Tom Clancy’s The Division Was More Popular Than Black Ops for a Moment

Tom Clancy’s The Division has attracted a lot of attention, with it making a staggering $330 million during release week alone. With such high levels of sales is it really any surprise that the game became the most popular title on Xbox one?

The Division has risen to the most popular title on Xbox One, knocking off Activision’s call of Duty: Black Ops III, a favourite for many games and a series that seems to claim the most popular title every year when the next in the series releases. With no exact numbers, it’s hard to tell how much (or how little) the Division had overtaken Black Ops III but by the time, we managed to grab wind of this, Black Ops III had already regained its title, hinting that the competition is closer than people might expect. Thanks to VG247 for grabbing a shot of the Divisions title, shown below.

The Division doesn’t look to be slowing either, starting with its large opening week momentum, people are keen to see how the game progresses with patches being released regularly to deal with players troubles and issues in the game such as the inability for players in safe zones to even get a quest. You can see the current chart (as of 27th March 2016) below, showing that Call of Duty III is back at the top, but maybe for only a little while.

The Division is grabbing some help with mods, such as the SweetFX Mod responsible for turning the game into a 4K experience within the game. Are you a player of the Division? Is it worth the hype? Have you stopped playing it? Tell us about your experience with the game in the comments.

Steam Gives Ubisoft a Weekend of Discounts

It’s hard to argue when you look at Steam that it’s not the leading distributor of PC games, with its digital platform offering sales and protection for both creators and players of games. This weekend it’s Ubisoft’s turn with a weekend of discounts on all of their games.

Want to grab one of their new games? Why not try about Rainbow Six Seige at 33% off, costing you only £26.79, or how about going a bit Savage in Far Cry Primal for 20% off at £31.99.

Feel like you need something in between? Why not try out Assasin Creed Syndicate for 50% off for only £19.99! Enjoyed the game? Why not purchase the Season pass, which is also 50% off at £9.99.

With Far Cry 3 at 75%, Far Cry 4 at 50% off, the modern Far Cry games all call to be purchased. But what about the older ones? Don’t worry these are also on sale, with the original Far Cry coming in at only £1.74 (75% off) and Far Cry 2: Fortune’s Edition costing only £4.99 (50% off).

Want to play some classics, grab Rayman Legends for £3.99 at 75% off or race around in TrackMania United Forever Star Edition at only £9.99 (50% off).

Classic games like Rainbow Six 3 Gold, the Brothers in Arms Series and the Ghost Recon series are also included in the sale at 50% off.

With so many games to buy, check out the full list here and brace your wallets for a steep decline in funds.

*All prices were listed from the UK version of the site and were valid at the time of writing.

UPDATE: While the games themselves may be discounted at good prices, be wary of buying in bulk as the bundles seem to cost more than if you were to add and buy the games individually. For example, the Assassins Creed Pack will set you back £27.99 but the sale puts the contents of the bundle at only £21.98, something that Steam itself even picks up and tells you. It always helps to shop around, even during sales.

Former The Division Director Joins IO Interactive

It’s definitely not unusual for developers to move on from project to project at various companies, and it appears that this is exactly what former The Division director has done not too long ago. Apparently, Ryan Barnard, who was the director over at Ubisoft’s The Division MMORPG, has decided to move over to IO Interactive, which is the developer of Hitman. At a glance, the decision certainly makes sense, as his expertise with third-person based shooters is likely to come in handy over at IO Interactive. According to his LinkedIn page, Barnard left Ubisoft back in February, and he is now ready to join IO Interactive and take on the role of gameplay director.

According to Square Enix, Ryan will be responsible for overseeing three main teams named “online”, “world” and “gameplay”. Moreover, Square Enix’s representatives have issued the following statement:

“Ryan’s contributions to game design over the years show he’s the ideal person to spearhead the coming efforts. We are very happy to add his talent to the pool of great people working at IO.”

Have you got around to playing Hitman or The Division yet? Let us know which one of these games you like more and why.

The Division Looks Incredible in 4K with SweetFX

The Division is already winning praise from gamers around the world, not only for being an Ubisoft game that apparently doesn’t suck but for also being a visual tour de force. Of course, when it comes to being a PC gamer, we all know that no matter how great a game is when it launches, the dedicated efforts of the modding community can always do better.

SweetFX is one of the most popular mods around, helping push even more detail in many popular games by enhancing everything from colour reproduction to post processing effects. The team at DSO Gaming used the Soetdjur 4K SweetFX mod and got snap happy in their latest screenshot gallery and the end results are certainly spectacular.

Of course, not everyone has got a system meaty enough to push this game at 4K resolutions, but you’ll still see great benefits to the visuals at other resolutions, as there are many other SweetFX profiles out there for you to download, or you can even create your own! Either way, after seeing these screenshots, you’ll never want to play The Division without SweetFX enabled ever again!

Check out the gallery below and let us know what you think in the comments!

The Division Made $330 Million During Release Week

Video games are a big money earner for the companies that get them right, and in this case, it would appear that Ubisoft got it very right with the Division dwarfing expectations and netting $330 million during release week.

Working off the average price for the game (standard edition, physical and digital) at $60, that would equate to around 5.5 million copies sold alone during release, week surely to grow as patches and fixes appear for its numerous “bugs”. The calculated figure does include other editions, though, such as the gold edition which contains the game and the season pass alongside the exclusive “national guard” gear set.

While 5.5 million users may be off, it may not be as far off people think with the game reaching 1.2 million users concurrently online during the game’s launch weekend, and 100 million hours logged of playtime since its release.

With so many players lining up to help save New York from a pandemic devastated black Friday, it looks like the game could go for a while longer with players eagerly awaiting everything from the next fix to the next DLC.

Are you a member of the Divison? Have you enjoyed the game so far or did you get hit by the release day bugs? Tell us your stories in the comments below.

Assassins Creed Movie Gets Tiered Pre-orders

People like movies, people like games. The natural combination of these is a movie based on a game or a movie based on a game. With games series like Thief getting the movie treatment, it should come as no surprise that we would be getting an Assassins Creed movie. What may come as a surprise though is that it will be getting tiered pre-orders for the cinema tickets.

The offer is currently only available in the U.S. as part of a deal between Ubisoft and website Kernel. With games getting tiers, each one containing more and more limited edition features than the last, the next logical step was to grant moviegoers the same reason to up their ticket prices.

All tiers include tickets to go see the film when it releases, a digital copy of the script and behind the scenes extras, most also include things relating to Aguilar, the main character of the film and the latest assassin. The tiers add more as you pay more:

  • $15: Collectors Watch and Temporary Tattoos Of Aguilar and Maria
  • $25: a T-Shirt
  • $60: Toy replica of Aguilar’s hidden blade.
  • $120: A official Assassins creed hoodie.
  • $600: A scale statue of Aguilar, hand finished and painted made from polystone.
  • $1,200: An 18″ 15th-century crossbow replica in 1:1 scale, just one of 20 available.

Would you pay $1,200 to go see a film? How about $60? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.

EA Withdraws Ghost Trademark After Dispute With Ubisoft

Ghost Games, formally known as EA Gothenburg, is a video game developer based in Sweden and Romania. The studio is composed of 80 percent of the employees from iconic British company Criterion Games and produces the latest entries in the Need for Speed franchise. EA filed two trademarks for the term ‘Ghost’ (US Serial No. 86/568,852 and 86/568,854) upon its initial formation. However, Ubisoft wasn’t pleased by this move, and decided to launch a complaint in September last year. Only now, the lawsuit has come into effect, and Ubisoft claims the term ‘Ghost’ will be damaging to their business. The company provided a long list of reasons why they object to EA’s Ghost trademarks which reads:

“NOTICE OF OPPOSITION

Ubisoft Entertainment, a French corporation having a principal place of business at 107
Avenue Henri Freville, Rennes, France, and Ubisoft, Inc. (“Ubisoft”), a California corporation
having a principal place of business at 625 Third Street, San Francisco, California 94107, believe
they will be damaged by registration of the mark shown in Application Serial Nos. 86/568,852
and 86/568,854 (the “Applications”) and hereby oppose the same pursuant to the provisions of
15 U.S.C. § 1063. Ubisoft Entertainment and Ubisoft are collectively referred to as “Opposers.”

The grounds for opposition are as follows:

1. Opposer Ubisoft Entertainment is the parent company of Ubisoft. Therefore,
privity exists between Opposers. Both Ubisoft Entertainment and Ubisoft are video game
developers and publishers and also sell various products and services related to their video games
and entertainment services.

2. Since at least as early as 2001, Ubisoft has used the trademark GHOST RECON
in connection with video games and entertainment services in the nature of online video and
computer games. In addition to its longstanding common law trademark rights, Ubisoft owns
several incontestable federal registrations for marks comprising or containing the distinctive
GHOST RECON trademark, including the following trademarks:

[Several Ghost Recon trademarks listed in the filing omitted from here, check the link]

3. Ubisoft Entertainment also owns several federal registrations for marks
comprising or containing the distinctive GHOST RECON trademark, including the following
trademarks:

[Several Ghost Recon trademarks listed in the filing omitted from here, check the link]

Collectively, the marks that set forth in Paragraphs 2 and 3 are referred to as the GHOST
RECON marks.

4. Notwithstanding Ubisoft Entertainment’s and Ubisoft’s prior rights in the
GHOST RECON mark, on March 18, 2015, applicant Electronic Arts Inc. (“Applicant”) filed
two intent-to-use applications seeking to register the mark GHOST (“Applicant’s Mark”): one
was filed in connection with “Computer game software; Downloadable computer game software
via a global computer network and wireless devices; Video game software” in International
Class 9, which was designated 86/568,854, and the other one was filed in connection with
“Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game; Provision of information
relating to electronic computer games provided via the Internet” in International Class 41, which
was designated 86/568,852.

5. The Applications were published for opposition on August 4, 2015. Ubisoft
sought, and was granted, two extensions of time to oppose the Applications: one on September 2,
2015 and one on November 30, 2015. As a result, Opposers have until January 31, 2016 to
oppose the Application. Therefore, this Notice of Opposition is timely filed.

6. Opposers began using its GHOST RECON marks in connection with video games
and entertainment services long before Applicant filed the Applications on March 18, 2015 and
long before Applicant’s November 19, 2013 claimed date of first use.

7. Opposers’ common law and statutory priority dates precede the filing date of the
Application and, upon information and belief, any priority date upon which Applicant may rely.

8. Opposers have priority over Applicant.

9. Prior to filing the Applications, Applicant had constructive knowledge of
Opposers’ GHOST RECON marks given Opposers’ federal registrations set forth above.

10. The goods and services identified in the Applications, namely “Computer game
software; Downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless
devices; Video game software” and “Entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line
computer game; Provision of information relating to electronic computer games provided via the
Internet” are identical and highly related to the goods and services offered by Opposers in
connection with the GHOST RECON marks.

11. Upon information and belief, Applicant intends to market the goods and services
identified in the Applications to the same consumers who purchase the goods and services
offered by the Opposers under the GHOST RECON marks.

12. Applicant’s proposed mark GHOST mark is nearly identical to the GHOST
RECON marks used and owned by Opposers.

13. Applicant’s Mark so resembles Opposers’ GHOST RECON marks alleged herein
as to be likely, when used in connection with the goods and services identified in the
Applications, to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive. Consumers are likely to
believe, mistakenly, that the goods and services Applicant offers under Applicant’s Mark are
provided, sponsored, endorsed, or approved by Opposers, or are in some way affiliated,
connected, or associated with Opposers, all to the detriment of Opposers. Registration of
Applicant’s Mark, therefore, should be refused under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1052(d) and 1063.

14. Registration of Applicant’s Mark would be a further source of damage to
Opposers, as it would confer upon Applicant various statutory presumptions to which it is not
entitled in view of Opposers’ long prior use of the GHOST RECON marks.”

In response to this opposition and the threat of legal action, EA has withdrawn their initial application. Here we can see the documentation which outlines the course of events:

This is an absurd situation and the dispute revolves around Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon brand, which they believe would be negatively impacted by EA’s trademarks. Clearly, Ubisoft isn’t doing themselves any favours, especially when the company could be taken over by Vivendi. EA should have the right to trademark a studio they created without dealing with frivolous lawsuits. Perhaps, publishers should work on creating enriching experiences instead of being embroiled in stupid legal action.

Image courtesy of Collider.

Ubisoft Seeks Canadian Help Against Vivendi Hostile Takeover

Even as Ubisoft has strong plans for the future, those goals may never be reached if the latest reports are true. According to French law, any shareholder with more than a 30% stake in a company must submit a takeover bid. French media giant Vivendi recently jumped over the 30% after growing their 15% stake and will soon launch an unsolicited offer to take over Ubisoft. Ubisoft and the current management however, are turning to Canadian investors in an attempt to beat back this bid.

Ubisoft was formed by the Guillemot brothers in France and the family holds a large but not majority stake in the company. Vivendi already took over another Guillemot game developer, Gameloft and the family likely doesn’t want to lose their crown jewel as well. The move is part of Vivendi’s strategy to take to expand their already massive media portfolio with more gaming oriented business.

Guillemot brother and CEO Yves Guillemot had this to say:

“We want to increase the number of Canadian shareholders in Ubisoft to have better control over the capital. … We feel it’s a good defense.”

Canada may very well step in as there are 3,000 jobs in that country, about one-third of Ubisoft’s current workforce. While Vivendi likely won’t close down any Canadian studios like Ubisoft Montreal, future investment may potentially be focused more on France. Ubisoft also currently has a strong plan to grow revenue and all that could change after a takeover.

A takeover could also see talent and those loyal to the Guillemot to initiate a mass exodus to form a new firm. On the other hand, Ubisoft has been somewhat lax recently and there have been many complaints about their recent releases. Wether Canadian investors and the government will come to the Guillemot’s aid if needed remains to be seen.

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Patch 1.4 Improves Performance

Prior to the release of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Ubisoft promised to learn from their previous mistakes and ensure the game was properly optimized across a wide range of hardware configurations. The previous title, Assassin’s Creed Unity was a shambles, and became a source of mockery due to the hilarious bugs, and broken gameplay. Despite Ubisoft’s best assurances, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate didn’t run that well and had some fairly hefty system requirements for high resolutions. Furthermore, the game’s SLI support was terrible and exhibited poor scaling. Thankfully, this has now been resolved in a driver update from NVIDIA which helps users with dual card setups to leverage extra performance.

On another note, Ubisoft has just released patch 1.4 with a raft of performance improvements and enhanced stability. Here is the changelog in full:

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate – Patch 1.4 Changelog:

PC

  • Added DLC – The Last Maharaja support
  • Fixed “Jack’s message” puzzle issue
  • Fixed crash in World War I mission
  • Fixed crash on Title Screen when downloading Jack The Ripper
  • Fixed geometry corruption on Intel integrated GPU
  • Fixed TXAA shaking
  • Fixed several render issues
  • Fixed several UI issues
  • Fixed few online issues

Online

  • Fixed an issue where glitches might fail to award the player Helix rewards
  • Fixed an issue where the permanent XP Boost from the Season Pass would not be present in some cases

World/3D/Menu/HUD

  • Fixed a typo with the Military Chapel’s bombing description
  • Fixed an issue where the “Legendary Assassin kukri” would appear uncrafted and unusable after crafting it
  • Fixed an issue with some achievements unlocking when they should not

Mission

  • Fixed an issue in the “A Night to Remember” mission where the user could be stuck outside the vault in some rare cases, leaving no possibility to progress further
  • Fixed an issue, in the “Jack the Ripper” DLC, in the “Jack’s Lieutenants” mission where the objective would not update
  • Fixed an issue, in the “Jack the Ripper” DLC, in the “Letter of Intent” mission where it could fail without a desynch in some specific cases

Stability/Performance

  • Improved performance and stability

Does Assassin’s Creed Syndicate run well on your system?

Naughty Dog Used Assassins Creed Concept Art

People are protective over their work, they care about the fact that if they spend time making something then they should at least have their name on it, being rewarded by recognition at least for their efforts. So imagine the surprise when Ubisoft noticed their work in Naughty Dog’s trailer for Uncharted 4?

The mistake was first noticed by none other than the head of content for Assassins creed Azaïzia Aymar.

The trailer has now been taken down but not before the creative Director of Ubisoft Montreal managed to get a quick tweet in regarding the matter.

In a comparison of the two images, you can see the only difference being a slight difference in colour and the lack of a pirate (why would you remove a pirate from a picture?)

The image in the Uncharted 4 trailer

The Assassins Creed Black Flag concept art

Naughty Dog has since responded saying that they messed up, with Neil Druckmann treating a link to a statement from the company.

In the statement NaughtyDog state that they “didn’t thoroughly vet the artwork used” for their story trailer. They go on to apologise to everyone at Ubisoft, who worked on Assassins Creed, the original artist and even their fans.

Ubisoft Project 60% Growth – Takes Assassin’s Creed Off Yearly Cycle

Ubisoft has revealed its roadmap for the next three years, over which period it plans to grow its revenues by 60%. The French company’s plan includes scaling back the yearly release of games in its Assassin’s Creed franchise and expanding its intellectual properties into transmedia franchises, following the production of the forthcoming Assassin’s Creed movie, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot revealed during an Investor Day call [PDF].

Guillemot says that the AAA games industry has become less hit-driven to become a more dependable business space, at least for the major players. Ubisoft will also focus on multiplayer games with a long life cycle, high engagement, and year-round and multi-year services as part of “a clear strategic road map that has already started to deliver,” the Financial Times reports.

“We want shareholders to have the right information about where we are going and how we will get there, and to understand how dangerous creeping control could be,” Guillemot said.

Ubisoft has also announced that it will break its yearly release cycle of Assassin’s Creed games, starting this year. Instead, it will “re-examine” its approach to the series, with no new game due in 2016.

A Ubisoft blog post reads:

“This year, we also are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin’s Creed franchise. As a result, we’ve decided that there will not be a new Assassin’s Creed game in 2016. Since the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity, we’ve learned a lot based on your feedback. We’ve also updated our development processes and recommitted to making Assassin’s Creed a premier open-world franchise. We’re taking this year to evolve the game mechanics and to make sure we’re delivering on the promise of Assassin’s Creed offering unique and memorable gameplay experiences that make history everyone’s playground.”

Ubisoft shares closed up 11 per cent to €22.31 on Thursday (18th February).

Ubisoft Displays Beautiful Hand Carved PlayStation 4

The open nature of PC gaming and huge array of component choices means it’s possible to create a custom design which follows a particular colour scheme. Talented modders also manage to honour their favourite game, or produce something which looks absolutely stunning. However, the locked hardware on consoles means it’s up to the manufacturer to offer any variation on the standard skin. Thankfully, there are quite a lot of these which helps to cater towards console players rather well.

For example, the limited edition Destiny PlayStation 4 opts for a white theme, and gorgeous logos. On another note, part of the appeal of using consoles to some users is the single specification. As a result, it’s easy to find the correct hardware to play games without any technical knowledge.

To mark the upcoming release of Far Cry Primal, Ubisoft commissioned a custom PlayStation 4 which adopts a very archaic design. The project was spearheaded by stonemason, Nick Roberson who has over 20 years of experience in Hollywood creating similar concoctions. When speaking about the design, he said:

“This project was a great challenge for me and I really enjoyed seeing the modern and techy items come together in this natural form. The buttons of the controllers were certainly tricky but I’m delighted with the final results and the fantastic way they’ve been collated for the shoot.”

Tom Goldberger, Senior PR Manager at Ubisoft also weighed in on this wonderful creation and said:

This project was undertaken to highlight the vast landscape and rich setting of the Stone Age era in Far Cry Primal,”

“Nick has managed to immortalize, in stone, the beautiful, elegant designs of these iconic items with unbelievable accuracy.”

As you can see from the photos below, the finish is absolutely breathtaking and exemplifies an unprecedented level of craftsmanship.

 

What is your favourite limited edition console design?

Xbox To Receive The Division Content 30 Days Early

When it comes to choosing where to play your game the fight is never-ending. From the Console Wars to the PC master race, people have preferences based on everything from initial cost to the games that are available. With consoles like the Xbox One looking to give you the ability to play those old games, people are often looking to find not only how to play those new games but to do so without having to buy their favourites all over again. One of the biggest debates when it comes to games is exclusive content, or even delaying content on certain platforms, something that Ubisoft are looking to do with Tom Clancy’s the Division.

After being praised for its PC settings and for not being just another PC port, Ubisoft is desperate for PC gamers to like them as release after release they seem to only end up with bad press and annoyed customers. The cherry atop these comments was made that claimed PC gamers were just “pirates”, a phrase used to describe people who obtain illegal copies of games without paying for them. This was found to be particularly insulting given Ubisoft’s lack of support and regard for their PC releases (often considered poor ports).

Now it would seem they are looking to insult gamers once more, this time on for people using the PS4, as Tom Clancy’s The Division is to release content 30 days early to Xbox One players. This isn’t the first time that games have done this, with many games releasing content just for a certain platform but sometimes just delaying its release for other platforms.

In the video below, which seems like a giant sales pitch for the Xbox One more than the game at times, it explains that the Xbox One will receive content earlier than “Sony will see it”. Not explaining if this delay also applies to PC gamers, people are often held back by their choices but delaying content seems to be a favourite for companies, which only seems to annoy players. Why does one group get content before another for anything other than a paycheck for the companies?

https://youtu.be/aN0-hartAJc

What do you think? Are you annoyed by companies getting content early or exclusively? Tell us your thoughts about this below and if this will even impact in which platform you’ll be getting the game for.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Video Reveals the Truth Behind E3 Builds

Game developers always want to make their games look good in front of the rabid crowds of journalists and game fans and it is no secret that the builds used to demonstrate their games often seem more impressive than the finished product. Youtuber ‘PtoPOnline’ managed to get his hands on a build of Ghost Recon: Future Solider used to show off its gameplay at E3 2010 and it gives a glimpse of what this (and likely many other games) are like in such a state.

When you pull back the curtain on these technical demos, the gameplay demonstrated almost seems as unreal as the early cutscenes that are not rendered using the real game engine. Of course, everything seems fine when you follow the path intended to be shown, albeit with scripted events meant to seem as if they are real gameplay, occurring with no input from the player. Going off the beaten track is where things start to fall apart. Whether it is to make the demo go smoother due to lack of optimization or the incompleteness of some systems, the game’s AI is almost completely absent and outside of specific circumstances, many enemies are completely invulnerable to gunfire.

For a complete overview of just how much the Future Soldier E3 demo can be broken, make sure to check out the video. PtoPOnline provides great commentary as he shows off the flaws in the build and provides insight into the reasons for it, making it an informative watch.

Ubisoft Denies Holding Back PC Version of The Division

Ubisoft has been running into controversy after controversy with their games these days. After an unnamed developer made comments that could have been interpreted as Ubisoft holding back the PC version to make the consoles look better, Ubisoft has come out to correct the record. The controversial statement noted that Ubisoft had to “keep [PC] in check with consoles because it would kind of be unfair just to push it so far away from [consoles].”

While that statement is plausible, The Division has been pretty good on the PC thus far. Despite the host of usual bugs and performance optimization issues, the game does offer a lot more eye candy and features for the PC version of the game. Ubisoft responded quickly, saying:

“It has come to our attention that a comment from one of our team members has been perceived by some members of the community to imply the PC version of The Division was ‘held back’ and this is simply not true. From the beginning, the PC version of The Division was developed from the ground up and we’re confident players will enjoy the game and the features this version has to offer. And the feedback from PC players who participated in the recent closed beta supports this.”

While the statement notes that the PC version of the game won’t be held back graphically at least by the consoles, maybe there is something else to it. Perhaps the A.I. was made weaker to better match that of consoles or other technical design choices, we may never know. Hopefully, Ubisoft will live up to their promises to focus on PC and do right by PC gamers. I for one am certainly looking forward to The Division.

The Division Beta Has Already Been Hacked

The Division is a third person cover shooter set in a mid-crisis New York City and the latest entry in the highly acclaimed Tom Clancy’s franchise. Developed by Ubisoft Massive, the studio decided to grant access to the game prior to release, and launch a fairly extensive beta. Ubisoft’s history on the PC platform when it comes to optimization isn’t great, so this provided a valuable insight into the game’s performance. While it’s far from perfect, the overall picture is pretty good and should work well providing you turn off NVIDIA’s advanced effects. Unfortunately, I really don’t like the game’s dull, dreary hue which makes the open world appear lifeless. Perhaps, that’s the idea to properly depict a world in chaos, but I’d like to see more vibrant colours.

Despite this, the gameplay is really fun especially when you team up with a few friends. However, according to initial reports, the game hasn’t got an effective anti-cheat system and hackers have already found a number of exploits. Reddit’s member ‘division_throwaway’ explained:

“However, without stating anything specific on how to ‘cheat’ in this beta. It’s scarily simple.

Everything from ammo count, level XP, Dark Zone currency, player speed are all CLIENT trusted, and take time to sync via server time.

For example. Infinite ammo is possible by removing the instruction that’s responsible for adding/subtracting ammo into your player structure.

Speedhacking is possible by modifying the delta time used in the game’s update.”

Here we can see clear video evidence of the terrible anti-cheat system in operation:

Hopefully this is restricted to the beta because the game will just become a mess, and gain a reputation for having a terrible community. Surely, Ubisoft is aware of the impact of cheating on a multiplayer focussed game and has measures in place to protect players. If not, then The Division really could struggle to maintain a loyal player base after a few months of being released.

Gaming Sites Demonstrate Lack of Knowledge for PC Gaming Graphics

Oh Gamespot, how you tickle me so. I must admit, I’ve nothing against the people at Gamespot, I visit their site every now and then for a bit of casual gaming news from time to time, as I do many parts of the web. However, this week they and a few others out there may have gone a little too casual by demonstrating something I find a little frustrating. They seem to think the graphics settings between the PC and console versions of The Division have more in common than they actually do.

Now, I’m all for additional graphics settings, even on console games. However, for a console focused site, brainwashing the console fans with this garbage does nothing to help the whole “peasant” and “PC master race” debate. As we’ll have people saying it has “PC graphics” all over again, when it simply does not.

So here’s what we’ve got in the graphics settings. Chromatic aberration, something I personally always turn off on a PC game anyway as it provides no pleasant visual benefit as far as I am concerned, it just blurs colours to simulate a camera lens. Then we’ve got Sharpen Image, which as many of you will know either makes things look blurry or jagged. Sharpen has little benefit to most, but it can help on some poor quality displays, more often than not, older TVs, so it’s not the worst thing to have, but it’s hardly “PC-like visual settings.” I’ve seen some sites claiming this is allowing to adjust the AA setting, but it is not, it’s a much simpler upscale/downscale visual effect and even causes a halo artefacts issue on nearby objects when maximised; don’t remember my graphics getting worse when I maxed AA.

So what should some PC-like graphics settings look like? Full antialiasing, particle detail, wind-affected snow, volumetric fog, reflection quality, sub-surface scattering, anisotropic filtering, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Just look at the graphics tweaking guide released today for Rise of the Tomb Raider for another example.

I’m not ripping on consoles, I honestly am not, but I would like to see a gaming community that is better educated on what options they’re actually being sold. Do you think we’ll ever see real PC like graphics tweaks on consoles, or do you think that’s a realm that will forever stay with PC gaming?

The Division is looking great on consoles and PC already and it’s certainly a lot of fun, have you been playing it this week? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Images via 1 ,2

Closed Beta Keys for Tom Clancy’s The Division Released

NVIDIA and Ubisoft have teamed up to provide a limited number of beta access codes for Ubisoft’s forthcoming third-person RPG shooter Tom Clancy’s The Division. The closed beta keys will allow a select number of gamers to pre-load the new game on 26th January, with the Closed Beta period running from 28th-31st January.

Tom Clancy’s The Division takes place in an open-world New York during a state of emergency, and players are tasked with restoring order to the city by investigating the release of a mysterious virus. The first five minutes of the game leaked online earlier this week, but sadly the video has now been removed for copyright infringement. From what we saw, though, the game looked pretty impressive.

Closed Beta keys can be applied for from this link.

Once you have your Closed Beta key, you must:

  1. Visit the Tom Clancy’s The Division website;
  2. Select your preferred platform (Windows PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One);
  3. Log in to (or create) a Ubisoft Uplay account;
  4. Enter your key in the field provided;
  5. Complete the registration form.

The full game, which has been eagerly anticipated since its unveiling at E3 2013, is slated for official release on 8th March, 2016 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Ubisoft Massive Proclaims: “PC Is Incredibly Important To Us”

Ubisoft is guilty of making disparaging comments about the PC platform including remarks which brandish the audience as pirates. Not only that, Ubisoft has consistently treated the PC as an afterthought and released games in a buggy, unoptimized state. As a result, the PC community is very suspicious of any Ubisoft release and wary that the game might not live up to their marketing prowess. However, early reports indicate The Division is prioritizing the PC version and implementing multi-GPU support, HBAO+, an uncapped framerate and high resolution monitors. Additionally, Creative Director Magnus Jansén released the following statement to Rock, Paper, Shotgun on The Division and outlined the importance of the PC platform:

“PC is incredibly important to us. There are plenty of incentives to do a good PC version. Personally it’s important – a I play on PC whenever I can and I want the thing they play at home to be the best possible version. That is not to be underestimated as a driving force. Secondly, both of the studios, Massive and Red Storm started out on PC so it’s a matter of pride, or heritage and pedigree if you will. We feel kind of ashamed if we don’t do the PC version really well. It really is something that we care about.”

“We’re a very technical studio as well. Sweden is a very technical country – we’re good at infrastructure and design, and a lot of our staff come from the old demoscene as well. There’s a lot of that heritage in the Swedish dev community and that is true here at Massive as well. It comes very natural to us. The engine, Snowdrop, enables the artists to do all of that great UI work and makes it relatively easy to expose all of those options on PC.”

Clearly, the developer seems very passionate towards the PC, and it’s great to see. However, the proof will be when the game actually comes out and we hear reports from users on a wide range of hardware configurations. I’m cautiously optimistic, as surely they wouldn’t praise the platform so much if the game has performance related problems.

Ubisoft Confirms The Division Will Have Multi GPU Support And More!

Ubisoft has historically struggled to produce optimized PC versions of their major game releases which scale properly across a wide range of hardware configurations. For example, Watch Dogs ran extremely poorly, and didn’t really utilize SLI setups in an effective way. Additionally, it’s difficult to forget the complete mess that is Assassin’s Creed: Unity. As the PC gaming market continues to grow, it seems Ubisoft is finally starting to realize its potential and might just be investing the right resources to create a proper PC release. According to the publisher, The Division will not be a port, and feature a huge array of PC specific features:

  • Flexible user interface: move, scale and adjust the opacity of the HUD.
  • Intuitive controls: navigate easily through the interface, inventory panels and map designed specifically to be used with a mouse or a controller.
  • Full mouse & keyboard support: opt for the high precision mouse and keyboard experience and switch to a controller in the middle of any encounter without interruption.
  • Text chat: team up with more agents of The Division by using the in-game text chat.
  • Optimized graphic settings & customised GPU effects: adjust a vast variety of technology treats, from realistic lighting, shading, snow particles, local reflection, fog volumetric scattering, depth of field and much more…
  • Multi-GPU support: unleash the graphic power of the best computer set ups for jaw-dropping graphics powered by Massive Entertainment’s game engine Snowdrop.
  • Multi-screen support: play with up to three screens for the most immersive and stunning experience of The Division.
  • Multi-resolutions: opt for 1080p or 4k and automatically adapt the resolution to fit multi-screen configurations with FOV correction.
  • Unlocked framerate: let the most powerful computer reach the highest framerate.
  • HBAO+: enjoy the most realistic shadowing, lighting algorithm and ambient occlusion.

While, I’m still fairly cautious given Ubisoft’s chequered past, it’s fantastic to see HBAO+ implementation, multi-GPU support, an unlocked frame-rate, and native support for high resolution monitors. I do wonder if the resolution options extends to 21:9 panels without requiring a UI fix. Clearly, the PC version offers a huge boost in graphical fidelity compared to the current crop of consoles but there’s always suggestions about the visuals being downgraded. Despite this, the screens so far look pretty good, and it will be interesting to see the performance on various setups. Thankfully, I’ve already got my beta access code, and should be able to write-up a technical analysis once the beta officially begins.

The Division’s Options Menu Looks Very Promising

Ubisoft has a pretty abysmal reputation when it comes to creating optimized PC versions which scale properly across a wide range of hardware. This is exemplified by Assassin’s Creed Unity and other difficult to run titles like Watch Dogs. As always, we live in hope that the studio is taking PC gaming more seriously and investing resources into making competent PC editions. One of Ubisoft’s most anticipated releases is The Division, a third person MMO set in New York. According to images captured by Gearnuke from the PC beta, it seems the options menu will contain a huge array of tweaks to help find a balance between visual quality and system performance

The graphical settings includes supersampling, reflection quality, x16 anisotropic filtering, ambient occlusion, depth of field, chromatic aberration, a frame-rate limit, shadow resolution and more! This is very promising and could indicate that the PC version has been given some attention.

On the other hand, this is taken from the beta and might not reflect the final version. Also, just because there’s a huge array of options doesn’t mean the game is going to run very well. The video in question provides a poor representation of the game’s optimization as footage was recorded on low settings, at 1280×720. Additionally, the end-user has a fairly modest setup with a GTX 650 Ti 1GB, 8GB RAM, and Intel i5 processor. At these particular settings, the game runs between 55-65 during city sections which is fairly impressive given the low specification and 1GB video memory limit.

The Division is scheduled to officially launch on March 8th, 2016 for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One. There are two ways to access the beta, either pre-order the game (I don’t recommend this) or sign up to a waiting list. In all honesty, I doubt PC players are going to struggle to access the game, and even if you do, information regarding performance should be revealed very soon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw8ZlbQ5II4

Assassin’s Creed Franchise Taking a Breather

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has seen its share of bad publicity with the last couple of games released. Assassin’s Creed Unity was a fiasco of magnitudes and while Syndicate did better, it failed to reach the same sales records as previous games. Both Ubisoft and Assassin’s Creed have gotten a bad name and it looks like they’re pulling the breaks in order to take a breather and get the series back on track.

According to multiple anonymous sources which have provided credible leaks in this franchise before, we won’t see any new game in this series in 2016 at all. The next Assassin’s Creed game will instead come in 2017, giving the developing studio a little more time to come up with a fix for a broken game.

Now when I say broken game, I don’t refer to the trouble with Unity, but rather the whole concept. Assassin’s Creed is caught between the casual and hardcore gamers and with a product that doesn’t satisfy either one in the end. The original stealth approach has been replaced with a more straight on slaughter mode and the introduction of more and more firearms also disgruntled a lot of users. Not to mention the ship battles in Blag Flag, that while cool seemed totally out of place in the game.

One of the anonymous sources also leaked some information on the new games location and setup, but that wasn’t confirmed by any of the other sources. But according to this source, the new Assassin’s Creed game coming out in 2017 will be set in Ancient Egypt with the protagonist being a (former) slave. The project is codenamed Empire, but that will most likely not be the official name. The new game is said to

The new game is said to get a Witcher 3 feel with player progression and a freeform combat system. The environment is described as extremely colourful and with very little parkour. Both of these things might be something that will leave the hardcore fans disappointed. There will be horses and ships to travel, but no naval combat, oh and you’ll get a pet eagle like the one known from the Far Cry franchise.

While I think that it is great that Ubisoft is taking a breather to rebuild a damaged and what used to be one of my favourite game series, I’m not convinced that what has been leaked so far will change much. It’s just not the same game anymore.

As bonus information, I can add that it looks like Ubisoft will use the opening created by this to release Watch Dogs 2 instead, but that’s just another rumour so far.

Tom Clancy’s The Division Alpha Footage Leaked

With the beta sign-up already well on its way, some gameplay footage for Tom Clancy’s The Division alpha testing has leaked out. Lasting just over 20 minutes, the footage shows off pretty much all of the major game features from the map and combat to the in-game menus. The game is set to launch March 8th, 2016, after being delayed from its original launch this year. Overall, the leak demonstrates how The Division is an open-world game.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYuonYJFAzM

While the graphics aren’t the best, keep in mind that this is still the alpha release of the game. This means we can hopefully expect a lot more work to go towards better graphics and performance optimizations. This footage is also from the Xbox version of the game so we can expect the PC version to look better. The game will still most likely be capped at 30FPS which hopefully means the graphics will wow players and keep FPS to a constant 30 at least.

Looking at the HUD and UI, it is plain to see the console roots in that regard. Hopefully, PC gamers will get a worthy release and one that shows off the intriguing story. Whether or not the delays were worth it remains to be seen.

MSI Launches Z170A KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE Motherboard

MSI made a lot of system builders happy when the introduced the KRAIT EDITION motherboards a while ago and since then we’ve seen several models with the simplistic black and white layout. The newest is the MSI Z170A KRAIT GAMING and out of that sprung this new special edition that is pictured above, the Z170A KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE.

MSI entered a partnership with Ubisoft Entertainment and bundled this awesome looking motherboard with a copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. MSI is Ubisoft’s exclusive motherboard partner and this new board is designed to celebrate this new partnership. With this new model, you will receive a free copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege as Standard Edition.

Besides the special edition packaging and the included game code for the game, the motherboard is almost the same as the Z170A KRAIT GAMING. Specification wise it is the same, but we do notice a few differences such as the angled SATA3 connectors. There also seems to be an ASMedia chip missing near the AudioBoost3 chip when comparing to the standard edition.

The MSI Z170 KRAIT motherboard features anything you could want from a motherboard in this category such as USB 3.1, both Type-A and Type-C, gaming-optimized Intel-powered LAN, M.2 32Gbps slot, SATAExpress, and support for multi-GPU setups.

This game bundle promotion applies to selected countries during a limited time. Redemption period starts Tuesday the 1st of December 2015 and ends Tuesday the 1st of March 2016. You can check the full details or redeem your game code on the official event page.

 

The new MSI KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE motherboard hasn’t gotten its official product page yet, so the below specifications are taken from the original MSI >170A KRAIT GAMING motherboard.

Features and Specifications:

  • Supports 6th Gen Intel Core / Pentium / Celeron processors for LGA 1151 socket
  • Supports DDR4-3600+(OC) Memory
  • DDR4 Boost: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 2X FASTER: USB 3.1 Gen2 offers performance twice as fast as a regular USB 3.0 connection
  • Turbo M.2 32Gb/s + Turbo U.2 ready + USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A + SATA Express 10 Gb/s
  • GAMING LAN powered by Intel: The best online gaming experience with the lowest latency
  • LAN Protect: 15KV Anti-surge protection
  • Audio Boost 3: Reward your ears with studio-grade sound quality
  • Military Class 5: The latest evolution in high-quality components featuring the brand new Titanium Chokes
  • Guard-Pro: Improved Protection and Power Efficiency
  • MULTI-GPU with Steel Armor: Steel Armor PCI-E slots. Supports NVIDIA SLI & AMD Crossfire
  • OBS Streaming software: Share your gaming achievements with the world!
  • Game Boost: Generate more FPS in games with 1 push of a button
  • EZ Debug LED: Easiest way to troubleshoot
  • Overcurrent Protection: Prevent Unforeseen Damage
  • GAMING Hotkey: Launch your favorite games with a single button
  • Click BIOS 5: Award-winning brand new Click BIOS 5 with high-resolution scalable font
  • SteelSeries Certified: Optimized for SteelSeries gaming gear
  • GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game testing by eSports players for the best gaming experience

Rainbow Six Siege Open Beta Postponed

Rainbow Six is a long series containing both books and games. Rainbow Six is a fantasy group formed from numerous armed forces and groups from around the world all with the intention of forming a united front against terrorist and organised crime around the world. Primarily strategy based shooters meaning that just running in and firing would end badly for your teams, strategies that have pulled Rainbow Six into a unique category of gaming. The problem is though that the game has been plagued by doubts in regards to several areas, such as announcing microtransactions or the large price or even the lack of single player. The latest problem though is a recent announcement on their forum, stating that their open beta will be postponed.

In the post, Ubisoft stated that due to “matching making times and connection on all platforms” they will be postponing the open beta until a later time. Just in case you were wondering why this might be an issue, the primary issue is that not only will the game remain on closed Beta for now but PC Gamer have received confirmation from Ubisoft that the release date will not be pushed back.

The release date is currently set for December 1st, meaning that the game has less than a week to go from closed Beta to full release. With them already having issues for a multiplayer only game, are you worried about what could become of the game?

Ubisoft Looking Into Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate SLI Issues

Assassin’s Creed: Unity is one of the worst PC releases in recent memory and plagued by terrible optimization, bugs and instability. As a result, Ubisoft promised to learn from their mistakes and ensure Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate ran smoothly. Currently, the general consensus is quite good on modest hardware providing you disable NVIDIA’s advanced effects. On my own personal rig, I play at 3440×1440 with a single GTX 980 Ti and experienced stutter while opting for maximum settings. However, when selecting the High preset, everything runs beautifully at a stable 60 frames-per-second. SLI players aren’t as lucky and encountered a huge array of problems including hitching. One user proclaimed:

“This game EXPLICITLY advertised that it would scale well with SLI in the spec… and on NVIDIA cards at that! You even recommended the 970 as the card of choice in the recommended specifications and yet still, two 970;s in SLI perform worse than Unity. I am disappointed..”

Ubisoft’s Community Manager “Mr_Shade” addressed people’s concerns and said:

“The team are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it – it’s possible that NVIDIA will release driver updates to correct this, but in the mean time – please try using just one GPU for the game so you can play if that solution works for you”.

While Ubisoft’s intentions seem good, it’s just another example of a game with rubbish SLI support on launch. This shouldn’t be happening especially when you consider Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is a bundled title with NVIDIA graphics cards. Perhaps, the development team feels SLI is such a niche audience, that they don’t need spend the time on properly coding for two GPUs.

Would you recommend SLI or is it not worth the hassle?