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NSA: new report unearths spying on Xbox Live, WoW, more

Monday, 9 December 2013 14:06 GMT By Dave Cook

America’s National Security Agency is reportedly spying on players using Xbox Live, World of Warcraft, Second Life and other services.

The report follows a joint investigation carried out by The Guardian, New York Times, ProPublica, and backed bydocumentsunearthed by whistleblower Eric Snowden.

NSA records indicate that the agency sent agents into World of Warcraft under the guise of avatars to snoop on players, and in some cases attempt to recruit seasoned players to the cause. The paper, entitled ‘Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments’ shows that the agency also has the means to collect mass data from Xbox Live’s 48 million players.

The documents warn that leaving online game services unchecked renders them ideal for terrorists or wrongdoers looking to, “hide in plain sight”. They reveal that so many NSA agents and other third-party agencies were snooping around in games, that the task forces had to be properly measured to ensure they weren’t disrupting each other’s projects.

One page suggests that online games can be used to offer weapons training. An excerpt reads, “These games offer realistic weapons training (what weapon to use against what target, what ranges can be achieved, even aiming and firing, military operations and tactics, photorealistic land navigation and terrain familiarization, and leadership skills. While complete military training is best achieved in person, perfection is not always required to accomlish the missions. Some of the 9-11 pilots had never flown a real plane, they had only trained using Microsoft’s Flight Simulator.

“When the mission is expensive, risky or dangerous, it is often a wiser idea to exercise virtually, rather than really blow an operative up assembling a bomb or exposing a sleeper agent to law enforcement scrutiny. Militaries around the world use virtual simulators with great success and the Hizballah even hooked up a PlayStation controller to a laptop in order to guide some of its real missiles.”

There is also mention of Al Qaida using Xbox Live, Second Live and World of Warcraft, along with Chinese hackers, an Iranian nuclear scientist, Hizballah and Hamas members.

It has been suggested that by infiltrating games in this manner, the NSA can catch wind of hacking attempts, make friends with suspects, build their real-world profile, find out their location and earn enough of their trust to see their profile pictures. Gaining access to voice and text chat logs appears to be instrumental to this process.

The Guardian in particular notes that the documents fail to disclose any known instances of when online gaming was used as a meeting place to discuss terrorist activity, or if indeed the NSA’s attempts were successful in uncovering suspects. The site adds that it isn’t clear exactly how the agency gained access to said data, or if it managed to avoid spying on innocent players.

World of Warcraft developer Blizzard has since pleaded that it was in the dark surrounding NSA activity. The studio said in a statement, “We are unaware of any surveillance taking place. If it was, it would have been done without our knowledge or permission.”

Second Life developer Linden Lab did not reply to comment requests, but Microsoft issued the following statement to Polygon:

“We’re not aware of any surveillance activity. If it has occurred as reported, it certainly wasn’t done with our consent.”

The NSA’s sister agency GCHQ did respond however, and stated, “All GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that its activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the Intelligence and Security Committee.”

An excerpt from the NSA documents reads, “Al-Qaida terrorist target selectors and … have been found associated with XboxLive, Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other GVEs [Games and Virtual Environments]. Other targets include Chinese hackers, an Iranian nuclear scientist, Hizballah, and Hamas members.”

However, The Guardian offers that this is inconclusive, seeing as someone could have used the same computer or IP address – perhaps at an internet cafe – as these suspects to play games, and is no guarantee that the players and suspects are one and the same.

Regardless, by September 2008, the GCHQ was able to successfully obtain discussions between players conducted on Xbox Live. At the same time, the FBI, CIA, and the Defense Humint Service were infiltrating Second Life amid fears that the Linden Dollar currency was being used to launder the money of terrorists.

Read the documents in full via the first link and let us know what you think below.

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42 Comments

  1. ddtd

    You know its bad when US based companies are publicly announcing that they’re actively trying to block the NSA from their services, but this takes the cake. :p

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Fin

    wtf

    #2 1 year ago
  3. Tiucaner

    This doesn’t surprise me in any way.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. Dragon

    WoW….. not really.

    This may sound clichéd, but is happening and will continue to happen.
    #youmayjusthavetodealwithit

    “fear of the unknown” at its finest.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. viralshag

    Yeah, you’d have to be amazingly naive to be surprised by this.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. pukem0n

    let the paranoia train roll….chew chew

    #6 1 year ago
  7. TrickyAudio

    Bin Laden was an Orc. Loved abit of leveling between terrorising. Not much else you could do in a cave for 10 years, tbf.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. foofly

    Wasn’t it Club Penguin in Four Lions?

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Panthro

    QUICK! Shut off your Kinects!

    Oh… They haven’t even been taken out of the box yet? Never-mind then.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. G1GAHURTZ

    So ‘No Russian’ was a terrorist baiting trap all along…

    Who knew…?

    #10 1 year ago
  11. xxxGamesMasterxxx

    I knew it! *throws xbox one kinect out the window*

    #11 1 year ago
  12. manamana

    We all know by now that even terrorists must play games…
    Get the fuck outta here, you US Nazi NSA bastards!

    #12 1 year ago
  13. polygem

    this is the new fascism. obey the leader.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. polygem

    …damn, now they’ve tracked me…

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Cobra951

    Snowden may just be the best whistleblower yet. We need exposures like these to shine some light on the darker agencies at play here, and keep them in check. The scary problem is that, to some degree, the NSA is right. It’s not about whether terrorists play games. Obviously they do. It’s about figuring out new ways of detecting them and catching them. The world is now a borderless war zone, basically. Innocents will get caught in the crossfire now and then. The alternative is to just let the bad guys do the shooting.

    #15 1 year ago
  16. lolatfanboys

    It´s getting harder and harder to be seen as paranoid :&

    @15 if innocents get caught in the crossfire anyway than why care and let the government spy on all people? Let the police and border patrol take care of it, now and then a few death through bombing is nothing compared to the death by car, cancer, alcohol …guns, etc. So why spend billions of dollars and take away one right after the other? Think about it.

    @ NSA You deserve every penny up your arse that you get…oh that came out wrong…please don´t take a way my freedom of speech please please I love sarcasm and irony so much :(

    #16 1 year ago
  17. angry_nation

    *Edward* Snowden
    #corrections

    #17 1 year ago
  18. Ireland Michael

    It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. Cobra951

    @16: I’ve spent about 30 years thinking about it, ever since the kind of evil Western civilization faces became clear to me. If we don’t take the trash out, it takes us out. The greatest challenge is finding it. I’m not saying it’s OK to dismiss our liberties. I’m saying it’s a generations-long high-stakes game where mistakes will be made. We can expose and rectify mistakes–to wit, this story. Freedom of speech is intact.

    Let’s not equate the intentional slaughter of innocents with deadly, unintended mistakes, yes?

    #19 1 year ago
  20. manamana

    @19 because spying on other politicians like Merkel prevents from terror acts. Sorry but no. This has gotten out of hand and quite dramatically so.

    #20 1 year ago
  21. deathm00n

    @5 Hey viral, let’s create a corp in EVE called “Not NSA people at all” and begin asking personal questions to other players, it will be fun.

    @topic The people saying the Xbox One would be supplying NSA with info must be really proud now.

    #21 1 year ago
  22. JB

    http://nypost.com/2013/12/08/fbi-can-turn-on-your-web-cam/

    #22 1 year ago
  23. fearmonkey

    Not surprised at this at all, one reason I am not crazy about the Kinect and the PS4 camera. If there is a way for the NSA to use it, you know they will, with or without MS’s or Sony’s permission. Ms gave the NSA it’s permission for Skype, so why would the new kinect be any different.

    #23 1 year ago
  24. thiz

    No suprise. And again, it doesnt matter to the people or else they would start revolutions and force them to stop this kind of stuff, but we don’t so humanity obviously has no problem with it.

    #24 1 year ago
  25. OneLifeCycle

    @23 Yup, agree completely. It’s the main reason I passed on the Xbone this go-round and now have a PS4 sitting next to my TV.

    The NSA spies one everyone, not for “terrorists” but for dissenters. They’re extremely paranoid.

    #25 1 year ago
  26. salarta

    You know what would be (not) hilarious? If it turned out the NSA was one of the biggest gold-buyers in MMOs so they could shortcut their way into groups.

    Also.

    “These games offer realistic weapons training”

    …What. What. WHAT? I’m seriously sitting here trying to stop myself from laughing at this. I get that some games can prepare you for such things, but no way in hell most MMOs are any better than actual physical training routine.

    This is blatantly some people at the NSA that play video games realizing that video games aren’t heavily monitored, then realizing how stupid it would be for terrorists to use online games for their dealings but going ahead with it anyway so they can pretend that playing WoW is work. I mean seriously, when you have so many agents on a case like this that you need a way to track how many agents you have on a case like this, they’re doing it to get paid to play games.

    The ONLY one of these that comes anywhere close to making sense is Second Life, only because businesses have actually used it to conduct business meetings and it’s free.

    Dear lord does the NSA need to be reined in, bad.

    #26 1 year ago
  27. Phasmatis75

    Please, the NSA doesn’t go after terrorists. Most terrorists are manipulated or directly controlled by the CIA, Mussad, and M16 and pose very little threat unless the government wants a law passed. No, what this is about is control, it’s about maintaining control over the citizenry who are quickly wising up to the fact that maybe the US government is corrupt beyond measure and will likely be the benchmark for corruption for the next 1000 years.

    Also the it’s about keeping America’s position on top for as long as possible. This is why these spy agencies are going after foreign corporations to give “our” corporations benefits in negotiations. They spy on governments so when they want to push their latest illegal war they have leverage against that nation (Germany).

    If you don’t believe me, start reading what analysts have had to say.

    #27 1 year ago
  28. Obernox

    @27 what? i think you need to put on your tin foiled hat, the Illuminati might be beaming junk into your head.

    #28 1 year ago
  29. monkeygourmet

    @18

    It’s December and clocks only go up to 12…

    Epic fail…

    #29 1 year ago
  30. Ireland Michael

    @29 Seriously?

    #30 1 year ago
  31. monkeygourmet

    @30

    ;)

    Sorry, couldn’t resist!

    #31 1 year ago
  32. drewbles82

    bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb, murder lots of bombs, murder

    *Smashed window*

    Sh*t its the feds

    #32 1 year ago
  33. lolatfanboys

    Well one thing for sure, the next uprising will be more violent than ever before in history. And we will have sometime in the future Skynet (fighting against Drones) in the next history textbooks (possibly paperless Pads xD)but we all know how evolutionary our school are, always pushing the edge on how to even more efficiently not teach us anything relevant.

    #33 1 year ago
  34. bradk825

    Meh. Still not worried. I don’t really interact with anyone online if I don’t know them in real life, and I am not arrogant enough to think the NSA gives a fuck what I am doing in my living room. Even if they could turn on a magic spycam and have access to the camera, the worst they will see is me changing diapers. (not my own diaper, come on now)

    Still though, I sincerely doubt they will ever get access to those cameras. It would be too highly illegal, especially without a warrant, and even more especially because I don’t live in the USA.

    #34 1 year ago
  35. DSB

    The funniest thing about the Snowden docs is that most of it is common knowledge. Nobody seems to give a fuck until it’s splashed on CNN and social media.

    When I was playing back in 2007 it was common knowledge that US intelligence were monitoring WoW, we talked about it in the guild. I’m pretty sure it was based on a news story that a cell had been broken up because they’d been trying to use WoW to communicate.

    Here we go, old fricken news:

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/02/nations-spies-w/

    @27 Kill yourself.

    #35 1 year ago
  36. sebastien rivas

    Yeah well, probability doesn’t make up for certainty.
    Do you see terrorists recruiting wow players or any RPGs for that matter and alike… seriously.
    NSA really need to smoke the pipe to decompress.
    It just does not make sense and gamers are a different bred than masstv viewers
    Therefore NSA, TURN THE DAM SPY OFF, period!!!

    Btw, that’s how Americans get bad, bad rep. Check @ 12.
    Again gamers are not mass TV viewers, creating fear does not work, it pisses people off and me included.

    #36 1 year ago
  37. lolatfanboys

    @ 34 “It would be too highly illegal, especially without a warrant, and even more especially because I don’t live in the USA.”

    ever heard of something called patriot act? Hint: it has nothing to do with Mel Gibson xD

    And if you don´t live in the USA you are fair game anyway. Like the US gives a flying fuck about other countries lol

    #37 1 year ago
  38. bradk825

    I don’t live in Syria, it’s cool. Not worried about the patriot act.
    You worry too much. Hakuna Mattatta.

    #38 1 year ago
  39. spangar11

    lol the pilots of 9/11 were trained on MS flight simulator. people still falling for the 9/11 shit? and since when do MMO’s and shooters train people for combat. fuck boot camp just get a kid who plays call of duty or bf all day

    #39 1 year ago
  40. AlainEgli

    my Aunty Audrey just got a new cream Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid just by some parttime working online with a laptop. look at here now DOMAIN.com
    http://goo.gl/AOGQuD

    #40 1 year ago
  41. lolatfanboys

    People are always told that they worry too much, until they don´t have to worry anymore at all xD

    #41 1 year ago
  42. Puggy

    Hm, so People in the US pay taxes, in order for some of their official bodies to Play MMOs? Honestly, that is awesome. What do you have to do to sign up there, because I think there are a lot of people who would love to get paid for playing WoW or whatever game there might be.

    And this whole thing sounds somehow like a whole division just slacking off and masking it as hard work. How did they coordinate their forces so they do not interfere with each other? A TS Server for their Raids Err, I mean Operations of course.

    Sorry, but this sounds less like conspiracy and more like a giant waste of tax money… your money!
    Making Friends with people, getting to their profile and getting pictures… I mean really? They get paid for that? O.o
    If you need new agents, we have schools full of Kids who do only that for years now. Just saying.

    #42 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    ArenaNet has announced a beat version of its streaming client for Guild Wars 2 will be released alongside its upcoming update. How it works is explained in the latest blog post, but in short, it gets players into the game faster, much the same way the streaming client works in World of Warcraft. “Our goal […]

  • Steam storefront updated with Steam Machines, other product pages

    Valve has updated the Steam storefront with a list of various Steam Machines on offer, which range from $460 to $5,000. There is also a store page for the Steam Controller and Steam Link, both of which are out in November for $49.99 each. Steam Machines listed on the service feature a link to the […]

  • Finally, we get a look at Necropolis in action – video

    No longer content with releasing only gifs of Necropolis, Harebrained Schemes has decided to provide a short video. The upcoming third-person action rogue-like with procedurally generated levels is headed to Linux, Mac and PC sometime next year, with a possible console release as well. If you made to PAX East despite the weather, don’t forget […]

  • Super Dungeon Bros will be one of the first cross-play titles for Xbox One, Windows 10

    Another cross-device multiplayer game for Windows 10 and Xbox One has been announced, and it’s Super Dungeon Bros – a “rock-themed, co-op dungeon brawler” from React Games. Super Dungeon Bros tasks four “bros” with raiding underground crypts built by the gods through an ever-changing layout. There, they will be up against “dangerous foes, deadly obstacles, […]

  • Pre-ordering State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition in US nets an in-game knife

    Those who pre-order the State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition will net a bonus, according to Undead Labs. Select retailers in the US will offer the following knives as in-game pre-order bonus content: GameStop -  The Avalonian :  A true work of art, taken off the body of a fantasy enthusiast whose excitement at having […]

  • Rollercoaster Tycoon World gameplay teaser video released

    Today, Atari has provided a look at gameplay for Rollercoaster Tycoon World. Set for release during the first part of this year, the game allows players to build their own rides and which can be shared with other players. It will also feature four-player co-op.

  • One Heist challenge in GTA Online pays out $10 million in cash

    GTA Online’s new Heists content was previewed by various outlets at GDC 2015 this week, and according to hands-on with the free upcoming content, there’s over 20 hours worth of things to do and quite a bit of money to gain. Oh, and a VTOL Hydra jet too. According to a really informative piece from […]

  • Activision Blizzard makes Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list

    For the first time, Activision Blizzard has been named to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for 2015. The survey conducted by Fortune found the company “ranked highly with its employees” which felt the atmosphere was friendly and place in which they could “be themselves.” “We have always considered Activision Blizzard to be […]

  • Evolve Hunt for Gold Weekend nets players special monster skin

    A Evolve community event is taking place this weekend, and participants will receive a special skin for Goliath, Kraken, and Wraith. Dubbed the Evolve Hunt for Gold Weekend, it’s the first in a series of upcoming online community challenges and events taking place over the coming months. Those who log-in starting today at 9pm PST […]

  • This video teases contents of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 3

    A teaser video and images for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 3 have been posted by Capcom. The assets can be considered potential spoilers, so just be aware of that before having a look. The game’s Season Pass costs $20, and the disc version releases March 17 in North America and on March 20 […]

  • GTA Online Heists teaser video is extremely short

    With Heists coming to GTA Online next week, Rockstar has released one of the shortest teaser videos we’ve seen in ages. Hopefully you didn’t blink. Heists, along with Daily Objectives and Adversary Mode, arrive next week on March 10. The PC version of Heists will arrive on April 14 when the PC version of the […]

  • The Division rumors claim Dark Zones support up to 100 players – video

    With the recent leak of older, pre-alpha footage of the The Division, rumors over the game’s contents have been swirling, and today we have a video for you discussing said rumors. Once of the rumors pertain to the game is that it contains 50-100 Player Dark Zones, which are PvP areas. Supposedly, these areas also […]

  • Here’s a look at MGS5: The Phantom Pain emblem creation, limited edition bionic arm

    A look at how to create your own emblems in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was demonstrated in the latest Kojima Station broadcast, along with a look at the bionic arm replica included in the limited edition. A Venom Snake emblem will come with the limited edition version of the game, parts of […]

  • Elite: Dangerous coming to PS4 once Xbox One exclusivity period ends

    Elite: Dangerous was announced for Xbox One at GDC 2015 yesterday, and those disappointed over the lack of a PlayStation 4 announcement will be pleased to know it’s in the cards. According to Frontier boss David Braben the space-sim will head to PS4 at some point, once the console exclusivity deal with Microsoft has expired. […]

  • Here’s two new The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt screenshots to salivate over

    Two new screenshots from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have been released, and they are gorgeous as always. The screenshots follow the two released over the weekend. You can look at the new images in full HD glory over on Only Single Player. CD Projekt Red is at PAX East this weekend showing off the latest […]

  • Microsoft looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One

    With Windows 10, Xbox One users will soon be able to stream their games to PC. Microsoft is also looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One, according to news out of GDC. Speaking with Polygon at GDC 2015, Xbox program director Mike Ybarra said the company is also looking into the ability to stream […]

  • Free! Vindictus Lann Revamp codes worth €25

    We have 400 Lann Revamp codes worth €25 to giveaway for free to VG247 readers. All you need to do is enter your details in the box below and you’ll be given a code to redeem in game. The codes are for warrior character Lann and offer a 7 day unlimited Inner Armour pass, battle […]

  • US eShop update: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli and a demo version of Azure Striker GUNVOL. Your full update is below. eShop Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars – Wii U, 3DS – Cross Buy OlliOlli – Wii U, 3DS – Cross-Buy Proun+ – Proun+ […]

  • Rock Band 4 confirmed for Xbox One and PS4: supports old instruments and 2,168 songs

    Harmonix has lifted the lid on the long-rumoured Rock Band 4, stating it will support 2,168 previously released tracks and last-gen instruments on PS4 and Xbox One. The game will be out this year. Harmonix has yet to reveal specific features for the game, but it has been built with a completely new engine. As […]

  • First run of Rodea the Sky Soldier copies on Wii U come with Wii version

    The first print run of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will come with the Wii version packed in, NIS America has confirmed. The publisher confirmed today in a press release that anyone who buys the first run of the retail version of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will find the Wii […]

  • Unreal Tournament 4 lets modders sell cosmetic items to players

    Unreal Tournament 4 is a game built with the help of the modding community. So it’s only natural that it will feature a marketplace where all cosmetic items can be sold. Epic Games has confirmed that it will allow modders from the community to sell the cosmetics items they’ve created on the game’s marketplace. The […]

  • D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is coming to PC – rumour

    SWERY 65 has shown off D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die running on PC at GDC this week, teasing that a possible port may be on the way. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is SWERY 65′s latest project. An episodic detective affair, D4 came out on Xbox One last September and utilised Kinect as its main […]

  • Valve’s Lighthouse, VR controllers and more explained

    Valve’s less-talked about prototype VR controllers and its Lighthouse technology have been shown in more detail. When HTC announced Vive, the VR headset it’s working on with Valve, it mentioned “base stations” and ergonomic controllers. Now we know what they meant by that. The controllers are still in prototype phase, and will look better when […]

  • Listen to two professional Counter-Strike players explain why Dust2 is so popular

    Hear what makes iconic Counter-Strike map Dust2 one of the most popular maps in shooter history from two former eSports players. Sal “Volcano” Garozzo and Shawn “FMPONE” Snelling are both retired professional Counter-Strike players who are currently working as designers. At GDC this year, the pair hosted a panel titled “Community Level Design for Competitive […]

  • Core Morpheus hardware locked in, no plans for wireless version

    Sony has finalised the core hardware for its VR headset Project Morpheus, and does not currently plan on releasing a wireless version. SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida spoke to Gamespot at GDC and confirmed that the core hardware of Morpheus is “pretty much done” but that “lots of tweaks and improvements” are still being […]

  • Watch the full Phil Spencer keynote from GDC 2015

    The full GDC 2015 keynote of Xbox boss Phil Spencer is now available to watch. In case you missed last nights’s Phil Spencer keynote at GDC 2015, the whole thing has been made available to watch on YouTube. The address is titled “The Future of Gaming Across the Microsoft Ecosytem,” and it’s where Spencer announced […]

  • Elite: Dangerous won’t be “dumbed down” for Xbox One

    The Xbox One version of Elite: Dangerous will in fact be the same as the PC one. Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier came out on stage last night at GDC to announce the game making its console debut on Xbox One. Some have feared that the port would not provide the same experience as the PC […]

  • Virtual reality: by gum, it’s really happening

    Virtual reality has exited the realm of peripheral gimmick and turned into something that just might go mainstream. VR has an uphill battle ahead of it. The tech is going to be expensive, and there are a number of problems that need to be solved before it could be considered an inclusive technology (motion sickness, […]

  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor takes Game of the Year at GDC Awards 2015

    And the winner is: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor beat out Alien: Isolation, Bayonetta 2, Destiny, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to win Game of the Year at the Game Developer’s Choice Awards 2015. Elsewhere in the awards, Ustwo’s mobile hit Monument Valley was a stand-out favourite, with wins in the Innovation, […]

  • Alien: Isolation was prototyped in third-person – video

    Alien: Isolation is one of the most effectively scary triple-A games in years, but it didn’t start off a perfect creation of pure terror. Creative Assembly prototyped Alien: Isolation in third-person perspective before they nailed down the final approach. The developer revealed this during a GDC 2015 presentation, and it’s a good reminder that games […]

  • Madden 15 added to EA Vault

    Madden 15 is now included in EA’s all-you-can-eat subscriber service. Madden 15 is the ninth game to be added to the EA Vault, a stash of games available on demand for EA Access subscribers. It's still Madden Season for EA Access members – Madden NFL 15 is now in The Vault for all members. Go […]

  • Source Engine 2 doesn’t have hidden costs or royalties – but is Steam exclusive

    Three major engines went free at GDC 2015, and each of them is monetising in a different way. There’s been a heck of a lot of discussion about development tools and the costs associated with them during GDC 2015. First Epic announced that Unreal Engine 4 would be free, bar royalities on successful releases. Then […]

  • Final Fantasy creator hates sequels

    Final Fantasy, a byword in prolific franchises, was created by a man who hates sequel. Final Fantasy games are famous for being reinvented with each core release, and it was not until series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi began to withdraw from the franchise after Final Fantasy 9 that we started seeing regular sequels and spin-offs. Speaking […]

  • Guardian complaints led to the closure of Destiny’s Loot Cave

    Destiny players are to blame for the shuttering of the much loved Loot Cave. Early in Destiny‘s history, many players got hugely excited about the “Loot Cave”. Accessible shortly after starting the game for the first time, this high-volume spawn point allowed players to stand in one place, taking out waves and waves of low-level […]

  • Xbox and PC games boss Phil Harrison to leave Microsoft – rumour

    Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business VP and EMEA head of games Phil Harrison is rumoured to have thrown in the towel. Microsoft has not issued a statement on Harrison’s alleged departure, despite repeated questioning by press at GDC 2015. Instead, word comes via multiple sources speaking to GamesIndustry at the show. According to the rumours, Harrison […]

  • Metal Gear Online commentated trailer explains stuffed dog – but not invisibility

    Metal Gear Online developer Kojima Productions has provided significantly more insight into how the multiplayer side of The Phantom Pain works. Metal Gear Online is the online multiplayer component of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Konami hasn’t shared a great deal about it yet, but we did see a very cool Metal Gear […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Xbox One trailer shows off space MMO

    If Elite: Dangerous looks this good on Xbox One we have nothing to complain about. Microsoft revealed Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One this year during its GDC presentations today. We don’t know very much about the port, but I suppose we ought to have expected it; Frontier Developments has a very close relationship […]

  • Battletoads to appear in Shovel Knight Xbox One

    A Battletoads remake must be on the horizon. Right? Right?? The Battletoads will appear in the upcoming Xbox One version of Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games revealed today. The Battletoads drop in for a fight! Shovel Knight is headed to Xbox One and meets up with @RareLtd brawling trio! pic.twitter.com/OCQIuWbH3W — Yacht Club Games (@YachtClubGames) […]

  • The Division pre-alpha footage leaks, Ubisoft says it’s well out of date

    The Division fans finally got a look at Ubisoft’s MMO this week, but the publisher has said the footage is not in any way representative. Pre-alpha footage of the The Division was leaked this week, but has since been thoroughly smacked down by takedown notices. All that remains are a few screenshots and a GIF: […]

  • Microsoft HoloLens designer killed in hit and run accident

    Very sad news out of Redmond this week, as Mike Ey was killed in a tragic accident. Ey, 30, was one of the key project designers on Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset. He was killed on Saturday morning in a rear-end collision. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene but was tracked down by […]

  • AMD throws support behind VR with new low-latency anti-nausea tech

    GPU manufacturer AMD has released a new SDK compatible with “a broad set of VR devices”. Called LiquidVR, the tech is designed to “bring better content, comfort, and compatibility to VR applications” including games, simulation, entertainment, education, social media, travel, medicine, real estate and ecommerce, apparently. AMD said maintaining comfort and realism in VR environments […]

  • Danganronpa 3 in the works, but a long way off yet

    A new Danganronpa is happening. Danganronpa 3 is in the very, very early production stages, writer Kodaka Kazutaka has confirmed. Nothing about the project is “set in stone”, Kazutaka told Polygon, so there are no details to share yet; the characters and story may change several times before being finalised. The writer said he’s weighing […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League 2015 schedule announced

    Major League Gaming has announced the full schedule for the 2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League. The eSpots firm revealed two more seasons of Pro League, a live Relegation tournament for Season Three, and a season ending World Championship with $250,000 up for grabs You can watch all the action on MLG.tv […]

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation 2, you are almost old enough to drive

    Amidst all the GDC 2015 hoopla today, we forgot to wish PlayStation 2 a Happy Birthday. The system turned 15 years old today, going by its March 4, 2000 launch date in Japan. It was released in the west that autumn, and had shipped 100 million units in less than six years post launch. PS2 […]

  • Here’s what the final version of Valve’s Steam Controller looks like

    A look at the updated Steam Controller has surfaced via a hands-on post from Polygon. Valve said what you see in the images below is the final version of the controller. The controller has gone through numerous revisions since it was first revealed, but it seems Valve has decided on two touch pads which work […]

  • The Sims, SimCity developer closed down

    The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been shuttered, EA has confirmed. The Sims, SimCity and the rest of the Sim franchise has traditionally been helmed by Maxis, which had its flagship studio in Emeryville, California. Now EA has confirmed with Kotaku that this studio is being closed. “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to […]

  • Gigantic MOBA coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One with cross-play

    Today during GDC 2015, Microsoft announced that the new IP from Motiga called Gigantic will be cross-play enabled. Slated for Windows 10 and Xbox One, the five-on-five third-person battle arena game allows the player to select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles. Players will then make their way through areas […]

  • Here’s a look at Unreal Tournament DirectX 12 gameplay

    Epic Games is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which Microsoft says “sets a new bar for visual fidelity.” DirectX 12 is a single API developers can access across Windows devices, which can result in a 20% improvement in performance over DX11 running on the same machine. The Unreal Tournament […]

  • Wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers out later this year

    Microsoft announced at GDC 2015 today it will that all wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, a wireless adapter will be released, allowing current Xbox controllers and future devices to be used wirelessly on PCs. This will […]

  • Microsoft offers up more details on Spencer’s GDC 2015 talk

    Microsoft has provided more details on Cross-Buy functionality between Windows 10 and Xbox One as well as the Xbox Live SKU and other announcements made during Phil Spencer’s talk today. During the session, the head of Xbox shared “the next step” in the company’s plans for a unified platform across all Windows 10 devices which […]

  • Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 this summer

    Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 as a Game of the Year Edition. inXile Entertainment announced the news on the PS Blog, noting the edition contains enhancements and improvements. The game has been ported to Unity 5, which was announced over the weekend, providing upgraded visual effects, “improved character models, upgraded environments, and Unity […]