Shacknews - Shack Staff

This week Greg Burke teaches us about Battle Circuit, the action "beat 'em up" game developed and published by Capcom in 1997 for the CPS-2 arcade hardware of Europe and Japan. Please take a look.

For more great videos, be sure to subscribe to Shacknews on YouTube.

Shacknews - David Craddock

HTC has opened a new office in China dedicated to its Vive VR headset, according to games analyst ZhugeEX.

Known primarily for manufacturing phones, HTC wants to push even further into the VR market. Opening an office to penetrate the Chinese market is only one step. Partnering with digital distribution powerhouse Valve to create its Vive headset is another. The third is taking point on Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance, or VRVCA, a consortium of 30 venture capital firms looking to invest in VR tech.

"This is the first time such renowned VCs are joining hands at this scale to drive the future of a new industry, rather than competing to find the best deals for themselves," said HTC regional chief Alvin Graylin in a statement (via CNET).

HTC is getting more attention than its consortium partners—and competitors such as Oculus—due to its transparency. We know Facebook purchased Oculus for $2 billion in 2014, but we don't know how Oculus spent that money. HTC is throwing money around, too; it's just being up front about it, such as pledging $100 million to help fund development of VR software.

That investment aligns with HTC and its constituents hope to accomplish through VRVA. "We believe that VR is a transformative technology that will revolutionize entire industries, one that will leave a lasting impact for many future generations to come," per the conglomerate's mission statement. In order to achieve that dream, we are working tirelessly to ensure that the VR startups today get the resources they need, so that they can grow into the industry titans of tomorrow."

In its quest to remain one of those titans, HTC likely opened its office in China to get in on the ground floor of the country's VR industry. A report published by Bloomberg states that China houses 200 startups working in virtual reality. Those and other small companies are seeds planted by President Xi Jinping, who hopes to give China's economy an adrenaline shot by opening over 1,600 incubators for tech startups.

Naturally, some companies are attempting to create cheaper VR headsets to lower the cost of entry into the medium. But a problem remains: users need a beefy PC in conjunction with a capable headset to enter virtual worlds. That's exactly why Chinese companies like Dloldo (pronounced "dodo") are taking lateral steps and designing alternative portals such as a peripheral that resembles eyeglasses, offering more comfort and a smaller form factor (per TIME).

A promotional shot for Dloldo's VR glasses.

Chinese companies like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Tencent Holdings Ltd., and Baidu Inc. are jumping aboard the VR bandwagon by helping to fund startup companies rooted in VR software and hardware. During the first quarter of 2016, those and other investors poured approximately $1.1 billion into VR—all in a bid to see who will be at the forefront of innovation.

Canalys analyst Jason Low said that "There isn’t a clear leader for VR content in China. Local content providers, game publishers and service providers are racing to exercise their influence on the development of VR beyond hardware."

Sources: CNET, Time, Bloomberg, ZhugeEX (via Twitter)

Shacknews - David Craddock

Following confirmation that The Banner Saga 2 will arrive on Xbox One on July 1, this Friday, a developer post on PlayStation Blog brings word that PS4 owners will get the game a few days later on Tuesday, July 5.

"We originally planned to launch later in the month," wrote Lance James, community director at publisher Versus Evil. "However, because of the combined effort of our friends at Sony and the hard work by the team at Shiny Shoe, we are able to bring this to you much sooner. Stoic wanted people to kickstart their Summer off right and jumped at the chance to get the second game in the hands of PS4 owners."

Good things come to those who wait. And so do unique things! As restitution for having to wait four extra days, players who get Banner Saga 2 on PS4 will receive the Playful Hilt of Arnr, a unique sword that boosts your damage by 20 percent and adds 3 to your talent.

The rest of the blog details a Q-and-A between Banner Saga 2 developers and members of their community. Subjects covered span topics such as if you can play the sequel if you didn't play the first (yes), whether you need to import a save from the first game or start from scratch (your choice), and more.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Sony is giving GameStop one last infusion of PlayStation VR headsets for pre-order. Sony will open its "summer wave" of pre-orders tomorrow, June 30, beginning at 7:00a on GameStop.com.

According to an announcement on the PlayStation Blog (via GameSpot), this is the last chance for early birds to get a PSVR-shaped worm. "Supplies are limited, and this is your final chance to pre-order. If you miss out, we will have product available in retail stores nationwide at launch."

Make sure to bookmark this GameStop page so you can pounce on a PSVR the moment they become available.

There are two pre-order options for anyone interested in punching their ticket for PSVR. The PlayStation VR Core bundle retails for $399.99 and includes the headset, cables, stereo headphones, and a demo disc.

For $499.99, the Launch bundle includes everything in the Core package, plus two PlayStation Move controllers, one PlayStation VR Worlds demo disc, and a PlayStation Camera. Given that you need a PS Camera to use PSVR, you might as well spring for the Launch option.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Sony is giving GameStop one last infusion of PlayStation VR headsets for pre-order. Sony will open its "summer wave" of pre-orders tomorrow, June 30, beginning at 7:00a on GameStop.com.

According to an announcement on the PlayStation Blog (via GameSpot), this is the last chance for early birds to get a PSVR-shaped worm. "Supplies are limited, and this is your final chance to pre-order. If you miss out, we will have product available in retail stores nationwide at launch."

Make sure to bookmark this GameStop page so you can pounce on a PSVR the moment they become available.

There are two pre-order options for anyone interested in punching their ticket for PSVR. The PlayStation VR Core bundle retails for $399.99 and includes the headset, cables, stereo headphones, and a demo disc.

For $499.99, the Launch bundle includes everything in the Core package, plus two PlayStation Move controllers, one PlayStation VR Worlds demo disc, and a PlayStation Camera. Given that you need a PS Camera to use PSVR, you might as well spring for the Launch option.

Shacknews - David Craddock

At Sony's IR Day today, executive vice president Andrew House revealed that approximately 20.8 million users subscribe to PlayStation Plus.

Further analysis breaks down the success of the PS Plus program, and of the PS4 in relation to its predecessors. Sony officially broke 40 million PS4s sold back in May, putting the console in above the PS3 and below PS1 in terms of total units sold. PS2 continues to smile and wave from its lofty perch in the clouds, but Sony hopes PS4 will catch up sooner rather than later.

Breaking down console sales unearthed another interesting factoid. As Sony has sold 40 million PS4 systems, and over 20 million of those users subscribe to PS Plus, roughly half of all owners subscribe to the service.

Numbers!

Shacknews - John Keefer

The magic of Legos can bring any movie or character to life. And with the new Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, that now applies to the behind-the-scenes folks as well.

Director J.J. Abrams and Producer Kathleen Kennedy have been added to the game as playable (via Kotaku). Both characters are quite adept with blasters and can offer troop commands.

This isn't the first time Lego has "added" characters to their movie tie-in games. Stephen Spielberg and director Colin Trevorrow were unlockable in Lego Jurassic World. And DC Comics president Geoff Johns and Batman artist Kevin Smith were unlockable in Lego Batman 3.

Shacknews - John Keefer

The proposed Fallout 4 closed beta for PlayStation 4 users to test out mod support has been delayed.

A tweet from the official Bethesda account revealed the bad news: "We regret to say that the PS4 Mods Beta for Fallout 4 has been delayed. We will update everyone when we can." No other details were released.

The 1.5.4 update for console users is due out this week, and this update is required for the eventual PS4 mods beta. Earlier this month, Bethesda updated the Creation kit to support PS4 mods, but there were some issues, namely smaller file sizes for mods than Xbox One (900 MB vs. 2GB), no sound file support given the proprietary nature of PS4's sound format, and problems with PC textures, memory and performance.

If those problems have not been ironed out, that could be part of the reason for the delay, as Betehsda continues to work with Sony to resolve the issues. Ideally, Bethesda wants all mods to have the same guidelines and limitations. Mod support for Xbox One came at the end of May.

Shacknews - John Keefer

The proposed Fallout 4 closed beta for PlayStation 4 users to test out mod support has been delayed.

A tweet from the official Bethesda account revealed the bad news: "We regret to say that the PS4 Mods Beta for Fallout 4 has been delayed. We will update everyone when we can." No other details were released.

The 1.5.4 update for console users is due out this week, and this update is required for the eventual PS4 mods beta. Earlier this month, Bethesda updated the Creation kit to support PS4 mods, but there were some issues, namely smaller file sizes for mods than Xbox One (900 MB vs. 2GB), no sound file support given the proprietary nature of PS4's sound format, and problems with PC textures, memory and performance.

If those problems have not been ironed out, that could be part of the reason for the delay, as Betehsda continues to work with Sony to resolve the issues. Ideally, Bethesda wants all mods to have the same guidelines and limitations. Mod support for Xbox One came at the end of May.

Shacknews - John Keefer

The Final Fantasy series may have indeed peaked with FFVII, and that could be the reason that the fan favorite is getting its own themed Monopoly game.

Video game merchant Merchoid revealed the product , saying the board would be set in Midgar with players looking for the latest business opportunities. There will be the usual assortment of playing pieces and cards, but there is no art yet of what the board, money or property cards will look like. The box art has Sephiroth, Cloud, Aerith and others, so hopefully they will be immortalized in metal or plastic for zipping around the board. 

The game sells for $49.99 and will be available around April 14 of next year.

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