Tech & Gaming

Edge March 2018

The authority on videogame art, design and play, Edge is the must-have companion for game industry professionals, aspiring game-makers and super-committed hobbyists. Its mission is to celebrate the best in interactive entertainment today and identify the most important developments of tomorrow, providing the most trusted, in-depth editorial in the business via unparalleled access to the developers and technologies that make videogames the world’s most dynamic form of entertainment.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
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13 Issues

In this issue

2 min.
lock it, fill it, call it, find it, view it, code it, jam, unlock it

When he unveiled LittleBigPlanet at GDC in 2007, Phil Harrison described it as being at the vanguard of a new movement called Game 3.0. Version 1.0, he said, was the PC floppy disk and console cartridge, and 2.0 added online play. Game 3.0 was about sharing. At the time, it felt like a buzzword. Looking back, however, it’s clear he was onto something. After all, this issue finally yields a review of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, a game that wouldn’t exist without the mod scene and whose success can be in large part attributed to its popularity among Twitch streamers. In Pushing Buttons, we speak to a new breed of developers and broadcasters who are subverting our expectations of how games are played, be it with a one-of-a-kind museum piece or a YouTube…

10 min.
remote control

Blade’s co-founder and CEO, Emmanuel Freund, gets right to the point. “Even for me, cloud computing – cloud gaming, whatever – has been shitty,” he says. “It hasn’t been working, let’s be clear; if it was working then everybody would have cloud-gaming stuff.” Freund’s company has been running its cloud-computing service, Shadow, in its native France since the middle of 2016. Now, ahead of the service’s rollout in the UK and US, Blade faces the challenge of differentiating Shadow from a legacy of similar products that, at best, have achieved limited success. Like OnLive or PlayStation Now, Shadow provides users with access to games from any device with a screen and an internet connection. Unlike those services, however, Shadow’s offering isn’t limited to a provider-approved catalogue of games. Instead, Shadow provides…

1 min.
storage wars

Is 256GB of hard drive space enough? While Shadow gives users access to a highspec PC, one aspect of Blade’s offering is notably lacking: available hard drive space. At only 256GB, a Shadow machine can hold far less software than an equivalent high-spec computer. Given that modern games can have a footprint in excess of 40 or 50GB, it’s likely that you’ll hit this limit quickly. The chief mitigating factor here is connection speed: Shadow’s data centres boast internet connections in excess of 600Mbps, meaning that large games can be re-downloaded faster than they could be over a home Internet connection. Even so, this will likely encourage users to make use of other cloud storage services.…

4 min.
we must unite

“Since I’ve been here, which is close to three years, Unity has gone from around 400 people to 1,500” Clive Downie is CMO of Unity, which retains a commanding position over the 3D game-engine market. It’s a go-to for hobbyist developers, indie studios and beyond, and its featureset continues to grow: additions last year included a shader editor, native photogrammetry support, built-in cinematic tools and multiplayer netcode and server tools. But Unreal Engine 4 has also risen, sporting a similar low-cost business model but backed by Epic’s technical reputation. Having previously worked at EA, Ngmoco, and Zynga, today Downie’s job is to bring Unity’s reputation up to match its capabilities and reach, while expanding its horizons beyond games. What’s it like working for a game-engine maker, having spent so long in mobile…

1 min.
help dialogue

Taught in universities and even schools, Unity is still many new developers’ first experience of 3D game development, but getting started is still a daunting prospect. Downie says that there are plans to provide more support to first-time users with tutorials, and clearer access to support services such as Unity Connect, where other Unity users offer help. “If you come into Unity on day one and are introduced to other people and have the tools to reach out to people in the community, that’s going to empower you as a creator. You want people to come from having a notion through to some success; getting something on screen that they feel good about, as quickly as possible.“…

5 min.
the real thing

Later this issue, in An Audience With…, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda sounds a familiar refrain from bigpublisher bigwigs. Asked about his and his company’s current stance towards VR, he joins the likes of Nintendo, Microsoft and EA in saying that, while virtual reality is an area in which his firm has a keen interest, the tech just isn’t there yet. It’s too expensive, requiring, at the top end at least, a premium-priced HMD and a beefy PC. Headsets are too bulky to be comfortable, and too inconvenient, trailing wires everywhere. Xbox head Phil Spencer said, at last year’s E3, that the industry was “a few years away” from cutting the VR cord. Yet January’s Consumer Electronics Show suggested Spencer’s prediction may in fact have been a few years out…