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Panasonic and Leica unveil ‘L squared’ project to jointly develop cameras and lenses

Panasonic and Leica have formed a new collaboration called L² (L squared) that will see them jointly develop cameras, lenses and imaging technology, they announced. Both companies are already part of the L-Mount mirrorless alliance (along with Sigma and Leitz) and Panasonic has loaned its camera tech to Leica. However, the new partnership goes deeper, as they'll use "jointly developed technologies" in their respective lens and camera products, while the L² branding will feature in future marketing activities. 

"Through this collaboration, the two companies will jointly invest in new technologies that can be incorporated into camera and lens products, and will incorporate jointly developed technologies into each other's Leica and Lumix products to further enhance their product capabilities," the press release states. "Going forward, Leica and Lumix will utilize L² Technology, which will open up new possibilities for creative camera users, in their marketing activities in order to develop a collaborative system over the long term."

Panasonic told Engadget that the partnership will apply not just to full-frame L-Mount cameras, but also to Micro Four Thirds models. Hopefully, that means we'll see Leica-branded lenses with fully compatible image stabilization and AF across camera lineups. 

There's no word on when we'll see the fruit of this collaboration. It does make some sense, though, as Panasonic tends to get overshadowed by Canon, Sony and Nikon, despite producing good cameras — especially for video. Meanwhile, Leica has a sterling reputation for lens quality, but gets far less respect for its mirrorless cameras because they're mostly rebadged, overpriced Panasonic models. By collaborating, Panasonic could gain some prestige off Leica's iconic reputation and lens quality, while Leica will get access to Panasonic's technological chops. 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/panasonic-and-leica-unveil-l-squared-plan-to-jointly-develop-cameras-and-lenses-120016970.html?src=rss

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Orba 2 adds a sampler and more to an excellent musical fidget toy

The Orba is mostly a musical curiosity, but a compelling one especially at the reasonable price of $100. But for its next version Artiphon is hoping to go beyond fidget toy and turn its little MPE grapefruit into a legit groovebox. 

Physically almost nothing has change about the Orba 2. It's till the same black half orb with eight touchpads across the top. It still has a builtin speaker and synth engine, the latter of which was recently opened up for anyone to design their own patches. It's still a capable MIDI controller with support for multiple gestures including shake, tilt and spin. 

What makes the new version immediately more impressive, is that it now supports sample playback. You can even record your own samples using the Orba app on your phone and then turn that into a preset that can be played. So you could record a bird call, a car horn or just another instrument and play that melodically. 

But that's not all, Orba 2 can also quantize your playing, which is extremely helpful if your rhythm is lacking. Lastly, where the original was limited to an eight bar loop, the sequel can handle up a 128 bar loop — or about five minutes of music. 

All of that additional power comes at a bit of a premium. But even at the new price of $150, it's still one of the most affordable MPE controllers out there and no doubt still a great fidget toy. But perhaps it will also now be a great groovebox too. 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/artiphon-orba-2-sampler-fidget-toy-130049387.html?src=rss

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Sonos Ray review: A soundbar that nails the basics

With the $279 Ray soundbar, Sonos is going after a new market. The company’s previous home theater products have all been $400 or more and have primarily been geared toward people intent on getting the best sound possible. The Ray, meanwhile, is more accessible for people who want better sound than their TV speakers can provide, but don’t necessarily care about things like Dolby Atmos support or room-shaking bass. The Ray isn’t exactly a budget speaker, though, so I set out to discover if Sonos made the right compromises here in its effort to make a more mainstream soundbar.

Hardware and setup

Sonos Ray review photos

Physically, the Ray is smaller than the already-compact Beam, with a tapered design that’s wider in the front than it is in the back. Unlike other Sonos soundbars, though, the Ray’s speakers are all forward-facing; in this way, it reminds me a bit of a wider and flatter version of the Sonos Five speaker. This design means you can tuck the Ray into a media stand and not have to worry about the sound bouncing off of nearby surfaces. Since the Ray doesn’t have a mic for voice assistants, you don’t need to worry about whether it can hear you if you place it in a media stand, either.

As with just about every other Sonos product, the Ray has touch-sensitive buttons on top to start and pause music and adjust the volume. There’s also an LED status light on the front, rather than on the top as it is on most Sonos speakers. Again, this is in case you put it on a shelf that would otherwise hide the light if it was on the top. On the back, there’s a power jack, setup button, ethernet port and optical audio jack; Sonos left out HDMI support to cut costs, and since the Ray doesn’t support more advanced audio formats like Dolby Atmos, the additional bandwidth HDMI allows wasn’t needed here.

The Sonos Beam (in black) pictured in front of the new Sonos Ray (in white).

The setup process was simple: I just plugged the Ray into the wall and connected it to my TV with the included optical audio cable. From there, I finished setting it up in the Sonos app on my phone. The process will take a bit longer if you’ve never set up a Sonos speaker in your home before, because you’ll need to do things like authorize the various streaming music services you want to use. But I simply needed to wait for the app to recognize there was a new speaker to set up, tell it which room the Ray was in and then wait for it to get connected to my wireless network.

Once that’s done, you have the option of tuning the Ray using what Sonos calls Trueplay. This uses the microphone on an iPhone or iPad to balance the speaker’s audio based on how your room sounds. It’s a bit of a weird process, walking around your space slowly raising and lowering your phone, but I’ve found it always makes my Sonos speakers sound better, so it's worth the five minutes it takes to set it up if you have a compatible device on hand.

How do movies sound?

I’ve spent the last week or so watching movies and shows with the Ray and it’s an obvious improvement over my TV’s built-in speakers. Sonos said it focused on dialogue quality, bass response and a wide soundstage, and it definitely succeeded on two of those fronts. Dialogue sounds extremely clear, whether I was watching a drama like HBO’s The Staircase or enjoying Galadriel’s narration at the beginning of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The latter also provided a great chance to hear how the Ray performed in more intense, action-filled sequences. As the prologue of Fellowship continued to its massive battle against the forces of Sauron, swordplay and arrows flying filled the space around the narration in a well-balanced mix. And the rumbling explosion and massive thud of Sauron’s helmet hitting the ground after his defeat were a good opportunity to hear the Ray flex its bass muscles.

Another favorite of mine for testing soundbars is the 15-minute intro of Pacific Rim. The beginning of this over-the-top movie has it all – huge battles between giant robots and monsters, cities being destroyed as panicked citizens flee and a solid heroic narration, all of which the Ray faithfully reproduced in a well-balanced mix.

The Ray pulls this off despite having much simpler acoustics than the Beam: it includes two center midwoofers, two tweeters with split waveguides to broaden the speaker’s soundstage, a bass reflex system that provides a surprising amount of low-end performance, and four Class-D amplifiers. It’s an effective system, but my main complaint is that the waveguides and computational audio can only do so much to widen the soundstage. While the Ray clearly has a solid stereo presence, it’s not nearly as immersive as the first-generation Sonos Beam that I usually use. Even though my older Beam doesn’t support Dolby Atmos, its larger size and more complex speaker array give it a big advantage over the Ray.

The Ray is also not the loudest speaker out there. Again, this isn’t a huge surprise, as Sonos is marketing this device for use in relatively smaller space. That doesn’t mean it was too quiet for me, but I did usually have its volume up over 50 percent for it to be loud enough. If I really wanted to kick things up while watching a big movie, I might get closer to 70 percent. If you’re the kind of person who really wants theater-style audio, you’ll be better off with a more powerful device.

The good news is that, as with all other Sonos home theater devices, you can pair the Ray with the Sonos Sub to improve bass performance. You can also use two Sonos One speakers as rear surrounds to make for a much more immersive experience. The Ray might be an ideal choice for a first soundbar to upgrade your TV’s audio and then use it to build out a more complex setup down the line. That said, the Sonos Sub costs a whopping $749; it’s hard to imagine someone buying a Ray and then spending three times as much on a subwoofer.

What about music?

While the Ray is meant to be hooked up to your TV, it’s also a capable music speaker. Sonos says that when it builds its home theater products, music quality is just as important as how it works with movies and shows. In my testing, the Ray sounds great – songs like Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut to the Feeling” have plenty of low end and super-clear vocals. Meanwhile, the hard left- and right-panned guitars in Metallica’s “Wherever I May Roam” were quite distinct. While it’s still not the loudest speaker, the Ray is more than capable of filling a medium-sized room with clear and lively music.

Naturally, the Ray has all the same multi-room audio features as other Sonos speakers. This means you can simultaneously stream the same music to multiple speakers on your WiFi network, or play something different on each one. You can set up custom speaker groups (just the speakers on your first floor, for example) and stream audio directly to the Ray using AirPlay 2. The only real feature it’s missing compared to most other Sonos speakers is voice control. There’s no mic, which means you can’t control the speaker directly with Alexa, Google Assistant or the upcoming Sonos Voice Control feature. That said, if you have other smart speakers, including any other Sonos speaker with a mic, you can use them to control the Ray.

Wrap up

There’s no question in my mind that the Ray is a serious upgrade over a TV’s built-in speakers. What’s less clear is how much better it is compared to other small soundbars, like Roku’s $180 Streambar Pro. Sonos has a long history of delivering excellent sound, and the Ray continues that tradition. And just as the portable $179 Sonos Roam is a good gateway drug into the Sonos ecosystem, the Ray is a good first Sonos for someone who wants to improve their TV audio. Yes, you can find cheaper soundbars, but Sonos is betting its reputation for excellent sound quality will make the Ray a success. After spending some time with it, I’d have no problem recommending the Ray to anyone who wants an easy way to upgrade their TV’s audio but doesn't care about having the best speaker that supports the most formats. For a lot of people, particularly those with smaller living rooms, the Ray will be just the right soundbar for their space.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/sonos-ray-soundbar-review-130050814.html?src=rss

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The Monument Valley games are coming to PC on July 12th

Classic mobile games Monument Valley and Monument Valley 2 are getting a new lease of life. They're coming to PC on July 12th, meaning they'll be playable outside of the iOS, Android and Windows Phone (remember that?) ecosystems for the first time.

A vertical phone-style format wouldn't quite cut the mustard for PC players, though. As such, Ustwo Games has upgraded the already-gorgeous visuals with an ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio. The expanded view could help you solve the mind-bending puzzles and find the right paths. With that in mind, the developer is calling these the "panoramic editions."

The games are coming to Steam and they'll each cost $8. Scoop up a bundle of both titles (which includes all of the expansions) and you'll get a 15 percent discount.

As part of the announcement, Ustwo Games released a behind-the-scenes video in which developers talk about porting the games to PC:

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/monument-valley-pc-steam-widescreen-ustwo-games-130054491.html?src=rss

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West Pest is an affordable and experimental semimodular synth

It's only been a couple of weeks since Cre8Audio unveiled its first self-contained synth. But the company is back already with a companion to the East Beast, called the West Pest. As the name implies this is a West Coast style synth, made to complement the Beast's east coast flavor. 

Just like the Beast this is an analog semi-modular synth built in collaboration with Pittsburg Modular. It has a 20-point patch bay, a one octave keyboard, a 32-step sequencer, an arpeggiator and a "digital multi-function tool" that can be an extra envelope, LFO or a random generator. 

In fact the two have more in common than not. Physically they're nearly identical, but with slightly different control layouts and graphics. And they're both just $250, which is stunningly affordable for an analog modular synth. 

Of course what separates the West Pest from its sibling is its core sound and design features. Its main oscillator is described as "buzzy" and instead of a filter to shave off harmonics, it has a wave folder to add more. Rather than a traditional envelope and filter combo, the Pest has a Dynamics Controller module, that combines the functions of an envelope generator, VCA, and a low pass filter, which sounds more-or-less like a low pass gate. And there's a generative sequencing function for getting truly unpredictable with your bleeps and bloops. 

West Coast style synthesis has enjoyed something of a resurgence these last few years. Small companies like Erica Synths and big players like Korg have dabbled recently. And the OG of the form, Buchla, came roaring back in 2020 with an updated take on the iconic Music Easel. So it would make sense for a company like Cre8Audio looking to make a splash with it's first couple of synths to give it a try too.

The West Pest is available to preorder now for $250 and should be shipping "imminently." 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/cre8audio-west-pest-west-coast-semimodular-synth-130059730.html?src=rss

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Watch NASA’s Mars helicopter complete a record-setting flight

NASA's Ingenuity helicopter is still pushing boundaries long after its first Mars liftoff. As CNET notes, the space agency has shared video of Ingenuity's milestone 25th flight on April 8th, when it broke duration and speed records. The robotic helicopter flew at 12MPH for just over two minutes and 41 seconds, providing footage of the Red Planet's rippling sands and rock fields as part of the 2,310-foot journey. The footage you see below was sped up to cut the viewing time to 35 seconds.

The video doesn't include the very start and end of the trip, but for good reason. The navigation camera switches off whenever Ingenuity is within three feet of the Martian surface to prevent dust from interfering with the navigation system. The autonomous flier receives flight plans from JPL, but it uses a combination of the camera, a laser rangefinder and an inertial measurement unit to adapt to real-life conditions.

Ingenuity has flown three times since. It's currently preparing for a 29th flight following a brief scare in early May, when the mission team lost communication after the helicopter switched to a low-power state. NASA isn't easily deterred, then — expect the aircraft to keep flying for a while to come.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/nasa-mars-helicopter-ingenuity-flight-video-131524301.html?src=rss

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What we bought: My first tube amp… about 20 years late

I got my first guitar in the seventh grade. Had a couple of bands in high school and college. And I still play regularly. But, I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I only just bought my first tube amp in April of last year. That’s right, I played guitar somewhat seriously for around 25 years before I went and bought what is considered by many (mostly obnoxious purists) the only kind of amp worth playing.

Eventually, I set my sights on a Fender Blues Jr, a simple 15-watt, 1x12 amp. Specifically, I managed to snag a gorgeous Tweed model used for $400. It was too good of a deal to pass up (even if I did have to drive into New Jersey to pick it up).

Now, before you all freak out, it’s not that I’ve never played a tube amp before. My bands often rented a rehearsal space where I was usually playing through Marshall half stack. A JCM800 if I remember correctly, but I’d be lying if I said I cared about anything other than the fact that it was a Marshall half stack at the age of 18.

In addition to sounding great, glowing vacuum tubes look great.

When it was time for me to go out and upgrade from my tiny Yamaha practice amp, I just got the loudest thing I could afford at the time: a 2x12 120-watt Crate solid state amp. I needed something that could be heard over a drummer in my basement or in a small club. It did exactly what I expected it to: It was delightfully crisp and clean, took pedals well and it was loud.

That was my only amp for many years. But, being 120w it didn’t really do “quiet.” Even with the volume at one it was enough to piss off the neighbors. So when I had my first child I knew I needed to get something else. Again, budget and volume were important (turns out kids are expensive). But instead of being loud, this time I needed something that would sound good at levels that wouldn’t disturb a sleeping baby. So I snagged a Yamaha THR10 on sale.

But over the last few years I’d started getting serious about music again. And, in particular over the last two years, I’d rekindled my love of guitar. Between that, and what I’m going to chalk up to pandemic restlessness, I started looking to upgrade to an actual tube amp. I ended up settling on the Blues Jr in part because I still needed something that didn’t get too loud. But I also didn’t need anything terribly fancy. I wanted tube warmth and crunch at a reasonable price and without too many bells and whistles.

While it took me a while to find the amp’s sweet spots, I’m a convert. I now primarily use my THR10 late at night or if I need to be mobile – say, shooting a review in my dining room. But otherwise, I’m firing up the Blues Jr everytime. It can do the jangly clean tones often associated with Fender at lower volumes, and get an almost Vox-ish crunch when cranked. I rarely use the “Fat” switch, which boosts the mids, but I could see it being handy if you’re relying entirely on the internal drive and need to take a solo.

The only real amenity you get is a spring reverb, which sounds pretty great. Cranking it introduces a decent amount of noise to your signal, but it really nails those drippy surf tones.

Importantly for me, it has a master volume knob (which not all amps do). That allows you to push the preamp until you start to get some delicious breakup, while keeping things at a level that won’t get the cops involved. But it gets loud enough for gigging too, in case I ever decide to play music in front of other humans again (highly unlikely).

The biggest selling point, though, was that it’s also a pretty solid pedal platform. As a guitarist with more effects than talent, I needed something that wasn’t going to get too muddy or noisy as I started stacking multiple delays and reverbs with fuzz.

The Fender Blues Jr has been around since about 1995. And, while it has undergone multiple revisions in that time, its core character remains largely unchanged. Honestly, I wish I had discovered it earlier. Because, while I’ve fallen in love with plenty of instruments and effects over the years, this is the first amp that I’ve been truly enamored with.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/fender-blues-jr-tube-amp-irl-133040915.html?src=rss

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Fujifilm’s flagship X-H2S camera offers 6.2K video and 40 fps burst shooting

Fujifilm has launched its new flagship APS-C mirrorless camera, the $2,500 X-H2S, with an all-new 26.2-megapixel (MP) stacked BSI CMOS sensor and a raft of impressive features. Some of the key highlights include 40 fps blackout-free burst shooting, 6.2K 30fps video and 7-stop in-body stabilization. 

The X-H2S is the long-rumored successor to the X-H1, released over four years ago. However, it bears little resemblance to that model (apart from the top LCD display) with a substantially different grip and button layout. It's also lighter at 660 grams compared to 673 grams. Unlike the tilt-only display on the X-H1, the X-H2S has a fully articulating 1.62-million dot rear display, making it far better for vloggers and solo video shooters. The 5.76-million-dot 120Hz EVF outclasses other APS-C cameras and hopefully addresses EVF performance issues on the X-T4.

It's the first Fujifilm camera with a stacked, backside illuminated sensor (the X-Trans 5HS) and new X-Processor image processor — though the 26.2-MP resolution sensor is the same we've seen on models as far back as the X-T3. By contrast, Canon's new EOS R7 APS-C camera has a 32-megapixel sensor, but it's neither backside illuminated nor stacked.

The stacked sensor allows for some impressive shooting speeds. It can hit up to 40 fps in silent electronic shutter mode with no blackout, or 15fps in mechanical shutter mode (at 1/8000th maximum), both with autofocus and auto-exposure enabled. It comes with a high-capacity buffer, allowing you to capture 175 compressed RAW frames in 40fps ES mode (4.4 seconds worth) and 400 compressed RAW frames in mechanical shutter mode. 

Fujifilm promises much-improved phase-detect autofocus (AF) performance over the X-T4, with three times the speed and improved accuracy. Meanwhile, the AF algorithms can do prediction for moving subjects, while allowing for zone AF subject detection and low-contrast situations. On top of recognizing humans (face/eye), it can also detect animals, birds, cars, bikes, airplanes and trains. 

Also enabled by the faster sensor/processor is a big jump in video specs over the X-T4. The X-H2S supports 6.2K video at 30 fps, DCI 4K (4,096 x 2,160 pixels) at 120 fps and Full HD at 240 fps, with no cropping or sub-sampling on all video modes up to 60 fps. 4K at 120p is mildly cropped at 1.29x, but it's still oversampled with no pixel binning or line skipping.

It's also the first Fujifilm APS-C camera to support ProRes (ProRes422, ProResHQ, ProResLT and ProResProxy), along with H.264 and H.265 video. All of those resolutions can be recorded at 4:2:2 10-bit quality, and Fujifilm has introduced F-Log2 recording that allows for 14+ stops of dynamic range below 30 fps and 13+ stops at higher frame rates (with settings at or above ISO1250) — impressive, if accurate.

External recording via the full-sized HDMI 2.1 port is equally impressive. On top of all of the above settings (6.2K/29.97P, 4K/120P 4:2:2 10bit), you can record ProRes RAW at 6.2K/29.97P and 4.8K/59.94P, both at 4:2:2 12bit with 13 stops of dynamic range. External recording with ProRes RAW means that Fujifilm won't need to deal with RED RAW patent lawsuits, like the one recently slapped on Nikon's Z9

Like other stacked sensor cameras, the X-H2S promises well-controlled rolling shutter at 1/90th of a second (11 ms) for video under 30fps and 1/180th of a second (5.6 ms) for higher framerates. That's right up there with other stacked sensor cameras like Sony's A1 or the Canon R3, meaning you should see minimal jello or wobble in video, particularly at higher framerates.

Overheating doesn't appear to be much of an issue at normal temperatures, with a promised four hours of 4K60p shooting at 25 degrees C (77 degrees F). That drops to 20 minutes at 40 C (104 F), but you can boost that to 50 minutes with an optional $199 cooling fan. 

The X-H2S has improved in-body stabilization over past Fujifilm cameras, as well. It delivers 7 stops of shake reduction compared to 6.5 stops on the X-T4, which should help smooth videos and reduce blur on photos. 

Other key features include both CFexpress and SD UHS II card slots, a USB 3.1 gen 2 (10Gbps) port with a handy cable lock screw, 3.5mm microphone/headphone jacks, 10-bit HEIF photo support and an optional $400 vertical grip. It also supports wireless and wired functions like live streaming, tethered shooting, webcam functions (no app required) and cloud storage uploads. CIPA battery life is 610 shots max with the EVF, or 1,580 shots with the vertical grip. 

Along with the camera and accessories, Fujifilm has launched two new lenses, the XF150-600mm f/5.6-8 R LM OIS WR zoom telephoto (left), arriving on July 7, 2022 for $2,000. It's also introduced the XF18-120mm f/4 LM PZ WR (right), a versatile wide-telephoto zoom coming in September 2022 for $900. Meanwhile, the X-H2S will be Fujifilm's most expensive APS-C camera to date, arriving on July 7th for $2,500 — the same price as Canon's full-frame EOS R5. 

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/fujifilm-x-h-2-s-camera-6-2-k-video-40-fps-bursts-140020910.html?src=rss

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Algoriddim’s djay Pro AI adds digital control vinyl support for Mac and iOS

Many DJs who've gone digital still like the feel of vinyl for their sets, opting for apps and hardware that support a digital vinyl system (DVS). Today Algoriddim’s djay Pro AI joins that camp with a few unique twists. Not only will DVS support include iOS devices in addition to Mac, but the control vinyl will offer a special B-Side with three ‘tracks’ that leverage Neural Mix’s ability to isolate stems from any song. This way you can drop the needle on track one for the original version, track two for an instrumental and three for an acapella, all extracted on the fly from any song you want to play.

While DVS support is new for djay Pro AI on Mac, the addition of iPhones and iPads with this capability is truly unique. These devices should be able to send a control tone through any class compliant USB mixer or controller connected to analog turntables and using the Neural Mix control disks. And you can potentially map things like performance pads and knobs using its MIDI learn tool, but supported hardware devices for djay Pro AI should work out-of-the-box. This software update also offers an optimized user interface for iOS devices that should adapt automatically when you connect to DJ hardware.

In addition to the DVS features, this refresh includes a few more interesting tweaks. You can now edit playlists from connected streaming accounts like TIDAL, SoundCloud, Beatport and Beatsource from inside the djay Pro AI app. There’s also mention of new AI audio effects and a Pitch Cue / Tone Play feature that allows you to use pitch-altered cue points for more dynamic mixing.

The new software is available today and existing djay Pro AI users will automatically get this update with all the included features. New subscribers can trial the Pro version for seven days and pay $7 per month or $50 per year after that. Mobile users will need an iPhone or iPad running iOS 12 or later and macOS users will need 10.14 or later. Pricing and availability for the Neural Mix control vinyl is still pending, although we know that it will be manufactured and distributed by Stokyo. We're told that most existing disks with a 1kHz time code should work, though, so you should be able to use DVS (without the Neural Mix B-side features) right away.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/algoriddim-djay-pro-ai-dvs-digital-vinyl-system-neural-mix-mac-ios-140026059.html?src=rss

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Blizzard won’t release ‘Diablo Immortal’ in countries with loot box laws

Don't expect to play Diablo Immortal in the Low Countries when it launches this week. GamesIndustry.biz and Tweakers have learned Blizzard won't release the free-to-play game in Belgium or the Netherlands due to their "gambling restrictions" — that is, their legislation banning loot boxes. It will also be illegal for people in those countries to download them from other regions, and Blizzard's support team warned that it couldn't guarantee that players in the affected countries would avoid bans.

Belgium and the Netherlands determined in 2018 that some loot boxes, particularly those you can buy or trade for real money, amounted to gambling. Diablo Immortal tucks access to its best stat-enhancing items, such as some legendary gems, behind legendary crests that are often easier to obtain with real-world currency. While the items you get are frequently good (to the point where some have argued they're unfair), the attributes are random. That could theoretically pressure gamers to pay in hopes of scoring the 'perfect' crest, and might reel in people with addictive personalities.

Blizzard halted loot box sales for other games in Belgium after the country cracked down on the practice. The company also isn't unique. EA, Konami, Nintendo and Epic's Psyonix have all pulled games to avoid violating anti-loot box laws. Even so, it's still notable that Blizzard would rather withdraw Diablo Immortal from those countries than change gameplay mechanics.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/diablo-immortal-loot-box-laws-belgium-netherlands-141234104.html?src=rss

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