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Gaming gets an ecosystem

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Razer, in partnership with Las Vegas-based Gaming-Grids, has announced the first phase launch of Razer Arena, a new gaming ecosystem powered by the voice chat gaming messenger, Razer Comms.

Razer Arena is a single platform that brings together competitive gaming tools typically reserved for professional-level gamers. With automatic match creation and reporting, tournament and match lobbies, match notifications, and more, Razer Arena provides a seamless experience without the hassle of uploading screenshots or replays. Razer Arena also allows match teammates and opponents to easily communicate.

In the first phase, users will be able to participate in daily challenge cups to get familiar with the tournament platform, as well as participate in tournaments produced by selected partners.

In the second phase, slated for March 2015, users will be able to host their own private tournaments. Successful Razer Arena tournaments may be featured alongside professionally organized events.

Razer Arena will feature:

·         Automatic match creation and reporting

·         Match-reminder notifications

·         In-game voice chat powered by Razer Comms

·         Chat lobbies for the most social and interactive gaming experience powered by Razer Comms

·         Anti-cheat engine to ensure fair play

·         Single elimination format

·         Custom competition creation and management with friends, schoolmates and colleagues – Coming March 2015

“Tournament platforms focus heavily on the professional gaming scene, leaving out the majority of gamers,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “That ends today with Razer Arena. Finally it’s easy to find the best gamers in your school or your office. There are competitions for every skill level, from casual to pro. You decide how and with whom you compete.”

Gaming Grids President and CEO Dana Garvey says: “We are very excited to partner with Razer on the Razer Arena platform. Razer’s devotion to the gaming industry and e-Sports is once again demonstrated with this latest product.”

Collegiate Star League Founder Duran Parsi says: “We’re pretty excited to be able to give each of our universities the ability to run their own training competitions and qualifiers leading up to the season. Razer Arena provides both users and organizers an amazing platform to run competitions in the smoothest way possible.”

At launch, Razer Arena will support the following titles:

·         Battlefield 4

·         Dota 2

·         Counterstrike: Global Offensive

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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AppDate: Prepare for space

In this week’s AppDate, SEAN BACHER highlights Space Nation Navigator, Hitman Sniper, Snake Mask, Memrise, WhatsApp Web, and Carrot Weather.

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Space Nation Navigator

Space Nation Navigator is a bit of a strange app. It is part game, part exercise and part educational. On the game side, users have to navigate the Mars Rover, put the International Space Station back into orbit or move their Martians to safety before a sand storm hits Mars. When it comes to exercise, Space Nation Navigator provides users with a range of exercises and Yoga videos to prepare them for space travel and working in an anti-gravity environment. The education aspect teaches users about the planets, and star constellations, and then offers quizzes on what has been taught.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Memrise

Memrise takes a new approach to help people learn new languages. Instead of providing a user with random phrases and words to memorise, the app connects you with a person already fluent in the language you want to learn. In turn, the person you are speaking to wants to learn the language in which you are fluent. Once your profile is filled out and languages selected, it connects you with people around the world who are interested in your language, and then allows you to chat with them in real-time. Memrise also lets one learn new languages through games, chatbots and grammarbots that help with spelling, tenses and pronunciations.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: A free download.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Hitman Sniper

Hitman Sniper is loosely based on the Agent 47 movie released a few years ago. The game offers players the ability to hone their shooting skills through a range of training courses and, once they think they are ready, they can start taking out the bad guys. Things start off easy enough, but they get more and more difficult as one progresses through the 150 missions on offer. One will also have to upgrade various gun components, like scopes, magazine capacities and silencers, to make the missions a little easier. Hitman Sniper lets users buy 16 to tackle each of the missions – either with real money or via the points accumulated by completing missions. Money and points can also be used to upgrade firearms.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: R7 – with a range of in-app purchases.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

 

Snake Mask

The iconic Snake game that was preinstalled on most older Nokia phones has had a complete make-over. It now uses Facebook’s AR technology, meaning that you have to navigate the snake around obstacles in your home or office, all the while collecting coins and stars that change the snake’s speed and length. Unfortunately, Snake Mask is only available on Nokia’s new range of smartphones. However, it should not take long before it slithers onto other devices.

 

Platform: New Nokia smartphones running Android.

Cost: Free to use through the Facebook app installed on the device.

Stockists: Available through the Facebook app.

 

WhatsApp Web

Although this is by no means a new app, it is an extremely useful one, and one that not many people know about. Tapping out WhatsApps on your phone is easy enough, but thanks to WhatsApp Web it can be even easier. Open the WhatApp Web page under WhatsApp and you will see a QR code. Scan this code through WhatsApp on your mobile and you will be shown a replica of what you would normally see on your phone. You can then type and reply to messages using your computer instead of having to stop everything and unlock your phone every time a message comes through. WhatsApp Web is great if you share your computer with other people as it automatically disconnects when the browser is closed. However WhatsApp also offers an app that when installed will stay connected to your phone unless you manually remove it.

 

Platform: Any up-to-date Internet browser

Cost: Free to use and install

Stockists: Visit www.WhatsApp.com

 

Carrot Weather

There are thousands of weather apps on the Internet these days and all of them do the same thing – inform you of the weather in your area. However, Carrot Weather has taken what is just another app and turned it into something fun. By fun, I mean sarcastic, rude and completely politically incorrect. A user starts off by selecting religious and political views. It then asks about personality, ranging from friendly to homicidal to overkill – which includes profanity. So, for instance, instead of waking up to to the standard partly cloudy forecast, Carrot Weather will display something like: “It’s only partly sunny, the sun is a total effing failure.” It also has a range of insults that it throws at you whenever you open the app – some of them downright insulting, so it is definitely not for those who are easily offended. The app’s user interface is very simple, displaying a week’s daily forecast and hourly forecasts for the day selected.

Platform: Android and iOS

Cost: Free to download but with adverts. The premium, advert free version costs R12 per month.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device.

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Crash Bandicoot coming early

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Crash Bandicoot has been working hard to look good for his debut on new platforms. Fans’ reaction to the news that he’s coming to Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam was that extra push needed and now he’ll be ready nearly two weeks early.

Originally slated to launch on July 10, Crash is making the WUMP earlier than expected at the end of this month.

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