Game Awards 2015: Rock Band VR Is Like Guitar Hero Live, But Also Not


Game Awards 2015: Rock Band VR Is Like Guitar Hero Live, But Also Not

Oculus support is coming to Rock Band 4 in the form of Rock Band VR, as announced during The Game Awards 2015.

The clip shown during the show featured Harmonix personnel hanging out with Dragonforce, clanging fake guitars against a stage, and making fools of themselves to emulate the “rock star life.”

It looks like that’s what Rock Band VR is aiming to do as well, much like what Guitar Hero Live accomplished with the live footage onscreen shown to players when they’re performing well or abhorrently.

I hate to say it, but I think right now from this early footage Guitar Hero Live might have done a better job in the aesthetic department, but having never tested out an Oculus Rift, I’d still have to give this a spin to see how I feel.

PlayStation Will Soon Function as a Set-Top Box for Sony's Own Cable Service


PlayStation Will Soon Function as a Set-Top Box for Sony’s Own Cable Service

Sony is about to become its own cable operator.

Sony Network Entertainment International and Sony Computer Entertainment announced the PlayStation Vue today. This is a new product offering that can convert existing PS3 and PS4 consoles into a set-top box that will allow players to view 75 channels at launch. This new service will be completely cloud-based, and therefore does not require a connection via cable TV or OTA.

PlayStation as a Set-Top Box

This new service will differ from the recently released PlayStation TV, in that it in addition to on-demand programming, the PlayStation Vue will also stream live broadcasts from several major TV and cable networks. The PS3 and PS4 already have the ability to stream other Internet-only services such as Netflix and Hulu, so this new Vue service will be in addition to these.

The service will feature cloud-based recordings, as well as availability of the past three days’ worth of prime-time programming for on-demand viewing. Take that, Dish Network, and your Hopper service! Hopefully this will silence those annoying ads.

Impressive Line-Up of Channels

The lineup channels that are on-board so far are fairly impressive, including:

  • CBS – Live signals from CBS affiliates in major markets, as well as on-demand programming for primetime.
  • Discovery Networks – This includes Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, iD, Science, OWN, and several other brands under Discovery Networks
  • Fox – In addition to live signals from major Fox affiliates, other Fox brands including FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic, FOX Sports’ National and Regional programming, FOX Sports 1 & 2, etc.
  • NBC-Universal – Live NBC signals, as well as Telemundo, regional sports networks, Bravo, CNBC, E!, NBCSN, SyFy, Oxygen, USA, etc.
  • Scripps Network Interactive – HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Network, and DIY Network
  • Viacom – BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike, VH1, etc.

It’s a good start, though Disney seems to be missing (for ABC and ESPN) as well as other major cable networks such as HBO and Showtime.

Availability and Pricing

As far as availability and pricing go, the rollout will start first in New York, and then expand out to Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles later. Initially, this will be only on PS3 and PS4, though there are plans to extend this over to iPad before going on to other Sony and non-Sony devices.

Sony hasn’t given a pricing plan for this yet, but industry experts believe that it will probably be somewhere around $60, which would beat cable TV prices, but still be much more expensive than Netflix. Similar to Netflix, however, there are no contracts, and users can pay month-to-month. Sony does mention that “What you see is what you pay”, which is a bit cryptic, and makes me think that you may be able to choose your programming a-la-carte. (keeping my fingers crossed on this one)

It seems that the battle for the living room is now heating up even more, with Sony’s introduction of what is essentially, it’s own IPTV cable service. As more people decide to “cut the cable”, this may give cable providers more of a run for their money. I know that for myself personally, I am sick of paying for 300+ channels of which I only watch a handful. Hopefully, this will also give companies such as Aereo more legitimacy, so that they can offer live broadcast TV for local markets.

The Repopulation Injected With New Life In November Update 


The Repopulation Injected With New Life In November Update 

Ambitious sandbox MMORPG The Repopulation got a healthy dose of modifications in November, as detailed by lead developer Joshua Hall in a lengthy update list. There’s a big callout for new Structure Placement UI that gives players lots more options for placing, rotating, and resizing their decor. Seeing as how the game will revolve around player-created cities, that’s a big deal.

A new calendar system will allow devs to better schedule events, and a new diplomacy skill lets you “hug it out” with NPCs to figure out their problems and how you can best solve them — probably with a murderous impulse.

But let’s not ignore the most important addition to the game:

Added a new readable book: Cold Silver, which is a philosphical look at the notion of clones. This book will grant the first person who reads it a small boost to their Entertainment skill.

So you read about the philosophy of clones, and that makes you a better entertainer? How? By incorporating clone jokes into your standup routine?

“When the man found his clone copy, he was so angry!” “How angry was he?” “He was beside himself!”

Currently in early alpha (though you can become an early adopter), is The Repopulation — preferably without bad clone jokes — something you’re looking forward to?

Latest Title Update for Max Payne 3 Now Available for Download, All Changes Detailed


Latest Title Update for Max Payne 3 Now Available for Download, All Changes Detailed

Rockstar Games has just deployed a new title update for Max Payne 3 just ahead of release of game’s Deathmatch Made in Heaven DLC. The update is now available for download on PS3 and Xbox 360, and will arrive on PC later.

Max Payne 3Here is what Rockstar has to say about this latest title update, “It paves the way for today’s Deathmatch Made in Heaven DLC release with support for that pack (read all about the new modes and more here) and also introduces the following fixes and improvements:

  • Slightly increased the rate of fire and the accuracy of the IMG 5.56 and fixed an issue where it would occasionally jam between bursts
  • Fixed a reloading issue with the M24
  • Fixed an issue where the auto 9mm would sometimes change fire mode when toggling the laser sight on/off
  • Fixed an issue where the scope and laser attachments for the IA2 AR rifle would occasionally not work
  • Fixed an issue where the grenade indicators would sometimes not display correctly
  • Improved fix for instance of players occasionally getting stuck in cover during the single player campaign
  • Fixed an issue where players could occasionally have trouble aiming using Southpaw controls in the single player campaign
  • Fixed an issue where certain users received an error message when selecting Social Club from the Main Menu
  • Fixed an issue with signing up to Social Club in-game for Japanese users

Dragon's Prophet Shutting Down November 16 


Dragon’s Prophet Shutting Down November 16 

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Dragon’s Prophet has been the odd man out in SOE/Daybreak’s MMO portfolio for some time now, so today’s news shouldn’t come as the biggest surprise ever, but here it is anyway: As of November 16, Daybreak will no longer be active in North America, according to a statement on the game’s site.

Effective immediately, all items in the cash shop have been dramatically reduced, and, of course, players with excess Daybreak Cash can choose to spend it in Daybreak’s other games. One bit of good news is that the game will continue to operate in Europe and Asia, without Daybreak’s involvement, so if you were really into the game, you can probably still find a way to play it.

Cue the “Columbus Nova is ruining everything” even from people who could tell Dragon’s Prophet had a limited shelf life in 3… 2… 1…

Driver Destination


Driver Destination

Car-hailing apps are on a never-ending quest to recruit more drivers to cultivate a reputation of reliability. Lyft, Uber, and other startups already rely on regular people using their own cars to offer rides, but a new Lyft product called Driver Destination aims to unlock a new kind of driver: one who never would have driven for Lyft before.

Driver Destination launched Tuesday as part of Lyft’s Line carpooling service. It lets drivers find one or two passengers to pick along their regular routes, like on the way to school or work, as an easy way to make money and reduce the number of cars on the road. Drivers simply enter their destination and choose to see requests that are only along that route.

“By enabling Lyft Line with Driver Destination to and from work every day, you could earn up to $400 per month–enough to cover a car payment–and connect with interesting people who live and work nearby,” the company said in a Tuesday blog post.

A Lyft rep said the feature is designed for people who normally wouldn’t drive for any ride-sharing app due to school or work commitments, and it probably won’t be used by a majority of the app’s regular drivers. But Lyft Line is catching on, at least in the two cities where it’s available. In San Francisco, more than 30 percent of Lyft rides are Line rides. The carpooling service just launched in Los Angeles, but the rep said the company is seeing a solid response so far.

Why this matters: Becoming a driver for hire seems like a huge commitment, but Lyft might be able to win over a new crop of users with Driver Destination. The company’s focus on building out its carpooling service is also a feel-good contrast to rival Uber, which has its own carpooling product but is currently more focused on changing its negative public perception.

Will XBox One Data Be Available to the Advertising Market?


Will XBox One Data Be Available to the Advertising Market?

Usage of personal data is fully in users’ controls according to Microsoft’s Major Nelson.

Privacy, especially when it pertains to our identities and being online, is a huge topic these days. With so much of our lives online, it is a huge question on everyone’s mind. With all the missteps Microsoft has had with the launching of their XBox One console, privacy again is at the forefront. This time, the issue is regarding advertising and third-party usage.

According to a story on AdAge, one of the Microsoft marketing heads for the XBox One has laid out clues that XBox data may be available to advertisers.

According to Yusuf Mehdi, “We have a pretty unique position at Microsoft because of what we do with digital, as well as more and more with television because of XBox.” He went on to add, “It’s early days, but we’re starting to put that together in more of a unifying way, and hopefully at some point we can start to offer that to advertisers broadly.”

With XBox being lauded as a complete entertainment center that integrates with existing television services, one has to wonder how such data would and could be used by advertisers as Microsoft releases such information. Apparently, however, this information is available only if a user opts in to share the data of its console with Microsoft.

After initial publication of this story on AdAge, Larry Hryb, known as Major Nelson, tweeted a clarification on Microsoft’s and the Xbox utilization of data.

Tl;dr We do not collect information to share or sell. You are fully in control of your personal data. Your privacy is important to us.(2/2)

— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) October 7, 2013

The XBox One is still slated to be released November 22, 2013, for $499, just in time for the holiday season.

Kingdom Hearts 3 will jump into ‘Big Hero 6’ stage


Kingdom Hearts 3 will jump into ‘Big Hero 6’ stage

The Disney gaming panel at this year’s D23 Expo kicked off with Disney Interactive president Jimmy Pitaro taking the stage to greet the capacity crowd. After a brief introduction, it was time to get to Kingdom Hearts 3. As promised, Kingdom Hearts 3 made an appearance. Square Enix was along for the ride to explain some of the game’s new mechanics and reveal the latest world.

Sora and company will be visiting the world of Big Hero 6, where they will land in a stage based on Hiro and Baymax’s film from last year. KH3 will actually follow the ending of the film, where the powers of darkness will take control of the Baymax that was left behind on the other side of the dangerous portal opened during the film’s climax.

There was also more about the game’s mechanics. Among the bits and pieces were that the game’s Keyblades would all contain unique transformation elements. The team at Square also explained more about the Attraction mechanics, which they noted would not be based on quick-time events, but on real-time gameplay.

For more on the Big Hero 6 addition, check out the video below.

Perfect World International Offers Fast Track To Level 95 


Perfect World International Offers Fast Track To Level 95 

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Perfect World International’s got a new expansion going live on Dec. 16, called Eclipse. It’ll have two new classes and a new race, but — as is the case with most MMO expansions — the bulk of the new content will be available only to higher-level characters.

So what if you’ve been away for a while and want to have fun with your friends at the higher levels? Or if you’re just new to the game and want to see the best of what it has to offer? Lucky you! From now until Jan. 16, just log into the game and you’ll receive a free Illusionary Crystal, which will upgrade (almost) any character to level 95. It can’t be used on the two new classes.

The page describing the Crystal says it’s “valued at $60,” so you can buy more on the cash shop on the 17th or later. That’s if you really don’t want to level multiple characters and have a lot of spare cash lying around.

UPDATE: We received clarification from Perfect World that the Crystal can be used after the 16th. The offer for a free one expires on that date.

Rolling Stones Song Pack Now Available for Guitar Hero App


Rolling Stones Song Pack Now Available for Guitar Hero App

Hot on the heels of the successful release of Guitar Hero for iPhone and iPod touch, Activision Publishing, Inc. announced today that ABKCO Records’ Rolling Stones song pack featuring “Gimme Shelter,(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction and “Honky Tonk Women” is now available for purchase through the in-game app.

“We are thrilled with the explosive launch of the Guitar Hero app,” said David Haddad, Chief Operating Officer for Guitar Hero. “Bringing the Guitar Hero experience to iPhone and iPod touch allows our fans to experience and interact with great music in a compelling way – anytime and anywhere. We’ve seen great support for the app and also for the exciting additional game tracks… What better way to reward our fans, than by bringing them an incredible new song pack by The Rolling Stones?”

Published by Activision and created by Guitar Hero veteran developer, Vicarious Visions, Inc., and built exclusively from the ground up for the iPhone and iPod touch, the Guitar Hero app takes full advantage of the platforms’ functionality and features all-new, innovative gameplay that will keep players rocking out as they strum, tap, slide and whammy to the hottest tracks from bands they know and love. The game also features a robust avatar customization mode that lets players personalize their game; built-in social integration so gamers can share their scores with their friends on Facebook, check leaderboards and get updates through in-game news feeds; intuitive new mechanics that challenge fans to tap, strum and whammy their way to the top of the Rock Ranks; and the ability to download new tracks from an in-game music store; wannabe rock stars will be shredding on guitar or ripping it up on bass whenever, wherever they want.

Guitar Hero for iPhone and iPod touch is available for $2.99 and features Queen, Rise Against, The Rolling Stones, Vampire Weekend, Weezer and The White Stripes. Song packs are only available through the Guitar Hero app and cost $1.99 each. For more information about Guitar Hero for iPhone and iPod touch, please visit GuitarHero.com.