EA-owned Ghost Games has confirmed that a new Need for Speed game will release later this year, with the return of a feature whose omission had infuriated many: the option to play offline.
“You will be able to play through a single player experience completely offline,” the developers said in an official blog post. “Before you ask, and we know you will, this does mean you will be able to pause the game.”
In two previous entries, Need for Speed had become an always-online experience, in a bid to merge the single-player and multiplayer experience. It seems EA is willing to backtrack on that mission, though there’s every chance that you will lose out on some single-player features while you’re offline. We won’t know for sure until EA Play, the company’s E3 off-shoot, rolls around in June.
On the face of it, it’s still a nice acceptance by the studio, after delivering two NFS titles – 2013’s Rivals, and 2015’s eponymous reboot – that essentially held you hostage.
Alongside, Ghost Games also revealed a few other details of their new racing game. For starters, the new NFS will be playable in daylight, as opposed to the 2015 instalment that took place entirely at night/dawn.
Secondly, car customisation will stick around after making a return. “It’s not going away and it will play as strong a role as ever as we move forward into the next game and beyond,” it added.
In addition to that, it will stick with its open-world policy: “Whether you’re checking out your freshly customised ride or smoking the competition in an event up in the canyons, you’re going to want a world that not only looks beautiful, but offers you the space in which to do the things you want.”
And lastly, dirt racing also looks to be a part of NFS 2017. “We’re dialling up the action and allowing you to tear up the tarmac, and dirt, to your heart’s content,” Ghost Games said.
It seems like only yesterday, or just over seven weeks ago, that we found out Destiny 2 would be coming to PC, shedding the original’s console-only shackles. On Thursday, Bungie revealed more details about the upcoming multi-player first-person shooter. A lot of it’s good, some of it’s not so good, and some of it’s downright surprising.
Here’s what PC gamers need to know about Destiny 2.
Destiny 2 will be a Battle.net exclusive
Say what? Yep. The PC edition will be available from Activision Blizzard-owned Battle.net, not Steam.
Bungie signed a 10-year publishing deal with Activision so it makes a little sense to see Destiny 2 on Battle.net, but it’s still surprising. Until now the site was exclusively for Blizzard’s own games, with other Activision games such as Call of Duty appearing on platforms like Steam and the Windows Store.
Does Destiny 2‘s arrival on Battle.net herald the beginning of another rival to Steam or an Activision-wide version of EA’s Origin? Not according to Blizzard. The company says this is all about getting Destiny 2 out to the world as quickly as possible. Bungie can focus on making a great game (and spinning up game servers), while Blizzard takes care of the social and retail aspects. Sounds reasonable, but it’ll be interesting to see if any more non-Blizzard games show up on Battle.net over the next year or so.
Lots of PC-friendly features
This doesn’t sound like a half-assed port, as Bungie’s plans include a lot of PC-centric features, according to PC Gamer. That includes full keyboard and mouse support, custom keymapping, 4K and ultrawide resolution support, an uncapped framerate (consoles will be limited to 30 frames per second), and the ability to adjust the field of view–a blessing for anyone who suffers from FPS motion sickness.
No cross-save between PCs and console
It’s a rare feature anyway, but cross-play and cross-saving won’t be available with Destiny 2, as first reported by USGamer. With Microsoft playing up the Xbox Play Anywhere program and the popularity of Destiny among gamers of all stripes it’s a shame to hear Destiny 2 won’t break out of the usual silos.
Choose your platform carefully. This is a game that is best played with friends, and if all your friends are on Xbox while you’re on PC—well, you need better friends.
No PC release date
As of now there isn’t a release date for PCs. The game will hit the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on September 8. The PC release date, meanwhile, is still not set and won’t be for at least a few more weeks, Bungie told PC Gamer. Bah.
Beta for all
On the plus side, there will be a beta for PC, but we’ll have to wait and see when that will happen. Will the PC beta roll out at the same time as the console beta, for example, or will we be waiting longer for that too? We don’t know yet.
To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
I’ve been privately lamenting the lack of PC game demos lately. There was a time when demos were commonplace: a chunk of a brand new game you could try out for free before you bought the full game. Demos gave us a chance not only see what a game had to offer and whether or not we enjoyed it, but also allowed us to continually tweak the settings and try different graphics options to see how our PCs handled it. Plus, instead of waiting months for a sale to try the game without a lot of risk, you could play right when the game came out, while everyone else was still talking about it.
While I was at this past weekend I spent a few minutes talking with Kim Nordstrom, former general manager of Swedish game company King and current leader of Paradox Interactive’s mobile initiative. We chatted about PC and mobile games, and especially about Introversion’s Prison Architect, which is making an unlikely appearance on mobile platforms with Paradox as the publisher. Nordstrom’s plan for Prison Architect provide a few lessons PC games could learn from with its unusual, almost shareware-era approach to pricing.
Big, meaty mobile games have a challenge when it comes to sales. The roots of mobile are in free games, or exceedingly cheap ones: 99 cents, maybe a couple of dollars. Pricing a mobile game at $15 or $20 is a dubious prospect, which is why so many are free-to-play with microtransactions: get the game into players’ hands first, and try to get money out of them later. The issue is that ‘microtransaction’ has become something of a dirty word, and that’s mostly true on PC as well. While there are a number of great free-to-play games on PC like Dota 2 and League of Legends, there are scores more that have left us highly suspicious of the F2P model, with gated progress and gameplay designed around making you so damn impatient you’ll pay just to advance at a reasonable pace.
On mobile, Prison Architect will cost around $15. That feels like a fair price for what you get—it’s a complex management simulation and , —but Nordstrom knows simply plopping it on mobile stores with that price tag probably won’t fly. So it will be free to download, and unlocking the complete game lands somewhere between free-to-play and full-price.
“It’s not a free-to-play with microtransactions, nothing like that, it caps at $15 right now,” Nordstrom told me. “But we basically just made it so anyone can install it, and it’s a try before you buy.”
Nordstrom holds out his hands a few inches apart, then widens them as he describes how the game unlocks more content for those who purchase it in chunks. “And the game size is this big, we offer you this much for free, and then we’re very clear on if you pay whatever dollars, you get the sandbox, if you pay [more] you get the chapters, and if you pay the full price you get the full game.”
So, you get to play a portion of the game as much as you want for free, just like a PC demo. Inside the game itself there’s a store that lets you unlock the rest of the features at certain price points. While that sounds suspiciously like microtransactions, there’s a difference: the total amount you can spend is capped. You won’t be nickel-and-dimed forever. If you decide to spend money, you’ll know exactly how much, in advance, it will cost you, and once you’ve spent it, you’re done. You own everything, and you’re never prompted or even tempted to spend more.
The demo, man
As Tyler concluded recently, big-publisher games can cost a lot on PC, especially when you factor in their many special editions, and that along with having no way to try a game before buying it has kept me away from a lot of games in the past few years. With Steam refunds, you can play a game for two hours before returning it or deciding to keep it but as we pointed out recently with Prey, which had a console demo but irritatingly none on PC, that’s nothing like a proper demo at all. (The reason given by Prey’s co-creative director Raphael Colantonio was “It’s just a resource assignment thing. We couldn’t do a demo on both the console and on the PC, we had to choose.”)
Sometimes there are free weekends for games, which are great, but that’s usually well after launch (this weekend’s Rising Storm 2 beta excepted) and usually long after people are actively talking about the game and your friends are still playing it. I’ve never bought a game just for a pre-order bonus, because pre-purchasing isn’t a great idea and the bonuses aren’t much to speak of (what am I really going to do with a digital art book, besides either flip through it once and forget it, or completely forget to flip through it at all). And pre-orders don’t always include a discount, so there’s rarely any real reason to pre-purchase anything.
We do get a few demos nowadays—though most often they don’t arrive as a game is released, such as Dishonored 2’s demo which came months after launch—but we need more, and more games with something like Prison Architect’s mobile model. If Deus Ex: Mankind Divided had been downloadable for free on day one, with a nice chunk of it playable indefinitely (like Prison Architect’s mobile version), players who were undecided about purchasing it for $60 could have gotten a good long look at what it has to offer. It would have given players like me time to play with a selection of augs and try out different playstyles. And it would’ve provided us with a good chance tweak the settings to see how well the it ran on our PCs, something the two-hour Steam refund window simply doesn’t allow for (and really shouldn’t be used for anyway).
If a potential customer such as myself ultimately decides not to buy the rest, what does the publisher really lose? I know creating game demos means more work, and that it’s not as simple as cutting off a slice of the game and plopping it in a folder. But in addition to demos being beneficial to gamers, developers and publishers can gain valuable information from making free demos available. As Kim Nordstrom told me, there’s value not just in the sales a company makes but in having information about the sales they didn’t make.
“The problem is that we as a company, we would never learn if we [had] a $4.99 price point in a storefront, or even a $14.99, because we wouldn’t know,” Nordstrom said. “We would just know who bought it, [but] we wouldn’t know who didn’t [buy] it.”
Information on who didn’t buy your game is useful. How many people were interested enough to download it but were turned off by something in the opening hours? How many people were willing to pay some, but not all, of the full price? Plus, it could whet the appetite of some customers who would then buy later during a sale instead of simply forgetting about it. This strikes me as a net positive for both developers and players.
Even if people don’t buy Prison Architect on mobile after trying it for free, Nordstrom says, “…they’ll play the game and if they enjoy it they might get interested in the company, or the brand, or Introversion’s games, and such. And they might spread it in terms of [word of mouth], and some people say ‘Holy crap, this is a great game, I’m going to buy it.'”
For publishers and developers, demos put a game in front of more players on launch day, provides them with additional information on how their game is being played and received, and can increase interest in their games even if not everyone who tries them, buys them. They can even get more technical feedback if their game is having problems on launch day. For players, they’re given a chance to sample more new games, to properly try before they buy, and less incentive to abuse Steam’s refund policy or wait months for a sale. PC demos are good for everyone, and it’s time for them to make a comeback.
Earlier this month, Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two angered the PC gaming community after sending a cease and desist letter to the developers of the OpenIV modding tool. OpenIV allowed people to create modifications for GTA IV and GTA V single player, but according to its creators, the letter said their tool could “allow third parties to defeat security features of its software and modify that software in violation Take-Two’s rights.” Facing the threat of legal action, they announced on June 14th that they would stop distributing OpenIV.
Now, after revolt by players including a campaign of bad ratings for the GTA games on Steam and a Change.org petition with over 77,000 signatures, Rockstar Games may have worked out a solution. A post on its support forum today said that Take Two has agreed that it will “generally” not take legal action against third party projects as long as they meet certain guidelines.
After discussions with Take-Two, Take-Two has agreed that it generally will not take legal action against third-party projects involving Rockstar’s PC games that are single-player, non-commercial, and respect the intellectual property (IP) rights of third parties. This does not apply to (i) multiplayer or online services; (ii) tools, files, libraries, or functions that could be used to impact multiplayer or online services, or (iii) use or importation of other IP (including other Rockstar IP) in the project.
While it went out of its way to say that this is not a waiver, and “is not a license, and it does not constitute endorsement, approval, or authorization,” it may be enough for modders to breathe easy. Rockstar representatives have told PC Gamer and Motherboard that it is in contact with the makers of OpenIV, apparently to try to prevent people from using it to affect the GTA Online multiplayer. There’s no word from the team yet, but today the tool received an updated build.
Tencent Holdings, China’s biggest gaming and social media firm by revenue, said it would limit play time for some young users of Honor of Kings from Tuesday, amid claims that children were getting addicted to the popular mobile game.
Parents and teachers have complained that children were becoming addicted to the multiplayer online battle game, which, according to the company, has more than 200 million users, making it the world’s most popular game of its kind.
Users below 12 years of age will be limited to one hour of play time each day, while those aged between 12 years and 18 years will be limited to two hours a day, Tencent said.
The firm also plans to ban users under 12 years from logging in after 9pm (1300 GMT or 6:30pm IST) and will impose further restrictions on how much money younger users spend on the game, it added.
“There are no rules to prevent indulgence in online games in China, but we decided to be the first to try to dispel parental worries by limiting play time and forcing children to log off,” Tencent said on its official WeChat account.
Tencent, which has a portfolio of over 200 games, also said it would upgrade a parental-control platform rolled out earlier this year that makes it easier for parents to monitor their children’s gaming account activities.
It will also step up the requirement of real-name registration for all users, it said.
The fantasy role-playing game based on Chinese historical characters raked in a revenue of more than CNY 5.5 billion ($810.47 million or roughly Rs. 5,247 crores) in the first quarter, Chinese gaming industry database CNG estimates. China’s mobile gaming revenue grew by CNY 4.5 billion to CNY 27.5 billion (roughly Rs. 26,232 crores) over the period, the biggest growth in two years.
Tencent, which declines to provide a revenue breakdown of its games, made CNY 12.9 billion from smartphone games in the first quarter, according to its financial report.
According to mobile data intelligence firm Jiguang, Honor of Kings has become China’s most popular game in recent months, doubling its monthly active users to 163 million in May compared with December. More than half of its users are below 24 years of age, including more than a quarter below 19 years, it said.
China is the world’s largest gaming market by revenue, and is expected to account for roughly 25 percent of global game sales in 2017, according to research firm NewZoo.
The online admission process for Class 11, which was marred by technical glitches, will restart from June 22. The Minister for School Education Vinod Tawde said that the administration will take a day off to resolve the technical glitches that are clogging the system to ensure that it functions smoothly.
He assured the parents that even though there will be a days delay the process of filling the Online Part I and Part II forms shall be error free and that no meritorious student shall be put at disadvantage. “Online admission process has started in all the divisional boards of Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Amravati,” he said.
“There have been some technical glitches like the server getting slow or hanging in between have been experienced in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Nashik. As a result 30,000 odd students are still to fill up their Part I of the form. While about 67,300 odd students have filled up their Part II (choice of colleges),” he added. Read | Maharashtra FYJC 2017: form filling begins; On day one, most inquiries come for quota admissions. Click here
Tawde said that a meeting held today decided to add three more servers. He added that at the end of the day on June 22 hehimself will check the steps taken to ensure smooth functioning of the online admission process.
Tawde said that the problem arose as about 2.75 lakh students who have passed their SSC exams began logging online to fill their forms.
“We have decided to increase the number of servers, increasing bandwidth and updating the online process to ensure that no more confusion is created,” he said. He added that those who have filled their Part I or Part II online forms will not have to re-enter their details again. Read | Top 25 universities in India: NIRF ranking 2017. Click here
He disclosed that as of now about 1.75 lakh SSC passed students are yet to fill their online forms. Replying to a query about the case in the Bombay High Court related to making Maths an optional subject, he said that a year ago when he had spoken about it a section of the media had lashed out at him remarking “has the Education Minister lost his mind.”
He said that many students find subjects like Maths and English tough to crack. Tawde said that the HC has directed the government to talk to educational experts and then file an affidavit.
Taking on the section of the media, he wanted to know as to what they have to say now about the HC directive. He clarified that the teachers jobs will not be affected as those students who want to have better and
BlackBerry is expected to publish its Q1’18 results on June 23. We expect the company’s revenues to trend lower on a year-over-year basis, amid lower service access fee and hardware revenues, although this could be partially offset by higher enterprise mobility software sales. Below we provide a brief overview of what to expect when BlackBerry publishes earnings.
Trefis has an $9.50 price estimate for BlackBerry, which is slightly below the current market price.
EMM Business Should Drive Software Revenue Growth
Late last year, BlackBerry updated its EMM offering by integrating its BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) software and the Good Technology product that it acquired in 2015, naming the product BES UEM. The EMM business has been gaining traction, with the firm processing 3,532 customer orders during Q4 2017, marking a 16% sequential increase, with its exposure to non-regulated industries – which are traditionally not BlackBerry’s forte – rising. The recent customer wins should allow the firm to bolster overall revenues during the quarter, as BlackBerry now employs a licensing model for the software.
Updates On Fleet Management Business
BlackBerry has been increasing its presence in the fleet management space with its Radar solution, which enables transport companies to transmit information regarding the location, temperature and physical contents of their trucks. During Q4, BlackBerry won a contract with Trailer Wizards, Canada’s largest commercial trailer rental company with about 25k trailers. BlackBerry charges $10 to $20 per month for every trailer connected to Radar, implying that the business could become lucrative if BlackBerry scale up its installed base. That said, the fleet management market is very fragmented and bigger players such as Verizon have also been doubling down on the market via acquisitions. Larger players are likely to benefit from greater economies of scale and better network effects
Samsung Galaxy J7 Max price in India is Rs. 17,900
The smartphone was first unveiled last week
It is the first smartphone with Samsung Pay Mini
Samsung Galaxy J7 Max will go on sale in India on Tuesday, after being unveiled last week. To recall, the Samsung Galaxy J7 Max price in India is Rs. 17,900, and it will be available to buy via offline retail stores as well as the Samsung India site. It will be available in Black and Gold colour variants.
One of the highlight features of the Samsung Galaxy J7 Max is the inclusion of Samsung Pay, marking the first time the mobile payments service is offered in a mid-range smartphone from the South Korean company. Samsung has included Samsung Pay Mini, a pared down version of the original service.
Samsung Pay Mini is meant for phones that do not have an inbuilt NFC chip, and doesn’t work with regular swiping machines for ‘tap and pay’ offline payments, but instead just supports mobile wallets and UPI for online payments.
The Samsung Galaxy J7 Max runs on Android 7.0 Nougat and sports a 5.7-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display. It is powered by a MediaTek Helio P20 octa-core processor paired with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The storage is further expandable via a microSD card slot as well.
As for optics, the Samsung Galaxy J7 Max packs a 13-megapixel rear and front sensors with f/1.7 aperture and f/1.9 aperture respectively, and flash support on both ends. There’s also a smart glow mode around the rear camera that gives you alerts for notifications when they arrive. The Samsung Galaxy J7 Max packs a 3300mAh battery, and connectivity options include LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth support. The smartphone is only 8.1mm thick.
The Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) will publish the CET mock seat allotment result today at kea.kar.nic.in. The Common Entrance Test (KCET) was held on May 2 and 3 and the KEA had declared the results on May 30. The seat matrix for engineering and other courses was published on June 14 and the option entry commence the following day. KEA has scheduled the release of mock allotment for today, June 23.
The seat allotment will be done on the basis of merit and the final list will be out soon. Mock seat allotment is done to get an idea of seat status. In a notification, KEA has already said that it is not necessary that the seat allotted as per mock allotment will be allotted in the final list.
Karnataka CET 2017, here’s how to check allotment result:
Step 1: Visit to the official website of KEA (kea.kar.nic.in).
Step 2: Follow the link to the CET portal which will be available on the main page.
Step 3: Once the seat matrix and fee structure is available, the links will be displayed on the page. Follow the links.
Step 4: Check the seat matrix and fee structure and keep a copy of the document for further reference.
This year’s KCET topper Rakshita Ramesh, a student of Sri Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain College, had scored 56 in mathematics to 59 in chemistry. She is closely followed
Telecommunications company Sony Mobile has confirmed plans to discontinue the mid-range Xperia line-up of smartphones and will only focus on flagship devices going forward.
The dropped line up which the company considers “premium standard” includes models like the Xperia XZ Premium and XZs at the top end and mid-rangers like the Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra.
“Sony is seeking to try and recover market share in 2017 and hopes to differentiate its products with technologies that only Sony can deliver,” the company said in a blog post. ALSO READ: Sony DPT-RP1 digital paper tablet with Bluetooth support, 16GB storage launched: Price, specifications and feature
The company will also only focus on markets, where it can leverage its brand strength including territories such as East Asia, APAC, Middle East and Europe.