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Humble Details How It Protects Developers In Response To Fraudulent Key Sales

One of the bigger stories of the past month has been the ongoing sparring between developers and grey market key reselling platforms like G2A. This situation isn’t a new one, and it tends to rear its head without resolution from time to time.

The most recent bout of accusations and rebuttals led to G2A taking modest steps to invite developers to its platform in return for protection. Humble, a platform that partners with developers and aids charity, has also been previously caught in the web of key reselling and credit card fraud.

Humble has now detailed extensively how it is protecting developers, including the use of a machine-learning based defense mechanism that has been trained on 55 million transactions. Because of how it’s designed, the system learns with every new transaction processed. 

The process, called Sift Science, has different tiers of threat alerts. If the mechanism believes you might be using a stolen credit card, it may ask you for text message-based verification. 

After that, if the transaction still looks risky, it’ll be sent for manual review. Your purchase is on hold during this period, but any discounts that may have applied when you initiated the purchase will still be in place when it goes through.

Because stolen credit cards are used quickly and at high volume, Sift Science includes both rate limits and Captcha. This holds thieves to a limit if they happen to slip the net. 

If they do get through, when the fraud is discovered the keys will be canceled and returned to the developer or publisher. If you happen to get swept up in a false positive, Humble says it will work to make it right.

Humble is offering its widget and direct sales features (embeddable on a developer’s website instead of handling transactions themselves) for only five percent of each transaction. This is instead of, and not in addition to, the 30 percent cut that Steam takes. 

This might make you wonder why Steam allows this if Humble undercuts the platform. First, most people go directly to Steam. Direct sales are a minute portion of overall distribution. Second, Valve benefits from increasing its install base. They might not get a cut of the Humble purchase that gets you to open an account, but with every Steam sale, you’re likely to be opening your wallet and buying games you might not otherwise if you hadn’t become a customer of the platform in the first place.

Humble’s widget isn’t new, but posting these detailed rundown of anti-fraud procedures creates a stark contrast. Humble wants to make sure you know that its business is square with the law and that it has a mechanisms in place to protect customers and developers.

[Source: Humble]

 

Our Take
This story delves into a bit of inside baseball, but the process Humble uses to protect developers is fascinating. Machine learning is extremely powerful, with the anti-fraud mechanisms getting smarter with each transaction. Humble also delivers an important message: If you want to stay protected, know from whom you are buying.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Halo Wars 2 Details Revealed Along With Cinematic Trailer

Several details for Halo Wars 2 were revealed yesterday at San Diego Comic-Con. The panel featured Kiki Wolfkill, franchise director Frank O'Connor, studio head Dan Ayoub, and narrative director Kevin Grace, along with Blur Studios' creative director Dave Wilson and actress Erika Soto.

The group discussed what's in store for the sequel, including new characters and how it will follow the ending of the original game. In Halo Wars 2, the crew aboard the UNSC Spirit of Fire awake from cryogenic sleep 28 years later. After drifting in space for so many years, they find themselves above a Forerunner installation known as The Ark. Here, they discover a distress signal, which leads them to meet the new AI character Isabel (played by Erika Soto).

In 343 Industries' new development video, Ayoub describes her as "a very different kind of AI" in comparison to past AI from the Halo series, such as Cortana and Serina. 

"She shows up in a way we haven’t seen AIs behave in Halo before," says Grace. "She’s freaked out. She’s seen all of her friends die and her outpost destroyed." She soon becomes tasked with helping Captain Cutter face The Banished, the splinter faction of the former Covenant.

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The above video also reveals Atriox, a new villain coming to the series. 343 Industries describes him as much more than your average brute, who excels in close combat and is able to outsmart opponents. Captain Cutter will have to face this enemy, which may prove to be a difficult battle.

Furthermore, a cinematic trailer was unveiled, which you can check out below.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Halo Wars 2 will be out February 21 of next year on Xbox One and PC. You can watch our Test Chamber of Halo Wars 2's open beta here, as well as read more about what's in store for this sequel by reading 343 Industries' blog post on Xbox Wire.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Amy Hennig Details New Star Wars Game, Concept Art Surfaces

We already knew that a Star Wars game from Visceral was in the works, but details have been hazy until now.

During the Star Wars Celebration event today, writer Amy Hennig took the stage and dropped some hints on what we can expect from the upcoming title. Hennig compared the writing of the game to be similar to her past work with Uncharted, which resulted in hearty applause and cheers from the audience. She also described the game as "an original Star Wars story with new characters, new locations, new tech, new creatures, you name it." 

She hopes that the game will resonate with Star Wars fans the same way it would if they watched one of the beloved films of the series. "We want you to finish playing the game and feel like you just saw a really good Star Wars movie," she said. 

Additionally, she showcased a batch of concept images, which you can view below. The (as of yet) untitled Star Wars game is expected to launch in 2018. For more on Star Wars Celebration, learn about the two new DLC coming to Star Wars Battlefront, Death Star and Rogue One: Scarif.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

F1 2016 Goes Full Throttle With 22-Car Multiplayer & New Career Details

Codemasters has proven itself in the F1 gameplay department, but the developer's handling of the franchise and license in previous iterations hasn't been so complete in other areas. F1 2016 hopes to take a big step forward for the series with its inclusion of more depth on and off the track.

A big part of this is the return of the career mode. Here you'll hire an agent, sign for a team, and work with a team engineer. These elements aren't strictly new to the franchise, but the fact that they're represented with avatars and that the paddock areas have been completely modeled, makes a big difference in how the career mode looks and feels. You'll also select your own driver avatar and helmet design. The latter has been in previous F1 titles, so we shall see if there are more designs available.

Moreover, the upgrading of your car and the overall team R&D not only lets you choose the direction you want the organization to go, but it also enriches other parts of the game. Performing and completing tests during the pre-race practice and qualification sessions earns you points which you can apply to car upgrades, and this facet of the garage amps up the pressure to perform better than your teammate and keep your team competitive. Rivalries will form on and off the track according to how you do.

In the gameplay department, F1 2016 adds a handful of features to make the experience more realistic and engaging, including the safety car and virtual safety car (for cautions); manual starts and pit entrances (both crucial times when you can gain or lose time); and the formation lap to warm your tires before the start of the race. Furthermore, Codemasters has tweaked some aspects of the cars' handling and tire characteristics (like how wets react to a dry track) as well as the modeling on the tracks' curbs and rumble strips.

Multiplayer features full 22-car online races across all its tracks, and the day/night and weather conditions for these can be tweaked in some cases.

Check out the trailer and screenshots below for a little taste of everything F1 2016 has to offer, and look for the game when it releases on August 19 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

F1 2016 Goes Full Throttle With 22-Car Multiplayer & New Career Details

Codemasters has proven itself in the F1 gameplay department, but the developer's handling of the franchise and license in previous iterations hasn't been so complete in other areas. F1 2016 hopes to take a big step forward for the series with its inclusion of more depth on and off the track.

A big part of this is the return of the career mode. Here you'll hire an agent, sign for a team, and work with a team engineer. These elements aren't strictly new to the franchise, but the fact that they're represented with avatars and that the paddock areas have been completely modeled, makes a big difference in how the career mode looks and feels. You'll also select your own driver avatar and helmet design. The latter has been in previous F1 titles, so we shall see if there are more designs available.

Moreover, the upgrading of your car and the overall team R&D not only lets you choose the direction you want the organization to go, but it also enriches other parts of the game. Performing and completing tests during the pre-race practice and qualification sessions earns you points which you can apply to car upgrades, and this facet of the garage amps up the pressure to perform better than your teammate and keep your team competitive. Rivalries will form on and off the track according to how you do.

In the gameplay department, F1 2016 adds a handful of features to make the experience more realistic and engaging, including the safety car and virtual safety car (for cautions); manual starts and pit entrances (both crucial times when you can gain or lose time); and the formation lap to warm your tires before the start of the race. Furthermore, Codemasters has tweaked some aspects of the cars' handling and tire characteristics (like how wets react to a dry track) as well as the modeling on the tracks' curbs and rumble strips.

Multiplayer features full 22-car online races across all its tracks, and the day/night and weather conditions for these can be tweaked in some cases.

Check out the trailer and screenshots below for a little taste of everything F1 2016 has to offer, and look for the game when it releases on August 19 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Blizzard Details Everything You Need To Know About Overwatch’s New Competitive Play Mode

With Overwatch's new ranked mode out in the wild (on
PC at least
), Blizzard has compiled a primer to get competition-hungry players up
to speed.

In a post on the official Overwatch website,
Blizzard gives a full rundown of what Overwatch's new competitive mode entails,
starting with news that PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners will have to wait a
little while longer for the update (Blizzard is currently targeting next week).
Once available on your platform of choice, you'll have to reach level 25 to
enter competitive mode, then play a series of 10 placement matches to earn your
skill rating, which lies somewhere between 1 (i.e., Bastion exploiter) and 100 (i.e., Tracer phenom).

The post also provides information on season length (the
inaugural summer season will be slightly abbreviated due to the late start, so get cracking!), as
well as some format changes to specific game modes: Control maps will now be
best-of-five affairs, and the scoring systems for Escort, Hybrid, and Assault
maps will be slightly more complicated (click the link below for full details).

Last but not least, Blizzard details what kind of rewards
players can expect. Just finishing the placement matches will net you a new
spray and player icon every season, but you'll also earn Competitive Points
throughout the season (plus bonus points based on your final standing) that can
be used to buy some nifty looking golden guns:

Blizzard also outlines some revisions to penalties should
you be prone to rage quitting, so be sure to check out the post in full for all
the info.

[Source: Overwatch Official Website]

 

Our Take
I'm super interested to
see how Overwatch's competitive seasons play out, and how climbing the ranks
works in conjunction with matchmaking. Many have questioned Overwatch's staying
power given Blizzard's cosmetics-only approach to progression. As someone who is firmly in the
"play because it's fun" camp, I still won't mind having a extra little bit
of motivation to keep coming back.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Nintendo Details What Amiibos Do For You In Metroid Prime: Federation Force

Metroid Prime: Federation Force was viewed as a largely disappointing reveal at last year's E3 by fans who wanted a new entry in the Metroid series that mirrored the games that made the series so great in the first place. While the title was completely absent at this year's E3, the game is nearing the end of its development as it gears up for launch in just under two months. Nintendo has filled us in with new details regarding how its Amiibo figures will augment play in Federation Force.

Much like the Amiibo functionality in games like Yoshi's Woolly World, it seems as though most of the figures provide cosmetic changes to Federation Force. When you scan an Amiibo, your mech sports a paint job similar to that character. While we don't know which Amiibos will work with this function, Nintendo used the examples of Mario (see above) and Bowser (see below) to demonstrate what the mechs look like.

In addition, when you use either of the Samus Amiibos (regular or Zero Suit Samus) on Metroid Prime: Federation Force, you unlock helpful items and in-game upgrades. Nintendo did not detail what those upgrades are, but it did show the new paint jobs you unlock when you tap Samus and Zero Suit Samus on your 3DS.

As a reminder, in order to scan Amiibos to your 3DS, you need be using one of the New 3DS handhelds, or you need to buy the 3DS NFC Amiibo Reader that gives the original 3DS and 3DS XL devices the ability to read the Amiibos' NFC.

Metroid Prime: Federation Force releases on 3DS on August 19. The see the game in action, head over to our episode of Test Chamber.

[Source: Nintendo of America on Twitter (1), (2)]

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Bungie Officially Unveils Destiny: Rise Of Iron, Now Updated With Complete Details

Destiny fans are nothing if not hungry for new information about their chosen game. Destiny: Rise of Iron has been rumored for weeks thanks to several very authentic-seeming leaks, including story details and a release date of September 20. Today’s reveal event has confirmed virtually all of that game information, but a live stream is offering some additional information about what fans can expect.

The focus of the new expansion touches on one of the big mysteries of the game – the fate of the Iron Lords, alluded to repeatedly throughout the PvP Iron Banner tournament that runs every month. As was previously leaked, the reveal trailer also promises new story missions, strike content, a new raid, new equipment, an elevated light-value cap, and the return of a new version of the Gjallarhorn.

You can watch the full official trailer below. We’ve also updated this story with additional details from the live stream, which you can read below.

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Bungie’s Twitch stream has given us additional details about where Rise of Iron will be taking us. We were also introduced to the two leads working together to bring us Rise of Iron: Game director Christopher Barrett and executive producer Scott Taylor.

The central mystery of the game is about what happened when the Iron Lords sacrificed themselves to confront a technological plague called SIVA – a self-assembling, self-replicating nano-technology. The players must confront this threat once again, now that it is in the hands of the Fallen. The Fallen have taken their salvaging efforts to a new level in this expansion, and have unearthed this SIVA tech plague, and they’ve augmented themselves with the goal of becoming machine gods; the new Devil Splicers faction has different abilities than what we’ve previously seen. The subsequent story focuses on the way that player Guardians become Iron Lords themselves and confront the resurgent threat.

One of the most significant additions to the game will be new areas to explore. The Plaguelands is a new zone to battle through on Earth. Concept art of the Plaguelands shows that snow dominates the environment, punctuated by Fallen fortresses and other structures using SIVA tech. It also appears that we’ll be exploring a snowy version of the Cosmodrome wall.

Felwinter Peak is a mountain retreat where the Iron Lords once watched over Old Russia. Hundreds of years ago, the outpost was active, but fell into disuse after the fall of the Iron Lords, but the new story will see players retaking the space. We got to see concept art and a screenshot of one of the buildings at Felwinter Peak – a mausoleum that houses statues that depict the original Iron Lords. The Felwinter Peak social space will feel more remote and run-down than the other social spaces of the game.

Bungie has promised that the new raid is a big part of Rise of Iron, and Bungie teased out at least one location from the raid, in which we see a massive machine that appears to be attacking and chasing the guardians. 

Given the Iron Lords connect to Crucible play in such a significant way, Bungie has also promised that PvP is getting a major facelift, including a new game mode, new PvP maps, and other new as-yet undetailed new Crucible features. 

For many fans, one of the most exciting aspects of the game will be learning more about the mysterious Iron Lords. That info has already begun to trickle out as we learned that the wielder of the powerful machine gun called Jolder’s Hammer is actually a woman. 

We saw some cool new gear for all three of the Guardian classes, making it look like players can look forward to a full spread of weapons and armor not yet available in the current game. Equally important, Bungie is promising a “significant light increase” for players to pursue as they level up.

The double-headed battle axe seen in Lord Saladin’s hand in the trailer will get used by players as a relic, much as players have previously been able to pick up items like the Scorch Cannon. The battle axe doesn’t sound like it’s a normal arsenal piece. 

Before closing out the live stream, Bungie also took time to discuss the return of the infamous Gjallarhorn. Within Rise of Iron, a questline will let you forge a new Gjallarhorn, but you can also get a black and silver Iron Gjallarhorn through pre-ordering Rise of Iron. To build hype for the return of the weapon, we got a sizzle reel of player excitement surrounding the weapon, which was a big part of Year One play.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Bungie revealed that the new expansion will cost $ 30, and for the first time the new expansion will only run on newer consoles – PS4 and Xbox One.  That shift will mean that players on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 will need to upgrade if they want to play the new content. Bungie reps on the live stream implied that more information is forthcoming about ways to make that process better for players interested in shifting to a new console. 

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Fallout 4 Xbox One Mods Arrive Next Week, Details Emerge From Live Stream

Bethesda announced on Twitter that mods will arrive on Xbox One as soon as Tuesday, May 31.

Yesterday, the studio broadcast a live stream previewing how mods will work on the console. While you still need a PC to create mods yourself using the Creation Kit, you will now be able to add mods created on PC to your game on Xbox One. 

Mods are accessed via the main menu of Fallout 4. You log on with your Bethesda.net username and password to view an interface similar to Netflix, where mods are sectioned into categories. The size limit for mods you can download is restricted to 2 GB. This limit extends to all downloaded mods, even if they are not currently enabled, though Bethesda mentioned that this limit may increase in the future.

In the live stream, Bethesda previewed a few mods, such as a cosmetic update to your Pip Boy that gives it a Nuka Coka aesthetic, and another that turns Dogmeat into a feline companion. Mods are in closed beta right now, but there are nearly 2,000 mods currently which you can browse via Bethesda's website

Loading a mod will create a new save, so it will not affect your previous saves should something go wrong. Once a mod is enabled, Fallout 4 will reboot in order to load the mod. Another reboot will occur when disabling a mod. Finally, achievements will be disabled during mod usage. 

For the time being, console mods are exclusive to Xbox One, but they will be added to PlayStation 4 as well at some point this June.

You can watch Bethesda's full live stream here

For more on Fallout 4, you can read about the latest expansion, Far Harbor, which released earlier this month.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

First Details For Pro Evolution Soccer 2017

PES 2016 was a return to form for the storied soccer franchise, giving the series its first true next-gen iteration. Konami and developer PES Productions have just announced the first details for Pro Evolution Soccer 2017, upping the ante with tons of new animations and tactical options.

PRECISION
"Hundreds of new animations" have been added, combining with refined ball physics and the way players address the ball to greatly influence how they react to and control the ball. Little flicks and touches were a hallmark of PES 2016, and it looks like it may get better this year. Similarly, passing is greatly affected by these advancements, improving the weight and precision of a great pass.

TACTICS
Players can tweak their team's defensive and offensive tactics "with simple controls" as well as more advanced instructions (including tight man marking and tiki-taka passing). This doesn't sound super different from previous years, so it'll be interesting to hear exactly what's new.

What is new are set piece strategies such as being able to call for zonal or man-to-man defenses or dictate the specific run of an offensive player.

A.I. BEHAVIOR
In recent years it's been common for the A.I. of a team that's ahead or behind to change its tactics accordingly. PES 2017 is promising to widen the scope of its A.I. adaptability to learn how you play the game and react to your strategies accordingly.

KEEPERS
Poor keeper play has been a criticism of the PES games this generation, so the developer is promising to address it in PES 2017 with greater keeper agility and animations. 

We hope to learn more about additions to the game's career mode, Master League, as well as MyClub mode at E3 next month, so stay tuned for more details.

[Source: Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 official website]

 

Our Take
It's good to hear that the dev team isn't resting on its laurels, seeking to keep improving even those areas like ball control it's already good in. For the franchise to take a leap into the next tier, however, it will have to keep building out its Master League mode to make the series truly vital.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed