Category Archives: Gaming News

Discord Adds e-Sports Teams to Verified Servers Program

Discord, a gaming-centric chat application, has paired up with several e-sports teams, broadening the grasp of its verified servers program. In short, users can instantly confirm if they are conversing with an official team via a gray “Verified” badge. Discord has verified 20 new pro team servers, dedicated to games like “Defense of the Ancients,” “League of Legends,” “CounterStrike: Global Operative” and “Overwatch.” Some of these new verified teams include the Overwatch League and pro-gaming groups like Cloud 9, Echo Fox and 100 Thieves. Despite these improvements, Discord has not evolved its program to verify individual players nor the servers of individual players, as the application already offers a Partners program to interested game streamers.

Previously, Discord’s verification badge was limited to musicians, game studios and publishers; it still lacks support for community servers. For a server to qualify for the badge, the server must have a moderator team, two-factor authentication and explicit content filtration. Discord’s expansion is one more step toward growing out of its beta build days, where it had little in the way of deterrence from toxic subcultures and online trolling from the alt-right. While other social outlets like Facebook and YouTube already have the means to verify accounts, verification can help sort the imitators from the genuine articles.

Fake accounts are a known problem with Discord, especially when users can list themselves as whatever appellation they want to be recognized by; any user who operate the program on multiple devices is bound to wind up with duplicates of the same name. Despite Discord’s community guidelines having a specific mention about abstaining from the creation of spam accounts, the worst-possible enforceable punishment for flagrant abuse is deletion of the account.

Breath of the Wild Named Game of the Year at DICE Awards

The Game of the Year is a highly coveted title, with dozens of games lobbying for the spot in multiple awards shows even prior to release. At the 21st DICE Awards in Las Vegas, 2017’s lucky winner was Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

This decision likely won’t be a shock to many, as Breath of the Wild was one of the consistently best reviewed games of the year, instrumental even in the success of the Nintendo Switch on which it launched. Currently holding a 97 on Metacritic from over 100 reviewers, the game was undoubtedly the favorite of many critics and audiences alike during the year, making both the nomination and win unsurprising.

In total, Breath of the Wild won four awards during the show: Game of the Year, Adventure Game of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Game Design, and Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction. Aside from Zelda, though, Nintendo cleaned house in multiple other categories, with Metroid: Samus Returns, Fire Emblem Heroes, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Super Mario Odyssey all taking home awards in different categories.

Additionally, Nintendo executive Genyo Takeda was given the lifetime achievement award for his many accomplishments throughout his career, chief among them being his involvement in the development of some of Nintendo’s best consoles like the Wii.

The only game to come close in number of awards was Studio MDHR’s indie darling Cuphead, which won three awards (Outstanding Achievement in Animation, Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction, Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition) while being nominated for five.

All in all, it seems that even in the modern era, Nintendo still reigns as king of the video game world.

PUBG Goes Against Public Sentiment, Releases Loot Crates.

Is there any game in the world of video games hotter than PUBG? PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds has completely taken over the gaming world and the team of talented developers behind the title aren’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, PUBG is looking to embrace their recent hot-streak by releasing a slew of new (potentially) controversially updates. Most recent out of the PUBG update crate is the addition of Loot Crates. Now, don’t whiplash cringe, but loot crates can be added to games without being terrible and game-breaking. Is this the case here?

Well, PUBG was always going to be catering to gamers with some level of gambling so we aren’t surprised to see the new crates added to the game. The two new crates being added are known as Militia and Fever. The Fever crate is only accessible to those with an Early Bird Key. In either event, both crates are going to be incredibly rare to find with the Militia crate owning the rarest item of the bunch. Let’s break each crate down individually so you can see if they are worth your while.

The Fever Crate addition is named after the wild and crazy ’70s and ’80s with clothing looking like it was pulled straight from the disco. These crates can have items as simple as a tight polo to an entire corset with loafers. We don’t think these crates will break the game with fashion, but a few customizable combos do like quite nice.

The Militia crate is probably going to be the more popular of the two thanks to its military theme. You’ll find utility bats, special hats, mercenary t-shirts and more. The rarest item in this crate, and the game is the military skirt which only has a .00064% drop percentage.

Fever Crates can be purchased with Battle Points and an Early Bird access key. The military crate is only available roughly 40% of the time when you purchase other boxes in the game.

Microsoft’s Game Streaming Service Launches “Direct Purchase”

Mixer, Microsoft’s game streaming service, announced on its blog it is launching a new feature called “Direct Purchase,” which allows streamers to promote digital purchases directly from their own channels.

Microsoft created Mixer, formerly called Beam, to compete with other game streaming services like Twitch and YouTube Gaming. Mixer attempts to differentiate itself from other streaming sites by offering real-time viewer participation. The Official Xbox website boasts of Mixer’s super-fast streaming protocol, which means less delay between what the streamer and user see on their screens, and a bevy of other features that encourage viewer interaction.

“Direct Purchase,” Mixer’s latest feature, borrows its design from Twitch. The feature lets a streamer promote game purchases through his or her channel. In return, the streamer receives five percent of the revenue from each sale. Twitch has a similar feature, which offers payouts to its partners.

Mixer has additional options, similar to those found on Twitch, available for its streamers to monetize their content. Viewers can subscribe to their favorite content creators, who split the fee 50-50 with Microsoft. Additionally, Mixer streamers can use third party donation services to receive direct gifts from their fans.

With the rise in popularity of esports and game streaming, Microsoft is clearly trying to dethrone Twitch, the indisputably king of live streaming in the gaming community. It’ll certainly be a challenge: Twitch is the 34th most visited website in the world, according to the Alexa Top 500 Global Sites list. But, with Microsoft’s resources and the ever-growing audience for game streaming, Mixer may have a chance at usurping Twitch’s reign.

TechCrunch reports “Direct Purchase” is now available for select Mixer partners, and that the feature will reach more streamers in the coming months.

Niantic Drops ‘Pokemon Go’ Valentines Day Event.

Pokemon Go is probably one of the most interesting gaming experiences you are going to find in the mobile world. We aren’t sure if that is saying much, but Niantic is doing their best to keep their experience as fresh as possible and this means making sure to release big holiday events. Most recently, Niantic broke open February with their newest Valentine’s Day event and it wasn’t what anyone had expected. Gamers may have had their expectations heightened due to past holiday events, but fan reaction around the game was less than inspired. Still, that doesn’t mean that fans should feel let down — we’ll explain why.

For this year’s Valentine’s Day event, Niantic decided to push focus toward some of their new Pokemon. Starting February 15th, gamers will have to keep an eagle-eye out for roaming Luvdisc. Luvdisc is a pink, heart-shaped Pokemon that is decidedly perfect for this event. What makes them special, aside from being on the roster of the newest gen of Pokemon, is the fact that they are giving triple-stardust for each capture during this event. That is pretty much it for the event in a nutshell.

While these small events are going to be disappointing for players looking for new immersive experiences, they still should hit the mark for higher-leveled trainers. Any time that Niantic releases an event that improves your ability to quickly rack up stardust, that will be considered a win for the community. Leveling, as most trainers know, can feel arduous at the higher levels — especially during non-event periods of time.

What trainers should take to heart, no matter their opinion on this specific event, is that Niantic is not abandoning their flagship application. Despite the increased focus on their work with the announced ‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ application, Niantic continues to unleash a flurry of activity and updates to keep their trainers happy. Alongside their recently released AR+ and weather updates, we can’t complain about what we have been seeing from the company of late.

New Fortnite Patch Released Today

“Fortnite” has quickly become one of the most popular video games in the world thanks to its exciting Battle Royale mode. The game even surpassed “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” as the most played game on Steam with more than 3.4 million concurrent players. Those numbers did not even include the large number of fans enjoying the game on a PS4 or Xbox One. “Fortnite” fans will be happy to hear that Epic Games has just released a new patch that will vastly improve the game.

The introduction of a new weapon and an alteration to the map are the two biggest changes in the patch. The new impulse grenade will stick to to the first thing it touches after being thrown. The large explosion created by the impulse grenade will be a great way to take down enemies hiding in large structures. You will only be able to find the impulse grenade in supply drops and treasure chests.

The addition of a new weapon is not coming without a sacrifice. The regular SMG will no longer be found in “Fortnite.” This change was made in order to maintain balance in the game. The crossbow, minigun and chug jug will also show up far less often on the map. The tactical and suppressed submachine guns will remain in the game.

Special shrines are being added to slightly change the “Fortnite” map. These shrines will be hidden in random locations every time you play a new game. Finding one of these shrines may be crucial to being the last survivor because they will be filled with lots of treasure. The current shrines are decorated to honor the Chinese New Year.

In addition to these major changes, there are also a few minor updates with the latest patch. Several annoying bugs and performance issues have been fixed. Eliminating these bugs will vastly improve load times on the PS4. It will also let the game run in 4K resolution on the Xbox One X.

Grand Theft Auto Online Unveils Epic Update

Gamers who are more socially inclined should be looking to Grand Theft Auto Online, even years after the title first hit the shelves. The developers at Rockstar recently announced that they would be putting out what is known as the Doomsday Update. Gamers who love how crazy the Grand Theft Auto world can get will surely dig this new update. Let’s dive into what exactly this DLC offers along with what gamers can expect to do once they get the patch installed.

To start with, the new Doomsday DLC is going to be a pretty hefty update. There are three different Heist acts that tell the entire story known as the ‘Doomsday Heist’. You’ll run through different vehicles, tactical set-ups and freemode missions which allegedly culminates in one of the most epic and insane finales of any GTA story mode. Along the way, gamers will also be able to try and accomplish ‘elite challenges’ which are considered ‘hardcore’ and tough to satisfy.

Of course, as soon as we mentioned different vehicles the majority of readers instantly probably locked on to that aspect. The newest vehicle that people will want to get their hands on is called the ‘Avenger’. Described as a ‘flying fortress’ that showcases ‘experimental weapons’, the Avenger sounds like just our type GTA:O weapon. Of course, this isn’t the only new addition to the game. Players will be able to unlock new clothes, new weapons, more vehicles and even special customization for their characters. Did we mention that there will even be new radio stations to listen to as you play?

Grand Theft Auto Online has by far been one of Rockstar’s most electric triumphs. The new Doomsday update figures to satisfy longtime fans of the franchise as well as those new gamers who are planning on getting into the property. With Grand Theft Auto Online under control of Rockstar, it looks like the game will stick to pumping out these high-quality updates.

Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp” Second Largest Mobile Game at Launch.

There is something so uniquely and intimately satisfying about creating a character in the hit Nintendo series ‘Animal Crossing’ before spending hours shaking trees, fishing and talking to animal-people. Nintendo’s quirky series has been one of the staples in their massive library of IP and now it is going mobile. ‘Animal Cross: Pocket Camp’ hit mobile application stores last week and it ascended quickly to 15 million downloads, making it the second largest mobile game launch in Nintendo’s history — right behind Super Mario Run.

Nintendo has made a habit of giving fans a new ‘Animal Crossing’ title with each generation of their console release, dating all the way back to the Nintendo 64. Fans were notably worried that nothing had been announced in 2017, up until about two months ago when news of ‘Pocket Camp’ first hit the internet. Fans were initially put off by the idea of a mobilization of such a deep and unique game, but those fears have turned out to be unfounded as critical and commercial success has followed the title.

In ‘Pocket Camp’, gamers create a character like they traditionally do in other ‘Animal Crossing’ titles. Afterwards, each player is given a special RV Camper that they can decorate and expand, much like their home. The big twist here is that your character does not live in a village. Instead, you have your own ‘campsite’ that can be completely and uniquely decorated. You can invite other animals to come hang out at your campsite while you perform tasks for them in order to build your friendship. Of course, there is plenty of exploration too. An overworld map allows your character to travel to a handful of different areas, including beaches, parks, and forests, in order to catch bugs, go fishing, and meet new animals and players.

Nintendo has taken a relatively hands-off approach in terms of monetization for ‘Pocket Camp’ which is likely why the title has been so popular, so far. You don’t need to pay a cent to enjoy the game unless you would like to speed up certain tasks or buy specialty aesthetic items to decorate your camp.

Nintendo Switch Reveals New Platformer, “Yooka-Laylee”

If there is one thing that Nintendo has mastered, with almost no competition from other major brands, it is the platformer. With Mario setting the tone and every iconic character after to follow, Nintendo has cornered the style of gameplay almost entirely. Now it looks like the Nintendo Switch is picking up its next great piece of IP in the retro platformer genre, “Yooka-Laylee”. Ignoring the obvious play on words, there looks to be a lot of depth in this title and fans of the style should be eager to get their hands on it when it drops on December 14th, 2017.

Yooka-Laylee was originally supposed to release on the PS4, XB1, and Wii U this past April but a slew of technical issues changed the ramping up of the release. Instead, the developers at Playtonic Games decided to hold back and refine their product with a new release window during the Holiday Season for the Nintendo Switch. Over the past several months the team at Playtonic have been focused on technically optimizing the quirky, colorful platformer in order to make it a homerun for Nintendo Switch owners around the world.

For fans of the Yooka-Laylee that have already played the title on the PS4 or XB1, there will be new content and additional gameplay elements that come with the Nintendo Switch. What we do know is that Playtonic Games focused on incorporating the impressive Joy-Con controls as much as possible during their optimization process. You can now play all eight mini-games with just one of the Joy-Con controllers. You can also enjoy a brand new camera system, refined controls, and even a dialogue skip button for the truly impatient gamers.

The Nintendo Switch has turned into one of the biggest console surprises of the past decade. The Switch has completely flipped the Wii U’s relative failure on its head, becoming one of Nintendo’s hottest selling systems of all time. With titles like Yooka-Layle in the fold, gamers are only going to keep coming back for more.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 Under Fire in France

It has not been a great launch period for Star Wars Battlefront 2. Electronic Arts’ (EA) much awaited continuation to the Battlefront franchise was almost immediately panned by fans and critics as “pay to win”, where players could pay money for items that improved their performance in-game. To that end EA pulled the system, but such actions did not appease the Belgian Gaming Commission from launching an investigation into the practice. EA attempted to shift the blame to the Star Wars license, but their pleas seem to have fallen of deaf ears.

Which is when the bad news for EA keeps getting worse, as France may begin to take a closer look at the loot-crate practice. French senator Jérôme Durain reached out to several consumer advocacy groups recently, expressing concern that the boxes may be harmful to children. A translation reads: “Quite aside from the acceptance of the practice, some observers point to a convergence of the video game world and practices specific to gambling.” He highlights several avenues of resolution, including perhaps adopting Chinese models which include transparency win chances. Fortunately for EA, he also says that he is not at a point where he believes legislation is strictly necessary.

Charles Coppolani of ARJEL, the regulatory oversight board in France which monitors all gambling within the country, replied the practice poses, “risks for our fellow citizens and in particular for the youngest. These risks are very close to those that characterise gambling addiction money; it is necessary to be very vigilant.” He further stressed consumer protection may indeed become a necessity before long.

Elsewhere, Hawaii state representative Chris Lee voiced similar concerns last week. It would seem EA’s loot box policy was only a straw that finally broke this particular camel’s back.