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Gaming and esports influencers and executives dish on their most dreaded video game bosses



Gaming and esports influencers and executives dish on their most dreaded video game bosses

As executives flow in from the media, entertainment and sports sectors, the proportion of genuine, dyed-in-the-wool gamers occupying leadership positions at gaming and esports companies declined in recent years. Influencers are gaming less, too, with popular streamers such as Ludwig Ahgren spending less time simply playing in front of an audience in favor of MrBeast-style content creation.

Still, gamers form the nucleus of the gaming and esports community, and bona fide gamers are still very present at all levels of the industry. In gaming and esports marketing, authenticity is key, and lifelong gamers understand the community better than anyone.

As shown by the success of Elden Ring this year, challenging, narrative-based titles are still ideal for many core gamers. Digiday reached out to 14 prominent executives and influencers in the gaming and esports industry to ask about their most dreaded video game boss — and why.

Here’s what they said:

Activision Blizzard vp of global business research and marketing (and author) Jonathan Stringfield:

“A riddle: What do you call it when you are stuck in a tiny room with a giant bug who can almost instantly squash you? Answer: A health potion chugging competition, which is indeed the only viable strategy for fighting Duriel, a Diablo 2 boss that was inflicted upon us all once again with Diablo 2 Resurrected. The fact that Duriel is the ‘Lord of Pain’ seems fitting, as he is by far the most painful part of the game — I’d rather go toe-to-toe with Diablo himself.”

Annie Scott Riley, CMO of esports company Version1:

“I am still mad at Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon in Elden Ring. In her first phase, before you can damage her, you have to attack these army-crawling, occasionally levitating ‘scholars’ who are chucking books at you. This isn’t particularly difficult once you understand the warning signs for falling chandeliers — chaotic much? Then, in her second phase, you’re transported to this moonlit, magical realm. It’s distractingly majestic, and her spells are crazy; she summons shadows of other bosses to gang up on you.

“I’ll be honest, I couldn’t solo her at all, but with the help of a kind stranger to divert her attention, I was finally able to take her out. Unfortunately, a millisecond later, I was hit by her final sorcery, which meant I absorbed her runes and then died — in the realm of the second phase. Which can never, ever be accessed again. So I won, but I lost everything I came in with, plus whatever I would have earned. Nightmare fuel. Miyazaki is a magnificent madman.”

Twitch streamer and YouTuber Hannahxxrose:

“My most dreaded video game boss is definitely the Ender Dragon in Minecraft. It’s super daunting to fight and is a big risk to lose your loot, especially if you’re speedrunning the game. Despite me playing the game for 8 years now, I’ve only ever defeated it once — and I needed help from some friends!”

Josh “Caru” Glodoveza, VP of talent at Fanjoy:

“For me, it’s the Wall of Flesh from Terraria. Imagine a literal wall of flesh with multiple bloodshot eyes, and eyes with a mouth and sharp teeth. It spawns in the underground and will chase you till the very end of the game’s map, until there is no room left to escape. I feel it’s a great metaphor for life, about being put into corners and bealaning forced to make do with the situation you are in. Although it’s the final boss before the game goes into Hardcore and opens a whole array of even harder challenges. To me, that sounds like going into adulthood. I can face some of the biggest challenges right now, but it doesn’t mean they will stop coming, and I just have to adapt and take it day by day.”

Brian “Saintt” Baroska, head coach of the Call of Duty League’s Minnesota Røkkr:

“One of the hardest bosses I’ve ever faced was the optional boss Sigrun in the most recent God of War game. That boss gave me so much trouble to the point that I lowered my game difficulty from hard mode all the way down to easy after dying 100-plus times.”

Twitch streamer and Evil Geniuses team member ARUUU:

“I think my most dreaded boss of all time is Lady Yunalesca from Final Fantasy X. I often wonder if it’s because I was a child when I played the game, or if it really was just that difficult. I remember crying to my brother to beat it for me, because I had been stuck on it for days. Overall, though, she’s pretty difficult, and felt nearly impossible to beat. Even my brother was getting frustrated and annoyed with it.”

Mark Flood, director of North American operations at Astralis:

“Literally any Elden Ring boss, because I never beat any of them.”

(As a follow-up:) “F Elden Ring.”

Michael Ashford, CEO of the Esports Awards:

“Whitney’s Miltank [from Pokémon Gold and Silver] still gives me nightmares from my childhood; the impending doom as Rollout continued to work its way through my under-prepared team taught me some valuable life lessons.” (Disclosure: This boss is this Digiday reporter’s pick, too.)

Washington Post games reporter Gene Park:

“It’s Sword Saint Isshin, the final boss of Sekiro. I spent almost an entire week trying to beat him, an experience so draining that it almost turned my feelings on the game inside out. I don’t want to revisit Sekiro now that I know he’s waiting. I just couldn’t get the timing perfect enough for as long as the fight demanded. It’s not a fight I want to experience again, and I’ve only played Sekiro once more since.”

Paul Mascali, head of esports and gaming at PepsiCo:

“Personally, my most dreaded boss would be Jack of Blades from Fable. I always struggled with the second phase of that boss fight. Took me hours to finally beat it!”

Cory Vincent, vp of integrated solutions at NRG:

“For me personally, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! was the original Dark Souls. No matter how young I was, or how old I get, I just don’t think I’ll ever have the skills or reflexes to beat him.”

Steven Salz, CEO and co-founder of Rivalry:

“Back in the vanilla World of Warcraft days, it would be Onyxia for sure. This is the first years of WoW, where only one or two guilds had cleared it in the server. The Ventrilo coordination days. I’d say it was dreaded because it was complex to get a 40-person raid to do everything they were supposed to do, and it would reset for a week if you failed. Everyone wanted the drops, so just the anxiety of winning the roll as well if your class item dropped. Just a stress-fest.”

Twitch streamer (and 2K NextMakers mentor) Mitsu:

“Most dreaded in-game boss? Half-Life’s last boss, The Nihilanth. An imposing and challenging last boss, capable of teleporting you to dangerous side rooms, summoning powerful floating enemies, and having a very difficult to access weak spot — there is no more fitting a last boss after traversing the already notoriously difficult world of Xen.”

John Jung, vp of operations and studio at Evil Geniuses:

“Literally every boss in Witcher 3 terrified me. I could not play this game at night.”

Gil Hirsch, CEO and co-founder of StreamElements:

“After hitting all the combos at Horizon Forbidden West’s Training Pits, The Enduring reminded me what a great boss fight was all about: an endless loop of taking a beating, incremental improvements, false hopes, setbacks, repeat. Until you land that final blow, thrilled and exhausted.”

Joshua Brill, head of marketing at Fnatic:

“To be completely honest, the final Doctor Neo Cortex boss scene [in Crash Bandicoot] wasn’t the hardest — evading the voodoo mask spirits Aku Aku and Uka Uka by jumping around and eventually spinning Doctor Neo Cortex down a wormhole — but it still sticks in my mind as a final boss that made me sweat a lot at 10 years old. The climatic metal music will always make it timeless for me!”

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Nothing announces official launch date for new Ear (stick) AirPods alternatives




Nothing announces official launch date for new Ear (stick) AirPods alternatives
Nothing Ear (stick) held by a model on white background

(Image credit: Nothing )

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 (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 1, 2022

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It’s no secret that I want Nothing’s earbuds to succeed in world dominated by AirPods; who doesn’t love a plucky, eccentric underdog? 

But in order to become some of the best true wireless earbuds on the market, there is room for improvement over the Nothing Ear 1, the company’s inaugural earbuds. 

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. 

As the natural companions for the Nothing Phone 1, it makes sense for the Ear (stick) to take a place similar to that of Apple’s AirPods 3, where the flagship Ear (1) sit alongside the AirPods Pro 2 as a flagship offering. 

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.  

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YouTube could make 4K videos exclusive to Premium subscribers




YouTube could make 4K videos exclusive to Premium subscribers
Woman watching YouTube on mobile phone screen

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Kicking Studio)

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. 1, 2022

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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. 

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Europe sets deadline for USB-C charging for (almost) all laptops




Europe sets deadline for USB-C charging for (almost) all laptops

USB-C als Ladestandard in der EU

Mundissima / Shutterstock

Author: Michael Crider
, Staff Writer

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.

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