Wednesday, July 26, 2017

News:: Walmart just canceled all the SNES Classic pre-orders

Last Friday, a lot of people felt a rush of relief when they locked down an SNES Classic pre-order through Walmart's website. Now they're feeling a pang of panic. Walmart just canceled all those pre-orders.

In an email to everyone who ordered an SNES Classic, Walmart explained that the page went live on accident. "Unfortunately, due to a technical glitch, the Super Nintendo Classic Edition was mistakenly made available last Friday evening ahead of the official release date. We, regrettably, will have to cancel this item on your order. We know that this is incredibly disappointing to you, and we’re truly sorry for this mistake," the email reads. The full letter is in the gallery below.

And, we're back to square one for everyone in the United States. No one has a pre-order secured and the playing field is level again. The hunt continues.

Walmart just canceled all the SNES Classic pre-orders screenshot

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News:: The Nubians are coming to Civilization VI

It has been almost half a year since the last DLC pack for Civilization VI was released, but the wait is finally over. The Nubian kingdom of Kush will be coming to the game with Amanitore leading the cause. She's here to walk like an Egyptian and kick some ass while doing so.

Amanitore's unique unit is the Pitati Archer, a specialized ancient era unit that is faster and stronger than traditional bowmen. Their exclusive structure is the Nubian pyramid, which is a tile improvement that leaches bonuses from adjacent tiles (such as getting more food from a farm or faith from a temple/church). Amanitore also has increased productivity towards creating districts and all ranged units will have faster experience gain (as well as shorter production queues).

The Nubians are coming to Civilization VI screenshot

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News:: Atari made a baseball cap with speakers, and we're giving 10 away

Here's a wild one: Atari has also partnered with Audiowear to create a baseball-styled cap with built-in speakers, which will also have a limited-edition release with BladeRunner 2049. You read that right! The 1970's old gal even opened an Instagram account. They're getting into the wearables business, I swear this is a real thing that is happening. According to their COO, this might not be the last spinoff Atari lifestyle gadget we'll see, either. They're looking for beta testers to check this out.

We don't know much about the device other than what you see in the gallery below: It's a dark cap, there's a button and a blue light on it for sync, it's rechargeable (we're not sure via what port), there's dual speakers on the flap, it has a microphone, and it connects via bluetooth. You can't really see the speakers unless you're right up in someone's grill. I'm dying to try this thing out in church. In all seriousness, Venturebeat tried one out and noted that the downward-facing speakers aren't easy to eavesdrop on at lower volume levels. Huh.

Honestly, I was full-on ready to hate on this because it's so random and kitsch, but my fat head can't stand jogging with headphones/earbuds or a ghettoblaster over my shoulders. I've got a soft spot for Atari; the 2600 was my first console ever. I'm picking up their new console and following them in awe and confusion. I'm totally gonna review this if I can get my hands on one.

Want one for free? Enthusiast Gaming (our parent company) has ten Atari Speakerhat bundles to give away (10!) which also includes an Atari T-shirt, and the Atari Flashback game collection for PS4 or Xbox One. To enter, just do the social media thing below. Good luck!

Atari made a baseball cap with speakers, and we're giving 10 away screenshot

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News:: Final Fantasy XV's multiplayer expansion has an online test next week

Square Enix has been releasing a steady stream of content for patient Final Fantasy XV players. Before Episode Ignis hits, you'll be able to get a taste of the upcoming multiplayer mode, Comrades. 

Anyone with the season pass and access to Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus will be able to download the test on August 2. The test will run from August 3 to August 8. 

Final Fantasy XV's multiplayer expansion has an online test next week screenshot

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News:: Re:Legend is a co-op monster raising RPG that looks cute as heck

Re:Legend is an RPG about raising monsters, farming, and generally chilling on a tropical island. Its developer, Magnus Games, just launched a Kickstarter, and while I don't usually report on crowdfunding campaigns until after the goal gets met, this game is too stinking cute to ignore.

Re:Legend is a co-op monster raising RPG that looks cute as heck screenshot

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News:: Dtoid in Japan: Hands-on with Mario Kart Grand Prix VR Arcade

Despite everything cool I saw at E3, an official Nintendo-licensed Mario Kart VR was the most pleasant surprise of the year for me. It sounded too good to be true. A few of us in the press room had to do a triple take to believe it wasn't some weird fan-made homebrew (which by the way has existed since 2014, though I've never bothered). 

Is this real life? I couldn't wait to see what the world's first Nintendo "true" VR game might be like, so here I was ready to get back on the horse, er, kart. No offense to Virtual Boy fans, but I've been patiently waiting 22 years for this moment, and it's finally here. 100% authentic and it's out right now Japan, open to the public at the world's largest VR Arcade, a new facility in Shinjuku. I'm one of the lucky few to have spent all morning there for a chance to play the brand-new Mario Kart VR from start to finish. 

The burning questions I'll try to answer for you today: How does it play, what's the VR like, does it suck, and is it worth the trip to have a life-sized Luigi give you "the look"?

Warning: Minor spoilers follow, with the full track spoiled in the off-camera videos. 

Dtoid in Japan: Hands-on with Mario Kart Grand Prix VR Arcade screenshot

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News:: Overwatch League pro players will earn at least $50,000 a year

Activision Blizzard is taking Overwatch eSports seriously. The Overwatch League begins next year and it completely transforms the face of professional play, tying teams to specific cities around the world and establishing a baseline of player protections, including minimum salaries and benefits. But, Blizzard has kept most details of its new system under wraps -- until today.

Source: Activision Blizzard



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News:: Sony pulls out the big guns for August's PS Plus games

I guess Sony got tired of the criticism about their monthly free games line up, because they've actually pulled out the stops for August. The headliner this month is Just Cause 3, which is just in time to ride off the news of the PC multiplayer mod. Now people can try out the game and possibly go and buy it on PC to screw around with their friends. Maybe I'm overplaying how generous Sony is.

Along with Rico's third outing comes Assassin's Creed: Freedom Cry on PS4, the standalone version of the DLC expansion to Black Flag. I've actually played this before on PC and its pretty good. Its nice to see a smaller scale Assassin's Creed game that cuts out the bullshit and gets straight to the game.

On Vita, gamers will see Downwell (cross-buy) and Level 22 and PS3 gamers have Motherload and Snakeball. I'm not really sure what those games are, a part from Downwell, but Destructoid has some reviews for a few of the games. Basically everything this month is worth playing, so that is great.

Sony pulls out the big guns for August's PS Plus games screenshot

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News:: Blizzard shut down fan-run World of Warcraft server

A fan-created server, which intended to emulate WoW's popular 2007 Burning Crusade expansion pack, has been closed within hours of going live by Blizzard Entertainment.

The server, a four year work-in-progress by creator Gummy52, was hoping to house a closed community of around 3000 players, but word had spread fast about the emulated server in recent weeks, drawing attention to its upcoming launch. Blizzard issued a cease-and-desist letter to Gummy52, five hours after of the "Felmyst" server's opening. This is similar to an incident just last year in which fan run server "Nostalrius" was also shut down.

Gummy52, who had managed to run a previous WoW server under-the-radar before, released a statement online explaining the situation "Last year's news of what Blizzard was doing came at the absolute worst time for me.. with so many years already invested." They also cite a medical condition as preventing them from hosting in a different country.

"The old game was a great way to meet people and see new faces," the statement continues. "It makes me happy, and programming makes me happy. Of course, I am sad that things didn't turn out the way I'd hoped but I don't think I'd change any of the decisions I made."

This is another one of those situations, where it becomes fan passion vs.. well.. the law. Many home-grown projects are successfully shut down by their respective rights holders, but people still continue to create risky ventures out of their love for various brands.

You can appreciate the heart, drive and talent that spawns these ideas, as they usually come from a good place with no ill intent. At the same time, there is always a shrugging inevitability of the expected outcome, which almost always comes to pass.

It's a shame to see a person's dream crushed, regardless of whether you believe that dream was ill-advised or otherwise. Hopefully Gummy52 can find a more successful project to focus their talent and efforts on in the future.

Blizzard shuts down "legacy" WoW server [Ars Technica]

Blizzard shut down fan-run World of Warcraft server screenshot



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News:: Pokémon Go Fest's big flop shows Niantic needs to think bigger

This past weekend's Pokémon Go Fest felt like a bit of a flashback to 2016. Users were having connection problems and couldn't even sign into the game. People were angry, and refunds were doled out. But the truth is that game developer Niantic has spent the past year ironing out those issues, and the game has improved quite a bit. The festival in Chicago was intended as a love letter to those who stuck through it all and kept playing, while also giving the company a chance to unveil long-awaited Legendary Pokémon. Instead, it was a mess that showed the developer is still struggling with unexpected success.



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News:: Are you picking up a New 2DS XL?

Nintendo is going to be pushing the New 2DS XL hard this week. In addition to Miitopia, Hey! Pikmin is also out for the entire 3DS family, which will likely spur some extra in-store sales when people see that there's "another portable" in the mix.

Really, at this point, the 2D limitation is almost a selling point. Nintendo has been winding down the feature in recent years, and we've come full circle now where major first-party games like Hey! Pikmin aren't even supporting it. It makes the decision to pull the trigger that much easier, especially since it'll run graphically intensive or exclusive 3DS games that demand the "New" hardware.

But will those aforementioned games actually sell? Are people just too Switch-crazy to notice that the 3DS still exists? We'll probably know in a little less than a year. The Switch needs to break its 10 million target first (they're basically halfway there), and although we know Reggie's promises mean nothing, he claims that the 3DS will be supported past 2018. I got one, but I also collect these things, and use them frequently on trips (my favorite all-time portable is probably the GBA SP).

If you haven't read our detailed review yet, it might influence you if you were leaning toward a decision one way or another.

Are you picking up a New 2DS XL? screenshot

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News:: The Sims 4 moves to PS4 and Xbox One this November

Premature retailer listings strike again! Earlier this week, we had a strong hunch that The Sims 4 was coming to Xbox One later this year. EA has just confirmed this and more.

As it turns out, The Sims 4 is actually making its way to both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this fall. The neighborhood is getting a little bigger and a little more competitive. EA says that November 17 is the release date for both console ports; the PC version originally launched three years ago.

However, in EA fashion, that November 17 due date is flexible. EA Access members can get the game as early as November 9 with the Play First Trial, deluxe edition pre-orderers can get it three days early -- it all just depends on your level of commitment. EA also mentions that some of the PC version's DLC will eventually make its way to consoles, and that "fans can look forward to periodic game updates and extra content releases."

Despite the announcement, EA neglected to confirm a price for The Sims 4 on PS4 and Xbox One. It's currently going for $40 on Origin, so that's probably where we can reasonably expect the console versions to settle in. 

The Sims 4 moves to PS4 and Xbox One this November screenshot



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News:: THQ Nordic to unveil 'brand new post-apocalyptic kung fu-fable open world IP' at Gamescom

Gamescom, that convention that us non-Europeans always forget about until we start getting emails about it, is on the horizon, and THQ Nordic has big plans for it. The phoenix of THQ that's risen from the ashes has been busy this past year or so, picking up multiple "dead" franchises like Darksiders and bringing them back.

In addition to Elex, Battle Chasers: Nightwar, SpellForce 3, Wreckfest, The Guild 3, and Aquanox: Deep Descent, they also have two surprises in store to announce at the show. One is a "brand new post-apocalyptic kung fu-fable open world IP," and the other is a "new installment of a well-known, mysterious, and horrific IP."

Okay, well, the former is what has me the most excited!

THQ Nordic to unveil 'brand new post-apocalyptic kung fu-fable open world IP' at Gamescom screenshot



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News:: The best game consoles and accessories for your dorm room

Not all of your college fun will involve keggers or games of ultimate frisbee. As the weather gets colder, you might have difficulty tearing yourself out of your dorm, in which case your entertainment options are limited: Host an in-room dance party, Netflix and chill or settle in for a little gaming. In addition to our favorite consoles (no, we couldn't choose just one), we've selected a handful of accessories and must-have titles for our back-to-school guide. Enjoy, and may you do a better job making friends with rival fanboys in real life than you do online.

Source: Engadget's 2017 Buyer's Guide



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News:: Get your creep on with 'digital voyeur simulator' Do Not Feed the Monkeys

Simulation games have always been kind of off-putting to me ever since I begged my parents to buy me Sim Ant from one of those Scholastic Book Fairs at my school back in fourth grade. I played about ten minutes of Sim Ant. Sim Ant is a bad game.

Why simulate an ant when you can simulate a creep with a camera? Enter Do Not Feed the Monkeys, the self-dubbed "digital voyeur simulator" from Fictiorama Studios.

Get your creep on with 'digital voyeur simulator' Do Not Feed the Monkeys screenshot

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News:: 3D platformer A Hat in Time is also coming to PS4 and Xbox One

Some of you were wondering about possible console versions of A Hat in Time and I'm right there with you. Today's good word: they're coming! Gears for Breakfast and Humble Bundle (they've gotten into publishing) are bringing the 3D platformer to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One this fall.

So, no Nintendo Switch version (at least not yet).

I've seen enough of A Hat in Time's worlds and traversal abilities that I'm convinced I'll like it. To what extent, I'm not sure, but I'm hopeful I'll come away from this one feeling warm and fuzzy.

3D platformer A Hat in Time is also coming to PS4 and Xbox One screenshot



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News:: Review: Hey! Pikmin

Pikmin is one of those series that probably wouldn't still exist under a different banner. It's one of Shigeru Miyamoto's babies, an idea he fostered by playing in the wilderness as a child. One he's going to see through until the end.

I didn't love it as much as Miyamoto -- that is until Pikmin 3. After years of casually playing the series I finally "got" it after a few multiplayer sessions with my wife, and I still play its Bingo mode to this day.

If it hasn't clicked for you yet, Hey! Pikmin likely won't change your mind. Unless you like amazingly cute things.

Review: Hey! Pikmin screenshot

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News:: Capcom is fixing Chun-Li's face in Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite with a day-one patch

Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite is fighting an uphill battle.

In addition to not being able to hear "BERSERKER BARRAGE!" for the first time in a Marvel vs. Capcom game due to a presumed lack of X-Men, Capcom has been also dealing with the fallout surrounding Street Fighter V's lack of content at launch, and pushback regarding its character models.

While there are a few questionable designs, Chun-Li has become the epitome of the blowback -- just check out the below tweet if you want a comparison. "Other" characters are getting alterations too, which presumably includes Dante, who's design has been downgraded somehow from PS3 to PS4.

Infinite is out on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on September 19. I'm still completely unsure on it. Dragon Ball FighterZ stole a lot of its thunder, but that's not even due until 2018 (though a beta will hilariously run right up to Infinite's launch).

Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite [Kotaku]

Capcom is fixing Chun-Li's face in Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite with a day-one patch screenshot

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News:: Splatoon 2 is killin' it in Japanese sales figures

Japanese magazine Famitsu has shared some sales figures for Nintendo paint-em-up Splatoon 2, and it has been a great debut week for the colour-drenched sequel.

Within just the first three days of release, the game shifted 670,955 units in Japan. Not only does that beat the debut of the original Splatoon by several hundred thousand copies, but it's one third of the lifelong Japanese sales of the previous game.

Clearly this brand has been established, at least in its home country. I'm intrigued to see the figures for the West as Splatoon 2 hits its first full week of release tomorrow.

Splatoon 2 sales figures [Famitsu]

Splatoon 2 is killin' it in Japanese sales figures screenshot



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News:: Pokemon for the Switch will be out in '2018 or later'

Nintendo dropped a big bombs around E3 this year. They may have been dropped by a stealth bomber, who swooped in and out before we could even ask "details?" but they were bombs nonetheless. In addition to the mere mention that Metroid Prime 4 exists, we also got word that a new Pokemon RPG was in the works for the Switch, making it one of the few console releases ever for the series.

It's hard to get too excited given that we know nothing, but Nintendo gave us a little nugget this week in their financial report -- currently, it's scheduled for "2018 or later." It's not much, but given that Metroid Prime 4 (which is confirmed to be a working title) is still listed as "TBA," it's something.

If the Switch takes off even more by then and this Pokemon RPG somehow has online co-op, I will live in it. Given that Nintendo is light years away from the infrastructure to support a proper first-party MMO, it's probably the next best thing.

Supplementary Information [Nintendo]

Pokemon for the Switch will be out in '2018 or later' screenshot



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News:: Dragon Ball FighterZ closed beta coming this September, registration opens in August

The more I see of Dragon Ball FighterZ, whether it be 45 second trailers, screenshots, off-camera footage, the more I'm impressed with it. I'm super happy Arc System Works has nabbed a property that properly shows off what they've been doing with their neat Guilty Gear Xrd engine, and I can't wait to have it in my hands. 

And that wait might not be for long! Bandai Namco has announced the long awaited closed beta for Dragon Ball FighterZ will run from September 16-18. Registration has been bumped to August 22 (instead of July 26 as originally announced), however, so Bandai Namco can properly assure they'll be able to handle the massive amount of sign-ups for it. 

I'm usually not a guy who signs up for betas, but given the amount of crazy hype on this I'd be dumb not to. Anyone else trying to sign up in August? 

Dragon Ball FighterZ closed beta coming this September, registration opens in August screenshot



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News:: Retro gaming event coming to Manchester next month

The UK's Manchester Museum of Science will be holding an exhibition of classic video gaming in August, celebrating 40 years of gaming with a show full of retro platforms and games for the public to enjoy.

The Power UP! festival (previously known as the somewhat more demanding "Play It") will feature some 160 consoles and will be showcasing games from every generation. Activity workshops will be held where 7-14 year olds more talented than I can compose 8-bit tunes or design game characters.

Selected evenings will see adult-only sessions, allowing for the playing of games that will turn you into a killer, such as Quake. LAN party sessions will also be held on various multiplayer shooters during the evening.

The show will run from August 11 until August 28. The odd decision has been made to run the event in sporadic 90 minute sessions. Each session costs £5 entry, though half-day, full-day and family tickets are available. Workshop tickets and the evening sessions have a separate pricing scheme. Perhaps "one price, one ticket, all events, all day" would allow dangerous levels of fun to happen.

Jesting aside, it looks like a cool event, as well as a great way to remind yourself of how old you are. For more details on tickets and times, visit the link below. A full list of games available to play can be found on this page.

Power UP! festival [Manchester Museum of Science]

Retro gaming event coming to Manchester next month screenshot



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News:: Nintendo continues to flourish with strong Switch sales

With the Switch riding high and the beleaguered Wii U all but retired, Nintendo's accounts are looking a little brighter than usual. The Japanese console maker posted some strong financial earnings today for the three-month period ending on June 30th, with 64.73 billion yen ($578 million) in gross profit and, with the usual operating expenses deducted, 16.21 billion yen ($145 million) in operating profit. That's in stark contrast to a year ago, when Nintendo posted a pretty dismal 30.5 billion yen ($272 million) in operating profit and lost 5.13 billion yen ($46 million) overall.



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News:: Nintendo drove $1.38 billion in revenue last quarter, and Switch is up to 4.7 million lifetime sales

The casual observer might assume that Nintendo's having a good run of things lately, what with its wildly popular Switch having recently released and whatnot. A dive into the company's financials proves this assumption to be spot-on. Nintendo's having the exact kind of year you'd expect for a company that's in the midst of a successful console launch.

Nintendo has just released its consolidated financial report to investors for the quarter that ended on June 30. There are some interesting tidbits to glean, but the most impressive is the first thing on the sheet. Revenue is up more than 148 percent over the same quarter last year, as Nintendo pulled in almost $1.38 billion over the past three months. (I've taken the liberty of converting all currency from Japanese yen to US dollar.)

Realistically, these are the improvements we'd expect from a major console launch, especially with regard to the previous year comparison. All platform-holders thrive when their new product hits market, and they're all relatively stagnant the year before at the end of their previous product's life cycle. But, in the case of Nintendo, this equates to an operating profit of nearly $145 million for the quarter. That seems sure to please investors.

The report also contains some specifics about hardware and software that are worth pointing out. Most notable is that the Switch is at 4.7 million global lifetime sales. Of those 4.7 million, 1.97 million were this past quarter which means that the Switch sold 2.73 million in March. On the handheld side, the 3DS broke 67 million lifetime sales.

As far as software goes, Switch games have sold a cumulative 13.6 million units. Some ones worth noting are: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at 3.92 million units, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe at 3.54 million units, and Arms at 1.18 million units.

Looking forward, Nintendo points out that it still has big things planned for this year -- chiefly, the releases of the New 2DS XL, Super Mario Odyssey, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon, and the SNES Classic. Nintendo isn't taking its foot off the gas pedal this year and that's more than likely going to make future balance sheets look even better.

Consolidated Financial Highlights [Nintendo]

Nintendo drove $1.38 billion in revenue last quarter, and Switch is up to 4.7 million lifetime sales screenshot



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News:: The Morning After: Wednesday, July 26th 2017

Welcome to your Wednesday morning. Today we explain how we'll try to stop killer robots, reveal some new gadgets from Motorola and look into the sketchier side of YouTube influencers.



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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

News:: Niantic tries to explain the Pokémon Go Fest problems

On Saturday Pokémon Go players from around the world gathered in Chicago's Grant Park for a promised special anniversary event, but as we now know, things didn't quite work out. As Niantic Labs explains it, the issues that tripped up Pokémon Go Fest were layered, starting with technical issues that caused the client to crash, before tweaks to the servers fixed that. Once the clients worked, network congestion and overloaded cell networks held up players from connecting and staying connected.

Source: Niantic Labs Blog



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News:: SDCC 2017 had some crazy stuff for toy and figure collectors

We may not equate SDCC with toy collecting, but that would be a mistake. The industry's biggest names are always in attendance; who would give up a chance to market to that many pairs of eyeballs?

Indeed, the main reason I used to go to Comic-Con was to see what kinds of plastic goodness would be shown off for figure collectors. The event isn't big for the Japanese manufacturers (except Kotobukiya as they have an established US presence) but the Western toy makers are no less impressive. So here are my toy highlights from the show!

SDCC 2017 had some crazy stuff for toy and figure collectors screenshot

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News:: LawBreakers is holding an open beta on PC and PS4 this Friday

Boss Key Productions is giving arena shooter fans another chance to try out LawBreakers before its full release on August 8.

The next open beta is scheduled to run on PC and PlayStation 4 from Friday, July 28 at 7:00am Pacific to Monday, July 31 at 7:00am Pacific. Pre-loading has already started, though, so if you're interested, you can get situated ahead of time and make the most of the event. Or not! Procrastinating is fun too.

I'm curious to see how this game fares once it's out in the wild as a $30 multiplayer game. I've definitely heard mixed reactions to it, but more to the point, I'm wondering if people are even aware it's a thing. I get the feeling LawBreakers will need all the buzz it can muster to get its community going.

Play Open Beta For Free [LawBreakers]

LawBreakers is holding an open beta on PC and PS4 this Friday screenshot



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