One of the greatest games of the past decade – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – is now available for a heavily discounted price.
The ever-economical online retailer CDKeys is selling The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Game of the Year Edition for PC at a bargain price of just £15.99. That’s well down on the £49.99 recommended retail price.
It’s also the cheapest price we can find the GOTY version of the game for, with most retailers selling it for anywhere between £19.99 and £44.99. Major retailer Tesco still lists the game for £24, for comparison.
What’s important to note about the GOTY version of the game is that it comes with both expansion packs: Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine. This is the cheapest we’ve seen the game plus expansions on sale for, so consider snapping up this bargain tout de suite.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an action RPG that was developed by Polish firm CD Projekt Red and released in 2015. It’s based on The Witcher series of fantasy books, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest role-playing games of all time.
The first expansion, Hearts of Stone, was released in October 2015, followed by Blood and Wine – which adds around 30 hours of additional gameplay – in May last year.
The base game and both expansions have all received widespread critical acclaim, with the Blood and Wine DLC being so comprehensive that it even won a number of Game of the Year awards all on its own.
We gave The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt a perfect 5/5 score, praising the game’s huge, coherent and immersive game world, the engaging game systems and storyline, the beautifully rendered characters and scenery, and the abundance of interesting playable content.
Here’s our verdict: “With commiserations to Bioware and Bethesda, Wild Hunt is the new RPG by which all other RPGs should be judged. Not only has CD Projekt Red delivered the largest and most convincing fantasy open-world we’ve ever seen, but a storyline, quests and systems that make it an incredibly compelling place to run, ride and sail around in.”
It continued: “It’s the GTA 5 or Red Dead Redemption of sword and sorcery sagas and the biggest, most breathtaking time sink you’re likely to play this year.”
The Game of Thrones season 7 premiere was illegally downloaded more than 90 million times, according to the latest piracy data.
Last weekend, hit TV series Game of Thrones returned to our TV screens for a seventh season and, as usual, online piracy figures for the premiere were through the roof. Thankfully, piracy monitoring firm MUSO has published fresh data about illegal downloads for the first episode of the new season, giving us an idea of the scale of the problem.
According to the data, the season opener of Game of Thrones was pirated an incredible 90 million times in just three days. Importantly, the majority of this traffic didn’t come from direct torrent downloads – as may have previously been the case – but through a new wave of copyright-infringing streaming services.
The data shows that 77,913,032 views of the new season came from these dodgy streaming portals, while torrent traffic was restricted to just 8,356,382 downloads. A further 4,949,298 views were allocated to direct download sites, while the remaining 523,109 were sourced through private torrent networks.
In a statement, MUSO CEO Andy Chatterley said: “There is no denying that these figures are huge, so they’re likely to raise more than a few eyebrows in the mainstream industry, but it’s in line with the sort of scale we see across piracy sites and should be looked at objectively.”
He continued: “What we’re seeing here isn’t just P2P torrent downloads but unauthorised streams and every type of piracy around the premiere. This is the total audience picture, which is usually unreported.”
It’s worth noting that MUSO’s figures are only an estimate based on data from web-based traffic tracker SimilarWeb, which means that Chinese streaming and torrent traffic isn’t included. It’s not clear how much that would’ve boosted the figures.
Here are the countries with the highest piracy activity for the new Game of Thrones premiere, according to MUSO:
USA: 15 million
UK: 6.2 million
Germany: 4.9 million
India: 4.3 million
Indonesia: 4.3 million
Philippines: 4.2 million
Canada: 3.2 million
France: 2.9 million
Turkey: 2.8 million
Vietnam: 2.4 million
Australia: 2.2 million
Russian Federation: 2.2 million
Netherlands: 1.8 million
Brazil: 1.8 million
Malaysia: 1.7 million
The next episode of Game of Thrones airs in the USA on Sunday night, or at 2am on Monday here in the UK.
Comic-Con 2017 is in full swing over in the states, which means the web is being inundated with teasers and trailers for some of the biggest upcoming TV shows and movies.
It’s tough to know what to get excited for given the sheer overabundance of news coming out of the show, but we’ve done our best to separate the wheat from the chaff and select some seriously prime viewing for you.
Here are some of the must-see teasers and trailers from Comic-Con 2017.
1. The Orville – Comic-Con 2017 trailer
One of the most exciting reveals from Comic-Con 2017 was a full-length trailer for The Orville, an upcoming comedy-drama sci-fi TV series that’s created by – and stars – Seth MacFarlane, the mastermind behind Family Guy.
The TV show, which is inspired by Star Trek and The Twilight Zone, is set to premiere on Sunday, September 10, and will also star Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, Penny Johnson Jerald, and Peter Macon.
2. Bright – Comic-Con 2017 trailer
Netflix is big on the action this year, and nothing proves that more than Bright, an upcoming original movie that has an enormous (for Netflix, anyway) $90 million budget.
Bright stars Will Smith as a Log Angeles Police Department officer who fights crime in an alternate universe where humans co-habit earth with monsters. He teams up with an Orc cop who’s played by Joel Edgerton, and will be gracing our screens as soon as December 22, 2017.
3. Thor: Ragnarok – Comic-Con 2017 trailer
Comic-Con wouldn’t be Comic-Con without some goodies from Marvel Studios, which is why we’ve been given a sizeable Thor: Ragnarok trailer to chew over.
Thor: Ragnarok is a direct sequel to 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, and lands as the seventeenth film instalment of the ever-ballooning Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Hemsworth reprises is role as Thor, but we’ll also see appearances from Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, and Anthony Hopkins.
The only problem is that you’ll have to wait until November 3, 2017 before you can actually watch the entire movie – sorry!
4. Star Trek: Discovery – Comic-Con 2017 trailer
Few upcoming TV series have generated more nerd-hype than the approach of Star Trek: Discovery. It’s the first series developed from the franchise since Enterprise finished back in 2005, and Trekkies are unsurprisingly frothing at the mouth for any clue on what to expect.
Sonequa Martin-Green stars as the First Officer of the USS Shenzhou, and will be joined by Terry Serpico, Maulik Pancholy, James Frain, Doug Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Anthony Rapp, Chris Obi, Shazad Latif, Jason Isaacs, and Mary Wiseman.
It’s expected to debut on September 24, 2017, and will be available through CBS in the USA and Canada, and Netflix elsewhere around the world.
5. Justice League – Comic-Con 2017 trailer
In a bid to prevent Marvel Studios from hogging the San Diego limelight, Warner Bros. Pictures has released a trailer for the DC-inspired Justice League superhero movie.
The film will be directed by Zack Synder (with Joss Whedon helming post-production direction), and features an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Milla, Ray Fisher, Ciarán Hinds, Amy Adams, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, and J.K. Simmons.
It releases in the USA on November 17, 2017, and will be available in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D.
6. Blade Runner 2049 – Comic-Con 2017 trailer
There’s also no shortage of hype for Blade Runner 2049, an upcoming neo-noir sci-fi follow-up to 1982’s original Blade Runner movie – itself inspired by Philip K. Dick’s legendary novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The film stars Ryan Gosling as a new blade runner – LAPD Officer K – and Harrison Ford, who reprises his role as Rick Deckard from the first movie. We’ll also see performances from Ana de Armas, Jared Leto, Mackenzie Davis, Sylvia Hoeks, Lennie James, Carla Juri, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista, Edward James Olmos, Barkhad Abdi, Hiam Abbass, and David Dastmalchian.
And the good news is that the release date is scheduled for a fast-approaching October 6.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says the iPhone is worth its high retail price, but warns of growing competition from China.
Smartphones across the world – and particularly in the UK – have become increasingly expensive as consumers demand more advanced features. The Apple iPhone is no exception, and regularly ranks as one of the most costly handsets available when a new version is released each year.
But Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak believes the high price – currently £599 for an iPhone 7, and expected to rise further with this year’s iPhone 8 –is entirely justified. Speaking at a technology forum at Tianan Cyber Park in Dongguan, Guangdong province, China, the ever-chatty Woz said: “Apple products are safe. And Apple’s pricing is high in the extreme. It’s a safe bet for a lot of people, and when you love Apple you are willing to pay for it.”
The comments, which come via the South China Morning Post, showcase Woz’s ongoing appreciated for Apple design, despite no longer working on Apple products himself. Although he technically remains an Apple employee and shareholder, Wozniak – who helped Steve Jobs kickstart Apple from a Californian garage – largely focuses on other ventures.
“In life, I don’t believe in quantity as much as I do in quality,” Wozniak went on. “So you may not have the hugest share in the market or be the number one, but you should have the best product you can possible build and Apple qualifies for that.”
He continued: “But Apple is not falling behind [in terms of features] at all. You can’t be number one at everything when you make a huge volume, tens of millions of a product. You have to figure out the manufacturing steps to make something reliably in those quantities.”
Despite his admiration for the latest roster of Apple devices, Wozniak also issued a warning about growing competition from the east. Apple’s growth in China has slowed of late, partly thanks to the proliferation of increasingly high-quality, low-priced smartphones:
“Here is what I admire about Chinese phones: really good, intelligent decisions about how to lower the cost but keep enough of the functionality in, because I am into products that are good, well-designed, nice-looking, but at prices that the average person can afford.”
He added that local brands “like Xiaomi and Huwai have been around for a long time and they create great products”.
The Ranger Rover Velar is the latest addition to the Range Rover family. Here’s everything you need to know about Jaguar Land Rover’s new SUV, including the Range Rover Velar release date, specs, features, price – and what it’s like to drive.
Sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are hugely popular, and remain one of the fastest growing sectors in motoring – along with electric cars. That’s why there’s no shortage of SUVs on the market; in fact, the Jaguar Land Rover portfolio alone now has nine such vehicles. The latest addition to this line-up is the Range Rover Velar, and it’s important because it ticks an empty box in the line-up.
The Velar is now the first mid-size Range Rover, filling what JLR calls the “white space” between the much smaller Evoque, and the marginally larger Range Rover Sport. It’s for people who enjoy the slick Evoque design but still want the motoring heft you get from a Sport or Range Rover proper. It’s got some decent innards, a gorgeous design, and is crammed full of tech.
Below, I’ll explain everything you need to know about the Range Rover Velar, including four reasons why we reckon it’s the one of the best Range Rovers ever. You’ll also find pricing information and some details about what it’s like to actually drive further down the page.
Here are four ways the Range Rover Velar is the coolest Range Rover yet:
1. Range Rover Velar Design: It’s seriously slick
Range Rover Velar Exterior
The overwhelming impression you get from the Range Rover Velar – both inside and out – is of minimalism. If Apple designed SUVs, this is probably what they’d look like.
The Velar’s chassis is very simple, composed of flat panels and subtle lines that give it a more gentle, curvaceous appearance than the Range Rover Evoque while retaining the large road presence of a Sport. To be exact, the wheelbase – the distance between the centres of the front and back wheels – is 2.87m, compared to the Evoque’s 2.66m wheelbase and the Sport’s 2.93m wheelbase. You can also get optional 22-inch wheels to further enhance the on-road presence.
There are some classic Jaguar Land Rover motifs on the exterior; a floating roof and clamshell bonnet, with a tapering silhouette that pulls the visual weight of the car towards the back. It’s typical Range Rover design, but it’s great to see that the muscular, ready-to-pounce stance continues to be a staple even with more modern iterations of the series.
The bonnet is long, which looks great from the outside, but can be slightly annoying in practice; it partially blocks your forward view when driving uphill, meaning you occasionally have to rely on drive-cams or extensive neck-craning.
Most of the chassis (about 80%) is built from aluminium; specifically, this is 6000-series aluminium that offers high-strength, allowing for a reduction in panel thickness from 1.5mm to 1.1mm – supposedly without strength compromise. The roof is also built from lightweight aluminium, helping keep the centre of gravity low and thus improving ride and handling.
The car is very flat-looking; in fact, even the door handles sit flush with the chassis until you press them, prompting them to slide outwards. This tapered, flat design has allowed for a drag co-efficient of just 0.32, which means it’s technically the most aerodynamic Land Rover to date.
Range Rover Velar Interior
The interior of the car is similarly reductionist too. Apparently, Jaguar Land Rover’s designers want you to feel like you’re sitting inside a sanctuary, and it’s fair to say they’ve achieved it.
It’s very spacious inside the Velar, with significant legroom available for both front-seat and rear-seat passengers, and the brunt of the infotainment systems are successfully squeezed into two touch-screen panels in the centre of the car. Air vents are slender, the “push to start” button is tucked (somewhat awkwardly) behind the steering wheel, and the instrument panel sits flush with the surface behind it. It’s all very iPhone, and it works very well.
However, this is a Range Rover, so there’s also been plenty of emphasis on getting the luxury feel just right. This is largely achieved through premium textile materials and a new “cut diamond” motif that’s set to appear on future JLR vehicles too. The sustainable premium textile used for the seat – offered as an alternative to leather – was developed with leading European designers at Kvadrat, and comes in Dapple Grey with a Suedecloth insert in either Light Oyster or Ebony.
There are four litres of storage space in the central cubby, 7.5 litres of space in the glovebox (available with optional cooling), and stowage compartments designed to accommodate 750ml drinks bottles in the lower door casings. For luggage, you get an impressive 632 litres of space, but this can be expanded to 1,731 litres by folding the rear seats flat – you’ll get a space of 1,795mm (long) x 1,274mm (wide).
All-in-all, sitting in a Range Rover Velar feels very zen, which is sort of what you expect from such a hulking vehicle – box, ticked.
2. Range Rover Velar Specs: Acceleration, fuel consumption and top speed
There are six core variants of the Range Rover Velar, three of which are diesel and three petrol. They all vary significantly in terms of automotive heft, so I’ll run through the most basic version and the most powerful model to give you a better idea of the car’s capability range. The long and short of it, however, is that the premium Velar offers sufficient oomph for Range Rover fans.
The least monstrous model is the 2.0L D180, which has a four-cylinder 16-valve 2-litre engine. With this model, JLR reckons you’ll manage 0 – 60mph in a relatively respectable 8.4 seconds. For comparison, even the top-spec Nissan Qashqai only manages in 9.1 seconds – although it’s a fair whack cheaper to boot.
The top speed of the cheapest Range Rover Velar is only 130mph, which isn’t particularly impressive given you’ll be forking out over £40,000 for the luxury of sitting in one. Perhaps more annoyingly, this top speed drops to 120mph if you opt for the basic 18-inch wheels. Part of the problem is that the Velar is a mid-size SUV, and is thus heavy. For instance, the lightest model is still a hefty 1,804kg – far higher than the 1,621kg Range Rover Evoque, by comparison.
Things improve when you start forking out cash for a better-equipped Velar though. If you’re interested in getting the top-spec 3.0L P380 V6 petrol variant, you can expect a far nippier 0 – 60mph time of just 5.3 seconds. That’s way faster than the 7.3 seconds it’ll take a high-end Evoque to manage the same acceleration, but not quite as nippy as the 4.7 seconds a Range Rover Sport can achieve.
With the best model, you’ll also get 450Nm (that’s 332lb ft) of torque at between 3,500 and 5,000 RPM, and a maximum of 380PS (280kW) of power at 6,500 RPM.
And in these troubling economic times, the other metric that’s important is fuel consumption. The more powerful the engine, the quicker your miles-per-gallon drops off unfortunately. So the most efficient model (by far) is the Ingenium D180 AWD Automatic, which achieves 45.6mpg in an urban setting, and rises to 57.7mpg in an extra-urban environment.
The combined mpg is 52.5mpg, which is about 30mpg less than you’d expect from a diesel Renault Clio and about the same as a diesel Land Rover Discovery Sport. The point, as always, is that SUVs aren’t exactly economical, so consider whether you really need such a hulking motor if you’re only going to be driving round the borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
3. Range Rover Velar: It looks nice, but can it go off-road too
Unlike many of the new, cheaper entrants into the SUV market, Jaguar Land Rover has made a concerted effort to ensure that Range Rovers can still go off-road without giving up at the sight of a first pebble on a country track.
A double-wishbone front suspension system is based on sports car designs, and allows for heightened stiffness – a boon for steering and handling in difficult positions. The aluminium body, as mentioned previously, is great for saving weight, so the Velar is surprisingly nippy over gravel and mud.
The suspension systems are, overall, fairly impressive, enabling driving on the following gradients:
Approach angle: 28.89 degrees
Breakover angle: 23.5 degrees
Departure angle: 29.5 degrees
It’s also worth noting that the suspension can lift the main body of the car upwards into an off-road position, protecting the undercarriage from jutting obstacles. This also means that the Velar offers a very impressive maximum wading depth of 650mm, and a peak ground clearance of 251mm.
There are multiple different off-road driving modes accessible, aside from the usual ‘Auto’, ‘Comfort’, and ‘Dynamic’. Probably the most useful is ‘Grass, Gravel, and Snow’, although ‘Mud and Ruts’ will find great use from anyone living on a rainy mountainside. There’s also Adaptive Dynamics, which monitors the wheel movement 500 times every second and varies the damping forces at all four corners of the vehicle, ensuring “optimised suspension stiffness” as JLR calls it.
And while not strictly an off-road capability, it’s worth mentioning at this point that all models are capable of towing a maximum weight of at least 2,400kg – but this rises to 2,500kg on select versions of the Velar.
4. Range Rover Velar Features: The most hi-tech Range Rover yet
For years, automakers have been battling it out in terms of in-car tech, and Jaguar Land Rover certainly hasn’t skimped with the latest Range Rover Velar.
For a start, there’s a wide array of driver-assistance systems either fitted as standard, or offered as an optional extra. Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is one of the more useful assistance systems, and utilises a forward-facing stereo camera in the windscreen to monitor the road in front of the vehicle. If it detects an imminent collision, visual and audible warnings are launched and full braking is triggered automatically.
This stereo camera is also used for both the Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keep Assist (LKA) functions. The camera will monitor road markings – as well as your use of indicators – to try and prevent you from drifting out of your lane. The LDW will issue a haptic warning through the steering wheel, while the LKA will actually apply counter-steering to pressure the vehicle inside the lane.
But it gets even more wacky: there’s a system called Driver Condition Monitoring that uses steering, throttle, and brake inputs – as well as lane departure – to determine if you’re tired. If it reckons you need a kip, a coffee cup symbol will show up in the instrument cluster to encourage you to either get some sleep or throw back a few espressos.
Other cool features including a heads-up display for the driver that shows speed (and local speed limits), adaptive cruise control, and parking assist systems.
The infotainment system in the car is similarly cool, comprising of two high-definition touchscreens using JLR’s new Touch Pro Duo software. There are also rotary dials for a nice haptic feel, each of which has a built-in display inside them – and a 5-inch display between them. These infotainment systems can be customised to suit your needs and, although they take some getting used to, offer an effective way to manage your in-car tech.
As expect, Jaguar has fitted the Range Rover Velar out with Meridian speaker systems, with 17- and 23-speaker options available. There are two USB ports in the front and three 12V power sockets throughout the vehicle, although you can add a further 12V socket to the front and two more USB ports in the back for an optional fee. And the front seats have their own 20-way adjustment and heating, cooling and massage functions.
Range Rover Velar Preview: What is it like to drive?
I had a chance to spend two days driving the Range Rover Velar in Norway across both on-road and off-road surfaces. It’s not a huge amount of time, but I’ve been left with some prevailing thoughts about the car.
For a start, it’s really gorgeous, and the minimalist design makes it – at least in my opinion – the most attractive Range Rover available right now. The Evoque’s design is starting to feel a little tired, and the Range Rover Sport does little to stand out from the crowd, but the Velar is certainly a head-turner – and was very popular amongst the Norway locals.
The interior of the car is also a real work of art, with a large and attractive infotainment system, spacious seating arrangements, and plenty of options to improve comfort. The materials used all feel very premium, and there’s no mistaking the fact you’re sitting in a luxury Range Rover.
As far as driving on tarmac goes, there’s not much to say. The whole point of an SUV is that the ride is very smooth on normal roads, and the Velar glides along as expected. It felt reasonably dynamic on the road, which is likely a result of the lightweight chassis and highly customisable ride options, and there was sufficient responsiveness in the throttle and braking systems.
Off-road, the Velar shined much more. Setting the vehicle to ‘Muds and Ruts’ and raising the suspension height allowed me to traverse very steep, damp, rocky mountainsides and fast-flowing streams with no bother. Cruise control systems and driver assist cameras – in partnership with the off-road, all-terrain mode – meant that ascending quickly across seriously rough terrain was extremely simple.
Overall, I’m convinced that the Velar is going to quickly become one of the most popular Range Rover models. Like the Evoque, it offers a standout design, but you feel much more as though you’re driving a proper SUV. The latter perk is going to become increasingly valuable to car buyers as more and more low-grade SUVs flood the market in the coming years. Of all the Range Rover models, I daresay the Velar is the most fun and well-rounded.
Range Rover Velar Price and Release Date
The Range Rover Velar goes on sale from summer 2017, and will be priced from £44,830 on-the-road.
US cellular network Verizon has given customers a taste of what they could expect if net neutrality laws are eroded.
The nation’s largest network has admitted to throttling Netflix, YouTube and other video portal speeds at a maximum of 10Mbps.
This apparent violation of net neutrality rules, first noticed by Reddit users on Thursday, has been explained by the network as a temporary test geared towards optimising video performance.
In a statement (via The Verge), the carrier says: “We’ve been doing network testing over the past few days to optimise the performance of video applications on our network. The testing should be completed shortly. The customer video experience was not affected.”
The company also asserted that most users shouldn’t have been affected by the tests because those speeds are just fine for handling 1080p video.
That wasn’t the case for everyone though. One Reddit poster explained that Netflix was “throttled at a constant 9.59Mbps.” At the 1440p streaming resolution “it wasn’t even able to keep up and buffered a few times,” the poster asserted.
Although we have to take Verizon at its word right now and assume this was a temporary test, it may be a sign of things to come should efforts to revoke net neutrality laws in the United States succeed.
Earlier this month a raft of the world’s biggest online companies held a ‘day of action’ against the plans, which go against the founding principles of the world wide web.
Should the Federal Communications Commission succeed in its goal, web companies could face paying more to provide customers with ‘fast lane’ access to content.