GAMES

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A new rumor suggests Microsoft is looking into acquiring Electronic Arts (EA) to bolster its slate of exclusive games for the Xbox One. It’s no secret that Microsoft has been struggling with developing and publishing a steady stream of Xbox exclusive games, especially compared to Sony’s catalog for the PlayStation 4, which includes titles such as God of WarSpider-Man, and The Last of Us: Part II. That doesn’t mean, however, that Microsoft doesn’t have their own exciting titles on the horizon.

Xbox players can look forward to games such as Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 releasing this year. While those games may sell exceptionally well, they don’t pose much of a threat to the competition. The lack of exclusive games is certainly an issue, but publishing first-party titles may not actually be Microsoft’s fundamental goal anymore. With the release of the Xbox One X, and the talking points about giving consumers the best hardware to play their games on, it seems that Microsoft is shifting away from a content-based strategy and more towards a technology-first strategy. Still, they need exclusive games to keep their consumers interested in titles that aren’t available everywhere else – and acquiring a major third-party studio could be their answer to that predicament.

A recent article from Polygon indicates Microsoft’s interest in acquiring a major third-party studio to prop up its exclusive games. Among the names listed are Valve, Electronic Arts, and PUBG Corp. While Microsoft has toyed with acquiring Valve and PUBG Corp in the past, EA is the most recent company that’s landed on their radar.

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Although it wouldn’t be their first major acquisition, purchasing EA would be a departure from their strategy of rounding up major franchises under their belt and establishing new studios to develop those properties. For instance, Microsoft has procured HaloMinecraft, and Gears of War in recent years, and they have entire studios dedicated to developing those titles through Microsoft Studios. But the notion of acquiring EA means the console manufacturer may be looking into purchasing an entire archive of games – such as AnthemBattlefront, and all the EA sports titles – to quickly expand their console exclusive slate. It’s also possible that Microsoft could employ a similar initiative to the one they have with Minecraft and publish EA’s games for multiple platforms, but reap the benefits of doing so. They could, then, maintain their tech-first strategy.

Of course, making a bid for PUBG Corp might be in their best interest, seeing as the Xbox One is the only console at the moment that supports PUBG. By acquiring the company (and the game), they can prevent PUBG from releasing on the PS4, and possibly even speed up production on new maps and features for the PC version. But we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

February’s Free Games With Gold Includes Assassin’s Creed, Shadow Warrior

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We’re rolling full steam ahead into the 2018 and, with February just around the corner, it’s time to check out the latest collection of Games with Gold. Xbox One fans will be doing a boatload of stabbing, while the Xbox 360 crowd will be spending a lot of time behind the wheel.

We can only assume February’s Games with Gold offerings were themed intentionally, because they’re just too perfectly paired to be an accident. We’ll get down to the nitty-gritty details in a moment, but here’s a rundown of the four games up for grabs. The Xbox One crowd can play Shadow Warrior and Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India for no cost on top of their Gold subscription, while the Xbox 360 faithful can enjoy both Split/Second and Crazy Taxi.

 
 

As noted above, this games are “free” so long as you have a Gold membership, which will set you back about $60 for the year. The February lineup alone is worth $70, so whether or not that’s a sound investment is up to you. We’re not here to tell you how to spend your money.

It’s also worth noting that, thanks to the Xbox One’s backwards compatibility and the Games with Gold program’s commitment to taking full advantage of it, both of February’s Xbox 360 games can be played on the Xbox One. In other words, owners of the more modern hardware can count this as four new offerings for their virtual game collection.

Beginning with the Xbox One, you’ve got Shadow Warrior and Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India to look forward to. The former is an extremely over-the-top FPS that earns a hard M rating. But while there are plenty of firearms to discover, the real joy of Shadow Warrior comes from slicing and dicing your opponents with all manner of sharp weaponry.

ACCI also likes to get stabby-stabby, only in the form of a 2D platforming. Unlike the main series of Assassin’s Creed games, India is one of the collection of side stories that’s more focused and, again, a straightforward action platformer rather than an open 3D epic.

Shadow Warrior will be available from Feb. 1 through Feb. 28, with ACCI up for grabs from Feb. 16 through March 15.

Over to the Xbox 360 and we’ve got Split/Second available from Feb. 1 through Feb. 15 with Crazy Taxi on offer from Feb. 16 through Feb. 28.

If you were a fan of 90s arcades of the Sega Dreamcast, you are likely well aware of the phenomenal (and phenomenally simple) Crazy Taxi. You’re tasked with driving a cab all over the city, picking up and dropping off fares as you go. Take too long, though, and the timer will run out. Your job is to chain together rides as quickly as possible, figuring out the quickest ways to compete the longest routes in order to earn bigger and bigger paydays.

And then there’s Split/Second, one of the most criminally overlooked racing games of all time. The game looks great, controls super well, and offers courses ripped straight out of every action movie known to man. The hook is that, unlike kart racers where you fire weapons at your opponents, you can trigger varying levels of map-based events to get in the way of the other drivers. From small explosions and obstacles to literal planes landing in your path, the game plays out like a breakneck trek through the Fast and Furious franchise.

Madden NFL Competitions Are Coming To Television

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The Madden NFL series has a strong following and are huge sellers every single year. Gamers love the games, EA loves putting them out, and even some of the actual NFL players are into it. Well, I suppose it makes sense that Madden NFLcompetitions would be eligible for airing on television, right?

According to Game Informer, EA signed a deal with ESPN and Disney XD, where some Madden NFL eSports competitions will air on national cable television. In fact, during Super Bowl LII on February 1st, it’s being reported that you’ll be able to pop on your tele and tune into ESPN2 to check out the Madden NFL 18 Club Championship finals. So there will be two big football sporting events happening over the course of the Super Bowl weekend.

 
 

Additionally, the report notes that Disney XD will also be airing Madden NFL 18 games at some undisclosed point in February, giving gamers and sports fans an opportunity to check out the eSports division of some of the industry’s most popular games. Disney XD also is shy in airing other popular games on the network as well, such as Overwatch, which actually seems to fit right in line with Disney’s content given how similar the entire visual aesthetic of the series is to Disney’s Pixar branch.

There’s also going to be special coverage of Madden NFL’s Ultimate Challenge, which is a one-on-one competition between the 16 very best players of the game around the world. The tournament will be broadcast across ESPN2 starting February 2nd. The broadcasting deal for this particular tournament isn’t for very long, though, and will run for only two and a half months to the middle of April.

However, ESPN already has a line-up of other content set to air for Madden NFL following the conclusion of the Ultimate Challenge. Starting in April, there will be an episodic program based around the Ultimate League, which will chronicle the journey some players make toward the big time in the eSports league for EA Sports’ premiere football game. This series will air on ESPN every Tuesday night at 9pm Eastern Standard Time. The series will only run for a few weeks up until May 1st the following month. And given that this will air during the downtime of the football off season, there shouldn’t be too many complaints from fans of the real-life NFL about eSports clogging up the programming, especially considering that the electronic sports pastime gets a lot of flak from fans of real sports because they claim that eSports isn’t a real sport.

EA Sports is also apparently rearranging the way the in-game quality of life features work so that players will be able to easily follow the eSports action taking place through the broadcasts with an update for Madden NFL 18.

Of course, EA wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to also get in on the Ultimate Team action, which is why there will be special Madden Ultimate Team content packs made available for a limited time to coincide with the Ultimate League broadcasts that will air on ESPN.

What’s Happening With For Honor Season 5

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Ubisoft launched For Honor last year for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The game managed to secure itself a solid base of players. Over the course of the year Ubisoft has been pumping out new content and new characters, along with new maps and modes. Well, here’s what’s happening for For Honor‘s fifth season.

Gamespot is reporting that Season 5 for For Honor will get underway on February 15th next month. This will apply for PC, PS4 and Xbox One owners, and the season will be called the Age of Wolves; a reference to the main villain’s goal throughout the campaign mode of the game.

 
 

The start of the season will introduce one of the most requested features for the game: Dedicated servers. This was something that was brought up well before the game released. In fact, back during the closed beta tests, gamers had repeatedly requested from Ubisoft to implement dedicated servers to cut down on disconnections, to limit the amount of dropped games from server host migration, and to improve the latency synch between players. However, it was a feature that went ignored throughout the entirety of 2017, but will be one of the first priorities to be implemented for Season 5 in February.

The dedicated servers will remove sessions migration from the hosts, and it will also remove the need to resynch to a newly migrated host, along with providing more stability and security for all players across every platform.

The exact implementation of dedicated servers for all players will be revealed at a later date, but it will arrive during Season 5 of For Honor.

Spider-Man PS4 Video Game Release Date May Have Been Revealed

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The Spider-Man PS4 game may have just had its release date revealed, if a posting from a Swedish online retailer is to be believed. The title, which is being developed by Resistance and Sunset Overdrive studio Insomniac Games, is one of the most-wanted games of 2018, and has been wowing would-be players with a series of extremely impressive game trailers, including one from Paris Games Week 2017 that showcased how cinematic this Spider-Man video game will be.

These trailers gave fans of Spider-Man a good look at the potential that the game has, and further information released by Insomniac over the course of last year painted an even better picture. The title’s gameplay reveal at E3 2017 was enough to get the pulse racing, while an after credits teaser to the footage let players in to the fact that Miles Morales would be in the game. In spite of the information revealed, however, there was one tidbit still mis

Now, that information may have been released, but it’s not exactly come from an official source. Instead, the potential release date for Spider-Man for PS4 has been leaked by Swedish online retailer Coolshop. Over at the retailer’s website, the page for the game has now given a release date, and according to Coolshop PS4 players will be able to pick up Spider-Man on September 28, 2018.

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Of course, it’s worth noting that the release date is far from confirmed by anyone at Sony or at Insomniac Games, so it’s not exactly verified just yet. With that in mind, Spider-Man fans might be better off writing this date in the diary in pencil rather than pen. Nonetheless, it’s still an interesting potential release date for the game, particularly given that it hardly sounds like a typical placeholder date for a game release.

Something that also might point towards the accuracy of this release date is Coolshop’s history with leaked launch dates for games. The retailer confirmed the release date for Grand Theft Auto 5 in advance of developer Rockstar, for instance, and its previous accuracy has left lots of gamers interested in some other early release dates that Coolshop has given, such as a potential June release date for Red Dead Redemption 2.

With that in mind, a September release for Spider-Man certainly seems plausible. However, the true release date won’t be known until Insomniac Games is ready to announce it. Hopefully, that time will come soon – and perhaps then gamers will have a better idea about whether Spider-Man truly can help the PS4 reach 100 million units sold.