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The latest update being pushed out to StarCraft 2 "Starter Edition" in the US brings the game version 2.1. This new update unlocks three races: Terrans, Zerg and Protoss, as well as providing custom maps.
The custom maps can be accessed through the Blizzard Arcade, which is a free game-hosting platform and editing suite offered by Blizzard. This means that if someone posts a new map for DOTA, Warcraft 3, or even StarCraft, everyone in the world will see it, not just StarCraft 2 owners. The US is first with the patch, but it will roll out to other territories shortly.
We've heard rumor upon rumor about Grand Theft Auto V, but we are getting closer to the reported March 2014 release date. Now there's news from Amazon's French and German stores, who have pre-orders up for GTA V.
There's not much else on this report, but we are closer to wrapping up the first month of 2014, and shifting into February. Grand Theft Auto V for the PC is going to be a big deal when it happens, and it really perplexes me that Rockstar is playing its cards so close to its chest - come on Rockstar, give us some love - announce it already!
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.