I wish I still had my old SEGA Mega Drive (that’s a Genesis to readers from the Americas). I miss it. But, while I search for an acceptable replacement for my childhood console on eBay, SEGA has been kind enough to launch a new Mega Drive emulator on Steam, bringing with it a whole host of classic games from the early-Nineties.
“The SEGA Mega Drive Classics Hub will be launching on Steam April 28th as a free update & there’s no need to purchase games you already own on Steam to use it,” SEGA has announced.
“The new-look system is based on a bedroom of an early nineties SEGA fan with dynamic time-of-day conditions, retro SEGA paraphernalia, a shelf full of MEGA Drive games (including the ones you own) and of course a CRT TV,” according to SEGA. “That’s not all, every single MEGA Drive game will now feature Steam Workshop support allowing you share modified versions of your favourite retro SEGA titles.”
The SEGA Mega Drive Classics Hub features:
Local co-op for games that support it;
Optional graphic enhancement filters;
The ability to save at any point in the gameplay;
Full controller / keyboard support.
Games available for the SEGA Mega Drive Classics Hub include the Streets of Rage trilogy, Ecco the Dolphin, Altered Beast, and forgotten RPG classic Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole.
MSI is one of the leading hardware companies around and manufactures an enormous range of products including graphics cards, motherboards, mouse mats, gaming laptops and much more. Their latest creation entitled, the Aegis, is a gaming desktop opting for a usual yet compact design. Furthermore, there’s a carrying handle to easily take the system to another person’s house or compete in a LAN event. The system supports a number of high-end graphics cards up to the GTX 980 Ti.
Ready for Excellent Graphics
Play the latest games in all their glory with MSI Aegis. It can be equipped with the latest high-end graphics cards. The compact case is future proof, as it has enough space for a full-size graphics card to bring all the power that real gamers need.
Silent Storm Cooling 2
To get outstanding performance Aegis is equipped with a powerful cooling system, Silent Storm Cooling 2. Embracing three separate air flow streams that individually take care of the cooling of different components within Aegis. The unique Silent Storm Cooling 2 design makes sure the system’s temperature stays perfectly under control, ensuring a cool and silent operation.
Easy Access to Upgradable Components
For gamers who always want to get the best out of their system, the components of the Aegis are easily accessible and ready to be upgraded at any time. Whether the user wants to expand storage, switch to another CPU or upgrade the graphics card, he can always keep the MSI Aegis gaming rig up to date with the latest hardware.
Make your build look like it’s on fire or as cold as ice. Choose a style with Mystic Light RGB LED built into the front of the case and select any of the colors from the palette to match and give Aegis its own gaming look. Or use breathe, gradient or Gaming & music modes.
Hear Beyond the Limits
Delivering the crispest sound signal to gamers’ ears with special hard- and software amplifiers built in. Audio Boost 3 is integrated into the Aegis motherboard and produces the best sound, especially benefiting gamers using a gaming headset. Nahimic Sound Technology software is used to boost the audio performance to the next level. Get immersed with high definition virtual 7.1 sound using advanced sound enhancement effects and unique features for gamers.
Aorus are back on eTeknix again today, following a long hiatus from our last review of theirs, the rather stunning Aorus Thunder M7 Gaming Mouse. In the office today, we have their new flagship gaming keyboard, the Thunder K7, and it’s packed to the brim with high-end features that are sure to excite professionals, gamers and well, many other people too!
World’s 1st Mechanical gaming keyboard with detachable Macro keys
Superior CHERRY MX Mechanical Key-Switch
Absolute Anti-Ghosting Multi-Key press Capability
AORUS Macro Engine
Equipped with a split design that allows you to not only detach the number pads completely and turn the main keyboard into an 80% width design, you can also attach the number pad on the left side of the keyboard and use it as a macro pad, or for any other purpose for that matter, and even then, you can also use the number pad all by its self if you really wanted! Of course, a funky modular design isn’t the only thing you can expect from this keyboard today. Equipped with Cherry MX Red switches, N-key rollover, anti-ghosting, LED lighting, macro engine, detachable wrist rest, and more, the K7 is sounding like strong competition for many other high-end keyboards on the market today.
The box for the Thunder K7 is absolutely huge, it may actually be the biggest keyboard box we’ve ever seen, and not by any small margin either!b There’s a huge image of the keyboard don the front, as well as a badge telling us this is the orange light edition, not the blue one in the big picture.
Around the back, a quick rundown of the main features, such as the modular design, Cherry switches, and the powerful macro engine.
The box opens up to reveal just why it’s so big in the first place. The keyboard is exceptionally well padded and the main keyboard, number pad and wrist rest are all separated by thick foam to ensure they stay secure in transit. Each component is wrapped in plastic bags to keep them dust free and there’s a large plastic shell over the top over everything to protect it from damage.
In the box, the keyboard, which comes hard-wired with a good quality USB cable and custom USB 2.0 gold-plated head, as well as a secondary cable for when you’re using the number pad independently.
The detachable wrist rest is pretty durable and has a good width to it. It is worth pointing out, however, that it’s the full keyboard size, so may look ridiculous if you’re using it in 80% mode.
There are some rubber grips on the bottom to keep it in place, but you’ll notice the lack of clips as the whole unit connects to the keyboard magnetically.
Some time ago, NVIDIA unveiled the GT 710 graphics card designed for HTPCs and relatively basic usage scenarios. The company claimed that you could experience performance gains up to 10 times better than integrated graphics solutions. Of course, it’s not suited to demanding applications which is reflected in the price point and form factor. The GT 710 doesn’t require any dedicated power connectors and utilizes the PCI Express format instead. Up to this point, custom GT 710 cards from manufacturers including Inno3D, EVGA and others have employed the PCI-E x16 interface. Zotac’s latest model bucks the trend and opts for the x1 interface.
The GPU is passively cooled and supports D-Sub, HDMI and DVI-D. Furthermore, it’s capable of driving displays up to 2560×1600 and opts for a WDDM 2.0 compliant driver. Technically, the Zotac version is clocked at 954MHz and includes 1GB DDR3L memory at 1600MHz. The PCI-E interface means you can use the card in expansions slots which traditionally remain free. This allows you to keep the x16 slots full with fibre-channel cards, enterprise HBAs and more. Clearly, the GT 710’s gaming credentials are fairly basic but they are a better option than many iGPUs. Saying that, I wouldn’t recommend it and there’s greater value when purchasing a higher performing product. The Zotac GT 710 might be useful if you’re watching videos and want to install a dedicated card.
Are you a fan of low power cards like the GT 710 or feel they are pointless due to the good performance levels on APUs?
A few days ago, we were invited down to London for a top-secret event, giving us the opportunity to check out the latest gaming keyboard from Corsair. Of course, now that the NDA has lifted, we’re able to share with you what we say at the event, as well as bring you a full review of the new K70 in all its glory and boy is it good!
Of course, we have to share this fantastic teaser from Corsair first.
Equipped with an innovative new switch that was created in a partnership between Cherry and Corsair, the new K70 Rapidfire features the MX Speed switch (they’re the right most row on this block).
MX Speed is very much like MX Red, in that it is a lightweight and fast linear switch, but the major change comes from the fact that the switch has a 40% reduction in actuation distance, meaning less force is needed, response times are cut and the keys return rate is quicker, allowing you to touch-type and game at an increased pace vs the regular red switch.
Corsair were kind enough to set up some cool games and plenty of the keyboards for us to try out.
Some of our friends at Dignitas putting the keyboards through their paces.
There are two models available as of today, The full-size K70 and the shorter K65.
Both keyboards follow the iconic K70/K65 designs, and are fully equipped with RGB lighting, although a non-RGB version is also available for the K70.
The return of the USB pass-through port and BIOS switch!
K70 Quickfire RGB is to be £149.99 and non-RGB is £119.99, while the smaller TKL version, the K65 RGB, will also be £119.99. Expect all major retailers to have stock or pre-orders from today.
Want to know even more about this keyboard? Check out our full review here.
Ready to take your gaming seriously? We’ve got the (mostly) new Corsair Gaming K70 Rapidfire RGB in the eTeknix office today, and while you may be familiar with the K70 part, the keyboard now features the all-new and very much improved Cherry MX Speed switches! But what are MX Speed switches? They use the same underlying format as the extremely popular and lightning fast MX Red switches, but with a 40% reduction in actuation distance, meaning they’re even faster than ever before, making them the shortest response mechanical switches on the market today.
Ultrafast mechanical gaming keyboard: ultrafast 1.2mm actuation and light 45g switch force for truly unrivaled response time.
100% Cherry MX Speed RGB key switches: ultrafast performance with the precision and durability of gold contact Cherry MX mechanical gaming key switches.
Aircraft-grade anodized brushed aluminum frame: with light weight and rugged durability you need for a keyboard that’s going to see a lot of action.
100% anti-ghosting and full key rollover over USB circuitry: no matter how fast you go your keypresses will always register.
Advanced lighting control and large font keycaps: experience dynamic, vibrant multi-color backlighting.
The power of CUE: sophisticated macro programming and fast, fluid dynamic multicolor illumination for an enlightened gaming experience.
Detachable soft-touch wrist rest: the comfort you need for marathon gaming sessions.
Dedicated multimedia controls: the control you need to adjust your audio without interrupting your game.
USB Pass-Through Port: Positioned for uninterrupted game play and ready for your mouse or wireless headset adapter.
FPS and MOBA keycap sets: Textured and contoured keycaps provide maximum grip and enhanced feel
Every action counts when it comes to competitive gaming, and trimming the fat from the switch means that you’ll be triggering those switches milliseconds before the competition. It’s not a huge advantage, but every little bit adds up and no matter how small it may seem, an edge is an edge.
The packaging is really nicely designed, keeping the usual Corsair colours and showing off the most important features.
You’ll find all the usual stuff in the box, such as the documentation, two sets of gaming caps and a handy key cap puller.
Even we look forwards towards a potential Xbox One revision, Microsoft is turning over a page to their past. After nearly 11 years in production, Microsoft is finally ending Xbox 360 manufacturing. This means while Xbox 360s will continue to be sold and Xbox Live related services supported, once the stock runs out, that will be it for the console. Over its lifetime, the 360 sold at least 84 million units.
Like most consoles, the 360 went through a number of hardware revisions throughout the years. As we all remember, the original Xenon release ended up suffering from the infamous red ring of death. It wasn’t till 2 revisions later with the Falcon and a core die shrink that Microsoft finally got the situation under control. Since then Microsoft has continued to release upgraded versions till the most recent one in September 2014.
In concert with Xbox Live, the Xbox 360 changed the gaming landscape for consoles. In addition to allowing a unified online presence for consoles, the Xbox also ushered in easy streaming for Netflix. For now, continued support is expected till 2018 but for Microsoft’s backwards compatibility efforts may mean you can always play some retro games on the Xbox One. If you do want a 360 though, you’ll have to grab them quickly before they disappear.
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 Zelda Unreal Engine 4 project by CryZENx has just received a brand new addition in the form of a new map. This time around, the recreated map is Gerudo Valley from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Using Unreal Engine 4.11, CryZENx has done a great job as usual, and the great news is that you can actually download this demo right here and try it out on your own rig. What’s really impressive is that the entire map was recreated from scratch, which means that it required quite a lot of work in order to be complete. The map is based on the 3DS version of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and even though we’ve definitely covered some of CryZENx’s projects before, this one is definitely one of the most impressive.
The lighting and the sharp textures immediately catch the eye, but a closer look reveals more subtle details such as a heat wave effect, dust particles and depth of field. The project shows off exactly how effective Unreal Engine 4 can be at recreating classic titles, and I think it goes without saying that a complete recreation of this game would make us all very happy. However, given the fact that that’s quite unlikely to happen, all we can do for now is enjoy the work of talented modders.
Cyberpower is one of most respected system integrators worldwide and quickly gained a superb reputation for their commitment to impeccable customer service. The company’s vast buying power means consumers can choose from a massive range of components and construct a system which suits their individual requirements. This level of flexibility is astounding and ensures the end-user receives a product with the best possible specification. Upgrades are listed using high-resolution images and include a brief outline of the pricing variation when selecting various parts. Of course, there are pre-configured options with a default configuration to help simplify the buying process. Cyberpower’s slick website manages to catch your imagination and become fascinated by the company’s custom PC range.
The latest PC to arrive for review purposes is the Cyberpower Infinity X55 Pro sporting an Intel i5-6660K processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM and XFX AMD Radeon R9 390 8GB. Cyberpower has utilised the Corsair H55 all-in-one CPU cooler to achieve a hefty 4.5GHz overclock. In terms of storage, there’s a high-performance 240GB SSD and 1TB mechanical disk. The Corsair VS 650W is a non-modular 80 plus white power supply with enough wattage to easily cope with demanding applications. This impressive specification is housed in the extremely unusual Corsair 600C chassis. Priced at £999, I’m fascinated to see the performance numbers in relation to other products under the £1000 mark.
Name: Cyberpower Infinity X55 Pro
Case: Corsair 600C
Motherboard: MSI Z170A SLI Plus
Processor: Intel Core-i5 6600K Overclocked to 4.5GHz
Processor Cooler: Corsair H55
System Memory: Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) DDR4 LPX 2400MHZ
Main Boot Drive: Corsair Neutron XT 240GB
Additional Storage Drive(s): Western Digital 1TB 7200RPM
Graphics card: XFX AMD Radeon R9 390 8GB
Power Supply: Corsair VS 650W
Optical Drive: N/A
OS: Windows 10 Home
Warranty: 3 Year Labour, 2 Year Parts, 1 Month Collect and Return plus Life-Time Technical Support
Packing and Accessories
The system arrives in a humongous outer box which offers exceptional protection during transit. More specifically, the thick cardboard adds rigidity and prevents the system from encountering cosmetic imperfections. On another note, the fragile notice instructs the courier to adopt a careful approach when handling the package.
Once opened, the main chassis box is held in place with supporting foam inserts and the accessories box. As a result, the unit shouldn’t move around in a brash manner.
Prior to turning on the system, a precautionary label is used to cover the power supply and inform the user to remove any internal packaging.
Here we can the huge array of protective inserts which cushions the key components from any sudden impact during delivery. These are absolutely essential additions to ensure the system arrives safely and without any cables being misaligned. Honestly, I’d prefer Cyberpower to use a foam pack instead because of the harder material and more secure positioning.
The system is bundled with a handy troubleshooting guide, component documentation, driver’s disk, PCI brackets where the GPU has been installed, power cord and SLI bridge. Unfortunately, the troubleshooting guide was placed underneath the chassis box which led to some hefty creases.
Activision has unveiled a new Ghostbusters game, billed as a tie-in to the up-coming all-female movie reboot, directed by Paul Feig, and yet it doesn’t feature any of the cast members from said film. Rather than focus on the new cast of characters, played by Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, the game – confusingly titled just Ghostbusters – introduces a new team of two guys and two girls.
The game is a third-person action RPG, featuring Diablo-esque four-player co-op, and is set for release on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. An additional mobile game, Ghostbusters: Slime City, is being released on iOS and Android.
“This July, Ghostbusters returns to screens both big and small,” the Activision announcement reads. “That’s right, in addition to the new film from Sony Pictures, this July we’re introducing two all-new Ghostbusters adventures for consoles and mobile devices — Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters: Slime City, respectively. Both games will feature new casts of rookies as they fight rogue sprits while the now-famous Ghostbusters are off stopping high-profile poltergeists.”
“On PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, there’s Ghostbusters, a third-person action role-playing game with up to four-player local co-op,” the Activision blog adds. “Each player can level up their character’s gear and abilities by battling ghosts, completing objectives, or discovering hidden collectibles. Players will have four heroes to choose from, each with their own unique personality and play style that benefit the overall team.”
Ghostbusters is set for release on the same day as the film reboot, 15th July.
ASUS’ Republic of Gamers range is one of their most successful divisions and continues to attract a very loyal following. The ROG brand has come on a long way since the emergence of gaming focussed motherboards with a specialized set of features. In today’s market, the ROG series covers motherboards, graphics cards, gaming mice and I’m sure there’s more to come in the future. Recently, ASUS unveiled their latest flagship gaming mouse entitled the ROG Spatha. This particular product opts for a striking design and employs a magnesium alloy chassis. There’s also RGB illumination in three independent zones which creates a spectacular appearance.
The Spatha can be used as a wired or wireless mouse and features a 8200DPI laser sensor with the ability to track 30g (gravitational) acceleration, 150 ips (inches per second) and at 2000Hz for polling rate (in wired mode, 1000Hz for wireless). Unfortunately, there’s no information from the press release stating which specific sensor is being used. Other features into 12 programmable buttons, soft side grips, replaceable Omron switches with a lifespan of 20 million clicks. A 2-level DPI switches with LED indicator acts a sniper mode to change sensitivity on-the-fly. The magnetic charging dock contains a battery level meter to easily keep a check on the device’s remaining battery life. ASUS’ Armoury software suite allows you to alter various attributes including acceleration/deceleration, lift-off distance, six lighting modes (where each of the three zones can display its own effect), and more.
ASUS ROG Spatha Specifications
Connectivity: Wireless RF 2.4GHz, Wired via USB 2.0
Tracking resolution: 8200DPI laser sensor
Tracking speed: 150 inches per second
Tracking acceleration: 30g
Responsiveness: 2000Hz polling rate (in wired mode), 1000 Hz polling rate (in wireless mode)
Switch: OMRON D2FC-F-7N(20M) with 20-million-click lifespan, Additional OMRON D2F-01F switches included, *Compatible switches: OMRON D2F Series switches: D2F, D2F-F, D2F-01, D2F-01F, OMRON D2FC Series switches: D2FC-3M, D2FC-F-7N, D2FC-F-7N(10M) , D2FC-F-7N(20M)
Cables: 2m braided USB cable, 1m rubber USB cable
OS compatibility: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7
Size: 137 x 89 x 45mm
Weight: 175g (without cable)
Package contents: 1 x wireless receiver/ charging dock, 1 x 2-meter braided USB cable, 1 x 1-meter regular rubber USB cable, 2 x Japanese-made Omron switches, 1 x ROG hard carry case, 2 x ROG logo stickers, 1 x screwdriver, User documentation
Fable: The Lost Chapters received a great deal of critical acclaim for its memorable characters, exceptional dialogue and gorgeous environments. It spawned a very successful series which is remembered fondly by RPG fans. Fable II launched as an Xbox 360 exclusive and managed to emulate the magical formula which made the original so enjoyable. In contrast to this, there’s varying views regarding Fable III and I’ve never really been able to play it to the latter stages. Rather bizarrely, Lionhead Studios decided to move into the MMO circuit instead of creating another traditional Fable title.
This was a fairly big risk given the cost of development and uncertainty about the appeal of a Fable MMO. I was fortunate enough to be given access to the closed beta and really enjoyed my time exploring Fable Legend’s world. In a shock twist, Microsoft announced the closure of Lionhead Studios and Fable Legend’s development. Despite this, there was some hope that their work could be saved and acquired from another company. However, I received an e-mail today confirming the game’s current status which reads:
“As announced last month, Fable Legends has now been closed and can no longer be accessed.
Refunds are currently being processed, you can find further information on the Lionhead Forums.
From all of us here at Lionhead Studios, we would like to thank you for participating in the closed beta and being a part of the game’s development. All stories have to end eventually, but the memories of Heroic triumphs and Villainous plots will last forever. Thank you for your support – you are all Legends!”
This is a real shame because Fable Legends never got the chance to be publicly released. While there were some concerns with the cash shop, these could have been resolved in the future. Of course, Microsoft owns the Fable IP and it’s unlikely that we’ll see another game using the Fable name ever again.
Gladiator Computers is the name given to Aria’s custom PC division and provides consumers with a wide range of options to suit various budgets. Just in case you’re unfamiliar with Aria, they’re one of the leading PC hardware stores and have an excellent reputation among customers. Currently, the company’s TrustPilot rating is scored at nine out of ten which evokes a sense of confidence when investing in a pre-configured PC. Of course, you can customize each model and select between various cases, memory configurations, CPU coolers and lots more! As a result, it’s incredibly easy to make savings on various components if you’re not overly concerned about colour coordination. On the other hand, consumers who demand a visually appealing system can add LED lighting or other extravagant extras.
Today, we’re taking a detailed look at the BATTALION 800 featuring an Intel i5-6500 processor, 16GB DDR4 2133MHz memory, Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3 motherboard, 120GB Samsung 850 Evo boot drive and the Zotac GTX 970 Gaming Edition graphics card. Furthermore, Gladiator Computers have employed a very reputable air cooler to find a great balance between thermal dissipation and noise output. There’s also a quality non-modular power supply with an efficiency rating of 80+ White. I’m interested to see how this will impact on cable management especially given the budget chassis in the basic bundle. Priced at £889.99, the system is targeted towards mainstream consumers utilizing a single 1920×1080 display. Let’s see how it performs compared to other machines sporting a similar specification.
Power Supply: Corsair VS550 550 Watt 80+ White Rated ATX
Optical Drive: 24x LiteOn Internal DVD-RW Drive
Warranty: 4 Year Standard Warranty (2 Month Collect/Returns, 1 Year Parts, 4 Year Labour)
Packing and Accessories
The system is dispatched in an extremely large outer box which offers superb protection against damage during delivery. On the top, fragile tape has been used to instruct the courier about the item’s delicate nature. This should reduce the possibility of the delivery driver throwing the package around. I do think there needs to be side handles because the box’s large surface area is difficult to lift from an angle.
Inside the package is a huge collection of packing peanuts to prevent the chassis box from moving around. While these inserts can be irritating if they manage to scatter all over the floor, this is a small price to pay for the superb level of protection.
The chassis box utilizes thick cardboard which feels pretty sturdy and provides an additional layer of cushioning.
Despite the case’s budget focus, there’s been a great deal of attention paid to the packaging including durable foam supports. The top cover also ensures that there’s very little chance of cosmetic damage occurring during the unboxing processing.
Gladiator Computers have positioned a sticker over the power supply’s AC connector to prevent you from booting up the system with the foam pack still installed.
The foam insert is absolutely essential because it prevents each component from becoming dislodged. Furthermore the cushioning should allow fan headers and other cables to remain in their optimal position. When it comes to packaging, foam packs are possibly the most important safety aspect and it’s great to see them used in this custom configuration.
In terms of accessories, the system is bundled with a thank you note, installation guide, driver/software disks, a funky door hanger and loads of documentation.
Other notable mentions include a power adapter, retail component packaging, CPU cover (required for warranty purposes), front bay cover where the optical drive is positioned, tasty Haribo sweets, various adapters and an assortment of fittings.
A new campaign has appeared online and caught our attention, to bring back Spyro the dragon. The campaign has been ongoing for a few months now on the popular petition website, change.org and is hoping to get enough supporters to make Sony acknowledge the fans and bring back the adorable little purple dragon to our consoles.
The petition was made by a fan page available on Facebook called Spyro HD Collection who have been trying to raise awareness about the iconic dragon for the past few years. So far the petition has 374 supporters out of their 1000 goal.
Spyro was born in late 1998 (I was one year old then!) and has since appeared on 4 generations of console, with his most recent appearance in the Skylanders series from Activision. This appearance, however, has caused big controversy amongst Spyro fans. Although the character is rumored to be moving back to Sony alongside his rival, Crash Bandicoot. In a set of interviews in 2014, the CEO of Sony stated that they were considering attempting to bring back both Spyro and Crash Bandicoot. He said that the iconic characters are “never off the table” and “we shouldn’t close the door on that one yet.”
If you fancy bringing back the iconic purple dragon to our consoles, sign the petition here.
Microsoft’s attitude towards PC gaming has dramatically shifted in the past few months and they’ve become more open to releasing console exclusives on the platform. The company’s Universal Windows Platform is designed to reduce barriers and allow consumers to play against each other without restrictions. Arguably, Microsoft is doing this to help with Windows 10’s adoption rate and cater to an additional player base after experiencing poor sales on the Xbox One compared to its nearest competitor. In the past, Microsoft has taken the PC market for granted which explains their abysmal reputation among this particular demographic.
Games for Windows Live is the perfect example of Microsoft’s tomfoolery which angered a great number of people. This was one of the worst forms of DRM ever created and it’s the main reason why PC gamers have such a cynical attitude. On another note, promises have been made on a number of occasions about taking the platform seriously but these never came to fruition. Thankfully, Phil Spencer’s appointment has helped the company’s regain its gaming focus and communicate with fans in a much better manner.
Despite this, the UWP’s launch has been far from ideal and featured a number of bizarre omissions including mod support, VSync off, ability to use frame-rate monitoring software and much more! Also, major titles including Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Quantum Break run quite poorly. Even though the hitching issues in Gears of War: Ultimate Edition were resolved, it’s still not the kind of optimization I’d expect. Additionally, the PC release of Quantum Break is marred by terrible optimization which means users with a high-resolution monitor cannot acquire an acceptable frame-rate. Remedy might not even be able to fix some of these problems because they are to do with the game’s engine.
Clearly, UWP has had a rocky start and Phil Spencer admitted this when addressing a question on Twitter:
@CrashMjF @QuantumBreak We want to do a better job with PC releases, no question. We are taking the feedback and working to get better.
Roccat is one of the biggest gaming brands on the market, offering a huge range of peripherals that have been winning over consumers at home, pro gamers in the eSports community and beyond. Their gaming mice, keyboards and headsets are often regarded as some of the best in the business, and from what we’ve seen in previous reviews here at eTeknix, they certainly know how to impress.
“Armed with the latest proven ROCCAT® technological innovations, the successor to the ROCCAT® Kova is equipped to the teeth. The new ROCCAT® Kova[+] unites powerful technology with intelligent software and an advanced V-shaped design for left or right-handed use.” – Roccat
“Put what you’ve learned to use and combine new experiences so skillfully that your thinking and actions are always one and the same.” Dr. Erik J. Dale, ROCCAT Scientist
The Kova comes equipped with all the right features for competitive gaming. You’ll find a high-quality optical sensor, which offers up lag free tracking with high IPS and acceleration capabilities, so we’re expecting great things from this in our testing section.
3200dpi optical Sensor
130 ips maximum speed
1000Hz polling rate
16-bit data channel
2m USB cable
Width 6.4 cm , Height 3.8 cm , Length 12.8 cm , Weight 98 g
First of all, let’s check out this quick product feature trailer from Roccat, as it’ll walk you through some of the unique aspects of the Kova.
The packaging is typical Roccat, keeping the same box shape and general design we’ve seen on all their mice for years now. There’s a clear image of the product, as well as a rundown of all the major specifications.
Around the back, a bit more technical information, but let’s move onto the fun stuff and get it out of the box!
In the box, you’ll find the mouse, which comes hard-wired with a 2-meter black braided cable, as well as all the usual documentation.
Final Fantasy IX is often regarded as one of the series’ greatest games and became a real showcase of the PlayStation One’s ability to offer deep, enriching gameplay. Of course, it’s usually overshadowed by Final Fantasy VII but this shouldn’t detract from the new skill system and captivating story. Historically, Final Fantasy games have predominately adopted a console focus and very few titles initially released on the PC platform. However, the dramatic rise of mobile gaming and PC encouraged Square Enix to port these games after seeing the possibility of enhance sales.
The latest entry to arrive on Steam is Final Fantasy IX and the company has just released the game’s plug-ins disclosure. Unbelievably, the PC version requires the Android SDK to run as well as the Autobuilder license:
In order to play FINAL FANTASY IX it is necessary to download and install a software installer program and certain third-party plugins. The installer software incorporates certain third-party plug-ins, which are governed by the open source licenses and other provisions ascribed to them below. The application of these licenses is limited strictly only to the plugins to which they are stated expressly to apply:
Android Support Library / Android SDK Terms and Conditions, Apache License 2.0
Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an “AS IS” BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.
As expected due to the game’s age, the system requirements are extremely low:
OS: Vista /7/8/8.1/10
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2GHz or higher
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600GTS or ATI Radeon HD4650 or higher
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Storage: 7 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectSound® compatible sound card（DirectX®9.0c or later）
OS: Windows 7/8/8.1/10 (32bit / 64bit)
Processor: Core i5 2520 2.5GHz or better
Memory: 4 GB RAM
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Storage: 20 GB available space
Sound Card: DirectSound® compatible sound card（DirectX®9.0c or later）
Are you looking forward to playing Final Fantasy IX on PC?
Quantum Break is a third-person action adventure game which incorporates episodes from a live-action television programme. These episodes contain segments which showcase the impact of any decisions you make. This is a revolutionary concept which greatly enhance the narrative’s immersion factor. The game was developed by Remedy Entertainment, the studio behind iconic classics including Max Payne and Alan Wake. It’s not all been good news though because the PC version barely functions and suffers from horrendous optimization.
This is surprising given Remedy’s PC background and love for the platform. Not only that, the PC edition opts for the same form of temporal reconstruction as the Xbox One. Unfortunately, a lot of the problems are to do with the game’s engine and Remedy isn’t confident that they will be able to fix these widespread issues. On a more positive note, Quantum Break has rapidly become Microsoft’s fastest selling exclusive this generation outperforming other giants such as Halo 5, Ori and the Blind Forest and Sunset Overdrive for the opening week period. On another note, the Xbox One version became the UK’s best-selling boxed game and just pipped DIRT Rally. This is great news for Microsoft and Remedy Entertainment.
Annoyingly, this isn’t going to be any consolation for PC gamers struggling to play Quantum Break on high-resolution monitors with extreme hardware. Microsoft might feel the console version has been a resounding success but this isn’t the case on the company’s Universal Windows Platform initiative. Honestly, the evidence is pointing towards the PC version being made at a very late date which was rushed for release. This is a shame and I would have preferred to see a delayed PC release with improved optimization. Whatever the case, we should applaud Remedy for creating such a successful game, and I really hope the PC version is sorted out in the future.
The Final Fantasy series is one of the most iconic creations in video game history and continues to attract a very passionate following. Unfortunately, the latest entries haven’t really been noteworthy or lived up to the original’s magical formula. Despite this, they are still a visual treat and took the previous consoles to their technical limits. Of course, the Final Fantasy franchise has strong roots in the console market and many of the games didn’t initially have a PC version.
Thankfully, the influx of obscure Japanese games and willingness from publishers to unleash JRPGs on the PC platform makes the notion of console exclusives less prevalent. Some time ago, Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2 and XIII Lightning returns came to Steam with enhanced visuals and an improved frame-rate. The next game in the series, Final Fantasy XV isn’t coming to PC, however this could change in the near future.
“I’m quite positive about the idea of developing a PC version, but I would like to make a very different project if possible. The reason I’m interested is that a PC version would propel the game to another technical level. I have in mind a version of Final Fantasy XV that is more technically developed. This version could incorporate things that we were forced to abandon because of the limitations of home consoles. With the PC, this would be an opportunity to release a version far superior in terms of quality and tech. That said, if we choose to develop this project, the development will start from scratch by doing research of what would be the best technology to use. It might not be a simple port of the console version.”
While the current consoles are capable of running Final Fantasy XV, it might not fulfil the development team’s full artistic vision. Perhaps, a PC version in the future without any technical constraints could feature smoother gameplay and 4K support. Also, when the PC version is being made, it’s likely to be launched on new consoles with greatly improved hardware.
Prior to the Xbox One’s release, Microsoft managed to forge a huge player base and competed with Sony despite being the major underdog. While part of this is down to Sony’s mistakes with expensive hardware and the overly complicated Cell architecture, you have to give Microsoft credit for the Xbox 360’s superb library. Granted, they did lose a lot of respect with the Red Ring of Death fiasco. Although, it’s important to remember Sony consoles also experienced the Yellow Light of Death but this was to a lesser extent. Unfortunately, Microsoft reversed much of their hard work during the Xbox One’s launch and angered the core gaming demographic.
Reports about banning the use of pre-owned games, having to check in online every 24 hours and the focus on US sport shows didn’t sit well with Xbox 360 fans. Eventually, the company’s management realized this and appointed Phil Spencer to the leading role. Despite making numerous changes and showcasing Microsoft’s passion towards core games, it seems this viewpoint isn’t shared by everyone. In a recent interview with Gamingbolt, Running with Scissors’s CEO Vince Desi said:
“[Microsoft lack] a commitment to gamers,”
Running with Scissors is the development team behind Postal Redux and this is an extremely bold claim to make. While there have been some rumours circulating about Microsoft’s management being unhappy with the Xbox division, this is purely speculation. Furthermore, Microsoft have invested money into development studios and funded excellent games like Quantum Break and Sunset Overdrive. It’s clear they are lingering behind in the console market and struggling to compete with Sony. It’s interesting to see their renewed focus on the PC platform and trying to bring PC gamers and console players together through a single ecosystem. At the moment, it’s not working out too well due to the UWP restrictions and the technical mess seen on a number of games.
Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is an enthralling adventure game set in the idyllic Shropshire countryside. Developed by The Chinese Room, the game was well received and praised for its gorgeous visual design. Furthermore, the accompanying soundtrack is sublime and greatly enhances the tense experience. Initially, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture launched as an exclusive PlayStation 4 title and is now making it’s way to the PC platform. Here’s a brief synopsis of what the game entails in the developer’s own words:
“Deep within the Shropshire countryside, the village of Yaughton stands empty. Toys lie forgotten in the playground, the wind blows quarantine leaflets around the silent churchyard. Down on Appleton’s farm, crops rustle untended. The birds lie where they have fallen.
Strange voices haunt the radio waves as uncollected washing hangs listlessly on the line. The televisions are tuned to vacant channels. Above it all, the telescopes of the Observatory point out at dead stars and endless darkness. And someone remains behind, to try and unravel the mystery. Immerse yourself in a rich, deep adventure from award-winning developer The Chinese Room and investigate the last days of Yaughton Valley. Uncover the traces of the vanished community; discover fragments of events and memories to piece together the mystery of the apocalypse.”
As with any new release on Steam, the developer has listed the game’s requirements listed below:
OS: 64-bit Windows 7, 64-bit Windows 8 (8.1) or 64-bit Windows 10
The largest “pirate” server hosting an early version of World of Warcraft that is no longer available via conventional means is being forced to close after WoW developer Blizzard Entertainment threatened the team responsible with legal action.
The server in question, Nostalrius, is running version 1.12 of World of Warcraft from 2006, before the “Burning Crusade” expansion was released. Nostalrius has 800,000 registered accounts and 150,000 active players, according to its administrators.
The team behind the Nostalrius server has launched a petition, appealing to Blizzard to protect the ‘Vanilla’ version of WoW as a “legacy” server:
“We never saw our community as a threat for Blizzard. It sounds more like a transverse place where players can continue to enjoy old World of Warcraft’s games no longer available, maybe until a new expansion appears; a huge and powerful community of fans that remains attached to future Blizzard games, as we have in no other gaming company.
We don’t have the pretention to come up with a complete solution regarding legacy servers that you and your company didn’t already think about, but we’d be glad and honored to share it with you if you’re interested, still on a volunteer basis.”
The Nostalrius server is due to close at midnight on 10th April.
Quantum Break was the catalyst which sparked Microsoft’s new plans to launch major Xbox One exclusives on their new Windows 10 store. The Universal Windows Platform is designed to bring PC gamers and console players together while offering an alternative to the Steam store. Unfortunately, the UWP’s launch has been pretty disastrous due to the lack of basic features including mod support, an uncapped frame-rate, ability to use frame-rate monitoring software and lots more! Thankfully, Microsoft acknowledged that it’s unacceptable and work needs to be done. However, why release it in such a state? Surely, that’s going to create a negative reputation and it would have been a better idea to delay the UWP’s release.
Not only that, the UWP games thus far have suffered from huge performance problems. For example, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on launch was full of hitching and became unplayable on AMD graphics cards. The latest title, Quantum Break is an absolutely breathtaking game but the PC version features an abysmal level of optimization. As a result, it’s ridiculous challenging to even obtain 30 frames-per-second using a 1920×1080 monitor with extreme hardware. Increasing the resolution to 2560×1440 and 4K exacerbates these issues even further.
In a post on the NeoGAF forums, Remedy Entertainment head of PR, Thomas Puha reassured fans opting for the Windows version and said:
“We are monitoring the discussion and what is going on. I had written a longer response, but it’s just gonna be misunderstood etc, so what I will say is that, rest assured, lot of work went into the Win10 version and we are looking at the reactions now as well as potential issues.”
Remedy are also working on a bug which covers the screen with intermittent blinking lights. Apparently, this will be fixed in the latest patch. I’m honestly really surprised by the technical ineptitude of Quantum Break considering Remedy’s reputation and love for the PC platform. To me it suggests one clear notion, that the PC version was rushed and approved at the last possible moment.
Some people argue that video games take as much skill and preparation as actual sports, hence the attraction for people to take part in the competitions that now offer millions in rewards. In light of this, we want to introduce everyone to the eGames International gaming tournament.
Set to debut this summer alongside the summer Olympic games in Rio, the eGames International gaming tournament will take place in every Olympic year, be it the summer or winter games, and will take place in the Olympic games host cities. That means after Rio we will get a tournament in Pyeongchang in 2018 and one in Tokyo in 2020.
In the years in between people can accept national qualifiers, making the games as equal as the sporty Olympic games. Open to gamers of all kinds aged 18 and over, gamers can expect to face some tough competitions from all over the world as they face the world to represent their countries.
In Brazil, the game will be show-cased with a two-day pop-up tournament and the event already has the backing of Britain, Canada, Brazil and the USA. Designed as a not-for-profit initiative, the schemes been set up with support from the UK government and with aims of “positively shaping the future of competitive eSports gaming”.
With Gold, Silver and Bronze medals on the line, will gamers be enticed to step away from prize pots for the chance to gain national recognition? With more details coming out this month and in May, we may see a list of the games that participating countries will be facing off against each other in.
Tesoro is one of the coolest gaming brands around, and while you may not think of them first when shopping for a new peripheral, they’ve proven to us here at eTeknix time and time again that they can create competitive, unique and affordable products that would make great additions to any desktop gaming setup. With that in mind, I’m very happy to see their new Ascalon Spectrum Gaming Mouse in the eTeknix office today. It may not be the most high-end mouse ever, but if previous Tesoro reviews are anything to go by, it will no doubt have a few cool tricks up its sleeves.
Equipped with a high-quality 6400 DPI optical sensor, 7 fully programmable buttons, macro recording, and a fast 32bit ARM Cortex CPU, the Ascalon is tuned for competitive gaming, ticking off all the major features you could ask for in a good gaming mouse.
6400 True DPI
1000 Hz Ultra Polling Rate
Detection 200 ips, acceleration 50g
7 Independently programmable buttons
Adjustable DPI Control, Polling Rate, Liftoff distance and Shooting Speed
Cursor Capture Technology
512KB onboard memory
32bit ARM Cortex Premium Processor
Adjustable RGB LED control
Human ergonomics for the most comfortable grip and antimicrobial soft-touch finish
Compatible with Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
The packaging is pretty cool, with a clear shot of the mouse design on the front, as well as a cool image of what looks like a sword in the background; makes sense, since all Tesoro peripherals are named after mythical weapons.
Around the back, you’ll find a nice breakdown of all the major features, such as the RGB lighting as the button layout.
In the box, you’ll find all the usual documentation, which looks as nicely designed as the rest of the packaging, giving a nice premium vibe overall.
The rise of eSports has been nothing short of revolutionary and transformed talented gamers into household celebrities. Not only that, players in popular games like League of Legends compete in events with huge prize pools watched by millions around the globe. These individuals are under intense pressure and hone their craft for long periods each day. I’ve always been fascinated to see the impact of competitive gaming events on viewer purchasing habits. According to the latest research from NPD, the eSports industry has encouraged large audiences to spend money on game purchases. More specifically, the report suggests nearly 70 percent of people watching have purchased the game in question or some form of DLC.
On another note, the study found that 44 percent of US gamers watched a formal eSports event or enjoyed competitive streaming in the past six months. Furthermore, the average viewing time is pretty substantial at just under three hours. 18 percent of those surveyed watch eSport content on a daily basis while 46 percent watched contests once a week. When it comes to elite play, viewers appear to be more interested in the game and not the level of prize money on offer:
“It’s the game being played that consistently attracts viewers. Watchers are most influenced by the game, followed by the quality of the commentators and the team/players,”
Liam Callahan, industry analyst, The NPD Group explained the results and said:
“eSports may have seemed like a niche phenomenon in the past, but it has clearly taken off with strong activity and engagement with consumers,”
“This is positive for the gaming industry on multiple levels, not only bringing excitement from the events themselves, but also from a marketing standpoint as consumers learn and can then potentially spend on games featured at eSports events.”
Two-thirds of those watching already own the game which isn’t surprising because they simply want to see the best players in the world and improve their strategy.