Archived News:

Thursday, Jul 30, 2015 System Administrator Appreciation Day

EA Financials

Electronic Arts Reports Q1 FY16 Financial Results, raising their full year guidance after surpassing expectations for the quarter. They offer these highlights:
Selected Operating Highlights and Metrics:

  • At E3, EA titles earned 132 awards including four of the 2015 E3 Game Critic Awards: Star Wars™ Battlefront™ for Best Action Game and Best Online Multiplayer, Need for Speed™ for Best Racing Game and EA SPORTS™ FIFA 16 for Best Sports Game.
  • Trailers, gameplay and livestreams of EA's games were viewed over 53 million times throughout the week of E3.
  • Players in Battlefield 4™ and Battlefield™ Hardline logged more than 170 million online gameplay hours combined in Q1.
  • Monthly active users for EA’s mobile titles averaged more than 150 million in Q1.
  • More than 16 million matches of FIFA 15 were played on average per day in Q1.

Selected Financial Highlights:

  • For the quarter, non-GAAP net revenue of $693 million was above our guidance of $640 million. Diluted non-GAAP EPS of $0.15 was above our guidance of $0.00.
  • EA increased fiscal 2016 non-GAAP net revenue guidance by $50 million to $4.450 billion and diluted non-GAAP EPS guidance by $0.10 to $2.85 per share.
  • Operating cash flow of $992 million was a record high for any trailing twelve month Q1 period.
  • EA repurchased 2.2 million shares in Q1 for $132 million.

Star Wars Battlefront Team Deathmatch Revealed

The Star Wars Battlefront website reveals Blast Mode, a team deathmatch core game mode featuring Rebels versus Imperial troops. Here's word:
When you’re hungry for a classic, challenging game mode within the Star Wars™ universe, there is one obvious choice: Blast.

Star Wars™ Battlefront’s™ Team Deathmatch mode, Blast, pits the Rebel and Imperial factions against each other with intense 10 versus 10 battles. If your team reaches 100 kills, or are ahead when the 10-minute round is over, you’ve won. Immediate, addictive, and exciting until the very last kill; that is our ambition with Blast.

Blast offers a lot of variety both in terms of gameplay and the unpredictable nature of the opposing team. Actual levels within the mode also happen to hold great variation as well.

Our Lead Level Designer Dennis Brännvall tells us about breathtaking sights within the mode that Star Wars fans will come across:

“One battle you’ll be fighting within interior levels on Endor or Sullust. In the next battle, you might find yourselves among Tatooine’s dusty canyons, or inside the undeniably cool Ice Caves on Hoth. My favorite is the verticality of Tatooine, fighting by the Sandcrawler.”

To keep the action dense in this close-quarters mode, the Blast maps are not as vast as in other game modes. You should know that they are all specifically designed for the specific game mode in mind; in other words, these aren’t just smaller versions of maps used elsewhere. Brännvall notes that this variation is crucial and something that can be noticed in other ways too:
Continue here to read the full story.

Warhammer 40,000: Regicide Next Month

Hammerfall Publishing announces an August 26th release date for Warhammer 40,000: Regicide the "tactical-chess-styled-combat-meets Warhammer 40k" game currently in Early Access on Steam. For those interested, they are also holding a get together tomorrow on Twitch, though they don't specify a time. Here's word on the release plan:
On August 26, 2015, tactical combat and classical strategy will meet on the blood-soaked and war-ravaged battlefields, as Warhammer 40,000: Regicide leaves Early Access to achieve a full release on Steam for PC. As part of this upcoming release, Regicide will feature all three-acts of their 50 mission story-driven campaign, many new tactical abilities, a full tier upgrade system for units, and a barrage of additional fan-requested features, refinements and, improvements!

The Regicide release-day update will include the highly-anticipated Armoury where players can unlock new abilities to take into battle, an XP & levelling system, and a new unit upgrade system that allows players to Tier up their units.

Hammerfall has also added extensive, canonically authentic Russian, German and French localizations (with a few more languages for good measure still to be announced!)

Warhammer 40,000: Regicide's campaign consists of three acts. In act 1, fight your way through the first 10 missions of our epic 50-mission single-player Campaign alongside Captain Dracomedes and his loyal Blood Angels.

Call to Arms Early Access

Early Access to Call to Arms is now available for Windows on Steam, offering the chance to go hands-on with Digitalmindsoft's strategy/action game before its full release, which is expected in Q1 of next year. The game is offered as a Standard or Deluxe edition, and here's word on the difference:
The Early Access version contains the full infantry unit roster, as well as a few multiplayer maps, multiplayer bots, replays, Steam Workshop and the map/mission editor. Owners of the Deluxe Edition also get to try out the first missions of the upcoming work in progress singleplayer campaign. After the development of the singleplayer missions has been finished, all owners of the Early Access version receive them for free.

After the launch of the game we will gradually release more content, including multiplayer maps, gamemodes, as well as vehicles step by step.

ZOMBI Announced

Ubisoft announces they are taking U out of ZombiU in ZOMBI, a new version of the survival/horror game for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The original ZombiU was said to be "built from the ground up exclusively for the Wii U system and its revolutionary Wii U GamePad controller," and the Zombi website admits that makes this an upgrade: "The nail-biting survival experience of ZombiU™ has been upgraded for download on next-gen consoles and PC. Zombi takes the power of the latest generation of hardware to bring you a new level of horror. Test your will to survive, but beware: death is permanent, and one wrong move can cause you to lose everything." Here's the announcement trailer, and here's a feature list:
Pure survival horror
Resources are scarce, your enemies are numerous, and you never know when you’ll find more weapons, ammunition, first aid, or food. How you allocate your resources determines if you live or die.

With permadeath, everything is at stake
Survival is not guaranteed. Once you die, your character becomes infected and joins the horde of undead shambling through London. You’ll come back as an entirely new character and try to survive, again, with your first mission being to retrieve your previous character’s supplies.

Bug-out bag
Your bug-out bag holds all your possessions, tools, inventory, first aid kits, maps, and more. Don’t get distracted, as zombies can attack you at any moment. If you die, your bag stays with your old character, who is now a zombie. Will you risk it all to get your bag back, or start scavenging anew?

London calling
Survive in a city steeped in grisly history, royal secrets, and bloody tales. Navigate through the medieval Tower of London, stately Buckingham Palace, and modern streets swarming with mobs of the undead.

The undead return
Combining the horror of ZombiU with refined gameplay and upgraded graphics, Zombi brings the survivalist first-person shooter to next-gen consoles and PC.
Continue here to read the full story.

Wasteland 2 Director's Cut in October

An announcement from inXile entertainment tells us October 13th is when to expect the Wasteland 2 Director's Cut for Windows, adding the console versions will be released around them as well. They offer some new screenshots and the following explanation:
We have some big news to share with you today, so we'll just cut right to the chase. Wasteland 2 Director's Cut will be releasing digitally on PC on October 13, 2015! Additionally, for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, digital and physical releases will be coming on October 13th in the Americas, and October 16th Worldwide!

As we've said before, anyone who already owns Wasteland 2 on any digital PC retailer will be getting the Director's Cut as a free update on PC. We'll have more information as we get closer to release, but it's our intention to make sure it's as easy a process as possible. Keep your eyes peeled on our Wasteland 2 forums as we'll be putting up FAQs and similar in the coming weeks towards release.

For those of you who are still curious about the Director's Cut contents, features, and changes, or may have missed our discussions on them previously, here are some links that go over some of those new elements in detail.
Continue here to read the full story.

Demons Age Announced

Bigmoon Entertainment announces Demons Age, a "dark fantasy" turn-based RPG coming to Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in Q1 2016. A placeholder Demons Age website is online, but it has no information, so for now all we have to go by is what's in the announcement:
Bigmoon Entertainment today announced Demons Age, a brand new title that brings together the characteristics of a classic turn-based roleplaying game with modern graphics and a gripping atmosphere. Demons Age takes console and PC gamers on a thrilling adventure in either single character or party mode in which they must explore ancient ruins, mystical places and mysterious dungeons while battling dangerous opponents along the way. Demons Age is slated to launch on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC in Q1 2016. For more information about Demons Age, please visit: www.demonsage.com.

“We are all fans of dark fantasy and role-playing games, so many voices and ideas have gone into making Demons Age a game that fans of this genre will really enjoy”, said Paulo J. Games from Bigmoon Entertainment. “We didn’t limit ourselves to building just a classical turn-based RPG game, but wanted to create a game with the features and gameplay that we look for in a console or PC title, too”.
Continue here to read the full story.

Wargaming Launches WG Labs

Wargaming announces WG Labs, an initiative to support innovation in game development, apparently spurred by their involvement with NGD Studios on the upcoming Master of Orion remake. The WG Labs is the hub for this, and here's the explanation of what this is all about:
Wargaming is excited to announce WG Labs, a lean and agile platform designed to foster innovation within the video games industry. This platform will support external development teams in game creation and publishing, as well as generate, evaluate, and launch in-house products that go beyond the company's paradigm.

WG Labs is interested in seeing playable prototypes and Alpha/Beta/Pre-Release versions of games. There are no restrictions in regards to platforms. WG Labs is looking to collaborate with development teams who are able to deliver a truly exceptional product in line with their own vision. In this partnership, WG Labs provides support in game production, monetization, analytics, marketing, customer services, QA, as well as other areas.

“Working with NGD Studios has been a very positive and rewarding collaboration,” said Victor Kislyi, Wargaming CEO. “Thoroughly impressed with their work, the project served as inspiration for us to create an actual innovation center within the company. WG Labs is set to become a breeding ground of ideas that inspire and resonate with both consumers and companies, and allow us to further foster partnerships like this.”

Arma 3 Video Diary

A new video developer diary from Arma 3 offers a "Welcome To Tanoa" with a look at the terrain in an expansion coming next year to the military shooter sequel. They explain: "In the developer diary, Arma 3's Creative Director Jay Crowe and Project Lead Joris-Jan van 't Land discuss how the devteam came to a South Pacific destination, describe some of the key characteristics and points of interest on Tanoa, and reflect on development so far and the roadmap ahead." Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

On Sale

Rocket League Sells 5M; DLC Next Month; Patch Plans

Psyonix announces that new Supersonic Fury DLC for Rocket League will arrive early next month for the surprise hit sports game, which they say has sold over five million units on PC and PS4 since its release about three weeks ago. They also say to expect a free content update with a new map and the requested spectator mode, though it's not clear if that will come in August as well. They offer this new trailer showing off the pack, and explain what it will offer along with their reaction to their game's success:
Thank you! Thank you very much!

We’re extremely excited about the success of Rocket League since its launch on July 7th, with more than 5 million combined downloads between PC and PS4 in less than a month! -- and we couldn’t have done it without you!

To celebrate the big news, we thought we’d bring you a complete rundown of what to expect in our upcoming “Supersonic Fury” DLC Pack.

As we've teased on Twitter, the Supersonic Fury DLC Pack includes two brand new Battle-Cars: the over-the-top American muscle car Dominus, and the souped-up Japanese street racer Takumi. Both of these vehicles offer six different Decals for Garage customization (12 total) and are only available for play in the DLC.

Besides the new Battle-Cars, the DLC Pack also includes two all-new Rocket Boosts (“Nitrous” and “Burnout”), two new Wheel sets (the soccer ball-themed “Cristiano” and the very-cool “Spinner” set), five all-new Paint Types (“Brushed Metal,” “Carbon Fiber,” “Metallic Pearl,” “Pearlescent,” and “Wood”), and a handful of new Trophies. This entire collection will be available in early August for $3.99/ €3.99.

In addition to the Supersonic Fury DLC, we will also release a free game update that offers an assortment of new content, including our first new map, Utopia Coliseum, and more than 70 new country flags. The long-awaited “Spectator Mode” will be in there too, allowing viewers to watch live games in real-time from any angle in the arena. Spectator controls are very similar to that of our existing “Replay Viewer’s,” so start practicing now and get ready for the drop!

Further enhancements, like updated Goal explosions and Demolitions, are planned for the free update as well, along with the brand new song, “Firework,” from the critically-acclaimed electronica group, Hollywood Principle.

It is our sincere hope that this mix of paid DLC and free add-on content is what Rocket League fans have been waiting for, and it’s just the beginning of what is plenty more to come. Thanks once again for your continued support and we’ll see you again very, very soon.
Continue here to read the full story.

Prison Architect Breaks Out in October

Though Prison Architect is still in the alpha testing phase (Alpha 35 was just released), Introversion announces the incarceration simulation will be officially released in October. Here's word:
Bored of a lifestyle of plentiful holidays and late night boozing sessions with Mark, Chris has decided to put everyone under pressure and commit to a launch in October of this year.

There is still much work to be done and we need your opinion on Alpha 35 which launches today and includes a massive update to the gangs system. Prisoners can now trade contraband in the prison for cash and with cash come protection rackets. Gang leaders will actively instruct soldiers and lieutenants to acquire territory in order to extort dollars from the non-affiliated prisoners who want to use the facilities.

To help us spread the word about our launch please like our facebook page.

Steamship Ahoy - BOMB: Who let the dogfight

BOMB: Who let the dogfight is now available on Steam, offering a throwback aerial combat game with a throwback Baha Men reference in the title. This is out now for Windows, Linux, and OS X, despite listing an August 1st release date. This page lists the changes of the release version as it emerges from Early Access, and this trailer offers a look at the campaign, for some reason relying so heavily on time-compression it can be a bit unsettling. Here's word:
What happens when you mix Crimson Skies' fast -paced aerial combat with the humor and stylings of animated classics like TaleSpin and Porco Rosso? You get La Moustache Studio's game, BOMB: who let the dogfight?. The game combines the pleasures of arcade and simulation, easy to handle for everyone; it also has very convincing flight dynamics. Up to 16 players can compete in multi-player modes.
Continue here to read the full story.

Capcom Financials

Japanese developer and publisher Capcom announces quarterly financial results (thanks GameSpot), showing across-the-board improvements of 50-100% in net sales, operating income, ordinary income, and net income, noting that comprehensive income was 2427 million yen, a 448% increase over the same period last year. Here's a bit on what lead to this:
In the Digital Contents business, "Devil May Cry: Special Edition" (for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC) sold well in addition to the robust repeat sales and digital download sales of other titles, particularly in overseas markets.

On the other hand, online games remained soft and mobile phone contents were generally soft as well due to, among others, lack of major titles. However, "Smurfs' Village and the Magic Meadow" (for iOS) made a good start.

Total War: WARHAMMER Trailer

A new trailer from Total War: WARHAMMER offers 10 minutes of in-engine cinematic footage from the upcoming fantasy-themed installment in Creative Assembly's Total War strategy series. Here's the outline of what this shows:
Accompanied with developer commentary, this scripted battle demo is taken from work-in-progress code and depicts a desperate clash between the forces of the Empire led by Emperor Karl Franz and a Greenskin horde led by Orc Warboss Grimgor Ironhide.

The Battle of Black Fire Pass formed the basis for this year’s Total War: WARHAMMER E3 press demos, and offers a glimpse of the tremendous diversity of battlefield units, spells, war machines, monstrous creatures and fantasy environments that will appear in the final game. As a Quest Battle available specifically to Karl Franz, it represents one of many bespoke, optional encounters players will unlock as they progress through a campaign with their chosen Legendary Lord.
Continue here to read the full story.

Act of Aggression Superweapons Trailer

Focus Home Interactive now offers this trailer demonstrating some "superweapons" in Act of Aggression, Eugen System's RTS game that recently entered beta testing. The accompanying description also notes they will be unveiling the Cartel faction next week at Gamescom:
Where diplomacy fails, nuclear war prevails in Act of Aggression’s dramatic new super-weapons trailer, showcasing the intimidating nuclear arsenals of all the techno-thriller factions in the new RTS from Eugen Systems, coming to PC on September 2!

Each of the three futuristic military factions not only holds an inventory of unique and specialized military equipment and units, but also access to a variety of end-game oriented super-weapons, featuring the latest in conventional and prototypical boom.

Tactical super-weapons are a viable option for defensive players who wish to exhaust the enemy’s economy while they stockpile tactical weaponry rounds for a surprise strike, as well as players rich in the game’s primary resources to finish off their opponent with a bang.
To defend yourself from your enemies’ tactical strikes, one anti-super weapon unit is also available per faction.
Continue here to read the full story.

Op Ed

Finder - How The Windows 10 App On Xbox One Could Kill The Steam Machines.
"The Xbox app in Windows 10 allows gamers to stream their play experiences from their console to their PC, but Microsoft is also hoping to share the love the other way – and this could be disastrous for Valve's upcoming Steam Machines."

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

My time babysitting the guinea pig and leopard gecko is drawing to an end, and I'll miss visiting the critters. I'm not sure they'll miss me as much as I imagined, however. Yesterday I was visiting Buddy the gecko, and as always he seemed fascinated by me, coming over to where I pushed my finger against the glass and darting out his tongue to investigate. I decided to help satisfy his curiosity by sticking my finger in the tank, and he instantly darted over and bit me, so I think what I interpreted as friendly/curious gestures may have been him defending his territory (lizards are not known for their warmth, so this shouldn't be a shock). Whatever bitty little teeth the wee fellow has are inconsequential, so this did not hurt or anything, but I am saddened to have the illusion of our friendship shattered, and I am very sorry that I seemed to upset him.

Upset Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Comix Zone.
Kubik.
Minecraft Mega Parking.
Stories: How A Small-Time Drug Dealer Rescued Dozens During Katrina.
Man tried to use rattlesnake to murder neighbor. Thanks Torchmaster.
Science: Rocket could defy laws of physics, fly to moon in 4 hours.
US sees residential solar surge past commercial-scale installs.
No, scientists aren’t predicting 10ft higher sea level by 2050.
Images: Fourth largest religion.
Media: Shark Dad - Cyanide & Happiness Shorts. NSFW.
Follow-up: Cecil the Lion: What Could Happen to Hunters? White House petitioned.
American Who Killed Cecil the Lion Keeps Dental Office Closed.
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