CDPR Releases New Witcher 3: Blood and Wine Screenshots

There’s no shortage of gamers who agree that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was the absolute best game that came out in 2015, and I definitely agree with them. The game’s depth, graphics, incredible music and unique atmosphere allowed it to stand out among its peers and crush its competition by earning hundreds of Game of the Year awards from different publications. The game has received a fresh and sizeable expansion pack named Hearts of Stone on October 13, 2015, and it is now ready to receive its second and last expansion titled Blood and Wine. From what we’ve seen so far, this expansion is the most colorful and the most impressive graphics-wise, and according to Senior Social Media and Community Coordinator, Marcin Momot, it will also include a very gripping story.

“I can already tell you Blood and Wine is a fascinating story, with every sort of twist and turn you’d expect from our writers. Toussaint, the new realm we’re creating for the expansion, is unlike anything you’ve seen in Wild Hunt – carefree and colorful, but your gut never stops telling you that there’s some real dark stuff happening underneath all that. We’ll be revealing more information in May, however, to sweeten the wait, here are some fresh screenshots from the expansion.”

Soon enough in May, we’re going to receive more information on Blood and Wine, but until then, we can just have a look at these wonderful new screenshots released by CDPR.

Expansions Back Then and DLCs Now

Steam’s holiday promotion was the perfect time to buy a present for my brother. He is a 45 year old father, passionate for first person shooters. Borderlands has been his favorite for years – not the Pre-Sequel which, although fun to play, somehow failed to deliver. I gave him a gift of Borderlands (the one with all the DLCs included) and Borderlands 2 with a handful (not all) of the expansion packs included. But there are still a series of DLCs that I can give him. This makes it easier for me to decide what to give him for his upcoming birthday, but pisses me off at the same time. Why do game developers expect me to constantly pump more and more cash into their franchise?

I see downloadable content packs the desktop equivalent of in-app purchases. No matter if you play online slots, crush candy or blow up a flower garden, you’ll always be presented with special offers on infinite lives for a time, gold coins or other in-game benefits. They cost you a tiny amount, and will make your gameplay easier. And offer you a money-bought advantage over players who don’t spend on such games due to a variety of reasons.

Back in the day, during the “golden era” of gaming (and by this I refer to the time when today’s most successful franchises were at their humble beginnings), an expansion to a game meant not just a handful of new character models and items, but a complete new story. I refer to StarCraft’s Brood War, with a complete set of three new single player campaigns. I refer to Quake’s mission packs, the Scourge of Armagon and Dissolutions of Eternity. I refer to Doom 3’s Resurrection of Evil. These were all complete packages of content and story that stood their ground as individual games.

Compare these to the Borderlands DLCs I recently purchased – Headhunter 1, 2, 3 and 4. I don’t say they cost a lot (I bought them for a “holiday special” price, with a 60% discount), but they cost too much for the extra content they delivered. I played through each of them in one day. One. Day. OK, my Mechromancer is now at level 40, which is pretty advanced, but still… one day? I expected much more from four (!) downloadable content packs.

OK, I know, my expectations are high. I can’t help it – I was raised in different times. Back in my time expansions added whole new worlds to the original game, not just a few extra weapons, skins (which are useless, since I never even see my character) and other useless things. Expansions were about added value, while today’s DLCs feel much more like just ways to ensure a continuous revenue stream for developers. Which might be indirectly good for me, as a gamer, but still annoys the hell out of me.

Trailer Released for Fallout 4 – Automatron

Many of you have no doubt played Fallout 4, or like me, you’ve likely completed it too. Personally, I was more than a little disappointed with how the game ended, and felt little desire to venture out into the wasteland after the credits rolled, but with new content on the way, I may be convinced to pick up a Fat Man once again.

The new DLC is set to hit Fallout 4 just next week, and to celebrate, Bethesda has release their latest trailer, showing us a nice slice of what we can expect in a few days time.

The Automatron DLC will feature a new character called the Mechanist, who has released violent robots into the Commonwealth. Guess what the good news is? You get to go destroy them all! Not only can you unleash hell in the old gun-crazy fashion, but you’ll also be able to build your own robots, customise them, paint them, give them voices and hopefully more. If that doesn’t sound cool, then nothing does! We can’t wait to see what future DLC ideas Bethesda has come up with.

“The mysterious Mechanist has unleashed a horde of evil robots into the Commonwealth, including the devious Robobrain. Hunt them down and harvest their parts to build and mod your own custom robot companions” – Bethesda

Automatron is launching on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC on March 22nd, with a price of $9.99.

Major Nelson: DLC Passes Can be “Really Dangerous” For Multiplayer

The internet has revolutionized the way video games are made with a greater emphasis on competitive multiplayer. As a huge advocate of single player games, this does worry me slightly, but there’s still a wide range of solo experiences to keep me entertained. On another note, the connected nature of modern games means developers can release downloadable content after launch and theoretically extend people’s engagement. However, DLC in multiplayer games isn’t necessarily a good thing especially if it’s hidden behind a pay-wall. This divides a game’s community and in some cases, gives an unfair advantage to those paying for extra content.

In the latest episode of Podcast Unlocked, Microsoft’s director of programming for Xbox Live discussed the impact of multiplayer DLC passes and said they can be “really dangerous when it comes to multiplayer, because what happens is it fractures the community,” He also went onto say:

You have the maps, I don’t have the maps, I didn’t buy that map but you bought that map,’ so when we all get together, ‘Oh, you couldn’t play the map.'”

Major Nelson commended 343 Studio’s approach in regards to the microtransactions and DLC model in Halo 5:

“So what 343 has done, which I think is rather brilliant, is that everybody gets the maps,”

“But they’re going to make things up with the [microtransaction] Req packs. That’s how they’re having some additional revenue, I assume, on the side. It’s such a great way to execute it and keep the fans together.”

Halo 5 has already amassed over $1.5 million in microtransactions which showcases the spending habits of a competitive community. It’s essential that any purchases post-release are optional and do not create a pay-to-win situation. eSports and competitive play is becoming more popular each day with increasing prize pools. This means, it’s essential to produce games with a fair and honest business model which rewards skill not money.

Bethesda Working on Three Games “Different than Anything We’ve Done Before”

Bethesda, the studio responsible for recent action RPG Fallout 4, has teased that it is working on three “longer term projects” that are “different than things [they’ve] done before.” Speaking at the DICE Summit in Las Vegas yesterday (18th February), Todd Howard, Executive Producer and Game Director at Bethesda Softworks, revealed that the company is busier than it’s ever been, working on both fallout 4 DLC and the three new mystery projects.

“We are busier now than we have ever been. We have all the DLC going for Fallout, we are overhauling the Survival Mode, and that’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had when playing the game. It really changes it,” Howard said (courtesy of VG24/7). “It’s harder, but it is more than that, it just makes it different.

“We actually have three kind of longer term projects we’re doing that are all – we’ll talk about them at a future date – but they’re different than anything we’ve done before, while also being a Bethesda-style game,” he added. “Big and crazy, but in many ways different than things we’ve done before. It’s an exciting time.”

Howard said that, despite his hints, Bethesda prefers to play its cards close to its chest – “holding back and not talking about” – a strategy he says “played out really well by not talking,” with both Fallout 4 and Skyrim, so expect the company to remain tight-lipped on its new projects for the foreseeable future.

Futuristic DLC is Coming to Just Cause 3

The Just Cause series is renowned for its destructible environments and huge open world which allows the player to become involved in an assortment of mission types. On another note. Avalanche Studios gained a reputation for being a PC focused developer and ensures their games scale properly across a wide range of hardware configurations. The latest entry in the series, is quite similar to Just Cause 2, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It also features a graphical boost and looks superb on maximum details. Now that the game has been out for a little while, the studio has almost finished work on a futuristic DLC pack entitled, Sky Fortress.

Tobias Andersson, Senior Producer at Avalanche Studios described the upcoming DLC and said:

“If Just Cause 3 is over-the-top action then the Air, Land and Sea Expansion pass aims to stand on its shoulders and reach even higher,”

“An incredible amount of time has been spent ensuring every new item is fully integrated into the main game and can be used during existing missions. Rico’s new Bavarium Wingsuit will fundamentally alter the core gameplay of Just Cause 3 and we can’t wait to see the crazy stunts that players perform with it.”

This is an interesting departure from the Just Cause 3 setting and reminds me of iconic science-fiction shows. Clearly, it’s designed to offer something different and should encourage players to return to Just Cause 3. Personally, I haven’t played Just Cause 3 and waiting for a significant discount. Despite this, it’s received positive reviews and should meet your expectations providing you’re not expecting a huge leap from its predecessor.

The latest content pack includes new missions, challenges, the “Bavarium Splitter” assault rifle and a personal defence drone, all of which can be carried over into the main game. Coming in March 2016, Air, Land and Sea Expansion Pass owners can pick up the Sky Fortress Expansion Pack 7 days early on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Details of Dark Souls 3 Season Pass Leaked

It seems like From Software can’t avoid making DLC. Following leaked details from the Australian Xbox Store, it has come to light that Dark Souls 3 will have a season pass available to purchase, and that the pass may be part of the game’s digital deluxe edition. The leak shared no information as to the cost of the season pass.

Microsoft have now pulled the listing from the Xbox store, however according to Videogamer, the pack will include access to “2 epic DLC packs at a discounted price,” which are set to introduce “new maps, bosses, enemies and additional weapon and armor sets”. Standard fare for Dark Souls DLC really. Sadly no dates were attached to the season pass’ details, so when this DLC will become available remains to be seen.

While no cost for the pass was listed on the store, it is to be included in the digital deluxe edition of Dark Souls 3, which is currently listed at $137.70 AUD, or £68. It remains to be seen what the availability of the season pass will be for other platforms, or how much such an edition may cost.

While many may frown at the practice of pre-selling DLC via season passes, From Software has a strong track record when it comes to DLC. Even after having no plans to release DLC for Dark Souls 2, they put out 3 packs and the remixed Scholar of the First Sin version of the game. Bandai Namco are yet to formally announce any DLC for Dark Souls 3 or its season pack, however with this leak, news could arrive soon.

Image credit to Dark Souls 3 subreddit

Bethesda Teases Fallout 4 “Overhaul” in New DLC

Bethesda has revealed that the up-coming DLC for Fallout 4 will introduce an “overhaul” of many of the game’s elements, primarily to its Survival Mode. The developer teased the changes on its official Twitter account.

“We know you’re ready to learn what’s coming for Fallout 4 DLC. We’re not far off, and we think you’ll be excited,” one tweet read, adding, “We’re also doing a complete overhaul of Fallout 4 Survival mode. Food, sleep, diseases, danger and more. Stay tuned.”

In the meantime, Digital Foundry has been testing out the latest update for Fallout 4, which brought many improvements. Sadly, improved frame rate for console versions is not one of them. The 1.3 Update, though, does improve the game’s draw distance – with no noticeable effect on performance – and improved textures on certain assets.

“Patch 1.03 looks like a good upgrade overall then,” the Digital Foundry post on Eurogamer reads, “and our only real grievance with is the failure to address the harsh hiccups to play on Xbox One when switching weapons (or traveling around heavily built up areas). Of all the issue’s we’re keen to see fixed, this still ranks highly on the list – though for now it can be alleviated by running the Xbox One version from an SSHD or SSD.”

Homefront: The Revolution Will Have Microtransactions

Homefront: The Revolution is an upcoming first-person-shooter and follows the story of Ethan Brady as he stages a resistance movement against a vicious Korean army in Philadelphia. The original Homefront contained a compelling, dark story, but at times it was difficult to take seriously. Furthermore, the single player aspect involved a very linear approach only lasted around 4 hours. Rather impressively, the sequel will feature a massive 30+ hour campaign and include a resistance mode at no additional cost. The majority of first-person-shooters in the modern era focus on the multiplayer component and rarely provide a enthralling experience for single-player gamers. However, Homefront: The Revolution looks set to change things, and offer a huge amount of content.

On a positive note, the developer has confirmed there will not be a season pass. All downloadable content will rather surprisingly, remain free and the game should be supported with additional content for at least one year after release. However, designer Fasahat Salim told GameSpot that the multiplayer aspect will include microtransactions on launch:

“Everything that’s available in the game is available for free, and even after release we’re going to continue to be delivering missions, drip-feeding them into the community for at least a year,”

“There’s always going to be new content delivered for free, players are going to have lots of stuff to dig their teeth into.

“It’s absolutely not a pay-to-win system because everything we’re providing in these resistance crates is available for free in the game through normal play. All we’re offering is, for those players that don’t necessarily have the time to invest in the game, to unlock those cool things. It’s basically just a time saver for them – a shortcut to unlocking these things.

“They pay a little bit of money but they’re not getting anything that’s exclusive to them.”

Honestly, I cannot understand the logic of purchasing a game and paying money reduce the time investment. Granted, if there’s a lot of grinding involved, then it might make sense, but that’s more of a problem with the game’s business model. Hopefully, this doesn’t impact on the multiplayer’s balance and is implemented in a fair way. I just wish the modern gaming industry didn’t push microtransactions so much in full priced releases. I do commend the studio for their free DLC programme, but I’m really not keen on the arrival of microtransactions.

Street Fighter V to Add Story Mode as a Free Update

 

With the release of Street Fighter V rapidly approaching, many fans of the fighting genre are already eagerly awaiting the game’s release, having already had the chance to try out beta builds of the game. It was doubtless that the game would include the standard array of arcade and versus modes the series is known for, but now Capcom has announced that this latest entry in the franchise will also include a story mode that will be added to the game as free DLC in summer.

All of the Street Fighter games so far have included some kind of plot, usually told through the arcade modes. In this mode a chosen character would typically fight a series of random opponents, coming to a climax when they would fight a number of the series ‘boss characters’, typically including the antagonist, M Bison. The older entries in the franchise would tell their stories through character bios and simple epilogues upon beating the arcade mode, but the most recent game Street Fighter IV included fully animated prologue and ending cutscenes for each character’s story. Series main character Ryu’s story was often the one considered to be the series canon, with a number of the other stories not contradicting his also being part of the universe.

Only time will tell whether the story mode for Street Fighter V will be unique for each character or whether there will be one story, requiring the player to take to the ring as a number of the series’ iconic characters. The best part is that it is free, not a feature to be included with updated ‘Super’ versions of the game sold again at almost full price.

WRC 5 eSports Competition Hidden Behind DLC Paywall

Italian developer, Milestone produced a number of officially licensed world rally games which left racing aficionados disappointed due to the sub-par graphics, synthetic audio design and lacklustre career mode. Eventually, the company lost the WRC license and decided to work with rallying legend, Sébastien Loeb. The latest WRC game was created by Kylotonn, formerly known as 4X Studios. Unfortunately, this release has received a fairly mixed reception with the general consensus describing the game as competent but no match for Codemasters’ DIRT Rally. In a press release, the company outlined their plans to create a highly competitive eSports scene. However, as astounding as this might seem, they are going to charge players to compete in any eSports event. The press release reads:

“Players just need to download one of the eSports Pack (the first DLC that is currently available is priced at $7.99/£6.49) to get access to the dedicated stages of each rally. From this moment, practise is unlimited but during the rally weekends, they will have only one opportunity each day to record their best time (from Thursday to Sunday noon). On Sunday afternoon, the ESL crew will invite the best drivers for a Sunday tournament which will be broadcast on Twitch. At the end of this Sunday Tournament, the best 3 drivers on each platform will gain their access to the semi-final and to the grand Finale. See the calendar below for more details.”

To access an eSport event, you have to pay $7.99/£6.49 for one of the eSport packs in addition to the base game. This is unbelievable and bound to destroy any hopes of creating a large online community. It’s also quite insulting and I cannot believe they have attempted to charge for competitive play. Clearly, many publishers are looking for new avenues to make money, but it’s occurring at the expense of player engagement.

Mortal Kombat XL And New Netcode Are Not Coming to The PC

Warner Brothers recently announced Mortal Kombat XL which includes the base content and the entire line-up of downloadable content. This originally seemed like a fairly enticing proposition providing the price point remained reasonable. However, it’s now been confirmed by the developer, NetherRealm Studios that the definitive version will not be coming to PC. One user asked if the game was scheduled to be a console exclusive and the studio replied:

This is a very strange decision because there’s a loyal, and passionate fighting community on the PC. Furthermore, why release the original game on PC, and snub PC gamers when the ultimate version is released? Perhaps, Warner Brothers is taking a more evasive approach due to the terrible Batman port, and technical problems Mortal Kombat faced on launch. Even now, it’s far from being functional, and raises questions about their ability to fund competent PC versions.

Not only that, according to the official FAQ, the greatly improved netcode which is vital to play the game online will not be coming to the PC. More specifically, the FAQ states:

“We are looking for existing MKX console players who have logged at least ONE hour of Online Play. We will be reviewing all candidates who sign up to determine if they meet the requirements.”

Honestly, it’s impossible to defend a publisher acting in this manner and I cannot believe how they are treating the PC market. It doesn’t make business sense either as PC gaming continues to grow and become more financially successful each year. The notion that fighting games cannot be successful on PC is another outdated concept, and you only have to look at the competitive scene in Street Fighter IV to gauge the genre’s popularity.

While EA, and Ubisoft are the main targets for dissatisfied PC gamers, I can see Warner Brothers being added onto that list very soon.

Warner Brothers Announces Mortal Kombat XL

Mortal Kombat is one of the most adrenaline-fuelled violent fighting series ever devised and includes a huge array of spectacular finishing moves. The latest entry, Mortal Kombat XL received some criticism for its poor PC port and microtransactions. Furthermore, publishers tend to release new characters, and other essential content via post launch DLC. As a result, it’s often a sensible approach to wait for a decent sale or until a game of the year edition emerges. Warner Brothers has just announced Mortal Kombat XL which includes all the content from the main game, DLC and upcoming add-ons in Kombat pack 2:

  • Brand new playable characters the Xenomorph from Alien, Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre horror film series, Triborg and Bo’Rai Cho
  • Never released Apocalypse Skin Pack
  • Previously released content including playable Goro, Brazil Skin Pack, Kold War Skin Pack and Kold War Scorpion Skin

Also included with Mortal Kombat XL are previously released downloadable content from the original Kombat Pack:

  • Playable characters Predator, Jason Voorhees, Tremor and Tanya, with each accompanied by three themed skins

  • Samurai Skin Pack

Sadly, no information has been released regarding the price, but I’m expecting the final game to cost $60. This isn’t terrible value when you consider the impressive quantity of additional characters, and intense fighting moves. There’s always a huge debate querying if Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat provides the better fighting experience. Personally, I’ve always preferred the gritty Mortal Kombat aesthetic and brutal close-ups when finishing off an opponent. Admittedly, I haven’t played Mortal Kombat X despite seeing it discounted to around £7 on numerous occasions.

As game of the year editions become a standardized notion, consumers might simply wait for the complete version instead of instantly pre-ordering. This could hurt the studio’s sales figures, and they have to be very careful when offering DLC to try and retain a loyal community.

GTA V’s Michael Unaware of Any Single Player DLC Plans

Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most successful games of all time and has a huge following across various platforms including PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Rockstar’s ability to create a vibrant, entertaining world and larger than life characters is a magical formula with endless replayability. GTA IV’s overly serious tone was fairly polarizing and many fans of the open world genre struggle to replay the game for long periods. In contrast to this, GTA V’s dark humour, and dynamic between three very different characters is fantastic and creates such a wonderful experience.

Now that the game has been out for some time, players are yearning for a new story via downloadable content. However, according to Ned Luke, who voices Michael, this might not be happening for some time, and isn’t really on Rockstar’s agenda:

“EVERYBODY wants single player DLC…I know NOTHING about that. Don’t know when it’s gonna happen or even IF it’s gonna happen. But I do know the boyz are gonna try to get out to some conventions this year so we can finally meet so many of our fans that we have been unable to meet in the past.”

Either that, or he’s contractually obliged to not disclose any information about future DLC. This makes sense given the industry’s use of embargoes to protect against unwanted leaks. As a single player gamer, I’d love to see Rockstar focus on a new story-driven campaign as the online aspect of GTA V doesn’t really interest me. On the other hand, the multiplayer is extremely popular and might be a more profitable venture as the costs of voice recording and new cut-scenes is very expensive. Whatever the case, I’m sure Rockstar has something planned to expand the game’s longevity.

Are you a fan of GTA Online, or would you prefer to see some story DLC?

Data Miners Find Evidence of Forthcoming GTA V Story DLC

A group of reputable data miner have made the exciting yet surprising discovery that a single-player story DLC for Grand Theft Auto V is imminent, reports GTA5Cheats. LondonTown2004, an experienced data miner with a strong reputation in scripting circles, dug out some new files which look set to act as a framework for a new DLC management system, specifically for the game’s single player mode.

The data mined files are, as of yet, not installed with the game, but instead are accessible via Rockstar’s QAB server, making their retrieval by LondonTown2004 just a tiny bit illegal, but who cares about the law when we get to find out there’s more GTA V en route?

LondonTown2004 was able to use the files to manually install the DLC management system, at which point he was locked out, with a screen revealing that the DLC must be purchased, suggesting the new story segment will be paid DLC. After some effort, he was able to breach the lock, at which point he found that a new DLC label had been added to the pause screen. This label opens the DLC management system, through which any purchased or activated DLC can be implemented, or possibly even turned off.

Sadly, the data mining did not uncover when the first single player story DLC will be made available by Rockstar, nor what the content of it might be. Fingers crossed that it’s soon.

New Characters Revealed For Super Smash Bros

The Super Smash Bros series is a fighting game made by Nintendo with a mix of their own characters and since the Wii version, characters from other game series. It would seem that Nintendo are keen to keep the sales going, and at Nintendo Direct, their own press event, they were keen to reveal the newest roster of characters for their game.

The initial roster was boosted by the likes of Roy, a character who has previously appeared within the series, Mewtwo and even Ryu from the street fighter series. The latest characters to be introduced to the series include Cloud Strife, the protagonist from the Final Fantasy series. Famous for his giant broad sword and lion emblem, Cloud won’t be joining the series alone.

Cloud will be joined by both Corrin, an armour clad warrior with a flaming serrated blade and a selection of dragon inspired moves and powers. Check out the video below if you want to see Corrin take on the “champions of smash”.

As if this wasn’t enough, Bayonetta is also joining the fight. With pistols strapped to her legs and the ability to summon demon’s limbs to smash her opponents off the screen,check out the video below to see just why you should avoid her in a fight.

Dying Light Season Pass And Expansion Get Price Increase

Dying Light sees players running through a zombie filled world using both their skills, weapons and parkour movement to fight and outrun their enemies. That is until night time when the creatures suddenly empower and hunt the player, quickly turning the tide on their attackers. The developers for the game at Techland have recently announced that their latest expansion may have been a little more than they expected, as a result, they will be raising the price to match the expanded size and features of the expansion this December.

The reason for the price increase, from £9.99 to £15.99, was given as follows:

“Over the past weeks Dying Light: The Following has almost reached its final stage: main quests, side quests, new skills, and driving challenges are ready. Looking at it, it’s clear how big the expansion pack has grown – it would be a stand-alone title, but since it would mean a launch delay, we decided against it”

With the expansion being part of the season pass, that will also receive a price increase from £15.99 to £23.99. The price changes won’t come into effect until December 8th so you still have a chance to grab the game at a discounted price.

Dying Light is currently on sale till December 1st on Steam for 66% off (£39.99 to £13.59).

Street Fighter V to Include “More Player-Friendly” Microtransactions

Capcom’s abysmal reputation among the fighting community stems from an investigation by Destructoid into on-disc DLC. Unbelievably, Capcom tried to sell Ogre-Gill, Dudley, Elena, Cody, Guy and other DLC characters in Street Fighter X Tekken while the content was secretly locked onto PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 retail copies. Even more astounding, Capcom defended the move and proclaimed:

“The character information and files were intentionally included on retail versions of the PS3 and Xbox 360 game to save hard drive space and to ensure for a smooth transition when the DLC is available, allowing players who choose not to purchase the content the ability to play against players that did.”

Despite this, Capcom hve produced a number of excellent fighting games in the past decade and Street Fighter IV is played worldwide in professional tournaments. As a result, fans of the genre cannot wait to try out Street Fighter V but there are some concerns regarding the business model.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Capcom’s senior product manager Matt Dahlgren directly addressed these reservations and said:

“I think, definitely – and it comes down to our philosophy. We’re trying to reward players who stay engaged with the game, and we have respect for our competitive players and we’re making sure that everything that can impact the outcome of a match needs to be earnable with in-game fight money. Microtransactions can be perceived quite negatively, but this time around it’s much more player friendly – players have more choice about what they want, previously it was bundled in one pack and now you can pick and choose what you want to work towards and get that content for free.”

Sadly, Street Fighter V will receive microtransactions and I honestly believe they could alter the multiplayer’s balance. While Capcom reassures us this won’t be the case, I’m quite skeptical. Furthermore, any full-price release which implements microtransactions only makes me wait for a hefty discount.

Are you looking forward to Street Fighter V?

Off-Road Action Coming to Rocket League in New Chaos Run DLC

Great news for all you Rocket League fans out there, as developer Psyonix reveal the latest action-packed DLC to be released for their fast-paced multiplayer sports game.

“Thematically inspired by films and literature set in grim, post-apocalyptic futures, Chaos Run brings those happy-go-lucky scenarios to Rocket League‘s universe with two brand new Battle-Cars (Ripper and Grog), 12 new Decals (six for each new vehicle), and several new Paint Types, Wheels, Rocket Trails, Toppers, and Antennas.”

As you can see in the DLC trailer below, the new content certainly takes inspiration from futuristic wasteland movies such as Mad Max. The cars are covered in brutal armour, the terrain is rough and worn and the action is still as crazy as ever.

“Welcome back to the Wasteland! Our new “Chaos Run” DLC Pack brings the post-apocalypse to Rocket League with two all-new vehicles, six unique Decals for each new Battle-Car (12 total), two new Paint Types, two new Wheels, two new Rocket Trails, three new Toppers, and three new Antennas!”

The New Rocket League Chaos Run DLC Includes

  • 2 New Battle-Cars, Ripper and Grog
  • 12 New Decals (six for each new Battle-Car)
  • 2 New Paint Types (Camo and Sun-Damaged)
  • 2 New Wheels (Ripper and Grog)
  • 2 New Rocket Trails (Sandstorm, Nuts and Bolts)
  • 3 New Toppers (Boombox, Cow Skull, Mohawk)
  • 3 New Antennas (Bomb Pole, Radioactive, Retro Ball – Wasteland)
  • 5 New Trophies (PS4) and Achievements (Steam)

Chaos Run will be available this December on both the PlayStation Network and Steam PC for $3.99 USD or its regional equivalent. To celebrate the launch, Psyonix will also be releasing a new free arena dubbed “Wasteland” which you can see in the trailer above.

EA Doesn’t Want to “Nickel And Dime” Their Customers Via Microtransactions

EA has an atrocious reputation among the gaming community and often ridiculed for their obsession with DLC, microtransactions and pre-order exclusives. This viewpoint isn’t unwarranted when you take into account EA’s anti-consumer decision-making and treating the customer like a cash-cow. While other publishers implement similar strategies, EA is usually the main target of people’s hostility. Some critics have argued, EA’s blatant use of premium extra content will hurt their sales in the long-term.

During the UBS Global Technology Conference, EA’s Chief Financial Operator, Blake Jorgensen said:

“I do think there’s a bit of consumer fatigue around feeling like they’re getting nickle and dimed all the time. And a lot of mobile games don’t allow you to have fun unless you’ve paid for it,”

“So we’re looking at new models of ways to try to alleviate some of that fatigue that’s going on. Some of those might come in the form of subscription-style, but some of them might simply come in different ways to play games over time so you don’t feel like you’re always getting nickel and dimed.”

“It could a subscription, a subscription that has extra content as part of it, or a sole subscription, or it could be simply an upfront payment to a game that has extra content coming over time,”  

“What we want to do is give the consumer a great value for their money and keep them deeply engaged in something they love to do.”

“The fundamental way that we as an organization think about [microtransactions and subscriptions] is all around engagement,”

“How do we engage the consumer as long as possible? In the old days, people played Madden for a few months and then stopped playing. When the Super Bowl finished, they were completely gone. Today, with Ultimate Team, they engage for 12 months, all the way up until the time you start playing a new season.”

Jorgensen’s comments come across as a PR exercise trying to alleviate concerns about Star Wars Battlefront’s DLC model. Furthermore, he’s certainly correct about gamer fatigue and users becoming sick of paid content just after a game’s launch window. Despite this, EA is part of the problem and consistently releases digital deluxe editions at absurd prices. Additionally, they have to take responsibility for implementing microtransactions in $60 titles. I realistically cannot see EA’s reputation changing unless they end anti-consumer measures. This isn’t going to happen anytime soon, due to the profit margins from microtransactions.

Do you purchase season passes?

Halo 5 Has Already Made $500,000 in Micro-Transactions

Microtransactions have slowly become a common occurrence in full-price releases and no longer exclusive to free-to-play mobile games. This is a depressing notion and it seems like publishers are desperate to eke out every last penny from the consumer even if it causes negative publicity. Despite the public outrage, it seems many users are purchasing micro-transactions in large numbers. Unbelievably, Halo 5 has already grossed $500,000 in micro-transactions alone. This happened in a one week period and makes for fairly shocking reading.

Clearly, publishers continue to implement micro-transactions because they are financially successful. In Halo 5’s case, you can spend real money to acquire REQ packs for various multiplayer modes. The pricing ranges between $2-$25 although they can be unlocked through normal gameplay. On another note, a proportion of micro-transactions helps to fund the Halo World Championship prize pool. This might explain why the sales of Halo’s micro-transactions are so high. However, it’s important to remember only a small amount is put towards the prize fund.

It’s almost become acceptable for micro-transactions to be in full price games providing they are optional or cosmetic. Personally, I just find it quite distasteful and usually wait for a price drop if they are incorporated on a mass scale.

Have you ever purchased a micro-transaction?

Orsinium DLC now Available for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited

Have you been enjoying everything that Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) has to offer? I know I have, although I must admit that the game world is so big, that I’ve yet to see quite a lot of it. If you’re eager for more adventures, however, then you’ll be happy to hear that Orsinium, the second DLC game pack for the award-winning multiplayer roleplaying game The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, is now available worldwide for PC and Mac, and it is set to follow on the Xbox One on November 17 and PlayStation 4 on November 18.

“Orsinium, the ancestral home of the Orcs, is being rebuilt deep in the Wrothgar Mountains, and King Kurog has sent out a call across Tamriel for intrepid adventurers to assist in its rebirth.  The latest DLC game pack for The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited takes you to the mountains of Wrothgar, and to the Orc capital itself, to unravel plots and counter-plots, and encounter all-new enemies and allies. With well over 20 hours of content, Orsinium features a colossal new zone to explore, new quests and mysteries, a new single-player arena, new public dungeons, and much more!”

Additional DLC Details:

New PVE Content for All Players

Adventure through hours of captivating new content, no matter your level.

The Maelstrom Arena

A new solo arena challenge, The Maelstrom Arena, features nine combat rings and two different difficulty levels. Test your might against the fiercest enemies imaginable as you, and you alone, fight for your life and if victorious, are granted generous rewards.

New Public Dungeons

Old Orsinium and Rkindaleft, Orsinium’s sprawling public dungeons, feature all new-challenges for both solo and group play.

 Orisinium-Exclusive Rewards and Items

Enjoy powerful new gear, unique crafting styles and other rewards inspired by the history and denizens of Wrothgar.

Orsinium is included with an active ESO Plus membership or is available for 3,000 crowns via the Crown Store.

EA Grosses More Than Double From Extra Content Than Full Games

EA, Activision and Ubisoft have implemented a huge array of microtransactions into full priced game releases. Although the anger appears to be targeted towards EA due to the eye-watering price of various digital deluxe pre-order packages. One notable example is Star Wars: Battlefront which retails for £49.99 and already has a season pass to its name. Even more absurd, there is a listing which contains the DLC for an insulting £104.98; for those of you in the USA, this equates to $162.42.

Consumers are sick of major publishers pushing microtransactions and ridiculous pricing. However, the latest financial stats from EA illustrate the financial benefits of “Extra Content”. Rather worryingly, EA grossed more than double from additional content compared to digital games. Clearly, this doesn’t include retail sales but emphasizes how much money people are spending on DLC and microtransactions.

Microtransactions in full priced games have become the norm and the full experience rarely costs £49.99. This is a crying shame, as micro-payments were originally designed to be used on free-to-play titles. Major publishers are a business and they will keep implementing things which increase their profit margins. However, in the long-term, I’m unsure if this anti-consumer policy will come back to haunt them.

Have you ever paid for a microtransaction?

Payday 2 Black Market Updated “Working as we Intended” Says Producer

Payday 2’s Crimefest update implemented microtransactions and dramatically altered the game’s reception on Steam. Previously, the development team made assurances that microtranactions wouldn’t appear in Payday 2, and it seems they have had a change of heart. This has caused outrage throughout the incredibly passionate Payday 2 community and resulted in a fractured user-base. The game’s producer tried to alleviate people’s concerns during an AMA on Reddit. However, he spoke quite disparagingly about the game’s incensed fanbase and said:

“We understand that there is a lot of fury, anger and disappointment with us adding this. From an economical standpoint however, completely based on statistics, we can already see that the Black Market update is working as we intended. Going forward, we hope we can convince the parts of the community that resist this change that this was the right decision to do to ensure the stability of OVERKILL as an independent developer and the future growth of PAYDAY 2.”

This is a diplomatic way of saying the update has been a financial success and they’re not overly concerned with the negative reception. Therefore, this is quite an eye-opening response and bound to upset many of the game’s community. On another note, the developer has to be extraordinarily careful to look at the long-term perspective. If they annoy the player base too much, they will leave and result in a dwindling online community. Only time will tell how this pans out, but the developer’s current attitude is far from ideal.

Rock Band 4’s DLC Costs a Total of $3926

Rock Band 4 has a fairly extensive music library but also charges for a jaw-dropping 1973 downloadable tracks. Each piece of music is priced at $1.99 which equates to a monstrous total of $3926. However, the game usually revolves around downloading your favourite tracks and this huge amount of extra content is designed to suit a variety of tastes. Although, I would have preferred to have seen a large amount of these integrated into the base game.

Arguably, the licensing costs involved are astronomical which explains the high pricing model. However, it seems very unreasonable for consumers to spend such a vast sum of money in individual segments. The download model is akin to a free-to-play game and quickly gets out of hand when making regular micro-payments.

This is a shame as I’m pleased to see the resurgence of music-themed games. One saving grace is you can import various songs from Rock Band 3.  The series has also fleeced customers with its DLC programme and doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. Whatever the case, Rock Band 4’s superb gameplay could be marred by the absurd amount of DLC. This follows other games of late which implemented DLC on launch and tried to make microtransactions acceptable.

Have you ever used a microtransaction in a full-price game?

Roaming The Open World Of GTA V Money Generator Scams

Grand Theft Auto is a franchise which has captured the imagination of fans with an engrossing open player world and also regular updates which never fail to entertain. But, with every tech development lays the reality of scammers and hackers who regularly target consumers with the notion of “free” items which are not as generous as they appear to be.

This time around it’s the good old-fashioned money generator scams which are attempting to persuade GTA V players with the promise of free money to be used within the game. So, what are the potential traps for those who stumble onto the wrong site and decide to commit a bit of GTA of their own?

Example – gta5moneyserver(dot)com

This site is in the business of counterfeiting news articles from popular legitimate websites, this is with the aim of touting its own service while convincing consumers of its own credibility. There are problems which are easy to spot; firstly, the articles are badly written which is a red flag in itself; secondly, none of the articles appear on the genuine sites if cross referenced and the formatting is uneven.

OK, let’s imagine I believe this, I don’t of course, that would be idiotic, the perpetrators of the site would need to implement a technique in order to send users free GTA cash. According to them, they have “exploited a cloud server through a very private 264bit encrypted DNS IP”  If a user submits a gamer tag through the site then he/she would be promoted to fill in a scam survey, which has plagued the internet for what seems like forever and a day. You won’t be receiving your coins anytime soon so it’s best to avoid.

All sites purporting to offer free in-game, well, anything, that is not from an official URL address site or provider is in all probability too good to be true. It will either contain a survey, virus or some .exe file which is little more than a fake, it might also ask for personal details which is also to be avoided. Oh, and while you’re at it, avoid any sites which “offer” in game Money, free DLC generators, rank improvements, account unbanning and any kind of DNS code tricks.

These scams will vary in order to seem relevant, but it will be in all likelihood the same outcome.

Thank you malwarebytes for providing us with this information.

Need For Speed Will Not Implement Microtransactions or Paid DLC

EA’s reputation among the gaming community is fairly atrocious due to launch day DLC, microtransactions, and killing off revered series such as Sim City. As a result, it’s expected to see these features implemented in any modern EA title. Rather surprisingly, the FAQ page for the upcoming Need for Speed game directly addresses people’s concerns and states:

“We plan to release a series of free content updates for Need for Speed. We currently have no plans for any paid DLC.”

“There will be no micro transactions.”

Could this really be the beginning of a new consumer-friendly strategy from EA? It’s far too early to tell, but I’m pleased to see this level of transparency from a leading AAA publisher. However, it’s important to remember that the latest Need for Speed game requires an internet connection. The concept behind this is to merge the single player and online portion into one experience. I’d personally like EA to consider an offline mode, so the game isn’t rendered useless when the servers are switched off in the future.

Putting these issues aside, I have to applaud EA as the retail release should be updated on a regular basis without the need for an expensive Season Pass. Of course, EA’s plans could change in the future, but this announcement makes Need for Speed a much more attractive proposition. Unfortunately, PC gamers will have to wait until Spring 2016 which is a significant delay compared to the console versions; perhaps this is to properly optimize the netcode or overall performance.

Do you think this is the start of a new EA?