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PC

Apex Legends Season 5 Has A "Pleasant Surprise" For Titanfall Fans

According to Respawn, fans of Titanfall and Titanfall 2 may be excited to see what Respawn has in store for Apex Legends at the start of Season 5. Season 5 is scheduled to begin in late May or early June, as Season 4: Assimilation is halfway done, having gone through its ranked series split.

In an interview in Game Informer Issue 324, Apex Legends general manager Dusty Welch and game director Chad Grenier spoke about the future of Respawn’s battle royale game, with one of them saying, “We’re always bringing in stuff from the Titanfall universe. We built an awesome world in Titanfall 1 and 2 and want to make sure we’re bringing that forward. I will say this: There could potentially be a pleasant surprise for Titanfall fans in Season 5.”

Neither Welch nor Grenier provided further details beyond that, though Season 5’s tie to Titanfall could be hinted at with the arrival of Bloodhound’s town takeover. The arrival of the technological tracker’s town takeover was teased with a prowler, a vicious wolf-like creature native to the planet Leviathan (the setting of Titanfall 2’s incredible Effect and Cause level). Perhaps, just as Apex Legends left Kings Canyon after two seasons, the battle royale is getting another brand-new map after two seasons on World’s Edge–one that will be located on Leviathan.

Elsewhere in the interview, Welch and Grenier also talk about which of Apex Legends’ playable characters are most popular. Grenier says that the rankings change from season to season, though Pathfinder and Wraith are almost always among the top picks and that Wattson is popular on the competitive side. “Caustic has been [popular] from a pro player or tournament standpoint,” Welch added. “He’s been an interesting player favorite, especially when they get into the final areas.”

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News

Startup fundraising in a meltdown environment

The takeover offer that was in the works for over a year was supposed to arrive on February 14 but didn’t. Your contact at the company informed you they needed more time to “go over the numbers.”

Discussions with a strategic partner and potential investor have slowed to a stop.

A few months ago, your lead investors begged you to reject “low-ball offers” in the hundreds of millions. At the time, you had multiple bidders and ample interest from venture capital funds looking to participate in your Series A, B, or C. Now there is radio silence.

Investors in startups like to talk about the “special sauce” that makes a startup unique – the alchemy of technology, leadership, vision, scale, and product/market fit that makes a startup uniquely qualified to corner a market, or corner the market long enough to make everyone rich.

Today’s economic conditions are wartime conditions. Nobody in the developed world has managed through a war in a long time. There is no “special sauce” to raise money in wartime conditions, but some will manage it well, and many more will fail.

The instinctive reaction of most startup founding teams will be to delay their round. Startup valuations are in part built on good vibes and fear of missing out. Good vibes are hard to come by when thousands of people are dying, the living remain cooped up in their homes, and the economy sprints into reverse. The fear of sticking out has replaced the fear of missing out. A reasonable person could argue, why swim against the tide? Delay the round.

Delaying may not be a bad strategy if you are convinced that your company will be in a better position six months down the road. “Better” is defined by more traction with customers, longer runway, and better financing market conditions. No matter how much progress you made with customers in the previous six months, it will be extremely difficult to get commitments for substantial orders in the next six months, at least with enterprise customers. Unless you are among the very rare, you can expect revenues to be lower, your runway to be shorter, and your cash reserves to be depleted. Not exactly a “hot” investment.

In a situation where you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t, the best policy is honesty. Tell your existing investors that, as hopeful as you are that the situation will become better in the next six months, chances are that it won’t drastically change for the better given customers’ current reticence to commit and your limited runway.

Then comes the hard part: Explain that the future will not stop, despite the current crisis. Humans always find a way to work around challenges, and we will do the same with the coronavirus. If your crop of investors liked your vision, your team, your technology and your market before the coronavirus, you should explain that nothing has fundamentally changed, except the time horizon. Suggest that you work together to meet the new time horizon.

Good investors are realistic. As scared as they may be at this moment, they know that the world will not end and that they will need to invest their partners’ money somewhere. If they don’t, they need to find another job.

Investing is all about confidence. You can’t control the market, but you can control how your company reacts to it. Investors want to see a realistic plan for cashflow, product development, and business development, with measurable goals. They want to see a team that can execute that plan, and the best predictor of future success is past success. In times of crisis it all comes down to fundamentals — management competence inspires investor confidence.

Convincing existing investors to support you in some tangible way during this period is critical to your future ability to attract new investors. Impressive examples are Exor NV’s $200 million investment in Via Transportation Inc. and the recent $240 million investment in Lilium led by Tencent, including other previous backers Atomico, Freigeist and LGT.

No matter how many zeros are involved, this is the time for your existing investors to step up. If you can’t convince those who know your business best that you are worth supporting through this period, you will have little chance of raising a new round once the coronavirus smoke clears.

Milan A. Račić is a co-founder of Gideon Brothers, a robotics and AI company in Europe.

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News

FCC sets 6GHz Wi-Fi vote for April 23, opening door to Wi-Fi 6E

As gigabit-class cellular networks continue to spread across the world, hardware makers have been itching to upgrade the speeds of home and office Wi-Fi networks — the technology was ready, just awaiting regulatory approval. The United States took a major step in that direction today, as FCC chairman Ajit Pai confirmed that the commission will vote on April 23 on opening 6GHz spectrum to next-generation Wi-Fi use.

Makers of Wi-Fi components have been pushing for this development since at least 2018, asking the FCC to free up a 1,200MHz-wide swath of 6GHz and adjacent frequencies to augment existing 5GHz Wi-Fi spectrum. As of January 2020, approval appeared imminent; the Wi-Fi Alliance preannounced “Wi-Fi 6E,” an enhanced version of Wi-Fi that supports 6GHz transmissions, enabling faster data rates and lower latency, but said the feature’s deployment was largely in the hands of regulators.

“[T]he FCC is aiming to increase the supply of Wi-Fi spectrum with our boldest initiative yet,” Pai said today, “making the entire 6GHz band available for unlicensed use. By doing this, we would effectively increase the amount of spectrum available for Wi-Fi almost by a factor of five.”

While a handful of routers and mobile devices have already launched with Wi-Fi 6 support, Wi-Fi 6E will add 14 new 80MHz channels and seven 160MHz channels that can be used as data pipes immediately adjacent to prior Wi-Fi spectrum. In an era where 5G smartphones (and home broadband modems) can achieve 1.5Gbps download speeds under optimal conditions, a single Wi-Fi 6E device should be capable of consuming most or all of that bandwidth, with headroom to spare as fiber and cellular speeds improve.

The FCC notes that Pai’s draft order initially contemplates two classes of wireless transmissions making use of the 6GHz band: indoor, low-power operations could use any frequency range within the 1,200MHz spectrum, while standard power transmissions will be able to access 850MHz of spectrum, while keeping away from previously permitted 6GHz users.

Collectively, the 6GHz channels add over two times more capacity to the FCC’s existing 480MHz allocation of 5GHz spectrum. They will also give routers the flexibility to choose between a greater range of additional frequencies. Apart from decongesting existing network environments, including dense housing where multiple users and devices are competing for limited 2.4GHz or 5GHz spectrum, the 6GHz frequencies might be used for high data rate applications, without the need to rely on shorter-distance millimeter wave spectrum. The FCC said today that it will seek public comments on allowing “very low-power devices” to access the full 1,200MHz of spectrum for “high-performance, wearable, augmented-reality and virtual-reality devices.”

FCC approval isn’t guaranteed as a result of the April vote, but it’s likely, as three of the five commissioners — including Pai — tend to vote in lock step. The Wi-Fi Alliance has signaled that 6GHz-compatible devices will be ready to go relatively quickly after approval is finalized.

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PC

Where You Can Get A VR Headset For Half-Life: Alyx (March 2020)

Half-Life: Alyx is out now, and according to GameSpot’s Half-Life: Alyx review, it has “made good on its shift to VR, it has elevated many of the aspects we’ve come to love about Half-Life games.” If you haven’t gotten a VR headset to play it yet, you may be waiting a little while. Some of the best deals have now sold out, and if you want a Valve Index, then you’re going to have to wait a couple months before your order ships–and that’s if you place your order right now. Of course, Half-Life: Alyx isn’t the only great VR game. There are now plenty of impressive VR titles, including Beat Saber, Superhot VR, Pistol Whip, and Boneworks–and more are on the way, including Phantom: Covert Ops and Marvel’s Iron Man VR.

Unfortunately, finding a VR headset, let alone a deal on one, is hard right now. The only headset that gets regular discounts. the Samsung HMD Odyssey+, is sold out everywhere, and Oculus’s Quest and Rift S headsets are out of stock as well. You can find these headsets at a mark-up on Amazon, but we’d advise against purchasing any headset above its regular price. However, if you’re interested in PlayStation VR, the great five-game mega pack is still available at Walmart with free shipping. You can see some of the notable headset offers below. We know there’s interest in Half-Life: Alyx, so we’ve made a note of pointing out which ones will be ready to go for its March release date.

Best VR deals and discounts

Valve Index | $999

New orders ship after eight weeks; compatible with Half-Life: Alyx

Though the game is compatible with a variety of VR devices, Half-Life: Alyx is designed with Valve’s own headset, the Index, in mind. That makes it the best way to experience the game, assuming you have the money to spend on this top-of-the-line machine. If you already have the base stations (Vive headset owners should have them), you can save yourself some cash. If you absolutely have to play Alyx the way it’s meant to be played, this is the way to do it.

HTC Vive Cosmos Elite | $899

Arrives late April; Compatible with Half-Life: Alyx

The HTC Vive Cosmos features inside-out tracking, but the Cosmos Elite relies on Lighthouse base stations, similar to HTC’s Vive Pro headset. HTC claims this provides “precise movements” that will deliver a better experience to gamers. In addition to the headset, controllers, and base stations, it also comes with a six-month membership to Viveport Infinity, a service that provides access to a library of VR apps and games. You can pre-order it now for $899.

Samsung HMD Odyssey+ Mixed Reality Headset | starts at $359

Compatible with Half-Life: Alyx

If you’re looking to get into the PC VR field for cheap, Amazon has a pretty good deal for you. Right now, you can get Samsung’s Mixed Reality headset, the HMD Odyssey+, from a number of third-party Amazon sellers starting at $359. It works with most PC VR games, making it the cheapest option to play Half-Life: Alyx right now.

PlayStation VR Mega Pack Bundle | $342

If you want a VR headset but don’t care about Half-Life: Alyx, you should really consider getting a PSVR. Although it’s not currently discounted, the Mega Pack bundle is the best way to buy one right now, as it comes with five great games, all of which offer something different. Pick it up at B&H Photo Video while supplies last.

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News

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare April Fool is the world’s worst playlist

Infinity Ward may have come up with a genuinely funny April Fool’s Day gag this year, with a playlist that’s nothing but the game’s most hated map.

Probably because of the coronavirus, April Fool’s Day has been much more subdued so far this year, although not all of America has woken up yet so the worst may be yet to come.

The best though, is probably the two new playlists that were added last night as part of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare’s big new patch.

Both of them are purposefully awful and troll fans for their love of the map Shipment and their hatred of Piccadilly.

The description reads: ‘Totally Shipment. Come on in. But just so you know, if you quit, there’s a penalty.’ Although, as far as anyone’s been able to tell, there isn’t actually a penalty.

Meanwhile, COD Players Only Want One Thing is a cruel joke on the idea of wanting a permeant Shipment playlist, because it’s 10v10 Shipment – which is almost impossible to play given how small the map is.

The two playlists will probably only last the day, or at most until next Tuesday when the playlists are usually changed.

There are some normal ones as well though, with the return of Gunfight 3v3 Snipers and Cyber Attack Pro, which has automatic respawns instead of needing to revive your teammates.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=VAO0gARpBAQ%3Fversion%3D3%26rel%3D1%26fs%3D1%26autohide%3D2%26showsearch%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26iv_load_policy%3D1%26wmode%3Dtransparent

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News

Hello Neighbor Is A Hit For tinyBuild

Publisher tinyBuild is on-the-rise and absolutely crushing it regarding all things Hello Neighbor – their flagship title. The survival-horror game was created by Dynamic Pixels, released in 2017, and enjoys tens of millions of players worldwide.

The popularity of Hello Neighbor is so great that their supporting book series has already brought in $16 million in sales. The books tell the creepy adventures of Nicky Roth, who slowly discovers the truth behind his neighbors, the Petersons.

Hello Neighbor’s main audience is actually quite young, most players falling in the 8-16 age bracket. The CEO of tinyBuild, Alex Nichiporchik, believes that in order to succeed as a publisher in the modern age, knowing one’s audience is a must. Therefore, the partnership of children’s author Carly Anne West was a no-brainer for the team.

The game’s goal revolves around stealth and infiltration. Players undertake the role of a brave kid, Nicky Roth, who is trying to sneak into his neighbor’s house in order to uncover a mysterious secret in the basement.

I was able to visit tinyBuild’s booth at PAX South in San Antonio earlier this year, and I have to say I was impressed. Their entire section was carnival-themed, complete with crane games, gold tokens, and prizes. The booth mainly featured their follow-up title to the original hit game, entitled Secret Neighbor.

In Secret Neighbor, multiplayer is featured rather than a plot-driven solo experience. Players form a group of friends who are working together to get into the neighbor’s basement – except that one player is really the neighbor in disguise. The group of friends attempt to uncover the identity of the impostor as they gather basement keys, while the evil neighbor’s goal is to catch all of the kids.

Creepy neighbors aside, my personal favorite from their exhibition was called Black Skylands – a completely different type of game, admittedly. The top-down adventure features an open-world filled with airships and action. The detailed pixel art is particularly eye-catching and fighting in the game is a blast. It is set to release sometime during Q4 of this year.

Speaking of 2020, the publisher currently has over 25 projects in development, soon to join the ranks of tinyBuild’s 40 previous releases. They have grown quite a bit over the past few years, now operating out of Washington, Idaho, Netherlands, and Lativa. Keep an eye out for their next titles!

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News

Fable Anniversary Is A Decent Grab For April’s Games With Gold Selection

Microsoft has announced the line-up of free titles for Games with Gold next month and it’s a decently solid selection of games. Fable Anniversary is the clear standout here, though the other games are sure to have fans excited. It’s a 50/50 split with racing and RPG getting represented, but even the most stringent of players should find some fun.

Project Cars 2 is the newest title on offer, though even it is a few years old. There’s no mention of whether or not this is the deluxe edition with DLC included, but that hasn’t been the case with past titles. Usually, the season passes will go on sale while the game is free, thus giving you the incentive to plunk down some money on a lost purchase.

Still, you can’t go wrong here. Fable is one of Microsoft’s flagship franchises (despite having disappeared for roughly the entire Xbox One generation) and the other titles have a ton of replay value to them. Maybe they aren’t your cup of tea, but there’s no harm in giving something new a try.

With all of the turmoil going on in the world, it seems like forever since Microsoft last announced its Games with Gold selection. March 2020 has been an exceptionally long month and there doesn’t seem to be an end to this coronavirus pandemic in sight. Maybe the freebies aren’t the best titles around, but now isn’t the time to chastise Microsoft.

If anything, the length of each game is a reaction to people being urged to practice social distancing. What better way to stay inside than to dig into Fable? The game is an epic-length RPG that molds around player choices. It sort of fails to live up to that description, but it was an incredibly ambitious title back when it released in 2004.

Either way, here is when you’ll be able to nab each title. Make sure to grab them before they go or else you’ll miss out. As a reminder, all Xbox 360 titles are yours to keep regardless of your Live Gold subscription.

Xbox One

Project Cars 2: April 1 – 30

Knights of Pen and Paper Bundle: April 16 – May 16

Xbox 360

Fable Anniversary: April 1 – 15

Toybox Turbos: April 16 – 30

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VR

HTC is selling a standalone Vive Cosmos headset and tracking faceplate

The Vive Cosmos had a shaky start, but HTC has made a lot of improvements to its latest VR headset. And those updates (which I’ll cover soon) may make you want to pick one up to play games like Half-Life: Alyx. This is especially true if you already own the original Vive. To encourage those VR enthusiasts to upgrade, HTC plans to sell a standalone version of the Cosmos head-mounted display. The company is also beginning sales of the External Tracking Faceplate, which enables the Cosmos to work with the Vive’s lighthouse trackers.

The Vive Cosmos headset begins shipping in April for $549. This saves you $150 over the $700 Vive Cosmos bundle that comes with the controllers. You can then also have the option of purchasing the External Tracking Faceplate for $199. That add-on enables your base stations to track the Cosmos because it otherwise uses its built-in inside-out tracking cameras. The faceplate begins shipping in Q2.

It may all seem confusing if you’re just getting into VR. But the best option if you’re starting from zero (and already have a powerful PC) is to still get a bundled system. This could mean the $700 Cosmos bundle. Or you could get the $899 option that comes with Vive Cosmos Elite, the base stations, and controllers.

But today’s announcement from HTC is about catering to the VR early adopters. Those customers have already made investments in VR hardware, and now they want to pick and choose where they upgrade. The standalone Cosmos and External Faceplate Tracker enables that choice.

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Mobile

Pokemon Go Adding A Very Handy New Feature Soon

Pokemon Go developer Niantic has been making numerous adjustments to the popular AR game as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In addition to canceling a handful of events that were planned to take place this month (including this week’s Lugia Raid event), the studio has implemented a variety of tweaks to make it easier to play the game from home, including a handy new feature that will help you keep track of what’s happening in the title.

Niantic is introducing a Today View tab in Pokemon Go. This tab will be located in the same menu as your Field Research and Special Research tasks, and it will make it easier to keep track of what’s currently going on in the game. Among other things, Today View will display ongoing and upcoming in-game events, as well as personal stats, such as your daily streaks and what Pokemon you currently have defending Gyms.

Niantic hasn’t announced when the Today View tab will go live in Pokemon Go, but it teases that it will be rolled out “soon.” In the meantime, you can read more details about the upcoming feature on the official Pokemon Go website.

In another attempt to make Pokemon Go easier to play from home, the game is now offering extra bonuses indefinitely. For the time being, you’ll earn triple the normal amount of Stardust and XP for the first Pokemon you catch each day. The gift limit has also been increased; you can now open up to 30 gifts each day and carry up to 20 of them in your inventory. Finally, Niantic is offering a new, 1 PokeCoin bundle in Pokemon Go’s in-game store every day.

As previously mentioned, Lugia was scheduled to return to Raid Battles this week, but Niantic canceled that event. Instead, players will continue to be able to catch Cobalion as a Go Battle League reward until March 31. The Legendary Pokemon Landorus is slated to make its debut in Pokemon Go that same day, but it’s currently unclear if the ongoing coronavirus situation will affect those plans as well.

Pokemon Go News

  • Pokemon Go Adding Mythical Pokemon Genesect This Week As A Paid Event
  • Pokemon Go's Legendary Raid Weekend Events Are Being Extended
  • Pokemon Go Thundurus: Best Counters, Weaknesses, Go Battle League Reward, And Battling Tips
  • Pokemon Go March 2020 Field Research Tasks

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PS4

Amazon Just Launched A Big Sale On PS4, Switch, And Xbox One Games

If there’s anything we can count on in these uncertain times, it’s that Target will continue to offer buy two, get one free sales on video games, and Amazon will continue to price-match them. These B2G1 sales have become fairly common at the two retailers, offering a nice way to snag a bundle of new games for a fraction of the price. And this week, you can take advantage of the latest B2G1 sale at Amazon, which includes many PS4 and Xbox One games along with a few Switch titles. Unsurprisingly, some of these deals are beginning to sell out, and delivery dates will likely take longer than usual as Amazon prioritizes health and household goods. Be sure to check out Target’s B2G1 sale as well for even more options.

Amazon’s B2G1 sale spans not only video games but toys, board games, electronics, and more. To take advantage of the deal, just add three items from the sale page to your cart. At checkout, you’ll see a “multi-buy discount” that slashes off the price of the cheapest item in your cart. Keep that in mind as you select your three items–it may behoove you to pick three items at similar price tags.

Even though the sale just kicked off on Sunday, the pickings are starting to get slim on Amazon; however, there are still some solid options. Death Stranding is available for just $30, a fantastic price on this single-player adventure game. It’s also one of our picks for the best games to play when you’re social distancing. The Outer Worlds, a fantastic space-faring RPG, is down to $35.14. You can also snag Catherine: Full Body for $50.78, Metro Exodus for $30, and Monster Hunter World: Iceborne’s Master Edition for $38.49.

If you’re looking for more things to do while stuck inside, be sure to check out the non-video game deals too. Some fantastic board and card games are on sale as part of the B2G1 offer, including Betrayal at House on the Hill for $29.49, Codenames for $15.27, and Exploding Kittens for $20.

Best game deals (buy two, get one free)

  • Catherine: Full Body — $50.78 ($60) | PS4
  • Civilization VI — $40 ($60) | PS4, Xbox One
  • Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled — $33.58 ($40) | Switch
  • Darksiders Genesis — $33.88 ($40) | PS4, Xbox One
  • Death Stranding — $30 ($60) | PS4
  • Devil May Cry 5 — $24.24 ($60) | Xbox One
  • Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot — $50 ($60) | PS4, Xbox One
  • Grand Theft Auto V – Premium Edition — $18 ($30) | Xbox One
  • Hitman – Definitive Edition — $16.97 ($30) | PS4, Xbox One
  • Just Dance 2020 — $35.83 ($40) | Switch
  • Metro Exodus — $30 ($40) | PS4
  • Monster Hunter World: Iceborne – Master Edition — $38.49 ($60) | PS4
  • Namco Museum Arcade Pac — $28.41 ($30) | Switch
  • Nioh 2 — $59.88 | PS4
  • The Outer Worlds — $35.14 ($60) | PS4, Xbox One
  • Risk of Rain 2 — $18 ($30) | PS4, Xbox One
  • Shenmue III — $27.49 ($60) | PS4
  • Sniper Elite 3 – Ultimate Edition — $35.49 ($40) | Switch
  • Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD — $28 ($40) | Switch
  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood – Deluxe Edition — $17 ($40) | PS4
  • Wreckfest — $34 ($40) | PS4
  • Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair — $19.48 ($30) | Xbox One

Best Deals This Week

  • Amazon Just Launched An Awesome Sale On Switch, PS4, And Xbox One Games
  • Xbox One Games With Gold For March 2020 Revealed
  • PS4's Free PS Plus Games For March 2020 Now Available
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons: Best Switch Accessories, Amiibo, Plushies, And More
  • New Baby Yoda Merch Revealed–See Everything Here

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