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BurgerTime World Tour discounted ahead of delisting on April 30

Publisher MonkeyPaw Games is hosting a last-chance sale on BurgerTime: World Tour this month, discounting the game to just $5 before it disappears from digital storefronts forever on April 30.

Starting today, amateur burger chefs can pick up the Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and WiiWare versions of the remade arcade classic for $4.99. Alas, even Peter Pepper himself is not immune from the harsh reality of expired licensing agreements, which MonkeyPaw cites as the culprit behind the game's delisting at the end of the month.

Speculation from an anonymous source suggests that Peter Pepper was forced to close up shop by area health inspectors, who objected to his unsanitary burger-stomping ways. Pepper declined to comment when questioned regarding his cooking methods, claiming that the delisting is part of a conspiracy devised by giant sausages and human-sized eggs.

[Image: MonkeyPaw Games]

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Reign in the new Princess Peach Wii Remote Plus next week

It's not just the handhelds that are going peach and pink: A new Princess Peach Wii Remote Plus is floating onto retail shelves in North America next week. You can acquire the peachy Motion Plus controller starting April 24, at the suggested retail price of $40. To bask in its full regal splendor, take a peek below the break.

It's a shame the Peach controller didn't make it out in time for Super Mario 3D World, or with a Toad one that Nintendo's not yet dreamed up. Playing that game with Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad controllers is bordering on the problematically geeky, but we'd so do it.
[Images: Nintendo]

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GameSpy online matchmaking service goes dark on May 31

GameSpy Technologies is shuttering its online matchmaking service on May 31, ending online play for more than 1,000 games that use the company's middleware.

Launched as a Quake server search program in 1996, GameSpy soon branched out to host online play for hundreds of console and PC games. Many recent games with active online communities still employ GameSpy technology, including multiple titles published by Activision, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Sega, and Nintendo. Affected games will need to migrate online play to SteamWorks or other services prior to the shutdown in order to maintain multiplayer functionality.

The service shutdown comes in the wake of GameSpy ceasing editorial content in 2013. Mobile games publisher Glu Mobile purchased GameSpy Technologies in 2012, later shutting down online play for several popular games without notice when developers failed to pay hosting bills.

[Image: GameSpy]

McDonald's offers eight exclusive Skylanders toys with Happy Meals

Starting this Friday, McDonald's will bundle exclusive Skylanders Swap Force figurines with Happy Meal purchases, in the restaurant's latest ploy to keep kids occupied while they stuff their faces with Chicken McNuggets.

Featured characters include Chompy, Eruptor, Free Ranger, Freeze Blade, Magna Charge, Prism Break, Rattle Shake and Wash Buckler. Eligible purchases also include coupons giving $10 off of the multiplatform Skylanders Swap Force Starter Pack and $1 off individual character figures. The week-long promotion extends through April 4.

Bear in mind, however, that Happy Meals-bundled characters are just toys, and won't summon in-game Skylanders like retail figures will. Still, if you've ever wanted a Chompy figure to display alongside your Skylanders collection, you'll want to hop in your car on Friday and order up some Happy Meals. Hint: tell the drive-thru guy that you have eight kids waiting at home for their dinner if you're trying to order a full set. He might not believe you, but he probably won't feel like you're worth an argument.

[Image: Activision/McDonald's]

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Activision pulling all DLC for Guitar Hero, DJ Hero and Band Hero games

The downloadable music for Activision's rhythm games in the Guitar Hero, DJ Hero and Band Hero series will no longer be available after the end of this month on March 31. The production of DLC for the brands ended in February 2011.

The announcement comes from an update on the publisher's Facebook page, which clarifies that the Guitar Hero servers will remain online and that previously-purchased content will be unaffected. As an encore, selected songs and track packs will be discounted by as much as 50 percent on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii until the end of the month. Additionally, the Guitar Hero game on iOS will be discounted through the end of the month on the App Store.
[Image: Activision]

Walmart dips into trade-in market this month, selling used games in summer

The used game market just grew immensely, as Walmart announced plans today to begin taking video game trade-ins across the United States, putting itself in direct competition with GameStop. Starting March 26, those trading their games in at more than 3,100 Walmart stores will receive a gift card usable at any Walmart or Sam's Club location in exchange. All exchanged products are then "sent to be refurbished and made available for purchase in like-new condition starting this summer."

The retailer will accept online trade-ins for all games, but will only allow in-store exchanges for hardware. Walmart provided an exchange rate calculator on its website to give customers an idea of trade-in values. As for functional hardware, when including all the accompanying cables and one controller, the Xbox One has a current trade-in value of $390, the PS4 is $375, the Wii U Deluxe is $120, a 3G-enabled Vita is $95 and 3DS XL is $105. Working copies of Grand Theft Auto 5 currently exchange at $27.72, Dead Rising 3 is $38, the PS4 version of NBA 2K14 is $35.42 and Super Mario 3D World is $38.
[Image: Walmart]

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February NPD: PS4 sells more, Xbox One leads in dollar amount

xbox one
The PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US during February, with the Xbox One selling 90 percent of what the PS4 did, consumer research group NPD reports. The Xbox One costs $100 more than the PS4, meaning it led sales by dollar amount in February.

The Xbox One sold 258,000 units in February, surpassing comparable Xbox 360 launch sales by 61 percent, Microsoft says. Xbox 360 sold 114,000 units in its 100th month on the market, "more than any other seventh generation console." Xbox One owners buy an average of 2.75 games per console, with a total of 772,000 sold in February. Xbox 360, meanwhile, sold 2.46 million games.

Sales of video game hardware in the US were $347 million in February, up 42 percent compared with the same month in 2013. Software sales dropped 9 percent to $318 million, while accessories were up 3 percent, to $221 million.

Next-gen software sales in the consoles' first four months are up 80 percent compared with the combined sales of Xbox 360 and PS3 software in the same time period. The 9 percent decline in overall software sales is attributed to weakening sales for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii, which is expected, according to NPD. Call of Duty: Ghosts led software sales in February, followed by The Lego Movie Videogame, NBA 2K14, Thief and Grand Theft Auto 5. See the full list after the break.

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GameStop celebrates Disney Infinity Day with price drops, Phineas and Ferb debut

Saturday, March 15, is Disney Infinity Day at GameStop, and the retailer plans to celebrate with a round of price drops accompanying the debut of the game's final two playable character figurines.

Disney Infinity's Phineas and Ferb Toy Box Set will be available exclusively at GameStop this Saturday, introducing Phineas and Agent P as playable characters and adding series-themed items, buildings, and backgrounds to the game's sandbox-style Toy Box component. A wider retail release for the set and individual figurines will follow on April 1.

Customers who purchase the Phineas and Ferb Toy Box Set at GameStop this weekend will receive a code for a downloadable Phineas and Ferb mini-comic, along with a free Disney Infinity poster, while supplies last. Disney Infinity fans will also get the chance to complete their collections for cheap, as GameStop is offering a buy two get one free sale on individual character packs, along with a 50 percent discount on all play sets and accessories.

[Image: Disney / GameStop]

Club Nintendo adds accessory box, pouches, eShop games to catalog

Club Nintendo is offering new rewards for loyal customers, namely the sort of rewards you put other items in. Those with 700 free coins can pick up a green Mario-themed accessory basket that measures just under a foot wide. Don't be fooled by the name, as Nintendo can't stop the rebels among us from putting anything other than accessories in the basket, like cats. Or other, smaller baskets.

Club Nintendo's two other new physical rewards are Animal Crossing-themed pouches. Available in both pink and blue, the pouches store handheld systems as large as the 3DS XL for 500 coins. We're eyeing up one of the pouches to store candy instead, because Nintendon't tell us what to do.

As for the loyalty program's featured eShop game downloads, players can pick between four games until April 6: Kid Icarus of Myths and Monsters on 3DS (150 coins), Number Battle on 3DS (200 coins), Yoshi on Wii U (200 coins) and Bonsai Barber on WiiWare (250 coins).
[Image: Nintendo]

Four in February: Readers triumph over the Joystiq crew

Put down your buzzers, turn off your engines, sheathe your swords: Four in February has come to a close. The great 4iF challenge brought the Joystiq crew to their knees over the past four weeks. Joystiq Community members, on the other hand, rose to the occasion. Our heroes over on the 4iF Facebook page played through literally hundreds of games, and while not all of them went the distance, they played well.

While a few members of the staff managed to dig into their lists, finishing off entries here and there, not one of us managed to complete all four selections. Richard Mitchell, Joystiq Reviews Content Director, toppled two big ones including Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Risk of Rain on the maddening Monsoon difficulty. Danny Cowan completed Virtual Hydlide on Sega Saturn while 4iF founder Mike Suszek conquered Tearaway and Toukiden: Age of Demons (though Toukiden wasn't on his original list.) Xav de Matos, Jess Conditt, Anthony John Agnello, and others? Couldn't beat nary a one.

That's okay, though! In fact, failure is just another form of success in Four in February. The point isn't to beat all four, but to encourage diversity in your game playing palette. We all love video games. That's why we're here. Four in February is an event that reminds us of the vast creative richness waiting in the folds of gaming. It's easy to get caught up in the rush of all that's new. 4iF is a conscious effort to slow down and take in our surroundings, to explore what's out there we may have missed. Just playing the game means you've won, even if you didn't see four sets of credits roll.

Still, special honors go to these players. They came, they saw, they kicked four games in the butt. Then "Like" our Facebook page to get in on the next community event, when you can trounce us all over again.

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Nintendo pulling plug for online play on DS, Wii in May

The Nintendo Wi-Fi connection for Wii and DS ends on May 20, bringing an end to online play for the two systems. What that means is there are a few months left to play Wii and DS games online, be that through multiplayer, sharing in-game content, or leaderboards.

Nintendo notes this is just for the DS and Wii and won't affect Wii U and 3DS games, although Wii Mode won't offer online play on Wii U and similarly DS games when played on the 3DS.

The two systems aren't losing all online functionality. The DSi shop and Wii U Shop Channel are staying open, and users will still be able to access the DS Browser and Wii channels like Neflix, Hulu, and YouTube. The company also published a full list of the affected games.

Nintendo didn't provide an explanation for the discontinued service in its announcement - nor did it ask the last ones out on DS and Wii to remember to turn out the lights - but it did thank its fans for their continued support and enthusiasm for its "legacy systems."
[Image: Nintendo]

Now Playing: February 24 - March 2, 2014

Hide your valuables, Thief is on the loose this week ...

Choose your platform to jump to a specific release list:
[Image: Square Enix]

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Netflix to pay Comcast for better connection and speed [Update]

Pretty much every contemporary gaming machine - be it a tablet, smartphone, console, handheld or PC - has the ability to connect to the internet for streaming media content. If you're using such a device to watch Netflix on a Comcast network, your speed and stability should see a bump in the near future.

Netflix and Comcast have announced a new joint partnership in which Netflix will pay the internet and cable service provider for direct access to its broadband systems. Netflix previously worked with a middleman company called Cogent through which they bought their bandwidth, but now that company has been cut out of future proceedings.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the deal was originally struck in January, but it wasn't until today that the companies released a joint statement confirming the new relationship. January was also when a Washington, DC appeals court voided the anti-blocking and anti-discrimination rules that the FCC used to enforce net neutrality, which you can read more about thanks to our friends at Engadget.

Update: To clarify, although the net neutrality ruling and Netflix/Comcast deal both occurred in January, the two are separate affairs. The Netflix/Comcast deal is a paid peering agreement securing Netflix's access to Comcast's network, but the deal does not grant them preferential access. The story's text has been changed to reflect this.
[Image: Netflix]

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Now Playing: February 17-23, 2014

Use lightning-fast moves to mow down enemies this week with Strider...

Choose your platform to jump to a specific release list:
[Image: Capcom]

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Disney Infinity's lightsaber is an elegant weapon for a civilized age

Disney Interactive may have passed up the opportunity to produce Star Wars-licensed games in favor of developing Disney Infinity, but that doesn't mean The Force is completely absent from the studio's toy-collection game. The Disney Infinity Fans community has uncovered a green lightsaber weapon hidden in the game.

The lightsaber, according to a video posted by "Sheriff Woody," is given as a reward to players who collect every character in the game. Sheriff Woody got his hands on Phineas and Agent P - the two figures yet to be released in stores - and was able to complete his collection early, hence the reveal.

The Force is strong with this one.
[Image: Disney]

Now Playing: February 10-16, 2014

Find out the beginning of Ellie's story this week with The Last of Us - Left Behind...

Choose your platform to jump to a specific release list:

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Skylanders series sells $2 billion worldwide

Activision announced today as part of its quarterly financial report that the Skylanders series has grossed more than $2 billion worldwide across all available platforms, as of December 31 last year.

To date, Activision has sold approximately 175 million Skylanders toys, which players can collect and summon in-game as playable characters. The latest series entry, Skylanders Swap Force, debuted in October.

Activision revealed in August last year that the Skylanders series passed $1.5 billion in retail sales since the franchise's launch in 2011. Over 100 million toys were sold by the end of 2012.
[Image: Activision]

New Nintendo eShop releases: Bravely Default, Retro City Rampage DX

New games! Yes, it would be nice to have a few more exciting eShop-only types, but at least we can start sending that tumbleweed on its way.

Bravely Default headlines the also-at-retail games, and we'd recommend checking it out. In our four star review, we lauded the 3DS JRPG for mixing Final Fantasy sensibilities with modern design. Whether a new promo trailer really conveys that ... well, it doesn't, but it made us chuckle so we're throwing it in here.

On the downloadable-only front, felonious indie Retro City Rampage comes to 3DS with lots of major tweaks, and it's another we had plenty nice to say about. Also, bike-former/plat-biker Urban Trial Freestyle is down to $3.50, starting later today and ending February 20. Oh, and don't forget the Super Indie Connection sale runs until February 13.

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Nintendo buys $1.1 billion of its own shares, Yamauchi family contributes

Nintendo has bought back 9.5 million shares of its own stock, valued at 114.2 billion yen ($1.1 billion), in its first step to stabilize the company's changing financial situation. The family of Hiroshi Yamauchi, Nintendo's late (and great) CEO, sold back a portion of its shares during this buyback, according to the acquisition document. We got wind of the Yamauchi family's involvement yesterday.

Nintendo's year-on net profit fell by 30 percent in the final nine months of 2013, pulled down mainly by poor Wii U sales, the company reported. Net profit during this time was 10.2 billion yen ($99 million). Nintendo expects to post a net loss of 25 billion yen ($242 million) for its fiscal year ending in March.

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata and his board members are taking temporary pay cuts, French news outlet AFP reported. Iwata will take half of his salary for five months, and board members will see cuts of 20 percent to 30 percent. Iwata took a similar pay cut in 2011, that time to offset poor 3DS sales.
[Image: Nintendo]

Report: 'Several hundred' Disney Interactive employees face layoffs

Though Disney Infinity is an undeniable hit, the Wall Street Journal reports "several hundred" employees at developer Disney Interactive are to be laid off later this week.

Citing unnamed sources "close to the company," the report claims that these layoffs are "expected to begin after the media giant releases its quarterly financial results Wednesday." The Wall Street Journal offers no concrete motivation for the mass dismissal, though it references a recently announced effort to reorganize Disney Interactive by president Jimmy Pitaro.

Intriguingly, the report also mentions Disney Infinity expansions based on Star Wars and Marvel Comics. "New versions of 'Infinity' featuring characters from Disney's Marvel superhero unit and the Star Wars universe it acquired along with Lucasfilm in 2012 are being developed," the Wall Street Journal claims, again citing an unnamed source. While this would be the first confirmation we've seen of such additions to Disney Infinity, it comes as no surprise that Disney Interactive might want to tap those two, wildly profitable licenses for its game.
[Image: Disney Interactive]

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