Microsoft is talking up its new Project xCloud game streaming service ahead of E3 2019, and has some exciting news for developers.
Xbox One game developers can now optimize their titles for cloud streaming. Microsoft updated its Xbox SDK toolset with a new streaming-focused API in preparation of its big new Project xCloud subscription. The SDK not only ensures compatibility between consoles, PCs, and now mobile devices via xCloud, but the new API also gives developers more flexibility to get the most out of Microsoft's new service.
"We also recently added enhancements to our standard Xbox Developer Kit (XDK) to add support for streaming," Microsoft VP of cloud Kareem Choudhry said in a recent Xbox Wire update. "One API we're excited about is the new "IsStreaming" API which allows any game to know if it's streaming from the cloud. Games can then cue features and functionality to enhance the streaming experience; for instance, adjusting font sizes for smaller displays or hosting multiplayer matches on a single server to reduce latency. We'll continue to look for ways to empower developers to tailor their games for the many ways their customers play."
Microsoft's new Project xCloud streaming service is very ambitious, but like any cloud gaming subscription we should expect some big caveats.
Like Google's Stadia platform, Project xCloud has the potential to change gaming forever. Microsoft has the upper edge with its established Xbox LIVE core framework, as well as its vast storefront of digital games. First Xbox bridged PC and consoles, and now Microsoft is aiming at the whole pie by bringing Xbox to mobile. Now the company makes some bold affirmations that Project xCloud will technically support all existing and future Xbox One games. But will it actually host and beam the 3,000 plus titles available on Xbox? Probably not.
In a recent update on Xbox Wire, Microsoft VP of cloud Kareem Choudhry said Project xCloud's infrastructure can technically support any game playable on the Xbox One. If it's playable on Xbox One, it could be streamed on Project xCloud, including original Xbox and Xbox 360 games. Coudhry says the games will be natively scaled across all devices and platforms without any additional work from the developer.
But the exec is careful not to completely confirm every game will actually run on the service.
Microsoft's E3 2019 will be a fusillade of games, hardware, and services that lasts as long as a feature-length movie.
Xbox is going big at E3 2019. Microsoft confirmed this year's show is its biggest yet, and now we have a concrete duration for the show. According to the Xbox @ E3 website, the conference will last a cool 2 hours. Gamers can expect updates and teases on Microsoft's next-generation Xbox Scarlett family of consoles that includes an enthusiast and mid-grade option, lots of info on its new Project xCloud streaming service, reveal of Game Pass on PC, and lots of games.
I think Project xCloud will be the star of the show. Following Google's cloud streaming Stadia announcement, companies are eager to hit back and remind consumers of their own services. Microsoft announced Project xCloud at last year's E3 and the cloud service has matured tremendously since them. I also think Microsoft will only lightly touch on Xbox Scarlett, which should be powered by highly customized AMD Zen 2 CPU and Navi GPU tech.
The World Health Organization adds gaming addiction to its list of categorized disorders, a move that could have a tremendous ripple effect on incoming lootbox legislation.
Gaming addition is now recognized as a real behavioral disorder. Found in the updated 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization's newly adopted "gaming disorder" classification is almost synonymous with crippling gambling disorders. Gaming addiction is characterized by "increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences," the report says.
Both online and offline gaming is included under the disorder label. Despite being two very different types of behaviors the WHO doesn't really stipulate differences or designate between the two. Online gaming is mostly inherently "dangerous" because of aggressive monetization tactics which are sometimes akin to actual gambling and can incur serious debt. Intense monetization is mostly found in mobile games. Offline gaming tends to be more immersive and pulls gamers into a long-term experience where the outside world shuts off (that's possible with online gaming, too, but offline singleplayer games lean more towards intimate interactivity).
The United States could raise its trade tariff with China to 25%, and video game companies could raise prices of consoles to offset the hike.
The U.S. is currently embroiled in a trade war with China that's starting to heat up. Right now the United States, which represents a sizable portion of console hardware revenues, has instated a 10% tariff on Chinese goods. A new proposal from the U.S. Trade Representative's Office could raise the toll to 25% and cast an ad valorem tax around more Chinese imports including video games consoles, the components found in gaming hardware, and even accessories like controllers.
The following game-related products and imports are included in the proposal:
- Coin- or token-operated games for arcade, table or parlor (other than bowling alley equipment) nesoi and parts and accessories
- Playing cards
- Video game consoles and machines
- Radio remote control apparatus for video game consoles
- Game machines (other than coin- or token-operated) and parts and accessories thereof
- Flatpanel displays, infrared video game controller
Expect to see more of Deep Silver's biggest games get timed exclusivity on the Epic Games Store.
Metro Exodus' exclusivity deal on the Epic Store worked out quite well for THQ Nordic. The game not only helped skyrocket earnings by over 500% last year, but was the single best-selling title on all platforms and the biggest release in THQ Nordic's history. But how much of that revenue came from the Epic Store? Most of it, actually.
Previous comments from THQ Nordic's Lars Wingefors said Metro Exodus sold best on consoles and led gamers to believe the Epic deal backfired. That isn't the case. Console still reigns because of combined physical and digital sales, but THQ Nordic actually made more from Metro Exodus on Epic's PC store than it did from digital console revenues.
"The Epic Games store has exceeded our expectations in terms of sales in actual units of both Metro Exodus and Satisfactory during the quarter. Epic Games store is in fact the group's leading digital platform in terms of revenue generated by units sales in the quarter ending March," Lars Wingefors said in an interview with PCGamesN.
This year's Call of Duty game won't actually be called Modern Warfare 4, but instead just...Modern Warfare.
Multiple sources say Call of Duty 2019 will be called Modern Warfare, seeing Activision pull a similar naming scheme as EA with Battlefield 1 in 2016. Whether or not the game will be a reboot for the series remains unknown. Infinity Ward has been teasing the project for a while now and key Modern Warfare series vets have returned to make the new FPS.
Activision confirmed this year's Modern Warfare will have full singleplayer campaign with optional co-op. There's a possibility that Modern Warfare 2019 will also feature a free-to-play online mode for maximum engagement and monetization potential.
One of the newest titles to hit the Epic Games Store is Phoenix Labs' Dauntless. The title has seen quite the level of popularity as 500,000 players have jumped into the action in just 24 hours.
Dauntless released onto the Epic Games Store on May 21st, and since then the title has managed to pick up some major support player-base wise. This massive influx of players is mostly due to Dauntless releasing on the Epic Games Store with cross-play and cross-progression, meaning players on Xbox, PS4 and PC can enjoy the game together. This was a goal of Phoenix Labs right from the beginning.
Since the release of Dauntless on the PC, the game has seen 500,000 more players join the Shattered Isles, which has brought the total player count up to 4 million already. Since that is quite the amount of players, Phoenix Labs has taken to their Twitter account to explain that there could be some issues with matchmaking. They say that players should expect some delays until the server traffic is ironed out and stable. Phoenix Labs also express that they are working tirelessly on any and all issues that have been presented to them. For more information about Dauntless, check out the listing for the title on the official Epic Games Store here.
Turn-based strategy fans that haven't already picked up Mutant Year Zero are truly missing out on a fantastic title. Now that fantastic title is about to change things up a bit with a brand new DLC that will be adding a new character into the mix.
For those that don't know what Mutant Year Zero is, the game revolves around turn-based combat that captures the likes of interesting storyline, while also combining stealth and strategy. The game takes after that of XCOM, and allows for players to control mutant humanoids in a post-human world.
The new DLC titled 'Seed of Evil' throws a new playable character into the mix 'Big Khan'. Big Khan is a moose and is awfully good at dealing critical damage to his enemies. Khan also comes with some unique mutations such as Ground Pound and Flame Puke, both of these abilities are designed to change up the play style of players and encourage more diverse tactics. Mutant Year Zero: Seed of Evil will be released on July 30th.
If you are an owner of Dead Cells and enjoyed playing through the title and are after a bit more content, then you are in luck. As a new DLC has been released on all platforms, completely free of charge.
Dead Cells players who own a copy of the base game will soon be able to jump into the 'Rise of the Giant' DLC that is being released onto all platforms. This new DLC will allows for players to experience a whole new level of play that will include difficult and new enemies.
As players progress through the level they will eventually be faced with the final challenge, the giant we see at the end of the above launch trailer. Dead Cells developers, Motion Twin have also said that there is plenty of hidden pieces of content that can be found throughout the DLC. Dead Cells: Rise of the Giant can be downloaded on all respective platforms now!