The future of PC gaming: eSports, livestreaming, and fiber Internet

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Wes Fenlon at

All week long, we're peering ahead to what the future holds for the PC gaming industry. Not just the hardware and software in our rigs, but how and where we use them, and how they impact the games we play. Here's part two of our five-part series; stay tuned all week for more from the future of PC gaming.

The future of PC gaming is online. So is the present, actually—Twitch livestreams and massive League of Legends tournaments are already integral pieces of the PC gaming community. As the audiences for livestreams and eSports surge over the next few years, our broadband infrastructure's going to be hard-pressed to keep up. Here's our look at what the future holds for online gaming: bigger and better eSports, the culture of livestreaming, and the slow spread of fiber Internet that could hold us back from our gigabit dreams.

GOG drops regional pricing as "mistake," apologizes

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Ian Birnbaum at

GOG has reversed its decision to include regional pricing on some upcoming games, calling it a “mistake” after nearly 10,000 (mostly negative) comments poured into their forums. In a thorough apology, GOG co-founders Marcin Iwinski and Guillaume Rambourg write that they should never have made that call.

Citybound, an offline and moddable city-building sim announced

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Patrick Carlson at

With Citybound, designer Anselm Eickhoff has a simple goal—"to do something crazy." A 21-year-old computer science student in Munich, Germany, he originally set out to make an alternative to SimCity, according to a story at Gamasutra. Citybound will be browser-based and run offline, with moddability as "a priority, not an afterthought," according to Eickhoff's dev blog.


The Witcher 3 delayed, now due February 2015

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Phil Savage at

Geralt's traditionally stoic face may be slightly more scowly than usual today. CD Projekt have announced that they're delaying The Witcher 3 until early next year. Originally, the game was due out around the end this year. It's not the longest delay imaginable, then, but one that instantly makes this year feel both slightly less special and (from a free time perspective) slightly more manageable.


Tropico 5 screenshots show the political circus, also the actual circus

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Phil Savage at

Much like its predecessors, Tropico 5 is a good looking game. Its sumptuous, characterful depiction of island life is almost in direct contrast to the murky dealings of its corrupt and devious president. That'd be you, you wrong'un. At least while you engage in the shady business of domestic surveillance, international double-dealing, and economic embezzlement, you'll have some bright, sunny scenery to marvel at.


Giveaway: grab access to this weekend's Elder Scrolls Online beta test

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Tom Senior at

Hail, adventurer! Will you take up your sword in the name of Tamriel and join the grand struggle to — AHEM — sorry, I was momentarily possessed by the spirit of a passing fantasy RPG NPC there. An occasional occurrence in PCG towers. I meant to say "would you like to play The Elder Scrolls Online this weekend?" If [yes] then [proceed to rest of article]. There you will find instructions for grabbing one of the thousand keys we have to giveaway for this weekend's beta test. First come, first served!


The Rift Report: Star Wars, virtual trucks and memory implants

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Andy Kelly at

Every Tuesday Andy straps on the Oculus Rift and dives headfirst into the world of virtual reality. Is it really the future of PC gaming? Let’s find out.

When I first heard about how amazing Oculus Rift was, I was unconvinced. I’m naturally wary of any technology heralded as THE FUTURE, because I know that, in most cases, we’ll look back at ourselves and laugh at how excited we got about such rubbish technology. But then I stuck my head in one and was instantly converted. Now I’ve become a tedious VR evangelist, bending the ear of anyone who’ll listen about how incredible it is, and forcing people to sit at my desk and try it for themselves. So to give the guys in the office peace, I’ve decided to start this new weekly report on all things VR, both for people curious about the tech, and those of you who already own a Rift.

Arma 3's final campaign DLC gets a release date and new details

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Phil Savage at

Uh-oh, it's a news about a military simulation. I'd better break out that list of military jargon, so I can at least appear to know what I'm talking about... Ah good, now I can cheesedick my way through this article.

Arma 3's final DLC campaign will be deploying next week, giving the game's buyers free access to the final third of its singleplayer story. Called "Win", it's probably no surprise how things are going to end, but - up until that inevitable conclusion - will give players a taste of the largest-scale combat yet seen in its episodes. It'll made available on March 20th.


Frog Fractions 2 appears on Kickstarter, will not be called Frog Fractions 2

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Phil Savage at

There are a lot of strange things planned for the Frog Fractions 2 Kickstarter. None of them will make sense if you haven't played the original Frog Fractions, so you should go and do that. Most of them still won't make sense if you have played the original Frog Fractions, but at least you'll have a fighting chance. The ostensibly edutainment-based fraction-'em-up is getting a sequel, except it won't be called Frog Fractions 2. This is all going to take some explaining, so I'll meet you on the other side of the Kickstarter pitch video.


Hearthstone community manager says beta is "drawing near to the end"

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Phil Savage at

Blizzard could soon be giving the stamp of approval to their magic internet wizard cards. In a post on the Hearthstone forum, community manager Christina "Zeriyah" Sims revealed that the collectable card game's beta test was "drawing near to the end". While the free-to-play title is currently available to all in open beta, the approaching full release is a sign that the major fixes and balance tweaks are nearly complete, and should act as a good point for new players to jump on board.*


Titanfall early unlock: here's how to bypass the regional launch restrictions

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Phil Savage at

Yesterday, we posted the deployment times for Titanfall's staggered international launch. If you're in a zone that's on the right side of this arbitrary line, congratulations! I hope you enjoy ripping off some robo-arms. If you're not, then - even if the game's pre-loaded - Origin won't allow you into its many gigabytes of goodness. Well, it won't unless you engage in some magic internet trickery.

The good news is that Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella has confirmed over Twitter that, as long as they're playing on legitimately purchased copies, users bypassing regional restrictions won't be banned. Given that, there seems little harm in providing an easy to follow, step-by-step guide to getting into the game. Stand by for Titanfall.


PC Gamer US issue #251: The Future of PC Gaming

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PC Gamer at

Travel with us to the future to see what PC gaming has become: Are we living in Oculus Rift-powered virtual reality? Surrounded by 4K monitors? Streaming games to more eyes than the Super Bowl over fiber broadband? This month's cover story is all about the incredible changes ahead as our immortal hobby evolves. And speaking of the future, we also talk to Dean Hall about what's next for DayZ—arrows, knives, spears, dogs, and a lot more—and deliver our preliminary alpha review of the standalone game.


Costume Quest 2 officially announced, arrives this Halloween

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Ian Birnbaum at

Costume Quest 2 is really happening, according to an interview Double Fine’s Tim Schafer gave to IGN. A direct follow-up to 2010’s Costume Quest, the sequel will have “more costumes” and “deeper combat.” Brother-and-sister duo Wren and Reynold also return as the main characters fighting their way through Halloween and collecting absurd amounts of candy.


The future of PC gaming: the living room

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Cory Banks at

If anyone can direct and dictate the course of PC gaming for the next 10 years, it’s Valve. The creators of Steam—and a little game called Half-Life—have already changed how we get our games, and the prices we’re willing to pay for them. Now the company is going one step further, with an initiative that will expand where PC games are played.

It’s a plan comprised of three parts: SteamOS, the open-source operating system compiled by Valve and running on the Linux kernel; Steam Machines, PCs that are custom-built for living in an entertainment center; and Steam Controller, Valve’s solution to the input issues that have made living room computing, at best, an uncomfortable compromise. The message, according to Valve, is simple: “You want to bring your Steam library onto your sofa, and we’re building the best way for you to do that.”


The future of PC gaming: exploring the trends and technology of the next five years

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Wes Fenlon at

Steam Machines and virtual realities, 4K monitors and fiber Internet—these are a few of the techno-ingredients coming together to form the exciting future of PC gaming. We've been thinking hard about where PC hardware and Internet technologies and eSports are going over the next few years, and all week we'll be posting our research and predictions about PC gaming's future.

Sit back, imagine you're strapping on an Oculus Rift, and get ready for a sneak peek at what the future holds. We think it'll look a little something like this...


Titanfall in motion: gifs from the final version

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Chris Thursten at

Titanfall is one of those games that looks better in motion. Its attractiveness is owed to animation more than texture resolution or lighting. Here are a selection of moments from my time with the review version of the game that show off why this is one of the most exciting new shooters in years.


Proven Lands is a sci-fi survival roguelike, seeks funding on Kickstarter

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Phil Savage at

It's been a sc-fi kind of day in the PC gaming news ship. From mecha-judgement to pixellated piracy, the future will be filled with robots, adventure and so very much punching. All that's been missing is some synth-heavy exploration and survival. Fortunately, there's Proven Lands, a roguelike sandbox that hopes to scratch that '70s sci-fi itch.


4K screenshot showcase - Metro: Last Light

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PC Gamer at

Welcome to the 4K screenshot showcase, in which resident screen-grabbing enthusiast Ben Griffin presents a series of images at lovely, almost prohibitively massive 4k resolutions. Whether you're after a new desktop background, or just want to see some luscious images of the PC's best looking games, you'll find what you're looking for within. This week, Ben tunnels into the strange and beautiful labyrinths of Metro: Last Light.


Space Noir announcement trailer offers lots of space, not very much noir

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Phil Savage at

Space Noir is a really good name for a game, although possibly not for this game. I say this because, judging from NFusion's announcement trailer, it doesn't seem to be very 'noir'. It's got a lava world, for one thing. Supposedly merging the developer's previous games, Deus Ex: The Fall and the tablet-only Air Mail, the brooding aerial dogfighter is making its way to both PC and tablets.


Titanfall review in progress

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Chris Thursten at

Don't skip to the score just yet, folks, because you won't find one. We're not finalising our review of Titanfall until we've had a chance to test it properly on live servers. The following represents my thoughts on the game after ten hours of play at an EA-run event last week. The version I played was final, and I've seen the entirety of the campaign as both factions as well as every mode, map, and weapon - but until we know for sure that EA's servers are capable of handling the stress of launch, the game doesn't get PC Gamer's endorsement. As ever, it's worth waiting to hear launch-day impressions before you commit your cash.

Titanfall is the last place you'd expect to find restraint. This is a bombastic, big money multiplayer shooter where robots fall from space; where jetpack-equipped 'pilots' dash over, alongside and through sci-fi cityscapes; where AI-controlled minions are shot, trampled, kicked and blown up by the squadload. It's a game where you'll run up a wall, jet into the air, lock onto a platoon of grunts with your smart pistol and eliminate them all as you land. It's a game where you'll drop a forty-foot robot titan onto another forty-foot robot titan just to see if you can.

It's a game where you will do all of these things - and more - constantly, thanks to lean, intelligent multiplayer design. Titanfall is silly on the surface and clever underneath, and this cleverness is characterised, somewhat counter-intuitively, by restraint.