Category Archives: New

In this week’s pre-Black Friday deals, get The Evil Within for $30, Watch Dogs for $30, and more.

The best new deals of the day are from Newegg, which is offering Destiny for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for $40, and Walmart, which if offering games like Watch Dogs, Battlefield 4, and others for $30. Find the full list of $30 games for each platform below.

Toys R Us is currently offering a “2 for $30″ deal on a ton of Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Nintendo DS games. It’s a good opportunity to catch up on some older games like Call of Duty: Black Ops, Red Dead Redemption, Halo: Reach, Scribblenauts, and many more.

Also at Toys R Us, Skylanders fans can grab three Skylanders Trap Team Traps for $15, or three Spyro’s Adventure figures for $10.

You can still get three Amiibo for $30 from Toys R Us, but you better hurry up as some figures are selling out.

Don’t forget Walmart’s promotion that lets you customize your own discounted PS4 and Xbox One bundles.

For example, you can save up to $30 on Xbox One, and you can choose what bundle to start with (the Assassin’s Creed Unity bundle, the Kinect-less Assassin’s Creed Bundle, or the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare bundle), two additional games, and a controller.

Save up to $44 on a PS4 that comes with camera, and choose between a regular PS4 or the white Destiny bundle, one additional game, and your choice of controller: white, black, or blue.

You can also get a 3DS XL plus one of 13 games for $219 or less.

Below you’ll find the rest of today’s best deals divided by platform:

PlayStation 4

Walmart is offering a $50 gift card with a PS4 or the white PS4 Destiny bundle.

You can get some holiday shopping done early at GameStop, with deals on PlayStation products. You can get a PlayStation TV for $80, a 500GB PlayStation 3 The Last of Us bundle for $250, and other PS3 and PlayStation TV bundles on GameStop’s website. If you prefer ordering from Amazon, the online retailer is now offering the PlayStation TV for the same price.

Destiny — $40 (Newegg)
Watch Dogs — $30 (Walmart)
The Evil Within — $30 (Walmart)
Battlefield 4 — $30 (Walmart)
FIFA 15 — $30 (Walmart)
NBA 2K15 — $30 (Walmart)
Shadow Warrior — $25 (Groupon)
Grand Theft Auto V — $50 (Ebay)
Wolfenstein: The New Order — $30 (Amazon)
Killzone: Shadow Fall — $27 (Amazon)
Knack — $21.54 (Amazon)
Call of Duty: Ghosts Hardened Edition for $45 — (Amazon)
In Europe only, Sony is holding a PSN sale with up to 60 percent off games like Sniper Elite III, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, Thief, InFamous: Second Son, and many more. You can find the full list of discounted games on the PlayStation Blog.

Xbox One

This weeks Deals with Gold is all about Tomb Raider. You can grab the Definitive Edition for Xbox One for $20, and if you still only have an Xbox 360 you can grab the normal edition for $10, Tomb Raider: Underworld for $5, and more. You can find the full list of games here.

Destiny — $40 (Newegg)
Watch Dogs — $30 (Walmart)
The Evil Within — $30 (Walmart)
Battlefield 4 — $30 (Walmart)
Madden 15 — $30 (Walmart)
NBA 2K15 — $30 (Walmart)
FIFA 15 — $30 (Walmart)
Grand Theft Auto V — $50 (Ebay)
Titanfall — $26.76 (Amazon)
Wolfenstein: The New Order — $30 (Amazon)
Sleeping Dog: Definitive Edition — $47.19 (Amazon)
Call of Duty: Ghosts Hardened Edition — $46 (Amazon)
Shadow Warrior — $25 (Groupon)
Wii U

Toys R Us has a “buy 1, get 1 40 percent off” deal on Wii U gamesl today, but it’s in store only. Find a store near you here.

PC

Super Time Force Ultra — $9.74 (Steam)
Chivalry: Medieval Warfare — $6.24 (Steam)
Evolve — Preorder for $45 with the code EVOLVE-THANKS-25OFFX (GMG)
If you create a free account on Green Man Gaming, you’ll also be able to check out its VIP section, which has special offers on Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and more.

GamersGate is also holding a Warner Bros. publisher sale, with offers like Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition for $6.80 and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor for $45.

Humble Bundle is still offering its Humble Jumbo Bundle 3, which includes GRID 2, Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure, and more. The bundle now also includes GRID, KickBeat Steam Edition, and Half Minute Hero. And if you pay $12 or more, you’ll also get Saints Row IV.

GOG.com is wrapping up its Fall sale, which has over 700 games discounted on its online store. All the games featured in flash sales throughout the entire promo are available once again for the next 48 hours. On Sunday, November 23, at 2:00 p.m. GMT the flash deals will make way for the daily bundles, available for the final two days of the sale.

PS Vita

Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate — $15
Hardware

Samsung 58-inch 1080p 60Hz TV — $698 (Walmart)
Intel Core i7 — $277 (Amazon)
AMD FX-6300 6-Core Processor Black Edition — $100 (Amazon)
AMD FX-8350 FX-Series 8-Core Black Edition Processor — $175.59 (Amazon)
If it’s gaming peripherals you’re looking for, Amazon is also holding a sale on Logitech’s gaming hardware, with up to 30 percent off gaming keyboards, mice, wireless headsets, and racing wheels.

Developers given tighter restrictions on how they can market their unfinished projects.

Valve has issued new rules and guidelines to developers regarding its Steam Early Access program, in a bid to help protect consumers from investing in risky projects.

Documentation of those guidelines is not available publicly, but GameSpot’s sister site Giant Bomb has obtained a copy and has outlined the key changes.

The new guidelines come months after Valve decided to remove a game, Earth: Year 2066, from its Early Access program after suggesting that it was being marketed with disingenuous promises about its quality. The corporation then offered refunds to those who bought it.

Early Access allows gamers to purchase games before their completion and, in some cases, help developers with feedback along the way.

However, Valve is now telling game creators that they need to be clearer in the sales pitch, making it clear that Early Access games are not the finished article.

The corporation says: “We work really hard to make sure that customers understand what they are buying when they get an Early Access title on Steam. But we’ve seen that many of these titles are sold as keys on other websites where there is no explanation of what Early Access is or what the current state of your product is now versus what you hope to achieve.”

Developers are also being asked to refrain from “specific promises about future events,” meaning that assurances about unfinished features, or merely prospective ones, should not be at the heart of a game’s marketing.

The company writes: “For example, there is no way you can know exactly when the game will be finished, that the game will be finished, or that planned future additions will definitely happen. Do not ask your customers to bet on the future of your game. Customers should be buying your game based on its current state, not on promises of a future that may or may not be realized.”

Pasted below is a key section from the documentation, written by Valve, which specifies rules that developers must follow:

Don’t launch in Early Access if you can’t afford to develop with very few or no sales.

There is no guarantee that your game will sell as many units as you anticipate. If you are counting on selling a specific number of units to survive and complete your game, then you need to think carefully about what it would mean for you or your team if you don’t sell that many units. Are you willing to continue developing the game without any sales? Are you willing to seek other forms of investment?

Make sure you set expectations properly everywhere you talk about your game.

For example, if you know your updates during Early Access will break save files or make the customer start over with building something, make sure you say that up front. And say this everywhere you sell your Steam keys.

Don’t launch in Early Access without a playable game.

If you have a tech demo, but not much gameplay yet, then it’s probably too early to launch in Early Access. If you are trying to test out a concept and haven’t yet figured out what players are going to do in your game that makes it fun, then it’s probably too early. You might want to start by giving out keys to select fans and getting input from a smaller and focused group of users before you post your title to Early Access. At a bare minimum, you will need a video that shows in-game gameplay of what it looks like to play the game. Even if you are asking customers for feedback on changing the gameplay, customers need something to start with in order to give informed feedback and suggestions.

Don’t launch in Early Access if you are done with development.

If you have all your gameplay defined already and are just looking for final bug testing, then Early Access isn’t the right place for that. You’ll probably just want to send out some keys to fans or do more internal playtesting. Early Access is intended as a place where customers can have impact on the game.”

Lucasfilm veterans Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick are trying to bring back the classic point-and-click adventure.

Yeah, it’s another Kickstarter, and like several others it’s also from PC gaming legends that want to revive a genre that doesn’t get much love from big publishers. But the game that developers Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick are trying to bring back harkens back to the days of Maniac Mansion.

According to the game’s description on Kickstarter, “Thimbleweed Park is a new game that cuts to the core of what made classic point & click adventure games so special, and done by the actual people who spawned the genre.” And the team’s lofty goal is “to create the true spiritual successor to Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island.”

You can read more about the game, the team, and the various reward tiers over on the game’s description page. The least amount you can pledge and still get a copy of the game is $20.

The team is suprisingly frank about their expectations for launching on time as well. If the Kickstarter is successful, the game is set to ship around August 2016, but the developer writes, “Does that mean we won’t be late? No, we probably will be late, but not by a lot and the game will be better for it. That’s just the reality of making a game and we’re going to be honest about that. We’ll keep everyone up-to-date and hopefully there will be no surprises.”

The team is trying to raise $375,000 for Thimbleweed Park, and as of this writing they’re sitting at almost $200,000 with 28 days left to go. Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of point-and-click adventure games, and I totally backed this.

“I am going to kill gabe newell,” developer tweets.

Indie game Paranautical Activity has been taken down from Steam following the posting of death threats addressed at Valve’s Gabe Newell from developer Mike Maulbeck. As reported by Player Attack, Maulbeck’s game was initially highlighted on a Steam store segment featuring Halloween-themed games. Paranautical Activity was mistakenly captioned as an Early Access title despite being completed, to which Maulbeck tweeted the following:

Maulbeck’s tweets culminated with a threat stating that he was “going to kill gabe newell.”

Paranautical Activity was removed from Steam following the posting of Maulbeck’s tweets. “We have removed the game’s sales page and ceased relations with the developer after he threatened to kill one of our employees,” a Valve spokeperson told Kotaku.

This would not be the first time a game has been pulled from Steam. Earlier this year Valve mysteriously pulled The Stomping Land from Steam Early Access, which received more than $100,000 through Kickstarter. Earth: Year 2066 was pulled and refunds offered following fans’ concerns on the quality of the game.

Big things come in small packages.

Making your own PC is a rewarding experience, but some people have neither the knowledge, nor the desire to tackle such a project. These people aren’t wooed by the notion of getting their hands dirty and would rather skip to the finish line and pay a handsome sum for a pre-built gaming PC. These are the customers that Digital Storm’s targeting with its Bolt II gaming PC. It’s good looking, small–svelte enough to fit into a home theater arrangement–and filled to the brim with desirable hardware.

As you might expect, such a machine doesn’t come cheap–the unit we’re testing costs $3,323. Perhaps unsurprisingly, you could theoretically save around $1,000 if you purchased the equivalent parts and assembled them yourself, but the sum of the Bolt II’s hardware doesn’t account for Digital Storm’s system building prowess, the Bolt II’s custom case, and a generous warranty (one year parts replacement and three years labor), which are valuable in their own right. No matter how you slice it, the Bolt II is a boutique PC for people with boutique tastes.

Digital Storm Bolt II

GPU: Nvidia GTX 780 Ti 3GB GDDR5
CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K (4.0 Ghz)
RAM: 16GB DDR3 RAM Corsair Vengeance 1866 Mhz
SSD: 840 Evo 500GB SSD
HDD: 2 TB Western Digital Black HDD 7200 RPM
MB: Asus Z97I-Plus Motherboard
OS: Windows 8.1
Extras: MMC Reader, BD/DVD-R Drive, Custom Watercooling w/ Hydrolux thermal controls
Case: Custom Digital Storm case
Warranty: 3 years labor, 1 year parts

Total Cost: $3,323

Before diving into the Bolt II from a technical perspective, it’s worth regarding how slim and good looking it is. It’s 4.4″ wide, 16.4″ tall, and 14.1″ deep, and it looks clean in spite of the fact that it’s spotted with ports and vents. The unit that Digital Storm sent for this review is coated in a bronze finish that may be unorthodox, but it looks like a practical and classy piece of equipment rather than kitschy piece of gamer kit. Though most people will keep it upright, it’s worth pointing out that Digital Storm installed removable risers in case you wanted to lay it flat and incorporate it into a home theater setup. Though you may also think it’d be fit to sit underneath a monitor, you’re more than likely going to block the vents next to the water cooling radiator and potentially scratch up the plastic window.

System Build

In the eyes of fashionable system-builders that live on the cutting edge of desktop tech, the Bolt II’s hardware may look marginally outdated, but even without a Nvidia GTX 980 GPU, a Haswell-E Core-i7 CPU, or DDR4 RAM, it’s still capable of chewing through games and spitting out satisfying frame rates. Not only that, but Digital Storm’s cooling solution for the Bolt II keeps it cool and quiet at all times thanks to a massive 240mm radiator connected to the CPU. To fit everything into the small case, Digital Storm had to route the GPU to the underside of the motherboard using a PCI-E daughter card, but this arrangement puts the card’s intake fan right in front of a vent on the side panel, meaning that the card isn’t pulling in warm ambient air from inside the case. At idle, the Bolt II’s fans are barely audible from a foot away, and at full blast, it’s merely a hair louder.

Cooling

Digital Storm packed a HydroLux cooling system card into the Bolt II to give you control over fans and access to temperature data from the CPU, GPU, HDD, exhaust, and cooling fluid sensors. You interface with the card using the HydroLux Control Center application, and if you’re trying to overclock the Bolt II in any way, it’s a great resource to have, but it could benefit from being more flexible. It’s immediately confusing when you can only view temperature readouts in fahrenheit, for example. While it’s the standard unit for temperature in North America, celsius is favored by the PC community and universally referenced in overclocking guides and enthusiast forums. To the best of my ability, I wasn’t able to find a way to swap fahrenheit for celsius within the control center. In fact, there are no configuration options for the Control Center’s interface. It allows you to swap between different fan-speed profiles and tinker with LED lighting, but the interface itself is static. As useful as it is, it would greatly benefit from customization options.

Bolt II – Quiet Fan Mode Idle Load
Haswell Core i7 4970k CPU 32 ° C 40 ° C
Nvidia GTX 780 Ti GPU 26 ° C 33 ° C
Bolt II – Extreme Fan Mode Idle Load
Haswell Core i7 4970k CPU 31 ° C 36 ° C
Nvidia GTX 780 Ti GPU 25° C 29 ° C
To get a handle on the system’s cooling capabilities, we recorded temperature readings from the CPU and GPU while the computer was idling and under full load. To push the CPU, we used George Woltman’s Prime 95, and for the GPU, Metro: Last Light’s benchmark at full blast on 1440p. Considering that the ceiling for safe temperatures on a Haswell Core i7 CPU is 67 degrees celsius and 95 degrees celsius for the GTX 780 Ti GPU, the Bolt II has great overclocking potential.

Benchmarks

Benchmark 1080p, Max Settings 1440p, Max Settings
Tomb Raider 48 FPS 30 FPS
Bioshock Infinite 120 FPS 79 FPS
Metro: Last Light 46 FPS 30 FPS
Crysis 3 51 FPS 33 FPS
Battlefield 4 88 FPS 55 FPS
Unigine Heaven 4.0 57 FPS 36 FPS
The Bolt II clearly has the power to play the most demanding PC games at good frame rates, and even when playing at 1440p with max settings, everything remains playable. Still, when paying more than $3,000 for a PC, the fact that you can’t hit the magical 60 FPS benchmark in some games set to max at 1080p is no doubt a little disappointing. Sure, a tweak to demanding post-processing and antialiasing settings will get you there, but at this price point, it’s a little disappointing that it’s not better across the board. Beyond taking on a more powerful graphics card and thus increasing the system’s final cost, there’s not much else you can do beyond overclocking for a slight boost in frame rates.

Final Thoughts

There are so many reasons to appreciate the Bolt II. From the petite chassis to the powerful hardware, it’s a fantastic specimen. Be that as it may, it’s hard to ignore the price tag. Granted, the Bolt II we have is fitted with extra goodies including a BD-ROM drive and high-capacity boot and storage drives. Trim those down, and you can save about $500. Still, no matter how you spin it, the Bolt II is a luxury item, and thus the value proposition is distorted if you’re only considering the raw power inside. When buying a luxury gaming PC like the Bolt II, you’re paying for the parts, but also the system builder’s handiwork. In this case, that includes the custom chassis, cooling system, warranty, and highly-skilled system configuration and cable management. You’re also paying for convenience. If money is a concern, you may want to build your own PC or go with something that’s less flashy, but if you’re looking for a gaming PC that’s good looking, powerful, and you aren’t worried about a budget, the Bolt II is a great option.

Intel issued an apology, but is sticking to its decision to pull an ad campaign from Gamasutra.

Earlier this week, the game developer-facing publication Gamasutra confirmed that Intel pulled an ad campaign from its website after it was “flooded with complaints” from the online movement calling itself Gamergate.

Yesterday, the microprocessor company issued a statement saying that it’s sticking to its decision to pull the ad campaign, but that it didn’t intend to support some of the movement’s anti-feminist sentiments.

“We recognize that our action inadvertently created a perception that we are somehow taking sides in an increasingly bitter debate in the gaming community,” Intel said. “That was not our intent, and that is not the case. When it comes to our support of equality and women, we want to be very clear: Intel believes men and women should be treated the same. And, diversity is an integral part of our corporate strategy and vision with commitments to improve the diversity of our workforce.”

However, while Gamergate claims it’s concerned with ethics and integrity in gaming publications, Gamasutra seems to have been targeted specifically to silence its editor-at-large Leigh Alexander because of her recent article, which criticized the movement and the term “gamer” in general.

“While we respect the right of individuals to have their personal beliefs and values, Intel does not support any organization or movement that discriminates against women,” Intel said. “We apologize and we are deeply sorry if we offended anyone.”

PewDiePie says he like to help other YouTubers with his own network.

Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, the star of YouTube’s most subscribed channel, may leave web media company Maker Studio and parent company Disney to start his own network.

PewDiePie signed on with YouTube network Maker Studio, which also distributes TotalBiscuit and Yogcast, in December of 2012, and Maker Studio was acquired by Disney earlier this year for $500 million, with additional performance-based payouts of $450 million.

In a recent interview with Swedish magazine Icon, PewDiePie expressed frustration with Maker Studio and Disney. His contract with the company will end in December, and he doesn’t sound interested in renewing it.

“The fact that Disney bought Maker Studios doesn’t really change anything for me,” he said. “If I ask for help, they reply, but that’s all the contact we have. We’ll see what happens.”

He added that he’s been thinking of starting his own network, but that he doesn’t want to talk about it in detail yet. “I’m in touch with a couple of people who I think would be so right for this. I’m eager to get it all up and running. So far, all the networks have been managed in such an incredibly poor way, it’s embarrassing really. I’d like to help other YouTubers.”

In September, PewDiePie partnered with Major League Gaming to premiere new content on its video streaming platform MLG.tv.

With over 31 million YouTube subscribers, PewDiePie brings in about $4 million in ad sales a year.

If someone was paid to stream or curate a game, Twitch and Steam want you to know.

Both Twitch and Steam have issues new rules that ask users to label content and games they were paid to promote.

For Steam, the new rules are aimed specifically at Steam Curators, a feature that was introduced to the platform in a major update last month. Curators are individuals or groups that publish reviews and recommendations on a dedicated Steam page.

The about page for Steam Curators now clearly states that “If you’ve accepted money or other compensation for making a product review or for posting a recommendation, you must disclose this fact in your recommendation.”

On Twitch’s end, the game streaming site published a blog post announcing a new policy and features to better identify “Influencer Campaigns,” meaning cases in which broadcasters are paid to play certain games for promotional purposes.

“While we have always encouraged our broadcasters to acknowledge if they are playing games as part of a promotional campaign, we are now establishing a much more transparent approach to all paid programs on our platform and hope that it sets a precedent for the broader industry,” Twitch’s VP of Marketing & Communications Matthew DiPietro said. “Simply put: We want complete transparency and unwavering authenticity with all content and promotions that have a sponsor relationship.”

Twitch users will notice that sponsored channels and newsletters are now labeled as such, and tweets that promote these streams will be clearly identified as well.

DiPietro later clarified that the new policy pertains specifically to Twitch driven campaigns. For sponsor relationships that are made between broadcasters and publishers alone, Twitch recommends that all broadcasters follow FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials in advertising.

Nvidia claims the GTX 980M and GTX 970M offer around 75 percent of the performance of its desktop chips while also significantly boosting battery life.

Following from the launch of its desktop-based GTX 980 and GTX 970 GPUs, Nvidia has taken the wraps off the mobile versions of the same chips. The company claims the GTX 980M and GTX 970M offer around 75 percent of the performance of its desktop chips, or twice the performance of the GTX 680M, enabling games to be played at high and ultra settings at resolutions up to 1440p.

The GTX 980M and GTX 970M are based on the Maxwell architecture, and includes full support for features such as MFAA, Dynamic Super Resolution, and VXGI, which Nvidia recently used to debunk conspiracies surrounding the moon landing. Both chips will also support DirectX 12 when it launches.

In addition, Nvidia is promising a marked increase in laptop battery life thanks to the power-efficiency of the new chips, and its Battery Boost software. A new feature added to GFE will allow users to one-click optimise a game’s settings for running on battery, which includes capping the frame rate and diverting power to the components most used during a particular game.

The company claims battery life increases of up to 40 percent, without the performance hit that usually comes from playing games on battery power. There’s certainly reason to be optimistic for the battery-boosting power of Nvidia’s new laptop chips, with GameSpot’s review of the Maxwell-based GTX 980 noting its impressive power efficiency.

The GTX 980M and GTX 970M launch today in laptops such as the Asus G751 and MSI GT72. Pricing for these laptops has not yet been announced.

Twitch says: “Nerds are sexy … but let’s try and keep this about the games, shall we?”

Popular video streaming service Twitch has updated its “Rules of Conduct” to specify that it will no longer allow streams where the broadcaster is half-naked or fully nude.

“Nerds are sexy, and you’re all magnificent, beautiful creatures, but let’s try and keep this about the games, shall we?” Twitch said on its website.

Twitch specified that wearing only your birthday suit, or clothing that is “sexually suggestive”–this includes lingerie, swimsuits, pasties, and undergarments–is prohibited. Fully nude torsos (this applies to both male and female streamers) are also prohibited.

“You may have a great six-pack, but that’s better shared on the beach during a 2-on-2 volleyball game blasting ‘Playing with the Boys,” Twitch said.

In the case that you’re broadcasting from a sweltering hot location, Twitch says men are OK to play shirtless and women in a bikini so long as your webcam is cropped to your face.

This is not the first time Twitch has addressed the matter of naked streaming. In November 2013, Twitch reiterated its stance on non-gaming videos following multiple instances of lewd behavior, including one video where a man stripped his partner naked in front of the camera.

Twitch was acquired by online retail giant Amazon in August in a deal worth $970 million.