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Review: CalDigit’s Mac hub Thunderbolt Station 2 competes on pricing, size, and build quality

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Despite USB 3.0’s growing popularity with consumers, Thunderbolt remains a viable alternative for professional users, particularly video makers willing to pay a premium for guaranteed high speeds. Over the past year, several Thunderbolt 2 hubs have come to market — boxes with one Thunderbolt 2 connection to a computer, one for a Thunderbolt accessory, and multiple ports to connect USB, audio, video, and Ethernet accessories. The idea: keep all of your gear hooked up to the hub, then use a single cable to connect it all to your Mac.

Known for large, heavy, professional-grade Mac accessories, CalDigit has just released Thunderbolt Station 2 ($199), which squeezes the same functionality offered by Belkin’s $300 Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD and Elgato’s $230 Thunderbolt 2 Dock (review) into a smaller, denser-feeling enclosure, at a lower MSRP — sort of. In reality, Thunderbolt Station 2 has some very specific benefits and one limitation that place it on par with its competitors, making the choice between them a more personal decision…



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Sid Meier’s Starships, a new interstellar strategy game, heads to Mac & iPad early this year

2K and developer Firaxis today announced Sid Meier’s Starships, a new interstellar strategy game arriving early this year on Mac, iPad and PC. The game extends the sci-fi universe introduced last year in Civilization: Beyond Earth, the latest title in Sid Meier’s Civilization series.

The Starships press release describes gameplay as taking “the role of a fleet commander after the age of the Seeding, and tasking them to lead their starships across the universe to defend planets against various enemies, grow their empire, and usher in a new age of peace in the galaxy.” That includes turn-based combat with customizable starships and dynamically generated missions.

Not only will Starships borrow from the universe of Civilization: Beyond Earth, but players with both games will also find integration between the two that 2K says “will enhance and expand the depth of both game experiences.”

“When designing Starships, I was intrigued by the idea of exploring the next chapter in the story of Civilization: Beyond Earth. What happens after we colonize our new home and eventually build starships to take to the stars? What has become of our long-lost brothers and sisters from the planet Earth?” said Sid Meier, director of creative development at Firaxis Games. “My goal was to create an experience that focuses on starship design and combat within a universe filled with interstellar adventure, diplomacy, and exploration.”

2K says the game will arrive sometime in early 2015 for Mac, PC and iPad. Screenshots are below:

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2K brings XCOM: Enemy Unknown expansion ‘Enemy Within’ to iOS as standalone app

2K games, maker of BioShock and XCOM have released a new “expansion” for the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown titled Enemy Within. While the company calls the game an “expansion,” the term “sequel” might be more apt for the iPhone version, which functions as a standalone app rather than an add-on to the previous game.

Enemy Within, which was released for PCs exactly one year ago this past Tuesday to high praise from players, builds on the gameplay of Enemy Unknown, but adds several features and updated mechanics, including new enemies, weapons, abilities, and even an expanded story.

XCOM: Enemy Within is available on the App Store for $12.99. In lieu of a change log, the full App Store description, including a detailed list of the new content, in included below:

COM®: Enemy Within is a standalone expansion to the 2012 strategy game of the year XCOM: Enemy Unknown and it’s now available on iOS devices! Enemy Within features the core gameplay of Enemy Unknown plus more exciting content. Check out the new soldiers, abilities, enemies, maps, missions, and multiplayer mode for the fresh new strategy gaming experience!

• New Soldier Abilities: Build new base facilities to unlock unearthly new capabilities for XCOM’s soldiers. The Genetics Lab will allow soldiers to receive powerful genetic modifications, and the Cybernetics Lab allows soldiers to use devastating mechanized cybersuits in battle.

• New Weapons and Equipment: Give your operatives an extra tactical edge with new projects from your engineering team and the Foundry.

• New Enemy Threats: Adopt new tactics to counter the threats from two new alien types and a deadly new organization known as EXALT.

• New Strategic Resource: A valuable new alien resource, known as Meld, has been discovered. Secure it on the battlefield, research a new technology to unlock its power, and use it carefully back at base to unlock new upgrades and weaponry.

• New Story Elements: Investigate a terrifying threat in an abandoned fishing village, and defend the XCOM headquarters from alien attack in a series of new plot-driven missions.

• New Multiplayer maps, units, and abilities: Create your custom squad from a wider array of options and dominate your opponent in intense, one-on-one, turn-based matches.

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‘Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel’ now available on Mac

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Borderlands: The Pre Sequel, the latest installment in the popular Borderlands series, launches today for Mac on the same day as the console and PC release. The Mac version of the game is developed by Aspyr and includes cross-platform multiplayer and a promise of all future DLC:

Discover the story behind Borderlands 2 villain, Handsome Jack, and his rise to power. Taking place between the original Borderlands and Borderlands 2, the Pre-Sequel gives you a whole lotta new gameplay featuring the genre blending fusion of shooter and RPG mechanics that players have come to love… Float through the air with each low gravity jump while taking enemies down from above using new ice and laser weapons. Catch-a-ride and explore the lunar landscape with new vehicles allowing for more levels of destructive mayhem.

The game is available starting today for $59.99 through GameAgent (the web store run by developers of the Mac version, Aspyr) as well as through Steam. Aspyr said previously that it’s planning a Mac App Store release of the game for October 16.

The game requires a Mac running OS X 10.9.4 (Mavericks) or later and at least a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of RAM, and 13GB of hard drive space. Supported video cards include NVIDIA GeForce 8800, ATI Radeon HD 2600, or Intel HD 3000 with 256 MB of Video Memory.

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The Bureau – XCOM Declassified arrives on the Mac App Store

Originally released in August for Xbox 360, PS3, and Windows, 2K and TransGaming just released The Bureau — XCOM Declassified on the Mac App Store. The release follows the launch of the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown game on Mac earlier this year, but unlike that game, XCOM Declassified is a third-person shooter with strategy elements taken from the classic XCOM titles. The game received some mixed reviews, but was generally well received by most.

The year is 1962. JFK is President and the Cold War has the nation gripped by fear – but a far more powerful and insidious enemy than communism is threatening America. Known only to a select few, a top-secret government unit called The Bureau begins investigating and concealing a series of mysterious attacks by an otherworldly enemy. As special agent William Carter, call the shots, pull the trigger and lead your squad in a gripping third-person tactical shooter set within a high-stakes, covert war to defend humanity. The Bureau’s mission is clear – survive, adapt and overcome the enemy threat to protect the citizens from the truth.

The Bureau – XCOM Declassified is available now for $34.99 on the Mac App Store. Minimum system requirements below:

OS: Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.7.5 or higher
Processor: Intel Core i series processor
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Hard Drive: 15 GB free
Video Memory: 512MB
Video Card: AMD HD4870 / NVIDIA 8800GT or better*
Input: Keyboard and 3 button Mouse or Logitech Dual Analog Stick Gamepad

(via iMore)

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“2K Drive” iOS exclusive lands on the App Store for $6.99

2K has been teasing its upcoming “2K Drive” title developed by Lucid Games in recent weeks, and tonight the game is officially landing in the App Store. The iOS exclusive won’t be going the popular freemium model route, as 2K has informed us it will be selling the iPhone/iPad game for $6.99. The game features a number of real world vehicles, 100+ unique events, 25+ tracks, and a “RaceFace” feature that will let users put their own face on their character in the game. Licensed vehicles include Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GM, Icon, Local Motors, Mazda, McLaren, Nissan and So-Cal. The game’s official launch trailer is above and full details are in the press release below.

 2K Drive Now Available Worldwide for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Immerse yourself in a new dynamic automotive experience for your mobile deviceJoin the conversation on Twitter using the hash tag #2KDrive

New York, NY – September 5, 2013 – 2K and Lucid Games, a boutique studio founded by creators of the Blur and Project Gotham Racing series, announced today that 2K Drive is now available for download from the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch for $6.99. 2K Drive is a cutting-edge racing simulator that brings the depth and richness of console-based driving mechanics to gamers on the go. Featuring high-quality licensed and original cars, iconic locations, precision controls, and an integrated feed for the latest automotive news, 2K Drive brings the fast-paced world of automotive racing culture right to gamers’ fingertips.

With a wide variety of racing modes for both single and multiplayer, 2K Drive promises a dynamic gaming experience for motorsports enthusiasts of all interest levels. Offering more than 100+ unique events on 25+ tracks in five environments, 2K Drive provides mobile gamers with the chance to get behind the wheel of more than 25 licensed cars, from manufacturers including Dodge, Fiat, Ford, GM, Icon, Local Motors, Mazda, McLaren, Nissan and So-Cal. And by using the “RaceFace” function, players can put their own face on their driver’s, as well as see their friends behind the wheels of their cars when playing in asynchronous multiplayer.

2K Drive was designed to offer the most comprehensive driving simulation experience in today’s mobile market,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “The game successfully combines the appeal of a premier console racing game with some of the leading automotive editorial content available on the Web, to create an all-inclusive entertainment hub for auto-enthusiasts.”

Through the game’s live newsfeed and multiplayer options, 2K Drive also offers players the opportunity to build a strong, authentic connection with car enthusiasts and automotive communities. Gamers will have the opportunity to view video and photo galleries, as well as read, “like” and “share” the latest news from popular automotive blogs and outlets, such as Car & Driver, Road & Track, Autoblog,Between The White Lines (BTWL), CaniBeat, Cars X Hype, Distraction Control, DUB Magazine, eGarage, Electric Cars Report, Fatlace,The Lowdown, Hemmings Motor News, Hooniverse, My Life @ Speed, and My Ride Is Me.

“Lucid has been thrilled to work with 2K in creating a rich and authentic mobile gaming experience that transcends traditional racing games on the platform,” added Pete Wallace, studio head at Lucid Games. “2K Drive immerses players in a vast expanse of dynamic content that allows each user to tailor their individual experience to better suit their own interest and level of engagement with the auto genre.”

2K Drive is available for $6.99 from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.AppStore.com/2KDrive.

For the latest breaking news surrounding the game, look for updates on the 2K Drive Facebook and Twitter pages.

2K is a division of 2K, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO).

About 2K

Founded in 2005, 2K develops and publishes interactive entertainment globally for console systems, handheld gaming systems and personal computers, including smartphones and tablets, which are delivered through physical retail, digital download, online platforms and cloud streaming services. 2K publishes titles in today’s most popular gaming genres, including shooters, action, role-playing, strategy, sports, casual, and family entertainment. The 2K label has some of the most talented development studios in the world today, including Firaxis Games, Visual Concepts, Irrational Games, 2K Marin, 2K Australia, 2K Czech, Cat Daddy Games and 2K China. 2K’s stable of high quality titles includes the critically acclaimed BioShock®Borderlands™ and XCOM® franchises, the beloved Sid Meier’sCivilization series, the popular WWE 2K franchise and NBA 2K, the #1 rated and #1 selling basketball franchise*. 2K is headquartered in Novato, California and is a wholly owned label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO). For more information, please visit www.2K.com.

*According to 2008 – 2013 Metacritic.com and The NPD Group estimates of U.S. retail video game sales through July 2013.