Get a wireless Xbox One controller for $40

If you’re looking to supplement your mouse and keyboard with a game controller—some games are just better suited for a controller—you can snag a wireless Xbox One controller for $40 at Amazon.

We lean towards the PlayStation DualShock 4 when shunning our keyboard and mouse, but it’s largely a matter of preference. Either way, it’s always nice to catch one on sale. That’s the case right now for the Xbox One wireless controller, which is currently marked to $50 at most places. However, Amazon has them beat at $40.

The Xbox One controller is compatible with Windows 10 via Bluetooth. It has a textured grip and a built-in 3.5mm stereo headset jack.

What more is there to say? It’s a game controller, it’s on sale, and you can find it here.

Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info.

Nintendo has hired the creator of indie shoot-em-up Downwell

Nintendo has hired the creator of reverse-shmup Downwell. As one hawk-eyed ResetEra user spotted, Ojiro ‘Moppin’ Fumoto tweeted the news out earlier today, though he previously announced the hiring last month on Facebook

The tweets are in Japanese, but according to my knowledge of Japanese and a little help from three online translators, they roughly translate to: “I got a job at Nintendo! I’ll do my best” and “Days are shorter when you’re working.” 

Sadly, this likely won’t lead to much for PC gamers, seeing as how Nintendo says it has no interest in putting its games on PC. Even so, it’s nice to see a talented indie developer who started on PC take his talents to a big studio. It’s also an interesting talking point in the Nintendo Switch gold rush, which has been a huge boon for many indie devs. 

As our own Tom Senior wrote in 2016, Downwell is a simple game hiding layer upon satisfying layer of hidden depth. Equipped with gun boots, you fall down procedurally generated levels in a seemingly bottomless well shooting baddies and meeting merchants. It’s all about racking up bigger combos and falling deeper each time, which is an incredibly absorbing cycle. If you want to try it yourself, you’ll find Downwell for $3 on Steam and GOG

Moppin is also part of the development team of UFO 50, one of of our most anticipated indie games of 2018. UFO 50 is a collection of 50 small games that span 2D platformers to golf games to RPGs. It’s a collaborative effort by a huge team of indie devs, including Spelunky creator Derek Yu. At this point it isn’t clear what Moppin’s hiring means for the game, if anything. Have a look at its announcement trailer:  

Comedy survival game SOS is now in Early Access, and Snoop Dogg is streaming it

Update: Looks like it’s over. VOD embedded above.

Yesterday, James and I discussed our time with SOS, a 16-player survival game which encourages loose alliances and betrayals, and where half the goal is to entertain viewers. This morning, it released on Steam Early Access—and now Snoop Dogg is streaming it on behalf of developers Outpost Games.

You can watch Snoop’s stream on Twitch above, or on Hero, where you can react with emojis. It’s exactly what you’d expect. Most impressive is how Snoop is able to play with one hand:

SOS is $30 on Steam for the base game, and there are a couple of more expensive packs that include in-game clothes and emotes. I’m still debating whether or not I like it, but sure, I’ll watch Snoop Dogg play it for now.

Update: Some sick no-hands play below. (Yes, he’s obviously not steering, but whatever.)

The Destiny 2 Faction Rally is over and Future War Cult didn’t win (again)

The Destiny 2 weekly reset has taken place, and that means the latest Faction Rally is now over. The big winner this time around is the gang adorned in shiny red and watched over by James Remar, better known to the world as Dexter’s dad and that guy from the show your mom watches. 

Pledges will no longer be able to earn tokens for their faction, but will have another week—until the next reset—to cash in any that they still have kicking around. The winner’s weapon, an auto rifle called Loquitor IV, is also now up for purchase. It looks like a fairly decent piece and it’s available to anyone, but if you’re not a New Monarchy adherent than you’d better brace yourself for a bit of sticker shock: Members of the winning faction can buy it for 1000 glimmer, but everyone else has to cough up 50,000.   

The Faction Rally got off to a rough start when players discovered that Bungie was throttling token drops in an effort to combat excess Lost Sector farming. Bungie later acknowledged that it had mishandled the issue, and that its solution to the farming problem was “too disruptive.” A change to the system “that won’t make players feel forced to run to and from a single chest for hours while also not placing a hard stop on enjoying Lost Sectors” should be in place for the new Faction Rally.

This is the second Faction Rally win for New Monarchy; Dead Orbit, aka the Space Goths, have one win, while Future War Cult continues with the goose egg.   

The Steam Lunar New Year Sale will reportedly return in February

You may recall that a couple of years ago, Steam followed up its big Winter Sale with a Lunar New Year Sale in early February. It didn’t happen in 2017 for some reason, but if the word out of Steam Database is correct, it’ll be coming back for 2018 in just a few weeks. 

That’s a shorter run than most Steam sales, although it’s not too far off of the most recent Halloween and Autumn Sales, which lasted a week each. And while the report obviously isn’t confirmed at this point, it’s fair to sale that Steam sales just don’t happen these days without the dates being leaked well in advance.   

Steam Direct, by the way, is the replacement for Steam Greenlight that Valve rolled out last summer. Simplistically, it enables pretty much anyone will to drop 100 bucks to be a Steam developer, which is extremely accessible and convenient, but not necessarily the most secure system ever devised.

Unconfirmed though it may be, the leak is still a sufficient excuse to indulge in my favorite thing about Steam sales. I will never get tired of these. (Take note: Game of Thrones spoilers within. Conduct yourselves accordingly.)

Denuvo has been bought by the company that tried to force Overwatch porn offline

Digital security company Irdeto announced today that it has acquired Denuvo, the anti-tampering software company that gamers love to hate. Irdeto said in a statement that the acquisition will enable it to “grow the addressable market for its core technology and anti-piracy services.” 

Denuvo is best known as an anti-piracy tool, although some recent versions of the software haven’t held up very well against the efforts of crackers. But Irdeto also emphasized the technology’s value as an anti-cheating tool for online gaming, saying that it can be used to keep players from “manipulating and distorting data and code to gain an advantage over other gamers or bypass in-game micro-transactions.”

“The success of any game title is dependent upon the ability of the title to operate as the publisher intended,” Irdeto CEO Doug Lowther said in a statement. “As a result, protection of both the game itself and the gaming experience for end users is critical. Our partnership brings together decades of security expertise under one roof to better address new and evolving security threats. We are looking forward to collaborating as a team on a number of initiatives to improve our core technology and services to better serve our customers.”

But modders are living proof that games don’t need to “operate as the publisher intended” to succeed, and despite the value of anti-cheat protections to publishers, one of the most common complaints about Denuvo is that the technology also dramatically degrades performance. Whether those complaints are accurate or not, the bottom line is that from the publisher’s perspective, the DRM works well enough to keep using. Denuvo 4.8, which is used to protect Assassin’s Creed: Origins among other games, was only cracked yesterday, according to DSOG. That’s a long stretch for DRM technology to hold out, and thanks to the presence of VMProtect alongside Denuvo, Origins itself still hasn’t been cracked. 

Denuvo is a familiar name to a lot of gamers, but Irdeto might ring a bell, too: They’re the outfit that tried to force Overwatch porn off the internet. (It didn’t work.)

Gorgeous RTS card game hybrid Golem Gates coming this March

Golem Gates is a card-powered RTS game from former Epic Games folks. It launched on Steam Early Access last December, and developer Laser Guided Games says it will officially release on March 28. 

One main goal of the card system is fast-forwarding through the building stage seen in most RTS games. Your units and buildings are determined by the ‘glyphs’ you put into your deck, which can also contain traps, buffs and debuffs. You deploy glyphs as you draw them, speeding up development and putting a bit of RNG into each match. 

As it stands, Golem Gates supports multiple singleplayer and multiplayer modes, including bot fights, standard PvP, and survival mode. A full campaign is also planned for the final release, along with additional maps. Nearly 100 different glyphs are also already available. 

Golem Gates is a collaborative effort by Laser Guided Games and their partner Hollow Earth, a design studio containing visual artists who worked on films like Avengers: Infinity War, which shows in its dark yet flashy artwork. The studio says it’s set in a dark fantasy world, but its plentiful and pretty particle effects are anything but. 

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is very cheap on Steam right now

During the holidays I started a new playthrough of Dragon’s Dogma, and while I barely made a dent in it (it’s a long game), it did remind me that there’s still nothing else like it. The sense of going on adventurous expeditions rather than simply ticking off quest icons is what I love most about it, but I love pretty much everything else too (except for the absence of the original and best intro theme).

Anyway, it’s super cheap on Steam at the moment – $۹٫۹۹, down from the usual $29.99. At that price (and assuming you have the money) it’s pretty much essential. And if you don’t like it, you can either a) let it sit unplayed in your library forever or b) maybe try having better opinions? 

Leif enjoyed it back when he reviewed the PC edition in 2016. “The PC port doesn’t introduce much new and certain elements could be stronger, but Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen still shines as a uniquely enjoyable RPG,” he wrote.


PUBG removes weapons from starting island, spreads spawn areas in bid to boost server performance

PUBG’s pre-match starting island is the pits. And even if being punched in the privates for 40 straight seconds while someone else screams expletives in your face is your idea of fun—watching your performance cough and splutter as your fps nosedives below 20 surely isn’t. 

The game’s latest patch targets the latter (for the former: mute lobby sound. Always mute lobby sound) by introducing multiple spawn areas, designed to prevent players from gathering in the same place at the same time. In turn, this aims to boost server performance. Likewise, weapons have also been removed from the starting island.

“Through the last patch, we were able to improve server and client performance by adjusting the visible distance while the character is in the air,” says this Steam Community update. “In the current patch we are spreading out the pre-match starting locations. Previously, all the players would spawn together at the same location awaiting the start of the match.”

The post adds: “Lots of interaction among multiple players in such a small area had a high impact on the servers. To solve this, we have introduced multiple areas where players gather before the match start. As a result, the performance, both server and client-side, has improved.”

The developer adds that “additional modifications” tied to airplane performance are also planned, which we should expect more on soon. 

In the wake of its 100,000-player “single wave” ban—not to mention official banned player figures pushing 1.5 million—PUBG Corp is also testing a new anti-cheat measure said to be “still under development”. As always, when the above tweaks are stable on test servers, they’ll be applied to the live ones. 

Destiny 2 is ‘not in a good place’, says analyst in wake of microtransaction concerns

Destiny 2 has had a rough ride in recent months. Bungie upset fans with its shoddy implementation of microtransactions, hidden XP throttling, and poorly communicated Faction Rally token tweaks. The developer has since apologised for each misstep in turn, however a quick glance at the game’s subreddit suggests players’ patience is wearing thin. 

Now, a Wall Street market analyst has declared Destiny 2 as “not in a good place”, with player interest in the space opera shooter in decline. 

As reported by CNBC, Doug Creutz, of financial services firm Cowen, reckons Destiny 2 is faltering—the reasons for which he detailed in a note to clients entitled “Destiny is Not in a Good Place.”

It reads: “While Call of Duty: WWII clearly had a great holiday, which likely sets up strong franchise live services revenue in 2018, Destiny 2 is struggling right now with player engagement appearing to be on the wane. We are a bit cautious that potentially disappointing live service revenue there could at least partially offset upside from CoD in 2018.”

Creutz blames Destiny 2’s end game—which he says is “neutered” compared to its forerunner—and Bungie’s implementation of microtransactions as reasons behind the game’s decline. He also suggests the developer’s response to player feedback has lacked urgency, and that its failure to adequately outline the game’s roadmap has put players off. 

According to Creutz, Twitch viewership is also at a “franchise-low” averaging 4,000—۷,۰۰۰ last week, against the original Destiny’s 14,000—۱۷,۰۰۰ this time last year.  

“We do think Bungie still has some opportunity to fix the game’s problems over the next year and recapture engagement, but we’re not sure they have the ability to pull it off at this point,” adds Creutz. “We also note that Destiny currently has more serious competition in its genre from a refurbished Division and the indie title Warframe than it did three years ago, when D1 had its own share of player dissatisfaction.”

We’ve reached out to Bungie for comment on Creutz’ claims. We’ll update as and when we hear back.