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Tuesday, Jan 07, 2014

  

Oculus Rift Adds OLED and Tracking

Oculus Rift unveiled a new "Crystal Cove" unit at CES today, with the new version of their Oculus VR headset sporting an upgraded OLED display and newly added positional tracking. There are details on this on Polygon, where they learned that these changes will not greatly increase the cost of the units. "Cost has always been at the crux of the entire Oculus platform, if the hardware is not affordable, it might as well not exist," Nate Mitchell of Oculus told them. "We made sure this is a low-cost solution without sacrificing any quality. This is a top-notch positional tracking system." They have some info on both changes, saying OLED panel has an unusually high refresh rate and the ability to fire an individual pixel "for a fraction of a millisecond and then turning it off and then going black until the next pulse." They also discuss what the positional tracking adds:

One of the demos shown at CES will feature the player sitting across from a fantasy character in Unreal Engine 4, with a table that features a tower defense game resting between you. Positional tracking will allow the player to lean forward and study the board and details of the units. The extra three degrees of movements would also allow players to lean out a virtual window, for instance, in order to look around while still keeping their body in cover.

The Division Not Coming This Year?

Swedish site Gamereactor has a report (in their native tongue) that Tom Clancy's The Division will be delayed, though we don't recall an official release date for the upcoming third-person shooter to miss. The report is based on comments attributed to an unnamed member of the development team at Ubisoft Massive railing against a 2014 release date said to have been announced by Ubisoft, and a translation of his statement calls this "laughable" because the project still has a long way to go. Ubisoft has not commented on the report. Thanks NowGamer.

Free Weekend for Former FINAL FANTASY XIV Subscribers

The FINAL FANTASY XIV website announces this weekend will be free to owners of the MMORPG who dropped their subscriptions prior to the release of the version 2.1 patch (thanks Massively). Word is:

The release of patch 2.1 introduced a wealth of new content such as the Crystal Tower 24-man raid, player versus player battles in the Wolves’ Den, new extreme encounters with the primals, further developments in the main scenario and much, much more! Since we’re excited for even more players to experience everything that FFXIV has to offer we’ve decided to host a limited time Free Login Weekend!

If you have friends that played FINAL FANTASY XIV version 1.0 or FFXIV: A Realm Reborn, please be sure to invite them to join you this weekend!

More Steam Greenlights

The Steam Community has the announcement that Valve has greenlit another 50 games to be distributed via Steam when they are released. They offer this handy list to browse the full selection of new games. They also offer a little more insight into their criteria for approving them: "These titles were selected on the same criteria we have been using in the past: Votes in Greenlight give us a hugely valuable point of data in gauging community interest along with external factors such as press reviews, crowd-funding successes, performance on other similar platforms, and awards and contests to help form a more complete picture of community interest in each title."

More Elder Scrolls Online Beta Invites

The Elder Scrolls Online website announces a new round of beta invites is going out for Bethesda's upcoming MMORPG:

The beta is getting bigger as launch approaches, and we can’t wait to see everyone’s feedback. If you don’t receive your invite today, don’t worry—you’ll have more chances to explore Tamriel before launch. When we send out invites, we post here and on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, so follow us on your favorite site to make sure you don’t miss an announcement.

Secrets of Rætikon Early Access

Steam News announces that Secrets of Rætikon is now available via early access to challenge your skills and your spellchecker. Here's word:

Secrets of Rætikon is an atmospheric, open-world, 2D exploration game set in the romantic wilderness of the Alps. Fly through savage mountains, encounter wild animal tribes and discover the secrets of an ancient culture. An inviting world beckons you to become part of the enduring struggle between nature and civilization.

Defiance DLC Detailed

The Defiance website introduces new 7th Legion DLC coming to Defiance next month (thanks Massively). Here's word on what this will add to Trion's MMORPG:

When the world fell apart, one group kept their courage. Guided by the teachings of the Code of Bushido, the soldiers of the 7th Legion marched across Canada gathering survivors as they went. From one outpost to another they marched until finally they found a city which did not fall: Manhattan. There, they made their stand against the darkness, and Commander Yoshida Hiro called an end to their long journey. Now they have come to Paradise. What dread news could this herald?

On Sale

Op Ed

Joystiq - Steam Machines are nonsense and Valve is cool with that.
When someone asks whether they should buy a gaming PC or hold out for a Steam Machine, I struggle to find a reason to wait. It's certainly not in the price or the power. Maybe it's in the design, but that's a small market to attempt to capture, considering the competition in the PC space. It's not so much that I'm confused what a Steam Machine is – that's been clearly, yet oddly, defined – it's more that I'm unsure where Valve's market lies.

And there's the rub: It's not Valve's market. Valve has SteamOS and the Steam Controller, things that will exist regardless of the actual Steam Machines, and they'll probably be worth the effort. They have clear uses and markets. Valve has not made a Steam Machine of its own, and so it has nothing to lose in this first-year gamble. Valve licenses use of the Steam logo and the name, meaning it's already bringing in cash from other companies' Steam Machines. The risk belongs to the hardware manufacturers – iBuyPowers and Digital Storms alike – while Valve can collect the data and see if hardware really is a good investment. It's genius.

Evening Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Dutch Navy Marines storms a German cargo Ship. From 2010. Thanks Ant via reddit.

SOE Going Forward With Unified Subscriptions

The Planetside subreddit has word from Sony Online Entertainment that they are going forward with the recently proposed plan to offer a unified subscription plan for all their MMOGs, which will cost $14.99 per month (thanks The Escapist). Here's word from SOE's John Smedly:

Hi everyone,
Thanks for the feedback. We listened.
Here are the basics of our revised plan. Please note - we have not had the time to do estimates of the work involved, and also we're continuing to listen. so this isn't baked just yet. Do not expect that this is all going to happen immediately. We plain don't know yet. we're doing that meeting tmw.
1) We're lowering the price of All Access to $14.99
2) We're going to make it so every subscriber to all our PC games an all access member. Basically there will be one SOE membership for our PC games. Please note there are some minor restrictions around our kids titles (simply put - if you're a 12 year old who signed up for FR you won't have access to the adult games so we'll likely leave the lower priced kids offerings as separate subscriptions for under 12 for the same low prices).
3) We're keeping the 500 SC included with the subscription instead of going to the "pick an item" system. We heard you. You didn't like the change. The only change we are making is that we're now going to make you claim it monthly. You can still hoard it though :) I realize this is a bit of a pain but honestly it's the best compromise we could come up with that solves the problems I mentioned in the other thread.
4) we are going to be giving our members a 10% discount in our marketplaces.
5) European players - we have an idea on how to include you in this but we need to discuss with our partners. We have a pretty good idea on this though. give us a bit of time to suss this out.
6) Nothing is changing with Player Studio items - you'll still be able to buy them with your 500SC.
7) Console titles - you'll notice I only mentioned the PC titles. Our goal is to include the PS3 and PS4 games that we have, but I want to be up front and say that isn't a done deal.
In a nutshell that's where our head is at.
As always your feedback is welcomed. Please do us a big favor and carefully think about #3. Our goal is to give you more value in the subscription to make it more attractive and making it simpler in the process.
I really feel like we're making a good decision going this route. It makes things simpler and gives more value to our players.
Thanks
Smed

Multiplayer Shooter Evolve Revealed

GameInformer.com reveals the February cover story of their print edition takes the wraps off Turtle Rock Studios' Evolve, the IP acquired by Take-Two in the THQ breakup. They reveal this to be a sci-fi themed, asymmetrical multiplayer shooter the Left for Dead developer plans to release for Windows and consoles this autumn. They promise 12 pages of details, impressions, and artwork, and in the meantime, offer this overview of the project:

The sci-fi multiplayer-focused shooter pits a four-player crew of alien hunters against a separate player-controlled monster that grows larger and more powerful over the course of matches. Each hunter features its own unique items and abilities, and while the monster may be outnumbered, its size and an assortment of devastating attacks make it a more than formidable foe. Like Turtle Rock's previous titles, Evolve is being built with variety and replayabilty in mind; the result is a novel mix of cooperative and competitive multiplayer elements that's unlike anything we've played before. Our exclusive hands-on time with the game's four-versus-one hunt mode left us with plenty to be excited about, and you can get all the details in this month's issue.

New GeForce Drivers

The GeForce website now offers new WHQL-certified version 332.21 GeForce drivers for NVIDIA graphics cards. Here's the skinny on what these do:

The new GeForce 332.21 WHQL driver is now available to download. 332.21 WHQL features new SLI profiles for Assetto Corsa, EVE Online (DirectX 11), Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, and Thief, 3D Vision profiles for Injustice: Gods Among Us (Excellent) and Path of Exile (Good), and ensures maximum performance and system stability across all titles.

You can download 332.21 WHQL directly from the Drivers page, or automatically through GeForce Experience, our free, essential, game and system enhancing application. For the complete set of release notes please click here.

If you experience any issues with the 332.21 WHQL driver please post a full and detailed report on the GeForce.com Driver Feedback Forum, where our Customer Care team can better assist you.

Alien: Isolation Announced

The SEGA Blog announces Alien: Isolation, Creative Assembly's upcoming Aliens action/adventure/shooter. "In Alien: Isolation, we have taken the series back to the roots of Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie, the original survival horror," said Alistair Hope of Creative Assembly. "Our Alien is a truly terrifying creature, as intelligent as he is hostile, relentless, brutal and unstoppable. This is the Alien game fans of the series have always wanted." This has been a poorly kept secret before this revelation, as it was outed by the discovery of its trademark, concept art, and screenshots. The description on Xbox.com confirms the game's protagonist will be Ellen Ripley's daughter, and Videogamer has some first-hand impressions, saying "It's Amnesia in space, essentially, with Ripley stalked by a lone Xenomorph aboard the station," and there are also a hands-on previews on The Escapist and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. An Alien Isolation trailer is also now available, teasing the project with cinematics and glimpses of gameplay, a platform list that includes PC; Xbox One; PlayStation 4; Xbox 360; and PlayStation 3, and word the game will be "out late 2014." Here's the description:

Discover the true meaning of fear in Alien: Isolation, a survival horror set in an atmosphere of constant dread and mortal danger. Fifteen years after the events of Alien™, Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda enters a desperate battle for survival, on a mission to unravel the truth behind her mother's disappearance. As Amanda, you will navigate through an increasingly volatile world as you find yourself confronted on all sides by a panicked, desperate population and an unpredictable, ruthless Alien. Underpowered and underprepared, you must scavenge resources, improvise solutions and use your wits, not just to succeed in your mission, but to simply stay alive.

Continue here to read the full story.

Fallout 3 Removes GFWL?

The Steam Database has details on a patch for Fallout 3 that rolled out a few days ago that removes some variables with names like ShowCDKeyOnLaunch and LegacyKeyRegistryLocation that the posters on NeoGAF say shows the removal of Games for Windows LIVE functionality from Bethesda's action/RPG sequel. This is by no means a stretch, as various other games have recently removed support for Microsoft's DRM, including Ultra Street Fighter IV, BioShock 2, the Arkham series, and DiRT 3 amid rife speculation that the service will soon end altogether following the closure of the GFWL marketplace during the summer. This should theoretically be easy enough to check, but reinstalling Fallout 3 here has resulted in errors keeping the game from launching, but for what it's worth, we did not see any GFWL. Thanks The Escapist. Update: After getting the game to run (protip: Fallout 3 does not seem to appreciate dual-monitor setups), Fallout 3 ran without any GFWL prompts. Update 2: Upon closer examination, the game did install the Games for Windows LIVE client, and when this was uninstalled, Fallout 3 will no longer launch.

Starbound Sells 1M

The Starbound Twitter feed announces Chucklefish's Starbound has now sold one million copies: "We've just passed a MILLION copies sold. Keeping with the Keanu Reeves theme… http://i.imgur.com/iBY3OfP.jpg #whoa." Thanks GamesIndustry International.

Star Citizen Funding Passes $36M

The Roberts Space Industries website now shows that Star Citizen has passed the $36 million dollar crowdfunding mark. A new Letter from the Chairman celebrates the news, outlines the Tamsa system this unlocks, and lays out their $38 million goal, the "fully aquatic planet." They currently show $36,158,810 collected from 353,996 "Star Citizens," which seems to indicate that the average pledge for the upcoming space simulation is over $100.00.

SOE Considering Unified Subscriptions

A reddit post by John Smedly has thoughts from the SOE boss to changes in how premium memberships work in their MMOGs (thanks Gamasutra). At the end he reveals they are also considering a single consolidated premium subscription plan that would grant access to all their games:

We are considering (and are likely going to move forward with) a plan that means if you subscribe to one of our games you are a subscriber to all our games (this applies to PC titles only btw).. all for the current $14.99 a month. That's a benefit most companies simply can't offer because they don't have our portfolio of games. The goal would be to let you pick an item in each game you play. Some of you might say "well who cares..I only play Planetside 2. How is that a benefit to me?" My answer is simple - we've got a great lineup of games, some of which aren't announced yet that cater to a lot of players. We have EQN and EQNL coming along with other..... games... that PS2 players might just like :)

More World of Warcraft Realm Connections This Week

A Connected Realms Update on the World of Warcraft website outlines the progress Blizzard has made on addressing low-population realms in World of Warcraft, showing all the realms that have been connected so far. They also announce further ream connecting they will undertake this week, as they have a maintenance period scheduled for Thursday starting at 9:00 am EST. They say the outline of their plans is not necessarily complete, and the schedule is subject to change.

Morning Patches

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

As noted in the Fallout 3 story above, I was not able to run the RPG sequel after reinstalling it to see how it does or does not invoke Games for Windows LIVE. I'm getting one of those unreadable dialog boxes that doesn't help much, so I can't tell if the odd message about my .Net 4.0 installation is the culprit. I don't really have the urge to play that game right now, but I don't know if I'll be able to avoid the pull of troubleshooting this to try and figure out what's wrong out of sheer OCD.

Compulsive Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Parallel Levels.
Go Under.
Link: Passive Aggressive Notes' best of 2013.
Stories: Frigid air from the North Pole: What's this polar vortex?
First Formula E car dazzles Las Vegas.
Science: New compounds discovered that are hundreds of times more mutagenic.
NASA's Kepler Provides Insights on Enigmatic Planets.s
Want Perfect Pitch? You Might Be Able To Pop A Pill For That.
Media: Dennis Rodman Launches Into A Weird, Screaming Rant During CNN Interview.
Tip about traffic. Thanks reddit.
The Funnies: After the Steam Sale - Dorkly Comic.



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