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Someone Has Now Beaten Dark Souls III in Less than 90 Minutes

The speedrunning community really is something else. Just a few days ago, we were all shocked to hear that the still-not-released-worldwide Dark Souls III was bested in 102 minutes, but the record wasn’t meant to be, as it has already been smashed by taku_muzine on glitch-free Any%, clocking in at 1:23:18, though he admits that a few mistakes were made and that the record could go even lower.

In fact, I don’t even know why I’m bothering to write this. There will probably be a new record by the time this is published.

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Mobile Platforms News

Rovio, the Studio Behind Angry Birds, is Moving to a Free-to-Play Model

Rovio Entertainment, best known for Angry Birds and $99 microtransactions for Angry Birds, has been suffering financially lately, with layoffs in the hundreds following. With Angry Birds fading in popularity, the new company CEO Wilhelm Taht is making a few changes; the company will be taking on a “games-as-service” approach, meaning a focus on a free-to-play platform with plenty of post-launch content in order to keep players sticking around. Taht also stressed the importance of video ads, in which players get to watch a short commercial video in exchange for an in-game reward:

“We still see a very significant portion of revenues in Go! being generated by reward videos, and basically all of our new titles as well. The importance of video ads in many of our games cannot be understated.”
— Wilhelm Taht

In order to have this new ad-driven approach pay off, Rovio is taking an approach found in many of its mobile competitors, such as
Clash of Clans and Age of War: user acquisition. The goal is to pry gamers away from the rivals and onto Rovio’s own games—and have them sticking around.

“We’re investing more this year than we did last year in user acquisition, because performance. Because of those games performing at a better rate. Next year I hope to be able to invest far more in user acquisition than this year. … That kind of metric is a signal also of times that are changing. 2014 and 2015 really mark the final step to us being a free-to-play games company.”

Do you think a free-to-play approach is the right way to solve Rovio’s financial woes? Or would you rather have them ship a game and moving onto the next project? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Source: Gamasutra

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News PC PlayStation 4 Wii U Xbox One

Ubisoft Filed a New Trademark for Beyond Good & Evil 2

Since its announcement, Beyond Good & Evil 2 has suffered numerous delays and development issues, with rumors ranging from the project being dropped to the game being NX-exclusive piling high. However, Ubisoft recently trademarked Beyond Good & Evil (curiously stylized in all-caps), indicating that the project may not be completely dead. The trademark concerned five categories: Class 9 (game software), Class 16 (paper products), Class 25 (clothes), Class 28 (games and playthings), and Class 41 (entertainment).

It should be mentioned that the trademark may simply be a case of Ubisoft protecting its intellectual property, rather than indicating active development. However, what do you think? Is
Beyond Good & Evil 2 in development, or will it disappear in development hell? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Source: European Union Intellectual Property Office

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News

Gamers Around the World Spent $6.2 Billion on Digital Games in February Alone

You can throw away your physical game shelving units, because it looks like digital games are here to stay; a report from SuperData reveals that digital games sales reached a staggering $6.2 billion in February, a 10% increase from last year. Most of this growth came from the console market, which saw a 34% increase in digital game sales, and a 24% increase in audience. However, new game sales dipped down to 180,000 copies due to a lack of new releases.

In addition, SuperData also published its Top Five charts for February’s best-selling titles. You can check those out down below!

Digital console

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
  2. FIFA 16
  3. Grand Theft Auto V
  4. Madden NFL 16
  5. Fallout 4

PC DLC

  1. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  2. StarCraft II
  3. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  4. Fallout 4
  5. Grand Theft Auto V

Free-to-play MMO

  1. League of Legends
  2. Crossfire
  3. Dungeon Fighter Online
  4. World of Tanks
  5. DOTA 2

Pay-to-play MMO

  1. World of WarCraft
  2. Lineage I
  3. TERA: Online
  4. Star Wars: The Old Republic
  5. Blade & Soul

Mobile

  1. Clash of Clans
  2. Game of War: Fire Age
  3. Candy Crush Saga
  4. Monster Strike
  5. Puzzle & Dragons

Social

  1. DoubleDown Casino
  2. Slotomania
  3. Candy Crush Saga
  4. FarmVille 2
  5. Candy Crush Soda Saga

Source: SuperData (via MCV)

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News PlayStation 4 Videos Xbox One

Dark Souls III Runs at 900p on Xbox One With Mild Framerate Drops

If you happen to own both an Xbox One and a PlayStation 4 and you’re struggling to decide which console you’ll be playing the upcoming Dark Souls III on, fret no more. The folks at Digital Foundry have put the game through the wringer with a series of performance tests comparing the console versions of the title, with the result being a slight edge to the PlayStation 4 version, which boasts a native resolution of 1080p compared to the Xbox One’s upscaled 900p. In addition, the Xbox version of the game suffered the occasional minor framerate drop, while the PlayStation version ran at a steady 30 FPS.

Overall, the lower resolution appeared to have little impact on the general aesthetic of the game; Digital Foundry noted that the visuals on the Xbox One version held up quite well, with the only truly noticeable difference occurring in shadow resolution, which appears slightly more pixelated on the Xbox One version. In addition, certain objects, such as foliage, may appear slightly softer due to the upscaled resolution.

The game is intended to run at 30 FPS, and on the PlayStation 4 version the game does indeed manage to run at a very stable framerate. However, the Xbox One suffers slightly in this regard, with frequent drops to 28 FPS and infrequent ones down to 25 FPS. However, none of the framerate dips found by Digital Foundry have made the game unplayable, and it looks perfectly fine on the Xbox One.

What do you think? Are these types of discrepancies acceptable? Are they enough to push you away from the Xbox One version? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

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News PlayStation 4 Trailers Videos Xbox One

Wednesday’s “Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV” Event Teases “All Kinds of Wonderful Stuff”

Final Fantasy XV is launching this year, and the people at Square Enix certainly want you to know that. A special Final Fantasy event called “Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV” will be kicking off next week, with a special live show on Wednesday at 10:00 PM EST, which is set to reveal the release date of the upcoming installment of the long-running franchise. In addition, Square Enix published a small teaser trailer yesterday, vowing that the event would reveal “all kinds of wonderful stuff never seen or heard before!”

You should check out the trailer, and don’t forget to leave a comment with what you think this wonderful stuff might be!

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News PlayStation 4

Report: Sony is Making an Upgraded Version of the PS4 with More Power and 4K Resolution

The launch of PlayStation VR is quickly approaching, and with Sony’s
Chris Nordon recently vowing to reject any PlayStation VR game that runs a framerate lower than 60 FPS, it raises questions concerning the PlayStation 4’s horsepower. However, Sony may already have an answer for that. Kotaku reports an upgraded version of the console, tentatively dubbed “PlayStation 4.5” – and more jokingly as “PlayStation 4K” – is being developed, which will have a more powerful GPU intended to run games at 4K.

What do you think of all this? Is Sony right in aiming for 4K gaming right now, or are they better off staying the course with the current PlayStation 4? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Source: Kotaku

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News PC

A Chinese Mining Company is Trying to Buy Out the Creators of RuneScape

I do not think anyone saw this one coming, but it is happening: a Chinese mining company called Shandong Hongda Mining Co Ltd. has made a bid to buy Runescape developer Jagex for a sum of $300 million. The latter has contacted Eurogamer, and informed them that negotiations are still in the early stages:

“Jagex has entered into a non-exclusive, non-binding arrangement for a potential acquisition. The negotiations surrounding the acquisition are ongoing and it remains very much business as usual for the Company.” — Jagex

Despite the possible acquisition, it looks like no matter how this goes down, it may not have a massive impact on gamers. According to a forum post made by Runescape‘s community head, the development of Jagex’s upcoming titles will be proceeding as planned:

“As you may have seen through online news articles, Jagex is getting noticed. The company is getting attention from the east and the biggest market in the world, China, is knocking on our door. Jagex’s shareholders have received offers of interest and have responded positively to an approach from a Chinese company.

“Jagex is in early stage discussions with the firm in question, but we must stress that they may – or may not – materialise into anything. However, should they come to fruition, it would potentially allow us access to the Asian marketplace to a high level.

“What does this mean for the plans we have for our games and our fantastic community? Put simply, our plans, including the launch of NXT, Zeah, Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, God Wars Dungeon 2, and RuneScape: Idle Adventures, remain on track. It is business as usual across Gielinor!” — Mod Balance, Jagex

What do you think of all this? Is it as strange as it looks? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Source: Eurogamer

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News Xbox 360 Xbox One

Microsoft’s Holding a Massive Holiday Sale for Over 50 Xbox Games

It’s late December, and for gamers, that’s usually the beginning of the end of our bank accounts as the Steam Winter Sale does its best to annihilate them. This year, Microsoft has stepped into the fray with a massive sale dubbed “Countdown,” offering some pretty steep discounts on a large selection of the Xbox One and Xbox 360 libraries. Xbox gamers will be pleased to hear that Halo 5: Guardians and Just Cause 3 are 20% off, and Dragon Age: Inquisition has had 40% of its price disappear. In addition, Rare Replay‘s price tag is down 17% during the sale.

Keep in mind that these deals are only in place until December 28th. After that, they’ll disappear, with a whole new batch of games being put on sale until the 1st of January. Check out the list of games here, because it really is massive!

Source: Major Nelson

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News PC

Valve Has Been Sued By a French Consumer Group

A while back, Valve introduced a two-hour refund policy for Steam; simply put, if you haven’t played a game you’ve bought for more than two hours, you can return it for a full refund. However, a French consumer group called UFC-Que Choisir has sued Valve on the behalf of the public over its digital policies, claiming that they infringe on French law.

UFC has argued that the consumer protection that exists in Steam is far too narrow and does too little to protect the end user. Primarily, the group has a dispute with Valve concerning five key points (credit to Reddit user Silencement for translating the original article):

  • Steam’s Subscriber Agreement explicitely forbids users to sell their games, despite the transfer of ownership of digital products/licenses being legal
  • Valve declines any responsibility in case they get hacked and users’ personal info get stolen
  • Valve claims ownership on the rights of any user-created content uploaded on Steam
  • It is impossible to get the money on your Steam Wallet back if your account is closed/deleted/banned
  • Valve applies Luxembourg’s consumer law regardless of the user’s country

What do you think? Is Valve doing enough to protect consumer rights?

Source: UFC-Que Choisir (via Reddit)

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News Xbox 360 Xbox One

January’s Games With Gold Include Killer Instinct And Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Another month, another batch of Xbox Live Games With Gold freebies. On January 1st, Killer Instinct: Season 1 Ultra Edition (normally priced at $39.99) and Zheros will be available for free on the Xbox One, while people still on the Xbox 360 will receive Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Dirt Showdown (each of which costs $14.99 otherwise). Keeping with its promise that Games With Gold titles will be backwards-compatible, Microsoft announced that the two latter titles will be playable on the Xbox One.

Source: Major Nelson

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News

Kojima Still Wants to Work with Guillermo del Toro

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding Hideo Kojima lately, following him parting ways with Konami. After the news broke that Konami had forbidden Kojima from participating in The Game Awards, we found out that he had finally abandoned Konami to start his own studio, where he is already working on a new PlayStation 4 exclusive. Furthermore, while speaking to IGN, Kojima revealed that he is still interested in working with Guillermo del Toro, who was originally supposed to direct the now-cancelled Silent Hills.

Furthermore, Kojima mentioned that his future works may not just be limited to games; he explained how his focus is primarily on digital content, and that they “could consider movies, animations, anything.” Considering his desire to partner up again with del Toro, we could very well be watching a blockbuster title from Kojima a few years from now.

What do you think the future holds for Hideo Kojima? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Source: IGN

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News Wii U

Minecraft: Wii U Edition Is Available Now on the Nintendo eShop

Wii U owners waiting to play Minecraft on their consoles have been waiting for what seems like an eternity, but at long last, the wait is over! Yesterday, the game finally rolled out on the eShop, and it is available for purchase right now at the price of $29.99. This is more expensive than the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions, but it does come bundled with six popular texture packs. The game is currently on patch 1.6.4, but Mojang is currently working on getting it caught up with the other versions of the game.

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News PC

The Studio Behind League of Legends, Riot Games, Has Been Bought by a Chinese Investment Giant

Earlier this week, Riot Games announced that the company, including its overwhelmingly successful MOBA League of Legends, has been bought out by Chinese investment holding company Tencent. Tencent, which was already a majority investor in the studio, bought the last remaining equity, meaning that it now has full control over Riot Games. The studio announced that the takeover would come with several benefits for its staff, including cash-based incentive programs, subsidized medical plans, open PTO, and more.

Source: Riot Games

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News PC

Star Citizen Hits $100 Million in Crowdfunding

If there ever was a crowdfunding success story, Star Citizen would certainly be it. Following a $2 million Kickstarter, the game’s lead developer, Chris Roberts, took crowdfunding to a whole new level by organizing his own crowdfunding campaign directly on the company website. More importantly, the company recently manage to break a huge milestone, having raised over $100 million in crowdfunding, with the last $40 million coming in the last year.

Source: Roberts Space Industries

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Features

Daily Delib: Could it Make Sense for Nintendo to Release Certain Kinds of Games on Rival Consoles?

Earlier this week, Nintendo finally confirmed what many fans had been hoping for: a Minecraft port on the Wii U. In many ways — despite a PEGI rating leaking the existence of the port — it still felt rather surprising to hear that Microsoft had willingly let one of its most expensive acquisitions make an appearance on a rival console. As a result, there’s been a bit of a discussion recently regarding the reverse case; could some of Nintendo’s games end up on Microsoft’s or Sony’s consoles, and is it a good idea?

Xbox head Phil Spencer certainly seems positively inclined towards the idea, recently claiming in a tweet that he’d be happy to see Nintendo games on the Xbox platform. Indeed, it wouldn’t be the first time a console manufacturer crossed the metaphorical no man’s land; Microsoft itself has released several titles on Nintendo’s consoles, and with the recent resurgence of PC gaming, several publishers have made sure to offer their games on that platform as well.

Then, in what ways could Nintendo publish its games on competing platforms? If they’re feeling particularly suicidal, offering the likes of next Zelda or Mario seems like a relatively straight-forward idea. However, assuming that their heads are still firmly attached to their bodies, there are a few more nuanced possibilities.

For example, as was proposed by our editor-in-chief to me, Nintendo could strike a deal with Microsoft, who just happens to be the owner of a well-known intellectual property called Banjo-Kazooie. Suppose that they were to offer to publish a new Metroid title on Xbox One in exchange for a Banjo-Kazooie game on the Wii U. Assuming both games were published on both platforms, it’s hard to imagine a loser in this arrangement; Nintendo gets reunited with a franchise that helped define the Nintendo 64, Microsoft gets some fresh blood to its Xbox line-up, and gamers get two new games to play.

Another approach could be to port some titles that haven’t been selling as well as Nintendo would have hoped. One recent example that springs to mind is Bayonetta 2, which, despite glowing critical reception, has yet to actually break 1 million sold copies. The game was never a system-seller, and releasing it on rival consoles could very well help pad Nintendo’s bottom line.

However, what do you think? Could releasing some games on rivaling consoles work for Nintendo? And if so, how do you think they should go about it?

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Features

Daily Delib: Are Episodic Games a Good Idea?

A few days ago, IGN reported that the new Final Fantasy VII remake would be a multi-part series, prompting many to conclude that the game would take the increasingly popular episodic game format, mostly famously used by the likes of Telltale Games and Dontnod Entertainment. The general idea is that by partitioning games into smaller episodes, they can be released more frequently at lower prices, but the model does have its demerits. What do you think? Are episodic games a good idea? Or is it better to simply sell the finished product as one game?

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News Videos Wii U

Minecraft: Wii U Edition is Officially Announced, Will Launch on December 17

Last month, a PEGI rating for
Minecraft: Wii U Edition was discovered, all but confirming that the block-building sandbox title was finally making its way to Nintendo’s home console. Indeed, earlier today, Nintendo itself confirmed it via a press release announcing Minecraft: Wii U Edition. The game will launch on the eShop at a price point of $29.99, and will include both off-TV play as well as a few texture packs.

Furthermore, 16 additional skin packs will be available as DLC on launch. You can find the full list of skin packs below:

Included:

  • Battle & Beasts Skin Pack
  • Battle & Beasts 2 Skin Pack
  • Natural Texture Pack
  • City Texture Pack
  • Fantasy Texture Pack
  • Festive Mash-up Pack

Add-ons available at launch

  • Festive Skin Pack
  • The Simpsons Skin Pack
  • Doctor Who Skins Volume 1
  • Doctor Who Skins Volume 2
  • Star Wars Classic Skin Pack
  • Star Wars Rebels Skin Pack
  • Star Wars Prequel Skin Pack
  • Mass Effect Mash-up Pack
  • Skyrim Mash-up Pack
  • Plastic Texture Pack
  • Candy Texture Pack
  • Cartoon Texture Pack
  • Steampunk Texture Pack
  • Pattern Texture Pack
  • Greek Mythology Mash-up Pack
  • Halloween 2015 Mash-up Pack

Source: Nintendo

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News PC PlayStation 4 Xbox One

Ubisoft Wants For Honor to Have “Long-Term Appeal”

One of the more exciting revelations from this year’s E3 was Ubisoft’s For Honor, an action game with a heavy sword-fighting focus. Since then, the publishing giant has been active in marketing the title, exhibiting it in various conventions and expos, as well as a closed alpha event, and they have recently published a blog post concerning all the feedback they’ve received. The company stressed a desire for For Honor to have “long-term appeal,” and underlined the importance of an “easy-to-learn/hard-to-master experience.”

Ubisoft also mentioned the topic of balancing. We’ve seen games before, most recently Star Wars Battlefront and the Walker Assault mode, with relatively unbalanced maps favoring one side, and Ubisoft has attempted to put such concerns at ease. So far, only the 4-versus-4 Dominion mode has been shown off, but none of the three playable maps have been shown to give any significant edge to one side or the other.

In addition, there was a significant amount of feedback concerning the playable characters. The game features three factions, which are further divided into a variety of classes with different weapons and play styles. According to Ubisoft’s post-alpha survey, 89.04% of players felt that there was a gameplay difference between the characters available in the closed alpha.

Source: Ubisoft

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Articles

Daily Delib: What’s Really The Difference Between an RPG and a JRPG?

When it comes to genres, video games have a habit of blurring the line. Fallout 4 has shooting, but we still think of it as an RPG, and while Dying Light has a leveling system, we still prefer to think of it as an action game. With the case of JPRGs, this line becomes even blurrier. What is it really that sets apart Japanese RPGs from other games in the genre? Is it the combat, or is it the art style? Could it be something different altogether? With the imminent release of Xenoblade Chronicles X looming over our heads, it’s something we’ve been thinking about a lot amongst our staff. We’re wondering what you all think about the topic, so leave a comment with your thoughts!

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