Steam Black Friday 2016 Sales Begin on November 23

Steam Black Friday 2016 Sales Begin on November 23Sony and Microsoft aren’t the only ones with digital deals for PS4 and Xbox One games respectively. The largest digital storefront for PC games, Steam will be having a Black Friday sale too.

According to Paypal Poland’s Facebook page (discovered via Reddit), this year’s discounts will begin on November 23 and end on November 29. There’s no hint as to what will be discounted or the exact time it begins. But if we go by last year’s sale, safe to say you can expect discounts to begin from 10am PST on November 23 (11:30pm IST) and last all the way up to 10am PST on November 29 (11:30pm IST).

(Also see: The Steam Black Friday Sale Is Here and This Time It’s Different)
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Last year’s Steam Black Friday Sale was a landmark occasion. Reason being, Valve ensured there was one price for a game through the entire sale rather than having a discounted price followed by a flash sale or a daily deal which drove it down even further.
“In past sale events, we’ve asked for two discounts–a duration discount that runs for the length of the sale, and a feature discount that runs in the event that a game is featured on the front page. This year, to optimise the sale for customers and to allow us to feature and recommend your products in more ways to more customers, we’re asking for just one discount, to run the length of the sale,” a post on the Steamworks Developers group read at the time.

“We’ll still be highlighting top games on the front page for 24-48 hour spans, but those products will stay at their most competitive discount, before and after being featured. It’s not a major change, but it does make the sale a lot more valuable for customers, and it allows us to build sale tools that highlight and recommend products all sale long, instead of just during front page features.”

Keep in mind that Steam isn’t usually the cheapest either. This holds true for games from publishers like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft who have their own digital distribution services. Also, if you can’t pick up anything during the current sale, don’t worry. There will be a Winter sale as well which should take place from December 22 to January 1.

Celebrities are cashing in with their own mobile phone gaming apps

 

The global video game business is huge and growing every day with more and more people downloading gaming apps on their mobile phones and their tablets.

This is most probably why celebrities are jumping on the band wagon, throwing their perfume and Nikkei ads out the window and focusing on creating their very own gaming apps. Of course this has only become possible with the introduction of the new faster smartphones, such as the iPhone 6.

If you want to play these gaming apps on your iPhone 6, then you need a fast internet connection and lots of storage – so check out the latest offer from iiNet which has 128GB of storage – iiNet’s best plan for iPhone 6 – 128GB.

One of the great marketing breakthroughs has been for gaming companies to bring on board celebrities for their gaming apps, because the celebrities bring with them a mountain of fans and followers. In fact, some of these celebrity gaming apps are supported by millions of ardent celebrity fans.

So let’s check out some of these gaming apps from the celebs:

  • Kardashians – The Hollywood app, enables players to break into the entertainment world by being mentored by Kim Kardashian. This app has already made more than $70M US and is available for both Android and iOS platforms. You can expect similar gaming apps from both Kylie Kardashian and Kendall Jenner soon.
  • Katy Perry – The same company (Glu Mobile) that partnered up with Kim Kardashian is set to bring Katy Perry onboard for a similar deal with a gaming app based on her life accomplishments. With millions of social media followers, any gaming app endorsed by Katy Perry is sure to be a clear success.
  • Demi Lovato – Soon to be released by Demi Lovato is a gaming app with gaming developer Pocket Gems, where players can experience what it is like to become a famous entertainer. Players will be able to choose from different scenarios and adventures all set around going from an unknown to famous celebrity star.
  • Britney Spears – Another gaming app in the making by Glu Mobile, centered on breaking into the entertainment industry and featuring Britney Spears, is also in the creative stages. Apparently it will be similar to the Kardashian gaming app, where you pick your own adventure to break into the entertainment industry, but under Britney’s mentorship this time.

Clearly, Glu Mobile, an international gaming company,has seen the light and is collecting a plethora of celebrities to help push their gaming revenue through the roof. So if you want to take advantage of these celebrity apps, make sure that you have a fast internet connection and lots of storage on your iPhone.

Amazon Is Making a PC Game

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Not content with simply making mobile games, Amazon has set its sights higher. The e-commerce giant has its designs on the AAA gaming space. The news comes by the way of a sponsored job listing on Gamasutra.

“The team is made of former Portal, World of Warcraft and BioShock creators, and we’re building a team of top talent for an ambitious new PC game project using the latest technology. Our team in Seattle has worked on a lot of other great titles like Half Life 2, Left for Dead, Dota 2, Halo, Infamous, Shadows of Mordor and The Last of Us.

If you want to be on the tip of the spear for game design and technology, contact us. We want people that are driven to make the best games in the industry. We’re looking to take interesting risks, and invent!” reads the listing.

This would be the company’s first PC game. It’s not exactly a secret that it was prepping for something big what with big name hires such as game designers Kim Swift (Portal, Quantum Conundrum) and Clint Hocking (Far Cry, Splinter Cell) as well as acquiring Killer Instinct and Silent Hill Homecoming developer Double Helix among others. Throw in its heavy spending in a deal to license the CryEngine – used in high-end games like Crysis 3 and Evolve, and you have what appears to be the foundations for a rather gargantuan undertaking which highlights Amazon’s ambitions in the space more than anything else.

Rockstar Games Sues BBC Over GTA Movie

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Maker of the ever popular Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series, Rockstar Games, has filed a lawsuit against the BBC. This is due to the British broadcaster’s upcoming drama on the GTA games, ‘Game Changer’.

It features Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar President Sam Houser and Bill Paxton as US lawyer and critic of the series, Jack Thompson, and focuses on the conflict between the two that escalated during the franchise’s early days.

The script is based on David Kusher’s book Jacked: The Outlaw Story Of Grand Theft Auto. It will be directed by Black Mirror’s Owen Harris. The drama is yet to have a final name with ‘Game Changer’ being a working title.

The lawsuit, filed via Rockstar’s parent company, Take-Two Interactive in London, is for trademark infringement.

“Take-Two Interactive has filed suit against the BBC for trademark infringement based on their movie currently titled ‘Game Changer’ as it relates to Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto video game series… While holders of the trademarks referenced in the film title and its promotion, Rockstar Games has had no involvement with this project. Our goal is to ensure that our trademarks are not misused in the BBC’s pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events related to Rockstar Games. We have attempted multiple times to resolve this matter with the BBC without any meaningful resolution. It is our obligation to protect our intellectual property and unfortunately in this case litigation was necessary,” Rockstar’s statement to IGNreads.

When contacted by IGN, a BBC spokesperson said: “We do not comment on legal matters.”

New Need for Speed Game Teaser Showcases Gorgeous Graphics

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It’s had a full year’s hiatus, but it seems to be worth it. Need for Speed, along with FIFA, was a mainstay of video game publisher, Electronic Arts’ (EA) yearly portfolio. 2014 saw no new game in the series, with the last game being 2013’s Need For Speed Rivals.

Developed by Sweden-based EA subsidiary, Ghost Games, this year’s Need for Speed is for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It looks fantastic too, showcasing quick scenes of underground racers evading the police in a game of cat and mouse. The footage seemed extremely detailed and to a point, borderline computer generated. However at the end of the short 34-second teaser, EA claims that all footage was captured in-game.

With a full gameplay reveal on June 15 we won’t have to wait long to discover what EA and Ghost Games have planned. The prospect of a slick, open-world racing game with the atmosphere of previous classics like Need for Speed: Underground and Most Wanted combined with deep customisation options would be a welcome addition to the series.

“Need for Speed, ten years ago, sold a lot more copies than it sells now,” Nilsson said. “Which means we have a lot of room to move up. We have a global, known brand; it’s strong. But I think we have a lot of upside for this franchise based upon getting our details and information and features in order. I don’t feel pressure by it. I feel humbled to be associated with it.”

What do you think of the Need for Speed teaser? Are you looking forward to it or are Driveclub, Forza Horizon 2, and Project CARS enough to keep you from bothering? Let us know in the comments.

Nonetheless, Ghost Games has its work cut out for it. General manager Marcus Nilsson, speaking to Gamespot, said he was aware that the racing genre is a lot more crowded and competitive than it was a decade ago.

Creating a Winning Strategy for Playing Solitair

Solitaire remains popular through generations, due to its simplicity and challenge. And, of course, as the name insinuates, it can be played alone, filling hours with entertainment whether you’re sitting at home, filling time between appointments, sitting on a plane, etc.

It’s likely that you’ve played and been stumped a number of times due to the placement of the cards. However, applied strategy helps players win more often.

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Klondike

Several versions of Solitaire exist. Most are familiar with Klondike, which serves as the ‘default’ version of the popular game. Unlike the Vegas version, one card is turned at a time, and a player may go through the deck as many times as needed. Scores are based on the number of cards placed, those left in the deck, and the number of ‘Ace stacks’ made during the course of play. If you’re yearning to play right now, head to Solitaire Arena online. Otherwise, take note of the following tips related to better play.

Solitaire Tips

Play and Ace or Two card whenever they pop-up during gameplay. Also, make moves that will ‘free’ another card; it’s better to create more potential moves for yourself. Also, don’t draw from the pile until you’re absolutely positive there are no moves to be made.

If you are waiting for a King to accompany an open spot, keep the space occupied and don’t move other cards from there. If you’re going to play an Ace stack, be sure that it won’t interfere with the game; it can be ‘exciting’ to move the Ace stack, yet a common mistake is doing so too soon and missing a later opportunity to further advance.

Be sure to keep a vacant spot; this way, it’s easier to move a King when needed. Experienced players do not occupy all columns because they keep the option of moving a King that came out of the deck as a surprise. Let’s discuss this strategy further.

When a spot is cleared for a King card, it means you have played or transferred all cards in the column. So, there are no cards left there, but you should not clear a column unless there is a King waiting. In short, don’t clear a spot just because the opportunity is there. Also, you may clear a spot if you have gone through the deck at least once, now knowing that a premature clear won’t influence further opportunity.

Avoid moving number cards Five-Eight. In order to keep the game moving at a steady pace, it’s best to keep them where they are and leave yourself more opportunity for future moves. Let’s think about this logic; A Four card can be played anywhere since it will (hopefully) link with a Three. We limit at the Eight card, because, by the time you reach a Nine in the column, it is likely you have uncovered most of the ‘down cards’ and won’t have to worry about the remainder of the column.

Now, you’re ready to play Solitaire with a few more strategies in mind. Remember, don’t be tempted to make a move just because you can. Solitaire requires premeditation and disciplined strategy!

Andrea Porter is a gaming audio engineer. She likes to write about the game and tech industries. You can find her articles mainly on tech and game websites.

 

Playing Video Games Helps Learn Visual Skills Faster

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Playing video games not only improves visual skills but also improves learning ability for acquiring those skills, finds a study from the Brown University.”When we study perceptual learning, we usually exclude people who have tonnes ofvideo game playing time because they seem to have different visual processing. They are quicker and more accurate,” explained senior author and associate professor Yuka Sasaki.

To conduct the study, the researchers pitted nine frequent gamers against a control group of nine people who game rarely if ever. They participated in a two-day trial of visual task learning.

Subjects were shown an on-screen “texture” of either vertical or horizontal lines and had to quickly point out – in a fraction of a second – the one area where an anomalous texture appeared.

In visual processing research, this is a standard protocol called a “texture discrimination task”.

Sasaki and colleagues trained the subjects on a second similar task soon after training them on the first.

If in the first task the main texture was horizontal, for example, the second time it was vertical or vice versa.

The gamers managed to improve performance on both tasks while non-gamers did what was expected: They improved on the second task they trained on, but not on the first.

Learning the second task interfered with learning the first with non-gamers.

The data show that gamers on an average improved their combination of speed and accuracy by about 15 percent on their second task and about 11 percent on their first task.

Non-gamers produced the same average 15 percent improvement on their second task, but they actually got a bit worse on the first task they learned, by about 5 percent.

Despite the small number of participants, the results proved statistically significant, said the paper that appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.

The exact neural mechanisms underlying visual or perceptual learning are not yet known but the study suggests that gamers may have a more efficient process for hardwiring their visual task learning than non-gamers.

“It may be possible that the vast amount of visual training frequent gamers receive over the years could help contribute to honing consolidation mechanisms in the brain, especially for visually developed skills,” the researchers wrote.

A lot of people still view video games as a time-wasting activity even though research is beginning to show their beneficial aspects.

“If we can demonstrate that video games may actually improve some cognitive functioning, perhaps we, as a society, can embrace newer technology and media with positive application,” the authors concluded.

GTA V’s 60 Frames-per-Second Trailer Shows What PC Gamers Can Expect

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The oft-delayed open-world adventure, Grand Theft Auto V will finally see a release on PC on April 14. But what’s a video game release without a trailer to show it of? Thankfully, Rockstar Games – the developer behind the game have rectified this with a stunning 60 frames-per-second trailer that you can watch here.

The trailer shows off the exotic locales of Los Santos and Blaine County along with some gorgeous lighting effects, detailed character models, and some of the game’s more crazy moments all in silky smooth 60 frames-per-second video.

“On April 14th, Grand Theft Auto V arrives on PC with a range of major visual and technical upgrades to make Los Santos and Blaine County more immersive than ever. Today, catch a glimpse of it in action – running at 60FPS with the official Grand Theft Auto V 60 Frames-per-Second Trailer. For the best viewing experience, please make sure to watch on the most recent generation device and/or browser,” the post on Rockstar Games’ website reads.

If you have the right PC hardware, the game will run at 1080p and 60 frames-per-second. Or you can even go up to 4K resolution. There’s support for up to triple monitor configurations, as well as Nvidia 3D Vision for stereoscopic output. Also, the multiplayer component for PC will support up to 30 players and include the Online Heists mode as well.

You can check out the recommended and minimum system specifications here. GTA V for PS4 and Xbox One consoles only runs at 30 frames-per-second, and recently, an game update was found to dramatically downgrade graphics quality which should be rectified with a new patch the company released yesterday.

Acer V Nitro Black Edition Series gaming laptops arrive for the holidays

Acer has introduced two new gaming laptops in the US and Canada, both in the V Nitro Black Edition Series. With these machines come sleek yet serious designs, as well as specs that will meet the needs of mostly any gamer. The smaller of the two, the V 15, will arrive next month, while the larger V 17 won’t be hitting shelves until November.

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The Acer Aspire V 15 and V 17 Nitro Black Editions will be launching in time for the holiday season, with the former bringing a 15.6-inch display and the latter a 17.3-inch display. Both have a Full HD 1080p resolution, Intel’s Core i7-4710HQ quad-core processor, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M graphics.

The smaller of the two features 8GB of RAM, while the V 17 has double that at 16GB. Likewise, the larger will feature a 1TB HDD and a 256GB SSD, while the smaller will have 1TB HDD with a 128 SSD option. Only the V 17 model will feature a Blu-ray optical drive, but both will have a backlit full-size keyboard.

Continuing with the shared specs, both the V 15 and V 17 will feature HDMI, Ethernet, a combo audio jack, Kensington lock, 3-cell battery, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, an SD card slot, 720p webcam, and Windows 8.1. Given their size differences, the V 15 will weigh 5.29lbs, while the V 17 will be heavier at 6.61lbs.

The V 15 model will start at $1,099 USD, being $100 USD more expensive if you get the 128 SSD drive. The V 17 will be priced at $1,499 USD.

Flappy Bird is back as Flappy Birds Family for Amazon Fire TV

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Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen said in an interview back in May that he would bring back the game in August with multiplayer capability. He also said that the game would be less addictive than the original. Now the creator has released a new game, Flappy Birds Family for Amazon Fire TV, an Android box that was unveiled recently. The game is not available for Android smartphones or tablets.

Flappy Bird for iOS was released in 2013 and soon arrived on Android. It suddenly became a phenomenon on both Android and iOS platforms months after it was released . It also became the No.1 game on both these stores and was generating thousands of dollars in revenue from in-app ads. Suddenly the creator decided to pull the game from the app stores.

The new Flappy Birds Family game has different-colored bird characters, local multiplayer mode and more obstacles like ghosts, for players to avoid. It is free to download on Amazon Fire TV and doesn’t include any ads like the first Flappy Bird game. It is not clear if or when the game would be available for other Android and iOS devices.