ASUS ROG Ally’s Australian Launch Date and Pricing Revealed: A Must-Have Gaming Device

Exciting news awaits Australian gamers as ASUS announces the highly anticipated arrival of the Z1 Extreme model of their ASUS ROG Ally handheld gaming PC. Boasting remarkable power and performance, this gaming marvel will be hitting the market on June 13 with a price tag of $1,299 RRP. Preorders are already open at JB Hi-Fi, ensuring enthusiasts can secure their piece of gaming greatness. Additionally, ASUS confirms that the slightly less powerful Z1 model will launch later in 2023 at a price of $1,099.

ASUS takes pride in designing the Ally as a device crafted by gamers, for gamers. Bradley Howe, Head of Consumer for ASUS, expressed their commitment to the Australian gaming community, stating, “Australia is one of the focus countries, and we are proud to make ROG Ally available to Aussie gamers.”

Developed through an extensive five-year process involving hundreds of prototypes, the ASUS ROG Ally’s Z1 Extreme model features an impressive AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme CPU, with eight cores, 24MB total cache, and a boost speed of up to 5.10 GHz. Complementing the CPU is an AMD RDNA 3 GPU, capable of delivering up to 8.6 teraflops of processing power. The Z1 model, priced at $1,099, offers a slightly scaled-down configuration, with a six-core AMD Ryzen Z1 CPU, 22MB total cache, boost speed up to 4.90 GHz, and an AMD RDNA 3 GPU delivering up to 2.8 teraflops. Both versions of the ASUS ROG Ally feature 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, expandable via the microSD slot.

Impressively, the ASUS ROG Ally outshines the Steam Deck with its higher resolution 1080p screen, boasting a 120Hz refresh rate. Unlike the Steam Deck, which runs on SteamOS, the ROG Ally operates on Windows 11, providing seamless compatibility with popular platforms like Steam, Epic Games Launcher, GOG, and Xbox Game Pass.

Bradley Howe highlights the advantage of Windows 11, stating, “Gamers will be able to access their entire existing library of games. Through Armory Crate, we will continue to optimize the device for all games out there.”

While the robust specifications of the ASUS ROG Ally offer immense gaming capabilities, it’s important to note that the battery life is affected by the device’s high performance. A recent review revealed that the Ally’s battery life may range from 1 to 2 hours for graphically intensive games played at 1080p resolution.

However, for gamers who don’t mind relying on an AC adapter or carrying a power bank for extended gaming sessions on the go, the ASUS ROG Ally emerges as the ultimate portable gaming PC. The review concludes that with its stunning 1080p screen, powerful specifications, and competitive price tag, the ROG Ally could be the much-anticipated competitor to the Steam Deck.

Howe reassures gamers, stating, “ROG is here to stay. The Ally represents our mission to provide gamers with the very best options to enjoy the entertainment we love. In the years to come, we will continue to support the ROG Ally, listen to our customers, and make improvements and optimizations to the software, drivers, and hardware.”

Now, the question remains for Australian gamers. Will you join the handheld gaming PC revolution with the ASUS ROG Ally? Or are you eagerly awaiting the local launch of the Steam Deck? Or perhaps, the Gameboy Advance still holds a special place in your heart for gaming on the go. The choice is yours

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Takara Tomy Announces Fall Release for New Beyblade X TV Anime Series

Takara Tomy, the renowned toy company, has officially announced that the eagerly anticipated Beyblade X project will be making its television debut this fall on TV Tokyo. This project, first unveiled in March, represents the 4th generation of the iconic Beyblade franchise, succeeding the original 1999 Bakuten Shoot Beyblade, 2008’s Metal Fusion, and 2015’s Beyblade Burst. The new generation of Beyblade toys will hit the market on July 15, promising fresh excitement for fans.

In addition to the anime announcement, the June issue of Shogakukan’s Monthly Coro Coro Comics magazine has published a vibrant 70-page preview manga booklet for Beyblade X. The creative minds behind this manga are Homura Kawamoto, known for Kakegurui; Hikaru Muno, the creator of High Card; and Posuka Demizu, the artist for The Promised Neverland. The manga will officially commence its regular serialization in the July issue, set for release on June 15. Kawamoto and Muno are credited for the original story, with Demizu responsible for the artwork.

The manga storyline revolves around a young boy with dreams of becoming a professional Beyblade player, with his eyes set on X Tower, a gathering place for top-tier Beyblade players. It promises to introduce new gaming gears and abilities, escalating the thrill of playing Beyblade.

Meanwhile, the seventh season of the Beyblade Burst anime series, named Beyblade Burst QuadStrike, is set to premiere on Disney XD on April 3 and will be available on Hulu starting May 8 in the U.S. Following U.S. premieres, episodes will be made available for streaming on YouTube, and will also be broadcast by the company’s regional partners. This season will comprise 26 episodes, each 22 minutes long.

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End of an Era: Pac-Man 99 Scheduled for Closure in October

Online multiplayer gaming fans have some sad news on the horizon. Pac-Man 99, the popular Nintendo Switch Online game, is set to be removed from the platform on October 8, 2023. However, players who have invested in the Mode Unlock or Deluxe Pack DLC can continue to enjoy select offline modes even after the online services cease.

The phased “end of service” schedule for Pac-Man 99 was recently disclosed by Nintendo. Starting from August 8, the purchase of Custom Themes will be discontinued. Following this, on September 8, the option to buy Mode Unlock and Deluxe Pack DLC will be suspended. Finally, on October 8, Pac-Man 99 will be entirely unavailable for new downloads. If players have already installed the game on their systems, they will retain the ability to redownload it post delisting.

However, the online Battle Royale mode (both private and public) and the online leaderboards will be inaccessible once the game is shut down. On a brighter note, players who have the Mode Unlock or Deluxe Pack DLC can still engage in CPU Battle, Score Attack, and Blind Time Attack modes post the shutdown.

Pac-Man 99, a unique twist on the classic arcade game with a battle royale format, was available free of charge for Nintendo Switch Online members. The game, released in 2021, quickly gained popularity and was expanded with a wealth of content, ensuring a lasting legacy despite its impending shutdown.

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AI Tool for Manga Creation Co-Developed by Shonen Jump+ Editors: A Revolution in Manga Writing

In the contemporary world of AI art, it can be a contentious matter. Just last week, several Japanese content platforms such as DLsite, Ci-en, pixiv FANBOX, and Fantia banned or imposed restrictions on its use. However, Shueisha editor Yūta Momiyama, responsible for managing Weekly Shonen Jump’s online services Shonen Jump+ and MANGA Plus, envisions a unique role for AI tools in creative work, particularly as a tool to streamline the writing aspect of manga production.

Momiyama recently took to Twitter to announce that he and Shonen Jump+ editor-in-chief Shuhei Hosono have jointly developed the ‘Comic CoPilot’ AI tool. Leveraging ChatGPT and featuring a user-friendly Japanese interface, this tool aims to assist manga creators in devising catchy titles and names, as well as condensing dialogue to fit within speech bubbles. This latter feature promises to be a game-changer, as it can significantly reduce the time-consuming process of refining dialogue lines to succinctly deliver the intended message.

The co-developer Kensuu, who heads the tech firm alu, specializing in AI and NFT projects, contributed his expertise to the project. In a statement on the Comic CoPilot website, he dismissed fears of AI taking away jobs, expressing his belief that AI can actually broaden creative horizons.

Manga creators are strongly encouraged to share their AI-assisted creations on the user-generated manga platforms Shonen Jump Rookie and Manga-No. However, the site’s FAQ notes a cautionary warning: while AI-generated advice and ideas can be utilized, the content may inadvertently borrow from existing manga works. Thus, users are individually accountable for verifying whether the content infringes on any intellectual property.

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Fortnite Update: Leaks Unveil In-Game Appearances of Miles Morales and Spider-Man 2099

Epic Games has been teasing Fortnite fans with a sneak peek of the upcoming Miles Morales character. However, the official visuals were not disclosed. Thanks to a known Fortnite informant, Shiina, we now have a potential first look at the in-game designs for both Miles Morales and Spider-Man 2099.

Shiina’s Twitter post unveiled the Fortnite character skins for both versions of Spider-Man. The official timeline for the Spider-Man crossover event is yet to be announced by Epic Games. Still, another noted leaker, iFireMonkey, suggests the event will span from May 18 to June 8. The event is expected to feature new quests, innovative Web Shooters, and a Miles Morales skin, possibly debuting in the Item Shop. Additional Miles Morales-themed items, including Emotes, Back Blings, and Outfits, are likely to be available for purchase, similar to past character skins.

Spider-Gwen is also reported to make an appearance on the Fortnite map as a Non-Player Character (NPC). The availability of the Spider-Man 2099 skin, whether through in-game quests or purchasable from the Item Shop, remains uncertain.

The Fortnite Spider-Man crossover event is conveniently timed with the release of the animated movie, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, hitting theaters on June 2. The movie, a sequel to the 2018 hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, spotlights Miles Morales, making this Fortnite event even more enticing for fans of the franchise.

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Upcoming RPG Mirthwood Fuses Stardew Valley with Medieval Fantasy Adventure Elements

If you’ve been seeking a farming simulator with a little more adrenaline, you might want to keep tabs on Mirthwood, an upcoming RPG from Bad Ridge Games. Unveiled recently, Mirthwood seamlessly blends a medieval fantasy life simulator with thrilling elements of action and adventure. The game invites players to develop their own characters, cultivate a homestead, venture into ancient ruins, battle supernatural beings, and even explore potential romances.

Mirthwood sets the stage with your character’s arrival in the eponymous town, fleeing from their war-ravaged homeland. They’re soon thrust into the task of establishing their new life and deciding the path they wish to follow in this enigmatic land. The game offers an array of options, including crafting, farming, trading, combat, questing, exploration, and socializing that could lead to romantic liaisons.

Per the game’s press release, player choice significantly influences the overall gameplay. “For those driven by adventure, they can opt to traverse treacherous forests, unearth secrets of ancient ruins, and confront formidable creatures in search of the land’s hidden treasures,” while players preferring a more peaceful existence can focus on enhancing their homestead, cultivating a farm, rearing animals, and engaging with fellow villagers through a “Sims-like relationship system.” With its open-world setting, non-linear progression, and decision-driven narratives, Mirthwood aims to provide multiple playthroughs with unique experiences for every player.

Mirthwood is slated for a PC release in early 2024, and it can now be added to your Steam wishlist.

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Telltale’s The Expanse Game: First Episode Set for July Launch

The first episode of The Expanse: A Telltale Series is all set for its debut on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on July 27, 2023. The game, comprising five episodes in total, will see a new episode launch biweekly, beginning with the first episode.

The complete game package is priced at $40, granting players access to all episodes as they are released. A Deluxe Edition, available at $45, offers additional DLC, the details of which are yet to be disclosed. For PlayStation and Epic Games Store users who preorder either version, they will enjoy early access to the first episode, a full 24 hours before the official launch. According to the game’s description, “The Expanse: A Telltale Series, the first new IP announced by Telltale since its reestablishment in 2019, is set prior to the events of Alcon Television Group’s critically lauded and award-winning series that streams on Amazon Prime Video.”

Telltale Games, renowned for its narrative-driven adventure games such as The Walking Dead, Batman, Tales from the Borderlands, and Minecraft Story Mode, underwent shutdown in 2018. However, the brand was brought back to life under new leadership the subsequent year. Currently, Telltale Games is engaged in developing The Wolf Among Us 2, slated for a yet-to-be-announced launch in 2024.

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Sonic Prime: Season 2 Set to Premiere on Netflix in July

Netflix has officially set the date for the premiere of Sonic Prime Season 2 as July 13, 2023, also providing a teaser for fans through an initial glimpse of an episode from the forthcoming season.

The inaugural season of Sonic Prime made its Netflix debut in December, with the streaming giant releasing eight episodes from the show’s projected 24-episode run. As reported by Collider, the second season of this animated saga is set to launch in July. Sonic Prime chronicles the high-speed exploits of the iconic blue hedgehog, Sonic, as he strives to safeguard a peculiar new multiverse, a mission he undertakes with his gloved hands.

Sonic is not alone in his quest. He is accompanied by a group of allies, including his best friend, Tails, and other familiar faces like Knuckles, Rouge, Amy Rose, and Big the Cat. A new image from Season 2 reveals pirate versions of Sonic’s companions, Knuckles the Dread, Batten Rouge, Sails Tails, Black Rose, and Catfish, who assist Sonic in his universal rescue mission.

The voice cast of Sonic Prime is star-studded, with Deven Mack lending his voice to Sonic, Brian Drummond voicing Eggman, Ashleigh Ball as Tails, Shannon Chan-Kent as Amy Rose, Adam Nurada as Knuckles, and Ian Hanlin as Shadow the Hedgehog and Big the Cat.

IGN gave the first season of Sonic Prime an 8/10 rating, commending the Netflix series for successfully offering “an exciting look at the past while presenting some new ideas.” The review highlighted the show as a “fun, family-friendly animated series,” catering to both new audiences and long-standing Sonic the Hedgehog fans.

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Tears of the Kingdom Hits 10M Sales in 3 Days, Set to Become 2023’s Top-Selling Game

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom was always poised for success. As the successor to the widely adored Breath of the Wild, it was inevitable that the game would make a substantial impact on the 2023 gaming scene. However, the reality has exceeded expectations, with the latest Zelda installment selling over 10 million copies within just three days of release, outpacing multi-console competitors such as Hogwarts Legacy and God of War: Ragnarok.

Launched on May 12, Tears of the Kingdom has significantly built upon the foundations of 2017’s Breath of the Wild. The game introduces novel crafting mechanics and a sprawling map that takes the protagonist, Link, on an expansive journey from the depths underground to the lofty heights of the clouds. While the game does reuse much of the map from Breath of the Wild and exhibits similar gameplay, the continuity has proven to be a hit rather than a hindrance, drawing in millions of Breath of the Wild enthusiasts.

The achievement of selling 10 million copies in three days is remarkable in itself, more so considering that Tears of the Kingdom is exclusively available on the Nintendo Switch platform and is Nintendo’s first game priced at $70. Despite these factors, the game’s sales are already a third of Breath of the Wild’s total sales, which stands at nearly 30 million since 2017.

Nintendo’s press release highlights that Tears of the Kingdom holds the record for the fastest-selling Zelda game in the franchise’s history, the fastest-selling Nintendo Switch game, and the fastest-selling Nintendo game for any system in America.

When compared to other major exclusives, it’s clear that Zelda is set for a monumental year. As of May 2023, Sony’s Horizon: Forbidden West, released on both PS4 and PS5, has sold a respectable but smaller 8.3 million units. Moreover, Tears of the Kingdom is already on track to surpass God of War: Ragnarok’s 11 million copies sold in three months.

The game’s sales are even impressive when compared to multiplatform releases. Hogwarts Legacy, one of 2023’s biggest multiplatform games, has sold 15 million copies to date. By comparison, Tears of the Kingdom, available on just one platform, is already closing in on these numbers. Even last year’s major hit, Elden Ring, which took five weeks to sell 13 million copies, is likely to be surpassed by Zelda soon.

The rapid sales of a console-exclusive game at this scale are truly remarkable and nearly unprecedented. If the trend set by Breath of the Wild, which continued to engage players and sell copies years after its release, is anything to go by, Tears of the Kingdom is set for long-term success. It’s a testament to the fact that massive sales can be achieved without resorting to battle passes, seasons, live service updates, or online multiplayer – a valuable lesson for other game publishers.

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BlizzCon 2023: First In-Person Event Scheduled After Four-Year Hiatus

Blizzard Entertainment’s highly anticipated convention, BlizzCon, is set to return to the Anaheim Convention Center this November after a four-year hiatus, marking its first in-person event since the pandemic.

Scheduled for November 3 and 4, BlizzCon 2023 promises an immersive experience for fans, with further details about ticketing and other aspects to be announced soon. For those planning to attend in person, hotel blocks are now open for reservations.

Continuing the tradition, this year’s BlizzCon will feature a blend of both physical and digital elements, similar to past editions that incorporated livestreamed panels and in-game rewards spanning various Blizzard franchises.

The convention had been in a state of uncertainty since the 2020 cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the suspension of all major in-person gaming events. In February 2021, BlizzCon briefly resurfaced as a completely digital showcase before taking another break until this year.

Historically, BlizzCon has been the platform for unveiling major updates and game launches. Past events witnessed the announcement of blockbusters like Overwatch, Diablo 4, and several World of Warcraft expansions, along with significant updates for games such as Hearthstone.

Currently, Blizzard’s active portfolio includes the soon-to-launch Diablo 4 (set for June 6), Diablo Immortal, Hearthstone, Overwatch 2, and both retail and classic versions of World of Warcraft. Additionally, a new survival game is also reportedly in development. The return of BlizzCon brings with it a wave of excitement and anticipation for what the gaming giant has in store.

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