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Updated: 14 min 51 sec ago

Xbox Game Pass Adds Diablo 4, Hot Wheels, And More This Month

Wed, 03/20/2024 - 00:58

The next wave of Game Pass titles has been officially confirmed, and starting today, subscribers can explore their interstellar homestead in Lightyear Frontier on Xbox Series X|S, PC, and cloud-compatible devices. The other big release joining Lightyear Frontier is MLB The Show 24, this year's entry in the long-running baseball simulator series from San Diego Studios. For the first time in the series history, MLB The Show 24 allows players to create and play as a woman, and also includes new additions to its historical showcase mode.

On March 20, horror fans can experience the choose-your-own-demise of The Quarry, a blood-drenched homage to slasher flicks from the '80s starring nine teenage counselors who are in for a really bad final night of summer camp. Anyone looking to fight back against monsters can check out Evil West on March 21, a fun vampire-slaying title in which you can punch the supernatural into giblets with your overpowered arsenal. Terra Invicta will be available on PC via the Xbox Preview program through Game Pass, giving fans of tactical games an early look at a grand sci-fi experience from the creators of Long War.

Easily the biggest release of the month is Diablo 4, as Blizzard's action-RPG will be available from March 28 on console and PC. In case you missed it when it launched last year, Diablo 4 is a dark return to the grim roots of the franchise, and players can hop right into the new content from Season of the Construct when it arrives. Two more games will be available that same day, as the month closes out with fun racing Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged and narrative adventure Open Roads.

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Game Pass Removes These Three Games Very Soon

Wed, 03/20/2024 - 00:50

Along with all the games coming to Game Pass in March, a few more titles are getting booted from the library. Microsoft has announced the second wave of removals from Game Pass this month, and there are three titles saying goodbye to the subscription catalog.

Headed out the door on March 31 are Hot Wheels Unleashed, Infinite Guitars, and MLB The Show 23. For fans of the professional baseball series, there is some good news, as MLB The Show 24--the newest entry in the franchise--comes to Game Pass today, March 19. Additionally, Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 is coming on March 28, so fans of that series can get the newest game, too.

If you want to keep playing any or all of these games, subscribers can buy them outright at a 20% discount, which is a silver lining. Progress and achievements stay with your account, too.

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Steam Sees Numbers Go Up, Breaking User Record Again

Wed, 03/20/2024 - 00:21

One might wonder if Valve's favorite song is Higher by Creed, because Steam continues to see concurrent users go up this year. VGC reports that the PC storefront saw over 36.3 million players at the same time this past Sunday, per SteamDB.

That's a new Steam concurrent user record--one that has been broken over and over in 2024. For instance, a new high mark was apparently set last week at roughly 35 million players. In January, Steam kept getting bigger, too, with the record then being notched at 33.6 million people. So when Valve asks, "Can you take me higher?" the answer seems to be an emphatic yes from consumers.

At the time of publication, Counter-Strike 2 has the most concurrent players at 1.3 million. Earlier this year, Palworld surpassed 2 million concurrent players on Steam, becoming only the second game ever to break that milestone. It's a feat that Counter-Strike 2 (and Global Offensive) has never reached.

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Denuvo Developer Says Its New Anti-Piracy Watermark Will Make Leakers "Think Twice"

Wed, 03/20/2024 - 00:14

New anti-piracy software has been announced by Denuvo developer Irdeto, giving developers tools to help track down leaks of their games. Called TraceMark for Games, the software was announced at the Game Developers Conference this week and allows for watermarks to to be used within builds of games. Developers can choose to apply visible or invisible watermarks, giving users a "dual approach" to precisely track leaked content back to its source during the pre-release phase of a game's development.

"This capability makes potential leakers think twice, knowing that any unauthorized distribution can be directly linked to them," Irdeto said in a press release, describing the software as a platform-agnostic tool for integration in a game. "The ease of integration into existing development workflows makes this an attractive feature for game developers looking to secure their content without compromising on the player's experience."

Irdeto added that TraceMark includes a self-service detection portal, which is designed to "empower developers and content owners with the ability to independently verify" if watermarks are detected in their work. The company says this detection is possible even when subjected to "robustness attacks" such as changes in luminance, blurring, compression, and cropping to spot or get around watermarks.

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Next James Bond Actor Could Be Aaron Taylor-Johnson

Wed, 03/20/2024 - 00:09

One of the most highly coveted roles in all of Hollywood, that of the super-spy James Bond, might be cast soon. A report from The Sun cites sources saying 33-year-old English actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson has been offered the role of James Bond for Bond 26, and the expectation is that, if Taylor-Johnson agrees, he could sign the deal as soon as this week.

Taylor-Johnson--whose previous credits include Nocturnal Animals, Bullet Train, Kick-Ass, and Avengers: Age of Ultron--was previously believed to have met with series producer Barbara Broccoli and was assumed to be a frontrunner for the part. Taylor-Johnson is set to appear in the title role in Sony's upcoming Kraven the Hunter movie later this year.

"Bond is Aaron's job, should he wish to accept it. The formal offer is on the table and they are waiting to hear back," a source told The Sun. "As far as [production company] Eon is concerned, Aaron is going to sign his contract in the coming days and they can start preparing for the big announcement."

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Fortnite Rise Of Midas Event Adds Free Rewards And Floor Is Lava Mode

Wed, 03/20/2024 - 00:01

One of Fortnite's most-remembered characters returns in today's game update, v29.01. Rise of Midas is a multi-week event that brings with it a ton of free cosmetics, challenges, and a limited-time mode (LTM). Of course, as the name suggests, Midas is back, too.

Fortnite Rise of Midas event

The Rise of Midas event is now live and runs through April 2 at 6 AM PT / 9 AM ET. During the event, you can play to complete a series of in-game quests that will dole out battle pass XP and several free cosmetic items. The in-game quests will appear across five categories to be rolled out during the event. The first batch, Midas Rises, is out now, with four subsequent batches of challenges hitting the game on March 20, 25, 27, and 28, respectively.

Rise of Midas quest rewards: Cerberus Medallion spray, Rose of Avarice back bling, and Queen in Gold glider

If you complete any six quests, you'll unlock the Cerberus Medallion spray. At 12 completed quests, you'll get the Rose of Avarice back bling. And for doing 18 of these challenges, you'll claim the Queen in Gold glider, as a nod to Marigold, Midas' similarly gilded sibling. Should any of these challenges prove tricky, you can bet we'll have you covered with guides right here on GameSpot.

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Pedro Pascal Says He Owes His Acting Career To Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 23:45

Before he was Oberyn Martell on Game of Thrones, Din Djarin on The Mandalorian, or Joel on The Last of Us, Pedro Pascal appeared in one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Eddie in 1999. As it turns out, that episode helped save Pascal's professional acting career.

He told Entertainment Tonight that his "entry level" career in acting before his more recent breakout successes spanned a period of around 15 years. During that time, Pascal said he faced issues paying rent and had "less than $7 in my account." Then a residual check for the popular vampire series appeared in his mailbox and changed everything.

"A residual from Buffy the Vampire Slayer showed up and saved the day and literally is the reason I was able to stay in it and not give up," he said.

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Monopoly Go Devs Spent More On Marketing Than It Cost To Develop The Last Of Us 2

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 19:04

Free-to-play mobile game Monopoly Go has been a surprising success story in the mobile space, coming out as 2023's most successful mobile launch with $1 billion in revenue. Developer Scopely has revealed in an interview that the game has now brought in over $2 billion in its first 10 months--and that the company has spent an eye-watering $500 million on marketing and user acquisition.

Scopely's senior VP of publishing Eric Wood revealed the marketing numbers in an interview with Game File, after Monopoly Go's $2 billion milestone was announced by the CEO earlier this week. To put the $500 million marketing budget in perspective, a poorly redacted document last year leaked a set of budgets for some of PlayStation's biggest AAA titles, which revealed that The Last of Us Part 2 cost $220 million to develop, and Horizon Forbidden West cost $212 million to develop.

Scopely co-CEO Javier Ferreira delved a little deeper into where that marketing spend went in his blog post, revealing that Monopoly Go's marketing team created localized marketing for every region where the game was available. "Our marketing team was a fierce advocate for taking a hyperlocal approach," Ferreira said. "In turn, much of our upfront marketing investment went to developing individualized creative that reflected the language and culture of every country where the game is available."

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Steam Families Is A New And Improved Version Of Steam Family Sharing

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 17:09

Valve has announced Steam Families, a new Steam feature that wraps up the pre-existing Steam Family Sharing and Steam Family View, as well as some brand-new family features. The new feature allows Steam users to create a family of up to six household members in order to share games and implement content controls.

Users can create a family and invite up to five other members, who can be assigned as either an adult or a child. All users in the family will have their games shared in a family library, which works similarly to Steam's old Family Sharing feature.

Anyone in the family will be able to play any game in the library provided someone else isn't playing it already. If two people want to play the same game at the same time, then two members of the family have to own a copy of the game. When playing shared games, each member will have their own save games, unlock Steam achievements for their own account, and have access to workshop files.

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Sand Land Demo Out Now, Unlocks Rewards For The Full Game

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 10:25

A Sand Land demo is now available on PC, PS5, PS4, and Xbox Series X|S ahead of the game's launch at the end of April. The reveal came via a new trailer you can watch below.

Although the 56-second-long trailer doesn't give too much info away, it does tease some of the game's action featuring the series' signature vehicles like Battle Tanks, Battle Armors, and motorcycles.

Publisher Bandai Namco revealed that those who play the demo will receive 30 B-grade steel and 30 B-grade bolts when the full game launches. These in-game items can be used to enhance vehicles whenever players visit Spino.

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How To Save $100 On Samsung's Upcoming TVs, Projectors, And Soundbars

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 10:08

Earlier this year, Samsung unveiled its lineup of new TVs and audio devices launching in 2024, including the next Neo QLED 4K and 8K TVs, a new 8K projector, two new sound bars, and more. Preorders for all the new devices will be available soon, and Samsung its giving customers $100 off their orders ahead of time. All you have to do to get this special promo is sign up to receive preorder notifications for the upcoming products on Samsung's online store by March 21. Signing up also enters you in for a chance to win a free second-gen Samsung Freestyle portable projector.

Sign up at Samsung

The $100 credit can be applied to one of the new devices during checkout once the preorder period begins on March 21. The credit must be used before the preorder window closes on April 10. Samsung's preorder credit deal is limited to US customers 18 years of age or older, and signups require your name, email, and phone number.

Samsung Neo QLED 8K TV 2024 model

As for the new devices you can use the $100 preorder credit on, the most notable are this year's Neo QLED 8K and 4K TV models that feature AI-powered upscaling and motion enhancements, and run on Samsung's new 2024 Tizen smart TV OS. Multiple size options will be available, starting at 43 inches and going up to 98 inches.

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TMNT: Mutants Unleashed Preorders Come With A Bunch Of Free Extras At Walmart

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 10:00
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants Unleashed is an upcoming 3D brawler set in the same universe as the 2023 film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. It lets you dive into the gritty streets of New York as one of the four turtles as you fight off a new enemy that's threatening the city. Local co-op is also supported, allowing you and a buddy to fight side by side as you unravel the latest TMNT mystery.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants Unleashed doesn't have an official release date beyond Q4 2024, but preorders are already open. Here's a look at all available editions and preorder bonuses up for grabs.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants Unleashed preorder bonuses

There are no universal preorder bonuses for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants Unleashed. However, Walmart has an exclusive edition that comes with a steelbook, pin set, art book, and keychain--all for the same price as the standard edition.

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Zack Snyder's Dawn Of The Dead Has One Of The Greatest Openings In Horror History

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 09:32

The 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake, written by James Gunn and directed by Zack Snyder (in his directorial debut!), celebrates its 20th anniversary this week. Both critically praised and commercially successful at the time of its release, the film, along with 28 Days Later, helped popularize the concept of sprinting zombies over their shambling, slouching, Romero-made counterparts. They created panic and urgency, and they made for an opening sequence that was worth the price of admission by itself.

Like many great horror films, Dawn of the Dead doesn't start with horror. Our main character, Ana, is a nurse, and she's wrapping up a long shift at the hospital. What's great about this opening sequence--of her talking with co-workers and killing time--is how mundane it is. This is not load-bearing dialogue, and the actors don't deliver it theatrically, as if to imply narrative stakes. We know that Ana is about to have the worst day of her life. But she doesn't know that. Nothing feels urgent or pressing, because from her perspective, it isn't.

She doesn't know it's the last time she's going to see her co-worker, or the neighborhood girl, or her husband. Even the shower sex between them, tastefully filmed behind the steaming glass, feels domestic and perfunctory.

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New On Hulu In April 2024: Vanderpump Villa, Mission: Yozakura Family, Shazam 2, And More

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 09:03

With March more than half over, Hulu has released its schedule of all the new movies and shows coming to its streaming platform in April 2024.

On April 1, viewers can watch the series premiere of Vanderpump Villa, a Hulu original. According to a press release, the upcoming show will be an "unscripted docu-drama" that follows the Lisa Vanderpump staff as they work/live at an exclusive French estate called the Chateau Rosabelle.

But if you're looking for something with a little more action, don't worry. Shazam! Fury of the Gods will also be dropping on April 1. The superhero film set in the DCEU tells the story of Billy Batson and his family teaming up to save the world from a pack of angry gods.

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Apex Legends Streamers Hacked During ALGS Tournament, And The Suspected Cause Is Ironic [Update]

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 06:12

The Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) regional finals have been delayed for North America after two players were hacked mid-game over the weekend, and ironically, it seems the Apex's anti-cheat software may be to blame. [Update: Epic Games, which owns Easy Anti-Cheat, has issued a statement saying the situation was unrelated to any kind of EAC exploit. "We have investigated recent reports of a potential RCE issue in Apex Legends, which we have confirmed to be unrelated to Easy Anti-Cheat," it said in a statement. "We are confident THERE IS NO RCE vulnerability within EAC being exploited."]

DarkZero's GenBurten (real name: Noyan Oskoze) was hit first, when he mysteriously gained the ability to see enemy players through walls in the middle of a match. Later, TSM's ImperialHal (Phillip Dosen) suddenly found himself unintentionally aimbotting.

What is going on!? Apex player Genburten just got hacked mid-tournament and is now able to see EVERY player on the map.
Today is the last playday that determines the final #ALGS LAN spots for NA.

— esports (@esports) March 18, 2024

"I'm cheating! I'm cheating! I'm cheating!" Dosen exclaimed in shock when he realized what was happening. "I'm f***ing cheating, I have aimbot!"

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LinkedIn Is Getting Into Gaming

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 06:07

LinkedIn has confirmed that it is adding games onto its social media platform. However, no launch date has been announced yet.

"We're playing with adding puzzle-based games within the LinkedIn experience to unlock a bit of fun, deepen relationships, and hopefully spark the opportunity for conversations," a LinkedIn spokesperson told TechCrunch. "Stay tuned for more!"

According to leaked screenshots from web developer Nima Owji, the three games that look to be in development are "Queens," "Crossclimb," and "Blueprint." They all seem to be rather simple puzzles games you'd see on platforms such as Wordle from The New York Times. Players can track of how often they play in order to keep their daily streaks.

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Fatal Fury: City Of The Wolves Makes A Strong Case For The Series' Return After 25 Years

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 06:00

Fatal Fury: City Of The Wolves is the next chapter in a nearly decade-long story for SNK. Since 2016, the company has painstakingly re-introduced its most popular fighting game franchises to the gaming world: first with King Of Fighters XIV, then Samurai Shodown in 2018, and most recently back to KOF with XV in 2021. In 2025, the company looks to revive another fighting IP, and this time it's one that hasn't seen a new entry in two-and-a-half decades. After a few hours of hands-on with City Of The Wolves during the recent SNK World Championships and speaking to the game's director, Hayato Konya, this new Fatal Fury already looks to be worthy of carrying the baton.

The demo featured five characters from the game's playable selection. Terry Bogard, Fatal Fury's original protagonist, and Rock Howard, the new face of the franchise, were teased when the game was first announced in 2022. Two more characters, meanwhile, were confirmed to be returning from previous entries: Hotaru Furaba and Tizoc--both of whom debuted in 1999's Garou: Mark Of The Wolves--now become playable again for the first time since The King Of Fighters XI in 2006.

All four of these fighters are faithful to their original designs; Terry is still a versatile bruiser, while Rock Howard continues to create guessing games thanks to Rage Run and Crack Counter. Hotaru thrives on powerful strikes while in close range--though she does still have a fireball for opponents at a distance--and Tizoc can still shift the momentum of a match with one well-timed command throw.

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Call Of Duty: Warzone Mobile Launch Event Details Free Ghost Operator Skin And More

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 05:49

Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile releases later this week, and Activision has revealed a new launch trailer and blog details for the upcoming Operation: Day Zero celebration event. Here we highlight all details about the new event and rewards.

Warzone Mobile brings back Call of Duty's classic battle royale maps Verdansk and Rebirth Island with the worldwide launch on March 21. Following the game's release, the Operation: Day Zero event will go live on March 22, allowing players to earn both individual and community rewards.

Operation: Day Zero is a launch event with rewards that can be earned by completing challenges within Warzone Mobile. However, all of these event rewards will also be available to use across Modern Warfare 3 and Warzone as Warzone Mobile supports cross-progression.

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More Star Wars-Inspired Coins Are Coming To The UK

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 05:47

The United Kingdom's Royal Mint has revealed Star Wars-inspired coins are on the way. The first of them is available today and features the Millennium Falcon on a silver 50p coin.

The news initially came from the official Royal Mint X/Twitter account. The tweet reads:

"A new @StarWarsUK™ coin featuring one of the most iconic vehicles in the history of cinema has landed. The legendary Millennium Falcon is the first to appear on a UK 50p. Add to your collection here."

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Obama Turned Down Cameo In Game Of Thrones Creators' New Show, And Here's Why

Tue, 03/19/2024 - 05:41

Former President Barack Obama turned down a cameo in 3 Body Problem, the new sci-fi series from the creators of Game of Thrones, and he softened the blow with a silly note explaining his reason why.

David Benioff told USA Today that he and another of the show's co-showrunners, D.B. Weiss, attempted to recruit the 44th President of the United States but he passed on the offer, joking that he is holding out for a real alien invasion.

"(Obama) did sign a very funny note though, when we tried to get him for a cameo," Benioff said. "It was to the effect of, 'In case there ever is a real alien invasion, I think I should probably save myself for that crisis.'"

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