Amazon Blocking Non-Prime Members From Buying Certain Games

Amazon Prime started off as giving you quick one-day delivery options, expanding into the market for Video and music streaming, and with its latest offer of a monthly subscription system, its popularity keeps growing. That may change if you are a fan of big time games, with the latest news revealing that certain games may be locked behind the “prime wall”.

If you go on the Amazon site now and check out games like Grand Theft Auto 5 or Fallout 4, you may find yourself welcomed by a small blue button on the right-hand side. Replacing the welcoming yellow button that said buy now, the blue button instead asks you “join Prime”. Above the buttons it states that the games are “Exclusively for Prime Members”, giving you no option but to either seek them on different sites or use Amazon Prime to order your games from Amazon.

While you will still be able to buy the games through other sellers on Amazon, if you want to buy it directly from Amazon you will need Prime membership. With a yearly membership getting you 20% off pre-orders and new releases, if you like buying big releases when they come out it may be worth checking out the deals they offer.

For gamers and non-gamers alike, do you think its fair to have your ability to buy what you enjoy locked to an exclusive membership group or does the one-day delivery (or even one-hour delivery) tempt you to grab those new games that little bit sooner?

It should be noted that while the block originally seemed to affect both Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com sales, some of the listings on Amazon.co.uk are now unrestricted, suggesting that the initial backlash may already have been enough to sway Amazons opinion on the “prime wall”. Currently, you can see the option featured on Amazon.com’s Grand Theft Auto 5 page.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

Steam May Soon Accept Bitcoins

When it comes to PC gaming, everyone knows the feeling that happens when the Steam sales come on. Your bank account starts to hate you and you wish you didn’t save your card details as you click and drain your funds for games you won’t get to play for a few months if you are lucky. Now it looks like Steam may soon be accepting Bitcoins, draining both your physical and digital money with each sale.

Posted on a Reddit feed, the post appears to come from the Steamworks Development group, a private group for the platforms developers. The post teases that the company is looking to use an external payment provider to help accept bitcoins.

The post makes clear that the calculations will be done all via the external processor, with you still being charged the same amount and the processor acting as the middle man who takes your bitcoins and pays Valve the appropriate amount of traditional currency. Given the unstable nature of digital currency, this means that at no time does Valve hold the bitcoins, making sure they avoid any sudden drops or spikes in prices for the currency.

This process would make sense, but with concerns about the legality of people’s bitcoins and their stability, what happens if people make large purchases with “bad bitcoins”? With no effort on the side of developers or anyone who makes a purchase using the new system, I’m sure many will accept and enjoy the new option for buying all those games you want.

Sega to Support Modding of Games via Steam Workshop

Steam used to hold a collection of games, both old and new, but with its constant updates and the ability to download the games on any internet connected PC, people love the new choices they’ve been given. This love only grows when you give them back a childhood classic, which for many are centered around the games that the Sega Mega Drive offered them, and Sega wants this to grow by supporting not just the games on Steam but also the modified versions that will be shared via Steam Workshop.

Steam Workshop is the user content sharing part of Steam, letting you add mods and tweaks that include the likes of replacing dragons with trains or a new map for your army to conquer. In this respect support for user-created content will be supported by Sega alongside the new Sega Mega Drive Classics Hub being released on Steam on April 28th.

Clearly designed for a VR generation, the hub will include the system being placed in a bedroom, much like the ones where you first encountered the games. With graphical enhancement filters, full controller and keyboard support and “spot-on emulation” listed in the release, you can replay Golden Axe, Altered Beast, Ecco and even Columns just like you did when you were younger.

The Humble Telltale Bundle is an Adventure Fan’s Dream

Telltale games quickly became a legendary studio due to the release of iconic series including Sam & Max. The company’s ability to create memorable characters and a captivating story made the studio a firm favourite among adventure game aficionados. Traditionally, adventure titles revolve around point and click mechanics to merge items together, investigate the surrounding area or speak to various characters. In recent times, Telltale revolutionized the adventure genre and created their own new form of storytelling. The latest Telltale games offer an engaging narrative and alters the story based on your decisions during conversations. There’s not much puzzle solving involved or trying to fathom how to progress to the next section.

This has spawned a number of highly successful releases including The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us and Tales from the Borderlands. It also inspired the creators of Life is Strange, which is one of the greatest games I’ve ever seen. The latest Humble Bundle includes a number of the company’s games at ridiculously low prices. The opening tier includes Back to the Future: The Game, Sam & Max: Devil’s Playhouse, Poker Night at the Inventory, Puzzle Agent 1 & 2 and The Walking Dead Season 1. This costs a mere $1 and offers exceptional value. The Walking Dead Season One on its own will keep you entertained for some time due to its gripping story.

The next tier comes with The Walking Dead: 400 days, The Wolf Among Us, Poker Night 2, Tales from the Borderlands and there’s more games to come very soon. Honestly, I would recommend paying the extra for this option because Tales from the Borderlands is hilarious and contains some of the best writing I’ve encountered in a video game. The final package which requires a payment of $12 or more is bundled with Games of Thrones and The Walking Dead Season 2. These are another highlight and well worth the asking price.

Sony Looking To Make Mobile PlayStation Games

The days of needing to go visit and arcade to play video games have long since past, you don’t even need to be at home in front of your TV thanks to mobile gaming consoles like the 3Ds and PS Vita. The most common platform to play games on those is the very same thing you have in your pocket, your smartphone. With this in mind, it looks like Sony is looking to make mobile games in order to benefit from the new market.

Smartphones these days can be used for everything from Clash of Clans to being used in virtual reality systems like Google cardboard. In order to fill a gap in their market, Sony has created the ForwardWorks Corporation, which will begin working on April 1st, 2016.

In their release statement Sony state that:

“ForwardWorks will leverage the intellectual property of the numerous PlayStation dedicated software titles and its gaming characters as well as the knowledge and know-how of gaming development expertise which was acquired over the years with PlayStation business to provide gaming application optimized for smart devices including smartphones to users in Japan and Asia”

So you could soon be seeing Uncharted’s Nathan Drake and Killzone Helghast storming  your phone screen as you sit waiting for a bus or a friend at the cinema. Are you excited by this news? Do you play games on your phone and if so which franchise from Sony would you be excited to join the mobile games catalogue?

Steam Offers Great Deals On Borderlands And Dead Rising Series

Normally it gets to a weekend you have to find which games you need to complete to “tick” them off your list of purchased but not played games? I’m sorry to do this but I might be adding to that list as Steam is offering great deals on both the borderlands and dead rising series of games.

When I say great deals I am talking about up to 80% off Borderlands games and 70% off all Dead Rising games and DLC’s.

Are you a fan of the Borderlands games? Only managed to play one so far? With the originally only costing £2.49 and the sequel setting you back £4.99, you really have no excuse to not enjoy the games. Feel like you need more? Then get the Game of the year editions containing all their explosive DLC’s and then you can grab the pre-sequel. If you own both 1 and 2 and was waiting for a good time to get the pre-sequel, then wait no longer as you can get the triple pack (all three games) with the price discounted based on how many you already own (it cost me £3.49 to get the pre-sequel as I own both 1 and 2).

Feel like a little more mayhem then why not try out the dead rising pack? Featuring both Dead Rising 2 (and its many DLC’s) and Dead Rising 3 (Apocalypse Edition), you can now enjoy that Friday night zombie feeling with a friend. Costing you only £4,49 for Dead Rising 2 and £11.99 for Dead Rising 3, you can grab both and all the DLC available for Dead Rising 2 for just £20.99.

Treat yourself and enjoy the weekend.

Amazon.JP Delivering Japanese Video Games Worldwide!

We all like that new game smell. Opening up the post to find that new game, the case screaming for you to open it up and slide in the disk. Sometimes the game you want to play isn’t available in your country, a case that is most common with Japanese releases. Don’t worry, as Amazon.JP has started delivering Japanese video games worldwide.

With select games and even consoles now available for international shipping, you can enjoy some of those releases that you’ve missed out over the years. Currently, the offer only applies to items sold directly by Amazon.jp with international shipping.

In order to do this, you may want to view Amazon.jp in English, an option that you can find on the right-hand side of a product page (shown below).

With fair prices for games like Dark Souls 3 costing just ¥ 6,473 (around £41 without shipping), you could soon find yourself building up an international collection of games. Some consoles these days don’t care about the region of the game, for example, the PS4 and Xbox One while others you may have to reorder to enjoy the Japanese releases (the Wii U and 3DS among them).

Are you looking forward to ordering your first game from Japan? What games are you going to pick up? Tell us your experience in international games and delivery services in the comments below.

Nintendo Land to Open in 2020

You either love them or you hate them. No, I am not talking about Marmite sandwiches, but rather theme park rides. From the ones where you walk through and experience jumps and scares to the rides where your legs dangle as it throws you through twists and turns. However, even if you don’t like theme parks, but you do enjoy Nintendo, you may want to start planning a trip to Nintendo Land in 2020.

Universal Studios was granted the rights to use some of Nintendo’s many rights for theme parks a while ago, but aside from these hints, there was not much else to go by except rumours. It has now been confirmed that “Nintendo Land” will be “on par with the likes of Universal’s Harry Potter-themed zone but focus entirely on everyone’s favorite Italian plumber”. That is correct, you could soon see Mario, Peach, Luigi and Yoshi on a series of rides and experiences that will please adults and children alike. The location of this attraction is going to be a little bit of distance for some people, opening in Mario’s backyard of Tokyo. With its initial opening timeline set for 2020, you will get to experience the Olympics and Mario all in one fell swoop. If this seems like a gimmick then you might be wrong given that Universal have put up ¥40 billion (roughly £247 million pounds) to the venture.

Quantum Break to Require Internet Connection

Quantum Break is set to be one of the biggest games to grace Windows 10 this year, and with the game using directX 12 (DX12) you will have to buy it through the app store. This may be a problem for some as those who purchased the rather silently released Gears Of War Ultimate Edition found that the game was more than lacking in terms of performance and stability. It may come as a shock to some then that the next nail in the Windows 10 gaming experience is the constant online connection that you will require for Quantum Break.

Why is this a big deal you may ask? The problem people will have with this is that the game is a single player game, requiring an online connection means that should your internet drop out or you want to play on the go you won’t be able to. The reason given by Microsoft is  that you will require a high-speed internet connection to enjoy the cutscenes in the game, which is considered story heavy.

It was recently revealed that the Xbox One version of the game will be 44.09GB in size, a whole 8GB more than the 36.18GB. It now seems that the size difference is because Xbox one will be downloading the video content as well, requiring only PC gamers to have a constant online connection. With the Xbox One video being limited to 1080p video files, a mere shade of the 4K content the PC will enjoy, some people will argue that for a single player game, downloading the video at a lesser quality may be worth saving the hassle of an always online connection.

First a bad release for Gears Of War and now the news that always online single player games are Microsoft’s hope for Windows 10 games, are you likely to pick up the game and if so do you think that Microsoft has done the right thing?

Inno3D GeForce GTX 980Ti X3 Ultra DHS Graphics Card Review

Introduction


NVIDIA’s GTX 980Ti has proved to be a very popular choice among hardware enthusiasts requiring extreme performance at demanding resolutions. Whether you’re opting for a 21:9 3440×1440 60Hz panel, 4K display or high refresh rate 1440P monitor, there’s very few single card configurations on the market capable of dealing with advanced AA, complex tessellation and other visually taxing effects while driving a large number of pixels. Technically, the Titan X is NVIDIA’s flagship product and its 12GB frame buffer initially appears like an enticing proposition. However, the price to performance ratio is quite poor especially when you consider the 980Ti is based on the same GM200 silicone and only exhibits a few cost saving measures. Most notably, the video memory is reduced from 12GB to 6GB and the shader units have been slightly scaled back from 3072 to 2816.

Barring a few exceptions, the majority of Titan X models utilize a reference design which results in reduced overclocking headroom and higher temperatures. In contrast to this, custom cooled GTX 980Ti SKUs feature very impressive factory overclocks and enable users to access a higher power limit percentage when tackling manual core and memory boosts. As a result, it’s not uncommon for 980Ti GPUs to outperform the Titan X in certain scenarios despite costing £300-400 less. This means it is the perfect choice for the higher end demographic and also provides an improved price to performance ratio.

Today we’re looking at one of the fastest GTX 980 Ti models on the market incorporating a pre-overclocked core of 1216MHz and boost reaching 1317MHz. Additionally, the memory is set at 7280MHz compared to 7010MHz on the reference design. Given the impeccable 3-fan cooling solution, and impressive factory overclock, I expect the graphics card to perform superbly and pull away from the reference 980Ti by a noticeable margin.

Specifications:

Packing and Accessories

The Inno3D 980Ti X3 Ultra DHS is packaged in a hefty box which does an excellent job of protecting the GPU, and bundled accessories. On another note, the box adopts a really striking design which emphasizes the extreme level of performance on offer.

The opposite side includes a brief synopsis of the GPU’s capabilities and outlines the modern features incorporated into this particular model such as High Dynamic Range (HDR).

In terms of accessories, the product comes with interchangeable cover plates, an installation guide, 3DMark digital code, power supply guidelines, driver disk, and the usual array of adapters. Please note, the 3DMark code is not pictured to prevent the serial from being used.

Another highlight is the extremely high quality elongated mouse pad. I love extended mouse pads because they allow you to neatly position your keyboard and mouse while opting for a clean, sophisticated appearance. Despite being a free addition, the mouse pad is remarkably thick and should last a long time without becoming too frayed.

Atari to Launch Classic Game Compilation on Steam

Atari is one of the most iconic names in video game history and popularized the concept of interchangeable cartridges on a home console. Way back in 1977, Atari launched the Atari VCS which eventually become known as the 2600 after 1982. The system featured 128 bytes of RAM, an 8-bit MOS 6507 CPU running at 1.19 MHz and had a huge range of controllers. While the games look extremely primitive by modern standards, they were revolutionary in the early 1980s and helped establish the video game industry as a credible form of entertainment. Unfortunately, Atari struggled in their later years and couldn’t compete with SEGA or Nintendo. For example, the Atari Jaguar’s bulky controller, and poor software library made it a disaster.

Atari is now owned by French company, Infogrames and hasn’t really published anything of note. The only real exception which comes to mind is Test Drive Unlimited. Nevertheless, a new compilation is coming to Steam entitled, Atari Vault which includes a number of legendary games! The press release reads:

“Including 100 iconic, fan-favorite games like Asteroids®, Centipede®, Missile Command®, Tempest®, Warlords®, and many more,Atari Vault enables fans to relive the classic gaming experience in the modern age, with an upgraded user interface, the addition of online and local multiplayer options, and Steam Controller support that provides significantly improved precision control. For the first time ever, fans from around the world can challenge other players on Steam Leaderboards and compete for arcade supremacy – all while rocking out to the games’ original 70’s and 80’s soundtracks. Atari Vault is under development by Code Mystics, and will launch in Spring 2016.”

Sadly, there’s no information regarding price, but I cannot imagine it will be too expensive given the library’s age and ability to emulate Atari games so easily. While I’m a huge fan of retro games, it can be quite difficult to look past the graphics on old school Atari classics, because they have aged quite poorly.

Image courtesy of 8-bitcentral

EA Offers Game Subscription Service for PC

In recent years, digital platforms have become the go to for PC gamers. With services like Steam allowing quick easy access to an entire range of products, while also purchase security and more recently the ability to add custom content to games. What could be next for digital platforms? EA, the creators behind Origin, think they may have the answer in a new subscription service.

While available for over a year to console owners, Origin Access is now available to PC gamers. The benefits behind Origin Access include the ability to access the Vault. While this Vault won’t protect you from a nuclear fallout, it does provide you with a collection of games that will be free to play as long as you are an Origin Access subscriber. Currently only containing 15 games, EA state that their plan is for”more games are added over time”.

With a generation of crowd-funded games and indie studio releases, there has been a reduction in the number of demo’s that are available to people who just wish to try before they buy. Origin Access contains the feature “Play First Trials”, a selection of games that will be released by EA that you can play before they are even released, and if you purchase the game at a later date all your work is still there.

Giving you a 10% discount on top of any other discounts, people who frequently buy through Origin or like EA’s extensive catalogue may want to check out the Access scheme. With groups like EA and Amazon offering discount and early access schemes through subscriptions, could you soon see the same option come to Steam?

Conquer the World And The Past In Latest Humble Bundle

We try to keep you informed with the latest humble bundles, so let me make a solid argument for why you should invest a whopping $8.99 (around £6.08) into the latest Square Enix Humble Bundle.

First off let’s start with the $1 tier. Featuring four games, such as the Last Remnant and Episode 1 of Life is Strange,  you’ve already some good titles with action and emotion pumping through your keys while the next two (or rather) five titles in this price bracket will only inspire you more. Murdered: Soul Suspect sees you face the supernatural and your own death as you play a ghostly detective who is trying to solve their own murder from the afterlife. Oh did I forget to mention that you also get Tomb Raider 1, 2 and 3? If I have to explain these games, you should probably grab this bundle just for those alone.

At the average price bracket, you will only pay $5.45 (at the time of writing) to get a further 8 games featuring not one but three different Tomb Raider games, including Anniversary, Legend and Underworld. Climbing through the past a little too slow for you? Why not try just cause collection featuring both just cause one and two? Helicopters and explosions fill your screen as you hijack cars and planes alike with a grapple, and a voucher for 20% off Just Cause 3 means you can get that series for a small fraction of its price.

Front Mission Evolved sees you pilot giant robotic tanks while Gyromancer and Yosumin give your mind a challenge in matching shape games with Final Fantasy XIV A realm reborn rounding off this bracket with an online role-playing adventure for friends and enemies alike.

Last but not least is the higher price tier, costing a whole $8.99, for this you receive Lara Croft & the Temple Of Osiris, a top-down adventure fighting game with puzzles and traps for up to four players. Following up this is the latest Tomb Raider game, in all its glory as the Game of the Year version., with 21 DLC’s rounding off the latest adventure in the Tomb Raiders Past. If you feel up for a little more direct solution to problems, Hitman: Absolution is the last game and the Elite edition comes with a variety of weapons and disguises to enhance your contracts.

Check out the bundle here which is in support of GamesAid and Make a Wish, both charities designed to help young people, either disabled, disadvantaged or those with life-threatening conditions.

A Look At The Steam Survey Results For November 2015

I will only pick out the most noteworthy Steam Survey Hardware and Software results for November 2015; otherwise, I might be here until New Years day 2017.  So, what do we have? Below are the Steam monthly survey stats, starting with the most common type of OS (Operating System) that is being used amongst Steam gamers.

As you can see below, Windows is the most dominant Operating system with 95.26% usage, Windows 7 64 bit is the most popular with 35.63% usage, this is down slightly (-1.04%). Windows 10 64 bit has risen slightly by 2.39% with current usage at 28.81%.  These stats hide an interesting point, with many reports noting that back in August 2015, only 17% of users were running Windows 10, therefore, this is around a 59% increase in the last three months. Of course, there are many factors including the persistent attempts by Microsoft to push at all costs their latest OS onto consumers.

Unsurprisingly, Steam users are not in favour of Mac or Linux’s operating systems considering only 3.64% and 0.98% of users respectively implement these operating systems when utilizing steam to play games.

When it comes to preferred CPUs for all formats, Intel is unsurprisingly the big winner, 76.31% Windows Steam users own an Intel CPU for November 2015, while Windows users of an AMD CPU is at 23.69%, this is down ever so slightly (- 0.28%) compared to October 2015.

Other noteworthy stats for the CPU section include 47.93% of Steam users owning a dual-core CPU, while 45.12% own a quad-core CPU.

Ram stats are quite interesting, and yes I am a geek, the most popular configuration of Ram is 8GB and is being used by 32.06%, this has risen slightly by 0.36%, although 12GB and higher is at a healthy 16.04%.

By all means check out the full in-depth list of stats, it’s certainly revealing and conveys Steam users preferences and also how well manufacturers are placing their products within the market.

Hide Your Wallets – Steam Winter Sale Starts Today

It is that wonderful time of the year again, the time where you should hide your wallets and credit cards far away and preferable forget where they are until next year. The reason, Steam Winter Sale is starting today and it is that time where your risk buying hundreds of games because they are cheap and look interesting enough to be worth it.

There will also be a lot of high-profile games on sale as there is each year and while PayPal told us the date for the sale a while ago, we don’t know what actual games will be on sale yet. But there are only a few hours until we all find out.

This year as every year, Steam created a profile badge for the sale where you can collect trading cards in order to craft your badge and get an emoticon, background, or other in-game items. Usually, you’ll get one card for free each day for logging in and more for every 10 dollars you spend during the sale.

Are there any special deals you are hoping for? Some game you have been waiting to get? Or have you already spent all your money in advance to be out of the risk zone? Let us know in the comments.

Steam Adds the Option to Permanently Delete Games from your Library

There’s always that one game in your Steam library. Whether you got it on sale thinking it would be good for the price, as a joke with you racking up hundreds of hours on it only for your friends to ridicule you, or even the one a friend got you, just so it’d be in your library forever after you dared play it once. Well now there’s a way to hide your game shame beyond just stashing it in a folder and hoping for it to never see the light of day again, with Valve adding the new option to permanently remove games entirely from your Steam account to their customer support.

Easily accessed by visiting Steam’s support page, followed by ‘games, software, etc’ and then the entry in your library you want to wish a permanent goodbye to. Go through the motions and you’ll find yourself free of it for good. Keep in mind that this isn’t a hide function, nor a refund, anything you remove here is gone for good with no compensation. The feature isn’t perfect either, with any games gotten through bundles requiring you to remove the entire bundle along with it, so the folder of shame may not be retired just yet.

Are you planning to purge any stains on your Steam library? Let us know in the comments below if you want to give that purchase of shame one last moment of light before it’s gone for good.

Mini-Games Now Allowed to be Included in Game Loading Screens

Loading screens, the bane of every gamer out there, plaguing games since the move away from flash storage. Many gamers try to escape or limit the time spent on loading by fitting their computers or consoles with fast solid state drives with which to load from. But what if loading screens were fun? Good news for those of you on a budget or unwilling to modify your console is here: games will now be permitted to include extra mini games on loading screens.

Back in 1995, Namco patented the use of auxiliary mini games on loading screens while the main game was loading. This was due to releasing the original Ridge Racer for the PS1 with the arcade classic Galaxian as a mini game to entertain players while the game itself loaded. And while this was a good idea, Namco wasn’t keen on sharing, cursing gamers playing other games to dull loading screens for 20 years. But no more. The original patent was filed on the 27th of November 1995, which has now expired.

I’m sure some people will note that some games do indeed include mini-games during their loading sequences, the most popular example being EA’s FIFA series. EA managed to avoid the limitations of the patent by making their loading mini-games cut down sections of the main game, instead of separate ‘auxiliary’ mini-games.

Gamers are keen to celebrate the newfound loading screen freedom too, with a group organizing a “Loading Screen Jam“, with the aim to “create games/interactive material based on infringing the now-defunct patent in any way possible!” Hopefully game developers will follow suit and provide interesting loading screens for gamers, maybe using classic versions of their own games in order to make the seemingly lengthening loading process of modern games more tolerable. It is definitely a power that should be used responsibly, however, as the wrong mini-games in the wrong places could easily disrupt the flow of gameplay and adventure or even break the atmosphere of a story-driven or emotional game.

I’m certainly excited to see what developers and the gaming community can come up with, free from the limitations of the patent. Let us know in the comments what you’d like to see on the loading screen of your favourite games!

Have You Played These Star Wars Games?

The tales of love, war and pain have echoed for generations, both through the fans of the star wars series and even the world as a whole (we all know the “I am your father line”). Most movies these days get a video game tie-in. something which runs alongside or expands on the movie experience. Star Wars is one of the few series in the world that I can name where the fans have created something beyond the movies, from a religion to an entire universe filled with lore and legends. So why not enjoy some of the less well-known games that expand on this?


 

Lego Star Wars

If you are a fan of the series and have enjoyed the Lego games so far, why not try reliving all six films in Lego Star Wars – The Complete Saga. On sale for 70% off, you can experience everything from the invasion of Naboo to the battle on the moon of Endor. There’s something about Lego versions of classics movies that really makes them stand out and they all the better in split-screen co-op.


 

Star Wars – Republic Commando

The prequel trilogy brought us not only more story and characters, but also a whole new war. While not given much development in the films, the series that have come since have tried to expand on the Clones and given them more than “one size fits all” story lines. Republic Commando looks to do this by telling the tale of a squad of commando, who will infiltrate, dominate and destroy the federation and any that stand against them. With advanced AI and squad dynamics, it’s worth checking out, at only £2.09 till the 1st, why not?


 

Star Wars – Galactic Battlegrounds

We’ve seen the Empire fight the Rebels, we’ve seen the Trade Federation and the Confederate take on the Republic. So why not mix it up a little and have them fight with or against everyone else? Using the same game engine (and game mechanics) that made Age of Empires last for generations, Galactic Battlegrounds lets you fight those battles you didn’t even know you wanted to fight. Not a fan of Jar Jar Binks? See who wins in a Wookie vs Gungan all out battle, why not have the people of Naboo go against the Empire or maybe even see if the Republic could have fought off the Empire?

With the Star Wars Collection on sale from £75 to £17.47 till the first of December, it may be worth expanding on your Star Wars universe ready for the Force Awakens on the 17th.

Intel Unveils Three Free Game Promotion on Select Core i7 CPUs

Intel’s flagship mainstream and enthusiast processors incur a hefty price increase compared to their i5 counterparts. Despite this, the lack of competition in the elite CPU tier, means Intel can charge extremely high prices and still manage to shift a large number of units. This is illustrated rather well by the current Skylake pricing scheme. For example, in the UK, an i7-6700K varies dramatically in price between £270-£360. Arguably, this is due to supply issues, but I haven’t seen any substantial reductions as of yet.

As you might expect, Skylake is designed to replace many of the older CPU architectures and Intel has launched an intriguing promotion on select models. When you purchase any qualifying product, Intel will provide a ‘Master Key’ which grants access to the Intel Enthusiast Game Voucher. The voucher contains the following three free games which apparently equates to $124.98:

  • Counter Strike: GO ($14.99 Value)
  • Just Cause 3 ($59.99 Value)
  • World of Warships ($50 Value)

According to early listings from Newegg, it appears the promotion only applies to the following CPUs:

This is subject to change, but the key omissions are the i7-4770K and i7-4790K. This is bizarre considering these two chips have been the primary choice for the enthusiast market. However, perhaps Intel feels there’s no need to incentive sales on the i7-4770K and i7-4790K. This exercise appears to be designed to shift old stock, and transfer people to Intel’s latest products.

The promotion is valid until the 15th February 2016 from participating retailers.

Steam Hardware Available Now!

It’s a day we’ve all been waiting for, the official launch date of the Steam hardware! For those that just wanted to wait for reviews before committing to purchase, it shouldn’t be long now. I’ve personally been eyeing up the Steam Controller as a viable alternative to the Xbox controllers with a more innovative interaction design.

Steam is the multi-platform gaming service that allows PC, Mac and Linux users to use the same service to download and play games and now they can do it wherever they are (assuming there is a strong internet connection). The hardware is split up into a Steam Controller, Steam Link and Steam Machines:

“Steam Controller — An innovative input device that allows you to play games from all genres, including traditional gamepad style games as well as games usually reserved for play with a mouse and keyboard. Steam Controllers are wireless, completely configurable, and available for a suggested retail price of $49.99/?54.99/£39.99/$59.99CAD.”

“Steam Link — The Steam Link allows Steam gamers to easily expand the range of their current gaming set up via their home network. Connecting any TV to your Steam host PC or Steam Machine, the Steam Link allows you to stream your games anywhere via your home network, and is available for a suggested retail price of $49.99/?54.99/£39.99/$59.99CAD.”

Sadly no video on the Steam Machines due to the diverse nature of each manufacturer.

“Steam Machines — Available from Alienware, Zotac, Cyberpower, and other manufacturers, Steam Machines can serve as a stand-alone device for enjoying the Steam gaming experience in one box, with more than 1,500 titles available for native play. In addition, Steam Machines have the ability to broadcast and receive In Home Streaming, allowing you to stream your games to a Steam Link, or receive a stream from another Steam Machine or PC. Steam Machines will vary in price, offering a range of hard drive sizes, graphics performance, and more. Starting at $449.99.”

The Steam Controller and Steam Link will be available direct from Steam and Amazon, while the Steam Machines are currently only available from the dedicated manufacturers website. More information on the products can be found on the official Steam Hardware website.

Nintendo Delays Launch of Smartphone Games – Stock Price Plummets

 

Have you been waiting for the much-loved Nintendo games to hit your mobile phone? Sorry to inform you but today Nintendo have announced that they have pushed back the much-anticipated launch of game service for smartphones to March 2016. Japan’s Wall Streets Journal Reporter Mayumi Negishi blogged on this disappointing news for both gamers and investors and it sure does show when you look at Nintendo’s shares, which fell down by more than 10 percent!

Nintendo’s entering the mobile game market was a new strategy announced by its previous chief executive who died of cancer earlier this year. Nintendo had previously stated it would introduce its first smartphone games by the end of 2015. So this means it was prime time to buy up shares as investors had hoped that would include it’s best-selling Mario video game franchise in the first line-up. Nintendo’s current Chief Executive Tatsumi Kimishima said the delay would help Nintendo concentrate on selling its existing consoles and game software during the year-end holiday season.

“The year-end is traditionally our peak season for sales,” told a packed news conference, when asked about the delay. “This way, we’d be able to introduce our new applications after the holiday season is over.”

Tatsumi Kimishima did not comment on whether Mario would come to smartphones, instead he focused on promoting the new social networking style game called “Miitomo” which will now be available in March. The news knocked Nintendo’s shares down by as much as 10 percent in morning trade this morning as DeNA Co, Nintendo’s mobile gaming partner fell as much as a staggering 19 percent.

This drop is a mighty shame for Nintendo as shares this year surged by more than 80 percent, aided by the success of the Wii U alongside the hype that the company would be entering the smartphone game market. What are your thoughts on the subject? Let us know in the comments.

GOG Halloween Sale Begins! Days Of Deals Up To 80% Off

Halloween is less than a week away and with sales and GOG are no stranger to sales and deals. For less than 4 days games are available for up to 80% off, so why not see if any of the following catch your interest.

Outlast

So what could be scarier than being a news reporter and having to go to strange new places and find out all those deep dark secrets? How about when you get a tip, you only have to follow up right? What about when that place is a locked up mental asylum?

Outlast sees you follow out this tale in a stealth based game utilizing parkour, based on real asylums and criminal insanity. At £3.29 for the base game, and a further £1.49 for the expansion you can grab the full bundle for less than £5 and it’s well worth the experience.

Amnesia

Mentioned in our recent covering of Halloween based games, Amnesia is a series of games which feature more of a scare and run than run and gun. At £3.29 for Amnesia Dark Descent and a further £3.29 for A Machine For Pigs, you can hide and seek out the truth while avoiding both the creatures that look to hunt you and the darkness that may make you a little jumpy at the shadows.

Alan Wake

The dark is a mysterious thing, it can be both intriguing and at the same time it can also make you jump and hear your heart beat through your ears. For £6.68 for the series or £4.99 for Alex Wake, and £1.69 for the American Nightmare, why not try scaring off the shadows and experiencing a story that will grip you till you leave.

Halloween Sales Begin – Gamersgate Up First

Halloween is a time for friends and family, but sometimes we just want to spend that little bit of time experiencing a personal fear fest. With the Humble Store opening the festivities early the first in what will no doubt be a long trend is Gamersgate opening with a sale from the 26th October to the 2nd of November.

With Alien Isolation for £8 you could experience fear in deep space as one of the greatest predators (pun intended) in the universe hunt you down with nothing to defend yourself but your wits and bravery. Feel like going one step further? The season pass is only £5.

Why not try a wasteland Russia in Metro Redux, the graphically enhanced version of Metro 2033 and Metro 2035, with all their respective DLC’s and the fearsome Ranger mode removing all but the bare essentials for survival, including your HUD. At only £8.50 for the complete collection you should be prepared for the hours of engrossed play.

If you’d prefer something with a few more jokes then why not try South Parks The Stick of Truth, listed at only £6 and made by Obsidian entertainment, the creators of RPG games like Skyrim and Oblivion, you are sure to get a laugh if you are a South park fan.

Humble Jumbo Bundle 5 Is Here and It’s Another Great One

It is that wonderful time again, that time where Humble Bundle is ready with yet another Jumbo Bundle. This is the fifth of this sort of bundle, as the name already suggests, and it looks to be another great one. Not only do you get a lot of great games and soundtracks for cheap money while you support charity along with the developers, you  even get multiple version of some of these games to give to your friends and get rocking with that multiplayer action right away. If that’s what you want.

The main three games in the Humble Jumbo Bundle 5 are Insurgency, including the Conquer update, Men of War Assault Squad, and a double pack of Abyss Odyssey. If you pay more than the average, at the time of writing that was $5.44, you will unlock three more games: Blackguards one and two and a four-pack of Contagion. Even more games will be added to the bundle on Tuesday, but which ones have not been disclosed yet.

Those who want to give even more and pay over $9 for the bundle, which still is an amazing deal for the bundle that has a normal value of over $250, will get another two games to add to their library: Spintires and Divinity: Dragon Commander.

Men of War: Assault Squad, Blackguards 2, Contagion, and Divinity Dragon Commander all come with their respective soundtrack as audio files too. All of these games are on Steam for Windows. Insurgency and Blackguards 1 & 2 are also available on Mac. Divinity: Dragon Commander is available both on Steam and DRM-free.

I’ve just purchased this bundle, simply for the great deal on Spintires compared to its normal price, and that doesn’t even include all the other games. Will you be getting this bundle?

Chromecast Alternative Teewe Will Support Torrent Streaming

Teewe is a popular streaming dongle in India and offers an alternative to Google’s Chromecast. Some critics have branded the device as a basic clone, but the company is desperately trying to add functionality which makes it a more attractive proposition. Interestingly, the streaming stick will soon support torrent streaming and it’s unlikely this will ever appear on the Chromecast due to copyright concerns. Sai Srinivas, Teewe co-founder and CEO told Tech In Asia:

“We don’t want to be seen as promoting piracy,”

“But at the same time, we want our consumers to have a choice. Let them have the choice […] I’m not judging or questioning them. Like if you buy a DVD player, and if you play a pirated DVD, it’s your fault, not the DVD player’s fault.”

This is an interesting feature and doesn’t technically infringe copyright. Although, if the streaming stick sales improve dramatically when the functionality is added, this could indicate it will be popular among pirates. Additionally, poverty in India means it’s extremely difficult to pay for expensive forms of entertainment media.

The unit also allows users to store mobile phone games and enjoy a “lag-free” gaming experience. The Teewe 2 is currently priced at $35, and it’s unknown if torrent streaming will come in a future model or via a software update.

Do you think torrent streaming should be supported?

Halloween Comes – Time For The Games To Come Out And Play

It’s that time of the year again for the ghosts and ghouls to come out and play. With Halloween soon approaching you may find yourself in need of some spooky activities. So why not, instead of watching a horror film, sit down and play a game. Become part of the story and enjoy yourself while feeling those familiar spooky chills. Listed below are but a few of the games you could play to keep that Halloween fear going all year round.


The Amnesia Series and SOMA

Two games, The Dark Descent and a Machine For Pigs, see you traversing a world where everything may not be as it seems. With nothing but your wits and bravery to help you survive explore and evade as creatures stalk you in the shadows and where the darkness may actually harm you.

At £26.99 for both games, or £14.99 each, there are many hours of gameplay to be had but be warned, there will be hairs standing atop your neck when your playing on these. If you feel like these games, why not SOMA from the same creators, featuring the same fear and horror set deep under the sea.


FEAR 3

A little more action that the Amnesia series, see the aftermath of a series of games and this time you can bring friends. Enjoy the story with a friend tagging along or enjoy a cooperative survival in a misty battlefield featuring everything from hell hounds and mechs to ghostly soldiers.

Aptly named Contractions, in waves you will face increasing difficulty enemies while gaining more weapons and facing an arena which will slowly cover with greater depths of fog as the waves increase. Not feeling up for surviving in a corner? Why not try getting from point A to point B while avoiding a literal wall of death? With many options for players, there is nothing quite like hearing a spooky little girl laugh only to hear your friend scream seconds later as they are teleported across the map into the middle of a horde.

If you are interested, check the game out here.


Slender: The Arrival

Originally a free game, designed to prove a concept that you could have a game without guns and combat, Slender gained fame when players faced the challenge of running through a forest to collect several pieces of paper, easy right? Slenderman likes to do things in style, appearing behind that tree so you can just make out the white head and black suit, the static of your camera playing as he approaches you from behind, your heart beating faster and faster. Like Amensia, it will see you finding new ways to survive when fighting isn’t an option, why not gather your family and friends and see who can last the longest before stepping away from the game. Currently, I have yet to fully complete the game so why not try beat my efforts and check it out here.


Ghost Master

Halloween doesn’t have to be all about the fear and scares. Ghost Master looks to reunite you with that childish fun and imagination that all those scary stories used to bring us joy with. The concept is a simple one, you are a ghost master. With an arsenal of ghosts and horrors at your disposal complete objectives and scare people what isn’t there to like?

Summon an elemental and flood the room, use a poltergeist and scare hospital staff, your imagination is your best friend and their worst nightmare. At £4 on GOG you don’t have an excuse to not even look at the page do you?


Dungeon Keeper 2 And Evil Genius

Why be scared when you can be evil? Dungeon Keeper sees you order your minions to expand your caves and wealth while fighting off mighty knights but also gives you the option to possess your minion, running them into the fight with an evil smile on your face. So why evil genius? It’s for all you bond fans who imagined what it would be like to rule the world from a secret lair, with everything from henchmen to super weapons there isn’t anything quite like finding that the agents of good tripping all those well-placed traps, or on occasion a rather dumb minion.

At £4 for Dungeon Keeper 2 (Currently £1.39 thanks to a sale) and £4 for Evil Genius, why not be the bad guy just once?


Five Nights at Freddies Series

So you started that new job as a night security job, remember that Ben Stiller film Night at the Museum with everything coming to life? Sounds pretty awesome right, so what happens when they aren’t quite so friendly? Those fun-loving robots that entertain the children during the day want to scare the adult during the night, so why not play their little game of peek a boo, just be warned if you don’t see them quick enough, things won’t be all fun and games.

£18.99 will grab you all four games, or the original will set you back £3.99 with the next three costing £5.59 each.


Damned

The last in the list sees you and four friends (or complete strangers) wander from Hospitals to Hotels, looking for ways to get out. Sounds okay, right? The items you need to escape are randomly located, so the chances you can find them easily are slim with some events randomly triggered to keep you on your toes. So why get a locked room simulator? Simple, one of the five may not be there to help. Scratch that, one player is selected as the Monster, and with a wide variety of them, all with unique abilities and techniques for hunting down and thinning the crowd of survivors, each game can become a ball of laughs as you quickly realise you may have just told your friend and the monster where you’re stuck and that your flashlight isn’t all that safe after all. £15 for one copy or £45 for four can see you living out all those horror films you’ve ever seen, just remember to run!


So what games do you enjoy that inspire that Halloween spook factor? Don’t forget that you often get Halloween sales as well, so maybe check out the games that go on sale for those hidden gems that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Overwatch May Have Accidentally Been Revealed For Consoles

Blizzard has a large catalogue of games, ranging from the hugely successful World of Warcraft (soon to include an expansion pack named Legion) and the latest to the multiplayer online battle arena games (MOBA) Heroes of the Storm. The latest game to be revealed by Blizzard is titled Overwatch and will feature first-person shooter action in objective based arenas. What this means is that you may be running around shooting but your team will always have an objective. While initially slated for release on PC and with a beta coming later this month, it may not be that long until we see it on consoles thanks to some eagle-eyed website browsers.

Spotted by some users and then posted on Twitter, the users noticed that the description meta tag for the website detailed not only it being a team shooter but that it was also for “PC and consoles”.

It may not be that long before we see the game announced for consoles, but that is not to say that PC players will suffer because of this. Blizzard has a history of bringing games to consoles which were first released on PC, such as the hugely successful RPG Diablo 3.

Would you prefer to play Overwatch on your PC or your console? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.