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Updated: 9 min 32 sec ago

Loot boxes should be classed as gambling, says House of Lords

2 hours 8 min ago

The House of Lords has published a report recommending the UK Government should reclassify loot boxes as gambling.

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry says the government "must act immediately to bring loot boxes within the remit of gambling legislation and regulation". Alongside recommendations for other gambling concerns, the report argues loot boxes should be classified as "games of chance", which means they would fall under the Gambling Act of 2005 and be regulated by the Gambling Commission.

While the UK Government previously promised it would "focus on issues around loot boxes" as part of a potential overhaul to the Gambling Act (and last month called for evidence), the loot box section of the House of Lords report argues the issue "requires more urgent attention". It recommends ministers "should make regulations under section 6(6) of the Gambling Act 2005 specifying that loot boxes and any other similar games are games of chance, without waiting for the government's wider review of the Gambling Act". It also recommends ministers should be given the power "to specify by regulations that any activity which in their view has the characteristics of gambling should be treated as gambling for the purposes of the Act".

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Categories: Video Games

Sexism and harassment in the games industry isn't just about big names: the entire culture must change

4 hours 3 min ago

Content warning: This story contains upsetting content. Reader discretion advised.

For the second time in less than a year, the games industry is experiencing a wave of Me Too allegations, and the scale of the problem is staggering. Esports, streaming platforms, game development, journalism: wherever you look, stories of sexism and harassment are finally emerging after years of silence and pain. At long last, some of those who abused their power are facing consequences for their actions.

The accounts are often shocking, but for many working in games - particularly women and non-binary people - the revelations come as little surprise. Sexism and harassment is rife in the industry, and the cases being publicly discussed are merely the tip of the iceberg. I've been awed by the bravery of survivors who have named their high-profile abusers, risking online harassment, friendships, or their entire careers to do so. Removing powerful abusers remains essential in making the industry safer, and it's important that this vital work continues. There is a tendency, however, for the media to focus on big-name predators while failing to address the underlying culture that enables them. These incidents are not a rarity: they are endemic. Every young woman in games has a story.

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Categories: Video Games

Halo fans are getting more Halo Infinite information from Mega Bloks than Microsoft right now

5 hours 42 min ago

While we wait for Microsoft to show off its upcoming Xbox Series X games, Halo fans starved of information on Halo Infinite just got a dump of fresh details - from Mega Bloks.

Overnight, Mega Bloks revealed its Mega Construx Halo Infinite range, and while much of it is as you'd expect (Master Chief/UNSC vs the Covenant), there are some story details fans have gleaned from the plastic toys.


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Categories: Video Games

Devolver Digital is hosting its own E3 Direct broadcast

5 hours 47 min ago

Cheeky indie publisher Devolver Digital will host its E3 replacement livestream show next Saturday, 11th July at 8pm UK time.

It's called the Devolver Direct, and its branding is absolutely in no way inspired by anything Nintendo has ever done in the past.

Devolver has promised gameplay reveals, release date announcements and special guests from the industry to "continue the tradition of overpromises". A typical games industry show, then.

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Categories: Video Games

Minecraft Dungeons' latest update adds a cut secret level

5 hours 58 min ago

There's a new secret level to unlock in Minecraft Dungeons - one that was cut from the game pre-release.

Lower Temple is a fresh procedurally-generated dungeon available for free via the game's latest update.

Fans had been aware of its existence for a while, though it was left out of the game at launch. Now, it's unlockable for all - at the same time as the game dropped its first of two paid expansions.

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Categories: Video Games

Nintendo reveals Metroid... as a Jump Rope Challenge costume

6 hours 21 min ago

Don't worry, Metroid fans! Samus Aran is now available on Nintendo Switch as a costume in Jump Rope Challenge.

The fitness mini-game developed in lockdown by Nintendo now hosts a collection of Nintendo characters, including the company's much-missed space bounty hunter.

Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Bowser, Wario, Link, Isabelle, some Splatoon people and the bunny from the 3DS Badge Arcade are also included.

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Categories: Video Games

Ninjala review: a colourful, confusing clash of Fortnite and Splatoon

8 hours 5 min ago

I can't even begin to imagine how a developer attempts to shoehorn another battle royale onto the market right now.

In developer GungHo's case, it seems, they've taken the last-person-standing fun of Fortnite and fused it with the neon-hued mayhem of Splatoon. The result is frenzied free-to-play Ninjala, a new title that successfully, if perhaps inexplicably, apes much of its magic from other titles, yet somehow manages to cultivate a curious charm all of its own.

While it looks and sounds similar to the games it draws inspiration from, Ninjala's quirky fighting mechanics admittedly stand out. To maintain its PG veneer, our pint-sized ninjas don't fight with guns or swords, but instead use foam katanas and yoyos and novelty bats to inflict damage, utilising their, er, ninja gum to pull off ultimate attacks and trick shots.

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Categories: Video Games

Nier: Automata director Yoko Taro's mobile RPG SINoALICE heads west today

18 hours 3 min ago

Nier: Automata director Yoko Taro's free-to-play mobile RPG SINoALICE is, after a three year head start in Japan, finally making its way to iOS and Android in the west today, 1st July.

SINoALICE, which was developed by mobile studio Pokelabo, has been available in Japan since 2017, and is typical mobile fodder in many ways, festooning its simple real-time battles with the likes of gacha mechanics, premium currencies, and other assorted free-to-play trappings.

Where it deviates though is in its striking tone and presentation, offering a darkly atmospheric twist on familiar fairytale stories, with players able to battle - making use of over 150 weapons, each featuring their own lore - as a wide range of classic fairytale characters, including Alice, Snow White, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella.

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Categories: Video Games

Worms Rumble is a real-time take on the classic formula, includes a battle royale mode

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 22:40

Team 17 has unveiled the latest entry in its long-running Worms franchise: a 32-players, real-time spin on the classic turn-based battle formula called Worms Rumble that's coming to PS4, PS5, and PC later this year - and, yes, it has a battle royale mode.

While the shift to real-time combat is a significant one, the classic Worms DNA is still very much evident in Worms Rumble, based on the announcement trailer below.

Slapstick battles are, for instance, still viewed from a side-on perspective as players hurl themselves around a series of colourful, partly destructible arenas - and it sounds like plenty of classic weapons will be returning too (alongside a variety of new additions), with Team 17 making reference to the likes of the Bazooka, Shotgun, Sheep, Holy Hand-grenade, and Banana Bomb in its announcement material.

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Categories: Video Games

Samorost and Botanicula dev's dark puzzle adventure Creaks finally out this month

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 20:31

Samorost and Botanicula developer Amanita Design's long-awaited, and slightly sinister, puzzle adventure Creaks will be heading to PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch later this month.

Creaks was initially announced at the tail-end of 2018, and is something of a departure for Amanita insofar as it eschews the studio's usual point-and-click-style template in favour of an experience closer to a puzzle-platformer. However, despite the genre shift, Creaks looks to be Amanita through and through, presenting a darkly surreal, richly atmospheric journey - featuring some typically lavish art - into weird and wonderful new locales.

As Creaks begins, a strange occurrence leads players to peel back a corner of wallpaper in their dilapidated old home - leading to the discovery of an entirely new world within its walls, a vast mansion descending into the depths, where avian creatures dwell and furniture monsters roam.

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Categories: Video Games

Summer Game Fest bringing over 60 pre-release demos to Xbox One later this month

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 18:54

Summer Game Fest, the months-long video games showcase helping to fill the void left by this year's cancelled E3, continues to rumble on and will be turning its attention to Xbox One later this month, offering a week of playable, pre-release demos.

The occasion is officially being referred to as the Summer Game Fest Demo Event, and it's along the lines of the similar Steam Game Festival on PC, which, you might recall, recently returned in June. The gist is that from Tuesday 21st July to Monday 27th July, Xbox One players will be given access to a host of playable demos, many for upcoming, unreleased games.

According to Microsoft's announcement, there'll be more than 60 such pre-release demos available across the week, and likely a total of between 75 and 100 demos in all.

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Categories: Video Games

Ooblets hits early access on the Epic Games Store and Xbox One later this summer

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 17:57

UPDATE 1/7/20: Ooblets' early access release date has been pinned down to 15th July - exactly two weeks today.

The twee Pokémon meets Harvest Moon mash-up will launch on Xbox One and Epic Games Store priced $25 (about £20) with a 20 per cent launch week discount.

ORIGINAL STORY 13/6/20: Ooblets hits early access on the Epic Games Store and Xbox One later this summer, developer Glumberland announced today.

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Categories: Video Games

A pair of SteelSeries Arctis headsets are on sale at Amazon UK

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 17:36

A pair of SteelSeries gaming headsets are currently on sale over at Amazon UK - with both the mid-range Arctis 5 and high-end Arctis Pro at some of their lowest prices in months.

Let's start with the cheaper of the two: the SteelSeries Arctis 5 Gaming Headset is now £79.99.

This wired headset sits between the manufacturer's basic yet capable Arctis 3 and the wireless, feature-rich Arctis 7. Being stuck in the middle it borrows bits-and-pieces from both its siblings. Notably, there's the DTS surround sound support, a ClearCast microphone and mandatory RGB illumination.

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Categories: Video Games

Fallout 76 is coming to Xbox Games Pass on console and PC in July

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 17:23

Fallout 76, Bethesda's beleaguered - but gradually improving - online multiplayer take on the beloved post-apocalyptic RPG series, is making its way to Xbox One and PC Game Pass later this month, arriving alongside other Game Pass offerings including Soulcalibur 6 and celebrated indie action-RPG CrossCode.

It would be fair to say that Fallout 76 wasn't particular well-received - or perhaps even particularly wanted by many series fans - when it launched in 2018, with Eurogamer's Wesley Yin-Poole calling it a "bizarre, boring, broken mess" in his review.

Since then, however, Bethesda has continued to invest in the game, adding a range of new features that, in some cases, have helped considerably improve the experience (NPCs) while others (such as a premium subscription service for private servers) have only drawn more ire. When Wes returned to Fallout 76 earlier this year, he conceded it's now "actually okay".

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Categories: Video Games

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's new map has a rat problem

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 16:13

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare added a new map with this week's mid-season update - and it's got a rat problem.

Exploding rats, that is.

The Cheshire Park map, a classic three-lane map set in a lovely part of London, has a cool Easter egg it didn't take the Call of Duty community long to find at all.

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Categories: Video Games

The brilliant A Plague Tale: Innocence has now sold 1m copies

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 16:11

Guiding a couple of kids through a rat pandemic in Medieval France might be an odd elevator pitch for a game - but let me tell you, A Plague Tale: Innocence was one of my favourites from last year.

It's a tale of two young siblings cut adrift and left vulnerable in a beautiful, horrible world. It's a stealthy, puzzley adventure with some increasingly cool special powers. And it has really, really freaky rats.

Today brought the announcement the game has now passed 1m sales worldwide since launch.

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Categories: Video Games

Student arrested over alleged Konami bomb threat

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 16:05

A student in Tokyo has been arrested for allegedly making threats to bomb Konami's headquarters.

As reported by Yomiuri and Mainichi (and translated by Kotaku), the second-year high school student is thought to have posted threats on the review section of an online app store. The game in question was apparently the PES mobile app, and the threats were made between 16-18th June.

According to Kotaku's translation, the 16-year-old mentioned that terrorism was possible in Japan, and apparently said "I'm going to blow up Konami's headquarters" and "I'm going to kill the people who work at Konami".

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Categories: Video Games

The road to Gran Turismo 7 - the evolution of Trial Mountain

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 15:00

Since its inception Gran Turismo has always pushed the envelope for each new console. With the reveal of Gran Turismo 7 at Sony's recent PlayStation 5 event then, we have an exclusive that appears to live up to that reputation: both 4K resolution and 60fps are on display in the trailer, alongside taxing ray traced reflections. And yet despite the technical ambition, it's a true, classic circuit that's used to demonstrate it all: Trial Mountain. After its absence in Gran Turismo Sport on PS4, Trial Mountain's return shows the huge strides developer Polyphony Digital has taken. Not just in comparison to its last appearance with Gran Turismo 6 on PS3, but going all the way back to the original 1997 PlayStation game. Every numbered entry features this track, and so, it charts a clear path of technical evolution for the series - today letting us see how far we've come in seven numbered entries.

Much was shown in the trailer, but what's curious is how Polyphony Digital has chosen a track not available in GT Sport, ruling out a PS4 vs PS5 comparison. There is an overlap in the choice of vehicle though: the Mazda RX Vision GT3 was Kazunori Yamauchi's car of choice, and it is indeed available on GT Sport's dealerships. In theory, most cars could transfer over in a similar manner, with the design of the Mazda making the jump from GT Sport more or less as-is. Much of the internal material-work - chair fabric, the rubberised wheel, LEDs, and even rear-view screen, are matched between the two. Still, GT7's rendering has an advantage: we're getting a native 3840x2160 image from the trailer as opposed to PS4 Pro's checkerboarded 1800p target.

The jump is standout - and ray tracing makes a difference too. An overview of the garage reveals a huge focus on ray traced reflections - rather than simply settling for RT shadows. Chrome materials, and even opaque window surfaces reflect the environment with more nuance than we've ever seen on console. Each vehicle even reflects its own details as we pan around their polished chassis. This is the real deal. The caveat is that these reflected elements run at a lowered resolution of circa-1080p in this trailer. It ends up giving portions of the screen an aliased look, within an overall higher-res picture, with almost checkerboard-esque artefacts. Still, it's a huge leap over the screen-space reflections of Sport - where artefacts could creep in with objects occluding the reflecting material. This is just one example of how PS5 can leverage a form of ray-tracing, while keeping 4K and 60fps, and it really impresses.

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Crash Bandicoot 4 developer insists there's no microtransactions

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 13:14

Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time will not include microtransactions, the game's developer has insisted.

Toys for Bob took to Twitter last night to reassure fans on the issue, following a Microsoft Store listing which suggested in-game purchases would be included.

It's a thorny issue for the Crash franchise, following the post-launch addition of microtransactions to Crash Team Racing.

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Categories: Video Games

Hacked Roblox accounts are spreading Trump propaganda

Wed, 01/07/2020 - 12:58

It's once again a presidential election year in America - unfortunately - and although campaigns are getting underway in the US, some political slogans have appeared in a particularly unexpected place. Multiple Roblox users have reported their accounts have been hacked and are now being used to send pro-Trump messages to other players.

As reported by BBC News, hackers are changing the affected avatar's clothing and forcing them to don a hat called The Encierro, which resembles the Trump campaign's red "Make America Great Again" cap. Hackers are also switching the player's clothes to either an eagle t-shirt, or a red, white and blue getup. And, once the user has been completely transformed, they can send messages to others on a player's friend list, such as "ask your parents to vote for Trump this year!" and "MAGA2020".

Although it may seem somewhat harmless, there is a more serious side to this: Roblox is a huge gaming and game development platform, with 90 million users logging in monthly as of April last year. Many of these players are under 18, with a core demographic of kids aged 9 to 15 - making it a more serious problem when hackers are supposedly targeting kids with political messages.

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Categories: Video Games