Back in January, Tomb Raider executive producer Scot Amos told Eurogamer that the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot finally achieved profitability toward the end of last year. Today, in a "Special Note" to fans, Crystal Dynamics' studio head Darrell Gallagher wrote, "By the end of this month we will surpass 6 million units for our Tomb Raider reboot, and, having achieved profitability back in 2013 Tomb Raider has exceeded profit expectations and continues to make significant contributions to our overall financial performance." Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the game's initial release.
While publisher Square Enix was initially "very disappointed" in Tomb Raider's sales performance, it seems that's no longer the case. Not only did the game have the most launch day sales and first month sales in franchise history, it is now poised to become "the best-selling game in the history of the franchise!" It is unclear whether these numbers include the "next-gen" Definitive Edition, but either way, it's quite the feat.
If you have yet to experience the Tomb Raider reboot and you're a PlayStation 3 owner with a North American PS+ subscription, you can currently grab the game for free as part of the Instant Game Collection. A sequel is currently in development, but no further information has been divulged, except for Gallagher saying that Crystal Dynamics is "looking forward to building on the success and lessons learned from the reboot to continue redefining and setting new benchmarks for Tomb Raider in the years to come."
In a surprise offering by Verizon Wireless, the major cellular carrier is now selling the newly released Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. The device is incredibly powerful and versatile, offering a quad core processor, 3GB of RAM, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, and a massive 12.2-inch display that boasts a 2560 x 1600 resolution. Samsung is also including its S Pen stylus to the Note Pro 12.2, which adds extra functionality to the tablet. Verizon Wireless is offering the immersive Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 with a two-year agreement for $749.99. Customers who do not want a contract with the device purchase can secure the Samsung tablet from Verizon Wireless for $849.99.
Thermaltake has announced the availability of a boom box speaker system targeted at smartphones. The GroovyT Magic Boom Box Speaker is released under the LUXA2 brand name and offers a quick method to turn your smartphone into a stereo. The T in the product name stands for "touch" as that is how devices are connected. Users only need to place their devices on the GroovyT and the sound will begin to play through the speakers. An 800mAh battery provides for up to five and a half hours of playtime and a charge time of three hours ensures that you will be back to listening in a small amount of time. The GroovyT will be available at an MSRP of $14.99.
Although Google has had the ability to provide users with maps of indoor locations for some time, the feature has just been announced for Yahoo. Director of Product Management, Fred Benz, notes that users of Yahoo Maps can now find maps for select indoor venues around the world. The implementation of the new feature is likely due to a prior partnership that Yahoo made with Nokia, using the maps and navigation services offered by Nokia. Some of the locations that have been added to Yahoo Maps include airports, shopping malls, and train stations. Contact information for businesses located within the select venues, along with an interactive building directory, is available for many of the indoor locations now found within Yahoo Maps.
The new indoor feature is only available to Yahoo users on a computer platform.
Larry Hryb, who is the Director of Programming for Xbox Live, has revealed that for a limited time Forza Motorsport 5 will be bundled with the Xbox One. The exclusive combination of the Xbox One and the latest Forza Motorsport racing title will begin next week, with select retailers selling the limited time bundle for $499.99. Hyrb, who is more commonly known by his Xbox Live gamertag "Major Nelson," did note that the copy of Forza Motorsport 5 included with the Microsoft video game console will be digital. The newly announced limited time bundle will only be available for customers located within the United States.
Developer Team NINJA has released twenty new screenshots for its over-the-top, blood-soaked hack-and-slash game, Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, which you can enjoy below. The studio also announced an exclusive pre-order discount for the Steam (PC) release of the game, knocking the price down to $49.99 beginning tomorrow (March 7) and lasting until launch (March 21). The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions release on March 18 for $59.99, without any pre-order discount.
If you're not familiar with Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, be sure to watch the Combat Trailer that was released last week.
There is a decent chance we all know what it is like to go through a power outage, when we cannot use our electronics to get to our favorite websites and such. When power is restored, we can go back to our lives before, but what if a datacenter were taken offline, and the cause was a greater disaster than just a power outage? Researchers are wondering that as well and there will be multiple presentations at the OFC Conference and Exposition on it, as reported by the Optical Society.
One of the works to be presented is an algorithm that studies the risk and usage factors of data centers. Based on that information, the algorithm can determine where past to copy or move data, so that if an at-risk data center is taken down, data will not be lost and potentially users will not lose access.
Another presentation will focus on integrating wireless technology with optical fiber cables. With integrated wireless technology, if the cable is damaged, a temporary emergency wireless network can be created, until more permanent repairs can be made. A new antenna architecture featuring two differently polarized and isolated pairs of antennas will also be presented, with its 146 Gb/s data transmission rate.
In a rather unexpected turn of events, Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) President and CEO Jack Tretton announced he is stepping down from his position at the end of this month. Shawn Layden, the current Executive Vice President and COO of Sony Network Entertainment International, will take over as SCEA's new President and CEO on April 1, 2014. Tretton's decision to step down is evidently a mutual agreement between himself and SCEA to not renew his contract. He has been with SCEA since its beginning in 1995, and was one of the founders of the company's executive team. Tretton has been involved with every PlayStation launch in North America, from the original system all the way up to the most recent PlayStation 4. He's also responsible for helping grow the PlayStation brand in Canada and Latin America, and really making the brand so well recognized throughout North America.
Tretton had nothing but the best to say about his time at SCEA, as he issued the following statement:
Although I will deeply miss the talented team at SCEA and the passion demonstrated every day by our fans, I'm very excited about starting the next chapter of my career. I want to thank the employees, partners and customers for their tireless commitment to the PlayStation brand and, of course, to our fans who have pushed us to new heights of innovation and entertainment over the past two decades. I leave PlayStation in a position of considerable strength and the future will only get brighter for PlayStation Nation.
Shawn Layden has pretty big shoes to fill once Tretton departs, but it seems Andrew House, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, has the "utmost confidence" in Layden's abilities. It's going to be interesting seeing someone new introduce and host PlayStation's E3 show, but I guess that time had to come sooner or later.
The PC version of Dark Souls II has finally received an official release date – April 25, 2014 (compared to March 11 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360). Pre-ordering on Steam or other major retailers nets you quite a few digital bonuses: early access to the Black Armor Weapon Set, the digital soundtrack, the Official Dark Souls II Artbook in PDF format, and the complete Dark Souls II Digital Comic Book.
While the PC version of the original Dark Souls was a (rather poor) straight port, in today's press release, publisher Namco Bandai made sure to ensure PC gamers, that is not the case this time around: "Adventurers will be delighted to discover that the PC & STEAM® version will fully benefit from PC capabilities: increased texture resolution and an enhanced frame rate option. On top of that, FromSoftware have been working to perfectly adapt the game for a mouse & keyboard combo."
Mathieu Piau, EMEA Marketing Director at Namco Bandai Games Europe, explained that Namco Bandai is "conscious of the high expectations from PC gamers and are working with FromSoftware in ensuring that the PC version of Dark Souls II offers the best experience possible."
Namco Bandai also released part one of the Dark Souls II Prologue:
Dragon Age: Inquisition, the third game in the Dragon Age series, is looking quite good. Using EA DICE's Frostbite 3 engine, Inquisition features a large, complex world with diverse environments and certainly upping the ante from the previous two games. Today, BioWare released a video entitled "Discover the Dragon Age", which "highlights only some of the locations you can choose to visit during your adventure. Each area in the video has its own realistic ecosystem with predators, prey, factions, and opportunities to expand your Inquisition."
Dragon Age: Inquisition is planned for a Fall 2014 release for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. There's also still time to win the opportunity to voice a character in the game!
It's never easy to take a highly anticipated title and tell those eagerly awaiting its arrival that there's going to be a delay. But that's what Ubisoft felt it had to do with Watch Dogs in October of last year, just a month before its original release date. I've always been of the mindset that delaying a game for extra development time is never a bad thing, so despite having wanted to play Watch Dogs since it was unveiled at E3 2012, I was okay with the move. When I saw a live demo and visited the Ubisoft Montreal studio back in October and saw so many people hard at work on the game, that certainly reassured me.
Fast forward to today and Ubisoft has finally announced the official release date for Watch Dogs – May 27, 2014 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. The Wii U version will be coming at an undetermined later date. Because a release announcement just wouldn't be complete without an awesome new trailer, Ubisoft has also released the official "Story Trailer":
In a separate UbiBlog post, Senior Producer Dominic Guay answered a lot of the questions surrounding the delay, including just what "polish" meant to the Ubisoft Montreal team. One of the major acts of polishing that occurred revolved around increased variety. Guay explained that "once you do a lot of playtests you realize there are certain parts of the city where players go more than others." As a result, the studio "actually produced more content that would fit into the areas where the players went more, moved content around a little bit, looked at it again, played it again," and continued the process until the team was satisfied. Because Watch Dogs is a rather big game, this took quite awhile.
One thing Guay was clear about was that there was never any pressure from Ubisoft HQ to push the game out. The initial November 2013 release date was a mutual decision because the game was "playable front-to-back" by Spring 2013. It wasn't until the aforementioned playtesting that everyone realized the initial release date wasn't feasible if they wanted to produce the very best game they could. Ubisoft HQ understood.
You can read the full post for more examples of changes and additions to the game over the past few months, or you can just wait to enjoy the game yourself this Summer! After Watch Dogs won my E3 2012 Game of the Show and E3 2013 Best Action-Adventure Game, I'm just happy it'll be released before a third E3 appearance!
To put it simply, the only safe electronic device is the one that has never been turned on, as malware writers continually find new ways to attack technology. Android devices are no exception, so many defenses have been developed, but some are not always that accurate. Researchers at North Carolina State University have recently developed a more refined version of anomaly detection for finding and stopping root exploits.
Root exploits are a class of malware attacks that take control of an operating system's administration functions, granting unlimited control of the system. One method for detecting and stopping malware that has infected applications is anomaly detection, which works by comparing the behavior of the application on a device against a record of how it should behavior. The problem is that this can throw false positives, but the North Carolina researchers are taking advantage of an interesting pattern to better protect the Android OS. As it turns out, most Android root exploits are written in C, even though most Android apps are written in Java. The researchers' Practical Root Exploit Containment (PREC) system has been designed to scrutinize C code specifically, and has significantly reduced the number of false positives.
The researchers hope to take advantage of the methods app vendors use to protect their products from malware to build the standard-behaviors database. One way to do this would be for the vendor to add PREC to their assessment processes, allowing it to record behavior data and build the database itself.
We have just a couple of items for you to check out today, but both are quite interesting. There's a look at the AMD's new AM1 platform, which feature a socketed Kabini APU and an overall goal of being a perfect low cost option for emerging markets. The motherboards can accept upgraded APUs down the road, so it certainly seems like AMD is planning ahead with this new platform. Our other item for today is the BitFenix Colossus M MicroATX case, and it's a bit of a cross between the full-tower Colossus and the smaller Prodigy M. There are plenty of new features in the Colossus M, though, as well as a pretty unique exterior.
Chilean indie developer ACE Team is known for its rather unique and quirky games, starting with its first game Zeno Clash, and following up with Rock of Ages and Zeno Clash II. Now we can add Abyss Odyssey to the list – and it's every bit as unique and quirky as the other titles.
Abyss Odyssey is a side-scrolling, Rogue-like, fighting game. There are three distinct warriors to choose from: Katrien, Ghost Monk, and Pincoya. The combat it more akin to fighting games than your typical 2D side-scroller, including "dodge-cancels and other technically demanding techniques." In addition, enemies are just as complex with equivalent combat move sets as your own – oh, and players can possess almost any enemy in the game and use its skills and combat abilities.
The Rogue-like nature of the game comes from its procedurally generated levels, making it so no two playthroughs are ever the same. Everything from the monsters, merchants, and pathways between levels are randomized. ACE Team says there are only two constants in Abyss Odyssey: "a great evil awaits at the bottom of the pit, and succeed or die, the warriors will have to battle the abyss for eternity." Yes, you read that correctly – there is no end to your plight.
Abyss Odyssey will launch Summer 2014 for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, with ATLUS doing the publishing duties.
Developer Rebellion has announced that Sniper Elite 3 will be releasing in North America on July 1, 2014 for consoles and worldwide on July 27, 2014 for PC and consoles. The console versions are being published by 505 Games, while the PC version is self-published and releasing on Steam. Along with the release date announcement, Rebellion also announced Sniper Elite 3's pre-order bonus, "Hunt the Grey Wolf:"
Hitler, Allied code name "Grey Wolf", and his double have embarked upon a clandestine trip to the Libyan port town of Tobruk in 1942. In order to prepare for this mission, and that crucial final shot, you must infiltrate the ancient streets and crumbling rooftops of the German-held town using stealth and distraction. Featuring an expansive open environment, and randomized target identities, journals and locations, no two playthroughs will be the same. The question is – can you tell fact from fiction, the real target from the double?
The PC version is currently available for pre-order on Rebellion's online store for 20% off, bringing it down to $39.99 instead of its normal $49.99 price. As the PC version requires Steam, you'll obviously get a Steam key when they become available. The console versions can be pre-ordered from GameStop and other major retailers, with a $69.99 Collector's Edition available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, featuring a "limited edition ammo tin box, dossier, three exclusive ammo and weapon DLC packs, collectible playing cards, sniper shooting range target, dog tag, and bullet-shaped torch pen."
It wasn't too long ago when the Walt Disney Company announced it was launching a cloud movie service, and now Verizon seems to be following suit. Verizon is apparently in talks with various content providers to bring web-based TV services to mobile devices, most likely using Verizon's FiOS service. No other information is known about what Verizon intends with the talks, but chief executive Lowell McAdam sounds optimistic that a deal will be done before long. Verizon could also deliver the content via cellular networks instead of just FiOS, but we'll have to wait and see what happens in that regard. All of this may seem a bit unexpected, however Verizon did acquire the Intel Media division in January with the hopes of developing next generation video services. It looks like the telecom didn't want to sit on that any longer than it needed to, especially if this new video service launches before long.
A new power supply is available from Deepcool and as the name DQ1250 might suggest, it provides up to 1250W of power. In addition to the very high capacity, the DQ1250 has also been granted 80Plus Platinum certification, indicating that it is among the most efficient power supplies available. A pair of 12V power rails deliver 45A and 65A and high quality capacitors help to keep the power regulated. A fan control circuit keeps the fan powered off when the PSU is under 30% load or the temperature is below 25 degrees, helping to minimize noise when not needed. The DQ1250 also has a semi-modular design with all cables but the motherboard cables able to be attached at will.
German company Sharkoon has announced a new ATX case, the BD28, available in black and gunmetal. The case will feature an acrylic side panel to give a great view of the case interior. The black version of the case gives users the option of red, blue, or green LEDs while the gunmetal version only offers blue. A low noise 120mm fan will be installed in both the front and rear of the case with mounting points for an additional two 120mm fans in the front and two 120mm, two 140mm, or 180mm fans on top. All of the 5.25" and 3.5" drives in the case feature screw less installation and CPU coolers up to 179mm in height can be installed alongside GPUs up to 325mm in length.
Glasses can be rather odd materials and part of the reason for that is to do with how they transition from a solid to a liquid. There are temperatures at which they are clearly a solid and clearly a liquid, but in between it can be hard to tell. Researchers at the University of Waterloo have recently found the answer to a twenty-year-old debate concerning the surfaces of glassy materials.
About twenty years ago, it was discovered that at temperatures a glass should be a solid, the surfaces of some were flowing like liquids. Since then researchers have been working to find how this is possible. Though most people will associate glasses with windows, many materials, including metals and polymers can be glasses, as the term refers to a disordered molecular structure. For this work, the researchers were working with a glass of polystyrene. Thin slices of the glass were stacked to form staircase-like steps just 100 nm high. The researchers then observed and measured how the steps changed shape over time, and thanks to the simple 2D profile of the surface, they were able to numerically model it.
With this understanding of glasses, researchers can consider how nanostructures made of a glass will change over time. This could impact the use of thin film coatings and how small some nanoscale devices and circuitry can be made.
It was fairly inevitable in this day and age that first-person shooter Titanfall was going to receive the Season Pass treatment. Titanfall has "three planned content packs" that will be included in the Season Pass as soon as they become available. As of now, "each content pack will contain new Maps," while additional content has yet to be determined. The game ships with fifteen maps. Individually the content packs will cost $10, with the $24.99 Season Pass saving you $5. But that's not all – PC gamers get to enjoy a further discount!
EA has announced the Titanfall Digital Deluxe Edition exclusively for Origin PC gamers. The Deluxe Edition includes the base game and the Season Pass for just $79.99 and is already available for pre-order. If you happened to already pre-order the Standard Edition, you can contact EA Help to upgrade. The Season Pass will be available for purchase March 11 for Xbox One and March 25 for Xbox 360. It's already available for purchase on PC via Origin, though why any PC gamer would buy the base game and Season Pass separately instead of the Digital Deluxe Edition at this point is beyond me.
Path of Exile's first mini-expansion, Sacrifice of the Vaal, was announced nearly three weeks ago, and after two weeks of teasers before the details were finally spilled this past Friday, its finally live! Sacrifice of the Vaal brings about a lot of changes and additions to the game, with the full patch notes found here. The one thing it doesn't change is developer Grinding Gear's commitment to its free-to-play business model – a model that should be studied and followed by any other studio going the free-to-play route.
If you've never given Path of Exile a try, now is a perfect time to hop in.
Batman: Arkham Knight was officially announced yesterday, along with an outstanding announcement trailer, but details were sparse. Today, Game Informer posted a video entitled "Revealing The Story Of Batman: Arkham Knight" that sheds some light on the game. One of the biggest surprises is that the "Arkham Knight" moniker does not refer to the Dark Knight himself, but rather "a brand new villain." Hush had been teased last month on the Batman Hush Facebook page (though the teaser is now gone), but it sounds like it may actually be someone we've never seen before in any medium. In the video below, it's stated that Arkham Knight is seen "holding a gun, but looks like Batman," but Rocksteady wasn't ready to divulge much more.
As stated yesterday, Arkham Knight takes place one year after the events of Arkham City. There is a chemical weapon threat by Scarecrow that causes Gotham to be evacuated, though of course hundreds of gang members have moved in. It wouldn't exactly be a Batman Arkham game without a bunch of gang members to beat up on, now would it?
Before I go any further, I'd be remiss if I didn't provide a spoiler warning – IF YOU HAVE NOT FINISHED BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY, SPOILERS AHEAD, INCLUDING THE VIDEO AND THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE.
Okay, now that you've been warned about SPOILERS...
In the video above, game director Sefton Hill explained, "One thing we really wanted to respect were the events of Arkham City." This means that Joker is indeed dead. Rocksteady will not be bringing him back to life, he is "dead, dead, dead, dead, dead, dead." Meanwhile, "Harley is distraught [...] and seeking revenge," as she blames Batman for Joker's death. Also, no Harley is not pregnant.
While further details on the story are being kept under wraps, senior script writer Martin Lancaster said that the ending is "bold." This is the finale of the Batman Arkham games and both he and Hill think fans will be satisfied with the ending.
While Facebook announced that its messaging software, known as Facebook Messenger, was going to be unavailable for Windows users as of March 3, 2014, the company was working diligently to prepare the software for Windows Phone devices. Today, Microsoft is announcing that Facebook Messenger is available for immediate download through the Windows Phone Store. Facebook Messenger for Windows Phone provides access to all Facebook friends automatically, and enables users to see which contacts are online, send private messages, group chat, and use pictures as well as stickers in conversations. While contacts are available automatically with the installation of Facebook Messenger, additional contacts can be imported.
Yahoo has begun the process of eliminating third party logins from its website and services, requiring users to have and utilize a Yahoo ID in order to access various services owned and operated by the company. Yahoo announced that to access Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick'Em up for example, users have to use their Yahoo login and cannot access the service using Facebook or Google credentials. The same Yahoo ID focus will be implemented soon with other services offered by Yahoo, including Flickr and Fantasy Sports. Yahoo states that by only allowing a Yahoo login to access various services owned by the company, it is able to provide a more personalized experience for users.
Releasing on April 30, 2014 for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii U, Child of Light is perhaps Ubisoft's most unique game to date. Set in the magical world of Lemuria, Child of Light is a side-scrolling platformer and turn-based RPG rolled into one. Thanks to the in-house game engine UbiArt Framework, it also has a very unique hand-painted look and feel.
While predominantly a single-player experience, the game does feature local co-op, where one player controls the main protagonist Aurora and another controls her firefly companion Igniculus. The "Co-Op Trailer" published today shows off how it works:
Although previously only available to Android and iOS devices, the DISH Anywhere application has been updated and is now available for Amazon Kindle Fire HDX tablets. DISH has stated that the latest update to DISH Anywhere shows its continued dedication to the mobile market, and allows users to watch all available content offered across any mobile device. The application allows users that own the DISH Hopper and SLING DVR to view live, recorded, and on demand content on smartphones and tablets. Users can access the content over Wi-Fi or a mobile data network, while having the ability to manage their DVRs, set recordings, and view program guides through DISH Anywhere.
Although BlackBerry will be implementing advertisements within the BlackBerry Messenger service, it is reassuring users that the advertisements will not be located within actual chats. Jeff Gadway, BBM product and brand marketing chief, revealed that creators of BBM channels will be able to push sponsored posts and invites to subscribers. Gadway also announced that users of the BBM service will likely see three different types of advertisements, which differ slightly from each other. Featured placements will appear within the landing page for featured channels, and will be used by channels to gain new subscribers. Sponsored invites will target individuals based on age, interests, location, and other data and will allow channels to invite individuals based on this information. Sponsored posts will appear within updates from BBM Contacts and BBM Channels, offering updates from other channels.
While the advertisements will not be found within actual chats, users can only disable sponsored posts by filtering updates and will have no choice on being targeted by featured placements and sponsored invites.
X2 Products has released its first thermal grease, called X2 Thermica, which can be applied to CPU/GPU heat sinks and water blocks, and will operate between temperatures of -50 °C to 200 °C. The formula was "designed to maximize heat transfer" so it's made of 10% Silicon compounds, 45% Carbon compounds, and 45% metal oxide compounds to achieve >5W/m-K thermal conductivity. The X2 Thermica is available for $6.99 and comes in a 0.5g syringe that's sufficient for up to two processor cooler installations.
It's the middle of the week, and there's several items for you to check out to get through the day. We have a review on the Logitech G430 headset, which has 40mm drivers, surround sound via a USB adaptor, and a pretty snazzy exterior. There's also a look at Silicon Power's Stream S03 USB 3.0 Portable HDD that comes in either 500GB or 1TB sizes for those needing some extra storage. We have a rather interesting gaming review that focuses on various free-to-play games to see how they handle different systems. Finishing things off today are the craziest network messes ever, which should make most people stare in amazement at the tangled mass of wires.