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In Light of Potential Strike, LCBO Has Extended Their Hours This Week

In Light of Potential Strike, LCBO Has Extended Their Hours This Week

By Kate Musgrove

With the possibility of a strike on the horizon, the LCBO has increased their store hours in advance of the Canada Day weekend to help consumers stock up before any potential closures. Workers could strike as soon as 12:01 AM on Monday, June 26.

Many stores will be open as early as 9 AM and close as late as 11 PM from Thursday, June 22 through Saturday, June 24. Downtown Toronto stores will be open 9 AM to 11 PM on Sunday, June 25. Additionally, many stores will be open as early as 9 AM and close as late as 11 PM on Sunday, July 2. There's a lot of variation on store hours by location, so check this page for the exact open and close times at the LCBOs nearest you.

Keep in mind that even without a strike, all LCBO locations will be closed Saturday, July 1 for the Canada Day holiday.

Sears Canada Files for Creditor Protection and Announces the Closure of 59 Stores

Sears Canada Files for Creditor Protection and Announces the Closure of 59 Stores

By Ambia Staley

Just one week after announcing their first quarter 2017 results, Sears Canada has gone to the courts in order to file for creditor protection so that the ailing company can continue its restructuring process in an effort to continue doing business.

Just last week, Sears' first quarter results revealed a 15.2% revenue drop when compared to last year, along with a $144.4 million net loss. In their June 13 press release, the company admitted that it lacked access to assets such as real estate that could be quickly liquidated to make up for the short-comings. Considering that Sears stated that their first-quarter results raised "significant doubt as to the Company's ability to continue" and their forecasted cash flows are "not expected to be sufficient to meet obligations coming due over the next 12 months," the court filings may not be surprising to many people.

Following shortly after the announcement of the filing, Sears was granted protection by the courts. The initial order provides a 30-day stay and authorizes the company to "obtain debtor-in-possession financing in the aggregate principal amount of $450 million."

Along with the announcement that Sears has obtained court protection, the company announced that it intends to close 20 full-line locations, 15 Sears Home stores, 10 Sears Outlet stores, and 14 Sears Hometown locations -- you can view the full list here. In addition to the closures, Sears also plans to cut around 2,900 jobs across their retail stores and their Toronto corporate head office.

You can read the full press releases regarding the court protection orders here.

Are you surprised to hear this latest development in Sears' story? Let us know in the comments!

New Nintendo Switch Games Rumoured to be Priced at $99.99 in Canada

New Nintendo Switch Games Rumoured to be Priced at $99.99 in Canada

By Simon Hung

Nintendo Switch owners may need to spend more money in the future, because new Nintendo Switch games will reportedly be priced at $99.99 in Canada.

It’s very important to note that there’s been no official confirmation from Nintendo regarding a price change, but there have been signs that point to the new MSRP at retailers including Amazon.ca, Best Buy and Walmart.

Pricing for Super Mario Odyssey at Amazon.ca (left) and Best Buy (right) suggest a new $99.99 regular price.

Currently, most new video games are priced at $79.99 at launch, including recently-released Nintendo Switch games, but listings for several upcoming games including Pokken Tournament DX (Amazon.ca, Best Buy) and Super Mario Odyssey (Amazon.ca, Best Buy) are priced at $99.99, leading to increased speculation about the new regular price. Curiously, Super Mario Odyssey was listed at Walmart for $79.96 in early-June, but the price has since jumped to $99.96.

For comparison, both Pokken Tournament DX and Super Mario Odyssey are listed for $59.99 USD in the United States, which is the same regular price as other new games. Factoring the current exchange rate as of June 2017, the equivalent amount in CAD is approximately $79.99.

Pokken Tournament DX is listed at the increased $99.99 price in Canada (left) while pricing is unchanged in the US (right).

Some retailers note that the $99.99 price is a placeholder because the game is unreleased, but it’s odd that the same note isn’t found on other unreleased games priced at $79.99, which begs the question -- why aren't new Nintendo Switch games listed at $79.99 instead of $99.99? It’s a peculiar move, but one possibility may be to offset pre-order discounts. Some retailers like Amazon.ca offer 20% off video game pre-orders and coincidentally, 20% off $99.99 is $79.99.

Video game pricing can already be ridiculous, as seen with the NBA 2K18 Legend Gold Edition for $199.99 or the Assassin’s Creed Origins Collector’s Edition for a whopping $799.99. If this speculation turns out to be true, it’ll be disappointing for many gamers in Canada, as a $99.99 regular price equates to a 25% increase over the price of current-generation games and sets an unwelcome precedent for next-generation games.

This news should be considered speculation until Nintendo or a retailer issues a definitive confirmation, but we’re cautiously optimistic that these rumours turn out to be false and hope pricing remains unchanged.

Nintendo Canada is taking the Switch Console on a Cross Country Play Together Tour

Nintendo Canada is taking the Switch Console on a Cross Country Play Together Tour

By Thomas Kenzaki

In case you've been living under a rock, haven't been reading the RFD Latest News section or just aren't into video games, Nintendo Canada released a brand new video game console this year called the Nintendo Switch. It was released in March and has been wildly popular among gamers of all ages. Due to its super high demand, it can be very hard to find.

For those of you who haven't been fortunate enough to find one, or if you just want to get some hands on experience with one, you're in luck. Nintendo Canada has announced their Nintendo Switch Play Together series of events, which is a cross-country tour where fans will be able to play the Nintendo Switch in all its glory. Attendees will be able to play games such as ARMS, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, and more!

The events are designed for all ages so anyone and everyone is welcome to stop by one of their 10 stops. The tour begins in Vancouver, BC on June 25th, and makes its way all the way east to Lévis, QC, and then wraps up back in Vancouver on September 4th. A full list of dates and locations can be found below.

In addition to playing the hottest new games, you'll also have the opportunity to meet Mario and Luigi, participate in special photo ops, and even win some cool Nintendo prizes (free Switch anyone?). We'll definitely be checking it out when it hits Toronto. If you're planning on stopping by, let us know in the comments below.

A Taste-Testing Adventure: Eating Vegetarian at Some of Canada's Biggest Fast Food Chains

A Taste-Testing Adventure: Eating Vegetarian at Some of Canada's Biggest Fast Food Chains

By Ambia Staley

Whether it's for dietary reasons, or personal, ethical or religious beliefs, the number of vegetarians in Canada is rising. A poll commissioned by the Vancouver Humane Society in 2015 claims that as many as 33%, or nearly 12 million Canadians are currently practicing some form of vegetarianism or trying to include less meat in their diets. Whether this poll is accurate or not, the fact remains that many Canadians are choosing to go meatless to some extent in recent years. However despite the rising number of people searching for meatless options, it remains difficult to eat vegetarian at popular restaurants and fast food chains.

If you're pressed for time, or starving after a long day, the easy answer for many is to simply head to their nearest burger-joint and pick something up. But if you're vegetarian, how many options do you have that aren't just side salads or fries? Out of curiosity, we decided to put this to the test and headed around to some of Canada's most popular fast food chains to take a look at their menus and taste what they had to offer.

Here are the key things we were looking for at each restaurant:

  • What vegetarian options available on the menu (excluding sides and salads)?
  • Are the items cooked and handled separately from meat products?
  • Did our order actually taste good enough to make it worth eating?

This experiment was conducted over 2 weekends in various restaurant locations around Toronto, with at least 2 people tasting each item. Restaurant locations were also purposely visited during off-peak hours so that there was less of an opportunity for a rushed and overworked employee to make mistakes. A key thing to note about this list is that the vegetarian options listed are based on a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. We've tried to list whether or not items contain eggs or dairy, but if you're vegan, you may want to double check the nutritional information on each chain's website.

McDonald's:

A look at the "No Meat Big Mac" spotted on McDonald's menu

Surprisingly, a chain as large as McDonald's lacks a veggie burger option. However, during our vegetarian taste-test adventures, we wandered into a few locations and noticed a "No Meat Big Mac" on the self-serve kiosk menu. Wondering if McDonald's was secretly testing out a vegetarian option, we naturally decided to go to with a meatless variety of the chain's most famous burger. Sadly, we received just what the menu described, a Big Mac with all the fixings, except the meat. There was no veggie patty, or meat substitution of any kind to be found in this burger, forcing us to essentially eat a hamburger bun with Mac sauce. In true RFD fashion, for the sake of saving money, if you ever get the craving for a "No Meat Big Mac", we'd suggest picking up some buns and a bottle of Mac sauce from a grocery store, as you’d get more bang for your buck.

When we peeked at the preparation area to see how the burger was made, we didn't see the staff changing their gloves at all. The burger was also prepared in the same area as all the meat burgers, so cross contamination can be an issue during preparation -- if you're just ordering something like fries, you're probably alright, as most locations have a dedicated fryer for their fries.

Another menu option for vegetarians is the grilled cheese. It's typically offered as part of a Happy Meal, but can be ordered a la carte as well. And while McDonald's lacks a variety of vegetarian options, the plus side is that they do allow you to customize just about anything on the menu, allowing you to get exactly what you need in most cases. Egg McMuffins are also offered as part of the All-Day Breakfast menu, which makes them another great option as long as you ask for the slice of back bacon to be removed.

Taco Bell:

Taco Bell offers a variety of vegetarian-friendly options including bean burritos

Taco Bell is probably one of the most polarizing eateries on this list, as people tend to really love it, or really hate it. Whatever your feelings on the subject are, if choose to enter a Taco Bell and eat there, you'll be happy to know that out of all the fast food restaurants we tried, it has the most vegetarian options available. Most of the meat-free options come from the burrito family, including the 7-layer burrito, and basic bean burrito.

During our visit, we decided to go with the cheapest and simplest option on the menu -- the bean burrito. After an ordering process straight out of a cartoon, in which myself, the cashier, and cook repeated "bean burrito" at least 10 times to make sure the order was correct, it was time to stand back and watch the order being prepared. Taco Bell gets a lot of flack for their food quality, but we noticed care was put into the preparation. The prep cook immediately changed her gloves once she received the order we noticed separate tools were being used from the other meat-filled orders. Unfortunately, despite the care we thought went into Taco Bell's preparation, this story does not have a happy ending, as our bean burritos ended up being beef burritos.

For the sake of fair research, we returned to a Taco Bell location at a later date in hopes that the first order was a fluke. We received beef burritos once again.

Thinking about eating at Taco Bell? Unfortunately, there aren't any vegan options that we noticed, but you can attempt to ask for burritos without cheese or sour cream to make it vegan-friendly. If you're craving something more filling than the basic bean burrito, other meat-free options we spotted on the menu include the Cheese Quesadilla, 7-Layer Bean Burrito, and the 5-Layer Dip Griller.

Burger King:

Burger King boasts about having a "meat-less" and "flavour-ful" veggie burger on their menu

Burger King only has one vegetarian option on their menu besides their sides and salads -- the BK Veggie Burger. This flame-grilled veggie patty is made primarily of soy, and topped with lettuce, tomato, white onions, and ketchup on a sesame seed bun. If you're a vegan, unfortunately, this is a burger you'll have to skip, as the patty and bun contain milk and eggs.

Since this is the only vegetarian main dish at Burger King, we went ahead and ordered the Veggie Burger. When peeking in the kitchen to watch its preparation, we noticed the same grill and tools were being used on the veggie patty as the meat patties, and the cook did not appear to change gloves before handling the food, so there was cross contamination with the meat products. Biting into the burger itself, we found that it was not "flavour-ful" as Burger King's website promises, and was in fact rather dry and flavourless.

Harvey's:

Harvey's offers a few great options, including the vegetarian and vegan-friendly Veggie Burger

Harvey's is probably one of the best options on this list for vegetarians since the brand is known for making your orders just the way you like it. If you're feeling like a burger, they do have a veggie burger on the menu, which is what we chose to order during our visit.

Once the order was made, we were surprised to see the care that went into the burger's preparation from start to finish. Once the cook received the order, he immediately changed his gloves, placed the soy-based patty on a separate grill from the meat patties, and used a completely different set of tools to prepare it. Once it was handed off to the preparation staff at the counter, she too changed her gloves and topped the burger with our selection of veggies including lettuce and tomato. Once we bit into the burger, we found it was not overly flavourful, but it was not completely tasteless like some other options in this article. The patty also had a nice char from the grill, and was surprisingly moist.

If you're not craving a traditional burger, but are still looking for something filling and flavourful, Harvey's introduced their Build-A-Bowl options earlier this year. These bowls allow you to pick a rice, salad, or fry base and add your favourite protein (including veggie patty) and toppings. If you're vegan, you'll also be happy to know that both the veggie burger and its bun are free of animal by-products, making it a vegan-friendly menu option!

A&W:

A&W offers the unique Veggie Deluxe burger on its menu

A&W surprisingly turned out to be the all-star of this vegetarian taste-test adventure. Out of all the restaurants we visited, A&W seemed to be the only franchise to treat their veggie burger as its own unique menu item, rather than a simple substitution for meat. A&W's offers the Veggie Deluxe, a burger with its own flavours and unique toppings that could cater to both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. The patty itself is made from a unique blend including mushrooms, red peppers, brown rice oats and other starches, as well as a variety of other flavourings. The patty is then topped with mozzarella cheese, pickles, onion, lettuce and tomato and served on a 7-grain bun. The burger itself lives up to the hype. The combination of the patty and its toppings made for a flavourful burger, making the Veggie Deluxe the only option on the list that left us satisfied, and not feeling as though we were being punished in some way for opting out of eating meat.

The only downside to A&W's burger was watching its preparation. It looked as though the patty was cooked on the same grill as the meat, and using the same tools. The burger was then prepared by a staff member who only wore one glove, while touching the food with both hands (however, they did wash their hands prior to touching anything).

Unfortunately for vegans, the Veggie Deluxe is not vegan-friendly as it contains cheese as a topping, and the patty and bun contain both eggs and milk.

This taste-test adventure is in no way scientific, but if you're hungry and looking for some great fast-food options, there do seem to be a few out there. The most important thing we learned, is that preparation can vary widely from restaurant to restaurant, and may even vary between different locations of the same chain, so if you're worried about contamination of your food, make sure to ask someone when ordering. Also, since we learned the hard way a few different times, you may want to examine your food before taking a bite, lest you end up with an unwanted animal in your mouth.

Are you a vegetarian? What are your go-to options when you're craving fast food? Let us know in the comments!

Inside the IKEA Play Café Pop-Up Store in Toronto

Inside the IKEA Play Café Pop-Up Store in Toronto

By Simon Hung

Ask five people what they love most about IKEA and you’ll likely hear five different answers. Canadians love IKEA and the furniture giant is bringing their Swedish charm to Downtown Toronto in the form of the IKEA Play Café -- a pop-up store located at 336 Queen Street West.

The IKEA Play Café features an interactive wall of LED light bulbs.

Split into three main areas -- eating, playing and shopping -- the Play Café is more spacious than last year’s pop-up store, occupying two floors and approximately 8000 square feet. The Play Café shares a similar theme to last year’s iteration, but with a greater emphasis on fun, as this pop-up serves as more of an interactive experience than a showroom.

Eating

It wouldn’t be a café without food and you’ll find a few IKEA Restaurant staples including Swedish meatballs, which can be dressed with up to six sauces and toppings, including potato chips or waffles. An outdoor patio is available to enjoy your meal and other foods include frozen yogurt, chocolate, cider and juice -- all food is priced at $3.00 or less.

Meatballs at the café are $3.00, but visit the play area first to get a discount.

The café is the first area you encounter when entering the pop-up store, but you should visit the play area before buying any food.

Playing

Upstairs is the play area, where you’ll find a few interactive activities, including an IKEA Kitchen Dance contest akin to Dance Dance Revolution, an oversized pinball machine controlled by your feet, a raffle wheel and other games.

You can earn a discount of up to 50% off food in the café by playing games.

The games are actually an integral part of the pop-up experience, as you can collect points by playing each game and earn up to 50% off your meal purchase in the café -- you earn 10% off for every game you play and the discount is not redeemable on merchandise. An elevator is built into the Play Café, so the play area is wheelchair and stroller-friendly.

Shopping

Back on the first floor, you’ll find about 50 products for sale lined along the walls across from the main checkout counter. The items are regular price and mostly kitchenware or décor products, including the AMASONLILJA Throw, APTITLIG Bamboo Butcher Block, RÅDIG Espresso Maker and more.




Approximately 50 products are available for sale (click each image to view full-size).

The shopping experience is identical to last year and utilizes an RFID-embedded spoon to act as your virtual shopping cart. Simply tap your spoon on the product placard to add it to your cart -- a blue LED will flash to indicate that it’s been successfully added.

Don't forget to take a wooden spoon to use as your shopping cart and redeem discounts.

When you’re ready to pay, head to the checkout counter and an IKEA associate will verify your order. Your products will be brought to you from their stockroom and you can enjoy one (or several) complimentary chocolates while you wait. There are no bags, but reusable FRAKTA Shopping Bags are available for $0.75.

The IKEA Play Café is open now until June 27 from Monday to Saturday, 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM and Sunday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM -- note that only debit or credit is accepted as payment. Admission is free, so be sure to stop by while it’s open!

CRTC Ruling Bans Locked Cell Phones and Unlocking Fees

CRTC Ruling Bans Locked Cell Phones and Unlocking Fees

By Simon Hung

It’ll soon be easier to switch wireless carriers, because the CRTC has announced updates to their Wireless Code that will put an end to the sale of locked cell phones and unlocking fees.

Effective December 1, 2017, customers with an individual or small business plan will have the right to have smartphones and other mobile devices unlocked free of charge upon request. In addition, all new devices sold in Canada must be unlocked as of the same date.

Currently, most phones purchased from major carriers are locked to one network, meaning you cannot swap carriers without unlocking the device, a service that most carriers provide at a surcharge. This is great news for frequent travellers or anyone looking to switch carriers, since you’ll now be able to use your existing phone on any network without hassle.

All smartphones sold in Canada after December 1, 2017 must be unlocked.

The CRTC also ruled that unhappy customers during a trial period can opt out of their contract within 15 days, as long as they return their device in near-new condition and less than half of the monthly usage limits have been used. Carriers are also prohibited from changing key terms of a contract including voice, text and data.

In addition, it’ll be easier for parents to manage data usage on family or shared plans, as the CRTC also ruled that the account owner must consent to any data overages beyond established caps, effective immediately. Previously, it was possible for anyone on a shared plan to authorize data overages -- a CBC Marketplace investigation in 2016 found that even minors could authorize data overages, which could result in exorbitant fees.

It remains to be seen how major carriers will adapt to these changes, as unlocking fees alone generated $37.7 million in revenue for carriers in 2016. Nonetheless, the changes are considered a big win for consumers, as the rulings will give wireless customers more control and flexibility with their devices and services in the future.

E3 2017 Nintendo Presentation Roundup: Breath of the Wild Expansion Packs, New Game Previews + More!

E3 2017 Nintendo Presentation Roundup: Breath of the Wild Expansion Packs, New Game Previews + More!

By Ambia Staley

E3 2017 is still in full swing today, and Tuesday continued with a presentation from Nintendo.

Nintendo kept their presentation short and sweet, spending just under 30 minutes previewing a few games. There were not many surprises in today's presentation, as many of the titles were already publicized or spotlighted in previous Nintendo Direct streams, but we've gathered some of the most important announcements for you here.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Expansion Packs

It was previously announced that Breath of the Wild would be receiving 2 DLC packs sometime this year. Nintendo spent a few minutes showing gameplay from the first of the 2 DLCs, named The Master Trials. The pack comes with new costumes, a Trial of the Sword challenge, Hero's Path and Hard Modes, and a Travel Medallion. The pack is available on June 30, 2017 -- click here to view the full details of the DLC.

Nintendo also revealed a teaser trailer for the second expansion pack, now officially named The Champions' Ballad. DLC Pack 2 will be available holiday 2017.

Amiibo collectors will want to get their wallets ready, as Nintendo announced that there are 4 new Breath of the Wild amiibos on the way: Daruk, Mipha, Revali and Urbosa.

Pokken Tournament DX and Untitled Pokemon RPG

Previously announced Pokken Tournament DX was briefly mentioned during today's presentation. Nintendo announced that the Switch version of the game will come with brand new Pokemon, and new modes of play, including online ranked play. 2 players can also battle on the same system using one Joy-con controller. Pokken Tournament DX hits store shelves on September 22.

As a bonus tidbit, gamers were also informed that primary Pokemon developer Game Freak, is currently in the process of making an untitled Pokemon RPG for the Switch. The release date for this game is currently unknown, but is most likely more than a year away.

Game Demos and Announcements

Nintendo showed off quite a few games during today's presentation. Today's stream focused on the Switch, so all games listed are for the new console. New games are expected to be shown off throughout the rest of E3, but some highlights from today's Switch stream include:

  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2 - Coming Holiday 2017
  • Kirby - Coming 2018
  • Metroid Prime 4 - Now in development
  • Yoshi - Coming 2018
  • Fire Emblem Warriors - Fall 2017
  • Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle - Coming August 29
  • Rocket League - Includes cross-network support that allows you to play with people from other consoles. Coming Holiday 2017
  • Super Mario Oddesy - New gameplay Trailer. Coming October 27
  • Skyrim - Switch port with exclusive The Legend of Zelda bonus weapons and skins. Coming fall 2017

Did you tune into Nintendo's E3 presentation? Are you planning on playing any of the announced games? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

If you're looking for more E3 news, you can also checkout our roundup of Microsoft and Sony's presentations!

Sears Canada Has "Significant Doubts" About Its Future After Announcing First Quarter Results

Sears Canada Has "Significant Doubts" About Its Future After Announcing First Quarter Results

By Ambia Staley

Earlier this morning, Sears Canada released its results for the first quarter of 2017, which are raising questions regarding the future of the company.

The results revealed a revenue drop of 15.2% in the first quarter compared to the same quarter last year, with a net loss of $144.4 million. While there was a same store sales increase of 2.9%, much of the monetary loss was attributed to a drop in both catalogue and online sales.

Based on these results, Sears noted in their assessment that cash and forecasted cash flows are "not expected to be sufficient to meet obligations coming due over the next 12 months."

The company noted that they expected to be able to borrow $175 million, but following negotiations with lenders, the amount has been reduced to $109 million. Sears also noted that they lack real estate and other assets that can be quickly liquidated to make up their cash shortage, and these conditions "raise significant doubt as to the Company's ability to continue."

Sears was originally expected to host their annual shareholders meeting on June 14, 2017, but have now postponed it to an undetermined date.

Following the release of the first quarter results, Sears saw its shares drop 39% to a worth of only $0.70 per share, although it rebounded slightly to $0.78 per share by 11 AM.

You can read the full press release on the Sears first quarter results here.

What are your thoughts on this news? Do you think Sears will be able to rebound? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Sony E3 Presentation Roundup: New Trailers and Footage for PS4 and PlayStation VR Games!

Sony E3 Presentation Roundup: New Trailers and Footage for PS4 and PlayStation VR Games!

By Ambia Staley

E3 2017 is in full swing, and on Monday night, one of the most anticipated presentations took place, the Sony Press Conference.

This year, Sony had no new hardware to show off in their presentation, so gamers were presented with 60 minutes of game trailers, many of which were for games that are already known to be hitting shelves soon. While many may have seen the presentation as a complete wash, we were treated to new footage of games including Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Marvel vs Capcom Infinite, God of War, and more.

As there was nothing more to the presentation than game trailers, we've gone ahead and put together a list of what was shown off during today's presentation. Most games shown did not include release dates, but we've posted the dates if they were given. Here's a look at Sony's highlights:

  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4) - New Footage. Coming August 22
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (PS4) - New DLC. Coming 2017
  • Monster Hunter World (PS4) - Coming early 2017
  • Shadow of the Colossus (PS4) - Coming 2018
  • Marvel vs Capcom Infinite (PS4) - Story demo available for download now. Coming September 19
  • Call of Duty WWII (PS4) - Coming November 3
  • God of War - Coming early 2018
  • Spider-Man (PS4) - Coming 2018
  • Destiny 2 (PS4) - Exclusive PlayStation content. Coming September 6
  • Detroit: Become Human (PS4) - New trailer
  • Days Gone (PS4) - New footage
  • The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim VR (PSVR)
  • Star Child (PSVR)
  • The Inpatient (PSVR)
  • Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV (PSVR)
  • Bravo Team (PSVR)
  • Moss (PSVR)

What were your thoughts on Sony's presentation? Were you underwhelmed, or wowed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

E3 2017: Where Should You Pre-Order New Video Games?

E3 2017: Where Should You Pre-Order New Video Games?

By Simon Hung

E3 2017 is officially underway and video game fever has taken over RedFlagDeals. E3 video game deals have already started at a number of stores and it can be difficult to choose where you should pre-order, with factors including shipping speed, pre-order bonuses and most importantly -- price.

Whether you want Call of Duty: WWII or Beyond Good & Evil 2, we’ve put together this roundup of E3 deals at the most prominent stores and what you should expect when pre-ordering.

Amazon.ca -- 20% off video game pre-orders
Pros: Prime membership not required, pre-order price guarantee, quickest to list new games
Cons: savings apply to list price, unreliable day-one shipping for non-Prime, some inflated pricing

Amazon.ca is the most ubiquitous store for pre-orders and you can get 20% off video game pre-orders until June 15. An Amazon Prime membership is not required to get the savings and they are usually the fastest to list games after their announcement. A pre-order price guarantee ensures that you’ll pay the lowest price before shipping and they are swift to match competitor pricing if a game is cheaper elsewhere (most of the time).

Some shoppers have reported slow shipping times if you don’t have a Prime membership, which is not ideal if you want to play a game on day-one. The prices for some popular games, like Super Mario Odyssey, are also grossly inflated, which is unusual for Amazon.

Amazon.ca also offers 20% off video game pre-orders as an everyday perk to Prime members, so you can save on pre-orders even after June 15 if you have Amazon Prime.

Best Buy -- 20% off video game pre-orders for Reward Zone Gamers Club members
Pros: most reliable day-one shipping, double Reward Zone points
Cons: no price matching, one use only

Best Buy has a similar deal as Amazon.ca, but their 20% off sale is exclusive to Reward Zone Gamers Club members until June 15. Membership is free and grants some notable Best Buy shopping perks such redeemable gift certificates, but you’ll only be able to shop the E3 sale once, because it requires a unique promo code delivered via e-mail. Some shoppers have been able to obtain two promo codes, but your mileage may vary.

Best Buy does generally offer the most reliable day-one shipping for their pre-orders, which is excellent news for those who want to play before their friends. On the other hand, they do not price match pre-order prices of competitors, so your savings during the sale can only be deducted off the list price.

Digital -- PlayStation Store, Steam, Xbox Games Store
Pros: can pre-load and play on day-one, no tax
Cons: usually full price, consumes bandwidth, no resale value

You can pre-order games at digital stores including the PlayStation Store, Xbox Games Store and of course, Steam. It’s the most convenient method of pre-ordering since it's instant, you don’t have to fiddle with discs and many games let you pre-load them before their launch date, which means they’ll be installed and ready-to-play on day-one.

However, it’s difficult to recommend this pre-order method to anyone but PC gamers on Steam, as games will likely be full-price and offer zero resale value after you’ve played them. Digital downloads will also consume lots of bandwidth when downloading, which is a major drawback for anyone with an internet cap. While you don’t have to pay tax on digital games, the savings are nominal when compared to sales at other stores.

EB Games -- $10.00 off any E3 video game when you trade in an eligible game
Pros: sale lasts longer, some exclusive pre-order bonuses
Cons: need to trade in game, least amount of savings, in-store only

For a retailer whose primary focus is video games, it’s disappointing to see such an unexceptional pre-order sale from EB Games -- until June 18, you can take $10.00 off any video game announced at E3 if you trade in an eligible game with a minimum value of $5.00.

Even though their E3 sale lasts three days longer than sales at Amazon.ca, Best Buy and Walmart, you’ll end up saving more at EB Games’ competitors and you won’t have to trade in an old game.

There are some game versions that are exclusive to EB Games, like Call of Duty WWII: Pro Edition, but unless you really want EB Games’ exclusives or a free pair of controller thumbsticks, it’s probably best to pre-order elsewhere.

Walmart -- Save on select video game pre-orders
Pros: lowest price, reliable day-one shipping
Cons: difficult to cancel or modify order, slow to add additional games

Walmart was the first store to start their E3 sale this year and it’s the most popular sale thus far. Rather than offer a percentage off, they opted to drop the price on a number of games by up to $30.00 until June 15, resulting in most new games being priced at $49.96. Many shoppers have also reported reliable shipping times for Walmart pre-orders, which bodes well for those who want their new games as soon as possible.

While Walmart does have the lowest price for most pre-order titles, it’s unclear if they’ll be updating their catalogue of games as they get announced. They promised to do so during E3 2016, but ultimately didn’t list most new games until after their sale was already over. Plus, some have reported difficulties with cancelling or modifying pre-orders after they've been placed, which is frustrating if you change your mind or address before the game is released -- Walmart does offer free returns if games are unopened.

E3 is happening this week until Thursday, June 15 -- share your go-to option for pre-ordering video games in our poll and check our Latest News section for up-to-date roundups of conferences from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony as soon as they happen.

E3 2017 Microsoft Conference Roundup: Xbox One X, Expanded Backwards Compatibility, and More!

E3 2017 Microsoft Conference Roundup: Xbox One X, Expanded Backwards Compatibility, and More!

By Ambia Staley

E3 2017 is now upon us, and gamers everywhere are eagerly awaiting news from their favourite developers about new games and and systems. Sunday kicked off with one of the major 3 companies, Microsoft, announcing all their upcoming Xbox offerings. You can watch the full 2 hour and 20 minute presentation online, but if you're looking for just the meat and potatoes of the presentation, we've rounded up a few of the most exciting announcements here for you on RedFlagDeals!

Xbox One X

At last year's E3, Microsoft announced a few details regarding 'Project Scorpio', and this year, the project finally has a name -- the Xbox One X. We already know a lot about the system from last year's E3 conference, like it boasts 6 teraflops of power with 4K resolution, and is compatible with previously released Xbox One games and accessories. This year, gamers were given a peak at how games would look on the system. Microsoft also announced some upcoming games that will be available in 4K for the console, including Forza Motorsport 7, Crackdown 3, State of Decay 2, Sea of Thieves, and Super Lucky’s Tale.

As for the most important news, Microsoft announced that the Xbox One X will hit stores on November 7 at a retail price of $599 in Canada.

Expanded Backwards Compatibility

As many gamers already know, one of Xbox One's advantages is that it's backwards compatible with a variety of Xbox 360 games. This E3, Microsoft announced that soon, they'll be expanding their backwards compatibility to a variety of original Xbox titles as well. There were few details given, but Xbox gamers should expect more news on it later this year.

Game Demos and Announcements

Microsoft announced and demoed a few games during today's presentation. Some highlights include:

  • Crackdown 3 - Coming November 7
  • Assassin’s Creed Origins - Coming October 27
  • Forza Motorsport 7 - Coming October 3 on Xbox One and PC and Holiday 2017 on Xbox One X
  • Metro Exodus - Coming 2018
  • Anthem - From BioWare. Coming 2018
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds - Xbox One exclusive. Coming late 2017
  • Dragon Ball Fighter Z - Coming early 2018
  • Cuphead - Coming September 29 on Xbox One and PC
  • Minecraft - Will soon allow cross-play between tablets, PCs, VR and consoles. Also coming in 4K to Xbox One X

Did you tune into Microsoft's E3 presentation? What games are you looking forward to? Do you plan on picking up the Xbox One X? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Hudson's Bay Lays off 2,000 Across North America

Hudson's Bay Lays off 2,000 Across North America

By Kate Musgrove

Hudson's Bay has announced that they are laying off 2,000 people across North America. The company currently employs more than 66,000 people world-wide so while the cuts are significant, they still represent less than 5% of their total workforce. Most of the jobs cut are based in the United States.

The reductions come in an effort to reduce costs and increase the company's agility. The layoffs will save the company $350 million annually (after it is fully implemented by the end of 2018).

Hudson's Bay owns Gilt Groupe, Home Outfitters, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off Fifth and Galeria Kaufhof, with hundreds of stores across Canada, the US, Belgium and Germany.

Apple WWDC 2017 Roundup: New iPad Pro, iMac Pro, iOS 11, HomePod Speaker and More!

Apple WWDC 2017 Roundup: New iPad Pro, iMac Pro, iOS 11, HomePod Speaker and More!

By Simon Hung

It’s been a year of restlessness for many Apple fans and tech enthusiasts, as it's been rumoured that Apple will overhaul much of their product lineup this year, including the iMac, iPad and highly-anticipated next-generation iPhone.

Apple's WWDC 2017 keynote started with a video showing the app apocalypse.

We received a first look at some of Apple’s new products and software updates during today’s WWDC 2017 conference and we’ve rounded up everything you need to know from today’s keynote in the order in which they were presented.

tvOS

The keynote began with a very brief update about tvOS and Amazon Prime Video, which will be coming to tvOS later this year.

watchOS

Apple Watch was next, with Apple giving a sneak preview of watchOS 4, which will bring more watchfaces, fitness enhancements and a redesigned Music app to Apple Watch owners. A new Siri watchface was demoed, which utilizes the smart assistant to organize and display information that’s most relevant to you.

watchOS 4 will be available for free this fall to all Apple Watch owners.

macOS

Apple built a new file system for macOS High Sierra to achieve better performance and security.

The next iteration of macOS Sierra was previewed, which will be called macOS High Sierra. The new operating system will be “fully baked,” according to Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi, who demoed some of the new features.

  • Safari -- improved speed, autoplay video blocking and tracking prevention
  • Mail -- better in-app search and multi-tasking enhancements
  • Photos -- improved user interface, better face recognition and photos can sync with other apps
  • File system -- new file system called APFS (Apple File System) built for modern technology, faster file interaction and built-in encryption
  • Video -- new H.265 codec used with video, enabling better file size compression
  • Graphics -- Metal 2 was introduced, with developer tools to better optimize graphics, machine learning, external graphics and VR support

macOS High Sierra will be available as a public beta in June and available as a free upgrade for all Mac computers running macOS Sierra this fall.

iMac

The new iMac models feature an improved display.

Next, Apple updated the iMac, including adding seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake processors and upgrading the display on all models for better colour accuracy. The entry-level 21.5" iMac with Retina 4K Display also saw a price cut of $170.00.

  • Display -- 43% brighter with 500 nits and capable of showing one billion colours
  • Processors -- seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake processors for better performance and power-efficiency
  • Memory -- 21.5” models are now configurable with up to 32GB of RAM while 27” models are configurable with up to 64GB of RAM
  • Storage -- Apple’s hybrid Fusion Drive is now standard on 27” models, faster SSD configurations are also available up to 2TB
  • Inputs -- two Thunderbolt 3 ports via USB-C on all models
  • Graphics -- 21.5” models now include faster integrated Intel Iris graphics, 27” models include faster discrete graphics and are compatible with VR
  • Price -- entry-level 21.5" iMac with Retina 4K Display is now $1729.00 (previously $1899.00)

The updated iMac configurations are available now at the Apple Store.

MacBook and MacBook Pro

The MacBook and MacBook Pro also received seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake processors and a new entry-level 13.3" MacBook Pro with 128GB SSD was introduced with a starting price of $1729.00. The venerable MacBook Air also received a modest processor upgrade, but the design and other internals remain unchanged.

The updated MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro configurations are available now at the Apple Store.

iMac Pro

A new iMac Pro with workstation components was unveiled next, with Apple calling this new iMac Pro the most powerful Mac ever. It sports the same design as the existing iMac, but with better thermal management and a Space Grey finish.

iMac Pro promises workstation performance in an iMac form-factor.
  • Processor -- up to 18-core Intel Xeon processor
  • Memory -- up to 128GB ECC RAM
  • Storage -- up to 4TB SSD
  • Input -- four Thunderbolt 3 ports via USB-C, 10-gigabit Ethernet
  • Graphics -- AMD Radeon graphics built on Vega architecture

The iMac Pro will be available in December starting at $4999.00 USD.

iOS

iOS 11 will bring a number of usability and productivity improvements, especially to iPad.

Apple is turning it up to eleven with iOS 11, the next iteration of their mobile operating system. There are a slew of improvements and optimizations, including a completely redesigned Control Center that finally puts all quick-access controls onto a single page and a new voice for Siri.

  • Messages -- redesigned app drawer in iMessage, iCloud integration to store and sync messages to new devices, all messages are encrypted while stored in iCloud
  • Apple Pay -- person-to-person payments now offered in iMessage, funds can be used with Apple Pay or transferred to bank
  • Siri -- new user interface and voice, now able to translate difference languages and better on-device learning for improved suggestions
  • Camera -- improved image quality, better photo and video compression to reduce file sizes
  • Control Center -- redesigned so all controls are on one page, enhanced toggles with 3D Touch, lock screen and notifications are now combined
  • Maps -- mall and airport directories built-in, lane guidance in traffic, intelligent “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode for safer driving
  • HomeKit -- AirPlay 2 announced with support for speakers and multi-room audio
  • Music -- you can now see what your friends listen to, more developer tools to integrate Apple Music in other apps
  • App Store -- redesigned with design language similar to Music app, faster app review times for developers
  • Augmented Reality -- better tools made available to developers to create more immersive AR games like Pokémon GO

iOS 11 will be available as a public beta in June and available as a free upgrade for all iOS devices running iOS 10 this fall.

iPad Pro

The new 10.5" iPad Pro replaces the 9.7" model and features better Apple Pencil support.

An all-new 10.5” iPad Pro was unveiled, replacing the 9.7" model. This new model features a 20% larger screen with slimmer bezels and its chassis is similar in size to the old 9.7" model. Apple also took this time to introduce even more iOS 11 features, with a focus on some fantastic new productivity tools for iPad owners.

  • Display -- both iPad Pro models include a brigher 600 nit True Tone display with HDR support
  • ProMotion -- displays feature a 120Hz refresh rate for smoother and more responsive feedback and lower Apple Pencil latency
  • Processor -- Apple A10X Fusion processor with six cores and 12-core graphics processor for up to 40% faster performance
  • Camera -- same cameras as iPhone 7, including a 12MP rear camera with optical image stabilization and 4K video recording, along with a 7MP front camera
  • Accessories -- compatible with new USB 3 accessories for faster charging, new Smart Cover designs and accessories
  • Storage -- storage has been doubled and now starts at 64GB
  • iOS -- optimizations including a better dock (can add more apps, summon from anywhere), new app switcher for easier multi-tasking, drag and drop across multiple apps, on-screen keyboard gestures, new Files app to view files on device and in cloud
  • Apple Pencil -- more apps compatible with Markup, searchable handwriting, Notes app can function as document scanner

The new 10.5" iPad Pro and updated 12.9" iPad Pro, along with new iPad accessories, are available now at the Apple Store.

HomePod

HomePod won't be available in Canada until 2018.

HomePod, Apple's new smart speaker, was the final product to be introduced. A brand new product meant to compete with the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Home, Apple hopes HomePod can reinvent the home music listening experience.

  • Design -- 7” tall and wrapped in a 3D mesh fabric available in black or white
  • Audio -- features a seven-tweeter speaker array and 4” upward woofer to disperse audio, along with a six-microphone array to detect voice
  • Performance -- controlled by Apple A8 processor -- same processor found in iPhone 6 and 6 Plus -- for real-time audio processing
  • Spacial awareness -- detects the environment and dynamically adjusts audio to fill room, internal speakers can direct audio in space, multiple HomePods can be paired
  • Siri -- designed to work with Apple Music and Siri as a music speaker and home assistant, capable of speaking news, messages, notifications, weather, sports and controlling smart devices
  • Privacy -- an encrypted, anonymous Siri ID is used when activating the speaker with "Hey Siri"

HomePod will be available in Australia, the United Kingdom and United States in December for $349.00 USD. No Canadian details were specified, but Apple did mention that it would arrive in other countries next year.

New iMac, new iPad, new speaker, new software. 2017 is shaping up to be a year of reinvention for Apple and there's some excitement surrounding HomePod, as Apple is entering a completely new product category currently dominated by Amazon and Google.

We'll still have to wait for the next iPhone and it's disappointing that Canadians have to wait until at least 2018 to purchase HomePod, but it will be interesting to see if Apple can regain some of the lustre they've lost in recent years.

What’s Coming to Netflix Canada in June 2017

What’s Coming to Netflix Canada in June 2017

By Simon Hung

June can be a chaotic month with the end of the school year approaching and summer just around the corner, but if you have some free time in between watching the Stanley Cup Finals and trying to figure out what exactly a 'covfefe' is, you can always fire up Netflix to pass the time.

To help make your movie-picking easier, here's a list of titles that'll be making their way onto Netflix this month along with an RFD staff pick.

June 1

  • 13 Going on 30
  • Amelia
  • Burlesque
  • Catfight
  • Fatal Attraction
  • Homeland, Season 5
  • Jackie - A Tale of Two Sisters
  • Kardashian: The Man Who Saved OJ Simpson
  • Kate and Mim-Mim, Season 2
  • Little Boxes
  • London Town
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie
  • Morgan
  • Ride
  • Smokin’ Aces
  • The Birth of a Nation
  • The Mitfords - A Tale of Two Sisters
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
  • Turbo: A Power Rangers
  • West Coast Customs, Season 3
  • You’re Not You

June 2

  • Chelsea, Season 2 (New episodes weekly)
  • Flaked, Season 2
  • Lucid Dream
  • Saving Banksy

June 3

  • Blue Gold: American Jeans
  • War on Everyone
  • Wild Horses

June 4

  • TURN: Washington’s Spies, Season 3

June 6

  • Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, Season 2 (New episodes weekly)

June 7

  • iZombie, Season 3 (New episodes weekly)
  • The Edge of Seventeen
  • The Water Diviner

June 8

  • Born on the Fourth of July
  • Knocked Up
  • Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

June 9

  • My Only Love Song, Season 1
  • Orange is the New Black, Season 5
  • Shimmer Lake

June 10

  • Havenhurst

June 11

  • The Fosters, Season 4

June 12

  • Harry Benson: Shoot First
  • The Big Wedding

June 13

  • Oh, Hello on Broadway
  • The Crash
  • Vacation

June 14

  • American Violence
  • Animal Kingdom, Season 1
  • Deadly Target
  • Quantico, Season 2

June 15

  • Marco Luque: Tamo Junto
  • Miami Vice
  • Shutter Island
  • The Ghost and Mr. Chicken

June 16

  • A Man Called Ove
  • Counterpunch
  • The Ranch, Part 3
  • World of Winx, Season 2

June 20

  • Disney’s Moana
  • Rory Scovel Tries Stand-Up for the First Time

June 21

  • Queen of the South, Season 1

June 22

  • 20th Century Women
  • Bokeh
  • True Grit
  • Uncle Buck

June 23

  • Free Rein, Season 1
  • Glow, Season 1
  • Nobody Speak: Trails of the Free Press
  • You Get Me

June 27

  • Chris D’Elia: Man on Fire
  • We Are Your Friends

June 28

  • Okja
  • Pretty Little Liars, Season 7

June 29

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

June 30

  • Between, Season 2
  • Between Us
  • Gypsy, Season 1
  • Little Witch Academia, Season 1
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 8

RFD Staff Pick -- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Directed by David Fincher and nominated for 13 Academy Awards, this poignant film stars Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button and Cate Blanchett as his destined soulmate, Daisy Fuller. In a bizarre twist of fate, Benjamin is born with the frailty of an old man and gradually gets younger as he progresses through his life. The movie follows Benjamin as he tries to figure out who he is, enduring both heartbreak and happiness along the way while crossing paths with Daisy.

Sources: Netflix on YouTube and Canadify.

Android Pay Now Available in Canada, TD and RBC Not Supported at Launch

Android Pay Now Available in Canada, TD and RBC Not Supported at Launch

By Simon Hung

After years of wait and weeks of speculation, Android Pay has officially launched and the service is now available in Canada.

Google’s digital wallet platform is compatible with any Android device that supports NFC running Android 4.4 (KitKat) or higher. Some newer devices may have the Android Pay app already installed on their phone, but you can also download it from the Google Play Store.

At launch, debit or credit cards from ATB Financial, Banque Nationale, BMO, Canadian Tire Financial Services, CIBC, Desjardins, President’s Choice Financial and Scotiabank are compatible, with support for American Express and Tangerine coming later this summer. Some loyalty cards, such as Cineplex’s SCENE Card, can also be loaded into the app.

Oddly, RBC Royal Bank and TD Canada Trust are not currently supported, even though they are two of Canada’s largest banks and both support Apple Pay. However, Google does expect more banks to support the platform in the future, although no specific timeframe was given.

Setup is quick, as you only need to take a photo of your card and the app automatically enters the card information. After verifying the information with your bank, it’s ready to use. To pay, simply wake your phone and hold it near a payment terminal.

Android Pay lets you pay for purchases anywhere contactless payments are accepted. Its two biggest draws include convenience and security, as it promises quicker transactions and you can use your fingerprint to authorize purchases. Android Pay also uses tokenization, so merchants never see your real card number and the app makes it easy to track transactions across multiple cards.

Give Android Pay a try if you're curious to see just how easy it is to use -- you may find yourself using it more than you think.

Ontario to Increase Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour by 2019

Ontario to Increase Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour by 2019

By Ambia Staley

Earlier today, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne formally announced plans to increase the province's minimum wage to $15.00 an hour by 2019.

Regarding the decision, the premier said, "Right now, 10 per cent of workers in our province earn the minimum wage of $11.40. Thirty per cent earn less than $15.00 an hour. That’s millions of people, many of them supporting a family on a wage that just doesn’t go far enough."

Since 2015, Ontario's minimum wage increase has been tied to the rate of inflation, based on the Consumer Price Index for Ontario. The 2017 increase from $11.40 to $11.60 is already set to go into effect on October 1, 2017. After that, the wage will increase to $14.00 per hour as of January 1, 2018, and then again to $15.00 on January 1, 2019. Once the minimum wage hits $15.00, any future increases will again be based on the province's rate of inflation.

Ontario becomes the 2nd Canadian province to announce a $15.00 minimum wage after Alberta, who will implement a $15.00 wage beginning in October 2018.

As the minimum wage rate in Canada is determined by each province and territory, the amount varies. Here's a look at the current minimum wage around the country as of May 2017:

  • Alberta: $12.20
  • British Columbia: $10.85
  • Manitoba: $11.00
  • New Brunswick: $11.00
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: $10.75
  • Northwest Territories: $12.50
  • Nova Scotia: $10.85
  • Nunavut: $13.00
  • Ontario: $11.40
  • Prince Edward Island: $11.25
  • Quebec: $11.25
  • Saskatchewan: $10.72
  • Yukon: $11.32

Note that we've only posted the standard minimum wage as some provinces may apply different minimum wages for students, servers, or industrial workers.


Do you live in Ontario? What do you think of this news? If you're living in another province, would you like to see the minimum wage increase where you live as well? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

June 2017 Video Game Release Dates

June 2017 Video Game Release Dates

By Ambia Staley

Summer is just around the corner, and if you're looking for something to do while you're on the road travelling, or just wanting to stay indoors and hide from the sun, you'll want to check out the new video game offerings for June!

This month's list of releases is shorter than those in March, April, and May, but there are still a few upcoming releases to take note of such as Arms for the Nintendo Switch, Ever Oasis for the 3DS, and Tekken 7 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. In addition to this month's set releases, be sure to mark your calendars, as E3 2017 is happening June 13 to 15, and there are sure to be plenty of new announcements!

Without further ado, take a look below to see the games hitting store shelves this June:

  • Formula Fusion (PC) - June 1
  • Tekken 7 (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - June 2
  • Dark Rose Valkyrie (PS4) - June 6
  • Dirt 4 (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - June 6
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - June 6
  • Farming Simulator (3DS/PS Vita) - June 6
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Episode 2 Under Pressure (PS4/Xbox One/PC/iOS/Android) - June 6
  • Wipeout Omega Collection (PS4) - June 6
  • Superbeat: Xonic (PS4) - June 6
  • Superbeat: Xonic (Xbox One) - June 7
  • Nothing (PC) - June 8
  • Cars 3: Driven to Win (PS3/PS4/Xbox 360/Xbox One/Wii U/Switch) - June 13
  • Arms (Switch) - June 16
  • Darkest Dungeon: The Crimson Court (PS4/PC) - June 19
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood (PS4/PC/Mac) - June 20
  • God Wars: Future Past (PS4/PS Vita) - June 20
  • Nex Machina (PS4/PC) - June 20
  • Ever Oasis (3DS) - June 23
  • Get Even (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - June 23
  • Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls (PS4) - June 27
  • Elite Dangerous Legendary Edition (PS4/Xbox One) - June27
  • The Golf Club 2 (PS4/Xbox One/PC) - June 27
  • RPG Maker Fes (3DS) - June 27
  • Valkyria Revolution (PS4/Xbox One/PS Vita) - June 27
  • Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (PS4) - June 30
  • Tokyo Xanadu (PS Vita) - June 30

Note that video game release dates may change due to various reasons, but we'll try to keep this list updated as news becomes available.

Will you be playing any of June's new releases? Are you excited for E3 2017? Let us know in the comments!

The Thrill of the Chase: How One RFDer Turned 400 Jars of Relish into a Disney Vacation

The Thrill of the Chase: How One RFDer Turned 400 Jars of Relish into a Disney Vacation

By Simon Hung

You can often tell how good a deal is by how much time you’re willing to spend chasing it. Whether it’s driving to a store in another town or lining up before dawn on Boxing Day, the more time you put into hunting a deal, the better it is.

So when long-time RFDer Nick* spent five hours over the course of three days chasing a deal for hot dog condiments, we figured his ridiculous yet remarkable story was worth sharing.

The Air Miles promotion from Foodland's April 13 flyer that started it all.

Foodland, a grocery chain in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, had a promotion from April 13 to 20 where you could get 75 Air Miles bonus miles with the purchase of two Bick’s products. The promotion seemed unassuming, but Foodland normally gives one reward mile per $20.00 spent, which made this promotion a potentially lucrative offer for Air Miles collectors, especially since there was no mention of any purchase limits.

For Nick, he saw an opportunity to score one of the best deals he’s ever snagged. He knew that this one would be worth it. He knew that this deal would be his ticket to a Disney World vacation.

The plan was simple -- visit Foodland stores in Toronto to buy Bick’s products and scrape together enough reward miles to redeem one Walt Disney World ticket. Considering it took Nick nearly a decade to amass 400 reward miles, the potential payoff was tantalizing.

The original plan involved collecting enough reward miles to redeem one Disney World ticket.

Fate had other plans, because not long after starting his journey, there was a problem -- other shoppers had the same idea.

It was Sunday, April 16 and the promotion had already run for three days. Foodland stores in Toronto had meager amounts of any Bick’s products. In fact, most shelves were devoid of all varieties of Bick’s relish, which was the cheapest eligible product during the promotion at $1.99 each. To make matters worse, some stores had begun to implement a six-item limit.

At this point, Nick had managed to buy about 50 jars of relish and collected nearly 2000 reward miles, which was a little over half the cost of one ticket. He could taste the reward and was well past the point of no return, so he decided to expand his search radius and continue looking the next day.

There were over 15 Foodland stores within driving distance scattered around the Greater Toronto Area and Nick was willing to visit each one, but as the stakes grew higher, so did his hunger -- not for food, but for rewards. If he was going to potentially drive hundreds of kilometres to search for relish, Nick didn’t want to settle for just one ticket. He wanted three.

Foodland stores upwards of 100km away from Toronto were possible destinations.

The math made sense -- two jars of relish cost $4.00 with 75 bonus miles. One Disney World ticket cost 3,250 reward miles and had a face value of about $400.00, so three tickets would cost 9,750 reward miles with a cumulative value of $1200.00. To get enough reward miles to redeem three tickets, Nick would need a minimum of 260 jars at a cost of approximately $520.00 -- a savings of over 50% when comparing the dollar value.

The hope was that there would be fewer customers in the suburbs and a higher chance of stock, since stores would likely replenish their supply that Monday. This hunch paid off, because Nick eventually found a location that let him buy 18 cases of Bick’s relish (a total of 216 jars) at a cost of just under $430.00.

The largest transaction included 216 jars of relish and rewarded over 8000 bonus miles.

The final haul? 386 jars of Bick’s relish in various flavours and 14,475 Air Miles reward miles. Altogether, it took Nick five hours over three days to get all the jars, at a cost of $768.14. It was more than he needed to reach his goal, so the surplus was used to redeem other Air Miles rewards.

What exactly do you do with 386 jars of relish? If you’re Nick, you eat some, you give some away to friends and you donate the rest to a food bank.

Nick was able to save hundreds of dollars on Disney World tickets with 386 jars of relish.

769 dollars, 386 jars, 145 litres of relish, six Foodland stores, five hours of travel, four cities, three Walt Disney World tickets, one ridiculous story, zero regrets.

It’s become rare to see what we jokingly call “Peak RFD” deals and Nick’s relish odyssey certainly qualifies. It’s a mindset shared amongst most deal-hunters that kicks in whenever there’s a deal so good or a loophole so rewarding that you push aside conventional wisdom in order to chase it, no matter how much time or effort is involved.

We saw it when you could get a $300.00 Philips home theatre system for $40.00. We saw it when you could get an HP TouchPad for $100.00. We saw it when you could get an infinite supply of Nestea. We saw it when you could get 1000 SCENE points for renting a $4.00 movie. Nick experienced it with his relish-to-riches story.

Peak RFD is the most exciting RFD and even though it doesn’t happen very often, it’s a thrill when it does.

*Nick’s real name has been redacted by request.

Recall Roundup: Graco My Ride 65 Car Seats, Renee's Gourmet Dressing, Costco's Baby Sleepers + More

Recall Roundup: Graco My Ride 65 Car Seats, Renee's Gourmet Dressing, Costco's Baby Sleepers + More

By Kate Musgrove

We think it's important to be informed of all the latest safety recalls -- after all, your health and safety might be at risk! Here's a quick roundup of what's been recalled in Canada recently.