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Shacknews - Steve Watts

While the Xbox One turning on with the sound of your voice made for an impressive stage presentation, it didn't take long for the Internet to notice: doesn't that mean it's listening all the time? Today, in a bevy of new information that also included online checks and game licensing, Microsoft attempted to put fears at ease with more detail about the new Kinect's privacy settings.

In a detailed announcement, Microsoft stated that you'll personalize your Kinect during start-up. That will let you pick which settings are on from the start, and you can turn the sensor on, off, or pause it. When the Kinect is off, Microsoft says, it's only listening for the command "Xbox on," but you can disable that feature as well. When the Xbox One is in use, Microsoft is careful to note that it's not recording or uploading any conversation. Finally, you can use other inputs if you just want to turn off or pause the Kinect.

Concerning personal data, Microsoft claims that nothing will leave your Xbox One without explicit, expressed permission. It uses examples like a fitness game measuring heart data or a card game that views your face to determine the strength of a bluff.

This is all much more specific than the information we heard late last month, which simply promised privacy settings without going into detail.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Almost as soon as the Xbox One announcement ended, we started hearing contradictory tales from Microsoft regarding the system's connectivity requirements. The last two weeks have apparently given the company a chance to get its messaging straight, as it finally clarified today just how often the system needs to check in.

As confirmed on the official site the system will require an online check-in every 24 hours on your primary console. If you're accessing your game library on someone else's system, that window gets narrowed to every hour. The page warns: "Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies."

This is similar to what Phil Harrison told Kotaku, which apparently let the cat out of the bag early. Microsoft quickly told Polygon he was merely describing "potential scenarios."

More mundane details include the recommended connection speed (1.5Mbps), and the ability to sign in and install games from your friend's house to play them there. That's certainly convenient, but the one-hour check-in time might make it less welcoming.

Shacknews - Steve Watts
Steam announced a new "Family Sharing" feature today, and is accepting beta applications to test it. When it launches fully, close friends and family will be able to play one another's games, while still earning their own achievements and saving their individual progress through the cloud.
Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

September means it's football season! But also, it's futbol season, with EA Sports ready to release FIFA 15 to all platforms! Coming off a hot World Cup, soccer mania is still running wild, brother!

But for those not so much into hitting the pitch, there's also Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes invading your console... and also your desks, with some amazing figures. Link and company are taking the Legend of Zelda franchise to a whole new place with Hyrule Warriros on Wii U. Killer Instinct is officially ushering in the Season 2 changes with the Killer Instinct Combo Breaker Pack on Xbox One. There's also Gauntlet, Stronghold Crusader 2, Fenix Rage, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, and Defense Grid 2 all hitting PC. Check out the full list of releases below!


  • FIFA 15 (download - $60)

  • Gauntlet (download - $20)

  • Stronghold Crusader 2 (download - $50)

  • Defense Grid 2 (download - $25)

  • The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (download - $20)

  • Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies (download - free-to-play) Neverending Nightmares (download)Ancient Space (download)

  • Magicmaker (download)

  • Jacob Jones and the Bigfoot Mystery: Episode 2 (download - $4)

  • Schrodiner's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark (download)

  • TransOcean - The Shipping Company (download)

  • Runaway Express Mystery (download)

  • Moorhuhn: Tiger and Chicken (download)

  • Roadside Assistance Simulator (download)

  • Kraven Manor (download)

  • Tesla Breaks the World! (download)

PlayStation 4

  • Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition)

  • FIFA 15

  • Defense Grid 2 (download - $25)

  • CastleStorm: Definitive Edition (download)

Xbox One

  • Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition)

  • FIFA 15

  • Killer Instinct Combo Breaker Pack (retail)

  • Defense Grid 2 (download - $25)

Xbox 360

  • Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition)

  • FIFA 15

  • Slender: The Arrival (download)

PlayStation 3

  • Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition)

  • FIFA 15

  • Ar Nosurge Ode to an Unborn Star

  • Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX!!!!!

  • Slender: The Arrival (download)

  • Wall-E (download)

Wii U

  • Hyrule Warriors

  • Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition)

  • Mario Golf: Advance Tour (download)


  • FIFA 15

  • Arcana Heart 3 LOVE MAX!!!!!

  • Frozen Synapse Prime (download)

Nintendo 3DS

  • FIFA 15

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

With the Destiny hype starting to cool down a tad, our Shacknews Chatty posters on Twitch are starting to migrate back to their regular slate of games. For this week, we have the latest Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Shackbattle from hemtroll to start things off. Meanwhile, orangepylon loses his mind in some sort of trippy Left 4 Dead 2 mod. And we wrap things up with a look back into the heritage of Shacknews by celebrating Quake Live with dael.

Here's a compilation of some of the best Shacknews Twitch highlights for the week of September 20, 2014.

Warning: Some clips may contain NSFW language.

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

Once a week, a large group of Chatty posters get together for a megaton Shackbattle. In recent weeks, the game of choice has been Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and poster hemtroll has been kind enough to catch everyone's drunken shenanigans. Catch the full battle below.

Watch live video from Hemtroll on Twitch

Left 4 Dead 2

Left 4 Dead 2 has no shortage of mods, as we previously saw with one of orangepylon's highlights. This week, things get a little trippier as he gets stuck in some strange dream sequence, along with Maddog_Delphi97, RomSteady, and dognose. It's weird, strange, and totally...bereft of action.

Watch live video from OrangePylon on Twitch

Quake Live

Today, we celebrate the Shacknews heritage as a Quake fansite by checking out the latest generation of Quake shooters. Quake Live is still kicking fairly prominently, thanks to its recent migration to Steam. So let's see how dael fares in his playthrough and whether he can entice his fellow Chatty posters to give this game another go.

Watch live video from DonkTV on Twitch

For more highlights and live streams, check out the full list of Shacknews Twitch channels.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

This year's Oculus Connect keynote kicked off with some exciting announcements. Among them was a whole new Oculus VR prototype called Crescent Bay, as well as some new partnerships.

The Crescent Bay prototype adds a new display technology with 360 degree head tracking, expanded tracking volume, improved weight, and improved integrated audio. With all this in mind, the Oculus team is showing off some new game demos designed to show off the new prototype's capabilities, which the company states is beyond what the current DK2 can pull off.

Oculus also announced a new partnership with Unity, which will allow Unity programmers utilizing either the Free or Pro versions of the SDK to take advantage of the Oculus Rift VR and its various abilities. Oculus will also be licensing RealSpace 3D audio technology for better sound quality.

There is no word on when the Crescent Bay prototype will be available, as Oculus acknowledges that it's in its very early stages.

For more on today's Oculus Connect events or if you'd like to weigh in, comment on this thread or visit the ongoing Chatty thread.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

Capcom had some exciting announcements for Ultra Street Fighter 4 during Tokyo Game Show late Friday night. The game's upcoming 1.04 patch will see several changes, while also adding in a major new game mode called Omega Mode as a free add-on.

"For those wondering, Omega mode is a completely new mode in which every character has been modified and outfitted with new normal and special attacks, resulting in a refreshing take on the characters you've come to know and love over the last six years," Peter 'Combofiend' Rosas said on the Capcom Unity blog. "As the primary goal for this mode was fun, we placed more emphasis on making the characters feel new, than on their balance. This means that strong, fan favorite attacks such as Ken's Shinppu Jinrai Kyaku and Sagat's Tiger Raid make their return while other characters such as Zangief gain new abilities, like being able to combo into his command throws."

Rosas adds that Omega Mode will be playable both locally and online in unranked matches.

Other changes set to come in the 1.04 patch includes balance tweaks, particularly to Cody, Decapre, and Rolento. Most importantly to PC users, the patch will address the current issues plaguing the game's online play.

The new 1.04 patch is expected to deploy sometime in October across all platforms. For more on Omega Mode, check out the video below.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

A new weekend is upon us, which means not only are the majority of folks able to enjoy a few days off work, but new Destiny public events are being rolled out in the next couple of days.

Starting today, Guardians can take part in the Combined Arms Crucible playlist all weekend long. Rewards will be plentiful as you can snag yourself Crucible Gear, Crucible Marks and Crucible Reputation upon completing each match. "Guardians fight to survive in vehicular combat,” Bungie details in a new post. “Form up into Fireteams of six. Drive toward supremacy and glory. Watch for increased Heavy Ammo drops!"”

The next public event, The Queen’s Wrath, will go live starting on Tuesday, September 23 and will continue until October 6. Rewards for this event will be Unique Legendary Gear and Unique Rare Gear upon completion. "The Queen's emissary is prepared to reward Guardians who extinguish the enemies of the Reef," states the official description of the event. "New Bounties will be available, and challenging missions and modes await those who prove themselves.

Guardians looking to take part in these new public events only need to fire up their copy of Destiny and head on over to the designated area of the game.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

At E3 2014, Gearbox Software finally unveiled its next project was after months of assuring fans its next-gen game wouldn’t be Borderlands-related. Battleborn was announced and described as a fusion of first-person shooter with loot-grabbing RPG elements and an art style reminiscent of graphic novels. Now where have we heard of that premise before?

At the time, information regarding Battleborn was scarce. Today, Gearbox and 2K Games has released the first gameplay video showing what exactly the game looks like. Series creative director Randy Varnell and lead writer Aaron Linde guide us through Battleborn’s cooperative campaign.

Battleborn is set in a distant sci-fi fantasy future where the last star in the universe is seen as a beacon of hope against the Varlesi. Heroes called battleborn have come together in the Solus system in order to fight for what little resources are left, but the Varlesi are threatening to finish off the last star to cause the entire universe to turn to complete darkness.

Be sure to set aside 18 minutes to watch the first gameplay footage of Battleborn, which is expected to be released on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2015.

Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Destiny has been out in the wild for over a week now reportedly selling over $325 million just in its first five days. Even though many players are enjoying it, there are some players who are completely frustrated Bungie didn’t create the first-person shooter, role-playing game hybrid of their dreams.

You know what similar game we barely heard anyone complaining about when it released? Borderlands 2. That’s why I decided to take a look at how exactly Destiny could learn from Borderlands 2’s example in regards to how to do a FPS / RPG hybrid the right way.

Loot makes the world go round

Loot is something everyone wants to receive in RPGs. If I dedicate my time to a game, I want to feel like I’m being rewarded beyond simply progressing through the story to learn what sort of evil deeds the villain is planning to do and how my character can attempt to stop them. I want a new shiny sword, armor that will have my enemies quaking in their boots and a cute little pet that I can nuzzle after a long day of slaughtering trolls.

Destiny’s loot makes players work hard for their gear, especially if you find yourself a level 20 where it feels nearly impossible to find loot droppings good enough to get you past the soft level cap. There haven’t been many games that use a loot-based leveling system, and that’s with good reason: it rewards those who play the game an insane amount of time over casual or those who can only dedicate a 1 or 2 hours per night.

Borderlands 2, at times, completely throws loot in your direction with nearly every Psycho you kill, every chest you open and every boss you defeat. This is an aspect of the game I thoroughly enjoy as I feel rewarded the majority of time I’m playing. And that’s what keeps me coming back for more. Instant versus delayed gratification. And in a time where we can’t be bothered with video clips that are longer than 15 seconds, instant gratification is something we all want.

You can’t beat a good story with memorable characters

Vault hunters vs Guardians of The City. Searching for the ultimate loot drop vs space mysticism. Claptrap vs Ghost. Borderlands has a more memorable storyline and cast than Destiny does as you really don’t interact with as many characters as you’d expect traveling across numerous planets in the Milky Way. Both games have you fighting across desolate lands filled with unique creatures and insurmountable odds, but Borderlands does it in such a way that every enemy you interacted with not only offered a suitable challenge, but they also were way more memorable. I mean - who could forget their first time coming face to face with a Psycho Midget? The enemies you face aren’t the only characters you’ll remember as Borderlands has quite the cast of unique and memorable NPCs and quest givers that you’d eventually come across through your travels. Angel, Dr. Zed, Mad Moxxi, Tiny Tina and more keep the momentum of the game going as each of them offer a fresh and unique look at the world of Pandora in their attempts to guide you on to the next challenge.

Class variety is the spice of life

At its launch, Destiny delivered a total of three core classes: Titan, Hunter and Warlock. Each class has their own subclass allowing players to branch out to experience additional powers and abilities. At their launch, Borderlands and Borderlands 2 offered four classes attached to a unique character, some of them not falling into what we consider “the norm” of character classes. I mean - how many games have you seen that have the option to play a “Gunzerker”? And yet after playing as Salvador, I fully understood what exactly Gearbox meant by defining him as a Gunzerker.

Even with the basic classes in Borderlands, each branched out into three subclasses. Sticking with the Gunzerker class example, Salvador could spend experience points into his Gunlust, Rampage or Brawn subclasses to give players either a mix of each subclass, or dedicate themselves solely to one. This variety helped extend Borderlands and Borderlands 2 replayability as players could come up with a ton of class combinations to either fit their play style or they could branch out and experiment, if they wish to do so.

Bungie is in it for the long run

These are just my immediate observations of the differences between what’s available at launch for Destiny, Borderlands and Borderlands 2. I understand Bungie is looking at the long term for Destiny’s success as they have already held some public events in the game and presumably will continue to do so in the coming months.

I’m also aware Bungie will be releasing additional downloadable content that may offer additional character classes, subclasses, weapons, locations, etc. That’s why I was careful in comparing what Bungie and Gearbox Software have delivered in their titles at their launch, although I certainly could have gotten into the staggering amount of post-launch content Borderlands and Borderlands 2 received.

Destiny’s future depends on its post-launch content, end-game raids and public events. End-game raids is certainly new territory for Bungie, but when it comes to post-launch content and public events, their previous experience with the Halo franchise should speak volumes as to what they could potentially deliver in Destiny. But if Bungie took notes from what made Borderlands and Borderlands 2 so successful, maybe Destiny’s review scores wouldn’t have been lower than we all expected.


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