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It is a great time to be a PC gamer, as there isn't constant grumbling about FPS limitations, and computer hardware continues to move forward at a rapid pace. San Francisco East Bay boutique gaming company Digital Storm has a lot to be happy about, at a time when gamers have more money to spend, hardware is reaching new limits, and PC gaming is enjoying a resurgence when compared to game consoles.
It wasn't long ago when many tried to argue that PC gaming is dead, but that hasn't proven to be true at all.
"It's definitely growing," said Harjit Chana, Digital Storm Chief Brand Officer, in a recent conversation with TweakTown. "That's evidenced by an increase in year-over-year demand of high-performance gaming PCs. Gamers demand the best experience possible game on PCs. PC gaming delivers a superior visual experience (4K graphics, NVIDIA G-SYNC technology, etc.) and the customization a gamer craves. It is a level of gaming that cannot be achieved on any other platform."
The Super Smash Bros. video game for the Nintendo 3DS has tallied 1.2 million digital and physical copies sold since launch less than one month ago. The game title sold 485,000 copies in October alone, and is "the best-selling handheld title so far in 2014," Nintendo proudly boasted.
Wii U gamers can now pre-load Super Smash Bros., with Nintendo promising to send a download code within three days of the game's official launch on Friday, Nov. 21.
Although Nintendo isn't currently battling the Sony PlayStation 4 or Microsoft Xbox One game consoles, its Wii U has seen a 47 percent increase in hardware sales year-over-year - with software sales rising a whopping 84 percent.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has barely been out a week and it's already breaking records on Twitch, with it becoming the most-streamed console game of the year on the Amazon-owned streaming site.
Starting on November 4, there have been over 75,000 unique broadcasters sharing their gameplay footage from the new Call of Duty, with total content views over 26 million. Ernest Le, Director, Publisher & Developer Partnerships with Twitch, said: "Since the Call of Duty community on Twitch is extremely passionate, we are not surprised that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare set a milestone for most streamed console game of the year based on launch week comparisons. Our community spent over an hour a day watching and engaging with people playing the game, illustrating the incredibly strong appeal of live interactive video".
When it comes to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's gameplay, we have 6 million unique viewers last week alone, with over 327 million minutes in total watched. Co-Founder and Studio Head of Sledgehammer Games, Michael Condrey, chimed in: "The response from the global community to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has been incredible, with millions of fans playing the new era of Call of Duty and even more watching the action unfold live on Twitch in its first week in the wild. The team at the studio is thrilled to see that players think the game we've poured our heart and soul into making these last three years is not only be fun to play, but very exciting to watch".
In what feels like out of left field, Telltale Games has announced Tales From The Borderlands, with its first gameplay trailer reveal, below. It's an upcoming five-part episodic series that is based on the popular first-person shooter/RPG from Gearbox Software.
Tales From The Borderlands should land before the New Year on Android devices, and other platforms. The summary of the game explains it well: "You'll play as Rhys, a Hyperion 'suit' with dreams of being the next Handsome Jack, and Fiona, a Pandoran con artist looking to score her biggest ever swindle. Thrown together as unwilling partners in an adventure to recover cash they both think is theirs, their journey will take you on a wild ride through Gearbox's Borderlands universe where gangsters, bandit lords, and Vault Hunters are just some of the obstacles you'll encounter...".
We've been all over the poor performance of Asssassin's Creed: Unity, but while most would lay the blame with its developer, the developer is blaming AMD. An Ubisoft PR manager has blamed AMD-based GPU and CPU configurations for some reason, even though I'm running Intel and NVIDIA and experiencing mass performance issues.
The Ubisoft PR rep said: "We are aware that the graphics performance of Assassin's Creed Unity on PC may be adversely affected by certain AMD CPU and GPU configurations. This should not affect the vast majority of PC players, but rest assured that AMD and Ubisoft are continuing to work together closely to resolve the issue, and will provide more information as soon as it is available".
AMD has fired back in a way, and we will have our talk with AMD up in a few days, but the company talked with WCCFTech, where they said: "The game (in its current state) is issuing approximately 50,000 draw calls on the DirectX 11 API. Problem is, DX11 is only equipped to handle ~10,000 peak draw calls. What happens after that is a severe bottleneck with most draw calls culled or incorrectly rendered, resulting in texture/NPCs popping all over the place. On the other hand, consoles have to-the-metal access and almost non-existent API Overhead but significantly underpowered hardware which is not able to cope with the stress of the multitude of polygons. Simply put, its a very very bad port for the PC Platform and an unoptimized (some would even go as far as saying, unfinished) title on the consoles".
While the dust is only just flying into the air, and hopefully won't be settling any time soon on the Assassin's Creed situation, the creator of the game has formed his own game studio based in Montreal.
Patrice Desilets took to Twitter to announce Panache Studio, his new Montreal-based studio, showing off a new website featuring moose-related motifs. There's absolutely no other information available, but Desilets is honored with creating one of Ubisoft's most successful franchises, being fired from the company last year. It seems it was for the best, as now Ubisoft is finding itself in quite a pickle right now with Assassin's Creed: Unity, which even on high-end builds like what we rock here at TweakTown, runs like utter crap.
But the weird thing is, it's not just the PC version - it's the static hardware in the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 that are also seeing poor performance.
Ubisoft is working on performance problems related to PC gamers of Assassin's Creed Unity, which affects a small number of users. The gaming problem is related to AMD CPU and GPU configurations, with some Steam users saying poor frame rates, audio problems, and occasional freezing and crashing taking place.
"We are aware that the graphics performance of Assassin's Creed Unity on PC may be adversely affected by certain AMD CPU and GPU configurations," Ubisoft said in a statement. "This should not affect the vast majority of PC players, but rest assured that AMD and Ubisoft ware continuing to work together to closely resolve the issue, and will provide more information as soon as it is available."
Meanwhile, console versions of the game are struggling to maintain frame rates, as Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 gamers also have complained.
This holiday season the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, two of the most powerful consoles in gaming history, will compete for gamers' attention. Microsoft has been trailing in sales throughout the last year-according to BetaNews, 3.3 million PlayStation 4s have shipped in the last quarter , whereas Microsoft has only shipped 2.4 million combined Xbox 360 and One units. This holiday season, both console giants will offer bundles in an attempt to climb to the top of the hill. Here are some of the upcoming holiday deals for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Black Friday Comes Early
While both consoles will be offering great bundles this holiday, Microsoft isn't wasting any time offering a discount on their console. IDigitalTimes reports that Microsoft is offering a $50 discount on the Xbox One from now until Jan. 3. This price drop effects all Xbox One bundles as well, meaning that you can already pick up an Xbox One bundle for between $349 and $449.
Sony hasn't reacted to this price cut yet with its own console price cut, though it is possible that something may be announced in the next few weeks. With their console outselling the Xbox One worldwide, it seems unlikely that Sony will decrease the base cost of the PS4 this year.
While the base PlayStation 4 probably won't see a price drop any time soon, Sony and video game retailers are offering some incredible bundles this year. For example, Walmart is offering a PlayStation 4 Mega Console Bundle with a camera, controller, and choice of game for $509. The bundle represents a large discount on the various peripherals and games that a serious gamer would be buying in the next year.
Sony's "Destiny" bundle is being sold by several retailers and includes a copy of the best selling title "Destiny" as well as a special edition Glacier White PlayStation 4 console and controller. The irony of this bundle is that Bungie,the developers of "Destiny" are also the developers of the legendary Xbox exclusive "Halo," and while there is a similar Xbox One bundle on the market, it is very likely Sony bundle sales will conquer Xbox One bundle sales this holiday season.
Last night, I played a couple of hours of the just-released Assassin's Creed: Unity, and was absolutely disgusted at the performance of the game, even on my powerful PC.
I'm running a Core i7-4930K, 16GB of Corsair 2400MHz DDR3 RAM, SSDs galore from SanDisk, and two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980s in SLI - yes, GTX 980s, two of them. All of this is sprinkled over the awesome ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q monitor, which has a native resolution of 2560x1440 and 144Hz refresh rate. I went into the game at 1440p, at its highest possible settings (with anti-aliasing disabled) and was getting an abysmal frame rate.
Quitting out of it, it crashed - and then I couldn't get back into it. Disabling SLI and rebooting, it still didn't work - so I downloaded and installed the new GeForce 344.65 Game Ready drivers, which helped. Back into the game, I reduced the resolution all the way down to 1280x720 and medium detail, which provided around 40-45FPS... which is way, way under what I should be getting. I quit out, jumped into Alien: Isolation which is running at 2560x1440 with everything cranked (again, sans AA) and I was getting 100FPS+. Battlefield 4? Same thing.
Senior Producer on the game, Vincent Pontbriand even said that the studio was "Technically we're CPU-bound. The GPUs are really powerful, obviously the graphics look pretty good, but it's the CPU [that] has to process the AI, the number of NPCs we have on screen, all these systems running in parallel". Now, see that CPU bound commment there - look at the screenshot from the game above (taken on my PC) and tell me how those copy/pasted NPCs would take up precious CPU resources.
We knew it was coming, but Avalanche Studios has confirmed it: Just Cause 3 is coming. JC3 will be released next year, for current-generation consoles and PC.
Xbox One and PS4 users will be over the moon, but Xbox 360 and PS3 users? Not so much. Just Cause 3 will throw gamers into the fictional Mediterranean islands, which are ruled by a dictator. We did hear about microtransactions for Just Cause 3, but the developer has ruled them out, as well as a free-to-play model.
The leaked screenshots? Don't worry about those, according to the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Avalanche, Christofer Sundberg. He said: "Those leaked screenshots were taken from an ancient version of Just Cause 3. Like most games, this one went through an exploratory phase where we looked at different control schemes, different technologies, different business models. Those leaked screenshots show aspects of that process, and in no way reflect the game we are making today".