A lot can happen between the time and the sun rises and sets — especially in the future we live in. So, what’s new ’round these parts? Well, Samsung debuted super thin, all-metal smartphones; our Joseph Volpe penned a eulogy for Nintendo’s Wii U and our Sean Buckley reviewed ASUS’ new gaming laptop, the ROG G751. There are more stories than that, though, and you can find those in the gallery below!
Apparently Mayor Giuliani’s defense worked: Former Panama dictator Manuel Noriega’s case against Activision for including his likeness in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has been dismissed by a California judge. As Kotaku spotted, Activision issued a press release stating that this was an important win for not just video games, but historical fiction in general.”This was an absurd lawsuit from the very beginning and we’re gratified that in the end, a notorious criminal didn’t win,” Giuliani says. So there’s that! Anyone who wants to bend the history books a bit to suit their narrative needs should be pretty much in the clear from here on out.
Source: Activision Blizzard
Super Smash Bros. isn’t just fun to play, it finally gave Nintendo a fun financial quarter, as well. For the first time in a while, the Japanese company turned a profit, 24 billion yen worth ($224 million) to be exact. That’s a big u-turn over last quarter, when it managed to lose 9.9 billion yen ($97 million). Overall, Nintendo sold 3.2 million copies of Super Smash Bros. worldwide, not a bad figure considering that sales started late in the quarter. It also bodes well for the holidays, when Nintendo will launch additional Amiibo figurines that unlock more playable characters. The launch likely also pushed up Wii U sales, which increased to 650,000 units, 100,000 more than last quarter. Despite the good news, however, overall sales for Nintendo are still down 12.8 percent over last year — and Super Smash Bros. games don’t come along every day.
We’ve been singing Sunset Overdrive‘s praises for awhile now and it’s finally time that the rest of the world gets a chance to play it. The Xbox One exclusive isn’t just a killer game, but it’s one of the stand-out releases in this year’s crowded holiday launch season. What makes it so awesome? Well, for starters it places pure fun over everything else, and coming from the folks responsible for the excellent Ratchet and Clank series for PlayStation hardware it really shouldn’t be a surprise. Sunset City is where you’re free to dress up exactly how you want (my character is rocking an orange-and-blue pompadour and a pair of underwear with a stuffed kangaroo head dangling off the front; seriously) and shoot ridiculous weapons at former humans while grinding around on power-lines and bouncing off of cars. Never before have we seen vinyl records used to mow down cartoonish mutants, but hopefully it happens a lot more in the future.
Want a peek at all this madness? Of course you do, and that’s why you should come back here at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT and witness it for yourself as we stream live from the Xbox One. But wait, there’s more! We also have Xbox One download codes to give away for Killer Instinct Season Two: Ultimate Edition, Minecraft, Project Spark and D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die. All you need to do is tune in. If you like what you see, you could even sign up for our Sunset Overdrive Xbox One giveaway, too!
[For the record, I'm playing Sunset Overdrive on an Xbox One, using a retail copy (download) provided by Microsoft. I'm streaming the game over wired internet using the Xbox One Twitch app. All that to say, "This game will likely look prettier and run more smoothly on your home equipment. Streaming conditions vary!"]
Let’s face it: not everyone wants to go through the hassle of setting up a surround sound system piece by piece. As for other alternatives, even the best headphones are only viable for the person wearing them. In an effort to hit a sweet spot between the two (the price of headphones and room-filling audio of multiple speakers) the folks at Razer are launching the Leviathan soundbar and subwoofer kit. For $200 you get an adjustable speaker bar packing four drivers and a separate 5.25-inch subwoofer, which marry to handle your 5.1 surround needs for movies and games. The unit uses Dolby Virtual Speakers to fill in the audio gaps left by its 4-speaker system, while Dolby Digital processing will convert any incoming signal, be it analog stereo or multichannel from an optical cable, to surround sound.
Meaning, you can hook up a game console, a PC or a TV to it and be good to go for a simple sound system that’ll almost assuredly blow the doors off of your TV’s tinny built-in speakers.
Speaking of stereo, do you want to wirelessly beam Mastodon’s Moby Dick-inspired album Leviathan to the Leviathan? Thanks to the setup’s Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity you totally can! Perhaps most surprising of all, though, is the subwoofer that scrapes the depths of the 20Hz range. Many say that 24Hz is the lowest frequency that the human ear can hear, and anything under that is more along the lines of feeling a wave of sound pressure when the bass hits. But, considering the setup’s modest size and power ratings (30w for the sound bar and 30w RMS — meaning, continuous power — for the sub) overall, how well the bass-box actually performs at that ultra-low frequency is anyone’s guess. You can put Razer’s sea-beast through its paces starting this November.
Own a PlayStation 4? Today’s your day: the console’s big 2.0 update is finally live. Sony’s been teasing the update for weeks, lauding the console’s new ability to play music from a USB drive, the availability of system menu themes and promising new voice commands, party options and a less crowded home-screen. The update also gives the console’s unique “share” button a little more power: the ability to upload video clips directly to YouTube and, most notably, remotely stream your games to a friend over the internet. Sony invited me to try some of these features ahead of today’s launch and, yes, they all seem to work just fine — at least in a controlled environment.
Sony walked me through the update in its Palo Alto, CA office last week, showing me the new themes, party options and even a few updated voice commands. The most interesting demo, of course, was SharePlay — the console’s new ability to stream PlayStation 4 games from one console to another over the internet. Think of it as a localized PlayStation Now between your console and a friends. This worked too, but left me with some concern: even in Sony’s controlled demo environment, I noticed a perceptible amount of lag between the monitor displaying the host console and the guest. It wasn’t enough to effect gameplay in Infamous Second Son, but a flightier residential connection could easily render the game unplayable.
The demo left me with a little doubt, but even more optimism — the feature is brimming with potential: it not only gives players the ability to test out their friends’ libraries remotely, but even join them in local multiplayer sessions in games that don’t have online multiplayer! Will SharePlay live up to its potential for the average user? Well, now’s your chance to find out: SharePlay and the PS4 System Software v2.0 is available for download today. Let us know how it works for you in the comments below.
Remember when Walmart announced it was going to start taking video-game trade-ins? Well, now the retail giant’s ready to sell them back to you. Starting November 3rd, some 1,700 of Walmart’s stores will begin selling pre-owned games. And to take another swipe at GameStop, Walmart’s also announced that it’ll be selling this year’s Call of Duty, Advanced Warfare, at 12.01 a.m. on “day zero” without needing to pre-order it. What’s more, any trade-ins made on November 3rd and 4th (Advanced Warfare‘s launch days) will net you 50 percent more credit when you purchase CoD. Need a console to play it on? Well, anything you trade in toward a PlayStation 4 will net you double the in-store credit — tough luck if you wanted a matching Xbox One.
Forget that upcoming Battlefront game for now — the Star Wars titles that hardcore fans have really been looking for are finally here. Good Old Games has announced official re-releases of X-Wing and TIE Fighter that let you play these legendary space combat games (arguably, the best Star Wars games ever) on a modern PC without resorting to bootleg copies or hacks. They’ll cost $10 each when they arrive on October 28th, and they’re Special Editions that include both the CD-ROM content (SVGA graphics! Voiceovers!) as well as all the expansion packs. If you’ve been waiting two decades to once more recreate the Death Star trench run or blow up a Rebel frigate, your moment has come.
Update: As you may have suspected, GOG posted those game links prematurely — they disappeared shortly after we posted our story. Come back on the 28th and they should work properly.
If you liked the looks of Alienware’s new thin-and-light 13-inch laptop or its bigass, futuristic-looking Area-51 desktop, then listen up: Both are on sale beginning tomorrow, with shipments starting in November, and we finally know the full specs. Starting with the Alienware 13, it goes from $999 (£949 in the UK) with a dual-core Core i5-4210U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 2GB NVIDIA GeForce 860M GPU, 1TB 5,400RPM disk and a fairly low-res 1,366 x 768, non-touch matte display. If you like, you can step up to 16GB of RAM, either a hybrid hard drive or up to a 512GB SSD, and either a 1080p non-touch display or a 2,560 x 1,440 touchscreen. It would seem, though, that despite those various upgrade options, there’s only one choice for the CPU and graphics card. Regardless of the configuration you get, the whole thing comes wrapped in a slimmed-down package that weighs about four and a half pounds and measures an inch thick.
Meanwhile, the Area-51 starts at $1,699 (£1,299 in the UK) with a six-core Intel Core i7-5820K processor, a 2GB AMD RadeonTM R9 270 GPU, 8GB of RAM, a 2TB 7,200RPM hard drive and a slot-loading DVD burner. From there, you’ve got lots of upgrade options — way more than on the Alienware 13 laptop. On the CPU side, there’s a slightly faster six-core Intel Core i7-5930K processor (clocked at 3.5GHz instead of 3.3GHz), as well as an eight-core Intel Core i7-5960X chip. In total, there are four memory slots; Dell will ship the machine with eight, 16 or 32GB. When it comes to storage, you can step up to a 128GB SSD plus a 2TB 7,200RPM drive; a 256GB SSD with a 4TB HDD; or a 512GB solid-state drive, also with a 4TB disk.
As for graphics, well, this might take a few sentences: The Area-51 is available in single-, double- and triple-GPU configs. If all you can afford is one graphics card, your upgrade options include a 2GB NVIDIA GTX 770, a 3GB GTX 780, a 4GB GTX 980 or the GTX Titan Z with 12GB of GDDR5 VRAM. Ready to hear the dual-card options? You can get the GTX 770 with 4GB (2 x 2GB), the GTX 780 with 6GB (2 x 3GB), the GTX 980 with 8GB (2 x 4GB) or the Titan Z with 24GB (2 x 12GB). Across the board, NVIDIA’s SLI technology is enabled. Finally, the three-GPU options include a mix of both NVIDIA and AMD cards (but mostly NVIDIA). There’s the GTX 770 with 6GB (3 x 2GB), the GTX 780 with 9GB (3 x 3GB) and the GTX 980 with 12GB (3 x 4GB). If you’re an AMD fan, meanwhile, you an score the Radeon R9 290X with 12 gigs (again, 3 x 4GB). Depending on which brand of graphics card you choose, you’ll get either NVIDIA’s SLI technology or AMD Crossfire. Lastly, there’s a Blu-ray drive option, in case you haven’t quite ditched physical media.
We know what you’re thinking: What the hell is a “graphics amplifier”? (Some of you smartasses are probably also wondering if it goes to eleven.) In fact, it is what it sounds like: The Amplifier, a new accessory from Alienware, is a big ol’ shell that lives on your desk, with room for nearly any desktop-grade GPU (anything up to 375 watts). Once you get that set up, you plug the thing into your gaming laptop via a cable and boom, your notebook is suddenly running off a desktop-grade GPU, not the mobile one that came built inside the chassis. As a bonus, the Amplifier also has four powered USB ports, so you can also use this as a docking station for your keyboard, mouse, monitor, et cetera. And yes, that glowing Alienware head on the front has customizable lighting. Of course it does.
Sounds kinda rad, right? Right. Well, except for one teeny detail: This requires a proprietary, PCI-Express-based cable, one that only works on the new Alienware 13. According to a Dell spokesperson, future models will use the same connection port but for now, even if you have an older Alienware machine you’re outta luck. Of course, too, if you own a notebook from another brand, like Razer or ASUS, this will be of absolutely no use to you. Which makes sense: Dell wants to give people an incentive to buy Alienware laptops. This is, at the end of the day, just an Alienware add-on and little more. But come on, imagine how many of these Dell would sell if it could make the thing work using a common standard.
Assuming we haven’t taken the winds out of your sails, this is up for preorder today for $299 in the US and £199 in the UK (GPU not included), and is expected to ship sometime in November. As for the rest of you, well, we’ll always have Spinal Tap, right?