Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tecmo to offer free-to-play Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate on PS3

The free-to-play model of gaming is most prevalent on the PC, and in particular has been embraced by MMO developers. But well-known publisher/developer Tecmo has decided to embrace it for the next iteration of Dead or Alive on consoles, and will offer a free-to-play version of the game on the PS3.
Released this coming September, DOA5 Ultimate has been developed by Team Ninja and will be available as a full, paid-for game on disc for both the PS3 and Xbox 360. However, a limited basic version will also be offered as an experiment only on the PS3 as a download. It will only include four characters alongside all the game modes with the exception of story mode.
If you want more content, you can either buy the disc version, or pay to unlock certain features. New characters will be 400 yen each (US$4) and the Story Mode will cost 1,500 yen (US$15). The disc version will most likely carry the usual new game cost of $60. In return you get everything, including every character and costume.
Deciding to experiment with free-to-play on consoles doesn’t come without risk, though. Players may choose to stick with the free version of the game until the disc version drops in price. That typically happens within a few weeks of it being available. Offering the disc version with everything unlocked also suggests Tecmo won’t be releasing any DLC for the game. And if they do, will it also be made available to those playing the free version?
Other publishers will definitely be watching this experiment with interest. If it ends up boosting sales or seeing revenue brought in from free-to-play players buying content, it won’t take long for other games to embrace it. I’m skeptical, however, and predict this will cut into Tecmo’s profits from lower sales of the full game.

ARAIG: A sensory feedback suit for video games, so you can feel every painful bullet

As the gaming industry moves along, it continues to tackle adding the five senses to the medium. It’s now had motion control so precise, that we quickly grew bored of waving around our 1:1 virtual tennis rackets. The Oculus Rift is attempting to bring pseudo-VR to the household for a relatively cheap cost. Smell-o-vision, though it doesn’t exist as any kind of major (or minor) peripheral, has been successfully attempted here and there throughout the industry’s life in form of a unit that releases scented oils. The realm of taste has been thankfully left untouched. Though the industry has provided very basic tactile feedback via vibrating controllers and peripherals, there isn’t yet any device that allows us to really feel our games. A new Kickstarter project, the ARAIG suit, is attempting to bring us those very feelings.
The occasional haptic feedback suit has been attempted before — notably the Aura Interactor, essentially a subwoofer in a backpack — but the consumer market hasn’t been able to, for example, walk through the rain in a game and feel the patter of raindrops on their shoulders. The ARAIG — standing for the somewhat on-the-nose As Real As It Gets — suit aims to deliver a multi-sensory experience that a booming base in a backpack never could.
The suit is composed of three main parts. Residing in the suit, the Decoders receive information from a game, then translate that information to an appropriate corresponding feeling, which in turn is sent off to the Exoskeleton. The Exoskeleton is the bulk of the suit, and with the Decoders’ information, creates all of the appropriate feelings on your body. It also houses the majority of the components, including the removable battery pack. The Sim Skin is an aesthetic customization option for the suit, so you can look fashionable while gaming and don’t necessarily have to wear a drab black ARAIG.
The ARAIG is promising three different types of sensory feedback. The first type of feedback is surround sound, but since it’s coming from the suit, it follows you wherever you move. It aims to make you feel like you’re right in the middle of the audio action, since you literally will be. The second form of feedback will be a host of vibration systems that cover most of the torso and upper arms. The third feedback system, STIMS, is made up of what is essentially that machine you see in informercials that claims to work out your abs for you. You hook diodes up to your muscles, and little stimulations cause your muscles to automatically contract and relax. This kind of system will provide more sophisticated feelings that a host of vibration sensors couldn’t, but in conjunction with the vibration units could create a new sensation.
A pledge of $299 is the minimum pledge that would nab you an ARAIG, but at the time of writing, all 100 slots are already taken. The next step up, to a pledge of $325, will net you the same ARAID unit, but without the cheaper early-access fee. If you’re interested in feeling like you just got shot by a bunch of a bullets while playing video games, head on over to the Kickstarter campaign page.

Google Glass turns paintball into a real-life FPS

paintball through Glass
Of the many fun things that you can capture from a first-person point of view with Glass, this paintball match is certainly now high on the list.
The idea of a real-life killcam is a little too exciting not to try. Paintball games are one of the many places where a first-person POV video isn’t easy to capture, though. You could strap a GoPro to your helmet, since those cameras are just about as durable as they get, but it’s not really first-person and in a paintball match, you don’t really want a camera strapped to your head to cause you to stick out. The ideal camera would be right beside your eye, capturing everything you see and allowing you to both look at your mistakes and share your glorious victory later.Glass, as it seems, is exactly what the doctor ordered.
The Titanium band that hugs Glass to your head makes this camera ideal for something like paintball. You don’t have to worry about it moving around much, and you don’t have to worry about accidentally turning off the video. The only downside to this is battery life, as Glass can only record for about 20 minutes on a full charge before needing some juice. You could go all-out and rig a battery pack to your suit with a USB cable snaked up to Glass under your helmet, which would give you the ability to record until you ran out of storage on your Glass.
As long as you’re alright with putting yourself and your $1,500 face-computer at risk, there’s really no limit to what you can capture through Glass. That probably shouldn’t be taken as a “challenge accepted” statement, but if you happen to capture something even more fun, then who are we to judge?

IBM uses custom, ever-vigilant Roombas to protect its data centers

IBM vigilante Roomba
We live in a time when automated robots that slink around the floor while eating all of your unswept refuse is a common, socially accepted occurrence. Yes, the Roomba provides a must-have service for those that would rather have an adorable robot slave do the housecleaning, but IBM has found another use for the cute little guy. Taking your cat’s favorite motorized toy, IBM transformed the Roomba into the watchful eye of a data center, monitoring the level of heat, which could raise cooling costs, or even damage or destroy the hardware if left unchecked.
Using iRobot’s customizable Roomba platform, iRobot Create, IBM built a Roomba that moseys around a data center with sensors and a webcam attached, measuring temperature and humidity, and creating maps of their distribution. IBM uses the resulting maps to see where hot spots are developing and endangering the hardware, as well as to figure out if any cold air is being wasted and how to better distribute it. These maps not only help cool the hardware, but also help save energy via increased cooling efficiency.
Along with temperature mapping, the autonomous cartographers can scan RFID tags, so they can also do a bit of inventory while they’re seeking heat. Just like menial vacuuming, the IBM Roombas alleviate a once-manual task, where people had to push a mobile cart around the data centers in order to create the temperature maps. However, as any Roomba owner knows, the little vacuums aren’t completely autonomous, as their favorite activity seems to be getting stuck under things, or falling prey to an infinite loop of bumping back and forth between tight spaces. So, the attached webcam allows an operator to pilot the device just in case it runs into any obstacles.
IBM currently has nine of the Roomba cartographers up and running in its data centers, but plans to add to that population by the end of this year.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Intel thought to be dropping Atom branding for Silvermont chips

The budget end of Intel’s desktop processor range is covered by the Celeron and Pentium brands. But in recent years Atombranding has been used for the very low power chips you find inside netbooks and soldered on to cheap mini-ITX boards. We’re about to hit a new generation of low-power Intel processors though, and it looks as though the Atom brand may disappear.
Atom chips get a mixed reaction from the consumer. On the one hand they offer a cheap, low power solution for small screen netbooks and inside nettops. But they also aren’t exactly fast, with most variants running single or dual cores at 1.6, 1.8, or 2GHz. They will run most things, bit don’t run anything great.
So it looks as though Intel has decided not to use Atom as a brand for the new Silvermont processors. That decision is not just because of Atom’s historical reputation, but also because Silvermont chips are genuinely fast and therefore deserve to carry the Celeron and Pentium brands instead.
Indeed, Intel is promising that the 22nm Silvermont microarchitecture will offer 3x the performance of the latest Atom processors while using 5x less power. If they deliver on that, you can see why the Atom name may be dropped.
Intel has yet to confirm this of course, but we should expect to see laptops, all-in-ones, and convertible laptops/tablets running Windows 8 with Silvermont Celeron and Pentium chips inside later this year. Silvermont parts will also be used for Windows and Android tablets, but won’t use the same chip branding.

Thinner MacBook Pro using a Haswell processor expected at WWDC

On June 10 Apple kicks off its 4-day Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, better known as WWDC. Last year’s conference saw a new MacBook Pro unveiled complete with a Retina Display and a resolution of 2560 x 1600. And this year the focus is yet again expected to be on the MacBook Pro and Apple’s thinner and lighter laptop the MacBook Air.
Of course, Apple isn’t saying anything until WWDC begins, but that doesn’t stop analysts taking educated guesses as to what we can expect to see. This year, Intel’s Haswell processors are expected to allow Apple to make a few changes to their laptop line up. More specifically, it’s expected the Pro models will get even thinner.
Currently, both the MacBook Pro and Air use Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors. Haswell improves upon Ivy Bridge in a number of ways, but most significantly for Apple, reduces power consumption and adds an advanced power saving system. That means less heat production and the same battery life from a smaller battery.
If Apple embraces Haswell early, which it is expected to do, we could see a new MacBook Pro unveiled that’s even thinner than the current 0.95-inch 2012 version. Alternatively, we could see the thickness stay the same, but the battery life extended beyond the existing 7 hours Apple quotes.
KGI securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will opt for a thinner MacBook Pro. The FaceTime HD camera is also expected to improve from the existing 720p part to a 1080p-capable solution. As for the MacBook Air, alongside a similar move to Haswell processors, it’s also expected that dual built-in microphones will be added for improved voice quality.
Such improvements are just speculation, but I’m sure many would argue the MacBook Pro is already thin enough and improved battery life is more desirable. Apple shipping a new Pro that looks the same as the existing model, but achieves 10 hours of battery life surely wouldn’t lose it any fans. A similar battery life improvement for the MacBook Air would also no doubt be welcomed.

Surface RT’s now-free keyboard nicely sums up Microsoft’s tablet failure

In their latest bid to get anybody to buy a Windows RT tablet, Microsoft has turned in desperation to the worst option imaginable: it will sell a complete product without gouging its customers for a hundred (or so) extra dollars. For a “limited time” (likely ending whenever their internal threat level has decreased from red to orange) customers in the US and Canada can pick up a Surface RT tablet with a Touch or Type keyboard cover for no additional cost. Since the cover is one of Surface’s defining features, and one of the few that’s received near-universal praise, this move proves that corporate desperation really is the best thing for consumers.
When the Surface RT was first unveiled, it seemed like Microsoft was finally learning. The company had designed a sleek product with some truly impressive capabilities — and so what if it was expensive? Fans were convinced that this would be to the iPad as the PC was to the Mac: a powerful and open-ended alternative to Apple’s polished, closed systems. Many fantasized about running a near-full-fledged, ARM-based version of Windows on a tablet, which was also the world’s most convenient laptop once the keyboard was attached.
surface-tablet-windows-rtMany factors have contributed to the poor sales of Surface RT, but Microsoft’s tenacity in pushing the poorly Windows RT has certainly contributed to its near-total rejection by the very crowd that has historically been its most dedicated consumer vanguard.
The keyboard covers, arguably the only real innovation in Microsoft’s line of tablets, have been almost universally praised as responsive, well-made devices that simply work the way you’d want a tablet keyboard to work. Microsoft found a way to make this virtue into a disadvantage, of course, taking an already expensive product and asking customers to pay another $100-$140 for its most defining feature. At the outset, if you wanted a full-fledged Windows experience on Surface Pro, with the all-but-necessary keyboard add-on, you could look forward to a price tag in excess of $1200.
This latest promotion applies only to the Windows RT versions of Surface, it should be noted. Giving away a high-quality keyboard for “free” is only worthwhile to Microsoft if they can use it to funnel you into an environment they control completely, and one that likely hasn’t reached any of its modest sales goals. This is both an attempt to increase sales of the Surface line, and to salvage the RT-first strategy.
If the Surface RT can fulfill your tablet needs, then it might finally be the time to pick one up. With dramatic drops in price in the last few months, this deal finally gives consumers a reason to pick a Surface over an iPad or an Android tablet.
The question now is, if even this doesn’t make Surface RT into a real contender in the tablet space, what will Microsoft do?

Ridley Scott-directed Blade Runner sequel in the works (again)

It has been nearly 31 years since Blade Runner saw a theatrical release, and since then there have been recurring rumors about a sequel being produced, either with or without Harrison Ford reprising his role as Deckard. None of them have come to anything, but late last week Alcon Entertainment, which owns the rights to Blade Runner, confirmed a sequel is in the works.
Writer Michael Green is currently in negotiations to rewrite the Hampton Fancher script for the sequel. Green has previously been the writer for the Green Lantern movie, and recently did rewrites ofRobopocalypse and Gods and Kings. If the negotiations are successful, then we may finally get to see more from the Blade Runner universe in movie form.
It is expected that Green’s rewrite will be used to create a sequel with Ridley Scott agreeing to direct the movie. But the good news for Blade Runner fans doesn’t end there. Alcon is also pursuing the production of both further sequels and prequel movies, as well as a TV series and “interactive productions” of some form (a new game, perhaps?).
What we don’t know is when and where this new Blade Runner movie will be set. Previous attempts to produce a second film have talked about the off-world colonies, or focusing on the Tyrell Corporation without its founder and the consequences of that. There’s certainly a number of directions the story could go in, and there’s also 3 novels covering Deckard’s story that could be used.
Of course, depending on how you felt after watching Prometheus, news of script rewriting and Ridley Scott direction may fill you with concern and even dread. I’m just hopeful we get something good, with a date and a genuinely interesting story that doesn’t involve Harrison Ford who is, quite frankly, too old now to take the lead in such a movie.

Computex 2013: Asus’ FonePad, the bizarre VivoMouse, a PC with a built-in UPS

asus fonepad note
Asus had a ton of new stuff to show off at Computex 2013. Beyond the crazy Transformer Book Trio, there was a new FonePad phablet, a portable gaming PC with back-up power, and an… er… interesting new mouse.
The FonePad Note makes no apologies about what device it’s challenging. It’s a 6-inch beast with a hideway stylus, just like the Galaxy Note. Asus has taken a page from another competitor’s playbook by outfitting the new FonePad with stereo speakers on the front (like the HTC One).
While the 1080p Super IPS+ display and 8MP rear-facing camera are nice, the more interesting bit of hardware is the dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor that powers the PadFone Note. It’s another in the string of recent Intel mobile wins, and a sign that ARM will have a real fight on its hands going forward.
asus vivomouse
There’s nothing really crazy about the FonePad, but the VivoMouse is another story. It looks a bit more like a sexy, post-modern USB mug warmer, but that big, silvery disc is all about multitouch. The VivoMouse is fitted with a laptop-style trackpad that lets you swipe, pinch, and drag to navigate your desktop.
It’s aimed at Windows 8 users, and could be well suited to couch surfing. For some reason, though, the VivoMouse also has optical sensors on the bottom. It’s hard to imagine why Asus would do that. This isn’t like Apple’s Magic Mouse or Microsoft’s Arc Touch mouse.
The VivoMouse has a big ol’ trackpad on top and it’s designed as a companion for the VivoPC, which is a home theater box. The trackpad’s a great fit. A gyroscope would be good, too. But optical sensors? Living rooms generally aren’t an ideal environment for traditional mice, so why bother?
Another oddity Asus introduced was the G10 desktop. This one, however, is odd in a good way. It’s a fairly standard gaming PC, with an Intel Core i7 chip and Nvidia graphics. What makes the G10 different is its 19,900mAh battery pack.
It provides enough juice to keep the rig running for about 25 seconds — not enough to survive an extended outage, but plenty to keep the G10 alive during unexpected dips and brownouts. Best of all, it’s built in.
Asus G10 gaming PC
This could be a great fit in corporate IT environments, too. We IT administrators hate having to deal with the aftereffects of power problems, and the G10 could very well prevent some of those headaches.
Cooler still is the fact that the power pack can be removed. Yes, Asus will let you pop the battery out and take it along to provide emergency boosts to your USB-charged smartphone or tablet. How cool is that?

Tim Samaras and two other storm chasers killed chasing Oklahoma tornadoes

OKC Tornado
As we all know, Oklahoma was ravaged by devastating tornadoes not too long ago. One that touched down on May 20 reached over 200mph — categorized as an F5 — and left 24 dead in its wake. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end to the severe weather systems, and more tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma this past Friday, killing 13 more people. Among those 13 people were three storm chasers.
Father-and-son storm chaser duo of Tim Samaras and his son Paul Samaras, joined by fellow chaser Carl Young, were killed in El Reno, an Oklahoma City suburb. Five tornadoes were responsible for the 13 dead, and touched down less than two weeks after the devastating F5, creating flash floods.
Coworkers and friends of Samaras noted that, for someone whose job it is to literally chase after deadly storms, he was extremely careful, and the last storm chaser they expected to be put into real danger. Speaking to The Weather Channel back in 2009, Samaras said that The Wizard of Oz is what spurred his love of tornadoes. Samaras and Young both also appeared on the Discovery Channel show Storm Chasers.
Samaras and his team were killed while on the job for their company, Twistex, which Samaras founded with the goal of better understanding the generation, decay, and maintenance of tornadoes in order to help prepare for them. Perhaps showing that Samaras’ work was viewed as something more serious than a romp through the countryside with Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt, Twistex received funding from big names such as the National Geographic Society on various occasions.
If the recent devastation of the Oklahoman infrastructure and increasing death toll wasn’t enough to remind you of the extreme danger of tornadoes, just remember that even trained professionals sometimes can’t escape their grasp.

Asus Transformer Book Trio: Windows 8 PC with an Android tablet for a screen

Asus Transformer Book Trio
Can’t decide between a new Android tablet and a Windows 8 hybrid? Asus doesn’t think you should have to, so they’re offering up the Transformer Book Trio.
It looks like an ordinary tablet-notebook hybrid, but there’s a big difference. The Asus PC dock — the keyboard unit — isn’t just keys, a touchpad, and a spare battery. It’s actually got its own mainboard, a Haswell Core i7 processor, a 33Whr battery, and up to 1TB of built-in storage. The PC dock runs Windows 8 — or more likely Windows 8.1 by the time it hits store shelves.
All that’s missing is the display, but it’s got all the ports you need to hook up a standard desktop monitor (like that amazing 31.5-inch 4Kmodel Asus just unveiled). You can also drop in the 11.6-inch removable panel, which acts as a mere laptop display when it’s seated in the dock.
Pull it out, however, and you’ve got a fully-functional Android tablet. It’s also powered by an Intel chip — albeit a much more humble 2GHz Clover Trail+ Atom. Visuals should look nice and sharp on the 11.6-inch 1080p screen, and a 19.5Whr battery will provide a decent amount of use between charges. It’s running Android 4.2.
It might actually be more appropriate to call this thing the Quatro, because you can still use Android when it’s docked. There’s a dedicated key that lets you flip back and forth between operating systems.
Asus hasn’t announced pricing for the Transformer Book Trio yet, but you can bet it’s going to command a premium. This is, after all, a device that can function as an Android tablet, Android notebook, Windows 8 notebook, and a Windows 8 desktop. Theoretically Asus could sell the two separately, but a Core i7 keyboard computer would probably sell a whole lot better with some kind of display to fill out its clamshell chassis.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab 3 8-inch and 10-inch tablets are very mid-range

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3
Samsung’s first two Galaxy Tab 3 models have been officially announced. Both an 8-inch and a 10.1-inch tablet will be launching globally next month, and you won’t find a quad-core chip or 1080p display in either one.
No, the new Galaxy Tab models have shifted towards the mid-range as their Note cousins take over the top end of Samsung’s line-up. Both tablets will feature a relatively modest 1280 x 800 display, which translates to 189ppi on the 8-incher and 149ppi on the 10.1.
As for that rumored Atom processor, it’s apparently going to power the larger model. The Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 will run a dual-core Intel chip clocked at 1.6GHz, and the fact that Samsung has opted for 1GB of RAM confirms that this tablet isn’t meant to blow away power users with its raw power. Speaking of power, the 6800mAh battery should provide plenty of run-time.
The smaller Tab dials back to 1.5GHz, and it’s a dual core chip. Whether it’s ARM or x86 remains a mystery for now. It has also got 1GB of RAM, and Samsung  has fitted it with a 4450mAh battery — roughly ten per cent better than its 7-inch predecessor.
Samsung will offer the usual variants — both Wi-Fi and 3/4G enabled — with 16 or 32GB of internal storage. Both support microSD expansion, of course. They’ll also ship with Android 4.2 out of the box and the requisite Samsung bloat value-added software like ChatOn, S Voice, and S Travel.
It’s pretty clear from these new releases that the Galaxy Tab is no longer offered as a direct competitor to the iPad. The Galaxy brand is successful enough that Samsung can justify creating two tiers for prospective shoppers to choose from: the mid-range Tab and the high-end Note.
Ultimately, the Galaxy Tab 3 will probably be hot sellers — assuming Samsung prices them smartly.

Intel thought to be dropping Atom branding for Silvermont chips

The budget end of Intel’s desktop processor range is covered by the Celeron and Pentium brands. But in recent years Atombranding has been used for the very low power chips you find inside netbooks and soldered on to cheap mini-ITX boards. We’re about to hit a new generation of low-power Intel processors though, and it looks as though the Atom brand may disappear.
Atom chips get a mixed reaction from the consumer. On the one hand they offer a cheap, low power solution for small screen netbooks and inside nettops. But they also aren’t exactly fast, with most variants running single or dual cores at 1.6, 1.8, or 2GHz. They will run most things, bit don’t run anything great.
So it looks as though Intel has decided not to use Atom as a brand for the new Silvermont processors. That decision is not just because of Atom’s historical reputation, but also because Silvermont chips are genuinely fast and therefore deserve to carry the Celeron and Pentium brands instead.
Indeed, Intel is promising that the 22nm Silvermont microarchitecture will offer 3x the performance of the latest Atom processors while using 5x less power. If they deliver on that, you can see why the Atom name may be dropped.
Intel has yet to confirm this of course, but we should expect to see laptops, all-in-ones, and convertible laptops/tablets running Windows 8 with Silvermont Celeron and Pentium chips inside later this year. Silvermont parts will also be used for Windows and Android tablets, but won’t use the same chip branding.

ARM’s Cortex-A12 to offer 40 percent performance gain for mid-range phones and tablets

Look at any smartphone or tablet vendor and they will be pushing their premium devices pretty hard. But the market for $400+ premium devices is only so big, and consumers are expected to be buying more mid-range phones or tablets ($250-$350 price range) by 2015. Chip maker ARM is responding to that growing market by unveiling the Cortex-A12 chip.
While aimed at mid-range devices, the Cortex-A12 is definitely no slouch in the performance department. It’s the successor to the Cortex-A9 and moves from a 40nm process to 28nm. That makes the chip 30 percent smaller, and when combined with the new design, achieves a 40 percent performance gain using the same power draw.
ARM has also added a few key new features to the chip, the first of which is the ability to combine the A12 with a Cortex-A7 processor in a big.LITTLE setup. That makes it a very scalable chip to suit a devices’ processing needs. The A12 also includes virtualization and TrustZone technology, allowing devices using it to double as a work solution as well as your personal smartphone or tablet. ARM also lets the chip address up to 1TB of memory, which I’m pretty sure no vendor will come anywhere near testing the limits of in their devices.
You’ll also be happy to hear the A12 has been paired with ARM’s Mali-T622 GPU, which has full OpenCL 1.1, OpenGL/ES 3.0, and DirectX 11 support as well as handling 1080p30 video playback. And it does that while only using half the power of the first generation Mali-T600 GPUs. Finally, you can throw in a Mali-V500 for video playback, and with it go from 1080p60 right through to 4K output at 120fps depending on the configuration.
The ARM Cortex-A12 certainly looks promising. 40 percent more performance than a Cortex-A9 combined with 1080p output using half the power draw even with the entry level chip is sure to have Intel taking notice. It’s also going to secure ARM a new round of licensing deals with smartphone and tablet manufacturers.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Top 10 Gold Producing Countries In The World

We learn from chemistry class in high school that gold is a metal that has the symbol of Au and has an atomic number of 79. It is shiny, malleable and soft. It is a highly sought after item and is considered valuable and very precious. It used to be the standard for monetary policies of economists around the world.
More than 165 thousand tons have been mined, with half of it being used for jewelry and accessories, others for investments, and around a tenth for industry. It can be found in different parts of the globe, from South Africa and Australia to Russia and Peru. The United States is also a major producer, though China has supplanted them all. The top ten countries are responsible for more than two thirds of the world’s production output of gold, which totaled 2,700,000 kilograms in the latest calendar year available.
So what other areas in the world can gold be found? Here is a list of the top ten gold-producing countries in the world.

1. China – 355,000 kilograms

The world’s top consumer of gold is also its top producer. It has held that title since 2007. Most of its production comes from the province of Shandong. The China National Gold Group mines around a fifth of its output. China’s gold holdings stand at 1,054.1 tons, which is equivalent to 1.7 percent of its total foreign reserves. The country still has around 1,900 tons in reserves. China is on pace to break the 2011 figure of 355 tons produced, as it has already mined a total of 249.7 tons as of the second quarter of this year. That reflects a 10 percent increase from the same period last year.

2. Australia – 270,000 kilograms

More than 66 percent of gold mined down under comes from Western Australia, the location of the Golden Mile. It is the largest open pit mine in the country. Gold is one of the country’s top exports, allowing it to raise more than $14 billion each year. Gold reserves in the country are at around 7,400 tons. Australia has holdings of 79.9 tons of gold, equivalent to 9.3 percent of its total foreign reserves.

3. United States – 237,000 kilograms

Officially, the United States has the largest gold holdings in the world with 8,133.5 tons, equivalent to 75.4 percent of its total foreign reserves. The country has around 3,000 tons in reserves. Most of the gold mined in the country comes from Nevada, though the reopening of mines in Montana helped in the increase in production numbers.

4. Russia – 200,000 kilograms

Being one of the top producers of gold in the world has not stopped Russia from purchasing more from other nations. As of the third quarter of 2012, the country has already bought 57.6 tons to augment its reserves to 936.7 tons, equivalent to 9.6 percent of its foreign reserves. It still sits on around 5,000 tons of proven reserves, with most of it coming from Siberia and the Far East.

5. South Africa – 190,000 kilograms

The country sits on one of the world’s largest gold deposits at 6,000 tons, though production has been hampered by strife in the labor sector. As recent as 2006, South Africa was considered the biggest gold producer in the world. It has since dropped down in the rankings, with production increases abysmal.  Still, the country’s holdings of 125 tons of gold are equivalent to 13.4 percent of its total foreign reserves.

6. Peru – 150,000 kilograms

The country is the largest producer of gold in Latin America. It has gold reserves of around 2,000 tons. Its official gold holdings stand at 34.7 tons, or equivalent to 3.2 percent of its total foreign reserves.

7. Canada – 110,000 kilograms

The North American’s official gold holdings stand at 3.4 tons, or a mere 0.3 percent of its total foreign currency reserves. The gold reserves waiting to be mined are only 920 tons, the smallest quantity of all the countries in the top ten. Most of Canada’s gold comes from Ontario, where Goldcorp operates the Red Lake gold mine.

8. Ghana – 100,000 kilograms

Ghana is the second largest producer of gold in the continent of Africa. It was once known as the Gold Coast because of the abundance of the precious metal in the area. It produced 100 tons of gold in 2011, and it still has around 1,400 tons in reserve. Officially, the Ghanaian government reports that it has 8.7 tons of gold holdings, which are equivalent to 10.2 percent of its total foreign currency reserves.

9. Indonesia – 100,000 kilograms

The country consists of more than 17,000 islands, but most of its gold production comes only from a few areas where the mineral is heavily mined. As a matter of fact, Indonesia is the home of Grasberg, which is the largest gold mine in the world. The 100 tons that it produced is actually a decline from the previous year’s output of 120 tons. The Southeast Asian archipelago still has 3,000 tons of gold reserves. The country’s official gold holdings stand at 73.1 tons, equivalent to 3.6 percent of its total foreign currency reserves.

10. Uzbekistan – 90,000 kilograms

It used to be part of the Soviet Union, before the latter collapsed in the early 90s. The country may have been deprived of water resources because of it being landlocked, but it certainly got blessed with tons of this precious metal. Total gold reserves that the country is sitting on are estimated to be around 1,700 tons. These reserves are programmed to last them until 2032 even if no new source is discovered. The state-owned Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combinat mine most of its gold, with estimates saying that the company is responsible for up to 80 percent of the country’s production. The main source of its gold is the Murutau mine, which is considered to be the largest open-pit mine in the world today.

The Top 10 Richest Cities in the World

10. Shanghai, China

GDP: $516.5 billion, area: 6,340.5 square kilometers, population: 23,019,148
 The only Chinese city on the list is also the economic center of the country. This city on the Eastern Coast of China can trace its earliest history to 960 AD, although it was not upgraded from a fishing village to a market town until 1074 during the Song Dynasty. It eventually rose to become a very important port city, as it was readily accessible for foreign ships when foreigners came to China in the early 20th century.The city is known for several tourist attractions like The Bund, where several foreign embassies are still in office, and the districts of the different foreigners who came to do business with the Chinese. The city is also known for the Orient Pearl TV Tower, a building of unique and distinct architecture. Its biggest industries are in steel production, oil and chemicals.

9. Moscow, Russia

GDP: $520.1 billion, area: 2,510 square kilometers, population: 11,503,501
 Located in western Russia, records referring to Moscow go as far as 1147, although the earliest known construction of a wall around the city was only recorded in 1156. It was sacked and conquered over the centuries by invading powers including the Mongols, the Swedes, the Poles and the French. The city was stripped of its title as Russian capital after the founding of St. Petersburg before being reinstated as capital after the revolution of 1917. The city is known for several attractions like the Kremlin, Red Square, the BolshoiTheater and the mausoleum housing Vladimir Lenin’s preserved corpse. Its biggest industriesinclude chemicals, metallurgy and food production.

8. Chicago, USA

GDP: $524.6 billion, area: 606.1 square kilometers, population: 2,707,120
 Also known the Windy City, Chicago, in the US state of Illinois, first started out as an area occupied by Native Americans. French explorer Robert dela Salle first referred to the area as ‘Checagou’, from the native word ‘shikaakwa’, meaning “wild onions” or “wild garlic”. The founding of modern Chicago was in 1833, but only as a town. Rapid population growth necessitated its naming to a city in 1837, but still it continued to develop to become one of the fastest-growing cities in the country for several more decades.Its attractions include the Chicago Theatre, the Field Museum of Natural History and Wrigley Field. Its biggest industries are manufacturing, printing and publishing.

7. Osaka, Japan


GDP: $654.8 billion, area: 552.26 square kilometers, population: 1,545,410
The site where Osaka, in southern Japan, is now located was believed to have been settled in by humans as early as 6BC.But it was not until the Edo period from 1603 to 1867 that it grew into one of the country’s major cities and not until 1889 that the modern municipality was established and expanded. Of its total area, only 223 square kilometers is actually designated as a city. Osaka’s attractions include Osaka Castle, Universal Studios Japan and the Kiyomizu Temple. Its biggest industries are metal, textile and plastic production.

6. Paris, France

GDP: $669.2 billion, area: 105.4 square kilometers, population: 10,413,386
Around 250 BC a Celtic sub-tribe known as the Parisii established a settlement near the Seine River in France. Their settlement will later be named after them –Paris.Also called the City of Lights, it is now one of the most-visited places in Europe, although it had a turbulent past with the plague and occupations by invading armies from Russia, Prussia and Germany.The attractions of Paris include the world-famous Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysees, the Louvre Museum and the Arc de Triomphe. Its biggest industries are tourismand the clothing business as many designer clothes brands have their main office in Paris.

5. London, England

GDP: $731.2 billion, area: 1,570 square kilometers, population: 8,173,194
London has been settled as early as the Roman era when it was referred to as Londinium.It slowly grew to the city it now is, although it was nearly destroyed by a huge fire in 1666 and ravaged by plague a century later. Modern London became the world largest city from 1831 to 1925 with people of different cultures from all over the world settling there.London is still known to be a cultural melting pot and accepting of many youth cultures from all over the globe. London’s attractions include Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge, the London Eye and the world-famous Big Ben clock tower. Its biggest industries are finance and banking.

4. Seoul, South Korea

GDP: $779.3 billion, area: 605.21 square kilometers, population: estimated 10 million
Located in northwestern South Korea, Seoul was believed to have been settled in as early as 17 BC. The city rose to become the capital of the Joseon Dyan 1394 and has stayed capital of the country since. It was credited as the first city in East Asia to have power, water and a phone system at the same time. In 1950 it was occupied by invading forces from North Korea who were later driven backin 1951. Its current boundaries were established only in 1995 and it has grown economically since. Its main attractions are the Korean War Memorial, Namsan Park, Changdeokgung Palace and the N Seoul Tower. Seoul’s main industries include electronic, textile and iron and steel production.

3. Los Angeles, USA

GDP: $789.7 billion, area: 1,302 square kilometers, population: 3,792,621
The glitzy, glamorous home of everything Hollywood started out as a settlement by the Native American Chumash tribe before the 16th century.In the 18th century the small village was called El Pueblo de Nuestra SeƱora la Reina de los Angeles, shortened to Los Angeles eventually.In 1847 it was won by Americans from its Spanish-descendant settlers and its population steadily grew with the buildings of the railroad in 1876 to the city we know it today. The city is well known for its attractions like Universal Studios, the Hollywood sign, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Santa Monica Pier. Like London, its main industries are banking and finance.

2. New York, USA

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GDP: $1,210 billion, area: 1,213square kilometers, population: 8,244,910
Originally founded as the Province of New York by the English during the second Anglo-Dutch War, it was recaptured by the Dutch before being turned over the English via treaty in 1674. It was one of the states that endorsed Declaration of Independence in 1776 and was the scene of one first majorbattles of the American Revolution. From the 19th to the 20thcentury the city would become the main entry port of immigrants from all over the world and many of them eventually decided to settle there instead of moving on, giving the city a wide racial and cultural diversity.It has five boroughs or state counties, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. Its attractions include Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. Its biggest industries include publishing, finance and real estate.

1. Tokyo, Japan

GDP: $1,520 billion, area: 2,187.6 square kilometers, population: 13,185,502
Tokyo has come far from its humble origin as the fishing village of Edo. In 1590 it became the capital of the capital of the ruling dynasty.It later grew in area and population to become the identified capital of Japan, although the emperor took up residence in Kyoto.The city suffered a devastating earthquake in 1923 and extensive US bombing in World War II.After the war it was steadily rebuilt, finally taking center stage in 1964 when it hosted the Summer Olympics. Its attractions include Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo Tower, the Tokyo Imperial Palace and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Its biggest industries are in electronics, telecommunications and publishing.

With a few exception most of these cities also make up last year’s list of top 10 riches cities in the world.Are you by any chance living in, or have been to, one of the current richest cities?