Wednesday April 16th, 2014
| Most likely welcome news for the proper english speaking blokes and mates - Newegg is expanding its overseas operations.
As a consumer, more competition can be a good thing. Competition in manufacturing brings innovation and might help drive core pricing down, whereas competition in selling pits retailers against each other to see who will accept the lowest profit margin. In the US, Newegg is a big name when it comes to computer components and pre-built PCs, but also sells hand blenders, sporting goods and toys. It also allows third-party sellers to get in on the act, and as such you can navigate to Newegg to purchase a dust pan and brush.Full article @ Anandtech
For users outside the US, sometimes Newegg’s deals seem almost ridiculous. Part of that is because of the different tax regime, but sometimes there are US only parts (laptops spring to mind) that are unavailable elsewhere. Back at Mobile World Congress in February, I met with Newegg. I was told (with glee) that Newegg would be coming to Europe and other regions over the course of the next few months. Last week the official announcement was made: Newegg is now selling to the UK and Australia.
Posted By WiCKeD @ 11:41 PM
| Right now, I can tell you that about 37 percent of the roughly 781 million games registered to various Steam accounts haven’t even been loaded a single time. I can tell you that Steam users have put an aggregate of about 3.8 billion hours into Dota 2. I can tell you that Steam users tend to put nearly 600 percent more time into the multiplayer mode on Modern Warfare 2 than the single player mode.
Basically, I can give you an idea of how any of the thousands of games on Steam have performed, both in terms of sales and gameplay hours.
These estimates are based on publicly available information described in much more detail below. It's the kind of data that the public almost never gets access to in the video game industry. Sure, we get a monthly “Top 10” list of best-selling titles in the US from tracking firm NPD, but these results smash together myriad versions of multi-platform releases and don’t even contain specific sales numbers these days (foreign services like Britain’s Chart-Track and Japan’s Media Create are slightly more robust in their public reporting). Those with deep pockets can pay for access to a treasure trove of historic and current sales numbers, but subscribers are contractually forbidden from sharing those numbers with the public. Steam, to its credit, offers real-time and “daily peak” snapshots of how many players use its 100 most popular games, but these numbers can be transitory and don’t reflect total sales or play time very well.
This is in stark contrast to movies, music, and TV, where organizations like Billboard, Nielsen, or even the movie studios themselves regularly release robust sales and performance data; data that forms the basis for massive analytical web sites. In the realm of video games, on the other hand, we’re usually at the mercy of occasional leaks or publishers that will sometimes (but not always) announce when they’ve passed a big round sales number milestone. Sites like VGChartz have tried to solve this problem by generating their own wide-ranging video game sales estimates, but there are some well-documented issues with their data collection methods and reporting.
We've come up with what we believe is a much more robust way of estimating sales and player data based on publicly available information, at least when it comes to games specifically on Valve’s Steam download service. The information we’ve collected over the past few months includes not only sales estimates for every game on Steam, but also data on how many hours Steam users have spent time playing those games. The result is a wide-ranging survey of a service that estimates suggest represents 70 to 75 percent of the current PC gaming market in the US.
Today, we’re going to start sharing that data with you. But first, let’s discuss where our numbers actually come from as well as the strengths and limitations of our approach.
Guilty as charged. I have Dark Souls, Dishonored and a few other games that I've either never downloaded after purchase or downloaded and installed but never played.
When it comes to most played, Football Manager wins hands-down.
With FM13 and 14 combined, I've got a total playtime of 1119 hours. (682 and 437).
Posted By CybrSlydr @ 7:36 AM
Tuesday April 15th, 2014
|If you’re a gamer who’s over 24, then I’ve got some bad news for you. According to a new study titled, “Over the Hill at 24,” a gamer’s “self-initiated response time” within a video game tends to decline once they hit 24. Scientists from Simon Fraser University in British Colombia observed 3,305 StarCraft II players between the ages of 16 and 44, and concluded that a player’s response time and overall speed declines a lot earlier in life than you might expect. But, on a good note, the scientists also found out that a decline in dual-task performance and in-game multitasking doesn’t have any relation to a player’s age, which would explain why my Grandma was so darn good at Sim City. Her ability to raise taxes and put out fires at the same time is legendary.
Posted By CybrSlydr @ 11:31 AM
Wednesday April 9th, 2014
| It may still be a few years before we see proper DDR4 adoption in the consumer space, but some memory manufacturers are certainly gearing up for the onslaught of motherboards supporting the improved memory spec. SK Hynix is one such company, today unveiling a DDR4 module with a massive capacity of 128 GB.
Based on Through Silicon Via (TSV) technology, the memory module uses SK Hynix's 20nm 8Gb chips, densely packed onto the standard-sized RAM unit. The module packs speeds of 2133 Mbps, and through a 64-bit wide bus can support transfers at 17 GB per second. It's also expected to be power efficient, operating at just 1.2V compared to the 1.5V required for DDR3.
It's no surprise that the 128 GB DDR4 module is destined for server applications, as its huge capacity will likely go unused in consumer systems for the time being. SK Hynix has mentioned that mass production of the modules will begin in 2015, coinciding with availability of DDR4-capable hardware.
Posted By kyle2227 @ 9:09 AM
Tuesday April 8th, 2014
| The world of accessible Ultra HD PC gaming is just over the horizon. As the prices for 4K monitors are finally reaching a point where the average person may have a shot at attaining one, competent graphics cards are also on the rise. Later this month, AMD will launch the next Radeon R9 series card, packing in 8GBs of memory and a decidedly simple cooling solution.
The Radeon R9 295X2 is the follow-up to AMD's R9 290X, and boasts--in some cases more than--twice the power. Packing in dual Hawaii 290X chips, the 295X2 is designed for 4K readiness, with an impressive 11.5 TFLOPs of compute power and 8GB of GDDR5 memory. A GPU clock of up to 1018MHz and 5,632 stream processors round out this Mantle-ready card.
Specs aside, the 295X2 sports a rather elaborate design--at least in comparison to AMD's recent Radeon cards. The metal housing looks sharp, and the glowing red on-board fan is a far cry from prior R9 units. And while you'll need a hefty power supply to support the 500W demands of the 295X2, the air/liquid cooling setup should keep your PC from sounding like a locomotive.
You can pick up the R9 295X2 from retailers, starting April 21, for $1,500 USD. The price and specs put the 295X2 in direct competition with Nvidia's Titan Black, but it's also half the price of the recently announced--and insanely powered--Titan Z. Admittedly, all of these cards are probably overpowered for a 1080p setup, but if you're already moving into the 4K space, this is where you're headed.
Posted By CybrSlydr @ 12:14 PM
Monday April 7th, 2014
| Nvidia is officially launching the next version of its GeForce Experience software for PC today. Version 2.0 adds a number of new features, including the addition of one-click streaming to Twitch for notebook users. Additionally, the Shield handheld console will now have the ability to stream games from desktop PCs, even when you're out on the go.
While GeForce Experience currently allows compatible desktop PCs to stream games to Shield on the same Wi-Fi network, today marks the first time laptop computers--with a Kepler-based Nvidia GPU--can take advantage of the Gamestream functionality. Twitch streaming, via Shadowplay, is also now available for notebooks.
Nvidia's Battery Boost technology, built into the GeForce Experience 2.0 update, analyzes CPU performance and memory allocation to supposedly double the amount of playtime on laptops.
"Battery life really sucks without any power source connected," said Nvidia's James Wang. "Now we've gone back to basics and optimized it on a system level."
Desktop PC gamers with a compatible Nvidia GPU can also expect new features in GeForce Experience 2.0. Game capture through the software now allows for full-screen broadcasting; a big plus for games traditionally played in windowed mode.
Shadowplay will also auto-name your Twitch stream with the title of the game you're currently playing, and wider broadcasting options--custom output resolution, custom framerate--should speed up the experience.
And at long last, Shield owners can now stream PC games away from home. The beta feature isn't available for notebooks just yet, and you'll need a recommended bandwidth of 5Mbps upload and download on the remote Wi-Fi location. Nvidia and Valve recently announced Portal would find its way onto Shield in the near future.
Posted By CybrSlydr @ 9:18 AM
Monday March 31st, 2014
| EA has announced its Origin platform will be going all-digital on April 4.
A blog post explains this means that only digital downloads will be offered for both PC and Mac platforms in future.
"What does this mean for you? If you're among 99 percent of our users, absolutely nothing," it reads. "Your shopping experience hasn't changed one single bit.
"But if you're that 1 percent who still desires a physical collection, we want to let you know that Origin won't be able to fulfill that need beginning April 4th. We’ll still be here when you transition your gaming habits to the wonders of digital downloads.
"Digital is fast and convenient. Origin’s focus is to give gamers the best experience, and going all-digital will make that possible."
Well that sucks.
No, Digital Only isn't really that fast - give me a disc and give me a download of BF4 and we'll see which installs faster.
Posted By CybrSlydr @ 7:33 AM
Sunday March 30th, 2014
| A short update, the Haswell Refresh ‘K’ Series will indeed be supported on the Intel 9 Series Motherboards, these slides were leaked by Hermitage Akihabra, a well known leak source. According to the slides, the Haswell Refresh K-Series processors would be specifically targeted for compatibility with the 9-Series chipset while the rest of the Haswell Refresh lineup would be compatible with both 8-Series and 9-Series chipsets.
Posted By Witchdoctor @ 8:19 AM
Saturday March 29th, 2014
| According to TechCrunch's source, the sale was made in November of last year, but the patents transferred over to Microsoft in January. You can find some of the patents here, which list Microsoft as the assignees as of January 15 of this year.
The technology is not virtual reality, but rather augmented reality technology. The patents showcase something closer to Google Glass, with imagery being projected onto glass worn in front of the users eyes.
I personally like the idea of something like this over VR. The VR sets are too big and heavy (I get headaches too easy from weight on my head, cant even wear hats). Can see this being used for things like HUD elements, distorting vision when near an EMP in something like Titanfall, enemy tracking, detailed car info (damage, etc), also they have a patent for it to sync with a watch style device which I assume they will sync to a phone or tablet with smartglass.
Posted By Cecil @ 9:29 PM
Thursday March 27th, 2014
| Frog Fractions 2 developer, Twinbeard, has added a very optimistic stretch goal to its Kickstarter campaign: "Buy Oculus back from Facebook."
The price? A cool $2 billion. The same price Facebook paid in cash and company stock to acquire Oculus earlier this week. Realistically, the Kickstarter will never hit that mark, of course. And even if it did, there's no indication Facebook is looking to sell its newest investment.
Still, it's a funny, well-timed gag that matches the project's other zany stretch goals like:
Jumping back to reality, the Frog Fractions 2 Kickstarter has raised over $45k of its $60k goal, with twelve days left to donate. You can play the first game for free here. Don't use a guide!
- $230k -- We realize the gravity gun is unbalanced and take it out.
- $250k -- Andre Felipe Felipe as a playable character.
- $320k -- In making this game, Jim Crawford will learn the true meaning of friendship.
Pretty good idea to get hits. :)
Posted By CybrSlydr @ 6:41 PM
| The European Commission has approved tax breaks for game development in the UK.
MCV reports that the benefits are thought to affect around 25 percent of UK produced games.
"The European Commission has concluded that UK plans to grant certain tax relief to producers of video games are in line with EU state aid rules,” the EC has confirmed. “The Commission has found in particular that the measure provides incentives to developers to produce games meeting certain cultural criteria, in line with EU objectives."
In order to qualify for the tax breaks, a cultural test must be passed. Points are doled out based on whether development takes place in the UK, where the team originates from and what roles they perform. There are also elements that explore the content of the game, with the amount set in the UK, the number of British characters and the focus of the story all affecting the game's eligibility.
There was some concern last week following the announcement of the UK budget, as no mention was made regarding the long-awaited tax breaks. Thankfully, it seems like the panic is over.
Posted By CybrSlydr @ 12:30 PM
Tuesday March 25th, 2014
| Thought that NVIDIA's Titan Black was as good as it gets in the GPU world? You were mistaken. Meet the GeForce GTX Titan Z (seen in all its glory after the break), NVIDIA's latest graphical behemoth announced by CEO Jen-Hsun Huang today at NVIDIA's 2014 GPU Technology Conference. The Z packs dual Kepler GPUs specifically designed to operate in perfect power and performance harmony. It also keeps cutting-edge games (like those using Unreal Engine 4) running smoothly at up to 5K resolution and on multiple monitors thanks to 12GB of dedicated memory. For now, other Titan Z details are scarce, but we know it costs $3,000, and Huang likens its performance to that of a supercomputer -- what more do you really need to know?
looks neat but IDK about $3K neat....2 titan blacks would be $2K and likely the same GPU power... I guess time will tell.
Posted By Prozium @ 7:53 PM
| Facebook has announced that it will acquire Oculus VR, makers of the Oculus Rift for $2 billion. Announced today, the social networking giant will acquire the Oculus VR for $400 million in cash and 23.1 million in Facebook shares.
"While the applications for virtual reality technology beyond gaming are in their nascent stages, several industries are already experimenting with the technology, and Facebook plans to extend Oculus' existing advantage in gaming to new verticals, including communications, media and entertainment, education and other areas." a Facebook press release read. "Given these broad potential applications, virtual reality technology is a strong candidate to emerge as the next social and communications platform."
In a post to Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed the acquisition and reinforced the company's commitment to gaming experiences, and stated that Oculus will continue to operate independently. Facebook will aid the VR innovators in developing new content partnerships. He goes on to note the potential for the platform to expand to "new kinds of experiences" and be leverages as a "new communication platform."
"By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life," Zuckerberg writes. "Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures."
Oculus VR founder Palmer Lucky and other leaders posted a statement on the company's blog:
"Facebook understands the potential for VR. Mark and his team share our vision for virtual reality’s potential to transform the way we learn, share, play, and communicate," the post reads. "Facebook is a company that believes that anything is possible with the right group of people, and we couldn’t agree more."
Facebook will hold a conference call later today to discuss the acquisition. IGN will be participating, so stay tuned for updates.
I'm hoping this is an early April Fool's joke.
Posted By CybrSlydr @ 5:09 PM
Thursday March 20th, 2014
| Today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft took the lid off its graphics API, DirectX 12. According to the company, developers will have the ability more direct control over their visuals than ever, with more complex scenes and rendering features. And yes, these changes should translate to Xbox One games, in addition to a new focus across multiple platforms.
“Xbox One games will see improved performance and we’ll bring the same API to all Microsoft platforms,” said Microsoft's Anuj Gosalia during today's GDC presentation.
Microsoft wants DirectX 12 to exist as a "console-like" API, making it easier for developers to work with higher consistency and predictability. Direct3D 12 will apparently spread performance across multiple cores, lowering overall strain on hardware, and creating an environment where your rig--or PC rig--will have more headroom for running high-end graphics. Microsoft says 40 percent of all DirectX 11 hardware will be ready for DirectX 12 on day one.
Chris Tector of Turn 10 Studios presented a demo of Forza Motorsport 5 running through Direct3D 12 on PC. Tector was quick to point out Direct3D 12 would allow developers to more efficiently handle resources, but it was difficult to see exactly how Direct3D 12 was really impacting the game's performance based on the demo. Overall, the game looked more or less the same as it does on Xbox One.
While GPU manufacturer AMD was present at the presentation--and were adamant DirectX 12 would offer improvements to performance--it's still a bit unclear to what extent existing AMD graphics cards will take full advantage of DirectX 12. AMD did say its existing customers will "benefit."
Intel vice president Eric Mintzer said 4th-gen Core processors will be ready for DirectX 12 at launch, and the the "most important" improvements may affect lower-power Intel CPUs, thanks to improved power management. Additionally, DirectX 12 will be supported on Fermi, Kepler, Maxwell, and future Nvidia architectures, said Nvidia's senior vice president Tony Tomasi.
"Epic will be working closely with NVIDIA and Microsoft to create a world-class implementation of DX12 in Unreal Engine 4," said Epic Games' Tim Sweeney. "DirectX12 is a great step forward, exposing low-level hardware functionality through an industry standard API to give developers more control and efficiency than ever before."
Interestingly, Qualcomm also gave a presentation extolling the virtues of DirectX 12 for mobile. According to company vice president of engineering Eric Demers, DirectX 12 could be the missing link between console and mobile. “We’re excited to see Xbox and PC titles move into mobile," said Demers.
As far as compatibility across Windows operating systems, Microsoft was a bit coy. While DirectX 12 will not support Windows XP, but Windows 7 support is unclear, only saying they weren't "discussing Windows 7 support today." Moreover, Microsoft stated 50 percent of all PC game rigs will be DirectX 12 compatible at launch. A preview of DirectX 12 is due out later this year.
Posted By CybrSlydr @ 1:17 PM
Wednesday March 19th, 2014
| During a media briefing at the 2014 Game Developers Conference, Epic Games addressed the future of its studio. Epic's "crown jewel," Unreal Engine 4, will become available to anyone in the general public for $19 per month, Epic founder Tim Sweeney announced.
"This is the start of something new for Epic," Sweeney said. “With Unreal Engine 4 we’re looking to wipe the slate completely clean. Everyone who subscribed to the engine gets access to the complete C++ code.” Subscribers will be able to ship games on PC, Mac, iOS and Android with a payment of 5% of gross revenue. A new set of online forums, an online Q&A section, and video tutorials will become available for Epic users.
Unreal Engine 4 subscriptions are available starting today.
Epic made a basic first-person shooter demo that anyone can download and learn from. "The engine isn't just a shooter engine anymore," Sweeney said. "You're really not limited by what Epic provides at all."
Sweeney suspects UE4 would be a good entry point for “high end Minecraft players” looking to create something more ambitious on their own. “This is a tool, and engine, that can benefit absolutely everybody.”
Epic demonstrated the flexibility of its Unreal Engine 4 editor, which allows developers to modify in-game materials, physical properties, and other features for players quickly, efficiently, and in real-time. The Blueprint visual editor showcased during last year’s Infiltrator demo allows developers with minimal A.I. experience to, say, create behaviors for characters. Epic also showcased a Flappy Bird clone, created by an artist in two days using Blueprint and no code, to demonstrate the simplicity of its engine’s “games within games” capabilities using UE4’s visual tools.
IGN is interviewing Epic Games about its future soon.
Interesting. Might we finally see more indie games with better graphics?
Posted By CybrSlydr @ 2:44 PM