A Mantle patch is coming, but bug stomping takes top priority
AMD anticipated Battlefield 4 (BF4) being the first PC title to support its new Mantle API via a patch that was supposed to be made available before the end of the month. As it stands, BF4 will still be the first Mantle-optimized title, but the promised patch won't debut until sometime next month. Word from those in the trenches is that fixing various bugs in BF4 is taking a bit longer than expected.
Steam's winter sale is drawing a record number of concurrent users
If you missed out on Grand Theft Auto IV on the PC, you can snag it on Steam for just $4.99, which is 75 percent off its normal selling price. Fallout: New Vegas is also marked down 75 percent to the ridiculously low price of $2.49, and you can find scores of other games at discounted prices as part of Steam's Holiday Sale for 2013. Not by coincidence, while all this is going on, Steam just recorded the largest number of concurrent users.
The Chinese government doesn't just keep a tight grip on the Internet, it has a firm hold on the games market, as well. So, it doesn't come as a total shock that China just banned Battlefield 4 while pointing an angry finger at publisher Electronic Arts (EA) for pushing content that government officials claim is a threat to national security. But wait, there's more. China also considers BF4 a form of cultural invasion.
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 is widely considered the worst video game of all time, and legend has it that it was so bad, millions of unsold copies ended up being buried in a small town in New Mexico. Whether or not that's true, Microsoft Studios aims to find out in the first episode of a new documentary series that will debut exclusively on Xbox in 2014, the company announced in a blog post.
Don't forget to set aside a few dollars for food and other bills
Word to the wise -- don't go quitting that second job you got to pay for all the games you bought during Steam's Autumn Sale, you're going to need it to fund another round of discounts. The 2013 Steam Holiday Sale is now on and runs through the remainder of the holiday shopping season, all the way up until January 3, 2014. As always, big savings are to be had on popular titles, such as 50 percent off Batman: Arkham Origins ($24.99) and 75 percent off Bioshock Infinite ($9.99).
After more than a year in closed beta and amassing over 1 million downloads, Google's Niantic Labs just launched Ingress to the public. What is Ingress, you ask? It's a journey into alternate reality gaming, is one answer. Another answer is that it's a blending of augmented reality with MMO gaming for people with Android devices (iOS support will come later). It gets gamers outdoors in a sort of geo-caching expedition with real-life capture point control.
Various problems continue to plague Battlefield 4, one of the most hyped game releases of the year. If fixes don't come soon, Electronic Arts could find itself facing multiple lawsuits, both from users frustrated with persistent issues marring the overall experience, and from stockholders who have begun to investigate whether or not EA was completely upfront during the development process.
If you have any pieces-of-eight left over from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Steam's Autumn Sale, Green Monday, and every other shopping occasion this holiday season, you can dump what's left of your pockets at GOG for its 2013 DRM-free winter sale. While you're there, be sure to collect Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics for the tantalizing low, low price of absolutely free!
This is our catch-all category for items that don't fit tidily into any other space. You know, standard fare stuff like canned unicorn meat and The Walking Dead Monopoly. Think both of those are awesome? We do too, but wait until you see what else is included here. These are surefire winners for any geek.
Rockstar Games sure is taking its sweet little time porting Grand Theft Auto V over to the PC, but if history has taught us anything at all, it's that eventually GTA V will find its way home. In the meantime, there are plenty of other games worth gifting. If you're feeling particularly cheap, send your recipient the URL to download Dota 2 (it's free!). Otherwise, you can't go wrong with any games on this list.