Last night, developer Frogwares took the unusual step of issuing a DMCA takedown notice against its own game, The Sinking City, in order to force its removal from Steam. The move was the latest step in an escalating dispute between Frogwares and publisher Nacon, which began in April 2020.Today, Nacon issued a statement in response to the game's most recent removal from Steam, repeating its assertion that it is "contractually the sole exclusive distributor of The Sinking City on Steam," and that despite Frogwares' claims, it has paid the developer what it owes."In the past, Frogwares has improperly relied on accusations regarding a lack of payment to refuse delivery of the game on Steam, at which point they tried to unsuccessfully terminate the contract," Nacon said. "The Paris Court of Appeal deemed this action 'manifestly unlawful'; ordering the continuation of the contract and encouraging Frogwares to refrain 'from any action which would impede such continuation'."In line with the courts' decision, Nacon has repeatedly and unsuccessfully requested that Frogwares make the game available on Steam, failing which it would apply a clause in the contract wherein such a case, the game would be adapted by a third party. Frogwares then attempted, without the knowledge of Nacon and in violation of our rights, to make the game available on Steam without mentioning Nacon in its capacity as the publisher. This is, therefore clear proof that no technical impossibility prevents the game from being put back on Steam."That paragraph is particularly interesting because it suggests that the core elements of Frogwares' claim—that Nacon "adapted" a different build of the game for release on Steam—are accurate, but also stakes out its own contractual right to do so. I don't have access to the contract, but if that is in fact the case it would go a long way toward explaining why Nacon was willing to take what appeared to be such a reckless risk to get a two-year-old game back on Steam.For now, The Sinking City remains off of Steam, although you can still pick it up on Origin, the Microsoft Store, Gamesplanet (where Nacon allegedly got the copy it put on Steam), and elsewhere. Nacon said it regrets the conflict and the removal of the game from Steam, and also warned that it "reserves the right to take legal action against Frogwares for its aggressive and prejudicial comments."I've reached out to Nacon for more information on the contractual clause it says grants it the right to upload modified builds of The Sinking City to Steam without Frogwares' approval, and will update if I receive a reply.
Minute of Islands was revealed in the summer of 2020 as the story of a tinkerer named Mo who lives on a chain of islands filled with strange, dilapidated machines that must be kept running in order to hold some ancient threat at bay. The setup sounds sinister, but I thought—and think—that it looks oddly lovely, and the suggestion that there's more going on than is immediately apparent also has me curious.It was expected to be out later that year, which obviously didn't work out—it was a tough year for everyone, after all. In February publisher Mixtvision committed to a March 18 release instead, but unfortunately that's not going to happen either: Alluding to the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said today that "major technical issues" came up in the most recent round of testing, and that's scuttled the launch plan."We all know (especially after one year of a global pandemic) that things don´t always go according to plan. As much as we had hoped and intended to bring Minute of Islands to stores on March 18, some significant last-minute issues appeared during our last round of testing," Mixtvision tweeted. "This means that it´s with a heavy heart that we´ve decided to push the release on all platforms to a later date."
Wasteland 3 continues to be updated, with the post-apocalyptic RPG receiving patches like the one inXile called "Save Scummer's Delight", which reduced load times by up to 60 percent, and one that buffed the swearing parrot and cyborg chickens. The next update is called "Death & Taxes", and will bring Wasteland 3 up to version 1.3.3. If you've already finished the game and are looking to make things harder, this sounds like the update for you. It's adding a permadeath mode, which will mean members of your party who bleed out can't be brought back by a doctor or a convenient nitro spike jammed in their heart. If every Ranger in your party drops, it's game over. As inXile explains, "This is because the light of life has been extinguished from the party and the forces of evil have triumphed. Unless you were the forces of evil, in which case perhaps the forces of light and good prevailed when they killed you."Permadeath will be a singleplayer-only option, as having one half of a co-op game lose their characters and be reduced to a spectator probably wouldn't be a fun time.Another optional feature will up both the difficulty of all skill checks and the stat requirements to use items by two points, forcing characters to specialize more. By the end of the game my high-intelligence characters had enough bonus skill points to be jacks-of-most-trades, but this option will push you to focus on a handful of skills for each character and make sure none of them double up. To make that easier, a respec option will be added at Ranger HQ. Your first two respecs will be free, but after that each time you decide to retrain it'll cost an increasing fee.Version 1.3.3 will also throw in 23 new scars, tattoos, and helmets to customize characters further and what inXile are calling "a heck-ton" of improvements and fixes. It should be out in early March.
AMD announced its new RX 6700 XT GPU earlier today, which is exciting enough, but nestled among the festivities was news that Resident Evil Village will have ray tracing support on PC—though as you'd expect, it's only confirmed for AMD cards at the moment.It may be bad news for RX 6700 XT early adopters though, because Resident Evil Village with ray tracing on needs an RX 6800 XT according to AMD's own recommended specifications (you'll only need a Ryzen 5 1600 CPU, though). Still it's exciting news, and the presentation even featured some short comparison clips. Check it out below (or in this video at 9:43).
At the end of 2019 the president of Wizards of the Coast, Chris Cocks, said there were seven or eight games based on Dungeons & Dragons in the works. We know about Baldur's Gate 3 and Dark Alliance of course, and now, thanks to a tweet from Hidden Path Entertainment, we know about one more.The creator of the Defense Grid series, as well as co-developer of CS:GO and Age of Empires 2 HD, posted a series of job listings, saying, "We are in development on a AAA, third-person, open-world fantasy RPG that will be taking place inside the Dungeons & Dragons franchise." This was backed up by its project narrative director Whitney Beltrán, who has written for games like State of Decay 2 and Beyond Blue.
Samsung's 49-inch Odyssey G9 gaming monitor is both ludicrous and an absolute joy at the same time. So, with Samsung announcing it is upgrading its popular ultrawide monster to a new Quantum Mini LED panel, we're positively drooling. While we're still a way off MicroLED and OLED panels in PC monitors, the 2021 model of the 49-inch behemoth should deliver something of a quarter-step in the right direction: enhanced black levels and greater backlight zoning control we expect will make for a prettier picture.Here's what Samsung has to say about the Quantum Mini LED tech itself:"At just 1/40th the size of conventional LEDs, Quantum Mini LEDs allow for ultra-fine light control. With deep blacks, bright lights, and upscaling technology smarter than any Samsung TV has ever offered, Samsung Neo QLED delivers an ultra-realistic picture—whether you are watching a football game, or playing one on your gaming console."Samsung Neo QLED is the Quantum Mini LED tech plus a Neo Quantum Processor, and that seems to be limited to the TVs at this time. The G9 will incorporate both Quantum Matrix Technology and Quantum Mini LED, though, but we can't wait to see what that does in a high-res gaming panel.There's no date to Samsung's Mini LED upgrade just yet, but it's planned for sometime in 2021. It probably won't come cheap, though, as the existing G9 model will set you back $1,479 (£1,289). At least for the price of two PC monitors you end up with something close to the same overall real estate: The Odyssey G9 features a 5,120 x 1,440 resolution.Beyond this chunky lad, Samsung has announced a partnership with AMD to develop the first TV with support for AMD's FreeSync Premium Pro standard (that's the HDR one). The first to arrive with that feature will be Samsung's Q70A 4K (and the bigger, high-end models) as well as its The Frame TV.You guessed it, The Frame looks like a picture frame. And yes, I do think it's quite cool, if only a little pretentious (a little? - Ed.).FreeSync Premium Pro nets you:
The Azza Overdrive is either one of the coolest cases I've ever laid eyes on or it's an absolute atrocity that shouldn't exist. I feel it may be both. I'd love to use it for the basis of some hard-tube monster, but at the same time, it looks massive and I absolutely don't have room for such a chonky bad boy on my desk. At least not and have space for a gaming monitor at the same time. Maybe I'm just meant to stare at it, and screw my monitor to the wall behind it, out of the way, so as not to distract from how awesome it is.If it isn't obvious from the picture, this is an open case like a test bench but with extra steps. The power supply goes at the bottom of the unit, with the E-ATX motherboard tray living above it. There's space for a reservoir pump in the middle for those custom water-cooled builds as well.There's room for two 360mm radiators on either side of the main tray, angled slightly-downwards of the main section. Additional cooling space can be found above the main body under a pair of wings that flip up to reveal bays that can also hold your graphics card, which can be up to 400mm long and up to three slots wide. It's completely over the top, but it's also brilliant.
Can you remember the last time you purchased a graphics card? If you're in the same boat as PC gamers at large, it was probably a long time ago, before the Great GPU Shortage of 2020/2021, caused by a spike in cryptocurrency mining, having to compete with scalpers and bots, and just not enough silicon to go around. Be that as it may, overall GPU shipments are holding strong, just don't buy one for cryptocurrency mining if the opportunity presents itself.That's according to Jon Peddie Research, a well known marketing, research, and consulting firm. JPR's latest report highlights a greater than 20 percent jump in total GPU shipments in the fourth quarter of last year, and a 12.4 percent rise for all of 2021.Those figures include integrated graphics, hence Intel leads the way with the biggest share of the PC GPU market—many of its CPUs have onboard graphics. When narrowing the focus on standalone desktop graphics cards, shipments slipped slightly by 3.9 percent last quarter.That's not surprising, really. According to JPR, overall GPU shipments are typically flat in the fourth quarter compared to the previous one, so a small slippage in discrete-only GPUs during a period of short supply is actually right on par with expectations. And as a whole, overall GPU shipments defied the trend.JPR certainly isn't worried about the 3.9 percent drop—the firm predicts discrete GPU shipments are on track to grow 21 percent over the next five years, bolstered by gaming and the continued proliferation of home offices. Interestingly, JPR does not see cryptocurrency mining as being a driving force.
Sorry, everyone. Despite positioning myself as the self-proclaimed Mech-liker on staff, I've never actually been huge on Gundam. I simply prefer my giant robots to look a little less toylike, I'm afraid. But while I'm not that hot on how Mecha anime often looks, I'm a sucker for how it sounds—and in that, Vulture: Unlimited Frontier absolutely nails its target.A free indie project from a Japanese developer going by Robo Lover (ロボ好き), Vulture made the rounds on my Twitter feed earlier this week. It may not look much, but trust me, you'll want to crank that volume right up.
Save $200 on this gaming laptop with a full-power (read: not Max-Q) GeForce GTX 2060 GPU.
A Samsung 7-inch OLED in a portable and compact form factor that's ready for gaming? Now you're talking my language. When I'm away from my desktop I'd kill for a compact game streaming device with a stunning panel to keep me going. But it turns out this isn't some new wave portable PC, it might just be the Nintendo Switch Pro.
IO Interactive has unveiled the March roadmap for Hitman 3, giving Agent 47 new contracts, new outfits, and an Easter egg hunt.The new events kick off now, with The Lesley Celebration Escalation Contract taking place in Berlin's nightclub. Agent 47 can also don the new ridiculously named Tactical Turtleneck outfit by returning to the ICA Facility and completing the final test. Next week will see featured contracts from Easy Allies arrive, as well as The Stowaway Elusive Target Contract on the Isle of Sgáil between March 12 and March 29.
Fortnite now has a TikTok sea shanty-inspired squad emote, because apparently nothing is sacred anymore.If you're somehow not tuned into internet ongoings, the sea shanty Wellermen blew up on TikTok earlier this year thanks to TikTok user Nathan Evans. The viral hit gave birth to ShantyTok, prompting tons of others to join in the fun with their own baselines and harmonies.
Excited about the upcoming Diablo 2 Remaster, but worried about losing all those hundreds of hours of progress built up over decades of playing the original? Worry not, adventurers, because it turns out those old saves will work perfectly with Diablo 2: Resurrected, letting you pick up right where you left off.That news comes courtesy of game producer Matthew Cederquist, who told IGN Middle East that a happy accident meant that old Diablo 2 saves ended up slotting perfectly into the remaster. Good news if you've been holding onto a cherished Barbarian file for the past 20 years."Yes! Keep your old save files," said Cederquist. "Back when we were working on [the remaster], we wondered if the old save files would work, so we kind of shoved it in, and it worked! So yes, your local singleplayer save files will carry over."Ideally, that means you'll be able to easily return to your old favourite characters and experience all the shiny new-ness coming with Resurrected—updated visuals, improved networking, and cross-progression with the remaster's console releases. In that same interview, game designer Andre Abrahamian explained the team's approach to remastering—leaving the core mechanics untouched, while pushing the game's visuals are far as they could."When we first started working on the game, we wanted to keep all the gameplay aspects, like discovering the Horadric Cube recipes, or the deep itemization systems or the drop rates, and all the storytelling," said Abrahamian. "But when we approach things like the art, we wanted to push it and modernize it as much as we could." With Diablo 2: Resurrected, Blizzard seems to have learned its lesson from the disastrous Warcraft 3: Reforged. The action-RPG remaster seems more concerned with enhancing the original, rather than replacing it, and Diablo 2 will still remain perfectly playable and moddable online through "Legacy BattleNet."
It's no secret that Marvel's Avengers has been far from the big success that Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix may have hoped for. Designed with a full singleplayer campaign and a multiplayer-focused endgame intended to give it a long tail, Avengers was halfway decent but simply didn't have enough there to maintain players' interest.Personally I found the endgame got very boring, very quickly. As part of the game's next major update, which sees Hawkeye arrive on March 18 (another problem with Marvel's Avengers: the DLC so far has focused on the most boring characters), the game's levelling system and loot is being completely reworked. And it's being changed in a manner that suggests the future for this game—as has seemed inevitable for a while—may be free-to-play.A blogpost innocently titled 'Upcoming Cosmetic and XP Rework' has the task of explaining to current players who've paid for the game why things are about to get a lot more grindy. It begins by saying that the current levelling curve is not really a curve, and players level at a steady rate, so brace yourself: "This has led to pacing issues, such as skill points currently being rewarded too fast, which may be confusing and overwhelming to newer players. We want each decision to invest in a skill or Heroic to be more meaningful."This does not align with my experience of the game at all, and I doubt many would agree with the above. In fact Avengers as it stood already had something of a grind to it, whereby you earned basic skills for each character relatively quickly, but then had multiple subsidiary skill-trees to sink extra points into and customise your playstyle. This change will increase the amount of XP needed to level up "starting from around level 25. This amount will increase the closer you get to level 50 so that it will take longer to reach higher levels, and will only affect character level, not power level."
Two new products for budding streamers and professional creators alike are on the way from Elgato. The company has announced some light strips, which really are just RGB LED light strips, and some fancy foam panels to reduce echo and improve room acoustics. And we all know that effective sound dampening is next to godliness.So let's start off with those first, the Elgato Wave Panels. These are effectively fancy versions of these foam panels, or many just like them, that you'll find used by anyone kind enough to treat their walls for their listeners' pleasure. A wall of foam is a pretty popular approach to prevent sound bouncing around a room. That or thick curtains. A decent sound environment is one aspect of audio that's often neglected a little, too. Mostly in favour of fancy, expensive microphones.
Spare a thought for AMD. It's finally got itself a genuinely competitive new graphics card architecture, released to great critical acclaim, and yet due to circumstances largely beyond its control, it's almost completely unable to sell them. An unholy mix of pandemic supply chain issues and TSMC oversubscription has meant that in the last 12 months AMD's share of the graphics card market has dwindled to just 18 percent.
If you've ever watched YouTube sensation lo-fi beats to study/relax to and wished all the music was based on classic Final Fantasy tunes, this is the album for you. Square Enix recently added a bunch of new albums to Spotify, including the excellent Final Fantasy VII Remake soundtrack (PC version when?) and, best of all, Square Enix Chill Out Arrangement Tracks - Around '80s Mix, a collection of vibey, laid back remixes of Final Fantasy music."Introducing new chill-out arrangements of music from Square Enix´s popular game titles," reads the album's official description. "This album features a selection of classic tracks, mainly taken from Squaresoft´s 1980s releases, such as Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy Legend, Final Fantasy Legend II, Final Fantasy Legend III, and Final Fantasy Adventure."
Ah Dark Souls, a masterpiece that changed the industry. A game I will praise to the heavens. And yet we all know, even the most devoted of us, that Dark Souls has some issues. Maybe the biggest is the Izalith area, which comes across as largely unfinished and, worst of all, features a boss called Bed of Chaos.Bed of Chaos is basically a giant sentient tree at the back of a collapsing arena, which sweeps its tendril branches back-and-forth while the player tries to smash specific parts and get to its core. The problem is that those branches... by god they're hard to avoid. And most of the time, one hit will see the Chosen Undead flying into the bottomless pit, YOU DIED, respawn and spend five minutes running back to do the same again. In a great game, it's a real low.I've been keeping an eye on a modder called King Bore, because they're working on a Dark Souls project called Shadow of the Eclipse that may turn out to be very cool, and recently they detailed some of their findings about the Bed of Chaos, and specifically the hitboxes.
An elephant never forgets its own release date. At least, I'm pretty sure that's how the saying goes. But in case your human brain forgets, a new trailer for Shelter 3 has scheduled the animal survival sequel's release for the end of the month—and this time, developer Might And Delight has gone big.Back in 2013, the first Shelter mixed up the survival space by pitting you as a skittery little badger mother, forcing you to defend your cubs from hungry eagles, forest fires, and drownings. As Pip found, being a badger mum is tough work. The second game pivoted from prey to predator, giving you control of a fierce family of Lynx—but for Shelter 3, the studio really decided to supersize the stakes.This time around, you're the matriarch of an elephant herd. I do enjoy how each new species dramatically changes the pace of these games, too. As an elephant with a large family, there are so many more mouths to feed, but that community gives you a level of protection that the first game's badgers never had. "Until now, Shelter games have focussed on animal families," lead programmer Sofia Papworth said in a Steam update. "With Shelter 3, we had a strong feeling that we wanted to make a Shelter experience that´s more social—elephants are incredibly sociable and that allows us to create a very different game experience."The series' gorgeous aesthetics remain untouched, thankfully, painting a world knitted together in folded, shimmering tapestry. Shelter 3 arrives on Steam on March 30th. With the escalation firmly in place, we can only imagine what giants we'll be controlling in Shelter 4. Blue Whales, perhaps?
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Researchers in psychology have found that how people move their mouse may well be an indication of their penchant for risk-taking: Given the choice between a risky and non-risky option, those who take risks move towards the risky option at first... even if they end up choosing the safe bet. Likewise, those who have a lower risk tolerance tended to move their mouse towards a safe choice, even if they ended up picking the gamble."We show that measuring mouse movements while participants are deciding between a risky gamble and a certain payout powerfully detects their conflict about the options," says the paper, "and that this conflict strongly predicts their risk preferences. Further, mouse movements are predictive of risk preferences even when choice outcomes are not."In short, tracking the study participants' mouse movements allowed the scientists to get a glimpse inside how they made choices, not just what those choices were. "“How much their hand is drawn to the choice they didn´t make can reveal a lot about how difficult the decision was for them,” said lead study author Paul Stillman to Ohio State News.It's a particularly interesting conclusion—and a familiar one—if you're a consistent gamer. All those times in Hades where you mouse over the riskier pick of Boon before you choose the safer one that goes more easily in your build? Those times you picked a flat damage bonus over increased chance of a critical hit? Or, honestly, just your base preference for chance-based game mechanics over predictable effects. Are you the kind of person who hates Hearthstone's unpredictable Reno decks and Yogg-Saron spam, or do you love them?I honestly can't overstate how obvious these findings feel to me based on how I act in games where a choice between a safe bet and a risk is presented, but I've never heard someone confirm this behavior as not just widespread, but predictive. Ian Krajbich, a collaborator on the Study, said that "“In many cases, we could accurately predict how people would behave in the future after we observed them just once choosing to take a gamble or not."The study was by Paul Stillman, Ian Krajbach, and Melissa J. Ferguson. It was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Ever want to manage a theme park with your friends? Ever dreamed that Rollercoaster Tycoon was multiplayer? Parkitect is getting eight-player cooperative multiplayer on December 8th. Theme park management simulator Parkitect was pretty well-received by genre fans when it launched a couple years ago, and has gotten two DLC packs and a decent bit of free support since. The multiplayer update will be released on the two-year anniversary of the game's launch."Up to 8 people can play together, building the same park," said the developer. "You can see what the other people are doing - it's a bit like everyone is playing together on the same PC." The announcement of the update was accompanied by a nice little trailer that shows off the feature, above. As players join the game you can watch their cursor and selected object show up, then start manipulating, rotating, and placing new bits of park as the players go. Seems like a lovely idea, because it's inevitable that in any group of people there will be someone who likes making nice little plazas with restaurants and gift shops and flowers (me), but also people who like making vomit comet roller coasters which ensure nobody will ever come back to the park (my friends).You can find Parkitect for $30 on Steam, GOG, and Humble. It's 25% off in the Steam Autumn Sale, which ends December 1st.
In September 2019 developer Spiders and publisher Focus Home released GreedFall, a fantasy RPG inspired by 17th century colonialism. Though it didn't set the world on fire, its mixture of faction conflict, moral choice, and romanceable companions filled the Old BioWare-shaped hole in many players' lives. As our reviewer Lauren Morton said, "If Dragon Age is a veteran gone on sabbatical, GreedFall is keeping its seat warm without making a mess of the office in its absence."GreedFall has gone on to sell over a million copies and will be getting a new expansion. It's coming as part of a partnership with publisher Nacon, coinciding with new console ports for PS5 and Xbox Series S/X. The announcement doesn't detail what the expansion will be about, though it does mention Focus Home Interactive will be in charge of publishing "the upcoming additional content and expansion". That "additional content" note suggests there might be some smaller DLC or updates coming to GreedFall as well, which only has the one bit of DLC available at the moment—an Adventurer's Gear pack containing the preorder bonus weapons and outfit.GreedFall is on sale right now for $19.99 at both Steam and GOG as part of the Steam Autumn Sale and the GOG Black Friday Sale.Spiders' next game is SteelRising, which asks the question: What if the French Revolution, but robots?
Sega has released its annual integrated report for 2020, including the lifetime sales of its game series, and the Yakuza series has cracked 14 million copies sold across all titles. Compared to its series total sales stats of 11 million total copies from 2018, the year that Yakuza 6 released in the west, and 12 million in 2019. This means that over 20% of Yakuza's lifetime sales have come from the last two years, entirely out of proportion to the series' 15-year lifetime, though not out of proportion to the number of games released. It's a big turnaround for a series that was widely considered to be declining in popularity relative to the growth of the industry.Sega credits the turnaround to the game's niche appeal and dedication to portraying Japanese culture. Its depiction of culture, specifically, was previously considered too niche to thrive with Western audiences, but has recently become a major selling point of the series. The annual integrated report specifically notes that Yakuza is "highly evaluated by overseas users," as is the Persona series. It's part of the larger spread of "Made in Japan" content by Sega finding a home in foreign countries.That said, the report also notes that Yakuza are niche games targeting a niche market. Specifically the series' business model moving forward relies on releasing the game to multiple platforms and across multiple services, relying on the ubiquity of digital distribution to reach the targeted niche across the world rather than just a handful of countries. The PC is specifically mentioned as a key vector for this strategy.The Yakuza series has been pretty beloved by the Staff of PC Gamer in the last few years, despite and because of its quirks and flaws. The latest game, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, was a changeup that our Andy Kelly said "doubles down on the series' RPG elements." You can read his full Yakuza 7 review here. Here's hoping that Sega's acknowledgement here translates to Yakuza 3, 4, and 5 coming to PC.
SteelSeries Arctis Pro isn't on our best headsets list (though its cousin the Arctis 9 is), but it's still a sleek and top-quality headset, especially if you pair it with SteelSeries' GameDAC. And you can get both for a very affordable $176 from Woot while supplies last—which is pretty awesome considering the GameDAC alone normally retails for around that price.
Just over a month ago, Kelly Leunen posted on the Fallout 76 subreddit that she would like an in-game version of the wheelchair she uses in real life as a mobility aid to keep as a furniture item in her base. "It would make me so happy to have that little piece of me in my creations. And I think a lot of other people would enjoy it too (maybe for when you recreate a hospital/medbay)," she wrote.A Bethesda community manager saw the request and passed it on, and as of the recent Steel Dawn expansion update wheelchairs can be built at your C.A.M.P. shelter alongside existing furniture items like beds and couches. Leunen built one between two flamingos at her motel-themed base, as she posted on Twitter.
Roombas, if you somehow missed one of the defining inventions of the 2000s, are puck-shaped vacuum cleaners that automatically wander around your house or apartment on a schedule, sucking up dust and pet hair for you. It's quite satisfying to watch them work, and iRobot has some good Cyber Monday deals on all of its Roomba vacuum models. For a mid-range robo-vac, the Roomba i3 is down to $299, a discount of $100.
Cyber Monday software deals have arrived—and by software we're not talking about games, for once. (However, you can find some holiday game deals on Steam and on the Epic Store.) Instead, we're talking about Cyber Monday software deals on photo editing software, word processing, malware protection, VPN subscriptions, and more. Even Windows 10 is on sale.
The HyperX Cloud Alphas (now $79 and £59 at Amazon) are so good, I bought a pair.
The last four years certainly made it seem like anyone can be president, and with Suzerain by Torpor Games, you can try your hand at it from December 4.You take the role of President Rayn, the newly-elected leader of a nation that's been through a civil war under a dictator. You're replacing the former president, but his traditionalist government still remains, making your own job that much harder. To make matters worse, the country isn't looking good overall—the economy's in recession, the welfare systems aren't adequately helping your people, and both the military and the law are in dire need of a reform. It sure sounds like a lot, huh. In order to make the decisions you believe are right, you pick cabinet ministers with different ideals and ideas of how to improve things, from matters like healthcare to immigration and diplomacy. Despite everything that's going on, you also have to avoid neglecting your family and take time for yourself to deal with the pressure of leading a nation.Suzerain is a completely text-based RPG, in which every decision will have consequences and eventually lead to one of a number of different endings. It sounds like someone took the diplomacy part of 4X games, or city builders like Tropico, and made them into their own game—I keep thinking about Tropico because of your character's dashing moustache. Suzerain looks a lot like the diplomacy menus from management sims, too, complete with breakdowns of the current situation and a newspaper you can read to find out how your decisions are affecting your people. The main aspect of Suzerain, however, is storytelling and creating understandable consequences from your actions, like many other choice-based adventures.While it's a slightly heavy game to play in 2020, I nevertheless look forward to finding out how much detail Suzerain goes into, and of course if I make as good a president as years of strategy games told me I do. If you have similar ambitions, get Suzerain on Steam from December 4.
Get the Sabrent Rocket internal SSD for 25% of its RRP.
Electronic Gaming Development Company (EGDC) has acquired a 33.3% stake in Japanese game developer SNK, famous for games like The King of Fighters and Samurai Shodown. The transition of shares is valued at 813 million riyals (roughly $223 million / £167 million). Here's where it gets interesting: the EGDC is a subsidiary of The Mohammed bin Salman Foundation ("MiSK"), the crown prince of Saudi Arabia's charitable organisation. The company also plans to buy more shares, raising its ownership of SNK to a whopping 51%.Many of us have dreamed of buying a stake in a videogame company when we become super rich, but the crown prince of Saudi Arabia isn't just some dude with too much money, he is also the controversial leader of a country still repressing fundamental human rights, such as the freedom of expression. Last year, Mohammed bin Salman was linked to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and has seemingly spoken out in favour of China's Xinjiang re-education camps, which are said to be detainment camps for the Uighurs, a Muslim minority living in China.All in all Mohammed bin Salman probably isn't the kind of person you should sell your company to or work with, however indirectly. Previously, Riot Games ended a partnership with the planned Saudi Arabian cross-border city of Neom after fans pointed out Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses. SNK meanwhile, has worked with MiSK before, in the form of a sponsored animation internship last year.
$1,849 for an RTX 2070 laptop is still pricey, but the Razer Blade 15 is as pretty outside as it is powerful on the inside.
The ABS Gladiator gaming PC will deliver RTX 2080 Ti-level gaming performance for almost the price of that card alone.
Dell just dropped another Cyber Monday gaming laptop deal: An enormous 17-inch Area-51m R2 laptop for $2,199.99. Before this deal, the same laptop was going for $2,498.99, so it's a savings of about $300. (They say it's over $1,000 off, but that's only true if you pretend it's a $3,230 laptop, which it isn't. Still good, though!)This high-end system has got an Intel Core i7-10700K, 256GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD, 16GB RAM, and an Nvidia RTX 2070 Super—that's a lot of performance for a laptop that can easily replace an aging desktop.
The 4-core/8-thread Core i3 10100 is a match for some Core i7s in recent memory.
Great price for a 10th generation i7 and RTX 2070 Max-Q gaming laptop with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.
The perfect AMD Cyber Monday gaming laptop for a great price.
Mixing Nvidia and AMD together for a great Cyber Monday gaming PC deal
I don't usually use licensed parts on my Rocket League cars, because they're the videogame equivalent of shirts purchased at Disneyland or given away at a convention, and I like to believe that I'm more fashionable than that. The creepiness of these Ghostbusters wheels might make me reconsider, though. Stare at them for a few seconds, because you've got to really steep in the chubby, toothless smile of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man before you feel what I'm feeling. Unsettling, aren't they?Here's a closer look:
In August, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 developer Hardsuit Labs announced that it had parted ways with both lead writer Brian Mitsoda and creative director Ka´ai Cluney. Reasons for their release weren't given, but Mitsoda suggested that it wasn't a happy split, saying that he was unaware of any problems, and that his firing came as a complete surprise.Today, publisher Paradox Interactive confirmed that senior narrative designer Cara Ellison has also left the project, and is no longer with developer Hardsuit Labs. Rumors about Ellison's departure began to swirl after fans noticed that she'd removed references to the project from her Twitter profile; Armello developer League of Geeks also recently announced that Ellison had joined it as senior narrative designer."We can confirm that Cara Ellison has decided to leave Hardsuit Labs and is no longer working on Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2," a Paradox spokesperson said. "Cara brought fresh ideas to the project and many of her contributions will be present in the game launching next year. We thank her for her work on Bloodlines 2 and wish her the best in all of her future endeavors."It's possible that the move reflects the natural evolution of Bloodlines 2 development—that the narrative design is finished and so Ellison's work was effectively done. But in August, Bloodlines was delayed into 2021, suggesting that work was definitely not nearing completion, and it's not hard to see the removal of Mitsoda and Cluney a week later as a sign of deeper trouble. The statement that "many of her contributions will be present in the game" is also interesting: I would expect that as senior narrative designer, the story it tells would be primarily her responsibility.Paradox declined to comment on when Ellison left the project, or how it will impact the development of Bloodlines 2. I've emailed Ellison for more information, and will update if I receive a reply.
Intel has agreed to sell its memory and storage business to SK Hynix for $9bn, or 10.3tr KRW. Intel's memory business includes all of its solid-state drives, NAND flash, and even a fab in northeastern China, which will all be transferred to the South Korean memory giant in stages through to 2025.The deal was announced on Intel's newsroom early this morning for us Brits, and outlines what will be shifting over to the NAND manufacturer over the course of the next few years. Intel's NAND SSD business, including related employees and IP; the NAND fabrication facility in Dalian, China will be the first transferred over, in return for a $7bn payment, expected in 2021 following approval. Following that, IP related to the design and manufacturing of NAND flash wafers, R&D employees and the Dalian fab workforce will be transferred on receipt of the final $2bn in 2025. It sure sounds like the Dalian fab workforce is collateral for the deal.Intel retains the wafer manufacturing capability of the fab until the closing of the deal in 2025. So while SK Hynix will serve up a significant sum, it will not receive the business in whole until 2025. Intel also keeps hold of its Optane business, that which it mostly sold off to US memory manufacturer Micron in 2019.Intel's NAND business in total represented $2.8bn in revenue for Intel, and contributed $600m in operating income over the past six months. SK Hynix is hopeful of at least $1.2bn in revenue yearly from the purchase—once the deal is complete, it's still got some time to go until then.The deal appears to be one by SK Hynix to gain traction against world memory manufacturing leader, Samsung. As such, it feels like this deal plays into Intel's hands a little more than it does the Korean memory manufacturer.SK Hynix is down 1.73% in response to the deal, but is slowly creeping back to its previous share price of 86,000-87,000 KRW."I am proud of the NAND memory business we have built and believe this combination with SK Hynix will grow the memory ecosystem for the benefit of customers, partners and employees," Bob Swan, Intel CEO, says. "For Intel, this transaction will allow us to further prioritize our investments in differentiated technology where we can play a bigger role in the success of our customers and deliver attractive returns to our stockholders.”
You can also watch the trailer on our YouTube channel. MicroProse, originally co-founded by Sid Meier almost 40 years ago, made a surprising return this year. It looks like it's picked up where it left off, publishing games that feel most at home on PC, typically with a tactical or sim bent. The latest is Urban Strife, a mix of turn-based tactics, management and roleplaying during a zombie apocalypse. Check out the trailer above. Developed by White Pond Games, Urban Strife is set after the zombies have wiped out civilisation, but they've yet to finish the job and zombify every single human. That means you've got time to build up your shelter, make deals with a trio of factions, put together a team of gun-toting survivors and generally prepare for the return of the horde of wandering corpses. So many turn-based tactics games get compared to XCOM these days, but Urban Strife's got more in common with the Sir-Tech classic Jagged Alliance 2. Like the tactical merc RPG, Urban Strife boasts a dynamic campaign where you'll have to go out and explore, chatting up NPCs and engaging in a bit of diplomacy in an effort to unite the last specks of humanity. This time, though, the NPCs apparently have their own lives and allegiances, with their morality determined by the faction they've joined. Urban Strife's got a trio of factions: army rebels, a cult of zombie-lovers and a biker gang—standard post-apocalyptic fare—and you'll be able to work with them or, if diplomacy breaks down, add them to the large list of things that you have to shoot. As well as fighting off any factions you've pissed off as you try to expand, you'll naturally encounter some of those moaning, shuffling zombies. The thing is, zombies usually suck in turn-based games. Fighting off hordes of enemies who sluggishly move one by one is a chore, but Urban Strife's reanimated corpses use a horde AI that means they all move in a single turn. Each is still an individual enemy, but when it comes to movement they all act as a single unit. Like Jagged Alliance 2, you'll fight during the day and at night, and sticking to the shadows means you'll be able to sneak around and use melee for silent takedowns, or set up your squad for an ambush. You'll be sneakier at night, but using cover, stealth is still viable when the sun is out. And speaking of lighting things up, you can use fire as a weapon, which will dynamically destroy anything flammable that it encounters. Urban Strife is coming out next year on Steam, but MicroProse says there will be an opportunity to play before that.
I was looking forward to the launch of Psychnonauts 2 next year. Not anymore!On Twitter, Double Fine shared some concept art from the game's Brain in a Jar world, explaining that it originally had a darker tone before the designers made it the trippy realm we saw back in July's trailer. This led to some people asking about properly creepy worlds, so they're who you've got to blame if you're now scarred. Unfortunately, one of the mental worlds we'll be hopping into belongs to someone obsessed with dentistry, so that means lots of teeth. Everywhere. They erupt out of the ground, which appears to be made of gums; they circle you menacingly in a tunnel that can only be going straight to hell; there's even a bridge made entirely of teeth. It's just awful.
The transition from USB Type-A to USB Type-C has not exactly been an expeditious one, mostly because the market is already flooded with devices built around the former. That's why even the newest cutting edge motherboards typically offer more USB-A ports than USB-C ones. Kingston's new DataTraveler Duo USB flash drive can plug into either one of them.It´s a cleverly designed flash drive with a USB-C connector on one side and a USB-A connector on the other, either of which (or both) can be hidden in the slider-style casing."The addition of the DT Duo adds much needed functionality to the growing number of USB Type-C devices on the market," said Carissa Blegen, flash product manager, Kingston. "The dual interface and unique double slider casing make the drive sturdy and stylish, with no cap to lose."Kingston is offering the DataTraveler Duo in 32GB and 64GB capacities. It is a USB 3.2 Gen 1 drive, which means it adheres to the original USB 3.0 specification, with a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 5Gbps. Navigating the USB standard is a little confusing these days, with the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) relabeling past standards. Here's a breakdown:
Nvidia is promising 12 more games with ray tracing this year, including a few we didn't know were coming until just now. Pumpkin Jack and Ghostrunner have both been confirmed today with support for ray-traced reflections and shadows at launch, along with support for Nvidia's supersampling AI tech, DLSS.The announcement of Pumpkin Jack RTX support is likely to get some of you excited, as the 3D platformer has gained momentum leading up to Halloween and ahead of its October 23, 2020 release date. We also now know that the single developer behind the game, Nicolas Meyssonnier, intends to bundle support for ray-traced reflections, shadows, enhanced lighting, and DLSS at launch.You can check out Pumpkin Jack's new RTX on look in the new trailer below.
If you fancy wandering around the spooky ruins of BioShock's Rapture in VR and shooting headcrabs, boy have I got the mod for you. Return to Rapture (cheers, UploadVR) is a Half-Life: Alyx mod created by wim.buytaert.1988 that smooshes the two universes together. The Combine has discovered the location of Andrew Ryan's underwater city and want to get their alien hands on his fancy Plasmid tech. As Alyx, you'll need to stop them by getting it first. You won't be able to use Plasmids, but at least you've still got Alyx's handy gravity gloves. There are still plenty of nods to BioShock, though, including working Vita Chambers, audio diaries and vending machines. The latter let you recycle junk you find lying around, turning them into useful items. It uses a mix of Half-Life: Alyx assets and new ones to create something that, while not perfect, certainly evokes Irrational Games' dilapidated dystopia. The only thing that's really off are the signs, some of which are just plain text pasted onto vending machines and Vita Chambers.If you, like me, can't wear a headset for very long without feeling a bit iffy, you'll have an easy time of it in Return to Rapture. It should only take 25 minutes to finish up, so it's a whirlwind tour rather than an extended stay. Judging by the state of the city, that's probably for the best.
I don´t know about you, but I feel the very real, very intense interior design burden that walls have on my television placement. Thankfully, for the lucky few of us who currently live in Korea and fall within an excruciatingly high income bracket, LG has a solution that "liberates users from the limitations of the wall"(via The Verge).LG´s signature OLED RX is the world-first rollable TV—a 65 inch, 4K flexible panel that's able to simply disappear into its compact unit when not in use.It´s a smart TV (as is becoming the standard now), with built in Alexa and Google assistant among other capabilities, and plenty of connectivity options. If you hadn´t guessed from the name, the panel itself utilises OLED self-lighting pixel technology to get that crisp imaging, and individual dimming control for those perfect blacks. It also has three viewing formats to choose from: Full View, Line View and Zero View—the pixel ratios for which are not disclosed.Full View is when the OLED panel is rolled out to its full 65-inch scale, while Line View gives you a little peek-a-boo glimpse at a portion of the screen, peering out from its chonk stand. That will give you access to some of the TV apps designed for the cut-down view, such as weather, time, and music. Finally, Zero View gets rid of the display completely while retaining control over music apps.LG also boasts an ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) feature, and less than 1ms response time. However, there's a distinct lack of G-Sync support here that many of LG's other OLED TVs now boast—such as the excellent LG OLED48CX—and it doesn´t offer FreeSync either, so gaming may not be it´s most optimal use.But we´ll just have to see about that if LG ever trusts us with a review unit…The prototype was first showcased at the 2018 CES, and the final product was supposed to ship the next year. Unfortunately, that day never came. Now though, with added 100-watt Dolby Atmos 5.1 surround sound, the consumer version is finally out in the wild.
Today marks the arrival of Doom Eternal's first DLC, part one of the two-part 'The Ancient Gods' campaign, which you can play whether you own the main game or not (it's a standalone expansion). And right on cue, AMD is pushing out an updated graphics drive that will optimize your Radeon hardware for the expansion, as well as a few other games.In addition to The Ancient Gods, AMD's new Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 20.10.1 driver (try saying that even just two times fast) is optimized for Watch Dogs: Legion (due out October 29), the recently delayed (again) Dirt 5 in Early Access (due out November 6), and the World of Warcraft: Shadowlands pre-expansion patch.As is often the case, AMD shoehorned a handful of bug fixes with its latest driver release. They include the following: