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Razer has announced a miniature version of the DeathAdder V2 gaming mouse, expanding its lineup of shrunken peripherals beyond the Razer Viper Mini. It’s called the DeathAdder V2 Mini, and it maintains the same hourglass design and simple button layout that mostly mirrors that of the larger version. Though, with a smaller size, people with smaller hands or a claw grip style now get a chance to comfortably enjoy most of what the best wired gaming mouse currently available has to offer. This new model is launching around the world today, and it costs $49.99.
The DeathAdder V2 Mini is very lightweight, at 62 grams, with no option for additional weights, and it features an optical sensor with 8,500 DPI sensitivity. Razer’s fast, accurate optical switches that have found their way into most of its products are here, too. The company promises up to 70 million clicks throughout their lifetime. This smaller mouse has a backlit Razer logo in its middle that can be customized in the company’s free Synapse software.
Like the larger model, it has a cloth-coated Speedflex cable and PTFE feet on the bottom, both of which aid in letting the mouse glide along a mouse pad without much resistance. Aside from the sheer size, the two big physical differences here are that the Mini has just one button for switching the DPI, compared to two in the full-sized version. Also, its side buttons are smaller but still easy to reach for.
The DeathAdder V2 Mini is matte-textured, but it might feel a little too small if you’re coming from the full-sized version or too slippery if you usually use a different mouse that has grippy sides. Razer wants to let you modify the grippiness here to your liking with the sheet of anti-slip polyurethane grip tape with 3M adhesive that comes included.
There are four pieces in the box, one for each side of the mouse, as well for each of the main mouse buttons. They’re subtle and don’t really change the overall look of the mouse all that much. You may want to add all four depending on your grip style or for the kinds of games you like to play. I found that they were easy to install, and just adding one piece of it made this miniature version a lot easier to handle while I played games.
Razer also confirmed today that it now sells grip tape for several of its other mice for $9.99 each, including the Viper, Viper Mini and Viper Ultimate, Basilisk Ultimate, Basilisk V2, Basilisk X Hyperspeed, and the DeathAdder V2.
Ubisoft reportedly fires VP of editorial following allegations of sexual harassment
One of Ubisoft’s most influential executives has been fired after an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment made against him, reports Business Insider. Ubisoft confirmed to The Verge that the executive, Tommy François, departed the company, but declined to comment on the nature of his departure.
François was formerly Ubisoft’s vice president of editorial and creative services, a role that gave him oversight over the development of many of the studio’s largest franchises. A separate Business Insider report detailed some of François actions, which included commenting on how his female colleagues looked, massaging people without asking, and, on one occasion, telling his colleagues he had spent the previous evening masturbating. Ubisoft had previously said on July 6th that François had been placed on disciplinary leave while it investigated the allegations.
François’ departure comes amid a significant reckoning at Ubisoft, which has recently come under heavy scrutiny for its workplace culture. Assassin’s Creed Valhalla creative director Ashraf Ismail stepped down and took a leave of absence on June 24th following allegations of sexual misconduct with fans. And after assault allegations against vice president Maxime Béland were shared on social media and in a Kotaku report, Ubisoft said on July 6th that Béland had resigned.
Following Béland, a series of other executive departures followed: Chief Creative Officer Serge Hascoët resigned; HR chief Cécile Cornet stepped down; and Yannis Mallat, managing director of Ubisoft’s Canadian studios, stepped down as well and left the company following “a rigorous review,” Ubisoft announced on July 11th. (Business Insider reports that Cornet is still at Ubisoft but is in a different role.)
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot promised sweeping internal changes aimed at addressing the culture issues in an email to staff on July 2nd, including appointing a head of workplace culture and setting up an “online confidential alert platform.” Ubisoft said it would tie employee bonuses to creating “their ability to create a positive and inclusive workplace environment” in its earnings call on July 22nd.
This is how Xbox games are getting touch controls for xCloud
Microsoft is preparing to launch its xCloud game streaming service as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate next month, and we’re now starting to get some more details on how touch controls will work with the service. Microsoft initially detailed touch controls last year, but the company has now been working with Xbox Game Studios developers like The Coalition and Ninja Theory to bring these controls to Xbox games.
During a Microsoft Game Stack stream today, Jarret Bradley, senior gameplay producer at The Coalition, showed off how touch controls will work with Gears 5. The Coalition has built custom layouts for anything you can do in the game, including buttons for aiming, shooting, reloading, and controls for driving vehicles.
The team has even built layers where you can push buttons to bring up different views when you’re weapon changing, so the D-Pad isn’t always on-screen. The touchscreen controls even disappear automatically when a cinematic appears on-screen. The Coalition has also added gyro aim controls, allowing you to use your phone or tablet to aim a gun.
“When we first started talking about this, we were going a little over complicated because we weren’t sure what we needed to do,” explains Bradley in the talk. “As we started to dig into it, we realized the best thing for us to do is to treat this as a different input device like we already support keyboard and mouse, controller, and we have customized controls and remapping.”
The Coalition has gone back over Gears 5 and painstakingly optimized it for touch controls, but Microsoft is hoping developers will consider designing games with these controls in mind at the beginning of development. This will make it easier for developers to consider touch controls with xCloud, and for xCloud players to use them when a Bluetooth Xbox controller isn’t available.
Microsoft is now allowing existing xCloud testers to access touch controls for Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice today, and other games should launch with these touch controls as xCloud becomes available as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate in September.
Square Enix’s Avengers game is getting a PlayStation-exclusive Spider-Man character, and that sucks
Square Enix’s Avengers game will arrive this fall, and it’ll bring back console-exclusive content in a big way: the company announced that PlayStation players will get exclusive access to a playable Spider-Man character sometime in 2021.
Frankly, that sucks. It’s not clear whether Sony paid Square Enix extra for the exclusive character or if this is simply an extension of the movie rights that Sony has long since held to the character. But the fact is that PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 owners will be able to get access to a major piece of content for the upcoming game that players on Xbox, PC, or Stadia won’t.
Platform-exclusive content in third-party releases has been a frustrating aspect of the games industry for years, with both Sony and Microsoft shelling out for exclusive levels or early access in games like Call of Duty, Destiny 2, or Control. But since cross-play between Sony, Microsoft, and PC platforms for games that exist on all three platforms has started to become the norm, the fad of gating off pieces of content to the owners of the “right” console has been falling out of favor — at least, until this latest resurgence.
What makes it particularly frustrating is that different playable heroes are a key part of Marvel’s Avengers, with the specific hero you play (and their role in a four-player team) having major impacts on gameplay.
Marvel’s Avengers is set to launch with six playable characters — Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, and Ms. Marvel — with the promise of additional characters (like the recently announced Hawkeye) to be added to the game in the future for free. Each character has their own loot pool, skill tree, combat style, and traversal methods that set them apart. Imagine if Diablo or Destiny had an extra class that was only available on Xbox or PC; that’s roughly the level of what PlayStation owners are getting here.
As frustrating as the exclusive content is, it does make sense given Sony’s current strategy for the PlayStation brand as a whole, which has been to focus on PlayStation-exclusive games that simply aren’t available anywhere else. Continuing to push that platform advantage through DLC — especially with a character like Spider-Man that’s so tightly tied to Sony as a company — makes perfect sense (for Sony, at least).
Marvel’s Avengers is set to be released on September 4th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia. Next-generation versions for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X are also planned for later this year.
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