Pokemon Go Bringing BIG Changes to Platform.

Niantic has been as busy as anyone in the field of mobile, social gaming. In 2018 alone, Niantic has revealed a slew of new updates to their core system including a monthly Community Day event that has trainers coming back in droves. Now, Niantic is dropping some more news that will get fans back into the game and it all revolves around one of the most popular Pokemon in the universe: Mewtwo. Are you excited? You should be.

Niantic took to social media this week to reveal that they’ll be releasing a pair of patches that attempt to resolve a ton of different bugs within the system. One of the primary bugs being fixed revolves around timezones where gamers were stuck with a busted clock in their game. This patch isn’t that unique or interesting but it is definitely warranted. Outside of this patch, Niantic also made sure to announce a couple of more exciting updates.

The most exciting update for Pokemon Go fans will likely revolve around the new raids coming which will focus on Mewtwo. Mewtwo, made so popular in Pokemon: The First Movie, has been a wishlist Pokemon for a long time now for most trainers. Mewtwo EX Raid invites are being sent out throughout this week and Niantic is opening up the EX raid invite system to a new wave of trainers. Niantic has been consistently working on perfecting their EX-raid system and we’re hoping they are getting close to the finish line in terms of solidifying it.


World of Warcraft Makes Updates, Energizes Fanbase.

Blizzard is a pioneer in the world of gaming. The legendary company essentially invented the massively multiplayer online gaming experience that we know of today and their work with World of Warcraft will go down in gaming history. Over the past twenty years, World of Warcraft has done many great things and Blizzard has been committed to bringing consistent updates that keep their players engaged and ready to play. Now, Blizzard is making headlines thanks to a brand new update that is changing a core, if small, aspect to the game — how orcs stand.

No, we aren’t joking. One of the most iconic aspects of the World of Warcraft gaming experience is the cartoonish graphics of the primary races. The Orcs, one of the most popular Horde races, are known for their wide shoulders and slight hunch. These monstrous creatures have become fan favorites and were even the highlight of the World of Warcraft movie (that did not do well, financially speaking). Now, one of the most iconic aspects of the Orc race is going to change. News broke when data miners sifted through an upcoming World of Warcraft patch to find that Orcs are going to be losing their hunch — literally.

Blizzard has constantly been putting in the effort to adapt their game over the years and this change is just more of that concept brought to life. Orcs will be able to stand up straight for the first time ever and we have no doubt that fans are going to be vocal in their response.


Social Gaming Developers Pay Attention to White House Meeting

On March 8, United States President Donald Trump sat down with Republican Senators, key leaders of the video game industry, and activists who wish to implement tighter restrictions on titles that feature violent content. Those who represented the video game industry included:

* Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick

* ZeniMax Media CEO Robert Altman

* Entertainment Software Association CEO Mike Gallagher

* Entertainment Software Rating Board CEO Patricia Vance

Bethesda Softworks, a renowned developer of online multiplayer games such as Skyrim and the Elder Scrolls, is one of the companies managed by ZeniMax Media. Take-Two Interactive is a major distributor of Rockstar Games, a studio that is mostly known for its controversial, best-selling titles such as the Grand Theft Auto and Max Payne series. GTA Online and the Rockstar Social Club are the among the most popular social gaming titles in 2018.

The White House meeting started with a viewing of a digital video compilation featuring graphically violent clips from PC games such as “The Evil Within,” “Call of Duty” and “Sniper Elite 4.” President Trump, who organized the meeting in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida, rhetorically asked Republican Senators in attendance if the digital content shown was violent.

One of the Republican Senators at the meeting was Marco Rubio of Florida, a politician who has been previously groomed by his party as a future presidential candidate, Senator Rubio was lambasted at a meeting with survivors of the aforementioned massacre, which caused 17 deaths. He has been criticized for his apparent reticence in supporting gun control measures and for his insistence on enacting more censorship on the video game industry. This is hardly the first time the PC gaming and gun violence issue in the U.S. has been discussed at the highest political levels.

Unlike many other meetings organized by the embattled President Trump, this one was respectful, although neither side seemed to agree or yield. Other video game industry groups that did not attend the meeting issued strong statements of opposition, explaining that they were not willing to be scapegoats in the gun violence debate.

Although violence is more often associated with AAA games such as Sniper Elite, quite a few social gaming titles have been criticized for featuring violent content.


For Its 25th Anniversary, Magic: The Gathering Returns To Its Roots

Welcome back to Dominaria! For those who don’t know where that is, Dominaria is a fictional plane in the world of Magic: The Gathering, the most successful and popular collectible trading card game. In the lore of the game, it’s the first world where planeswalkers, who can control and shape reality using magic as well as travel to other planes, arose. The game’s fame has fueled an intense speculation among longstanding players and collectors as the new set, titled “Return to Dominaria,” is teased.

Perhaps a little too famously! The new release of cards has already been the subject of a spoiler leak online. Wizards of the Coast, creative directors of Magic, have acknowledged the leak and clarified some of the details. Basically all the leak revealed was some new game mechanics, the number of cards in the set, and other statistics. Most fans give a collective shrug to spoilers, since they’re going to find out anyway.

Having launched in 1994, the fantasy card game is nearing its 25th anniversary – and the game’s makers are planning a huge blowout celebration. Among the many special events Wizards of the Coast has planned, they’ll be releasing stories set within the game’s universe in podcast form. And in a surprise announcement, Richard Garfield, one of the game’s original creators who had since moved on to other endeavors, has agreed to come back on board with the company to guide creative direction.

“Return to Dominaria” is scheduled for release in mid-April, 2018.


Parents and Online Gaming for Children

Online gaming is extremely popular. Children and adults alike can join in competition with others from around the world from the comforts of home. There are some precautions that parents need to take into consideration when their children are involved in online gaming. Parents need to monitor how long their children are playing and who they are playing and communicating with.

Parents can be proactive and use parental controls that exist on the most popular gaming systems. When Playstation 4 provides its newest update, there will be a feature that allows parents to set limits on their child’s play. Parents will be able to limit the total time the child plays per day. There will also be a way to set what hours the child can play. For instance, if the parent only wants the gaming console to be on from 4pm to 7pm, the parent can set that restriction into the system.

The Xbox One is a little more difficult. In order to set up controls on the system, parents need to create an email account with Microsoft that will allow them to create a user profile. Then the parent can set restrictions.

The Nintendo Switch system has a convenience that the others do not. It has a mobile app that lets parents set restrictions on online gaming.

In addition to time restrictions, parents may also want to include restrictions such as not allowing voice chat or text chat. Parents can also restrict the system from letting the child accept friend requests.


Social Gaming Viewing App Has Been Released For iPhone

Former Apple executives have released a new app for the iPhone that is already causing a stir. They have made something they call “Caffine”. It is an app that allows users to watch some of their very favor gamers as they play the games they love to play.

The viewing of others playing games is nothing particular new. This has been a popular activity for some time. What is different is how many companies are getting involved with providing these service. They see all of those eyeballs viewing something and understand the marketing potential behind that.

These Apple executives who made the app thought that this would be a more social and safe way for people to view game play compared to “Twitch” by Amazon. They also developed it so that it is incredibly easy to use. They wanted anyone who got their app to have no difficulty at all getting to the point where they were able to view the players that they wanted to whenever they wanted to do so.

There is a “one click” easiness about this app that makes it truly desirable even for new users. That is the kind of thing that brings out big numbers when it comes to people who have subscribed to this application already. Considering that, other developers are likely to launch their own versions of this soon. Before long, we all may be looking at our smartphones not to answer texts or e-mails but to watch our favorite video games being played by experts.


Big Changes Coming To Twitch’s Terms of Service

If you’re a gamer, then there is a good chance you’re well aware of what Twitch is. A popular platform for people playing video games, they can then stream themselves and their gameplay to viewers worldwide.

However, one of the bigger issues that has been plaguing the website for years is the vagueness of rules. That plans to change soon as Twitch recently released a full list of changes coming to the Terms of Service and rules for the streaming platform.

Among these rules is a tougher crack down on harassment and bullying. Streamers using the platform to make certain types of viewers feel welcomed will receive temporary or potentially even permanent bans.

Another big change is the enforcement of stopping sexual content from appearing on the site. Not long ago, Twitch faced backlash for being an Amazon owned website yet had certain female streamers performing questionable acts on camera. However, Twitch’s new guidelines appear to try to stifle these types of streamers stating they’ll be monitoring, “stream title, camera angles, emotes, panels, attire, overlays, and chat moderation. Offering access to prohibited sexual content such as “lewds” on Twitch remains prohibited.”

These changes are planned to go into effect this March, but some that use the platform have questioned just how much the rules will be enforced as Twitch has had a vague aura around the rules in the past. Just how much these changes will effect Twitch remains to be seen, but only time will tell.


Why Has Fortnite Surpassed PUBG in Popularity?

Fortnite Battle Royale has taken the online gaming world by storm over the past few months. The third-person shooter pits 100 players against each other in a winner take all competition that sees them scavenging for weapons and supplies over a vast island in an attempt to outlast and outkill their opponents.

Fortnite was originally derided as a clone of the popular battle royale game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds(PUBG) which debuted on PC before being ported over to the Xbox One. Since then, Fortnite has surpassed the popularity of the popular PUBG and has seen millions of gamers flocking to its strategic, intense shooter gameplay.

What sets Fornite apart from PUBG is pacing. Each game takes place on an island that players drop into where they must gather weapons and supplies in order to survive. A shrinking zone of safety throughout the match forces players into a more confined area, leading to intense gun battles. While PUBG features a much larger map and a longer period of time between shrinkages of the safety zone, Fortnite’s smaller map and quicker intervals in the reduction of the play area force players into combat much more quickly. This causes less downtime waiting around for something to happen to provide a sense of instant gratification.

This more streamlined approach, combined with Fortnite’s cartoony graphics and less emphasis on realistic physics, makes for a more friendly experience that can attract more casual gamers not looking for something overly serious and complex to play.


World of Warcraft Aims to Bring People Back in 2018.

Every serious online gamer knows the first time that they entered the World of Azeroth. Whether you ported in as a member of the Alliance or as a member of the Horde, your first foray into the game was likely magical — literally. Learning the ins and outs of MMORPGs is an important moment in the evolution of gamers everywhere. Now, the team at Blizzard is looking to reach way back in order to give gamers that dose of nostalgia once again. With the advent of World of Warcraft: Classic, we are going to see a reinvigorated Azeroth. Why should you consider coming back?

Well, there are a number of different reasons as to why World of Warcraft is once again pulling in brand-new players. As capably laid out by the team at Kotaku, the one largest reason is that the legendary title is pushing on almost 14 years of content laid out across capably constructed zones in a variety of different unique maps. The world of Azeroth is teeming with life and history and it can be absolutely enrapturing to lean back into the game and really take in all that the game has to offer. Still, why would this appeal to a veteran returning to play the game?

The big reason that retired WoW players need to return to World of Warcraft is simple: Blizzard recently added world scaling to the entire land of Azeroth. Your toon now scales to the area around you which makes the map larger than it has ever been before. Are you ready to jump back in?


Age of Empires Gets Modern Update

Although it has been more 20 years since the original Microsoft game Age of Empires first released, the real-time strategy series game still has a dedicated fan following. Last Tuesday, Microsoft released an updated version of the classic game entitled Age of Empires: Definitive Edition on the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft was inspired to update their game when members of the Forgotten Empires online community began making mods of the original game in 2012. The mods became very popular in the gaming community and Microsoft realized there was still a strong market for the original Age of Empires. The mod was later released as part of the Age of Empires II: The Forgotten expansion pack.

Microsoft announced the new version of the game at E3 2017. The game’s release was originally slated to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the original game’s debut in October 1997. However, the release was postponed until 2018 so the developers would have time for additional testing.

For the new edition, an orchestral soundtrack by the Prague Symphony Orchestra has replaced the game’s original music. Although mainly based on the classic game released in 1997, Age of Empires: The Definitive Edition has also incorporated elements of gameplay from the second entry in the series, Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. The team also added improved resolution to appeal to modern audiences.

Before this latest release, the last full installment in the series was Age of Empires III in 2005. However, Microsoft and Relic Entertainment are currently developing a whole new game, Age of Empires IV. A release date has not yet been announced for the upcoming game.