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Activision, Vivendi lawsuit settlement amounts to $275 million

Activision Blizzard reached a settlement this week over a shareholder's lawsuit in regards to the Call of Duty publisher's October 2013 buyout. As a result, Vivendi and others will pay $275 million to Activision to settle the litigation, which began in August 2013 before Activision's $8.2 billion purchase of itself from Vivendi was completed. Under the settlement terms, Activision will also add two directors to its board and must change the terms of its voting rights.

According to the lawsuit, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelly seemingly benefited from insider knowledge of the company's purchase, obtaining a 10 percent discount when Kotick's investment firm purchased 172 million shares of Activision for $2.34 billion. The lawsuit alleged a "breach of fiduciary duties, waste of corporate assets and unjust enrichment." Emails from the suit presented in July revealed that Vivendi wanted to fire Kotick in 2013 during the purchasing negotiations.
[Image: Activision]

PSA: Chat commands barrage Akiba's Trip streamers with underpants and foreigners

Akiba's Trip isn't what you think it is. You spend your time in Marvelous' action RPG mercilessly beating vampires with folding chairs and forcibly removing their clothing, but it's not some kind of perv fiesta made for voyeurs. Players are performing a public service getting rid of those vampires! Of course, that doesn't mean Trip doesn't hide voyeuristic thrills inside, they just happen to be reserved for folks watching Twitch streams of the PS4 version, which is out next week. With just a few simple chat commands, viewers can smother an Akiba's Trip player in panties, aunties, and more.

The extensive list of commands chat can use to alternately aid and torture players includes a sizable number of summons. Type in "tourist" or "gaijin," you'll summon in some non-Japanese natives onto the screen. Not too weird. Type in "gothic lolita" and you'll call in a woman dressed like this, not a copy of Vladimir Nabokov's novel with a Cure sticker on it. Also not weird. Type in "auntie" and someone's aunt will show up. Fine, very weird.

Weirder are the actions. Type in "look," and every character on screen will turn around and stare into the camera. Speaking of those unmentionables, typing in "pantyjump" will blow all panties, boxers, and briefs into the air where they fly around like leaves on the wind.

Yes, by simply typing typing "auntie," "pantyjump," and "look" into Twitch chat, you too can turn a friend's Akiba's Strip stream into a horrific anxiety dream about being stuck in class in your underpants.

More commands after the jump.
[Images: XSEED]

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GOG Big Fall Sale Finale: FTL, Fez, Sam And Max, Rogue Legacy

GOG.com kicked off its DRM-free Big Fall Sale Finale this morning, putting more than 700 games on sale until Tuesday, November 25. The sale is split into two 48-hour periods, the first a "recap of flash deals" that rapidly come and go, and a second period with the Big Fall Sale's daily bundles that starts on Sunday. Thrifty buyers may want to act fast, as some of the flash deals will expire within hours.

The deals include Fez ($5), Rogue Legacy ($3), Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition ($2.49), Pathologic ($2), System Shock 2 ($5), Rollercoaster Tycoon: Deluxe Edition ($3), FTL: Advanced Edition ($5) and the four primary Wing Commander games are $3 each, with the first two games bundled together. Sam & Max Save the World and Beyond Time and Space are $15 each, while The Devil's Playhouse is $17.49.

OG.com also has deals on bundles starting today, such as the Fedora Deluxe Pack, a five-game Tex Murphy bundle that players can download at 80 percent off ($7.16). The digital games distributor is also offering a movie bundle for $8.45 that features five films, including The King of Arcades, Pixel Poetry and Minecraft: The Story of Mojang.
[Image: GOG.com]

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Sunset Overdrive free this Saturday

Xbox Live Gold members with an Xbox One will be able to play Sunset Overdrive for free all day Saturday, according to Microsoft's Major Nelson. Access to the free trial will begin at 12:01AM Eastern Time tonight. It is the "full game" and those who decide to purchase the game later can pick up right where they left off. We've confirmed this will also occur in Europe, but don't have clarification on timing as of posting.

This is a pretty swanky deal to try out Sunset Overdrive, which we gave five stars in our review, saying it "sets out to create a world where the apocalypse is fun instead of depressing." There's no option to preload the demo, so if you're interested in the demo, make sure to set an alarm so it'll be waiting for you come morning.

WoW previews Highmaul raid, kicks off anniversary events today

And this time, slightly less than a year between updates!
Are you ready to start in on the raid cycle of Warlords of Draenor? Yes you are; that's what you do here. You can start by checking out the latest World of Warcraft development blog that shows off Highmaul in all its glory. The raid's release will be staggered into four parts, with Normal and Heroic releasing on December 2nd, Mythic and the first part of the Raid Finder difficulty releasing on December 9th, and the final two wings being added to the Raid Finder on December 16th and January 6th.

Highmaul contains seven bosses, three of which are optional and two of which are mandatory. Players will take on Kargath Bladefist to kick off the raid experience, while the ultimate encounter leads players against Imperator Mar'gok, the pinnacle of ogre power in the region. You can also take the time to play around with the game's new Twitter hashtag campaign while you wait. That won't help you with the raid at all, really, but it will help pass the time.

In other WoW news, Blizzard will be kicking off its previously announced anniversary events today. Both the 40-man, level 100 version of Molten Core and the Southshore vs. Tarren Mill battleground will become available to players through the raid finder and battlemaster queue, respectively. Everyone who logs in will receive a molten corgi pet as a happy birthday present from the team. The events end January 6th.

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd review - Pretty punisher

PS3, Vita

We had the chance to stop her, but now it's too late. Hatsune Miku has taken over.

At this point, Miku is a global phenomenon. The virtual pop idol recently infiltrated American culture in a guest appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman and as an opening act for Lady Gaga, but her worldwide success comes as a result of a fascinating mixture of official licensing and fan-made mythos. Miku herself may be rooted in sterile voice synthesis software, but it's the work of fans that gave her a vibrantly marketable identity.

This unique melding of fandom and Japanese idol culture defines Sega's Hatsune Miku: Project Diva series, which showcases fan-made art and music alongside slickly produced rhythm-driven gameplay. The latest series entry, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd, introduces game-changing features and streamlines its predecessor's weaker elements while crafting a surprisingly diverse challenge for rhythm game veterans.

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Game of Thrones teaser offers a Stark reminder: Cersei is evil!

In fairness to Cersei Lannister, you could argue most of the characters in HBO's Game of Thrones would register 6.0 or higher on the Richter scale of Pure Evil. Yet when it comes to House Lannister's leading lady, every word drips with ice-cold vitriol, and every sentence veils her poisonous cunning. In other words... she's evil. Evil!

All of which makes her perfect to introduce the first official teaser for Telltale's Game of Thrones adaptation - you'll find the video below the break. As it suggests, actress Lena Headey reprises her TV show role in the upcoming game series, as does Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Snow. And of course, Peter Dinklage ghosts in as Tyrion near the end, confirming we'll see at least one other Lannister in the game.

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Titanfall Deluxe Edition welcomes new pilots to the fight

Publisher EA has announced that giant robot-pocked shooter Titanfall is being re-released alongside all of its DLC map packs in a bundle dubbed the Titanfall Deluxe Edition.

Exclusive to the PC and Xbox One, the $40 Titanfall Deluxe Edition includes the core shooter as well as the three map packs released for the game to date. Between Expedition, Frontier's Edge and the IMC Rising DLC, these downloadable additions add an additional nine maps to Titanfall's default complement of 15.

Titanfall Deluxe Edition is currently available for download on Origin, though Xbox One users will not see the digital bundle until next week. So far there's no word on retail version of Titanfall Deluxe Edition.

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Apple changes 'free' button to 'get'

The Apple iTunes and Mac App Stores have converted from labeling games with in-app purchases as "free," instead inviting you to "get" them. As TechCrunch reports, this follows a similar change by Google under pressure from the European Commission.

There is an odd inconsistency to the change. First-party Apple apps appear to still be "free," while all other free apps, whether they have in-app purchases or not are "get." Under the "get" button there is a notation if there are in-app purchases.

Bladestorm: Nightmare carves a path through history in March


Omega Force's history-based brawler Bladestorm: Nightmare is coming to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PS3 in North America on March 3, publisher Koei Tecmo revealed this week.

Taking place in Europe during the Hundred Years' War, Bladestorm: Nightmare recreates a series of 14th and 15th century battles in the context of a hack-and-slash story mode similar to Koei Tecmo's Dynasty Warriors series. In addition to a port of Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War's campaign, the game boasts an alternate-history Nightmare mode in which players fight off armies of dragons and giants, helmed by a demonically possessed Joan of Arc.

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Bladestorm: Nightmare will launch digitally and at retail in North America and Europe the week of March 3. The PlayStation 3 edition is available exclusively as a PlayStation Store download.

[Video: Koei Tecmo]

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GameStop stock drops on declining sales, despite new hardware

GameStop's third quarter financial results show global sales are down for the quarter ended November 1, 2014, totaling $2.09 billion, compared to 2.11 billion over the same period last year. Net income fell to $56.4 million, as compared to $68.6 million during the third quarter last year.

Despite this overall decline, the company says that sales of new hardware rose 147 percent, adding that after a year on the market, the installed base of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is 73 percent larger than that of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 after their first year of availability. GameStop's bread-and-butter pre-owned sales, meanwhile, grew by 2.6 percent over last quarter. Sales of mobile devices, a new focus for GameStop, grew by 125 percent thanks to "continued expansion and strong results" for the company's new Spring Mobile stores.

So, with all of this apparent growth, why the drop in sales? GameStop CEO Paul Raines pins the decline on Assassin's Creed Unity, which was delayed to November 11 earlier this year, meaning it couldn't be included in GameStop's third quarter results. Wall Street hasn't taken kindly to the news, with VentureBeat reporting that GameStop's stock has dropped by 13 percent.

TVs, tablets headline Walmart's pre-Black Friday sale

Like Gamestop, Walmart has revealed plans to host a sale prior to the annual consumerist land rush known as Black Friday. Games are sparsely represented, but those looking for new gadgets may be intrigued.

In the realm of video games, the sale includes two key offers: A $400 PlayStation 4 that grants buyers a $50 gift card, and a number of "select games" priced at $30 that includes Xbox One and PlayStation 4 releases such as NBA 2K15 and Watch Dogs. If you need something to play those games on, Walmart is offering either a Sony or LG-branded 60" 1080p LED HDTV for $648 and a 40" Emerson LED HDTV for $115. If you're looking for a new tablet, you could purchase either a 16GB iPad Air 2 at $489 or a 16GB iPad Mini 3 at $389, as both items come with a gratis $100 Walmart gift card.

Walmart's pre-Black Friday sale begins on November 21 and runs through November 27, after which time Walmart's Black Friday sale begins.
[Image: Walmart]

Destiny's Dark Below DLC trailer leaks

A cinematic for Destiny's The Dark Below expansion has reportedly leaked. The video found after the break, courtesy of YouTube user Mr Jester6598, seems a lot like a standard trailer that sets up the game's upcoming DLC.

Information on future Destiny add-ons has been prone to spill across the web in the past few months; Bungie confirmed a leak of two DLC packs' mission names and descriptions in September, followed by the discovery of an entire map on Venus for the House of Wolves expansion in October.

The Dark Below will launch on December 9 for $20, and is part of the game's $35 season pass program. Aside from The Dark Below's story missions fixated on the Hive's plans to summon a pretty mean god known as Crota, the DLC adds a special Sparrow vehicle to the game that allows players to perform tricks at high speeds. Bungie will also add some free content to the game at The Dark Below's launch, such as additional gear and five additional bounty slots.

hose still on the fence about playing Bungie's latest FPS can check out the game's trial, which launched this week with the ability to transfer players' demo progress to the full version of the game, should they choose to upgrade.
[Image: Activision]

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Elite: Dangerous devs counter outrage with select refunds

To appease fans outraged at the recent announcement that freeform space sandbox Elite: Dangerous will not include an offline single-player mode, the game's developers are now offering refunds, but only to certain customers.

"Those who have pre-ordered an Elite: Dangerous release version from our online store and have therefore not yet played the game are eligible for a refund," writes David Braben, founder of developer Frontier Developments, in the latest Elite: Dangerous newsletter. "Those who have already been playing the game online in the Alpha and/or Beta phases, regardless of whether they backed the project via Kickstarter or purchased access to Alpha and/or Beta through our online store, are not eligible for a refund." Braben then adds that the developers will consider each case, even those that don't necessarily fit the above refund criteria, "with the thoroughness it deserves."

Finally, Braben explains why the planned single-player offline mode will not be included in Elite: Dangerous. "It is a creative decision, not wanting to produce an empty game. It is technically possible, but it would be a largely separate game development." Elite: Dangerous is slated to reach the PC on December 16, with an OS X release following three months later.
[Image: Frontier Developments]

Matchmaking targeted in new Halo: The Master Chief Collection patch

Halo: The Master Chief Collection has suffered from serious matchmaking issues since its launch earlier this month – when we reviewed it, matchmaking was "barely functioning." However, today's content update aims to fix many of these issues. In a blog post, developer 343 Industries outlines the changes, the most crucial of which are fixes to the wait time and success rate in matchmaking.

"With this update, you'll see better, more frequent and more informative status updates throughout the matchmaking flow – so 'Players Found' for example, will be displayed to let players know where they are in the matchmaking process instead of simply wondering if it's going to connect," 343 writes.

The update also ensures players stay together after reviewing the post-game carnage report, removes the ability to kick players from matchmaking games, and it removes an exploit that allowed players to boost their rankings.

Also part of the patch, the Master Chief Collection's overall UI and campaign processes get a spit-shine, and Halo: CE, Halo 2 and Halo 2: Anniversary get improvements. Today's patch was originally supposed to launch on November 19, but was delayed.

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 121: Assassin's Creed Unity, Dragon Age Inquisition, Harvest Moon

Latest episode: Friday, November 14th, 2014

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