TIME Video Games

You Can Drive Mercedes Cars in Mario Kart Soon

Mario Kart 8 Mercedes
Mario Kart 8 Nintendo

Luigi isn't any happier to be behind the wheel of a Roadster, though

Mario Kart 8 players who also happen to be fans of fine German engineering are in for a treat: Starting Aug. 27, three Mercedes whips — the GLA, the ’50s-era 300 SL Roadster and the ’30s-era Silver Arrow — will be available as part of an update for the Nintendo Wii U title. Traditionally, Mario Kart vehicles range from go-kartesque options to more outlandish choices, like gliders.

The Mercs come alongside other new Mario Kart features meant to celebrate the twenty-second anniversary of the first Kart title, Super Mario Kart for the SNES, back in 1992 — and as an extra bonus, that original game’s now available for download on the Nintendo eShop on Wii U.

TIME Video Games

Blizzard Admits World of Warcraft Lost 800,000 Subscribers Since March

Activision Blizzard

The most popular and profitable MMO in history continues its steady decline, but Blizzard president Mike Morhaime says the game's annual revenue is up, not down.

Activision Blizzard is doing very well, according to CEO Bobby Kotick, who trotted out glowing figures during the company’s second quarter earnings call Tuesday, going so far as to raise Activision Blizzard’s full-year outlook. But when Blizzard president Mike Morhaime took his turn on the call, he admitted the company’s juggernaut MMO, World of Warcraft, has continued to hemorrhage subscribers.

The franchise remains “healthy,” he said, according to Seeking Alpha’s transcript of the call, with year-on-year revenue up, but subscribers down sharply in recent months. Here’s Morhaime:

As we mentioned on the previous call, we anticipated fluctuation in subscribership due to seasonality and the fact that the current game content is at the end of its life cycle. And as expected, we did see a decline in subscribers, which mostly came out of the east.

WoW‘s current subscriber number stands at 6.8 million, according to Activision Blizzard. That’s down 800,000 from last quarter, when it stood at 7.6 million — itself a precipitously lower figure than the once-towering 12 million the game commanded at its subscription peak in October 2010. No surprise to anyone (including Activision Blizzard) given the game’s age and shifting platform as well as genre demographics, WoW‘s subscription figures have been dropping steadily since 2010’s close.

The last time WoW‘s base was this low (or high, depending on your vantage): mid-2006, a year-and-a-half after the game’s launch in November 2004. Activision Blizzard expects to arrest that drop this fall, when it releases its fifth (and possibly final) expansion for the game, Warlords of Draenor. According to Morhaime:

This pattern is right in line, percentage-wise, with the drops that we saw at Cataclysm’s cycle in Q2 2012. That drop in 2012 was followed by an uptick in subscribers just ahead of Mists of Pandaria’s launch. So we’re hoping to see players return once we draw closer to the release of Warlords of Draenor later this year.

That uptick brought nearly a million users back to the fold in mid-2012, but the declines began shortly after the last expansion’s release, and by the close of 2012, WoW had lost several hundred thousand subscribers. The game leveled off through most of 2013 in the mid-7-million range, before the sharp drop from 7.6 million to 6.8 million this year.

Again, the claim to pay most attention to is Morhaime’s about year-on-year revenue being up. That’s what matters to investors, less so subscriber numbers. If Blizzard can keep WoW revenues up and deliver profits that surpass expectations, the game’s in no danger of disappearing anytime soon. That said, the clock is ticking for the company to unveil its long-rumored, still-running-silent Next Big Thing, be that a new MMO (the so-called new IP, once codenamed “Titan,” and as of August 2013 developmentally rebooted), or something else entirely.

We’ll know more about Warlords of Draenor next week, August 14 at 12:30 a.m. ET, when Blizzard reveals the expansion’s launch date and first cinematic trailer at the Ace Theatre in Los Angeles. Activision Blizzard says 1.5 million (of the game’s roughly 3 million Western) players have already preordered the expansion.

TIME Video Games

What in the World Is Sony’s PlayStation Gamescom Trailer About?

Sony's tongue-wagging engine ramps up with a mysterious snow-filled teaser trailer ahead of the Gamescom trade fair in Cologne, Germany next week.

Blood and snowflakes and cracked ice, that’s what Sony’s showing in its 10-second Gamescom teaser trailer. Oh, and there’s wind, or the sound of wind anyway, since you can’t actually see currents of air. I’ll make some guesses, then you can make some of your own.

We know it’s a Gamescom trailer because Sony’s hashtagged it #PlayStationGC (the trailer’s another way of getting that ball rolling, though as of this morning, it’s a pretty slow train, chugging along at a handful of tweets an hour). Gamescom takes place next week, August 13 to 17, in Cologne, Germany. Gamescom dwarfs E3, by the way, with hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, compared with less than 50,000 at this year’s E3.

Among the guesses (and mostly wishing thinking): a new God of War, developer Supermassive’s announced but undated horror/adventure Until Dawn, The Last Guardian (because that’s now mandatory in every guess lineup), the next PlayStation console (because people like to be silly), a new Shenmue, Guerrilla Games’ new IP, and last but not least, a port of Frozen: Olaf’s Quest. My money’s on Olaf.

It’s surely not Capcom’s Resident Evil (questionably necessary since it’s already been remade) remake: that game transpires during the summer, so unless Capcom’s ret-conning with a global cooling twist, that’s a nope). Resident Evil‘s also a multi-platform game, and why would Sony tout a non-exclusive? (Which is why the teaser’s probably not a closer look at Assassin’s Creed Rogue, which we’re bound to see at the show anyway.)

My money’s actually on Until Dawn, because unless it’s some totally new IP — and of course it could be that — what else? Until Dawn, whose plot about a bunch of teens spending a wintry night in a log cabin is intentionally B-movie cheese, is the only snow-riddled, sanguinary exclusive that comes to mind. I’m not jazzed about a game that requires use of the PlayStation Move controller to mimic a flashlight, but I’m curious, and it’s been two years since we’ve seen or heard much about Supermassive’s PS4 debut.

TIME Video Games

Ubisoft Confirms That Other Assassin’s Creed Game Exists With a Trailer

Assassin's Creed Rogue takes place in the frigid North Atlantic during the mid-18th century, starring you as a rogue assassin who's turned his back on the brotherhood.

All the hubbub about a second Assassin’s Creed game for the older PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 that might complement Assassin’s Creed Unity for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One finally turned up some answers: Ubisoft just confirmed Assassin’s Creed Rogue exists, and it’s headed exclusively to PS3 and Xbox 360 this year on November 11.

In the game, you play as Shay Patrick Cormac, who — if my ears haven’t failed me listening to that accent in the trailer — is Irish or Irish-American. He’s also a former assassin-turned-templar (perhaps that shift occurs ruing the game, perhaps not, it isn’t clear yet), hunting “those [he] previously called brothers from the streets of New York City to the frozen and fractured glacial landscapes of the Arctic Circle.”

Teasing motivational enigmas and plot twists, Ubisoft asks “Is Shay a traitor, rebel, renegade or something else entirely?” We’ll see.

The game transpires during the Seven Years’ War (1754-1763) in the ice-riddled North Atlantic, the river valleys of the Northeast and a re-imagined version of New York. It’s thus occurring parallel to (though mostly before) the events in Assassin’s Creed 3, which took place between 1753 and 1783, and focused on the American Revolution. Assassin’s Creed 4 bumped the clock back to the early part of the 18th century and involved the father of one of the protagonists of the prior game, and so Assassin’s Creed Rogue will serve as a bridge between the two, but also as a kind of secondary precursor, event-wise, to Assassin’s Creed Unity, which takes place in France around the French Revolution and arrives October 28.

Ubisoft describes Shady as “an all-new type of Assassin in the throes of a dark transformation,” so that could prove interesting, and it’s probably necessary given the potential for assassin-play burnout with two arterial installments arriving at once (oh who am I kidding — the potential for overall franchise burnout raised by the series formally bifurcating, presumably driven by Ubisoft’s fiscal demands, just went way up, though to be fair, Ubisoft has yet to really drop the ball with a mainline Assassin’s Creed game).

You can use new weapons like an air rifle with different types of ammunition, as well as grenades that “can be used to distract, eliminate, or confuse enemies” (where were these when Napoleon needed them?). And the sailing game, so popular in Assassin’s Creed 3 that Ubisoft made it the crux of Assassin’s Creed 4‘s gameplay, is back, this time set in a version of the North Atlantic that includes “new enemy tactics, exotic new weapons, and an arctic world full of icebergs and other dangers.”

If you want to read more, Assassin’s Creed Rogue is Game Informer‘s cover story this month.

TIME Video Games

Google Removes ‘Bomb Gaza’ Game From Play Store

Google Play

The company has removed several other games related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in recent days, claiming they violate the the Google Play store's policies.

In Bomb Gaza, a game about doing precisely what its peremptory title commands, you play as the Israeli Air Force, tapping a touchscreen to pour red-nosed bombs into a 2D multi-level landscape filled with cartoonish people wearing white robes and clutching children — meant to signify civilians — as well as others draped in black, clutching rifles, touting greenish headbands and grinning maniacally. The goal is to hit those black-garbed militants — presumably members of Palestinian militant group Hamas — while avoiding the white-clad civilians.

At some point in the past 24 hours, Google removed Bomb Gaza from its Android Play store (the game was released on July 29). It’s not clear why. Google’s only officially saying what companies like it so often say when handed political hot potatoes: that it doesn’t comment on specific apps, but that it removes ones from its store that violate its policies. The game’s dismissal comes just as Israel says it’s pulling out of Gaza in observance of a three-day ceasefire, on the heels of a month-long fight that has to date left nearly 1,900 Palestinians (mostly civilians) and 67 Israelis (mostly soldiers) dead.

It’s unclear which of Google’s policies Bomb Gaza might have infringed, but in Google’s Developer Program Policies document, it notes under a subsection titled Violence and Bullying that “Depictions of gratuitous violence are not allowed,” and that “Apps should not contain materials that threaten, harass or bully other users.” Under another titled Hate Speech, Google writes “We don’t allow content advocating against groups of people based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity.”

Bomb Gaza isn’t the only Gaza-centric game Google’s removed: another, dubbed Gaza Assault: Code Red is about dropping bombs on Palestinians using Israeli drones. Its designers describe the game as “[bringing] you to the forefront of the middle-east conflict, in correlation to ongoing real world events.” It was also just yanked, as was another titled Whack the Hamas, in which players have to target Hamas members as they pop out of tunnels.

Politically-themed games about touchy current issues have been around for years, from depictions of deadly international situations like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to others modeled on flashpoints like school shootings. In late 2008, a game called Raid Gaza! appeared around the time Israel was carrying out “Operation Cast Lead,” a conflict that left 13 Israelis and some 1,400 Palestinians dead. In that title, you’re tasked with killing as many Palestinians as you can in three minutes, and actually afforded bonuses for hitting civilian targets, all while listening to a version of the Carpenter’s saccharine “Close to You.”

But the game wasn’t merely a pro-Israeli celebration of violence against Palestinians, it was a pointed editorial reflection on the horrors of the Gaza conflict. As games critic Ian Bogost wrote at the time:

The game is headstrong, suffering somewhat from its one-sided treatment of the issue at hand. But as an editorial, it is a fairly effective one both as opinion text and as game. It is playable and requires strategy, the exercise of which carries the payload of commentary.

Other games about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict persist: There’s Peacemaker, a more serious and simulation-angled game about the conflict that its developers say was designed “to promote peace.” Another, called Iron Dome (still available on Google’s Play store), lets players intercept incoming rockets using Israel’s eponymous missile defense system. A third, called Rocket Pride (also still available on Google’s Play store), lets players provide “support for the besieged Gaza Strip” by firing rockets at targets in Israel. There’s clearly a winnowing process here, in other words, with Google favoring some apps but not others. It’s just not clear what that process is.

I haven’t played Bomb Gaza, so I can’t speak to its efficacy as either a game or an editorial commentary (or whether it was even intended as the latter). When I reached out to the game’s creator, he told me it had been “developed without any budget” and “more for fun,” and that he was “very surprised to catch such attention with it.”

But the game’s removal raises older questions that we need to keep asking: Should companies like Google remove politically charged games because passerby find them offensive? Are we overreacting to some of these games instead of taking the time to consider whether they’re intended as satirical (be it nuanced or crude, successful or misguided)? Are games that depict violence related to a current event fundamentally so different from caustic political cartoons or scathing op-eds? And should companies like Apple and Google and Amazon — and thereby the swiftly narrowing channels through which we’re acquiring more and more of our content — also be the arbiters of what’s morally tasteful?

TIME Video Games

Thailand Bans Tropico 5 City-Building Game Over Security Concerns

Kalypso Media Group

The military-ruled country is banning an irreverent PC strategy game in which you play as a dictator, fending off military coups, rigging elections and ruling with a iron fist

If you live in Thailand, it looks like you’ll have to find a way around the country’s military junta if you want to play Tropico 5.

The Associated Press, citing a game distributor, reports that censors in Thailand operating on behalf of the country’s military leaders have put the kibosh on sales of developer Haemimont Games’ city-building simulation because it might “hurt the country’s security.”

Thailand’s military launched a coup against the civilian government on May 22, 2014, and currently holds sway under the rubric of a group called the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The NCPO has been cracking down on what it views as radical elements in the media and online ever since, and the junta’s film and video censorship wing reportedly opted to block sales of Tropico 5 over concerns it “might affect peace and order in the country.”

That’s presumably because Tropico 5 — the fifth in a long-running series of PC-based city-building games — is about ruling a Caribbean island as “El Presidente” soup to nuts, including dictatorial maneuvers like rigging elections, strong-arming the media and pretty much doing whatever floats your boat. The goal is less about improving the lives of your citizens than staying in power, fending off military coups and steering clear of Cold War superpowers.

It’s not clear what about Tropico 5 specifically so worried the junta’s censorship office that it banned the game outright, but the distributor cited by AP notes prior series installments were sold in the country. And it’s worth noting that while measures like these indicate a much harsher stance, the country’s long-standing censorship practices, which range from sanitizing or outright banning certain books and magazines, media stories, Internet URLs, television shows and films, predate the May coup.

TIME

BioShock Is Going to Be an iOS Game Later This Summer

2K

The original under-the-sea shooter that kindled the "games as art" conversation is coming to phones and tablets before summer's end.

Believe it or not, the original BioShock is going to be an iOS game, and you won’t have to wait for it until the end of this year or into 2015: 2K says it’ll be available “as a premium priced mobile game” later this summer, so by Monday, September 22. It’ll work with the iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPad 4 and iPhone 5 forward, though nothing earlier.

It’s not a pared back port, either, but the whole shebang, with “optimized touch controls” and support for MFi (Made for iPhone) game controllers. Wild, to think it’s been seven years — seven years — since Irrational Games’ opus (or magnum opus, if you like) turned someone’s golf swing into art.

We already know how wonky first-person shooters are on touch screens, and if you’re making a scrunched-up face and mouthing the word “Why?”, you’re having my reaction when I saw the press info about this version. I don’t want to play BioShock on an iPad or iPhone or iPod Touch with my thumbs. No one’s invented a touch interface precise or out of the way enough to make ports like this work half as well as keyboard/mice or gamepads, and no one ever will.

But the MFi angle makes it more interesting, because that’s how you want to play BioShock on a 3.5-inch screen (if you want to play BioShock on a 3.5-inch screen at all). And there’s every reason to celebrate MFi support, those of you myopically mocking the idea of snapping a gamepad onto a touch-based mobile device as ergonomically deluded. Why not? Let mobile gamers have their cake and eat it. It’s certainly no disincentive to developers making all the wildly more prevalent non-MFi games out there.

BioShock, tired as you may be of hearing it, is one of the highest-rated games of all time, and for my money, that’s right on target. I thought BioShock 2 when it came along wound up being the better-designed game with the more nuanced and interesting story, but BioShock was pretty incredible for its time, and if it does well in this space, who knows — maybe we’ll get lucky enough to see its sequel appear on iOS, too.

If you’re thinking about picking up an MFi to play this, remember that you want something with a thumbstick, not just a d-pad — ideally something that snaps onto the phone and isn’t separate from it (if you’re using the iPhone or iPod Touch anyway — the iPad’s a different story). Every time I spy something like this or this, where you’re having to grip the gamepad in both hands independent of the phone, I imagine someone wearing one of those neck supports harmonica players do.

TIME Video Games

The Only Guide to PS4 vs Xbox One You’ll Ever Need

US-JAPAN-IT-GAMES-E3-NINTENDO
FREDERIC J. BROWN—AFP/Getty Images

How to choose, how to choose... This is how

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 9.42.33 AM

This post is in partnership with Trusted Reviews. The article below was originally published at TrustedReviews.com.

By Larry Kim

Both the Xbox One and PS4 have been around for enough time to give us a solid grounding for the strengths and weaknesses of each. Whether you go for the people’s favourite, the PS4, or opt for the potentially more well-rounded Xbox will be decided on your preferences. The decision is not clear cut. To help you work out which console is right for you we’ve compared each aspect so you can safely decide between the PS4 or Xbox One.

As well as covering all the hardware angles we’ll also checking out the games that are already out and the games coming to the two consoles thanks to E3 2014.

Xbox One vs PS4 – Price and Release Date

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In a suprising, but honestly refreshing, turn of events Microsoft has made some major changes to the way it has been marketing the Xbox One. There were a few new things to note If you were looking to buy a PS4 or Xbox One a while back.

Most shocking of all is that the Kinect is no longer tied to the Xbox One – Microsoft has announced its plan to release a Kinect-free console for $399. That’s the same price as the PS4 without any games.

Whereas before the cost factor was a major issue when choosing between the two consoles, now they have reached parity.

Some of the restrictions that seemed to penalise Xbox One owners have also been restricted. You don’t have to purchase and Xbox Live Gold membership to access things like Netflix, which is a big bonus for those looking to make their console act as a home entertainment unit.

The Xbox One is now a lot more like the PS4. And in this case, that’s a good thing.

The Xbox One’s original ‘RRP’ was $499, where the PS4 has sold for $399 since it launched November.

However, we have already seen a bit of Xbox One price erosion, where most places still seem to sell the PS4 at its original price. Amazon currently sells the Xbox with Kinect for $499, just a little more than the proposed price of the console without Kinect. We’d probably take the Kinect for just $50.

Of course, most of you will likely want to buy a console along with a game, and that changes things significantly. Here are the current bundles you can order with the consoles:

bundles
Prices are based on what we could find from reputable retailers at the time of writing

Lots of the launch bundles are becoming scarce as they are replaced with newer games. The logic is pretty obvious – once a game’s price drops a few months after launch, it loses its bundle appeal.

The most up-to-date of the game bundles are the Titanfall Xbox One package and the Watch Dogs PS4 deal. Until recently the Xbox Titanfall package (which includes Kinect) was available for $499, but most of those deals have dried up.

SEE ALSO: Best Games of 2014 Round-up

Xbox One vs PS4 – Best Current and Future Games

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The most important factor with any game console is games. Forget graphical fidelity and looks, above all else, you should go with the console that has the games you want to play.

Many of this generation’s games will be available on both consoles which makes choosing between them that much trickier. This was true with the last generation too, but the Xbox One and PS4 make it easier than ever for developers to produce games cross-platform.

Let’s have a look at the top games that are already available, and those that are coming out for each console.

Best Future Xbox One Exclusives
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Halo 5: Guardians
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PS4 games 4What is it? Halo, naturally
Release date: 2015

At the moment we know very little about Halo 5: Guardians, aside from the name and that it’s coming to Xbox One next year. It’ll serve as the sequel to Halo 4, and be one of the leading Xbox One games for 2015.

The story is largely a mystery, but you can expect to see the same sort of fast first-person action seen in all the previous core Halo games. Are we excited? Yes. Do we need to know more about Halo 5? Definitely. We’ll be back with more details soon.

Halo: The Master Chief CollectionBlue line

Halo collectionWhat is it? Old Halo, made new
Release date: November 2014

As a way to bridge the gap between now and the release of Halo 5, we have Halo: The Master Chief Collection. It’s a pack of the four previous ‘core’ Halo games, all revved up for the Xbox One with 1080p, 60fps visuals.

The multiplayer has been reinstated too, including absolutely reams of maps from all four games. As part of the collection, you’ll get beta access to Halo 5: Guardians too, making it a must for Halo die-hards.

Forza Horizon 2Blue line

PS4 games 5What is it? Open-world racer
Release date: September 30 2014

The Forza series has split into two halves. There are the core Forza Motorsport titles and the rather less serious Horizon games, which have a free-roaming element.

Forza Horizon 2 takes place in Southern Europe, letting you roam in the area around a music festival, taking part in the usual dazzling array of races. This should prove to be a good visual showcase of what racers should look like on Xbox One, more so than the early Forza Motorsport 5.

Project SparkBlue line

PS4 games 6What is it? Game-creation tool
Release date: TBC

Project Spark is an intriguing game creation tool that will let you make full games, by the looks of it. Think of it as Xbox One’s alternative to Little Big Planet 3 and you won’t be too far off the mark.

It appears to let you make 3D adventures, 2D platformers, racers and puzzle games. But will it give you real scope? Will it be too difficult and time-consuming? Either way, we’re looking forward to finding out. While an Xbox One console exclusive, Project Spark will also be available on Windows 8.1.

Sunset OverdriveBlue line

PS4 games 8What is it? An OTT action game
Release date: TBC

People have been turned into mutants, thanks to an evil energy drink. The city is in chaos. And you are the hero who has to sort it all about.

Sunset Overdrive is a bit like Infamous, but with a sense of humour and a proper colour palette. This game could be bags of fun, especially if you’re after a game whose focus is pure fun, but that isn’t just aimed at kids.

Best Future PS4 Exclusives
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Little Big Planet 3
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PS4 gamesWhat is it? A platformer and game creation tool
Release Date: November 2014

Little Big Planet has become one of the defining series of the modern PlayStation era. And while it no longer attracts as much attention as something like Uncharted, it attracts kids and adults like almost nothing else.

It’s a cutesy platformer, but also a full game creation tool. You can really let your creativity rip with this Little Big Planet 3, and make games with no real knowledge of coding. To an extent it’s more of the same, and LBP3 is compatible with levels already in the LBP universe – of which there are more than 8.5 million

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s EndBlue line

PS4 games 1What is it? The PS4’s lead adventure title
Release Date: 2015

A Thief’s End is the first Uncharted game to come to PS4, and once again it’s a Nathan Drake Adventure. The Uncharted series offers some of the most cinematic experiences in gaming, and Uncharted 4 is no different.

It’s a “globe-trotting” adventure in which you’re looking to uncover a “historical conspiracy”. We don’t know a great deal about Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Yet. But we expect great things. Sony says it’ll have more to tell us in the coming months.

BloodborneBlue line

PS4 games 2What is it? A game from the makers of Dark Souls
Release Date: 2015

We don’t know much about Bloodborne yet, but there’s a reason to be excited already – it comes from the man behind the Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls games – Hidetaka Miyazaki.

As you’d expect from the creator of those grim classics, Bloodborne is not a barrel of laughs. It’s about a virus transmitted through the blood, something that turns people and creatures into horrific things. And it is horror, rather than fantasy, that is the theme this time around. For many, this will be one of the most exciting games of the next 12 months.

The Order 1886Blue line

PS4 games 3What is it? Action-adventure set in London
Release Date: 20 February 2015

It’s not often we get to see games set in London that aren’t racing titles. The Order 1886 is set here, and it’s an action adventure where you play a knight who is part of an order tasked with taking down a horrible breed of werewolf-like creatures.

Expect bad English accents, lots of moody, foggy environments and loads of shooty action. It’s getting pretty positive previews at present, although as a new IP we’ll have to wait to see if this is the real deal.

Best Current Xbox One games
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PS4 and Xbox One games 8
Titanfall
Available: NOW

The most exciting early Xbox One console exclusive is Titanfall. It is a sci-fi shooter, and it’s not afraid to be grim and serious, with a darker tone than the cross-platform Destiny.

Unusually, there’s no single-player mode in Titanfall, but there will be single player-style story elements weaved into the action to give play more meaning than the average multiplayer blast-fest. It sold 700,000 copies in its first week, but some have criticised it saying it looks like a last-gen game.

9/10 – Read our Titanfall review

PS4 and Xbox One games 1
Dead Rising 3
Available: NOW

Like the previous Dead Rising games, Dead Rising 3 is a third-person action game set around a zombie invasion. Its world is much larger than that of the last two games, though, based in a city rather than a specific location within a city.

It’s not the best showcase for next-gen graphics and it doesn’t have quite the spark of inventiveness seen in the former games. But it’s a launch line-up highlight, and something a little different.

7/10
– Read the full Dead Rising 3 review

PS4 and Xbox One games 3
Forza Motorsport 5
Available: NOW

The game that marks the Xbox One as the racer’s favourite at present, Forza Motorsport 5 is a semi-serious racing game that looks and feels great. Match it with something like the Mad Catz Pro Racing wheel and you’ll be in heaven.

However, it’s not the ultimate racing game, lacking some of the structural brilliance of the last game in the series, Forza 4. Still, for now it’s the best next-gen racer if you don’t want a pure arcade experience.

8/10 – Read the full Forza 5 review


SEE ALSO: Best Xbox One Games

 

Best current PS4 games
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PS4 and Xbox One games 6
Killzone: Shadowfall
Available: NOW
The single notable ‘gamer’s game’ that the PS4 had over the Xbox One at launch was Killzone: Shadowfall. It’s a grim first-person shooter set in the future, and a pretty good way to see what your shiny new console is capable of, compared to the PS3.

It’s not a shooter you’re likely to have fond memories of for years to come, but it’s a good job the PS4 had it to rely on given how many of the console’s other games were pushed back into 2014.

7/10 – Read our full Killzone: Shadow Fall review

PS4 and Xbox One games 5
Infamous: Second Son
Available: NOW
Infamous is a superhero game that’s not tied to a superhero license, and that’s a good thing in this case. You’re not tied to a famous character’s intentions, letting you play the good guy, or the bad guy. And your actions dictate the sort of powers you develop.

In style, it’s similar to the previous Infamous games, giving you an ‘open world’ city in which you can wreak havoc. This is the first major 2014 PS4 exclusive, and it has us a good deal more excited than Killzone: Shadow Fall.

9/10 - Read our full InFamous: Second Son review

SEE ALSO: Best PS4 Games

Best cross-platform games
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PS4 and Xbox One games
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Available: Now

One of the most-anticipated recent games is Call of Duty: Ghosts. It’s a first-person shooter, just like the other games in the series.

If you don’t like the genre, or have been unimpressed with the previous CoD games, it’s unlikely you’ll get on with this one. However, for fans of the series it’s a treat. It’s just not a particularly inventive or dynamic entry in the Call of Duty line. The ‘ghosts’ of the title are a special band of US forces who have to combat a group of terrorists trying to use a galactic superweapon to try and take down the US. It’s also the first Call of Duty game to feature a dog as part of your squad.

7/10 – Read the full Call of Duty: Ghosts review

PS4 and Xbox One games 7
Need for Speed: Rivals
Available: Now

The Need for Speed series has some serious ups and downs, but we’re happy – and surprised – to report that Need for Speed: Rivals is a highlight. As with the other games in the series, it’s an arcade racer rather than one that tries to be in any way realistic.

Its world is open, and it blends multiplayer and single player modes into a single environment for a seamless feel. It’s bags of fun, and the game that ensured neither console was without a good racer at launch.

9/10 – Read the full Need for Speed: Rivals review

PS4 and Xbox One games 2
Destiny
Available: September 2014

Destiny is a ‘new IP’, a game not based on an existing series. People are still extremely excited about it, though, because it’s made by Bungie, the development studio behind the first Halo games.

It’s a science fiction shooter that merges multiplayer and single player play styles – something we’re likely to see an awful lot of this year. What’s getting us more excited, though, is that it looks fantastic and offers grand vistas to explore. This game will come to previous-generation consoles as well as the new guard.

Read more about Destiny

Games – Conclusions

Red stick

At present, the Xbox One has a slightly better game line-up, and in the near future it has more significant exclusives. However, the series that came to define console exclusives in the PS3/360 era will remain the same. So if Uncharted means way more to you than Halo ever will, think carefully before dismissing the PS4.

We’ll find out a lot more about the future games coming out for these consoles during E3, which takes place in June.

Further on this feature we’ll look into every bit of each console in depth, but if you want a quicker read, here are the top reasons to buy each console.

There’s a lot more to making this decision. For the rest, go to TrustedReviews.com.

TIME Earnings

Nintendo’s Financial Struggles Continue, Even With Mario Kart 8

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Customers play with Nintendo's videogame console Wii U at an electronics shop in Tokyo on July 30, 2014. Yoshikazu Tsuno—AFP/Getty Images

Even the smash hit Mario Kart 8 doesn’t seem to be able to save Nintendo and its Wii U. The Japanese video game giant posted a loss of 9.92 billion yen ($96.7 million) between April and June, according to its first fiscal quarter earnings report. Nintendo had a profit of 8.62 billion yen ($84 million) during the same period last year.

It’s not a great start to the fiscal year for a company that posted an annual operating loss during its last three. Sales for the company were also down, with revenue of 74.7 billion yen ($728 million) falling 8 percent from last year’s figure of 81.5 billion yen ($794 million).

The Wii U recovered at least somewhat from its disastrous 2013. It sold 510,000 units in the quarter, more than triple the 160,000 it sold during the period last year. Software sales were also way up, mostly thanks to Mario Kart 8, which sold 2.82 million copies and is already the third best-selling Wii U game of all time. But the 3DS, Nintendo’s true moneymaker, is on a precipitous decline, especially in Japan. The handheld gaming device sold just 820,000 units during the quarter, down from 1.4 million during the same quarter last year. Software sales also declined 22 percent to 8.6 million units.

Nintendo is still projecting that it will sell 3.6 million Wii Us and 20 million Wii U games over the fiscal year, while making almost $20 million in profit. That forecast will rest heavily on the performance of Super Smash Bros. Wii U, which is slated to launch in the fall, as well as titles like the Legend of Zelda spinoff Hyrule Warriors.

TIME Video Games

Xbox One Owners Can Now Pay $4.99 Month for EA Games

NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana
NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana (L) walks on stage to join the head of EA Sports Andrew Wilson (R) as they introduce the new EA Sports Madden 13 game with Kinect voice functionality at the Microsoft Xbox E3 2012 media briefing in Los Angeles on June 4, 2012. Robyn Beck—AFP/Getty Images

Only four games are available so far

Electronic Arts is adapting the subscription service model to the video game industry with a new offering for Xbox One. The new service, called EA Access, will allow Xbox One owners to download and play hit EA games for an unlimited amount of time for $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year. A release date was not announced.

Netflix this is not, so far. EA Access will launch with four games: FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4. Combined, the games retail for more than $150, so the offer is a steal if you happen to enjoy some combination of sports games, first-person shooters and puzzlers. EA says more games will be added to the lineup in the future.

In addition to the catalog of older titles, EA Access members will get a 10 percent discount on the digital version of upcoming Xbox One games like Dragon Age Inquisition and NHL 15. Members will also have access to free trials of upcoming games five days before their official release.

Video game makers are keen to get gamers used to buying and downloading games online because they get to avoid manufacturing and distribution costs while often charging just as much as versions sold in brick-and-mortar stores. So far, there’s no word on a PS4 version of EA Access, but Sony is currently rolling out a new service called PlayStation Now that will allow users to stream older games to a variety of Sony devices.

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles

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