 5.0 ROM and support for Cat 9 LTE (speeds up to 450Mbps download and 50Mbps upload).

The Mi Note Pro will be priced around RM 1,900 with an exclusive Gold metal frame, whereas the Mi Note will come in black and white variants.

The company said that the Mi Note will be coming to South East Asia market around second quarter of 2015 but did not say anything about the Mi Note Pro. Too bad for the Xiaomi fans but the Mi Note Pro release date has not yet been announced, not even for the China market. One thing for sure, the Chinese company intends to create a lasting hold in flagship phablet market with the announcement of their latest hero devices.

Via BBC & Xiaomi

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Cross Ange is getting a game

The title name
The title name

Bandai Namco just announced a PS Vita game for the current season’s most famous yuri (lesbian) friendly mecha sci-fi anime, Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo / クロスアンジュ 天使と竜の輪舞. The title of the game is almost the same except for the tr at the back.

The game will be launched in Spring 2015, presumably after the conclusion of the anime series. According to Bandai Namco, the story of the game will be based on the anime’s second season. However, there is no announcement of pricing or an actual release date yet.

The trailer did show a glimpse of a game exclusive female character with red hair character who is a Para-Mail rider judging from her uniform and some RPG-like element of conversation dialogue choice between characters. Then we also saw some third person perspective shooting action when the characters fight the DRAGON on behalf of Arzenal. The player also will meet and probably interact with all main cast of the anime series.

However, that’s all the trailer hints at so far. As for the anime series, it is doing quite well in sales, with 8000 copies of the first volume sold in its opening week in Japan, placed it second on the top ten weekly top sales.

Source: Official Site

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