Konami Announces Anniversary Collections Starring Castlevania, Contra, And Arcade Classics

It’s been 50 years since Konami was founded, and to celebrate, the publisher is looking back at the games and franchises it built its reputation on in the ’80s and ’90s. The Konami Anniversary Collections gather releases from the company’s past and brings them to modern platforms through the various digital storefronts.

The first Anniversary Collection is titled Arcade Classics. As the name implies, this brings players with eight titles from Konami’s arcade past. According to the site, players will be able to experience these games with modern features. 

The full game list for the Anniversary Collection Arcade Classics:

  • Haunted Castle
  • Life Force (Salamander)
  • Nemesis (Gradius)
  • Scramble
  • Thunder Cross
  • TwinBee
  • Typhon (A-Jax)
  • Vulcan Venture (Gradius II)

The second Anniversary Collection focuses on Castlevania. While the game list isn’t complete, the final collection will deliver eight games. However, you probably shouldn’t expect any of the more recent games to be included, as the description says that this collection is meant to be a complete look at the origins of the series. However, if you want more modern games like Lords of Shadow to make the leap, there may be hope yet; the description also calls this the “first Konami Castlevania Collection.” 

Here are the games revealed for the Castlevania Anniversary Collection so far:

  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge
  • Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
  • Super Castlevania IV

The final collection brings fans back to the roots of one of the most beloved side-scrolling shoot-em ups with the Contra Anniversary Collection. As with the Castlevania collection, four of the eight games have been revealed so far.

Here are the games announced for the Contra Anniversary Collection so far:

  • Contra
  • Super Contra
  • Super C
  • Contra III: The Alien Wars

Each collection also comes with an eBook to provide new information about the games in the respective collection, including interviews with the creators, sketches, behind-the-scenes info, and even design documents.

The Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection launches on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on April 18 for $20. The Castlevania and Contra Anniversary Collections will launch on those same platforms in early summer.

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Apex Legends Season 1 Battle Pass Arrives Today – GS News Update

Apex Legends’ Season 1 Battle Pass will arrive on Tuesday, March 19 at 10 AM PT. There will be two Battle Passes for purchase. The regular Battle Pass will cost 950 Apex coins and the Battle Pass bundle will cost 2800 Apex Coins. The newest character Octane will be released separately from the Battle Pass. He will cost 12,000 Legend Token or 750 Apex Coins. Season 1 is planned to last through June.

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Best gaming mouse 2019: Reviews and buying advice

The mouse is a simple tool: point and click. That’s it. But if you’re a PC gamer, you know that pushing virtual paper around on your desktop isn’t the same as fragging bots and shooting zombies. (Not even remotely.) 

What’s more, picking the right gaming mouse is an intensely personal decision. Every little detail—its overall shape and size, the shape and placement its buttons, its cable (or lack thereof), its weight, its materials—can change how you feel about it. More than any other peripheral, a mouse is the hardest to recommend, because there is no objectively perfect mouse. Everyone’s hands are different.

That said, we can guide you on your search. Below are our recommendations for gaming mice, built on years of experience first and foremost as gamers, and second as writers here at PCWorld. 

Updated 3/11/19 to add our review of the Mad Catz R.A.T. 8+, which marks the triumphant return of the R.A.T line of gaming mice—and that should please anyone who likes to tweak every aspect of their gear. Scroll to the bottom this article to see all of our gaming mouse reviews.

Best general-purpose gaming mouse

Logitech’s latest G502 revision swaps in the new Hero sensor, but keeps everything else the same—for good reason. Four years on, this is still one of the best gaming mice on the market.

Some iteration of Logitech’s G502 mouse has been on this list ever since it first released back in 2014, and for good reason. It’s still, four years on, one of the most comfortable mice I’ve ever used. It also packs a ton of buttons in smart places, with three thumb buttons, two more arrayed along the side of the standard left mouse button, and a tilt wheel. That wheel also switches between notched and smooth navigation modes, while the bottom pops off to accommodate five 3.6 gram weights—although you might not need them, given that the G502 already weighs 121 grams to start with. The hefty weight is the sole complaint I’ve seen leveled against the G502, breaching the magic 100 gram standard prefered by some FPS players. Personally I like a heavier mouse, so to each their own.

The latest overhaul is 2018’s G502 Hero ($80 on Amazon), so named for the sensor inside. Logitech’s replaced the beloved PWM3366 with its new flagship Hero sensor, designed to mimic the top-tier performance of its predecessor while being slightly more power efficient. That latter point doesn’t matter much here because…well, it’s a wired mouse. Hero is excellent though, seemingly just as precise as its forbear, so there’s really no downside in buying the latest version—especially since the G502 Hero also adds Omron switches, rated for 50 million clicks (as opposed to 20 million on the former model). The slimmer cable is a welcome improvement as well, less prone to kinks or gathering dust.

That’s it, really! Not much changed for 2018, but not much had to. Here’s to four more years of G502 dominance.

Best wireless gaming mouse

At $100 for the mousepad and another $100 to $150 for a compatible mouse, Logitech’s Powerplay is still early-adopter tech for sure—but keeping your wireless mouse battery topped off sans wires is futuristic.

This is a first for PCWorld. We’ve never (at least as long as I’ve been here) recommended a wireless mouse for gaming purposes. Why? Well, a couple reasons. Latency, interference, reliance on batteries—they’ve all been problems in the past.

But the future is here, provided you have a few hundred dollars on hand. Logitech’s new Powerplay technology is revolutionary, allowing you to charge your wireless mouse while you’re using it—without wires. By building inductive charging (similar to that used in phones) into a mouse pad ($100 on Amazon), Logitech is able to trickle-charge compatible mice even as you move them around. 

It works! And it’s turned me, a pry-the-wires-from-my-dead-hands skeptic, into a wireless believer. I’ve been using Powerplay for a few months now and have never seen a mouse dip below 85 percent charge. No more scrambling for a charging cable mid-game because I forgot to plug my mouse in the night before.

The catch: Only two mice are currently compatible with Powerplay. The G703, at $100 (or $93 on Amazon), is the lower-end option, with a familiar scooped shape, five-button setup (and a DPI cycler), and Logitech’s beloved PWM3366 sensor. The G903 keeps the PWM3366, but opts for an ambidextrous shape, better feet (for a smoother glide), a dual-mode mouse wheel (clunky or smooth), and a few extra buttons—for $50 more (or currently, $127 on Amazon).

Runner-up

It sounds like science fiction—Razer’s new Mamba Hyperflux is a wireless mouse without a battery inside. It’s real though and it works, aside from a few edge-case scenarios.

If you’re more a fan of Razer’s mice, it might also be worth checking out the Mamba Hyperflux and Firefly Hyperflux combo. The conceit is the same. It’s a wireless mouse that you don’t need to worry about charging. Razer’s implementation is even more futuristic though—the Mamba Hyperflux is a wireless mouse without a battery.

Instead the Mamba Hyperflux is powered directly from the Firefly Hyperflux mouse pad, with a capacitor in the mouse storing about 20 seconds of charge—enough to lift and adjust the mouse, but not a battery in the usual sense.

And it works! Mostly. There are some drawbacks. For one, it’s not very portable. No battery means your fancy wireless mouse has to go wired whenever you’re away from your desk. The charging field also doesn’t cover the entire mouse pad, and I occasionally ran in to issues where I moved the mouse to the corner, left it while watching a YouTube video, and came back a minute or two later to find the mouse dead. It takes upwards of five seconds for the mouse to reconnect after a full shutdown, which can be annoying.

At $250, it’s more expensive than Logitech’s Powerplay mouse pad with a G703. So yeah, mostly drawbacks here and Logitech still has the stronger overall system. As I said though, if you’re a fan of Razer’s mice this is a perfectly workable alternative. (Read the full review.)

Best rechargeable wireless gaming mouse

With the Rival 650’s built-in fast charging and eye-catching look, SteelSeries has finally produced its first must-have mouse.

Okay, so maybe you don’t want to purchase an entire mousepad just to use a wireless mouse. That’s understandable. Logitech’s Powerplay and Razer’s Hyperflux setups are cool and futuristic, but also expensive and somewhat impractical.

In that case, take a look at the SteelSeries Rival 650. It’s an attractive mouse, sure, with smart button placements, a bunch of weight customization options, and a flagship TrueMove3 sensor—the latest SteelSeries variant of the beloved PWM3360.

But the Rival 650’s real hook is its charging capabilities. Employing fast-charging tech similar to what you find in phones, the Rival 650 nets 10 hours of charge from a mere 15 minutes plugged in. Sure, you might still have one of those moments where the battery dies mid-match and you’re sent scrambling for the cable, but at least you won’t need to stay tethered for long before you can resume your wire-free lifestyle.

Best of all: It’s about half the cost of Powerplay and Hyperflux. Short of shelling out for one of those high-cost systems, the Rival 650 is your best bet for long-term wireless gaming. (Read our full review.)

Best gaming mouse for travel

Logitech’s wireless G603 mouse is like having a full gaming setup on the road, and with 500-plus hours of battery on two AA batteries it’s also a reliable traveling companion.

For years, I threw any old wired mouse into my bag for trips, but these days I stick with Logitech’s G603. Mimicking the G403 and G703’s scooped shape, the G603 nevertheless manages to squeeze two AA batteries under the single-piece removable lid that doubles as its left and right mouse buttons. It’s a slick bit of engineering, as long as it can stay reliable long-term.

That said, the G603 manages 500 hours off those two AA batteries thanks to Logitech’s proprietary HERO sensor, designed to match the performance of the famed PWM3366 sensor without draining as much battery.

This is one of the highest-performing wireless mice I’ve ever used, and you’ll never need to recharge it while on the road. If you travel a lot, toss one of these in your bag for those hotel room gaming sessions. (Read our full review.)

Best gaming mouse with lots of buttons

The Roccat Tyon wins PCWorld’s 2015 Award for Most Buttons, but a few aspects could use some fine-tuning.

The era of “the more buttons, the better” has mostly passed, what with MMOs having fallen somewhat out of fashion. Instead, MOBAs like League of Legends and Dota 2—and their comparatively simpler but much faster controls—dominate in popularity.

But maybe you’re planning to re-up that World of Warcraft subscription, or you just have a soft spot for an unthinkable amount of mouse buttons. If that’s the case, the Roccat Tyon will serve you well.

With 12 buttons and an analog paddle, the Tyon is a beast. One of the thumb buttons is actually a modifier key, which Roccat calls “Easy-Shift Technology.” Using it effectively doubles the number of buttons at your beck and call, and it’s an intuitive approach that balances out the key’s questionable placement on the mouse’s thumb rest. If you’re lazy and let your thumb relax, though, you might inadvertently press it when you don’t mean to. (Read the full review.)

Best gaming mouse for large hands

If your hands are big enough to wrap around this mammoth mouse, you’ll dig it.

If our other recommendations are too narrow for your mitts, the Mionix Naos 7000 is worth a look. Our 2014 review refers to it as “a whale of a mouse,” and it’s not an exaggeration—it’s huge.

But if you’ve got the hands to handle it, the Naos 7000 is an amazing feat of ergonomics. It’s geared toward people who want their whole hand to rest on the mouse, palm and all. And I do mean your whole hand. At 3.9 inches wide, this mouse is more than an inch wider than most of the devices we’ve reviewed.

And yet, it’s still impressively comfortable. With grooves for both your ring and pinky fingers, wide mouse buttons, and a small thumb rest, the Naos 7000 is the full-size luxury sedan version of a mouse. It even has a soft-touch rubber coating. The Naos 7000 can feel cumbersome relative to its smaller peers, but it won’t cause you to lose a game. It glides smoothly and has a perfectly capable Avago 3310 sensor inside.

Make sure to get the Naos 7000 and not the Naos 8200. Yes, the number on the 7000 is lower, but it features a much nicer optical sensor than the 8200’s so-so laser sensor. (Read the full review.)

How we evaluate mice

To find our favorites, we put a small herd of gaming mice through their paces. Everything from ultra-budget to ultra-customizable to ultra-small to ultra-packed-with-buttons is in the running here, and then some.

What paces, you ask? First, we assess a mouse’s skills in general use and gaming—from browsing Reddit to video editing to perusing Spotify to playing through Watch Dogs 2 and Battlefield 1.

We also consider the preferred grip. You probably don’t consciously think about how you grip your mouse—it’s like which sock you put on first or whether you hang your toilet paper over or under. But it’s important.

People largely fall into three different grip types: palm, claw, and fingertip.

Palm grip: This is probably the most common grip, and it’s what most mice are designed for. Your entire hand makes contact with the mouse at the same time, with your arm driving most of the movement. This is the most ergonomically comfortable grip, with the mouse shaped specifically to fill and complement your palm.

Claw grip: Claw grippers arch their fingers more, creating separation between the hand and mouse but keeping the fingertips and rear of the palm in contact. This allows for quicker button pressing and slightly quicker movement, but puts more strain on your wrists.

Fingertip grip: The most agile grip also puts the most strain on your wrists. Fingertip grip, as the name implies, involves guiding the mouse with only your fingertips—no palm contact at all.

Generally, a mouse that works for a claw grip will work for a fingertip grip. The main distinction is between palm and claw grips.

Other factors


  • G.Skill Ripjaws MX780

    Read PCWorld’s review$24.99See iton Amazon

    For an ambidextrous mouse, the MX780 is probably one of the best price/performance bargains.

    Pros

    • Allows for plenty of customization
    • Durable, machined aluminum construction
    • Fairly cheap
    • Cons

      • “Edgy” name and design
      • Flimsy thumb buttons

    • Logitech G502 Hero

      Read PCWorld’s review$69.64See iton Amazon

      Logitech’s latest G502 revision swaps in the new Hero sensor, but keeps everything else the same—for good reason. Four years on, this is still one of the best gaming mice on the market.

      Pros

      • Incredibly comfortable
      • Buttons now rated for 50 million clicks
      • Hero sensor performs as well as the PWM3366
      • Cons

        • More expensive than the previous model, but not much has changed
        • Fairly heavy, which might dissuade some users
        • Still no wireless option

      • Logitech G502 Proteus Core

        Read PCWorld’s review$64.99See iton Amazon

        Summary: Logitech’s G502 Proteus Core is a customizable beast of a mouse, boasting one of the most comfortable designs I’ve ever held.

        Pros

        • Weight customization
        • 11 programmable buttons
        • Smooth or stepped scroll wheel
        • Cons

          • Right mouse button occasionally vibrates
          • Mouse wheel can be hard to tilt and press without triggering scrolling

        • Logitech G603

          Read PCWorld’s review$54.60See iton Amazon

          Logitech’s wireless G603 mouse is like having a full gaming setup on the road, and with 500-plus hours of battery on two AA batteries it’s also a reliable traveling companion.

          Pros

          • Adopts Logitech’s comfortable G703 scooped shape
          • 500 hours of high-performance gaming off two AA batteries
          • Flashy one-piece battery cover and button design
          • Cons

            • Heavy, thanks to the dual batteries
            • Hard to say how durable the buttons will be over time
            • Somewhat bulky and difficult to pack

          • Logitech G903

            Read PCWorld’s review$106.50See iton Amazon

            The G903 is one of the best wireless mice on the market, but its ambidextrous shape and high price may limit its appeal.

            Pros

            • Excellent wireless performance, plus the PWM3366 sensor
            • Lightweight construction, glides smoothly
            • Suitable for both left- and right-handed people
            • Cons

              • If you’re not using Powerplay, not much improvement over the old G900
              • Expensive
              • Ambidextrous shape not very ergonomic

            • Mad Catz R.A.T. 8+

              Read PCWorld’s review$65.83See iton Amazon

              Mad Catz and its famed R.A.T. mouse are back from the dead, and that’s great news for anyone who likes to tweak every aspect of their gear.

              Pros

              • Eminently customizable
              • Uses a reliable PMW3389 sensor
              • Feels durable
              • Cons

                • Customization options aren’t always intuitive
                • Heavy, even with the weights removed
                • Hard to know whether Mad Catz peripherals are more reliable nowadays

              • Mionix NAOS 7000

                Read PCWorld’s review$49.99See iton Best Buy

                If your hands are big enough to wrap around this mammoth mouse, you’ll dig it.

                Pros

                • Ergonomic design
                • Velvety matte finish
                • Extremely customizable lighting
                • Cons

                  • Mushy mouse wheel
                  • Awkward for any non-standard palm grippers
                  • Enormous

                • Razer Mamba Hyperflux and Firefly Hyperflux

                  Read PCWorld’s review$200.95See iton Amazon

                  It sounds like science fiction—Razer’s new Mamba Hyperflux is a wireless mouse without a battery inside. It’s real though and it works, aside from a few edge-case scenarios.

                  Pros

                  • Wireless mouse—with no battery inside
                  • Reliable 99 percent of the time
                  • Razer finally built a wireless mouse with an optical sensor
                  • Cons

                    • Limited to the single Mamba Hyperflux mouse model
                    • The 1 percent of the time it fails is really annoying
                    • Pricey, especially considering the competition

                  • Roccat Tyon

                    Read PCWorld’s review$49.99See iton Amazon

                    The Roccat Tyon wins PCWorld’s 2015 Award for Most Buttons, but a few aspects could use some fine-tuning.

                    Pros

                    • So many buttons
                    • Easy-Shift modifier key is sorely missed when returning to competing devices
                    • Cons

                      • Some awkward button placements
                      • Takes forever to set up, if you want to tap its full potential

                    • SteelSeries Rival 650

                      Read PCWorld’s review$119.99See iton Amazon

                      With the Rival 650’s built-in fast charging and eye-catching look, SteelSeries has finally produced its first must-have mouse.

                      Pros

                      • Gets 10 hours of charge in only 15 minutes
                      • Comfortable and attractive design
                      • Removable weight system provides plenty of options
                      • Cons

                        • Heavier than some might like
                        • Expensive
                        • Third thumb button is small and awkwardly placed

                      • Logitech G305

                        Read PCWorld’s review$49.16See iton Amazon

                        Logitech’s wireless G305 mouse gets 250 hours of life out of a single AA battery, and does it without compromising on gaming performance thanks to the new Hero sensor.

                        Pros

                        • Slim design makes it easy to pack
                        • Single AA battery gives 250 hours of battery life
                        • Hero sensor performs as well as the famed PWM3366
                        • Cons

                          • 250 hours of battery isn’t much for daily home use
                          • Weight distribution is a bit awkward because of the battery
                          • Undersized and a bit too flat for comfort

                        • Logitech G703

                          Read PCWorld’s review$82.95See iton Amazon

                          Logitech’s G703 features high-end performance and Powerplay compatibility in an inexpensive package, but some compromises were made to make it happen.

                          Pros

                          • Comfortable (if generic) right-handed shape
                          • Excellent wireless performance and high-end PWM3366 sensor
                          • Powerplay-compatible
                          • Cons

                            • Doesn’t glide as smoothly as some of its counterparts
                            • Spongy mouse wheel
                            • A very average, no-frills mouse

                          • Razer DeathAdder Chroma

                            Read PCWorld’s review$54.94See iton Amazon

                            For 2015, the time-tested Razer DeathAdder design adds new lighting and an upgraded sensor.

                            Pros

                            • One of the most broad-appeal mouses on the market
                            • Extremely comfortable
                            • Cons

                              • Buttons can feel toy-like at times
                              • Left-handed version not updated to Chroma yet

                            • Razer Diamondback

                              Read PCWorld’s review$58.99See iton Newegg

                              After eight years in the shadows, Razer brings back the Diamondback’s tubular shape—with a few upgrades.

                              Pros

                              • Uniquely elongated, ambidextrous shape
                              • Gorgeous RGB lighting channels
                              • Cons

                                • Priced way higher than is warranted
                                • Unique shape is only comfortable for a certain niche

                              • Razer Mamba Tournament Edition

                                Read PCWorld’s review$62.99See iton Razer

                                At $90 the Razer Mamba Tournament Edition is still a bit more expensive than its fuller-featured competition, but it’s a decent way to get your hands on the high-end Mamba’s 16,000 DPI sensor for half the cost.

                                Pros

                                • Same high-end sensor and design as the more-expensive Mamba
                                • No concerns about battery running out mid-game
                                • Cons

                                  • Still fairly expensive for such a basic mouse
                                  • Loses the adjustable click gimmick of the high-end Mamba

                                • Razer Mamba Wireless (2018)

                                  Read PCWorld’s review$99.99See iton Razer

                                  With the 2018 Mamba Wireless, Razer’s stripped away the gimmicks and just nailed the fundamentals. The result? A well-made but unremarkable wireless mouse.

                                  Pros

                                  • Lightweight and comfortable
                                  • 2018 edition upgrades to an optical sensor (at last!)
                                  • Double the battery life of the previous model
                                  • Cons

                                    • Lost many of the features that used to set the Mamba line apart
                                    • It’s not a wireless DeathAdder (for some reason)
                                    • No more completely over-the-top charging stand

                                  • Razer Naga Trinity

                                    Read PCWorld’s review$74.99See iton Amazon

                                    Razer’s Naga Trinity finally makes the MMO mouse a little less niche by allowing you to swap in 12-button, 7-button, and 2-button side panels on-the-fly.

                                    Pros

                                    • Interchangeable side panels make the Naga more adaptable
                                    • Not much more expensive than the regular Naga
                                    • Better sensor than the old Naga
                                    • Cons

                                      • Naga shape is still too short and wide, especially as a two-button variant
                                      • No easy way to store the alternate side panels
                                      • 12-button layout as confusing and unintuitive as ever

                                    • Corsair Dark Core SE

                                      Read PCWorld’s review$89.99See iton Corsair

                                      Corsair’s debut wireless mouse, the Dark Core SE, is one of the company’s strongest designs in years, but myriad technical quirks, a poorly-placed thumb button, and over-complicated software hold it back.

                                      Pros

                                      • All-day battery life and an excellent 3360-variant sensor
                                      • Qi charging is a neat gimmick
                                      • Comfortable design, reminiscent of Logitech’s G502
                                      • Cons

                                        • Software is over-complicated and obtuse
                                        • Thumb rocker means you can’t hit Mouse 4 and Mouse 5 at the same time
                                        • Heavy

                                      • Razer Mamba

                                        Read PCWorld’s review$149.99See iton Razer

                                        The wireless Razer Mamba brings some gorgeous hardware and neat gimmicks, but fails to justify its $150 price tag.

                                        Pros

                                        • Elegant appearance
                                        • One of the few wireless gaming mouses
                                        • Cons

                                          • Ridiculously expensive
                                          • Charge lasts about a day, maximum
                                          • Weighted strangely

                                        • Logitech G303 Daedalus Apex

                                          Read PCWorld’s review$354.99See iton Amazon

                                          Logitech’s recent experimental fervor reaches a new milestone with a…diamond-shaped mouse. It’s weird.

                                          Pros

                                          • Low-resistance Left/Right mouse buttons
                                          • Sized for small hands
                                          • Cons

                                            • It’s shaped like a diamond
                                            • It’s. Shaped. Like. A. Diamond.

                                          • SteelSeries Rival 100

                                            Read PCWorld’s review$37.79See iton Newegg

                                            The SteelSeries Rival 100 is a solid option for budget-minded gamers, but some odd design flaws hold it back.

                                            Pros

                                            • Name-brand quality on the cheap
                                            • Decent sensor
                                            • Cons

                                              • Thumb buttons are oddly pointy
                                              • A bit more money would get you a much better mouse
                                              • Almost-ambidextrous shape, but without the ambidextrous perks

                                            • SteelSeries Rival 500

                                              Read PCWorld’s review$74.98See iton Amazon

                                              The Rival 500 isn’t a great mouse, but its innovative thumb layout and the inclusion of haptic feedback are interesting glimpses of the future.

                                              Pros

                                              • Intuitive and useful thumb-button layout
                                              • Beloved PWM3360 sensor
                                              • “Tactile Feedback” is like controller rumble in a mouse
                                              • Cons

                                                • “Tactile Feedback” is only in a handful of games
                                                • Short, squat, and heavy
                                                • Tons of buttons, but none feel great to press

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  • Google Stadia Video Game Controller Revealed At GDC 2019

    At the Game Developers Conference, Google unveiled its vision for the future of video games: a cloud streaming service called Stadia, which gives instant access to play games across Chromebooks, smartphones, tablets, and TVs. In other words, it’s a platform that is accessible through devices you may already own, and it will will be compatible with keyboards and other input devices you might have, too. However, Google will also release its own proprietary Stadia controller, and now we know what it looks like and how it works.

    The Stadia controller was shown off at GDC in three different color schemes. It connects to Google’s servers through Wi-Fi, and it identifies what screen you want to play on. In addition to the standard array of inputs, it also features two unique buttons: one allows you to capture gameplay and share and save it to YouTube, while the other is a Google Assistant button, which accesses the controller’s built-in microphone to get gameplay advice from an assistant. And in a fun reference, the back of the controller is home to the Konami Code.

    The streaming tech behind Stadia is the same that powered the Project Stream test that ran last year, when Google partnered with Ubisoft to stream Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for free through a Chrome browser. The company has made other big moves into the video game space, recently hiring Jade Raymond, best known for her work at Ubisoft and EA. Raymond will head up Stadia Games and Entertainment, a new first-party studio that will develop games exclusively for Stadia.

    Stadia will launch later this year. It’ll be available first in the US, Canada, the UK, and “most of Europe.” Google hasn’t shared any pricing details for the service or its controller, but it promises to reveal more information this summer, including what games will be available at launch “and beyond.” One key detail we don’t know beyond specific pricing is how you’ll buy games–will they be available through a subscription or like a standard game purchase? That remains to be seen, though we know Doom Eternal is coming to Stadia. Odyssey was also featured prominently during the GDC keynote.

    For more on cloud gaming, check out how cloud gaming works and read up on the companies investing heavily in the cloud. Be sure to catch up on all of the Google Stadia gaming news from today’s GDC event.

    Source: Read Full Article

    The Rise of Streamed Gaming Is Video Games’ Scariest New Trend

    Easier access to high-quality games is a good thing, but that’s assuming they actually work.

    Imagine if ten years from now your copy of God of War or Breath of the Wild just didn’t work anymore.

    Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Reviews Editor and resident pie maker, and he doesn’t trust his internet connection. You can follow him on Twitter.

    Source: Read Full Article

    BioWare GM Admits Anthem Had a ‘Rougher Launch Than Expected’

    BioWare general manager Casey Hudson admits that Anthem had a “rougher launch than expected,” though he’s excited for the next stage of the game.

    In a frank blog post, Hudson says “It’s been a wild ride these last few weeks. On the one hand it’s been a rougher launch than expected. But then as I think back we also knew that big new online games tend to hit some kind of problem once they go live, so as much as we tested and prepared to make sure everything was ready, we were also ready for the possibility that unexpected issues might arise at launch. And we continue to be committed to responding to them.”

    Hudson acknowledges that Anthem had “a degree of issues that did not reveal themselves until we were operating at the scale of millions of players,” but claims in the first few weeks following release, BioWare delivered over 200 improvements to the game through patches and live updates across stability, loot and progression.

    “This is all a learning experience for us, and as we work to make sure the game is improved and perfected, we can’t emphasize enough how much we appreciate you staying with us,” said Hudson. “Especially because the next stage is where things really get exciting.” This next stage is set to include a series of world events, new story content, and new features that build towards “the Cataclysm” later this spring.

    In February, BioWare released a patch that made small changes to the loot system, though players remained unhappy with the state of Anthem’s loot. Following this, BioWare revealed it would be making incremental changes to loot systems prior to bigger changes that will occur in the coming months. Most recently, BioWare adjusted Grandmaster loot drops.

    Beyond loot, Anthem received a fix for issues causing PS4s to crash along with several other stability updates. Still, there are other issues with the game we’d like BioWare to fix ASAP.

    Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Please send an email to [email protected]

    Colin Stevens is a news writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.

     

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    What Are Teraflops, and What Do They Tell Us About Google’s Stadia Performance?

    Floating Points

    10.7 teraflops is certainly impressive, but don’t put too much stock in these numbers.

    For reference, the PlayStation 4 Pro cranks out 4.14 teraflops, and the Xbox One X clocks in around 6 teraflops, while their predecessors–the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One/S–did less than 2. NVIDIA’s GTX 1080 does around 8.9 teraflops, provided it has adequate cooling.

    Fuzzy Math

    Whitson Gordon is a writer, gamer, and tech nerd who has been building PCs for ten years. He eats potato chips with chopsticks so he doesn’t get grease on his mechanical keyboard.

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    I’m ashamed it took me so long to try the Yakuza series

    This is not an official review of Yakuza 0, nor is it an official review of Yakuza Kiwami. It can’t be. The former released on PC last August, making this writeup more than six months overdue—or four years, if we time it to the original PS4 release. Kiwami’s PC port is only a few weeks old as I write this, but I just finished Yakuza 0 this week and have only managed to put a few hours into the follow-up.

    That said, I can’t believe it took me so long to give this series a shot.

    Realpolitik

    Okay, maybe it’s not that surprising. The Yakuza series is coming up on fifteen years old now, but until last summer’s Yakuza 0 port the games had been primarily released on PlayStation (and uh…Wii U, of all places). And from talking to friends who are longtime fans, the early games were rough. The core was there, the key elements that make the series so special, but it hadn’t quite gelled yet. The first two games to hit PC are modern Yakuza experiences, of a sort. Yakuza 0 is a prequel made a decade after the fact, and Yakuza Kiwami is a remake of the original game in the same engine as 0.

    So yeah, maybe if I’d tried Yakuza back in 2006 I would’ve walked away.

    What a phenomenal work this is though. The series as it stands stretches from 1988 (in Yakuza 0) all the way through 2016 (Yakuza 6). It primarily follows one protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu, from his earliest days as a mobster across three decades of his life and the challenges he faces. And it also, by extension, follows the evolution of the city he calls home—Kamurocho, modeled after Tokyo’s Kabukicho district.

    That consistency is what makes Yakuza so fascinating to me, so far. I make no secret of the fact I think well-defined characters are infinitely more interesting than the blank slates used by most RPGs. What makes The Witcher 3 a masterpiece is in part Geralt’s narrow worldview, one that sometimes forces the player out of their comfort zone in a way you don’t get with the generic Good Option/Bad Option/Neutral Option paradigm. It’s a game where leaving someone to die can be the right choice for Geralt even if it’s not the right choice morally.

    Yakuza is not a choice-driven game. Kiryu’s story plays out primarily in lengthy cutscenes, and it’s set in stone. This is a playable movie, not a role-playing sandbox.

    But wow, what a story. The stakes feel small, at times. Yakuza 0, if you had to describe it, is a story about a real estate dispute. There’s an empty plot of land in Kamurocho, and a mob-backed building project can’t commence until the owner is found and dealt with. This is not an existential threat. The world goes on, oblivious. Even in Kamurocho, the discussions are more about progress and the changing face of the neighborhood, less about the battles being waged behind the scenes.

    Hell, Kiryu is little more than a bit player in the story. He’s entry-level yakuza at best, a kid in his early 20s. Nobody’s heard of him. Nobody quakes in fear when Kiryu comes around. He takes clothing advice from his friend Nishiki, is very fond of karaoke, and lives by a strict (albeit sometimes questionable) moral code.

    Small stakes, small character. But the real estate crisis isn’t small to Kiryu. It’s a life-changing moment, putting into motion events that will define him for years (and games) to come. By telling us this story through Kiryu’s eyes, it takes on that world-ending characteristic. His stakes become our stakes, and suddenly you find yourself hanging on every word about the Empty Lot and its mysterious owner, and the backroom politicking of Tachibana Real Estate and the rogue Dojima Family.

    It’s some of the most skilled storytelling I’ve seen in a video game, and that’s why I can’t believe it took me so long to give this series a try. I care about storytelling in this medium. It’s the element I find most interesting, and in my years working here we’ve given Game of the Year primarily to those that advanced interactive storytellingWhat Remains of Edith FinchThe Witcher 3Wasteland 2, et cetera.

    Yakuza 0 is right up there. There was a lot of padding in the 50-odd hours I played. There are a lot of side stories that go nowhere, and both Kiryu and fellow protagonist Goro Majima have a time-consuming grind of a subplot that added hours onto my completion time. The character arcs are incredible though—watching Kiryu go from some naive try-hard to a man who knows himself and his values, watching Majima’s ennui turn to passionate rage and then to a sort of manic sadness.

    And the rest of the cast, they have the same depth. The swaggering lieutenant Kuze starts as a one-note foil for Kiryu but ends up a weirdly sympathetic man with his own skewed code of honor. Awano, another lieutenant, reckons with the fact that he gave up his values for a life of luxury. Sagawa, Majima’s main antagonist, takes on almost a father-figure role in the end.

    I’ll admit, I started playing Yakuza because I heard so much about the weirder/sillier elements. Kiryu, for instance, becomes a real estate mogul in Yakuza 0, snatching up properties across Kamurocho. Notably, you can recruit managers into your company, and one of the potential managers you unlock is a chicken. A chicken named Nugget, for that matter. I remember hearing that and thinking “Well damn, I have to play this now.”

    Those moments are in there, and as entertaining as you’d expect. I laughed multiple times at a Majima side story involving a cult. Another favorite involved a shy dominatrix, and a flustered Kiryu’s attempts to teach her how to do her job better.

    And even after 50 hours, I never grew tired of Majima’s “Breaker” combat style, an ultra-stylish form that was part-martial arts, part-break dancing. It’s equal parts absurd and overpowered, and I miss it now that I’ve moved on to Kiwami.

    When I look back over my screenshots though, so many are of emotional story beats—betrayals, or two old friends forced into conflict by outside circumstances, or people coming to terms with grief. There’s more character development in Yakuza 0 alone than most studios could manage in a seven-game series. And again, it’s not just Kiryu’s arc, or Majima’s. Plenty of games build up an interesting protagonist, given enough time. Yakuza’s cast numbers dozens of characters though, and even a lot of the B- and C-tier players are handled with a care that belies deep affection.

    That affection extends to the world as well. On the one hand this slice of Kamurocho is very video game-y. I remember opening the map at the start of Yakuza 0 and being like, “That’s it?” It’s maybe five blocks in each direction, a pittance compared to the sprawl of something like Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey. And yet Yakuza 0 feels somehow more real, with its cramped convenience stores, its food carts and restaurants, its back-alley bars and concrete-ridden parks and karaoke dens.

    I was even more delighted when I loaded up Kiwami and realized it was the same map, only years later—wandering around, seeing which stores had changed, which had stayed the same, what replaced a certain Empty Lot. With video games, there’s often this sense that reusing old assets is “cheating,” and yet here it helps ground the series. It makes Kamurocho feel even more real, seeing it age through the decades just as Kiryu ages, the two intertwined in each other’s stories.

    We so rarely get that digital nostalgia, that ability to “revisit” a place we’ve never actually been but remember like an old vacation. BioShock Infinite did it with Rapture, and The Elder Scrolls Online did it with Morrowind, but it’s still exciting when it happens, when a setting becomes a character in its own right. Kamurocho is one of those places, and it shows in every single detail crammed into its cluttered streets.

    Bottom line

    So yeah, perhaps this isn’t a traditionally structured review per se, but it is as strong a recommendation as I can give: Go play Yakuza. I’ve heard both Kiwami and are good places to start—Kiwami if you think a shorter and more focused experience has a better chance of hooking you (and if you want to understand a few references when you eventually play the prequel), 0 if you want to play chronologically.

    Either way, give it a shot. The series isn’t perfect by any means. Combat gets tedious, Yakuza 0’s save system is a bit of a pain, the side stories are definitely hit or miss, and I will never understand how to play Mahjong. But it’s an incredible reproduction of a time and a place. Few series have demonstrated this much care for their world, or the people who live in it, and it makes Yakuza an experience to be treasured.

    I’m just glad I have five more games left to discover after Kiwami’s credits roll.

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    Update: The Google Stadia GDC Keynote Has Concluded

    Update: The GDC 2019 keynote from Google resulted in the announcement of Google Stadia. You can read all about it here.

    Original Story:

    Google has teased a big announcement in the gaming space, and you can watch it right here in the header of this article when the stream goes live at 1 p.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Pacific.

    We don’t know a ton about the impending announcement, but it comes on the heels of a test of Project Stream, a stream-based gaming service that, during the test, let users play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey through Google Chrome on PCs that typically wouldn’t be able to handle such a demanding game. We also got a glimpse of a potential controller design through a patent.

    It all happens at 1 p.m. Eastern/10 a.m. Pacific. We’ll also have plenty of additional information on the site, so be sure to come back after the dust settles on the announcement.

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