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Battlefield V Gets NVIDIA RTX Support Through a Day-Zero Patch

EA-DICE producer for "Battlefield V," Jaqub Ajmal revealed that the studio has released a day-zero patch for the game, which enables the promised NVIDIA RTX technology. NVIDIA used Battlefield V as a tech-demonstrator in its launch event for RTX, an ambitious real-time ray-tracing technology, which works to improve realism by adding real-time ray-traced elements to rasterized scenes. For Battlefield V, this means more realistic reflections, optical effects, and detail for objects and character models.

To play Battlefield V with RTX enabled, you'll need an NVIDIA GeForce RTX (or Quadro RTX) graphics card with GeForce 416.94 WHQL, and Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809). Microsoft resumed rolling out Windows 10 1809 update earlier this week. We are currently testing RTX support on Battlefield V, and will update our recent Battlefield V Performance Analysis article with additional RTX-on data-points.

Battlefield V Launches Early For Origin Access Premier Subscribers, Pre-orders Get Shafted

Battlefield V is now live if you have paid for Electronic Arts' subscription service, giving gamers access to the title a day earlier than expected. At a cost of $14.99 a month or $99.99 for a year, you can take to the battlefield right now. We can only speculate that this was likely done in a bid to please subscribers while also trying to boost subscription sales. After all, it is blatantly obvious that EA's goal is to try and tap into a steady income stream that only a subscription service can provide. Sadly this has resulted in those that pre-ordered getting shafted to some degree. Resulting in a problem that wouldn't exist with a single set launch date.

This highlights the trouble that comes with a staggered release, someone is going to be the odd man out. Consumers that paid for the Digital Deluxe edition still have to wait till November 15th, while buying the base version means your left sitting on the bench until November 20th. That is roughly 1-2 weeks of waiting and will likely create some anger towards EA for how the release has been handled.

Battle Royale Mode Fans, Beware: Battlefield V's Firestorm Won't Be Available Until March 2019

A few weeks ago we learned that Battlefield V would have a battle royale mode called "Firestorm". PUBG and Fornite have made this game mode so popular that several games have tried to take advantage of this feature, and the latest title from EA and DICE won't be an exception. The problem is, that option won't be available at launch, and users will have to wait until March 2019 to enjoy this game feature. The roadmap for additional content has shown how Battlefield V will evolve in the next few months.

This gaming mode has been developed by Criterion Games in partnership with DICE, and 64 players in 16 squads will fight to be the last infantry squad. Before being able to play that mode users will be able to access other DLC such as "The Last Tiger" War Story, "Panzerstorm" (a new tank-focused map) and a new Practice Range mode. Between January and March we will see new content and co-operative modes such as "Combined Arms", and after that "Firestorm" and its Battle Royale mechanics will arrive. General availability for Battlefield V will start on November 20th.

This is the Trailer for Battlefield V War Stories, a Single-Player Mode That Prepares Us For the Fight

Not quite much had been shown for Battlefield V single-player mode, but EA and DICE have finally released the first trailer that allows us to take a sneak peak at the promising "War Stories" missions. The game will not feature a classic single player mode with a long story focused on one character. Instead, it will include four different missions that bring us to different locations and characters. Those will make us familiarize with several scenarios, weapons and vehicles in the game.

The missions take place in locations such as Nordlys, where we will have to resist German occupation in Norway. There's another mission where we will have to sabotage behind enemy lines as an unlikely English soldier. Tiralleur is the third single-player War Story, and will follow the Senegalese units of the French Colonial Forces, while the last mission (available in December) is called The Last Tiger and will make us join the crew of a Tiger I as they question why they fight. Battlefield V is out worldwide November 20 after the announced delay a few weeks ago.

EA Looking Into Remastering Command & Conquer Series of Videogames

The RTS genre on PC has been left a little out in the cold in recent years; there are still some releases here and there, but the genre that was once the king of PC gaming has taken a dive in popularity. One series that was held in great regard by fans was Command & Conquer, which spanned a multitude of games (including a one-off FPS game in the form of Command & Conquer: Renegade) in both the Red Alert, Generals, and Tiberium universes.

No further work on the series occurred after the release of Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, designed to be the finale for that particular universe. The much-changed gameplay, which incorporated MOBA-style elements and more mobile armies instead of the usual static base-building, threw fans of the series off (not to mention the story). The series has since been relegated to mobile or browser gaming, but the pressure on EA to deliver another RTS game on the C&C universe has been mounting. The first step, according to EA Games' Jim Vessella, is celebrating the series' 25-year Anniversary, on which work is already going - apparently through remasters, since Vessella himself says that "we [EA] have been exploring some exciting ideas regarding remastering the classic PC games." That's not a bad idea, granted, and makes business sense - but we're still expecting a new installment, EA.

Electronic Arts Will Not Remove Loot Boxes from FIFA 18 in Direct Disregard to Belgian Law

Well, well, well. It was only a few days ago that we reported how 2K was being brazen about asking their game players to talk to the Belgian government about keeping loot boxes in their NBA series and turns out Electronic Arts (EA) decided they could do one worse. Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad published a story on how the Belgian Gaming Commission is preparing to take a legal stance against EA for refusing to remove loot boxes from FIFA 18 wherein their game buyers could purchase player packs with real money and not know what they receive in return. As if that was not bad enough, EA has doubled down with FIFA 19 by having the same "feature" again but with an increased roster to further tune the loot box chances against the customer. Andrew Wilson, the CEO of EA, commented that these loot boxes are not gambling as players know exactly how many objects they receive.

As it stands, the Belgian Gaming Commission has sent an official report to EA about their refusal to comply with the act that has been ratified since. The report states that anyone who does not conform will face the risk of legal prosecution, and it is now up to the Brussels public prosecutor's office to decide whether or not they want to charge EA accordingly. EA, meanwhile, is prepared to fight this in court and a judgement here would set a massive precedent to what is allowed in game microtransactions in the future. EA remains the only major game publisher to not make changes as directed, with Valve, Activision Blizzard and 2K, having done so before- albeit begrudgingly in some cases. Loot boxes contributed a major part of EA's annual revenue last year, with some citing online sales to be as much as 67% (which includes other forms of purchases, not just microtransactions). No wonder then that EA would like to keep milking this cow as much as they can, even if that means less milk to everyone else.

DICE to Dial Back Ray-tracing Eye-candy in Battlefield V to Favor Performance

EA-DICE, in an interview with Tom's Hardware, put out some juicy under-the-hood details about the PC release of "Battlefield V." The most prominent of these would be that the commercial release of the game will slightly dial back on the ray-tracing eye-candy we saw at NVIDIA's GeForce RTX launch event demo. DICE is rather conservative about its implementation of ray-tracing, and seems to assure players that the lack of it won't make a tangible difference to the game's production design, and will certainly not affect gameplay (eg: you won't be at a competitive disadvantage just because a squeaky clean car in the middle of a warzone won't reflect an enemy sniper's glint accurately).

"What I think that we will do is take a pass on the levels and see if there is something that sticks out," said Christian Holmquist, technical director at DICE. "Because the materials are not tweaked for ray tracing, but sometimes they may show off something that's too strong or something that was not directly intended. But otherwise we won't change the levels-they'll be as they are. And then we might need to change some parameters in the ray tracing engine itself to maybe tone something down a little bit," he added. Throughout the game's levels and maps, DICE identified objects and elements that could hit framerates hard when ray-tracing is enabled, and "dialed-down" ray-tracing for those assets. For example, a wall located in some level (probably a glass mosaic wall), hit performance too hard, and the developers had to tone down its level of detail.

EA Delays Battlefield V Release by a Full Month - Available on November 20th

Via a blog post on EA's website, Oskar Gabrielson, General Manager of DICE, made it known that Battlefield V would be facing a one month delay, moving its previously-announced October 19th release to November 20th. Gabrielson goes on to say that there are some core gameplay features - "gameplay tempo", "soldier visibility" and "player friction" that have been met with copious amounts of feedback, and that DICE wants to dive into these as it improves the game to "get it right".

Gabrielson ends his take with a promise to "(...) take the time to continue to make some final adjustments to core gameplay, and to ensure we really deliver on the potential of Tides of War", a live service which will replace the previous system of Premium Passes and expansion packs with an "evolving journey" - perhaps something in the like of Destiny's non-expansion content - read, events - updates. Battlefield V is one of the games that will launch with support for NVIDIA's RTX technology, by the way (in Alpha mode at GAMESCOM) - and the game was supposed to drop just a single day before NVIDIA's official September 20th launch for the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti graphics cards.

EA Representative: Game Streaming Is the Future and Simply a Matter of "When"

EA's Executive VP of Strategic Growth Matt Bilbey said in an interview to gamesindustry.biz that he expects game streaming to be an unavoidable fact of our lives, replacing traditional consoles and gaming-specific devices with smartphone-based solutions or Smart TV apps. Matt Bilbey spoke on how scaling bandwidth and latency is paramount to this streaming future, and likely one of the reasons streaming services up to now have struggled for acceptance - and even survival.

"(...) today, that [bandwidth and latency issues] is still a challenge. But I think over the next year to two years, that barrier will drop. Not for everyone, but for a lot of people. Bandwidth capabilities will go up so the business model around streaming a game becomes more viable. If you buy into a streaming solution and the experience is laggy half the time, you're going to stop and not do it again, which is the challenge some of the companies previously had. I think there's now a solution where we can deliver on the promise, and we're working with a lot of the companies who create the server infrastructure, and there are a lot of innovative solutions from a lot of big companies we're working with that will actually allow us to bring this to life."

Freebies no More, or the Paid Lunch: EA Abandons On The House Program

EA announced last week its new Origin Access Premier program, which launches today and introduces a new access tier which provides unlimited access to imminent-launch games five days before the official release. This program will cost £14.99/$14.99 a month or £89.99/$99.99 a year. Alongside this launch, EA has decided to axe the freebie On the House initiative - a strange correlation, because these programs hardly interfere with one another.

Users who have already gained access to these freebies will keep them, of course, but attempts to enter the "On the House" page are met with a redirect to the Origin Access webpage. However, users who hadn't grabbed the games will be left in the dust (even if just some metaphorical specks of it, since the games can be easily and quite cheaply had), such as Theme Hospital, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Dragon Age, Mass Effect or Battlefield series. Read on for EA's remarks on this decision.

EA Says FIFA 19 will Disclose Pack Odds

FIFA (the game) is big in the EU, where game studios recently felt the bite of regulators over the loot-crate controversy, with some voices in the European Commission even threatening to impose gambling sanctions. The post-World Cup release of FIFA rides on the real-world tournament's popularity, and tends to be a major release. FIFA 19, according to EA, will shield itself against the wrath of EU regulation by disclosing upfront the odds that the Ultimate Team pack (a loot-crate) you're about to buy isn't a sack of potatoes.

"For Ultimate Team, when you buy a pack you know what you are getting. You are getting a certain number of assets that are guaranteed - and we're going to start to do pack odds disclosures that'll show you the odds of what you might get," said Daryl Holt, VP and COO of EA Sports, in an interview with Eurogamer. "That'll be in our product year 19 titles. So, at least that aspect of understanding what the chances are of getting X, Y and Z card." The current FIFA 18 includes a more crude implementation of what EA is proposing. It only discloses a vague inventory of the contents of the pack (number of players and consumables).

Uncharted Series' Amy Hennig Confirms Leaving EA Back in January, Starts Her Own Indie Studio

After EA shuttered Visceral Studios, who where working on a new, linear, single-player Star Wars videogame, Amy Hennig's situation never was cleared up by the publisher. Doubts remained on whether the developer, best known for her work at Naughty Dog with the Uncharted series, was still attached, in any capacity, to the newly-pivoted development of the aforementioned Star Wars videogame in EA Vancouver. Now, at the Gamelab conference in Barcelone, the air has been cleared: Amy Hennig has confirmed she hasn't been working with EA since January of this year. And the linear, single-player experience she was developing has been shelved by EA.

Hennig says that she is staying independent, now, and is in the process of setting up her own indie studio - and is likely taking a VR spin with her next creations. We wish her all the best, and hope that the indie liberty gives her enough room - and funds - to develop that dying breed of videogames that is the solo kind. Meanwhile, Henig's also confirmed that EA Vancouver's pivoting of the Star Wars videogame is reworking it into a - can you guess? - open world approach that is barely recognizable from her own work - so it does seem a game in the likes of Destiny and Anthem will be the end product.

EA Reveals Official PC System Requirements for Battlefield V Closed Alpha

With Battlefield V's Closed Alpha already in progress, EA has revealed the official system requirements for PC users. The company emphasized that the specifications only apply to the Closed Alpha and may vary in the final game. The minimum system requirements are more or less in line with the preliminary requirements we reported last month. According to the Battlefield V website, the minimum system requirements include a Core i5-6600K or AMD FX-8350 processor, 8 GB of memory along with a GeForce GTX 1050 / GTX 660 or a Radeon HD 7850 graphics cards. The recommended system requirements bump the processor up to a Core i7-4790 or Ryzen 3 1300X processor along with 12 GB or 16 GB of memory. In terms of graphics power, EA recommends a GeForce GTX 1060 or a Radeon RX 480. As expected, the game requires 50 GB of storage space and a 512 KBPS or faster connection to the internet.

Battlefield V System Requirements Revealed

EA has revealed the preliminary minimum system requirements for their upcoming Battlefield V game, which is set to launch in October 19 of this year. According to Battlefield V's Origin page, the game demands an Intel Core i5-6600K or AMD FX-6350 processor as a minimum along with 8 GB of memory. In terms of graphics power, EA is recommending a graphics card that's compatible with DirectX 11. That basically translates to a GeForce GTX 660 2 GB for NVIDIA owners and a Radeon HD 7850 2 GB for AMD owners. Battlefield V will work fine on Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 as long as they are 64-bit versions. Regarding storage, the game occupies around 50 GB of hard drive space. For fluid online gameplay, a 512 Kbps or higher broadband internet connection is highly recommended. The release of Battlefield V is still pretty far off, so these system requirements could change over time.

Battlefield V Revealed: 1942 Reimagined

EA-DICE released the first reveal trailer of "Battlefield V." The reveal shows a slice of what appears to be actual in-game footage. The game re-imagines events of WWII, after the series' excursion with WWI. It portrays a pitched battle somewhere in Europe with British troops fighting Nazis. There's also the depiction of female soldiers, hinting at the possibility of strong female characters, or even a female protagonist (as opposed to second-fiddle female NPCs in the likes of Battlefield 4 campaign). There are no technical details of the game, but it appears to leverage DirectX 12 API with even more features than Battlefield 1. Battlefield V is slated for release on October 19, 2018. It's open to pre-orders on Origin.
The official trailer follows after the break

On the New Subscription Age, EA Acquires Game Streaming Service Gamefly

Seems like almost every industry is looking towards transitioning to a subscription model for its goods and services. Netflix may be the most iconic one such company, having acquired millions of subscribers that allow it to have a relatively stable, monthly influx of liquidity (yes, we can also count World of Warcraft on such a scenario). However, many other industries have taken to the same approach (think lootcrates, all kinds of crates, subscription services for online features, etc).

That said, few industries can take the same amount of data from their subscribers such as these media-consumption based ones, where an Internet connection is required, and user data - be it views or, the most interesting metric, engagement rates - are king in determining exactly what the user base expects and craves more of. Netflix's algorithms and view history have been responsible for the selection of its future investments. The base idea for the movie Bright, for example, was developed based on a mash-up of genres Netflix's algorithms indicated as the more captivating to the user base - and Netflix's sci-fi portfolio, for instance, has recently grown towards becoming the single biggest investment from the company, as users seem to gobble-up such content (I'm dully guilty as charged for that one sin as well, I have to admit).

Battlefield V to Be Revealed on May 23

A mysterious webpage has surfaced on EA's website with new details on the upcoming Battlefield V title. The teaser comes in form of a simple blue background with the date May 23, 2018 written across the middle accompanied by the Battlefield hashtag. The URL also carries the "never be the same" catchphrase. Earlier today, DICE design director Alan Kertz tweeted on his Twitter account that a game he's been working on will be revealed on the 23rd of this month. It's safe to bet that this game is Battlefield V. But, what do we know about the it so far? Although not confirmed yet, Battlefield V's setting will probably be the Second World War. It will have a single-player campaign and various multiplayer modes. It's also possible that EA might jump on the battle royale bandwagon.

EA Confirms Battlefield 5 Will Not Defect From Premium Single-Player Experiences

Games have become increasingly connected and social, with always-on features being both part of a permanent player engagement (and monetization) attempt. As a result, some publishers are already looking to not so slowly eliminate big budget, single-player premium experiences from their games. One need not look much further than one of the industry's behemoths, Call of Duty, which has been confirmed, in its latest Black Ops IV iteration which will launch this year, that single player content has been wholly cut- despite a three-year development window and Black Ops being one of the best storytelling experiences to Call of Duty in recent times.

EA, perhaps picking up on the momentum of backlash against the lack of single player content in the upcoming Black Ops IV, has confirmed the upcoming Battlefield 5 will not eschew a single player component, giving players the premium campaign experience we've come to know. The next Battlefield (which is expected to be set in World War II) will likely release around October of this year, sporting the usual campaign and multiplayer modes, with a chance of a battle royale mode as well.

Mod Brings Split-Screen Support to PC Version of Star Wars Battlefront II

Unlike the Xbox or PS4 versions, the PC version of Star Wars Battlefront II lacks support for split-screen multiplayer gameplay. Why? It's beyond us. Luckily modders 'benji' and 'Cade' were able to create a mod to trick the PC version of the game into thinking that it's running the console version. This mod even adds a nifty 'ENTER SPLIT SCREEN' button in the pause menu so players can reload their current map in split-screen mode. However, this feature only works with offline maps. Using it in online matches will immediately crash your game. It's also important to note that using this mod might violate EA's terms of service, so use it at your own risk. To get the split-screen mod to work, you must have Frosty Mod Manager installed on your system. The split-screen mod is available here.

Batman: Arkham and LEGO Batman Series Arrive on Origin Access

Electronic Arts announced that they've added six Warner Bros games to their Origin Access subscription service. The new titles belong to the Batman: Arkham and LEGO Batman series. This is an important feat for EA as it's the first time that a third-party publisher has allowed their games to join The Vault. According to EA, this is just the tip of the iceberg as they are planning to add five more games, including the award-winning indie title "The Witness", in the upcoming weeks. For those players who are interested in trying Origin Access, EA is currently offering a seven-day free trial from now through March 26, 2018.

Battlefield V Takes Players Back to World War II

If there's something that Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: WWII have taught us, it's that nostalgia sells - and it sells a lot. The numbers don't lie. Battlefield 1 not only sold faster than Battlefield 4, but it also broke the 25 million players barrier not so long ago. Call of Duty: WWII didn't do too shabby either becoming the best-selling Call of Duty installment since Black Ops II. The ultimate goal for EA now is to keep the traction going and that's where Battlefield V comes in. Battlefield V, originally known internally as Battlefield 2, is the direct sequel to Battlefield 1, and as thus, the game's setting and story will take place in World War II. Hardcore Battlefield fans might recall that EA previously visited the World War II era in Battlefield 1942. However, the publisher has promised that Battlefield V won't a mere remaster but a completely new game from the ground up.

For better or worse, EA and loot boxes always seem to find themselves together in the same sentence. Anonymous sources have confirmed that Battlefield V will have loot boxes However, the loot boxes are limited to cosmetic items to customize your soldier just like in Battlefield 1 - so no worries there. EA has promised a playable "next Battlefield experience" this year at the E3 event in June. Battlefield V is expected to launch later this year.

EA Publisher Sale on Origin and Amazon with Discounts Up to 75%

Electronic Arts is currently running a big sale on Origin and Amazon that you simply cannot miss out on. There's an excellent selection of titles that includes Battlefield 1, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Star Wars: Battlefront II, Titanfall 2, and many others. The good news is that the discounts also extend to several DLCs and game bundles. It's worth taking a look even if you're not a big fan of Origin. The EA Publisher Sale runs through until Tuesday, March 6, 2018 at 10 am Pacific time. As is the custom, we've highlighted some of the more interesting offers.

Lucasfilm Rumored to Ditch EA for a New Game Publisher

Rumors are going around that Lucasfilm isn't too happy with how the Star Wars franchise is turning out since they handed the license on a silver platter over to Electronic Arts in 2013. Up to now, EA has produced a total of two titles under the Star Wars: Battlefront sub-series. Their first Star Wars: Battlefront game was released in 2015 and many considered it a reboot of the previous games. Regardless, Star Wars: Battlefront (2015) was highly criticized for its lack of a single-player campaign. EA's solution to keep die-hard Star Wars fans happy was to release a multitude of free expansions and paid DLC packs to add more content to the game. And then came Star Wars: Battlefront II in 2017, a sequel that received even harsher backlash because of the over aggressive loot-crate system that was implemented into the game. In an attempt to put out the fire, EA temporarily eliminated the microtransactions.

Then, to make matters even worse, EA closed Visceral Games last year. The studio was working on the single-player driven Star Wars: Project Ragtag title, but apparently it didn't fit into EA's business model so they decided to pull the plug. With all that has occurred, EA's relationship with Lucasfilm hangs on a thin thread right now. The gaming giant's lackluster record of releasing two games in a five year period allegedly forced Lucasfilm to explore other options. Ubisoft and Activision were the two big names that have been mentioned so far. If the rumors were true, who would you rather have working on the next Star Wars game?

EA Bleeds $3.1 Billion in Stock Value Over Battlefront II Fiasco

Electronic Arts (EA) bled USD $3.1 billion (£2.3 billion) in stock value at the markets over the week, as the company scaled down its controversial loot-crate system deployed in "Star Wars: Battlefront II." The company is fighting a PR debacle as gamers complain of terrible pricing of the base-game, DLC, and an aggressive loot-crate system that's drawing the attention of government regulators around the world, who are threatening to impose gambling regulations against the game.

The concept of loot-crate is simple. You pay a seemingly small amount of money for a "mystery box" containing either something great (like weapon-attachments), or something of no tangible impact on gameplay (like skins). You're incentivized to buy more loot-crates in hope that you'll get something better. This becomes a gamble. In 2016, EA earned over $800 million in profits selling loot-crates among other micro-transactions, across various game franchises, such as Battlefield and Need for Speed. With EA scaling down several of its ancillary revenue models for the game, the studio's stock bled 8.5 percent month-to-date. Drew Crum, an analyst with investment firm Stifel also attributes underwhelming Black Friday sales of the game to EA's bear-hug.

Latest Need for Speed Payback Update Accelerates Progression System

Following the launch of Need for Speed Payback, we've been working on addressing feedback by making changes to the progression system and other aspects of the game. These range from decreasing the amount of time for parts to refresh within the tune-up shops to the way events, bait crates and roaming racers work. Players in Ranked Speedlists will also notice an increased amount of parts being paid out. Win the Speedlist and you're guaranteed a new part, while simply participating means you get more chances of receiving an item of your own. We've already pushed a number of these updates live and will continue to listen to our players to make Need for Speed Payback the best experience possible.

Soon players will see a client-side patch going live and will benefit from a range of updates including improved game performance, multiple fixes to improve stability and tune-up shops stocking a higher quality selection of parts.
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