Gaming in India in 2021: We Discuss Everything From Best Games to Limited Next-Gen Console Availability

The year 2021 was both exciting and interesting for gamers as we saw a list of titles coming to keep us engaged. A lot of us got a chance to play some of the latest titles this year — thanks to the culture of staying indoors and avoiding physical activities. From Epic Games to Sony Interactive Entertainment, all major publishers brought new games this year. But the growth of titles launching in the year has also made it quite difficult to name the best games of 2021.

On this week’s episode of Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital, host Akhil Arora joins Chief Sub Editor and in-house game enthusiast Shayak Majumder and veteran Indian game journalist and our former Gaming Editor Rishi Alwani. The trio talk about all things games and speak about which were the best ones of 2021.

Rishi calls Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart his favourite game of the year, while Shayak finds Ghost of Tsushima: Iki Island Expansion as his favourite, and Akhil names It Takes Two as his best pick.

One of the prime reasons why gamers found 2021 an exciting year was the launch of several new games for next-generation consoles — the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S | X. It was also the year when the PlayStation 5 debuted in India, though many are still struggling to get their hands on one.

The difficulties in buying the next-gen console aren’t limited to the Sony model as people are not finding adequate quantity of the Xbox Series S | X as well in the market.

Although the supply-side limitation is indeed in place, the availability issue has also grown significantly in the market due to heavy demand for both consoles. COVID-19 restrictions also played their part in the demand, as people are staying indoors and have more leisure time to spend on games.

In 2021, we also saw a large of reports showing different cases of gender discrimination and sexual harassment at various game publishers. The #Metoo moment in the video game industry emerged last year itself. However, the number of complaints increased this year. It not just impacted developers and other people involved in building new games but also manufacturers including Microsoft who started evaluating their relationships with game publishers named in these complaints.

Best Games of 2021: Gadgets 360’s Favourite PC, PS4, PS5, and Xbox Games

The growth of serious reports coming from different parts of the industry also reflect that game journalism is maturing and moving beyond just new launches and reviews.

We also talk about what all we could expect in 2022 in terms of new titles. Games including Horizon Forbidden West, Destiny 2: The Witch Queen Expansion, and the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Weird West are due for next year. Remastered games is a category that will likely grow in the coming future. Life is Strange Remastered Collection will be amongst the key launches coming next year.

You can listen to our complete discussion by hitting the play button on the embedded Spotify player above.

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New Orbital episodes release every Friday, so make sure to tune in each week.

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iPhone 13 and Apple Watch Series 7 Mark a Boring Year for Apple

iPhone 13 series was launched at Apple’s ‘California Streaming’ event earlier this week. Predictably, the new series brings the same four-model lineup that Apple introduced last year. It includes the iPhone 13 as the regular model — alongside the iPhone 13 mini as the smallest option as well as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max as the two premium versions. And also predictably, they aren’t much changed. Alongside the iPhone 13 series, the Apple event brought the Apple Watch Series 7, as well as the new iPad and new iPad mini.

On this week’s Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital, host Akhil Arora speaks with Reviews Editor Jamshed Avari and IDC India Research Director Navkendar Singh to discuss the iPhone 13 series and the other major announcements of the Apple event.

The iPhone 13 price in India is identical to the launch pricing of the iPhone 12 — starting at Rs. 79,900 for the iPhone 13 and Rs. 69,900 for the iPhone 13 mini. So far, so expected. With the arrival of the new iPhone models, Apple has reduced the pricing of the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, and the iPhone 11 in the country. The steep Rs. 14,000 cut for iPhone 12 could turn heads, especially going into the festive sales season.

iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPad, iPad mini: Price in India at a Glance

Apple has also for the first time included India in the first wave of markets where the new iPhone models are launching. All four iPhone 13 variants are already up for pre-order, and they will arrive in buyers’ hands starting Friday, September 24, alongside the US and other major iPhone territories.

The iPhone 13 series will no doubt attract Apple fans in India who are looking forward to the latest and greatest iPhone each year. However, a large number of customers who are looking to upgrade to a new iPhone might be better suited with their predecessors — say the iPhone 12 or iPhone 11. The iPhone 12 has also particularly become a strong competitor against the iPhone 13 mini with a starting price of Rs. 65,900 for the 64GB base version.

iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro: The Best New Reasons to Buy an iPhone 12?​

In addition to the new iPhone models, Apple unveiled a major upgrade for the iPad mini. The new 2021 model comes without a physical home button and looks similar to the recent iPad Air and iPad Pro. It is also powered by the A15 Bionic chip that is available on the iPhone 13 series.

However, the new iPad mini is expected to be mainly aimed at specific use cases, and for people who are looking for a tablet to use vertically. That’s because, thanks to the new features, the all-new iPad mini price in India starts at Rs. 46,900, or a whopping Rs. 16,000 higher than the pricing of the new iPad. The latter should suit most families — moreover, it offers a larger display of 10.2-inch over the 8.3-inch one, although the latter might arguably be better, as the Liquid Retina display has a greater pixel density that looks a little sharper.

The new iPad, on the other hand, comes with the A13 Bionic chip that first arrived with 2019’s iPhone 11, and while the iPad mini is compatible with the second-generation Apple Pencil, the ninth generation iPad is compatible with with the first-generation Apple Pencil.

Apple also gave us the Apple Watch Series 7 at its virtual event — though it stopped short of giving us many details. That’s because it’s not going on sale just yet, and will come later this year. The Apple Watch Series 7 price starts at Rs. $399 (roughly Rs. 29,300). However, we are yet to see the India pricing of the new Apple Watch. The previous iteration, the Apple Watch Series 6, also started at $399 in the US and came to India with a starting price of Rs. 40,900 last year.

Apple Watch Series 7 Specifications in Detail Tipped Through Alleged Internal Document

You can listen to the full Orbital podcast discussion by hitting the play button on the Spotify player embedded above.

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New Orbital episodes release every Friday, so make sure to tune in each week.

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Is Mi 11 Ultra the Best Premium Flagship Phone to Buy in India?

Mi 11 Ultra — launched last month in India and set to go on sale soon — is Xiaomi’s most expensive flagship ever, with a price tag of Rs. 69,990. It offers a lot for that money, with its specifications including a 50-megapixel primary camera sensor, a periscope lens with 5x optical zoom, and a quad-curved AMOLED display. There’s also, curiously, a tiny secondary display at the back. Are all these offerings enough to convince a customer who is looking for a high-end smartphone at Rs. 70,000 — and who might have their eyes on the OnePlus 9 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra? We discuss this and other things about the Mi 11 Ultra on this week’s episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast.

Host Akhil Arora speaks with Gadgets 360 deputy reviews editor Roydon Cerejo and reviewer Aditya Shenoy to understand the cons and pros of the Mi 11 Ultra. The smartphone was launched in India in a single 12GB RAM + 256GB storage variant. It is the company’s first attempt to enter a segment that goes up against the best of the best from the likes of Apple and Samsung.

For what it’s worth, Xiaomi has tried to go beyond the mid-range market and bring some of its high-end phones to India in the past as well. For instance, it launched the Mi 10 at a starting price of Rs. 49,999 in India last year. The Mi 11 Ultra, however, seems to be designed for the audience who was previously thinking of getting a new Samsung Galaxy S-series phone or a brand new iPhone.

The Mi 11 Ultra cameras offer up to 120x digital zoom. It has two AMOLED displays (although one of them is basically a gimmick). And it has the same amount of RAM and storage as you’ll get on the top-end OnePlus 9 Pro model, as well as the same Snapdragon 888 SoC. Both these phone also come at the same price — Rs. 69,999. While both are running on Android, there is a difference in the experience, since the Mi 11 Ultra runs on MIUI, which is what you’ll get on most Xiaomi phones.

Mi 11 Ultra Review: A Leap of Faith

Of course, there’s a lot more about the Mi 11 Ultra. If you’re wondering whether it’s a good pick or not, listen to the full discussion by hitting the play button above. You can also follow Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

Please rate us, and leave a review. You can also write to us at podcast@gadgets360.com with your feedback, questions, or comments. New Orbital episodes drop every Friday.

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Is Xiaomi Mi 11X the Best Phone to Buy Under Rs. 35,000 in India?

Xiaomi last week launched the Mi 11X alongside the Mi 11X Pro and Mi 11 Ultra in India. Unlike the other two models, the Mi 11X comes in under Rs. 30,000. The Xiaomi phone, however, doesn’t make many compromises — at least on the specifications sheet. The Mi 11X comes with a Samsung-made E4 AMOLED display that has a 120Hz refresh rate. It is also powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 870 SoC. The Mi 11X specifications makes it a highly comparable device against the OnePlus Nord, but that phone is due for a refresh. On this week’s episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, host Akhil Arora speaks with Gadgets 360 reviews editor Jamshed Avari and reviewer Aditya Shenoy to discover whether the Mi 11X is the best phone to pick for its price segment.

Though the Mi 11X starts at Rs. 29,999 for the 6GB RAM + 128GB storage configuration, you can future proof yourself with Rs. 31,999 with the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variant.

The Mi 11X comes with features such as Gorilla Glass 5 and IP53 rating that brings some level of physical endurance and resilience that could convince some people. But on software front of the Mi 11X is like the earlier Xiaomi models as it runs on Android 11-based MIUI 12, which carries some ads and bloatware. The triple rear camera setup of the phone is not that eye-catching when it comes to the megapixel count and due to the lack of a fourth (read depth) sensor — though it does offer an interesting “telemacro” sensor.

Mi 11X Review: Premium Specs at an Attention-Grabbing Price

The Mi 11X isn’t really a new phone, though. Xiaomi has essentially rebranded the Redmi K40 that was launched in China in February. The Mi 11X hardware is also identical to the Poco F3 that debuted last month in some markets as the successor to the Poco F1. However, instead of bringing the Mi 11X with the Redmi or Poco branding, the Chinese manufacturer chose to give its Mi identity to the new phone in India. That’s likely because it wants the Mi 11X to be seen as a premium phone, considering the legacy of the Redmi and Poco series in India.

Nevertheless, the combination of hardware and pricing makes the Mi 11X an interesting pick. The phone competes with the likes of the Realme X7 Pro 5G, Samsung Galaxy A52, and the iQoo 7.

anthony mackie captain america image chuck zlotnick marvel studios The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Anthony Mackie as Captain America in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

 

In the second half of the episode, Gadgets 360 chief sub-editor Shayak Majumdar and deputy news editor Veer Arjun Singh — both Marvel fans — join host Akhil to discuss the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The series, centred on Sam Wilson/ Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes/ Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), finished its six-episode run last Friday on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is all about how Sam goes from being the Falcon to the new Captain America. Bucky is secondary in the title and very much secondary in the story. The Marvel series introduced and brought back a number of villains, including Zemo (Daniel Brühl), Power Broker/ Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), the Flag Smashers and their leader Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman), and Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus).

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Review: MCU’s Second Generation Off to a Rocky Start

We talk about all those characters and their arcs on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. And we also touch upon the show’s themes, its narrative failings, and that new Captain America suit. Hit play on the episode to discover our favourite parts from the new Marvel series — and how we felt it compared to its predecessor WandaVision.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Creator Malcolm Spellman Answers Your Biggest Questions

Listen to the full discussion by following the Gadgets 360 podcast Orbital, which is available on Amazon MusicApple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts. Please rate us, and leave a review.

You can also write to us at podcast@gadgets360.com with your feedback, questions, or comments. New Orbital episodes drop every Friday.

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