OCC TECH NEWS
July 25, 2014
You may have heard reports over the past month or so that Crytek was in financial trouble, failing to pay employees on time and on the verge of bankruptcy. Crytek denied those rumors, and I'm not one to participate in unfounded rumors and speculations, so I didn't feel it was worth posting about. But today, Crytek released an official statement to GamesIndustry.biz that addressed those rumors and explained the company's current situation, which should, hopefully, put it to bed once and for all. According to the statement, Crytek has been in a "transitional phase" as it evolves from a pure development studio into an "Online-Publisher." It goes on to say how such a transition required a refocus of strategies and brought with it an increased demand for capital, which the studio has secured. It does acknowledge that it should have been more open with its employees in regards to the transition, but makes no apologies for keeping it relatively hush with the public.
In any case, the statement says that, "Ultimately, with our organization, capitalization, portfolio and technologies we have now laid the foundations for securing Crytek's future - not just in the short term, but also long term. [...] We remain committed to doing what we are best known for and trying to develop the best interactive experiences and technology possible for everyone who loves gaming. We are confident that we will be able to share more positive news on Crytek's progress soon."
So hopefully that's the end of the controversy; especially considering Crytek stated it will not communicate any further on the matter. With Arena of Fate, HUNT: Horrors of the Gilded Age, and Homefront: The Revolution all looking exceptionally promising, it's nice to see that the rumored financial trouble was essentially just a misunderstanding. Here's wishing Crytek much luck and a bright future!
Thermaltake has announced its latest water cooling solution, the Water 3.0 Ultimate, an all-in-one liquid cooling system. The new cooler utilizes a 360mm radiator design to provide maximum heat dissipation. Three 120mm PWM fans are included with speeds that range from 1000-2000 RPM. A copper CPU block is compatible with all major sockets from Intel and AMD. A low evaporation tube design helps to minimize coolant loss to remove the need to refill the liquid.
Source: Press Release
Whether you look at the LEGO series as a whole or LEGO Batman as its own series, LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is shaping up to be the best one yet. Over 150 characters from across the DC universe, several characters with multiple suits (not just Batman and Robin this time around), and an all new setting – it's fun for all ages. With San Diego Comic-Con currently underway, it should be no surprise that a game steeped in comic tradition has received a brand new trailer:
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is expected to arrive this Fall for PC (Windows and Mac), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, with a slightly smaller version coming to PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, and iOS. If you're attending San Diego Comic-Con, the game is actually playable at the LEGO booth, DC Comics booth, and the Microsoft Gaming Lounge.
Source: Press Release
Today, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) announced that the highly anticipated open-world, action-RPG Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will be arriving one week earlier than originally planned. Announced back in April as launching October 7, the game will now arrive September 30 in North America and October 3 in Europe. Sure it's only one week earlier, but in an industry full of delays upon delays, this is welcome news indeed.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will be available on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
Source: Press Release
It is Friday at long last, and we have a couple of items for you to check out today. There is a review on the SilverStone Raven RV05 case, the company's latest entry in the unique Raven series. This cases features absolutely no 5.25" bays, yet still has plenty of room inside for ATX motherboards, long video cards, and even water cooling. Our other item for the day is a new podcast covering the latest news and reviews of the past week.
SilverStone Raven RV05 @ Benchmark Reviews
Podcast #310 @ PC Perspective
Lasers are among the more important technological discoveries of the twentieth century, and are one technology that may never stop having a use. Of course for that to continue to be the case, advances must be made to improve lasers, such as how high-frequency lasers enable denser optical data storage systems. Thanks to researchers at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory spinout TeraDiode, we have a new laser system that could increase industrial use of the technology.
There are many avenues to produce laser light, with early lasers stimulating gases and more modern lasers using diodes. While the diode lasers can be significantly more efficient that gas-based lasers, diodes typically do not offer the power gases do. This has kept diode lasers from being used to cut and weld metals, but TeraDiode has found a solution with their TeraBlade system. By using a transform lens, a diffraction grating, and an output lens, the system is able to take the light from bars of diode lasers, and superimpose the light into a single beam.
The TeraBlade beam approximately matches the power of other industrial lasers at 2600 megawatts per square centimeter per steradian, but at 40% efficiency. Other industrial lasers are only 20-30% efficient, and can take up more room, so it is not surprising that TeraDiode is already finding customers in Japan and Europe.
July 24, 2014
In recent years, Microsoft has been striving to make its Office suite available to as many users as possible, recognizing that the mobile market has continued to grow leaps and bounds. In an effort to capitalize on this, the technology giant has just made its OneNote application available on even more mobile devices than before, with the note-taking application now being offered on the Amazon Appstore for Android. While the latest available version of OneNote is not optimized for any specific Amazon devices, such as the Fire Phone, it is compatible with virtually all of Amazon’s mobile offerings since it is the same version that is currently available through the Google Play Store.
Chromecast has proved quite successful since its initial release, providing users of the device with media streaming capabilities for hundreds of available services. The device has been out for one year now, and Google is celebrating the anniversary by providing current and new Chromecast owners with 90 free days of Play Music All Access. The offer can be found by accessing the Chromecast offers page where owners of the device can use the website to generate a claim for the three months of free access to the Google music service. While current and new Chromecast owners are eligible for the offer, it does not apply to current subscribers of Play Music All Access.
Reboots and remasters are all the rage these days. So are Kickstarter campaigns. Yet Virginia-based indie studio Zojoi decided to embark on both well before it was cool. Back in 2012, Zojoi launched a $120,000 Kickstarter campaign for a re-imagining of the classic first-person point-and-click adventure game Shadowgate. The campaign was successfully funded on November 25, 2012, bringing in $137,232. Zojoi is calling it a re-imagining because the team took the original game and built upon it in fresh ways. Now, nearly two years later, it's finally ready to unleash the final product unto the world. Here are the features of the re-imagined Shadowgate (straight from the press release):
- All-new and updated puzzles seamlessly expand on the original game
- Multiple difficulty levels enable players to play on Master, the renowned difficulty of the original, or scale back the brutality with Apprentice (Easy) or Journeyman (Medium)
- Players can take advantage of a bevy of objects, spells, an all-new mapping system and on-screen commands to aid them in their quest
- Tons of hand-painted illustrated rooms feature both new and familiar locations
- Gorgeous visuals complete with new environmental effects and unique animations offer an immersive experience
- Bonus Retro Mode enables players to experience the game like it’s 1989! Choose Hiroyuki Masuno’s original NES score, turn the graphics into 8-bit, and more
- Customize the experience with the classic or auto-hide control layout, tailored key binds for actions and objects, and/or lock commands for ease of use
- Updated storytelling features dramatic cut-scenes, plus all the same great storytelling you'd expect from a Shadowgate adventure
- A digitally-orchestrated, dynamic soundtrack and sound effects change based on gameplay
- 50 in-game and Steam-based achievements to find and unlock
Shadowgate is launching August 21 for Windows and Mac on Steam and other digital outlets, while the iOS and Android versions will launch Fall 2014. You can pre-order a Steam copy from the official site for $14.99 (25% off), with additional options available with extra goodies.
Source: Press Release
The first rumors of the acquisition of Internet live streaming service Twitch by Google were reported in May, and sources have now confirmed the $1 billion purchase with Venture Beat. Twitch "enables people to broadcast their own gameplay sessions on the PC, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4 to online viewers," with popular streamers carrying more than 10,000 viewers at times. Twitch is also home to many professional gaming events including the recently completed International 4 Dota 2 event and the League of Legends Championship Series. Twitch has seen a large increase in monthly users from the 3.2 million viewers when started in June 2011 to more than 50 million users now. The site was reported to account for 1.35% of all Internet traffic by Sandvine in March.
Source: Venture Beat
ADATA has launched its latest memory kit, the XPG V3 DDR3 overclocking memory. The dual channel set runs at speeds up to 3100MHz and is compatible with the latest fourth and fifth generation Intel Core processors on the Z97 platform. The memory supports Extreme Memory Profile version 1.3 and Thermal Conductive Technology to help get the best performance without high temperatures. The fin heat sinks are detachable and can replaced and screwed down to improve durability.
Source: Press Release
Anyone who has tried to look at a phone, tablet, or laptop screen in Sunlight knows just how frustrating the glare and reflections of the screen can be. This makes it rather unsurprising that so many products exist to counter the problems, but some do not work well with glass. Researchers at the Institute of Photonic Sciences and Corning Incorporated though have developed a new method to make glass surfaces anti-glare, anti-reflective, and even hydrophobic.
Today you can go out and get anti-glare filters and films for your devices, and some have nanostructures on top of them, to add anti-reflective properties. These structures do not work well on glass, so the researchers worked on the glass directly. By roughening the surface of glass at a very fine scale, it can be made anti-glare without sacrificing transparency. Etching in nano-sized teeth makes it anti-reflective, and as it turns out, the resulting surface features made the glass water repellent, like a lotus leaf.
This method to affect the properties of the glass is inexpensive and can be scaled up for industry use. Before that will happen though, more research needs to be done, in part to determine how well the features endure touchscreen use.
Source: American Chemical Society
Another weekend is almost here, but before it arrives we have some reviews for you to check out. There is a look at the ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 KIller motherboard, which features a Killer E2200 Intelligent Network Platform and three free months of Xsplit to stream your gaming sessions to everyone who wants to watch. We also have the MSI A88X-G45 Gaming Assassin's Creed Edition motherboard that runs on the AMD FM2+ socket and comes with a free copy of Assassin's Creed Liberation HD. There's a review on the Intel Pentium Anniversary Edition CPU and just how well it can overclock. For those needing a new case, perhaps the Thermaltake Urban T81 full tower will be to your liking. If all you need is storage, then the Western Digital Red 6TB and Red Pro 4TB should suit your needs nicely. Lastly there is a look at GPU-accelerated virtual desktops and whether or not they are the future of computing.
Intel Pentium Anniversary Edition & Overclocking Build Guide @ TechSpot
ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer @ ThinkComputers
MSI A88X-G45 Gaming Assassin's Creed Edition @ PC Perspective
Thermaltake Urban T81 @ ThinkComputers
Western Digital Red 6TB and Red Pro 4TB @ PC Perspective
GPU-Accelerated Virtual Desktops: The Future of Computing? @ TechSpot
Last month, Frozenbyte announced that it was porting the original Trine to the Trine 2 engine, providing improved visuals, improved gameplay, and additional features such as online multiplayer. Entitled Trine Enchanted Edition, it has now launched today on Steam, GOG.com, and Humble Store; free for existing Trine owners. "We've sold over 6 million copies of the Trine series so far, and we just passed the five year anniversary mark of the original Trine's release" says Frozenbyte CEO Mr. Lauri Hyvärinen. "So we wanted to give something back to our fans with this update by improving the game, and finally bringing it to Linux as well. We've also heard a lot of requests for Trine from console owners, so we're happy to announce that we’re bringing Trine Enchanted Edition also to Wii U and PS4."
If you don't already own the gorgeous 2.5D puzzle platformer, Trine Enchanted Edition is currently on sale at Steam for a mere $2.99 (80% off), or you can grab Trine Complete (which contains the sequel as well) for a mere $4.99 (also 80% off). Both sale prices are available until August 5. The Wii U and PlayStation 4 versions are planned to arrive later this year, but no specific date has been stated.
Source: Press Release
Information can be stored in many ways, and for many systems the density it is stored at is very important. There can be limits to the density though, such as with the wavelength of light. By using a plasmonic film though, researchers at the University of Illinois have recorded optical information at sub-wavelength scale, and in real time.
The plasmonic film is actually an array of gold, pillar-bowtie nanoantennas (pBNAs) that reacts to laser light. The reaction is analogous to how photographic film behaves when exposed to light, but the effect occurs in real time, and does more than store an image. When exposed to laser light, the pBNAs actually create optofluidic channels without walls, allowing the researchers to affect the trajectory of particles in a solution. Other optofluidic systems have been made that achieve the same goal, but do have physical walls.
When the researchers tested it, the bit size was around 425 nm, which is directly related to the spacing of the antennas. If this were applied to an optical disc that would be around 28.6 GB of data, but by modifying the spacing of the array and the antennas, it could be scaled up to 75 GB a disk. That is of course only considering data storage applications, but this discovery could have many other photonic uses.
Source: University of Illinois, College of Engineering
July 23, 2014
Back in May, Deep Silver and Piranha Bytes released an Official CGI Trailer for the upcoming RPG Risen 3: Titan Lords. It looked awesome, but most cinematic trailers do. Today, we now get our first look at some actual gameplay in a rather lengthy (nearly twelve-minute) trailer entitled "Back to The Roots". Aside from providing us with a look at some gameplay, it also provides a ton of in-depth information about the game, broken down into ten categories: Handcrafted World, Exploration, Attitude, Combat, Skills, Three Factions, Return of Crystal Magic, Hundreds of Quests, Crafting, and The Living World. You can skip to any section via the navigation bar at the top of the video.
Risen 3: Titan Lords launches on Windows PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on August 12 in North America and August 15 in Europe. Pre-ordering grants you three pieces of bonus content: Fog Island, Uprising of the Little Guys, and Adventure Garb. See the image below for details on each.
Source: Facebook and Steam
Free games are always nice. When it's the best-selling PC game of all-time, even better. Earlier in the month, Electronic Arts announced that The Sims 2 was being "retired," but anyone who owned the game on Origin would get a free upgrade to The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection containing all the expansion packs and DLC. Well, considering The Sims 2 was originally sold well before Origin existed, maybe there were some people that complained they couldn't get a copy, so EA made it a bit easier to do so – simply launch Origin, select "Redeem Product Code" from the "Origin" menu dropdown, enter "I-LOVE-THE-SIMS" (minus the quotes), and voila! I did it myself and it worked!
According to the official EA Help page, "This code will [be] available for redemption until July 31st, 2014 at 10AM PDT." But, since the wording implies this was supposed to be for "passionate The Sims 2 players" and not leaked to everyone, you may want to jump on the deal ASAP just to be safe. That being said, The Sims 2 is no longer being sold, so I doubt EA will mind, even if that wasn't the original intention. Besides, maybe a few people will like The Sims 2 so much, they'll go out and pre-order The Sims 4. Win win!
Source: EA Help via PC Gamer
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealed in the fourth quarter earnings meeting this week that the company is hoping to combine Windows for PCs and tablets, Windows Phone, and Xbox One to "enable apps that span all types of devices and that are available in a single Microsoft store." More information is planned to be revealed in the coming months, though no set date was mentioned. Support for applications across all three OS versions could be a great advantage to both developers and consumers that have multiple Microsoft devices. Nadella added, "We will streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems into one single converged operating system for screens of all sizes."
Source: Network World
An updated image of the Steam Controller was found by Steam Database in the latest Steam client beta and it carries a significant new feature, an analog stick. The analog stick replaces the left side buttons and is found on the left side of the controller, a look comparable to many available game controllers. PC Gamer Editor-in-chief Evan Lahti commented on the Steam Controller design available at GDC 2014 saying that he "didn’t once feel comfortable, in control, or that Valve’s hardware configuration was in any way an upgrade over a controller with analog sticks."
Source: PC Gamer
While the official site still lacks any release date information, IGN is reporting that Lara Coft and the Temple of Osiris is launching on December 9 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game is a follow-up to 2010's surprisingly excellent Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, bringing the isometric platforming action to new-gen, upping the ante to support up to four-player co-op. Check out the Announcement Trailer from E3 2014, along with two screenshots below:
If you've never played Guardian of Light, it's currently available in the $14.99 tier of the Humble Square Enix Bundle, currently going on for roughly thirteen more days, alongside some other great titles. It may not be the classic Tomb Raider we know and love, but trust me, this spin-off series is quite fun, especially if you have a buddy to play it with.
Former Xbox One exclusive Dead Rising 3 is set to arrive on PC via Steam on September 5, and whether you've already pre-ordered the game or have been holding off, I have good news for you. Last night, Capcom announced that the Steam version has received a permanent free upgrade and is now called Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition. The Apocalypse Edition contains the four DLC that was part of the "Untold Stories of Los Perdidos" pack: Operation Broken Eagle, Fallen Angel, Chaos Rising, and The Last Agent. "Each add-on chapter focuses on a different protagonist that ties into the main DR3 storyline and gives players access to crazy new weapons and vehicles that carry over to the main game."
While not directly related to this announcement, I just wanted to take a moment to address another issue some people may be worried about. Dead Rising 3 runs at 30 FPS on Xbox One, which made many PC gamers a bit wary. There is an excellent post in the Steam forum by Capcom's "wbacon" that goes into great detail on how the game runs uncapped. That's right, there is no FPS cap! The post also discusses what settings are "intended" for minimum and recommended specs – something I wish more studios would mention.
Dead Rising 3: Apocalypse Edition will arrive on Steam on September 5 and can be pre-ordered at a 10% discount, bringing the price down to $44.99. Now if only Capcom would include Super Ultra Dead Rising 3' Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX + α to the mix, the PC version would truly be the definitive one. But either way, Capcom has received a lot of flak in the past for its DLC policies, so this is certainly a step in the right direction!
Source: Steam  and 
July 22, 2014
AMC released a cinematic trailer today for a new The Walking Dead mobile game based on the popular AMC television series. Entitled The Walking Dead: No Man's Land, "the game will feature themes familiar to the TV series, where characters fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic, walker-infested world. A recurring theme of choosing the right survival strategy and making the most human choices possible is at the heart of the first-of-its-kind game."
The game is being developed by Next Games, a brand new studio "founded in 2013 by design veterans from Rovio, Supercell and Disney," and headquartered in Helsinki, Finland. The Walking Dead: No Man's Land is one of two games the studio is currently working on (the other is unannounced), with the studio "focused on crafting majestic narrative-driven games with engaging free-to-play mechanics." That seems like a lot of PR talk, so it'll be interesting to see how the game actually plays; the trailer certainly didn't show much.
The global launch of the game will coincide with the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead Season 5, early next year. It's being developed exclusively for smartphones and tablets, but exact platforms were not stated.
Source: AMC and Press Release
LinkedIn has announced that it has officially acquired Bizo, a company that provides precise and measurable business-to-business display and social advertising programs to small, medium, and large businesses. According to David Thacker, the Product Vice President at LinkedIn, Bizo has proved itself as a comprehensive business-to-business marketing platform and the company has been a part of the LinkedIn API Partner Program for quite a while. With the respective missions of both companies being highly aligned, according to Russell Glass, the Chief Executive Officer of Bizo, it makes sense that LinkedIn is welcoming the Bizo staff to its team.
Thacker also made it evident that the company plans to integrate the Media Solutions and Multi-Channel Nurturing products offered by Bizo into its own portfolio, but that it does not plan to incorporate its Data Solutions business.
Source: Bizo Blog and LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog
Despite Netflix announcing back in May that it was raising its subscription costs for new customers in the United States by $1, the company continues to thrive. Netflix has just announced that its paid subscriber base has grown to just shy of 48 million users, which is up four percent from the first three months of 2014. In a letter to its subscribers, Netflix has made it known that while its subscription costs have risen, albeit modestly, its total subscriber base is now greater than 50 million users. The company's total quarterly revenue was up 25.3 percent during the second quarter as well, further promoting the idea that Netflix is doing quite well within its segment.
Along with its growth in both subscribers and revenue, Netflix has announced that in September it is launching its service in Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
The inevitable has occurred – BioWare has announced that Dragon Age: Inquisition will no longer be released on October 7, 2014, as originally planned, but rather delayed until November 18 in North America and November 21 in Europe. Executive Producer Mark Darrah broke the news via the official site just a short while ago. As I've stated time and time again, I have absolutely no issues with delays, as I'd rather have a polished experience than a rushed, buggy one; though I understand why delays frustrate many people. In the meantime, if you didn't watch the E3 gameplay demos, I've embedded both parts below – though watching them may just make you more disappointed with the delay.
Dragon Age: Inquisition will be available for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
Source: Official Site via Facebook
With NVIDIA's interative tweet-based text adventure Ultimate Quest culminating today, the company's mysterious new product has been unveiled – the NVIDIA SHIELD tablet. Billed as the "world's first tablet built for gamers," the SHIELD tablet is a technical marvel and certainly packs a punch. That punch starts with a 192-core NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor, providing performance levels well beyond any other tablet currently on the market, including support for OpenGL ES 3.1, Android Extension Pack (AEP), OpenGL 4.4, DirectX 12, Tesselation, and CUDA 6.0. If you want to know what the means in the real world, go back and watch Unreal Engine 4 "Rivalry" Demo running on a Tegra K1 chip.
The SHIELD tablet measures in at 8.8 x 5.0 x 3.6 inches (HxWxD) and 13.7 ounces, and features an 8-inch IPS LCD with a resolution of 1920x1200. It features two front-facing stereo speakers, front and back 5MP HDR cameras, 802.11a/b/g/n 2x2 MIMO (2.4GHz and 5GHz) WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, GPS and GLONASS, a nine-axis motion sensor (g-sensor, compass, gyroscope), a Mini HDMI 1.4a port, a micro-USB 2.0 port, and a 3.5mm stero headphone jack with microphone support. The tablet comes in two flavors: a 16GB WiFi-only version and a 32GB WiFi+LTE version. Don't worry about the smaller space if you're interested in WiFi-only though, as either version supports up to an additional 128GB via a Micro SD card. In addition, a DirectStylus 2 is included in a holster, which is not only twice as responsive as its predecessor, but also "enables the first GPU-accelerated 3D painting experience." The included NVIDIA Dabbler app allows hyper-realistic watercolor and 3D paint oil painting where "pigment and paint mix and bleed physically, in real time, and the palette is naturally illuminated in 3D as the user adjusts the light source."
Like the SHIELD portable, the SHIELD tablet supports PC GameStreaming from systems running an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 series card or greater, cloud streaming via NVIDIA GRID, NVIDIA ShadowPlay with Twitch gamecast support, and Console Mode. To fully enjoy the latter, you'd need a wireless controller (up to four are supported simultaneously), so NVIDIA has you covered there as well. The new SHIELD wireless controller, launching alongside the SHIELD tablet, is an ultra-responsive WiFi controller, providing half the latency of a Bluetooth controller and eight times the data rate. The controller features your standard dual-analog sticks, D-pad, A/B/X/Y face buttons, left/right analog triggers, and left/right bumpers, along with volume controls, Android Home and Back buttons, a Start button, an NVIDIA power/multi-function button, and even a capacitive multi-touch touch pad with button (the silver triangular section below the dual-analog sticks. The controller uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and Micro-USB 2.0 for charging or wired gameplay. It also features a built-in 3.5mm stereo headphone jack and microphone, which even allows for voice commands when holding the Home button, such as telling it to "Launch Half-Life 2." If you already own a SHIELD portable, thankfully that will be updated to support this new SHIELD wireless controller.
And now the info you've been waiting for - pricing and availability. The 16GB WiFi-only SHIELD tablet is priced at $299, while the 32GB WiFi+LTE SHIELD tablet is priced at $399. Both come pre-loaded with Frostbyte's gorgeous 2.5D puzzle platformer Trine 2: Complete Story. The SHIELD wireless controller is available separately at a price of $59. In addition, there's a SHIELD cover priced at $39, which doubles as a stand. The SHIELD tablet and its accessories will launch in the United States and Canada on July 29, in Europe on August 14, and in other unspecified regions Fall 2014. Pre-ordering is now open in the US, Canada, and select European countries at shield.nvidia.com and select retailers.
People who own a SHIELD portable tend to love it, but it's certainly a niche device. The SHIELD tablet has many of the same great features, but with the most powerful mobile chip in the market and a more acceptable form factor. Coupled with the SHIELD wireless controller, it looks like NVIDIA may have a huge winner on its hands.
Source: Press Release
July 21, 2014
Federal authorities, including the United States Secret Service, are investing a possible payment card breach at United States based Goodwill retail stores, according to Goodwill Industries International. Lauren Lawson-Zilai, Goodwill’s director of public relations, noted that the company was notified about the possible breach last Friday. If a breach is discovered following the completion of the ongoing investigation, Goodwill revealed that it will take appropriate and prompt action in remedying the situation. In the meantime, Goodwill wants customers to know that their data is being properly safeguarded and that the security of payment information is its top priority.
Free-to-play business models may be on the rise, but subscription-based models are still holding strong thanks largely to that $1 billion juggernaut called World of Warcraft. It also helps that even subscription-based MMOs are making a killing with microtransactions. So despite the MMO subscription market shrinking year-over-year since 2010, part of the decline has been offset by microtransactions, nearly doubling from 14% to 27% in the past five years. In fact, though the market has shrunk from 30.6 million monthly active subscribers to 23.4 million, the average revenue per user has actually risen. The user base may be lower, but the ones that remain are loyal and willing to spend.
World of Warcraft unsurprisingly tops the 2013 list with 36% of the market, raking in worldwide revenues of $1.041 billion. What may be surprising to some is that the next four contenders all earned more than $100 million in 2013: 1998's Lineage captured 9% of the market and earned $253 million; TERA: Online captured 8% of the market and earned $236 million; Star Wars: The Old Republic captured 6% and earned $165 million; and Lord of the Rings Online captured 4% of the market and earned $104 million. Not too shabby at all. In total, subscription-based MMOs earned $2.882 billion in worldwide revenues in 2013.
It'll be interesting to see how 2014 plays out with two big new entries in the subscription market, Bethesda's Elder Scrolls Online and NCsoft's Wildstar. Elder Scrolls Online boasts a subscriber base of 772,374 as of June, likely helped by its multi-platform release. Meanwhile, NCsoft not only has Lineage under its publishing arm, but it also has three other MMOs in the 2013 Top Ten (Aion, Blade and Soul, and Lineage II) – so there are certainly big expectations for Wildstar as well. While free-to-play is certainly on the rise, it doesn't seem like subscription-models are going away any time soon, even if some are merely optional.
Source: SuperData Research via GamesIndustry International
be quiet!, a manufacturer of power supplies and cooling solutions, has decided to join other manufacturers and enter the market of computer chassis. The company has just revealed pictures of its latest product that will enable this business decision, the Silent Base 800. The Silent Base 800 computer tower is comprised of premium components, focusing on silent and cool operation while featuring plenty of cable management and water cooling slots.
The be quiet! Silent Base 800 will be offered only in black and will be officially released in October of this year. While the case only comes in one color, three different accenting colors including black, silver, and orange will be available.
Source: Press Release