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May 29, 2019

In praise of ultra-short games

Enlarge / Is falling in this hole going to take long? I have a meeting at 2…

These days, the game industry at large seems to be focused on games that can keep players playing, and paying, indefinitely. This overarching genre of “forever” games encompasses esports like Hearthstone and Overwatch, social hangouts like World of Warcraft and Fortnite, and endlessly repetitive grinds like Destiny 2 and even Candy Crush Saga. The idea in each case is to create an experience that can engage a critical mass of players for hundreds or even thousands of hours over a span of years.

There’s something to be said [...]

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May 23, 2019

How to Use Valve’s New Steam Chat App

Steam has mainly been a gaming marketplace for PC games over the years, but Valve appears to be doubling down on the platform’s social aspects with its newly launched Steam Chat messaging app for Android and iOS.

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May 17, 2019

Xbox, PC get a little bit closer with the latest Xbox updates

Enlarge (credit: Microsoft)

The May 2019 update for the Xbox One’s system software is now rolling out, bringing some small refinements to the friends list, messaging, and game/app list.

Starting with the last one first, the app list will now ignore “a,” “an,” and “the” when sorting or grouping alphabetically. This is the kind of change that makes me amazed that they weren’t already doing this, as it almost always makes for easier-to-use listings. Video games don’t even have The The to contend with.

The Messaging change is rather inexplicable. There’s a [...]

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May 17, 2019

Epic Mega Sale loses two pre-order titles on day one

Yesterday, Epic launched a “mega sale,” offering games at up to 75 percent off and additional $10 credits for purchases over $14.99. It looked like Epic was preparing to go head-to-head with the Steam Sale, which is scheduled to arrive at the end of…
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