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New Elder Scrolls on the way

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Bethesda Softworks, a ZeniMax Media company has announced that its The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited, will release worldwide on 9th June, 2015 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Players will explore the world of Tamriel with their friends on console. In the latest and biggest Elder Scrolls game ever made, players will be able to adventure alone, quest with friends, or join an army of hundreds in epic player vs. player battles as they explore and discover the secrets of a persistent Tamriel.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited players will no longer be required to pay a monthly game subscription for extended play. Players will make a one-time purchase of the game and can then enjoy hundreds of hours of content without the requirement of a monthly game subscription fee when The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited becomes available on console in June and beginning 17th March for PC/Mac players.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited includes all the great gameplay from the original PC/Mac game, plus all the updates and content additions, including the exciting new Justice and Champion systems.  All existing PC/Mac game accounts, open or closed, will be updated to the Tamriel Unlimited edition in March and former players will be invited back to the game at that time to experience all that is new in the world. New players will make a one-time purchase of the game and play, without restrictions, for as long as they like – without game subscription fees. Tamriel Unlimited will be supported with special, optional downloadable content available for purchase and an in-game Crown Store for convenience and customization items. Regular updates and new gameplay will be offered to all players to enjoy free of additional charges.

In addition, Bethesda will offer ESO Plus to players who wish to pay a single monthly charge for  a premium membership service, providing exclusive in-game bonuses, a monthly allotment of crowns to use in the store and access to all DLC game packs while a member. PC/Mac players with active subscriptions on 17th March will be automatically enrolled into ESO Plus and begin enjoying its membership privileges.

“Our fans are our biggest inspiration, and we’ve listened to their feedback on the entertainment experience they want,” said Matt Firor, Game Director of The Elder Scrolls Online. “We know that Elder Scrolls fans want choice when it comes to how they play and how they pay, and that is what they will get. We have made numerous changes to the game over the past year, and are confident this is a game that Elder Scrolls fans will love to play. Players can explore Tamil with friends, battle creatures, craft, fish, steal, or siege. The choice is theirs. The game offers hundreds of hours of gameplay with unlimited adventures with one single game purchase. We can’t wait for everyone, whether they’ve played before or will be experiencing it for the first time, to begin adventuring in The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited.”

The Elder Scrolls Online, named Best Role Playing Game at E3 2013 by the Game Critics, was released for PC/Mac on 4th April, 2014. The previous chapter in this franchise was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim which was released in November 2011 and enjoyed worldwide critical and commercial success. As the sequel to the 2002 Role-Playing Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and the 2006 Game of the Year, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Skyrim earned hundreds of ‘Game of the Year’ awards and sold over 20 million copies.

 

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Crash Bandicoot coming early

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Crash Bandicoot has been working hard to look good for his debut on new platforms. Fans’ reaction to the news that he’s coming to Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam was that extra push needed and now he’ll be ready nearly two weeks early.

Originally slated to launch on July 10, Crash is making the WUMP earlier than expected at the end of this month.

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Nintendo Classic Mini spells end of emulation

Nintendo’s refreshed version of the 1986 Nintendo Entertainment System has finally arrived in South Africa, changing the culture of games emulation, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Nintendo Classic Mini, a 2016 refresh of the wildly popular Nintendo Entertainment System first released in 1986, has finally arrived in South Africa, and it spells an end to the culture of game emulation that has been particularly strong in this country.

Emulation of the 1986 Nintendo Entertainment System has long been popular for playing classic games on computers without forking out thousands for what is now a collector’s edition. The argument for emulation is almost always backed with, “I purchased this game in the ‘80s or ‘90s but I don’t have the console anymore so I’m going to emulate it with an online back-up”. 

This argument seems fine, in the traditional media back-up sense, because consumers have been backing up their vinyls, tapes and CDs to digital formats for ages. Moreover, this is a perfectly legal thing to do with audio media. Some consumers with damage discs, scratched vinyls and stretched tapes have been digitally downloading the media that they own, often from free and illegal channels, claiming the legal territory of fair use. Is this different to downloading Super Mario Bros if one has purchased it before?

However, the digital backup method becomes illegal with video games. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have explicitly outlined the rules: a consumer does not have the right to make back-ups, obtain back-ups and/or use these back-ups to play their games. The reason behind this is that piracy is rife in the game industry, and back-up copies are usually very difficult to create. 

If back-up copies can be made, the media won’t work on the original console. Sony and Microsoft have implemented special copy-protection measures into their disc media to transmit a “disc wobble”. Their console’s lasers read this wobble, to prove that the disc is not a back-up. Blank discs cannot be purchased with this wobble.

Nintendo has taken a slightly more interesting approach to copy-protection. Apart from the Wii and Wii U, every console the company has produced runs off proprietary game cartridges. This has made the need for back-ups irrelevant, as cartridges are far more resilient to damage compared to their disc counterparts. While dust might be a problem on the older cartridges, they just needed a quick blow of air on the receivers, which Nintendo highly recommended against doing, to get the game working again. 

These cartridges were notoriously difficult to back up, but were not immune. Many websites offer backed up games for download, and Nintendo Entertainment System games are not larger than a megabyte, making them extremely attractive to download when one compares the amount of equipment required to back-up one’s personal copy.

Bearing this in mind, emulators found their way through consumers not being able to play copied games on copy-protected consoles and the rapid increase in computing power. Emulation of copyrighted games is still illegal and will continue to be illegal for decades to come, as copyright stands for 75 years and the earliest Nintendo game is less than four decades old. 

Nintendo doesn’t condone emulation at all and has made it clear that it will never produce an emulator for computers. 

Hidden deep in the legal documentation on its corporate website (see https://www.nintendo.com/corp/legal.jsp#helping), the company goes into great detail on its attitude to emulators. 

It states emphatically: “Emulators developed to play copied Nintendo software promote piracy. That’s like asking why doesn’t Nintendo legitimize piracy. It doesn’t make any business sense. It’s that simple and not open to debate.”

That being said, Sony and Nintendo have seen the market for retro gaming and have released solutions to counter emulation.

Sony released a monthly-subscription service called PlayStation Now which allows consumers to play a vast selection of popular PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games on their PlayStation 4 consoles. This service has been well-received in the launch countries, but licensing issues are restricting Sony from going global with this service. 

Nintendo’s Classic Mini is a different story.

It solves a lot of the issues that Sony is facing with licensing through the release of a separate console. This allows licensing to the console itself, which allows worldwide release. The introductory price of R1200 once-off, with 30 pre-installed classic games like the original Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong, makes this an extremely attractive offer to consumers who want to get the best retro experience while staying on the good side of the law.

The bottom line is, it makes emulation of the console’s games defunct.

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