Microsoft Announces ‘Free Play Days For All’ Event

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Xbox Live will be free for everyone all throughout this weekend. Microsoft has announced the Free Play Days For All event, which lets all Xbox Live players without a Gold membership play online for free on Xbox One and Xbox 360.

The event begins today at 12:01am PT/3:01am ET/8:01am UK/5:01pm AEST and will run until May 20 at 11:59pm PT/2:59am ET/7:59am UK/4:59pm AEST.

Additionally, Microsoft is also offering free access to the Xbox One versions of Rainbow Six Siege and Fallout 4 for a limited time from now through May 20.

For more on Rainbow Six Siege, check out the new Villa map which features an Assassin’s Creed Easter egg. Also find out what Microsoft’s plans are for E3 2018. 

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PETA Has Released a Free Switch Game Called Kitten Squad

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PETA, in collaboration with Arcade Distillery, has released a free Switch game called Kitten Squad that teaches you about animal abuse.

As detailed on PETA’s website, the action-adventure arcade game has you play as an elite kitten to fight evil robots and liberate various animals across the world, including sheep from the mechanic “Sheep Puncher,” elephants from the circus, and cows from dairy farms.

Along the way you can earn weapon upgrades (like the carrot gun), new costumes, and play with up to four other people. Check out some of the gameplay in the image gallery below.

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Metal Gear Survive Sales Not Addressed In Konami’s New Earnings Report

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Konami launched the Metal Gear spinoff, Metal Gear Survive, back in February on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. How well has it sold? Konami isn’t saying, at least not yet, but the signs aren’t exactly great.

The Japanese publisher today reported earnings for its fiscal year ended March 31, and the report didn’t say anything about the game’s performance. The report marks the game’s release as a notable event during the year, but says nothing of how well it did in the market.

Konami is of course under no obligation to share a unit sales figure–in fact, many publishers are shying away from announcing hard sales numbers these days. Still, the silence is notable given the size and stature of the Metal Gear franchise.

Not only that, but Konami went out of its way to speak positively about games like PES 2018, which the company said “continued to enjoy stable performance.” The line about Metal Gear Survive only notes that the game…came out.

“As for computer and video games, a spinoff title in the Metal Gear series, Metal Gear Survive, was released…,” Konami said.

Metal Gear Survive launched on February 20, and it did not make it into the Top 20 list of best-sellers during the month in the United States, according to NPD Group. In the UK, it entered the charts in the No. 6 spot, getting outsold by games far older than it. The game was quickly discounted to $20, which also is a sign that the game might not have performed so well.

Even if Metal Gear Survive didn’t do all that well for Konami, the publisher had a good year financially, with revenue and profit rising year-over-year. You can read the company’s full earnings report here [PDF].

The reviews for Metal Gear Survive, including ours, were middling, but most reviewers found things to praise. Despite it being more demanding and obtuse than GameSpot reviewer Tamoor Hussain would have liked, he noted, “There’s actually a good survival game in there.” So if you’re a Metal Gear diehard, or are simply interested in trying out a new survival game, snagging Metal Gear Survive on sale is the way to do it.

Xbox One Gifting Feature Expands To All Games, Comes To PC

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The “gifting” feature that launched on Xbox One last year is expanding. Microsoft announced today that digital PC games in the Microsoft Store and downloadable content are now eligible for gifting. At launch, only Xbox One digital games could be gifted. The other big piece of gifting news today is that all Xbox One digital games can now be gifted.

Additionally, memberships to Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass can be gifted as well. “This feature has been a huge hit with our fans and has made buying presents for friends and family even easier, especially around the holidays,” Microsoft said in a blog post today.

This is what gifting on Xbox One looks like
This is what gifting on Xbox One looks like

To gift a game, on PC or Xbox One, you select “Buy as Gift” on the store page and then provide an email for who you want to send it to. On Xbox One, you can send via Gamertag. The recipient then gets a code, and bam, that’s it.

There are some things to be aware of, however. If the content you want to gift is on sale, you can only purchase two games or items as gifts in a 14-day period.

There is no limit for gifting full-price items. Gifting only works with Xbox One and PC games, not Xbox 360 or original Xbox games. Additionally, you cannot gift pre-orders or consumable DLC such as in-game currency.

Gifting is a nice feature that should come in especially handy around the holidays or at any other gift-giving time. Gifting is not available on PS4.

Fortnite Update Changes The Avengers: Infinity War Mode Again

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Epic Games is updating Fortnite again to make changes to the limited-time Avengers: Infinity War mode that features the mega-powerful Thanos and his gauntlet. Specifically, the update will change his attributes to make him more powerful, but also somewhat easier to kill.

Starting off Thanos’ Beam is now deadlier; it does 20 damage instead of 12. Additionally, punch damage is increased from 80 to 100. Balancing this out somewhat is the fact that Thanos’ health now stands at 500 instead of 800.

Regarding these changes, Epic said in a post on Reddit, “Our goal is to allow more folks to truly experience the power of Thanos, while also making you feel powerful when wielding the gauntlet.”

Today’s update also addresses loot drops in the Infinity Gauntlet mode. With the update, only Rare, Epic, and Legendary-level weapons will spawn, which in turn should give players more firepower to help take down Thanos.

The new Fortnite update also makes some general changes, including lowering the height of the battle bus and a bigger storm circle at the start of matches. Additionally, the spawn rate for med kits, chug jugs, and big shields are increased. You can see the full patch notes below.

The new mode, Infinity Gauntlet, launched earlier this week. Thanos was too strong at the start, and Epic nerfed the character right away.

Fortnite Patch Notes:

Thanos Changes

  • Increased Beam from 12 to 20 damage on players.
  • Increased Punch damage from 80 to 100.
  • Decreased health from 800 to 500.

General Mode Changes

  • Reduced height of the Bus when dropping
  • Bigger initial storm circle
  • Less storm damage early game (first 3 storms from 5%/5%/10% per tick to 1%/2.5%/5%)
  • Initial Gauntlet spawn time changed from bus ride plus 30-45s to bus ride plus 120-135s
  • Increased spawn rate of Med Kits, Chug Jugs and Big Shields.
  • Removed spawn of Bandages and Slurp Juice.

Fortnite Drama Is Surrounding One Of Pro Baseball’s Best Pitchers

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David Price of the Boston Red Sox, one of the best and highest-paid pitchers in all of Major League Baseball, is currently embroiled in some drama–but it has nothing to do with baseball.

Price, who signed a $217 million contract with the Sox in 2015, plays a lot of Fortnite. He also recently missed a start due to minor carpal tunnel. So of course, people are asking if his gaming habits–he sometimes plays until 2 AM after games–has something to do with it.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora already said Price’s gaming is unrelated to his injury. After all, Price has been playing video games for a while, just like most other people. But when you’re paid more than $200 million, people start to ask these kinds of questions.

There has been so much hullaballoo about Price’s gaming habits, and Fortnite in particular, that Price has now come forward to say he’s not going to play the game when he’s at the ballpark. This is according to MLB.com Red Sox beat writer Ian Browne, who apparently spoke with Price in New York this week during the Sox-Yankees series. In announcing his semi-retirement from Fortnite, Browne said Price is “aware the topic has been a distraction last couple of days.” Additionally, Boston Herald reporter Michael Silverman quoted Price as saying video games had nothing to do with his wrist injury.

While Price may be done playing Fortnite at the ballpark, he may still play at home and in hotel rooms. Plenty of Price’s teammates play Fortnite as well; pitcher Carson Smith is apparently the best of the group. They are so wrapped up in the game that they have to remind themselves to eat.

The Red Sox are neck-and-neck with the Yankees for the best record in all of baseball. Should their on-field performance fall off, you can expect more questions about and criticism of their gaming habits. But until then, here’s to hoping they all get victory royales.

In other Fortnite news, Avengers: Infinity War bad guy Thanos is now in the game as part of a limited-time mode. For more, check out GameSpot’s video above that shows off how and where to get Thanos’ super-powerful gauntlet.

Watch: Wonderful Animated Short ‘Polaris’ About a Young Polar Bear

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Polaris Animated Short Film

Well, this is wonderful. Polaris is an animated short film made by Japanese filmmaker Hikari Toriumi, finishing his 4th year of study at CalArts. This is his 4th year short film in the character animation program, and it’s an adorable, heartwarming film about a young polar bear leaving home for the first time, having trouble letting go of her mother. The animation style is unique and simple, but still meaningful and elegant. And the story perfectly captures that feeling of leaving home for college, or wherever, and how much you miss your parents. This film really moved me and made me sad at first, then happy by the end. Watch below. ›››

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Cannes 2018: Ali Abbasi’s ‘Border’ is a Wacky, Wild Instant Cult Classic

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Ali Abbasi's Border

It’s fairly easy to throw around the phrase that a film is an “instant cult classic”, but this time I really mean it. Border, which is the translation of the title Gräns in Swedish, is a new film from filmmaker Ali Abbasi (Shelley) and it just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section. File this one under “what the fuck did I just watch?!?” It’s one of those kind of “WTF” films, but it’s actually damn good. The more I think about it, the more I love it, so quirky and ridiculous and weird and wild and disgusting yet surprisingly amusing and tender. The only problem – I don’t want to give away the big reveal, and it’s hard to talk about this film without discussing that aspect of it. For this early festival review, I’ll be as vague as I can, and I won’t spoil it – because this is best experienced without knowing the big reveal before watching it. ›››

Continue Reading Cannes 2018: Ali Abbasi’s ‘Border’ is a Wacky, Wild Instant Cult Classic

Cannes 2018: Ali Abbasi’s ‘Border’ is a Wacky, Wild Instant Cult Classic

What do you think?
Ali Abbasi's Border

It’s fairly easy to throw around the phrase that a film is an “instant cult classic”, but this time I really mean it. Border, which is the translation of the title Gräns in Swedish, is a new film from filmmaker Ali Abbasi (Shelley) and it just premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section. File this one under “what the fuck did I just watch?!?” It’s one of those kind of “WTF” films, but it’s actually damn good. The more I think about it, the more I love it, so quirky and ridiculous and weird and wild and disgusting yet surprisingly amusing and tender. The only problem – I don’t want to give away the big reveal, and it’s hard to talk about this film without discussing that aspect of it. For this early festival review, I’ll be as vague as I can, and I won’t spoil it – because this is best experienced without knowing the big reveal before watching it. ›››

Continue Reading Cannes 2018: Ali Abbasi’s ‘Border’ is a Wacky, Wild Instant Cult Classic