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Driving simulator turns 15

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Sony will host a celebration of the 15th anniversary of Gran Turismo at the Silverstone Circuit on 15th May.

The original Gran Turismo game was first seen in Japan in December, 1997, after five years of development by legendary designer Kazunori Yamauchi, and then released around the world during 1998. The franchise went on to become multi award winning and the biggest-selling PlayStation title ever.

Yamauchi-san is set to provide an update on the future of the Gran Turismo game at Silverstone. His passion for all things automotive is evident in the ever-increasing levels of realism and attention to detail in Gran Turismo, and the huge range of cars for which it is famous. Strong relationships with the many manufacturers that have featured in the franchise have led to some fascinating co-operations with the automotive world: such as the Red Bull X2010 ultimate race car, GTbyCitroën concept, a design co-operation for a display featuring on the real Nissan GT-R and an innovative new app developed for the Toyota GT86.

In a close partnership with Nissan, PlayStation has taken the virtual-to-reality overlap, inspired by Gran Turismo, to a new level in the form of the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy. The now-famous racing driver development programme selects the fastest GT gamers from around the world and transfers their talent to real-world racing. The competition began in 2008 and has gone from strength to strength. Over three million people have entered since its inception, and graduates of the Academy have recorded some impressive results, including a second-place finish in the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 class. Five Gran Turismo gamers turned GT Academy champions will be on hand at Silverstone. The ‚’Nismo Athletes’ will be showing off their real-world racing skills with some high-speed passenger laps around the famous circuit, a track that has, so far, never featured in Gran Turismo.

This mutual respect and increasing blurring of the lines between the virtual and real, has led to the Silverstone event being well supported by a host of other manufacturers as well, such as Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, Jaguar, KTM, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and Toyota. Real-life versions of their cars, old and new, familiar to the legions of passionate Gran Turismo fans will be on display and on-track as part of the event.

‚”The Gran Turismo franchise continues to be extremely important to PlayStation,‚” explained Jim Ryan, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. ‚”We felt that 15 years of GT was an event worth celebrating along with our colleagues from the Americas, Asia and Japan. We are very grateful to our manufacturer partners for helping us to bring together a fantastic event. As well as experiencing the development of the franchise and comparing the virtual and real, it will be a pleasure to see Yamauchi-san and hear what’s next for Gran Turismo.‚”

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YouTube Music announces Smart Downloads, SA playlists

The service has introduced Smart Downloads which takes allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically.

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The latest updates from YouTube Music, for subscribers of its Music Premium and Premium services, include a new feature that allows users to switch seamlessly between a song and its music video for an uninterrupted experience.

It has also introduced Smart Downloads which takes the work out of downloading music, allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically. YouTube Music has also announced new playlists for South Africa. 

The updates all reflect features that are popular on the global leader in music streaming, Spotify, and that have been key to its growth.

YouTube said in a statement on Friday: “Imagine listening to a new track by your favourite artist in the YouTube Music app and having the ability to seamlessly switch over to watch the music video – no pauses, no interruptions, just a simple tap that keeps the music flowing. This standout new feature from YouTube Music allows YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium subscribers to make a seamless transition between a song and its music video for uninterrupted listening and/or watching. Whether you’re in the mood for listening or watching (or a little of both)… it’s all here – no app switching required.”

With Smart Downloads, YouTube Music automatically saves music at night, when connected to Wi-Fi, helping subscribers to use less mobile data, enjoy a smoother updating experience and save up to 500 songs offline using Liked Songs playlist as well as other playlists and albums. 


Previously, music lovers could use the Offline Mixtape feature to download up to 100 songs, specifically chosen for them based on what they listened to most on the platform. Now, with Smart Downloads, they select the number of songs they would like automatically downloaded by toggling their YouTube Music Settings. This means YouTube Music Premium subscribers with Smart Downloads enabled on their mobile devices can now access hundreds of tracks regardless of connectivity. 

This feature is currently available on Android, with plans to bring it to iOS in the future.

Click here to read more about YouTube Music playlists, and find out what is inside them.

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Warriors of Waterdeep RPG gets mobile launch

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Top game developer Ludia has announced the global launch of Warriors of Waterdeep, a mobile turn-based RPG game, based on the ever-popular Dungeons & Dragons franchise for the App Store and Google Play Store. This release marks the first partnership between Ludia and Wizards of The Coast, leaders in fantasy role-playing games.

In Warriors of Waterdeep, players will need to summon a team of heroes as the great city of Waterdeep is threatened by powerful dark forces. Players will need to take their heroes into battle against monsters from the Forgotten Realms in tactical, turn-based combat. Level up and upgrade your heroes with free daily chests, and win rewards in exciting limited-time events.

“We are excited to bring the Dungeons & Dragons experience to mobile devices,” said Alex Thabet, CEO of Ludia. “We believe fans of the franchise will find Warriors of Waterdeep stays true to the spirit of Dungeons & Dragons with challenging storylines and innovative turn-based gameplay.”

Warriors of Waterdeep will launch with a real-time Player-vs-Player (PvP) mode. Take on teams of four in order to earn trophies, collect rewards and unlock new arenas. Rewards improve with every arena level up, to further improve your team of heroes.

Warriors of Waterdeep is now available to download for free, with in-app purchases, on the App Store and Google Play Store.

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