Category Archives: Gaming

Raid Battles are Coming to Pokémon GO



Niantic announced that they will be temporarily disabling all Gyms in order to enable an update that will add Raid Battles to Pokémon GO. The Raid Battle feature will be rolled out slowly over the next few weeks. It will start as a beta that will only be visible to a subset of players. Later, Niantic will enable more players to participate in Raid Battles at Gyms around the world.

All around the world, you’ll soon be able to participate in the new Raid Battle feature at Gyms. A Raid Battle is a cooperative gameplay experience that encourages you to work with other Trainers to defeat an extremely powerful Pokémon known as the Raid Boss. Before a Raid Battle begins, a large Egg will appear atop the Gym. When the countdown above the Egg reaches zero, the Raid Boss will be revealed.

Players will need a Raid Pass before they can battle the Raid Boss. Players can get one free Raid Pass per day by visiting a Gym. You can only hold one Raid Pass at a time. It will be possible to buy Premium Raid Passes form the in-game shop.

A Raid Battle can include yourself and up to 20 other Trainers who work together to defeat the Raid Boss. If you successfully defeat the Raid Boss within the five-minute time limit, you’ll have a chance to catch an extra powerful Pokémon of your own.

There will be Gym Badges that players can earn by interacting with the many Gyms around the world. The Gym Badges reflect your contribution to a Gym’s success. Players can level up their Badges by giving Berries to the Pokémon in the Gym. The Berries help increase a Pokémon’s motivation (and help it stay in the Gym for a longer period of time.)

Players can also level their Gym Badges by spinning the Gym’s Photo Disc. This means that players can get items from Gyms the same way they currently get items from PokéStops.


Samsung Introduced First HDR QLED Gaming Monitors



Samsung Electronics introduced the future of gaming with their new CHG90 and CHG70 curved monitors, which feature the powerful High Dynamic Range (HDR) picture enhancement technology typically reserved for televisions. When combined with the CHG90’s ultra-wide design and the CHG70’s quantum dot composition, this HDR integration produces a realistic, detailed picture that showcases games exactly as developers intended, and dramatically improves gameplay with crisper colors and sharper contrast.

The QLED quantum dot technology delivers a new metal core and supports both approximately 125 percent of the sRGB color spectrum and 95 percent of the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI-P3) motion picture standard to deliver an exceptionally wide color range.

Samsung’s CHG90 sets the new visual standard for gaming displays by projecting a 32:9 aspect ratio and 3,840×1,080 double full HD (DFHD) resolution across a 49-inch screen. The CHG90 literally extends the playing field for gamers, with its broad design surpassing industry standards while simultaneously representing the widest monitor in the company’s gaming portfolio. The monitor delivers stunning 1,800R curvature and an ultra-wide 178-degree viewing angle, maintaining content visibility from any location within a given space.

Available in 27- and 31.5-inch variations, the CHG70 integrates HDR and quantum dot technologies, with a 144Hz refresh rate further helping to bring out the best in gaming content. This combination offers gamers a viewing arena that is brighter (600nit peak brightness), clearer (2,560×1,440 WQHD resolution) and more luminous, and which brings the slightest visual nuances to the forefront in extremely light or dark environments.

The CHG90 and CHG70 arrive as the first Samsung gaming monitors to feature AMD’s new Radeon FreeSync 2 technology. This frontline functionality eliminates the stuttering and tearing that often disrupt gameplay to drive seamless frame transitions. Likewise, Radeon FreeSync 2 supports a wide color gamut to showcase HDR content with twice the perceivable brightness and color than that offered by the sRGB standards.

In a strategic partnership with EA studio DICE and Ghost Games, the CHG90 and CHG70 have undergone rigorous turning to ensure optimal HDR picture quality. Additionally, both monitors recently received HDR compatibility validation with Nvidia’s graphics cards, ensuring they can clearly showcase a wider range of HDR-based gaming titles and PC devices.


Play Some of EA’s Games for Free – for a Limited Time



Electronic Arts (EA) is offering video game players the ability to play some of EA’s games, for free, between now and June 18, 2017. They are doing this in response to the support for Play to Give, which focuses on the importance of inclusion (and raises money for charities). EA explains it this way:

All of you – our many millions of players out there – showed your support. You came out to play, as more than 5.7 million active players participated in the Play to Give in-game challenges from June 2-4. We were moved by your tremendous show of support.

As a thank you, we’re ensuring all of you can play some of our best EA games – for free* – today through June 18 as we celebrate play.

There are some limitations to be aware of. The asterisk in the above quote points towards EA Access, which is a subscription program that costs $4.99/month or $29.99/year. If you already have a subscription, you are eligible for the free-to-play offer.

This means for a limited time, free access to EA Vault titles on Xbox One for Xbox Live Gold members*, free access to Origin Access on PC**, and, on PlayStation 4, free game trials of Madden NFL 17, FIFA 17, TitanFall 2, EA SPORTS UFC 2, and Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 are available June 10-June 18.*** In addition, PlayStation 4 players who already own Star Wars Battlefront can also play all premium maps and heroes through June 18.

Here are the limitations:

Xbox One players who are Xbox Live Gold members can play EA Access Vault titles for free.

PC players who have Origin Access accounts can play EA Access Vault titles for free. Origin Access comes with a free 7-day trial period. EA says “Credit card will be charged if subscription is not cancelled before promotion is over.”

PlayStation 4 players who have an EA account can play free game trials of the games listed above. They need to have a PlayStation Plus account to access multiplayer features Plants v Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (limited to 10 hours of play time), Madden NFL 17, FIFA 17 (Journey mode limited to 2 hours), Titanfall 2 (limited to Gauntlet and the Beacon single-player content plus multiplayer features) and EA Sports UFC 2 (limited to 5 hours).


Pokémon GO Celebrates First Anniversary



Pokémon GO has announced several fun events that players can participate in. One is a limited-time event focused on specific types of Pokémon. The rest are events that will take place at specific locations around the world.

The Solstice Event will begin on June 13, 2017. It is an in-game event that features both Fire-type Pokémon and Ice-type Pokémon. Players who participate will get “huge XP bonuses” for throwing Poké Balls accurately. Lucky Eggs will be discounted in the in-game shop.

Pokémon GO is also hosting some real-world events. A Pokémon GO Fest will take place in Chicago, Illinois, on July 22, 2017. It is the real-world event for players in North America. Those who want to know when tickets for this event will go on sale can enter their email onto the Pokémon GO Fest website. More information about the fest will be released on that website on June 19, 2017.

Players in Europe can look forward to Pokémon GO celebrations hosted across the continent in June through September of 2017. The events are a partnership between Pokémon GO and Unibail-Rodamco shopping centers. Pokémon GO intends to release more information about these events “soon.”

In Japan, the Pokémon Company is organizing a “Pikachu Outbreak”. It will take place in Yokohama, Japan, in August of 2017, where they are “exploring a unique Pokémon GO experience.”


The Sims Mobile App is Coming Soon!



EA has announced that The Sims Mobile is coming soon. It will be available on the Google Play Store and the App Store eventually.  As of the time I am writing this blog, The Sims Mobile is only available in Brazil.

If you want to be among the first to know when The Sims Mobile will be released, you can give EA your email address, birthdate, and let EA know the country you live in. This will result in EA sending you email with news about this game (and potentially other games as well).

In The Sims Mobile, players can create unique Sims with distinct appearances, hairstyle, outfits, and accessories. You can choose their personality traits and life goals. Players can personalize a Sims home layout and can decorate it. The app allows players to host and attend parties with other Sims.

Shape your Sims’ families over multiple generations. When your Sims accomplish their career goals and retire, you’ll be rewarded with Heirlooms that unlock hobbies and careers for future generations, allowing new Sims to tell deeper stories.

The Sims Mobile has dialogue options. Players get to choose from three options and direct what their Sim will say to another Sim. It appears that the three options are very different from each other, which will give players something to think about before making their selection.


Blizzard Updated the World of Warcraft Profile Site



Blizzard announced that they have updated the World of Warcraft profile site. It now contains a lot of information that wasn’t included in the previous version of the Profile site. The changes make it easier for players to quickly view specific information about each of their World of Warcraft characters.

The main character screen mirrors what players see in game, so the information you see about your character’s gear makes logical sense when switching from in-game to the Profile site. Players can view the enchants, transmog info, gems, enhancements, and stats of their gear at a glance.

The Profile page now shows the Achievements that each of your characters has earned. The Profile page dashboard shows how close you are to earning 100% on any area of Achievements. Those areas include: General, Quests, Exploration, Player vs. Player, Dungeons & Raids, Reputation, World Events, Pet Battles, Collections, Class Hall, Scenarios, Legacy, and Feats of Strength.

It is now possible to see your full pet collection on the Profile page. There is a section at the top of the page that shows the Pets that are currently in your Battle Pet Slots. The rest of the pets are in order by favorites, and then by level. You can also view your Mounts from the Profile page. They are listed in order of rarity.


2017 World Video Game Hall of Fame Inductees Announced



The Strong Museum at the National Museum of Play announced the games that are the 2017 World Video Game Hall of Fame Inductees. These four games are the third class to be inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

The World Video Game Hall of Fame at The Strong was established in 2015 to recognize individual electronic games of all types – arcade, console, computer, handheld, and mobile – that have enjoyed popularity over a sustained period and have exerted influence on the video game industry or on popular culture in general.

The games that have been inducted into the World Video Games Hall of Fame this year are: Donkey Kong, Halo: Combat Evolved, Pokemon Red and Green, and Street Fighter II. These games emerged from a field of 12 finalists that also included Final Fantasy VII, Microsoft Windows Solitaire, Mortak Kombat, Myst, Portal, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, and Wii Sports.

Donkey Kong was released in 1981 and became Nintendo’s most profitable game to that point, selling an estimated 132,000 arcade cabinets. Donkey Kong introduced the world to Mario, who became the star of numerous other games and one of the most recognizable video game characters in the world.

Halo: Combat Evolved was created by Microsoft. The game was released on Microsoft’s Xbox system in 2001. More than 50% of the consoles sold with the launch game Halo: Combat Evolved. The game sold more than six million copies and inspired a number of sequels and spin-offs, as well as novels, comic books, and action figures. The science-fiction, first-person shooter game combined an intricate storyline, memorable characters like Master Chief, and a dynamic multi-player experience.

Pokemon Red and Green created a multinational cultural phenomenon when it was relased on Nintendo Game Boy in 1996 as Pocket Monsters Aka (Red) and Midori (Green). The game challenged players to collect 151 unique monsters, and Nintendo coined the catch-phrase “Gotta catch ’em all!” As of 2014, the Pokémon franchise has encompassed more than 260 million copies of its games, 21.5 billion trading cards, and numerous spinoffs including more than 800 television episodes and 17 movies.

Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was released by Capcom in 1991. It helped to spark an arcade renaissance in the 1990s. The game inspired numerous sequels and an entire genre of one-on-one fighting games. Capcom sold more than 60,000 original cabinets and a staggering 140,000 cabinets and game conversion kits of the company’s “Champion Edition,” making it one of the top-selling arcade games ever.


Pokémon GO Worldwide Bloom



Niantic announced a new, very short, event that started this afternoon. The event doesn’t appear to have an official name, but the announcement uses the phrase “Worldwide bloom”. This is the first Pokémon GO event that does not immediately appear to be connected to a real world holiday.

The Worldwide bloom event includes “an influx of Grass-type Pokémon”. There are no specifically named examples, but the image that goes with this announcement shows a Bulbasaur. Players will just have to go outside and see what Pokémon appear. The event ends on May 8, 2017.

In the past, the events in Pokémon GO came with a lot of extras. In addition to there being an increased chance for players to encounter certain types of Pokémon, there were chances of having something good hatch from eggs. Some events gave players extra Candy, and others made the Lures on PokéStops last longer than they usually do.

This event, which is shorter than most Pokémon GO events, doesn’t offer any of that. It does appear to offer the opportunity to catch lots of Bulbasaurs, one of the most adorable Pokémon in the game. That’s good enough for me to go outside and play Pokémon GO. Maybe Niantic is going to start giving players random weekends dedicated to specific types of Pokémon.


Twitch Introduces Twitch Affiliate Program



Twitch has introduced the Twitch Affiliate Program.  It is for streamers who are not part of the Twitch Partner Program, but who are striving toward that goal. Twitch will decide which of their non-partnered creators is eligible for the Twitch Affiliate Program.

Introducing the Twitch Affiliate Program, which helps us expand that commitment to include tens of thousands of non-partnered creators. The program allows eligible streamers to start earning income on Twitch while building their audience, and provides a stepping stone to bridge the gap between emerging streamer and Twitch Partner. At launch, Affiliates will be able to start Cheering with Bits on their channel so their communities have an on-platform choice for showing support.

Twitch streamers cannot apply to be in the Twitch Affiliate Program. Twitch will invite streamers who qualify to sign up for it. Invitations are expected to roll out gradually over the next several weeks.

Qualifications include:

  • At least 500 total minutes broadcast in the last 30 days
  • At least 7 unique broadcast days in the last 30 days
  • An average of 3 concurrent viewers or more over the last 30 days
  • At least 50 followers

Twitch will provide participating Affiliates a share of the revenue Twitch receives from Bits equal to 1 cent per Bit used to Cheer for them, subject to certain terms and conditions. Twitch Partners get Custom Cheermotes – Twitch Affiliates do not.

Twitch Partners payout timeframe is 45 days, and payout fees are covered by Twitch. Twitch Affiliates payout timeframe is 60 days, and the Affiliate has to cover the payout fees themselves.


King Partners with Moschino to Launch Candy Crush Capsule Collection



King, the creators of the Candy Crush game, have partnered with Moschino and the acclaimed creative director Jeremy Scott to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Candy Crush franchise. Together, they are launching a limited edition colorful capsule collection comprised of “summer festival must haves”.

Candy Crush is a game that is played by millions of people around the world. The partnership with Moschino, a fashion house at the forefront of merging pop culture with fashion, brings fans of the Candy Crush franchise an opportunity to show they are fans of the game by wearing the styles from Moschino’s Candy Crush Collection.

The collection will be available exclusively on Moschino.com until the collection sells out. The designs were created by Jeremy Scott, Creative Director for Moschino. The collection includes a backpack ($650 USD), a phone case ($70 USD), and swimwear for men and women ($250 USD and $300 USD).

The celebration of Candy Crush’s fifth anniversary will culminate at the exclusive Moschino Candy Crush Desert Party during the Cochella music festival, where the entire space will be transformed into a Candy Kingdom. Key visuals and moments from the game will be brought to life with tangible props that will be as vibrant in-person as they are on screen.