Dec 29, 18:00

PCGamesN Friday, December 29, 2023 1:08 PM
     Brand-new 9/10 puzzle game is free to keep forever if you're fast

Get your hands on a brilliantly quirky indie puzzler that's only hit the Epic Games Store today. Snakebird Complete resembles an odd blend of Angry Birds and Snake and while it's easy to get into it's surprisingly hard to put down. It's today's EGS giveaway so if you're fast off the mark, you can get it absolutely free.

PCGamesN Friday, December 29, 2023 12:00 PM
     The best Steam games that have literally zero players

It's the year 2123. Half-Life 3 still isn't out yet. In a dark, dusty server farm, two explorers finally break through the wall to the inner chamber. Flashlights dance across strange hieroglyphics, ancient messages etched into the whiteboard - "Dead Space Remake is fire," "I totally ship Astarion and Gale," "lol how mid is Starfield?" Buried amid these decrepit slabs of black plastic and SSD trays, forgotten, forsaken videogames of a bygone empire. Once, they were adored by millions of people. Now, they are abandoned, left to rot in the Steam libraries of gamers past. It might be hard to imagine, a world where Baldur's Gate 3 and Counter-Strike 2 have become but relics. Time, however, is a brutal monarch. Even the best games are eventually left with zero players.

MORE FROM PCGAMESN: Dear Esther system requirements

PCGamesN Friday, December 29, 2023 11:35 AM
     This Steam Award sandbox detective sim is 20% off in the Winter Sale

Shadows of Doubt, shortlisted for this year's Steam Awards, is a sandbox detective sim that gives you a whole town's worth of crimes to solve. Or, if you'd prefer, you can go on the rampage through this procedurally generated, noir-style world. Either way, it's 20% off on Steam and it's not to be missed.

MORE FROM PCGAMESN: The best detective games, The best open-world games, The best indie games

Rock Paper Shotgun Latest Articles Feed Friday, December 29, 2023 1:00 PM

And thus, we arrive at the end of another year. A year filled with some very excellent games, and some very not excellent games. And through it all, the RPS guides team has been quietly toiling away, appeasing The Beast That Is Google with medium-rare slabs of SEO meat, and providing the answers to oft-asked gaming questions.

It's important to me to have a moment in the year where we can step into the light for a little bit and celebrate everything the guides team has accomplished this year. Usually we stay well out of the spotlight, because people only like seeing guides if they're actively searching for it. But today, we're staging a coup. We're taking centre stage, and threatening the lighting technician with all manner of disagreeable bodily experiences unless they keep the spotlight fixed firmly on us for the duration of this post.

2023 has been an amazing standout year for guides. Let's take a look at the games that have defined the year for us, and celebrate some of the fantastic work our team has published.

Read more

Siliconera Friday, December 29, 2023 5:00 PM

Weekly Shonen Jump 2024 6/7 Issue Will Be Delayed In Some Regions

Shueisha announced that the release date for their combined Weekly Shonen Jump 6/7 Issue will be delayed in certain regions in Japan. The combined issue is scheduled to be released on January 6, 2024, but will be released later in select regions due to distribution issues. [Thanks, Game Watch!]

The following regions and prefectures will receive shipments of the Weekly Shonen Jump 6/7 Issue on January 8, 2023:

  • Hokkaido
  • Chugoku Region

    • Tottori Prefecture
    • Shimane Prefecture
    • Okayama Prefecture
    • Hiroshima Prefecture
    • Yamaguchi Prefecture

  • Kyushu Region (minus Okinawa Prefecture)

    • Fukuoka Prefecture
    • Saga Prefecture
    • Oita Prefecture
    • Nagasaki Prefecture
    • Kumamoto Prefecture
    • Miyazaki Prefecture
    • Kagoshima Prefecture

Okinawa Prefecture will receive shipments of the Weekly Shounen Jump 6/7 Issue on January 10, 2024. The social media post announcing the delay for the above-listed regions can be viewed below:

Weekly Shonen Jump is a weekly manga anthology which is published in Japan by Shueisha under the Jump magazine imprint. The anthology has been running since 1968 and has featured popular manga series like Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, Naruto, Bleach, Dragon Ball, and more.

The current series actively running in Weekly Shonen Jump include One Piece, My Hero Academia, Jujutsu Kaisen, Mission: Yozakura Family, Undead Unluck, Me & Roboco, Sakamoto Days, The Elusive Samurai, Witch Watch, Blue Box, Akane-banashi, Cipher Academy, Kill Blue, Nue's Exorcist, Martial Master Asumi, MamaYuYu, Kagurabachi, Two on Ice, Green Green Greens, and Shadow Eliminators.

The anthology costs ¥300 (~$2 USD), and the combined 6/7 Issue will be released on January 6, 2023, in some regions of Japan.

The post Weekly Shonen Jump 2024 6/7 Issue Will Be Delayed In Some Regions appeared first on Siliconera.

Siliconera Friday, December 29, 2023 5:00 PM

Pokemon Friendships Grow in the Adventures of Snorlax & Cubone

The official Pokemon YouTube account shared a brand new Pokemon short called The Adventures of Snorlax & Cubone. The new episode is a compilation of four shorts that were initially released on social media and focused on the growing friendship of Cubone and Snorlax.

The animation is part of a larger campaign called Project Snorlax, which focuses on merchandise, comics, animations, and other promotional materials highlighting Snorlax. Directed, storyboarded, and written by Yoshimitsu Saito (visual effects on Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy, Resident Evil Zero), The Adventures of Snorlax & Cubone shows the growing friendship of Cubone and Snorlax across the four seasons.

The beginning of the short shows Cubone crying alone under a full moon during the summer when suddenly a bunch of mushrooms begin to glow under the moon's light. Cubone is drawn into the forest, where more glowing spores float around, and the Pokemon stumbles across Snorlax, who is eating piles of glowing mushrooms. This interaction begins their unlikely friendship and shows how they start to care for each other.

The animated Pokemon short can be viewed below:

The animation studio behind The Adventures of Snorlax & Cubone is Polygon Pictures. This Japan-based 3DCG company has worked on highly acclaimed properties, including Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Resistance, Love, Death & Robots, and Tron: Uprising. The studio also works on the 2024 Marvel Studios animated Disney+ series, Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

The post Pokemon Friendships Grow in the Adventures of Snorlax & Cubone appeared first on Siliconera.

Siliconera Friday, December 29, 2023 4:30 PM

FFXIV Heavensturn 2023 Items Return Before 2024 New Year Event

Square Enix is bringing back FFXIV Heavensturn's 2023 items just ahead of their annual New Year's event, which begins on December 31, 2023. Players can purchase the Heavensturn Domaru attire and Crane Banner from the Final Fantasy XIV Online Store.

The Heavensturn Attire pack comes with the Heavensturn Domaru, Heavensturn Kote, Heavensturn Haidate, and Heavensturn Sune-ate, costing $5 USD. Square Enix describes this pack as a stylish set of armor made to commemorate Heavensturn in-game and serve as gear fit for adventuring. The armor comes in red and gold but can be dyed into alternate colors.

Images of the pack when worn can be viewed below:

The Authentic Heavensturn Crane Banner is a furnishing item for a house in FFXIV and features a bright, colorful crane design to bring luck to players for the new year. The Crane Banner costs $5 USD. Images of the banner when placed in a house can be viewed below:

FFXIV's Heavensturn 2024 event will allow players to complete the event quest "To Be a Mascot" by speaking to Ryu Metsuke in the Upper Decks of Limsa Lominsa. Upon completing the event quest, players will be rewarded with Ryunosuke, a Chocobo hatchling minion dressed in a small little dragon outfit. This chocobo hatchling minion is perfect to accompany players during the Year of the Dragon. For any players who are interested in obtaining the minion, the quest will only be available until January 15, 2024.

Image via Square Enix

Players will also be able to have their fortunes told by purchasing an omikuji for 100 gil from the Far Eastern Omikujishi as part of the Heavensturn 2024 celebrations in the game. FFXIV's Heavensturn event begins December 31, 2023 and will run through to January 15, 2024. Players can purchase last year's event outfit and banner right now.

Final Fantasy XIV can be played on PS4, PS5, and PC.

The post FFXIV Heavensturn 2023 Items Return Before 2024 New Year Event appeared first on Siliconera.

Siliconera Friday, December 29, 2023 4:00 PM

Psycho-Pass Replica Watch Will Make You Want a Wristlink

Movic will release two Psycho-Pass replica watches based on the Wristlink from the anime series as part of its 10th-anniversary celebration. The Psycho-Pass replica watches will be available for pre-order until January 31, 2024, and are set to release on May 3, 2024. [Thanks, PR Times!]

The two Psycho-Pass replica watches are designed off of the Wristlink found in the anime series, so the face of the watch is meant to give the impression that a hologram could appear. The wristband of the watches can stretch, allowing fans to wear the watch over the sleeve of their clothing or against their skin.

The Psycho-Pass replica watches come in two styles: the Supervisor version and the Executive Officer version. The Supervisor version of the Psycho-Pass replica watch features a sleek silver design with a matte texture. It comes with a single chronograph that measures seconds.

The Executive officer version of the Psycho-Pass replica watch features a glossy black design that gives off the vibes of a handcuff. It has a simple watch face with hour, minute, and second hands. Each watch will come packed inside a box with the logo of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Public Safety Bureau stamped in foil on the top.

Images of the watches can be viewed below:

[gallery columns="2" size="full" link="file" ids="1004723,1004724,1004725,1004726,1004727,1004728,1004729,1004730,1004731,1004732"]

The Psycho-Pass replica watches are made-to-order for every customer who orders one, but additional watches may be sold after production. The watches can be pre-ordered from Animate stores in Japan, Animate Online Shop, and directly from Movic. The watches will cost ¥19,800 (~$140 USD).

Psycho-Pass began airing in Japan in 2012 and finished in 2013. The series is a psychological crime thriller set in a dystopian future where the citizens of Japan have their biometrics and psychological state monitored by a computer network called the Sibyl System, allowing the Public Safety Bureau to apprehend people who may potentially commit a crime.

Psycho-Pass: Providence, the latest movie entry to the anime series, was released in Japan on May 12, 2023, and in North America on July 14, 2023. The Psycho-Pass replica watches will be released on May 3, 2024.

The post Psycho-Pass Replica Watch Will Make You Want a Wristlink appeared first on Siliconera.

Siliconera Friday, December 29, 2023 3:00 PM

siliconera overall game of the year 2023

After a week of PlayStation, Switch, Xbox and PC awards, we're finally here: Siliconera's Game of the Year 2023. Will a platform champ take the crown, or is there a shot for a surprise winner? There's only one way to find out. Come on, scroll down a little bit and see.

These awards represent the consensus of the Siliconera staff. For more of the year's award selections, check out our Game of the Year 2023 archive.

Honkai: Star Rail

Genshin Impact developer HoYoVerse tried its hand at a more traditional JRPG experience with Honkai: Star Rail, and the result exceeded our expectations. It may not have Genshin's fun exploration or interconnected world, but it turns out that the team's truly stellar writing and characterization can carry a game on its own.

Baldur's Gate III

Baldur's Gate III walks a fine line between nostalgia and modernity, not afraid to do things its own way when it serves the game well to do so but ultimately delivering a game that feels within the lineage of the first two games. It's fun with friends and as a collective stream experience, but without sacrificing the enjoyment of quietly playing on your own. But honestly, if we're the first ones telling you about Baldur's Gate III, we'd be surprised.

Siliconera Overall Game of the Year Winner: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

In a year of great games, Tears of the Kingdom earns our Game of the Year 2023 selection by being truly transcendent. The game reaching "new heights" is clearly an indulgent pun and we're absolutely guilty of considering that, but TotK undeniably gets where it does through the luxury of building on its predecessor. The new power suite changes the player's verbs enough that it doesn't feel redundant, and Breath of the Wild's world-building made many players want to return and see how that Hyrule is faring these days. It stands tall on the shoulders of giants, and we all benefit from the view.

The post Siliconera's Overall Game of the Year 2023 appeared first on Siliconera.

Siliconera Friday, December 29, 2023 1:00 PM

Hololive English Advent New Year's

All five Vtuber group Hololive English Advent members will receive new outfits for the 2024 new year. Their new outfits will be themed after the New Year's celebration and will debut on each member's official YouTube channel.

The announcement revealing the decision for Hololive English Advent to receive New Year's outfits was posted on the official Hololive English Twitter (X) account. A teaser video showcasing each new style's silhouettes was released, along with the dates and times for each reveal stream. Each stream is scheduled to go live on January 1, 2024.

See the official announcement and teaser video in the post below:


Here is the complete schedule for Hololive English Advent's New Year's outfit streams:

The members of Hololive English Advent will receive their new New Year's styles on January 1, 2024.

The post Hololive English Advent Gets New Year's Outfits appeared first on Siliconera.

Siliconera Friday, December 29, 2023 12:30 PM

zenless zone zero wallpapers random play

Ahead of the official launch of Zenless Zone Zero, HoYoVerse has shared some wallpapers of the various factions from the game. They are all only available in one resolution.

According to a post shared on Twitter (X), this is to alleviate players' longing for New Eridu. Now that the Equalizing Test server shut down, not even the beta testers can get their hack 'n' slash fix. In total, there are five wallpapers to download, and you can check them out here:

In the Belobog picture, you can see Anton, Ben, Grace, and Koleda. This is an industrial group that mostly focuses on infrastructure and construction machinery within Hollows, and they're eager to regain their previous social standing. The Random Play picture shows the male and female Proxies, which are the main characters you play as. Victoria Housekeeping shows Corrin, Ellen, Lycaon, and Rina. They're able to clean homes and Hollows alike. The Gentle House (Cunning Hares) picture has Nicole, Billy, Nekomata, and Anby. This is the first faction you see in Zenless Zone Zero. Finally, Miyabi and Soukaku star in the Section 6 wallpaper.

Zenless Zone Zero is an upcoming gacha action game from HoYoVerse of Honkai Impact 3rd and Genshin Impact fame. You play as a Proxy in New Eridu, who works as an independent contractor in helping navigate people in Hollows. The world has a futuristic but modern aesthetic, with plot devices like a mysterious AI.

Zenless Zone Zero is in development for mobile devices, Windows PC, and unspecified consoles.

The post Zenless Zone Zero Wallpapers Shared Ahead of Release Date appeared first on Siliconera.

Siliconera Friday, December 29, 2023 12:00 PM

Final Fantasy Sequels

The Final Fantasy series isn't a stranger to sequels, as Final Fantasy X, VII, and XIII each received numerous follow-up entries in their respective franchises. Here are the Final Fantasy games we would like to see get sequels.

Final Fantasy games that deserve sequels

While some of the Final Fantasy games in this list do officially have sequels, it'd be nice to see more entries in these individual series. You can check out our small but compact list of FF games we'd love to see sequels, or more entries for, below.

Image via Square Enix

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

While Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles has a sequel and several games set within this franchise, it'd be great to see the series continue. However, with how the Crystal Chronicles Remastered rolled out, it doesn't seem like we'll get another entry anytime soon.

That said, a man can dream, and if Square Enix rolled out another multiplayer game in the vein of the original, it could probably be a big hit! Playing games together with friends is easier than ever, and who doesn't like to do a little bit of dungeon crawling and caravan wrangling as a group?

Image via Square Enix

Dissidia Final Fantasy

With Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia coming to a halt and NT having no new content updates, it seems like Dissidia's time is over. But Square Enix could use this as an opportunity to reboot the series as a new kind of fighter.

The sequel could even be an Action-RPG where players get to play as their favorite Final Fantasy protagonists in a narrative set in the Dissidia universe. I'd be up for anything at this point, so long as it isn't an egregiously monetized mobile game, just to see the series live on.

Image via Square Enix

Final Fantasy Tactics (Advance)

It's been a hot second since Square Enix has released a tactics-focused Final Fantasy game that isn't on mobile devices. Final Fantasy Tactics deserves another day in the sun, especially the Advanced series. Full of fun, strategic combat, and really well-written narratives, it'd be great to see Square Enix revisit this series to give new and old fans a taste of just how good these games were.

Image via Square Enix

Final Fantasy Origin: Stranger of Paradise

Yes, Final Fantasy Origin: Stranger of Paradise is more or less a prequel game with a story that ends everything neatly. But the game was just so good, and Jack was such a fantastic character it would be great to see more of him in another story.

Given the way that Final Fantasy VII Remake went under Nomura's supervision, it wouldn't be out of pocket to see Stranger of Paradise take a similar route (which I won't share because of obvious spoilers), assuming this action-focused entry in the franchise got a sequel. Which it totally should.

Image via Square Enix


Final Bar Line was definitely one of the best rhythm games I've played in a long time, and it's sad to see the series more or less come to a close. While it doesn't have a unique story, its RPG mechanics melded with so many unique ways to present rhythm-focused gameplay makes it a stand-out in both genres it occupies. These games are also a great way to showcase just how incredible the music in the Final Fantasy series is, outside of being loads of fun.

The post Final Fantasy Games That Deserve Sequels appeared first on Siliconera.

Siliconera Friday, December 29, 2023 11:30 AM

final fantasy vii ever crisis yuffie

Yuffie will appear as a boss in Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis as part of the The Wily Hunter event. It'll start on January 1, 2024, at 12:00 AM JST.

For reference, 12:00 AM JST in Japan would be 7:00 AM PT/10:00 AM ET. It would also be on December 31, 2023, rather than January 1, 2024. So Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis players overseas will, technically speaking, be able to access this content while it's still 2023.

There is a short trailer for the Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis The Wily Hunter event, with Yuffie making a brief appearance. You can watch it here:

In it, the main party expresses awe at the New Year's decorations. Yuffie appears a bit later, talking about what looks like a piece of paper that calligraphers typically write on. There is a brief shot of her in 3D wielding her signature shuriken before the scene ends. Cloud also appears in a new outfit, holding a more traditional katana and wearing an outfit inspired by Japanese aesthetics. More information on the event will appear in the near future.

Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis first came out in September 2023 for mobile devices and in early December 2023 for the Windows PC. It is a retelling of the 1997 version of Final Fantasy VII, as well as all of the titles from the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. It also uses a more traditional ATB system compared to the remake version of the game.

Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis is readily available on Windows PC and mobile devices.

The post Yuffie Will Appear in FFVII Ever Crisis For New Year appeared first on Siliconera.

PC Invasion - FeedDDD Friday, December 29, 2023 5:00 PM
     Epic Games Bandcamp StoreEpic Games has a whole bunch of free games for you to try out and indulge in. I am prone to succumbing to the call of free games thanks to my mobile gaming origins, so overqualified to advise you on the best free games out there. The Best Epic Games Free Games for you to try Below is a list of the best free games that can be found on Epic Games for you to try out. Considering the invisible price tag, there's no reason why you shouldn't try them all out. It'll be easy to convince your friends, also, and they'll have no excuse not to give your recommendations a go, this time. This list isn't ranked, as these games cover all manner of tastes. These are simply the best ones from any genre available on Epic Games. So peruse the list and pick a game, any game. Fortnite Image: Epic Games I know what you're probably thinking. Either you either love the game or renounce it, I get it. I was in the renounce camp as I ...

PC Invasion - FeedDDD Friday, December 29, 2023 12:00 PM
     Wow Pandaria ImageWorld of Warcraft is, without a doubt, the world's most renowned MMORPG. It has transcended the medium over the years and the universe its players have been able to explore has only gotten bigger. Blizzard has given us some memorable moments and gorgeous lands to explore over the years. So, we're going to rank over some of the best WoW expansions below. World of Warcraft Top 5 Expansions Ranked WoW is nearing its 20th anniversary, and with the upcoming World Soul saga announced during Blizzcon 2023, there is no better time to look into the rearview and think about some of the best times within the game. From vanilla World of Warcraft to diving into The Maw and experiencing all that Shadowlands had to offer, players have been through it all within Warcraft, good and bad. However, these expansions are among the best the series has produced due to numerous factors such as end-game pillars, story, and the overall world. We're s...

Gaming Instincts – Next-Generation of Video Game Journalism Friday, December 29, 2023 5:37 PM

Gaming Instincts – Next-Generation of Video Game Journalism Friday, December 29, 2023 4:05 PM

Gaming Instincts – Next-Generation of Video Game Journalism Friday, December 29, 2023 3:17 PM

Gaming Instincts – Next-Generation of Video Game Journalism Friday, December 29, 2023 2:29 PM

Will be like the first-person survival horror game.

The post Jurassic Park: Survival Will Reportedly Play Like Alien: Isolation appeared first on Gaming Instincts - Next-Generation of Video Game Journalism.

Level Up Friday, December 29, 2023 12:00 PM
     With the year almost behind us, it's hard not to look back at 2023 with…

TechRadar's Year in Review: AI revolution, smartphone evolution, and visions of the future

2023 in phones, computing, entertainment and more
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December 29, 2023
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Tech Radar
Welcome to the Year in Review
If I had to sum up 2023 in one word it would be AI. Okay, technically that’s two initials, but let’s not quibble – because there’s no doubt that it provided the year in tech with its main story arc.

Artificial intelligence was everywhere this year, as every company in the world gawped at the massive impact of ChatGPT, and decided they wanted to jump aboard that bandwagon. You could barely move for new chatbots, new image generators, and new AI-enhanced features in every device released in 2023. And there’s no sign of that changing in 2024; in fact, we expect it to be an even bigger deal.

Elsewhere, phones and laptops did much the same as they had the previous year – well, except where they had new AI-enhanced features – so it was in the virtual reality space where bigger changes were afoot. If the Meta Quest 3 was impressive then the Apple Vision Pro looks to be genuinely game-changing, and we can’t wait to see what impact it has in the next 12 months.

Of course we also saw plenty of exciting developments in the TV, audio, wearables, camera, and entertainment worlds this year, and you can read all about them below.
Have a happy new year, everyone! 

Marc McLaren, UK Editor-in-Chief
The Year in AI
AI: our new bestie, or the biggest threat we’ve ever faced?
The AI revolution that began in 2023 is set to gain pace in 2024 (Sdecoret via Shutterstock)
2023 was the year AI grew up and scared the heck out of us, writes Lance Ulanoff, US Editor-in-Chief. At the tail end of 2022 it was barely a toddler – we’d been introduced to OpenAI’s astonishing ChatGPT, but we had no idea of the extent to which that single chatbot, and the large language model behind it (GPT), would define the coming 12 months.
As people pressed the generative AI to understand what it could and couldn’t do, we encountered a whole new kind of tech entity. It was both prescient and incredibly fallible. The term AI hallucinations became a topic of conversation, and a cause for concern. Rarely have we had an innovation that we simultaneously believed would change the world, and also potentially ruin it.
ChatGPT’s stunning success quickly sparked a land rush among competitors and partners. Surprisingly, it was Microsoft that next dove head-first into the generative AI waters, revitalizing its moribund search platform Bing with a deep-tissue infusion of GPT, the LLM behind ChatGPT. As a favored partner of Open AI, Microsoft not only had the latest LLM, it also had a bespoke version.
Meanwhile, Google was seemingly caught flatfooted, without a search-based response to what OpenAI or Microsoft were accomplishing. It rushed out Bard, and paid a price for the lack of care taken. Much later, Google would return with Gemini, a much more powerful generative AI that only stumbled when we learned that the best demonstration of it was, in some respects, staged.
AI wasn’t all about chatbots and words. A collection of image-generation tools arrived on Discord (MidJourney), from OpenAI (DALL-E 2), and in one of the world’s most popular image-editing tools (Adobe Photoshop Firefly).
The takeaway around AI in 2023 was not just its power but its accessibility. Virtually anyone at any skill level can use it, but in 2024, as the technology becomes integrated into consumer electronics, we may finally get an answer to the question of exactly how we’ll use it – or how it'll use us.
The Year in Phones
An infusion of new foldables, and an AI revolution beckons
The OnePlus Open was one of the year's most impressive launches (Future)
This was an exciting year in phones, but you wouldn’t know it if you only pay attention to the biggest-name brands, writes Philip Berne, US Mobiles Editor. While the year's best phones again came from Apple and Samsung, upstart brands like OnePlus and good old Motorola swooped in to show off some of the most exciting new phones we’ve seen in a while. 
I'm talking about the OnePlus Open and the Motorola Razr Plus, both foldable phones – and if you hadn’t considered a foldable before, now might be the time. Of course, you may be waiting for a foldable iPhone, and rumors this year pushed that phone closer to reality, but it may not be part of Apple’s 2024 vision. 
Even if phones didn’t get much better in 2023, at least they should last us longer. Google announced plans to support its latest Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro phones for seven years with major Android updates. Apple has always offered five years of support for its best iPhones, so it’s nice to see Android finally move ahead here. Even the bargain-priced Samsung Galaxy S23 FE will get four years of updates, and hopefully Samsung’s Galaxy S24, which we're expecting to see early in the new year, will get even better long-term support.
The new year is always a time to think about 'what's next', and what’s next in smartphones is AI, even if nobody knows exactly what AI on a phone looks like. Qualcomm showed off its Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which is coming to the best Android phones in 2024, and which is optimized to handle AI tasks; but those tasks haven’t really been defined. Samsung is set to bring AI to its next fleet of phones, so we should soon see what AI on a phone means in everyday terms. 
The Year in Computing
M3 MacBook Pros impress as laptop sales take a hit
Space Black was a new color option for this year's MacBook Pros (Future)
It’s been a bit of a tough year for laptop and computer makers, though this shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise, writes Matt Hanson, Managing Editor, Core Tech. Sales exploded during the Covid lockdowns, as millions of us around the world started working from home and invested in new tech.
Thankfully we’re now a couple of years on from those lockdowns, and life has returned to some degree of normality for most of us – and all those new laptops and PCs we bought are still going strong.
Combine that with a cost-of-living crisis that's affecting many of us, and it makes sense that in 2023 a lot of people held off on upgrading their computers. That’s not great news for laptop makers of course, and most saw sales fall throughout the year. Towards the end of this year we saw companies such as Apple and Intel making moves in a bid to reverse that trend, and those moves are set to continue into 2024.
In Apple's case, it meant launching new M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max chips in October, which at the time felt like a bit of a panicked move by the usually-unflappable company. It had never launched three chips at the same time before, and the new MacBook Pros that launched alongside the chips made the previous M2 MacBook Pros, which had only been launched only at the beginning of 2023, look already outdated.
Meanwhile, Intel and Microsoft doubled down on one of the major computing success stories of 2023: artificial intelligence. Intel has just unveiled its new Core Ultra processors, which come with a neural processing unit (NPU) for handling AI tasks, while Microsoft continues to add AI features, notably Copilot, to Windows 11. In 2024, laptop makers using Intel hardware and Microsoft software will be hoping that the AI hype translates to greater sales as people finally start upgrading again.
The Year in TVs
Samsung knocks LG off the OLED throne
The Samsung S90C was the hot TV of 2023 (Samsung)
Last year we got a rare thing in the world of TVs: a new kind of screen technology, writes Matthew Bolton, Managing Editor, Entertainment. QD-OLED arrived in 2022, but it made only a minor splash; the first TVs with it either had issues, or were extremely expensive. But that changed in 2023 – so much so that Samsung dethroned the long-reigning king of OLED TVs, LG.
The Samsung S90C was the key player in this coup, taking home our TV of the Year award in recognition of how completely it changed the game in the best-selling mid-range OLED TV space. The LG C3 was its main competition, and might have been expected to be our pick as the best OLED TV for most people, just as the LG C2 was last year. But the Samsung S90C was significantly brighter than the LG model, with better sound, and just as good image quality and features – and for the same price.
Samsung didn’t have everything its own way this year, though. Hisense and TCL put real pressure on the company’s more mid-range TVs by making astoundingly affordable mini-LED models that took contrast to new levels for the price. The Hisense U8K and TCL QM8 were the standouts, and both also pack the latest gaming tech.
It all means that things should get especially interesting next year. LG will want its OLED crown back, so we hope it’ll bring its high-end MLA OLED tech from the LG G3 to more affordable models. Meanwhile, TCL and Hisense both plan to push the boundaries of mini-LED tech (and good taste) with TVs that are more than twice as bright as current high-end models. We can’t wait to see them all at CES 2024 in January!
The Year in Audio
Sony's crown slips, and earbuds go solid-state
This tiny, solid-state audio chip is set to revolutionize earbuds (xMEMS Labs)
In a year that saw the launch of the world's first-ever lossless Wi-Fi headphones (a feat we thought Sonos might achieve, but didn't), it might seem perverse of me to lead with a rare loss of form from Sony in the headphones space, writes Becky Scarrott, Senior Staff Writer, Audio.
The thing is, the company's flagship WF-1000XM earbuds lineup has been sitting pretty at the top of the pile for so long now (since 2019 with the Sony WF-1000XM3, to be precise) that when the Sony WF-1000XM5 arrived in July to supersede the five-star Sony WF-1000XM4, the fact that they were only good, rather than excellent, was huge. And the passing of the best earbuds crown to Technics, rather than to Bose, was perhaps even more of a surprise.

In the over-ears market, another fresh face emerged, and promptly trounced the heavy-hitters, with Edifier's Stax Spirit S3 quickly becoming our hands-down headphones of the year, against all the odds.

Any tangible, physical music formats seeing a resurgence this year? Why yes – the CD. Take a gander at the Yamaha 5-disc CD changer, which launched in November, and the high-end Hegel Viking and Arcam's new CD5 (part of a quintet of hi-fi launches), both of which arrived in October.

Oh, and if you remember nothing else from this missive, note the names xMEMS Labs and Creative Technologies. This year the two companies altered wireless audio for good by announcing the first ever solid-state driver earbuds. Back in April, xMEMS Labs unveiled the world’s first solid-state speakers; teeny tiny little devices meant to replace voice coils and magnets, aka the beating heart of our sound systems since loudspeakers were invented over a hundred years ago. And, thanks to Creative Technologies, the tech is coming to a set of earbuds near you, soon… 
The Year in Cameras
Hate it or embrace it, AI imaging is here to stay
This AI-generated image of surfers on a beach at sunset fooled photography contest judges
AI’s presence in the photo and video world has been unavoidable in 2023, writes Timothy Coleman, Cameras Editor. From fooling judges and winning photography competitions to powering the biggest update Adobe Photoshop has received in a decade, not to mention the most capable autofocus systems in the latest and greatest mirrorless cameras like the Sony A7R V, AI is the buzzword this year in cameras, as in so many other spheres.

Wherever you stand on the influence AI has had, and is having, on photography – Leica took an anti-AI step by introducing content credentials in the Leica M11-P, and Sony is set to follow suit – it’s here to stay, and it's transforming how our cameras work. Life behind a camera will become ever easier, with future models incorporating improved autofocus algorithms, better noise reduction, and smarter lens corrections.

On the hardware side we’ve seen some cracking cameras, including the Nikon Z8 and the Panasonic S5 II, although arguably nothing groundbreaking – other than Sony sneaking in at the end of the year with the Sony A9 III. The A9 III is the first camera of its kind to use a global shutter, and we’ll be putting it through our in-depth review process in the new year to find out if it really will revolutionize high-speed and flash photography.

DJI has had a spectacular year, launching the best consumer drones ever. We recognized the improvement in camera hardware by awarding the triple-camera DJI Mavic 3 Pro the top prize as Best Camera Device in the 2023 TechRadar Choice Awards – the first time a drone has won this award.

I think next year could bring some fantastic new cameras, such as the long-rumored Fujifilm X100V successor. It’s also not completely unrealistic that DJI could enter the mirrorless camera space, trickling Ronin 4D tech into a handheld interchangeable lens camera. Expect some new pro sports camera tech too, what with the Paris Olympics taking place in the summer.
The Year in Fitness
Ringing the changes as we close in on peak fitness watch
Smart rings like the Circular Ring will continue to drive wearables innovation in 2024 (Circular)
In many ways 2023 felt like a bridge year of sorts for my fitness beat, writes Matt Evans, Fitness and Wearables Editor. The smartwatch industry, by far the topic I write about the most, seems to be running out of room for growth. Once you’ve put a credit card and an iPod on your wrist, and you're able to monitor every wellness metric under the sun, where else is there for watches to go? 
Garmin now monitors your naps, and Wear OS 4 incrementally improves battery life, but it’s Apple that has led the innovation this year with Double Tap, the first on-wrist, gesture-led controls, and we’re expecting to see similar functionality introduced on more devices in 2024. Apple also made a big push around its new watches being its first ‘carbon neutral’ wearables, although we took a good hard look at the validity of those claims.
While smartwatch growth appears to have slowed, smart rings are just getting started. Many people who are interested in wellness tech conversely also want less connectivity, and smart rings offer the convenience of fitness tracking and NFC payments without emails and notifications. Search volume for terms including ‘smart ring’ doubled in the last 12 months, and with the Ultrahuman Ring Air and Circular Ring disrupting the Oura Generation 3’s hold on the market, and Samsung and Apple both experimenting with the technology, the wearables industry will continue to push in this exciting new direction.
It’s much the same story with e-scooters, e-bikes and running shoes as it is with smartwatches – innovation continues to be incremental. The Cowboy Cruiser e-bike, which I tried this year, is like an iPhone on wheels, a lovely software-driven road-cycling experience, but the tech inside it hasn’t filtered down to more affordable bikes just yet – hopefully that changes next year. 
If you’re looking to invest a little more in your health in 2024, make an appointment with TechRadar during the first week of January, as we’ll be running Get Fit For '24, featuring a raft of content to help you use tech to get, or keep, active this year.
The Year in VR
Meta Quest 3 delivers as Apple’s VR vision becomes clear
The Meta Quest 3 became our new favorite VR headset in 2023 (Meta)
For the past few years VR has felt almost stagnant, writes Hamish Hector, Senior Staff Writer, News. Meta had dominated the space with its Oculus Quest 2 since October 2020, and all who challenged it failed to generate enough buzz to slow down this seemingly unstoppable force of affordability and standalone VR performance. That changed in 2023. 
Admittedly, the Quest 2 killer was Meta’s own Quest 3 – we awarded it five stars in our review – but this new headset is more than just an upgrade. It’s a revolution in the VR space that dramatically improves on the Quest 2’s performance, and adds full-color mixed reality – making a feature I’ve previously called niche and worthless something I now can’t get enough of. 
But Meta would be wise not to rest on its laurels. After years of rumors, we finally saw the Apple Vision Pro in all its glory in 2023. The gadget hasn't gone on sale yet – with rumors pointing to a release date any time between January 1 and March 31 – but when it does arrive, by all accounts it’ll be a gamechanger. Developers are excited for the unique opportunities this souped-up XR headset brings, and our own Lance Ulanoff was blown away by the ability to shoot spatial video on an iPhone and view it on the headset. The only downside is that it costs a (virtual) arm and a leg – the cheapest Vision Pro will be $3,499 (around £2,800), where the Meta Quest 3 is just $499.99 / £479.99.
2024 also saw the debut of the PlayStation VR 2. While it proved a hit with reviewers – including our colleagues at TRG – the Sony headset has fallen into the same trap as its predecessor. Yes, the tech is great, but it's pricier than the competition, and it doesn’t have enough software to keep people engaged. Apple should pay attention – we don’t want to be saying the same thing about the Vision Pro this time next year.
The Year in Entertainment
Netflix cracks down on sharing amid hikes and strikes
Barbie was a bright (pink) spot in an often difficult year for the movie industry (Warner Bros. Pictures)
It’s a huge understatement to say that 2023 has been eventful for the entertainment industry, writes Tom Power, Senior Entertainment Reporter. The past 12 months have been full of ups and downs – mostly the latter, mind you – for studios, the world’s best streaming services, those who work in the sector, and anyone who enjoys watching good (or bad, I’m not judging!) movies and TV shows.
On the streaming front we saw Netflix implement its controversial password crackdown, numerous streamers increase the cost of their various subscriptions, the merger of HBO Max and Discovery Plus into the super-streamer Max, plenty of fury-inducing TV show cancellations, and Disney taking full control of Hulu. Still, at least there were lots of binge-worthy series to include in our best shows of 2023 guide.
The news cycle was dominated by the longest-ever actors and writers strikes, with production on multiple movies and shows affected for months. Movies-wise we experienced the cultural phenomenon known as Barbenheimer, which saw fans flock to cinemas to watch Barbie and Oppenheimer back-to-back in the summer, while The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Five Nights at Freddy’s proved that films adapted from video games can be wildly successful.

It wasn’t all good news at the box office, though, with several Warner Bros. Pictures and Disney films failing to capture viewers’ attention (but there were plenty more fantastic flicks that made it onto our best movies of 2023 list). Oh, and let’s not forget the headache-inducing year Marvel had, with multiple MCU movies delayed, uncharacteristic box office bombs, condemnation of its treatment of visual effect artists, and the firing of Kang actor Jonathan Majors after he was convicted of domestic abuse charges.
Here’s hoping for a calmer 2024 for the entertainment sector, with plenty of top-tier new movies and shows to watch.
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