Gaming

Microsoft could release a disc-less Xbox One

According to a new report from Thurott, Microsoft has been working on a new console in the Xbox One family. This cheaper model could play regular Xbox One games, but there would be no Blu-Ray drive. This move would lower the price of the entry-level Xbox One. An Xbox One S officially starts at $299 but you can currently find it for around $250 on Amazon. The disc-less Xbox One could start at $199. If you already have an Xbox One and physical games, you could imagine going to an official retailer to trade your discs for a digital download code. Let’s hope that this new Xbox comes with a big hard drive for those who have a slow internet connection. Back when Microsoft first unveiled the Xbox One in 2013, the company wanted to make a big push toward digital games. The original plan was that y...

Blockchain gaming gets a boost with Mythical Games’ $16M Series A

Fortnite, the free multi-player survival game, has earned an astonishing $1 billion from in-game virtual purchases alone. Now, others in the gaming industry are experimenting with how they too can capitalize on new trends in gaming. Mythical Games, a startup out of stealth today with $16 million in Series A funding, is embracing a future in gaming where user-generated content and intimate ties between players, content creators, brands and developers is the norm. Mythical is using its infusion of venture capital to develop a line of PC, mobile and console games on the EOSIO blockchain, which will also be open to developers to build games with “player-owned economies.” The company says an announcement regarding its initial lineup of games is on the way. Mythical is led by a group of gaming i...

E3 slouches towards irrelevance again as Sony announces it’s skipping the show

I like E3 . I really do. But it’s also monumentally dumb: game companies spending millions to show off essentially faked content to an increasingly jaded audience. And it’s increasingly out of step with how the gaming industry works. So it should come as no surprise that Sony will be skipping the show more or less altogether this year, joining Nintendo in taking a step back from spectacle. Sony has been a part of CES for 20 years and this will be the first one it’s ever missed. I’ve gone to their events every time I’ve attended; I was there for their historic putdown of Microsoft after the latter announced some hugely unpopular restrictions on used games. I think you can actually see me near the front in the broadcast of that one. (You can! I’m at 1:29.) And E3 has been a part of Sony’s ye...

Prolific swatter and bomb hoaxer who broke up FCC’s net neutrality vote pleads guilty

It was a dramatic moment during the FCC’s net neutrality proceedings last December when the Commission’s public meeting was abruptly evacuated and bomb squads moved in — all while thousands watched on the live stream. The person who called in that threat has just entered a guilty plea to that and numerous other crimes, including a SWAT hoax that killed a man last December. Tyler Barriss is a Kansas resident who has racked up dozens of charges of swatting, calling in bomb threats and other “pranks” that have proven to be anything but. Swatting is the practice of calling the police and convincing them a dangerous armed person is at a given address in order to provoke an aggressive response by police or SWAT officers — a response that can be disastrous or fatal. The latter was the result of o...

This $199 PS4 and ‘Spider-Man’ Black Friday bundle has my bargain-sense tingling

I’m calling it — this is the best deal of this year’s Black Friday season, for gamers anyway. It’s amazing. It’s spectacular. Sony is selling a PlayStation 4 Slim with the new Spider-Man game for $199. That’s way too little money. The 1TB PS4 slim currently retails for $300, and that used to be the cost of the 500 GB one. So a $199 price for the improved, terabyte-capacity console would already be a great deal. But throwing Spider-Man in there? I’m not usually one to call out individual details for Black Friday (we’ll have a roundup), but this is ridiculous. That game came out just the other day, and has garnered absolute rave reviews; plenty of TechCrunch staff have lost dozens of hours to it, and expansions are on the way to suck even more time. It’s still going for full price most place...

Microsoft adds RPG makers InXile and Obsidian to Xbox developer stable

Microsoft is continuing to invest in a broad spectrum of developers for its Xbox gaming ecosystem with the acquisition of Obsidian and InXile, makers of complex RPGs primarily aimed at PC users. The two studios will join four others snatched up in June, significantly bolstering Xbox’s first-party development resources. The company announced the acquisitions (rumored for some time) at its XO18 event alongside numerous other interesting developments for the Xbox One and Windows gaming platforms. Xbox Director of Programming Larry Hyrb, better known by his pseudonym Major Nelson, welcomed them to the Microsoft Studios team of owned but independent devs: Of the two studios Obsidian is probably the best known; Fallout: New Vegas is a modern classic of the open world genre, while Pillars of Eter...

Sony’s PlayStation Classic uses an open-source emulator to play its games

The worm has turned, it seems. Emulators, which let people run old console games on their computers, were once the scourge of the gaming industry. Now Sony is using one of the very pieces of software the industry decried as the basis for its PlayStation Classic retro console. In the licenses list for the console can be found PCSX ReArmed, as Kotaku noticed in its review yesterday. That’s the ARM port of PCSX Reloaded, itself an offshoot of the original PCSX emulator, which ceased development in 2003. Don’t worry, it’s not a crime or anything: Sony is well within its rights to do this. It’s just ironic, and indicative of the hard work emulator developers have done for over two decades, that a tool most famously (though by no means exclusively) used for piracy is being deployed officially li...

China’s frenzy over League of Legends championship sheds light on esports growth

When China’s Invictus Gaming defeated European squad Fnatic in the League of Legends 2018 finals this past Saturday, China’s social media platforms became awash in ecstasy and pride. “It’s like winning an Olympic gold, a teenage dream come true,” writes one thirty-something audience of the competition on his WeChat feed. Many others share that sentiment. So far, the hashtag #IG冠军, which means “IG the champion,” has generated over one million threads on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter with over four million monthly active users. This is a critical moment for China’s first-generation of players who grew up under parents and teachers who too easily dismissed all kinds of video games. IG’s victory marks the first time a Chinese team has won the world championship for LoL – fondly called s...

Chat app Line’s games business raises $110M for growth opportunities

Messaging app firm Line has given up majority control of its Line Games business after it raised outside financing to expand its collection of titles and go after global opportunities. The Line Games business was formed earlier this year when Line merged its existing gaming division from NextFloor, the Korea-based game publisher that it acquired in 2017. Now the business has taken on capital from Anchor Equity Partners, which has provided 125 billion KRW ($110 million) in financing via its Lungo Entertainment entity, according to a disclosure from Line. A Line spokesperson clarified that the deal will see Anchor acquire 144,743 newly-created shares to take a 27.55 percent stake in Line Games. That increase means Line Corp’s own shareholding is diluted from 57.6 percent to a minority 41.73 ...

Snapchat’s new Camera desktop camera app brings AR masks to Twitch, Skype…

Snapchat is launching its first Mac and Windows software that takes over your webcam and brings its augmented reality effects to other video streaming and calling services. Snap Camera can be selected as a camera output in OBS Skype, YouTube, Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, and more plus browser-based apps like Facebook Live so you can browse through Snapchat’s Lens Explorer to try on AR face filters. And through its easily-equipped new Twitch extension. streamers can trigger different masks with hotkeys. You can download the Mac and Windows version of Snap Camera now. Users can us Lens Explorer to preview effects and see who made them, Star their favorites for easy access, and access a tab of your recently used Lenses. Despite Snap Inc’s troubles following yesterday’s Q3 earnings announceme...

Super Mario Party is Nintendo Switch’s best game

When I bought the Nintendo Switch a few months ago, my friends told me to buy Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. That’s precisely what I did, but none of those games were enough to get me hooked, which is probably for the best. But then came Super Mario Party, which Nintendo released earlier this month for the Switch. I grew up gaming, but somehow never played Super Mario Party. Well, it seems as if I’ve been missing out my whole life. Super Mario Party for Nintendo Switch is a quick, pick-up-and-play kind of game. You set the difficulty level, tell the game how much you want to party (ten, fifteen or twenty turns) and that’s how long you’ll party. But be careful playing with your friends or significant others — because it’s bound to stir ...

Pokémon Go update bringing ‘mon from the Sinnoh region is live

If you’ve been laying off the Pokémon Go for a while due to a lack of new monsters, prepare to be glued to your phone again. Niantic is now adding pokémon from the rugged Sinnoh region that first appeared in 2007’s Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum games. Of course, it’s not so simple as a dump of a hundred new ‘mon into your area. The new guys are arriving in waves, likely meaning the most common sorts will start appearing today, while cooler ones and sets of themed critters will arrive over the coming weeks. These are part of the Generation 4 set, but it’s not clear yet which will be appearing first or indeed at all. It’s entirely up to Niantic and you can be sure they’re going to mete these little guys out over several months, interspersed with other events — anything to keep you catching. [...