You thought free-to-play games made nothing? Think again: Tencent's free-to-play first-person shooter made $950 million last year. This is quite the sum of money, considering Riot Games' League of Legends only managed $624 million.
The remaining top 10 popular free-to-play titles were from developers Nexon, Electronic Arts and Blizzard. Nexon's fantasy title, Dungeon Fighter Online, made $426 million in revenue, while World of Warcraft made $372 million. For EA, Star Wars: The Old Republic made $138 million, after the developer's decision to shift away from its subscription-based model.
Super Data Research, the company behind these numbers, noted that the digital free-to-play market grew by 45% in the US last year. With free-to-play titles making $2.9 billion total, with earnings from subscription-based titles dropping 21%, to just $1.1 billion.
Thief will be released in just over a month's time, but Eidos Montreal have decided that now is the time to unveil the PC hardware specifications required to play its reboot of the stealth title.
Square Enix have used Nixxes for the PC version of Thief, the same team who did the great PC port of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and many more over the years. Thief will be released on February 25 in North America, and three days later in Europe, on February 28. It will reach the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, and PC.
There will also be support for AMD's Mantle technology, which will provide performance improvements on GPUs that are compatible. Eyefinity support will be included, as well as AMD's impressive TrueAudio codec.
If you were to download Dead Rising 3 from the Xbox Games Store, it would be around 30GB to download. This sounds huge, but we're in an age of massive games - and this comes as no surprise. But massive DLC? No.
Dead Rising 3's latest patch weighs in at 13GB, which is just massive. This represents 56% of the full-size game itself from the Xbox Games Store, which I think is ridiculous. Dead Rising 3's Executive Producer, Josh Bridge, explains that Capcom Vancouver, the developer behind the zombie title, has been "actively engaging and monitoring fan feedback" in regards to bugs and issues in the game, since it dropped in November 2013.
The amount of hours I pumped into Tetris as a kid, all those missed achievements that we have now, well, it's making a comeback. Ubisoft has reminded us how old we all are, by making us remember that Tetris is to soon turn 30 years old.
This has led to Ubisoft announcing it has secured the rights to make a new series of Tetris games that will be released on the Xbox One and PS4. Managing Director of The Tetris Company, LLC, Henk B. Rogers, has said: "I am 100% sure they will develop one of the best versions of the Tetris game ever." Ubisoft's co-founder and CEO, Yves Guillemot, chimed in with: "We're very excited to start working with this world-renowned brand, and can't wait to combine Ubisoft's expertise and all the capacities of next-gen consoles to create an exciting new Tetris experience for fans."
Valve has begun sending out invitations to Steam in-home game streaming, which will allow gamers to stream any game from one PC to another, as long as both PCs are on the same network.
This might not mean much to those who have Steam at home, but when Steam Machines roll in, this will be a very big feature. You can have your massive Steam library on your main PC, and simply stream whatever game you want to play to your freshly unpacked Steam Machine. This will save transferring tens of gigabytes of data across, or worse, re-downloading those massive games.
Gaming PC company CyberPowerPC has teamed up with pro gaming team Complexity Gaming, aiming to promote eSports to a wider audience. CyberPowerPC will be able to use the pro gamers to develop and test out prototype hardware that can later be released to the consumer market. In exchange, CyberPowerPC will provide the team with new custom gaming rigs for use in practice and during live tournaments.
"Complexity Gaming is one of the most respected eSports franchises in the world," said Eric Cheung, CyberPower CEO, in a statement.
Professional gaming is a very niche market, but can develop a strong following among avid gamers and PC enthusiasts. Complexity specializes in Counterstrike: Global Offensive, Starcraft II, and Call of Duty, with frequent tournament wins throughout the year.
Riot Games is hoping its latest patch for League of Legends will entice more gamers to the game. League of Legends has reached version 4.1, and from here on out, Riot is setting up a "stable roster of free champions" for new gamers.
Chris Tom, who handles Player Relations and Communications for Riot, said: "These champions were picked because of how easy they can be learned and how enjoyable most new players find them." These changes are coming "at a later date", with the patch introducing refinements and tweaks to the way champions, items and maps work.
EA's digital distribution service, Origin, saw some massive playtime during 2013: over 61 billion hours to be precise. EA released an infographic with all of the game-playing goodness inside.
We now know that there are over 50 million registered accounts, with 22 million on mobile platforms. All Origin users combined see nearly 159 million Origin achievements unlocked, and close to 300 million chat sessions over 2013. This comes at just the right time, as we only just heard about Steam's numbers, which are equally as impressive.
Steam Dev Days has kicked off, with announcements flowing - we just heard that Alienware will launch its Steam Machine in September - but now we're hearing about some massive growth on Steam.
Over the past three months, Valve has seen an additional 10 million users join Steam, which has seen its total user base climb from 65 million to 75 million users. Breaking this down into geographical locations, 41% of sales come from the US, and 40% from Europe. Russia and Brazil's markets grew the most year-over-year, with Russia's market increasing 128%, and Brazil's market 75%.
What about the Steam mobile app? Well, that has a total of 7 million people using it, and a split of 55% and 45% for Android, and iOS, respectively.
Bugbear Entertainment's Next Car Game was removed from Kickstarter, but that doesn't mean the game isn't arriving at all. Next Car Game has just pulled up on Steam Early Access, and is available with a 17% discount off its regular $29.99 price.
There are two different versions, the regular version for $29.99 or the Digital Deluxe Edition for $44.99. Both versions are discounted, with the Digital Deluxe Edition enjoying 22% off, reducing it from $44.99 to just $34.99. The Digital Deluxe Edition comes with Next Car Game's soundtrack, a special car, and wallpapers.
An interesting thing has occurred on the Internet, and once again, on Reddit. Gabe Newell, the overlord of PC gaming, oh, and Valve, has promised an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, if over $500,000 in donations are made to a hospital for The Heart of Racing.
Newell confirmed the news himself under his Reddit handle of 'GabeNewellBellevue'. Newell said: "I'll do an AMA once we hit $500K in donations to the hospital. How's that?" If there was any AMA to end all AMAs, it would be one from Gabe Newell himself. We all know the question that needs answering most: when will we see/hear about Half-Life 3?
When Valve announced the Steam Controller, many in the PC gaming world emitted a sigh of relief upon hearing that a dedicated next-gen PC gaming controller was being created. The controller featured out-of-this-world touch pads and even a center placed touchscreen that would be able to display custom buttons and functions.
Unfortunately, today two game developers have tweeted from the Steam Developer Days Conference that Valve has decided to remove the touchscreen all together and replace it with buttons. The reason being is that the touchscreen distracted gamers too much and Valve wants its users to focus on the big screen in front of them, not the small one on the controller. Additionally, the gamepad's buttons have been reconfigured into a diamond pattern for better backwards compatibility with older games.
Gaming peripheral company ROCCAT released its Siru ultra-thin gaming mouse pad, measuring less than one millimeter thick. The ROCCAT Siru uses a non-slip backing so the mouse pad won't slide around and promises a reliable, immovable surface that gamers can depend on.
The Siru mouse pad measures 13.25" x 9.84" x 0.01", so it's almost invisible when placed next to the keyboard. The thin profile allows the mouse to sit at the same level as the desktop, which should provide a fast surface able to give gamers accurate, fast movements.
Gamers tend to upgrade PC hardware, mice, keyboards and headphones - but the mouse pad is typically overlooked - though ROCCAT, Razer, Logitech, and other companies have a variety of different mouse pads to choose from.
We reported yesterday that EA finally announced an offline mode for its SimCity reboot - something I think is too little, too late - but the update is at least here now. But, it took EA quite some time to get it here.
The developer has explained how much work it did to provide offline mode in SimCity, where Lead Engineer, Simon Fox, explains: "The original creative vision for SimCity was to make a game where every action had an effect on other cities in your region. As such, we engineered the game to meet this vision, setting up the player's PC (client) to communicate all of its information to the servers. That means that our entire architecture was written to support this, from the way that the simulation works to the way that you communicate across a region of cities. So yes, while someone was able to remove the 'time check' shortly after launch, they were unable to perform key actions like communicating with other cities that they had created locally, or with the rest of their region(s), or even saving the current state of their cities."
Fox says it took over six months of coding to get here, which is a massive effort for the developer. Fox continues: "My team did, however, see a path forward towards Offline, one that would maintain the integrity of the simulation. Lucy once said that Offline wouldn't be possible 'without a significant amount of engineering work,' and she's right. By the time we're finished we will have spent over 6 ½ months working to write and rewrite core parts of the game to get this to work. Even things that seem trivial, like the way that cities are saved and loaded, had to be completely reworked in order to make this feature function correctly."
A small update was pushed out by DICE for Battlefield 4 on the PC yesterday, which includes a bunch of stability, balancing and player spawning fixes. Stealth jets have also been tweaked, with a 25% increase in the amount of damage their cannons can do. A full list of fixes is below:
- Various fixes for improving general stability
- Fixed a memory leak issue occurring after level shutdowns, which could result in a out-of-memory crash in longer play sessions
- Additional fix for the "sound loop" deadlock when running High/Ultra graphics settings
- Added a warning for using Legacy AMD drivers that were out of date
- Fixed a player feedback timing issue where blood was appearing before other damage indicators, and before damage was actually done
- Fixed a bug where players' rank icons on the scoreboard would not be updated
- Fix for Asian users unable to start Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4 on Windows 8.1
- Normalized repair rates across all vehicles. Vehicles with lower health points, like aircraft and transport vehicles, now repair more slowly than before
- Fixed problem with killer health in kill card not being correctly updated (showing 100% health even though the soldier was hurt)
- Fix for friendly marker not always showing when needed to, resulting in players shooting team members
- Fixed a bug where a M1 Abrams Coaxial HMG ammo box was occasionally blocking the driver's camera
- Increased damage by 25% for the Stealth Jet 20mm cannons.
- Stealth Jets now have more similar handling attributes to each other. F35 & J-20 are slightly more agile, Su-50 is less agile.
- Attack Jets now have more similar handling attributes to each other, and all 3 are now slightly less agile than earlier
- Fixed camera glitch when switching weapons while moving in crouch
- Fixed an occasional bug where players could experience intermittent engine sound dropouts when driving wheeled IFVs
- Fix for player spawning under the map when deploying on Lancang Dam
- Fixed flickering in map and minimap on Rogue Transmission and Operation Locker
After all of the disappointment Gearbox Software served up with Aliens: Colonial Marines, most gamers would not want to even hear the words "Aliens" and "game" in the same sentence, well, that is, until now.
Alien: Isolation is a completely different step in the Aliens-themed game direction, one that takes the Ridley Scott movie 'Alien', versus James Cameron's 'Aliens'. It's a survival horror game versus a first-person shooter, where you play Ellen Ripley's daughter, Amanda. In Alien: Isolation, there is no shooting, there is no crazy action, it's a survival horror game first and foremost.
Creative Assembly, the studio behind Alien: Isolation, has done some great work on the graphics engine, and especially the lightning - something you can get a taste of in the above videos. Alien: Isolation is due in fall 2014 on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3 and PC.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition will arrive at the end of the month for the next-gen consoles, and below, we have a video which compares the game on the PS3 and PS4.
The game definitely looks better on the PS4, with some added graphical features thanks to the extra grunt inside of Sony's next-generation console. Executive Producer on Tomb Raider, Scot Amos, has said that it's more than just a facelift: "a lot of development work [was] put in to custom craft it for the new platforms."
After looking at the video, the PS4 version definitely looks better, but I still think it looks very low res. Either that, or there's no anti-aliasing used. One would think that with there being nearly a decade between machines, and much more processing grunt, the PS4 version would be running 1080p at 60FPS with the extra "custom craft" for the new platforms.
Team VVV has teased the world with a new 7-minute gameplay tease of its upcoming Project CARS, which includes some commentary from a team member that has been following, and playing the driving game since 2011.
The guy in the video uses a decent racing wheel, and uses a small picture-in-picture which shows off just how the game reacts to the steering wheel. The video shows off the newly released Brands Hatch track, and also includes shots from the first-person perspective, which can look hyper realistic at times.
The game is being played on a high-end PC with all of the graphic bells and whistles cranked to maximum. Of course, this title is still in early development, so it should only get better from here. Project CARS should be released later this year on the Xbox One, PS4, Wii U and PC.
Red Barrels' horror game, Outlast, will be free for PlayStation Plus users when the service debuts next month. It is locked to the PlayStation 4 only, and for PlayStation Plus subscribers obviously.
But, considering there are already a slew of discounted games, and a free copy of BioShock Infinite on offer, how can you skip on this? On Outlast's Facebook page, the news is confirmed, with a post reading: "Outlast will be free in February for all PlayStation Plus users (PS4 only)."
EA announced today that it would be adding a long awaited offline mode to SimCity nearly a year after the games launch. EA originally required the game to have an always online connection to contact EA's authentication servers. This requirement caused many issues with the game launching and rendered it unplayable for many.
The issues with the always online requirement caused many users to call for its removal, but EA refused to budge on the matter, but less than a year later, the company is saying that it will be issuing an update to bring an offline mode to the game. Unfortunately offline mode may have came a little to late as many of us have forgotten about the game entirely.
Now that Nintendo has some strong competition in the console space, its Wii U console will continue its downward spiral, but the same cannot be said for its handheld 3DS console.
The Japanese giant sold over 16 million physical and digital 3DS games in 2013, which represents a massive 45% year-over-year increase in sales. The 3DS family includes the 3DS, 3DS XL and 2DS, and in the US alone, the 3DS family sold over 11.5 million units. We had some great system-sellers in 2013, including the new Pokemon games, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
This year, the long-awaited Yoshi's New Island will be released, which should have Nintendo fans across the world pressing buttons for months on end.