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Monday, May 13, 2019

  

Take-Two Financials

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Reports Strong Results for Fiscal Year 2019. As is to be expected, this includes some really big numbers: "GAAP net revenue grew to $539.0 million, as compared to $450.3 million in last year’s fiscal fourth quarter. Recurrent consumer spending (virtual currency, add-on content and in-game purchases) increased and accounted for 54% of total GAAP net revenue. The largest contributors to GAAP net revenue in fiscal fourth quarter 2019 were NBA® 2K19, Grand Theft Auto® Online and Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online, Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI, Dragon City and Monster Legends, and WWE® SuperCard and WWE 2K19." Here some business and product highlights of interest:

Rockstar Games:

  • Continued to update the Red Dead Online Beta with new content, gameplay balancing and bug fixes, including the following:
    • Showdown Modes, including Plunder, Up in Smoke and Spoils of War. These player-versus-player modes are tight, dramatic competitive matches that allow for quick structured gameplay sessions;
    • Target Races, where players shoot targets while on horseback to pass checkpoints while racing and be first to finish;
    • Fishing Challenge, a new Competitive Challenge to the Free Roam Event rotation, in which players compete to catch the most weight in fish;
    • Gun Rush, where players gather weapons and ammunition while the play area shrinks in this mode for up to 32 players. Available to play in Free-for-All and Team variations, where the last one standing wins;
    • Numerous new Weapons, Clothing, Emotes and more.
  • Released new numerous new missions, vehicles, weapons and other content for Grand Theft Auto Online.

2K:

  • Announced that Borderlands® 3, the next installment in the critically acclaimed shooter-looter series from Gearbox Software, will launch worldwide on September 13, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. At launch, Borderlands 3 will be available for PC exclusively through the Epic Games store and will be available on additional PC digital storefronts in April 2020. The franchise, which combines the exhilarating action of a first-person shooter with the rich progression and loot systems of a role-playing game, has sold-in more than 43 million units worldwide, and Borderlands 2 still draws in more than one million unique monthly users more than six years after the game’s initial release in 2012.
  • Launched the Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC. This brand new definitive version of the original game boasts ultra HD remastered graphics, significant quality-of-life content updates, and includes all add-on content. In addition, Gearbox and 2K released an Ultra HD Texture Pack that increases the visual fidelity of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection on consoles, and provides a visual upgrade for Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and all the game add-ons for both titles on PC.
  • Launched Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm for Windows PC. Developed by Firaxis Games, Gathering Storm is the largest and most financially successful expansion pack ever created for a Civilization game, and the second pack for the critically-acclaimed and award-winning Sid Meier’s Civilization VI.
  • Released NBA 2K Mobile as a free download for Android devices. Previously launched on iOS phones and tablets, NBA 2K Mobile enables players to experience console quality graphics on the go while they collect their favorite NBA players, build dream teams, and step onto the court in lifelike 5v5 match-ups.
  • Announced that video game industry veteran Michael Condrey has joined 2K as President of the label’s new game development studio based in Silicon Valley. Condrey is best known for co-founding Sledgehammer Games and leading development for the renowned Call of Duty franchise, including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Condrey also served as Chief Operating Officer and Director at Visceral Games in establishing the popular Dead Space franchise. In his new role with 2K, Condrey will build and lead a new development team to work on an unannounced project.
  • Announced, together with The National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), a significant, multiyear global partnership extension. The agreement expands upon the success of NBA 2K, the top-rated and top-selling NBA video game simulation series for the past 17 years* that has sold-in over 90 million units worldwide.

Private Division:

  • Revealed that The Outer Worlds, a new intellectual property created by Obsidian Entertainment, and Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, the debut title from Panache Digital Games, which are both planned for launch in calendar 2019 on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, will be available for PC exclusively through Epic Games store for 12-months. The Outer Worlds can also be purchased at the Microsoft Windows store.

ESA: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old (Acting) Boss

Pretty shortly after reporting Entertainment Software Association Still Reeling After Head’s Exit, a follow-up article on Variety has the news that Stanley Pierre-Louis is the new President and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association. Lewis joined the ESA in 2015 as its general counsel, and was serving as acting President and CEO since last October. The story discusses the trade group's struggle to find a way forward, and their uncertainty that it makes sense to lobby on behalf of the industry while also operating the E3 trade show. "Stan’s strategic vision, years of entertainment industry experience, and policy expertise make him the ideal choice to lead our industry through this period of growth and opportunity," said Robert Altman, Chairman of the ESA Board, and Chairman and CEO of ZeniMax Media. "The Board and the industry look forward to his leadership of the ESA."

Dauntless Launches Next Week

The Dauntless Blog announces that the open beta for Dauntless will end on May 21st with the official release of co-op action/RPG. The announcement also includes details on a new season pass and a last chance for beta players to pick up some goodies:

Hunt Pass Season 5: Hidden Blades, the Mastery system, a complete campaign rework, and more land simultaneously with PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Epic Games store launches

Phoenix Labs today announced the release date for its flagship game Dauntless. Launching May 21 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC through the Epic Games store, Dauntless is bringing its cooperative, Behemoth-hunting action to a new worldwide audience. With over 3 million Slayers to date, there’s never been a better time to Live For The Hunt.

To celebrate the launch, a new Hunt Pass season will arrive in the Shattered Isles. Hunt Pass Season 5: Hidden Blades transforms the world of Dauntless into a Moon Blossom Festival and offers Slayers a huge variety of thematic gear to flaunt their inner ninja. As with previous Hunt Pass seasons, Slayers can work through 50 levels of content across both the basic and Elite tracks, earning cosmetic rewards as well as premium currency along the way.

Dauntless will also launch with numerous new improvements and content updates that recently arrived in the PC Open Beta. The Mastery system offers a new way for Slayers to hone their skills, earn experience, unlock achievements, and acquire new rewards. Each Behemoth and weapon has its own unique Mastery card for players to delve into.

Slayers can also look forward to a massive campaign rework. Everything from questing and crafting to meeting other Slayers and pursuing Behemoths has received massive updates. The rework also introduces a brand new “End of Hunt” screen, providing Slayers with a wealth of information, including progress made in various Mastery cards, quest rewards, Behemoth break parts earned, and more.

New players who’ve yet to experience Dauntless can kickstart their Slayer journey with the new Arcslayer Pack, which introduces a brand new mech-inspired armor set and includes premium currency and a number of consumables. This also marks the last chance for current PC Open Beta players to pick up the Ramsguard set before it is locked away in the vault.

A Plague Tale: Innocence Launch Trailer

A Plague Tale: Innocence is set to plague gamers tomorrow, and so the launch trailer for this action/adventure game is online and ready to go viral. Read on for more details, view the clip, and tell us you don't smell a rat:

Asobo Studio’s debut new IP, A Plague Tale: Innocence, launches tomorrow for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on May 14. Watch the Launch Trailer now and embark on a dark adventure through a war-torn, medieval France, relentlessly pursued by the Inquisition and never-ending hordes of ravenous rats.

A Plague Tale: Innocence tells a grim and emotional story, with gameplay blending action and adventure. Follow Amicia and her little brother Hugo, as they attempt to survive a harsh, brutal world plagued by war and the Black Death. On the run from the Inquisition and surrounded by unnatural swarms of rats, the siblings’ rocky journey will not leave them unscathed.

Continue here to read the full story.

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered Launch Trailer

The launch trailer for Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is now online, as this sharpshooting remake has its sights set on a release tomorrow. This comes along with the following look at the video and the game itself:

Showcasing gripping gameplay, revamped visuals and new features, the trailer highlights the improvements fans old and new can look forward to when Sniper Elite V2 Remastered launches tomorrow on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered takes players to Berlin, 1945, and the heart of World War 2. As veteran sharpshooter Karl Fairburne you must use skill, patience and cunning to prevent the unthinkable. Your mission is to go behind enemy lines and prevent the cataclysmic Nazi V2 rocket technology from falling into the hands of the Red Army. Deadly aim and a stealthy approach are vital as you find yourself trapped between two armies in a race against time.

Continue here to read the full story.

Oddworld: Soulstorm Gameplay Teaser

A new teaser trailer from Oddworld: Soulstorm offers a first look at gameplay from the upcoming follow-up to Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty. Here's more on this second installment in what's planned as a pentalogy:

Oddworld Inhabitants Inc. proudly unveil the first look at gameplay from Oddworld: Soulstorm, which is the second game in a planned Oddworld pentalogy. Oddworld Soulstorm is the first true follow-up to the critically acclaimed, best-selling Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, which was a ground-up remake of Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee.

Oddworld: Soulstorm picks up from where New ‘n’ Tasty ended. Abe has defeated Mollusk the Glukkon, his former boss and RuptureFarms’ meanest inhabitant, overthrown RuptureFarms and liberated workmates.

Now, Abe - along with 300 newly emancipated Mudokons – find themselves without food, water or a place to call home. Stranded alone in the desert, they find solace in a strange new brew - a delicious drink that has insidious ramifications for their newfound freedom.

Oddworld: Soulstorm will continue to chew up the themes of environmentalism, capitalism, consumerism and addiction that critics and fans found so engaging in the "AAA Indie" release of Oddworld’s last pensive platformer, New ’n’ Tasty.

Oddworld: Soulstorm will launch on PC & consoles in 2020.

Continue here to read the full story.

Wanking Simulator Announced

Every time we think we've seen it all, something like this comes along to humble us. There's now a listing on Steam for a game called Wanking Simulator, an action/adventure expected in Q3 of this year. As for the subject matter, the title sums it up, so this immature game carries the following mature content warning: "The only sexual content in the game is our main character masturbating. No sexual organs are visible." Here's the reveal trailer along with word on how this will allow players to take matters into their own hands:

You play as Winston Gay, a man whose house was taken away by the corrupt government after being called out for wanking too loud by his neighbours. Now, Winston is on a mission to make everyone in the town pay a price for taking away his home.

Wanking Simulator is a mix of destruction & wanking - you are thrown into a town called Gay Bay consisting of a church (God bless), a number of houses and a few other places, such as high school, a garage etc.
The main goal is to destroy as many things as possible before getting caught by the police and collect points by wanking to the chaos we caused.
You are free to go wherever you want, and destroy anything you want.
Our protagonist is given unlockable superpowers, such as making gravity weaker, spawning a rifle in your panties, teleport etc.

Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Rage 2 Reviews

The Executioner in July

Lesser Evil Games announces a July 17th launch date for the first chapter of The Executioner, the dark RPG they crowdfunded on Kickstarter a couple of years ago. This game places the player in the unenviable role of a torturer/executioner in a medieval kingdom, who must grapple with the toll such a job takes on one's sanity and conscience. The news is accompanied by this teaser trailer, which does not show much in the way of gameplay since this game is primarily text-based. There is a chance to see this in not-so-much action through a web-based demo offered as part of the Kickstarter. Here's more on this chance to get in touch with your inner Ser Ilyn Payne:

Fusing a unique blend of medieval storytelling, sanity management, and the brutal moral conundrums only an executioner could face -- this harrowing tale of a man who tortures people for a living will challenge you to face the monster that lives inside of all of us. The decisions are yours, and so are the consequences.

Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Patches

Morning Crowdfunding

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • Hori TAC Pro Type M2 Keypad and Mouse on IGN.
  • Noblechairs Hero gaming chair on PCGamesN.
  • Patriot Viper VPN100 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD on Nikk Tech.
  • Roccat Renga Boost open-backed gaming headset on Rock Paper Shotgun.
  • SilverStone UC03-PRO and UC04-PRO USB Station on APH Networks.
  • Zhiyun Crane 3 LAB Camera Gimbal on TechPowerUp.

etc.

Out of the Blue

Last night was the airing of penultimate episodes for two HBO series I follow closely, the second to last episode of season two of Barry and the set-up for the series finale of Game of Thrones. I won't spoil anything, but I have to express my surprise at myself that I think between the two I'm actually more caught up in what happens in Barry, as GoT seems like a fait accompli at this point. On the other hand, I suppose it's about how the story is being told, and not just about thinking I know what's going to happen. Otherwise I would not feel such anticipation about tonight's episode two of Chernobyl, right?

R.I.P.: Doris Day Dead at 97.

Anticipatory Links: Thanks Ant.
Links: Ian McElhinney (Barristan Selmy) saying that GRRM has already finished book 6 and 7. Thanks GameSpot.
Stories: Japan begins testing its 248 mph next-gen bullet train.
Aaron Rodgers was in ‘Game of Thrones,’ but no one is really sure where.
Science: There is more CO2 in the atmosphere today than any point since the evolution of humans.
Biodiversity Has Intrinsic Value: A Response To The U.N. Extinction Report. Thanks RedEye9.
Iowa has confirmed multiple cases of a disease that can be transmitted from dogs to humans.
Media: Game of Thrones castmembers laughing, smirking or gritting their teeth when asked if they like the final season.
Inside a scam call center.
School Bus Driver Saves A Kid With Her Lightning-Quick Reflexes.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Hint?

DSOGaming reports that Nan Ma's LinkedIn profile contained a reference to a PC edition of Red Dead Redemption 2 from his time as a physics programmer at Rockstar Games Toronto. They have an image showing "Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4, XB1, PC)" under the heading "titles worked on." They express their opinion that a PC version of the western shooter is a certainty, though it seems plausible the platform listings were just a copy/paste error from his mention of Grand Theft Auto V. On the other hand, it seems intriguing that this mention of RDR2 now seems to be removed altogether, rather than just edited.

Apex Legends Piggy-Backing Bans Planned

A post on Reddit has some information from Respawn's community manager on improvements for Apex Legends they're working on for their next patch (thanks Polygon). This outlines plans to address a few bugs, including hit registration issues, the fortified bug introduced in their last balance update, how some matches start in slow motion, audio bugs, and more. There is also a discussion of what they call "piggy-backing," where a player will be essentially carried to victory by their squad despite not actually participating in the battles. They say this behavior will now result in bans, and in extreme cases, these bans will be permanent:

Piggy-backing is when a player drafts off other players in the squad to carry them to a good position and level up faster but doesn't actually participate in the match [meaning they never collect a weapon, fire a shot, don’t deal any damage, etc]

We had been seeing some feedback from players around this and have been doing some internal investigations looking at game data to understand how many of the matches being played are affected by this behavior.

After looking at the data and internal discussions, we’ve decided that in the future we’ll start instituting temp bans for players that exhibit piggy-backing behavior and extreme cases could lead to a permanent ban. This change will not be immediate but wanted to give a heads up to players so you can adjust that behavior.

RAGE 2 Roadmap

Bethesda.net offers a 2019 roadmap for RAGE 2, outlining the support we can expect from the first-person shooter sequel following its release on Tuesday (thanks Engadget via RedEye9). This kicks off with community challenges that will run throughout this month that will reward players with free skins. This will be followed by a free update in June, another big free update in July, the first major expansion in August, and a second major expansion in November. Here's the plan:

JUNE
The first big game update arrives just a month after launch, with fresh community challenges, new Cheats, and a couple of pretty major events, including one that introduces a pilotable Mech as a new vehicle type and one that adds a massive new enemy to the wild world of RAGE 2. All that for free.

JULY
July marks another big free update for the game, with another new vehicle type and enemy joining the game. We’ll continue dropping new community challenges, skins and Cheats for everyone to enjoy.

AUGUST
In addition to a mountain of new events and other goodies, August brings RAGE 2’s first major expansion: Rise of the Ghosts. The Rise of the Ghosts expansion will add a brand-new storyline and region to explore, as well as new weapons, abilities and vehicles. See what the Ghosts have been up to since you last saw them in the first RAGE in Rise of the Ghosts.

SEPTEMBER – DECEMBER
There’s plenty more coming to round out 2019, including the second major expansion coming in November. We’ll have more details soon, so keep an eye on Twitter for the latest info.

World of Warcraft Going on Hiatus

A post from Blizzard announces the Recruit-A-Friend program for World of Warcraft is soon going "on hiatus" (thanks Ant. This will go into the shop for an overhaul in about a month, so in the meantime they urge players to turn up the heat on those who have resisted entering the MMORPG for 15 years now:

Recruit-A-Friend (RAF) is heading into the workshop! The longstanding RAF program is going on hiatus while we construct something new that makes it even more rewarding to introduce your friends to World of Warcraft. As of June 11, 2019, the current program will come to an end, and you’ll no longer be able to send new RAF invitations. Don’t worry though—the program will be back in its new form before you know it.

To take advantage of the current RAF program, your friend will need to link a qualifying WoW account to yours before June 11, and will have 90 days to purchase game time to trigger any rewards.* Check out the RAF web page for the details on the current program and the available rewards.

We look forward to sharing the details of the new RAF program with you in the future!

Steam Top 10

Nine games and one hardware preorder comprise this week's list of the bestselling titles on Steam:

  1. MORDHAU
  2. Grand Theft Auto V
  3. PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS
  4. Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition
  5. RAGE 2
  6. Valve Index VR Kit
  7. Risk of Rain 2
  8. Total War: THREE KINGDOMS
  9. Human: Fall Flat
  10. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sunday Crowdfunding

Sunday Consolidation

Sunday Mobilization

Sunday Tech Bits

Sunday Safety Dance

Sunday Legal Briefs

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Happy Mother's Day to all who are celebrating. Here's hoping your breakfasts in bed or other commemorations of the occasion went smoothly. And if you haven't considered this up until now, you better get moving... nothing says I love you better than flowers from the gas station.

R.I.P.: Peggy Lipton, star of 'Mod Squad' and 'Twin Peaks,' dead at 72.

Maternal Links: Thanks Ant.
Stories: How You (And Your Dog) Can Avoid Snake Bites And What To Do If You Get One. Thanks RedEye9.
Science: Experimental device generates electricity from the coldness of the universe. Thanks Slashdot via RedEye9.
Gene-modified viruses rescue patient from drug-resistant 'superbug'.
Media: Flying a fighter jet: "May as well be a Starfighter."
How This Cyclist Hit 184MPH and Set the World Record.
The Side Effects of Vaccines - How High is the Risk?
The Funnies: Mudder's Day - FoxTrot.



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