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Borderlands 3 the fastest selling game in 2K’s history

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Borderlands 3 has managed to sell over five million copies in its first five days – doubling the amount Borderlands 2 sold in its first week of release and making it the fastest-selling game 2K has ever made.

The Borderlands franchise has now generated over $1bn in sales, becoming only the second 2K franchise to do so.

These aren’t the only records the game has broken however. With 70 per cent of players buying Borderlands 3 digitally in the first five days, it’s also enjoyed 2K’s highest percentage of digital sales for a cross-platform title.

It’s even become 2K’s highest-selling title on PC in a five-day window, which is of note given the PC version of Borderlands 3 is an Epic Games store timed exclusive.

“We are immensely grateful to everyone who played a role in making the Borderlands series the global, pop culture phenomenon that it is today, including hundreds of developers at Gearbox and many who have made this their life’s work,” said David Ismailer, president of 2K.

“We also want to thank the Borderlands community. Mayhem does not happen by itself, and their passion for the series is what drives us to make each game an amazing experience.”

If you’re not responsible for one of the five million purchases and have yet to make up your mind on the new looter shooter, you can have a read of our review here, in which Vikki Blake says of the game: “Borderlands may be polarising, but it’s back nonetheless: bigger, better, and more unapologetic than ever.”

PlayStation 5: Sony says next console will have eco-friendly low power mode

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Never mind the future of Fortnite and FIFA, the next PlayStation console is making eco-friendliness a major priority.

Sony has kept its cards close to its chest so far regarding the follow-up to its successful PlayStation 4 (PS4), but has used the unlikely surroundings of a UN Climate Summit to reveal some details.

The Japanese tech company joined 20 other major gaming firms at the meeting in New York on Monday, where it offered news of a more energy efficient standby mode on its next console.

Much like the PS4, the next PlayStation will allow users to suspend their game sessions by putting the console into a low power state, which can also download software updates and charge controllers.

But while the current system uses 8.5W while in standby mode, its successor could consume as little as 0.5W.

Those who buy the console when it launches, which is widely expected to be during the final months of 2020, will have to manually enable the energy-saving option – but Sony will encourage them to do so.

Jim Ryan, president and chief executive of the PlayStation division, said: “If just one million users enable this feature, it would save equivalent to the average electricity use of 1,000 US homes.”

The environmentally-conscious announcement was one of several made by game companies at the UN meeting.

Xbox maker Microsoft said it would set a new target to reduce its supply chain emissions by 30% by 2030, while Ubisoft, which has created franchises like Assassin’s Creed, will source materials from eco-friendly factories.

Together, the gaming industry has agreed to a 30 million tonne reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, to be achieved via improvements to energy management, packaging, and device recycling.

Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, said he was “encouraged by the commitment” shown by the industry, adding: “It shows recognition that we all must play our role in the global effort to lower carbon emissions and effect real change towards sustainability.”

Google Assistant Now Has New Voices and Here’s How to Change It on Your Phone

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Google launched some additional voice options for its Assistant last week, but it turns out no bugger knows how to switch between them.

A total of 11 new voices got rolled out in nine countries and good old Blighty was one of them, which is fantastic news for people like me, who need someone new to berate for its general (read: perceived) incompetence. I have a short temper and someone has to take the brunt of it, alright?

We asked who else would be checking out the new voice option in a Twitter poll, and it turns out the majority of you who responded didn’t actually know how to do it, so if you want to trade in your red OG voice (Google is labelling the voices as colour rather than genders) for the new orange voice, to give the insults you hurl at it a different hue, here’s how.

Summon your Assistant with your preferred prompt, and tap the tray icon in the bottom left. The next screen will display your profile picture in the top right (or a grey silhouette if you’ve never set one), so press that to bring up a series of tabs. The one you want is ‘Assistant’.

Under this tab, you’ll see an option labelled ‘Assistant Voice’, so we’re in the home stretch here, but we’ll continue to hold your hand anyway.

The next screen will bring up the voice options for your Assistant, so just tap on the colours (only red and orange in the UK), and exit back to your home screen. Hey presto! It’s done.

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 may pack an 8-core AMD Ryzen processor

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The Microsoft October Event 2019 is coming up soon, on October 2, and we have high expectations for the launch of a new Surface Laptop 3, which sounds to be more powerful than ever.

A leak has suggested that this new laptop will make a departure from the Surface series to date by including AMD processors (CPUs), and may even offer an eight-core CPU, German site WinFuture reports.

We’ve heard previous rumblings of Microsoft ditching Intel for AMD in the Surface Laptop 3, but this is the first suggestion of eight-core AMD processors showing up in the laptop. Not only would this be a big move for Microsoft, it would also put AMD CPUs at the high-end of the product SKUs instead of sitting below Intel Ice Lake models.

The report mentions a number of different Surface Laptop 3 models, all with a larger 15-inch display. They range in specs from quad-core Ryzen CPUs up to the aforementioned eight-core model, with a hexa-core model as well. Memory could come in 8GB, 12GB or 16GB of RAM. Prices are anticipated to range from about $1,000 (about £800, AU$1,460) to $2,400 (about £1,930, AU$3,500).

Eight-core Ryzen CPUs exist – but not for mobile

Eight-core CPUs may seem pretty run-of-the-mill for AMD, given all the high-core-count CPUs the company has launched in its Ryzen 3000 series. But, the same can’t be said for its mobile processors. WinFuture previously reported the laptop may include a Ryzen 5 3550U or Ryzen 7 3750U CPU option, but both of these are quad-core CPUs.

None of AMD’s currently available mobile processors offer eight cores, in contrast to the company’s desktop processor offerings. So, what does this mean?

One possibility WinFuture puts forward is an AMD Epyc Embedded 3000 series system-on-chip (SoC). Several of these SoCs do feature eight cores. But, the Surface Laptop 3 would feel like an odd home for a chip that’s designed with servers and enterprise use in mind.

Another possibility is that AMD will launch new Ryzen mobile CPUs that will appear first on the Surface Laptop 3. The issue there is that it would be a little early for a new line of mobile Ryzen processors, as the Zen+ mobile processors only launched this past January.

Of course, a final possibility is that these rumors won’t play out in October. Perhaps we’ll still get AMD-powered Surface Laptop 3 models, but they may be limited to four cores. And, maybe we’ll still get eight-core variants, but it could be later on.

The iPhone 11 is already much cheaper on one particular website

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The new iPhones are now on the market, and phone networks are scrambling to make sure you pick it up from them – which is great, as it means there are plenty of bargains to be had if you know where to look.

The iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max are all ridiculously good smartphones, with huge, bright displays, powerful cameras and longer-lasting batteries. So it’s a very desirable handset if you’re in the market to upgrade right now.

There are quite a few decent deals on right now, helping you pick up a solid tariff on all three new Apple iPhones. Some even offer unlimited data.

The current sale offers the three smartphones on a 24-month contract on either Vodafone, O2, or EE.

The special bonus on all these deals is that you get 12 months free access to Apple TV+ and three months free access to Apple Music as part of the offer, as well as huge data packages on a brand new iPhone.

The first offer is for the iPhone 11 on a 24-month Vodafone contract.

You get unlimited data, texts and calls as part of your new tariff, which costs £39 a month and £75 up front.

Apple iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 has a huge 6.1-inch HD LCD display, which makes content look stunning and games and videos punch out of the screen with vivid colour.

As mentioned, you get the free Apple TV+ and Apple Music subscription with this deal, too.

Apple iPhone 11 64GB Black

The next iPhone 11 offer is with O2, getting you 45GB of data and unlimited texts and calls for £38 a month and £125 up front.

With this offer you get O2 Priority and all the benefits from that phone network too, which is a nice bonus.

Now onto the iPhone 11 Pro, which is smaller, more refined and more powerful than the other models – though it is more expensive.

It has a 5.8″ OLED display, and a triple-lens camera set-up for striking photos.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

The iPhone 11 Pro is available with a Vodafone contract with unlimited data, texts and calls for £47 a month and £270 up front.

This is for the 64GB version of the handset, which is the smallest storage-space option – but you can upgrade that if you need to for more money.

Alternatively, the iPhone 11 Pro’s also available with unlimited data, texts and calls on a 24-month EE contract, for a cost of £69 a month and £9.99 up front.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

There are swappable benefits to be had with this offer, which gives you free access to subscription services as part of your contract, like BT Sport in HD, Amazon Prime Video and Apple Music.

Finally, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is available on a 24-month EE contract. The massive smartphone has a gorgeous 6.5″ OLED display, and the same triple-lens set-up as the 11 Pro.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is available with unlimited data, calls and texts for £79 a month and £0.99 up front – so less than a quid on top of the contract price.

Microsoft plans to make 825,000 Xbox consoles carbon neutral

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The climate crisis is a massive problem that not only consumers, but large companies have to tackle. Today, Microsoft announced that it was going to take substantial steps to make its productions and operations more environmentally friendly. While the company has a number of initiatives it’s going to push, it also plans to make 825,000 Xbox consoles carbon neutral. You can read about the major programs below.

  • Microsoft is aligning its operations with a 1.5C climate scenario. This means that the company will take an even more aggressive approach in making sure its actions don’t have a detrimental impact on the planet.
  • Microsoft will extend carbon reduction work into our supply chain when it comes to its products.
  • Going forward, Microsoft will make 825,000 Xbox consoles carbon neutral. It’s unclear if these are Xbox One devices or upcoming Project Scarlett units. These are the first gaming consoles to be carbon neutral when compared to Nintendo and Sony.
  • Microsoft will put technology in the hands of others for the good of the planet. Through various software initiatives, the company will, hopefully, enable certain individuals and companies to solve the greatest climate crisis issues facing us right now.

Google launches Play Pass apps subscription package

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Google has launched a subscription service offering users access to more than 350 “completely unlocked” Android apps and games for a monthly fee.

All software provided via the Play Pass will be supplied without any ads or in-app charges.

Google’s package will only contain existing products already available on its Play Store to begin with.

The announcement comes days after Apple launched its own games-centric subscription service.

Like Apple, Google plans to charge $4.99 (£4.00) a month for its service. However, it is also promising early adopters a $1.99/month fee for the first year of membership.

To start with, Play Pass will be limited to US-based subscribers, but the firm has suggested that it will be extended to other countries soon.

“Apple has worked really hard to curate some cutting-edge content of a very high quality,” commented Ben Wood from the consultancy CCS Insight.

“But Google has been able to throw a wider net and get more titles.

“And that somewhat neutralises the threat that Apple Arcade could pose if someone was thinking about switching from iPhone to Android on that basis.”

Included apps highlighted by Google include:

  • Accuweather – a weather-forecasting service that normally features ads and a variety of in-app fees ranging from 99 cents to $3.99
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – a sci-fi role-playing game that launched on Android in December 2014, which currently costs $9.99 to buy
  • Risk – a digital version of the world domination board game, which usually charges up to $7.99 for in-app items
  • Pic Stitch – a program that turns a selection of photos into a collage, which normally charges $3.99 an item for additional content

Apple Arcade, by contrast, promises to deliver access to more than 100 “new games” that are not otherwise available on iOS, and in some cases cannot be bought for other platforms either.

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