Hello and welcome to this week’s Mosh Pit. It’s the end of August today, and can anyone believe that it’s only four months to the end of the year already? Time flies indeed. We’re here to slow you down today with a few game deals, some new hardware, and Sony’s latest Xperia flagship with one daring change from the company. There’s also a new security device from Google, which is a bit weird considering that the company’s bread and butter has been basically spying on users ever since Gmail was released.
PlayStation 4 games sale
It’s the end of the month and you should all have received your paycheck by now (and died inside a little in the corner of your open-plan office thanks to all the debt that keeps consuming it). To cheer you up, here’s a cheap game sale from Sony that will give you access to some great games at a low price. Sony does these kinds of sales every other month, and for less than R330 you can get your hands on titles such as Fallout 4, Dark Souls 3, Rocket League, and Titanfall 2. Do not be tempted to buy Sonic Forces – spend half of that instead on the excellent Metro Redux collection.
Sony shines brighter with the Xperia XZ3
Across the world in Berlin, Germany, Sony has just announced the long-awaited successor to the Xperia XZ2. It is creatively called the Xperia XZ3, but don’t let the name fool you – this isn’t a straightforward upgrade for Sony. The XZ3 thankfully keeps the same design language as the XZ2, hauling out the same monolithic curved slab with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, Sony’s EXMOR 19MP rear camera, USB-C charging, and a dash of courage with the removal of a headphone jack. The upgrades come in the form of a slightly larger battery capacity, increasing by almost 5% to 3330mAh, Android 9.0 as standard, and a 6-inch OLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and HDR compatibility.
It’s not unusual for consecutively named devices in Sony’s stable to only introduce iterative changes (they are six months apart, after all), but this is the first phone for the company to have an OLED display. OLED panels are very difficult to make and build into a phone, as Samsung and LG discovered through the many expensive mistakes made in implementing their first-generation designs, and this is the first time that Sony is debuting their in-house OLED technology into a phone. You can expect the Sony Xperia XZ3 to hit local stores about two months from now. Spoiler: it’ll be very expensive.
Logitech G502 HERO
Take one of the world’s best mice and teach it a new trick – that’s what Logitech’s G502 HERO is in a nutshell. In a good example of “don’t fix what isn’t broken”, the peripherals giant has taken the much-loved G502 design and added the new in-house designed HERO sensor. This is Logitech’s answer to competing solutions from Avago and Pixart, which the company believes gives them an edge over other mice on the market. The HERO sensor should easily match the combined Fusion Engine in the G402, so this should be a good pick for your next mouse if you’re a Logitech fan and want to be on the bleeding edge of the company’s hardware.
SCUM Island awaits you, prisoner!
SCUM is a lot of things. It’s a survival shooter like DayZ with all the realism of ARMA 3, the vaulting and parkhour of Assassin’s Creed, mechs like the ones in Borderlands made by Hyperion, crafting and inventory management inspired by games like ARK, and a straight-up clone of the athletics mechanics of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. Developed by Croteam and published by Devolver Digital, SCUM puts players in the role of a hardened criminal set loose on a remote island and given the chance to fight for their freedom. Unlike other survival shooters, there are more dangerous things on the island than other players – grizzly bears will regularly pose a threat, honey badgers and deer will ruin your day, and the high security installations on the island are loot-filled, but also heavily guarded. You have to roll the dice and see how you fare in surviving on SCUM Island.
SCUM is currently in early access on Steam, and R200 will net you the game and the Early Supporter pack, which is basically a badge of honour for backers of the game while it is still in early access, and comes with unique cosmetic items. The system requirements are somewhat hefty, requiring at least an Intel Core i5-4430, 8GB of RAM, and a mid-range NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 or AMD Radeon R7 370. While the game is currently Windows PC-only, Croteam is planning a Linux release in the future.
Google Titan, a $50 security key
Hardware security keys are a bit bland for most users, and they’re not always designed to take the user’s lifestyle into account. Enter Google Titan, a project started by Google in partnership with Yubico to develop and market secure, hardware-based two-factor authentication hardware to the general consumer. For $50 on the Google Play Store (more retailers will be available later), you can grab a pair of hardware keys that are suited to different uses. The Bluetooth key is designed to fit on your keyring, and will allow you to set up area-based authentication as a second factor, which means that you’ll always need to be in range of the device you’re unlocking to be able to use it. This should work for most things – your phone, tablet, Chromebook, or Windows Hello-enabled laptop with Bluetooth.
The second part is a USB-based hardware key that you can keep on you, for use with a laptop or desktop computer, where you need to secure access to your online accounts and services. Titan works with two-factor authentication schemes offered by Google, Microsoft, Apple, Twitter, and a number of other tech companies. In fact, it’ll just work with any service that already supports FIDO. If you’re concerned about protecting your online accounts and don’t trust authentication apps to do the job for you, this might be the trick.