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Big at rAge this weekend

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At this year’s rAge not only will visitors be treated to the latest trends in gaming, but will also catch a glimpse into what’s new in AR, VR, Multi-screen gaming and the latest Indie games.

It’s that time of year again! Time for all gamers, developers, geek-culture enthusiasts and anyone with a fondness for technology and an inclination towards escapism to attend the most hotly anticipated mega-event of the year: the really Awesome gaming expo (rAge). In addition to the massive range of products and games on display, this is probably the only event in South Africa where locals can get a real taste of what the future of consumer technology holds. rAge is the event to get a glimpse at international trends.

So, what’s hot and trending internationally right now that’ll be on show at rAge?

Augmented reality: Augmented reality is the overlay of information or imagery onto the real world, allowing users to see virtual items while looking at real-world things. Have you played Pokémon Go or experimented with Snapchat lenses? Then you get the general idea. 2015 was a year of inviting promise for AR technology, with plenty of new hardware announced and initial endeavours hitting the mainstream. 2016 is shaping up as the year that promise is fulfilled, with hardware finally making its way into the hands of consumers, and exciting new content providing unique experiences to an AR-hungry public. Whether or not we can expect to see an augmented reality-heavy 2017 will depend on whether Pokémon Go is the start of a new trend, or if it’s simply a spin-off success carried by an already successful brand.

Virtual reality: 2016 saw the rise of VR gaming with the debut of the Oculus Rift in late 2015, Sony launching PlayStation VR for the PlayStation 4 game console in 2016, and Samsung’s mobile VR system. But what is the future of VR? The platform has one key criticism: it’s isolating. Dave Ranyard, ex studio head of Sony London and now an independent VR developer, has made clear that he believes the future of VR is a social one. It’ll be about being transported to a fantasy world and doing something cool with your friends.

Multi-screen gaming: Multi-screen gaming adds a new dimension to games, allowing them to be played on TV screens, consoles and mobile devices. Chromecast, for example, gives players the ability to project games like Monopoly onto their TVs, enabling them to play the game with their smartphones. Big industry players like Google, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo are producing secondary devices promoting multi-screen gaming.

Indie games: In the not-too-distant past, if you wanted your game to get massive attention, you generally had to be associated with a successful, big-name game developer or publisher. Things are changing quickly. Gaming platforms such as Zynga and Steam are giving independent game developers a way to expose their products to the market. Gamers are becoming more involved in the development process as video game schools and online courses are becoming more widespread and affordable. Some examples of hyper-successful, mega-hit indie games include UnderTale, Diner Dash and the locally-developed Broforce.

2016 has been and continues to be a tantalising year for gamers, and rAge is the only place in Africa where you can get a glimpse, a taste of what’s to come in gaming in SA in the next five years.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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