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Steam Outlines Plan For Improvements In 2019

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 09:31

Valve has announced its plans for Steam in 2019 and beyond. The PC game store isn't ready to reveal the exact details behind each upcoming change, but it has announced enough to give us a basic idea of what to expect in the future.

The biggest planned change seems to be for game discoverability on the Steam Store. "We're working on a new recommendation engine powered by machine-learning, that can match players to games based on their individual tastes," Steam revealed in a blog post. The post went on to add that discovery algorithms would only be a part of the new process for recommending games to players. New "broadcasting and curating features" are under development as well.

Steam also announced plans for upgrading its events system, so that players would be able to more easily discover "interesting activities" associated to the games they play, such as tournaments or streams. Expansions and changes to both Steam Library and Steam TV are in the works as well.

In terms of brand-new content, Steam is planning on shipping Steam Chat, a mobile app that will allow you to "share your favorite GIFs with your friends while on the go." Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's Trusted Matchmaking is also being expanded to all other games with the new Steam Trust. Steam has revealed plans for opening "hundreds of thousands" of PC cafes around the world too, and the PC store is partnering with Perfect World to help bring Steam to China.

The latter half of 2018 saw Steam face new competition with the emergence of the Epic Games Store. Epic promised a more lucrative cut for developers that launched their games on its store, especially for titles made with Unreal Engine. To entice players, Epic secured several exclusive games, including titles that were originally scheduled to launch on Steam like The Division 2. Going into 2019, Epic Games didn't let up the pressure on its competitor, offering a free game every two weeks for anyone using its store and also changing its refund policy to match Steam's.

Super Bowl 53 Will Use Augmented Reality, 115 Total Cameras

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 09:24

Super Bowl LIII is coming up soon, and now CBS--which is GameSpot's parent company--has announced some of the technological advancements it is planning to broadcast this year's big game.

Perhaps the most exciting advancement is the use of "augmented reality graphics." In a first for a live sporting event broadcast, Super Bowl LIII will have camera operators working with a "live, wireless handheld camera" that will show augmented reality graphics, as well as "up-close camera tracking" on the field.

This promises to deliver new perspectives and angles, as well as field-level views.

In total, CBS will use 115 different camera for the Super Bowl LIII broadcast, including 14 dedicated to virtual graphics. This includes four featuring augmented reality, one of which is the "SkyCam" that flies overhead. The other 10 are being deployed to support "trackable first-down-line technology."

The Super Bowl LIII broadcast on CBS will also make use of multiple 8K camera that promise a better look a pivotal plays. There will also be 16 4K cameras and nine Sony 4800 cameras placed around the stadium to provide even more unique camera angles. These cameras are also capable of "super slow-motion," while they can also zoom in with only minimal affect on resolution, which could come in handy for close calls.

What's more, CBS is putting more than 25 camera on each endzone, including 14 inside the endzone pylons on each side of the field for a total of 28.

In other Super Bowl LIII news, it was recently confirmed that Maroon 5 will headline the halftime show, with Big Boi and Travis Scott also set to appearing as supporting acts.

Super Bowl LIII takes place on Sunday, February 3, from Atlanta, Georgia. You can watch the game on TV or stream it through

For more on Super Bowl LIII, check out CBS Sports' Super Bowl hub. You can also stream more CBS content through the new CBS All Access streaming package.

Fortnite's Glider Redeploy Update Now Live

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 08:50

Like clockwork, Epic has another update lined up for its hit battle royale game, Fortnite. The developer confirmed that this week's 7.20 patch is set to arrive on all platforms--PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices--on Tuesday, January 15, and it's bringing back a controversial gameplay element from Season 6: redeployable gliders. [Update: The downtime is now complete, and Fortnite's 7.20 patch has gone live across all platforms.]

Downtime for the update is scheduled to begin at 2 AM PT / 5 AM ET / 10 AM GMT. Epic hasn't estimated how long this downtime will last, but once servers are back up, redeployable gliders will return to Battle Royale mode--although this time they'll function a little differently than before.

When Epic first tested the redeploy mechanic last fall, players were able to open up their glider again and hang glide during a match if they were at least three stories in the air. This time around, however, the Glider Redeploy will be itemized, meaning it'll take up a slot in your inventory and can be found as loot in chests, vending machines, and supply llamas.

"The goal with the item is to provide mobility and utility, but in a form that can be balanced and iterated upon," Epic explained on its website. "By implementing glider redeploy as an item we can iterate on multiple different levels (i.e. redeploy height, movement speed, drop chance, charge count), including inventory slot tension."

Soon after the 7.20 update arrives, Epic will roll out another set of weekly challenges. In the meantime, you can find tips on how to complete all of the tasks available thus far in our Season 7 challenges guide.

Resident Evil 2 Remake Brings Back Tofu Mode

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 07:32

Capcom has announced that the remake of Resident Evil 2 will see the return of both The 4th Survivor and The Tofu Survivor bonus modes. Both come included in the game at launch, but you'll need to unlock them.

The 4th Survivor mode allows you to play as Umbrella Security Service special Agent HUNK, the fourth person to survive the events of Raccoon City, in a standalone canon story. Meanwhile, The Tofu Survivor puts you in control of a person-sized piece of tofu. This story, unfortunately, is not canon. It is, however, much harder to complete, as the piece of tofu can only carry and use a combat knife, two green herbs, and one blue herb.

Survive Raccoon City as the Grim Reaper and… a block of tofu?
Unlockable bonus modes make their return in Resident Evil 2 with The 4th Survivor and The Tofu Survivor, included with #RE2 at launch on January 25!

— Resident Evil (@RE_Games) January 14, 2019

Both modes existed in the original 1998 Resident Evil 2, but Capcom has not announced if you'll unlock them in the remake via the same method used in the original game. Previously, you unlocked The 4th Survivor by completing both of Leon and Claire's scenarios with an A rank. For The Tofu Survivor, you just had to get six A ranks, but they needed to be achieved consecutively and in under two and a half hours.

If you want to try the new Resident Evil 2 before buying it, there's a "1-Shot" demo now available. The demo only lasts 30 minutes, whether you beat it or not. So don't take too much time being horrified by the disgusting sights and sounds. The demo will expire on January 31, a few days after the launch of the game.

The remake of Resident Evil 2 is one of our most anticipated games of 2019. Capcom's reimagining of the original game follows the same story beats, but additional elements have been added to surprise players with new scares. A modernized control scheme has been implemented as well, allowing players who are unfamiliar with the original game to more easily pick up this remake.

Resident Evil 2 launches on January 25 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. You can pre-order the game now.

A Second PS4 Game Now Supports Cross-Play With Xbox One And Switch

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 06:50

Rocket League is now the second PS4 game to support cross-play with other consoles. Developer Psyonix announced that its hit vehicular soccer game has joined Sony's cross-play beta program, allowing players on PS4 to be matched up with those on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

According to Psyonix, cross-play will be enabled on PS4 by default, although players will be able to opt in or out of it by going to the Options menu and checking the Cross-Platform Play box in the Gameplay tab. When on, it will allow PS4 users to be randomly matched up with or against players on other platforms in Casual, Competitive, and Extra Modes.

Additionally, Psyonix says that it will implement a cross-platform party system in an upcoming update. More details about that will be shared "soon," but the feature will allow players to "partner up with friends on any platform with the push of a few buttons."

While Rocket League has already supported cross-play between PS4 and PC, Psyonix has long wanted to allow the feature with other consoles. Back in 2016, the developer said it had already figured out how to implement cross-play between PS4 and Xbox One, and all that needed to be done was work out an arrangement between platforms.

"The only thing we have to do now is sort of find out where we stand politically with everyone, and then it's full steam ahead to finish the solution that we've already started," Psyonix vice president Jeremy Dunham said at the time. "Technologically everything works, we've got it figured out, just a little bit of time to get everything up and running. Right now, excitement is the best way to put it. We just want to get in there and make it happen."

After years of preventing cross-network multiplayer between PS4 and other consoles, Sony loosened its rigid stance on the issue somewhat last September when it finally allowed cross-play in Fortnite. While Epic's battle royale game was the sole title to support the feature at the time, it was a welcome sign that Sony was reconsidering its controversial policy, saying it had "identified a path towards supporting cross-platform features for select third-party content."

"We recognize that PS4 players have been eagerly awaiting an update, and we appreciate the community's continued patience as we have navigated through this issue to find a solution," John Kodera, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment, said. "We see the beta as an opportunity to conduct thorough testing that ensures cross-platform play is best on PlayStation, while being mindful about the user experience from both a technical and social perspective."

Uncharted Movie Adds 10 Cloverfield Lane Director

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 06:24

10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg has been tapped to helm the Sony Pictures adaptation of Uncharted, Variety reports. This comes following reports late last year that the film adaptation had lost director Shawn Levy due to scheduling conflicts with another game adaptation, Free Guy.

Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Far From Home, Avengers: Infinity War) is still set to star as a young Nathan Drake, and will detail his first encounter with his thieving mentor, "Sully" Sullivan. The production date hasn't been nailed down, however, as Sony is organizing it around Holland's press tour for Spider-Man: Far From Home. It hopes to start production this year.

Trachtenberg gained notoriety for 2016's 10 Cloverfield Lane, a thriller filled with mostly human drama that tied tangentially into the universe created by the cult horror film Cloverfield. It was the first such experiment with using the franchise name for spin-off stories, a strategy that didn't work out as well with last year's The Cloverfield Paradox. He is also known for having shot his own fan film for Portal, and for having directed an episode of Black Mirror.

The Uncharted project has gone through several iterations and false starts, and at one point it was set to star Mark Wahlberg in the lead role. This latest script starring Holland was penned by Jonathan Rosenberg and Mark Walker.

Young Justice: A Beginner's Guide To The DC Comic And Cartoon

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 05:44

Chances are, the name Young Justice has come up in your life from some corner of pop culture, but with not one but two major returns for the brand dropping this month, the specifics can be a bit confusing. There's the cartoon, Young Justice: Outsiders, the third season of the cult classic that's been six years in the making, and there's the new Young Justice #1, a comic reviving a long defunct superhero team that was shelved back in the early 2000s.

To make matters even weirder, the two properties actually have nothing to do with one another. Sort of. Almost. Look, it's complicated--but don't worry, we're here to help.

Here is your beginners guide to the world of Young Justice, and a look into what makes both versions of the story well worth your time.

Let's Talk Comics

The origin of the Young Justice brand at DC was, unsurprisingly, a comic. Young Justice #1 was published in 1998, springboarding three core characters--Tim Drake aka Robin, Bart Allen aka Impulse, and Conner Kent aka Superboy--into one ongoing story. They weren't specifically a "team" so much as they were three kids with big name mentors who sort of fell into hanging around with one another--the team stuff just followed naturally. Even the name "Young Justice" fell into their laps as a sort of gag as they wound up practicing some public superheroics and trying to explain to the press afterward that they weren't a new Junior Justice League, they were "young and it's just us."

Of course, in the name of slapstick '90s humor the explanation got misheard and the name "Young Justice" wound up sticking. That's when things truly kicked off and the team began to perform in earnest. Tim, Conner, and Bart were joined by other young superheroes from every corner of the DCU and actually garnered a pretty large following both in terms of in-universe notoriety and real life fans. They weren't specifically designed to be a new incarnation of the Teen Titans, but that's largely what they ended up being--and later, the connection became literal when a crossover event in 2003 called Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day officially promoted the Young Justice roster into the new Teen Titans niche.

That's actually why the name became defunct--the group didn't actually disband (though some members left and/or faded into obscurity over time) but rather shifted positions and swapped names. With the core roster now taking over as the Teen Titans, the Young Justice brand stepped decidedly out of the spotlight.

At least, until now. With the announcement of Brian Michael Bendis' curated imprint, Wonder Comics, Young Justice fans were able to rejoice with an all new issue #1--the first in nearly two decades--that would return the original core line up as a team while bringing in a handful of new characters to the mix.

For some characters, this was a lot more than a simple pivot. DC's undergone a number of tricky, multifaceted continuity reboots in the past ten or so years, including the line-wide total revamp known as The New 52, making things like history and canon a bit tricky to puzzle out. Officially, despite versions of Impulse and Superboy existing through the New 52, the ones fans were familiar with in the pre-New 52 era have been missing in action since 2011.

Now, however, after another major reboot known as Rebirth, the runway has been cleared for major returns and the puzzle pieces have been slowly placed over the last year or so, making it possible for Bart, Conner, and their friends to actually make the jump back into the limelight.

Okay, What About The Cartoon?

The first thing you need to understand about the Young Justice cartoon is that it premiered in 2010, long after the name had gone defunct on the comics side of things. The second thing you'll need to understand is that it's officially set on an alternate Earth, meaning it's not actually beholden to any of the comics continuity at all.

The Young Justice cartoon, while technically having no real relationship or legitimate connection to its comic book predecessor, borrows pretty heavily from things like tone and style to make its original story work. It's not actually adapting anything in a literal sense, but it does cherry pick all sorts of things from the DC Universe's long history and complicated canon to make something new--meaning that while it is technically a Young Justice property "in name only," it does embody the spirit of Young Justice as a whole.

It just does so without really leaning too heavily on any one specific story arc, issue, or team roster from the things that came before it. For example, the core roster of the Young Justice cartoon includes Conner Kent, but uses Wally West instead of Bart Allen for the team's original speedster and Dick Grayson rather than Tim Drake for the team's Robin. Other characters who have never been members of the comics team like Kaldur'ahm, aka Aqualad, are given the spotlight, while heroes like Artemis, the show's amalgam of the comic's original Arrowette and another character named Tigress, were given complete revamps.

You absolutely don't have to have a background in the Young Justice comics to understand the show, the same way you don't need to have an understanding of the show to jump into the comics--but it certainly won't hurt you to be familiar with both at any given time. If anything, being comfortable with both iterations of the team and the story will only bolster your overall experience--and make you an Easter egg hunting pro.

The third season of the show is currently debuting on the DC streaming service, DC Universe, while the new volume of the comic just release its first issue this month--so, really, no matter which angle you want to tackle the Young Justice franchise from, now is probably the best possible time to take the leap.

Battlefield 5's Second Free DLC, Lightning Strikes, Launches Tomorrow

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 05:25

Battlefield V's second free DLC expansion is almost here. Developer DICE is rolling out the first wave of Chapter 2: Lightning Strikes on PS4, Xbox One, and PC this Tuesday, January 15, bringing new modes, weapons, and other content to the World War II shooter.

First, the update will introduce Squad Conquest, which DICE describes as "an intense version of Conquest that enables more tactical gameplay." In this mode, two teams of eight players--each of which is further divided up into two four-person squads--can do battle on "smaller, more tactical" versions of the Arras, Rotterdam, and Hamada maps.

On top of that, DICE is adding four new weapons to the game. These can be unlocked by completing Weekly Challenges in January and February. The four weapons are as follows:

  • Zk-383 SMG (Medic class)
  • Modele 1944 semi-automatic rifle (Assault class)
  • M1922 MMG (Support class)
  • Mk. III bolt-action rifle (Recon class)

Finally, DICE is implementing a handful of improvements to Time to Death and Death Experience in this week's update. Among other things, the developer has added a camera that zooms in on and follows players who have killed you. You can find the full patch notes for the update on the Battlefield website.

DICE has a lot of other content in store for Chapter 2: Lightning Strikes, including a new Grand Operation--Battle of Hannut--as well as the new Tank Hunter vehicle. The developer is also bringing back the fan-favorite Rush mode for a limited time this March.

New Star Trek: Discovery Spin-Off TV Series With Michelle Yeoh Announced

Tue, 01/15/2019 - 04:55

There's more pre-Kirk Star Trek on the way for fans of Star Trek: Discovery. CBS has officially announced a spin-off from its streaming-only series, which will follow Michelle Yeoh's character from Season 1 and her exploits as part of the Federation's secret intelligence agency, Section 31.

CBS announced that the spin-off, which is currently untitled, will air exclusively on CBS All Access, the same as Discovery. It sounds as if the new series will take place after the events of Discovery Season 2, which looks to expand on the exploits of Yeoh's character, Philippa Georgiou.

"The series will be produced by CBS Television Studios, Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment," the announcement states. "Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth will serve as executive producers. Aaron Baiers will serve as co-executive producer along with Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt will also write the series."

Spinning off a series about Georgiou is going to give Star Trek latitude to explore some of the more interesting aspects of Discovery. The first season saw the titular Federation starship and its crew finding its way into the Mirror Universe, the dark alternate reality that has shown up in a bunch of the Star Trek series. Yeoh played both the Georgiou in the Federation universe, who was killed in Discovery's pilot episode, and the Mirror Universe side. At the end of Season 1, the more violent, slightly evil Mirror Universe version was brought back to the Federation side.

The spin-off series will find her as part of Section 31, a clandestine Federation intelligence agency that operates outside the bounds of the rest of the space government. Given Georgiou's predilection for violence and scheming, she should fit right in--but it sounds like this will be a darker look at the Star Trek universe.

"I'm so excited to continue telling these rich Star Trek stories," Yeoh said in the announcement. "Being a part of this Universe and this character specifically has been such a joy for me to play. I can't wait to see where it all goes--certainly, I believe it will go 'where no WOMAN has ever gone before!'"

This will be CBS's fourth Star Trek show: Also in the works are a series about Star Trek: The Next Generation's Captain Jean-Luc Picard, with Sir Patrick Stewart returning to the role, and Star Trek: Lower Decks, an animated comedy series from Rick and Morty executive producer Mike McMahan.

Meanwhile, it sounds like we'll be learning more about Georgiou in Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery, which premieres on CBS All Access on January 17.

Disclosure: CBS Interactive is the parent company of GameSpot.

Top 10 UK Games Chart: New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Debuts At No.1 [Update]

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 23:11

Update: UKIE, the suppliers of the UK games chart, has stated the charts it and GfK Chart-Track issued earlier today were "missing a significant number of sales, across multiple retailers." Hence, it says, the charts below should be disregarded until further notice. We'll update when receive the actual top 10 from UKIE and GfK Chart-Track. Original story follows.

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe for Nintendo Switch has debuted at the top of the UK physical sales chart, according to sales monitor GfK Chart-Track. The Switch exclusive was the best-selling boxed game for the week ending January 12, superseding FIFA 19, which drops to No.2.

The remainder of the chart stays mostly unchanged, with many titles simply shifting down one place from last week's positions thanks to NSMBU Deluxe's strong start. Red Dead Redemption 2 falls to No.3, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 to No.4, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to No.5. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, meanwhile, rises one place to No.6.

Aside from Mario's remastered outing, there was only one new release last week. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition came to Switch, PS4, and Xbox One, debuting at No.11.

Mario's latest adventure reviewed well and was awarded a 7/10 in GameSpot's New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe review. "Despite its aging formula, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is still a great entry in the series, with its typically tight platforming and both accessibility and depth to spare," we wrote. "While it can feel a bit stale for those who have been round the Mushroom Kingdom one too many times before, Deluxe is well worth playing, especially if you didn't get a chance to play NSMBU on Wii U."

You can read the full top 10 sales chart for this week below, courtesy of UKIE and GfK Chart-Track. Note this table does not include digital sales data, and so should not be considered representative of all UK game sales.

  1. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
  2. FIFA 19
  3. Red Dead Redemption 2
  4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
  5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  6. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  7. Battlefield V
  8. Grand Theft Auto V
  9. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
  10. Forza Horizon 4

Xbox Teases "New Microsoft Technologies"

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 15:43

There are always more games on the horizon, and now Microsoft has teased what's coming next for its portfolio. In a blog post, Microsoft offered what it called a "hot tease" of what fans can expect in the time ahead.

Starting with 2019 games, Xbox fans have titles like Crackdown 3, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Gears 5, and Minecraft: Dungeons to look forward to. Of note, all of these games--and all future first-party titles from Microsoft--are included with the price of an Xbox Game Pass membership.

"2019 is shaping up nicely for Xbox, PC and mobile gamers alike," Microsoft said.

Also in 2019 Microsoft will release a significant new update for Sea of Thieves, called The Arena, which adds a competitive mode.

In addition to all of these games and the new Sea of Thieves expansion, Microsoft teased future releases from its studios around the world. Microsoft said delivering "new Microsoft technologies" is one part of the company's ambition going forward.

"And we can't wait to show you what all the Microsoft Studios development teams are working on. We’re focused on implementing new Microsoft technologies, delivering content for new platforms and services like Xbox Game Pass, and creating exclusive games that turn players into loyal Xbox fans," Microsoft said. "We are committed to expanding the Microsoft Studios franchises players already love and investing in new, exclusive content for every type of gamer. We're excited to see the teams maximize their potential at Microsoft and can't wait for what the future has in store."

Last year, Microsoft invested in its future by acquiring six studios and creating an all-new one. At E3, Microsoft announced that it acquired Playground Games (Forza Horizon), Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), Ninja Theory (Hellblade), and Undead Labs (State of Decay). At Microsoft's X018 event in Mexico City, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Obsidian Entertainment (Fallout: New Vegas) and inXile Entertainment (Wasteland 3). As for new studio, The Initiative is based in the Los Angeles area, and it's staffed by Red Dead Redemption's writer/designer and many other big names.

Outside of games, Microsoft is working on a game-streaming service that will let you play console-level Halo on your phone, while the company is also making a Halo TV show and a Gears of War movie. Additionally, Microsoft is working on multiple new Xbox consoles.

What games and technologies are you hoping to see from Microsoft in 2019? Let us know in the comments below!

Mortal Kombat 11 Gameplay Reveal And More This Week

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 14:16

It's going to be a big week for Mortal Kombat 11. The previously announced community reveal event is slated for January 17, and it looks like it'll be a big event you'll want to watch.

In addition to premiering the first gameplay from Mortal Kombat 11, a description of the reveal event promises "exclusive reveals." It'll also contain details on the game's story and characters, as well as some of its "new features."

Brutal. Bloody. Brash. The gameplay reveal for #MK11 is in just 4 days!

— Mortal Kombat 11 (@MortalKombat) January 13, 2019

Whether or not there are any character reveals remains to be seen. Pennywise the killer clown from the It franchise is rumoured for the game, and given that the film comes from NetherRealm's owner, Warner Bros., it seems like it could happen. An It sequel is also on the way in 2019, and putting Pennywise in Mortal Kombat 11--which is also due out in 2019--could help promote the film. This is all speculation at this point, however.

The event will be broadcast live, and you'll be able to watch on Twitch and other streaming sites. Check back later for more on how, when, and where to watch the event.

Mortal Kombat 11 launches on April 23 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch, and those who pre-order a copy will receive Shao Kahn as a playable character.

Pre-orders on PS4 and Xbox One also come with access to the fighting game's pre-launch beta. The test will be held for those two platforms sometime in March, although further details have yet to be announced.

In other news, Mortal Kombat 11's cover art has been revealed--check it out here.

Game Of Thrones Season 8 Date Revealed In Cryptic Teaser Trailer

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 13:03

HBO's titanic hit series Game of Thrones is coming back for its eighth and final season this spring. Before the premiere of the new season of True Detective, HBO aired a brief video showing three of the four remaining Starks, which the series has followed, then revealing the April 14 premiere date for Season 8.

In the video, which you can watch above, Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), and Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) are in the crypts below their home of Winterfell, when everything freezes over. Winter is here, and it's going to be a challenge for everyone in Westeros.

As you probably remember from the end of Season 7, the Night King reanimated one of Daenerys Targaryen's dragons--who died in the north--and it is now a part of the undead army, trying to head south. The only thing in the army's way was The Wall, which the reanimated dragon burned down, giving the White Walkers an opening to invade.

However, we won't know what's in store for the Starks--as well as the villains we love to hate like Cersei Lannister--until this spring, when HBO releases the final episodes in this story, for now. Hopefully, Bran can make it to the Stark family reunion because as every Game of Thrones fan knows, people you love tend to die.

It's been pretty quiet when it comes to the final season of Game of Thrones, but we do know a few things. The premiere of the new season will mirror Season 1 in various ways, so it may be a good time to go back and rewatch the show before the April premiere. The final battle for the new season is the largest in the series to date and most brutal as well. Additionally, there is a Game of Thrones prequel on the way, which has cast a few actors and a director.

Game of Thrones returns to HBO for its final season on April 14 at 9 PM ET / PT.

Yet Another Video Game Streaming Service Is Coming

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 11:39

It appears the next big battleground for gaming might be in the streaming world. Yet another major company, Verizon, is reportedly launching a game-streaming service of its own to presumably compete against what could be similar offerings from companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Sony, Electronic Arts, and others.

According to The Verge, Verizon is launching a game-streaming service called .... Verizon Gaming. The platform is reportedly already being alpha-tested with the Nvidia Shield device. In the future, it'll be rolled out for Android smartphones, according to the report. It'll support an Xbox One controller paired wirelessly with the Shield or Android device, apparently.

More than 135 games are currently up and running with the current testing phase, including Fortnite, Red Dead Redemption II, God of War, Battlefield V, and and many others. The current testing period is focused on making the experience as smooth as possible, the report said.

There is no word yet on a release date or pricing for Verizon Gaming; as mentioned, it sounds like it's still very early days for the platform.

Whatever the case, it is becoming clear that game-streaming could be a very big deal in the gaming world, and perhaps sooner rather than later. While OnLive might have been a failure, the fact that companies like Verizon, Microsoft, Sony, Amazon, EA, and others are now investing in game-streaming suggests that it might be time now that streaming has enough resources and momentum behind it to actually catch on in earnest.

The appeal of game-streaming is that you don't need powerful, expensive hardware to play games at home or on the go. Instead, streamed games run on hardware at data centres and then get streamed to (theoretically) whatever device you might have. Physical games and gaming hardware like Xbox and PlayStation consoles are not likely to vanish anytime soon, as internet availability and speed is not consistent or reliable around the world.

Microsoft is known to be working on multiple new Xbox consoles, while Sony has said it may release a PlayStation 5. Nintendo, for its part, has said it may eventually exit the hardware market, but that may not happen soon, if it ever does.

Streaming is already commonplace and accepted for movies, TV, and music--so it was always seemingly only a matter of time before games caught up. It's also worth mentioning that Sony is ahead of the curve in the streaming space, as it's been running the PlayStation Now service for years already.

For more on the new game-streaming platforms coming out, check out the news stories below.

MicrosoftElectronic ArtsGoogleAmazon

Fortnite Was Nintendo Switch's Most-Played Game Last Year In Europe

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 10:15

Nintendo has revealed the most-played Nintendo Switch games of 2018 in Europe, and the title at the top of the list probably will not surprise you.

The news feed on the console in Europe reveals the most-played Switch game of the past year was Epic's free-to-play battle royale game, Fortnite. Rounding out the top five were all Nintendo-made games: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Splatoon 2, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The only reason Super Smash Bros. Ultimate isn't near the top is probably because it only just launched in December. Nintendo didn't share any numbers about specific play-time hours, so we don't know the gaps between the different games.

Still, it's not all that surprising that Fortnite is No. 1 given the game's immense global popularity. As mentioned, this chart is only for Europe. It doesn't appear that Nintendo published similar most-played lists in the US or other parts of the world.

NintendoEverything first reported this news. The top 20 most-played games for Nintendo Switch in Europe can be seen at the bottom of this post.

NPD analyst Mat Piscatella responded to the news, saying he expects Fortnite's massive success to have an impact on the wider industry in 2019. Specifically, he said the way in which the game's massive success propelled gains for hardware and microtransaction spending in 2018 may be hard to replicate, especially in the first half of 2019.

Nintendo announces Fortnite as the most played game on Switch in 2018. One of 2019's biggest market challenges will be meeting the comparable $ volumes set by Fortnite and its impact across all platforms in HW, MTX and ACC last year, particularly in 1H. Won't be easy.

— Mat Piscatella (@MatPiscatella) January 13, 2019Most-Played Switch Games Of 2018 In Europe
  1. Fortnite
  2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  3. Super Mario Odyssey
  4. Splatoon 2
  5. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
  6. FIFA 18
  7. Minecraft
  8. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu
  9. Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee
  10. Xenoblade Chronicles 2
  11. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  12. Rocket League
  13. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
  14. Pokemon Quest
  15. Stardew Valley
  16. Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2
  17. Octopath Traveler
  18. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  19. Paladins
  20. Super Mario Party

A Reboot Of The Very Scary Final Destination Series Is In The Works

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 10:09

The Final Destination horror movie franchise is getting a reboot. According to The Hollywood Reporter, film company New Line has started working on a new Final Destination movie, with Saw writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan attached to write the story.

The new movie is described by THR as a "re-imagining" of the Final Destination series, but plot details are under wraps for now.

The first Final Destination premiered in 2000, starring Devon Sawa and Ali Larter. It was a huge hit, making $112 million globally against a budget of only $23 million. Unsurprisingly, New Line went on to make four sequels, which together have made nearly $700 million worldwide.

In the first Final Destination, a group of teenagers are about to get on an airplane, when one of their friends has a vision that the plane goes down and they all die. They get off the plane, only to watch it go up in flames after take off. Because they were supposed to die, the force of Death goes after them, killing them off one by one in horrific, gruesome fashion.

This same setup is used in the four sequels, though the circumstances are changed. It is a highly repeatable formula, which must have made studio executives happy. Presumably the new movie will be similar in structure and tone, but nothing has been announced as of yet.

There is no word yet on when the new Final Destination movie might come to theatres. We also don't know who will star in it or who may direct. Keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.

The most recent entry, Final Destination 5, was released in 2014.

Melton and Dunstan were announced as the writers of a God of War movie for Sony, but that was back in 2012, and things could have changed since then.

This Year's Super Bowl Music Act Is A Safe, Expected Choice

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 09:34

As rumoured, Maroon 5 will perform at the halftime show of Super Bowl LIII, the band confirmed today. It was also announced that Travis Scott and Big Boi will be the supporting acts for the big game taking place in Atlanta, Georgia early next month.

This confirmation comes after reports that Jay-Z, Cardi B, and Rihanna said no to performing at the Super Bowl as a show of solidarity with former NFL player Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick made headlines when he kneeled during the National Anthem in protest of the racial inequality in the United States, and he hasn't played professionally since 2017.

Scott told Billboard that he only agreed to performing at the Super Bowl if the football league agreed to make a donation to an organisation fighting for social justice. Scott himself donated $500,000 to Dream Corps.


— Maroon 5 (@maroon5) January 13, 2019

Super Bowl LIII will be broadcast on CBS and and streamed on on Sunday, February 3. CBS and GameSpot are sister companies.

Some of the biggest names in music and entertainment have performed at Super Bowl halftime shows over the years, including Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Aerosmith, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen just to name a few.

In other news, EA Sports typically releases a "Super Bowl" edition of the latest Madden game at a lower price and with some extras packed in, so keep checking back with GameSpot for more.

Aquaman Tops $1 Billion At The Box Office, But It's Not The Biggest DC Movie In The US

Mon, 01/14/2019 - 09:13

Aquaman is doing big business. The superhero movie has now passed $1 billion at the global box office, making it one of the most successful movies in the history of cinema. After yet another weekend near the top of the box office charts, it's now made $1.02 billion worldwide.

Only 36 other movies have made $1 billion at the box office, according to Forbes.

Aquaman is now the second-biggest DC Comics movie ever, surpassing The Dark Knight ($1.004 billion). It's still behind The Dark Knight Rises ($1.08 billion), however. As Entertainment Weekly reminds us, ticket prices have been rising over the years, which may inflate figures.

In the United States and Canada, Aquaman has pulled in $287 million, which is below the domestic box office hauls of Wonder Woman ($412.5 million), Suicide Squad ($325.1 million), and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($330.3 million). The film is performing far better internationally; it's made $300 million in China alone. All told, the movie has pulled in $732 million from overseas markets.

Aquaman the fifth movie released in 2018 to pass $1 billion at the global office; the others were Avengers: Infinity War ($2.045 billion), Black Panther ($1.346 billion), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ($1.309 billion), and Incredibles 2 ($1.242 billion).

Director James Wan responded to the news of Aquaman passing $1 billion, thanking the cast and crew of the film for the incredible achievement. He also said Jason Momoa's performance as Aquaman will help the character become the "gold standard for this character for generations to come." You can read all of his tweets below.

A few things to say...
Firstly, this movie wouldn’t be what it is without the astonishing achievement of everyone involved, from the head of departments to every single crew member, who demanded upmost excellence in helping design and create this cinematic experience.

— James Wan (@creepypuppet) January 13, 2019

Secondly, I’ll forever be indebted to Jason for turning Aquaman into one of the coolest, cinematic superheroes ever, and becoming the gold standard for this character for generations to come.

— James Wan (@creepypuppet) January 13, 2019

Huge THANK YOU to my amazing cast — Amber, Patrick (my rabbit foot), Nicole, Yahya, Willem, Temuera, Dolph, Ludi, Michael — for breathing life and wonder into our beloved characters.

— James Wan (@creepypuppet) January 13, 2019

Finally, but most importantly — massive LOVE and THANK YOU to the fans and audiences around the world. Humbled by the way you’ve embraced Aquaman, and how it has resonated on a global scale.

— James Wan (@creepypuppet) January 13, 2019

Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4's Next Update Outlined

Sat, 01/12/2019 - 11:10

Treyarch has a number of updates lined up for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 this month. The developer rolled out the first of these--which added new Featured playlists, among other things--on January 8, and now it's given fans a preview of what's coming in the game's next update.

Over on Reddit, the studio outlined what's in store for Black Ops 4 this week. All three of the game's modes will be receiving some attention. Zombies is set to get Gauntlets, which Treyarch describes as "curated 30-round challenges with unique rules for each round." The developer is also holding a 115 Day Celebration Event in the mode from January 15-18. The event will be available on all platforms and offers double XP, weapon XP, and Nebulium Plasma.

For the Blackout battle royale mode, Treyarch will be implementing a new looting interface on consoles, making it easier to loot specific items. The developer says it will also hold two limited-time modes in Blackout next week. No further details have been provided yet, but Treyarch teases that it will reveal more info about the modes--as well as "more Blackout news"--soon.

Finally, in multiplayer mode, next week's update will add both Elevation and Madagascar to the map rotation for those who have the Black Ops Pass. Treyarch says that future maps will be added to the full rotation "as they’re released." The update will also bring new Featured playlists, as well as stability improvements and other fixes.

Later in the month, Treyarch will introduce League Play to Black Ops 4. This will make competitive multiplayer more akin to what's seen in professional matches, with skill-based matchmaking putting participants into 50-player groupings.

The Epic Games Store Has Changed Its Refund Policy To Match Steam's

Sat, 01/12/2019 - 11:03

The Epic Games Store has announced a change in its refund policy. Epic Games director of publishing strategy Sergey Galyonkin revealed the change on Twitter, writing that people will be able to refund a game provided it is "within 14 days of purchase and under 2 hours played." You will also now have unlimited refunds through Epic, giving the game store the same policy as Steam.

According to Variety, to previously refund a game on Epic, you had to submit a ticket. From there, you'd get a verification request where you'd need to fill out several fields of information, including your public IP address, the date your Epic Games account was created, an invoice ID, your location, your account's display name, the final four numbers of the debit or credit card connected to your account, and the date of your last login. Only then would your ticket be reviewed.

Now, provided you ask within the 14 days and two hours played guidelines, you only need to submit a ticket through player support to get the refund. "The team is working on the self-service solution, but for now, you'll have to go through player support," Galyonkin said.

Over the past few months, Epic has been making moves to undercut its largest PC game store competitor, Steam. When Epic announced its new store, the company offered game developers a better deal than they'd get on Steam by taking less of the profits and promising to aid creators who used Unreal Engine. Epic has also secured several exclusives, such as Hades and the PC version of Journey, and even taken the PC version of games expected to launch on Steam, like the latter half of The Walking Dead: The Final Season and The Division 2.