Too real: John Oliver’s March Sadness 2015 is the scathing NCAA game we deserve

March Sadness 2015 is a fictional college basketball video game advertised in the most recent episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO. The trailer capped off a scathing segment on the exploitative working conditions of college athletes, casting a serious pall on the March Madness tournament that kicks off this week.

Billed as “the most authentic college basketball game of all time,” March Sadness 2015 realistically simulates the deplorable working conditions of most high-level collegiate athletes in the 98 percent of their life that is not on the court. Highlights include drowsing through offensively encouraged joke courses like Swahili, getting viciously yelled at by middle-aged, white, millionaire coaches, and living in constant fear of losing one’s scholarship because of a debilitating injury.

Despite the firm position held by school officials in the segment that compensating student athletes with anything more than their education is anathema to the entire enterprise, popular questioning of the practice and whether it is exploitative has gained serious momentum in the past year. In mid-2014, EA settled with a group of athletes seeking compensation for their images being used without permission in NCAA video games since 2003. Former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon led the charge with a 2009 lawsuit after being shown his own likeness in one of EA Sports’ games. O’Bannon appears in the segment, alongside other former athletes involved in the lawsuit who confirm March Sadness‘ veracity.

Later in 2014, a U.S. District Court ruled that the NCAA was violating antitrust laws for its policies that prevent athletes from earning any share of the massive revenues that their names and likenesses generate through licensing deals. Judge Claudia Wilken issued a permanent injunction on “any rules or bylaws that would prohibit [the NCAA’s] member schools and conferences from offering their FBS football or Division I basketball recruits a limited share of the revenues” from licensing. This will have a major impact on future negotiations between the NCAA and prospective video game publishers like EA Sports.

Perhaps Oliver’s March Sadness game will help shape those decisions as much as he did the debate over Net Neutrality.

Gaming

From PUBG to Apex Legends, this is how battle royale happened

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in Twitch streaming and eSports.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Gaming

Here's a look at how the Epic Games Store is sizing up to the competition

The Epic Games Store has picked up exclusives left and right since its launch last December. From AAA games like The Division 2 to wonderful indies like Hades, the Epic Games store has an impressive library of exclusives.
Gaming

Get Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for free when buying an Xbox One

You can get Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for free when buying an Xbox One from Newegg. Eight different bundles are available for this deal, so you can walk away with Sekiro and another game such as The Division 2 or Anthem.
Gaming

Master Shinobi combat with our Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice beginner's guide

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of the hardest games of the generation, and it can be overwhelming, even for those who have played From Software's other games. Here is what you need to know to get started.
Computing

Nvidia faces attacks from AMD, Intel, and even Google. Should it be worried?

Nvidia announced an expanded array of RTX server solutions designed to leverage the power of ray-tracing at GTC 2019. The effort will help Nvidia take on Google's Stadia in game streaming with GeForce Now, and the company's investments in…
Gaming

World of Warcraft's allied races will make you want to start a new character

The Horde and Alliance are seeking new allies in their struggle for control of Azeroth. Whether you pledge your allegiance to the Horde or Alliance, we've got a guide to help you unlock every allied race that's coming in Battle for Azeroth.
Computing

How 5G networks will make low-latency game streaming a reality

Faster speeds and more bandwidth are some of the many promises that 5G can deliver, but for gamers, the most important thing is low latency. To achieve low latency, carriers like AT&T and Verizon are exploring hybrid models for game…
Product Review

Nintendo’s Labo VR Kit may look silly, but it really works

During our hands-on with the Nintendo Labo VR Kit, fears of a gimmicky product from Nintendo were quickly dispelled. While not a direct competitor to Oculus or HTCs own headsets, Labo VR brings a clever, new way to experience VR that makes…
Gaming

PlayStation does the smart thing, stops selling digital codes at physical stores

Sony will no longer offer PlayStation digital full-game downloads at retail stores. The game downloads will now only be available directly from the PlayStation Network's own digital store.
Gaming

Seven years later, ‘Dark Souls’ is still a gloriously punishing masterpiece

Despite my experience and love of From Software’s Dark Souls III and Bloodborne, I never played the original Dark Souls. The new remastered version gave me a chance to remedy that, and it was glorious.
Gaming

Atlus reveals Persona 5 The Royal, teases mysterious new female character

Atlus revealed Persona 5 The Royal in a trailer that features a mysterious new female character. It appears that the redhead will be an antagonist to the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, but many details about the upcoming game remain unclear.
Gaming

Save big on Corsair gaming headsets and a premium keyboard

From March 24 to 30, you can pick up one of two models of the great Corsair's Void Pro gaming headset on a sweet discount. One of Corsair's best mechanical keyboards is also on sale this week -- at a steep discount.