Amazon buys Twitch: 9 ways it can be a better platform for PC gamers

Evan Lahti at

Amazon bought Twitch for $970 million on Monday, a surprise acquisition after the rumor that Google was pursuing Twitch for a similar sum. It’s tough to predict how the purchase will change how we broadcast and spectate PC games, or how Amazon will fold the world’s biggest livestreaming service into its existing media and referral services. But to expect Amazon’s acquisition to have no impact on Twitch is unrealistic.

“We’re keeping most everything the same,” Twitch’s CEO Emmett Shear writes in a post announcing the sale of his company. In a separate press release, Shear says that Amazon ownership will allow it to “create tools and services faster than we could have independently.” As users and casters ourselves on Twitch, here’s a wish list (an Amazon Wish List, perhaps) of the new features we’re interested in seeing and the aspects of Twitch we’d like to remain in tact.

Metro 2033 Redux comparison video: original vs. Redux at 2560 x 1440

PC Gamer at

Last week we gave you our review of Metro 2033 Redux, but today you can judge the graphical differences firsthand. We decided to throw both the original game and the Redux version to our irresponsibly large computer, the Large Pixel Collider, to scrutinize 4A Games' remastered environments, lighting and character models. We cranked all the graphics to max, set the resolution to 2560 x 1440, and started killing monsters. The original is still a good looking game, but Redux has some impressive new lighting effects, and runs much, much better—it stayed at a rock-solid 60 fps even during combat, which would drop Metro 2033 down to about 40 frames per second.


Age of Empires: Castle Siege announced, will use microtransactions to "accelerate gameplay"

Andy Chalk at

I have good news, and I have bad news. First, the good news: Microsoft has announced that a new Age of Empires game is coming in September! The bad news, however, is that it's probably not the game you were hoping for.


The Walking Dead: Season 2 Episode 5 review

Wes Fenlon at

Warning: there are unmarked spoilers for all of Season 2 of The Walking Dead, including episode 5, below. Going forward, PC Gamer will review episodic games like TV episodes: critiquing and discussing the story of each episode as the season progresses, before assigning a score at the end of the season (season 2 review coming soon). Read more about how we review games in the PC Gamer reviews policy.

I cheated in episode five of The Walking Dead Season 2. Not with a code or a hack that lets Clementine and all of her friends live happily ever after. But I did cheat, or do something that feels like cheating, to me: after finishing episode five, I went back to two moments and did things differently. I sacrificed the purity of the story, the agony of making blind decisions, to see if things would play out differently. I didn’t expect the story to change so dramatically, or that replaying those decisions would completely change how I felt about the episode, but it did.

The Sims 4 recommended system requirements revealed, hope you have a Core i5

Andy Chalk at

The Sims 4 is coming, as you may have heard, and as we told you last month, you'll probably be able to run it as long as you actually own a PC. But what if you want to run it well? That's a bit of a different matter.


4K Screenshot Showcase: Nvidia's face tech

Ben Griffin at

Every week, keen screen-grabber Ben Griffin brings you a sumptuous 4K resolution gallery to celebrate PC gaming's prettiest places, or in this case, PC gaming's most detailed face.

Meet Digital Ira. A collaboration between Activision and USC Institute of Creative Technologies, he's their crack at creating a photoreal digital actor,

"To achieve this," the USC ICT write on their blog, "we scanned the actor in thirty high-resolution expressions using the USC ICT’s new Light Stage X system and chose eight expressions for the real-time performance rendering.  Then we shot multi-view 30fps video of the actor performing improvised lines using the same multi-camera rig." Finally, the mesh animation was transferred to standard bone animation on a 4K polygon mesh using a bone weight and transform solver. Here's what all that looks like at super-high resolution.

Elite: Dangerous video shows a player's amazing smuggling run

Phil Savage at

There's a problem with the prevalence of YouTube videos and Twitch streams. Back before we had access to millennia worth of video footage, we could convince ourselves that we were competent at games—maybe even good. Now such pretence is inevitably blown away. I was pretty proud of my Elite: Dangerous docking prowess. Then I saw this: a story of smuggling, silent running, and an amazing flight assist-less docking.


The best and worst BioWare companions

Andy Kelly at

Warning! The following article contains MASSIVE SPOILERS for the Mass Effect, Baldur’s Gate, Knights of the Old Republic, and Dragon Age series.

With a new Dragon Age on the way, we've been reminiscing about our favourite, and least favourite, BioWare companions. Interesting buddies, and sometimes enemies, have been a staple of BioWare games since Baldur's Gate, and the studio is famous for creating people you actually care about. So I decided to ask the entire PC Gamer team who among the vast pantheon of BioWare NPCs they hate, and who they love. Some of the answers may surprise you. Especially Chris Thursten's.

Ubisoft is "aiming at a 60 FPS on PC" with The Crew

Phil Savage at

Will you be able to play Ubisoft's open-world racer The Crew at 60 frames-per-second on PC? Yes. Will you be able to Ubisoft's open-world racer The Crew at an officially supported 60 frames-per-second on PC? Maybe.

That 'maybe' is a slight upgrade from 'no', which is what Ubisoft earlier suggested in a thread on The Crew's forum. Now they've clarified, saying that they're "aiming at" a native 60 FPS option, but didn't want to promise anything before it was confirmed.


VA-11 HALL-A trailer shows cyberpunk bartending in a dark dystopia

Phil Savage at

I used to be a bartender, so can relate to a lot of what happens in VA-11 HALL-A. Not the cyberpunk stuff, of course—my drink making days were in rural Cumbria. Not really the cocktail-mixing, either. Again: rural Cumbria. But the feeling of being a sponge for people's fears and worries (and, in some cases, the minutia of Cumbrian fishing laws) is one that's distinctly familiar. It's through these brief, unguarded conversations that the cyberpunk bartending sim slowly unfolds its story; not of a dystopian world, but of the people living in it.


AMD gears up for a hardware fight on all fronts with cheaper chips, graphics cards and SSDs

Dave James at

Whether it’s a new bunch of processors, cheaper chips, new graphics cards or even the arrival of a new range of solid state drives, AMD are trying to build a bit of a buzz about their new hardware at the moment.Considering its Intel and Nvidia-shaped competition are on the verge of releasing brand new, super-exciting products themselves, AMD know they’ve got some serious work to do. The latest slew of announcements should help.


Nvidia SHIELD Tablet review

Dave James at

The Ultimate Gaming Tablet. That’s how Nvidia is trying to sell the new addition to their SHIELD ‘family’. Lots of people play games on their tablets, the reasoning goes, so why not give them a device with the latest in mobile GPU tech to offer the best gaming experience possible? And that’s what they’ve done, dropping the new Tegra K1 platform into the SHIELD Tablet, a mobile GPU with the same DNA as the very top of the PC graphics tree right now—the GTX Titan Black.

Why should any of that matter to PC gamers? Because this little device is potentially the best streaming Steam machine you can buy.


Unreal Engine 4 architectural visualisation videos are staggeringly realistic

Phil Savage at

Normally when we're stunned into silence by a game engine, it's because its creators have rendered an impossibly complex sci-fi setting. At the very least, it's a really wrinkled old man's face. This, to my memory, is the first time it's happened because of a chair.


Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based exploration game from the developer of Reus

Phil Savage at

From gods to greed: the newly announced game from creators of 2D god-'em-up Reus combines eccentric explorers, untamed wilderness and turn-based tactics. In Renowned Explorers: International Society, you control a specialised crew of fame-hungry globetrotters as they search out treasure in uncharted regions. Or, as Abbey Games explain on the game's new site, Jules Verne meets X-COM.


NBA 2k15 system requirements released, will implement 'next-gen' technology

Shaun Prescott at

When NBA 2k14 released for PC last year it was based on the last-gen (ie PS3 and Xbox 360) versions of the game. Thankfully this year's PC port will switch to the PS4/Xbox One engine, as otherwise the outrage would have caused whole websites to implode, leaving only sadface emoticons and ASCII rubble in their wake.


Titan Souls trailer reveals Q1 2015 release date and difficult topdown boss battles

Shaun Prescott at

While formally announced to the wider public earlier this year, Titan Souls actually has its origins as a Ludum Dare 28 entry. PC Gamer's Tom Sykes sang its praises back in December, describing it as Dark Souls meets Shadow of the Colossus. The sales pitch hasn't really changed, but the core game appears to have improved dramatically since its origins as a free-to-download title.


Watch Dogs update makes drinking easier and hacking your friends possible

Shaun Prescott at

One of the more amusing controversies to emerge after the release of Watch Dogs concerned its drinking mini-game. Dedicated players were outraged that drinking in Watch Dogs was too hard, and they were right: if you wanted to play the mini-game past the point required by the main campaign, it did get very bloody hard. Never mind though, because the newest Watch Dogs update makes the uniquely annoying mini-game much easier, for those among you still determined to master virtual drinking.


Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls patch 2.1 releases tomorrow

Shaun Prescott at

The long-awaited Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls 2.1 patch will launch tomorrow (August 26 in the Northern Hemisphere, August 27 down below). Blizzard thoroughly detailed the forthcoming changes back in June, but to refresh your memory: you'll now be able to enter the realm of the Treasure Goblins. That's worth the (free) price of admission alone.


Dragon Age: Inquisition won't use BioWare Points for DLC purchases

Andy Chalk at

BioWare Points are essentially a PC version of the Microsoft Points that used to serve as the virtual currency on Xbox Live. If you want DLC for the PC version of Mass Effect or Dragon Age, you purchase BioWare Points and then use that to buy the content online. That won't be the case for Dragon Age: Inquisition, however, or for any other BioWare game in the future.


Show Us Your Rig: Divinity: Original Sin designer Farhang Namdar

PC Gamer at

Show Us Your Rig is back! We feature the PC gaming industry's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play.

Farhang Namdar, lead game designer of Divinity: Original Sin, uses three different computers all designed with a different purpose in mind, and has a great sense for interior design to boot. In fact, his living room PC molds so well into its surroundings that, at first, I thought he was just bragging about his immaculately furnished home. Farhang was gracious enough to take some time and show off the rigs he uses, along with the pets that inevitably crawl around them.