Category Archives: Gaming

Epic Games will Provide $100 Million for Fortnite Esports Tournaments

Epic Games is the creator of the Unreal series of games, the Unreal Engine, the Gears of War franchise, the Infinity Blade series, and FortniteEpic Games announced that it will provide $100,000,000 for Fortnite eSports tournament prize pools in the first year of competitive play.

The Fortnite Team posted a blog on the Fortnite website with more details.

Fortnite Competitors!

Grab your gear, drop in and start training. Since the launch of Fortnite Battle Royale we’ve watched the passion for community competition grow and can’t wait to empower you to battle with the best.

In the 2018-2019 season, Epic Games will provide $100,000,000 to fund prize pools for Fortnite competitions. We’re getting behind competitive play in a big way, but our approach will be different – we plan to be more inclusive, and focused on the joy of playing and watching the game.

The post ends by telling players to stay tuned for more details about competitive structures and eligible platforms. It appears that information will be released in the weeks ahead. Fortnite is playable on PC, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation, and iOS.

Kraken Dice Iconic Mythical Collection on Kickstarter

Kraken Dice makes polyhedral dice sets for RPGs. They have a Kickstarter for their new Iconic Mythical dice collection. At the time I am writing this, the Kickstarter has five days to go and has reached (and exceeded) its funding goal.

Kraken makes layered polyhedral dice for board games and RPG campaigns (like Dungeons & Dragons). The Kickstarter series of dice features their new Iconic Mythical collection of dice sets.

Each set is beautifully colored and named after a mythical creature: Unicorn, Mermaid, Phoenix, Nymph, Dragon, and Fairy. When the Kickstarter hit their $20,000 funding goal, the Unicorn, Mermaid, and Phoenix sets of dice became available to all backers. This includes the 11 piece set, d10 sets, d6 sets, and the expanded spellbook.

At the time I am writing this, the Kraken Dice Kickstarter has $439,816. This has enabled them to unlock additional sets of dice, including the Nymph, Fairy, and Dragon sets along with several other sets, stickers, d2 coin, and a Silver Glitter Iconic d20. Those who are interested still have a few days to back the Kickstarter.

For full details, check out the Kraken Dice Kickstarter which has lovely photos of the dice and a video that showcases a few of the dice sets. Or, visit the Kraken Dice website to see all of their dice sets.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Coming to Blizzard

Blizzard announced that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 for PC will be available exclusively on Blizzard this fall. By “exclusively”, Blizzard means that the game will not be accessible on Mac through Battle.Net. Some of Blizzard’s other games are accessible by both Mac and PC. The Call of Duty Black Ops 4 website says the game will be available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One In the announcement, Blizzard says:

Players on Battle.Net will get all the same benefits as other games on the platform, including cross-game chat, social features via the mobile app, groups, and more. You’ll always be connected to your friends, whether they’re playing Blizzard games or Black Ops 4.

The announcement on the Call of Duty: Black Ops website said:

For the first time, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is coming to Blizzard in a fully-optimized for PC experience and fully integrated into social features. Developed in partnership between Treyarch and Beenox, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will be the most robust, refined, and customizable PC shooter experience we’ve ever created. Features include uncapped framerate, 4K resolution, HDR, support for ultrawide monitors and additional features built for the PC community.

Players can preorder Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 now from either PlayStation Store or the Blizzard Store. The game will be released on October 12, 2018, on all platforms, including Blizzard Blizzard has pointed out in an FAQ that players can use their Blizzard Balance to purchase Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 from the Blizzard Store. Players who preorder the game from the Call of Duty Black Ops 4 website can get access to the Private Beta.

NVIDIA Pulled the Plug on GeForce Partner Program

NVIDIA announced that they are canceling their GeForce Partner Program. The program began on March 1, 2018, and was ended on May 4, 2018.

NVIDIA announced that they had decided to cancel the GeForce Partner Program. In their blog post, they state: “The rumors, conjecture and mistruths go far beyond its intent. Rather than battling misinformation, we have decided to cancel the program.”

With GPP, we asked our partners to brand their products in a way that would be crystal clear. The choice of GPU greatly defines a gaming platform. So, the GPU brand should be clearly transparent – no substitute GPUs hidden behind a pile of techno-jargon.

Most partners agreed. They own their brands and GPP didn’t change that. They decide how they want to convey their product promise to gamers. Still, we are pulling the plug on GPP to avoid any distraction from the super exciting work we’re doing to bring amazing advances to PC gaming.

When the GeForce Partner Program was first launched, NVIDIA described it as their latest effort to better serve gamers. In short, the GeForce Partner Program was designed “to ensure that gamers have full transparency in into the GPU platform and software they’re being sold, and can confidently select products that carry the NVIDIA GeForce promise.”

There appears to be a lot of speculation about the exact reasons why NVIDIA chose to end their GeForce Partner Program. Personally, I’m not a fan of speculation because I feel it is difficult to verify. However, if you enjoy speculation, it seems you won’t have to search too far for it. The NVIDIA blog post about the end of the GPP has gotten several comments with a variety of ideas.

Pokémon GO May Community Event Features Charmander

Pokémon GO will have a May Community Day that features Charmander. It will take place on May 19, 2018, starting at 11:00 AM PDT and ending at 2:00 PM PDT. Players are encouraged to get out and play together in their local community parks on Pokémon GO Community Day.

For just a few hours each month, you can encounter a special Pokémon in the wild. During these hours, there’s a chance to learn a previously unavailable move for that Pokémon or its evolution, as well as earn some Community Day bonuses. Celebrate what it means to be a part of the Pokémon GO community and make new friends along the way!

Players who want to find a Community Day event where they live are encouraged to try searching for their city name in conjunction with Pokémon GO in their preferred search engine. Another suggestion is to look for groups on their favorite social media channels, apps and websites.

On May 19, 2018, Charmander will appear in the wild more frequently for three hours. If you evolve a Charmeleon to a Charizard during that three-hour window, it will learn an exclusive move that will be revealed soon. The special move will only be available for Charizard that are evolved or caught during Community Day.

The May Community Day event will include a 3x-Catch Stardust bonus, and Lures that last for 3 hours.

Belgium Considers Some Loot Boxes to be Gambling

The Belgium Gaming Commission posted a press release (machine translation) after conducting a thorough investigation into loot boxes in video games. The Commission has judged that at least three video games are in violation of the gambling legislation.

The press release states: “Players can buy a ‘loot box’ against payment – which can give them an advantage in the game – without knowing their content in advance.” This is a violation of Belgium’s gambling legislation. Belgium notes that children often come into contact with the loot box system, and they cannot allow that.

The Gaming Commission investigated four video games: Star Wars Battlefront II, Overwatch, FIFA 18, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. “Those video games are connected to their own age system (PEGI). That system decides on the content of video games, but does not consider whether there is systematic use, winning or losing of real money.”

To speak of a game of chance, the Gaming Commission uses four parameters. If there is a game element, a bet can lead to profit or loss and chance has a role in the game. In the case of FIFA 18, Overwatch, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive, the Gaming Commission decides that the system of loot boxes forms a game of chance that is subject to Belgian gaming law. The developer of Star Wars Battlefront II made some adjustments shortly after the launch, so that the system of loot boxes in that game no longer technically forms a game of chance.

The press release also says: “The games with paid loot boxes, as currently offered in our country, are therefore in violation of the gaming legislation and can be dealt with under criminal law. The loot boxes must therefore also be removed. If that does not happen, operators risk a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to 800,000 euros. When minors are involved, those punishments can be doubled.”

Ashland University Adds Fortnite to its Gaming Titles

Ashland University announced that it will be adding Fortnite Battle Royale to its esports program in the fall of 2018. The University is offering scholarships in esports.

Ashland University is located in Ashland, Ohio. It has an esports team that already includes League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Rocket League. Head coach Josh Buchanan announced that Ashland University will be adding Fortnite Battle Royale to its AU Eagles Esports titles. It will be the first known collegiate esports program in the country to add the title to its official offerings.

The Eagles will announce plans to conduct open tryouts for Fortnite players next school year. Anyone who is interested in joining the Ashland University esports team can fill out a form. Head Coach Josh Buchanan will be in touch with those who fill out that form.

The AU esports program is offering scholarships in esports for up to $4,000 based on player skill level and academic requirements.

The university plans to create a gaming center in the lower level of the library. It will have 25 gaming stations, complete with gaming PCs, accessories, and peripherals. Ashland University has secured sponsorships with gaming chair provider OPSEAT and mousepad provider Sloth Esports.

Campo Santo has Joined Valve

Campo Santo announced that the company has agreed to join Valve. I haven’t been able to find a statement about this from Valve. Kotaku reported that three people familiar with the news confirmed that Valve had purchased Campo Santo.

Campo Santo describes itself as “a small but scrappy game developer in San Francisco, CA.” They released Firewatch in 2016 and have sold over 1.5 million copies. They are co-producing a full adaptation of Firewatch and working on their second game, In the Valley of Gods.

Valve has produced award-winning games, leading-edge technologies, and a groundbreaking social entertainment platform. They are the makers of Half-Life, Half-Life Episodes 1 and 2, Left 4 Dead, Left for Dead 2, Team Fortress, Counter-Strike, Portal, and Portal 2. Valve has a social entertainment platform called Steam that gives players instant access to more than 1,800 game titles and connects 35 million active users to each other.

Campo Santo posted a blog titled “Campo Santo News” that has more details about their recent decision to join Valve. Here are a few key points:

The twelve of use at Campo Santo have agreed to join Valve, where we will maintain our jobs as video game developers and continue production on our current project, In the Valley of the Gods…

…In Valve, we found a group of folks who, to their core, feel the same way about the work that they do (this, you may be surprised to learn, doesn’t happen every day). In us, they found a group with unique experience and valuable, diverse perspectives. It quickly became an obvious match…

Campo Santo states that they are still making In the Valley of the Gods (as a Valve game), and will still support Firewatch.

Heroes of the Storm Silences Accounts for Offensive Language

Heroes of the Storm, made by Blizzard Entertainment, is now able to silence the accounts of players who use offensive language and harass their teammates. This is being implemented in addition to the weekly suspension and ban waves.

Community Manager Nate Valenta posted the following on a Heroes of the Storm Forum post on April 18, 2018:

Starting today, we’re implementing new technology that enhances our ability to validate the accuracy of reports. This will allow us to increase the rate that we issue account silences and ranked suspensions to players who are frequently and consistently reported for using offensive language. These actions are aimed at those who regularly use offensive language to harass, antagonize, and abuse one or more of their teammates. This type of behavior not only ruins the experience for those who are targeted, but also damages team morale, effectively degrading the fun for everyone in a match.

The post continues by making it clear that the weekly suspension and ban waves for non-participation and intentionally dying will continue. Players who have recently reported another player for going AFK (away from keyboard), refusing to participate, or intentionally dying should keep an eye on their email inbox associated with their account for updates regarding actions taken by Blizzard agains the player they reported.

Heroes of the Storm is a game that requires a team of players to battle against an opposing team of players. It makes absolutely no sense for a player to use offensive language to harass or antagonize teammates. It’s nice to see Blizzard doing something to curtail this type of behavior.

Blizzard Balance Gifting is Now Available

Blizzard Entertainment is now allowing players to send Blizzard Balance to their friends. This is a brand new change that will give players the option to send some of their own Blizzard Balance to a friend who also plays Blizzard’s games.

We’re expanding our gifting service by allowing you to send Blizzard Balance to your friends, offering you the benefits of retail gift cards in a new and easy-to-use digital format.

Blizzard Balance is an electronic balance players can use to purchase Blizzard Entertainment games and services. Funds added to Blizzard Balance are not refundable and cannot be converted into cash. Blizzard Balance can only be used to buy designated Blizzard Entertainment products and services.

You cannot use Blizzard Balance to make a purchase on the PlayStation Store or Xbox Marketplace. This is worth pointing out because some players are playing Overwatch and Diablo III on consoles.

To send a Blizzard Balance gift, the first thing you need to do is visit the Blizzard Shop. Select one of the suggested values – or enter a custom amount. Click the “Gift Balance” button and select the friend you want to send it to.

Blizzard will deliver your gift to your friend, along with a notification and personalized message. Your friend will then be able to claim the digital gift card balance onto their account. Players will also be notified on the Blizzard App when a friend has sent them Blizzard Balance – and can claim that gift through the app.