Real Madrid & Barcelona’s League Is Now Named After EA Sports

La Liga, Spain’s top flight of professional football and home to some of the world’s biggest clubs—like Barcelona and Real Madrid—has signed a new sponsorship deal that sees its previous branding (“La Liga Santander”) swapped out, with the league now to be known as LALIGA EA SPORTS.

Please note the caps is their idea, not mine. It’s presumably part of EA’s big push to get people ready for this year’s FIFA EA Sports FC video game, which will play the same as last year’s edition but will be the first to not be able to rely on decades-old brand recognition.

Which is all well and good for everyone involved, I’m sure hands have been shaken and money exchanged, but this isn’t a business press release website. I don’t really care what the top flight is called, and EA Sports have been sponsoring big european football leagues for years in one way or another (they’ve got multiple deals with the Premier League, for example, including appearing on referee’s uniforms).

No, I’m here to talk to you about the second division’s rebrand. Known either as La Liga 2 or Segunda División, depending on where you’re from, it’ll now be called (again, their caps, not mine) LALIGA HYPERMOTION.

Hypermotion, for those who haven’t had to read the bullet points of sports game press releases for the past few years, is a system EA cooked up to try and sell FIFA where they combined 11v11 motion capture with machine learning to try and improve the physics and animation of the players in the game.

That’s what a whole league is now named after. Not a video game company, not even a video game, just a physics and animation system designed for a single video game series where the benefits it brings are negligible at best (it’s mostly just empty PR calories, FIFA hasn’t fundamentally changed the way it plays or looks for years).

Of course nobody on the streets will actually call it that, everyone will still just call it La Liga 2 or whatever they’ve been calling it forever, but still. I’m very much looking forward to EA expanding these types of sponsorships, when next season’s Championship will be renamed to THE FROSTBITE LEAGUE.

Microsoft Is Finally Done Making Kinect (For Real This Time)

Don Mattrick shows off the Xbox One on a stage.

Photo: Bloomberg / Contributor (Getty Images)

It finally happened. Microsoft has fully ended production of Kinect hardware. And no, you didn’t stumble upon an article from 2014. Yes, it’s 2023 and Microsoft, in case you didn’t know, has been still trying to make Kinect work, just not in the gaming space. Well, today Microsoft has thrown in the towel.

A sophisticated motion sensing camera, Kinect first premiered on the Xbox 360 in 2010. While the tech was rather neat, Kinect arguably struggled to appeal to many gamers and gained a reputation for necessitating various shovelware games such as Fable: The Journey. In 2013, Microsoft revealed that the Kinect would ship with each Xbox One. While the new Kinect unit was technically impressive, it once again failed to gain a foothold with, well, just about anyone. Microsoft later stopped bundling the Kinect with Xbox One, and the device moved on to Microsoft’s mixed reality and enterprise solutions. Keeping the Kinect name, Microsoft offered the Azure Kinect Developer Kit in 2019 to those looking to implement its depth-sensing technology in various business environments. And today, that chapter of the Kinect’s life comes to a close.

“As the needs of our customers and partners evolve, we regularly update our products to best support them,” a Microsoft blog announcing the death of the Azure Kinect Developer Kit opens.

But while Azure Kinect Developer Kit has now ended production, the tech seems like it will continue to live on. Microsoft shouted out Orbbec’s new Femto Bolt, a device very similar to the Azure Kinect DK, as providing the hardware necessary for those still interested in working with 3D depth camera technology. Via a dedicated software pipeline, developers will be able to use Azure Kinect DK software on the Femto Bolt. Meanwhile, Microsoft states that it plans to continue providing the necessary software tools to work with Azure Kinect DKs still out there in the wild.

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