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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.

Blizzard Black Friday Sale: Overwatch at Half Price & 35% off Destiny 2

The holiday season is almost here-get ready to spread some epic cheer! From now through November 27, 2017, we're offering some big savings around Black Friday on the following digital purchases for World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, and Destiny 2-plus some Blizzard Gear Store goodies. Snag a little something for yourself, or send a gift to a friend.

Overwatch
Whether you're a soldier, scientist, adventurer, or oddity, you can jump into the fight for the future with savings of 50% on the digital versions of Overwatch and Overwatch: Game of the Year Edition for Windows PC.
  • Overwatch includes 26 heroes, 21 different maps, and endless fun for just $19.99 (reg. $39.99).
  • Overwatch: Game of the Year Edition includes all the excitement of Overwatch along with 10 Loot Boxes, five special hero skins, plus in-game goodies for Heroes of the Storm, World of Warcraft, Diablo III, and StarCraft II for $29.99 (reg. $59.99).

Free DLCs Coming to Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Before the Year Ends

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today announced various free content updates and features coming this year to Middle-earth: Shadow of War, providing players with new ways to continue the battle for Mordor and capture every epic moment. Upcoming free downloadable content (DLC) updates and features include:
  • Endless Siege - Defend your fortresses against Sauron's forces as the Dark Lord tries to reclaim Mordor in the Endless Siege. (Available 21st Nov)
  • Rebellion - Crush the rebel Ologs and Uruks in your forces as they seek to undermine the Bright Lord. (Available 21st Nov)
  • Enhanced Photo Mode - Capture every battle and siege and apply new filters, frames and textures with the Enhanced Photo Mode update. (Available 21st Nov)
  • Online Fight Pits - Challenge another player's Orc follower, Overlord vs. Overlord, to a fight to the death in the arena to earn powerful rewards and upgrades. (Available 5th Dec)
  • Brutal Difficulty - A new higher difficulty level even more challenging than Nemesis with no last chances. (Available 12th Dec)

Razer Lifts the Curtain on New Wolverine Tournament Edition Gaming Controller

Razer, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today unveiled the Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition, an addition to its Razer Wolverine XBOX controller line designed specifically for professional gamers. The new controller retains the ergonomic design and highly praised features of Wolverine Ultimate. Tested and validated by many of the world's best professional esports athletes, the Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition ensures the highest levels of performance and comfort.

"Razer has been great to work with throughout the development of the Wolverine Tournament Edition, taking direct feedback from our professional players and implementing it into the controller," says Alex Gonzalez, Head of Red Reserve's North American Operations. "This process has helped guarantee that the wolverine gives our players the biggest edge over the rest of the competitive scene.

Dynasty Warriors 9 Gets Launch Date: February 13, 2018

KOEI TECMO America eased fans' anticipation today by announcing that Omega Force's upcoming open-world epic, DYNASTY WARRIORS 9, will be released across the western regions on February 13, 2018 for the PlayStation4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and Windows PC via Steam. DYNASTY WARRIORS 9 will venture into new territory as the classic, time-tested "one versus thousands" action, iconic to the Warriors series, is expanded to its first true open world installment.

KOEI TECMO America has put together an exciting bundle of bonus content for gamers opting to pick up the physical or standard digital version. Comprised of seven costumes for fan-favorite characters, the bundle includes an imposing Beijing opera-style costume for Zhao Yun and six costumes inspired by traditional Chinese undergarment styles - one each for Guan Yinping, Diaochan, Sun Shangxiang, Lu Lingqi, Wang Yi, and Wang Yuanji.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege Goes Free to Play for the Weekend

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege will be available to play for free from November 16th to November 19th, 2017. Interested players can join the more than 20 million player Rainbow Six Siege community on PlayStation4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One and Windows PC via Uplay and Steam. The game will be on sale up to 50% off from November 16th to November 27th, 2017. Players who try the game during the free weekend can carry over their progress and continue to play uninterrupted.

The latest content from Year 2 Season 4, Operation White Noise, will deploy on the Technical Test Server (PC) on November 20th, 2017. Operation White Noise features a new map set in a sky high observation tower above Seoul's skyline in South Korea. Three new operators are joining the fray, including two members of South Korea's 707th Special Mission Battalion and a new Operator from Poland's GROM.

Injustice 2 Available for $50 on Steam and Windows Store

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment today announced that the top-selling and critically acclaimed videogame Injustice2 is available now for PC via Steam and the Microsoft Store. Originally developed by NetherRealm Studios, Injustice2 has been adapted for PC by QLOC and will allow PC players to experience the super-powered hit game featuring Justice League characters Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg, as well as other iconic DC characters such as Harley Quinn and Green Arrow.

All DLC currently available for Injustice2 on consoles (Red Hood, Sub Zero, Starfire, Black Manta, and Raiden) are available now for the PC version through the PC Injustice 2 Ultimate Edition, Injustice 2 Ultimate Pack, or Fighter Pack #1 and Fighter Pack #2. The latest Hellboy DLC, released today for PlayStation4, Xbox One X, and Xbox One, will be available at a later date.

Nioh: Complete Edition Now Available on Steam for $49.99

Today KOEI TECMO America announced the highly-anticipated return of the blond-haired swordsman with the release of Nioh: Complete Edition on Windows PC via Steam. Following the critically-acclaimed console debut earlier in 2017, Team NINJAs dark fantasy action-RPG re-emerges from the shadows, jam-packed with hours of additional DLC and new secrets to reveal, on an all new platform. As a special thank you to adventurers, the studio is offering the brand-new Dharmachakra Kabuto helmet as an exclusive piece of free content redeemable through the game. Nioh: Complete Edition is currently available for Windows PC via Steam for the price of $49.99.

Nioh: Complete Edition includes all three DLC expansions: Dragon of the North, Defiant Honor and Bloodshed's End - adding even more challenges and assorted ways to play, and die! With this edition, players will have access to all seven weapon types, ninjutsu and onmyo magics from the beginning, while progressing through the main story will eventually unlock features like the Dual Guardian Spirit.

Driven by Chinese PUBG Players, Windows 7 Now Most Popular OS on Steam

Steam's October survey has brought with it some interesting tidbits and reversals regarding the state of the world's OS shares. The latest such survey from the company shows Windows 10 lose its crown as the most popular OS for gamers, shadowed by a resurgence of Windows 7. Microsoft may be looking for increased Windows 10 market share throughout the world, but there's one country that has been the most troubling for the company's efforts: China. Remember that Microsoft had to introduce its own China Government edition of Windows 10 to the Chinese government, or otherwise risk the country not to transition to its new OS. However, it seems that that fact has led Chinese people's trust in the Microsoft OS to decrease even more; and absent of access to the China Government edition for regular customers, they're simply choosing to stay within the confines of Windows 7.

All of this seems pretty academic, so let's get some numbers here: Windows 10 shed 17.38% points in October, down to a 28.6 percent share, with the 64-bit version accounting for 28.23% of that share. At the same time, Windows 7 has gained 21.47% points in the same month, climbing to 65.46% of share (63.60 percent for the 64-bit build, and 1.86 percent for the 32-bit edition). Where's the connection to Chinese users here though? Well, take a look at the Steam OS language stats for the same month: simplified Chinese rose by 26.83% up to 56.37%, against a decrease in practically all other languages, and a very considerable 13.4% drop in English.

Your PC Will Soon be Able to Become Local Server for Halo 5: Guardians

Microsoft has announced that a Windows UWP app will soon enable your PC to become a local server for your Halo 5: Guardians local LAN parties. this announcement comes ahead of its November 2nd release of the "Overtime" content and fix drop for Halo 5: Guardians that brings with it a plethora of fixes and 4K support for its latest XBOX One X console.

Dubbed the "Halo 5: Guardians Local Server" app, the piece of software will be available for download through the Windows store, turning your computer into a local server so XBOX One consoles in the same network can experience "easy, low-latency Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer matches." The app will also bring support for custom games loading on your server, including those created on your PC through Halo 5: Forge, which arrived on Windows 10 PCs last year. The Local Server app "provides a method for tournament organizers to set up their own events in a scenario that mirrors the environment used for professional matches. With these new options, you can create a local server similar to those used for the Halo Championship Series events, providing an ideal proving ground for everything from professional and amateur competitive teams to friendly tournaments."

Thrustmaster's New GP XID PRO Gamepad Raises the Bar on Precision

With the brand-new GP XID PRO, PC gamers will now be able to get their hands on a totally plug-and-play gamepad that lets them start playing games right away, under optimal conditions and with absolute precision in all of their actions. Thrustmaster is the specialist looked to by simulation professionals, and the most advanced sim gamers, thanks to its decades of unmatched R&D expertise. Thrustmaster is thrilled to now be able to offer all of that know-how in this next-generation PC gamepad.

Built-in XInput standard: A powerful advantage
The GP XID PRO benefits from featuring the XInput (XID) standard built right into the gamepad, allowing it to be totally plug-and-play: just plug the gamepad in and start playing - there's nothing to install! Incorporation of the XInput standard ensures that the controller is instantly recognized as an Xbox gamepad in Windows. The main advantage of this is that all buttons and axes are assigned the proper functions and actions in games, without the need to go through a long and laborious setup phase. Even better is the fact that the GP XID PRO is the long-awaited PC-compatible gamepad that's plug-and-play in Windows 7, 8 and 10.

Ubisoft Details Far Cry 5's Online Co-Op Mode

Immediately following the in-game tutorial, Far Cry 5 will be playable via online co-op. All earned experience and inventory items, excluding quest-based items, will carry over following each co-op session. While exploring Montana, each player will see and collect their own loot. However, the host player is the only player who will keep their story progress.

To help players in their mission to take down the cult, the host player will still be able to recruit "Guns For Hire" or "Fangs for Hire" keeping in mind that you can have up to two buddies, with one being another player, join you in your squad. Far Cry 5 "Friends For Hire" two-player co-op will allow players to explore Hope County and take down the Project at Eden's Gate in a surprising and chaotic new fashion expanding the possibility of the game's open world.

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition Coming Early 2018; PC Requirements Listed

Final Fantasy XV has been exceedingly well-received by both critics, consumers, and fans alike, but left out one particular gaming crowd: PC gamers. The original release of November 2016 for XBOX One and PS4 (with PS4 Pro improvements having been baked in the game as well), the game still stands as a showcase for graphics on consoles. However, a true PC, Windows Version of the game is under development in close partnership with NVIDIA, which will see a re-release of the game on PC with many added graphical features, including HDR and 4K resolution support.

Due to its close collaboration with NVIDIA, Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition is expected to be a showcase for NVIDIA GameWorks technologies, such as NVIDIA Flow, NVIDIA HairWorks, NVIDIA Hybrid Frustum Traced Shadows, NVIDIA Turf Effects, NVIDIA Voxel Ambient Occlusion, and more. With all of that NVIDIA technology being built-in, it's somewhat expected that the game will only run the way the developers envisioned on a green team graphics card. However, the system requirements seem to be reasonable - though we expect these to reflect only 1080p gaming, as a 4K presentation fo this game will most likely be a resource hog. As it is, Minimum System Requirements are being listed with DX 11, 8 GB RAM, an Intel Core i5 2400 (3.1GHz) or AMD FX-6100 (3.3GHz) CPU, and GeForce GTX 760 graphics. Recommended System Requirements bring those up: DX 11, 16 GB RAM, Intel Core i7 3770 (3.4GHz) or AMD FX-8350 (4.0GHz) CPU, and GeForce GTX 1060 graphics.

Microsoft Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Available Today

Microsoft released Windows 10, code named "Threshold 1," a little over two years ago. As of May of this year, there were approximately 500 million Windows 10 devices worldwide. Originally, Microsoft predicted that Windows 10 would be installed on 1 billion devices by mid-2018. When released, Windows 10 gained huge adoption from those running Windows 7 from the "free-upgrade program" which lasted one year.

Since then however, installations have slowly declined and in July of last year, Microsoft admitted that they would miss their projected goal of 1 billion devices. Since its release, Windows 10 has had three major update releases with "Threshold 2," in 2015, "Anniversary Update," in 2016, "Creators Update" in April of this year and today marks the release of Microsoft's fourth major feature update to its operating system, dubbed "Fall Creators Update," version 1709.

Taking Hold of Your Signal - Critical Flaw Discovered in WPA2 Wi-Fi Security

Researchers have recently discovered a critical flaw that affects all WPA2 protected Wi-Fi devices. This can't be remedied solely by user intervention, or password changes, or even by the usage of HTTPS website; this is a flaw with the core of WPA's protection scheme, and means that an attacker could intercept every single traffic data point that your device sends over Wi-Fi, including passwords, credit card details, images - the whole treasure trove. Adding insult to injury, it's even possible for attackers using this method to inject malware into your devices. The new attack method - dubbed KRACK for Key Reinstallation Attack - basically forces your device's encryption code to default to a known, plain-text all-zero decryption key, which is trivial for hackers to reuse.

Adding to the paranoia, this is basically a device and software-agnostic attack - it's effective against devices running Android, Linux, and OpenBSD, and to a lesser extent macOS and Windows, as well as MediaTek Linksys, and other types of devices. HTTPS isn't the best solution either, simply because some website's implementation of it isn't the best, and there are scripts (such as SSLScript) that can force a website to downgrade its connection to a simple HTTP link - which can then be infiltrated by the attacker.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.10.1

AMD today released Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.10.1 drivers. Released for Windows 10 and Windows 7, these beta drivers add optimization for "Middle Earth: Shadow of War," and "Evil Within 2." The optimization includes Radeon Chill profiles, which tell the GPU exactly when to downclock, for the best thermals and power-usage, without sacrificing performance. The drivers also fix bezel-compensation application on mixed-mode Eyefinity setups, and rare flickering issues noticed with "DiRT 4" on certain multi-GPU setups. Grab the drivers from the links below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.10.1

343 Industries Announces "Halo Recruit" Experience for Windows Mixed Reality

Update October 6th: Added new content courtesy of Road to VR, where you can see the entirety of the Halo experience in action, and updated sources.

With Microsoft's push towards a Mixed Reality ecosystem in full swing and coming to the hands of consumers as soon as October 17th, Microsoft would be remiss not to include that which still is their flagship franchise. Earlier reports already mentioned a Halo push towards the VR space, and today saw it confirmed by 343 Industries' Bonnie Ross in a Windows Mixed Reality blog post.

ASUS Reveals HC102 Windows Mixed Reality Headset

ASUS is another company that will be launching hardware developed according to Microsoft's Mixed Reality specifications. The company has put out some details on its HC102 Mixed Reality headset, which put it on par with other offerings from the likes of Acer, Dell and Lenovo in terms of both features and design. 2x LCD screens display a combined 2880x1200 resolution (1440x1440 per eye), at a 90 Hz refresh rate and an acceptable 90º FoV (Windows' MR solutions typically have a slightly lesser FoV compared to pure VR solutions like the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift).

Hardware-wise, ASUS also has the mandatory 6 DoF tracking, with an accelerometer and magnetometer increasing input data. A proximity sensor is also there, which we still haven't seen mentioned on other MR headsets. There are 2x inside-out cameras for positional tracking, and a 3.5 mm audio jack for your own high-quality headsets. All of this will set you back the same €449, with a pair of motion controllers, as the other options that have been announced on the market. It seems that vendors are generally locking in on Microsoft's recommended configuration - and the same price-tags - rather than differentiating through hardware and features - and, potentially, higher pricing. However, ASUS has done some work in making the HC102's design stand out a little more than the other solutions we've seen so far.

Lenovo Announces the Explorer Windows Mixed Reality Headset

Lenovo's take on the Windows Mixed Reality platform, which we covered a few days ago as featuring Steam VR support and a still-in-its-infancy Halo VR experience, has just been named. The Explorer MR will set you back $349 for just the headset, or $449 for the headset plus a pair of 6-DoF (Degrees of Freedom) controllers.

Lenovo didn't say how much the Explorer HMD weighs, but the usual "comfortable and lightweight," and "finely tuned for perfect balance" have been mentioned. A flip-flop visor allows you to quickly remove the dual 1440x1440 displays from your face, should you need an emergency look at the real world around you. The Lenovo Explorer features inside-out spatial tracking, just like the other Windows MR devices, with two front-mounted cameras handling environment tracking. Trackable space on the Explorer should be around 3.5 x 3.5 meters, likely constrained by the fact that the HMD is tethered via USB and HDMI (tethering that is par-of-the-course for this VR generation.) Specs still haven't been finalized, but pricing is, so we shouldn't look to any substantial differences between the announced and final specifications.

Microsoft Windows Mixed Reality Push to Include Steam Support, Halo VR

In what is possibly one of the most mouth-watering Microsoft reports as of late for this particular TechPowerUp news editor, it seems that Microsoft is making all the right strides towards bringing its Mixed Reality push to mainstream, popular support. Microsoft seems to have seen the error in its ways towards their usual walled-garden approach, and has announced that their Windows Mixed Reality initiative will see its Mixed/Vitual Reality headsets supporting Steam VR games. This means third-party support for yet another VR hardware piece, and something that Microsoft sorely needed, since adoption of its still upcoming platform wasn't showing much pulse.

But most important than all that (you are allowed to disagree), is that Microsoft is seemingly tapping its first-party studios to produce VR content for its Mixed Reality platform. Case in point, 343 Industries and the Halo franchise. Whether this means VR-only experiences or actual VR-enabled full fledged, numbered Halo games remains to be seen - only Microsoft and 343 know the answer to that. Though it's also likely none of the parts knows much about that at this point in time either; as it seems, and as Microsoft said on their blog post announcing these features, "we are working with 343 Industries to bring future Halo experiences into mixed reality. We are not providing specifics right now, but it is going to be a lot of fun to work with them."

AMD Crimson ReLive 17.7.2 Presents Some Issues to Users

Users running AMD's latest 17.7.2 driver package are running into issues - which, let's face it, is somewhat understandable, considering all the new features AMD has crammed into this latest driver release. All driver releases ship with a bug here or there - there is even a "Known Issues" checklist on almost all of them - so unless bugs are widespread enough, they don't ever reach the critical mass to be noted by most users. However, users in both our forums and Reddit have been reporting issues after they install their 17.7.2 driver package: namely, the absence of the ReLive tab on the Radeon Control Panel.

The issue persists even after a full DDU (Display Driver Uninstaller) cleanup, and appears to be inconsistent in that users with the same hardware and on the same OS have mixed results upon installation. This issue has been confirmed by the Director of AMD's Corporate Strategy, Terry Makedon, on Reddit, who said that "Windows 7 being identified as beta and missing DVR is now reproduced in here and we will issue an update later today to address that. Sorry for that, hopefully we fixed it fast enough." For now, and until AMD releases a fix, there seems to be a workaround, as our own VSG has reported on an update to our Crimson ReLive 17.7.2 Preview: "One potential fix reported is to disable all security components (Antivirus, Malware protection etc) and to use the AMD Web Installer instead (Windows 10 64-bit here, replace 10 with 7 and 64 with 32 in the URL for other options)."

Microsoft Announces the Windows Bounty Program

While Microsoft has been offering bug bounty incentives since at least 2012, Google has arguably been much more vocal in its bug bounty programs. The company recently increased the maximum payout in its bug bounty programs (mainly focused on Android) to a staggering $200,000, and now Microsoft is not only following suit - it's upping the game.

With the Windows Bounty Program, which Microsoft announced yesterday, the company is looking towards an increased incentive to security-hardening suggestions from tech-savvy users. This program will extend to all features of the Windows Insider Preview in addition to focus areas in Hyper-V, Mitigation bypass, Windows Defender Application Guard, and Microsoft Edge. And incentives starting at $500 and going all the way up to $250,000 are very, very respectful.

The King is Dead; Long Live the King - MS Paint's Announced Demise

To be fair, the writing was already on the wall, in a way. It was so when Microsoft announced the introduction of a UWP app called Paint 3D. Paint 3D, which supplants Paint in a number of ways, is like the 1984-introduced app's big brother. It's meaner, faster, and thinks history is all its own. But that's fine.

So yes, Paint is dying. The prognosis: death by deprecation. Paint is being put on a "deprecated" list (which means "not in active development and might be removed in future releases" for Windows 10's latest update, the Fall Creators Update, which means that it's somewhat like Schrödinger's cat: it's in a limbo of life and death. It's not really dead, no; but at the same time, it really kind of is. "Whether you're an artist or just want to try out some doodles-Paint 3D makes it easy to unleash your creativity and bring your ideas to life. Classic Paint has been reimagined, with an updated look and feel and a ton of new brushes and tools. And now, create in every dimension. Make 2D masterpieces or 3D models that you can play with from all angles," Microsoft explains. And that's all well and good; but where is my nostalgia-factor? A small sentence lends hope to the Paint defenders out there, where Microsoft says "Paint will be available through the Windows Store." Alas, even so, it seems tales of Paint's demise weren't greatly exaggerated...

NVIDIA Releases the GeForce 384.94 Game-Ready Drivers

NVIDIA today released the latest version of their GeForce drivers, which enable your green-powered card to run smoothly and without issues. This latest driver release is a Game-Ready one, which aims to enable the smoothest possible experience on recently-released game titles. The focus for this 384.94 version of NVIDIA's GeForce drivers was on Lawbreakers and the official release of ARK: Survival Evolved. In addition, under the "Game Ready VR" moniker, NVIDIA is also providing the "optimal gaming experience for EVE: Valkyrie's "Ultra" graphics update."

SLI profiles for ARK: Survival Evolved, IL-2: Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad and Lawbreakers were added or updated, and 3D Vision profiles were updated for "Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice" (Not Recommended), Lawbreakers (Fair), and ARK: Survival Evolved (Not Recommended). As always, you can grab the drivers right here on TPU. Just follow the link below, and feel free to peruse fixed and current issues after the break.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 384.94 Game-Ready Drivers

Blizzard to Discontinue Support for Windows XP, Vista

Blizzard, best known for their Starcraft, Warcraft, and Diablo series (who are also responsible for that phenomenon World of Warcraft), has recently announced they are going to cut back support for older Windows-based operating systems. Resource allocation is a real problem; the opportunity cost of having engineers working on ensuring that their most recent updates and recent remasters aren't breaking support for older operating systems always comes at the cost of work on newer OSes.

As such, in a blog post on their forums, Blizzard has announced that starting in October of this year, "we will begin the process of ending support for Windows XP and Windows Vista in World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm." They went on to explain this decision, in that "Microsoft ceased mainstream support for these versions of Windows in 2009 and 2012, respectively, but since a decent portion of our audience was still using them at the time, we continued supporting them. However, there have been three major Windows releases since Vista, and at this point, the vast majority of our audience has upgraded to one of the newer versions." And if you're thinking that this isn't true end of life for these systems when it comes to Blizzard game support, think again: "The games will not run on these older operating systems once they are no longer supported, so we encourage any players who are still using one of the older OSes to upgrade to a newer version. We'll be rolling out this change on a staggered schedule, and will post further notices as we get closer to making the change for each game."
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