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By Usama Jawad96
Buyer's Guide: Factors to consider when purchasing a game
by Usama Jawad
With the holiday season in full swing, a lot of people are utilizing their savings to purchase products that they have been eyeing for quite some time. For many gamers, this means spending money on titles that are now available at discounted prices.
But what is there to do when there are an overwhelming number of games to choose from? How do you prioritize which title is worth buying right now, and which ones you should skip for the time being? In this piece, we will take a look at some of the major factors you should consider when purchasing a game. It's important to remember that the factors listed below are not in order of importance, and should not be taken as gospel. Some might be more important for you, while others may not matter at all. With that said, let's begin!
Price is something that's usually at the top of most people's list when they are looking to purchase a game, especially at the time of holiday sales. Most retailers at this time are hosting discounts on select titles and it's always worthwhile scouring the internet to see which store offers the best deal.
Sometimes, this debate can also extend to whether you want to buy a game via physical or digital mediums. If you purchase games as discs, it's better to keep an eye on the sales hosted by your local brick-and-mortar store as well as their respective websites.
On the other hand, if you generally purchase digital titles from first-party stores, it's recommended that you keep your eye on price tracking websites such as SteamDB, PlayStation Games Price Tracker, and Xbox Games Price Tracker, depending upon the platform you game on. This is especially helpful because if you notice that a title you want usually drops to its lowest price in the first quarter of the year, perhaps its better to wait rather than pulling the trigger right now to get the best bang for your buck. Digital storefronts apart from first-party ones, like Humble Bundle and GOG, also tend to offer great deals, but if you opt for them, it's better to check their credibility before you decide to spend your hard-earned cash.
As a side note, if you're a PC gamer, we highly recommend checking our weekly PC games deals articles too where we track the best deals from all over the internet.
This is an interesting factor to consider especially in the age of microtransaction-heavy gaming. While a game may be made by a very capable developer, things can go awry pretty quickly if its publisher is notorious for negative tactics such as inclusion of microtransactions and loot-boxes.
It's very annoying to buy a game at a premium and then realize that you will have to pay even more to unlock content hidden behind paywalls or to remove advertisements to fully enjoy it. Simply stated, if a publisher is known for pulling off tactics like these, it's always worthwhile to wait some time after a game's release and check critic and public feedback to see whether this is a problematic factor for you. While some authorities have demanded inclusion of labels to caution users about content locked behind paywalls, the system isn't quite perfect yet unfortunately.
This factor does not only apply to the business model followed by the publisher, but also their general track record. If a publisher or developer is infamous for releasing broken games that they never fix, it's advisable to stay clear of their titles for some time and wait for feedback to start pouring in on forums.
It's unrealistic to expect a game to be perfect upon release. Virtually all games release with some bugs - usually minor - that the developer fixes in future updates. However, sometimes titles are abandoned pretty quickly following their release. This usually happens due to internal problems such as a small development team, the game not being as well-received as expected, or a myriad of other possible reasons.
In situations like these, it makes no sense to buy a broken game which will probably never be fixed. Some storefronts like Steam feature a section called "update history" where you can view the update cadence and release notes for a game, but generally speaking, useful sections like these are typically lacking across the gaming industry. If your storefront does not offer this capability, it's advisable to browse the web to see if any website is tracking the game's updates.
If you see that the developer frequently releases updates to address user concerns and squash bugs, you should consider giving the game a go even if it's not in a "perfect" condition currently. However, if the developer has either abandoned the game or releases updates after very long barren patches, you should probably avoid the game until it's in a playable state for you.
The genre of a game is very important and is not always apparent from the name of the game and promotional content released for it. Sometimes, promotional content can mislead the public, leading to disappointment when gamers actually play the game and realize that it's not what they expected it to be.
To avoid situations like these, it's highly recommended that you check the genre of a game before buying it. Some people tend to gravitate towards narrative-heavy RPGs while others prefer MMORPGs - and there are a lot of genres between these two extremes to explore.
Most storefronts feature "genre" sections where you can see what a game is categorized as to make it easier for you to decide whether you'll potentially like the title or not. Other factors like the duration of the game and its replay value are related to this factor as well.
Reviews, regardless of whether they come from critics or the general public, are very subjective. Some reviewers may give glowing reviews to one game while the general public may not like it at all, and neither would be wrong because at the end of the day, one shoe does not fit all.
As such, it is advisable to check feedback following a game's release as long as it's spoiler-free to find out whether the game is worth spending time on or not. Watching a couple of gameplay videos on YouTube doesn't hurt either as long as you skim through it to avoid spoilers.
Websites such as Metacritic aggregate reviews from critics as well as users to score a game, and most storefronts host user reviews as well. While it's recommended to check reviews, it's important to view them only as indicators rather than definitive proof that a game is what the reviews claim it to be. Of course, if a title has been universally panned by reviewers and the public alike, you should probably skip that game, but if the reviews are split, it's probably worth exploring more to understand whether you should invest time and money into the game.
If you game on consoles, this section probably isn't that important to you. Similarly, if you own a PC that's top of the line, you should probably skip this section as well. However, people with middle-end rigs or those gaming on a budget definitely need to keep an eye out on the technical requirements of a title.
Most storefronts for PC games offer a "requirements" section which highlight the technical specifications of the game which allow you to view what are the minimum and recommended requirements for that title, and is a decent indicator of whether you should spend your money right now or save up for a better rig. Some websites also offer metrics for games such as what kind of FPS you'll be getting on different settings on various specifications.
If you are gaming on a budget, we recommend that you check out our PC Build Guide, which describes how to build a gaming rig for ~$1,000 and get the best bang for your buck.
This is a very important factor to consider when you either play games in a public area like the family lounge or when you are gifting a game to a younger player. Depending upon your family dynamics, it can get very awkward to play games featuring gratuitous violence, nudity, and strong language in the TV lounge.
In fact, some gamers themselves do not appreciate strong content in games, so it is definitely advisable to check age ratings before you buy a game if this is a matter of concern for you. Authorities such as the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) issue official age ratings for games, and in case you're not comfortable with adult themes or are gifting a game to someone younger, it is recommended that you check out their website before buying one.
If you game on a single platform, this article ends for you right here. But if you have access to multiple platforms like PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox, it is important to understand that one platform could be superior to the other in terms of content, exclusivity, or performance.
While this is not universally true, a general rule of thumb is that a multi-platform game will likely be better in performance and graphical fidelity on a PC. Similarly, if you prefer that versatility offered by PC peripherals, it is advisable to buy multi-platform games on PC rather than consoles.
Although, when it comes to platform-exclusive games, this is a different story altogether. If you would like to play exclusive games as soon as they arrive, the debate of what platform to get them on becomes moot. Of course, the lines between console and PC exclusives are becoming blurred, if you can't wait for a game to go multi-platform or there is no such indication from the developer, it's obviously better to get the title on the platform its available on.
By Abhay V
PC Build Guide: Budget gaming for around $1,000
by Abhay Venkatesh
With the holiday season now here, various e-commerce and retail shops are offering a bunch of discounts on electronics. While this makes it the best time to purchase gifts for loved ones, it also makes it the best time to configure and build a custom PC for yourself if you are looking to upgrade your aging machine or want to enhance your gaming experience with better specs.
And for those users that are willing to build a custom gaming rig but on a budget, we’ve put together a guide to help you through what components might be the best and where to find it at a discount. It must be noted, however, that discounts change constantly, and components could run out of stock at any time. Additionally, the guide lists the component just for a budget PC and does not include peripherals such gaming keyboard and mouse, and a gaming monitor.
The aim is to build a PC for around $1000 powered by an AMD processor, considering the advantages of better price to performance at a budget and the upgradability. Here are our recommendations:
Motherboard: GIGABYTE B550 AORUS PRO AC
Image credit: Amazon For the motherboard, we suggest going for the B550 AORUS PRO option. While there are a few B450 motherboards that could be had for less, this board provides the flexibility to easily upgrade to a new chip in the future – like the Zen3-based Ryzen 5000 series chips – without the fear of being locked out of PCIe 4.0 on older boards.
Other benefits include support for dual-band Wifi, 2.5G LAN, USB 3.2 Gen2 ports – including one Type-C port, and support for RGB Fusion 2.0. The board also comes with dual M.2 slots.
You can find the AORUS B550 Pro motherboard on Amazon here for $169.
Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT
Image credit: AMD While the Ryzen 5 3600XT is not from the latest batch of Zen3 line up of chips, it was unveiled only earlier this year and offers slightly higher boost clock speeds than the Ryzen 5 3600. Considering that the successor to this chip could be at least a few months away, and the Ryzen 5000 series more expensive and harder to find, the 3600XT offers a great middle-ground for a budget gaming experience.
As for specifications, the chip comes with six cores and 12 threads at a 95W TDP – higher than the 65W TDP of the Ryzen 5 3600. Of course, the processor can be overclocked depending on users’ needs. It also offers a 35MB “GameCache” with support for up to 3200Mhz memory.
You can find the AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT on Amazon here for $264.
Alternatively, a more affordable offering would be the Ryzen 3 3100, a four-core, eight-thread CPU that brings with it lower clocks, while not sacrificing the flexibility of overclocking. The chip supports PCIe Gen 4 on B550 motherboards.
The Ryzen 3 3100 can be found on Amazon here for about $185. However, at the time of writing, Best Buy has it listed for as low as $99, which is a stellar deal.
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2x8GB)
Image credit: Corsair The two Corsair 8GB modules bring the benefits of dual-channel memory and a high 3200Mhz speed that can be leveraged by AMD processors. The CL16 kit, however, does not come with RGB goodness, so if you’re looking to add some bling, you might want to opt for the slightly more expensive RGB Pro version, found here on Amazon.
You can find the Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB RAM on Amazon here for $63.99.
Storage: Samsung 970 EVO NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD
Image credit: Samsung The Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD promises excellent read and write speeds of 3,500MB/s and 2,500MB/s, respectively, and is currently discounted by $40 to $59, pricing it close to the Crucial P2 M.2 SSD that serves as a budget option with lower speeds. 500 gigs should be a good place to start on a budget. Since the AORUS B550 motherboard features two M.2 slots, upgrading later should not be a problem.
For those that store a lot of data or play many games, a secondary storage option like the Samsung 860 EVO 2.5-inch internal SSD – which tends to retail lower than an M.2 NVMe SSD – will be handy.
You can find the 500GB Samsung 970 EVO NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD on Amazon here for $59.99.
Alternatively, if the promos on the Samsung SSD run out, you can find the 500GB Crucial P2 M.2 NVMe SSD on Amazon here for $50.99.
GPU: EVGA RTX 2060 KO ULTRA (6GB DDR6)
Image credit: Best Buy The GPU is one area where shelling out a bit more makes a difference when it comes to gaming. While there are a lot of lower-tier options like ASUS’ GTX 1660 Super, or even similarly priced RX 5600 XT offering from Gigabyte, the Turing-based RTX 2060 offering brings ray tracing and DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling), slightly enhancing the overall gaming experience.
You can find the EVGA - KO ULTRA RTX 2060 GPU on Best Buy here for $329.99.
Alternatively, if you wish to save close to $100 and go for a lower-tier GPU, you can opt for the GTX 1660 Super OC from ASUS on Best Buy here for $229.99.
Power supply: Corsair CX650 (650W)
Image credit: Amazon As the name suggests, the Corsair CX650 is a 650W PSU that is 80+ bronze certified, which should be more than sufficient to power the custom build, even if configured with the RTX 2060. The component is the non-modular type but comes with black cable sleeves for better aesthetics.
You can find the Corsair CX650 80+ Bronze on Amazon here for $79.99.
PC cabinet: Cooler Master MasterBox MB511 ARGB ATX Mid-Tower
Image credit: Cooler Master A gaming PC cannot go without RGB lighting and some bling. Cooler Master’s offering brings an open mesh design in the front that supports most fan sizes. The cabinet also comes with three ARGB 120mm fans, a controller, and allows for up to three 120mm fans or two 140mm fans on the top. A tempered glass side panel allows a complete view of the internals for when you would want to add more RGB components inside the PC.
You can find the Cooler Master MasterBox MB511 ARGB ATX Mid-Tower on Amazon here for $76.49.
Alternatively, those who want to go for a more traditional, subdued PC cabinet without an open design can opt for the Corsair Carbide Series 175R Mid-Tower case here on Amazon for a price of $74.99.
And that should do it for the components needed to build a gaming PC for around a thousand bucks.
Total cost: $1,043.45
Of course, if your budget allows you to splurge on any of the components, you could opt for higher specs in the processor, RAM, or GPU space. However, considering that many of the offerings are seeing discounts this week thanks to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, it is best to act fast if you have an upgrade on the cards.
Image credit: Amazon Lastly, though this is not part of the recommendation list for the sub-$1000 build, there is one good deal on gaming monitors for those of you interested. The 24-inch FullHD AOC 24G2 IPS gaming monitor is currently being offered for $237.49 on Amazon. The monitor is a great choice for 1080p gaming thanks to its 144Hz refresh rate, AMD FreeSync (G-SYNC works but non validated) support, and 1ms response time.
As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn commission from qualifying purchases.
By Usama Jawad96
Sony is permanently banning PS5 owners selling access to PlayStation Plus Collection
by Usama Jawad
A major advantage a PlayStation Plus subscription offers to new owners of the PlayStation 5 is immediate access to 20 high-quality PlayStation 4 games. Games such as Uncharted 4, Until Dawn, Bloodborne, God of War, and more are playable at no extra cost under the "PlayStation Plus Collection" umbrella. Once claimed, these games are playable across both the PlayStation 5 and the PlayStation 4. Now, Sony is permanently banning some PlayStation 5 owners for exploiting this offer.
Citing several now-removed forum posts, GamerBraves claims that Sony is issuing permanent bans to PlayStation 5 owners who have been selling access to this collection of games. How this "exploit" works is that some PS5 owners create listings online for fees as low as $8 according to one Malaysian listing, and ask people to share their account credentials to gain access to the collection. Shared credentials can then be used to create an account on a PS5 which also gives that account instant access to the games on the originally associated PS4.
Apart from the fact that this is an exploitative technique which Sony definitely does not want people to employ, the security implications of sharing account credentials with strangers on the internet are enormous.
As such, Sony is handing out bans to players on both sides - sellers and buyers - for engaging in this practice. The report claims that sellers have been issued permanent bans while accounts of buyers have been banned for two months. An account ban entails losing access to all content tied to it, including games purchased using those credentials. For the selling parties, this means permanent loss while for people buying their services, this means that they will be able to access their content from the same account again after two months.
Source: GamerBraves via Push Square
By Usama Jawad96
Here's why FIFA 21 on PC will be inferior to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S
by Usama Jawad
FIFA 21 launched on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC early last month and is scheduled to land on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S on December 4. The launch will come as a free update to owners of the game on latest consoles and will pack several new features not available on previous consoles and PC. Now, the publisher has revealed why "next-gen" features won't be making their way to PC platforms.
FIFA 21 on the latest game consoles includes features such as ball compression, a new camera angle, and muscle deformation. However, none of these will be making their way to the PC because EA wants to lower the barrier of entry in terms of specifications. In an interview with Eurogamer, Executive Producer Aaron McHardy had the following to say:
Looking at the statement, one has to wonder why EA couldn't figure out some workaround to keep the gen five features as optional on PC so people with powerful rigs could utilize them while gamers on lower-end PCs can simply switch them off for increased performance.
Given that the minimum requirements of the PC version are quite modest - requiring an Nvidia GTX 660 (2GB VRAM) or AMD Radeon HD 7850 (2GB VRAM), 8GB of RAM, and Intel Core i3-6100 or AMD Athlon X4 880K CPU - it definitely makes sense to not have "next-gen" capabilities on these machines. But ideally, there should have been an option to enable this for gamers on high-end machines.