Archived News:

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2017

ZeniMax Wins $500M in Oculus Lawsuit

ZeniMax has won a $500 million judgment in its lawsuit versus Oculus, though the jury did not find they had misappropriated trade secrets, reports Polygon. The half-billion dollars is for failing to abide by an NDA, copyright infringement, and false designation. $300M of that will come from Oculus, $150M from CEO Brendan Iribe, and $50M from company founder Palmer Luckey. Polygon says Oculus says they will appeal, but are looking forward to putting the case behind them, expressing their commitment to the long term success of virtual reality, the technology at the heart of the lawsuit. On the other side of the decision, ZeniMax says it may seek court order to halt sale of current Oculus Rift headsets.

Rainbow Six Siege Operation Velvet Shell Video

UbiBlog offers a new video from Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege introducing Mira, one of the new operators in the upcoming Operation Velvet Shell DLC for the first-person shooter. The video comes along with some details about the character:
“Let’s see those pretty faces,” says Mira, one of the two new Operators in Rainbow Six Siege’s Velvet Shell DLC, as she plasters a breaching device across a reinforced barrier. The charge punches a perfect, rectangular murder hole through the steel barricade, but there’s more to it than that – and you can see what happens next when Velvet Shell is revealed in full during the Six Invitational, which runs from February 3-5.

Mira is one of two new Operators from Spain’s Grupo Especial de Operaciones (GEO), and along with her cohort Jackal, she’ll be available to unlock and command when the Velvet Shell DLC arrives. Both Operators, along with the new Coastline map on the Spanish island of Ibiza, will be shown on February 2 in a series of livestreamed panels during the Six Invitational. Check out the full schedule for the tournaments and panels unfolding over the weekend, and find out more about Rainbow Six Siege below:

Rainbow Six Siege – Velvet Shell DLC Live Demo Announced
Rainbow Six Siege – First Velvet Shell Operator Revealed
Rainbow Six Siege – See a Video Preview of Operation Velvet Shell DLC’s Coastline Map
Continue here to read the full story.

The Elder Scrolls Online 2017 Roadmap

There's a Welcome to 2017 post on The Elder Scrolls Online website where Matt Firor outlines this year's plans for the MMORPG. There are details on what's going on, and here's the game director's overview:
Welcome to a new year in The Elder Scrolls Online! We had a great year in 2016. Our user base is larger than it was at this point last year, and is thriving. There are more adventures in Tamriel and more freedom in how you choose to explore them than ever.

Now it is time to look ahead to 2017. All of you are well aware that we have already announced Morrowind, the next Chapter in ESO, which will be launching in June - but we will be also continuing to add many other great things to the game. You can expect to see more of the standard DLC you are accustomed to, including our regular commitment to upgrading, fixing, and providing quality of life additions and fixes for the game, and much more.

Thank you all for being part of the ESO community. We have come a long way together – but the journey is just beginning, and it is going to be a lot of fun enjoying the ride together.

This year will feature four major events:

  • Homestead, our player housing DLC, in February
  • ESO: Morrowind, our first Chapter release, in June
  • A dungeon-based DLC in the third quarter
  • A content-based DLC in the fourth quarter

We will – of course – provide a base patch with each of these launches that will provide quality of life fixes, updates, balance changes, and other items. For more on each of these events, keep reading.

On Sale

Activision Blizzard Launches Consumer Products Division

Activision Blizzard announces the launch of a new Consumer Products Division to be headed by veteran Mattel and Disney executive Tim Kilpin. This will lead to "development of innovative consumer products to expand and deepen audience engagement with Activision Blizzard’s iconic franchises through long-term retail partnerships, high-quality products and all new consumer experiences." Here's more on the plan:
Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) today announced the launch of a newly created Consumer Products division and the appointment of veteran Mattel and Disney executive Tim Kilpin as its CEO and president. The new division will further accelerate Activision Blizzard’s global growth strategy by leveraging its iconic content and creating new ways for audiences to connect with the Company’s franchises and characters.

“Inspiring play, competition, and community underpins everything we do, and giving audiences new ways to experience our franchises is core to this commitment,” said Activision Blizzard Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick. “Under Tim’s leadership, we will elevate our consumer product offerings to the same level of exceptional quality as our games and transform the ways audiences connect with the characters they love in their everyday lives.”

The launch of the new Consumer Products division is another strategic pillar in Activision Blizzard’s expansion of the platforms through which it offers its compelling franchises to audiences, including interactive content, television and film, competitive gaming and mobile.

“Activision Blizzard is a global entertainment powerhouse and its combination of iconic franchises and massive audience reach offers incredible opportunities for retailers and partners,” said Kilpin. “I’m excited to lead this newly-formed division and join Activision Blizzard’s already incredibly talented consumer products team in delivering powerful new partnerships and even more touchpoints to audiences.”
Continue here to read the full story.

Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns Content Next Week

ArenaNet reveals the next update will go live next week in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns with the release of The Head of the Snake, the fourth episode in Living World Season 3 in the MMORPG. This adds a bunch of new content including a new raid wing. They offer this trailer along with more details on the update, which is to go live on January 7th, and the game is also currently on sale for 50% off. The name of this content is based on the old saying that if you cut off the head of a snake, it can't wear a necktie. Here are more details:
The White Mantle has slithered into the cracks in Krytan society, and now in Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns. It’s time to expose them. The next episode of Living World Season 3, “The Head of the Snake,” is coming Tuesday, February 7. “The Head of the Snake” sees the advancement of the story as Queen Jennah summons players to her side, where they'll act as her personal witness in uncovering the nest of corruption in Divinity's Reach.

Along with “The Head of the Snake” will come the brand-new raid wing “Bastion of the Penitent”. The destruction of the Maguuma Bloodstone has opened a mysterious portal in Bloodstone Fen, and beyond it lies a sinister and ancient place with little chance of escape. This raid will provide players with four bosses to overcome as they discover what mysteries are still chained behind its walls.
Continue here to read the full story.

Samurai Sword VR Released

Samurai Sword VR is now available on Steam, offering the chance to wield your virtual katana in VR using an HTC Vive headset. This trailer offers a look, and these details cut to the chase: "Through the fields of Japan straddling his horse, through the rivers of villages on his boat, the samurai uses his katana, shuriken, and kunai to protect honor and integrity during ancient times of war." Continue here to read the full story.

SAG/AFTRA Rally Tomorrow

As the SAG/AFTRA strike against 11 video game companies enters its fifth calendar month, the union announces plans to hold a rally tomorrow at the La Brea Tar Pits. They say this comes as the work action "enters a new phase," though they don't offer details on what that means. Here's the plan:
WHAT: SAG-AFTRA leaders and members together with their labor allies will rally at the La Brea Tar Pits as the video game strike enters a new phase.

WHO: Those scheduled to appear include SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris, Executive Director David White, members John Cothran, Jr., Judyann Elder, Keythe Farley, Jason George, Stephen Henderson, Phil LaMarr, Laura Leighton, Doug Savant and Noah Wyle, together with labor leaders Art Pulaski (California Labor Federation) and Rusty Hicks (L.A. County Fed), and representatives from DGA, WGA, IATSE, AFM and other labor organizations.

WHEN: February 2, 2017 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

WHERE: Members will march from SAG-AFTRA Plaza, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., to La Brea Tar Pits, 5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036, for a rally in the park.

MORE: SAG-AFTRA continues to strike a group of 11 video game corporations who have refused to compromise on a fair contract since this action began Oct. 21, 2016. Speakers at the rally will address why vocal stress is an issue for actors, what an industry standard contract looks like for video game performers and how the ongoing strike can be resolved with a fair deal for both sides.

Morning Previews

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

I'm a little distressed that we're already in February, as I've barely gotten used to it being 2017 yet. On the other hand, I won't miss winter when it's done, so I guess that's still good news. On the winter front, we got a bit of snow here yesterday, but this was light, and made for easy shoveling, so I don't really have any cause to complain about winter so far either, as we haven't had too much snow and for the most part the temperatures have stayed pretty mild.

Mild Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Wasteland Warriors.
Stories: McDonald's worker with Down syndrome Russell O'Grady celebrates 30 years in the job.
Nation's bacon reserves hit 50-year low.
Science: Scientist cracks mystery of the frog’s powerful tongue. It’s called spit.
Media: Fruit Ninja comes to life.
Stranger Things Than Pizza. Thanks Alexander.
No gate can hold back Super Dog.
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