Tuesday, May 30, 2017

News:: Intel’s Core i9 Extreme Edition CPU is an 18-core beast

Last year at Computex, Intel unveiled its first 10-core consumer CPU, the company's move into the world of a "megatasking." It was a pricey chip, launching at around $1,700, but it satisfied the needs for users who needed to juggle several intensive tasks at once. Now, Intel is upping the ante with a whole new family of processors for enthusiasts, the Core X-series, and it's spearheaded by its first 18-core CPU, the i9-7980XE.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

News:: NVIDIA 'Max-Q' gaming laptops are ultrabooks with GTX1080 power

Based on NVIDIA's 2017 Computex announcements, PC gamers won't have to choose between bulky gaming laptops and desktop-level processing power for much longer. A new design it calls "Max-Q" is arriving in some 15 new laptops that it claims are both 3x thinner and 3x more powerful than their predecessors -- think 18mm thick, 5 pounds and with the power of NVIDIA's GTX1080 inside. Plus, there's "WhisperMode," which can pace the game's framerate to keep the laptop cool and quiet during a plugged-in gaming session.

Source: NVIDIA Blog

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News:: Destructoid Community Interviews: Riobux

Hi folks, Orochileona here. Hope your 2017 is revving up nicely. I have another Community Interview for you good people. The original draft was the longest yet! So, I took the interviewee's advice (he suggested editing with an axe when he volunteered) and went all Patrick Bateman on the cut. What's left is a yarn about video games, freelance writing and roleplaying whilst hammered. Enjoy and, as always, thanks for all your ongoing support.

Without further adieu, the man of the hour: It's thinker and drinker: Riobux!

Destructoid Community Interviews: Riobux screenshot


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News:: PlayStation's E3 press conference is coming to a theater near you

E3 might be officially open to the public this year, but what if you don't want to book a flight to Los Angeles just to get a taste of what it's like to be there? Sony, at least, has you covered: it's bringing back its PlayStation E3 Experience for the third year in a row. Score tickets (thankfully, they're free) and you can watch a broadcast of Sony's June 12th press conference in 85 theaters across the Americas, including in Los Angeles itself.

Source: PlayStation Blog, PlayStation E3 Experience

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News:: Oculus says there's almost a 1:1 attach rate on Touch controllers with new Rifts

Back in March, Oculus made an aggressive course correction when it slashed the price of the Rift and the Touch controllers by $100 each. The move was viewed as borderline necessary by a lot of people, as purchasing the pair would run about $800. Oculus recently shared a new statistic that seems to heavily validate its pricing strategy.

In a presentation at Digital Dragons in Krakow last week, Oculus' Paul Jastrzebski told a room full of developers that nearly everyone who is buying a new Rift headset is also picking up the Touch controllers since the price cut. "We're seeing very very high attach rates. That's partly why we wanted to drop the price point. We realize that at $200, it was still a little high for it. So we drop the price to $99 and I think we've found a very close 1:1. Close to that," Jastrzebski said. There was no mention of Touch adoption rates by people who bought their Rifts long before the touch-enabled controller released.

The majority of the talk was about what experiences work in VR -- specifically what Oculus looks for and what developers should try to do. That's why Jastrzebski's statistic is so important: Because he strongly urged them to consider developing for Touch rather than a gamepad. The ecosystem has shifted considerably in recent months, and consumers are more likely to be interested in a game that makes use of the Oculus Touch controllers that they bought.

That's just one way Oculus is trying to guide developers. Jastrzebski shared plenty more about Oculus' suggestions regarding things like ideal length of game, price, and what kinds of titles it wants to see come to virtual reality. We'll have more from Jastrzebski's talk in Poland later this week.

Oculus says there's almost a 1:1 attach rate on Touch controllers with new Rifts screenshot

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News:: Everybody's Golf really won me over with its online beta

Over the weekend, Sony and Clap Hanz ran a closed online test for Everybody's Golf and despite spending a good several hours with it (playing as a wise blue-skinned golf dad, like you do), I deeply regret not sneaking in even more time with the upcoming PS4 game. To say the beta won me over is an understatement. I'm genuinely bummed it's over and that the full release isn't until August.

The beta offered access to the extensive character creator, a taste of progression (play well with a club and you'll improve things like power and control), the store, the hectic team-based Turf War mode, and one of the online "Open Courses," Eagle City, with nine holes. So no fishing or cart driving, sadly.

The actual golfing felt as mechanically solid, satisfying, and fun as ever to me. That should come as no surprise. What was surprising was just how much entertainment I got out of running (and occasionally swimming) around an open-ended course with other players, chatting, golfing, people watching, and goofing off. I don't mean to alarm you, but one of the built-in chat messages is the shruggie.

One of my fears coming in was that the courses would be too much of a slog to navigate, but that wasn't the case (at least not in this level). The holes are well-labeled no matter where you are on the course, plus you've got a minimap for good measure and your running speed is pretty quick. There are also multiple camera options, including one high-up aerial view that makes it easy to watch a bunch of golf balls soar. Is this game much of a looker? No, but that didn't matter at all as I was playing.

As for the "live" online aspect and everything that can entail, the game ran well in my experience. That goes for both the Open Course environment and also Turf War mode, the latter of which had my team and another duking it out for control of a few holes within a time limit. Obviously the online stuff has the potential to go wrong in the full game when way more people are trying to play, to say nothing of jerks being bad to one another with text-based chat. Hopefully the launch goes smoothly.

I can't promise all long-time Hot Shots Golf fans that they'll dig this game as much as I did (in part because I'm an inconsistent-at-best fan of the series who is no doubt easier to please), but if you're adamant about sticking to the pure golfing over free-roam shenanigans, the beta did have a menu option to teleport to each hole back to back without the need to physically run around. I have to imagine Everybody's Golf will still cater to folks who prefer the old format with more options like that. I feel like you'd be missing out on a lot of the laid-back social-gathering charm, but to each their own.

As for me, I'll be counting the days until August 29. The water calls to me.

Everybody's Golf really won me over with its online beta screenshot


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News:: What we played in May

From in-depth features and interviews to the daily torrent of trailers and news, we write a lot about video games here. But there's only so much one team can cover, and often some of our favorite games never grace the digital pages of Engadget.

To remedy that shortcoming, we're introducing Gaming IRL, a monthly segment where several editors talk about what they've been playing in their downtime. Sometimes these'll be the latest AAA game, but you'll also see free-to-play mobile distraction and classics revisited (or criminally ignored until now).

Gaming IRL is part of a broader series in which you'll find stories from all of the areas we cover: gadgets we use every day, the apps and services we adore, what we're watching and the music and podcasts we can't live without.

Today is all about gaming. In the future, expect to find some essays and personal stories mixed in with the endorsements, but for now, sit back and enjoy an eclectic mix of console, hand-held, online and mobile recommendations.

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News:: Have you discovered the secret to vomit in River City Ransom: Underground?

Connecting people with games that may go on to be some of their all time favorites is one of the best things about writing for Destructoid. With River City Ransom: Underground, I wonder if I did enough on that front. It's one of the biggest, most detailed 2D beat'em ups I've ever played. I'd wager that it has 50 times the content of related games like River City: Tokyo Rumble or Double Dragon IV. Yet, not many seem to know this, hence the game's three paltry professional reviews on Metacritic.

My guess is that people saw the River City name and figured that Underground was of similar size and scope as it's predecessors, not knowing how much there is under the surface that they've missed out on. It's an example of how a well known but not hugely popular name can work against you. If The Matrix had been called Johnny Mnemonic: Underground, it probably wouldn't have done quite as well.

Have you discovered the secret to vomit in River City Ransom: Underground? screenshot


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News:: Destiny 2 might not have dedicated servers, but it aims to do better than the first

Destiny 2 was a chance for Bungie (and Activision) to make technical improvements that fans have been clamoring for years for, but it seems like we aren't getting them. Consoles are still locked to a framerate of 30FPS, and no version is getting dedicated servers. While the former is easier to swallow (and understand, if the PS4 Pro and Xbox One S physically can't handle it), they really missed the boat with the latter.

Speaking on their official blog though, engineer Matt Segur explains that they will have an improved system for the sequel, even if it's peer to peer: "Rest assured that we’re doing a lot of testing right now with players all around the world, and working hard to make sure that your experience is going to be smooth on launch day. Every activity in Destiny 2 is hosted by one of our servers. That means you will never again suffer a host migration during your Raid attempt or Trials match. This differs from Destiny 1, where these hosting duties were performed by player consoles and only script and mission logic ran in the data center."

Segur notes that the system is also kind of a hybrid of P2P and dedicated, just like the first game, but by way of "security ninjas," they've come up with a plan to single out cheaters with more precision than in the past. All of this will be put to the test this summer with the Destiny 2 beta.

While I'd love for the sequel to have all of the things discussed above, I just want more raids (the best part) on a more consistent schedule. If that happens I'll be more than happy with it.

This Week at Bungie [Bungie.net]

Destiny 2 might not have dedicated servers, but it aims to do better than the first screenshot

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News:: Fire Emblem Heroes update adds wedding dresses

Tomorrow's Fire Emblem Heroes update is all about wedding dresses. The mobile game's new crop of Special Heroes introduces four costumed characters dressed in white, as part of a limited "Bridal Blessings" event.

The Bridal Blessings characters -- Caeda, Charlotte, Cordellia, and Lyn -- will be available from May 30 through June 13. 

Fire Emblem Heroes update adds wedding dresses screenshot


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News:: PlayerUnknown plans on adding campaign and replays to Battlegrounds

Game Informer did some catching up with developer Brendan Greene, responsible for the indie hit PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Given the sheer popularity of the game, it was nice to get some clear cut plans for the future.

According to Greene, the console versions are still on track, but only after the PC edition is completely done and they're past the early access state. That includes adding two new maps (one of which is a desert near Peru), and a campaign mode. He explains that while there's "no serious lore," that he's experimenting with a Watch Dogs style of story, with co-op involved. All of that will probably come way down the line, if at all though.

I'm enjoying Battlegrounds for sure, but I wonder what it's staying power will be like. With so many survival projects popping up like daisies, folks just keep swarming from game to game.

PlayerUnknown plans on adding campaign and replays to Battlegrounds screenshot


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News:: Sony is bringing back the PlayStation E3 Experience this year

For the past few years, Sony has broadcast their E3 press conference in theaters around the US and Canada. Apart from being a big publicity stunt to get people excited for upcoming games, the events have also had some exclusive Sony collectibles and allowed people to view trailers on a gigantic screen. Who doesn't love looking at Nathan Drake's five o'clock shadow on a 40 foot monitor?

If you've been to previous events and are keen on coming back, Sony has announced that the "PlayStation E3 Experience" will be returning for 2017. The new swag this year will be an exclusive poster and card #76 in the PlayStation collectible card series. Tickets, which will become available tomorrow (May 30), are all free and require you to sign up for a Gofobo account (whatever the hell that is). You can head over to this site to sign-up.

As for the event list, the PlayStation blog has a massive list of which theaters will be participating this year. For anyone in Latin America, the theaters will be added to Sony's website in the near future.

PlayStation E3 Experience 2017: Live in Theaters June 12 [PlayStation Blog]

Sony is bringing back the PlayStation E3 Experience this year screenshot


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News:: Overwatch Season 5 begins this week

In case you haven't heard, Overwatch Season 4 has ended its competitive run, and now has its sights set on Season 5. That begins on May 31 at 8PM ET, at which point you'll have roughly three months to work your way up the ranks to earn more CP to buy golden weapons (or, if you're really skilled, into the top 500 to earn exclusive sprays and icons).

This is all running concurrently with Overwatch's anniversary event, which is live until June 12. Events withstanding, I love going back to the game every so often and messing around -- rounds end so quickly compared to a lot of other shooters, and even a little progress toward another loot box is worth it.

Also, not having to pay for addons or DLC every few months is a nice perk.

Season 5 [Battle.net]

Overwatch Season 5 begins this week screenshot

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News:: Yet another River City game is coming to the 3DS

It is crazy, to me, how River City Ransom was an overlooked title its in day, but has now spawned this huge collection of sequels that keep releasing year after year. While I was initially delighted to see a sequel with Underground and even happily welcomed Tokyo Rumble, are we going into oversaturation on the Kunio-Kun series?

Even so, yet another River City game will be coming to the 3DS this year. Titled Knights of Justice, Natsume Inc confirmed via Twitter that the title will be an eShop release for this summer. There won't be a physical release for the game as it was an eShop only title in Japan. The game will also be present at E3, so at least we'll get some footage of the title before it comes out.

Yet another River City game is coming to the 3DS screenshot


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News:: I Am Setsuna developer teases image, likely being given a second chance

It would probably surprise most of you that an RPG modeled directly after Chrono Trigger, released on multiple successful platforms, has bombed, but that's just what I Am Setsuna did.

It wasn't the greatest RPG all told but it deserved more than a 244 million yen loss for Square Enix, and will definitely impact the publisher's opinion to create original works over droves of remakes and remasters. Either way, newfound studio Tokyo RPG Factory is still in play, and is likely teasing their next project with an official image on their company website.

The caption (unchanged from their previous pitch for Setsuna) explains, "Countless adventures captivated us when we were kids. Now, it’s time for us to return the favor with adventures of our own." I'm in!

Return the favor [Tokyo RPG Factory] Thanks Jack!

I Am Setsuna developer teases image, likely being given a second chance screenshot

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News:: Polybius is heading to PC

Earlier this month, Polybius finally stopped being an urban legend and became a game on PS4. While there is more than likely not an actual arcade cabinet that drove people insane, the story behind the legend is a cool bit of urban mythology that lingers around from the time period before the Internet ruined everything. It was a game of telephone gone horribly wrong (or right).

While I doubt Jeff Minter took the name to quell the mystery behind the myth, it obviously drew awareness to his game. Thankfully, it ended up being a great game, but it was stuck on PlayStation VR and many people didn't want to shell out $400 just to try a game. Now, you won't have to, as Polybius is making the jump to PC with a traditional mode and VR support.

Polybius is heading to PC screenshot


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News:: As Square Enix shifts Final Fantasy VII Remake development in-house, there's no chance it's coming soon

Changes are coming to the way Square Enix is structuring Final Fantasy VII Remake, and most of it sounds good. Evidently Noaki Hamaguchi, who worked on Lightning Returns and was the lead for Mobius Final Fantasy, is now leading the Remake.

As of this past week Hamaguchi is aggressively seeking effects designers, a programmer, and battle and level planners to help work on the project, and while development "was" focusing on external help, now Square Enix is "controlling everything," which will lead to more of a massive scale and allegedly increase the quality of the game.

So while you might gasp that someone who helped create Lighting Returns is working on this, know that Square Enix is throwing more of their weight into this to ensure that it's not half-assed. In theory, at least. We don't know where this leaves CyberConnect2 (who was announced previously as a third party working on the game), but it's possible that they were brought in for contract work, then left amicably.

Final Fantasy VII Remake [FF Reunion via Gematsu]

As Square Enix shifts Final Fantasy VII Remake development in-house, there's no chance it's coming soon screenshot

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News:: Square Enix silent on Dragon Quest XI Switch because of 'adult' reasons

Dragon Quest XI is set to release in July on PS4 and 3DS, but the Switch version is still in limbo. Its existence was even begrudgingly confirmed, and we haven't heard much info since then. According to Square Enix, that's all due to "adult circumstances," confirmed by a livestream recently.

My guess is that Sony locked up some form of console exclusivity, preventing Square from stating this directly, but will likely come from Sony in the near future -- like say, during their E3 press conference. It's funny that Square would allude to "adult" circumstances at all though, rather than just saying "please look forward to it," or "we'll talk about it later."

Naturally this could all be some sort of development trouble apropos of nothing, so we'll just have to wait for Square (or Sony, ha) to share the news. It could also be Nintendo related of course, as they might not want the Switch to cannibalize the 3DS version's sales -- how they treat that portable after 2018 is going to be an interesting thing to watch.

Dragon Quest XI [YouTube via Nintendo Life]

Square Enix silent on Dragon Quest XI Switch because of 'adult' reasons screenshot

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News:: Alienware 15 review: Bigger, but not necessarily better

Getting your hands on a bleeding-edge gaming laptop is an exercise in chasing chip architecture. It's sort of a waiting game. You wait for Intel and NVIDIA to upgrade their GPU and CPU standards, you wait for early adopter manufacturers to put them through their paces and, finally, you wait for the machine you want to hit the market with the new bells and whistles. In spring, we saw Dell's Alienware 13 kitted out with Intel's new Kaby Lake Core i7-7700HQ CPU and NVIDIA Pascal graphics -- and now that same combo is available in the company's larger 15-inch notebook.

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News:: The Morning After: Monday, May 29th 2017

Hey, good morning!

Welcome to the new week. Most of you are probably enjoying a three-day weekend, but the show never stops at Engadget. We have a team of reporters settling into Taipei for Asia's biggest PC show, Computex, while we also look at the brutal realities of whether we'll ever find life beyond Earth.

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