Loot Boxes Expose Thin Line Between Gaming And Gambling

“Loot Boxes” have come to dominate gaming news in 2017. These are in-game objects with a random assortment of virtual items, which can sometimes be obtained in-game but more likely have to be purchased with real-world money. And there’s some concern that this could be teaching kids to gamble.

But really, this isn’t as new as most people seem to think it is. Way back in the 1990s, collectible trading card games like Magic: the Gathering, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh were selling card “booster packs” in stores. Pop a pack, and you could pull out a $100 mythic rare – or worthless junk. Even outside of games, baseball cards were once packaged with bubble gum and about the same random odds of pulling a rare, valuable card.

But it’s only recently that video game companies have come under fire for loot box distribution, just because it’s such a transparent money-grab. Electronic Arts drew a lot of derision in the gaming community for Star Wars Battlefront II, which uses loot boxes. The issue is that it’s simply too easy to fine-tune an algorithm on a computer to reduce odds on getting anything valuable from a loot box.

The bottom line remains that any kind of legislation of loot box practices is unlikely. Gamers are more than able to vote with their wallets. In the case of EA, veteran gamers will recall The Sims franchise, which had an endless parade of expansion packs, all the price of the full game, but delivering less and less additional content. After that experience, gamers could have had some foresight about EA’s practices. Gaming companies as a whole might learn a lesson from the backlash. But when they’re not being too greedy about it, loot boxes are still fun, so nobody’s calling for them to go away completely.


Social Gaming Gets Bigger in Australia

In the world of the internet, digital devices have created a social gaming atmosphere. That means that people who don’t even know each other can connect, compete, and collaborate with each other across the world. All it takes is an internet connection. And Australian gaming company Aristocrat seems to have caught on to this trend.

Based out of Seattle, a company named Big Fish (which makes the game of the same name) was picked up by Aristocrat. The CEO excitedly mentioned the additional revenue and customer information potential.

“When you purchase a company like this, you’re getting the customer list just as much as you are the proven cash flows.” He said.

Time will tell, but it seems like the gaming giant is going to move more into social gaming as time goes on. Big Fish was a big catch, but it seems like there might be bigger fish to fry in the future.

Long gone are the days when companies stuck to their lane. Today, they constantly shift their focus and create new value to keep up with the digital realities we are all living in. When social gaming started becoming big, companies like Aristocrat noticed. From their humble start manufacturing equipment for gaming, they now have a whole new way to inject revenue. This is good for the gamer, because more opportunities and competition mean more innovation and better pricing for the consumer.


Animal Crossing Now Available For Your Phone

The wildly popular Nintendo game known as Animal Crossing is now available to virtually anyone with a smartphone. It was something that one would play on a gaming console in the past, but now it is available to those who just want to play a little something on their smartphone.

The app is called “Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp”, and it is in a lot of ways the same as the beloved game from Nintendo. The major difference is that it is not necessary to have a whole gaming system to luge along with you when you want to play. Just wipe out your smartphone and start playing.

It is free to get the app and start playing in the United States and the United Kingdom. However, there are a number of in-game purchases that a player may choose to make which bring more flavor to the game and make it a lot more fun.

For someone who has never heard of this game before, think of “the Sims” but with animal characters rather than humans. There is a lot of crossover similarity to that.

In the game, you are running a campsite that you must try to fill with all of the campsite essentials. This includes things like tents and furniture. However, you mostly want to attract as many guests to your campsite as possible. That is the only way that you will know that you have been truly successful in the game. Get those guests to come in, and you will have a lot of fun playing this one.


Research Points To benefits Of Gaming With Your Kids

When parents are asked to think of wholesome activities to do with their child, they might respond with singing nursery rhymes to playing catch in the yard. But now researchers at the Arizona State University Center for Games and Impact says that some video games are actually good for developing kids’ skills – and they get even better when parents join in.

The researchers indicate that kids love to interact with parents while they play, so even if the parent doesn’t join in, they can still ask the child to explain their strategy or the rules of the game. But even better is co-operative multi-player. Minecraft is one ideal environment for parent-child gaming, since it’s a 3D environment where you can build projects together. But if your child is mature enough (or aggressive enough), plain old first-person shooters can be fun on a server when you team up as a family against online opponents.

It makes sense that gaming together would be a bonding activity important to children. Kids are the digital natives of each gaming platform, after all. Interacting with a parent in a game’s universe lets the kid handle the interaction on their own terms, in a universe where they feel capable and confident. Whether it’s two-player Mario hopping around after coins, or wizards in Warcraft slaughtering orcs, virtual universes are just one more opportunity to share a family bonding experience. And who knows, your child might even be helpful in completing that one raid boss you can’t get on your own.


Free Trial of Destiny 2 Now Available

You can now try out the extremely popular online first-person shooter “Destiny 2” for free thanks to a trial version of the game that was released yesterday by the game’s creators. The free trial is currently available to download on the PS4, Xbox One or PC.

 

Everyone that downloads the “Destiny 2” trial will get the chance to play the first two campaign missions. You will also be able to play the award-winning competitive multiplayer mode. While you will only be able to access the multiplayer through quickplay, that still gives you a chance to explore several of the game’s beautiful planets with your friends.

 

Unlike most free trials, there is absolutely no time limit for the new trial of “Destiny 2.” You will be allowed to play multiplayer matches until your character reaches level 7. While the length of time to reach this limit will ultimately be determined based on your overall skill at the game, everyone should be able to get several hours of fun social gaming out of the free “Destiny 2” trial.

 

A free chance to play one of the biggest games of the year is the perfect way to determine if you want to join the “Destiny” community. The newly released sequel has greatly improved nearly every aspect of the original game, so this is a great way to give the franchise another try. All of your online character and campaign progress in the free trial will transfer over if you purchase the complete game in the future.


Magic: the Gathering Artwork Taking More Progressive Turn?

The collectible trading card game Magic: The Gathering has long passed its 20th anniversary, and it’s still going strong. Over the decades, the game has woven an elaborate fantasy universe filled with everything from dragons to zombies to pirates to wizards, and everything else. But one aspect of the Magic universe has usually been consistent: the game’s fan base has traditionally been male, so the game’s artwork thus tends to favor the male gaze whenever depicting a female.

But one sharp set of eyes over at Vice.com’s Motherboard has noticed something different about a female snake character: A lack of prominent female breasts. In asking why she doesn’t have mammary glands, one might be tempted to reply “Because she’s a snake, dummy!” But in the Magic universe, that never slows them down. The article goes on to show examples from the game’s artwork of everything from humanoid cats to hissing vampires, all of whom could fill out a D cup nicely.

Wizards of the Coast, makers of Magic: The Gathering, do seem to be trying to open the game’s culture up to be more inclusive. Just this last year the Magic universe introduced its first black female planeswalker, traditionally being its marquee brand of character. Recent expansion sets have also introduced a bi-racial couple and a transgender legendary commander character.

It goes to show, equal representation counts, even in the universe of a fantasy card game.


New Gaming App Will Help Fight HIV Epidemic

A Filipino scientist has developed a gaming app that will help fight the HIV epidemic. The name of the app is the Battle in the Blood. It is a puzzle and combat game. Emmanuel Baja is a research associate of Clinical Epidemiology National Institute of Health of the University of the Phillippines-Mania. He stated that the aim of the game is to get rid of the stigma associated with HIV. He also wants to encourage more people to get tested.

Baja stated that one of the reasons that HIV is an epidemic in the Phillipines is because people refuse to get tested. People do not want to go to the clinic because they are afraid of the possible results. Baja wants people to know that HIV does not have to be a death sentence. There are a number of medications that can be used in order to treat it. People who take their medications are often able to live long, healthy life. HIV can be managed just like any other chronic disease.

Baja came up with the idea for the game. He collaborated with UP Manila from the Phillippines and the United Kingdom team from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Baja stated that people will have to beat 90 levels in order to beat the game. People can customize their character and make it male, female or transgender.


StarCraft II to Become F2P November 14th

During the annual BlizzCon event, megalithic game company Blizzard announced that it would be transforming “StarCraft II” into a free-to-play experience. The change in payment model will take effect on November 14th and include “Wings of Liberty,” the single-player story mode of the game.

Beyond receiving all of the single-player content for free, players will also gain access to every co-op commander of levels one through five. Blizzard will also allow for the series’ signature online ranked multiplayer engagements to be acquired for free and for each of the game’s three factional releases: Protoss, Terrans and Zerg-provided those players achieve 10 “First Wins of the Day” in matches that are either unranked or played against a computer AI. When pushed for their reasoning, Blizzard commented that it wanted to preserve the quality and integrity of ranked play. For those players who already have access to Wings of Liberty, Blizzard will give them a voucher to purchase “Heart of the Swarm,” the Zerg campaign, free of charge.

While the news of free access to StarCraft is appealing to many, this decision is not the first time Blizzard has freely released its most well-known Real Time Strategy title: April 2017 saw the company freely offering StarCraft 1.

StarCraft II is an RTS title that pits humans, machine-like Protoss and the disgusting insectile Zerg race in a battle for resources used to produce increasingly impressive military units. The game is sometimes referred to as South Korea’s second national sport, after Tae Kwon Do.


The Mecha MMOs That Fulfill Our Robot Battling Dreams!

The beauty of massively multiplayer online games, or MMOs, is that they allow you to progress on a massive scale alongside players around the globe. This leads people to work fervently to upgrade their stats, kit out their characters, and dominate the world. However, despite this awesome concept, so few MMOs have dared to put players in an environment with giant robots. If you grew up watching ‘Gundam’ or loving ‘Transformers’ then it has always been your dream to pilot a giant robot that can destroy your enemies. Fortunately, there are finally a couple of mecha inspired games worth checking out.

There aren’t a ton of mecha inspired MMOs out on the market and blessed few that are actually getting major studio support. Still, that doesn’t mean that you should put your dreams of piloting a massive mech into the proverbial garage. There are a few games that are still living the dream. First up on our list of suggested titles to check out is MechQuest, which was developed by the team behind AdventureQuest 3D. In MechQuest you fight off players in massive robots and you can play it on both your phone or your computer’s browser.

If you are looking for big-budget mech battles then you are going to want to check out Gundam Online Wars. Based off of the legendary franchise, Gundam Online Wars puts players into massive 52 v 52 battles where you can play as some of the iconic figures and mechs from the franchise — definitely worth a glance.


ESCand Game Theatre

Malls are currently competing with ecommerce business offering online shopping alternatives to customers at the comfort of their homes; this means that few customers actually see the need to go out and shop in the malls, resulting in revenue dips for malls. Well, a video gaming company might just turn out to be their savior. ESC Games (https://www.esc.games/), founded two years ago has introduced a new gaming concept that will have shoppers thronging to malls to enjoy a unique social gaming experience- The Theatre.

The Theatre

The Theatre is a new gaming concept that features an 11’’ by 30’’ screen (same size as an actual theatre screen) that allows teams, groups or individual game loving shoppers to play video games, in one massive screen, simultaneously. The platform even comes with touch screen control options and all attendant sound and game lights. To add spice to the whole experience, an on -site emcee is there to offer running live commentary as the games continue. To give their theatre a realistic feel, ESC partnered and got ideas from event management companies that have done events such as Olympic and Halftime shows at the Super Bowl to ensure their games start with the same pomp.

Conclusion

The platform has been made suitable for teams or groups wishing to engage each other in tournament type of play, thus, you can have say, your own version of champions league football, with all matches playing in one screen, how more social can social gaming get than that? ESC currently has a Game Theatre in New Jersey in partnership with Westfield Corporation, at their partners Paramus State Plaza mall. Mall owners, this might be that unique marketing concept you all have been waiting for.