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Earth From Another Sun (EFAS) has raised $4.5 million in funding to create its sandbox space conquest game. It’s one of many blockchain games in the works in the game industry, but it has been in development for a while and has paying players.
The funding came from Solana Ventures, Alameda Research, and Lightspeed.
EFAS has a team of game veterans from Riot Games, Gameloft, Disney Interactive, Kylotonn, IGG, and Perfect World.
The space conquest sandbox Earth From Another Sun already boasts over 10,000 paying closed-alpha players after three and a half years of development, all of whom are traditional PC gamers who paid between $30 and $250 for early access to the game.
Building on crypto-powered Web3 infrastructure lets gamers enjoy a new level of ownership and freedom that until that last couple of years has been a rarity in the gaming industry.
“We have always been a studio that has a relentless focus on creating great gameplay, on creating ‘fun.’ What Web3 allows us to do is to share the revenue generated by the game with the players that made it popular,” said studio founder Freeman Fan, in a statement.
EFAS promises players an action-packed first-person shooter experience in a multiplayer “living, breathing galaxy,” brimming with colossal 1,000-troop armies clashing on the battlefield. Players will travel to the stars, trade and mine resources, craft ships and modules, and work together to build an ever-expanding universe.
Every non-player character (NPC) in EFAS has its own AI-powered aspirations, interacting with the player in unpredictable and emergent ways, the company said.
Fan added, ““Growing up I loved watching the battle segments of the best sci-fi movies. We thought to ourselves, how cool would it be if we could play as the soldiers charging into the foray in the Battle of Naboo, in an immersive first-person view. We wanted players to feel like they were fighting in the battles of the future.”
The game’s open world is a testbed for Solana’s low transaction fees and energy efficiency, the company said. A fully user-generated economy drives the action forward, with meaningful quests, looter-shooter mechanics, and a suite of user-friendly design tools, the company said.
EFAS players can collaborate to iterate upon their in-game experience — or design their own art assets from scratch.
EFAS uses a “live service” model, which means that the game is constantly evolving. New updates will introduce equipment, loot, enemies, quests, and NPCs to bring an ever-fuller experience. A modular character progression system allows players to shape their characters and destinies. Will they become a legendary military commander, build their own colonial empire, or become a criminal overlord of the star system? EFAS said it’s all possible.
“We won’t stop until EFAS is as popular as the greatest games out there, like GTA, World of Warcraft, or The Elder Scrolls. But when we get there, we won’t stop either,” Fan said.
And the company has other games in the works.
“Earth From Another Sun will be a franchise with many exciting titles to come, possibly with different main characters and gameplay genres,” said Fan. “Perhaps the next installment will be a survival game or maybe a first-person RTS game. We are not sure yet, but we are doing some tests with prototypes.”
Blockchain technology creates a new way to play for the gaming community. Players can mint and trade their own unique NFTs to generate real-world revenue while they play. The players themselves will reap the benefits of revenue sharing as EFAS grows in popularity.
“Most blockchain games have a hard time attracting mainstream gamers because of their limited playability and production quality. EFAS addresses this with superior playability and UGC tools that enable players to create content and immersive experiences. At Lightspeed, we believe Freeman and his team have the right experience to deliver on this promise and that EFAS could become one of the largest scale blockchain games.” said Ravi Mhatre, a partner at Lightspeed, in a statement.
This is the studio’s third title. The company said the money will speed the development and adoption of EFAS’s closed alpha as it moves toward its release. EFAS said to be on the lookout for EFAS’s first NFT drop, which is expected to launch soon.
The team has 20 players. It plans on launching the first version of the “play & earn” mode around the end of this year; the rest of the game (which is still in development) has been available for some time already under the form of a paid closed alpha.
Given the resistance some gamers and game developers have had to blockchain games, Fan said in an email to GamesBeat that the company had a discussion with its community about crypto because it didn’t want them to learn the new aspects of the game through a media article talking about funding.
“So, we wrote a detailed explanation about what it means for them that EFAS will have Play & Earn and NFTs,” Fan said. “We answered all their doubts and questions before they even had the chance to worry, and the result was excellent. The community was very understanding and supportive, and just a dozen players decided to leave our Discord.”
The inspiration comes from games such as Mount & Blade, Borderlands and Sea of Thieves, Fan said.
“The game is about life in a galaxy at war and the opportunities that arise. Will you be a merchant, a pirate, a warrior, a leader, a diplomat…?,” Fan said. “It’s about living the fantasy depicted in shows like Star Trek, Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, and Firefly. Going on exploring and looting with friends, leading rebellious factions, or ruling a planet, maybe even the whole galaxy.”
Once you have had the chance to look at that information, please tell me how long you need to prepare for the release or if you need anything else.
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True to form, Nothing has just announced the full reveal date for its upcoming audio product, Ear (stick).
So, an announcement about an announcement. You’ve got to hand it to Carl Pei’s marketing department, they never miss a trick.
What we’re saying is that although we still have ‘nothing’ conclusive about the features, pricing or release date for the Ear (stick) except an image of another model holding them (and we’ve seen plenty of those traipsing down the catwalk recently), we do have a date – the day when we’ll be granted official access to this information.
That day is October 26. Nothing assures us that on this day we’ll be able to find out everything, including pricing and product specifications, during the online Ear (stick) Reveal, at 3PM BST (which is 10AM ET, or 1AM on Wednesday if you’re in Sydney, Australia) on nothing.tech (opens in new tab).
Any further information? A little. Nothing calls the Ear (stick), which is now the product’s official name, “the next generation of Nothing sound technology”, and its “most advanced audio product yet”.
But that’s not all! Apparently, Ear (stick) are “half in-ear true wireless earbuds that balance supreme comfort with exceptional sound, made not to be felt when in use. They’re feather-light with an ergonomic design that’s moulded to your ears. Delivered in a unique charging case, inspired by classic cosmetic silhouettes, and compactly formed to simply glide into pockets.”
Opinion: I need more than a lipstick-style case
Nothing Ear (stick) – official leaked renders pic.twitter.com/FrhKmRttmiOctober 1, 2022
Aside from this official ‘news’ from Nothing, leaked images and videos of the Ear (stick) have been springing up all over the internet (thank you, developer Kuba Wojciechowski) and they depict earbuds that look largely unchanged, which is a shame.
For me, the focus needs to shift from gimmicks such as a cylindrical case with a red section at the end which twists up like a lipstick. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of theater, but only if the sound coming from the earbuds themselves is top dog.
See, that lipstick case shape likely will not support wireless charging. That and the rumored lack of ANC means the Ear (stick) is probably arriving as the more affordable option in Nothing’s ouevre.
For now, we sit tight until October 26.
Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.
You might soon have to buy YouTube Premium to watch 4K YouTube videos, a new user test suggests.
According to a Reddit thread (opens in new tab) highlighted on Twitter by leaker Alvin (opens in new tab), several non-Premium YouTube users have reported seeing 4K resolution (and higher) video options limited to YouTube Premium subscribers on their iOS devices. For these individuals, videos are currently only available to stream in up to 1440p (QHD) resolution.
The apparent experiment only seems to be affecting a handful of YouTube users for now, but it suggests owner Google is toying with the idea of implementing a site-wide paywall for access to high-quality video in the future.
So, after testing up to 12 ads on YouTube for non-Premium users, now some users reported that they also have to get a Premium account just to watch videos in 4K. pic.twitter.com/jJodoAxeDpOctober 1, 2022
It’s no secret that Google has been searching for new ways to monetize its YouTube platform in recent months. In September, the company introduced five unskippable ads for some YouTube users as part of a separate test – an unexpected development that, naturally, didn’t go down well with much of the YouTube community.
A resolution paywall seems a more palatable approach from Google. While annoying, the change isn’t likely to provoke the same level of ire from non-paying YouTube users as excessive ads, given that many smartphones still max out at QHD resolution anyway.
Of course, if it encourages those who do care about high-resolution viewing to invest in the platform’s Premium subscription package, it may also be more lucrative for Google. After all, YouTube Premium, which offers ad-free viewing, background playback and the ability to download videos for offline use, currently costs $11.99 / £11.99 / AU$14.99 per month.
Suffice to say, the subscription service hasn’t taken off in quite the way Google would’ve hoped since its launch in 2014. Only around 50 million users are currently signed up to YouTube Premium, while something close to 2 billion people actively use YouTube on a monthly basis.
Might the addition of 4K video into Premium’s perk package bump up that number? Only time will tell. We’ll be keeping an eye on our own YouTube account to see whether this resolution paywall becomes permanent in the coming months.
Axel is a London-based staff writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the newest movies to latest Apple developments as part of the site’s daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.
Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned a gold standard NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.
USB-C has come a long way since its debut in 2014, now becoming the standard for charging and basic data transfer (on everything except the iPhone, of course!) as well as audio and video for more and more devices. The European Parliament, long enamored with the idea of a consumer- and environmentally-friendly standard for charging devices, is pushing it forward even further. A newly-passed law says that almost all portable electronics will need to charge via USB-C by 2026.
At this point, most new laptops already use USB-C charging, taking advantage of the standard’s flexibility to deliver a range of wattages up to 100 watts. There are two exceptions: the top of the market and the bottom. Cheap budget laptops are still sometimes equipped with less expensive, semi-proprietary barrel charging cables or something like Lenovo’s rectangular charger.
On the other hand, power-hungry laptops that need more than 100 watts still use proprietary connections for their massive adapters. The USB Implementers Forum is working on expanding that limit and some of these laptops can still charge slowly over USB-C. These are the only laptops that Europe will allow to be sold with proprietary chargers after the spring of 2026. While nothing forces manufacturers to follow this new law worldwide, streamlined manufacturing and economy of scale will effectively force the rest of the world to follow in practice if not in legislation.
Parliament posted its reasoning online (spotted by Windows Central), saying that this move will encourage technological innovation and give consumers access to more interoperability with a bonus that more easily-reusable cables and chargers means less electronic waste. The post estimates that it will help consumers save up to 250 million euro a year on new charger purchases.
The bigger news is that this move is likely to finally force Apple to abandon the Lightning connector for the iPhone, cheaper iPads, and a few lingering accessories. (Apple already uses USB-C charging on most iPads and all Macbooks.) The switch for smaller mobile devices will happen by the end of 2024. This includes “all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, earbuds and laptops that are rechargeable via a wired cable.” (Note: This technically creates a loophole for any device that recharges via wireless only.) That should give laptop manufacturers plenty of time to flush out the remaining old-fashioned chargers from their assembly lines.
Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.