Ukie welcomes Kickstarter UK launch as great opportunity for the games industry

Games and interactive entertainment trade body, Ukie, says the launch of Kickstarter in the UK is a fantastic opportunity for games businesses to raise funds through crowdfunding. Ukie has been promoting crowdfunding as a viable way for games businesses to raise finance and published a report in February this year with Osbourne Clarke to recommend how different models, especially equity based ones, could be better encouraged in the UK.

Ukie CEO, Dr Jo Twist said. “Crowdfunding gives games businesses a fantastic way of raising money for their ideas. Crowdfunding is also a fantastic way to generate metrics to not only understand the appetite for their idea but to generate interest from other investors. The games industry has raised more money on the US version of Kickstarter than any other content category this year, prompting them to call 2012 Year of the Game, and its launch in the UK is only to be welcomed as it will make it even easier for games businesses based in this country to make use of the platform.

“Having Kickstarter in the UK will also raise the profile of crowdfunding more generally. There are already lots of other UK based crowdfunding platforms operating and government should recognise them as a sector and update financial regulation around equity based crowdfunding that will let the platform operators operate as efficiently as possible in the UK and make the regulation fighting-fit for a growing digital economy.”

Many Ukie members have used crowdfunding to raise money to produce their games, including Revolutions Software’s latest Broken Sword and Six To Start, with their iOS hit Zombies Run. Six To Start CEO, Adrian Hon said: “Games and crowdfunding are the perfect match. We used the US version of Kickstarter to generate the money that we needed to create Zombies Run in the first place, but we had to jump through various hoops to get our project on to an American funding platform. Having Kickstarter launch in the UK will allow British businesses much easier access to its donations based crowdfunding platform’.

British Tanks Take the Stage in World of Tanks Update 8.1

Wargaming today announced the release of Update 8.1, adding the highly anticipated British line of armored vehicles to the free-to-play MMO action game World of Tanks. The newly added national tech tree contains 22 finest models from the Royal Tank Corps across three main tank classes. World of Tanks Update 8.1 will be available on October 31 for the European players and on November 1 for the American community.

The infantry/cavalry concept of the British armored warfare has been modified to fit into World of Tanks’ three class system of light, medium, and heavy machines. The slow and clunky but powerfully gunned and thickly armoured British heavy tanks can rival the vast majority of top tier machines, while the fast yet firepower lacking medium and light tanks can prove to be invaluable for scouting in combat.

Besides the familiar Matilda, Valentine, and Churchill models that are present in the game as the Soviet Lend-lease premiums, the British line features a wide selection of tech modifications for the Black Prince, Vickers and Cruiser tanks. Further up the tech tree, the selection of armored vehicles includes a diverse range of agile cruiser tanks, such as the Covenanter, Crusader, Cromwell, and the Comet. The Medium branch is topped with two ferocious modifications of the Centurion tank, while the top tier heavies include the maneuverable Caernarvon, the powerful Conqueror, and the intimidating FV215.

Along with the massive addition of new vehicles, Update 8.1 also introduces an overhauled rendering system for Province, El Halluf, Dragon Ridge, and Abbey battling arenas, while the list of premium vehicles now includes the Soviet SU-122-44, the German Pz IV Schmalturm VI, and the Panther M10.

Nexus 7 ships 1 million a month

Asus, the maker of the popular Google Nexus 7, has revealed sales figures for the 7-inch tablet, claiming it is now shipping almost 1 million units a month – almost double the number shipped during its first month after launch.

Google has stayed quiet on the number of Nexus 7 tablets it has sold, but the high specifications and low price point means the slate is proving popular among consumers.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, David Chang, Asus’ chief financial officer said, “At the beginning, it was, for instance, 500K units a month, then maybe 600, 700K. This latest month, it was close to 1 million.”

Chang expects this monthly figure to continue to rise, as the new versions of the tablet announced earlier this week are likely to give the brand an additional boost.

The 32GB and 3G enabled Google Nexus 7 tablets were announced by the search giant on Monday, as it looks to tackle the onslaught at the budget end of the market with the likes of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and iPad mini battling for position.

While these figures may well be positive for both Asus and Google, they are still some way off Apple’s, with analysts suggesting it will shift a staggering 14 million iPads in the third quarter of 2012.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E.7 Keyboard Review

Everyone knows MadCatz as one of the leading brands when it comes to peripherals across several platforms, with branches focusing on console peripherals (Tritton & MLG), PC peripherals (Eclipse & Saitek) and gaming peripherals (Cyborg), MadCatz are now even dabbling in console games themselves. Today, we will be taking a look at their most recent keyboard to hit the market, which there hasn’t been since the Cyborg V7, which was some time ago. Recently, we’ve seen a spate of high end gaming keyboards of the mechanical variety, but today we have something that is fairly unusual, and you’ll see why shortly.

When it comes to gaming, the keyboard plays a massive role in having a competitive edge. They can make all the difference between life and death, or even that extra kill. Mechanical keyboards are becoming much more popular despite the fairly big price, due to their durability and switch movement, plus also the fact that most of them are “no frills”, meaning you get just what you need with no extra features that get in the way. As we’ve already mentioned, today we have something a bit different to our usual high end keyboards, and that is the MadCatz S.T.R.I.K.E.7 keyboard with rubber dome switches – yes rubber dome! The reason we included an exclamation mark on the end of that last statement is because if you saw the price, you’d understand why. The S.T.R.I.K.E.7 features a price tag of around £249 RRP, you can see why, as it makes it the most expensive keyboard we’ve had in to review and it doesn’t even have mechanical switches!

The S.T.R.I.K.E.7 has been produced by MadCatz to fit in line with the Cyborg range of R.A.T. gaming mice, although it won’t be sporting the Cyborg  name, as MadCatz have decided to move away from that name (already having too many) and are instead using the MadCatz name and logo – you’ll see later that the keyboard is already MadCatz branded, but the packing is not. So will this new top end keyboard out perform mechanical? Let’s take a look at exactly what we are getting (from MadCatz website):

Fully Modular for Unparalleled Customization
Borrowing modifiable technology from the world’s most adjustable mouse – – the award-winning R.A.T. – – the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Gaming Keyboard’s unique design provides unprecedented customization options to enhance overall comfort. Armed with total control of your keyboard’s fit, size, color, sound, and programming, you can finally play your favorite games exactly as intended: How you like to play them!

5 Separate Hardware Modules

  •  1. Control Module with V.E.N.O.M. TFT-LCD Touchscreen Easily navigate the keyboard’s many functions with the Control Module’s intuitive V.E.N.O.M. touchscreen. Program advanced macros, adjust backlighting, and take in-game control of external functions – – balance game and chat volumes, launch apps and websites, even initiate and control TeamSpeak – – all with a few simple finger taps.
  • 2. Main Keyboard Thanks to a much smaller footprint than run-of-the-mill keyboards, the main keyboard gives your mouse plenty of extra space for large, sweeping movements. Replacement, interchangeable WASD and cursor keys adapt to your gaming style by giving you the choice of standard, contoured or rubber-edged versions. Full RGB backlighting – – with 16 million color variants – – matches the keyboard to your gaming rig and the keys’ laser-etched, lacquered light guides are ideal for gaming in dim environments.
  • 3. Function Strip Adding four programmable macro buttons to the mix, the removable Function Strip brings the total to 24. Including the V.E.N.O.M. touchscreen, the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Gaming Keyboard incorporates 24 programmable macro buttons over three modes to create 72 user-definable commands.
  • 4. NumPad Just like the Control Module, the NumPad is capable of loose or fix-mounted positioning. The custom connection scheme makes it all possible, and the included set of longer wires bolsters your arrangement options.
  • 5. 3-Part Active Palm Rest and Two Wrist Rests A height-adjustable, active palm-rest houses both a thumb wheel and an action button for even more controls at your fingertips. Both wrist rests utilize a rugged 5-pin connector to attach to the main keyboard module and NumPad, effectively enhancing your comfort during stints of extended gaming.

Uncomplicated Macro Programming
An intuitive graphical interface vastly simplifies the formerly tedious task of macro programming. Assign single or multiple keystrokes, complete with custom timings, to macro keys or interface icons and then easily fine-tune your settings. This ability is essential for fast-paced games which require clear but complex multi-key actions. Each of the keyboard’s three different modes can store your programmed macros; you need only switch to a different mode mid-game to triple your available commands. Once programmed, custom profiles can be published to share with your community and saved for later recall, allowing for a seamless transition to another gaming PC.

Integrated TeamSpeak Functionality with Visual Identifier
The team at Mad Catz collaborated with TeamSpeak’s development team to integrate their state-of-the-art chat technology into the S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 Gaming Keyboard. Once you have the TeamSpeak application running on the keyboard’s V.E.N.O.M. touchscreen, select specific game rooms to check who is online and who is actively talking. You can even control the chat volume from within the game you are playing, removing the need to pause and switch programs.

As you can see there are some really interesting features, from that touch screen to the fully modular design and even the specially designed rubber dome switches.

Intel releases new 335 Series with 20nm NAND

Intel has announced it is shipping its first SSD featuring 20nm NAND flash memory. This “industry leading” flash is the most energy efficient NAND on the market and this is the first time it is being used in a consumer/client targeted SSD range. The Intel 335 Series is based upon a SandForce SF-2281 controller. Initially there will just be one drive in the 335 series; a 2.5-inch, 9.5mm thick, 78g, 240GB model.

  • “Intel SSD 335 Series is the first Intel SSD to ship using industry-leading 20nm NAND flash memory from IMFT.
  • The 6 Gb/s SATA Intel SSD 335 comes in 240GB capacity and offers a unique blend of performance, quality and price.
  • With 4KB reads up to 42,000 IOPS and writes up to 52,000 IOPS, the Intel SSD 335 offers a speedy replacement to an HDD.”

Looking at the 240GB Intel 335 Series performance we have up to 500MB/s sequential read and 450MB/s sequential write speeds. “Measuring Random Input/Output (I/O) Operations per Second (IOPS) using 4KB IOPS, the Intel SSD 335 Series reads up to 42,000 IOPS and writes up to 52,000 IOPS,” details the press release from Intel.

The new 240GB Intel 335 Series SSD has a 3 year warranty and is available from today for around £170.

Source: Techverger

The next Call of Duty game is Modern Warfare 4

Modern Warfare 4 is unsurprisingly Infinity Ward’s next game, according to Bill Murray, the actor who voices series stalwart Captain Price. Murray leaked the confirmation to This is Xbox after unknowingly sitting next to one of its editors on a plane.

“On Monday I am off to meet Infinity Ward about the next game, Modern Warfare 4,” he said. “I’m doing work on the sequel to Modern Warfare 3, it carries straight on and I only ever appear in the Modern Warfare games…”

The next Call of Duty game, Black Ops 2, isn’t even due until 13th November, while a Wii U version will coincide with the system’s launch. Historically Infinity Ward switches off with Treyarch to produce a new entry in the series every November, so it would make sense for Infinity Ward to release Modern Warfare 4 in November of 2013.

Source: This Is Xbox

Steam Halloween sale is now on

Steam is ringing in the holiday season with a Halloween sale. As with most Steam specials, it’s pretty insane with several good titles over half off. Highlights include 75 per cent off The Darkness 2, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Alice: Madness Returns and Dead Space 2.

Here’s a list of what’s on offer:

  • Left 4 Dead 2 – £3.74 / $4.99 (75 per cent off).
  • The Darkness 2 – £9.99 /$12.49 (75 per cent off).
  • Alice: Madness Returns – £3.74 / $4.99 (75 per cent off).
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent – £3.24 / $4.99 (75 per cent off).
  • BioShock 2 – £3.49 / $4.99 (75 per cent off).
  • Limbo – £1.74 / $2.49 (75 per cent off).
  • Atom Zombie Smasher – £1.49 / $2.49 (75 per cent off).
  • Dead Space 2 – £3.74 / $4.99 (75 per cent off).
  • FEAR 3 – £3.24 / $4.99 (75 per cent off).
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened – £1.74 / $2.49 (75 per cent off).
  • Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper – £2.99 / $4.99 (75 per cent off).
  • They Bleed Pixels – £2.37 / $3.39 (66 per cent off).
  • Costume Quest – £5.74 / $7.49 (50 per cent off).
  • Dead Island – £9.99 / $9.99 (50 per cent off).
  • Alan Wake’s American Nightmare – £5.99 / $7.49 (50 per cent off).
  • Hell Yeah – £4.99 / $7.49 (50 per cent off).

Source: Steam

Android finally has as many apps as iOS

Google has announced that there are now 700,000 applications available to download from its Google Play store. Google Play, formerly known as Android Market, has been playing catch up to Apple’s dominant App Store for years, but according to the big G it’s finally caught up to its Cupertino-based rival.

Apple announced last year during the iPad mini and new iPad 4 launch event that its App Store packed over 700,000 applications, and now Google is saying the same.

The number of apps in the App Store has always been a key boasting point for Apple at its events, and while it will still claim its offering is cleaner, safer and better than Google’s all-for-one and one-for-all Play store, it’s got a real fight on its hands.

It seems that Google and Apple are going head to head in almost every way imaginable, with law suits, budget tablets, mobile operating systems and next-gen smartphones all thrown in as they battle for supremacy.

Surely the next milestone is who can get 1 million apps in their store first, with Google currently the favourite thanks to the sheer speed of growth – but don’t be surprised if Apple launches a fresh onslaught.

Source: Bloomberg

MechWarrior Online Heats Up: Open Beta Now Live

Infinite Game Publishing (IGP) and Piranha Games announced today that after a decade of fan anticipation for a new MechWarrior game, MechWarrior Online has entered Open Beta. Mech combat has finally returned to millions of both veteran and new MechWarrior players at www.mwomercs.com. The highly anticipated and hotly previewed MechWarrior Online puts players in command of the most powerful war machine to ever walk the battlefield, the mighty BattleMech. Already widely embraced by gamers in Closed Beta, its successful Founder’s Program achieved more than $5 million in sales since July.

“After a brief delay, we are very excited to open up the game and look forward to continuing to expand the Inner Sphere to both new players and our loyal fans. They have offered critical and immediate feedback, helping make MechWarrior Online the game it is today,” said Russ Bullock, president of Piranha Games.

Bullock continued, “We’re excited to enter this phase of development with our publishing partner, Infinite Games Publishing. Working together we have laid the groundwork for a full pipeline of content between now and our official launch early next year, and beyond.”

Set in the year 3049 during the early stages of a massive interstellar war, MechWarrior Online puts you in command of a wide variety of devastatingly powerful Mechs. Customize each of your Mechs to suit your preferred battlefield role; upgrade systems, replace weapons and tweak armor with near endless options.

Play MechWarrior Online now for FREE at www.mwomercs.com

DeRail’s latest game finally steps out of the Shadows on December 6th!

DeRail Game’s multiple award-winning title Shadow of the Game is now available for pre order exclusively on Gamersgate. The game hits the digital shelves on December 6th. The game will be released as a standalone game and will include a special bonus. It will not be in episode format; the whole game will be released at once. Shadow of the Game is a multiple award-winning roleplaying title with a strong focus on interactive storytelling. The game is like an interactive visual novel that explores the boundaries between online identities and real-life identities.

One of the strongest guilds in a fictive MMORPG is embarking on the last expansion’s final raid to become the highest ranking guild in game. The event is so tremendous that even the MMO’s lead developers at Gizzard are watching the raid on live-stream. Things start to slowly fall apart when the guild’s outcast “Cookie” makes his return sporting an illegal race and bringing power-grinded companions. Friendships are put to the test, internships are on the line, and the gamers are forced to take action in the “real world”.

Shadow of the Game is an experimental title with 12-18 hours of multi-branching story which is spiced up with dialogue options, story contextual puzzles, references to popular culture, and tons of mysteries. The story and its features are the gameplay in this game. It is a niche title which aims to not only entertain, but to provoke and to bend your mind with its hidden mysteries. There are always hints to the story whether you are clicking through a cut-scene, walking around chatting with people, or solving puzzles. Everything is connected, even though it might not seem to be at first.

Shadow of the Game is developed by DeRail games for online distribution. Several distribution sites are already confirmed, but the developer is still interested in new business agreements and opportunities. DeRail Games is publishing Shadow of the Game itself. The game includes the original soundtrack with a free-to-use license, as well as rich collection of art assets.

Pre order Shadow of the Game here: http://www.gamersgate.com/DD-SOTG/shadow-of-the-game

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB-G4aWVRj0&feature=plcp[/youtube]

ECS Announce Brand New A970M-A Deluxe

ECS today have announced their newest addition to the Black Series lineup of motherboard products with some bold claims of being the latest reliable and high-performance board from the Taiwanese based company and is said to offer some strong specifications and features within an ATX form factor motherboard.

The A970M-A Deluxe supports the latest AM3 and AM3+ CPU processors and includes full Windows 8 support as well as other strong features such as an all-new upgraded user friendly BIOS, Anti-Dust Technology, 8-channel HD audio and of course the AMD 970 chipset which opens a pathway of features in itself.

The new uEFI BIOS allows for easy overclocking, tweaking and setting the options that you need as well as squeezing maximum performance from your hardware. The area of the BIOS is something that ECS have been lacking somewhat, so this is a very welcome addition on to their products. Other features include two PCI-Express Gen 2 x16 slots with CrossFireX support, two PCI-Express x1 slots and two legacy PCI slots.

Support for 32GB of DDR3 2133MHz memory is also supported for the extreme overclockers and storage wise, we find five SATA III 6Gb/s connectors. We also find plenty of USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, eSATA 6Gb/s connectors and native internal USB headers too.

Also, did we mention; it’s gold!

You can find more information on this board here.

UK’s First 4G Mobile Service Launches By EE In 11 Cities

Today sees a milestone point with the UK’s fourth generation 4G mobile service arriving in 11 major cities and increasing speeds by huge leaps and bounds, giving the consumer exactly what they want, though controversy about pricing is still a bit up in the air, to say the least.

The major cities that will benefit from the rollout today include London, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, Sheffield, Southampton, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Leeds while other cities will see a rollout much later on this year and next. EE are saying that other key cities including Belfast and Newcastle will see these new 4G services by Christmas but for the majority of suburban areas, we will sadly have to wait until next year, but when we do, you should expect to see speeds of between 8 and 12Mbps which is currently around five times faster than the previous “fast mobile internet” service; 3G.

There is still a bit of down-talk though based around the pricing structure and the aim for 4G which EE (previously Orange/T-Mobile) are said to say that 4G will benefit businesses and that it will open a new pathway for streaming multimedia, though as many companies including the BBC have quoted:

An hour of streaming a programme using, for example, the BBC iPlayer mobile app, can use up to 225MB – almost half the entry level tariff’s data allowance limit.

The add-on costs for extra data begins at £3 for 50MB, and extends to £20 for 4GB.

The company’s top tariff for standard customers will cost £56 per month, and has a data allowance of 8GB.

What EE are going to do to respond to this is anyones guess, but while the other mobile networks won’t be able to offer 4G until some time next year, we can’t see EE needing to do anything really, as they are in a lucky situation where you will either pay for it, or not pay for it as you can’t jump ship as normal and switch providers if you are adamant on receiving 4G services.

Gigabyte Unveil Force M7 Thor Pro-Laser Gaming Mouse

Gigabyte are renowned the world over for producing motherboard and graphics solutions, as well as notebook based products, but for those unaware, they also delve into the peripherals market and we’ve actually taken a look at a few of their products ourselves over time and was quite impressed with them too on that matter.

Today sees them unveiling their latest creation; the Force M7 Thor Pro-Laser gaming mouse which is a completely new design aimed at gamers looking for a simple, straightforward mouse that offers fantastic performance, reliability and a professional feel including extreme comfort and durability.

The Force M7 Thor includes responsive buttons, reinforced USB cable, durable clicking lifespan and ergonomic grip to name just a few of the key features and should line up to be the perfect mouse for first person shooter games.

Other specs include a 6000dpi advanced gaming laser sensor with 3 stage adjustment, large feet pads for the best gameplay, 5 programmable buttons with their SIM software that allows you to customize the mouse to your needs and much more.

No word on pricing or availability yet, but we should see this hitting store shelves before Christmas and based on previous products from this area of Gigabyte, we should see it competitively priced.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Live Action Trailer – Surprise

We’re all aware of Guy Ritchie as a director of some classic movies in the industry today, but what’s more interesting is that he is the director of the new official Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 live action trailor showing some pretty cool stuff including futuristic weaponry and some famous faces to say the least including Iron Man AKA Robert Downey Jr.

Not a lot to say other than what we see in the video, so we think we’re let that do most of the talking as it really does look to be shaping up nicely. Did we mention, we even see a horse make an appearance, and then a whole host of zombies.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will be available across the world on the 13th November 2012 and if pre-ordered you’ll also receive some bonus goodies too.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wIZp_E2CxQ[/youtube]

ASRock FM2A85X Extreme6 (A85X) Motherboard Review

When we caught wind of AMD releasing the new FM2 range of products, we were quick to contact every partner that we work with to obtain their FM2 samples for us to look at and within this range of brands, we were extremely keen to see what ASRock had to offer as we consider them a bit of an unsung hero when it comes to the motherboard market.

The last board we had from ASRock was their Z77 Pro 4 which walked away with our Editor’s Choice Award as it impressed us in a variety of areas including the style, performance, overclockability and of course price, so when they offered us a chance to look at their A85X based board, we jumped at the chance, especially if it had the same design features as the Z77 Pro 4, as it was one amazing looking board.

Since the FM2 launch, we’ve been going through the range of boards we had from various brands and now sees us putting the FM2A85X Extreme 6 under some serious pressure of our benchmark suite as well as seeing how far we can push the board and APU combination in terms of overclocking.

Before we get underway, we’re always eager to see what motherboard manufacturers bundle in with their boards and what the packaging says about the product in terms of features and specifications. Once this is out of the way, we can take a closer look at the board to see what it has going for it and then put it under our rigourous testing procedure before overclocking the board to see what performance gains can be had from the Extreme 6.

32GB Google Nexus 7 with 3G finally official

Asus has confirmed that the 32GB Google Nexus 7 is real and will offer 3G as an option alongside the bigger storage. The tablet-only pricing is now set at £159/ $199 for the 16GB model, £199/ $249 for the 32GB model with Wi-Fi only, and £239/ $299 for the 3G version (32GB). Available around the middle of November, the Nexus 7 with 32GB storage and 3G connectivity will be available from Three in the UK, set to unveil its tariffs in the coming weeks.

If you don’t need that HSPA+ data connection though, the Nexus 7 with 32GB will is available today from a range of retailers.

The original Google Nexus 7 came with 16GB of storage but word recently began to trickle out that it was getting a 2x upgrade.

The 3G-enabled 7-inch slate should land around the same time as Android 4.2 hits existing Nexus 7 tablets, and also when the newly announcedGoogle Nexus 4 and Google Nexus 10 will be available to buy.

Source: PCAdvisor

First Angry Birds Star Wars footage shown

Rovio has released the first gameplay footage of Angry Birds Star Wars. Angry Birds Star Wars is set for release on November 8. It will be joined by “a whole host of toys, animations and other Angry Birds Star Wars goodness” in the run-up to Christmas. A teaser for the game was released earlier in the year, showing a hooded character with a lightsaber, but now we see the first bit of gameplay footage, showing the characters using a lightsaber midflight.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yq9idnT1OM[/youtube]

“The Angry Birds and Star Wars universes will collide in our best game to date,” the studio said alongside the official announcement of the iOS, Android and PC title.

Source: YouTube

Valve needs Steam Linux testers

Valve wants you to test its Steam for Linux client. The Half-Life, Portal and Left 4 Dead maker is after experienced Linux users. Is that you? To qualify you need to take a survey, which you can only do by logging in with your Steam account to link your response with your Steam ID and there are only 1,000 spots available.

Valve’s Linux team will target the Ubuntu 12.04 distribution. In July Valve said the team had made “good progress” getting Steam working with Linux this year, and all the “major features” are present and correct.

Valve picked co-op zombie survival FPS Left 4 Dead 2 to be the first Steam Linux game. “Excellent progress” has been made converting this in the last “few” months, and the game already runs natively on Ubuntu 12.04. “Our goal is to have L4D2 performing under Linux as well as it performs under Windows,” Valve wrote on its Linux blog earlier this year.

The Linux team – formed in 2011 – is prioritising getting a fully-functioning Steam running on Linux, optimising L4D2 to run at a “high” frame rate with OpenGL and “porting additional Valve titles”.

Source: Valve

Skyrim Premium Edition spotted online

Bethesda will release Skyrim Premium Edition in December, a new retail listing suggests as it has now popped up on Amazon Germany for release on 7th December for 60 euros. The Premium Edition includes a map of the world, a t-shirt with the emblem of the Empire (one of the game’s factions), Hell City: an Elder Scrolls novel and six concept art postcards.

Additionally, the PC version comes with a bonus disc that includes background material, trailers, walkthrough presentations, a 600 page ebook and five songs from the soundtrack.

The listing does not mention downloadable content. Gamers are already speculating that this is because of the high-profile issues Bethesda has endured getting DLC to work on the PlayStation 3 version of the gargantuan fantasy RPG.

Source: JustPushStart

Ozone Xenon Gaming Mouse Review

Ozone are a relatively small brand when it comes to gaming peripherals and are often unknown to some gamers. We have seen some great products from them in the past like their multi platform headset and great budget mechanical keyboard, so they certainly know what they are doing and how to fit into the already crowded peripherals market. Today we get a chance to look at their latest product, the Xenon gaming mouse, so this will be a good opportunity to compare Ozone’s offering to other gaming mice on the market.

Gaming mice are one of the essentials when it comes to playing games, especially competitively, as they can mean the difference between being the hunter or the hunted. Gaming mice are currently split into three sections that are based on the sensor they have; optical – which tend to be more precise, laser – which have the sensitivity and speed and the few mice inbetween that have both (such as the Razer Taipan and EpicGear Meduza). Normally the high end mice have laser sensors, which offer great performance in terms of speed and sensitivity but can sometimes lack the precision and accuracy that optical sensors have. The Xenon features the latter, a 3500DPI optical sensor that could produce some great results.

Before we delve into the review, lets just take a quick look at the specs of the mouse:

OPTICAL SENSOR

  • Avago professional sensor
  • Acceleration up to 20g
  • Dpi 1000/2000/3000/3500

MATERIAL

  • Anti-tangle braided cord
  • Gold Plated USB connection
  • 30% base made out of teflon

DESIGN

  • Three colors available
  • Rubber grips
  • Ambidextrous

So from looking at the specs we can see that the Xenon is lacking in features, however this means it could make a great budget mouse for those gamer who just want a pure and simple device.

Cougar Unveil RX Series of PSU For N00bs!

Cougar; a brand that has made its name within the chassis and PSU industry have recently been keeping an eye on the LOL World Championships and with that in mind, released their latest RX power supplies. Cougar are marketing these power supplies towards the gamers who can’t necessarily afford a high-end PSU but still want performance and stability when playing long periods of gaming and that’s where the RX series comes into play.

The RX series deliver a black and orange-red colour scheme which they believe to give off a masculine and playful theme, but once again we believe this to be marketing hype.

The series of power supplies include 14cm fans with low rotation speeds equalling lower noise while not affecting performance. On top of this, the fan will also auto-adjust to control the temperature vs noise battle by automatically lowering the RPM speed when not in full use.

The range of supplies feature 80 plus certification and comes with Active PFC as well as a dynamic dual 12v rail design which can dynamically distribute the load across the two rails to provide power to both GPU and CPU without compromise and has full support for SLI and CrossFire technology.

The RX range of units will be available in both 500W and 600W models which should be more than ample for most modern gamers, even with multi-gpu based systems and will provide a cost effective solution for them too.

You can find more information on the RX series of power supplies here and so far no word of availability or price is known.

AIDA64 v2.70 Is Released

As we use AIDA64 throughout a lot of our tests, we wanted to let our readers know that the newest version of the fantastic software has been released by FinalWire Ltd with version 2.70 hitting the internet shelves. For those who don’t know what AIDA64 is, it’s a benchmarking and diagnostic tool that allows home users to check performance and functionality of their hardware with ease and also allows for easy comparison due to the preset tests which is what eTeknix use throughout their benchmarking suites for motherboards, memory and other key products.

The latest AIDA64 update includes completely rewritten tests suitable for the latest hardware including AMD and Intel CPUs. Among this, we also find new support for the AMD FM2 socket and optimized tests for the new AMD FX Vishera CPUs and improvements all round for GeForce and Quadro graphics from Nvidia.

For a full list of new features and improvements, check below:

New features & improvements:

  • Revamped PhotoWorxx digital photo processing benchmark with AVX, SSE4.1 and XOP optimizations
  • Rewritten AES data encryption benchmark with AESNI, SSE4.1 and VIA PadLock optimizations
  • Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for AMD FX-Series “Vishera” CPU
  • Preliminary support for AMD “Kabini” APU
  • Socket FM2 motherboards support
  • Support for VirtualBox v4.2 and VMware Workstation v9
  • Samsung 840 and 840 Pro SSD support
  • GPU details for nVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti, Quadro K-Series, VGX K-Series

What’s new since AIDA64 v2.00:

  • Microsoft Windows 8 RTM and Windows Server 2012 RTM support
  • OpenCL GPGPU Stress Test
  • Enhanced UPS support
  • SensorPanel graphs and gauges
  • Revamped Desktop Gadget
  • Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for AMD A-Series “Trinity” APU
  • Support for Intel Atom “Cedarview” processors
  • Support for Intel Core “Ivy Bridge” APUs and Intel 7-Series chipsets
  • Preliminary support for Intel “Haswell” APU and Intel “Lynx Point” PCH
  • Preliminary support for Intel “Penwell” SoC
  • VIA VX11 platform, Nano X2 and QuadCore CPU support
  • Speech API information
  • ACPI 5.0, APP SDK 2.7, CUDA 5.0, OpenCL 1.2, OpenGL 4.3 support
  • Intel 330, Intel 520, Intel 710, OCX Vertex 4, Samsung 830 SSD support
  • GPU details for AMD Radeon HD 7000, nVIDIA GeForce 600 Series

Source: FinalWire

ECS announce HDC-I2/E-350D Mini-ITX Motherboard

ECS Elitegroup have recently announced their HDC-I2/E-350D Mini-ITX motherboard to the world supporting an AMD E-350D APU processor and AMD A45 FCH chipset all within a small form factor motherboard aimed at taking on some large and ever-rising markets including HTPC, offices and nettops.

The new board from ECS supports up to 8GB of DDR3 1066MHz memory, features a single legacy PCI slot as on board graphics is likely to be used from the integrated APU graphics and also supports 1080p HD video playback.

The AMD A45 FCH chipset isn’t exactly packed with features but does see the board offering two SATA II 3GB/s ports, 6-channel HD audio, Gigabit Ethernet LAN, DVI and HDMI display connectivity and only requires a single 24-pin ATX power connector to get things up and running.

Availability isn’t clear yet, but pricing should see this board coming in at a little bit under the $100 USD mark.

To entice users even more, ECS are also bundling in Cyberlink MediaEspresso 5.1 LE and MediaShow 5.1 LE coupons for those wanting it for HTPC purposes.

We feel that this could be a great little board offering a simple solution for a small outlay of money and are keen to see how it copes with 1080p content in this HD era.

Source: TechPowerUp

Xigmatek Asgard 381 Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Today we’re taking a look at the Xigmatek Asgard 381 Mid-Tower PC Chassis. This chassis is targeted at the budget market, of course there are cheaper cases out there, but when you dip below the £30 price mark there often little more than tin cans. So when picking a pc chassis on a tight budget, just how much value can you get for your money? Well with the Asgard 380 priced at a very reasonable £36.98 on overclockers.co.uk at time of writing, I wouldn’t expect this chassis to have all the bells and whistles of a premium product. That’s not to say £37 isn’t a lot of money though and while we don’t expect many features, we would like to see solid build quality within this price range.

Of course there is a lot of competition within this price range, likely more choice than within any other price bracket for computer chassis in fact. This is due to the fact that a large percentage of the PC market isn’t targeted at the enthusiast system builder, some people just want a straight forward solution that doesn’t cost the earth, has at least some style features and is both sturdy and reliable, but this is true of almost any purchase people make, regardless of the product.

Xigmatek have seven years in this market and while they may not be the best known brand in the UK, they do have a strong fan base and a solid product range. We’ve taken a look at their products before here at eTeknix too, from the gargantuan super-tower Elysium to the Midgard II, both of which I personally awarded our eTeknix “Bang For Buck Award”. So can Xigmatek make it a Trilogy of great value for money with the Asgard? Well lets take a look at the spec sheet, then we’ll take a closer look to find out just what this chassis is made of.

As you can see from the spec above, it’s fairly well equipped  With support for 3 optical drives, 8 3.5 inch drives and a single 2.5″ drive you’re not going to be left short on storage solutions. The same can be said for cooling with support for up to eight fans between 80mm and 140mm depending on mounting point. So lets move on and see what else the Asgard 381 has to offer.

Hotline Miami PC Review

So this last couple of day I have been playing around with Hotline Miami, many of you may not have a clue what this game is all about and quite frankly after a few days of playing it myself, I’m not sure how to even begin this telling you about it.

I threw the question to our eTeknix Facebook fans through the week which game you wanted to see me review this weekend and Hotline Miami was the popular choice, so here I am playing the frantic 2D action indie title from the developers at Dennaton Games. By developers I mean the two people that made it, Dennis Wedin and Jonatan Söderström.

Today I’ll be looking at the PC edition of the game which is available on Steam for a very modest £6.99, which is a bargain for most any game.

This game caught my attention simply because 1, it looks completely and utterly mental and 2, because it has already walked away with several top awards from Euro Gamer, Rock, Paper, Shotgun and it cleaned up a Rezzed, drawing plenty of press coverage and favourable mentions from the gaming press and public.

The first thing I want to show you about Hotline Miami is the trailer, which showcases the games graphics, music and gameplay perfectly. I won’t be going nuts with screenshots in this review as it purposely has a low resolution and retro vibe to it that just doesn’t shine through in screenshots and I want people to see it in action. Check out the trailer below then well move onto the story and gameplay aspects of the game.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/DqpZMsZBdNQ[/youtube]

Sharkoon announces REX8 Value and Economy chassis

Sharkoon has released a couple of new cases, the REX8 Value and REX8 Economy midi towers.

Both models measure 485 (L) x 185 (W) x 420 (H) mm and feature six USB ports (2 x USB 3.0 plus 4 x USB 2.0 on the Value, 6 x USB 2.0 on the Economy), four 5.25-inch and four 3.5/2.5-inch drive bays, a mesh front panel, seven PCI slots, and three pre-drilled holes on the back panel for watercooling tubing.

The REX8 Economy comes only in black and costs about €39, while the REX8 Value, with its two pre-installed 120 mm fans (both equipped with LEDs) and side window, is available in both black (~ €46) and white (~ €48).

Source: TechPowerUp

 

Hitman: Absolution World Exclusive Trailer revealed

A world exclusive Hitman Absolution trailer has just aired at the hmv Golden Joystick Awards, and you can watch it in full below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRTqY6h2bfo[/youtube]

Publisher Square Enix has confirmed a Hitman Absolution release date of November 20. The first Hitman Absolution review scores arrived earlier this week in the latest issues of OPM and OXM, with both publications awarding it a 9/10.

Source: Youtube