Mafia 3 confronts players with the horror of racism, but I’m not sure it will last

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Mafia 3 confronts players with the horror of racism, but I’m not sure it will last

Developer Hangar 13 wants to address real issues, but it’s still trapped in the structure of a traditional action game

The first thing you see after you press the start button in Mafia 3 is a long, sober message from developer Hangar 13. It’s a jarring start to the game, but it sets the tone for the experience to come.

"Mafia 3 takes place in a fictionalized version of the American South in 1968," the message reads. "We sought to create an authentic and immersive experience that captures this very turbulent time and place, including depictions of racism."

Infamous Lizard Squad attacks on Sony, Microsoft lead to federal charges

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Infamous Lizard Squad attacks on Sony, Microsoft lead to federal charges

American teen arrested last month appeared before a judge in Chicago

Two teenagers have been charged with cyber crimes related to the 2014 holiday attacks that brought down the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live. Those directed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks knocked millions of customers offline, rendering the gaming networks useless and costing Sony and Microsoft both money and goodwill with fans.

Zachary Buchta of Fallston, Maryland and Bradley Jan Willem Van Rooy of Leiden, the Netherlands were charged by U.S. attorneys in federal court for "conspiring to cause damage to protected computers." Buchta was arrested last month and ordered to appear Wednesday before a judge in Chicago. In addition to the charges, the Department of Justice also seized four domain names including lizardsquad.org.

EA Vault adds six PopCap games; Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and Battlefront coming soon

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EA Vault adds six PopCap games; Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and Battlefront coming soon

Here’s what coming to EA Access by end of year

EA Access subscribers on Xbox One can now access six PopCap Games titles as part of The Vault, Electronic Arts announced today. In addition to those six, PopCap-developed Xbox Live Arcade games, EA says to expect at least three new Xbox One games to hit the vault by the end of 2016.

The following PopCap games are now available to EA Access subscribers:

Valve brings sprays back to Counter-Strike — and monetizes them

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Valve brings sprays back to Counter-Strike — and monetizes them

CSGO players aren’t thrilled with the “Graffiti Update”

A new update for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive brings back sprays and graffiti to Valve’s first-person shooter, but not in the way that many longtime Counter-Strike players will remember. Counter-Strike: GO’s version of sprays are consumable items that players can earn from leveling up, or they can be purchased as loot boxes or individual sprays from the Steam Market.

In previous Counter-Strike games, players could add a little flair to multiplayer matches by spraying a custom image onto walls or objects. (Thankfully, players also had the option to turn off player sprays to protect themselves from the worst visuals the internet had to offer.)

Which game would an Oculus exec want to ‘steal’ from PlayStation VR?

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Which game would an Oculus exec want to ‘steal’ from PlayStation VR?

“That was some VR juice”

Oculus is showing off a slate of new games for the Rift in general and the Touch controllers in particular at Oculus Connect 3. But I had a chance to sit down with Oculus VP of product Nate Mitchell to pick his brain about the state of VR, and I wanted to know: If he could steal any game from the Vive or the PlayStation VR for the Rift, which game would he want to grab?

It didn’t take him long to come up with an answer.

How many Rifts has Oculus sold?

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How many Rifts has Oculus sold?

A long answer to a simple question

There is one question everyone at Oculus Connect is asking each other — at least after they ask where Palmer Luckey is — and that’s the sales numbers of the Oculus Rift itself. Is the hardware doing well? Has Oculus sold a million units? Maybe “only” 100,000? No one has has any idea, nor do they even feel like they’re in a solid place to speculate.

I spoke with Nate Mitchell, Oculus’ VP of product, and asked when the company could begin to be more transparent about sales numbers and the size of the market.

Gears of War 4 may be delayed for some Amazon customers

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Gears of War 4 may be delayed for some Amazon customers

Four-day early access with premium editions could be wiped out

Some of Amazon's Gears of War 4 pre-order customers are very unhappy today, and rightfully so: They paid extra to get the game early, but their shipments have been delayed until the game's public launch next week — or even later, according to anecdotal reports.

Dissatisfied customers are contributing to a growing thread on Reddit. Several who are distributed throughout the country are saying that customer service representatives at Amazon have informed them that their shipments were delayed. Others say that their accounts show the game due for delivery next week, rather than today, as expected.

Destiny: Rise of Iron’s new raid gets harder on Oct. 18

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Destiny: Rise of Iron’s new raid gets harder on Oct. 18

Heroic mode is coming to Wrath of the Machine

Destiny players looking for a greater challenge will be able to play Rise of Iron’s new raid, Wrath of the Machine, on Heroic difficulty starting Oct. 18, Bungie announced today.

Bungie didn’t provide much in the way of specifics — like start time and what the enemy Light level increase will be — but Destiny: Rise of Iron’s Light cap will increase to 400 alongside the release of Wrath of the Machine Heroic mode.