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Anthem Gets NVIDIA DLSS and Highlights Support in Latest Update

Saying Anthem has had a rough start would be an understatement, but things can only get better with time (hopefully, anyway). This week saw an update to the PC version that brought along with it support for NVIDIA's new DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) technology to be used with their new Turing-microarchitecture GeForce RTX cards. NVIDIA's internal testing shows as much as 40% improvement in average FPS with DLSS on relative to off, as seen in the image below, and there is also a video to help show graphical changes, or lack thereof in this case. DLSS on Anthem is available on all RTX cards at 3840x2160 resolution gameplay, and on the RTX 2060, 2070, and 2080 at 2560x1440. No word on equivalent resolutions at a non-16:9 aspect ratio, and presumably 1080p is a no-go as first discussed by us last month.

Note that we will NOT be able to test DLSS on Anthem, which is a result of the five activations limit as far as hardware configurations go. This prevented us from doing a full graphics card performance test, but our article on the VIP demo is still worth checking into if you were curious. In addition to DLSS, Anthem also has NVIDIA Highlights support for GeForce Experience users to automatically capture and save "best gameplay moments", with a toggle option to enable this setting in the driver. A highlight is generated for an apex kill, boss kill, legendary kill, multi kill, overlook interaction, or a tomb discovery. More on this in the source linked below in the full story.

Electronic Arts Lets Go of 350 Employees Amidst Internal Restructuring

It would be a safe bet to admit that Electronic Arts (EA) has not had the best 12, or even 24, months as a publisher. While their sports division continues to thrive, it may well be the one business unit holding down the fort. Their use of the Star Wars license has been dubious at best when it comes to execution, with reports on cancelled games and Battlefront II (the new one) not meeting expectations. Battlefield V has also not lit the field on fire, unless you are playing the new Firestorm battle royal mode in a literal sense, and the less said about Anthem the better. Apex Legends was introduced to much fanfare at launch, but the recent battle pass has soured many on the future of this new IP.

Perhaps it was a matter of when, rather than if, that the company would find a personnel restructure to be in order, and today just happened to be the day. EA CEO Andrew Wilson helped put out a statement on their website, recognizing a challenging world ahead and that they are "making deliberate moves to better deliver on our commitments, refine our organization and meet the needs" of players. These moves and changes involve letting go of as many as 350 people (out of 9000 total, or around 4%) unfortunately, most of whom are on their publicity and marketing departments, while also toning down their presence in Japan and Russia. We here at TechPowerUp are always saddened to hear such news, and take solace in knowing that EA is helping the laid-off personnel find new employment opportunities.

NVIDIA Updates RTX Game Bundle - Now Also Includes Metro Exodus

NVIDIA has updated their RTX game bundle, which offers users games whenever they purchase an elligible RTX graphics card. The bundle previously offered wither Anthem or Battlefield V, for gamers who purchased the RTX 2060 or 2070 graphics card; and both games for buyers of the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti. Now, gamers who purchase NVIDIA's highest-performacne graphics cards also get to take Metro Exodus home, and buyers of the RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 can now choose that game over the others.

Anthem Physical Sales Unsurprisingly Worse Than Mass Effect Andromeda

There are news reports going around today about how physical sales of Bioware's Anthem is much worse than their previous title, Mass Effect Andromeda. Nearly all these reports are using the two UK sales metrics, as of February 23, to make this claim, stating that Anthem sold less than 50% the physical copies relative of ME Andromeda. This is a story no doubt, but not big enough to where people are claiming this to be the end of the studio by itself. For one, ME Andromeda had the luxury of being the new entry into the massively popular Mass Effect franchise, which many were desperate for more. Secondly, Anthem is a predominantly online game released in 2019 wherein such games tend to get more digital sales- especially on Origin for PC.

The good news for Anthem (and also EA as well as Bioware) is the game still topped both charts, as seen in the images below courtesy Metro UK. It sold more physical copies compared the other new entries last week- Far Cry: New Dawn and Metro Exodus- in the UK, which tends to be representative of the entire physical sales world too. Indeed, Anthem on the two major consoles were individually also the best sellers too, so there remains hope for the game. Despite mediocre reviews and interest online, perhaps this will be enough for continued support of the game post-release, and for Bioware to get enough momentum to push out more games in the future, and ideally more, better single-player games too.

Anthem to Receive Post-Launch Content Updates At Least Until May

Anthem is out in the wilds, and it seems its reception has been mixed - it's definitely not the blockbuster, review-parading title that any developer - and publisher - would like their games to be. Reports peg Anthem's boxed game sales as half that of Bioware's previous Mass Effect: Andromeda - which was, again, half those of Mass Effect 3. Perhaps it's a tale of gamers taking a step back in trust regarding Bioware's ability to deliver, following Andromeda's reception, perhaps it has been superseded in interest by multiplayer-focused games (as we've seen, the industry trend has gone on towards having competitive multiplayer, instead of cooperative multiplayer designs). Whatever the reason, Anthem seems to have been met will a less-than-expected interest when it comes to sales - the opening weekend sales were lower than both Kingdom Hearts 3 and Resident Evil 2. And the PC version of the game has been ill-received by critics and gamers alike, if Metacritic still holds weight in this review-bombing world.

That said, EA is committing to content drops for the game - until May 2019, that is. This in itself sets a mild alarm ringing - this can't possibly represent publisher's investment in the game - three months is a very unimpressive commitment to the longevity of a game universe in the scale of Anthem. So many plans for the game to usher in the "games as a platform" concept of regular content drops, I'd be dumbstruck to find that EA might consider dropping the money bag like this.

NVIDIA Posts GeForce 419.17 WHQL Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today released GeForce 419.17 WHQL Game Ready drivers. These drivers introduce support for the new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card launched moments earlier. These are also the first "Game Ready" drivers that come with optimization for "Anthem" and DiRT Rally 2.0. The drivers also add NVIDIA SLI support for "Far Cry: New Dawn" and "Apex Legends." NVIDIA also fixed a short list of bugs. Improper decal rendering in "Doom" (2016) and "Doom Eternal" are fixed. "Battlefield V" artifacting when texture filtering is set to "high" in NVIDIA Control Panel. Dynamic Super Resolution not being available for monitors with 4K2K timings has been fixed. NVIDIA also fixed a critical security vulnerability affecting access to GPU performance counters. Find the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 419.17 WHQL

The change-log follows.

EA, Bioware Partner With Oats Studios and Neil Blomkamp to Produce Conviction - An Anthem Story

Neil Blomkamp is one of today's most well-regarded sci-fi filmmakers - and for good reason. While you may know him for his feature-length films (such as the legendary District 9 and the even more legendary, for me, Elysium), he has been making forays into conceptual filmmaking ever since he set up Oats Studios. The goal for Oats Studios was to create cinematographic thought-experiments with a sci-fi twist, and the studios have released a number of great works that you can follow on their YouTube (such as Zygote, Firebase, and Rakka), even going so far as to fully experiment with the power of Unity in the making of some seriously impressive pieces in their Adam series. If you don't know the studio's work yet, do yourself a favor and take a look.

That said, EA and Bioware have clearly picked up on the potential for Oats Studios, and ordered a cinematic, live-action story set on the Anthem universe. Named Conviction, the short serves as a teaser for the games' release, and showcases the impressive world of Anthem being brought to life with real people and settings. I won't dive into much detail here; I've given you the background. Suffice it to say that I am left even more wanting in regards to Neil Blomkamp's canceled Halo project after watching this. I bet you'd love to see something such as this brought to life in more detail and depth than a short three minutes and forty-five seconds allow for.

EA Releases Anthem Launch Trailer... Two Weeks Ahead of Anthem Itself

So, this is kind of a strange, time-traveling move on EA (and Bioware's) part: a launch trailer that jumps the gun on the actual game by almost two weeks. So, granted, it isn't really two weeks - it's a ten-day period between today and Anthem's February 22nd launch. That said, there really are some more days left on the calendar - the launch trailer seems slightly premature.

Perhaps this is EA's way of keeping interest in Anthem and recapturing some of that original hype. With the game's demo being plagued by stability and server issues during the initial period, and the game's demo itself receiving a more lukewarm than not response from critics and the (more outspoken) community, it seems that interest in this Destiny killer has waned in recent times. Which really could be bad news, considering EA's history, and Bioware's last title, Mass Effect: Andromeda's, fate. There's also the possibility that the recent launch of EA's own sleeper-hit Apex Legends - which has recently garnered some 10 million unique players in four days since its inception. Perhaps the thunder is being stolen out of Anthem's feet with a series of unfortunate circumstances - not incidents. It remains to be seen. For now, instead of spelling doom left and right, just watch the small but cool Anthem launch trailer. Let's hope the story holds... For a game with no PvP, let's just hope the story holds.

Electronic Arts Reports Q3 FY19 Financial Results

Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) today announced preliminary financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2018. "The video game industry continues to grow through a year of intense competition and transformational change," said CEO Andrew Wilson. "Q3 was a difficult quarter for Electronic Arts and we did not perform to our expectations. We are now applying the strengths of our company to sharpen our execution and focus on delivering great new games and long-term live services for our players. We're very excited about Apex Legends, the upcoming launch of Anthem, and a deep line-up of new experiences that we'll bring to our global communities next fiscal year."

"FIFA stands out as a robust franchise through a tumultuous year in the video game industry," said COO and CFO Blake Jorgensen. "Elsewhere in the business, we're making adjustments to improve execution and we're refocusing R&D. Looking forward, we're delighted to launch Anthem, our new IP, to grow Apex Legends and related Titanfall experiences, to deliver new Plants vs. Zombies and Need for Speed titles, and to add Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order to our sports titles in the fall."

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.1

AMD today posted the latest version of Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition. Version 19.2.1 beta ships with optimization for "APEX Legends" and "The Division 2 private beta." It also improves performance of "Assassin's Creed: Odyssey" by up to 5 percent, when tested on a Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics card. The company also fixed a number of issues.

To begin with, a bug affecting "Battlefield V" in which character outlines remain on the screen after revive has been fixed. Radeon Settings not automatically installing when updating Radeon Software on machines with hybrid graphics has been fixed. Also fixed is a Radeon Settings application crash noticed when switching tabs too quickly with long game lists. Some displays experiencing a loss in video when maximizing to fullscreen any software with FreeSync enabled, also has been fixed. A white-screen bug affecting "Anthem" has been fixed. HDMI Underscan settings not restoring after reboot has been fixed. An inverted color bug with ReLive has been fixed.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.2.1 beta

The change-log follows.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 418.81 WHQL Software

NVIDIA today released GeForce 418.81 WHQL software. The drivers add support for mobile versions of GeForce RTX 20-series GPUs. The desktop version adds optimization for 3DMark Port Royal benchmark, in addition to its DLSS (deep learning supersampling) AA setting. The drivers add or improve NVIDIA SLI support for "Anthem," "Assetto Corsa Competizione," "Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2," "Life is strange Season 2," "NBA 2K19," and "Space Hulk Tactics." CUDA version 10 is included with these drivers.

Among the issues fixed are HDR not being enabled by default in Gamestream when an HDR display is connected to the client and PC. 3D performance and frame-rate overlays accidentally appearing on Twitter UWP app is fixed. Random flickering in games with G-Sync enabled is fixed. Also fixed is a strange issue in which when a G-Sync display (one with NVIDIA G-Sync hardware) is hotplugged, and a G-Sync Compatible (read: VESA Adaptive Sync) display is connected, the right half of the G-Sync display goes blank. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 418.81 WHQL

Anthem VIP Demo Benchmarked on all GeForce RTX & Vega Cards

Yesterday, EA launched the VIP demo for their highly anticipated title "Anthem". The VIP demo is only accessible to Origin Access subscribers or people who preordered. For the first hours after the demo launch, many players were plagued by servers crashes or "servers are full" messages. Looks like EA didn't anticipate the server load correctly, or the inrush of login attempts revealed a software bug that wasn't apparent with light load.

Things are running much better now, and we had time to run some Anthem benchmarks on a selection of graphics cards, from AMD and NVIDIA. We realized too late that even the Anthem Demo comes with a five activation limit, which gets triggered on every graphics card change. That's why we could only test eight cards so far.. we'll add more when the activations reset.

AMD Releases Radeon Adrenalin 19.1.2 Beta Drivers

AMD yesterday released the latest version of their Radeon Adrenalin Graphics Drivers. Version 19.1.2 adds support for the remaster of Resident Evil 2, a long-awaited title, as well as for Tropico 6 and Anthem's Early Access build. Anthem support brings with it an additional 7% performance uplift at 1080p resolution with AMD's RX 580 graphics card. Some issues such as black screens on reboot and flickering issues in rocket League with FreeSync have also been fixed. Follow the link below to download the drivers, and check after the break for additional fixes and known bugs in this release.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.1.2 Beta

Official PC Requirements for Bioware's Anthem Revealed

Being a Bioware game, and especially a new IP from the same company that has, in recent times, brought us the Mass Effect and Dragon Age IPs, expectations for Anthem are both high and very, very cautious. No matter how cautious we are, though, not being able to play it in our rigs means we won't even be able to create our own opinion on what is one of the most anticipated titles of 2019. Now, Bioware has revealed the official system requirements for Anthem, and we know what sort of hardware the company thinks is needed for a good experience. As an added Bonus, the developers have also announced that they're working with NVIDIA towards implementing DLSS into the game.

An Anthem for SLI: Bioware's New Universe in 60 FPS 4K Run on Two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti GPUs

Lo and Behold: SLI working properly. This was my first reaction whilst reading up on this potential news piece (which, somewhat breaking the fourth wall, actually did end up as one). My thought likely isn't alone; it's been a while since we heard of any relevant dual graphics card configuration and performance improvement now, as developers seem to be throwing dreams of any "Explicit Multi-GPU" tech out of the water. This slight deviation from the news story aside, though: Anthem needed two of the world's fastest GPUs running in tandem to deliver a 4K, 60 FPS experience.

On Ubisoft's Aim to End Finite Gaming Experiences

Lionel Rainaud, Executive Vice President of Creative for Ubisoft's Canadian studios, shared via a blog post an interesting, albeit not novel idea, for games. The aim is to end the disparaging of resources that is the finite game experience: as in, the game that you experience once or twice, but that once you've seen the campaign's completion and finished all the end content, goes back on the shelf never to see the light of your interest again: all the development time (measured in years) and effort (and dollars) for what amounts to an 8-hour experience (or less). The goal, then, seems to be to take online experiences to a whole new level, where a game's content can be constantly updated so as to keep the credits from rolling.
"(...) the will to not give finite experiences. The idea was that you have this conflict, and the resolution, and then it's finished - you've killed the bad guy, for instance. We build a strong nemesis, and the goal of the game is to kill him or free the country, we've done that a few times in our games. But when you succeed, you have to leave the game, because there is nothing else to do. So the goal was to break this, and say that you will be the hero of a region or population many times, not just once. And if you get rid of a dictator or an oppressor, something else is going to happen in the world, and you will have a new goal.

BioWare's Anthem Likely Delayed Until 2019

Anthem, BioWare's upcoming always-on RPG that's being made as a Destiny contender, has been delayed until 2019, according to industry insiders (and as reported by Kotaku). The pressure on BioWare's team to deliver a killer co-op online shooter experience with integrated microtransactions' release is apparently being pushed to allow the team more time to avoid Destiny 2's and Star Wars battlefront 2's shortcomings. The tentative release data that had been previously advanced of Fall 2018 was apparently never a realistic goal, anyway. It remains to be seen whether BioWare can carve itself the halo co-op, single-player driven online game, as it strives to avoid missteps such as those that have already been hit, full stride, by other developers.

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