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You know it could happen. Nintendo has gone, over the last console generation and change, from the dominant force in console gaming to a doddering old uncle, releasing endless DS updates and redesigns while the Wii U flops. We’re excited about the Switch – we’re not monsters, after all – but it’s important to temper that enthusiasm with a healthy degree of skepticism.

We’ve gone through everything we know about the Switch and identified the ten pain points we can see where Nintendo can doom this console to a Wii U-shaped grave. It’s probably too late for them to do anything about any of them, but you can read this article and then say “I told you so” if they come to pass.

Bad Performance

We already see hints of this in the released specs for the system. Nintendo has always been able to work magic with underpowered hardware – remember that the Sega Master System was a beefier console than the original NES – but over the last few generations their budget chipsets have started to show some serious strain. While multi-platform games have never been the biggest draw on a Nintendo system, we’re worried that the machine’s unique design will work against it.

A terrifying thing is that report from December that the Switch will run at a 60% decrease in clock speed when undocked. That’s a massive performance hit, and it’s hard to understand how games will be able to handle it. Some theorize that it’s similar to PS4 Pro titles that also play on the PSP, but will developers want to put in the extra work?

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Brand Dilution

It’s 2017 and Super Mario Run means you can play a real Mario game, and not some janky clone hacked together by a 14-year-old in Croatia, on your phone. The era of “you need to own a Nintendo system to play Nintendo games” is coming to a close. In many ways, this is a good thing. It’s super annoying to have to buy a dedicated system for one publisher’s titles. But it’s also going to make selling those dedicated systems a lot harder.

We seriously doubt that you’ll be seeing any of Nintendo’s big titles on PlayStations or Xboxes anytime soon, but the fact that Mario is no longer exclusive should be a warning sign. People now have their choice of dozens of different Nintendo systems to play on, both home and portable. Adding another one to the pile, especially so soon after the failed Wii U, is a tough sell.

Friend Codes

Let’s just lay this out on the table: Nintendo doesn’t get online. At all. Their systems have consistently made linking up with absent friends to game a chore at best and impossible at worst. Starting with the Wii, the company has made connecting up a matter of memorizing a long and obtuse “friend code” and inputting it with the controller. Just putting in my Netflix password drives me bonkers, and it’s just “password1.” Even worse, you had to put the friend code in for each different game. They’ve cleaned up their act a little bit, but the big N’s online infrastructure is leaps and bounds behind Microsoft and Sony.

Miiverse is a step in the right direction, but it’s just a social platform. If Nintendo doesn’t deliver online, we can see the Switch having some serious problems retaining players.

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Artificial Shortages

Nintendo had its biggest success in the traditional retail age, when cartridges would hit stores on the same day in limited amounts, and real 90s kids would force their parents to drive them around until they scored their new game. Those days are gone, but the company still entertains a weird forced attachment to scarcity as a marketing tool. Recent reports indicate that many stores are only getting 20 units for launch day.

Obviously, Nintendo doesn’t want to over-produce on hardware and get burned, but 20 units of a new Nintendo console seems outrageously stingy. We can only think that they’re holding back on deliveries to re-create the Wii launch furor, where Craigslist scammers outrageously elevated the asking price and the TV news reported on the whole mess. Sure, publicity is good, but supply shortages are a stunt that gamers don’t have to live with anymore.

Software Drought

This has been, far and away, the biggest issue with Nintendo’s last few consoles. They simply don’t have the third party support that they once did, for whatever reason, and the libraries are scant. We all know that people typically buy Nintendo consoles for Nintendo games – your Marios, your Zeldas, your Metroids – and the other stuff is gravy. But with the extended development times of those franchise titles, many of their recent systems have only received a single entry – or none at all. It’s a fair bet that the company will keep banking on nostalgia and sell you all the NES and SNES games you already bought twice on the Wii and the Wii U, but eventually, that’s going to dry up too.

The Wii ended up having a few dozen solid games and an ocean of garbage shovelware. The Wii U didn’t even get the shovelware. It remains to be seen what the library of the Switch will look like. We’d push Nintendo into lower-cost downloadable titles with the company’s signature attention to gameplay detail, but time will tell.

Too Portable

For all the smack we talk about Nintendo’s failings in the home console market, they’ve been doing very well indeed in portables since the original Game Boy. Buoyed up by frequent Pokemon games, the company’s hardware iterations have been fairly priced, reasonably powerful and solid purchases. Sure, the recent surfeit of 3DS models is a little annoying, and some of them have been flops, but for the most part, Nintendo does portables right.

That’s why the Switch’s weird quasi-portable crossover status is so baffling. Is the company moving away from the 3DS, or do they think people really want to carry around two Nintendo portables? Will games come out for both platforms with different functionality? The DS killed off the Game Boy Advance by accident; it’s not too wild a prediction to think that the Switch will either kill the DS or be killed by it.

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Third Party Alienation

Nintendo has always had a rough relationship with third party publishers and developers, dating back to the Seal of Quality they mandated on NES titles. That relationship has only worsened over the years, as their consoles are dependably less powerful than competitors, making porting to them a pain. The Switch announce video showed Skyrim running on the system, which is cool until you consider that game is over five years old at this point and Bethesda hasn’t even officially confirmed it’s real.

You can think back to the Wii U launch when high-profile creatives like Ken Levine talked up the system only to never release anything for it. EA put out a paltry four Wii U games in the console’s lifespan.

Battery Life

One of the most troubling things we’ve heard about the Switch as a portable system is that the battery life is a scant three hours. Nintendo won the first portable war against Sega’s Game Gear and Atari’s Lynx almost entirely on batteries, with the original Game Boy’s low power consumption a major selling point. Considering most mobile devices pack pretty solid lifespans, three hours in between charges seems pretty low. And that’s just what the company will admit to – odds are in practice that number will go down even farther.

This all comes back to the essential question of what the Switch really is. Is it a home console that you can also take on the go, or a portable that plugs into a TV? We find it very hard to believe that Nintendo is going to be able to serve both audiences with a single device, and going too far in either direction is going to compromise playability. From the reveals, it looks like the Switch is designed for portability first, which makes battery rumors pretty scary.

Price

If this thing is over $300, it’s going to sink like a lead balloon. With so many elements of the Switch’s composition up in the air, it’s hard to estimate a price point for the console. Hell, people still aren’t sure if the damn thing has a touchscreen or not. We’re betting yes on that one, by the way. With a modern console running under $300, Nintendo is going to have to hit that price point to stay competitive.

Yes, we know the Switch comes with a lot of stuff that the Xbox One and the PS4 don’t – a screen and battery, most notably. But that’s not going to hold a lot of water, especially for people who don’t plan to make the most of the system’s portable capabilities. If Nintendo can’t deliver a price to match the system’s lack of power, they’re in deep trouble right out the gate.

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High Expectations

Probably the thing that is going to work hardest against the Switch’s success is Nintendo’s own history. Everybody thought the Wii was just a weird novelty box and it went on to sell bazillions, and that unexpected success has cast the company in a role it might not be suited to fill. Instead of iterating forward on the success of the Wii, they tried to take another hard left with two-screen gaming for the Wii U and flopped. The Switch’s home/portable crossover feels like one of those turns; a decision made just to be different rather than fill a need in the marketplace.

Nintendo fanboys will snap the Switch up on launch day. That one Triforce guy will probably be first in line. But what happens six months afterward when the shine is off the console, and all the launch games have been played? Hell hath no fury like a fanboy scorned, and we can see Switch buyers taking to the Internet with some pretty nasty complaints if it doesn’t deliver the goods.



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I’ll be completely upfront with all of you wonderful readers: I’m not a fan of Nintendo. Sure, I loved the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Super Nintendo, but after that, the company lost me. While my fondness for what Nintendo released in the late 80’s and early 90’s remains intact, everything that has come out after that golden era has failed to interest me. I guess you can say I grew up as a gamer and Nintendo didn’t keep up with me.

With that said, I have been following what Nintendo is doing with its upcoming console/mobile hybrid, the Nintendo Switch, with keen interest (and not just because it’s my job to cover gaming news). Despite my admitted indifference towards the company, I have been waiting for a reason to buy one of its systems for a long time. The Switch seems like the perfect device to get a disillusioned former fan like myself back in the fold.

There are numerous ways Nintendo can botch the Switch the way it did the Wii U. Instead of focusing on that; I want to talk about how Nintendo can make the Switch a huge hit and once again become relevant to hardcore gamers. If the world-famous Japanese company plays its cards right, the Nintendo Switch has a good chance of being one of the great success stories of this console generation.

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A Strong Launch Lineup

This is a no-brainer, but the Switch needs to come out of the gate with a killer lineup of games. This not only includes brand-new first party games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, but also third party titles (I’ll get to those in a bit), and some Wii U ports. I’m not asking for the Switch to launch with a million games, but a solid ten or so will hold day one buyers over for a few months as Nintendo slowly releases titles over the coming months.

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Third Party Support

While I understand that most people don’t buy a Nintendo console to play third party games, third party support is vital to a system’s success. Nintendo’s consoles have been relegated to being a gamer’s second (and often neglected) system. It doesn’t have to be this way with the Switch.

The Switch will not be able to match the PS4 and Xbox One regarding specs. However, it appears to have enough horsepower to play games like Skyrim, Dark Souls 3 and NBA2K. With strong third-party support, the Switch has the potential to be a primary console that has both first and third party games. Couple that with the system’s portability, and Nintendo could once again have a system that is complete unto itself and isn’t lacking the big third party titles found on competing platforms.

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Pro Controller

The main thing that has kept me from purchasing a Nintendo system all of these decades is their funky controllers. The N64 and GameCube controllers looked like they were made for alien hands. The Wii’s nunchuck-like controllers aren’t exactly made to be used sitting on a couch. The Wii U’s gamepad felt like an oversized, uncomfortable handheld. I always said if Nintendo seriously wants me (and like-minded gamers) to be in their good graces again, it would need a system with a standard, no frills, no bullshit controller. I know the Wii U had the Pro controller, but it wasn’t made for every game on the system.

During the Switch reveal trailer, I was initially turned off by the joycon controllers that come with the system. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Switch would support the Pro controller. Given how the entire video was (thankfully) aimed at adults, it gives me hope that every game for the Switch can be played with the Pro controller. This would go a long way toward making the system enticing to consumers since they’ll be able to play it the way they do other consoles.

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A Robust Virtual Console

Nintendo’s greatest strength is nostalgia. One way for the Switch to capitalize on this is to have its Virtual Store jam-packed with classic games from Nintendo’s vast library. I think it’s safe to say that the Switch will not have a full library of new games for at least the first year. Having the Virtual Store pick up the slack by giving consumers a plethora of diverse titles to play would help tremendously.

NES and SNES games will be good enough on their own, but if recent reports are correct, it appears that the Switch will also have GameCube titles for players to buy. We don’t yet know Nintendo’s full plans for the Switch Virtual Store. But, if it eventually has games from every past system, the Switch will be extremely attractive to anyone who wants to replay titles from their childhood.

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Long Battery Life

This is another no-brainer, but for the Switch to succeed, it needs to have a decent battery life. One of the big selling points about the system is that it can be played on the go. However, if the batteries die quickly, it defeats the purpose of having a portable device. It is unlikely that the system will have a battery life longer than five to six hours. Still, even a battery life of that length will be good enough for most gamers.

Recently, images of Switch peripherals and accessories were leaked. Among the items were a USB charger and a car charger. If people are meant to play the Switch on the road, charging options like these will be crucial. It’s good to know that folks will not need to worry about the Switch’s battery prematurely dying on them since they can have it plugged into an external power source even away from home.

Low Price Point

This generation of consoles has proven that price is extremely important. Look at the launch of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. One of the principle reasons for the PS4’s initial domination over its direct competitor was that it was $100 cheaper. Moving forward to holiday 2016, both current gen systems sold millions of units because of their low prices (sometimes as low as $200).

Nintendo can sell a ton of Switch units with the right price. We’ve heard reports/rumors of the system being anywhere between $250 to $400. Though $400 is an acceptable price for a launch console, I think that is a bit steep for the Switch.

Considering how Nintendo needs to win back the average gamer and not just please its die-hard fans, a price point between $250-$300 would be fantastic. If Nintendo can manage to keep enough systems on store shelves, the Switch will sell in large quantities. We could see a $400 SKU that comes with all manner of accessories, but it would be wise if Nintendo releases a $300 SKU aimed at the average consumer.

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Give Fans What They Want

Nintendo has one of the strongest, if not the strongest, first party lineup out there. With that said, it is odd that fans haven’t gotten to play more of the company’s big titles. Mainline Zelda games only seem to come out when a new system is launched. Mario games are almost as rare. And where the hell is a new core Metroid entry?

Nintendo’s fans are vocal about the titles they want to play. It would be wise for Nintendo to listen to them and consistently release its biggest franchises for the Switch. I’m not saying that Metroid or Zelda should be made into annual franchises, but seeing a new main entry every two to three years from these and other series would make the Switch more appealing. The demand is already there. Nintendo just needs to actually produce more of its biggest franchises to keep fans happy.

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A Better Online Experience

The Switch needs a fully functional online service akin to Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, especially now in 2017. For years, players have been getting together online on their respective platforms to form parties, communities, compare achievements/trophies, or simply to chat with one another. The Wii U’s online service was incredibly limited and restrictive. Nintendo needs to let go of the leash and let players interact however they want. There obviously needs to be controls set in place to curb abuse and harassment, but people shouldn’t be restricted in the language they use online.

Also, the Virtual Store needs to be streamlined so that players can find games and buy them with ease. The Steam Store is a prime example of a sleek, user-friendly store that Nintendo would do well to emulate. Overall, the Switch’s online environment needs to be a place that players want to spend time in.

And for the love of [insert deity], Nintendo, no friend codes for the Switch. Seriously.

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Pokemon

For years, fans have wanted to play the popular monster catching simulator on a Nintendo console. However, the games have always been relegated to handhelds. After all, these are “pocket monsters” and, in Nintendo and Niantic’s eyes, it wouldn’t make sense to have a main Pokemon game on a home console.

Thankfully, the Switch is both a home console and a handheld. We don’t know the exact fate of the 3DS, but all signs seem to indicate the Switch will serve as the successor of both it and the Wii U. Since the Switch looks to be Nintendo’s only handheld for the foreseeable future, it makes sense to have a proper Pokemon game for it.

Pokemon has always been a wildly popular series, but it has gained more notoriety thanks to Pokemon Go. The mobile game was so huge that it helped Nintendo sell a lot of 3DS systems over the holidays thanks to it having a new Pokemon game. With Pokemon hotter than ever, a brand-new game on the Switch will generate high demand for the system.

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Like I said above, Nintendo could totally screw the pooch with the Switch. Given the company’s recent history, this isn’t hard to fathom. However, the Switch is an innovative piece of technology, and it has the potentially to be wildly successful if handled correctly. We’re less than a day away from seeing the big Switch-centric Nintendo Direct, so hopefully we’ll get a better understanding of what Nintendo has in store for us at that time.



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If you were holding out hope of ever playing Half-Life 3, we’ve got some bad news for you. According to a Valve insider, both Half-Life 3 and Half-Life 2: Episode Three will never see the light of day.

This information comes to us from a recent Gamer Informer interview with the alleged insider. According to them, “There is no such thing as Half-Life 3. Valve has never announced a Half-Life 3.”

Various teams within Valve have worked on projects that could have become the next Half-Life but never did. The insider pointed out how there were three different versions of Half-Life 2 ready before the final version was produced.

“Over the years,” the source states, “you’ve probably had many dozens of people within the studio as early as probably 2005 working on things that they would imagine for themselves as Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2: Episode 3.”

“I’ve heard that some teams have had two to three people working on it,” said the source when asked how close Half-Life 3 and Half-Life 2: Episode Three came to being released. “They eventually ran into a wall, and some teams may have gotten up to 30 or 40 people before it was scrapped.”

The insider says that ideas for Half-Life 3 were numerous. This corresponds to rumors of the next Half-Life being a VR game, to featuring characters players can recruit.

“Some are all over the place, from one end of the spectrum being what you would expect – a single-player narrative-focused game – to completely different entertainment ideas that are as wild as they are weird. […] Some were bizarre, like turning Half-Life into an RTS, or a live-action, choice-driven game.”

However, it appears that Valve just isn’t interested in making Half-Life 3. According to the source, even Half-Life 2: Episode Three “isn’t sitting right with [Valve president Gabe Newell] and other people at Valve. Ultimately it just starves to death. What you have left is nothing going on with Half-Life.”

You should do yourself a favor and check out the entire interview since it really is a fascinating piece. Please note that, while Game Informer trusts this insider, that it could not verify these claims with another Valve employee. Make of that what you will.



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Phil Spencer isn’t so much concerned with “winning E3” as he is with being able to show Scorpio when it’s ready.

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Xbox boss Phil Spencer said that he’s aware that fans want to see Project Scorpio before E3 2017 in June, but he’s still undecided.

The executive was asked on Twitter earlier if the company has anything to share about the upcoming console, and the conversation shifted to trying to get a date from him as to when more will be revealed.

“Happiness with the product trumps all, confidence in brand is important,” Spencer told one follower. “PR wins aren’t really my focus,” he added.

As for developers getting acquainted with the console, Spencer said that the platform holder’s first-party teams are “getting engines up and tuned, great progress across studios.”

At this point, none of Microsoft first-party studios have confirmed working on games that will take advantage of the console’s power. Crackdown 3 likely will, though, seeing as it’s set to release this year. As for the console itself, nothing is known beyond the few details revealed at E3 last year.



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Shenmue HD should already be a thing, so let’s hope this slim evidence turns out to be precisely what we think it is.

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ShenmueHD.com has been registered by Sega of Europe, according to the domain’s WhoIs record (via Gematsu).

The website is currently blank, but we’re hoping that it means Sega is winding up to announce remasters of Shenmue and Shenmue 2, two games that are far too inaccessible given their cult status.

We know the publisher has been thinking about making it happen. It seemed keen on the idea in October 2015 and again in May 2016.

As Sega said last time the topic came up, there are difficulties bringing Shenmue and its sequel back to market; both contained a stack of licensed products, which means clearing these references out or re-negotiating contracts, and bringing games of this age and complexity to modern platforms in a way that does them justice isn’t easy.

Sega would definitely want to do a good job with Shenmue HD, too – Shenmue 3 is on the horizon, and putting out some shonky ports that remind people of all the bad things and prevent them discovering the good ones would be a sure way to undermine a project Sega is collaborating on and presumably expects to profit from in some way.

Well, cross your fingers for Shenmue remasters: this may just be defensive domain registration.



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The latest Steam client update added native controller support for many of today’s most used controllers, making the task of playing non-controller games much simpler.

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Valve is continuing its push to offer more options for those playing PC games with things other than mouse and keyboard. The latest Steam client update, currently available in beta, is another step towards that goal.

The biggest new feature allows Steam to natively read and recognise Xbox 360, Xbox One, and generic X-Input controllers. This means any of these controllers can use the same mapping features available to Valve’s own Steam Controller, and as of November last year, the DualShock 4 controller.

In simpler terms, this essentially lets Steam to emulate keyboard and mouse input on a gamepad, enabling games that never officially had controller support, or ones with outdated libraries, to work on a gamepad. Though not every game will play nice, the vast majority should – in theory – work without the need of third-party apps.

The implications for this are massive, such as what developer @larsiusprime managed to do with a Wiimote using a custom driver. The developer is now able to use the controller, albeit in limited fashion, with PC titles.

The update also added support for third-party PS4 controllers, such as those from HORI, MadCatz, and other popular fight sticks. All this only recently rolled out in beta, so it should go live for everyone some weeks from now. You can, however, opt-into the beta from your Steam client.

For the full list of changes, see below:

General

  • Made the error clearer when you fail to install a game and don’t have enough disk space due to user quotas

Big Picture

  • Added support for using the overlay keyboard for games that have launchers
  • Improved display when running on retina enabled devices under macOS

Linux

  • Improved interactions between the Steam runtime and host distribution libraries, which should let Steam work out of the box with open-source graphics drivers on modern distributions. If using an older distribution or running into problems, use STEAM_RUNTIME_PREFER_HOST_LIBRARIES=0 to revert to previous behavior.
  • Unify close-to-tray behavior with other platforms. If using a distribution that doesn’t have proper compatible tray support, use STEAM_FRAME_FORCE_CLOSE=0
  • Added idle detection, friend status will now automatically switch to Away/Snooze
  • Fixed Steam not obeying SIGTERM, Steam will now gracefully exit when logging out of a session
  • Fixed keyboard input and cursor switching in overlay for Vulkan applications
  • Update Vulkan loader in the Steam runtime to enable Xlib support
  • Updated libxcb in the runtime with a fix for DRI3-related crashes on open-source graphics drivers

Steam Controller

  • Added XBox 360, Xbox One, and Generic X-Input controller configurator support. This allows all recognized controller types to use the advanced mapping features of the Steam Controller Configurator. Note that because X-Input currently lacks per-controller means of unique identification, all controllers of that type will share personalization and configuration settings. As they share the same inputs, Xbox 360/One/Generic controllers will all see each-others configurations when browsing. Automatic conversion will be attempted when loading configurations from other controller types.
  • Unrecognized Generic X-Input gamepad style controllers will be recognized by the Steam Controller Configurator once their buttons have been assigned to match a generic gamepad layout.
  • Recommended configurations specified for a game by the developer will now attempt to assign based on Controller Type.
  • Added option to disable Guide Button issuing a Steam focus change. This is available through the Big Picture controller options menu. This allows better interoperability with other applications which use the Guide Button, such as PSNow.
  • Added Single Button simple button mode for trackpads. This allows a trackpad to be treated as a single giant button.
  • Fix for free-floating On Screen Keyboard running very slowly if a game was open but did not have focus or was running windowed.
  • Added independent horizontal/vertical scaling to joystick move and joystick mouse.
  • Joystick Move mode no longer shows mouse sensitivity option unless mouse output is selected.
  • Added additional support for third party PS4 controllers, including some HORI, MadCatz, and Armor pads and fight sticks.
  • Fixed a bug with PS4 triggers where they were being scaled incorrectly, leading to maxing out of the value too soon.
  • Added ability to change x-input controller order from the Controller Options menu – so in multi-controller setups of x-input games, the mapping of phyiscal controller to x-input index can be swapped around. Note that this currently only applies to controllers that have opted into Steam Controller Configurator support.
  • Fixed Configurator Switch Controller interface not showing controller icons.
  • Re-enabled Gamepad outputs for desktop configurations for users of third party programs which hook into applications via the desktop configuration.

Steam overlay

  • Fixed incorrect colors in screenshots and In-Home Streaming for Vulkan applications on AMD hardware



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Red dots in Ghost Recon: Wildlands have multiple uses.

Ubisoft has released a new Ghost Recon: Wildlands live-action trailer that more or less shows the thing they’ve been showing in various trailers before. That is: people camping on a hill miles away spying on gang members through their sniper scopes.

Only this time, there’s a twist: a cat! The trailer starts with one of the Ghosts, a supposed elite combatant, meowing, before he gets a cat to chase the red dot on his sniper rifle. The cat is in the gang hideout they’re surveying, of course, which makes the little animal’s situation very risky.

Absolutely unprofessional behaviour from these supposed elite fighters, let me tell you.

Wildlands is out March 7 on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. A beta is expected sometime soon.



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Battlefield 1 is due for another big update next month, as more custom game modes continue rolling out.

DICE is not yet done patching Battlefield 1, not by a long shot. The studio confirmed in a new blog post that it’s working on a new update, due for release next month.

There won’t be any new content in said patch, but a few changes and improvements are expected, though DICE has yet to reveal any of them.

On the custom game end, the Armored Kill mode is currently available. This variant of Conquest puts great emphasis on vehicles, and disables the Scout class. Another custom mode in the pipe is called Bleed Out, due to go live on January 18.

Bleed Out is a custom version of Rush that decreases the spawn time after death, but turns off regenerative health for everyone.

In the video above, Westie goes over some of the changes he’d like to see in the update. He brings up a good point about the effect of the gas grenade on your teammate, and talks about upcoming server rental features such as the ability to password-lock them.



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Two years ago at CES, Razer teased us with their Project Christine modular gaming PC. This year they decided to show off something a little more portable: a gaming laptop with three 4K displays.

Calling the 17-inch Project Valerie laptop “portable” might be a bit of a stretch given that it tips the scales at 12 pounds, but it’s certainly a lot easier to schlep around than a desktop gaming PC, and three monitors would be. Project Valerie features a trio of 17.3-inch, 4K IGZO displays and they’re all NVIDIA G-SYNC compatible.

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Book? Yes. Note? Not so much. Project Valerie’s profile when closed is more like an art treasury that you’d park on a coffee table.

Obviously, it takes a whole lotta horsepower to drive what’s effectively a 12K display. Razer didn’t skimp under the hood. Project Valerie is bursting at the seams with an Intel Core i7-6700 quad-core processor, a whopping 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB of GDDR5X VRAM all to itself.

Yes, Razer fitted Project Valerie with their slick ultra-low-profile switch mechanical keyboard. There’s also a massive trackpad that sits next to it on the right, and the whole scene is lit by Razer Chroma to bring you a more immersive gaming experience.

Despite the impressive hardware and trio of displays that’s packed inside, Project Valerie measures just an inch and a half thick. That’s pretty much on par with most high-end 17-inch gaming laptops.

For now, Project Valerie is just Razer at their insane best. They’ll let you register for future updates about this beast of a laptop, though, so who knows… maybe you’ll actually be able to buy one in the not-too-distant future!

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Recommended article: The Guardian's Summary of Julian Assange's Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False.



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Battlefield 1 was patched at the end of 2016 and – it’s really good? This is not the kind of experience we’ve come to expect from triple-A.

Battlefield 1 patch 1.05 is out now, and you should definitely get it, because it’s great.

According to Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry, the patch provides significant performance improvements on both the PS4 and Xbox One builds of Battlefield 1, and yet somehow doesn’t also make a ton of other things obviously worse. Is it Christmas again already?
As you can see in the side-by-side video above, on PS4, the post-patch Battlefield 1 holds to 60fps much more tightly even in demanding scenes. There are also far fewer streaming stutters. There’s no dramatic reduction in dynamic resolution, either, which would be the obvious trade-off we’d expect with a boost like this.

Since Battlefield 1 was smoother on Xbox One to begin with the patch’s effects are not as dramatic, but there is an uptick and, again, there’s no major changes to resolution.

Battlefield 1 was already pretty good at release – again, something we’ve unfortunately not been able to rely on with triple-A for several years – so it’s great to see DICE is still polishing the shooter up in post-launch support rather than just cranking out paid content.

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Recommended article: The Guardian's Summary of Julian Assange's Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False.



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PS4 is once again the place to be in 2017, according to the people who have a vested interest in you buying one.

PlayStation has released a hype trailer for its current slate of 2017 PS4 console exclusives.

Many of these 2017 releases don’t yet have confirmed launch dates and some of them seem to have been in the works for so long you’d be forgiven for forgetting all about them. Here’s a short breakdown of what you see in the trailer, in order of appearance.

Gran Turismo Sport probably needs no introduction even if you missed its 2015 announce and then the cancelled beta and delay. Apparently it’s not the next direct Gran Turismo sequel, but it’s not a Prologue, either. Spin-off, I guess?

Hellblade is Team Ninja’s “triple-A indie”, which we had rather expected a bit sooner since it was announced in August 2014. Drawn to Death is the latest from David Jaffe, he of Twisted Metal and God of War fame.

Nier: Automata is the followup to Cavia’s cult-favourite Drakengard spin-off, and comes via Platinum. Alex was very impressed with it and there’s a demo on the PSN now if you want to have a go ahead of its March launch.

Fans of Quantic Dream and David Cage will definitely remember Detroit: Become Human, but if not, it’s that one that looks like a tech demo.

Yakuza 0 finally comes west later this year, continuing Sega’s plodding localisation efforts for a series that does not get enough love.

Farpoint is a VR game that uses PlayStationVR’s weird Aim controller, and Lost Legacy is the upcoming Uncharted 4 story DLC, starring Chloe and Nadine.

Matterfall is Housemarque’s latest, so Super Stardust and Resogun fans should take note. Gravity Rush 2 is the sequel to the Vita classic, thankfully coming to PS4 where someone might actually play it.

Wipeout Omega Collection is, uh, a collection of Wipeout games, and MLB The Show 17 is the annual baseball game. New Everybody’s Golf is a thing that’s happening, apparently; you may know this franchise as Hot Shots Golf because Sony made some bad localisation decisions in the 1990’s we’re still paying for.

Dreams is Media Molecule’s creative suite and its first all-new release since Tearaway in 2013. Pyre comes to us from Supergiant, following on from the critically acclaimed Bastion and Transistor.

Persona 5 ought to be familiar to any and all JRPG fans, and if you’re a Souls fan who hasn’t yet marked Nioh on your calendar it’s time to correct that.

World of Warriors is a free to play title from Mind Candy, while Nex Machina is another Housemarque effort.

Knack 2 is happening for reasons nobody’s very clear on – news I completely forgot about because Parappa the Rapper 20th Anniversary was announced the same day.

Starblood Arena is another VR title, while Horizon: Zero Dawn is probably Sony’s biggest confirmed 2017 release so far – a huge open world action affair from Killzone developer Guerrilla.

So that’s 2017 in PlayStation, apparently – but do remember this is only the console exclusives that have actually been announced to date. It’s going to be a pretty damned busy year when you add in everything else as well.



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Image Credit: The Verge

Lenovo has made a couple of interesting announcements today ahead of CES 2017, and with it includes a new virtual reality headset that looks as though it could help change up the way VR headsets currently work with its inside-out six degrees of freedom tracking.

This is all inspired by Microsoft’s Windows Holographic platform, which includes participation by companies like HP, Dell, Asus, and Acer, who are partnering up with Microsoft to create another wave of VR devices aimed at consumers.

Lenovo’s headset will likely be the first one we get our hands on, however, and its headset is going to have some very impressive specs, with two 1440×1440 OLED panels comprising the display, which will actually be higher in fidelity than the PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift.

More importantly, it means a possible end for external sensors and such that you need currently for platforms like the Rift and Vive. The headset is going to utilize inside out tracking, which is a much more accurate solution for tracking — not to mention it’s easier to use, which will make it simpler to set up as well. Right now it can be difficult to set up things like the HTC Vive, especially if you don’t have the space to set up the sensors all around your living room.

The headset doesn’t yet have an official name for us to call it by, but it will feature all of these impressive specs and ships later this year for about $300 to $400, which is pretty affordable in comparison to the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. If you’ve been waiting for a lower-cost solution for exploring virtual reality on your PC, this might well be your ticket. Even if you’ve got one of the other headsets you might be interested in this one too.



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According to new leaks posted on the Infinite Warfare Reddit, there’s a new mission team called Blood Anvil coming soon to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

A little while back, a Reddit user posted leaked images of the Blood Anvil Mission Team logo, as seen below:

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Since then, the leaker has now posted the overview in-game Cut Scene from the Blood Anvil mission team.

The leader of the Anvil team says, “Everything has led you to this. All the missions. All the killing. Brings you to us.”

SOURCE: Reddit

The post RUMOR: New ‘Blood Anvil’ Mission Team coming soon to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare appeared first on Charlie INTEL.



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We may get to see more content releases for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 in the future.

Black Ops 3 is not the most recent Call of Duty game. Despite that, it’s still very popular, and definitely more favoured by fans than this year’s Infinite Warfare.

Typically, Call of Duty games don’t receive post-launch content beyond what gets announced for the season pass. For Black Ops 3, planned content drops ended in September/October this year. However, this may not be the end of the line for the game just yet.

Black Ops 3 developer Treyarch recently hosted a short Facebook livestream (via CharlieIntel) to recap some of the things 2016 brought to the game and discuss future content. The studio’s Jason Blundell and Dan Bunting said that Black Ops 3 will be getting more updates in 2017.

The pair didn’t indicate if they’re referring to new content, as in maps and modes, or features and improvements, even if it looked like they’re hinting at the former. “I am afraid I can’t say anything right now,” said Bunting.

Co-studio head Dan Bunting did confirm one thing, though, a new feature called Newton’s Cookbook coming to the game’s Zombies mode. Outside of that, it looks like we’ll have to wait until next year to find out.



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Are you ready to try and take down the Santa Blanca Cartel? Then sign up for your chance to play the Ghost Recon: Wildlands beta.

Beta signs ups are being taken on the game’s official website. A date was not provided.

As previously reported, there will be multiple Ghost Recon: Wildlands betas so if you aren’t picked for the first one, don’t fret.

The game is an open world affair with some nice progression options, plenty of customization options, and looks like it could be a rather fun title to play with three of your friends.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands will be released for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on March 7.



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