Tech Bytes: May 2021

Welcome to Tech Bytes! In this series, we bring the biggest news hitting the Tech and Gaming fields, getting them into a simple brief for you to quickly catch up on, so you’re up to speed over that dinner and drinks.

May isn’t just about the maybes, with several new confirmations in the tech and gaming world seen in the news. Check out what’s been happening for May 2021!

StarHub brings GeForce NOW to Singapore

Tech Bytes May 2021: StarHub GeForce NOW

The NVIDIA GeForce NOW cloud gaming service has been a great success, allowing gamers to experience the best that gaming has to offer without needing to spend massive amounts of money for the appropriate hardware or storage space.

The service has thus far been unavailable to Singaporeans, but that is about to change. StarHub has announced that they will be introducing it to the country in the third quarter of this year.

Singaporeans will be able to experience many of GeForce NOW’s features, including access to a vast library of over 800 game titles that can be played on multiple devices like web browsers, phones or tablets — all with only a one-way latency of 8.4 ms that ensures lag-free gameplay.

Monthly and yearly plans will be among the subscriptions made available to consumers, and existing StarHub customers will also be able to enjoy additional attractive deals. Those interested in the upcoming launch can register their interest at the official website to receive updates and details on an upcoming trial for the service.

Discord coming to PlayStation consoles

Discord Visual

Discord has risen to be the most popular voice and chat service for gamers in the last few years, but its use has only been through the desktop and mobile platforms. Now, they are set to finally come into the console space as they unveiled a new partnership with Sony.

This move is set to bring the service to Sony’s PlayStation line, with it being slated to come early next year. While there are very few details on how Discord will work on PlayStation, Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan has promised more news to share in the coming months.

Discord’s announcement comes as a surprise, considering that there was talk of Microsoft purchasing the company just a few months ago. Ironically, their competitor has ended up working with them, with Sony becoming a minority investor as part of the partnership.

PlayStation unveils two new colours for the DualSense controller

DualSense New Colours

PlayStation 5 released in November of 2020 with a bold new design and colour, and that extended to the DualSense controller that accompanied it. 

The console itself will remain white, but you soon will be able to have options on the colour you can get for your DualSense controller. Sony will be making two new colours: Midnight Black and Cosmic Red, and they will come next month.

Both colours are inspired by the visuals of space, with the Midnight Black showing off “two subtly different shades of black with light grey detailing to reflect how we view space through the night sky” and the Cosmic Red featuring “unique, vivid shades of red found throughout the cosmos”.

You’ll be able to find the new DualSense colours at official Sony stores or other electronic retailers around Singapore when they release next month.

Google gives a peek into the future with Google I/O 2021

Tech Bytes May 2021: Google I/0 2021

Another year, another Google I/O, and that means looking at what Google is cooking up for the future. 

Top of the list for Google I/O 2021 is Android 12, which features a brand-new design and look to the UI. Dubbed “Material You”, this new design brings unique colouring and customisation to match whatever you have as your wallpaper. 

Included in Android 12 are new privacy features as well. Not only will the OS show an indicator in the upper right corner whenever the camera or microphone are being used, but it will also allow you to shut them off quickly with toggles in the Quick Settings, which turns them off at the system level. A Privacy Dashboard has also been added to show data on how many times the location, mic, or camera has been used in the day.

Other notable news to come out of Google I/O 2021 is the announcement that Google Photos will be able to make animated photos from your still shots. Using machine learning, the app interpolates two similar images together to create a moving effect. Both Android and iOS users will enjoy this feature when it arrives later in the year.

Finally, the last big feature that Google unveiled was Project Starline, a next-gen video chat booth that presents a 3D visualisation of the person you are talking to. Using multiple cameras and sensors, the booth creates a 3D model from that person that will broadcast in real-time, emulating the feeling of having them right in front of you. The project is still in the early stages of development, but it shows that video calls might be getting an upgrade in the future.

Summer Game Fest returns this June

Tech Bytes May 2021: Summer Game Fest 2021

Summer Game Fest was born last year as a way to enable game publishers to showcase their upcoming titles after the COVID-19 pandemic derailed many plans for events. It was a moderate success, though criticisms levelled at the four-month duration for being too long.

It returns again this year, with creator Geoff Keighley revising the festival to take place within a span of one month. And now we know when it’ll officially begin: June 10.

As part of the premiere, Summer Game Fest will open with an event called “Kick Off Live!” that is set to present over a dozen world premieres and announcements during the show. It will be hosted by Keighley and will also feature a performance by the American rock band Weezer.

Other events are expected to follow, with publishers such as 2K, Activision Blizzard, Capcom, Epic Games, Sony, Square Enix, Ubisoft, and Microsoft confirmed to be participating in Summer Game Fest. 

Further details on the other events will be added to their official website soon, but for now, we have June 10 to look forward to.

This marks 2021 May’s edition of Tech Bytes, and we hope this roundup gives you a little insight into tech to be excited about. Check with us again in June 2021, as we bring you more byte-sized news every month!

Visuals courtesy of Starhub, Discord, PlayStation, Google, and Summer Game Fest.

Russell Matthew Loh

Watcher of films and player of games. Dabble with writing in between.

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