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With its work in progress campaign and efforts to establish awareness on the environment’s need for protection, Apple launched a new website and introduced a recycling program that would give customers store credit for old gadgets exchanged.

Apple, with its battlecry, “We want to leave the world better than we found it” said that all of its retail stores are accepting old Apple devices now and if the customer has traded a device that could still be reused, the company will give that customer a store credit in return.

In their “Get an Apple Store Gift Card for the value of your old device” campaign, Apple said that if the iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC still has monetary value, then they will have it applied for an Apple Store Gift Card. This gift card can be used for purchases at any Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store. However, if the device doesn’t qualify for reuse, Apple will recycle it for free.

In its progress in the environmental campaign, Apple reported that they have recycled more than 421 million pounds of electronic waste.

“We believe we must be accountable for every Apple product at every stage of its use,” Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environmental Initiatives of Apple said, adding that “At Apple, we continue to put nature at the center of our business and design principles. We aim to create not just the best products in the world, but the best products for the world. We have a long way to go, but we are proud of our progress.

So if you are an Apple device holder and you want to trade them, here’s how to join the “Get an Apple Store Gift Card for the value of your old device” campaign.

1. Tell us about your device.
Only iPhone, iPad, and Mac or PC desktop and notebook computers qualify for the Apple Reuse and Recycling Program.

2. Get your estimate and ship your device.
Apple contracts with PowerON, who will estimate the fair market value of your product. PowerON will provide convenient prepaid options to package and ship your product to their facility for evaluation.

3. Receive your Apple Store Gift Card.
After a short time, your Apple Store Gift Card will arrive. Use it for purchases at any Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store.

(Photo courtesy of http://www.apple.com/environment/finite-resources/)


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The next rhythm based action game dubbed Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call to be released


The new addition to the series (Yes, it has a series of its own) for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is in the works now. It is called Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call and it will be released for Nintendo 3DS. The game will be released in North America later this year, according to Square-Enix’s announcement.

The game will still carry the existing features of its predecessor. You are still going to rhythmically tap your way out with hundreds of songs and music from the Final Fantasy universe. To be perfectly exact, there is a total of 221 songs in the game which includes music from the traditional Final Fantasy games, new additions to the series like Lightning Returns and A Realm Reborn and other spin-offs like Advent Children.

There are more than 60 playable characters in the game which are from a variety of the Final Fantasy universe itself, past and present. Some newer additions are Zack from Final Fantasy VII, Barret from the same game, Final Fantasy X-2’s Yuna and more.

Aside from the basic gameplay, which was carried over from the first game, Curtain Call will also have some additional game modes like Head to Head mode which will let players play competitively. The Quest Medley mode also returns to the game which lets the player decide how they will push through their quests playing songs in varied durations. Collecting cards is still intact with the game mechanics. These help the players boost their character’s stats to make the game much easier in the long run.

Square-Enix didn’t mention any exact date as to when the game will be released, but they did say that it will be out later this year under a $39.99 price tag in North America.

Image Source: YouTube (SQEXMembersNA)

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Sims 4 apparently jumped in with the DLC craze. Better hope they don't do the same DLC practice Capcom did in the past

Sims 4

Sims is becoming “it” too. What is “it”? The trend of video games these days where you don’t get ALL the game has to offer, in one single purchase. EA had a survey which pointed them to this new direction.

Maxis and EA’s new game Sims 4 will definitely come as a game that will have premium subscription. Prices will greatly vary depending on players’ preferences. Aside from the retail price of the game, you can “top” your game up with a variety of additional paid service packages, which lets you get access to multiple DLCs that features additional skins, clothes and optional content.

The full package (as of now) will be around $100. EA is doing a real close-up study on how things will go from here, how many fans will demand for Sims 4 and how deep their pockets can go. If you heard the recent news of an MMO treatment for the popular Elder Scrolls game with a monthly subscription fee that tops the game’s retail price, you’re in for a familiar ride here in Sims 4 as well.

This does not mean that players who shy away from such things won’t be able to play Sims 4. They can still purchase the game and play it as it is. That is, without the “additional” content and everything else that won’t come in bundled with the retail. (But you can just wait for some “optional” user-generated content or “mods” if the game starts to feel lacking after a few hours of playing it)

EA and Maxis already planned out a couple of DLCs for Sims 4 and it is to be expected that around 12 to 16 DLCs will be out after it gets released. All these can be accessed if you’re to invest on a premium subscription, but some people might think whatever happened to proper “expansion packs” which was, well, “proper” to most people in some sense. Is $100 worth it to see the entire content of the game? That’s for you to decide.

Image Source: YouTube (TheSims)

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Google announced that it will be launching the newest version of Hangouts for Android which will roll out the Play store very soon.

In the official post from Mike Dodd of Google, he shared what are going to be the highlights of the new Hangouts 2.1 to make chatting even better. Hangouts 2.1 will feature the following improvements, namely: merged conversations, simplified contact list, homescreen widget, and performance improvements.

With the merged conversations, Dodd said that SMS and Hangout conversations with the same recipient will be now combined into a single conversation. This means that users can now control whether they want to send a message via Hangouts or SMS. Moreover, this will also allow the user to always merge and unmerge conversations if they’d like to.

On the simplified contact list, Google said, “…now there’s two main sections in contacts — People you Hangout With, and Phone Contacts — making it simpler to navigate, and easier to use for SMS.”

Moreover, users can now add the Hangouts widget to their homescreen for quick access to recent conversations. Also with the upcoming Hangouts 2.1, users can expect better quality video calls, as well as improved SMS and MMS reliability with the performance improvements.

Current version 2.0.303 features the following:

1. SMS & MMS (Android 4.0+): Send/receive text messages with Hangouts! Import your existing messages, quickly switch between SMS & Hangouts, & start group conversations
2. Send animated GIFs
3. Share a location
4. Status: share what device you’re on, if you’re on a call, or your mood

Hangouts allows people to connect across computers, Android and Apple devices. It offers one-on-one and group conversations with photos, emoji, and video calls for free.

Aside from SMS services, here’s what you can do with Hangouts as described in Google Play Store:

1. Hangouts stay in sync across devices so you can start or continue them anywhere.
2. Choose from hundreds of emoji to help you make your point.
3. See what you talked about in the past, including shared photos and your video call history.
4. Get notifications just once. Once you see an alert, you won’t see repeats on your computer or other Android devices.
5. View collections of photos shared from each of your Hangouts.
6. Snooze notifications at times when you’d prefer to be undisturbed by alerts.
7. Quickly share a location with your friends.
8. Unlike Google Talk, Hangouts does not support “invisible” status.

(Photo courtesy of https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.talk)

GRID Autosport will be on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on on June 24 in North America and June 27 in Europe, Codemasters confirmed.

Ben Walke, Community Manager at Codemasters confirmed the good news in an official blog post introducing GRID as the next game in the GRID series and the descendant of TOCA Touring Cars.

He said that GRID aims to bring back the game in the line as a more authentic racing game. Walke said that for GRID, their team had gone back to a more authentic handling style having in mind that handling is actually one or two steps further towards simulation than Race Driver: GRID.

Aside from this, GRID Autosport will feature five distinct disciplines, namely: Touring, Endurance, Open Wheel, Tuner and Street.

However, the team said that though GRID Autosport will not feature a full simulation, they have made it to be authentic rather than clinical.

Moreover, GRID Autosport will be featuring 22 locations, plus a combined route list, which is more or less 100 locations overall. Codemasters said, “While we will have a selection of great city based locations it’s the circuits that make up the bulk of the roster and there’s a great variety on offer.”

Codemasters also said the with the GRID Autosport, it will allow gamers to become a professional racing driver. Codemasters said that as players make progress in the games, it will enable them to join and switch teams, fulfill sponsor demands and beat rivals. In addition, the company is proud to say that racing with a teammate is back, which means that a player will now have the chance to attack the cars ahead or defend their position.

Aside from GRID: Autosport, the confirmed video games to be released this June includes the following:

• BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma
• EA Sports UFC
• Enemy Front
• How to Train Your Dragon 2
Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Reflection
• MotoGP 2014
• Murdered: Soul Suspect
• PlayStation Vita Pets
• Sniper Elite 3
• The Elder Scrolls Online
• Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark
• Ultra Street Fighter IV
XBlaze Code: Embryo

with GRID Autosport we had the opportunity to make a much more focused motorsport game, a desire that many of you have expressed directly to us, and a game that in spirit goes back to some of our earlier titles in terms of content and handling,” Codemasters said.

GRID Autosport Announcement

(Photo courtesy of http://blog.codemasters.com/grid/04/introducing-grid-autosport/)

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It’s now official. Dragon Age: Inquisition will come to the PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on October 7, 2014.

Preorder is now available for the game. Players will get the Flames of the Inquisition pack as an added bonus.

The image you see here is the cover art of the game’s box when it will be released.

The release is also accompanied by a new gameplay trailer titled: ‘The Inquisitor Gameplay Trailer’.

Mark Darrah, Dragon Age executive producer, also adds in some interesting lore for the game and the player’s role as Inquisitor.

Order is a rare commodity in today’s Thedas.  Mages and templars are in conflict. The Empire of Orlais is locked in a civil war. Ferelden remains weak after the Fifth Blight. No one stands ready to take action when the sky rips open and demons start pouring out.

To face this incursion and uncover those behind it will require more than any one man or woman could muster. It will require dedicated, highly trained troops to ensure order is restored wherever it’s needed. It will require spies to ferret out those who stand to gain from the chaos or could be behind it. It will require diplomats with silver tongues to convince good men and woman to act when it’s easier to watch the world burn.

It will require the Inquisition.’

The game starts with you becoming the sole survivor in a magical explosion that creates, what is known as, the Breach, a massive hole in the sky at the heart of the trouble. There are a lot of speculations about what you really are. Questions such as: Are you the one responsible for the explosion? Could you be the chosen one selected to right all the wrongs in the world? Are you simply just lucky enough to survive?

The various races will come into play here as different races have different religions and their take on the events that occurred can also affect how you play the game.

This new game is quite promising and has gotten quite a lot of fan interest as there are quite a lot of changes since the last game’s installment.

Photo Source: Dragon Age official website