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Who is the least worst publisher of PC games? EA or Ubisoft?

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Who is the least worst publisher of PC games? EA or Ubisoft?

For some reason (perhaps even the same reason) both EA and Ubisoft have recently stepped forwards to re-apologise for their recent treatment of us poor, downtrodden PC gamers. Here's EA saying they're rubbish listeners. And here's Ubisoft vowing to improve. How queer!

Both publishers are enthusiastically re-iterating their commitment to making playing their games on PC something other than a harrowing ordeal. Truthfully, I think they've been doing alright lately, with just the occasional monstrous balls-up marring an otherwise clean record of delivering a catalogue of fairly decent games about spies and space missions and tigers and assassins. And as a conglomerate of developers, of course they are undeniably behind some of the best PC games of all time.

But with EA and Ubisoft now simultaneously banging on our PC cases and demanding to be let back into our comforting embrace, to whom do we throw open our arms? We are, after all, only capable of loving one and hating the other. The only way to decide is to figure out once and for all who is the least worst at publishing games on PC. EA or Ubisoft?

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EA "haven't always been great listeners" but are "getting better"

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EA "haven't always been great listeners" but are "getting better"

It’s become community management 101 for the major publishers: tell the players that you’re listening; that you’re a pure conduit of feedback prepared to reshape games in accordance with comments on the internet.

EA in particular have committed themselves to the idea. They’ve said more than once that beta feedback for Battlefield Hardline was responsible for pushing the game back into next year. And CEO Andrew Wilson says the company is “getting better at listening".

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Respawn talk Titanfall's final DLC pack: IMC Rising

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Respawn talk Titanfall's final DLC pack: IMC Rising

Titanfall has nearly completed its tour of duty. No longer opening and closing trade show conferences with a salvo of announcements, the game nevertheless played its part in an EA GamesCom show defined by the noise and colour of Dragon Age, Shadow Realms and The Sims.

IMC Rising will be Titanfall’s third and last DLC release, and will constitute another three maps - bringing the game’s post-launch total to nine.

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BioWare's Shadow Realms is a 4 vs 1 "story-driven" action RPG from the SWTOR team

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BioWare's Shadow Realms is a 4 vs 1 "story-driven" action RPG from the SWTOR team

BioWare have finally let us in on what on Earth Shadow Realms is. It’s a co-operative online RPG inspired by pen-and-paper RPGs, from the Austin studio behind SWTOR.

And it is on Earth: set in both a fantasy realm and a demon-infused but contemporary real world populated by “heroes who wouldn’t look out of place in this room".

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Our Spotlight units plug content our journalists have made, that our advertisers want to promote. Sometimes the promotion is paid for, but the content they go to is always independent with no client oversight or approval.

Play four hours of SimCity for free in an oddly-timed trial

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Play four hours of SimCity for free in an oddly-timed trial

EA and Maxis have released a demo for the their contemporary city-builder, due out in, er, March 2013.

So it’s a bit late, but there’s now a free trial of SimCity to play around with. You get the run of the reboot’s single player feature-set, and four hours to make your mark on an otherwise unblighted stretch of green land.

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The Sims 4 will support mods and comes standard with mod directory

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The Sims 4 will support mods and comes standard with mod directory

While many of EA’s games ruthlessly oppose modders The Sims has thrived as a result of their endorsed support. For more than a decade there have been sites devoted to letting creators share new clothes and items for Maxis’ life simulator.

The same is true of the upcoming The Sims 4. EA are providing full documentation and support for mods.

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The Sims 4 does anger, sadness, embarrassment: all the classics

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The Sims 4 does anger, sadness, embarrassment: all the classics

Emotion is one of the forgotten arts of game development. No university teaches a programmer how to love. There is no John Carmack of tears.

But one publisher is making a concerted effort to push a discipline still in its infancy. After years of iteration, EA Sports have just cracked emotions in FIFA 15. And The Sims Studio reckon they’ve done the same in The Sims 4. Here are their findings.

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Respawn to introduce in-game 'black market' currency to Titanfall in Game Update 5

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Respawn to introduce in-game 'black market' currency to Titanfall in Game Update 5

Respawn are currently turning the Titanfall community on to the idea of ‘black market’ currency, which is a funny thing to call an developer-designed point system. Talk to Blizzard: they’ll tell you all about real black markets.

In any case, players will soon be able to earn in-game cash by completing challenges or selling on unloved burn cards. But don’t call it a microtransaction system: there’ll be no means of acquiring ‘black market’ money with real-life debit cards.

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The Sims 2 is now free on Origin, swimming pools and 18 expansions included

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The Sims 2 is now free on Origin, swimming pools and 18 expansions included

A decade ago, you might have complained that The Sims 2 had turned the PC games charts into a permanent expandaland. But a comprehensive version of the game might be exactly what you're looking for today, on the eve of a Sims without swimming pools or toddlers.

Boot up Origin this afternoon and you can be adding Maxis’ finest hour of the 21st century, stuffed with Stuff Packs, to your library for free.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic preps for largest story expansion since Rise of the Hutt Cartel

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Star Wars: The Old Republic preps for largest story expansion since Rise of the Hutt Cartel

In retrospect, overarching MMO plotlines can sound like supervillain whack-a-mole. The Galactic Republic and Sith Empire might be at war, but together they’ve bopped the Hutt Cartel’s invasion of Makeb on the head, and given the Dread Masters of Oricon a good malleting.

For now, though, Star Wars: The Old Republic’s next major storyline is swathed in mystery, preceded by two new flashpoints that make up its prelude. It might be time to take another look at Star Wars: The Old Republic.

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The myriad emotions of FIFA 15

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The myriad emotions of FIFA 15

EA has just announced that the next FIFA game will introduce simulated player emotions, imbuing the tiny football men with every manner of mood and feeling known to science, transforming them from glassy eyed 3D automatons to living, breathing virtual creatures each with their own hopes and ambitions.

For example: one football man, upon doing an especially good kick, might feel "happy". Another, having witnessed a nice goal, might feel "humbled by the continuing spectacle of sport". It truly is an incredible time to be alive, and having now emulated the human condition down to the individual neuron, EA can finally create little football men capable of kicking the ball in a truly convincing manner.

But what emotions can we expect to see in FIFA 15, and what effects do they have on players? I'm glad you asked, because here they all are.

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Take another look at Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's quite good.

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Take another look at Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's quite good.

Whatever it was that draws millions to Star Wars, many were unconvinced that The Old Republic had it. The feeling of adventure, heroism, mysticism and drama just wasn’t quite right. In the old days, SWTOR just didn’t feel “Star Wars-y" enough for core fans. It’s not an opinion I ever held, but I am an extremely patient person and SWTOR, in the early days, was tailored to a player like me. But I struggled to argue with the naysayers on a critical point, it was a poor MMO.

Over two years have passed since Star Wars: The Old Republic launched.  And it has changed almost beyond recognition.

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FIFA 15 to endow footballers with "emotional intelligence"

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FIFA 15 to endow footballers with "emotional intelligence"

If you’re looking for emotion in football, you need only walk among the sensitive so-and-sos on the terraces.

“Foux du FIFA," they chant, tears of team-specific support streaming down their faces. “Ah-ee-ah."

That’s reflected in FIFA 15 in the dynamically-changing, club-distinguished cheers and chants of the crowd - and in the evolving relationships between players on the pitch.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic made $165m in 2013, according to SuperData report

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Star Wars: The Old Republic made $165m in 2013, according to SuperData report

Despite Guild Wars 2, Wildstar, and its own efforts to split its playerbase into have-mounts and have-mount-nots, Star Wars: The Old Republic remains one of the best PC MMOs around. 

That’s reflected in the findings of SuperData Research, who report that SWTOR made $165m last year. They say BioWare’s first MMO accounts for 8% of the market for MMOs with subscription options.

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EA are ending support for The Sims 2 - but giving away its expansions to digital owners

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EA are ending support for The Sims 2 - but giving away its expansions to digital owners

The recent hoo-hah about missing swimming pools and toddlers in The Sims 4 has only increased the relative cachet of Maxis’ 2004 opus. It was here that Will Wright and friends got their picket fence paradise spot on, just as they delivered on their rusk-to-reaper simulation for the first time.

It’s a spot of bad timing, then, that EA have chosen now to discontinue support of The Sims 2. There’ll be no new updates for the game in the future - though Origin buyers will receive every expansion and Stuff pack to date by way of compensation.

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EA hire eBay exec as their new CTO to help improve their games "as live services"

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EA hire eBay exec as their new CTO to help improve their games "as live services"

EA have made a Chief Technology Officer of an eBay veteran, the company revealed last night. Ken Moss comes from eBay’s Seattle office, where he headed up their Marketplace Technology, Science and Data organisation.

Moss will be responsible for overseeing the digital platform that has fuelled EA’s shift to “games as live services" - a move they’ve visibly struggled with over the past year.

“My goal is simple," writes Moss on his LinkedIn page. “to create services that make people’s lives better."

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EA's Frank Gibeau pinpoints mobile Dungeon Keeper's problem: "We innovated too much"

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EA's Frank Gibeau pinpoints mobile Dungeon Keeper's problem: "We innovated too much"

EA’s Frank Gibeau left his role at the head of the publisher’s PC and console-focused Labels division last year to become president of EA Mobile. Maybe the Dungeon Keeper license fell off a shelf and into his coat pocket, because it turned up a few months later, looking washed-out and smelling slightly damp, on iOS and Android.

EA CEO Andrew Wilson has already acknowledged that nu-Dungeon Keeper struggled to “stay true" to its namesake - but clearly failed to pass on the mea culpa memo to Gibeau. Instead, Frank thinks EA and Mythic “might have innovated too much".

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EA address fan upset over The Sims 4's missing pools and toddlers

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EA address fan upset over The Sims 4's missing pools and toddlers

Pools and toddlers don’t mix well, but they’ve been inextricably paired by one common factor: they’re both longstanding features that’ll be missing from The Sims 4.

The community has been in slow-burn uproar for the past week - over 16,000 have signed a petition calling for their inclusion. EA have addressed their concerns in a new blog post - but its rationale is unlikely to satisfy many.

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