Apple and Epic Games are revealing a ton of industry secrets in court filings – from untold billions in ‘Fortnite’ profits to private email exchanges, these are the 5 juiciest bits

Tim Cook Tim Sweeney 2x1
Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, right.

  • “Fortnite” maker Epic Games is suing Apple, and the bench trial started this week in California.
  • Epic says Apple’s App Store is a monopoly. Apple says Epic broke its developer contract.
  • Through court filings, major secrets from Apple, Epic, Microsoft, and more have been revealed.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Apple and the maker of “Fortnite” are currently at war in a California courtroom – the culmination of a yearlong spat between the two American business giants.

Epic Games filed suit against Apple last summer after its hit game, “Fortnite,” was pulled from Apple’s App Store.

Apple says it pulled the game because Epic violated the terms of its developer agreement when Epic implemented a payment system in the game that enabled players to circumvent Apple’s App Store. Epic says the App Store is a monopoly, and argues that iPhones and iPads are no different from computers.

The in-person trial began Monday at the US District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland, California. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers is scheduled to oversee approximately three weeks of hearings before a verdict is rendered, according to court filings.

After just one week, we’ve already learned a lot: Between major financial disclosures, company secrets, and private emails between executives made public, evidence in the trial is a treasure trove of information.

1. Xbox console sales aren’t profitable, according to Microsoft, and they never have been.

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S
The Xbox Series X, left, and the Xbox Series S, right.

After nearly two decades of sales, Xbox consoles have never been a profitable product for Microsoft.

The Washington-based tech giant sells every Xbox at a loss, according to sworn testimony from Microsoft’s VP of Xbox business development Lori Wright.

“Has Microsoft ever earned a profit on the sale of an Xbox console?” she was asked on Wednesday, May 5. “No,” she said.

Wright appeared as a witness in the ongoing trial, where she answered a variety of questions about Microsoft, Xbox, and digital storefronts. Microsoft has openly supported Epic’s suit against Apple.

The subject of Xbox profitability came up in questioning because of how Microsoft’s console business works: Instead of making money on the console itself, the company makes money from games sales through its digital storefront, from subscription services like Xbox Game Pass, and from sales of accessories like gamepads.

Microsoft, like other console makers, takes a cut of every sale on its digital storefront. That cut is usually about 30%, which has become a standard in the video game distribution market. Apple takes a similar cut from games sold on its iOS App Store, which is part of what Epic is contesting in its court case against Apple.

2. Apple’s reportedly making huge margins on the App Store.

Tim Cook WWDC 2020
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

One of Epic’s expert witnesses, Berkeley Research Group managing director Ned Barnes, said that Apple is enjoying enormous margins on the App Store: In the high 70s for the last two years at least, according to Barnes.

“In my expert report dated February 16, 2021,” Barnes writes, “using Apple testimony and financial information available to me at that time, I calculated the App Store’s operating margin percentage to be 79.6% for each of FY2019 and FY2018.”

He also said that Apple “produced additional documents” for the trial that demonstrate slightly lower percentages for the two years, but that the numbers are “consistent with and confirm the reasonableness of the calculations presented in my expert report.”

Apple, however, disputes Barnes’ report. “Epic’s experts calculations of the operating margins for the App Store are simply wrong,” an Apple representative told The Verge.

Core to Epic’s argument in the trial is that Apple operates a monopoly with the App Store by refusing to allow competing app stores on the iOS platform, in addition to not allowing third-party payment systems. High profit margins from the App Store, Epic argued, is part of the reason for Apple won’t allow either.

3. “Fortnite” is making Epic billions of dollars every year, especially on the PlayStation 4.

Fortnite (loot chest)

In one of the less surprising secrets unearthed from evidence presented during the trial, “Fortnite” is making a huge amount of money – to the tune of several billion dollars every year for the last several years.

In 2020 alone, Epic made over $5 billion in revenue according to sworn testimony from Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. Between 2018 and 2019, “Fortnite” brought in over $9 billion.

Epic makes more than “Fortnite” – the gaming giant produces the Unreal Engine, operates the Epic Games Store, and owns and publishes several other big games (“Rocket League” and “Fall Guys”). Data from Epic presented during the trial shows that those projects, while moneymakers in the hundreds of millions, don’t generate anywhere near as much revenue as “Fortnite.”

4. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney sent Apple CEO Tim Cook a 2 a.m. email declaring war.

tim sweeney epic games fortnite
Epic Games cofounder and CEO Tim Sweeney.

At 2 a.m. PT on August 13, 2020, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney sent an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook and several other Apple executives that laid out Epic’s plan to cut Apple out of payments in “Fortnite” on iPhone and iPad.

It was intended as a declaration of war.

“I’m writing to tell you that Epic will no longer adhere to Apple’s payment processing restrictions,” Sweeney wrote. “Today, Epic is launching Epic direct payments in ‘Fortnite’ on iOS, offering customers the choice of paying in-app through Epic direct payments or through Apple payments, and passing on the savings of Epic direct payments to customers in the form of lower prices.”

In response, Apple pulled “Fortnite” from its iPhone and iPad store, and the game has been unplayable on both ever since. Epic sued Apple on the same day, and this email was one of many private messages between the companies that was uncovered as evidence.

5. “Fortnite” was such a big deal on the PlayStation 4 that Epic was able to force Sony to overturn a longstanding precedent in gaming.

Fortnite

In September 2018, after months spent fighting a losing battle in the court of public opinion, Sony gave in: “Fortnite,” the company announced, would be playable on the PlayStation 4 with friends on other platforms.

“Fortnite” was the first-ever game to allow players on all platforms to play together. “This represents a major policy change for Sony Interactive Entertainment,” Sony said in its announcement. It was clear at the time that, with the game playable across all other platforms, Sony was almost certain to give in: Tens of millions of people were playing “Fortnite,” and they were earning the most from players on Sony’s PlayStation 4, according to documents from Epic presented as evidence in the trial.

Between January 2019 and July 2020, just before “Fortnite” was removed from the App Store, Epic was earning just shy of $150 million each month on average from PlayStation players, according to Epic. By comparison, the company was earning about $23 million per month on average from iOS players, Epic said.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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How to put your PS4 in Safe Mode to troubleshoot issues, or get out of Safe Mode if you’re stuck

Playstation 4 PS4 controller
You may want to boot up your PS4 in Safe Mode if there’s a bug or glitch.

  • PS4 Safe Mode is a simple way to troubleshoot issues with your console.
  • When you put your PS4 in Safe Mode, it can also get stuck in a Safe Mode loop.
  • To get your PS4 out of Safe Mode, try restarting the console, replacing cords, rebuilding corrupted files, or updating system software.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

The PlayStation 4’s Safe Mode is a great option for troubleshooting problems you might have with your console.

Starting your PS4 in Safe Mode can help you resolve an issue or troubleshoot a bug the device may be having. The Safe Mode menu includes options to change your console’s resolution, rebuild its storage database, and restore the device to factory settings.

How to put PS4 in Safe Mode

1. Turn off your console by holding the power button for 3 seconds. After blinking a few times, your PS4 will power off.

2. Press and hold the power button, releasing your finger only after the second beep sound. This should take about 7 seconds.

3. Your PS4 will start in Safe Mode. Make sure your controller is connected to the console, and press the PS button.

How to get PS4 out of Safe Mode

If your PS4 is stuck on Safe Mode, you may be dealing with a Safe Mode loop that makes it difficult to resume playing.

In these cases, there are a few things you can try to get your PS4 out of Safe Mode. Most of these involve the Safe Mode menu, which appears when you first boot your console into Safe Mode.

Here are four troubleshooting methods you can use.

Method 1: Restart your PS4

restart
Restart will be the first option in the Safe Mode menu.

First, try restarting your PS4 using option 1 in the Safe Mode menu. Press “X” on your controller to select this option.

Method 2: Make sure there are no power issues

Why won't my PS4 turn on
Hold down the power button on your PlayStation until the light stops flashing.

If the first method fails, check to make sure all of the cables, including your USB and HDMI connections, are working properly. 

You can also try unplugging your PS4’s power cord and plugging it back in. Also, unplug the HDMI cord and switch which end is plugged into the TV and which end is plugged into the PS4.  

If one of the cables or connections is broken or failing, try replacing it.

If the cables and connections are working fine, try power cycling your PS4, as explained in our article on troubleshooting a PS4 that won’t turn on.

Method 3: Rebuild corrupted files

Image 2
Rebuilding your database can sometimes take several hours, depending on how much data you have saved on your PS4.

If the second method fails, the problem might be caused by a corrupted file. 

Select option 5 on the Safe Mode menu, “Rebuild Database,” and press “X.” This will build a new database for your PS4 without affecting any save data. It will take a while for your PS4 to rebuild — when it’s done, restart your PS4. 

Method 4: Update your PS4’s software

mehod5
There are two major ways to update your PS4’s settings through Safe Mode.

Try updating your PS4’s system software from the Safe Mode menu. 

Press “X” to select elect option 3 on the menu, “Update System Software.” Then, press “X” to select “Update Using Internet.” From there, follow the instructions on the screen.

If nothing else works, select option 7, “Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software),” and press “X.” Follow the instructions on the screen.

PlayStation 5 (small)

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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5 ways to fix a PS4 controller that won’t charge

Playstation 4 PS4 controller
Sometimes PS4 controllers don’t quite charge the way they’re supposed to, but you can try a few troubleshooting tricks.

  • If your PS4 controller won’t charge, you can try swapping out the charging cable or checking the charging port.
  • You can also try resetting and re-pairing your controller, or performing a power cycling on the PS4.
  • The issue may also be with the charging port or the charging cable.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

There are many reasons why your PS4 controller may not be charging. And those reasons can range from the minor, like cable issues or dust, to more major problems, which might mean you need to buy a brand new controller.

Before you go out and replace a finicky PS4 controller, it’s always a good idea to first do some troubleshooting to see if you can get your device to charge again – which could be easier than you think.

Here are five troubleshooting tips to get you back to gaming sooner.

Plug your PS4 into your laptop or another device to charge it

playstation controller PC gaming desktop set-up
Make sure that the charging cable is inserted correctly into the outlet at the top of the controller and your computer.

Sometimes controllers have difficulty charging directly from the PS4, but testing out the controller by plugging it into another device — like your Mac, PC, or Android — can help you narrow down the reasons why it’s not charging.

If it’s not charging from another source, then you know that it’s not the PS4 itself that’s causing the problem. 

Swap out the charging cable

PS4/Playstation 4 controller charger
You might need to switch out the charging cord if your PS4 controller isn’t charging properly.

The issue may not be with the controller itself but with the charging cable. Try a different cable or try using that cable to charge another controller.

You can also check the cable for physical signs of damage such as fraying on the cord or built-up grime in the plug. 

 

Check out the charging port

Why won't my PS4 controller charge
Make sure that the charging cable is inserted correctly into the outlet at the top of the controller and your computer.

Built-up dust or grit may be interrupting the power flow and keeping your controller from charging. A quick pass with a wooden toothpick or compressed air may help.

Reset and re-pair your controller

ps41
Use a toothpick or bobby pin to press into the small hole on the back of your PS4 controller to reset it.

Go to the Settings menu on your PS4 and under “Devices,” remove all devices from the list. Then, on your controller, press something into the small hole on the underside of the controller and hold it for five seconds. A toothpick or bobby pin, for example, may do the trick.

Finally, re-sync the controller to the PS4 using the PS button. If you have issues re-pairing your PS4 controller, see our article on how to connect your controller to your PS4.

Conduct a power cycling on your PS4

PlayStation 4 PS4 controller
Turning off your console and controller, unplugging them, and restarting them may do the trick.

Turn off your PS4 console and controller, and unplug the PS4’s power cord from the outlet. Wait 5 to 10 minutes, and with the PS4 still unplugged, hold down the power button for 30 seconds to drain all its leftover energy. Then, plug the PS4 back in, turn it on, and see if the issue has been fixed. 

If your controller still isn’t charging after troubleshooting, check if it’s still under warranty with Sony or the retailer you purchased it from. 

If so, you may be able to get a replacement, or swap out some of the hardware, without having to shell out money for a brand new controller.

DualShock 4 Controller (small)

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

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5 ways to fix your PS4 when it won’t connect to Wi-Fi

Playstation 4 PS4 controller
These are the five most common solutions for when your PS4 won’t connect to the internet.

  • If your PS4 won’t connect to the internet, the PlayStation Network may be offline.
  • You should also make sure to check your Wi-Fi connection and reset or move your router and modem.
  • You can also try adjusting your PS4’s DNS settings as a final resort to fix connection issues.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

If your PS4 is unable to connect to the internet, you won’t be able to take advantage of many of the console’s most important features, like multiplayer gaming, streaming video, and installing new games.

Here’s how to troubleshoot your connection issues and fix your PS4.

Why won’t my PS4 connect to the internet?

If your PS4 won’t connect to Wi-Fi or the internet, it’s likely one of the following reasons:

  • The PlayStation Network may be offline
  • Your router may not be connected or having larger connectivity issues
  • There may be password issues with your Wi-Fi or console
  • You may need to change your DNS settings on your PlayStation

Check whether the PlayStation Network is online

PS4 Connection 2
Ensure the PlayStation Network is online before you try more extensive troubleshooting steps.

If you can get online but can’t access the PSN, your first step should be to make sure it’s online.

You can go to the PSN Network Status Page on another device to see if the status is green. If it’s down, you might just need to wait a while for the issue to be fixed.

Determine if other devices can connect to the internet

PS4 Connection 3
Check to see if your phone or computer is connected to the internet.

If your PS4 is having trouble connecting to the internet, you might want to narrow down where the problem is right away by determining if the issue is with your PS4 or with your Wi-Fi network.

  • See if other devices are working: Check to see if other devices on your home network, like computers and tablets, are connecting to the internet.
  • Check your connection type: You should also make sure that devices on the same kind of connection are working – for example, if your PS4 is connected to the router with a wired Ethernet cable, then plug a computer into the router as well. If the PS4 is using Wi-Fi, connect to Wi-Fi with your phone and see if it works.
  • Reboot your modem and router: If your other devices can’t connect either, it’s time to power off your modem and router, wait several minutes, and turn them back on. For extra measure, reboot your PS4 after rebooting your router and modem. That means fully powering it down and turning it back on.

Check your PS4’s internet connection to the router

PS4 Connection 4
Try playing with your PS4 Ethernet cables and ports, or move the console closer to your Wi-Fi router.

Your PS4 connecting may not always be an issue with your console. It may be your wired or wireless connection creating your gameplay disruptions – including your device settings.

Here are a few tips on how to test whether it’s your console or your internet connection.

Swap your Ethernet cord: If you are connecting via Ethernet, try swapping out the cable to see if it’s the issue. Another option is to try plugging your cable into a different Ethernet port on the router in the case that the current port has blown.

Move your PS4 console closer to your wireless router: You may be experiencing intermittent signal loss due to the distance – or even walls – between your console and router. You should first try to move them closer if they aren’t already, and if that doesn’t work, try rebooting both your modem and router.

Re-enter your Wi-Fi password

PS4 Connection 5
Go to Settings and choose to set up your internet connection to ensure your Wi-Fi settings are correct.

If you are using Wi-Fi, be sure you are using the correct Wi-Fi password. You can also re-enter it on your PS4 to see if that refreshes your connection. Here’s how.

1. Using the PS4 controller, select “Settings.”

2. Select “Network” and then select “Set Up Internet Connection.”

3. Select “Use Wi-Fi”

4. Select “Easy.”

5. Choose your Wi-Fi network from the list, enter the password, and wait for it to connect.

Check your PS4’s DNS settings as the last resort

PS5 Connection 6
When you choose to test your connection, the PS4 attempts to go online and evaluate the upload and download speed.

If none of the previous steps solved your problem, some users have found that changing the PS4’s DNS server settings – which is like an address book that tells your PS4 how to find locations on the internet – can fix connection issues.

1. Using the PS4 controller, select “Settings.”

2. Choose “Network” and then select “Set Up Internet Connection.”

3. Hit either “Use Wi-Fi” or “Use a LAN Cable” depending upon how you’re connecting.

4 . Select “Custom.” If necessary, choose your Wi-Fi network from the list.

5. Choose “Automatic.” Then select “Do Not Specify” and then “Manual.”

6. Pick “Primary DNS” and then enter “208.67.222.222”

7. Select “Secondary DNS” and then enter “208.67.220.220”

8. Hit “Next.”

9. Choose”Automatic.”

10. Select “Do Not Use.”

Now test your internet connection.

How to backup your PS4’s data onto an external hard drive, and your trophies to the PlayStation Network‘Why won’t my PS4 update?’: 3 ways to fix a PS4 that isn’t updatingHow to add an account on your PS4 from the login screen, instead of playing as a guest userHow to upgrade your PS4 games to play on a PS5 with better graphics and frame rates

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How to connect and pair a PS4 controller to your PC using Bluetooth or a USB cable

  • You can connect a PS4 controller to your PC via Steam, the DS4 Windows Utility, or Bluetooth.
  • To connect your PS4 controller to a PC using Steam or the DS4 Windows Utility, you’ll need a micro-USB cable.
  • When you pair your PS4 controller on a PC with Bluetooth, the connection is wireless.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Hardcore PC gamers often swear by the precision of a mouse and keyboard – it’s so popular that even console players sometimes prefer keyboards to joysticks.

However, there’s no denying that leaning back with a controller in your hand is much more relaxing than crouching over a mouse and keyboard.

Fortunately, just like you can connect your mouse and keyboard to a PS4, you can likewise connect your PS4 controller to a PC.

Here are three different ways to connect your PS4 controller to a Windows 10 PC.

How to connect PS4 controller to PC with USB

If you want to connect the controller with a micro-USB cable (the same cable you use to charge the controller), you have two options.

Connect via Steam

If you’re a PC gamer, chances are that you have a Steam account. Luckily, Steam makes connecting new controllers easy.

1. Open Steam and click the “Big Picture Mode” icon in the top-right – it looks like a square with two arrows pointing out.

1   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Open Big Picture Mode, which turns Steam into a full-screen application.

2. Once in Big Picture Mode, select the gear icon at the top-right to navigate to Settings.

2   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
You can click the power button icon next to the gear to close Big Picture Mode, and Steam.

3. Under the “Controller” tab, click “Controller Settings.”

3   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Other Steam options, like display and audio controls, can be found here as well.

4. Check the box for “PlayStation Configuration Support.”

4   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Steam has the ability to connect controllers across gaming platforms.

5. Plug the PS4 controller into your PC using the micro-USB cable. Make sure the backlight on the controller glows to indicate there’s a connection.

6. Steam should automatically detect and configure your controller. Click it when it appears at the bottom of the page.

5    How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Click the controller’s name when it appears.

Connect via DS4 Windows Utility

If you want to use the wired controller with a non-Steam game, this is another option.

1. In a web browser on your PC, go to DS4Windows.com. Click “Download Now.”

2. You’ll be redirected to Github. Find and click the DS4Windows.zip file, and then download it onto your computer.

11   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
The most recent version of this software was released in 2016, but it still works.

3. Find the downloaded .zip file on your computer and open it, and then double-click “DS4Updater” and click “Extract All.”

14   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Files with the .zip extension should be extracted before they run.

4. Pick a location for the files to be extracted to – it should be a location that you can find easily.

5. Once extracted, open the location you picked and double-click “DS4Windows.” If you’re asked to confirm that you want to run the program, click “Run.”

6. You’ll be asked where you want to save the program’s files. If you don’t care where they go, pick “Appdata” – if you want to be able to move them around, pick “Program Folder” and select a location.

7. Once you’ve picked a spot to save the files, click “Step 1: Install the DS4 Driver” and let the program install its files. If you’re asked whether you’d like to install the software, click “Install.”

16   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Assuming you’re on a Windows 10 computer, select the first option.

You can now use the PS4 controller on your PC with a micro-USB cable, although you may need to restart your computer first.

How to connect PS4 controller to PC with Bluetooth

If your PC supports Bluetooth – and if it was made in the last ten years, chances are it does – you can pair and connect your controller wirelessly.

This method also works for the newer PS5 DualSense controller, although that controller might not be supported by every game.

1. Open your PC’s search menu (you can press the Windows key + Q to open it immediately) and search for “Bluetooth.”

2. When “Bluetooth and other devices settings” appears in the search results, click on it.

3. Make sure your computer has Bluetooth enabled by setting the switch labeled “Bluetooth” to “On.”

6   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
Enable Bluetooth connections.

4. Hold down the Playstation and Share buttons on your controller until the backlight starts flashing.

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Hold down the PlayStation and Share buttons.

5. On your PC, click “Add Bluetooth or other device,” and select “Bluetooth.”

7   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
“Bluetooth” is the first, default option – if this doesn’t work, pick “Everything else” instead.

6. You’ll see your PS4 controller listed as “Wireless Controller.” Click it to finalize the connection. If you’re asked for a passcode, enter “0000.”

8   How to connect PS4 controller to PC
You may see the controller under an alternative name as well, like “Dualshock 4.”

Dave Johnson contributed to a previous version of this article.

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Read the original article on Business Insider

The 50 best video games of all time, according to critics

"Super Mario Bros."
  • The 50 best games of all time are a surprisingly diverse list of games spanning decades of consoles.
  • There are iconic household names, cult classics, and forgotten gems.
  • Did your favorite game make the list? Let’s find out.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

There are dozens of ways you could put together a list of the best video games ever made.

You could look to classics, like “Super Mario Bros.” You could look at impact on the medium, or highest sales. You could write down your personal favorites on pieces of paper, then throw them into the air. Where the pieces land? That’s your list!

But what we’ve got here is something slightly more scientific. Reviews aggregation site Metacritic compiles all reviews of games, then it averages those scores into an overall average. What you’ll find below is the top 50 highest-rated games of all time, based on the averages obtained by Metacritic.

One quick disclaimer!

Super Mario

We made one small change: Since there are a handful of duplicates on the list (multiple versions of the same game, released on multiple platforms), we’re using the highest-ranked version of the game to make room for a handful of games that wouldn’t have otherwise made the list.

Without further ado, these are the 50 best video games of all time:

50. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 6.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Modern Warfare 2’ continues the gripping and heart-racing action as players face off against a new threat dedicated to bringing the world to the brink of collapse. An entirely new gameplay mode which supports 2-player co-operative play online that is unique from the single player story campaign. Special Ops pits players into a gauntlet of time-trial and objective-based missions. Rank-up as players unlock new Special Ops missions, each more difficult. Missions include highlights from the single player campaign, fan favorites from ‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’ and all new, exclusive missions. Setting a new bar for online multiplayer, ‘Modern Warfare 2’ multiplayer delivers new capabilities, customization, game states and modes, including: Create-a-Class Evolved. Secondary Weapons – Machine Pistols, Shotguns, Handguns, Launchers. Riot Shields. Equipment – Throwing Knives, Blast Shield, Tactical Insertion. Perk Upgrades. Bling (Dual Attachments). Customizable Killstreaks – AC130, Sentry Gun, Predator Missile, Counter-UAV, Care Package. Accolades (Post match reports).”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, OS X

Buy it here >>

49. “Final Fantasy IX”

Final Fantasy IX

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The last ‘Final Fantasy’ for the PlayStation, ‘Final Fantasy IX’ returns to the pure fantasy roots that spawned the series. This latest installment features highly detailed characters, vehicles, and environments, and breathtaking cinema-graphics. The addition of brand new features such as the story-enhancing Active Time Event system and the return of mini-games that grant additional gameplay make ‘Final Fantasy IX’ not only a memorable gaming experience, but also a significant step forward in the series.”

Platforms:  PlayStation, iOS, Android, PC, PlayStation 4

Buy it here >>

48. “BioShock Infinite”

BioShock Infinite (The Collection)

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Once conceived as a floating symbol of American ideals at a time when the United States was emerging as a world power, Columbia has been dispatched to distant shores with great fanfare by a captivated public. What begins as a brand new endeavor of hope turns drastically wrong as the city soon disappears into the clouds to whereabouts unknown. The player assumes the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to the lost city to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman imprisoned there since childhood. He develops a relationship with Elizabeth, augmenting his abilities with hers so the pair may escape from a city that is literally falling from the sky. DeWitt must learn to fight foes in high-speed Sky-Line battles, engage in combat both indoors and amongst the clouds, and engage the power of dozens of new weapons and abilities.

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Buy it here >>

47. “World of Goo”

World of Goo

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘World of Goo’ is a physics based puzzle / construction game. The millions of Goo Balls that live in the beautiful ‘World of Goo’ don’t know that they are in a game, or that they are extremely delicious.”

Platforms: Wii, PC, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS, Nintendo Switch

Buy it here >>

46. “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain”

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 7.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Following the prologue Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain concludes the Metal Gear Solid V experience by following the story of the protagonist of the series, Big Boss (a.k.a. Snake). The Metal Gear Solid V experience is Creator and Director Hideo Kojima’s first time incorporating open world gameplay to the groundbreaking Metal Gear franchise.”

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Buy it here >>

45. “Portal 2”

portal 2

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Portal 2’ is the sequel to the title named “Game of the Year” 2007 by over 30 publications around the world. ‘Portal 2’ promises to break new ground in next generation gaming by expanding the award-winning recipe of innovative gameplay, immersive story, and creative inclusion of music while also introducing multiplayer co-op game modes.”

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Buy it here >>

44. “Persona 5 Royal”

Persona 5 Royal

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Prepare for an all-new RPG experience in Persona 5 Royal based in the universe of the award-winning series, Persona! Don the mask of Joker and join the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. Break free from the chains of modern society and stage grand heists to infiltrate the minds of the corrupt and make them change their ways! Persona 5 Royal is packed with new characters, confidants, story depth, new locations to explore, and a new grappling hook mechanic for stealthy access to new areas. With a new semester at Shujin Academy, get ready to strengthen your abilities in the metaverse and in your daily life. Persona 5 Royal presents a unique visual style and award nominated composer Shoji Meguro returns with an all-new soundtrack. Explore Tokyo, unlock new Personas, customize your own personal Thieves Den, discover a never-before-seen story arc, cutscenes, alternate endings, and more! Even for the most seasoned Phantom Thieves among us, Persona 5 Royal is a new challenge to defy conventions, discover the power within, and fight for justice. Wear the mask. Reveal your truth.”

Platforms: PlayStation 4

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43. “Madden NFL 2003”

Madden NFL 2003

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 7.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Take Your Game Online: Access an online community where you can meet, chat, and play head-to-head against other gamers. Audio Dream Team: Dynamic play-by-play and analysis by Madden and Michaels. All-New Mini-camp: Hop on John Madden’s Cruiser Tour Bus and travel to all NFL cities to complete skilled tasks. Create-A-Playbook: Customize receiver routes, player formations, and your team’s entire playbook. Deepest Franchise Mode Ever: Play 30 years of Franchise mode and draft players each season with tips from your scouts.”

Platforms: Game Boy Advance, PC, GameCube, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox

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42. “The Last of Us”

last of us

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Twenty years after a pandemic radically transformed known civilization, infected humans run amok and survivors kill one another for sustenance and weapons – literally whatever they can get their hands on. Joel, a salty survivor, is hired to smuggle a fourteen-year-old girl, Ellie, out of a rough military quarantine, but what begins as a simple job quickly turns into a brutal journey across the country.”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

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41. “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask”

Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Thrown into a parallel world by the mischievous actions of a possessed Skull Kid, Link finds a land in grave danger. The dark power of a relic called Majora’s Mask has wreaked havoc on the citizens of Termina, but their most urgent problem is a suicidal moon crashing toward the world. Link has only 72 hours to find a way to stop its descent.”

Platforms: Nintendo 64, Nintendo 3DS

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40. “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past”

a link to the past

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In a ‘Link to the Past,’ Link travels between the light world and the dark world, conquering fierce monsters and uncovering Hyrule’s deepest secrets along the way.”

Platforms: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy Advance, Virtual Console (various platforms)

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39. “Halo 2”

Halo 2

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The Covenant alien race threatens to destroy all humankind, and the only thing standing in its way is Master Chief, a genetically enhanced supersoldier. Master Chief returns in ‘Halo 2,’ which features new vehicles, weapons, environments, and more. This time, you can interact with your environment, wield two weapons at the same time, board opponents’ vehicles, and even switch sides to play the role of a Covenant Elite. ‘Halo 2’ also supports broadband multiplayer action via Xbox Live.”

Platforms: Xbox, Xbox One

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38. “Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec”

Gran Turismo 3

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “With the addition of two new courses (a downtown Tokyo circuit and the Monte Carlo Grand Prix course), an impressive range of cars (from Vipers to Cooper Minis), and a soundtrack featuring everything from Lenny Kravitz to Jimi Hendrix, this highly anticipated title is finally ready to be driven.”

Platform: PlayStation 2

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37. “Red Dead Redemption”

red dead redemption

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Developed by Rockstar San Diego, as a follow up to the 2004 hit game ‘Red Dead Revolver,’ ‘Red Dead Redemption’ is a Western epic, set at the turn of the 20th century when the lawless and chaotic badlands began to give way to the expanding reach of government and the spread of the Industrial Age. The story of former outlaw, John Marston, ‘Red Dead Redemption’ takes players on a great adventure across the American frontier. Utilizing Rockstar’s proprietary Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), ‘Red Dead Redemption’ features an open-world environment for players to explore, including frontier towns, rolling prairies teeming with wildlife, and perilous mountain passes – each packed with an endless flow of varied distractions. Along the way, players experience the heat of gunfights and battles, meet a host of unique characters, struggle against the harshness of one of the world’s last remaining wildernesses, and ultimately pick their own precarious path through an epic story about the death of the Wild West and the gunslingers that inhabited it.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

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36. “The Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition”

The Legend of Zelda (NES)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Receive four complete classic Zelda games all on one disc when you buy the Zelda GameCube Bundle: ‘The Legend of Zelda,’ ‘Zelda II – The Adventure of Link,’ ‘The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,’ ‘The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.'”

Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System, Virtual Console (various platforms)

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35. “LittleBigPlanet”

LittleBigPlanet

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 6.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In ‘LittleBigPlanet,’ players meet on a blue and green planet scattered with individual plots – and use their character’s amazing abilities to play, create and share what they build with other gamers throughout the world via the PlayStation Network. The ‘LittleBigPlanet’ experience starts with players learning about their character’s powers to interact physically with the environment. There are places to explore, creative resources to collect and puzzles to solve – all requiring a combination of brains and collaborative teamwork. As soon as players begin their creative skills will grow and they will soon be ready to start creating and modifying their surroundings – the first step to sharing them with the whole community. Characters have the power to move anything in this glued and stitched-together 3D landscape; they have the power to design, shape and build both objects and entire locations for others to view and play. There’s no complicated level editor; all of these skills can be learned by simply playing the game. Creativity is part of the gameplay experience and playing is part of the creative experience. Players can make their world as open or as secretive to explore as they like. When it’s ready, they can invite anyone within the LittleBigPlanet community to come and explore their patch – or can go and explore everybody else’s.”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

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34. “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”

Grand Theft Auto 3: Vice City

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.7/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Welcome to Vice City. Welcome to the 1980s. Having just made it back onto the streets of Liberty City after a long stretch in maximum security, Tommy Vercetti is sent to Vice City by his old boss, Sonny Forelli. They were understandably nervous about his re-appearance in Liberty City, so a trip down south seemed like a good idea. But all does not go smoothly upon his arrival in the glamorous, hedonistic metropolis of Vice City. He’s set up and is left with no money and no merchandise. Sonny wants his money back, but the biker gangs, Cuban gangsters, and corrupt politicians stand in his way. Most of Vice City seems to want Tommy dead. His only answer is to fight back and take over the city himself. Vice City offers vehicular pleasures to suit every taste. For the speed enthusiast, there’s high-performance cars and motorbikes. For the sportsman, a powerboat or a golf buggy lets you enjoy the great outdoors. For those that need that sense of freedom and escape, why not charter a helicopter and see the beauty of Vice City from the air.”

Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Fire OS

Buy it here >>

33. “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”

Grand Theft Auto 3: San Andreas

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Five years ago Carl Johnson escaped from the pressures of life in Los Santos, San Andreas… a city tearing itself apart with gang trouble, drugs and corruption. Where film stars and millionaires do their best to avoid the dealers and gangbangers. Now, it’s the early 90s. Carl’s got to go home. His mother has been murdered, his family has fallen apart and his childhood friends are all heading towards disaster. On his return to the neighborhood, a couple of corrupt cops frame him for homicide. CJ is forced on a journey that takes him across the entire state of San Andreas, to save his family and to take control of the streets.”

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, Mac, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Fire OS

Buy it here >>

32. “Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn”

Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “An epic continuation of the story that began in ‘Baldur’s Gate,’ this RPG is set along the southern portion of the Sword Coast, a detailed and rich area of the Forgotten Realms called Amn. It features 300 spells and 130-plus monster types compared to only 130 spells and 60 monster types in ‘Baldur’s Gate.'”

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

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31. “Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty”

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (HD)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Since the incident on Shadow Moses Island, Metal Gear’s top-secret technology has been leaked into the black market through the machinations of Revolver Ocelot. As a result, countless variations of Metal Gears have sprung up in every corner of the globe, making the weapon an increasingly common component of the armed forces of nuclear powers. In the midst of all of this, Solid Snake, now a member of the anti-Metal Gear group ‘Philanthropy,’ has learned that a new prototype Metal Gear has been developed by the U.S. Marines and is being transported in secret to an unknown destination. To learn more about this new machine, Snake must infiltrate the transport, disguised as a tanker, as it makes its way down the Hudson River. Just as Snake is about to begin his mission, however, the ship is seized by a mysterious and well-armed group bent on stealing the new Metal Gear for their own, nefarious purposes

Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Vita

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30. “Gran Turismo”

Gran Turismo (PlayStation 1)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.6/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Welcome to the most advanced racing game ever created! Encounter exhilarating high-speed racing in 11 stunning environments. Feel handling agility and throttle response so convincing, the car seems to be an extension of yourself. Experience the extraordinary world of ‘Gran Turismo’!”

Platform: PlayStation

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29. “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker”

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In this ninth entry in the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series, Link debuts on GameCube with a fun new cel-shaded look, but the game stays true to the respected heritage of the series. The classic mix of sword-swinging action, perplexing puzzles and stirring story lines remains intact, but the stunning cel-shaded graphics give the people and places of Link’s watery world a wildly artistic new look. And for the very first time, Link sails freely on the high seas. Join Link on his most epic and scenic adventure yet. Face unimaginable monsters, explore puzzling dungeons, and meet a cast of unforgettable characters as he searches for his kidnapped sister, Aryll.”

Platforms: GameCube, Wii U

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28. “Half-Life”

Half-Life

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Half-Life’ combines great storytelling in the tradition of Stephen King with intense action and advanced technology to create a frighteningly realistic world where players need to think smart to survive. ‘Half-Life’ has won more than 50 Game of the Year awards from publications around the world, and was named ‘Best PC Game Ever’ in PC Gamer’s November 1999 issue.”

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 2

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27. “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”

skyrim

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The next chapter in the ‘Elder Scrolls’ saga arrives from the Bethesda Game Studios. Skyrim reimagines the open-world fantasy epic, bringing to life a complete virtual world open for you to explore any way you choose. Play any type of character you can imagine, and do whatever you want; the legendary freedom of choice, storytelling, and adventure of ‘The Elder Scrolls’ is realized like never before. Skyrim’s new game engine brings to life a complete virtual world with rolling clouds, rugged mountains, bustling cities, lush fields, and ancient dungeons. Choose from hundreds of weapons, spells, and abilities. The new character system allows you to play any way you want and define yourself through your actions. Battle ancient dragons like you’ve never seen. As Dragonborn, learn their secrets and harness their power for yourself.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

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26. “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess”

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.1/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In the next chapter in the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series, Link can transform into a wolf to scour the darkened land of Hyrule. With the help of Midna, a mysterious being, you must guide Link through hordes of foul creatures and challenging bosses using new moves and a new horseback combat system. Many puzzles stand between Link and the fulfillment of his quest, so you must sharpen your wits as you hunt for weapons and items.”

Platforms: GameCube, Wii

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25. “Mass Effect 2”

Mass Effect 2

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The ‘Mass Effect’ trilogy is a science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life forms and mysterious uncharted planets. In this dark second chapter, Saren’s evil army of Geth soldiers has just been defeated, and humans, who are still struggling to make their mark on the galactic stage, are now faced with an even greater peril.”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

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24. “Tekken 3”

Tekken 3

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.1/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “An ancient evil force has reawakened, attacking in secret and feeding on the souls of mighty warriors. To lure it out of hiding will take the greatest fighting contest the world has ever seen…Tekken 3. Some are fighting for revenge, some for honor. Ultimately, all are fighting for their lives and the fate of all mankind.”

Platforms: PlayStation, Arcade

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23. “Batman: Arkham City”

arkham city batman

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.7/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Developed by Rocksteady Studios, ‘Batman: Arkham City’ builds upon the intense, atmospheric foundation of ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum,’ sending players soaring into Arkham City, the new maximum security ‘home’ for all of Gotham City’s thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds. Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City, this highly anticipated sequel introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

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22. “The Orange Box”

"Portal"

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Games included in The Orange Box compilation: The original Half-Life 2 – The player again picks up the crowbar of research scientist Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. And a lot of people – people he cares about – are counting on him. ‘Half-Life 2: Episode One’ – The player reprises his role of Dr. Freeman, who must immediately face the repercussions of his actions in City 17 and the Citadel. Freeman reconnects with Alyx Vance and her robot, Dog, as they continue their support of the resistance’s battle against the Combine forces. ‘Half-Life 2: Episode Two’ — the second installment in Valve’s episodic trilogy advances the award-winning story, leading the player to new locations outside of City 17. ‘Portal’ – a pioneering type of single player action game that rewrites the rules for how players approach and manipulate their environment – much like how Half-Life 2’s Gravity Gun reinvented the way gamers interact with objects in the game. ‘Team Fortress 2’ – an all-new version of the legendary title that spawned team based multiplayer action games. The game’s daring new art style features the most advanced graphics of any Source-based game released to date.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Linux, Mac

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21. “Resident Evil 4”

resident evil 4

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In ‘Resident Evil 4’ players are reacquainted with Leon S. Kennedy, Raccoon City Police Department’s idealistic rookie cop from ‘Resident Evil 2.’ It has been six years since the destruction of Raccoon City and in that time, the U.S. government has been able to destroy the nefarious Umbrella Corporation. Fast forward to 2004 and players rejoin Leon, who is now a U.S. agent with a top-secret mission. He has been tasked to look into the abduction of the President’s daughter and his investigation has led him to a mysterious location in Europe. As Leon encounters unimaginable horrors, he must find out who or what is behind everything.”

Platforms: GameCube, PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, Wii, Zeebo, iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Android, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

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20. “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves”

uncharted 2 among thieves ps3 game

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Fortune hunter Nathan Drake returns in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, a third-person action-adventure/shooter created by award-winning developer Naughty Dog. Down on his luck, Drake is lured back into the treacherous world of thieves and mercenary treasure-seekers he had sought to leave behind. When a mysterious artifact propels Drake on an expedition to find the legendary Himalayan valley of Shambhala, he finds himself embroiled in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse against a fugitive war criminal who’s after more than just the fabled riches of the lost city. Caught in a web of deception and plunged into an increasingly deadly pursuit that tests the limits of his endurance, Drake will be forced to risk everything – but has his luck finally run out?”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

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19. “GoldenEye 007”

"GoldenEye 007"

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.1/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “You are Bond. James Bond. You are assigned covert operations connected with the GoldenEye weapons satellite. M will brief you on your mission and objectives from London. Q Branch will support your efforts with a plentiful supply of weapons and gadgets. Moneypenny offers you light-hearted best wishes and you’re off! Your mission begins in the heavily guarded chemical warfare facility at the Byelomorye Dam in the USSR. Look and shoot in any direction as you navigate 12 interactive 3-D environments. Use stealth and force as you see fit in matters of international security. Consider the military personnel expendable. You are licensed to kill!”

Platform: Nintendo 64

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18. “BioShock”

bioshock

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Going beyond ‘run and gun corridors,’ ‘monster-closet AIs’ and static worlds, BioShock creates a living, unique and unpredictable FPS experience. After your plane crashes into icy uncharted waters, you discover a rusted bathysphere and descend into Rapture, a city hidden beneath the sea. Constructed as an idealistic society for a hand picked group of scientists, artists and industrialists, the idealism is no more. Now the city is littered with corpses, wildly powerful guardians roam the corridors as little girls loot the dead, and genetically mutated citizens ambush you at every turn. Take control of your world by hacking mechanical devices, commandeering security turrets and crafting unique items critical to your very survival. Upgrade your weapons with ionic gels, explosives and toxins to customize them to the enemy and environment. Genetically modify your body through dozens of Plasmid Stations scattered throughout the city, empowering you with fantastic and often grotesque abilities. Explore a living world powered by Ecological A.I., where the inhabitants have interesting and consequential relationships with one another that impact your gameplay experience. Experience truly next generation graphics that vividly illustrate the forlorn art deco city, highlighted by the most detailed and realistic water effects ever developed in a video game. Make meaningful choices and mature decisions, ultimately culminating in the grand question: do you exploit the innocent survivors of Rapture…or save them?”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iOS

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17. “Half-Life 2”

Half-Life 2

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism and responsiveness, ‘Half-Life 2’ opens the door to a world where the player’s presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors — even the emotions — of both friends and enemies. The player again picks up the crowbar of research scientist Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. And a lot of people — people he cares about — are counting on him.”

Platforms: PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac, Linux, Android

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16. “NFL 2K1”

NFL 2K1

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 6.3/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In the end, NFL 2K1 is a deeper, more refined version of the original game.”

Platform: Dreamcast

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15. “Halo: Combat Evolved”

Halo: Combat Evolved

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 8.6/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Enter the mysterious world of Halo, an alien planet shaped like a ring. As mankind’s super soldier Master Chief, you must uncover the secrets of Halo and fend off the attacking Covenant. During your missions, you’ll battle on foot, in vehicles, inside, and outside with alien and human weaponry. Your objectives include attacking enemy outposts, raiding underground labs for advanced technology, rescuing fallen comrades, and sniping enemy forces. ‘Halo’ also lets you battle three other players via intense split screen combat or fight cooperatively with a friend through the single-player missions.”

Platforms: Xbox, PC, Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One

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14. “Super Mario Odyssey”

Super Mario Odyssey

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Mario embarks on a new journey through unknown worlds, running and jumping through huge 3D worlds in the first sandbox-style Mario game since ‘Super Mario 64’ and ‘Super Mario Sunshine.’ Set sail between expansive worlds aboard an airship, and perform all-new actions, such as throwing Mario’s cap.”

Platform: Switch

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13. “Grand Theft Auto III”

Grand Theft Auto 3

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Players are put at the heart of their very own gangster movie, and let loose in a fully-realized 3 dimensional city with a cast of hundreds, 50 plus vehicles, ranging from sports cars to ice cream trucks and from boats to buses, 3 hours of music, including opera, reggae, house, drum and bass, pop and disco, and a huge array of street ready weapons.”

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, Mac, Android, iOS, Fire OS

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12. “Metroid Prime”

metroid prime

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.3/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Samus returns in a new mission to unravel the mystery behind the ruined walls scattered across Tallon IV. In Metroid Prime, you’ll play the role of this bounty hunter and view the world through her visor, which displays information ranging from current energy levels to ammunition. Equipped with a Power Beam and Gravity Suit, you must shoot locked switches, solve puzzles, and eliminate enemies. It’s up to you to explore the world and recover more power-ups and weapons, which gradually open more gameplay areas.”

Platforms: GameCube, Wii

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11. “Perfect Dark”

Perfect Dark (N64)

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Step into the Dark… As Carrington Institute’s most promising new Agent, Joanna Dark must uncover the truth behind the dataDyne Corporation’s recent technological breakthroughs – breakthroughs which could have serious consequences for mankind.”

Platforms: Nintendo 64, Xbox 360, Xbox One

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10. “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3”

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 7.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Challenge up to four friends in online competitions over a LAN or the Internet. Take them on in both Trick Attack and Graffiti modes.”

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation, Game Boy Color, GameCube, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, PC, Nintendo 64, Mac

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9. “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 8.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Forget everything you know about The Legend of Zelda games. Step into a world of discovery, exploration and adventure in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a boundary-breaking new game in the acclaimed series. Travel across fields, through forests and to mountain peaks as you discover what has become of the ruined kingdom of Hyrule in this open-air adventure. Explore the wilds of Hyrule any way you like.”

Platforms: Wii U, Switch

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8. “Grand Theft Auto V”

grand theft auto v

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 7.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Los Santos: a sprawling sun-soaked metropolis full of self-help gurus, starlets and fading celebrities, once the envy of the Western world, now struggling to stay alive in a time of economic uncertainty and cheap reality TV. Amidst the turmoil, three very unique criminals plot their own chances of survival and success: Franklin, a street hustler looking for tangible opportunities and serious money; Michael, a professional ex-con whose retirement is less rosy than he figured it would be; and Trevor, a violent dude driven by the opportunity for a cheap high and his next big score. With options at a premium, the crew risks it all in a myriad of daring and dangerous heists that could set them up for life.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC

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7. “Red Dead Redemption 2”

Red Dead Redemption 2

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 7.7/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): ” Developed by the creators of ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ and ‘Red Dead Redemption,’ ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ is an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland. The game’s vast and atmospheric world also provides the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience. America, 1899. The end of the Wild West era has begun. After a robbery goes badly wrong in the western town of Blackwater, Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang are forced to flee. With federal agents and the best bounty hunters in the nation massing on their heels, the gang has to rob, steal and fight their way across the rugged heartland of America in order to survive. As deepening internal fissures threaten to tear the gang apart, Arthur must make a choice between his own ideals and loyalty to the gang that raised him.”

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4

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6. “Super Mario Galaxy 2”

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.1/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Super Mario Galaxy 2, the sequel to the galaxy-hopping original game, includes the gravity-defying, physics-based exploration from the first game, but is loaded with entirely new galaxies and features to challenge players. On some stages, Mario can pair up with his dinosaur buddy Yoshi and use his tongue to grab items and spit them back at enemies. Players can also have fun with new items such as a drill that lets our hero tunnel through solid rock.”

Platform: Wii

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5. “Super Mario Galaxy”

Super Mario Galaxy

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The ultimate Nintendo hero is taking the ultimate step … out into space. Join Mario as he ushers in a new era of video games, defying gravity across all the planets in the galaxy. When some creature escapes into space with Princess Peach, Mario gives chase, exploring bizarre planets all across the galaxy. Mario, Peach and enemies new and old are here. Players run, jump and battle enemies as they explore all the planets in the galaxy. Since this game makes full use of all the features of the Wii Remote, players have to do all kinds of things to succeed: pressing buttons, swinging the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk, and even pointing at and dragging things with the pointer. Since he’s in space, Mario can perform mind-bending jumps unlike anything he’s done before. He’ll also have a wealth of new moves that are all based around tilting, pointing and shaking the Wii Remote. Shake, tilt and point! Mario takes advantage of all the unique aspects of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controller, unleashing new moves as players shake the controller and even point at and drag items with the pointer.”

Platform: Wii

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4. “SoulCalibur”

SoulCalibur

Critic score: 98/100

User score: 8.6/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “This is a tale of souls and swords, transcending the world and all its history, told for all eternity… The greatest weapons-based fighter returns, this time on Sega Dreamcast. Soul Calibur unleashes incredible graphics, fantastic fighters, and combos so amazing they’ll make your head spin!”

Platforms: Dreamcast, iOS, Arcade, Xbox 360, Xbox One

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3. “Grand Theft Auto IV”

Grand Theft Auto IV

Critic score: 98/100

User score: 7.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “What does the American Dream mean today? For Niko Belic, fresh off the boat from Europe. It’s the hope he can escape his past. For his cousin, Roman, it is the vision that together they can find fortune in Liberty City, gateway to the land of opportunity. As they slip into debt and are dragged into a criminal underworld by a series of shysters, thieves and sociopaths, they discover that the reality is very different from the dream in a city that worships money and status, and is heaven for those who have them an a living nightmare for those who don’t.”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

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2. “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2”

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Critic score: 98/100

User score: 7.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Hawk’s back – with new technology, new pros and new tricks! ‘THPS2,’ the legend rides on! Skate as legendary Tony Hawk or any one of 12 other pro skaters. Create your own custom skaters. Multiple play modes including 1-Player, Career and Free Skate modes, as well as 2-player modes such as Trick Attack, Graffiti Tag and Horse. Build your own custom skate parks with the real-time 3D park editor”

Platforms: PlayStation, PC, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, Mac, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, iOS, Xbox

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1. “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Critic score: 99/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “As a young boy, Link is tricked by Ganondorf, the King of the Gerudo Thieves. The evil human uses Link to gain access to the Sacred Realm, where he places his tainted hands on Triforce and transforms the beautiful Hyrulean landscape into a barren wasteland. Link is determined to fix the problems he helped to create, so with the help of Rauru he travels through time gathering the powers of the Seven Sages.”

Platforms: Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, Virtual Console (various platforms)

Buy it here >>

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A new invite-only iPhone app lets people gamble real money on matches of ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘Fortnite’

IMG_4983
Courtesy 1v1Me

  • New app 1v1Me will allow video gamers to place bets on “Call of Duty” and “Fortnite” in one-on-ones.
  • The players must link to their bank accounts and agree on a wager before starting the game.
  • The founders said the COVID-19 pandemic pushed them to create their idea for a betting app.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Players can now place wagers on one-on-one video games using a new app called 1v1Me that was inspired by at-home betting during the pandemic.

The app, first reported on by TechCrunch, will allow gamers to place wagers in one-on-one matches on “Call of Duty” and “Fortnite” while at home.

1v1Me launched with well-known content creators, such as NoisyButters, joining in. It is starting off small and supporting just two video games, so that it’s a “much more controlled environment,” said founder Anthony Geranio in an interview with Insider.

To participate, you have to get an invite to play from a content creator on the app. Geranio said the app now has nearly 12,000 people waiting to play.

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Inside the 1v1Me app. Courtesy of 1v1Me

Once invited, 1v1Me confirms a player’s identity. Then, players must add a bank account to the app and agree with an opponent on how much to wager. 1v1Me then places the money from their bets into escrow. The gamers use livestreaming service Twitch when they play the game. This allows others to watch the match and 1v1Me to monitor it to ensure it’s fair and determine who wins. Once concluded, 1v1Me transfers the money to the winner’s bank account.

To place a bet on a game, a player must be 18. Minors can still play with the app, but they can’t wager on the match, the founder said. He added that the app only operates in the 48 states where it’s legal to wager on skill-based games.

Read more: A video game tutor who makes up to $5,000 a month shares how he built a career teaching people how to win at ‘League of Legends’

Before launching, Geranio and co-founder Alex Emmanuel raised $2 million in financing. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed them to create the app, Geranio said, as they saw friends spending their time at home placing bets on online poker and playing video games.

Geranio said his mission for the company is “to help more gamers make a living from esports.” Geranio said he wants to generate the next wave of gaming content creators on popular platforms like YouTube and Twitch.

“Kids today are waking up and want to become YouTube stars, versus doctors and astronauts,” he said. “The No. 1 place to make YouTube content is in gaming.”

Gamer NoisyButters, who also invested in the app, tweeted a photo with the new app Monday, saying she used to put her one-on-one record in “Call of Duty” on her XBox biography, but “now there’s an app for it.”

Live esports tournaments faced struggles amid the pandemic, and the industry, which was set to hit $1 billion in 2020, missed the mark as leagues forfeited their arena events but kept the seasons alive. Since the US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting in 2018, consulting agency Activate predicted people could bet as much as $150 billion per year by 2023.

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Yes, all versions of the PS4 can play Blu-ray discs, but not if they’re 4K – here’s what you need to know

Can you get YouTube TV on ps4
Your PS4 can play most Blu-rays.

  • The PlayStation 4 can play Blu-ray discs, but not if they’re 4K UHD Blu-rays.
  • All versions of the PlayStation 4, from the standard to the PS4 Pro, have the same Blu-ray capabilities.
  • Before you play any Blu-ray, make sure your PS4 is fully updated and connected to the internet.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

One of the benefits of the PlayStation 4 is its ability to play not only games, but DVDs and Blu-rays as well.

But while every PS4 can play Blu-rays, they can’t play every Blu-ray. Here’s the lowdown on PlayStation 4’s Blu-ray compatibility, and how to play Blu-rays on your PS4.

The PlayStation 4 can play HD and 3D Blu-rays, but not 4K UHD

Both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro play HD and 3D Blu-ray discs. These discs go up to 1080p, which is the standard for most devices.

However, although the PS4 Pro can play games and stream media in 4K, neither PS4 model supports 4K UHD Blu-rays. These offer substantially higher quality video and audio compared to a standard Blu-ray, but also require a specialized Blu-ray drive that the PS4 doesn’t have.

ps4 pro 4k
The PS4 Pro can play and stream in 4K, but 4K Blu-rays are a no-go.

The new PlayStation 5 Standard Edition is not only Blu-ray compatible, but can play 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays as well. The Digital Edition doesn’t have a disc drive, so it can’t play any Blu-ray discs.

PlayStation 4 Pro (small)

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The PlayStation 5 is getting a new PlayStation VR headset

PlayStation 4 VR
The PlayStation VR headset for the PlayStation 4.

  • Sony is making a new virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 5.
  • It’s the successor to the PlayStation VR headset for the PlayStation 4, which launched in 2016.
  • The new headset will provide “dramatic leaps in performance and interactivity,” Sony said.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The PlayStation 5 is getting a virtual reality headset, Sony announced on Tuesday.

The new headset is the successor to PlayStation VR, which launched for the PlayStation 4 in 2016 and went on to sell over 5 million units. Though Sony didn’t share images of the new device, it’s said to provide, “dramatic leaps in performance and interactivity” over the previous generation. 

Sony Senior Vice President of platform planning and management Hideaki Nishino shared a few more details about the new headset in a blog post:

  • It won’t launch in 2021.
  • It has a new type of controller, “which will incorporate some of the key features” of the PlayStation 5 gamepad. 
  • It uses a single wire, rather than a series of cords (unlike the PlayStation VR headset for PS4).
  • The specs are getting upgraded, and Nishino promised improvements to, “everything from resolution and field of view to tracking and input.” 

The original PlayStation VR headset works on the PlayStation 5, albeit with technology that was originally launched nearly five years ago. 

“Obviously the technology has moved on since the first PlayStation VR headset, and we will capture that,” Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan told the Financial Times.

Despite the success of the first PlayStation VR headset compared to other VR headsets, its sales numbers paled in comparison to the PlayStation 4 console itself. Sony has sold over 5 million PlayStation VR headsets, and over 110 million PlayStation 4 consoles. 

Ryan said that virtual reality is a long-term project for PlayStation.

“PlayStation believes in VR. Sony believes in VR, and we definitely believe at some point in the future, VR will represent a meaningful component of interactive entertainment,” he told the Washington Post. “Will it be this year? No. Will it be next year? No. But will it come at some stage? We believe that.”

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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How to gameshare between two PlayStation 4 consoles with Sony’s ‘Share Play’ feature

  • You can gameshare on your PS4 to let a friend on a different PS4 console play a game in your game library, even if they don’t own it.
  • Gamesharing, known as “Share Play” for PlayStation consoles, is a convenient way to play a game with another person even if only one of you owns the game.
  • To enable gameshare on your PS4, you need to sign into the other person’s console, and change your account settings to set that console as your primary PS4. 
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Want to share your games with friends or family members on a different PlayStation 4, perhaps so you can play the same game together? Sony allows that – with some minor limitations. 

Usually called gamesharing (though Sony actually refers to this feature as Share Play), you can let other people download and play games you’ve purchased, even if they don’t own it. Think of it like lending a disc – only there’s no need to actually exchange physical media. 

In order to play a game together, both you and your friend need a PlayStation Plus subscription, but neither of you need a subscription to play the game separately.

In addition, while you can share your games with any number of other people on different PS4 consoles, only two people can play a game at one time. 

How to gameshare on PS4

1. On the console that you want to share games with, log in with your PlayStation account. 

2. Select “Settings.”

3. Select “Account Management.”

gameshare 1
Start Settings and then go to Account Management to start gamesharing.

4. Select “Activate as Your Primary PS4.”

gameshare 2
Choose “Activate as Your Primary PS4” to allow users on this console to play your games.

5. Confirm this choice by selecting “Activate.”

gameshare 3
Be sure to choose “Activate” to finish the setup process.

That’s it – now, your friend will see all your games in their library, and can download and play them. 

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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