It’s all about enabling the next phase of growth and development for the game industry as well as more closely connecting players and developers in a shared ecosystem. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but check out the company’s explanation, including some material from CEO Jerry Chen. To me, it kind of sounds like Lightspeed’s version of the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.
Lightspeed is owned by Tencent, and it was formerly known and Lightspeed & Quantum Studios.
The Lightspeed Universe is a vision to create an ecosystem that connects players and developers around the world based on great stories, great gameplay and next-generation technology.
Co-developer of global blockbusters PUBG Mobile (co-developed with Krafton, Inc.) and Apex Legends Mobile (co-developed with Electronic Arts), Lightspeed Studios has delivered more than 50 PC and mobile games for over four billion registered users across over 200 countries and regions.
The Lightspeed Universe will create a world of experiences that players can enjoy anywhere, anytime and on any platform or device, and where developers can develop games faster and easier. This vision supports the next decade of global growth and development, driven by continued investments in exceptional talent, advanced research and development, and global platforms.
“The Lightspeed Universe is a holistic concept with research and development at its core.” said Chen, in a statement. “Driven by the integration of digital and real-world experiences and fueled by Lightspeed’s development capabilities, we aspire to set a new standard for original cross-platform, cross-cultural interactive experiences. Our goal is to captivate and inspire players and developers and leave a lasting and positive impression on future generations.”
The Lightspeed Universe will feature ambitious open worlds based on original intellectual property and next-generation experiences. To explore how its IP translates to animation, TV, and movies, Lightspeed Studios today announced Lightspeed Pictures, a new subsidiary brand to create experiences beyond games.
Today, Lightspeed Studios updated its name and brand identity to advance its vision and make it easy for players and developers to immerse themselves in the Lightspeed Universe. Lightspeed Studios unites existing studios, games, and talent to focus on the future, which include the development of new games for the console and PC markets.
Lightspeed Studios is also upgrading its development infrastructure to develop better games faster with advanced design and high-quality production values. Lightspeed Studios revealed its dedicated and experienced technology and art centers, part of a global development platform, which serves Lightspeed and its partners.
New global offices
Lightspeed Studios’ Singapore office now serves as an R&D innovation and integration center, helping to coordinate its R&D pipeline and global operations as well as serving as a base to explore cutting-edge technologies such as AR, VR, and cloud gaming.
Making great games requires great talent, and Lightspeed Studios is expanding to ten countries this year, growing its teams around the world, hiring outstanding developers who want to break new ground and make a global impact. Two examples include its US studios — Lightspeed LA and Uncapped Games, led by world-class developers previously responsible for some of the world’s more popular, innovative, and best-loved games. Lightspeed LA is building an ambitious open-world game with sophisticated player-driven gameplay, enlightened storytelling. Uncapped Games is creating an action-packed PC real-time strategy game.
“The road ahead is uncertain, but our dream remains the same – to become one of the world’s best game developers. The Lightspeed Universe, the ecosystem that connects players and developers around the world, is our vision and blueprint for the next decade,” said Chen.
I asked if the Lightspeed Universe is a metaverse. In a reply, Chen said, it’s “our vision for the next decade, which is to create an ecosystem that connect players and developers around the world. It’s based on great stories, great gameplay and next-generation technology. It embraces all genres, platforms, all devices. It explores how Lightspeed game IP and experiences translate to animation, TV and movies, and build Lightspeed’s research and development capabilities into a development platform for developers and partners.”
He added, “The Lightspeed Universe contemplates the metaverse, but we think about it differently. We have a more expansive, yet practical view. As the boundaries between physical and digital worlds dissolve, new forms of connectivity and entertainment will emerge for a brands, businesses, and players.”
And he said, “There’s tremendous opportunity to create new experiences and transform existing ones At Lightspeed, we call this concept “Hyper Digital Reality.”
The company is setting it up now in part because of what it has accomplished so far and how players have responded recently to PUBG Mobile and Apex Legends Mobile.
“We have built a strong foundation, are growing our teams and presence rapidly in multiple markets and are excited about the next phase of our global growth and development,” Chen said. “Now is the right time for us to share our vision and approach with developers and players around the world The new Lightspeed Studios brand underpins the next phase of our journey.”
The new universe unites existing studios, games, and talent to focus on future, which include the development of new games for the console and PC markets.
“It connects us more deeply with developers and players, allow them to easily follow and participate in the Lightspeed Universe,” Chen said. “It highlights the great people, great content and great experiences that define Lightspeed Studios.”
Besides the two games mentioned above, Lightspeed is also developing a new open world survival game Undawn, which is with great shooting experience and fabulous crafting system.
In his CEO Letter, Chen said, “From 2008 to 2022, guided by our philosophy of creating self-developed, high-quality games, we launched more than 50 PC and mobile games across over 200 countries and regions. We expanded our portfolio across more than 10 genres, including tactical tournament games, shooter games, card and board games, MOBAs, MMOs, sports games, music games, and simulation games. Today, our global monthly active user base exceeds 400 million.”
He added, “Our overall user base and global revenues have also grown rapidly. During this time, we delivered iconic titles like PUBG MOBILE (co-developed with Krafton, Inc.) and Apex Legends Mobile (co-developed with Electronic Arts). We partnered with outstanding developers, like Krafton, Inc., Riot Games, and Electronic Arts. We strengthened our research and development capabilities, gained valuable experience, and grew our international production pipelines, talent teams, and user base.”
More of the company’s creations in the future will be with original intellectual property.
“As we enter a new era, with new opportunities and challenges, we face new and different questions: How will Lightspeed games look, play and feel in the future? What is the best way to grow our relationship with players and developers? How can our work have a positive impact and improve society?,” Chen said. “We have grown tremendously over 13 years, from a team of 100 in China to nearly 4,000 employees around the world. A shared passion for games brought us together. We evolved as our business prospered. As we face the future together, how will we continue to innovate and grow?”
And the company will seek out global talent.
“We are opening new offices and recruiting outstanding talent around the world including in China, Singapore, United States (Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Seattle), Canada (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver), United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and United Arab Emirates (Dubai). We are also building a global network of studios and functional teams,” Chen said.
He said the company will respect local culture and support flexible global work. And the teams will work on a wide array of technologies.
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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.