Weekly Recap: YouTube’s Nextwork’s Xbox One “Deceptive Marketing,” Gamers Hate Jimmy Kimmel

THE BIG STUFF:

YouTube Network “Deceived Customers” With Paid-For Xbox One Videos: The US Government’s Federal Trade Commission announced this week that popular YouTube network had settled charges related to a “deceptive marketing” campaign for Xbox One. Get the full story here.

Watch Jimmy Kimmel’s Latest Response to Angry Gamers: Comedian/late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel’s spat with gamers continued this week, as Kimmel posted another video of himself reading the angry messages he’s received from fans about his YouTube Gaming monologue. But on Friday, Kimmel posted another video where he sat down with two popular YouTube streamers to “hug it out.”

THE OTHER STUFF:

Here’s what Atari’s RollerCoaster Tycoon World looks like in-game. Lookin’ good.

Here’s a great video of a mariachi band doing video game covers. What a time to be alive.

A “gym for nerds” has opened in Los Angeles. The gym is called NerdStrong, and it sounds like a fun, inviting place if you’re looking to get into shape. “It’s time to stop being the scruffy-looking nerf herder and time to get #nerdstrong.”

The free-to-play business model is like feeding asparagus to a baby. That’s according to Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski, who dropped the quote in an interview with Game Informer when discussing his new game, the free-to-play PC shooter LawBreakers.

A lawsuit involving Sony and a high-end Italian flooring company seeking money for their name being used in Gran Turismo 6 has come to an end, with Sony emerging the victor. Get the full story here.

Abbey Games this week released their next game, <a target="_blank" —> Read More

Watch Out for Fake Star Wars Battlefront Beta Sites

Registration for the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront beta has not yet opened. As such, any site claiming to offer access to it is fake and should be avoided, Electronic Arts community manager Matthew Everett says.

“Do not be fooled by fake beta sign-up sites,” he wrote on Reddit. “Our beta registration will live on our official site here: starwars.ea.com.”

The Battlefront beta begins in early October for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. You do not need to preorder the game to get access, but EA has yet to say exactly how you’ll be able to get in.

Battlefront’s beta sounds fairly extensive. It lets you try out the 40-player Walker Assault mode and play a Survival Mission. You can also check out the new mode, Drop Zone, in the beta. EA has not provided a specific start-date for the beta or say how long it will last.

Battlefront launches on November 17, about a month before Disney’s Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens hits theaters in December. EA is also releasing tie-in DLC for Battlefront based on the movie.

—> Read More

PS4 Dualshock 4 20th Anniversary Edition Unboxing

The 20th anniversary Dualshock 4 controller was a big hit when the anniversary console was revealed back at PlayStation Experience in December. To meet the demand of the PlayStation Nation Sony announced the standalone controller would become available for purchase back at E3 2015. After months of waiting the classic design is here for all to enjoy! Heres a complete unboxing showcasing the packaging and the controller itself. —> Read More

Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX (3DS) Review | NWR

NWR:
For the uninitiated, Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX is a mostly-straightforward rhythm game involving button presses and cute anime girls. For the initiated, its the third Western-released game in a series of very good, mostly-straightforward rhythm games involving button presses and cute anime girls. While Mirai DX is just like the two Project Diva games released before on Vita and PS3 in most ways, it manages to do this just a little different and just a little worse. —> Read More

Below Interview with Kris Piotrowski | PAX Prime 2015

Alas, PAX Prime has once more faded into New Gamer Nation’s memory. All that remains are a ton of awesome memories and them looking forward to a crap ton of games. Capybara Games, Below, is one such game. Below has been under development for a wicked long time, but theyve heard that good things come to those who wait. Luckily that wait is nearly over, although officially there isnt a release date yet But hey, theyre optimistic. —> Read More

Performance Analysis: Mad Max

Mad Max takes Avalanche Studios in a new direction: focusing strongly on vehicular combat and exploration of a vast post-apocalyptic wasteland, the developers successfully translate the bleak and unrelenting vision of George Miller’s iconic series into a challenging action title. From a technological perspective, Mad Max also impresses with the studio’s use of complex lighting and extensive post-processing to bring the wasteland to life. Physically-based lighting and clustered shading allow for a large number of simultaneous light sources without heavily impacting on performance, while materials such as sand, metals, and fabrics are accurately rendered with a suitably run-down aesthetic.

In terms of multi-platform comparisons, both console versions of Mad Max operate natively at full 1080p, with the Xbox One game matching the PS4 in the resolution stakes pixel-for-pixel – a pleasant surprise considering the resolution differential in many top-tier games. Edge-smoothing looks impressive, most likely handled by a custom anti-aliasing algorithm (Avalanche has a history of experimenting with its own techniques in this area). While the details on the actual AA implementation remain unknown right now, the technique in play here works well in tackling jaggies when exploring the vast wasteland, with rocky canyons and sand tunes appearing suitable smooth. That said, sub-pixel details aren’t handled quite as successfully and shimmering across small objects and more intricate structures is noticeable when exploring outposts scattered across the post-apocalyptic landscape.

An initial gaze across the rest of the game’s graphically rich visuals reveals a welcome level of parity across both consoles, with the same core art and effects work deployed equally in almost every area between the two formats. Texture filtering, depth of field, motion blur, and shadow quality all match up nicely to the point where differences you may see in our media are mostly a product of a dynamic time —> Read More

Fan Creates Awesome The Last of Us 2 Art

The Last of Us 2 Ellie Snow

Although the game was released in the twilight years of the last console generation, The Last of Us is seen as one of the standout games of the PS3. The Naught Dog-developed Sony exclusive, which bizarrely started life as a failed reboot of Jak & Daxter, gained a huge fanbase and massive critical acclaim, and there was plenty of praise for the game’s tight story and extremely tense moments. The post-apocalyptic horror was a commercial smash too, selling 6 million copies by March 2014 alone – not bad for a game that its own co-director expected to fail.

The game’s success has continued well beyond its original release, however, as The Last of Us saw an impressive remastered re-release for the PS4. Meanwhile, fans of the game have had some hope that there would be a sequel to the title that is generally thought to be one of the best games of the last console generation. Voice actor extraordinaire Nolan North stoked the fires of fan expectation during a Q&A panel at MetroCon, by casually stating that he knows “they’re doing a The Last of Us 2.”

Since then, Troy Baker has clouded the water somewhat, with the voice of Joel stating that he does not know anything about a potential The Last of Us sequel. However, that hasn’t stopped some gamers from wondering about exactly what form the sequel would take, with one intrepid fan even creating some hugely impressive fan art for the as-yet-unconfirmed project. The Last of Us player Sackboy_305 took to the official PlayStation Forums to unveil a pair of excellent fan-made images of how The Last of Us 2 may look.

The two images, which showcase Ellie in a pair of in-game environments, use Naughty Dog’s own —> Read More

Former Destiny Composer Wins Lawsuit with Bungie

destiny guardian jumping

While the video game industry can at times seem as far away from a traditional business venture as possible, it does have an ugly side that comes with the billions of dollars of revenue being generated from popular titles like Destiny and Halo. Sometimes, like in the case of Peter Molyneux’s series of failures with 22 Cans, the failures and disappointments that can stem from being a high profile employee in gaming are on display for public consumption throughout the entire process.

Sometimes, however, internal conflict remains largely hidden, quietly resolved before arbitrators and judges are brought in or too low-profile for major media outlets to cover. The situation regarding ex-Bungie composer Marty O’Donnell and his former bosses was one such instance, with details of the lawsuit remaining obscure…until today, that is.

A report from Venture Beat released today announced that Marty O’Donnell had won what they termed as the “epic lawsuit” he had filed against his former employer, Bungie. O’Donnell is the composer who created the iconic, haunting scores that characterize the Halo series and Bungie’s more recent project, Destiny. Bungie terminated O’Donnell’s contract without cause back in April 2014, also choosing not to pay him for all his unused vacation time and other benefits he had accrued in his fourteen years of employment. Bungie also stripped O’Donnell of all his shares in the company, stating that his ownership of them would create a “bothersome presence at board meetings and in the company”.

O’Donnell clearly felt he had been wronged, and in the end, the arbitrator assigned to his case agreed with him: Venture Beat reports that O’Donnell is entitled to $142,500 for his share of the profit that he has missed since the case began and the shares he was stripped of, on top of a previous settlement. —> Read More

Grow Home and the pleasures of a world you can touch

If you play enough first-person shooters, something really weird can set in from time to time – something strangely off-putting. In certain games the depth of the environment can drop away after a while, the world steadily losing its tangibility, and you start to realise that, underneath everything – or maybe somehow above everything – you’re just a reticule scudding over the screen, roving and hovering and blasting.

It’s so odd when this happens – when a rich 3D world suddenly becomes entirely 2D, when the animations become little more than dressings for hit boxes, when you realise that you are little more than a deadly camera passing across the environment from a polite and uncrossable distance. It’s not only first-person games, either. The original Mercenaries, good as it was, could often turn into a reticule experience. Even the first Uncharted did it on occasion.

This probably helps explain why developers spend such a lot of time laying on little elements that draw you back into the fiction of the world – back into the fiction that there is a world in the first place. Here’s your hand working away during a reload. Here’s a little bit of motion blur as you turn. Here’s splattered blood or splintered light playing against the lens of the game, to suggest to you that there is a lens – not that this would make it any more real, of course, but for video games realism must be approached from a jaunty angle – and that there is a landscape beyond the lens.

—> Read More

Review: Armello offers board game fun, woodland creatures, and blood | GameCrate

At its core Armello is a four-player digital board game, with simulated dice and cards and even a board of sorts made up of hexagons. In contrast to digital adaptations of pre-existing board games however, Armello was built from the ground up as a video game experience, which means that its “board” is made up of intricately detailed natural environments, and neutral AI characters move around the board posing obstacles to all players. —> Read More

Xbox One Getting Reputation System Changes

The initial release of the Xbox One was slightly more rocky than Microsoft would have hoped for. The console saw backlash from fans before it even hit store shelves, with criticism over a proposed always-on internet requirement and a strong stance against gamers playing used games. Indeed, the dogmatic policies not only caused a stinging PR message from Sony, but also strong criticism from members of the US military due to their restrictive nature.

Thankfully, Microsoft loosened on those ideas, and a much more flexible approach over other policies has also come to the surface since the console’s launch. A much-criticized launch parity requirement, which ruled out an Xbox One release for indie games that initially saw life on another console, has since been softened. There have also been a number of other improvements to the console, with Microsoft trying a make amends for a number of much-wanted but ultimately missing launch features.

Now, it looks as though the tech giant is going to take another step towards tweaking the Xbox One. Mike Ybarra, Director of Program Management for Xbox, took to Twitter to explain that there are going to be some major changes to the way in which the Xbox One’s online reputation system works. Ybarra spoke out to his Twitter followers, explaining that “We’re looking at reputation and have changes in the works. More on this soon.”

We’re looking at reputation and have changes in the works. More on this soon.— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) September 3, 2015

When the Xbox One’s reputation system was initially revealed, Microsoft made its end goal abundantly clear. The system would aim to “reward” good players, whilst punish trolls and aggressive behavior. The player’s rating would be separated into the categories of “Good”, “Needs —> Read More

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