Imagine being trapped in a commercial hell where the only escape is your voice. Who would cook something like that?
According tweet (opens in a new tab) viewed over 18 million times, it was a brilliant idea from Sony. I almost spat when the tweet showed up in my feed. This is not a full patent, just an illustration from one that shows someone sitting on a couch watching a TV show where one person shoots someone else (weird to have such unnecessary violence in a patent). The McDonald’s ad, represented of course by a giant hamburger, appears on the screen with the message “Say ‘McDonald’s’ to end the ad.” The TV viewer enthusiastically jumps to his feet and shouts “McDonald’s” before returning to the on-screen violence.
This if look like someone ends an ad with their voice. But that’s not the whole story.
Sony owns a patent that would force viewers to shout the brand’s name during commercials to end them. pic.twitter.com/DC3rcKvzlLJanuary 9, 2023
I was intrigued by the complete lack of context around the tweet and the patent drawing. Where did this image come from? After reviewing hundreds of patents over the years, I was convinced that this was in fact a genuine patent drawing (which doesn’t mean someone couldn’t intentionally draw something to imitate it).
I decided to investigate if this was from a real patent. It’s not so simple. According to my friends at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, there are over 11.5 million patents (not counting the patents lost in the fire of 1836).
The US Patent Office has search engine (opens in a new tab)but it doesn’t always make it easy to find what you need. I tried searching for “Sony” and “Ads” but couldn’t find anything resembling this patent or image.
I switched to Google and searched for “brand name Sony End Commercials”. The first result was for a popular tweet. Thanks, Google.
Scrolling down, however, I noticed articles from 2014 2013 (opens in a new tab). They all emphasized the same image and offered the same lack of context. on reddit, picture post (opens in a new tab) was removed by the moderators because it “had no proof/source”. Nobody seemed to know where to find the original patent.
But it turns out there is proof and a source, and I found it on Google Patents. The frequently shared image is just one of 21 images from Patent No. US8246454B2 (opens in a new tab)“A system for turning TV commercials into interactive online video games” by inventor Gary M. Zalewski.
Sony applied for a patent as early as 2009. The application was granted in August 2021.
The patent is not supposed to trap consumers in a commercial hell until they jump up and shout the brand name. Here is part of the summary:
“In one broadcast or streaming method, the ad is accompanied by an interactive segment. A media player connected to a broadcast or streaming source identifies the existence of an interactive segment and presents the user with an enhanced and interactive mini-game ad that can be played with other “viewers” in a common or dispersed demographic.”
Based on the description and images, this patent is for interactive and practical advertisements. You could play games there and even order products. In one illustration, the system shows a TV connected to both a “Media Streaming Computer” and a PlayStation (looked like a PS3). The game console connects to an interactive commercial service, which then communicates with the advertiser or one of nearly a dozen networks, including NBC, CBS, Hulu, and, yes, MySpace.
Each parent illustration, or “Drawing” as it is called in the patents, has a small caption. Here is how the key image is described.
“FIG. 9 depicts a user interacting verbally with an advertisement, according to one embodiment.”
I know there’s nothing else.
However, the more detailed description of the patent explains exactly what is going on in this illustration, and it’s even weirder than I thought.
I won’t post the whole description here because it’s too long and clearly written by someone who has no interest in elegant prose. Instead, I’ll list the steps:
Someone is watching a movie
The video’s progress bar shows that an ad break is imminent (something you see on services like Hulu these days).
The ad begins
It is interactive and triggers the on-screen message “Tell McDonald’s to end the ad”
The viewer says “McDonald’s (we will never know why he decided to jump up and raise his hands).”
The viewer’s words are recorded by a microphone in the TV
Voice recognition readers answer
The system skips the rest of the advertisement
The viewer resumes watching the show
The viewer may receive a prize or voucher from a commercial sponsor, McDonald’s
The only downside is that it’s not about trapping anyone in an endless loop of ads, but about inducing user engagement with a carrot of possible reward. That is, I joyfully shouted: “Subway!” or “Cialis!” to end the ad sooner.
And that’s the key. It was never an invention to create a Morbius ad bar that could only be left if you spoke up. It was partly an interactive incentive system, perhaps the first in the history of live television broadcasts.
I sent inquiries to Sony and the inventor to find out more about the status of this patent. If I get back to you, I’ll update this story.
It’s always fun to post, share, and laugh at these individual photos, but it’s just as important to remember that they rarely, if ever, tell the whole story. For me, the patent is now much more interesting, if even a little weirder.
I really can’t wait for all of us to shout our best TV of 2023 with a real purpose.
The global PC market has seen a marked decline amid economic concerns on a global scale in 2022, according to new analyst data.
Latest numbers from Channels says total worldwide desktop and notebook sales fell year-on-year to 285 million, down 16% from 2021.
However, the high of 341 million in 2021 was higher than every year before up to and including 2013 – a period in which global shipments fell to an annual low of below 261 million in 2018.
PC sales in 2022 and earlier
More broadly, the figures for 2022 were higher than before the 2019 pandemic, representing similarly steady growth as in the years leading up to 2019.
This has led some to believe that the figures for 2020 and 2021 have been artificially inflated as a result of many people’s sudden demand for working from home or hybrid work, meaning companies have been forced to invest in more mobile infrastructure.
Lenovo topped the charts in the last quarter of 2022 with 15,470 laptops and desktops sold, down 28.9% from the fourth quarter of 2021. HP and Dell followed in second and third with both a 29% and 37.2% decrease, respectively.
While overall PC shipments in the fourth quarter fell by an average of 28.7% in 2022 compared to 2021, it is clear that some companies were better off than others, with Dell at the worse end of the scale.
While Apple saw a less significant decline, it was still down 7.5% year-on-year, bringing total Mac shipments to 7,229 in Q4 2022. Overall, Apple PC shipments fell 6.2% for the full year .
Looking ahead, it is difficult to say whether the numbers will return to pre-pandemic lower levels or decline less sharply. While there is always the possibility that even more computers will be sold in 2023 than the year before, at least for now, the tough forecasts make the future look quite uncertain.
A large spoofing campaign aims to distribute Vidar’s information theft tool to as many endpoints as possible.
A cybersecurity researcher at SEKOIA, going by the pseudonym crep1x, discovered the campaign and raised the alarm on Twitter. In a short Twitter threat, the researcher said he had uncovered over 1,300 domains all impersonating major software brands to push malware (opens in a new tab).
Brands impersonating this campaign include AnyDesk, MSI Afterburner, 7-ZIP, Blender, Dashlane, Slack, VLC, OBS, and cryptocurrency trading apps. All these impersonating brands lead to the same website, an AnyDesk clone.
Theft of passwords and cryptocurrencies
For the uninitiated, AnyDesk is a remote desktop application that gives users remote access to their personal computers and allows them to transfer files and use them as a VPN.
Victims who visit these websites and attempt to download the application are redirected to the Dropbox folder where the Vidar information stealing tool is located. A variant of the Arkei infostealer, Vidar, is capable of stealing credit cards, login details, files, and downloading screenshots. It is also capable of stealing cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or ether from the victim’s hot wallets (software wallets).
According to BleepingComputer, which reported the crep1x findings earlier this week, the campaign is still active and many of the typosquat domains are still active. Some have since closed. Dropbox has also been notified of its services being used to distribute malware and has since removed the link.
However, given that all malicious sites point to the same place, cyber criminals can easily survive by simply updating the download URL.
The best way to protect against such attacks is to be extra careful when downloading software and to ensure that your applications come only from verified sources. That said, going to the AnyDesk website (as opposed to clicking on a supposed AnyDesk link in an email or social media post) is a good place to start.
Google is currently releasing a stable version Chrome 109 for desktop and mobile as it adds new features. However, these features are dependent on third-party developers to implement them.
The the update gives developers (opens in a new tab) new tools to improve the interactivity between their software and the browser. Conditional focus (opens in a new tab) is added, which will allow the video conferencing app to decide if it wants to focus on a tab or window when screen sharing starts. If developers don’t want either, they can set the capture page as the main screen instead. In a similar way to how Zoom already does, the browser will also be able to mute audio in a video call so people don’t have to mute their microphone. The main difference is that Chrome’s sound suppression seems to work with all video conferencing apps as long as the developers have tweaked their software to support it.
In Chrome 109 on mobile devices, the browser now works with the experimental Secure Payment Confirmation (SPC) standard, allowing users to use their phone’s biometric screen unlock feature to verify payments. Instead of going through multiple sites to verify your identity, you can just use your fingerprint (opens in a new tab). This feature relies on banks, credit card issuers and payment platforms to implement SPC in their software, so it may take some time before it gains widespread support.
Other notable developer-oriented features, such as new CSS values, can be found on the site Chrome developer blog (opens in a new tab).
The Chrome 109 update package includes some first page changes (opens in a new tab) that will appeal to the everyday user. If the browser detects that you have downloaded something potentially malicious, it will offer a more detailed explanation as to why it stopped downloading. For example, a warning will clearly let you know if a file contains malware that can potentially steal information from your social media accounts. The “From the Web” feature that tells users about a specific website has been changed to “About This Site”, making its function more obvious.
17 security fixes (opens in a new tab) are present in Chrome 109, but most of them are not terrible. Most are patches for some poorly implemented components, such as the fullscreen API and permission prompts, for a smoother experience. It should also be mentioned that the so-called latest version of Chrome (opens in a new tab) for Windows 7 and 9.1 Going forward, there will be no more updates or security patches.
As for the rest of the features, they’re all experimental, which means their quality will be a bit questionable. The Material You theme is present in Chrome for desktop, allowing you to change the appearance of the browser on the New Tab page. However, it seems to be fully functional only on canary channel (opens in a new tab); a special version of Chrome where users can try experimental features. There is also a Save Tab Groups option to transfer tab groups from one version of Chrome (Windows, Mac or Linux) for use on other operating systems. You can try out these and other features for yourself by typing “chrome://flags” in your browser’s address bar after updating.
Google warns that trying experimental features may compromise the security of your browser. For this reason, we recommend checking The best antivirus software for 2023, so you can safely use the features without compromising security.
The extensive Hisense stand at ul CES 2023 was full of TVs – unlike some other brands, it displayed the full lineup for 2023, with detailed specifications for each series. All sets should be available in the spring, which is the time when manufacturers usually introduce new TVs.
Last year, Hisense introduced its first mini-LED models, U8H serieswhich is on our list best 4K TVs thanks to great performance in relation to the price. In 2023, the company will use mini-LED backlighting across its range of premium ULED (quantum dot) TVs, with prices starting at under $500 / £410 for the 50-inch model. Along with mini-LED backlighting, each series will take advantage of Google TV’s smart interface and offer gaming-focused features, including refresh rates up to 144Hz, VRR, ALLM, and FreeSync Premium Pro on all but the entry-level U6K. All sets will additionally support Wi-Fi 6E for high-speed streaming, as well as Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ high dynamic range formats.
Something interesting for American viewers is built in ATSC 3.0 tuners found throughout the Hisense line. Expect to see more TVs in 2023 that support this next-generation broadcasting standard, which includes support for 4K video with HDR audio and Dolby Atmos, among other features. But of the new TVs announced at CES 2023, so far only LG has confirmed that their flagship G3 4K and Z3 8K models will have built-in ATSC 3.0 tuning.
The ULED X (shown above) is Hisense’s 2023 flagship TV. Available only with an 85-inch screen, it is backlit with more than 20,000 mini-LED modules. Over 5,000 local dimming zones and a 16-bit lighting control algorithm improve contrast and shadow detail, with a maximum brightness of 2,500 nits. The ULED X also has an ultra-low reflective screen and a 30% wider viewing angle than standard LED-backlit TVs – a first for Hisense and something I was able to appreciate when I saw it in person at CES.
The limited edition ULED X has the most advanced built-in audio system to come on a Hisense TV: 4.1.2 channels, with over 80 watts used to power the set’s seven speakers.
Last year’s U8H series paved the way for Hisense’s expansion to mini-LED, and the new U8K models for 2023 double that technology with over 1,000 local dimming zones. Peak brightness is listed as 1,500 nits, but if the super bright U8H model we tested in 2022 is any indication, it will prove to be a conservative specification.
Available in screen sizes from 55 to 85 inches (last year’s U8H series peaked at 75 inches), the U8K series TVs will feature a low-reflection anti-glare screen. The built-in 2.1.2 audio system with up-firing speakers is another new addition that allows you to listen to Dolby Atmos soundtracks without a separate soundbar. The U8H series also offers IMAX Enhanced and Filmmaker picture modes – two other features available across Hisense’s entire 2023 line of mini-LED TVs.
Last year’s U7H series featured standard LED backlighting, but this has been fixed this year with the U7K series featuring mini-LED backlighting across all screen sizes and up to 500 local dimming zones with a specified peak brightness of 1,100 nits. The U7H series will be available in screen sizes from 55 to 85 inches.
Available in sizes from 50 to 85 inches, the U6K series will be Hisense’s high-performance quantum dot models. They will also be affordable for mini-LED-backlit TVs, with the 50-inch version retailing for less than $500. The U6K series will offer many of the same features found higher up in the Hisense TV lineup, with the main difference being that the display panel is limited to over 200 local dimming zones and a 60Hz refresh rate.
Microsoft is implementing a centralized notification channel for its Microsoft365 set with Office software which it says will provide a “mix of relevant content” for content users access or will be made available to them.
Quiet announced (opens in a new tab) as part of the Microsoft 365 roadmap for December 2022, which is scheduled to launch in January 2023, the feature, dubbed Microsoft Feed, is no doubt part of the effort to make collaboration software they have more, well, a sense of cooperation.
The news comes shortly after a separate announcement on the company’s website annual Ignite event in October 2022 (opens in a new tab) that the Microsoft 365 platform is being moved to a single desktop and mobile application, which will undoubtedly greatly facilitate the work of creating the impression of an ecosystem.
Collaboration features for businesses
Microsoft also used this year’s Ignite event to announce that its My Content hub, which collects all of a user’s documents in one tab regardless of what 365 app they were designed in, is now available to all users.
Despite the fact that both Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace are market leaders when it comes to workplace collaboration tools, the intuitive, centralized hub across the suite seems easier said than done for both companies.
Despite the progress, Microsoft for its part seems more committed to offering only the truth centralized tools and interfaces CEOs and IT administrators.
Google itself seems to focus on cleaning up the UI on individual Workspace apps rather than a centralized experience. some update for google drive for example, in June 2022, it made file sharing easier by putting options in one centralized panel.
Microsoft may want to take advantage of Google’s inactivity and convince users who are still hesitant about workplace collaboration software by offering an offering that is simply easier to use. His latest series of previews can certainly give them an edge.
In what may be the last flagship phone launch in 2022, Oppo unveiled both the Find N2 and Find N2 Flip – Oppo’s foldable rivals for the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4.
That said, while the phones have been unveiled, this launch was for China only, so some details regarding global availability and pricing have yet to be confirmed – although we do know that at least one of these phones will be sold more widely.
However, we do know the full specs of both phones, so read on for all those details and more.
To the point
What is this? Latest Oppo foldable phones
when is it coming out? Now in China, early 2023 worldwide for Flip
How much does it cost? Unclear, but expect a high price
Release date and price of Oppo Find N2
The Oppo Find N2 series was unveiled on December 15, 2022 during the company’s annual Inno Day event in China. This launch is only for China, but we do know that the Oppo Find N2 Flip will be launched on a larger scale – including in many parts of Europe – in the first quarter of 2023. In other words, somewhere between January and the end of March.
However, the Oppo Find N2 doesn’t appear to have the same wider distribution, so if you were hoping to buy the company’s Z Fold rival, you might be out of luck.
We don’t have pricing details for the Find N2 Flip yet, but leaked by @UniverseIce he said (opens in a new tab) it won’t cost more than the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 which starts at $999.99 / £999 / AU$1,499.
Oppo Find N2 design and display
The Oppo Find N2 Flip looks very similar to the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Motorola Razr (2022) and other foldable flip phones. So it has a normal smartphone-sized foldable screen, which when folded reduces the phone to a small size.
However, where rival phones have small displays, the Oppo Find N2 Flip is a larger 3.26-inch 382 x 720 AMOLED screen. It’s big enough to display six notifications at once, for example. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 has only a 1.9-inch display.
The foldable screen on the Oppo Find N2 Flip is a 6.8-inch AMOLED with a resolution of 1080 x 2520 with a refresh rate of 120Hz, HDR10+, a peak brightness of 1600 nits and 403 pixels per inch.
Oppo also claims that thanks to the improved hinge, the Find N2 Flip has an almost invisible crease on the foldable screen.
In total, the Find N2 Flip measures 166.2 x 75.2 x 7.5mm when unfolded and 85.5 x 75.2 x 16mm when folded and weighs 191g. Black, gold and purple shades are offered in China, but it is possible that not all of them will be sold worldwide.
The standard Oppo Find N2 looks more like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, with a large 7.1-inch foldable AMOLED display with a resolution of 1792 x 1920 and a refresh rate of 120Hz.
Fold it up and you’re ready to enjoy an external 5.54-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2120 with a refresh rate of 120Hz.
The Find N2 has a lightweight design, weighing just 233g if you get the black vegan leather finish. It also comes in green and white versions of Gorilla Glass Victus, which are almost as light at 237g. By comparison, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 weighs 263g.
Oppo Find N2 camera and battery
Oppo Find N2 Flip has a 50 MP f/1.8 main camera and an 8 MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera with a 112-degree field of view. It also has a 32MP f/2.4 selfie camera, though of course as a foldable phone you can use the main cameras to take selfies anyway, with the cover screen used to set the shot.
As for the battery, it’s 4,300mAh – making it much larger than the batteries in other foldable flip-flops, and it charges at 44W.
The standard Oppo Find N2 has a triple camera with a 50 MP f/1.8 main sensor, a 48 MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle and a 32 MP f/2.0 telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom. It also has two 32MP f/2.4 selfie cameras – one on each screen.
Its battery is 4520 mAh and charges at 67 W, which allows you to get from zero to 100% in about 42 minutes.
Oppo Find N2 specs and features
The Oppo Find N2 Flip has the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus chipset, which is one of the most powerful chipsets of 2022, but less powerful than the new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 2 that we’re likely to see in many 2023 phones.
The phone comes in three configurations – one with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, one with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, and one with 16GB RAM and 512GB storage, although we may not see all launched globally.
It also supports 5G, has a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, and runs Android 13 with the Oppo ColorOS 13 interface, just like the standard Oppo Find N2.
Speaking of the Oppo Find N2, which has the similarly powerful Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset and comes in two configurations – one with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage and the other with 16GB RAM and 512GB storage.
It also supports 5G and has a side fingerprint sensor and dual stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos technology. Overall, it looks like it could be one of the best foldable phones out there, so it’s a shame that only the Flip is likely to go global.
Apple has expanded its self-repair program to cover more devices, opening it up to some Macs with the M1 and Apple Studio Display.
The self-service repair scheme allows device owners to make their own repairs by providing the right parts, instructions and tools for the purpose. However, you have to be very confident when tinkering with the gadgets to do these repairs basically.
As Six colors (opens in a new tab) mottled (via Edge (opens in a new tab)), from now on, users will be able to self-repair iMac (M1), Mac mini (M1) and Mac Studio, as well as Apple Studio Display, in addition to devices already covered by the scheme (i.e. MacBooks and iPhones).
As you may recall, Apple recently expanded the horizons of its self-repair program to Europe (including the UK), as it was initially a US-only venture. Unfortunately, the new devices described above are not warranted in Europe and are currently only usable by US citizens.
Analysis: many more options (but some expensive repairs)
Of course, this is a positive step forward on the PC front for Apple as, as mentioned, when it comes to computers, previously only MacBooks were covered by the scheme.
Presumably, it’s only a matter of time before Apple expands the range of these various Macs (and display) to Europe. The self-repair program only arrived in Europe after just over half a year, so we can hope to see this expansion go live in less time.
As we mentioned above, this is definitely aimed at tech-savvy Apple device owners as some of the procedures will actually be quite tricky even with full instructions and proper tools provided. (By the way, these tools can be loaned to you, you don’t have to buy them.) For many people, the most sensible route will be to have an Apple (or an authorized service provider) repair it.
Some DIY repairs can also be expensive. As The Verge points out, if it’s the screen on your Studio Display that needs replacing, a new one costs nearly $970, although you get a hundred bucks for returning the broken screen to Apple. It’s also worth noting that it’s apparently possible to replace the tilt-only stand with a tilt-and-height model, and the Studio Display repair manual details the procedure anyway (or swap one for a VESA mount or vice versa).
Researchers have revealed that a new vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange is being used to attack servers and deliver remote access tools and remote administration software.
CrowdStrike cybersecurity experts stumbled upon a new exploit chain while investigating a Play ransomware attack. Upon further analysis, the exploit chain was found to bypass the ProxyNotShell URL Rewrite Mitigation, allowing cybercriminals to have Remote Code Execution (RCE) privileges on targeted endpoints (opens in a new tab).
They named the exploit OWASSRF and explained that the attackers used Remote PowerShell to abuse vulnerabilities tracked as CVE-2022-41080 and CVE-2022-41082.
Privilege escalation on Exchange servers
“It turned out that the relevant requests were made directly through the Outlook Web Application (OWA) endpoint, indicating a previously undisclosed method of exploiting vulnerabilities in Exchange,” the researchers explained in the paper. blog post (opens in a new tab).
When Microsoft first discovered CVE-2022-41080, it rated it “critical” because it allowed remote privilege escalation on Exchange servers, but also added that there was no evidence that the vulnerability was exploited in the wild. Therefore, it is difficult to determine if the vulnerability was abused as day zero even before a patch was available.
However, a fix is available, and all organizations with on-premises Microsoft Exchange servers are recommended to apply at least the November 2022 Cumulative Update to stay secure. If they cannot apply the patch at this time, it is recommended that you disable OWA.
CrowdStrike believes attackers exploited this vulnerability to deliver Plink and AnyDesk remote access tools, as well as ConnectWise remote administration software.
Microsoft Exchange servers are a popular target for cybercriminals, but the company is well aware of this and implements various solutions to ensure the security of its customers. Among other things, it announced that it will permanently disable Exchange Online Basic Authentication in early January 2023.
“In early January, we will be sending Message Center posts to affected tenants approximately 7 days before making a configuration change to permanently disable basic authentication for scoped protocols,” the company said. “Shortly after you permanently disable Basic Authentication, all clients or applications that connect using Basic Authentication to one of the affected protocols will receive an Invalid Username/Password/HTTP 401 error.”
For years, Microsoft has been warning users that Exchange Online’s basic authentication will eventually be phased out and replaced with a more modern authentication method.
Final Fantasy 16 now has a full release date, and thankfully, it’s not too far away. In fact, you’ll be playing Final Fantasy 16 in June 2023. This is the first main entry since 2016’s FF15 and features a completely different vibe and art style. This time everything is based on medieval Europe. So all swords, shields and locks.
If you’ve been following all things Final Fantasy 16, you’ll know that this is a completely different beast than its predecessor. This is of course nothing new as each entry in the series often changes everything from combat to visual style. This time we are heading to Valistea, a world divided into six nations.
To stay up to date, everything we know about Final Fantasy 16 so far can be found on this page. As new information becomes available, you will find it here. For now, here’s when Final Fantasy 16 will be released, what platforms it can be played on, and the latest news about the game.
Final Fantasy 16: get to the point
What is this? Another title in the Final Fantasy series for single player
When can I play it? June 22, 2023
On which can I play it? PS5 (PC may go)
Final Fantasy 16 release date and platforms
Final Fantasy 16 will debut on June 22, 2023 on PS5. This was confirmed at The Game Awards 2022 with a brand new trailer. That puts it among some stiff competition, given that Diablo 4 has just revealed a June release date as well.
Sony has now confirmed that while Final Fantasy 16 is indeed a PS5 exclusive, it’s only for 6 months. It will probably be announced soon on PC platforms. This information was included in latest trailer. (opens in a new tab)
Final Fantasy 16 trailers
Revenge Trailer shown at The Game Awards 2022 During The Game Awards 2022, a new trailer for Final Fantasy 16 was shown. It focused around Clive, the main character of the game. It’s mostly a movie, with a bit of gameplay spread evenly throughout. You can watch it below:
An ambitious trailer The ambitious trailer for Final Fantasy 16 focuses on the plot of the Final Fantasy world of Valisthea, its realms and powerful eicons at its epicenter. The trailer also introduces us to the Dominants of Bahamut and Odin. Check out the trailer below:
Herald of domination The Dominance trailer, which aired on State of Play in June 2022, gave us our first serious look at Final Fantasy 16 since the game was first revealed. Taking a fresh look at the upcoming storyline, Square Enix also showed off some pretty notable battles, such as fights between magical summons like Shiva and Ifrit. Check out the trailer below:
Awakening trailer The Final Fantasy 16 reveal trailer was a great teaser for the game. It’s not just some cutscenes and ambiguous hints of what’s to come – we get a healthy dose of scenery, different characters, and what the game will look like once you get into a fight.
At the beginning of the trailer, we see haggard mercenaries sitting around a campfire about to rush into battle. Eventually, it changes pace to show a young boy named Joshua who seems to possess some form of magical power, seemingly linked to the Phoenix – an eikon or summon in Final Fantasy jargon. Check out the first Final Fantasy 16 trailer below:
The story and setting of Final Fantasy 16
Now we know that Final Fantasy 16’s story and adventure will take place in a land called Valisthea.
The world is linked to six different mother crystals that have been around for generations. During this time, six mighty nations have formed around the Mothercrystals, and each place now lives in relative peace. As always with Final Fantasy, the blessings granted by the Mothercrystals allowed these powers to flourish and their people to live in comfort.
Of course, we also learn that the crystals were the cause of “countless wars” that eventually led to the formation of the six nations present in the game: the Grand Duchy of Rosaria, the Holy Sanbreque Empire, the Waloed Kingdom, the Dhalmekian Republic, the Iron Kingdom, and the Crystal Dominion.
Each place looks at the world differently, which of course leads to some political disagreements between nations. However, we do know that the emergence of something called “The Plague” that is spreading across the land is driving these various powers to despair. This is where we’ll probably start the game; in the midst of this turbulent time.
In a radio interview Kotaku) producer Naoki Yoshida said that while Final Fantasy 16 will be “action-oriented”, it “turns into a Final Fantasy that has both story and action.” According to Yoshida, steps are being taken to accommodate players who prefer story over action, saying “We want people to enjoy the story, so we’re putting together a mode for those who want to focus on the story.”
It seems like the story may touch on more mature themes, as he added, “I think when you become an adult, you also understand suffering. And so people who grew up on Final Fantasy also know the real world. But even then, they want to enjoy the fantasy again. They can get something out of it and they are able to contemplate things. I think I’d like to make a topic out of it [for the game]”.
Characters and gameplay in Final Fantasy 16
Final Fantasy 16 is an action RPG, meaning you shouldn’t expect turn-based combat from older entries, instead it’s more like Final Fantasy 15. We’re also aware that Final Fantasy 16 won’t be open world, but Naoki Yoshida confirms that “he will find inspiration in them.”
Clive Rosfieldis the main character and will be joined by a series of AI-controlled companions in battles. The teaser website explains that he is the firstborn son of Archduke Rosaria and is responsible for protecting his younger brother Joshua, who happens to be holding the Phoenix Dominant.
Due to Joshua’s connection to the Eikon Phoenix, Clive received the Phoenix Blessing, granting him the ability to use part of the flame and the power of the Eikon to become stronger. As the story unfolds, we learn that Clive is “drawn into a great tragedy”.
Joshua Rosfield is Clive’s younger brother and the Dominant of the Phoenix – Eikon of Fire. This means that Joshua has an Eikon Phoenix within him that gives him special abilities and powers. We were told that “As a Dominant, Joshua transforms into a Phoenix and fights to protect his nation.” This tells us a bit about the world, namely how it views Dominants and eicons.
Finally, Jill Warrick is the young girl we first meet in the first trailer. She is friends with Clive and Joshua as she was taken from her homeland in the Northern Territories at a young age – a country that swore allegiance to the Grand Duchy of Rosaria – to negotiate a peace between the two powers.
You’ll know the term eikon if you’ve played Final Fantasy 14, A Realm Reborn, where they’re referred to as Primals. The official website tells us that eicons “dwell in special beings called Dominants. How Dominants are treated varies by kingdom – in some they are revered as royalty, while in others they are sent to the front as weapons of war.”
AND PlayStation blog post (opens in a new tab) revealed that in Final Fantasy 16, eicons play a large role in the story. These summoned creatures take part in combat, but naturally affect Valistea’s world. The Eicons we know so far are Phoenix, Titan, Garuda, Ramuh, Shiva, Odin, Bahamut, and Ifrit. Each is a powerful creature that has a set of different abilities, strengths and weaknesses.
In a blog post, the developers of Final Fantasy 16 also give some background to the characters controlling the eicons. Permanent economic adviser to Hugo Kupka, “once a nameless infantryman in the Republican Army, his awakening as the Dominant Titan of Eikon propelled him to the forefront of Dhalmekian politics.” In this position of power, he gathers his people from above and directs their will. Titan is the big boy in the trailer, the one who looks like he’s nine feet tall.
Meanwhile, one of the other eicons, Garuda, is under the control of Benedikta Harman. She’s on a mission to find the second Fire Eicon, and you’ll be joining her on this mission – playing as Clive Rosfield. Harman apparently “turned her talent for fencing and subterfuge into a command of Waloed’s elite scouts.”
Commenting on the gameplay in an interview for the Japanese website Comic Book Days (by VGC), as recently as August 2022, Final Fantasy 16 producer Naoki Yoshida expressed his concerns that some fans would not like the action-based shift. stated:
“We want the world, especially the younger generation, to play this game. Besides, today’s mainstream games are intuitive games where you press a button and the character shoots a pistol or wields a sword, and the traditional RPG style, turn-based combat on command is no longer familiar to them. It’s also a fact that people are becoming less and less familiar with the old-fashioned style of RPGs where you fight by choosing turn-based commands. That’s why the battles in Final Fantasy 16 are very action-driven.”
Continuing further, Yoshida admits that the game will not meet everyone’s requirements, stating “Obviously, I don’t think we’ll be able to satisfy everyone’s requirements, so I told everyone on the team that the first thing we have to do is something we think is fun, and make sure it reaches people who like it.”
Final Fantasy 16 news and rumors
First look at Moogles FF16 Square Enix shared a first look at Moogles from Final Fantasy 16. They definitely hark back to a more classic design, and can be seen in the tweet below:
Clive is not the only playable character In an interview with the Japanese site watch the game (opens in a new tab) (by PlayStation Lifestyle (opens in a new tab)), creative director Kazutoyo Maehiro revealed that players will control a different character in the early hours of Final Fantasy 16. It will not be Clive, who is the main character of the game and who players will play for most of the game.
New artwork revealed at Tokyo Game Show Square Enix revealed new artwork for Final Fantasy 16 at Tokyo Game Show 2022. It includes a caption confirming the main plot, which was featured in a brochure given to TGS attendees that discussed breaking free of the crystals. Otherwise, he didn’t reveal much about the game, it’s just a pamphlet after all, but you can check out this graphic below.
Who is directing Final Fantasy 16? As mentioned, Hiroshi Takai is in charge of directing Final Fantasy 16. He previously worked on the hugely successful MMO Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, as well as Final Fantasy 11, the first online Final Fantasy title.
Both MMOs capture the essence and charm of Final Fantasy brilliantly and translate it well into the online environment, complete with compelling characters, stories, and beautifully designed worlds.
Who is the producer of the game? As mentioned, Square Enix assigned Naoki Yoshida as the game’s producer, and it was he who took Final Fantasy 14 from the brink of failure, turning it into one of Square’s most successful games.
Ultimately, this information will mean a lot or very little to you, depending on how much you’ve played or how much you’ve enjoyed Final Fantasy 11 and A Realm Reborn.