Google has announced Project Stream, a game streaming service that it is calling a “technical test” with the aim of solving the issues around interactive video streaming. The company has partnered with Ubisoft to stream Assassin’s Creed Odyssey to a test group of users through its Chrome browser on a laptop or desktop.
Earlier this year, The Information reported that Google was looking into developing a game streaming service that would stream to Chromecast devices. Google says it wants to address issues like graphic degradation and buffering that currently cause issues with game streaming, and especially with AAA titles like those from the Assassin’s Creedfranchise.
Those interested in testing out Project Stream can sign up for a test spot here, but Google says space is limited and you’ll need a home internet connection of at least 25mbps to play the game smoothly. Test users must be at least 17 and live in the US to participate.
MARSHALL’S JOYSTICK BUTTON IS A GREAT WAY TO CONTROL WIRELESS HEADPHONES
In today’s digital age, it sometimes feels like hardware has taken a back seat to the software that drives out devices. Button of the Month is a monthly look at what some of those buttons and switches are like on devices old and new, and it aims to appreciate how we interact with our devices on a physical, tactile level.
There are many solutions for controlling music on a phone with your headphones. Conventional wisdom has long produced in-line remotes, traditionally on the right wire of the headphones, to provide some sort of control — be that a single button for toggling play / pause or a more advanced three-button setup that adds volume control and even a microphone. Apple once tried to make an iPod Shuffle entirely based on headphone controls, but it gave up on that pretty quickly.
But what do we do now that our headphones don’t have wires anymore? You can add complicated button arrays or dials, but those are hard to use when you can’t see them (like, say, the ring of buttons on the KitSound Arena). You can add touch controls, leaving users at the mercy of missed swipes and accidental taps. (I regularly accidentally dial friends because B&O Play decided that a “double tap to redial your last called number” function was a good idea.)
Or you can do what Marshall did: add a brass joystick, found on its MID and almost all of the company’s other wireless headphones, that remains perhaps the simplest and most elegant solution to controlling music without a wire.
Positioned on the left headphone can, the joystick is as simple as can be: click it in to play / pause your music (or answer an incoming call); tilt it up to raise the volume; tilt it down to lower it; press forward, and you’ll advance to the next track; and press back for the previous track. It’s intuitive, simple, and basically foolproof. As long as you know which way you’re facing, you can control every aspect of your music listening experience without ever looking at your phone.
More importantly, Marshall has done a great job with the actual hardware of the button. The solid brass is sturdy and lightly etched so it’s easy to grip with your thumb. Pressing or tilting it results in a magnificent, satisfying click every time. There are no accidental gestures here; you’ll know for sure when you move or click the Marshall joystick.
Controlling wireless headphones is only going to become more problematic as our earbuds get smaller with the ever-growing crop of truly wireless headphones. And while there’s always going to be some allure to a high-tech solution like a touchpad, Marshall’s old-school joystick is a good reminder that fancier doesn’t always mean better.
ESA, THE VIDEO GAME LOBBYING GROUP THAT RUNS E3, CHANGES LEADERSHIP
The Entertainment Software Association, the group that lobbies on behalf of video game companies and runs the largeeach year, made a sudden change in leadership Wednesday.
Michael Gallagher, the group’s president and CEO, is stepping down after 11 years at the group. In his place, Stanley Pierre-Louis, previously the ESA’s senior vice president and general counsel, will serve as interim CEO.
The ESA didn’t say what prompted the sudden change and it’s unclear whether it was Gallagher’s decision. “Together, we have delivered an unbroken string of victories in the states, on Capitol Hill, and before the U.S. Supreme Court, all of which bolster the industry’s ability to create and innovate,” Gallagher said in a statement.
As the head of the trade group, Gallagher wasn’t just its face to lawmakers in DC, but also its defender in the face of national tragedies.
One such defense took place shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, during which 26 people, including 20 children, were killed. Gallagher was part of a contingent that met with then Vice President Joe Biden to discuss concerns raised after the National Rifle Association said without evidence that violent video games contributed to gun violence. (The ESA). Similar meetings with President Donald Trump after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 students and staff.
Gallagher was also involved in battling a California law that attempted to restrict sales of violent video games to minors. The case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the video game industry in 2011 on free speech grounds.
Aside from his work in DC, Gallagher’s most high profile work was as one of the people leading E3,gathering, each year. That’s when video game companies typically announce big new titles, like when Microsoft .
As for where Gallagher will go next, it’s unclear. He didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Tuesday, May 29 at 8 AM – 5 PM UTC+01
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