Category Archives: Gaming

E3 Expo 2021 Starts Today



E3 2021 LogoE3 2021 kicks off today (12 June) and continues for the next four days until Tuesday. Held this year online, there are over a dozen presentations from big names in the gaming industry including Nintendo, Ubisoft, Capcom, Square Enix, Take Two and Razer, plus interviews and panel sessions.

If you want to follow along, the show has a dedicated portal at https://e3expo.com/ for all the presentations and exhibitors. Alternatively, the show is broadcast on all the major media platforms:

Along with the show stream, E3 Expo is offered on a complementary app available from your preferred app store. There are exhibitor booths, people to follow, events and forums.

Here’s the schedule for the main events. Times are PDT which 8 hours behind BST so 10:00 PDT is 18:00 BST and 19:00 CEST.

All times are PDT

Saturday, 12 June 
10:00 Broadcast Pre-Show
11:00 Ubisoft Forward Pre-show
12:00 Ubisoft Forward
14:00 Gearbox E3 Showcase
14:45 GamesBeat Session

Sunday, 13 June
08:45 Broadcast Pre-Show
09:30 24 Entertainment’s NARAKA: BLADEPOINT
10:00 Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase
12:15 SQUARE ENIX PRESENTS
14:00 Warner Bros. Games’ Back 4 Blood
14:30 PC Gaming Show
16:00 Future Games Show
Monday, 14 June
08:00 Broadcast Pre-Show
09:00 Verizon
09:45 Intellivision
10:15 Take-Two Interactive Panel
11:10 Mythical Games
12:00 Indie Showcase
12:30 Freedom Games
13:00 VENN’s Origin Stories with Hector Rodriguez
14:30 Capcom
14:00 Razer
Tuesday, 15 June
08:00 Broadcast Pre-Show
09:00 Nintendo’s Nintendo Direct and Nintendo Treehouse: Live
14:25 BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.
15:20 Yooreka Studio
15:35 GameSpot Play For All Showcase
16:45 Official E3 2021 Awards Show

Tune in for a preview of all that’s coming to gaming in the next year.


Get Your Game On With OnePlus and Google Stadia



OnePlus have partnered with Google’s Stadia and consequently their latest smartphones will come with a free Chromecast Ultra and a Stadia controller. Stadia is Google’s cloud-based gaming platform and offers instant gameplay without lengthy downloads.

OnePlus has a history of gaming promotions with PUBG and Fortnite taking advantage of fast smartphones and high refresh rates. I think the Bhangra Boogie Emote is still available…

At OnePlus, we are very close with our community of tech enthusiasts and a lot of them are avid gamers, so we know that mobile gamers are looking for a more immersive experience. That’s exactly what we are delivering with this unique bundle. By partnering with Google to offer Stadia Premiere Edition to our customers, we’re able to push the limits of gaming, making the best gaming experience even more accessible for the growing number of mobile gamers”, says Tuomas Lampen, Head of Strategy OnePlus Europe.

Outside of the promotion Stadia Premiere Edition costs GB£89.99, so it’s a good freebie. Google Stadia comes in two tiers, standard (aka Base) and Pro. The Pro tier has a free month trial and then costs GB£8.99 per month and offers an ever-increasing selection of games. If you don’t go Pro, individual games can be purchased as desired. There’s a extensive library of games with recognisable titles – Hitman, Tomb Raider, Hello Neighbor, Final Fantasy – but they do cost roughly the same as titles on other gaming platforms.

Stadia works across Google’s platforms – Android phones, Chromebooks, PC Chrome browser and on the TV via Chromecast. It’s a neat idea, especially if you aren’t wedded to an existing gaming ecosystem. To be fair, there have been some concerns about Google’s commitment to Stadia but as it’s a freebie, I’d take it and play.

The promotion is available to purchasers of OnePlus 9 Pro, 9, 8 Pro, 8T and Nord smartphones in UK, France and Germany from oneplus.com until 30th September.


Nvidia Nerfs GeForce Cards to Deter Cryptocurrency Miners



Nvidia announced a change to their RTX 30 series cards. The purpose is to nerf them so that the cards will be less desirable to people who use them for mining cryptocurrency. To me, it sounds like this could make it easier for gamers to not only obtain Nvidia’s cards, but also to use them for their intended purpose – playing video games.

…To help get GeForce in the hands of gamers, we announced in February that all GeForce RTX 3060 graphics cards shipped with a reduced Ethereum hash rate.

Today we’re taking additional measures by applying a reduced ETH hash rate to newly manufactured GeForce RTX 3080, RTX 3070, and RTX 3060 Ti graphics cards. These cards will start shipping in late May…

Nvidia clarifies that because these GPUs originally launched with a full hash rate, they want to ensure that customers know exactly what they’re getting when they buy GeForce products. To help with his, Nvidia pointed out that their GeForce partners are labeling the GeForce RTX 3080, RTX 3070, and RTX 3060 Ti cards with a “Lite Hash Rate” or “LHR,” identifier. The identifier will be in retail product listings and on the box.

The reduced has rate does not apply to cards that have already been purchased. It will apply to newly manufactured cards with the LHR identifier.

The purpose of this change is to reinforce that GeForce is made for gaming. Nvidia says it believes this additional step will get more GeForce cards at better prices into the hands of gamers everywhere.

My hope is that this change will deter people who want to use GeForce cards for mining Ethereum cryptocurrency. It is abundantly clear that the Nvidia doesn’t want its cards used by crypto miners, especially as it appears that the result is that gamers can’t access the cards.

That said, The Verge reported that Nvidia tried to nerf mining with the RTX 3060, and accidentally released a beta driver that unlocked hash rates and increased performance. The Verge said that’s been reinstated with more recent drivers, but the beta drivers are “out in the wild now.”

The Verge also reported that Nvidia’s move to nerf new cards will drive up the prices for existing 30-series GPUs that don’t have those restrictions in place.


Roblox has a Problem with User-Generated NSFW Content



Roblox is a video game where people under the age of 18 can build things with friends. All of the content is user generated. Common Sense Media states that much of the content on Roblox is age-appropriate for teens and tweens. Unfortunately, some of the content is absolutely not appropriate, or safe, for kids.

According to The Wall Street Journal, some players are engaging in NSFW actions and language on Roblox. Parental Controls are available on Roblox, but it appears that a child could still end up in a game that includes player-generated sexual content.

Even when children say they’re under 13 when creating accounts, age-inappropriate games can show up on their “recommended for you” lists. Within the hard-to-find controls, parents can restrict the games kids can play in Roblox to those deemed appropriate by the company. But of the tens of millions of multiplayer games within Roblox, only around 1,000 are on that curated list.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Vice President of Safety and Trust for Roblox, (who is also its chief privacy officer), Remy Malan, said that Roblox is now working on ways to make parental controls easier to find and use.

“Roblox was designed for kids and teens, and we have a responsibility to make sure our players can learn, create, and play safely, Mr. Malan said.

According to Mr. Malan, the new Roblox content-rating system will provide a more nuanced look at what kids might encounter in a specific game, giving parents more control over what they feel is and isn’t OK for their kids. Mr. Malan stated that there is no way to really know what a particular game entails until you play it. There is no specific date for when the new content controls will roll out.

Personally, I think Roblox should delete the accounts of players who are adding NSFW content into what is intended to be a game for children, tweens, and teens. Doing so could greatly reduce the amount of NSFW content on Roblox and make it safer for kids to play the game.

In addition, Roblox should find a way to prevent banned players from making new accounts. The sign up screen does not ask for an email address, so it is unclear to me exactly how Roblox will be able to identify when a banned users tries to return.


E3 Goes Online for 2021



E3 2021 LogoIt’s “Game On” for this year’s E3 Expo with the flagship gaming event taking place completely online in 2021 from 12-15 June. This is great news for gamers and gaming fans who will be to see what’s coming soon to their consoles and PCs from some of the biggest names in the industry. Early indications are that Nintendo, Xbox, Capcom, Konami, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Games and Koch Media will be showing off their latest wares with more to come.

Usually, E3 takes place in June at the Los Angeles Convention Center and until only a few years ago was a trade-only event. Last year’s show was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic and this year will be an all-digital event. This is great for enthusiasts across the world who wouldn’t be able to travel to the West Coast under normal conditions, never mind during the pandemic: they’ll get a front-row seat to the latest releases in the industry.

For more than two decades, E3 has been the premier venue to showcase the best that the video game industry has to offer, while uniting the world through games,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, President & CEO of the ESA. “We are evolving this year’s E3 into a more inclusive event, but will still look to excite the fans with major reveals and insider opportunities that make this event the indispensable center stage for video games.

For E3 2021, there will be live press conferences and a four-day video stream. An E3 app is mentioned as well which would be a very slick way to bundle the event into a single point of presence. Other elements of the website are still a work-in-progress and fan registration is expected to open in “Spring 2021”. Keep an eye on the registration page here but all the indications are that this will be a free event.

Now I’m wondering if Nintendo will use E3 to drop the widely-expected revised Switch…


North Dakota Lawmakers Reject Bill Pushed by Epic Games



The battle between Epic Games and Apple continues, this time in North Dakota. According to CNBC, the North Dakota legislature voted on a bill that – if passed – would require companies that make more than $10 million per year through app stores to be required to offer alternative payment processors for purchases through the app store, allowing developers to avoid Apple or Google’s cut. The bill would only apply to companies based in North Dakota.

Epic Games headquarters is in Cary, North Carolina. As such, I don’t see how this North Dakota bill would do them any good – even if it was passed into law.

The New York Times reported that in January of 2021, a lobbyist approached North Dakota state senator Kyle Davidson, who is a Republican.

Mr. Davidson said he had been given the draft legislation by Lacee Bjork Anderson, a lobbyist with Odney Public Affairs in Bismark. Ms. Anderson said in an interview that she had been hired by Epic Games, the maker of the popular game Fortnite and the plaintiff in lawsuits against Apple and Google over their app policies. She said she was also being paid by the Coalition for App Fairness, a group of firms, including Epic, Spotify, and Match Group, that has protested app commissions and is leading the push for app-store bills.

CNBC reported that the North Dakota Senate voted 36-11 against the bill. That means the legislation did not pass. If the North Dakota Senate has passed the bill, it would have then gone to the North Dakota House to be debated and voted on. The outcome of the Senate vote means the bill will not go to the House. CNBC describes the vote as “a victory for Apple”.

This isn’t the end between Epic Games and Apple. Apple Insider reported that there is a court date set on May 3, 2021, in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California. The court will hear the case of Epic Games v. Apple, Inc. It is a bench trial, not a jury trial. In short, the battle between Epic Games and Apple is not over yet!


Microsoft Confirmed Xbox Cloud Gaming is Coming to iOS



9To5Mac reported that Microsoft has confirmed that Xbox cloud gaming is coming to iOS in 2021. This is exciting news for people like me who enjoy playing video games on iPhone or iPad. It sounds like we will get access to games that were previously not available on iOS.

Microsoft is expanding cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate coming to iOS and PC in 2021. It will start as a beta, which is the smart thing to do because it can help developers find – and remove – “bugs” that players notice during the beta.

Expanding Xbox to new players is central to our ambition of helping games and developers find an easy path to the world’s 3 billion gamers. We are doing this by embracing multiple devices and providing a consistent Xbox experience wherever you log in, whether that’s on your Xbox Series XJS, PC, Xbox One, Android device or – starting in Spring of 2021 – your Windows PC and iOS device from the cloud.

Microsoft announced that in Spring of 2021, they will take the next step in their journey to reach more players around the world by making cloud gaming as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate available on Windows PCs through the Xbox app and browser, and iOS devices through mobile web browser. Microsoft envisions a seamless experience for all types of players.

In addition, Microsoft will bring cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to new markets, including Australia, Brazil, Japan and Mexico.

I am looking forward to being able to play video games that were previously inaccessible to me. It is nice that Microsoft is welcoming those of us who play on iOS. I’m certain I’ll find some Xbox games that I want to play.