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Rocket League is coming to smartphones as a 2D game called Sideswipe
by João Carrasqueira
Rocket League, the driving and soccer mashup game by Psyonix, is heading to mobile devices later this year - kind of. The developer today announced Rocket League Sideswipe, a new take on the Rocket League formula that's tailored to be played on smartphones (via Gamespot).
The biggest difference between Sideswipe and the original Rocket League is that it will play in a 2D perspective, with the players' cars and the ball being seen from the side. Because of the more limiting movement that comes with a 2D environment, the game will also support fewer players, so only 1-versus-1 and 2-versus-2 matches are supported. Matches will be shorter, too, lasting just two minutes.
Aside from those changes, the heart of Rocket League gameplay is still prominent here. Both the typical Soccar mode and Hoops mode can be played here, but in order to add some challenge to the former, goals are now raised from the ground, so scoring a goal isn't as simple as just pushing the ball forward. Rocket League Sideswipe also retains the heavy customization elements of the original, with different bodies, wheels, boost trails, and more to choose from.
Psyonix says the title will feature controls that are easy to learn, regardless of whether you've played the original or not. With Rocket League becoming free-to-play last year, one might have expected the full game to eventually come to mobile devices, but reworking the controls for that would likely have made it much more difficult to play. Plus, since matches are shorter and feature fewer players, cross-platform play would probably have been impossible anyway.
If you want to see for yourself what the experience feels like, you'll need to be in Australia and New Zealand so you can register for a time-limited alpha test on Android devices. The full launch is planned for later this year, both on Android and iOS, and more betas should show up in different regions before then.
Sky Mobile reveals how much data was saved due to lockdown
by Paul Hill
The Mobile Virtual Network Operator, Sky Mobile, has revealed that £174 million worth of data has been saved among its customers due to lifestyle changes brought around by lockdowns in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s unsurprising that mobile data has dropped significantly due to people staying home and using their broadband connection more but it’s nice that Sky Mobile has been able to quantify the use reduction.
Customers that have continued to pay for their mobile usage over the last year have not lost access to the 55 million GBs of data that have been saved, instead, it’s stored in Piggybank for up to three years so many customers will have a lot of data to burn through once restrictions are lifted. Sky Mobile said that on average, customers have saved 43 GB of data which works out to about £136 of savings per person.
Commenting on the news, Paul Sweeney, Managing Director of Sky Mobile, said:
According to the firm, customers in Scotland saved the most data reaching 7.7 million GBs and saving £24 million. London came second with customers saving 4 million GBs of data which was worth £13 million.
While not one of the main providers in the UK, the service does have 2 million customers and it offers some interesting features including Piggybank and the recently announced ability to share spare data with those who may need it.
Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson run tests to green sites
by Paul Hill
The mobile solutions provider, Ericsson, has announced that it’s working with Deutsche Telekom to power mobile sites using renewable solar energy. The companies are conducting their tests at a Deutsche Telekom mobile site in Dittenheim, a village about 100 miles north of Munich, in a bid to show that mobile phone sites can be powered using an independent energy supply backed by solar power.
To power the Dittenheim site, the two firms built small solar modules that took up an area of 12 metres-squared. Ericsson has provided the Ericsson Power System that is being used to manage maximum power point tracking and voltage conversion. Based on testing carried out during the latter half of 2020, the two companies showed that solar energy was capable of powering two-thirds of the energy needs of the site.
Commenting on the project, Leif Heitzer, Senior Vice President Technology Guidance & Economics at Deutsche Telekom, said:
Projects such as these will be critical for Deutsche Telekom as it moves forward to meet its carbon obligations under the Paris Agreement which aims to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. Ericsson also said that it’s a strong supporter of the Sustainable Development Goals which promote, among other things, renewable energy, decent work and economic growth, and innovation and infrastructure - all of which apply to the experiment in Dittenheim.
By Usama Jawad96
Google promises 100 games coming to Stadia in 2021
by Usama Jawad
Google's Stadia has been making the headlines recently, but not for good reasons. A couple of weeks ago, the company announced that it is shutting down its Stadia Games & Entertainment division, which was responsible for developing exclusive games for the platform. Earlier this week, we also found out that the Stadia version of Terraria is canceled because Google has disabled the developer's account.
In a bit of relatively more positive news today, Google has announced that more than 100 games will be coming to the platform in 2021.
The promise of 100 games this year is a bit of a downgrade compared to the 120 it vowed to bring to the platform in 2020. However, this shouldn't distract from the fact that this is still a significant number. Google has also revealed the names of nine titles that are coming soon, and they are as follows:
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Ultimate Edition - February 23 Shantae: Risky's Revenge - Director's Cut - February 23 It came from space and ate our brains - March 2 FIFA 21 - March 17 Kaze and the Wild Masks - March 26 Judgment - April 23 Killer Queen Black - Coming soon Street Power Football - Coming soon Hellpoint - Coming soon Other games slated to release in 2021 also include Far Cry 6 and Hello Engineer. Stadia currently offers over 100 games to stream over the internet, with the promise of more to come. A few months ago, a Stadia executive stated that Google is tracking development for 400 games from 200 developers. It remains to be seen whether the company will be able to keep up with this figure, but the latest announcement will certainly restore some amount of confidence for users of the platform.
O2 hit with £10.5 million fine for overcharging customers
by Paul Hill
The UK communications regulator Ofcom has slapped O2 with a £10.5 million fine for overcharging mobile customers who were leaving. An Ofcom investigation launched in 2019 found that for eight years, from 2011, O2 had been double charging some people in their final bill.
According to Ofcom’s investigation, more than 250,000 customers had been hit by the over-billing but only 140,000 actually paid for the extra charges. Ofcom said that O2 has been refunding customers an additional 4%. In the cases where O2 couldn’t reach a customer, it donated the equivalent amount to charity. If you’ve been affected and have proof, Ofcom advises that you contact O2 directly.
Commenting on the matter, Ofcom’s Enforcement Director Gaucho Rasmussen said:
What’s shocking is that O2 knew this was going on back in 2011 but it failed to address the issue and carried on overcharging customers. The £10.5 million fine that Ofcom has collected will now be passed on to HM Treasury.