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League of Legends tops MMO revenue list, Hearthstone No. 10

MMO games, including MOBAs, compose 21 percent of the worldwide digital game market and are on track to generate $11 billion in revenue this year alone, SuperData Research reports. By 2017, that number is expected to rise to $13 billion.

In 2014, the No. 1 MMO in terms of revenue is League of Legends, which has so far generated $946 million, beating out subscription games such as World of Warcraft, which is No. 4 on the list with $728 million. World of Tanks comes in at No. 5 and represents the largest revenue gap on the graph at $369 million. Dota 2 is No. 9 with $136 million, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is No. 10 with $114 million. See the full graph below.

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35 minutes of Smash Bros. Wii U facts and fights



Today, Nintendo broadcast thirty minutes of Smash Bros. Wii U action for the world, revealing fifty facts about the upcoming game. While a good portion of the Nintendo Direct episode was reiterating information we've already learned about the anticipated game, there were a handful of announcements – such as the reveal of an offline 8-player mode.

Other information revealed included notes on the Wii U game's soundtrack, which Nintendo announced would feature original music, "almost all" of the tunes from the recently released Smash Bros. 3DS and tracks from the history of games associated with the fighters.

In the spirit of catching them all, Nintendo also revealed that owning both the 3DS and Wii U versions of Smash Bros. give players access to Mewtwo as a playable fighter. The classic Pokemon character is scheduled to be available for download in Spring 2015.

For more Smash Bros. and to hear the most excitable announcer in history, watch the video above.

Metareview: Civilization: Beyond Earth

Joystiq's Alexander Sliwinski gave 2K's interstellar strategy game Civilization: Beyond Earth four stars in his review, alternately praising it as "a good game in the context of the Civilization franchise" while also framing it as "a cut-rate disappointment" compared to its inspiration, Alpha Centauri.

While some feel that it comes up short compared to its predecessors, Civilization: Beyond Earth still has a lot to offer for fans of the strategy genre. Here's a small sampling of what critics are saying.

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Up to 8 players brawl in Super Smash Bros. Wii U

According to today's Nintendo Direct stream, when Super Smash Bros. hits the Wii U it will boast "the highest quality visuals" the series has ever seen running at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second. That's a good thing too, as you'll need those extra pixels to contain the game's simultaneous 8-player brawls.

The inclusion of an 8-player Smash mode comes with two caveats: 8-person melees are only available when playing offline and not all stages are eligible for that many combatants. Instead, the game features specially-designed, extra large stages to accommodate all those fighters. As you can see from the Nintendo Direct archive video below the break, even these designated stages quickly grow very chaotic when eight fighters are duking it out.

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Digital Foundry looks into Evil Within pre-patch problems

Our review of The Evil Within wasn't too keen on Shinji Mikami's latest survival horror epic, but according to the techies at Digital Foundry, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game are worse off if you play offline and forego the day-one patch.

As you'll see in the performance comparison video beyond the break, the un-patched game runs 30 to 40 percent slower than its updated counterpart. The slowdown is so bad at times that when creating the video, Digital Foundry couldn't even properly record its findings and "needed to modify the values of our frame-time graph when creating the performance video, in order to accommodate gameplay pauses of up to 100ms." Additionally, while the patched game runs at a resolution of 1920x768, the unpatched game can only manage 1600x900 awkwardly crammed into a 1920x768 window. "What's baffling, though, is that even with a lower resolution, the performance is so much lower all around than the patched product," Digital Foundry adds.

While the development team's impressive work on the game's 1.01 patch can only truly be appreciated when witnessing the technical troubles of its original incarnation, it does drive home the worrying nature of our new "always online" hobby.
[Image: Bethesda Softworks]

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Upgraded Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas coming to Xbox 360

Following a recent leak that exposed Xbox 360 Achievements for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Rockstar Games has confirmed that an updated version of the open-world crime sandbox is headed to Microsoft's moribund console.

Beyond confirming that the Achievements discovered by fans are legit, Rockstar has offered a modicum of information on what will be included in the San Andreas redux. Obviously, the game will feature Achievement support, and the Rockstar support page notes that the game will feature 720p resolution and "enhanced draw distance."

Lacking from Rockstar's description was any mention of how much the digital re-release will cost, but we won't have to wait long for the answer to that mystery. Rockstar plans to launch Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on the Xbox 360 on October 26.
[Image: Rockstar Games]

NBA Live 15 six-hour trial now available via EA Access

Sports fans can check out the Xbox One version of EA's NBA Live 15 a week before it hits retail via the EA Access subscription service, which serves up a time-limited version of the upcoming basketball sim starting today.

EA Access subscribers can spend up to six hours with NBA Live 15, and are granted access to all of its included gameplay modes. All player progress made during the trial will carry over to the full version of NBA Live 15, and members can unlock the upcoming digital release at a 10 percent discount.

EA Access is currently exclusive to the Xbox One console. NBA Live 15 premieres digitally and at retail on October 28 in North America, October 31 in Europe.

[Image: Electronic Arts]

Microsoft unveils Kinect PC adapter, issues SDK 2.0 for free

Today must be Christmas for would-be Kinect hackers as Microsoft has made it even easier to dig into the guts of its 3D camera peripheral with both new software and hardware.

Most notably, Kinect fans can download the gadget's new software developer's kit at no charge. Not only does SDK 2.0 include "over 200 improvements" since June's public preview, Microsoft also claims it's a "substantially more stable and feature-rich product." That should come in handy for developers hoping to sell their Kinect-enabled wares through the Windows Store, as alongside the new SDK 2.0, Microsoft now allows Kinect developers to commercially deploy their programs through the digital distribution platform. "This was a frequent request from the community and we are delighted to enable you to bring more personal computing experiences that feature gesture control, body tracking, and object recognition to Windows customers around the world," reads Microsoft's announcement.

Additionally, Microsoft has released a $50 Kinect adaptor that uses USB 3.0 to connect to a Windows 8 or 8.1 PC. While it won't replace the Windows-native Kinect for Windows camera peripheral, the adapter should make it easier to link an Xbox One Kinect with your home computer.
[Image: Microsoft]

Joystiq Streams: Relapse with Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions [Replay]

Update: It's over, so catch the full replay after the break!

Don't worry, the hard days are all in the past. The habit's been kicked. No more obsessing over leader boards. No more retries at dawn, trying to best your friend's achievements. No more shakes when you put down the controller. Geometry Wars 2 was 2008! We've all moved past it. Wait. There's a Geometry Wars 3? It warps and distorts the old twin-stick shooting? Fine. Just one play. It's easy to stop after just one round. Let's do this.

Lucid Games joins Joystiq Streams today to give us an early taste of Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions. Starting at 5:15PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch, Ludwig Kietzmann (@LudwigK) will pick up his controller and relapse hard.

Joystiq.com/Twitch broadcasts live every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00PM EST, but if you want to catch streams of weird games and upcoming releases like this one, follow us on Twitch to know whenever we go live.

[Images: Sierra]

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Joystiq Discussion: Will you get a new console this fall?

One year later and the current crop of gaming machines are looking a whole heck of a lot different than they did in the fall of 2013. Mealy launch exclusives like Knack, Ryse and Nintendoland are distant memories. Now the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U are cooking with gas. Sony's got heaters like Infamous: Second Son, Xbox One's got freaks like D4 alongside bruisers like Forza Horizon 2, and Wii U has heavyweights like Mario Kart 8 and weirdoes like Bayonetta 2 backing it up.

The question now is: Is that enough? If you haven't taken the plunge yet, have any of the new machines sufficiently convinced you? Are you considering adding a second new console to your living room domain? Or have you walked away from the console world for good? Take the poll then take to the comments to discuss.


[Images: Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft]

Halloween Horror Streams: A very Slender: The Arrival giveaway



The mere suggestion of danger, peril, and the impossible can be the scariest thing in the world to some folks. Take good old Slender Man, the Internet's very own nightmare tulpa. He's not even a killer! He's just omnipresent, convincing others to do evil. Spooky freak with his stupid Matrix suit. We'll show him a thing or two.

Joystiq's Halloween horror game streaming extravaganza rolls on at 4:00PM EST today on Joystiq.com/Twitch with Slender: The Arrival. Anthony John Agnello (@ajohnagnello) has never played any Slender game before and is walking in blind. Susan Arendt (@SusanArendt) will be on hang giving away copies of the game for PS3 and 360 in the chat and to laugh at Anthony's cowardice.

We broadcast live every Tuesday and Thursday on Joystiq.com/Twitch at 4:00PM EST, but we're streaming horror games every day until Halloween so follow us on Twitch to know when we go live.
[Images: Blue Isle Studios]

Dead or Alive 5 Last Round picks a fight in February 2015

The updated, supposedly final iteration of Dead or Alive 5, known as Dead or Alive 5 Last Round, will reach the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360 on February 17, publisher Koei Tecmo has revealed.

Alongside the wealth of fighters and stages included in Dead or Alive 5, Dead or Alive 5 Plus and Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, Last Round introduces two new fighters and new stages, including "The Crimson," a remixed Dead or Alive 2 stage where players battle their way across tin rooftops before plummeting onto a busy Asian street to continue the fight. Like all of Dead or Alive 5's best stages, The Crimson features "several all-new over-the-top Cliffhanger events" for those times when you just have to toss your opponent off a building.

Dead or Alive 5 Last Round will feature a $30 price tag on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and a $40 price tag on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. However, PlayStation 4 owners can download the free Dead or Alive 5 Last Round: Core Fighters for a test drive featuring four fighters and limited gameplay options, with the option to purchase additional pieces of the game later. Xbox One owners can purchase access to Core Fighters for $5, or they can play a free demo that lacks Core Fighters' DLC options.

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Layoffs hit WildStar's Carbine Studios

wildstar
Word is bubbling up from several sources that layoffs are impacting Carbine Studios and WildStar today. NCsoft confirmed the rumors in an official statement: "While decisions like this are always hard, they are necessary as we begin the implementation of a new strategy designed to strengthen our footing as a leader in global entertainment. Again, the decision to reduce staff was not an easy one, and we sincerely wish everyone well in their next endeavors."

Community Manager Tony Rey said that the remaining team would soldier on: "Today NC West announced staff reductions across its Western operations. While this impacted several colleagues, the teams here at Carbine are committed to supporting WildStar to ensure you get the experiences you want well into the future. We wish all of our friends well and hopefully our paths will cross again in the future."

Polygon reports that an unnamed source claims that 60 employees were let go. One employee affected was Chief Client Engineer Bitwise, who said farewell on Twitter: "My amazing time at Carbine has come to an end. I can't adequately express my appreciation to the company and players. Thank you!"

The WildStar developer recently saw several high-profile members of its team depart. Massively sends its regards to those impacted by the decision.

Civ: Beyond Earth lands on Mac, Linux this holiday season

Mac and Linux users won't have to wait long to micromanage the cosmos as Civilization: Beyond Earth will reach the two non-PC platforms in time for the holiday season.

"Players anxious to take a turn at the Mac and Linux versions may pre-order Beyond Earth right now through Aspyr's online store at GameAgent.com," reads 2K Games' official announcement. "All pre-orders through GameAgent.com will include the Exoplanets Map Pack as a free bonus. Additionally, any customers who are established GameAgent members will find a note on the Beyond Earth product page that will grant them a special 15% pre-order discount. This offer expires once the Mac and Linux versions of Beyond Earth have launched."

According to 2K, the Mac and Linux games will feature all the same content as the PC version which is slated to launch on October 24, and all versions of Civilization: Beyond Earth will feature cross-platform multiplayer functionality. Of course, that's still months away, so while you wait to build your fledgling intergalactic empire, you can bide your time by reading our four of five stars review.

Awesome Games Done Quick charity drive returns January 4

The good people behind the Games Done Quick charity fundraiser have announced that their next Awesome Games Done Quick event will take place between January 4 and January 10, with proceeds again going to the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

For those unaware, Awesome Games Done Quick is a days-long exhibition in which some of the world's most talented speedrunners utterly destroy their games of choice for the amusement of the streaming public. Watching the event is free for anyone with Twitch access, but Games Done Quick does tidy business raising money through donations. A January 2014 Awesome Games Done Quick stream managed to pull in over $1 million for the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

As the event's still months away, the final details and full schedule of exactly what will be streamed at the upcoming Awesome Games Done Quick event has yet to be finalized. However, if you're not allergic to spreadsheets, you can find a current outline of the event on Google Docs.

The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 116: Driveclub, FIFA 15, Pokemon iOS, licensed games

Latest episode: Friday, October 10th, 2014


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