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Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018

  

EA Financial Results

Electronic Arts Reports Q3 FY18 Financial Results. The highlights include word that over 25 million unique players have played Battlefield 1:

Selected Operating Highlights and Metrics

  • Digital net bookings* for the trailing twelve months was a record $3.375 billion, up 18% year-over-year, and represents 67% of total net bookings for the same period.
  • The FIFA community grew to nearly 42 million players, on console alone, during the calendar year.
  • FIFA Mobile added 26 million players to its total player base in the quarter.
  • FIFA Ultimate Team™ player base grew 12% year-over-year, from launch to the end of the quarter.
  • In Star Wars™ Battlefront™ II, nearly 70% of players engaged in the single-player campaign.
  • Battlefield™ 1 now has more than 25 million unique players life to date.
  • The Sims™ 4 player base grew more than 35% year-over-year and delivered the highest-performing expansion pack to date during the quarter.
  • The Madden Challenge entertainment special on The CW Network was the #1 esports television broadcast in the U.S. for 2017.

* Net bookings is defined as the net amount of products and services sold digitally or sold-in physically in the period. Net bookings is calculated by adding total net revenue to the change in deferred net revenue for online-enabled games.

Selected Financial Highlights and Metrics

All financial measures are presented on a GAAP basis.

  • Net cash provided by operating activities was $849 million.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities for the trailing twelve months was $1.514 billion.
  • During the quarter, EA repurchased 1.4 million shares for $150 million.
  • For the trailing twelve months, EA repurchased 5.6 million shares for $578 million.

Anthem Delayed for New Battlefield Game in October

A tweet from the Wall Street Journal has word from the hotbed of gaming that EA's Blake Jorgensen confirms for them the recent rumors of release date change for Anthem, but they say this is to clear the path for a new Battlefield game in October (thanks Polygon). Thus, he explains this delay is not a delay:

Electronic Arts says it is now planning to release "Anthem," an online multiplayer action game from its BioWare studio, in early 2019 instead of fall 2018 as originally planned. The company denies a report in videogame site Kotaku earlier this month claiming the change is due to development being behind schedule. Instead EA is planning to release a new Battlefield game in October and determined that Anthem, the new intellectual property, would get more attention if it came out in a quieter quarter. "It's not a delay," EA's finance chief Blake Jorgensen tells the WSJ. "People are trying to create a story."

Star Wars Battlefront II Loot Crates Returning

EA bypasses the enthusiast media in favor of the WSJ again as this tweet says Star Wars Battlefront II sold about 9 million copies, which is about 10% lower than projected. In spite of the game's loot box controversies probable role in that shortfall, VG247 reports the Star Wars action game will resume selling loot boxes in the coming months. "Digital economies have a place, and we will continue to drive and focus on that," said EA CEO Andrew Wilson during an earnings conference call. "The teams are working on how that context will apply to the Battlefront universe, but more on that in the months to come."

Overwatch Patch

The Overwatch Forums have patch notes for a new update that's now live in Overwatch, updating Blizzard's multiplayer shooter. This includes World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Deluxe Edition prepurchase bonuses, a bug fix, and nerfs for both Mercy and Junkrat. Here's word on the nerfs:

Junkrat

  • Concussion Mine
    • Now will deal less damage to targets farther away from the explosion’s center

Developer Comments: Junkrat has been enjoying the flexibility his double-charge Concussion Mine provides, but it has now become a bit too easy to throw out huge bursts of damage in a large area. With this change he can still dish out similar damage but he must now be more accurate with his tosses.

Mercy

  • Valkyrie
    • No longer makes Resurrect instant
    • No longer grants a bonus Resurrect charge
    • The speed bonus Guardian Angel receives when activating Valkyrie has been decreased by 50%
    • Duration reduced from 20 seconds to 15 seconds

Developer Comments: Mercy’s recent Resurrect changes have helped in allowing enemies to have more counter play in dealing with her, but she was able to use Resurrect through Valkyrie enough to largely mitigate the impact of the previous changes. Additionally, we’re toning back the amount of mobility Valkyrie provides through Guardian Angel and reducing its duration to overall reduce the power of this ability.

DCS World Version 2.5 Open Beta

This forum post announces open beta testing is underway for DCS World version 2.5 (thanks DSOGaming). Here's a feature list along with system specifications for this digital battlefield:

Key features of DCS World 2.5:

  • The most realistic Free-to-Play digital battlefield.
  • One-of-a-kind, internally developed graphics engine that looks amazing from one foot to 80,000 feet.
  • Includes a beautiful, free, and highly detailed map of the Caucasus region that includes Russia and Georgia.
  • Includes millions of buildings, millions of km of usable roads and railways, more than 50 million trees, and 20 fully-equipped airbases.
  • Includes 156 free and fully operational weapons systems, 105 ground vehicles, 19 ships and 84 AI-controlled aircraft.
  • Fly the TF-51 Mustang and Su-25T attack jet for free!
  • Play all DCS World modules from one DCS World version.
  • State-of-the-art graphics with amazing lighting, shadows, and performance.
  • New breathtaking effects for explosions, clouds, fog, fire, and smoke.
  • Hundreds of land, air- and seaborne AI vehicles. The world is your sandbox.
  • Create your own missions and campaigns for unlimited gameplay!
  • Mission generator included that allows rapid mission creation.
  • Enjoy multiplayer with friends, and even fly together in the same aircraft!
  • Purchase and fly the most iconic airplanes and helicopters from WWII up to the modern day.
  • Mouse interactive cockpits for most aircraft and the most accurate flight models, cockpit systems and sounds available.
  • Purchase and fly the most authentic simulations of the A-10C Warthog, UH-1H Huey, F-86F Sabre, Spitfire, and many others now.
  • Exciting new aircraft coming to DCS World like the F-14 Tomcat, F/A-18C Hornet, F-4E Phantom II, Mi-24P Hind, P-47D Thunderbolt, and many more!
  • Purchase additional high-quality maps such as Normandy 1944, the Nevada Test and Training Range, and the Persian Gulf.
  • Play hundreds of missions and campaigns with new campaigns continually created.
  • Both hardcore realistic and casual gameplay modes and options available.

Minimum system requirements:
OS 64-bit Windows 7/8/10; DirectX11; CPU: Core i3 at 2.8 GHz; RAM: 8 GB; Free hard disk space: 60 GB; Video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 / ATI R9 280X DirectX11); requires internet activation.

Recommended system requirements:
OS 64-bit Windows 7/8/10; DirectX11; CPU: Core i5+ at 3+ GHz; RAM: 16 GB; Free hard disk space: 60 GB on Solid State Drive (SSD); Video: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 / ATI R9 Fury DirectX11 or better; Joystick; requires internet activation.

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Pre-purchases

As mentioned in the Overwatch patch story above, Blizzard is now accepting World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth pre-purchases. They are selling both a Standard Edition and a Digital Deluxe Edition, with the deluxitude of the latter including in-game goodies for WoW, Overwatch, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, and Heroes of the Storm. This post has details on the next expansion for the long-running MMORPG:

Players who pre-purchase Battle for Azeroth today can begin their journey to recruit four of the expansion’s new Allied Races, each representing comrades they’ve fought alongside on the Broken Isles and Argus in the game’s most recent expansion, Legion™. Upon winning the respect of an Allied Race by completing quests and earning reputation, players will unlock the ability to create characters of that race and set out on a new adventure across Azeroth.† Alliance players can add the shadow-touched Void elves and valiant Lightforged draenei to their ranks, while members of the Horde will be able to bring the ancient Nightborne and noble Highmountain tauren into their faction’s fold—with additional Allied Races to come in the future.

Pre-purchasing Battle for Azeroth also grants the included level-110 character boost immediately†, so players can enter the expansion ready to fight on the front lines of the coming war. Upon Battle for Azeroth’s launch, heroes will be called upon to seek reinforcements in the seafaring kingdom of Kul Tiras and troll empire of Zandalar; battle for strategic control of Stromgarde, a new 20-player cooperative Warfront; and embark on Island Expeditions, where bands from rival factions race to claim resources on treacherous uncharted terrain.

Real Farm Gets Free DLC

An announcement on Steam has news of two free DLC packs that are now available for Real Farm, as they now offer the Potato Pack and the Grünes Tal map. This trailer shows off the new content, and here's word:

Potato Pack
The Potato pack offers everything you need to grow one of the most popular crops in the world: potatoes! The pack contains two new harvesters: the Rival PH-4 and the Rival PH-4X. Next to that there’s five new attachments, to help players sow, level and cultivate their fields and three new jobs in career mode for players to complete. To top it off, this permanently free pack also brings three fun vehicles to the game: The Ebon Q-Bike, the Hercules Sports GT and the Ebon Sports UV. The Potato Pack is free, because we want to thank you all for playing Real Farm and sharing your ideas and visions.

Grünes Tal map DLC
This map DLC takes you to a Western European inspired valley called Grünes Tal. Experience its lush forests, verdant hills and picturesque towns all free of charge if you own Real Farm before the DLC launches. After that, the DLC costs €9,99/$9.99. On Steam, you automatically receive the Grünes Tal map DLC once it launches, if you own the game prior to launch.
It will become a paid DLC if you buy Real Farm after the DLC’s launch. On PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the map is free to download for 7 days after launch and becomes a paid DLC after that period.

Continue here to read the full story.

This is the Police 2 Announced

THQ Nordic announces This is the Police 2, a sequel to the crowdfunded police strategy game coming later this year to Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch. An NSFW trailer offers a look at how this completely departs from expectations (think Fargo meets the Bad Lieutenant meets the Hasselhoff hamburger tape). Here's word on the project:

Welcome to Sharpwood, a remote border town in the north. It's a rough, cold place, where inhabitants know their neighbors by name and faithfully keep to their traditions, no matter how barbaric those traditions might be. Smugglers, gangs and screaming populists have made this town their home. Despair grows like a cancer, hand in hand with violence.

It’s a hell of a job for the new sheriff, Lilly Reed (voiced by Sarah Hamilton, of the celebrated adventure saga The Longest Journey). She has to maintain order and peace even though her subordinates are uncouth men who aren’t used to receiving commands from a young woman. But everything changes when a mysterious stranger calling himself Warren Nash appears in Sharpwood. And no one knows what he'll bring to the town: salvation or perdition.

Just like the first game, This Is the Police 2 is a mixture of adventure and management genres, and this time it enjoys further unexpected mechanics that will strengthen both the strategic and tactical parts of the game. It won’t be enough just managing the equipment of your policemen and keeping in mind their individual skills. Every challenge requires the player’s direct participation, and the outcomes will depend on every decision you make. Now your subordinates aren’t just some resource; they are living people with their own strengths, weaknesses, fears and prejudices, and you'll have to reckon with all these things in order to survive.

Continue here to read the full story.

Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger in March

Paradox Interactive announces a March 8th release date for Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger, the upcoming expansion for their World War II strategy game. They celebrate the news with a new feature breakdown trailer taking a look at the role of China in the add-on. Here's the accompanying text:

Eighty years ago, the people of China rallied together to fight a ruthless invader - another in a long line of invaders. For a brief moment, the post-revolutionary squabbles that followed the end of the imperial line were put aside to defend the nation. But that is just one possible timeline. History is not fixed, and Paradox offers you the chance to change it once again with the release of Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger on March 8.

Waking the Tiger is the next expansion for Hearts of Iron IV, Paradox Development Studio’s best-selling World War II grand strategy wargame. With new focus trees, revised battle systems and new alternate historical paths for the major Axis powers, Waking the Tiger will shake idle generals from their slumber:

Continue here to read the full story.

Strikers Edge Released

Steam now offers the release of Strikers Edge, a medieval dodgeball game played with spears, something familiar to those of us old enough to remember lawn darts. This is for Windows and macOS, and there's also a PlayStation 4 edition, with cross-platform support. Here's a new trailer along with word on the game and the extra effort it takes to support streaming:

Delivering ultimate “Dodgebrawl” battle experience, Strikers Edge allows players to choose from a roster of eight ancient warriors from different eras and civilizations, each with unique abilities, play styles and strategies. Dodge, take cover, block, aim and scorch the earth with devastating moves! Fight online or locally across four different arenas and achieve the ultimate victory in 2v2 matches with a friend or become the best striker in 1v1 battles. When medieval fantasy meets dodgeball, only the top striker will be victorious!

Designed not just for players, but also with livestream audiences in mind, Strikers Edge includes a special Twitch Mode, exclusive for PC. Viewers in chat can vote on a variety of match modifiers, making for memorable and messy battles with options such as Slippery Floors or Huge Weapons! Viewers can also participate during matches by taking on the role of in-game audience members. Cheer and boo Strikers and see your actions affect matches in progress! For full details on Strikers Edge’s Twitch Mode, please head here.

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Fallout 4 Free Weekend

Bethesda.net announces plans to offer a free weekend for Fallout 4 for Windows starting on Thursday. Xbox Live Gold members can try the post-apocalyptic RPG for free on Xbox One right now, and word is progress from the free period will carry over for anyone who buys the full game, which is on sale on each platform:

Forget dieting, or exercise, or any number of New Year’s resolutions you might’ve made. Instead, focus on the only one that matters: having more fun. And what’s more fun than playing a game – for free! From now through January 28, Xbox One players with Xbox Live Gold can try Fallout 4 for free. PC players will get their chance at the same deal from February 1 through February 4. If you choose to purchase anything you play during the Free Weekend, your save data will carry over.

We’re also making it even easier to have more fun with a special sale! During the free weekends, get up to 50% off the core game, add-ons, Fallout 4 Game of the Year Edition and more across all participating platforms and retailers. See the full breakdown of savings below.

Wolfenstein II: The Freedom Chronicles - Episode 2

Wolfenstein II: The Freedom Chronicles - Episode 2 is now available on Steam, offering more DLC for the alternate-history World War II shooter sequel. Here's word on The Diaries of Agent Silent Death, which is the second of three planned DLCs for the game:

Your mission to liberate America from the Nazis has only just begun. Continue the fight in The Diaries of Agent Silent Death, the second in a series of three DLC packs available as part of the Wolfenstein® II: The Freedom Chronicles.

Play as former OSS agent and assassin, Jessica Valiant, AKA Agent Silent Death! Hot on the trail of a sinister plot, Valiant finds herself in the offices of Paragon Pictures, Tinseltown film studio turned Nazi propaganda machine. Stalk, shoot and stab from the shadows in pursuit of your prey in the Diaries of Agent Silent Death!

Only you can overcome the Nazi threat in…The Freedom Chronicles!

PUBG Test Patch Includes Miramar Improvements and Anti-Cheat Measures

The PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS Website has details on Update #4 that's now on the test servers and is coming soon to the live version of the battle royale shooter. Word is this includes new anti-cheating tech: "Players, as with the last patch, a new type of anti-cheat solution, which is still under development, is to be applied on the test servers. We are in a test phase with this solution, and its stability and compatibility need to be verified. We would like to collect data about potential compatibility issues, analyze it and solve any issues that may emerge." They also promise Miramar improvements, which may cause players to stop deleting the map to avoid having to play on it.

Spellsworn in March

Spellsworn is currently in early access on Steam, where access to this Windows and Linux PvP brawler currently costs $9.99 USD. But developer Frogsong Studios announces this will be officially released as a free-to-play game in March. You can find more details on the Spellsworn Website and in the following press release:

Indie developer Frogsong Studios today announced that their debut title, Spellsworn, will move out of Steam Early Access into a free to play commercial launch this March. Heavily inspired by the WarCraft 3 custom mod, Warlocks, Spellsworn is a competitive PvP arena brawler, featuring fast-paced spellcasting matches set on a continuously shrinking arena, encroached by destructive, arcane-powered surroundings.

“The competitive nature of Spellsworn is ideal for a free-to-play business model and this change in monetization will make it easier for our community to grow and enjoy the fast paced arena battles through a seamless matchmaking system,” said Stefan Jonsson, CEO of Frogsong Studios. “We want to stress that only cosmetic items, like skins and staffs, will be monetized, which will not affect the gameplay in any way. Players, who acquire Spellsworn before the launch, are in for a treat as they will be granted six unique items, two of which will be exclusive to the Early Acces owners only!”

In Spellsworn, players rely upon tactics and quick reflexes to outsmart and obliterate opponents, using a well thought out combination of spells across five different disciplines: offensive, defensive, area, utility, and travel. Players battle it out in teams or free-for-all over intense five-round matches for up to eight players. Between each round the magic arsenal can be customized by buying, selling or upgrading spells to switch up the play style and mess with the minds of rival wizards. The magic mayhem reaches another level once the hazardous environment begins wreaking havoc on the playable field, causing damage over time to each player pushed off of the arena. With an ever-changing environment that poses as much of a threat as the enemy, adaptation is just as important as a quick hand and mind. In a world gripped by a war of magic, only the skilled and strong will be victorious!

Insurgency: Sandstorm Trailer

New World Interactive offers this new teaser trailer from Insurgency: Sandstorm, the upcoming installment in the shooter series that's coming to Windows and consoles later this year. Word is the game "brings extended gameplay possibilities, improved immersion, and new co-op and versus objective-based game modes," and the clip comes along with further details:

Fight across a modern battlefield utilizing gameplay mechanics that blur the lines between reality and shooter - split second decisions will mean life or death for you and your team. Each weapon has unique ballistic calculations that take into account things like bullet drop and penetration power. Choose to drop magazines for faster reloads in dangerous situations, carefully open doors to keep quiet, or bash doors down with a shoulder charge, and much more.

Participate in large-scale battles in up to 16-versus-16 skirmishes with artillery barrages, helicopter gunships, repurposed commercial drones, air strikes, and drivable land transport vehicles. Battle across expansive maps with interiors to breach and high-value objectives to control with your team. Each map’s size and play areas are adjusted specifically for each game mode and can also be played in co-op against bots.

Like its predecessor, Insurgency: Sandstorm rewards teamwork and objective play over personal success. Players will also finally see long awaited features such as character customization, ranked matchmaking, and many more.

Continue here to read the full story.

Your Royal Gayness Comes Out

Steam now offers Your Royal Gayness, an indie adventure game which, as the title implies, includes sexual diversity among its themes. "The subject of Your Royal Gayness is very personal to me. I'm a queer woman and while I'm fortunate to have lived in a very accepting environment, discrimination and LGBT+ issues aren't new to me," says the lead developer Salli Loikkanen. "Even though Your Royal Gayness is 'just a game,' I hope that in some small way it can spread awareness about gay issues." This trailer offers a look, and the announcement includes more details:

Your Royal Gayness is a management game with a focus on the story. The player is Prince Amir in a fairytale kingdom which he manages while his parents are away. However, pesky princesses try to compete for his affections, which he couldn't care less for because he is a gay.

The gameplay consists of three main parts. The audience phase, where player is presented with problems of his kingdom and needs to make challenging decisions that affect the resources. The management phase where you give orders to your advisors and the event phase where anything can happen.

​During the game, player’s choices shape the path of Prince Amir as the ruler. The player can also craft the Prince’s own hilarious excuses for him to avoid marriage. Randomized events and diverse selection of in-game characters create a strong replay value

“Even though Your Royal Gayness has a serious background message, the game is far from being serious. Humorous writing from industry professionals make sure that everyone with ‘a queer sense of humour’ will love the game! For example, the Prince Reports screen looks suspiciously like a certain gay dating app”, concludes Salli.

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

The tow-dude came by with a very awesome truck early yesterday to collect MrsBlue's ailing car. The good news was he was able to start it with his pro jumper, so there may be something wrong with the one I tried. This suggested it was simply a dead battery, and the kind of extreme cold we've been getting lately is known to cause batteries to die prematurely. But since there was a concern that the alternator may be the culprit, we let him take it off for service anyway. Turned out it was just the battery. And in spite of the fact that the dead battery has "Honda 100 month warranty" emblazoned across the top, it was not actually covered, as we were informed this only applies to the original purchaser of the battery, which was the previous owner of the car. Anyway, it all could have been much worse, so it's good news that it's all worked out.

Towed Links: Thanks Ant.
Play: Tunnel Rush.
Good Impression.
Links: Your Train Is Delayed. Why? Thanks Cutter.
Real-Life Dragon Ball Hair Is Impractical. This is my shocked face.
Stories: 2 cops allegedly ate marijuana edibles, got high, and called for backup.
Man dies after being sucked into MRI machine, police say.
Science: Super Blue Blood Moon: Could the Lunar Eclipse Help the Search for Alien Life.
Alzheimer’s research questioned as another drug fails.
Mazda says future gasoline engine as clean as an EV, well to wheels.
Media: Rat taking a shower.
Marvel Studios' Ant-Man and the Wasp - Official Trailer.
DUNDEE (2018) - Official Cast Intro Trailer.
Follow-up: F-35 flight tests are being delayed by onboard software snafus.



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