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Winners and Losers: Google stuns with Pixel promise, while Nintendo ends Wii U and 3DS online features

OPINION: The countdown to the Black Friday shopping season is upon us, with Amazon kicking things off extra early next week with its oddly named Prime Big Deal Days.

Oncoming deals bonanzas aside, this week has been another busy one as tech release season continues to steamroll ahead. Adobe unleashed some new AI editing features, HP announced a battery-powered desktop PC and Samsung somehow found time to resurrect the price-conscious FE line.

As usual however, we’re here to crown this week’s winners and losers and the choices this week have been anything but difficult to choose.

Winner: Google announces Pixel 8 with seven years of software updates

Google announced three new Pixel devices at an event in NYC this week: the Pixel 8, Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel Watch 2. All of these products have been extensively leaked over the past few months, but now they’re finally out in the wild and everything is pretty much as we had expected.

The two phones have new cameras, new Tensor G3 chips and flat displays with high refresh rates. The buzzword of the event, as it always seems to be with Google these days, was AI. Artificial intelligence will let you remove unwanted sounds from videos, ensure your mates are smiling in a group shot and answer those spam calls you’d rather ignore completely.

The Tensor G3 chip has been specifically designed for these AI tasks and it’s really the area that Google hopes will separate these phones from competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S23 and iPhone 15 Pro.

Pixel 8 PR shoot

All this stuff sounded exciting and we’re intrigued to see it in practice, however the biggest news from the event was that Google is promising seven years of software updates for these phones, ensuring they’re supported until 2030.

These aren’t just security patches either, but proper system upgrades and Pixel Feature Drops. Pick up a Google Pixel 8 or 8 Pro now and it’ll continue to pick up new features for a very long time.

This is great news, as supporting phones for longer ensures more people hang onto their devices and should help start to alleviate issues around e-waste. It also makes that initial investment easier to contend with if you know the device will still be relevant several years down the line.

Loser: Nintendo ends online services for the Wii U and 3DS

Nintendo has a habit of halting access to past services after shutting down the Wii U and 3DS eShops earlier this year, and now it has announced that online support for those consoles will officially end in April 2024.

In a post on Nintendo America’s support website, the company states that “in early April 2024, online play and other functionality that uses online communication will end for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U software.” This means after that date online co-operative play, internet rankings, and data distribution will no longer work.

Pokemon Bank, a tool used for transferring those quirky critters from game to game, is sticking around though, as is StreetPass – so it’s not all bad news.

Nintendo 2DS vs 3DS vs 3DS XL

This news was expected, especially after the closure of the online stores earlier this year, yet it’s still a shame to see older games have their functionality limited when we should be trying to preserve what we can.

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