WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 19TH – 25TH JANUARY

Headline Of The Week

Microsoft are to offer a free upgrade to its new Windows 10 operating system in the first year of its release – this offer applies to anyone currently running a Windows 7, 8 or Windows Phone OS in an attempt to boost the adoption rate of the new software (Windows 8 has notoriously failed to strike a chord with consumers since release in 2012). The computing giant has also revealed a HoloLens headset designed to take on Google Glass eyeware, and confirmed that the ‘Cortana’ voice control tool will also make the jump to all Windows 10 devices having previously been limited to Windows Phones.

Of greater interest for gamers is the news that Xbox One owners will be able to stream games to their PC via an Xbox application on the new OS, as well as the fact that Windows 10 will natively support Xbox Live multi-player allowing for cross-device play. While I can’t imagine that the majority will actively use the ability to stream games to PC (increased input lag and generally poorer visual quality will likely put people off), rumors that the company is also reportedly looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One will get tongues wagging. You can see a visual presentation of how the cross compatibility will work here.

In Other News

In news that will likely not surprise anyone familiar with MMORPG’s, The Elder Scrolls Online is to drop its subscription requirement on all platforms. The title will finally launch on June 9th worldwide for PS4 and Xbox One after lengthy delays (console players will still require a PS Plus or Xbox Live account). While fix updates and new player content will be offered for free, the game will be continue to be supported by paid-for DLC and premium membership costs.

It has been re-branded as Tamriel Unlimited - a significant overhaul did the trick for Final Fantasy XV, so there might just be life in it yet

Elder Scrolls Online has been re-branded as Tamriel Unlimited – a significant overhaul did the trick for Final Fantasy XV, so there might just be life in it yet

ESO has failed to set the MMO world alight since it was launched on PC last year, and the move to drop subscription costs now brings it in line with rivals such as Guild Wars 2 –  a game that will be receiving its first expansion, ‘Heart Of Thorns’, soon having been revealed at PAX South over the weekend.

Club Nintendo is to shut down worldwide over the coming months. The loyalty programme, which offered users the chance to redeem points earned by purchasing Nintendo products on various gifts and items, will be eventually replaced by a new as-of-yet detailed programme later this year.

In Europe, registration cards will stop being packaged with products on April 1st, with the service to fully shut down by September 30th – Nintendo have advised users to spend all remaining points in the meantime.

Valve has introduced Steam Broadcasting in its latest client update; the feature had been made available to beta users since December and has now been rolled out to everyone. The update will let you watch your friends play games directly within the Steam client, and also allows users to turn on a FPS overlay while playing a game.

EA are currently giving away the classic Theme Hospital for free on Origin as part of its ‘On The House’ Campaign. The 1997 title was developed by Bullfrog, also responsible for the likes of Theme Park and Populous, and joins the likes of Dragon Age: Origins & Battlefield 3 as games will have been given away as part of the goodwill campaign.

Grand Theft Auto V made it another week at the top of the UK Games Sales Chart, with FIFA 15 creeping up to 2nd spot. The rest of the Top 10 remains largely the same, as the first releases of 2015 start to trickle in including Saints Row IV: Re-Elected & Resident Evil HD Remaster.

Top Ten For Week Ending 17th January 2015 (from GFK/Chart-Track)

1 – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North)

2 – FIFA 15 (EA Canada)

3 – Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Sledgehammer Games)

4 – Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft Montreal)

5 – Minecraft: Xbox Edition (4J Studios)

6 – The Crew (Ivory Tower)

7 – Minecraft: Playstation Edition (4J Studios)

8 – Assassin’s Creed: Unity (Ubisoft Montreal)

9 – Destiny (Bungie)

10 – Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Traveller’s Tales)

And Finally…

Do you remember that out-of-the-blue teaser trailer for a Pokemon fighting game by Namco Bandai last August? During the past week, the developer showed off its wares again in a hour long streamed broadcast that not only demonstrated some early gameplay from the 3D arena fighter Pokken Tournament, but also revealed new additions to the roster in the form of series mascot Pikachu (no stranger to fighters having represented Pokemon in every iteration of Super Smash Bros.), Gardevoir and legendary water-dog Suicune.

If you have some time to kill, then the broadcast is available in full below – release dates for Europe are still AWOL though, so don’t expect any news on that in the broadcast

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