Features

Best Black Friday game deals

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It’s been said before — many times before — but it’s hard to overstate: Shop for games in bulk, when prices are at their cheapest. Do your shopping during the festive seasons, and avoid full-priced games like a plague if you want to stretch your dollar furthest.

Today, it’s as good a day as any to open your wallet wide. Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Steam, and a few others are getting into the Black Friday spirit, offering some of 2016’s top releases, alongside a slew of smash hits on the cheap.

There’s a lot to comb through — thousands of games are currently on sale. To save you the trouble of Googling and wading through a thick, muddy bog of search results, we thought it’d be best to give you a preview of some of the hottest discounts on digital games available online.

And there’s still plenty more to come over the next few days and weeks. So check back with your favorite gaming platform for updates.

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Xbox Store deals (for Xbox One; note: prices are for Xbox Live Gold members only)

  • Batman: Arkham Knight Premium Edition for $16 (save 60 percent)
  • Battlefield 1 Deluxe Edition + Titanfall 2 Deluxe Bundle for $75 (save 50 percent)
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition GOTY Edition for $16 (save 60 percent)
  • Forza Horizon 3 for $39 (save 35 percent)
  • Gears of War 4 for $36 (save 40 percent)
  • Grand Theft Auto V for $30 (save 50 percent)
  • Hitman The Complete First Season for $30 (save 50 percent)
  • Mafia 3 for $42 (save 30 percent)
  • Overwatch: Origins Edition for $36 (save 40 percent)
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition for $30 (save 45 percent)
  • XCOM 2 for $39 (save 35 percent)

While the Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 bundle certainly stands out, the Xbox Store offers legitimately great deals on some of the best-reviewed Xbox One titles of 2016, including The Witcher 3, Gears of War 4, and Forza Horizon 3.

Sale ends November 28.

Nintendo eShop deals

3DS

  • Fire Emblem Awakening for $20 (from $40)
  • Hyrule Warriors Legends for $28 (from $40)
  • Monster Hunter Generations for $24 (from $40)
  • The Legend of Zelda for $3 (from $5)

Wii U

  • Kirby Mass Attack for $5 (from $10)
  • Star Fox: Zero for $35 (from $50)
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 for $10 (from $20)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for $35 (from $50)

Nintendo has several console-defining originals that can be had on the cheap. If you haven’t bought them yet, for whatever excuse, now is the best time to do so, if you’re still interested in trying them out. Waiting for the next-gen Switch console to drop in March next year seems like a better use of one’s time and resources.

Sale ends December 5.

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PlayStation Store deals (for PS4; most discounted prices are for PlayStation Plus members)

  • Batman: Arkham Knight for $10 (from $20)
  • Far Cry Primal for $15 (from $60)
  • Hitman The Complete First Season for $30 (from $60)
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year Edition for $8 (from $20)
  • MLB The Show 16 for $15 (from $20)
  • Overwatch: Origins Edition for $35 (from $60)
  • Star Wars Battlefront for $7.50 (from $30)
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Complete Edition for $25 (from $50)

Far Cry Primal for $15 is practically a steal. We also wouldn’t mind paying $10 for Arkham Knight, or $8 for Shadow of Mordor, if we hadn’t already gotten them under our collective belt.

Sale ends on November 29.

Steam Autumn Sale (for PC)

  • Batman franchise (up to 75 percent off)
  • Civilization franchise (up to 92 percent off)
  • Far Cry franchise (up to 75 percent off)
  • Grand Theft Auto franchise (up to 70 percent off)
  • Just Cause franchise (up to 82 percent off)
  • The Elder Scrolls franchise (up to 73 percent off)
  • Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare for $40 (33 percent off)
  • Dark Souls 3 for $39 (35 percent off)
  • I Am Setsuna for $27 (33 percent off)
  • Quantum Break for $30 (25 percent off)
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division for $13.50 (50 percent off)

Steam is the most popular gaming client for PCs, and it offers a huge selection of discounted video games — far too many to list here. If you don’t see anything you like, don’t worry; Steam will hold another sale next month. Maybe by then you’ll find something special, worthy of hours of your time.

Sale ends November 30.

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GOG Black Friday Sale (for PC)

  • Banished for $5 (75 percent off)
  • Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition for $20 (50 percent off)
  • Grim Dawn for $15 (45 percent off)
  • Inside for $15 (25 percent off)
  • Kerbal Space Program for $24 (40 percent off)
  • Limbo for $2 (80 percent off)
  • No Man’s Sky for $36 (40 percent off)
  • Shadow Warrior 2 for $30 (25 percent off)
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise (up to 75 percent off)

In addition to the sweet deals above, GOG is giving away free digital downloads of Limbo to those who connect their Steam account to their GOG account.

Sale ends November 27.

Origin Super Sale (for PC)

  • Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 Deluxe Bundle for $75 (save 50 percent)
  • FIFA 17 for $36 (save 40 percent)
  • Mass Effect Trilogy for $15 (save 50 percent)
  • Mirror’s Edge Catalyst for $16 (save 60 percent)
  • Need for Speed for $15 (save 63 percent)
  • Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2: Standard Edition for $10 (save 75 percent)
  • Star Wars Battlefront for $15 (save 50 percent)
  • SimCity for $5 (save 75 percent)
  • The Sims 4 for $10 (save 75 percent)

If you’ve missed out on some great EA titles for PC, Origin serves you plenty of opportunity to get caught up.

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Green Man Gaming Black Friday Sale (for PC)

  • Civilization 6 for $54 (save 10 percent)
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition for $11 (save 45 percent)
  • Dishonored 2 for $48 (save 20 percent)
  • Eve Online Core Starter Pack for $5 (save 75 percent)
  • Fallout 4 for $19 (save 67 percent)
  • Grand Theft Auto V for $30 (save 50 percent)
  • Kerbal Space Program for $24 (save 40 percent)
  • Mafia 3 for $42 (save 30 percent)
  • Street Fighter V for $29 (save 50 percent)

As a bonus for shopping during Black Friday week, Green Man Gaming will take an extra 10 percent off of every purchase of participating games. Use promo code BLACKFRIDAY10 at checkout. Every sale also gets you a free random game from the Green Man Gaming catalog, so it’s a win-win.

Humble Store 2K Games Sale (for PC)

  • Battleborn for $20 (67 percent off)
  • NBA 2K17 for $42 (30 percent off)
  • XCOM 2 for $30 (50 percent off)

XCOM 2 is one of the best tactics games ever made, and it’s now up for grabs on the Humble Store for half of its original price. For those who fancy a fix of basketball, NBA 2K17 is at its lowest ever price, coming right in time as the NBA season starts to get interesting.

Computers

This 34” LG UltraWide monitor disrupted my workflow

In the best way possible

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I’ve been working on a laptop almost exclusively for the better part of the last decade. It’s been so long that I had forgotten the benefits of working with a bigger screen — a benefit that was shoved into my face when I used the LG UltraWide 34” Curved monitor. 

Easy setup 

Putting it together was relatively easy. I didn’t need any special tools or anything of the sort. Everything just fit into place seamlessly.

Here are all the ports on its back. That’s two (2) HDMI ports, one (1) Display port, two (2) USB downstream ports, one (1) USB upstream port, and one (1) headphone out port.

It also comes with a cable organizer that you kind of clamp to the stand so your setup can look clean.

Once everything is plugged, you only need to use this button at the bottom center of the display to make any changes in the settings or switch between inputs should that be necessary.

My regular workflow

At any given day I can be doing anything from writing an article, a script, coordinating with the team and external partners, copy-editing articles, and video editing among others.

This means I toggle between screens A LOT. Other than that, my posture while working is mostly crouched down since I’m looking at the laptop screen.

However, that all changed when the fire nation attacked. No, I mean, it was definitely shaken up when I started using the LG UltraWide 34” Curved Monitor.

I didn’t really have a proper setup with it owing to the tiny space I live in but in the brief week that I used it, I started craving a better work from home setup.

How the LG UltraWide monitor disrupted my workflow

The first thing I noticed was how I was now looking up instead of looking down. It might not be that big a deal for younger people, but when you reach a certain age, even the smallest improvements to your posture can make a huge difference.

The extra space is invaluable. At one glance I can look at Slack and Tweetdeck. This means I can quickly look up if there’s anything new that needs to be edited while also monitoring any potential news that we should run on the website.

Bonus: I can also have a floating tab with a playlist of my favorite girls TWICE cheering me up as I slog through another work day.

This works in other instances too. I can pull up a press release for reference on one side of the screen and have Google Docs on another. This means I no longer have to quickly press Alt+Tab every time I need to double check details.

Just the overall convenience of seeing more at a glance is already a major upgrade to the workflow I’ve grown accustomed to.

Video editing

I no longer video edit as much as I used to due to changing roles and all. But here, the benefit of having a larger, wider monitor is even more pronounced.

Having a wide workspace means I didn’t have to hide certain tools while editing. They’re just there, easily and immediately accessible when I need them. It was honestly tough going back to the smaller screen especially for this task.

Taking less steps to complete your everyday tasks is a godsend. Every small thing adds up to a faster, smoother, and generally better working experience.

Should you upgrade to the LG Ultrawide 34” Monitor?

There are plenty of things to consider. For people like myself who have mostly worked on laptops, we’re pretty set in our ways. Plus there are a few other peripherals I might need to get so it’s not an easy yes or no decision.

You also need to consider your workspace. As I mentioned, I live in a rather tiny place with very little space to accommodate a fully desktop setup.

But this is me. If you’re still working on a more traditional 16×9 monitor, I guarantee the difference, while jarring at first, can be truly beneficial in the long run.

The LG Ultrawide 34” Curved Monitor retails for PhP 45,999 (around US$ 937). If you’re ready to splurge to up your productivity, this isn’t a bad place to start.

SEE ALSO: LG UltraGear 25” Gaming Monitor review: Enough to get you started

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Entertainment

The cost of the post-pandemic movie

Why you should care about Mulan’s terrible premiere

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The fate of the Hollywood blockbuster rests on a fingertip. A formerly grandiose affair with celebrities dressing up to the nines, the red-carpet premiere is now an impossibility thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. On the other side, streaming services blossomed with new titles and exclusives. It was (and is) a great era for the home theater. But the home theater will not last forever. Hollywood is now facing a crisis for the future of the premiere.

If the past year is any indication, Hollywood will, of course, not go down without a fight. Large networks and production houses have released their own streaming platforms to monopolize their content, putting additional weight on a consumer’s budget. Take Disney’s Disney+ or NBC’s Peacock, for instance. Now, a few of these (like Disney and Netflix) make their own blockbuster content as well. We’ve seen Netflix’s streaming-only premieres already. How about Disney’s (or anyone else’s) Hollywood premieres, which often rely on astounding box office numbers?

This week, we got a taste of such a strange premiere scheme. In an earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek detailed the future of a delayed movie, Mulan. Initially premiering in theaters back in March, Mulan was repeatedly delayed because of the continued shutdown of movie theaters. Now, as the company is itching to finally launch it, Chapek announced a hybrid release for the film. Partly premiering in theater in safe countries, the film will also launch simultaneously on Disney+ for unsafe markets.

Now, here’s the catch: the film will cost US$ 29.99 for Disney+ users. Even if you have a subscription already, you have to fork over approximately PhP 1,474 to watch the new film. Of course, the hair trigger response is, “c’mon, Disney; stop haggling money from your customers.” And the response is right. However, there is so much more to this. Mulan can set the stage for an unprecedented era for Hollywood premieres.

Let’s get down to business

In New York, an average movie ticket costs around US$ 15 (approximately PhP 736). Mulan’s price tag is twice as much as a theater ticket. It’s even weightier in cheaper states and, most especially, in the Philippines (where movie tickets are only around US$ 5). Further, you’ll still need an active Disney+ account to access the film, costing an additional US$ 6.99.

(Naturally, it’s impossible to accurately translate the prices to an Asian market since Disney+ has not launched in all of Southeast Asia yet. We can only assume that Mulan’s streaming price is 200 percent of normal ticket prices, whatever it might be.)

Objectively, Mulan’s price is worse than a regular movie ticket. It’s easy to conclude the argument with this statement and head home. However, there is a way to justify the price.

The whole family plus your cow

Now, a single movie ticket typically admits one person. Buying Mulan pays for the streaming privilege which can typically include an entire family. With a 15-dollar average, two people watching the same Mulan purchase is already a break-even point. In the same vein, a family of four obtains double the value of the 30-dollar film price. Even better, a family can watch the film over and over again. And, as any parent who has a Frozen-loving child can tell you, unlimited playbacks is a blessing for your wallet (albeit a curse on your sanity).

Unfortunately, despite the mathematical mind-bending, Mulan’s price is still far from ideal. The movie-going experience is not the same on a streaming platform as in a cinema.

An assumption of equality

A cinema ticket is price of equality. Besides a few slight differences, everyone is paying for the same product. All other things considered equal, a 20-year old college student is paying and enjoying the same experience as a 50-year old CEO. Same film, same seat cushions, same facilities, same projector.

On the other hand, a streaming subscription cannot assume the same thing. A platform cannot control where and with what device a user will watch the movie from. A 20-year old college student watching the film on a laptop screen in a poorly lit dorm room is not enjoying the same experience as a 50-year old CEO watching the same thing in their high-end home theater with Dolby Atmos.

Likewise, the platform cannot assume how many people will watch the film in one purchase. Now, Mulan is a family film. Disney can easily assume that multi-person families will buy and watch the film. However, how will the audiences take the same price tag for a more polarized movie like Christopher Nolan’s Tenet or the next James Bond film?

All of Hollywood knows you’re here

In the same announcement, Chapek hints that Mulan’s price is just a “one-off.” Basically, other films might not follow the same pricing scheme. In a way, it makes sense. Mulan was made with a pre-coronavirus budget. It was expected to make millions from box office tickets. This might be the only way for Mulan to recoup its many losses. In the future, Disney might make films with lesser budgets and lesser expectations.

However, make no mistake; other filmmakers are intently watching Mulan’s performance on streaming. If Mulan succeeds, they can likely charge the same amount without incurring a lot of losses. That said, streaming premiere prices will likely vary from film to film. Even then, this isn’t the last discussion on the future of the film industry.

If the industry hopes to adapt to the new normal, it needs to rethink its strategy even further. Disney is offering only one solution for the problem of streaming. Unfortunately, the brand’s solution leverages a family-oriented release, one that might not appeal to the average moviegoer today.

A price worth fighting for

My suggestion: Implement a tiered premiere price. Not everyone will want to pay the full 30 dollars for a film they’re not wholly interested in. Most will watch it once and forget about it. Some won’t even care about watching it in HD.

Why not implement a pricing scheme based on those different preferences? For example, charge US$ 5 for a standard-definition, one-time playback premiere; US$ 10 for an HD, one-time playback premiere; US$ 20 for a standard-definition, unlimited playback premiere; and US$ 30 for an HD, unlimited playback premiere. In one swoop, a film can appeal to all streaming markets and needs.

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Unboxing, Hands-on & Camera Test!

Elegance and sophistication in an ULTRA-big device

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Just recently, we had a quick video introduction of Samsung’s latest Galaxy Note 20 series. Now, we finally have a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra on our hands!

Be sure to subscribe and hit that notification button to stay notified on our upcoming review video on August 18th.

For now, you can enjoy our unboxing, hands-on, and a quick camera test using the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra by clicking here.

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