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Rockstar reveals launcher, gives away best GTA game as incentive

Just what we all need – another launcher on our PC. Ah shit, here we go again.

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Rockstar Launcher GTA San Andreas

Just what we all need – another launcher on our PC. Ah shit, here we go again.

Xbox. EA. Ubisoft. Bethesda. Blizzard. Epic. CD Projekt Red. Every publisher and its dog is getting into having its own launcher. Hell, even Valve – with its all-conquering Steam storefront and launcher – is still technically a game developer and publisher.

Do you know doesn’t have its own launcher? Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption developer and publisher, Rockstar. Sorry. That should say “didn’t”. Rockstar didn’t have its own launcher.

Announced today on the Rockstar Games website, the new Rockstar launcher is exactly what you’d expect: it’s a launcher, for your PC, to purchase and play Rockstar’s games. What’s the incentive for Rockstar to do this? Well, the reasons are threefold.

First, there’s player retention. Take the Epic Games Store as a for-instance; Epic has been amassing a userbase with free games and exclusives, in the hope that it will keep players on its platform. It’s the same with Ubisoft’s Uplay, EA’s Origin; if you’re on a bespoke storefront, you’re not wandering off and buying other people’s games you saw through a different shop window.

Then, there’s control. CD Projekt Red’s Good Old Games store, for instance, makes a big feature of the fact its games are DRM-free, and can be played without a constant internet connection to its servers. There’s no indication that Rockstar will implement anything weird and wonderful, yet, but they can control aspects of their own platform, like the terms and conditions, cloud saves, and the requirement for a Rockstar Social Club account.

And finally, there are the financials of it all. Steam takes a 30% cut of sales revenue, leaving 70% for the publishers and developers that use the service. Epic, meanwhile, takes a 12% cut for their storefront. The first-party storefronts, however? There are no fees or cut to pay; at least, to your competitors. Obviously they cost money to develop and maintain, so they’re not exactly free, but there’s an argument that you’d rather spend that money on your own product than hand it over to a competitor.

But what’s good for Rockstar isn’t necessarily good for the punters. So what’s in it for you lot, to download and install and use the Rockstar launcher? Why, free stuff, of course!

Specifically, that’s the best GTA gameGrand Theft Auto: San Andreas – free to download and keep for a limited time. Rockstar hasn’t specified how long San Andreas will be free to play and keep, but it could presumably be withdrawn at any time.

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

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The Last of Us Part II is delayed, again

Bad news from the Naughty Dogs: The Last of Us Part II is delayed, again. (And this time there’s no new release date pencilled in.)

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The Last of Us Part II delayed
Naughty Dog / Thumbsticks

Bad news from the Naughty Dogs: The Last of Us Part II is delayed, again. (And this time there’s no new release date pencilled in.)

The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc with the video game industry. From event cancellations to production shortages to store closures game delays, it seems nothing is safe from the knock-on effects of the worst crisis the world has seen in years.

(And while you could argue that video games are trivial in the wake of the human cost of COVID-19 – and you’d be absolutely right – it’s worth remembering that they’re still important in their own small way. In addition to being an enormous employer, of a job that can mostly be done from home, they offer entertainment and escapism at a time where we’re all stuck in isolation.)

But this next piece of COVID-19 cancellation news really stings: The Last of Us Part II has been delayed. Again.

In a statement, developer Naughty Dog said:

“As you’ve likely just seen, the release of The Last of Us Part II has been delayed. We’re sure this news is just as disappointing to you as it is to us. We wanted to reach out to all of you in our community to give you a little more information.

The good news is, we’re nearly done with development of The Last of Us Part II. We are in the midst of fixing our final bugs.

However, even with us finishing the game, we were faced with the reality that due to logistics beyond our control, we couldn’t launch The Last of Us Part II to our satisfaction. We want to make sure everyone gets to play The Last of Us Part II around the same time, ensuring that we’re doing everything possible to preserve the best experience for everyone. This meant delaying the game until such a time where we can solve these logistic issues.

We were bummed about this decision but ultimately understood it’s what’s best and fair to all of our players. We’re hoping that this won’t be a long delay and we’ll update you as soon as we have new information to share.

We wish you all, your families, and your friends the best of health. Thank you for being amazing fans and your continued support.” – Naughty Dog

The key takeaway here is that The Last of Us Part II now doesn’t have a release date. That means it’s effectively delayed indefinitely, but the game is nearly complete, so when pandemic-related logistical issues subside it sounds like Naughty Dog and Sony will be able to get the game out fairly sharpish.

Maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world that a game about the terrifyingly violent breakdown of human society in the wake of a global pandemic won’t release smack in the middle of a terrifying global pandemic.

(But it’s still a damn shame.)


Follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates on the latest gaming news.

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Save up to 80% in the Nintendo eShop Spring Sale

Over 300 games are discounted in the new Nintendo Switch eShop Spring sale.

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Nintendo eShop Spring Sale
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

Over 300 games, including The Witcher 3, Sonic Mania, and Assassin’s Creed: The Rebel Collection, are discounted in the new Nintendo Switch eShop Spring sale.

Following on from this week’s new PlayStation Store sale and Xbox savings, Nintendo Switch owners can now enjoy some tempting game discounts. The big Nintendo eShop Spring sale includes over 300 games, with some recent big-hitters getting decent price cuts.

Top of the list is a 30% price cut for CD Projekt Red’s impressive port of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Ubisoft’s excellent Assassin’s Creed The Rebel Collection is also reduced by 30%, and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is chopped by 75%. Alien: Isolation, Gris, and Call of Juarez: Gunslinger are also games we liked.

Other recommendations include the wonderful Sonic Mania, Playtonic’s much-improved second game, Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, and Larien’s engrossing RPG, Divinity: Original Sin 2. Add in a huge number of indie bargains, and there’s plenty to enjoy.

The sale runs in Europe until April 19, 2020. A batch of first-party Nintendo games will be added to the lineup on April 9 including The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and Kirby Star Allies.

In the meantime, here are some more sale highlights. Visit the Nintendo eShop in your country for the full list of discounts.

Nintendo eShop Spring Sale Highlights

  • Assassin’s Creed 3: Remastered – 63% off
  • Assassin’s Creed The Rebel Collection – 30% off
  • Axiom Verge – 50% off
  • Bastion – 80% off
  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy – 49% off
  • Diablo III: Eternal Collection – 48% off
  • Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition – 40% off
  • Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition – 30% off
  • Gris – 50% off
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice – 50% off
  • Iconoclasts – 30% off
  • Just Dance 2020 – 60% off
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle – 75% off
  • Metro 2033 Redux – 30% off
  • Metro: Last Light Redux – 30% off
  • Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove – 30% off
  • Sonic Mania – 30% off
  • Spyro Reignited Trilogy – 49% off
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — Complete Edition – 30% off
  • Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince – 50% off
  • Torchlight II – 30 off
  • Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair – 33% off

More from Thumbsticks

For this week’s new Nintendo Switch games, read our eShop release roundup. And for more video games sales and savings, follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

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A modern classic comes to PlayStation Plus in April 2020

An all-time PS4 great and an overlooked racer are the free games coming to PlayStation Plus in April 2020.

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PlayStation Plus
Sony / Thumbsticks

An all-time PS4 great and an overlooked rally racer are the free PlayStation Plus games for April 2020.

Another month, another duo of excellent free games for PlayStation Plus subscribers. The highlight is one of Naughty Dog’s finest, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

Originally released for PS4 in 2016, Uncharted 4 received acclaim from all quarters, including Thumbsticks. In our review of the year, Tom described it as the “perfect a send-off for one of gaming’s great modern characters.” We expect many PlayStation fans have already played the game, but don’t miss this opportunity if you haven’t.

April’s second PS Plus freebie is DIRT Rally 2.0. The problem with many games from Codemasters is that they are reliably reliable. And so it proves here. DIRT Rally 2.0 is a full-featured simulation of a sport that oozes quality on every turn and in every gear change. There’s a learning curve, but with a little patience, a generous and absorbing racing simulation awaits.

This month’s free PS Plus games are available to download from April 7-May 4, 2020.

PlayStation Plus free games – April 2020

  • DIRT Rally 2.0
  • Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

March’s PlayStation Plus games – Shadow of the Colossus, and Sonic Forces – remain available to download until next week.


Bookmark the Thumbsticks new releases page for weekly updates on the latest Xbox One, Switch, and PS4 games. You can also follow us on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

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Save up to 50% in the PlayStation Store Spring sale

Start the new month with some big PlayStation 4 discounts in the PlayStation Store Spring sale.

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PlayStation Store sale - Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Respawn / Sony / Thumbsticks

Start the month with some big savings on PlayStation 4 video games in the new PlayStation Store Spring sale.

As one sale ends, another begins. A new PlayStation Store promotion starting today celebrates the spring season with a raft of discounts on some excellent PS4 games.

Players with the urge to escape planet Earth can leave their troubles behind with discounts on the well-liked Journey To The Savage Planet from Typhoon Studios. No Man’s Sky, The Outer Worlds, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order also offer budget adventures to galaxies far, far away.

Discounted PS4 exclusives include SIE Bend Studio’s ode to biking among the undead, Days Gone, and Santa Monica Studio’s glorious reinvention of God of War. Other highlights include Two Point Hospital, Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, Yakuza 6, and Death Stranding.

The PlayStation Spring Sale ends on April 28 with a fresh influx of games arriving in two weeks. Here are some of our sale recommendations, and Anthem.

PlayStation Store Spring sale Highlights

  • A Way Out
  • Anthem
  • AO Tennis 2
  • Arizona Sunshine
  • Assassin’s Creed Triple Pack: Black Flag, Unity, Syndicate
  • Batman: Arkham Collection
  • Bioshock: The Collection
  • Borderlands 3
  • Bully
  • Code Vein
  • Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
  • Dark Souls III
  • Days Gone
  • Death Stranding
  • Diablo III: Eternal Collection
  • Doom (2016)
  • Doom (1993)
  • Dragon Ball FighterZ
  • FIFA 20
  • eFootball PES 2020
  • Far Cry New Dawn
  • Final Fantasy XIV
  • God of War
  • Job Simulator
  • Journey To The Savage Planet
  • Kingdom Hearts III
  • L.A. Noire
  • Mafia III
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  • Mortal Kombat XI
  • Need For Speed Heat
  • Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
  • No Man’s Sky
  • The Outer Worlds
  • Project Cars 2
  • Red Dead Redemption 2: Ultimate Edition
  • Soulcalibur VI
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
  • Tetris Effect
  • Two Point Hospital
  • Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life

Head over to the PS Store to see the full list of over 600 discounted games.


For the latest video game sales, follow Thumbsticks on FacebookGoogle News, Twitter, and Flipboard. If you’re looking for something new to play, read our review of Doom Eternal.

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We hate to ask, but global advertising revenues are the lowest they've ever been. It's killing the online publishing world. If you found this article interesting or entertaining and you want to support quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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April’s Xbox Games with Gold lineup is reasonable

Microsoft has revealed the four (pretty decent) games coming to Xbox Games with Gold in April 2020.

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Xbox Games with Gold
Microsoft / Thumbsticks

Microsoft has revealed the four (pretty decent) games coming to Xbox Games with Gold in April 2020.

April’s lineup of free games for Xbox Live Gold members begins today with Project Cars 2. Slightly Mad’s racing games are often overlooked. And if it wasn’t for the Forza series, they would probably be held in higher regard. Project Cars 2 is definitely worth a spin and available to download for the entire month.

It’s joined mid-April by the Knights of Pen and Paper Bundle, which includes two clever and cute RPGs from Behold Studios.

This month’s Xbox 360 selection is headlined by the 2014 HD remaster of Lionhead’s OG Xbox RPG, Fable Anniversary. The game still holds up, just don’t mention the acorns. This month’s Games with Gold lineup is completed by Toybox Turbos, a fun table-top racer from Codemasters. Both Xbox 360 games are also playable on Xbox One.

The Games with Gold titles for April are available during the following dates.

Xbox Games With Gold – April 2020

Xbox One

  • Project CARS 2 – April 1 – 30, 2020
  • Knights of Pen and Paper Bundle – April 16 – May 15, 2020

Xbox 360 and Xbox One

  • Fable Anniversary – April 1 – 15, 2020
  • Toybox Turbos – April 16 – 30, 2020

In the meantime, one of last month’s free Xbox games – Shantae: Half-Genie Hero –  is still available to download until April 15, 2020.


Get updates on the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 video games from our new releases page. And follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook for daily news updates.

Thumbsticks needs your help

We hate to ask, but global advertising revenues are the lowest they've ever been. It's killing the online publishing world. If you found this article interesting or entertaining and you want to support quality games writing, then please consider supporting us via Patreon, buying us a coffee, or subscribing to our newsletter.


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