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We aren’t going to cover the full width and breadth of non-fungible tokens in this article. Suffice it to say, they’re digital receipts for artwork which, importantly, are not actually the ownership or copyright of the art itself, and which can be transferred via the same kind of cryptographic verification as Bitcoin. If you need a crash course on the concept, try this quick video from the Wall Street Journal… or perhaps this more tongue-in-cheek one from Cracked and the inevitable follow-up.

If you’re a fan of NFTs, they’re a revolution in monetizing art. If you’re not, they’re a get-rich-quick scheme trying to make cryptocurrency lightning strike twice, suffering from the same glut of hucksters and thieves that so frequent the crypto markets. NFTs are controversial for a number of reasons: their impact on the environment due to requiring processing power for verification, the tendency of NFT sellers to pump out mass-produced “art” to serve a questionable market (or just steal some and sell it anyway), and the very concept of selling a digital certificate as a commodity and a nebulous type of ownership.

A new kind of microtransaction

What do NFTs have to do with gaming? On the surface, not a lot. Introduced as a means of transferring ownership of specific pieces of art, non-fungible tokens aren’t really compatible with mass media like games, movies, or TV shows. But that hasn’t stopped some developers, both large and small, from trying to get in on the craze — and make a quick buck while there’s an opportunity to do so.

The core idea of implementing NFTs in games seems to be mostly connected to in-game items, typically a skin or item of clothing for the player’s avatar. These at least have something in common with the individual pieces of art mostly pushed alongside more conventional NFTs — Valve was selling community-made items in Team Fortress 2 a decade ago. As with other NFTs, these items can be sold and re-sold on the blockchain. But unlike other blockchain technologies, the fact that said items actually rely on the game itself to both function and hold value means that it lacks the decentralized nature that appeals to so many anarcho-capitalists.

Sega was one of the first well-known publishers to express interest in selling NFTs, registering a trademark for that purpose despite intense fan backlash. In the feverish scramble of 2023, Square Enix, Konami, Fable creator Peter Molyneux, whoever owns the name “Intellivision” these days, and even the makers of NeoPets got in on the action.

Ubisoft is an NFT cheerleader

But by far the biggest cheerleader for NFTs among major gaming companies was, and remains, French publisher Ubisoft. The company became the first major gaming figure to push NFTs into its own game with “limited” in-game items for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Despite intense backlash from both gamers and its own employees, Ubisoft seems committed to featuring NFTs in existing and new games as of the time of writing. Replying to the backlash, Ubisoft made non-committal statements of understanding but refused to back down. Ubisoft recently licensed its Rabbids characters for metaverse market The Sandbox.

Ubisoft

Square Enix is the other big publisher that also seems keen to hop on the NFT train. After an initial sounding of support last year, the company’s president Yosuke Matsuda said at the start of 2023 that they will continue to invest resources into the concept.

All that sounds bad, at least if you’re of the prevailing opinion that NFTs are ill-conceived at best and outright scams at worst. And any casual observer, watching the rise of microtransactions, battle passes, and “live service” games, might assume the worst: That the industry as a whole can’t wait to jump on the latest trend that promises big returns for little to no work. But you’d be wrong. The industry, or at least a refreshingly large chunk of it, seems to be as skeptical of the NFT “revolution” as the rest of us.

Most publishers and developers aren’t onboard

And EA isn’t the only game maker to turn a 180 on the concept. After announcing player-avatar NFTs for the upcoming S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2, developer GSC Game World listened to feedback from the community and reversed its position, posting a terse apology and abandoning “anything NFT-related” in the project.

Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s CEO of gaming, called NFTs “more exploitative than about entertainment.” At the Game Developers Conference last month, an overwhelming 70 percent of developers responding to the State of the Game Industry Survey indicated that they were not interested in non-fungible tokens. Even fewer wanted anything to do with cryptocurrency.

Perhaps the biggest denouncement of NFTs in the entire industry came from Valve. The company banned games dealing in cryptocurrency and NFTs from its storefront Steam in October of last year, shutting off the most pervasive and lucrative means of accessing the PC gaming market. (Inevitably, the Epic Game Store says it’ll take NFT games that Steam doesn’t want.)

No F***ing Thanks

Taking this broad look at the larger players in the industry, along with the general reaction from developers at a whole, gaming seems to be gunshy at the very least towards NFTs and a greater reliance on crypto-fueled aspects. Which is surprising, given that AAA publishers can generally be counted on to try just about anything that might squeeze a few more dollars out of their properties. It’s possible that the NFT craze has risen and fallen so quickly, and been accompanied by so much negative sentiment, that even the notoriously fickle gaming industry is taking a pass. A tangential relationship to cryptocurrency, the cause of so many woes for PC gamers who want a new graphics card, might have something to do with that.

The market for those who want gaming-related NFTs doesn’t seem to be suffering, as plenty of indie developers fill the niche. But the consensus among major developers appears to be forming: NFTs don’t offer anything they can’t already have with existing tools. NFT sales continue strong, but a crash in spending looms over the speculative market, and it may not be long before the nouveau finance types look for the next big scheme. Exceptions like Ubisoft and Square notwithstanding, it looks like we might be able to put aside the fear that NFTs will become pervasive in the gaming world.

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Nintendo’S Dena Deal Is A Bad Sign For The Japanese Video Game Industry

On DeNA

DeNA has been around for a long time, though in days of old it was largely known by the “Mobage” free game portal and auction sites it had for Japanese feature phones. The enterprise gradually expanded, and when the smartphone revolution began, DeNA, along with its rival GREE, were quick to make use of IAP systems to collect cash. The company currently has a market cap of around 210,000 million yen (about $1.73 billion) and a whopping sixty (60) different apps on the Japanese Google Play Store, all of which are free to download.

The “Kompu gacha” system explained in visual form.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with DeNA any more so than there is with its peers. Even the gacha system isn’t unique to Japan. If anything these businesses should be applauded for their almost subliminal way of getting users to spend money on products that are, in theory, totally free. That they can make so much money as a result is simply a testament to ingenuity behind their deceptively simple applications. As for if this kind of business partner is right for Nintendo on the other hand, is another matter entirely.

On Nintendo 

By now most people are familiar with Nintendo, and chances are their memories are (a) from childhood, (b) extremely happy, and (c) filled with love for the company’s venerable IP catalog. Mario and Luigi. Link and Zelda. Pikachu and Ash. Fox and Peppy. Donkey Kong and Diddy. Even the more niche franchises such Pikmin are held in high esteem in the gaming community. As Nintendo has gradually faltered over the years, in part due to arrogance and in part due to its failure to adapt to modern times, even its most staunch critics have exchanged harsh words, out of love for what once was, and out of concern for what might never be. No one wants to see Nintendo die, but at the same time, they don’t want to have to buy Nintendo’s hardware to play the products either.

Long, long ago, these kinds of trinkets were the extent to which most of Nintendo’s marketing reached. This map was actually included FREE with the game no less!

Nintendo, in turn, has been rather adamant about its plans. Despite the fact that its current president has promised to step down several times in the past due to his inability to produce results (i.e. profit), he is still there, and still as questionably competent as-ever. Many saw his decision last year to forgo the mobile gaming community as the epitome of his foolishness, especially given how much money the company stood to make from the revenue. Of course this was before the shameless Nintendo Amiibo toys were released.

To this day, people still ask for their favorite game franchises to appear on their smartphone’s mobile store. Ports or not, they want to game on the go and not be tethered to some antiquated notion of a “handheld console” as Nintendo would seek them to be. Indeed, it’s a fair argument: if the PMP genre has died (don’t tell Sony) in light of integrated media players in our phones, why, then, do we need portable gaming consoles?

What’s all the fuss about?

While DeNA might not be such a household name outside of Japan (or Asia), chances are you’ve heard of similar ventures such as King, which seemingly took the role of last decade’s Zynga. King in particular has been the subject of much criticism whether it’s the bizarre inclination it had to trademark the word “Candy” or the seemingly endless number of editorials that have been written about the manner in which its Candy Crush title becomes exceedingly addictive and compels users to spend on micro-transactions. The fact that it’s all tied into Facebook means that even if you aren’t playing, someone you know probably is, and then you need to log in to help them out.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: A simplistic game that requires massive IAP to fully “enjoy”. And surprise! Fans can’t resist spending.

Perhaps one of the best examples of what “could go wrong” with this partnership is to look at Square Enix and the manner in which it has whored out Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest in recent years. In particular, consider the Theatrhythm series. The games are little more than simplistic rhythm outings that draw entirely on the use of music tracks from the source’s history. The games come with a set number of tracks, but of course more can be downloaded. For a price, of course.

While Nintendo gave this a try with New Super Mario Bros. 2, at least there was a substantial game to offer up, and said IAP content wasn’t the main part of the product. Would you really want a mini-game themed Mario for mobile that requires you to shell out $1 every time you want to unlock something? I’d argue people don’t want to spend money period, but the fact that it’s Mario means they (or their kids) are more likely to do it.

Oops, Nintendo did it again… What the real problem is

Nintendo’s partnership with DeNA is of particular concern because of the very nature of the content itself. Nintendo has already announced the new platform won’t be a place for porting existing titles. The only way to play them is, and will continue to be, on Nintendo hardware. Instead, the strategic alliance is going to focus on making new software with Nintendo’s IP. Two divergent paths spring up:

The Dynasty Warriors-meets-Zelda hybrid was a quality piece of work that Nintendo obviously devoted sufficient resources to.

Optimistically speaking, the future products will be along the lines of such recent ventures as Hyrule Warriors. They will have a large budget and be overseen by key Nintendo staff members to ensure quality and commitment to the core values of the company’s high standards for entertainment. There might be some titles of, shall we say, a more questionable nature, however thinking back to some of Nintendo’s less-than-shining moments, everyone makes mistakes. This scenario will require a lot of time, effort, and money to ensure that top quality games are made.

Realistically speaking, it’s more likely that the future products will be a shameless IAP onslaught that degrade the core of Nintendo’s once-proud franchises. The fact that DeNA was chosen almost suggests this will occur (though the extent to which remains to be seen), as it has such a strong and clear history of free to play titles. What we are seeing now is premeditation; for this to work, Nintendo must be absolved of the repercussions. They have the perfect alibi: DeNA will be blamed for the exploitation of Mario and the shameless way in which he is being prostituted, thus leaving Nintendo off the hook. DeNA, in turn, won’t be held in contempt of whoring out Mario because of a “that’s what we do, what do you expect” type approach. Think about it. It’s the perfect crime. It’s brilliant.

Wrap up

This paring is oddly more apropos to this story than one might think.

To end with an odd parallel, consider Lucasfilm and Disney. In some regards, this situation is a direct parallel: Nintendo is the former and DeNA is the latter. Despite the Star Wars company’s insatiable marketing onslaught, the franchise itself always felt a bit “protected” given that the core was but six movies. No more, no less. Notice, then, how Disney wasted no time at all in its decision to announce an entire series of Star Wars side-stories in addition to the main installments. Because it’s not enough that three new movies will release. Therein lies the core problem with the modern era of marketing: nothing is too much, and yet everything is not enough.

How Has Steve Jobs Changed Your Life? Answers From The Industry

Perhaps the greatest man of our time has died today, Steve Jobs. So many kind things were being said on Twitter…I thought I would ask people how Steve Jobs had changed the lives of those in this industry. Here are some answers:

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Aside from the obvious, (I write this on an Apple MacBook Pro as my Apple iPhone buzzes) Steve Jobs definitely impacted my life. He was a visionary that taught me that attention to detail can make or beak a product, and that every touch point of the consumer should be unexpected and awe-inspiring. Steve helped evolve marketing and product design as a whole, and with it my own thinking.

Samir Balwani

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Alan Bleiweiss

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I worked at Apple from 1987 through 1994, arriving just after his ouster by the board. My employees had a balanced view of Jobs – genius, madman, mercurial, inspirational. I had the opportunity to work with and get to know Jobs’ successor, John Sculley, and always felt that history had short-changed Sculley – the year before Sculley joined, annual revenues were $750 million; the year he left, revenues peaked at $8 billion, sliding to a low of $2 billion during the ensuing period marked by “bozo CEOs.”

Having said that, there’s no denying Jobs succeeded at creating, sustaining and then reviving one of the most innovative, fun, world-changing businesses in human history. I owe him a debt of gratitude – I’ve tried to create and manage companies that mirror the best of the philosophy and creativity he espoused.

Dave Szetela

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Steve’s legacy taught me about competition and why it’s important to keep your mouth shut. He inspired me to strive for simplicity and showed me what real innovation is. He encouraged me to fight for what I want in a product, and if I can’t get it or don’t like it, to start over. Even though I never knew him personally, he has left an indelible imprint on how I approach many aspects of my life and business. I will truly miss him.

Jon Henshaw

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My Steve Jobs takeaways are pretty simple: Passion is mandatory. Mediocrity is unacceptable.

Greg Boser

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Steve Jobs has touched my life in a very deeply personal way. Much of the way I work, play, and communicate is facilitated by either an iPhone, iPad, or iMac. The people I love and care about most are never more than the light touch of a screen away.

Michelle Stinson Ross

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Steve Jobs was always an inspiration to me because of his entrepreneurial journey and focus on design. I realized how important simplicity and design was to a business, while working at PayPal. Every so often I would listen to his Stanford speech as a reminder of not only how great an inspirational leader he was, but like those at Apple say, a great human being. , He was truly an icon of our time, a visionary, and a leader that inspired a generation of technologists and entrepreneurs.

Tony Adam

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He was a visionary. He shared his vision. He moved himself, others, me, and future generations forward. What Ford did to automotive, Steve did to computers and technology. His technology rests in my hands everyday.

Thomas Ballantyne III

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Steve Jobs’ inventions brought mobility to my life. chúng tôi talk shows help me stay on top of Search while bike riding thanks to iTunes. I can handle client needs while traveling thanks to the iPhone and iPad. Bottom line, the world is more “tactile” as we touch and swipe thanks to Steve Jobs!

Dana Lookadoo

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I never understood the thrill of Apple until I received the iPhone when it first came out. Instant love and adoration for this simple thing that improved my life. It made me a convert to the Apple way of life. Thank you Steve Jobs.

Kristi Davis

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Steve Jobs was one of my first gaming experiences. I will never forget The Oregon Trail with broken arms, bouts of cholera, and that one time the thieves stole all of my clothes. Although I turned PC from college onward, I changed my ways. In my grown-up life, the iPhone 3GS, which I was initially fiercely against, became my new love. My Words with Friends and Plants vs Zombies addictions are just a few examples of how Apple stealthily entered my life, and I will never be the same.

Rebecca Jutzi

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To me, Steve Jobs is the epitome of not giving up. He easily could have packed it in when Apple missed the mark early on but he didn’t let failure get in the way of his vision. Love him or hate him, the guy stuck to his guns.

Brian LaFrance

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Steve Jobs taught me how powerful simplicity can be. He’s showed me how to think about the same thing everyone else has thought about, but in a completely different way.

Chase Granberry

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What I admired about him was how his presentation style. It was simple yet visual which was so powerful & profound. He was one of the reasons why I want to do more public speaking / presentations. He mentioned somewhere that when presenting tell a story & let the slides assist you, rather than being the story.

Victoria Edwards

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He made technology easier to learn and access. He also raised the bar with each new product. If anything he was creating products and innovation to inspire the next Steve Jobs of future generations.

Joshua Titsworth

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Barbara Boser

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I never really understood the hype about Apple until I held an iPhone for the first time. I just thought “This is it.” – this was the thing I had been waiting to exist since I was a kid. It was as close to a flying car as I had ever seen. Steve Jobs did what every technologist and marketer aspires to – he built what we wanted before we even knew we wanted it.

Dr. Peter J. Meyers

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I’m pretty speechless.. not sure what I’d really say there, sorry. An amazing man.

Ross Hudgens

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Steve Jobs taught me that you can come from a humble background and make a life for yourself that you can feel very proud of. He finished the race strong and left behind a legacy for others to build on. He also taught me to live my life like each day could be my last.

Annie Cushing

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Steve Jobs made being a geek a good thing. He showed us design matters and tenacity and innovation and perfection will win the day.

Diane Kinney

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If it weren’t for Steve Jobs, I would not have the career I do today. He helped make computers accessible and even cool. SEO wouldn’t be what it is today without the influence of visionaries like him, who truly paved the way to bring computers into the home and pocket. He made geek “cool”.

Michael Halvorsen

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I’ll tell how Steve Jobs changed my life. I am on a flight from Charlotte to Phoenix using my iPad where I learned of his passing online, received your email, sent this response, while listening to iTunes. Nuff said.

Arnie Kuenn

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Man, where to start… Steve Jobs changed my life in so many ways.

Whether he was in the news for leading Apple to another innovation or stifling them with obsessive and suffocating micromanagement, he taught me what it meant to be a leader and what passion really was. Steve cared about every part of the process. He had such a passion for his products that he put his finger in every step of its journey from concept to packaging. He’s an inspiration to entrepreneurs everywhere.

Mitch Monsen

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Steve Jobs has forever changed how a view simplicity. Steve has forever changed how I view what’s really possible with animation techniques (Pixar). But, most importantly,Steve helped alter the way I associate rebellion with innovation: if you’re not doing either, you’re not doing enough.

Anthony Verre

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Not being an Apple user, I still feel the impact of Steve Jobs every day. His ability to take the complex & make it easy to understand & usable for masses has impacted the design of almost every electronic device we touch. With out his vision, people might still be using DOS, and mp3 players would take a science degree master and tablets would still be years away.

His vision & foresight will be missed and I can feel the pace of the technology revolution/inovation slowing down as a sign of respect.

Alan K’necht

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I was living in Italy when Pope John Paul II died. Though not a Catholic, I felt pained that a great man had been taken from the earth. Though not an Apple user, the feeling is very similar today. The company I work for today would not exist without Steve Jobs. I thank him for putting food on my table.

Scott Cowley

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Steve Jobs has had a profound impact on the way I look at problems and how to solve these. Lots of times I would consider a complex solution where Steve would bring me back to simplicity. what a great product & technology visionair!

Dennis Goedegebuure

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For me, it was always about Apple. I have never had a PC. I listened to music with Apple. I watched TV with Apple. I talked to people with Apple. I even started my business with Apple. Steve Jobs is and always will be an incredible inspiration to me, and every dreamer out there wanting to do it for themselves. What a sad day, for us and for his family especially.=

Shaun Anderson

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Through design, technology, innovation, and the drive to consistently push an industry forward, Steve Jobs is a model not just to his peers, but for the world’s generations to come.Steve was, is, and will continue to be an inspiration to big thinkers. The Steve Jobs legacy will live on.

Bernie Prebynski

thank you Steve and I’m sure my kids will thank you in 20 years too.

Olivier Amar

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I’ve been using Macintosh and following Steve Jobs since the early 80’s. I remember watching the commercial made famous “1984” so I went out and bough my first apple… it gave me the belief and hope in myself that anything is possible. Today I’m using my 8th Apple while I cry for a man I never met and for the legacy he left.

Gabriella Sannino

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He changed my life as an adult the way Willy Wonka changed my life as a child.

Andrew Shotland

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Steve Jobs’ products never changed my life. It was his words that did. Specifically his Stanford commencement speech. It was during that speech that my perspective on life changed and the deep motivation to chase after my dreams began. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, that speech can be found on YouTube.

Timothy Carter

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Steve Jobs has made some of the most amazing tools and toys I have ever had the privilege to touch. The iPhone and the iPad are constantly used in my day. I can’t life without them. Every member of my family has an iPhone and we look like dorks when we have dinner because we are all playing with our iPhones. Steve’s genius and creativity has improved my work life, my family life and my fun life.

Melissa Fach

Exclusive Interview With Nitin Garg “The Game Changer Of Mobile Gaming Industry”

Mobile games are one of the fun activities that engage most smartphone users. Technological improvements have taken the mobile game trend to newer heights than traditional games. And this has opened a lot of scopes for enterprises. Converting a game development concept into reality is complex. You must know the mobile Gaming development process to build amazing games. It needs planning, designing, implementation, and distribution of the game on the targeted app store. BR Softech is an IT consulting and solution-providing organization for next-generation business collaborations throughout the world. With a comprehensive intelligence system across diverse industries and domains, we dedicatedly work on the client’s project to turn them into some most successful and high-performance organizations. Sharpen edges through innovation and continuous learning, all these factors turn it into the most promising brand since 2010. Analytics Insight has engaged in an exclusive interview with Nitin Garg, BR Softech PVT. LTD.

Kindly brief us about the company, its specialization, and the services that your company offers.

Our specialization lies in designing and developing cutting-edge mobile game apps, software solutions, and on-demand platforms for Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile platforms. We incorporate the latest technological trends and tools like metaverse, blockchain, and NFTs to create games that are of high value and hard to find. 

Established in 2012, BR Softech offers an extensive range of services such as IoT solutions, voice applications, ready-to-use applications, AI/ML solutions, reality development, metaverse development, cryptocurrency development, and game software and application development. 

With what mission and objectives, the company was set up? In short, tell us about your journey since the inception of the company.

As the early adapters to technological innovations and disruptions, we have made a great impact in the gaming industry by introducing cryptocurrency development services. We have embarked on a journey to transform the industry via Cryptocurrency exchange software, ICO platform development, Blockchain API development, Cryptocurrency token, Security token development, Smart Contracts Development, and Cryptocoin Creation.

Apart from cryptocurrency development, we have also revolutionized the gambling industry by making it much safer, reliable, credible, and more reliable. Our expert team of developers has helped an ‘N’ number of clients from across the world when it comes to game app & web software development. We have provided seamless API integrations, turnkey solutions, and white-label casino software that are highly scalable and appreciated by the global community of gamblers. 

How does the company’s innovative approach help you to strengthen your presence in the existing market?

Our innovative approach and platforms have helped many gaming entrepreneurs, sportsbook owners, and companies including small, medium, and enterprise-level gaming companies. Our live casino software, API integrations, credible payment integrations, and applications have made gambling much safer, and more reliable. By providing multi-currency support, we ensure that all our platforms are accessed by people across the globe. 

We have always believed in innovation and ensure to implement the same by incorporating the latest technologies and tools in all our software solutions and platforms. We have worked with technologies like metaverse, NFTs, and IoT to create high-value on-demand and game applications. 

Kindly share your journey as the CEO of the top-notch IT company

As the CEO of the top-notch USA-based IT company BR Softech Pvt Ltd, I started my journey by analyzing the requirements of the current market for quality games or on-demand apps. Today, the apple or google play store is flooded with an extensive range of applications, but only a few of them are making a difference. In order to help business leaders and entrepreneurs get the best application or software solutions, BR Softech stepped in to take a lead and resolve the same by offering high-quality yet cost-effective development services. 

I believe the dedication and motivation my team and I have towards what we do is the reason why BR Softech was awarded WQC Award 2012, Raj. IT Company Award 2013, Top 5 Mobile App Development Company award, and Fast 50 Indian IT Growing company 2014 for excellent performance and Mobile application development. 

The company is helping global clients from different sectors and industries such as fashion, sports, banking, real estate, music industry, photography, etc. We have always focussed on customer centricity and satisfaction in order to meet their project needs and requirements. We exceeded the benchmark set by clients by offering cutting-edge solutions that were beyond their expectations. 

What makes BR Softech innovative? What are the key partnerships and involvements done to drive the innovation?

By incorporating the latest development strategies, market trends, and disruptive technologies, we have partnered with leading companies like the Bank of Baroda by helping them with seamless API integrations and software solutions that are highly profitable. Moreover, we have partnered and collaborated with leading enterprises like HCL, the Forest Department of Rajasthan, Euroweb, Indiabulls, ePsyClinic, etc. 

What are some of the challenges faced by the industry today? And where are we going from here?

Initially, it was difficult to adapt to new and emerging technologies like NFT, metaverse, cryptocurrency, and blockchain. But soon after the implementation, our developers ensure the seamless integration of these technologies in our development solutions. Moreover, in the initial phase when the tech integrations were very costly, it was very difficult to make a profit. These were the challenges faced by us during the early tech incorporations, but then we worked on the same and resolved them systematically over time. 

What are your growth plans and business roadmap for the next 12 months?

The company is planning to reach wider sections of the industry and expand its horizons with emerging technologies such as metaverse, blockchain, and NFT. As a leading mobile app and game development company, we have always believed in customer satisfaction and centricity. We aim to incorporate the latest market trends and technologies to keep up with the changing customer needs and expectations.

The Dell Xps 17 9700 Has A Charging Problem

The new Dell XPS 17 is drop-dead gorgeous, thin, relatively fast, and has what looks like a potentially show-stopping charging problem.

If you don’t have time to watch the video, you should know that the vast majority of laptops we’ve seen with six- and eight-core CPUs plus GeForce RTX 2060 GPUs feature 180-Watt power bricks using conventional “barrel” plugs. 

Why use a

less powerful

 lighter power brick?

Why use “only” a 130 watt power brick? The answer is less weight and slightly less bulk. That may seem trivial to many, but the XPS 17’s 130-watt brick weighs just shy of a pound (0.9 pounds, to be precise). A typical 180-watt brick weighs about 1.3 pounds, about 30 percent heavier.

Power consumption on a laptop isn’t constant, either. Doing light tasks you might use 40 watts, while a video encode might use 100 watts.

Dell isn’t the first to do this. Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 did it, as have others who used smaller power bricks to enhance portability. For every person who argues a 17-inch laptop like this should be designed to run at 100 percent all day, every day, there’s a person who argues they’d rather have less weight in their bag.

Gordon Mah Ung

The Dell XPS 17 9700’s 130-watt power brick is only slightly less bulky than a typical 180-watt power brick, but it’s about a third lighter.

Here’s where it gets tricky

As chúng tôi found in its testing, and we’ve duplicated in our own review unit from Dell, the XPS 17 9700 doesn’t seem to be able to reach 130 watts from the already under-sized power brick.

We can say we reproduced it, though.

We first trigger Maxon’s Cinebench R20. This particular test is pure CPU and does not touch the GPU. The XPS 15 9500 spikes up to about 130 watts and then tiers down as the work progresses. 

IDG

The XPS 15 9500 is able to draw 130 watts from the XPS 17 9700’s 130-watt power brick.

We then powered down the XPS 15 9500 and plugged the same power brick into the XPS 17 9700. If you look at the chart, the red line again represents wattage consumed at the wall by the laptop. Running Cinebench R20, the XPS 17 draws about 105 watts at the wall. We then started PUBG set to 1920×1080 and Medium quality, and again, we see the laptop will draw no more than 105 units at the wall. In neither of those runs did we see observable battery discharge. 

We then started Quake II RTX and ran the in-game benchmark. Again, we see roughly 105 watts maximum draw from the laptop. With both games, we didn’t see discharge during the short time we ran them.

IDG

We could never get the XPS 17 9700 to draw more than 105 watts from its 130-watt power brick.

We next ran LuxMark 3.0, an OpenCL benchmark that can be run simultaneously on the discrete GPU and the integrated Intel graphics. With this intense workload, we actually did begin to observe a discharge of about 7 watts from the battery during the run. 

Gordon Mah Ung

At best, the XPS 17 9700 will draw 105 to 107 watts from its 130-watt power brick.

To test that we restarted PUBG and let it sit in a few training matches. Using Passmark’s BatteryMon, we then logged the discharge rate of the battery with the game set to 1920×1080, Ultra quality. The screen brightness (which consumes several watts of power) was set to its high setting and, of course, Wi-Fi is on, which also consumes power. BatteryMon reported the battery discharging at about 7.2 watts. The laptop’s performance was set to Optimized for this run, which should technically use a little less power than its Ultra Performance setting.

IDG

PUBG will induce a power discharge from the Dell XPS 17 9700’s battery even when on AC.

This obviously begs the question of just how much the XPS 17 9700 will discharge. To find out, we let PUBG run through four training sessions and then let it sit in at the main lobby, which is a 3D scene. Even if it’s not heavy gaming, it’s still enough to keep the GPU running at its rated draw of 65 watts.

IDG

The XPS 17 9700 will draw down its battery to 23 percent before the bleeding stops.

Why this is happening

We do have a pretty good idea of what’s up, though. As the mantra of the XPS 17 9700 is sleek beauty, you really can’t say that with a serious face while using the conventional and ugly-as-hell round barrel charger we’re used to using with fatter gaming laptops. Hardware reviewers wrinkle their noses at such things, and most people think they’re a relic.

Gordon Mah Ung

The USB-C power brick on the XPS 17 9700 means you can charge your phone or tablet as well your laptop with one charger. The more typical barrel charger is seen mostly as an unfortunate relic today.

For the XPS 17 9700, and the XPS 15 9500, Dell adopts the modern-day USB-C plug. The problem with USB-C and the USB Power Delivery spec, though, is that it’s currently limited to a maximum of 100 watts. That’s just not enough, so Dell does a bit of a “cheat” at the limited power spec by building intelligence into the laptop’s charging circuit and the power brick to let it do a special Dell handshake. If the handshake happens, the power brick breaks spec and supplies up to 130 watts of power. Plug that Dell 130 power brick into a MacBook Pro 16 or HP Spectre x360, though, where they don’t know the special handshake, and the power brick will supply only up to standard USB-PD specifications.

This lower output doesn’t reflect well on the Dell XPS 17 9700’s hybrid design. We suspect that if the brick supplied 130 watts, as was intended, the discharge rates running intensive tasks would be much harder to reproduce. The XPS 17 9700, as-is, is running with 20 percent less power than intended, so even short and simple benchmarks can induce discharging.

Can this be fixed?

The $9,700 question is whether this can easily be fixed. Again, Dell officials are still investigating the power negotiation issue we suspect to be at the heart of this, but the company has made no statements yet.

We believe it’s something that could be corrected by a firmware update to an embedded controller in the laptop. If this ends on a good note, Dell will issue a firmware or UEFI update, we’ll all patch it, and then we can go back to debating the merits of “less weight vs. more wattage” in power bricks.

Far worse, however, would be for Dell to say running an 8-core Core i7-10875H, GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q, 32GB of RAM and 500-nit 4K screen on 100 watts is just fine and within spec.

To us, it’s clearly not.

Dell

The left side of the new XPS 17 9700 features two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a wedge-style lock.

2024 Has Been A Record

On average, the United States sees seven human cases of a mosquito-borne virus called the Eastern equine encephalitis virus each year. In 2023, though, more than 30 cases have been reported—the highest ever on record, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control.

The virus started circulating in Orange County, Florida, in July, and was identified in a group of chickens that researchers use to monitor levels of mosquito-borne diseases in the area. Now, human cases have spread to a number of states, including Michigan, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Indiana, Tennessee, and New Jersey. Still others have mosquitoes or animals that have tested positive for the virus.

“We don’t want to panic anyone, we want them to go out and enjoy Michigan,” says Lynn Sutfin, public information officer with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. But the department is encouraging people in areas with EEEV activity to take precautions: They say to avoid being outdoors at night, regularly apply insect repellent, and wear long sleeves. People should dump out standing water in buckets or small pools, since that’s where mosquitoes lay eggs. The department recommended that outdoor activities be rescheduled so that they take place before dusk, especially if they involve children.

“We’re stressing the fact that yes, it is rare, but it has a 33 percent fatality rate. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and to take precautions,” Sutfin says.

Florida is the only place in the country where EEEV circulates year-round, and any virus present in other states originated in Florida. The virus is carried by a type of mosquito called Culiseta melanura, and during its life cycle, it passes from birds to mosquitoes and back again. Culiseta melanura mosquitoes don’t bite humans directly—instead, they can pass on the EEEV virus to other types of mosquitoes that do interact with people.

The cause of the surge in cases this year is still unknown, but there was a lot of virus activity in Florida last year, says Thomas Unnasch, an expert in EEEV and distinguished professor in the College of Public Health at the University of Southern Florida. “More virally infected birds may have been able to make the trip north, resulting in the bad year the Northeast is seeing now,” he wrote in an email to Popular Science in regards to the uptick seen this fall.

Going forward, like all viruses transmitted by mosquitoes, there’s a risk that EEEV could have a bigger impact under a warmer climate. The number of annual cases may start to creep up. “I would not be surprised at all to see that happening,” Unnasch says.

The changing climate makes environments more accommodating for people-biting mosquitoes, says Sadie Ryan, a professor in the department of geography and Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida. Research shows that the range of mosquitoes, and the range of mosquito-borne diseases, is likely to expand under a warming climate: hotter, wetter temperatures are generally beneficial for mosquito life cycles. That might make it more likely for people to come in contact with mosquitoes carrying EEEV. “We could see more of that bridge happening,” she says.

Culiseta melanura mosquitoes that carry EEEV thrive in swampy, isolated areas, Unnasch says, and warming temperatures north of Florida could expand the region they transmit the virus in. “It could expand the range,” he says.

Some migratory birds also carry EEEV, which is why it can appear in swampy areas of states like New York and Massachusetts. It usually doesn’t linger for longer than a few years, though, Unnasch says. “The virus gets introduced, it bumps along for four or five years, and then a severe winter will kill mosquitoes and block the transmission of the virus.” However, if warming climates up north mean that winters are less severe, the virus might be able to carve out a more permanent foothold in those places, he says. “It may actually become much more strongly established.”

Hurricanes are made more severe by warming temperatures, but those changes might actually hurt EEEV-carrying mosquitoes, notes Unnasch. In the Florida panhandle, for example, Hurricane Michael knocked down trees in the swamps that served as a habitat for Culiseta melanura. However, uprooted trees leave behind water-logged hollows. “Those could be wonderful habitats, once they’re able to repopulate,” he says.

In addition, urbanization in places like Florida can intersect with climate change as it brings people’s homes and workplaces into closer contact with wild areas, including swamps where mosquitoes thrive. It may make spillover between animal reservoirs of a virus and people more common, Unnasch says.

While there’s evidence of general trends in mosquito activity in a changing climate, there are still a lot of unknowns about the ways EEEV transmission, specifically, might change. That’s likely in part because it’s so rare, Ryan says: It’s hard to find out about things that don’t happen very often.

However, because the disease is so dangerous, it’s good to be aware of the possibilities, she says. “Human cases are rare, but human cases are so bad. It’s useful to be alert to what could change.”

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