Windows 10 Destroyed Hard Drives And Deleted Data, Claims Lawsuit

More than 100 PC users in Illinois are suing Microsoft for over $5 million. They say they were pushed or forced into upgrading to Windows 10 by the company’s aggressive marketing, and claim that upgrading damaged their computers.

Windows 10 was offered as a free update for a year after its release in July 2015. The class-action lawsuit claims many users had their hard drives damaged after agreeing to install the upgrade.

Windows 10 Destroyed Hard Drives And Deleted Data, Claims Lawsuit

“Allegedly the Windows 10 installer genie checks the consumer’s computer for compatibility; it does not, however, check the condition of the PC and whether or not the hard drive can withstand the stress of the Windows 10 installation,” reads the complaint, which was filed in Chicago last week.

One of the plaintiffs, Stephanie Watson, claims Windows 10 installed without her consent. She says she took her PC to Geek Squad, which was unable to fix her computer after the upgrade destroyed some of her data, reports Courthouse News.

Another of the plaintiffs, Robert Saiger, says he agreed to the upgrade but that Windows 10 stopped some of his software from working and caused data loss. The third plaintiff named in the suit, Howard Goldberg, claims he accepted the upgrade after repeatedly declining it for six months. He says the download failed over and over, damaging his computer. He blames the failed upgrade for lost data, lost revenue, and costs to repair his PC.

In a statement shared with Courthouse News, a Microsoft spokesperson said, “We believe the plaintiffs’ claims are without merit.” Microsoft went on to defend the free upgrade, calling it “a choice designed to help people take advantage of the most secure, and most productive Windows.” It added that customers had the option to refuse the upgrade, as well 31 days to roll back to their old operating system after accepting the update.

Last year, Microsoft awarded a California travel agent $10,000 in small-claims court after she claimed Windows 10 upgraded without her consent, damaging her computer and causing her lost business. Microsoft appealed the decision at first but later dropped the appeal to “avoid the expense of further litigation,” according to a Microsoft spokesperson.

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GTA 5 Update Brings A New Mode And Vehicle To GTA Online

Grand Theft Auto V has received yet another update, with this one delivering more new content for GTA Online.

Resurrection is a new Adversary mode that plays out a lot like one we’ve seen in other games, including Gears of War 4‘s Dodgeball. It’s essentially team deathmatch where you have only a single life, except killing a foe causes a teammate to be revived. The goal is to eliminate the entire enemy squad.

GTA 5 Update Brings A New Mode And Vehicle To GTA Online
GTA 5 Update Brings A New Mode And Vehicle To GTA OnlineGTA 5 Update Brings A New Mode And Vehicle To GTA Online

Resurrection can be played with teams of 4-8 players in seven different locations, including the Aircraft Carrier, RON Alternates Wind Farm, and Elysian Island. For a limited time, players will receive double GTA$ and RP from Resurrection matches.

Also new is the Pegassi Infernus Classic vehicle, which can be purchased through Legendary Motorsport. Rockstar’s announcement today jokes, “Sure, its fuel consumption was recently designated a crime against humanity, and as far as safety features are concerned you might as well be driving round in a cluster bomb–but have you seen how pretty this thing is?”

Both of these additions are available now in GTA Online. A bonus event is also still going on for a bit longer.

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Civilization 6 New Civs, Spring Update Available Today

It’s a big day for Civilization VI players: The Persia and Macedon Civilization and Scenario Pack is now available, as is the Spring 2017 Update.

The new civs were unveiled last week and are now available for those who buy the premium DLC (unless you own the Civilization VI Deluxe Edition, which unlocks the DLC for free automatically). Persia, led by Cyrus II, has the Fall of Babylon ability, providing all Persian units with bonus movement after declaring a surprise war. Doing so also results in less of a diplomatic penalty than it does for other civs.

Civilization 6 New Civs, Spring Update Available Today

The other new civ, Macedon, is led by Alexander the Great. His Hellenistic Fusion ability provides a bonus after conquering a city, depending on the type of districts that city has built. He also provides a bonus that reduces the amount of war weariness Macedon suffers.

The DLC also comes with a new scenario, The Conquests of Alexander.

Civilization 6 New Civs, Spring Update Available Today

Meanwhile, Firaxis and 2K have released a Spring Update with a whole host of game tweaks. It’s available now for PC, with Mac and Linux releases coming soon. Here are some of the major changes:

  • Warmonger penalties have been seriously reduced – players will receive 20% less of a warmongering penalty for declaring war or capturing a city when you’ve denounced the other player, or 40% less penalty for taking a city from a player you’re at war with.
  • If you capture a city smaller than the average city in the game, your warmonger penalty is reduced too.
  • Harbors have been buffed to provide a major adjacency bonus with the City Center, +1 Food to all Coast tiles when the Lighthouse is built, and +2 Gold to all Coast tiles when the Seaport is built.
  • A UI issue that meant the multiplayer games list didn’t show all available games has been fixed, and will now show games from additional regions.

Firaxis and 2K are also fixing several bugs in the Spring Update, including one that mistakenly referred to John Curtin as Australia’s ‘President’ rather than ‘Prime Minister’ in the previous DLC’s Outback Tycoon scenario. Check out the full patch notes over on Steam and read our glowing review of Civilization IV right here on GameSpot.

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Final Fantasy 14's Free Trial Eliminates Its Time Limit

Square Enix has made a welcome change to Final Fantasy XIV‘s free trial, providing players with the opportunity to check the game out without a countdown clock to keep in mind.

Up until now, the free trial provided only 14 days to check out the MMO, regardless of how much you played or how far you advanced. Now, you can potentially play indefinitely, although there are still limitations: namely, you can’t advance beyond level 35. While the upcoming Stormblood expansion raises the level cap from 60 to 70, that’s still a substantial amount of the game you can check out without ever purchasing it or a subscription.

If you’ve participated in the trial previously, you’ll now be allowed to jump back in and pick up from where you left off. With the 14-day limit in place, you were unable to re-experience the trial after those 14 days without making a new account.

Final Fantasy XIV got off to an extremely rough start when it launched in 2010–so much so that its leadership team was dumped, its subscription was temporarily dropped, and Square Enix’s CEO said it had “greatly damaged” the Final Fantasy brand. But its subsequent relaunch and ensuing support has resulted in a very enjoyable MMO.

Stormblood, the game’s second expansion, arrives in June and introduces new classes, areas to explore, a raid, a dungeon, and more. When it launches, support for the PS3 version will come to an end, with Square Enix focusing support on the PC and PS4 versions.

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StarCraft Goes Free With New Update In Addition To Remastered Version

Having just revealed its plans to remaster StarCraft, Blizzard has announced it will also be updating the existing version of the game and making it a free download.

Later this week, StarCraft: Brood War will be updated to version 1.18. The patch introduces bug fixes and improvements that have yet to be detailed, as well as some modern features. Those include:

  • Rebind keys option
  • Observer mode
  • “Modern” anti-cheat measures
  • Improvements to compatibility with Windows 7, 8.1, and 10

The update will have more to it that has yet to be announced. We should hear about the specifics very soon, as it launches sometime in the next few days.

Alongside the various improvements and features, this update will make StarCraft Anthology (consisting of the base StarCraft game and the Brood War expansion) a free download. You’ll be able to pick it up for free through Blizzard’s website, mirroring a move the company made with some of its oldest games previously.

StarCraft Goes Free With New Update In Addition To Remastered Version

As for StarCraft Remastered, the game is being updated to offer 4K support, improved audio, matchmaking, and more. It’s due out this summer, with a precise release date and price still to be announced. You can read more about the game here.

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This Year's Call Of Duty Reportedly Called "WW2"

This year’s Call of Duty game may be set in the Second World War, according to a new report.

The rumor first surfaced earlier in March, when YouTube channel The Family Video Gamers revealed supposed leaked marketing material that showed some World War II-themed box art. GameSpot has also heard the game will be set around that period.

Eurogamer has also corroborated the story, adding that “sources have confirmed” 2017’s Call of Duty will indeed be titled WWII.

In a recent investors’ call, Activision COO Thomas Tippl said the first-person shooter series would return this year with an entry that “will take Call of Duty back to its roots.” The original Call of Duty, along with every entry in the franchise up until Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, was set in World War II.

“In 2017, Activision will take Call of Duty back to its roots and traditional combat will once again take center stage,” Tippl said. “This is what our dedicated community of Call of Duty players and Sledgehammer Games, which has been developing this year’s title, are the most excited about.” Sledgehammer is the studio behind 2014’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

The decision to return to the Second World War may have been influenced by lower-than-expected sales for last year’s future-set Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. We already knew sales were down significantly compared with the previous year’s Black Ops III, though since Infinite Warfare was a new sub-brand–and not an established, recognisable name like Black Ops–it is a difficult comparison.

“[I]t’s clear that, for a portion of our audience, the space setting just didn’t resonate,” Tippl explained. “We have a passionate, experienced studio deeply committed to this direction, and despite the risks we saw, we believe it is important to consider the passions of our game teams in deciding what content to create.

Despite some fan criticism, we enjoyed the latest Call of Duty here at GameSpot. Critic Miguel Concepcion said it offers the franchise’s “best story in years,” with some moments “at least as memorable and moving as any deeds from … the series’ heyday.” Read more in our full Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare review.

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Mafia 3 Free Trial Version Out Now Alongside New DLC

It’s a big day for Mafia III, as the game’s next free DLC is out today alongside a free demo version of the game for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

The free demo is 24 GB on PC, 27 GB on PS4, and 25 GB on Xbox One, developer Hangar 13 announced in a blog post. The demo lets you play the first act of Mafia III, which features a bank heist gone wrong. This sets up the story for what’s to come.

If you like what you play and what to pick up the full game, the good news is that all of your progress stays with you. Additionally, the game is half off now through April 17.

As for the new expansion, Faster, Baby adds more cars and makes you an even more deadly driver through things like proximity mines that you can lay as traps. The update also lets you throw grenades while driving, which can help you get out of hot situations. Here’s the launch trailer:

Faster, Baby is included with Mafia III’s $30 DLC Pass and the $80 Deluxe Edition. Alternatively, you can purchase it by itself for $15.

Following Faster, Baby will be two more expansions, including Stone Unturned and Sign of the Tines. These are both included with the DLC Pass as well.

Mafia III launched in October and shipped 4.5 million copies in its first week, setting a new record for 2K Games. For more on Mafia III, check out GameSpot’s review.

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"Totally Unacceptable" — Rocket League Dev Responds To Server Issues

Rocket League is immensely popular, but it is not without its problems. The game has faced server issues recently, resulting in long matchmaking times. Now, developer the CEO of developer Psyonix has pledged to improve the online component of the game.

"Totally Unacceptable" -- Rocket League Dev Responds To Server Issues

“In regards to both backend (PsyNet) issues, and game server performance, we agree that the server outages and recent lengthy matchmaking times are totally unacceptable,” Dave Hagewood said in a blog post today. “We sincerely apologize to all of our players for the quality of online play, and we are focusing all of our available resources on addressing PsyNet’s capabilities and performance, and the quality of our game servers.”

Hagewood said part of the issue is due to Rocket League’s continued popularity. The number of monthly “active” players has risen by 40 percent compared to 2016 for the first few months of 2017, he said. “We need to do a better job at scaling up our systems and internal processes to handle this kind of growth,” Hagewood explained.

Hagewood went on to say that Psyonix is “racing” to fill jobs on the developer’s Online Services team, which handles the developer’s backend systems.

“We are effectively becoming an Online Service company, as Rocket League is primarily an online game, and we continue to grow in size and scope,” Hagewood said. “Growing this team is one of our top priorities as we approach Rocket League’s two-year anniversary in July.”

Hagewood added that the problems with Rocket League’s online elements rose to the surface about the same time of the free weekend on Xbox One in February. “We have seen more and more of you playing Rocket League online, and this has led to new issues that hadn’t appeared as we scaled our capacity up to this point,” he said.

There have also been performance problems inside of the Google Cloud network, which is used to power PsyNet. Here is a breakdown of what Psyonix is doing right now to address the issues, as written by Psyonix:

  • Since the February outages, we assigned additional dedicated staff from our Online Services team to database stability and reliability. They are hard at work on changes like separating high-traffic features like Player Trading and “Scraper API” access used by third party sites from our core services. This will reduce load on the PsyNet database and reduce exposure to outages during peak hours. We definitely don’t want to keep you off the pitch on weekends or holidays.
  • We are working closely with Google engineers to investigate the disturbances to our database performance from outside our cloud instance.

As for Rocket League’s matchmaking delays, these have “become apparent” in the days after the Dropshot mode’s release last week. One of the problems here is that there are empty servers but PsyNet, the backend infrastructure, is not getting players into servers as fast as it should.

“This causes the extreme search times being reported on social media,” Hagewood said. “As this is a new problem, we are still investigating the root cause. We have made changes in the interim to reduce the likelihood of it recurring, but more substantial improvements will be made throughout 2017.”

Finally, Hagewood said Rocket League is suffering through problems related to dedicated servers, which appear to the player as “lag spikes” or other “hiccups” that don’t have anything to do with a player’s ping.

“This problem is particularly difficult to identify because so many issues factor into a user’s experience with a dedicated server,” Hagewood said. “Local connection problems can cause packet loss or an unstable connection despite a steady ping sample. Individual ISPs can have routing issues to one of our server hosts that causes unusually high ping that we have no control over.”

You can read the full blog post here for a very deep dive into the specifics.

“Growing pains are just that–painful–and we cannot thank our players enough for sticking with us as we continue to grow,” Hagewood said.

According to the latest available data from Psyonix, Rocket League had reached 29 million registered players and passed 10.5 million copies sold. You shouldn’t expect Rocket League 2 anytime soon, as Psyonix is instead going to focus on growing and evolving the current game with new updates.

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World Of Warcraft 7.2 Patch Notes Reveal Major Additions

World of Warcraft‘s huge 7.2 update launches tomorrow, March 28, and we now have the full patch notes for it.

The update, known as The Tomb of Sargeras, features some major additions, including a new dungeon, PvP Brawls, the pet battle dungeon, and class-specific campaigns, which lead to quests that unlock new epic class mounts.

Those mounts will be all the more useful thanks to 7.2 adding the ability to fly in the Broken Isles. This won’t immediately be available to everyone, as you’ll first need to earn the Broken Isle Pathfinder, Part 2 Achievement to earn the right to take to the skies.

7.2 introduces new ways to enhance your Artifact with new empowered traits, higher ranks for existing traits, and a new final trait that is unlocked through a questline.

There are also a huge number of changes to classes, items, professions, and so on. There are also quality-of-life changes (like a new screen to track item sets and transmogrification options), improvements to targeting with the Tab key (no more targeting an enemy you can’t see!), and more.

The video above provides a rundown of the major points, while the full patch notes can be seen here. Blizzard has also published more in-depth previews of the various components of the update, which you can see here.

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Intel's New Caching Optane Memory Can Dramatically Accelerate Standard Hard Drives

Hot off the heels of announcing its crazy fast $1,520 enterprise Optane SSD, Intel is releasing its more affordable Optane Memory solution geared towards the mainstream market. According to the company, this can boost hard drive performance to traditional SATA-based SSD-like speeds with your most-used games and applications.

Intel's New Caching Optane Memory Can Dramatically Accelerate Standard Hard Drives

Using Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology Driver, the company says Optane Memory automatically caches your most common computing tasks to accelerate them. The company claims it also improves system boot times. The drive is designed for users who want the capacious storage of a hard drive coupled with the speed of an SSD. The M.2 caching drive is based on the same 3D Xpoint architecture as the DC P4800X and comes in two sizes: 16 GB and 32 GB.

One caveat is that users will need a 7th generation Kaby Lake CPU coupled with a 200-series motherboard that has a 22×80 M.2 slot.

Intel's New Caching Optane Memory Can Dramatically Accelerate Standard Hard Drives

The 16 GB variant will retail for $44 and Intel suggest that it offers enough cache for most mainstream users. Power users, who use more applications, should look to the $77 32 GB drive.

Expect non-caching SSDs built entirely on Intel’s super fast Optane technology to release at a later date.

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