Destiny 2 on PC Is Exclusive to Battle.net and That’s Great. Here’s Why.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Steam may be convenient but the user experience is dated
  • Valve’s new restrictive policies don’t bode well for consumers either
  • The outrage over not using Steam goes against the PC as an open platform

Destiny 2 for PC will be available on Blizzard’s Battle.net instead of Steam. There’s been a tremendous amount of outrage from the community due to this, with many citing the inconvenience of using another client to play Destiny 2. Some people even plan to boycott the game because of it.

There are plenty of reasons for Destiny 2 publisher Activision to keep it exclusive to its own platform – thirty at the very least. That’s the percentage of revenue Activision would have to pay Valve, if Destiny 2 was on Steam. This alone is a massive plus point for Activision. However, having Destiny 2 on Battle.net will be great for gamers too.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYxVRWAJnNg?ecver=2]

For one, Battle.net is a better client. Sure, it might not have the Big Picture Mode of Steam, or the sheer number of games on sale, but the desktop and mobile apps are easier to use, sporting an intuitive design that’s slick and stylish. On the other hand, Steam resembles something that would have been cutting-edge in 1995.

If looks or usability aren’t a problem for you – and they probably aren’t for a majority of the millions of users on Steam – there is also the question of policy. Right now, Valve has been clamping down on some of the core features of Steam, such as gifting games.

Gone are the days when you could buy games and store them in your inventory to gift at a later date, nor can you send gifts via email. Valve’s also done away with cross-region gifting, which means games that weren’t available in India – such as those in the Dragon Ball Z series – for reasons such as licensing restrictions, can’t be obtained anymore either.

On the other hand, Battle.net makes gifting easier, allowing you to do so via email. This is not just just limited to games either. World of Warcraft for instance, allows users to gift pets, mounts, items, or even game time. In fact, you can even buy Destiny 2 using World of Warcraft’s in-game currency. The ease of use where it matters is what makes Battle.net a better choice for gamers.

destiny 2 squad destiny_2

Beyond that, while Steam has made strides in customer support over the years, it still trails behind Battle.net. Blizzard has been the gold standard for years thanks to its thorough approach and speedy responses. We’ve all experienced this time and again, after experiences like being locked out of the Battle.net account due to hackers, or simply forgetting the password and secret question. Regaining access usually happens in under a day and is hassle-free. Steam on the other hand, is still figuring out how to serve its users better in this regard.

Much like GOG Galaxy, Battle.net’s treatment of its users is something Valve should take notes from. Steam has its fair share of fanboys thanks to its regular game discounts, but it lags in other departments that are often glossed over. Steam Greenlight for instance has resulted in a seemingly infinite assembly line of cookie cutter games borne out of stock assets bought from the Unity Store. It’s taken Valve the better part of five years to realise the need to replace Steam Greenlight and even then, it hasn’t decided what should take its place.

With Destiny 2 coming to Battle.net, it opens the doors for other non-Blizzard games to as well, which sounds like a net positive for gamers. Sure, you might just boycott Destiny 2 on the PC anyway, but in doing so, you’re essentially casting your vote for the future of PC gaming to be utterly dominated by Gabe Newell and friends, with Steam’s restrictive practises, and poor policies, instead of the PC being an open platform, unlike consoles.

De Beers’ Forevermark brand inscribes its 2 millionth diamond

Diamond jewellery retailer Forevermark, which sells selected De Beers gems, has marked a milestone by inscribing its two millionth diamond — a 3.48 carat round brilliant that now bears a ‘2,000,000’ imprinting.

Less than 1% of the world’s diamonds are eligible to become Forevermark.

The diamond — mined, cut and polished in Namibia — will be set in a piece of jewellery at the Forevermark Design and Innovation Centre in Milan, Italy, De Beers said.

De Beers’ Forevermark brand marks milestone by inscribing 2 millionth diamond

South African Louise Kriek, the 2015 runner-up of De Beers Group’s Shining Light Awards, will be in charge of the design as part of a three-month internship at the Milan centre.

De Beers’ Shining Light Awards support aspiring jewellery design students across Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

The Forevermark brand was launched in 2008 with the promise of diamonds that are rare, beautiful and responsibly sourced. Since then it has expanded to reach 25 markets worldwide.

Last year, De Beers spent $85 million on marketing Forevermark. It sells very unique gems, each of which is inscribed with the brand icon and a unique identification number, invisible to the naked eye.

Global platinum supply likely to fall 2% this year

Overall platinum supply is projected to fall by two per cent year-on-year to 7,330 kilo ounces (koz) in 2017, with both primary and secondary supply expected to decline.

According to the World Platinum Investment Council’s (WPIC)’s publication Platinum Quarterly for the March quarter of 2017, the global demand for platinum is projected six per cent lower (at 7,795 koz) than last year’s demand  but the demand-supply gap has fallen 82 per cent, while above ground stock is down three per cent. India’s demand for platinum in the jewellery sector is rising. WPIC said the demand was highest in 2016 with 11.5 per cent increase to 245 koz. Paul Wilson, chief executive officer, WPIC, said, “India’s jewellery demand is expected to grow even faster in 2017.”

Automotive demands, where the white strong precious metal is used as an auto catalyst in converters to reduce carbon emission, fell in 2016 by six per cent to 165 koz. India’s demand for the metal is five to six per cent of the total global demand, and a chunk of it comes from the jewellery and automobile sectors.  The metal is used in laboratory instruments and also has some other industrial uses.

“The full-year forecast for automotive platinum global demand is 3,405 koz, down from 3,435 koz in 2016. Despite the loss of diesel share in smaller cars in Western Europe and India, diesel is expected to retain much of the medium and larger car market, at least in the short to medium term,” the report said.

About auto sector demand, the council said, “In India, there are signs that automakers are stopping production of the diesel versions of some of their smaller cars, as diesel loses ground to gasoline. However, with implementation of the GST, this may boost consumer confidence and drive up sales, or the confusion may lead consumers to postpone purchases beyond 2017. These downside risks are likely to affect small cars more than larger ones, so the diesel impact is lessened.”

So far as investment in platinum in India is concerned, the market is yet to develop. India may now see some traction because WPIC has tied up with Muthoot Exim, the precious metals division of the Muthoot Pappachan Group, to launch India’s first platinum deity products.

Paul said, “Today platinum investment is an underexploited market in India, but based on the recent history of growth in jewellery and opportunities we are developing with partners in India, the platinum investment market in India has great potential.”

Global platinum supply likely to fall 2% this year

Apple Announces Metal 2, External GPU Support, and Steam VR at WWDC 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Apple revealed the new Metal 2 API at WWDC 2017
  • Metal for VR was announced as well
  • Support for Steam VR, Unity, and Unreal was confirmed too

Aside from announcing macOS High Sierra, Apple at WWDC 2017 revealed the new Metal 2 graphics API which the company claims will make code run 10x faster versus last-gen Metal. Also, Metal for VR was announced as well. There are driver optimisations, indirect argument buffers, and sampler arrays to name a few improvements for creators.

Image result for VR gear

Furthermore, Metal will now support external graphics via a Thunderbolt port with the Metal 2 developer kit that ships with the recently announced AMD Radeon RX 580 GPU.

To drive home Apple’s commitment to creators, the company stated that Metal 2 will support the Steam VR SDK as well as Unity and Unreal Engine. Combined with external GPU support, it means you should be able to use HTC Vive on the Mac.

Does this mean Apple’s hardware will actually work with everything in your Steam library as well as it does on a Windows PC? Not really. But it is a statement of intent. Combined with renewed focus on creators, it could have more than enough to give Microsoft and Oculus cause for concern.

“That is up to Apple. If they ever release a good computer, we will do it,” Oculus founder Palmer Luckey said last year. He went on to clarify the meaning behind his statement and said it’s down to how Apple doesn’t provide high-end GPUs in its computers, which is essential to running the demanding Oculus Rift VR platform.

“You can buy a $6,000 (Rs. 4,00,000) Mac Pro with the top of the line AMD FirePro D700, and it still doesn’t match our recommended specs. So if they prioritise higher-end GPUs like they used to for a while back in the day, we’d love to support Mac. But right now, there’s just not a single machine out there that supports it.”