half-life 3

Greetings NAGulliots, and thanks for coming back for This Week In Gaming. This time around in our full-featured edition, we have a full explanation on why the Rift is so damn expensive, an allegation that piracy may be a thing of the past in the next couple of years and Alienware’s unique new tech they’ve included for their latest laptop. Then it’s a long, hard look at Far Cry Primal, Diablo 3 goes huge with their latest patch, a games special you probably don’t want to miss and sad news for anybody still waiting for Half-Life 3.

Console/Other News

Oculus left a lot of fans disappointed and out of pocket when they announced that the Rift would be retailing for $600, a lot more than the “$200-400” that had previously been quoted.

However, in a recent Reddit AMA, founder of the company Palmer Luckey said that Oculus “isn’t making money on the Rift.” Essentially, he claims they’re selling it to the consumer at cost price, and no doubt hoping to make more money off a higher adoption rate down the line.

Critics have poo-poo’d the addition of a bundled Xbox One controller, remote and games, but Luckey says the criticism is misplaced, as those things “cost almost nothing to bundle”. He goes one step further, and suggests people who don’t want the bundled controller should simply sell it for a profit.

So why is it so expensive then? The tech, in a nutshell. “The core technology in the Rift is the main driver – two built-for-VR OLED displays with very high refresh rate and pixel density, a very precise tracking system, mechanical adjustment systems that must be lightweight, durable, and precise, and cutting-edge optics that are more complex to manufacture than many high end DSLR lenses,” Luckey said.

“It is expensive, but for the $599 you spend, you get a lot more than spending $599 on pretty much any other consumer electronics devices – phones that cost $599 cost a fraction of that to make, same with mid-range TVs that cost $599. There are a lot of mainstream devices in that price-range, so as you have said, our failing was in communication, not just price.”

Essentially, the Rift was probably never going to cost as low as we all expected, that was just a bit of a PR disaster. Palmer said he couldn’t go into specific cost breakdowns, but assured consumers that they are getting “a pretty crazy deal”.

My interest in the Rift is still pretty low, and at $600 I’m not going anywhere near it. Luckey also mentioned that each iteration would probably have the lifespan of a mobile phone, which means we’ll probably getting Rift 2.0 in the next two years. Any NAGillians planning on jumping in?

Be honest, it's for the Rift porn isn't it.

Be honest, it’s for the Rift porn isn’t it.

Moving on to better news, Chinese game cracking group 3DM has said this week that the unpirateable game may be here in the next couple of years.

So far, nobody has been able to crack FIFA 16 and Just Cause 3, and 3DM’s top man Jun was just about ready to throw in the towel before 3DM founder Phoenix encouraged him to continue. Not that he’s done it yet, but Phoenix remains optimistic.

“I still believe that this game can be compromised. But according to current trends in the development of encryption technology, in two years time I’m afraid there will be no free games to play in the world.”

Even though piracy as an argument against supporting the PC platform has been bullshit since, well forever, it would be nice to take that particular lame-duck reasoning out of the publisher playbook.

If you want to play your legitimately-purchased PC games in style, you may want to consider Alienware’s new 13 model. The Dell division is going for a gamechanger here with an OLED screen, something previously seen on only cellphones and tablets (Samsung has long been a fan).

The supposed advantages “deeper blacks” and a 1ms response time. I’ve always found the mobile OLED screens a little more vibrant and saturated in the colours as well, but I’ll let Wes weigh in on all that.

Transferring this tech to a laptop hasn’t been possible before since bigass OLED screens are crazy expensive, but as the technology has aged so has the price, and now this beautiful display can be yours for the low low price of $1500.

So, not THAT much cheaper then.

Pretty.

Pretty.

Sources: Eurogamer, PC Gamer, IGN

Gaming News

Diablo 3 keeps on trying to suck me back in, to look past the horrifically terrible storyline and residual PTSD of the auction house experience and get back in on that sweet, sweet loot.

This time, they just might do it as well. A massive patch is on the way, with so much extra content it kind of feels like an expansion.

Aside from a ton of new legendary items and powers, and really I mean a ton, they’re also introducing a whole new zone called Greyhollow Island. Knowing that most of Diablo is doing the same thing over and over, Blizzard have actually designed this zone to be replayed repeatedly.

In order to keep it interesting the island contains several mysteries which you can choose to explore, or ignore in favour of slaying monsters for loot. On top of all that, the patch also brings with it special dungeons with unique challenges that are specific to particular item sets – once you have all the pieces, a wild portal appears.

Think it may be time for me to reinstall.

It may also be time for an upgrade, as Far Cry Primal continues to punt it’s new direction for the franchise.

Not one to leave much to the imagination, Ubisoft has continued their intensive marketing campaign, with a two hour community stream going live a couple of days ago to show off more content.

There’s also interviews with everybody from the lead writer to the creative director, but if you don’t care about all that it’s still jam-packed with gameplay, so feel free to skip the talky bits.

The interesting part for me in all this is the somewhat negative reaction I’m seeing from the internet collective. Commenters are not exactly ones to mince their words sure, but scrolling through the reactions seem wholly negative. Have a look for yourself and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

You can check out a recording of the whole stream below:

The Humble Bundle this week is pretty sick – for a measly 10 dollars (okay, I guess anything in dollars is less measly by the day), you can get yourself ten Tom Clancy games, including fairly recent releases like Future Soldier and Splinter Cell Blacklist.

You’ll also get access to The Division beta, when that game ever actually gets released. Have we seen more than a ten minute tech demo at this point? Honestly it’s been so long I can’t remember, but assuming it’s a closed beta you will be able to get smug with your friends, which is always a plus.

There is a final tier – the $75 tier. For this you get all the other stuff plus The Division full game (assuming it’s released in your lifetime), a Division t-shirt and, here’s a pretty cool one, 66 percent off any three Ubisoft games in the Humble Store. It excludes pre-orders and a couple of brand new releases, but that’s still a pretty sweet deal, particularly if you were planning on buying The Division anyway.

We’ll finish off with a sad bit of news – Marc Laidlaw, the sole writer on both Half-Life and Half-Life 2, has left Valve.

The news came in an odd way, with a Reddit user e-mailing Marc to try and get some info on Half-Life 3, and Marc replying that he’d resigned and no longer worked on Valve games in any capacity.

This e-mail exchange, which was posted on Reddit, was later confirmed by Marc himself. What does this mean for Half-Life 3? No idea, and neither does Marc, who claims to know nothing of Half-Life 3 development and essentially says anything there “is up to Valve now”.

Considering the architect of the Half-Life universe is now gone, it casts somewhat of a shadow over the next instalment – they’ll be some big shoes to fill.

Sources: Eurogamer, PC Gamer, Gamespot, PC Gamer

Videos

XCOM 2 has some pretty impressive character customisation, showcased in this video. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Next up, check out this new trailer for Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak.

Then we have the AC spinoff, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: India, showing off its unconventional gameplay.

Finally, we finish strong with this combined pacifist no gold run of Spelunky – not collecting anything, not killing anything. Pretty impressive.

Best of NAG

Do you have R30K burning a hole in your pocket? Why not check out Wesley Fick’s Laptop Buyer’s Guide, for the sweetest swag your skrilla can buy.

Then for a look at things money can’t buy (well, mostly anyway), check out my list of 5 things everybody wanted for Christmas, but didn’t get.

Matthew Fick reviews a mobile game every Monday, this week he instead talked about what he’s learnt about the platform.

Finally, check out this utterly insane TrackMania video, showcasing the game’s awesome potential for chaos.