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Microsoft Announces Acquisition of Bethesda Parent Company ZeniMax Media

Microsoft today dropped a giant bomb on the balance of game development: the company announced the acquisition of ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks, and all its related IP. The purchase, which is expected to close for a tidy $7.5 billion, will carry over all ZeniMax Media subsidiaries. This includes Bethesda (The Elder Scrolls, Fallout), id Software (DOOM), Arkane Studios (Prey, Dishonored, upcoming Deathloop), MachineGames (Wolfenstein), among others.

The deal is the costliest acquisition for Microsoft (to date) in its push to increase the number of in-house development studios (up to 23 from 15 prior to this deal). Microsoft has announced that as part of the deal, games published by ZeniMax Media and subsidiaries (and in the future, by Microsoft) will be available on its Xbox Games Pass subscription service for Xbox and PC gaming. Microsoft is acquiring some of the most iconic gaming franchises ever with this deal, including all in-development IP. It's a huge boon for the company; it remains to be seen exactly how will this evolve over the years. But one thing is for certain: Microsoft isn't slowing down on its doubling down on game development.

Enter the Gungeon & God's Trigger Currently Free on Epic Games Store

Enter the Gungeon is a bullet hell roguelike video game developed by Dodge Roll and published by Devolver Digital. The game was released for Windows, macOS, Linux, and PlayStation 4 in 2016 where it received critical acclaim and went on to release for Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in 2017. The game retails for 14.99 USD on Steam at the time of writing. God's Trigger is a violent action game released by One More Level and published by Techland Publishing. The game was released for Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2018 to positive reviews. The two games are currently free to keep on the Epic Games Store for one week only.

The two games are now available to claim and will expire August 27th.

Fortnite Gets Kicked Out From Google and Apple App Stores, Epic Games Files a Lawsuit

Today, Epic Games has decided to file a lawsuit against both Apple and Google after both companies removed Fortnite form their platform app stores (Google Play and Apple App Store). Firstly, Apple has decided to remove the Fortnite app to form its App Store because the game violated the company's policy that all in-game payments must go through the Apple App Store system, instead of them being processed directly. That means that Apple can also apply its 30% cut on all the payments made in-game. After Apple has revoked the Fortnite app, Epic Games has decided to file a lawsuit that aims to fight the company's monopoly and make the iOS platform more developer-friendly. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said that Epic will not seek or accept any special deal that Apple may offer, but rather wants to fight for all developers.

Just hours after Apple decided to pull the Fortnite game from its App Store, Google has also removed the game from its Google Play Store. Google's Play Store policy about in-app payments says that all games must use Google Play in-app billing if they want to process payments, so Fortnite was pulled from it as well. In light of that move, Epic Games has also filed a lawsuit against Google on the same terms. The company wants to fight both Apple and Google in court and make them be more developer-friendly, especially Apple. We have to wait and see how the case progresses. Being that Apple is almost a $2 trillion company, it can surely afford lots of good lawyers, just as Google will. We want to express our support for Epic Games for going in the right direction, as we do need more open ecosystems.

Epic Games Announces $1.78 Billion Funding Round

Epic Games today announced a $1.78 billion round of funding consisting of primary capital and secondary purchases from employee equity holders. Epic's post-money equity valuation is now $17.3 billion.

This round includes a previously announced $250 million strategic investment from Sony Corporation. Additional investment partners include Baillie Gifford, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., and David Tepper. Existing investors KKR and Smash Ventures also added to their 2018 investment. Following the closing of the funding round Epic will continue to have only a single class of common stock outstanding and will remain controlled by its founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney.

Epic Games Announces Support for Cars in the Latest Fortnite Update

Today, on the official Twitter account of Fortnite game, Epic Games made an announcement that the game will receive an update on the 5th of August (tomorrow), that will bring some new features. Titled Joy Ride update, Epic Games promises that it will bring car support with it. In a tweet, the company says that "It's not just a name. It's a warning.", where it is referring to the Joy Ride update and the fact that it is going to change the gameplay dynamics of the game. So far, the only way to travel in-game on the ground was by foot, meaning that a car update will improve the speed of moving a lot. Let us know your thought on this update in the comments down below.
Fortinte Joy Ride Update

EA's Move to Steam Makes its Games the Most Played on the Platform

EA has recently decided to break away from the exclusivity of its games on Origin game launches and started to offer some games on Valve's Steam gaming platform. The move has turned out to be quite substantial for EA and Valve just reported some big news. Out of the top 20 best-selling games on Steam for the month of July, EA games accounted for eight of them. This rather massive share is all thanks to the new markets EA opened themselves to. Without a doubt, Steam is still the world's biggest gaming platform, so it was a smart move to expand the availability of games to it. The financial gains follow as well. EA saw a massive 74% surge in PC revenue it is a quarterly report, all thanks to expansion to Steam.

Microsoft Announces Xbox Series X Games Showcase Event

After Sony has showcased Unreal Engine 5 capabilities on the new PlayStation 5 console, there was a counterpart event missing from Microsoft. However, Microsoft has announced today that the company will host a live stream event on July 23rd. That is the date when Microsoft will host the event on YouTube and Twitch. Starting at 9 am PT time, the company will showcase the capabilities of the new Xbox Series X console. Possibly, Microsoft will show ray tracing and all the latest technology advancements with AMD's RDNA2 graphics card found inside the new console. What we can expect in terms of games is Halo Infinite and maybe new Forza and Gears of War games. Either way, we have to wait and find out on July 23rd.

Cyberpunk 2077 will have "GTA Mode"

CD Project RED, the maker behind highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 game has given out some exciting information about the game. In a recent interview with PCGamesN, Max Pears, a designer involved in Cyberpunk 2077 development, has said that the game will have a "Grand Theft Auto (GTA) mode". "If you want to go out on a rampage and have no remorse, then you have got the option, and that's fine with us", said Mr. Pears. "However, once you start to play the missions and see the amount of options you have. I think that will make players stop and think a little bit before doing something reckless.", he adds, "We've seen a lot of people default to that 'GTA mode' and then after a little bit they realize how many things are different and adjust how they play". The game is officially launching on November 19, so we have to wait and see that gameplay.
Cyberpunk 2077

Has The Epic Games Store Helped or Hindered the PC Gaming Market?

When Epic Games launched the Epic Games Store back in December 2018 most people wrote it off as a glorified Fortnite launcher which could never compete with Steam's reach and features. While the Epic Games Store is still lacking in features compared to Steam it has come a long way since it's launch slowly adding in new features.

The Epic Games Store surprised many when it offered Subnautica for completely free on the store and so began the tradition of the Epic Games Store's weekly game giveaways which have given away over 100 different games in the last 18 months. While pursuing this strategy of game giveaways to attract new users to the platform Epic Games also secured many exclusives for the launcher which wasn't nearly as well received.

Itch.io Announces $5 Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality, Featuring 300+ Games

Itch.io is an indie game distributor that offers full game downloads absent of any client distribution - they give you links where you can download games and their full executables from their website. Now, the company has announced a new $5 bundle under the Racial Justice and Equality movement. The $5 is the minimum contribution amount users can give, and offers access to 300+ games out of a grand 742 asset total (includes both games' tilesets, assets, tabletop RPGs, comics, tools, as well as books, valued at $3400. The entirety of your contribution will be evenly split between the "NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund" and the "Community Bail Fund".

There are some known quantities among this bundle - including Oxenfree, Overland, and A Short Hike - but there are sure to be some more hidden, unknown gems out there (at least for some of us). Feel free to follow the source link for the full Itch.io page. The bundle has already raised $2,328,972.22 (46% of its $5,000,000 target), with the average contribution sitting at $11,50 and the top contribution offering $5,000 to the selected institutions.

Sony Plans to Create PS5 Exclusive Games With No PS4 Backwards Compatibility

Microsoft has been praised for its continued support of previous console generations with the latest Xbox Series X maintaining compatibility with some games going back to the original Xbox along with controller and accessory inter compatibility. It seems that for the first few years most games will be released for both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X families of consoles. Sony seems to be taking a much conservative approach and hoping to take full advantage of the new PS5 features and updated DualSense controller to create iconic exclusives for the console.

In a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Sony's Interactive Entertainment's CEO, Jim Ryan confirmed that the company plans to create games "that can really only be enjoyed on PS5." This approach will likely irritate PS4 users who have invested heavily in the console with controllers and other accessories, Sony believes that this approach will help the company to make the most out of their new console hardware.

Twitch Exclusive New Game+ Plus Expo Announced Featuring SEGA & More

In light of the cancellation of E3 2020 a new digital game showcase has been announced. The New Game+ Expo will feature new and upcoming releases from a coalition of developers from around the world and be streamed exclusively on Twitch June 23rd. The 16 companies from across Japan and America involved are: Acttil, Aksys Games, Arc System Works America, GungHo Online Entertainment America, Grasshopper Manufacture, Idea Factory International, Inti Creates, Koei, Tecmo America, Natsume Inc, NIS America Inc, Playism, Sega of America, Atlus West, SNK Corporation, Spike Chunsoft Inc, and WayForward

EA Confirms its Games Will Receive Free Patches for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X Compatibility

EA has confirmed that it's existing games for Xbox One and Playstation 4 will receive free patches to upgrade them for next-generation consoles. The PS5 and Xbox Series X both feature ways to play current-generation games, both consoles will attempt to automatically boost games up to 4k resolution. While these options ensure broad inter-generation compatibility issues can arise from game limitations, this is where manual patches come in allowing developers to take advantage of the extra performance and radically overhaul their games.

Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen confirmed in a recent earnings call that EA would not charge consumers for these patches. "As usual, we have presented the quarterly phasing of our net bookings in our earnings presentation. Note that this year, the phasing includes the effect of revenue recognition from the games we are launching for the current generation of consoles that can also be upgraded free for the next generation."

Epic Games Store will Require 2FA to Claim Free Games Next Month

Beginning today and ending on May 21, we will periodically require two-factor authentication prior to claiming free games on the Epic Games Store. We are making this change in an effort to encourage our players to take steps to strengthen their Epic account security. If you do not have two-factor authentication enabled on your account, you will see the following message when attempting to claim a free game:

"Two Factor Authentication Required, Claiming this free game requires you to have Two-Factor Authentication setup on your account. Two-Factor Authentication provides an additional level of security to your Epic Games account and will help prevent unauthorized access."

Google Stadia Set To Announce New Games at Tomorrow's Stadia Connect Event

Google Stadia is set to hold their first Stadia Connect event in over 8 months tomorrow the 28th April at 9 AM PT / 6 PM CET / 5 PM BST. Google has announced that several new games coming to the platform will be revealed at the event, whether these games will be from existing third parties or new Stadia exclusives is yet to be known. Google has not announced any exclusives for the platform this far, making it possible that Google might have some games lined up to announce. The stream can be viewed live on the Google Stadia YouTube channel and will be available to watch on-demand after the event. W̶e̶ ̶w̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶s̶u̶r̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶u̶p̶d̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶p̶o̶s̶t̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶d̶e̶t̶a̶i̶l̶s̶ ̶w̶h̶e̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶y̶ ̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶a̶n̶n̶o̶u̶n̶c̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶m̶o̶r̶r̶o̶w̶.̶ Google has unveiled 11 new games for the platform, full details can be viewed here.

Free Game Alert: Watch Dogs, The Stanley Parable Now Free to Grab from the EPIC Games Store

The current quarantine situation can be cut in two ways: as a major setback for your life, or as an opportunity. An opportunity, for instance, to mow down all the games you've got on backburner. To that end, and in case you're running low in Triple-AAA or quirky, interesting game experiments, the EPIC Games Store has now made available for free download both Ubisoft's Watch Dogs and Galactic Cafe's The Stanley Parable. Both offer a distinct gameplay experience, with EPIC thus catering to two completely different gamer demographics.

Watch Dogs is a well-known action-adventure RPG launched back in 2014, set in a fictionalized version of Chicago. Playing as Aiden Pierce, a hacker with a personal revenge motivation, you hack your way through security systems in a somewhat dystopian society. The game was not very well received, standing with a 77 score on Metacritic and a 4.9 user score (in no small part due to the considerable graphics downgrade seen between the showcased version and the final graphics the game shipped with). The Stanley parable, on the other hand, is a quirky first-person exploration game based on a mod to the Half Life 2 engine that seems set on exploring a quantum approach to storytelling. This one features a much healthier 88 score in Metacritic and an 8.0 in user score.

PlayStation Exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition Hitting PC in Summer 2020

A Steam page store has appeared for Guerrilla Games' PlayStation exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn. If you haven't played this game yet, I'll assume you don't have a PlayStation; and if so, boy: are you in for a treat. Horizon Zero Dawn has you playing as Aloy, a native to this alternate reality where dinosaur-like machines have taken over the wilds. As you expand on the story and go on to discover the secrets to this world - and to humanity's downfall - you'll travel across a seamless, richly-detailed open-world experience that rivals The Witcher III: Wild Hunt.

Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition will feature both the base game and its The Frozen Wilds Expansion, which adds dozens of hours, new equipment, new lands, skills, and Machines for you to hunt. This looks like Sony's way (and continued efforts) to show you, years later, what you've been missing out on in the PlayStation platform, and I bet Sony's wishing these exclusive games hitting the PC will give you the PlayStation 5 hitch. Now if only the same happened for the incredible God of War...

2K Games Removes Library From GeForce Now Game Streaming Service

Another one bites the dust: 2K Games has told NVIDIA that it is removing their games catalog from the GeForce Now game streaming service. Fresh out of beta little more than a month now - with a then-touted 1,000 plus games library - the green team's streaming service, which was received with good reviews and good customer feedback, is now looking ever more stale as publishers keep leaving the service in droves.

It is still unclear why publishers are quitting the streaming service, but this doesn't spell good to the future of streaming. The fact that users only need to import a copy of their already purchased game to GeForce Now can be a reason, with removed the need for gamers to re-purchase their games across multiple (mobile or non-mobile) gaming platforms. Another reason may be that publishers are fearful this streaming ability from NVIDIA could cut into sales from next-gen consoles, since users wouldn't have to upgrade their hardware to be able to play the latest and greatest, non-exclusive titles to be released for next-gen systems. Whatever the reason, this doesn't bode well for the future of NVIDIA's streaming efforts.

NVIDIA Launches the New Shield TV

NVIDIA today raised the bar higher still for streaming media players — unveiling the next generation of SHIELD TV, which delivers unmatched levels of home entertainment, gaming and AI capabilities right into the living room, starting at $149.

The two new SHIELD models — SHIELD TV and SHIELD TV Pro — provide exceptional visual and sound experiences. Their new Tegra X1+ processor, delivering up to 25 percent more performance than its predecessor, helps bring to life Dolby Vision for ultra-vivid imagery and Dolby Atmos for extraordinary audio. Its computational prowess dramatically improves picture quality by using AI to upscale HD video streams into 4K resolution.

EPIC Games Store Offering Copies of "Metro 2033: Redux" and "Everything"

The EPIC Games Store, the digital storefront most PC gamers love to hate, has made available two free gamers for those who want to simply login to their store. The first game is Metro 2033: Redux, the updated Metro 2033 version that uses its sequel, Metro: Last Light's graphics engine. Besides the updated graphics, there are numerous quality of life improvements in the game, making it the definitive version of it to try out (if you have been living under a rock, or just haven't had any time for gaming in recent years whatsoever).

The other game is Everything, a procedurally-generated game that simulates mechanics and systems of nature. There is no objective in this game - the objective is just to immerse yourself and your time on a leisurely approach to space and planet-bound systems. Just log into your EPIC games account via the store and you can add both these games to your digital library (did I mention they're available for free?)

Remedy Games' Control Content Roadmap Updated

Control is one of the best non-surprising surprises of this year's gaming scene. Remedy's tale of science fiction and paranatural objects and events is joined with a strong narrative, some of the best environments and art direction we've seen this side of 2019, and strong gunplay to boot. That Remedy isn't finished with exploring the world of Control is a given, and now we have some idea of how things will (para)naturally pan out.

First off, a free content drop coming later this year is a Photo Mode and a new game mode, dubbed Expeditions, which will shore-up endgame content for players who want to get engrossed, without end, in the gameplay of Control. There will also be two paid expansions for the game. The Foundation drops in 2020 with new story missions, enemies, and game mechanics, and will explore the nature of The Oldest House. The second Expansion, AWE (Altered World Event in the games' lingo) will explore the Investigations Sector of the Oldest House and the Federal Bureau of Control. This last one is the most intriguing, and could (tinfoil hat galore) mean a mesh of Control and Alan Wake. We know from Control's lore that the events depicted in Alan Wake are considered an Altered World Event in the game, and that they occur in the same universe. Also, the teaser image recreates the legendary Alan Wake cover art. Perhaps we'll find closure to Alan Wake outside the game proper? I'll be here to see, definitely. Finishing off, the Expansion pass will reportedly be set at a $24.99 pricing, which means individual expansions could go for $14.99 each.

Intel Says AMD Did a Great Job (with Ryzen 3000), But Intel CPUs are Still Better

It is no secret that AMD has made a huge success with its long awaited "Zen" CPUs and returned to PC market stronger than ever. Intel however has neglected AMD's presence and only recently admitted what an impact AMD made. At this year's Gamescon, Intel started a new campaign against AMD with a point that Intel's CPUs are still better performers with "real world benchmarks" backing that claim.

"A year ago when we introduced the i9 9900K," says Intel's Troy Severson, "it was dubbed the fastest gaming CPU in the world. And I can honestly say nothing's changed. It's still the fastest gaming CPU in the world. I think you've heard a lot of press from the competition recently, but when we go out and actually do the real-world testing, not the synthetic benchmarks, but doing real-world testing of how these games perform on our platform, we stack the 9900K against the Ryzen 9 3900X. They're running a 12-core part and we're running an eight-core," he adds. "I'll be very honest, very blunt, say, hey, they've done a great job closing the gap, but we still have the highest performing CPUs in the industry for gaming, and we're going to maintain that edge."

Nightmare Reaper is Out Now On Steam Early Access

Blazing Bit Games is proud to release today Episode One of Nightmare Reaper, their new retro first person shooter game, launching in Steam Early Access for Windows. Explore the cursed depths of a nightmare while finding powerful weapons and improving your abilities in this new indie game that breaches the wall between the classics and modern sensibilities.

"We're really proud of how much content and polish we managed to cram into this initial Early Access build of the game. We can't wait to open a dialogue with players and make Episodes 2 and 3 even better." - said Bruno Beaudoin, Founder.

Dungeon Action-RPG 'Underworld Ascendant' Available Now For PlayStation 4, Coming Soon To Xbox One

Underworld Ascendant, the fan-funded title from independent game studio OtherSide Entertainment is now available digitally for PlayStation 4 from the PlayStation Store. The action-RPG, published by 505 Games, will soon be available to Xbox One players via the Xbox Games Store. Both versions are priced at 24.99.

Underworld Ascendant is a fantasy RPG that challenges you to think creatively in an interactive sandbox environment. Players can mix and match dozens of combat, stealth and magic skills to develop their unique style of play and devise clever plans to overcome challenges as they navigate the foreboding Stygian Abyss.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 50th Anniversary Edition (Gold Edition) Isn't Just a Fancy Box

Canada Computers put out details of Ryzen 7 2700X 50th Anniversary Edition, officially known as the Ryzen 7 2700X Gold Edition, a commemorative SKU of the 2700X which has been pictured in our older story. At the time we reported that the new SKU commands a roughly $50 premium over the regular 2700X with a fancy new box design and a facsimile of AMD CEO Lisa Su's signature on the processor's IHS. Turns out, you get a whole lot more.

The Ryzen 7 2700X 50th Anniversary Edition includes not just the processor and a Wraith Prism RGB cooling solution, but also two AAA games: Tom Clancy's "The Division 2" Gold Edition, and "World War Z," a black cotton T-shirt with AMD 50 artwork on both sides, and a special case-badge with another signature of the CEO, besides the Ryzen 7 case-badge. The 2 Free Games offer is being extended to the entire Ryzen 2000 AM4 desktop processor family, and several Radeon GPU models, including Radeon VII, RX 500 series, and RX Vega series. The offer is subject to retailer participation.
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