Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

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by Brian Crecente via Variety

Grand Theft Auto V: Premium Online Edition” is now available in stores for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and hits digital platforms, including for PCs, next week, publisher Rockstar Games announced on Friday. The game will cost $84.99 digitally and $79.99 for the physical version.

The game includes the complete “Grand Theft Auto V” story, “Grand Theft Auto Online,” and all existing gameplay upgrades and content, including “The Doomsday Heist,” “Gunrunning,” “Smuggler’s Run,” and “Bikers.”

It also comes with the Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack, the fastest way for new “Grand Theft Auto Online” players to jumpstart their criminal empires with the most popular content, plus $1,000,000 bonus cash to spend in “Grand Theft Auto Online” — over $10,000,000 (GTA) in value.

“Grand Theft Auto  Online” — the multiplayer component of “Grand Theft Auto V” — went online in 2013. Since its release, “GTA Online” has become Rockstar’s chief money maker with more than 33 million people having logged in over the game’s five years.Rockstar Games ’ continued support of “Grand Theft Auto Online” helped make “Grand Theft Auto V” the United States’ best-selling game. The game has shipped more than 85 million copies to retail.The studio regularly rolls out substantial updates, new items, and new modes for the game. Just this week, Rockstar released “The Vespucci Job” for “Grand Theft Auto Online,” a thinly veiled Rockstar take on the movie “The Italian Job.” In the free new mode, players either get behind the wheel of a Vapid Flash GT Sports Car, the Weeny Issi Classic (an in-game take on the Mini Cooper), or fly a Sea Sparrow helicopter. One team tries to flee through a series of checkpoints while the other group tries to stop them.

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by Rob Thubron via TechSpot

Could the PlayStation 5 be here sooner than expected? That’s what several reports are stating, including one from SemiAccurate, which also claims to have some details about Sony’s new console.

The publication’s article is behind a $1000 paywall, but a summary has appeared on ResetEra. The report says the PlayStation 5, which might not be its final name, will upgrade the Jaguar CPUs found in the PS4 and PS4 Pro in favor of a more powerful Zen-based CPU, previously reported as being an 8 core variety. As for the graphics, the machine is said to use a custom GPU based on AMD’s upcoming Navi architecture.

The new console is also said to come with VR features implemented at the silicon level, suggesting that Sony still believes in its PlayStation VR headsets, which recently received a permanent price decrease.

One thing missing from the report is any mention of backward compatibility with the PS4, which is a feature many are expecting.

The reported specs do sound convincing, especially the use of Zen and Navi—some of AMD’s Vega features appeared in the PlayStation 4 Pro long before they made their way onto the PC via the Radeon line.

The article adds that a large number of PlayStation 5 dev kits are already in the hands of developers, backing up a similar claim made by industry insider Marcus Sellars early last month. SemiAccurate believes this means a 2018 release for the console isn’t totally out of the question, though a 2019 launch seems much more likely. By then, technology such as GDDR6, which is rumored to appear in Nvidia’s next line of GPUs, should be widely available.

Marcus Sellars@Marcus_Sellars

PS5 dev kits went out early this year to third party developers.

SemiAccurate is confident that the “real info” in its report is accurate. The site points out that it correctly revealed the specs of the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch ahead of their release, while it also predicted the console mid-cycle refresh machines: the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro.

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by Jon Russell via Techcrunch

Sony is getting a new CEO after it announced that CFO Kenichiro Yoshida will replace Kazuo Hirai as the head of the Japanese firm.

The move will happen April 1, with Hirai shifting to the role of Chairman.

“I have dedicated myself to transforming the company and enhancing its profitability, and am very proud that now, in the third and final year of our current mid-range corporate plan, we are expecting to exceed our financial targets,” Hirai said in a statement.

“As the company approaches a crucial juncture, when we will embark on a new mid-range plan, I consider this to be the ideal time to pass the baton of leadership to new management, for the future of Sony and also for myself to embark on a new chapter in my life,” he added.

Hirai took the CEO role in 2012 and he has worked in partnership with Yoshida to turn things around in recent years. Among its key initiatives, Sony downsized its loss-making mobile division with layoffs and a more focused set of products, while the PS4 has been a huge financial success. The firm also placed more focus on components, moved into AI, and Hirai personally oversaw the appointment of former Fox exec Tony Vinciquerra as Sony Pictures’ new CEO.

The company reveals its latest financial report today so we may get more information on its plans.

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by Jon Fingas via Engadget

Many a gamer has had regrets about their choice of username — xXxDeathCrusher420xXx might not be quite so appealing in adult life as it was in your teenage years. And for PlayStation fans, that’s been a big problem when your PSN name has always been set in stone. Sony may have seen the light, though. In an interview at PlayStation Experience, the company’s Shawn Layden said he hoped to have a name change option available by next year’s Experience. So what’s the holdup? Layden didn’t dive into specifics, but he said the technical solutions were “more complex than you think.”

As Gamespot notes, Layden said in 2014 (yes, 2014) that Sony had to take steps to prevent griefing. It didn’t want trolls to cause havoc in one game, change their name and promptly ruin someone else’s play session. There’s also the matter of making sure that all your friends see the change. It’s unclear whether or not Sony might ask you to pay to change your handle, as Microsoft does on Xbox Live (again to discourage griefing), but setting up those exchanges could involve some work as well.

There’s no guarantee that Sony will have name changes in place. As you might have noticed, it’s been talking about the idea for years. The narrow time frame suggests the feature is getting close, however, and it’s easy to see this becoming a higher priority given that a PSN account is increasingly vital to making full use of your PS4.

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by Matt Fernandez via Variety

Video game development company Square Enix announced a new entry in the “Tomb Raider” franchise on Thursday.

The “Tomb Raider” series of films and action-adventure video games follows British archaeologist Lara Croft as she solves puzzles and shoots her way through swarms of bad guys to uncover ancient treasures. The “Tomb Raider” Twitter page posted an announcement by Square Enix that “a new Tomb Raider game is coming” and that the company will share news about the game next year.

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“Honestly, we wish we could share it with you now, but we’re taking a new approach this time. Driven by our goal of putting our fans first, we want you to know that it won’t be very long between the official reveal and when you can play,” said Square Enix. Though traditional video game marketing tends to begin well before a game’s release date and follows a project through its development, this new approach looks to shorten the gap between the game’s official reveal and its release date.

The tweet also indicated that the game’s announcement would coincide with “a major event in 2018,” likely the upcoming reboot of the “Tomb Raider” reboot film starring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft that will be released on March 18, 2018. Angelina Jolie previously filled the role in “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.” The “Tomb Raider” franchise has been around since the first game was released in 1996, and was rebooted in 2013. Though an official title has not been announced, a leaked image in 2016 suggests that the new game could be called “Shadow of the Tomb Raider.”

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by Mark Kaufman via Mashable

After years of mercifully letting Kinect continue to exist, Microsoft finally killed the once revolutionary console.

Microsoft told the innovation site Fast Co Design that after seven years of production, it will no longer make the Xbox auxiliary console, which allowed gamers to get off the couch and actively immerse themselves in gaming by jumping, ducking, and punching.

Kinect uses infrared mapping to capture the 3D shapes of rooms and the acrobatic movements of people inside them.

There are still some 35 million Kinect devices in the world today, a testament to its earlier popularity: In 2011, Kinect was the fastest-selling consumer device on Earth, selling over 130,000 units a day for two months.

Gaming developers, however, were not enthusiastic about developing games that involved actively moving bodies. Developers, who flourished by designing games that relied on just a traditional handheld controller, had little incentive to change — so in large part, they didn’t. As a result, few and mostly forgettable games were created that specifically took advantage of the Kinect’s motion features.

Big franchises — like, say, the Halo games — never made the leap to Kinect’s active style of play, at least in any kind of ground-breaking way that could validate the device’s use for developers.

In its later stages of life, Microsoft billed Kinect as a good way to broadcast video and sound over Skype and Twitch, but evidently this still couldn’t justify its existence.

Although a somewhat archaic piece of hardware now, Kinect’s depth-sensing legacy is still quite relevant. Microsoft, for instance, employs Kinect’s camera tech in its mixed-reality Hololens headsets.

Kinect’s 3D-sensing tech also exists beyond Microsoft and will soon be frequently utilized everywhere: It lives on in the forthcoming iPhone X, which has stimulated both excitement and unease with its infrared facial recognition technology, Face ID.

The Kinect itself may be dead, but we’ll see its applications extended well beyond its failed foray into gaming.

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by Jon Fingas via Engadget

You’d be forgiven for wondering what was happening with Super Mario Run. After a flurryof activity in its first few months, things have mostly quieted down. However, Nintendo is about to spark a bit of life into its signature mobile game. It’s releasing an update on September 29th that adds some (frankly needed) variety. You can play as Daisy, for instance. There’s a new world (World Star) with new gameplay elements, and a Remix 10 game mode that randomizes parts of 10 levels for a fast, perpetually fresh experience. You can also listen to your own music while you play, and your character will even don headphones to reflect that you’re not listening to the usual Super Mario themes.

To help spur interest, Nintendo will cut the full game’s price in half between September 29th and October 12th.

It’s no secret that Nintendo is less than thrilled with the game’s performance. Although it was successful in its first few months compared to many mobile games, it didn’t become a major contributor to Nintendo’s bottom line. However, this update shows that Nintendo is committed to mobile gaming for the long haul — it’s not stopping work on a title just because it’s no longer the hot new thing (it helps that this is clearly Nintendo’s marquee mobile game).

The real question is whether or not an update will spur a mini renaissance — that’s not so clear. Few games achieve the same evergreen status you get out of a title like Angry Birdsor Words With Friends. And it doesn’t help that Super Mario Odyssey for the Switch is right around the corner. If you’re a big fan of Nintendo’s ex-plumber, you’re probably focusing your attention on that title instead.

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