SAN FRANCISCO: The 2019 Game Developers Conference (GDC) opened Monday in downtown San Francisco, featuring more than 1,000 speakers from industries and trending products from the world’s top game companies.
Global game developers gathered at the world’s largest event, which is running from March 18 to 22, to exchange expertise on cutting-edge gaming technology via nearly a week of about 800 lectures, roundtable discussions, and networking sessions.
Speakers from Media Molecule, Hello Games and Microsoft will talk about their experiences and challenges in game development, while experts from Harvard University’s Desirability Lab, Walt Disney Imagineering, and San Francisco-based Niantic, Inc., the key developer of the augmented reality (AR) mobile game Pokemon Go, will give a series of mini-keynote speeches to inspire the audience.
During GDC 2019, the Virtual Reality Developers Conference (VRDC) will be staged for the attendees to have an opportunity to learn about Virtual Reality (VR) and AR in game development across disciplines such as design, production, programming, and visual art.
Among more than 550 exhibiting companies at the five-day event are some of the biggest names in electronic entertainment, including Sony, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Capcom, Bungie, Epic Games, and Bethesda Softworks.
Major developers have brought their classic games, such as Command & Conquer, Paperboy, Lemmings, Spider-Man 2 and the Panzer Dragoon series to tens of thousands of visitors at the exhibit.
Internet powerhouse Google has shown a strong interest in the gaming industry for some time and wants to grab a share of the game market.
Media reports said Google is likely to unveil a new video game hardware for its Project Stream platform at GDC 2019.
Tesla unveils ambitious full self-driving chip for next-generation vehicles
SAN FRANCISCO: U.S. electric car manufacturer Tesla unveiled a new full self-driving (FSD) chip for its next-generation autonomous vehicles.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk told investors during the company’s Autonomy Day that FSD-powered computers will turn its electric cars into self-driving vehicles without human intervention.
He said all new models of Tesla cars including Model 3, X and S have been equipped with the chips featuring full self-driving capabilities, but the next-generation chip, which is currently under development, would be “three times better” than the existing system.
Musk said Tesla will probably have more than 1 million cars with full driving capabilities running on the road by 2020.
“Probably two years from now, we’ll make a car with no steering wheels or pedals,” he said. He predicted the new powerful FSD chip will come out in two years.
Musk touted his company’s FSD technology while mocking the LIDAR technology by calling it a “fool’s errand.”
Facebook hires high-ranking US State Department lawyer
SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook said Monday it has hired a high-ranking US State Department lawyer credited with helping craft the controversial Patriot Act as the social network’s new general counsel.
Jennifer Newstead will replace Colin Stretch, who announced in July that he planned to leave Facebook.
Newstead will oversee global legal functions at the California-based social network as it faces continued pressure from regulators regarding how well it safeguards user privacy and protects against the spread of misinformation or abuse on its platform.
“Jennifer is a seasoned leader whose global perspective and experience will help us fulfill our mission,” Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement.
“We are also truly grateful to Colin for his dedicated leadership and wise counsel over the past nine years.”
Newstead was the first woman to lead the Office of the Legal Adviser at the State Department, a post she took in January 2018.
Samsung delays launch of folding Galaxy smartphone
SAN FRANCISCO: Samsung said Monday it was delaying the launch of its folding smartphone after trouble with handsets sent to reviewers.
Some reviewers who got their hands on the Galaxy Fold early reported problems with screens breaking.
Samsung said it decided to put off this week’s planned release of the Fold after some reviews “showed us how the device needs further improvements.”
The South Korean consumer electronics giant planned to announce a new release date for the Galaxy Fold in the coming weeks.
Initial analysis of reported problems with Galaxy Fold screens showed they could be “associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge,” Samsung said.
There was also an instance where unspecified “substances” were found inside a Galaxy Fold smartphone with a troubled display, according to the company.
“We will take measures to strengthen the display protection,” Samsung said.
“We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer.”
A handful of US-based reporters were given the flagship Galaxy Fold phones, priced at $1,980, ahead of the model’s official release, and they reported screen issues within days of using the devices.
Samsung spent nearly eight years developing the Galaxy Fold, which is part of the leading smartphone maker’s strategy to propel growth with groundbreaking gadgets.
The company essentially gave reviewers a “beta product” without enough information, such as not to peel off a protective coating meant to be permanent, according to independent technology analyst Rob Enderle.
“It was all avoidable for a company the size of Samsung,” Enderle said.
The failure of a “halo product” meant to showcase innovation and quality could tarnish the brand and send buyers to rivals.
“If a halo product fails, people don’t trust that you build quality stuff,” Enderle said.
“It can do incredible damage. And Huawei is moving up like a rocket, so this could be good for Huawei.”