Shacknews - Blake Morse

For Honor just feels like the little engine that could to me sometimes. While the game didn't seem to make a heavy impact when it initially launched last year, it's continued to have what I would consider sleeper success since its launch, building up a rather loyal fanbase of Vikings, Samurai, and Knights who love battling opposing armies over territory. Now, players who may have wanted to give For Honor a healthy try before throwing down some cold, hard cash will be able to check out the full game for free on PS4, Xbox One, and PC starting on May 3 and ending May 6.

Along with the free weekend comes a heavy discount on the game's sale price as well as a ton of incentives and giveaways that fans can get involved with. Depending on what version players purchase, they'll be able to get up 75% off the original price until May 15. According to a press release from Ubisoft, veteran players who help out free weekend players will be able to score two weeks of Champion Status as well as some XP boosts and other bonuses:

"The For Honor team will also re-introduce the Warrior Training Program, an initiative that will reward existing and new players who work together, during the free weekend. Seasoned warriors who complete five matches while grouped with Free Weekend players (who do not own the game) will receive two weeks of revamped Champion Status, valued at 8,000 Steel, which will deliver even more XP boosts to players and their team as well as more loot following a match."

Along with all the bonus incentives for participating in the free weekend, Ubisoft will also be throwing a special Twitch stream on For Honor's channel May 3 at 9:00am PT/ 6:00pm CET that will offer up a guaranteed three scavenger crates in the form of Twitch Drops for anyone who watches for at least an hour. The livestream will also enter viewers in a raffle every 10 minutes for a chance to win 100,000 steel. 

Once again, the For Honor free weekend will be available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC May 3 through May 6. Fans looking for more details on the festivities can head over to the For Honor Free Weekend Page.

Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

Spring is here, and if that means you're getting your spring cleaning in, you might also be swapping out some of the tech in your house for some new products. Totally understandable, because sometimes you need a new router to pep up your wireless internet. Maybe you need a little more space on your Nintendo Switch. Whatever the case may be, you can probably benefit from the one-day Amazon tech sale, going on now.

There's a massive amount of items on sale, but some of the best bangs for your buck can be found below. If you're looking for a new monitor to improve your workstation, additional space to store Switch games, or even some powerful computer components, you can snag it all at some decent prices using the links below. Check out some of the cream of the crop:

If you decide to take the plunge and pick anything up, make sure you let us know how it works out for you. Sure, $719 may be a little too rich for your blood, but it is a Ryzen Threadripper, after all. Be quick, though, since these deals are only for today. 

Shacknews - Charles Singletary

The Nintendo Switch train has crashed through another milestone, driving deeper into "unprecedented territory" as Reggia Fils-Aime put it. Nintendo's financials have revealed that it sold a total of 15.05 million units during the previous fiscal year, bringing the total to 17.79 million. 

The report from Gamasutra also includes the fact that Nintendo Switch software sales continue to soar, totaling 63.51 million units. Even the 3DS pulled in 6.4 million units on top of 35.64 million software units sold, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon leading the charge with a combined 7.51 million. The full financial statistics, including the regional breakdown for each platform, can be found on the official Nintendo website.

"Consumers have been very receptive to the new concept introduced by Nintendo Switch as a home gaming system that they can take with them to play anytime, anywhere, with anyone, which helped it maintain its favorable momentum during this fiscal year," the company is quoted as saying in the report. "Very receptive" is almost an understatement, considering the console shot out of the gate with a substantial sum sold in its first month.

The company wants to leverage this momentum for greater success, but it may have already gotten the ball rolling there. The verdict is certainly still out, but Nintendo Labo seems like the type of cost-effective innovation that could propel the already impressive console into the stratosphere. We'll discuss this further in the future.

To get an even better picture of the Nintendo Switch's life, take a look at our Nintendo Switch: One Year Later feature. Then, hit Chatty with your thoughts on the console. Were you optimistic? Do you dislike the hybrid console? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Shacknews - Blake Morse

As technology evolves and mankind marches toward a future where many jobs become automated for better or for worse there's bound to some interesting attempts to pave the way for the next generation of consumer-facing mechanics. The latest and most intriguing attempt comes in the form of a state-owned bank in China that has gone all in with on virtual and augmented reality. Located in Shanghai’s Huangpu region, the newest branch of China Construction Bank is an experiment that hopes to be the future of banking. 

This new bank hopes to offer up a convenient and personable experience to its users while mimicking a lot of the pay apps and cashless payment systems that modern consumers are used to interacting with. Although it is hard to say how dealing with an automaton would be more personable than dealing with a human being. 

According to VR Focus, customers of China Construction Bank are able to enter the facilities either by using an ID card or through facial recognition tech. Once inside the bank, there is a robot with voice recognition tech waiting to greet costumers and assist them with their individual needs. Along with the robots, there are several computers that patrons can use to change currency and transfer funding between accounts. One of the more interesting amenities though would have to be the VR room for investment clients that can be used to take virtual tours of potential properties to purchase or invest in. 

Chairman of Identity International Joseph Atick, who is also a biometrics expert, was rather impressed with the bank's facial recognition tech:

“Through the use of facial recognition, even without a human in the loop, the system can ensure uniqueness of the individual at the time of enrollment and can verify each time the person conducts a transaction that they are who they claim to be.”

Others, like banking technologist Li Linfeng had trouble seeing the value in the new tech since most of what it seems to offer is a role that's already been filled by various apps and online services:

“When you’re exploring these technologies, you shouldn’t just pay attention to the technology itself, but how people can interact with these technologies. Technology has to serve us, not leave people behind.”

Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

Paul Wedgwood, Co-Founder and CEO of Splash Damage, was on hand to discuss Splash Damage and its upcoming products during Reboot Develop 2018, but there's something even cooler you may not know about him to discover: He's a Shacker!

Yes, Paul visits Shacknews, and back in the day, he was also a big Shugashack fan (going all the way back to sCary's Shugashack).

"You read Planet Quake, Blue's News, and Shacknews. It had a tone that was very distinct, and it was very brown and black," Wedgwood said in regard to what made Shacknews stand out from the rest of the pack back then. 

"I think there are some of those sites that were there when we started, part of the original community. You're talking about a time where id Software were barely making their games. Those early days of the industry, people have a nostalgia for."

"Now you have dads telling their kids to reach Shack," Wedgwood added.

You can check out the full interview above, and make sure to check out the Shacknews and Gamerhub YouTube channels!

Shacknews - Blake Morse

It seems like Sony Santa Monica is piecemealing their updates, possibly to get more fixes for the minor flubs in the latest God of War title out as fast as possible. As reported by VG 24/7, today's 1.15 patch brings with it a few minor improvements that most folks probably wouldn't have noticed if they didn't hear there was a patch. The latest round of bug fixes brings with it stability and performance along with some minor UI changes. 

That's really about it though. Unfortunately, the team at Sony Santa Monica doesn't like to get into minute details of their patches and that's really about all they had to say about today's patch. It's not like there's much broken in God of War to being with though, so it makes sense that their patches would be light with a quick turnaround. 

Be sure to check out our in-depth review of God of War if you're still on the fence about grabbing a copy for your PS4. If you're in the middle of raging your way through the game and need some help we've got a ton of thorough and detailed walkthroughs for everything and anything you might be stuck on.   

God of War is available now exclusively on the PS4.

Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

Shacknews sat down with Mike Wilson of Devolver Digital to chat about all things indie gaming, including the recent Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass announcement, which was a pleasant surprise for FPS fans, especially those into the kind of twitch action Serious Sam provides.

"It's been interesting watching them grow, as there was an indie team at the core of Croteam. They're very successful, and everything they do is great."

Wilson also commented on the selection process when it comes to Devolver Digital's promotion schedule and indie games.

"We get submissions from all over the world every week," he said. "That's our favorite thing about the industry, it's global. I think it's even more global than music. Each country has its own distinct flavor of music, and games are inherently global." 

You can check out the full interview above, and make sure to subscribe to the Shacknews and Gamerhub YouTube channels!

Shacknews - Charles Singletary

Apple believes that "AR is going to dramatically change the way this generation learns" and the company probably has its finger on the pulse of other industries augmented reality can impact. As far as what the company itself is doing regarding the hardware side of AR and mixed reality as a whole, an unearthed patent hints at eye-tracking and near-infrared (NIR) camera systems for a future mixed reality headset.

Patently Apple is credited with the find, adding a fifth invention to four previously covered items that could be used in autonomous vehicles, as a desktop replacement, as a next-gen mobile computer. and more. This fifth find involves an advanced eye-tracking system that uses hot mirrors and a NIR camera system. Additional details are referenced in the report:

"Apple notes in their patent filing that virtual reality (VR) allows users to experience and/or interact with an immersive artificial environment, such that the user feels as if they were physically in that environment. For example, virtual reality systems may display stereoscopic scenes (3D scenes) to users in order to create an illusion of depth, and a computer may adjust the scene content in real-time to provide the illusion of the user moving within the scene.
When the user views images through a virtual reality system, the user may feel as if they are moving within the scenes from a first-person point of view. Similarly, mixed reality (MR) combines computer generated information (referred to as virtual content) with real-world images or a real-world view to augment, or add content to, a user's view of the world.
The simulated environments of VR and/or the mixed environments of MR may be utilized to provide an interactive user experience for multiple applications, such as applications that add virtual content to a real-time view of the viewer's environment, interacting with virtual training environments, gaming, remotely controlling drones or other mechanical systems, viewing digital media content, interacting with the Internet, or the like."

An actual device that could take the form of a headset, helmet, goggles, or glasses is described, breaking down the lenses and Patently Apple digs even deeper into what the HMD will look and function like. Apple won't be the only major company with skin in the game if forecasts like $5.5 billion for the automotive AR industry even come close to being realized. PogoTec's AR accessory could be the key, but other entities have to figure out an accessible AR solution before mass consumption.

Stay tuned to Shacknews for more updates.

Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

Remember those meteors we've been talking about in Fortnite? It looks like the time has come for them to start raining down upon the earth in-game in an event that's going on right now. The apocalypse seems to have finally arrived. 

Our news editor Charles Singletary played a few rounds of Battle Royale today, April 26, and spotted the above. Nothing hit the ground during his four matches today, but there have been reports of that occurring. There were a couple other interesting things happening in the sky, including shooting stars, but those may have been going on before this cataclysmic event started to be rolled out by Epic Games. We'll continue to update as more information is made available.

Shacknews - Brittany Vincent

Fortnite's official Twitter account has another tease locked and loaded for players to puzzle over for the next day or so. This time around, it's a more direct approach, with an announcement for Season 4. The fact that Season 4 is coming isn't a new idea or unique in itself, but it's the image alongside the announcement that's causing a commotion.

If you look closely, you'll notice that you can see the face of a superhero-like character smiling back at you reflected in what looks like a meteor or comet-shaped image. Is Epic Games trying to tell us something here? Are we finally going to see the fall of Tilted Towers or some sort of game-changing update in the coming days?

Fans have been anxiously following the appearance of a meteor spotted in the sky in-game, as well as what it could mean for the Fortnite meta. Some feel that it will simply decimate the Tilted Towers area since that's where the meteor has been spotted, and others think it's heralding something out-of-this-world, like aliens.

Whatever ends up happening, we'll let you know as soon as we've gotten it figured out. We're ready to get off of this merry-go-round for the time being. Time to give us some definitive details, Epic!

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