Despite its problems, Anthem was the best-selling game in the US last month

Why it matters: By BioWare’s own admission, Anthem had a far from smooth launch, but that didn’t stop it from becoming the best-selling game in the US during February. Additionally, it was the second top-selling game for the whole of 2019 so far and had the second highest launch-month sales in BioWare’s history, beaten only by Mass Effect 3.

Industry-tracking firm The NPD Group’s latest sales report reveals that only Kingdom Hearts III has sold more copies in 2019 than Anthem, and that’s not counting the shooter’s PC digital sales. It’s likely that the amount of money EA threw behind its marketing campaign and the hype it generated resulted in plenty of preorders.

Anthem received mostly average to negative reviews from critics, and it’s suffered plenty of bugs, crashes and performance issues following its release, but BioWare says it has delivered over 200 improvements through patches and live updates, and it promises more to come.

Other top-selling games in February included Jump Force, whose launch sales are the third-highest ever for a Bandai Namco game. This was followed by Kingdom Hearts III and Far Cry New Dawn—another title that wasn’t loved by critics. The excellent Metro Exodus was eighth, even without PC sales being counted, setting a launch-month sales record for the franchise. It beat Metro: Last Light by nearly 50 percent.

In the hardware category, the Nintendo Switch was the best-selling console for both February and 2019 as a whole, giving Nintendo its best February in terms of money made from hardware since 2011.

Overall hardware spending, however, was down 12 percent YoY to $277 million, but spending on software across console, portable, and PC reached $457 million, up 15 percent. Year-to-date software spending, meanwhile, was up 10 percent to $896 million.

Full charts are as follows:

February 2019 US Sales

Top 20 Games All Platforms

1.Anthem^

2. Jump Force

3. Kingdom Hearts III

4. Far Cry New Dawn

5. Red Dead Redemption II

6. Resident Evil 2

7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*

8.Metro: Exodus^

9. NBA 2K19

10. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4^

11. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*

12. Mario Kart 8*

13. Grand Theft Auto V

14. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

15. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*

16. Minecraft#

17. Super Mario Party*

18. Rainbow Six Siege

19. Madden NFL 19^

20. Spider-Man

2019 Year-To-Date Top 10 Games

1. Kingdom Hearts III

2. Anthem^

3. Resident Evil 2

4. Jump Force

5. Red Dead Redemption II

6. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*

7. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4^

8. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe*

9. NBA 2K19

10. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

All Platforms 12 Months Ending February 2019

1. Red Dead Redemption II

2. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4^

3. NBA 2K19

4. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate*

5. Madden NFL 19^

6. Spider-Man

7. Far Cry 5

8. God of War

9. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

10. Mario Kart 8*

* Digital sales not included

^ PC digital sales not included

# Minecraft digital sales on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One included

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Google Photos flaw let attackers grab users' location data


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Researchers have revealed a now-patched flaw that would allow hackers to track your location history using Google Photos. Ron Masas, from security company Imperva, explains in a blog post that Google Photos — which was recently subject to an Android TV bug — was vulnerable to browser-based timing attacks, which could leverage a photo’s image data to approximate the time of a visit to a specific place or country.

For this attack to work, though, a user would have to be tricked into opening a malicious website while logged into Google Photos, and the hacker would have to dedicate a certain amount of effort to the attack, so it was never a prevalent risk. However, as Mases — who recently uncovered a similar vulnerability with Facebook Messenger — notes, browser-based side-channel attacks are still regularly overlooked. “While big players like Google and Facebook are catching up,” he said, “most of the industry is still unaware.”

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Amazon releases a sub-$100 Kindle you can read in the dark


Amazon

You don’t have to shell out over $100 for a Kindle Paperwhite if all you really want is to be able to read your ebooks in the dark. Amazon has announced a new entry for its basic Kindle line, and unlike its predecessors, it comes with adjustable lighting. Simply called the “all-new Kindle,” the $90 device also has an updated e-ink screen with better contrast and a glare-free capacitive touchscreen display like its more expensive cousins. Amazon has also freshened up its design, giving it more rounded corners and making it available in two color options: black and white.

Kevin Keith, VP of Amazon Devices, said they get a lot of feedback from customers about how much they appreciate having a Kindle with lighting, since that allows them to read in any environment. “The team worked hard to bring this customer-favorite feature to our most affordable device, and we’re excited to introduce the all-new Kindle — the first Kindle under $100 with a built-in adjustable front light,” he said.

The new e-reader comes with the tech giant’s other reading features, as well, including Audible support, Whispersync and Whispersync for Voice, Goodreads, Smart Lookup, Goodreads integration and Family Library. In the coming months, Amazon is also rolling out new reading features for this device and all its newer e-readers, going as far back as the Gen 6 Paperwhite released in 2013.

All the books you finish will be marked as “Read” across all your gadgets, including the Kindle Fire and the Kindle apps for iOS and Android. You’re also getting new filters that can show which books you’ve read and which ones you haven’t yet. In addition, the new home experience will find more recommendations based on your reading history.

The all-new Kindle is now available for pre-order from Amazon for $90 and will start shipping on April 10th. It will come with a free three-month Kindle Unlimited subscription, which normally costs $10 a month. If you have an old Kindle collecting dust in your closet, now may be the time to bust it out and trade it in for gift card and a 25 percent discount on the new e-reader.

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Battle medic Baptiste officially joins 'Overwatch'


Blizzard

Overwatch has a new entrant: support medic Baptiste. After a couple of months of battle-testing on the game’s public server, the newbie is now live with the latest patch. Not only does the Haitian add a dose of diversity to the online shooter, but he also brings his own unique loadout and skill set, including a three-round burst gun that doubles as a long-distance healing device for protecting allies. Baptiste also packs some rugged kicks that let him leap over obstacles and the ability to generate an immortality field to protect nearby teammates.

The game’s latest patch also tweaks the abilities of a slew of existing characters, including Ana, Doomfist, Hanzo, Lúcio, McCree, Mei, Moira, Orisa, Pharah, Soldier: 76, Sombra, Torbjörn, Widowmaker, and Wrecking Ball. Of course, all of these changes will impact Stage 2 of the Overwatch League (OWL), which kicks off April 4th.

Blizzard is also shuffling the game’s maps due to the likelihood of draws on Assault maps. The revised map order is control, assault, hybrid, escort, with a control tiebreaker if necessary. Citing first stage feedback, Blizzard is revising Stage 2’s schedule to account for the longer duration of matches that typically spill over 90 minutes, averaging 105 minutes in general.

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Giveaway: Win an Honor Play

We’ve partnered with Honor again for a giveaway, and this time it’s for a brand new Honor Play smartphone. While we at PCWorld never formally reviewed it, our sister site Tech Advisor did saying: “Even if you’re not a gamer, this is one of the best value phones on the market, offering flagship performance at a fraction of the price.” 

The giveaway is for an Honor Play in Ultra Violet, with 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. The phone features a Kirin 970 processor, the same one featured in Huawei’s powerhouse of a phone last year, the P20 Pro, and is designed with mobile gamers in mind. 

All you have to do to sign up for free is enter with your email in the Gleam widget below. You can receive extra entries by following one of our video/social channels, but it’s not necessary! Only legal residents of the 50 United States, including the District of Columbia, or Canada (except Quebec) are eligible to win.

Honor Play giveaway

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