Not looking so Slim, PS5
We’ve known about Sony’s incoming PS5 Slim for quite some time now. Though the Japanese conglomerate has yet to confirm the console’s existence, it’s glaringly obvious that Sony has a revised console up its sleeve. Heck, even Microsoft weighed in on the console’s possible 2023 release. Thanks to a recent leak, we’ve gotten a first look at the not-so-slim ‘PS5 Slim.’
The leak, courtesy of Better Way Electronics (BWE) – an Australian PlayStation repair specialist – showed off what appears to be the shell of the (possibly) incoming console. It’s got what looks like a detachable disc drive, something that has been rumoured for the PS5 Slim. Other changes are minimal; a shorter stature, two slits running down the shell’s side, and two USB-C ports on its face, rather than the USB-A and –C setup on the original console.
We get it. A slightly altered shell isn’t much confirmation for a leak. But it does match up to another leak, this time from Chinese forum A9VG (via The Verge), which delivered a partial image of what looks like the same shell found in BWE’s video. It also said the console would be around 5cm shorter than its counterpart, with no reduction in thickness. If the video proved anything, it’s that the ‘PS5 Slim’ is anything but.
If Sony really is planning a 2023 release, we’re expecting a September announcement – giving customers enough time to prepare for a November release. It’ll likely be sold as a standalone console, matching the current price of a PS5 Digital Edition, with an option to buy a disc drive later.
Even Microsoft’s virtual assistant wasn’t safe from AI
Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, is dead. Like, officially. That’s not a surprise, either. Microsoft announced back in May that Cortana would be meeting Clippy in the assistant graveyard, shifted aside to make room for the company’s new AI tool, Copilot.
If you can’t stand the idea of saying goodbye to Cortana, you don’t have to. The disembodied voice is only being purged for users that upgrade to the latest version of Windows 11. But you’ll be losing out on the far-less annoying and more helpful Copilot, whose job is to suggest Spotify playlists, help you out with Windows issues and summarize a document or two. All with the power of generative AI behind it.
For the five or so users using Microsoft’s Outlook mobile app, you don’t have to say goodbye to Cortana just yet. In the announcement for Cortana’s passing, Microsoft mentions that “Cortana in Outlook mobile will continue to be available.” It’ll continue to dutifully read your emails aloud until Microsoft inevitably ports over the more powerful Copilot.
Zoom isn’t using your voice to train AI. Promise.
Zoom, that videoconferencing app you tried to block from memory, is back in the headlines again. The company recently upset the internet due to a recent Terms of Service update that implied it could use customers’ calls to train AI. Specifically, the terms mentioned “service generated data” and “customer content” could be used “for the purpose of product and service development,” like “machine learning or artificial intelligence (including for the purposes of training or tuning of algorithms and models.”
As with most things that even mention AI, outrage ensued. So much so that Smita Hashim, Zoom’s Chief Product Officer tried clarifying Zoom’s new Terms of Service in a blog post, saying that “Zoom does not use any of your audio, video, chat, screen sharing, attachments, or other communications like customer content to train Zoom’s or third-party artificial intelligence models.”
Apparently, a separate blog post saying Zoom wasn’t using customer content to train AI wasn’t enough. Zoom has since updated the phrasing in its Terms of Service, with Hashim noting that the change doesn’t indicate a policy change but was done to make the company’s policies “easier to understand.”
Quake II, your dad’s favourite shooter, has been remastered
It’s been nearly two years since id Software surprised the world with a Quake remaster and now, its way-cooler younger brother is getting the same treatment. Yup, a remaster of Quake II, unsurprisingly known as Quake II, is now available on PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, and PC.
“Enjoy Quake II’s legendary gameplay, preserved and complete with the original soundtrack by Sonic Mayhem, now enhanced with widescreen support, restored content previously left on the cutting room floor, visual and performance upgrades to make every muzzle flash and gib-plosion pop on-screen and even new levels,” writes Bethesda in a press release, via The Verge.
Better yet, it’ll cost R150 to pick it up, no matter the console. GamePass subscribers can pick up the game for ‘free’ and anyone that owned the original through Steam, Microsoft Store, or Good Old Games (GOG) can get the remaster in the form of a free update.
That cheap price isn’t indicative of the remaster’s quality. This a full-blown remaster complete with 4K Ultra HD resolution (sorry Switch owners), cloud saves, split-screen and online co-op/multiplayer. There’s a handful of accessibility options too, with a useful guide that’ll help new players get into the groove of things. Not that your dad will need it to put you in your place.
Also included are the original game’s mission packs – “The Reckoning” and “Ground Zero” for a total of 33 campaign levels and 21 deathmatch maps. Quake64 is included, along with a Quake II expansion – “Call of the Machine” developed by MachineGames, adding in 28 more campaign levels, a new story, and a deathmatch level.