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PlayStation 4 Changes Crossplay Policy, Begins Fortnite TestingSeptember 27 @ 4 PM source

Sony announced this week a major policy shift regarding crossplay with other consoles. PlayStation 4 previously wouldn't allow online games to connect to Xbox One or Switch players. This week, Sony is starting a beta test for Fortnite crossplay. From a report: Crossplay between consoles once seemed like a fantasy, but Xbox One and Switch have enabled people to play together for games like Fortnite and Rocket League. PlayStation 4 would permit crossplay with PC players, but it refused to connect to other consoles. Sony's excuse stated that such crossplay would hamper its capability to deliver a consistent experience. But the decision drew criticism from PS4 fans, especially those that were angry when they tried to install Fortnite on their Switch and found out they couldn't carry over their PS4 progress.

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PlayStation Now Is Making Its Games DownloadableSeptember 23 @ 7 PM source

PlayStation revealed in a blog post that PS Now subscribers will be able to download most PS4 and PS2 games currently in the PS Now Library and play them locally, offline. "Almost all PS4 games in the service, including Bloodborne, God of War 3 Remastered, NBA 2K16, and Until Dawn, will be available for download, in addition to the PS Now lineup of classic PS2 games remastered for PS4," the announcement reads. "This feature will be gradually rolled out to PS Now subscribers over the next couple of days, so if you don't see the feature on your PS Now today, make sure to check back again soon." Kotaku reports: While being connected to the internet isn't required to play PS Now games once they've been downloaded, the support page says your system will have to go online "every few days" in order to validate the PS Now subscription. In the past, PS Now had been exclusively for streaming games to your PS4. When it was announced in 2014, it was building off of Sony's 2012 acquisition of the Gaikai video game streaming service. While it offered a way for people to play older games on the newer console (since, unlike Xbox One, the PS4 isn't backwards compatible), it was hardly ideal due to problems with latency and its reliance on a consistently strong internet connection. Honestly, the only surprise here is that Sony didn't make this move sooner.

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Game Streaming's Latency Problems Will Be Over in a Few Years, CEO SaysSeptember 18 @ 6 PM source

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference last week, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick says the rise of streaming gaming was an inevitability that was just waiting on the technology to power it at scale. While Zelnick acknowledged that the streaming game servers "have to be pretty close to where the consumer is" to address latency issues, he said there are a few large-scale companies "that have hyperscale data centers all around the world," and that infrastructure will be able to address that last remaining hurdle in a few years time. A report adds: Zelnick's comments come a few months after Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot suggested that streaming games will completely replace consoles after one more generation. Guillemot suggested that changeover would cause a revolution in the gaming market, which will explode in size and accessibility thanks to cheap, streaming-capable boxes delivering big-budget hits. Zelnick agreed that streaming will increase the size of the high-end, big-budget gaming market -- because "you don't need to buy a box in order to play our games" -- but stopped short of expecting a massive revolution. Even if streaming boxes end up much cheaper than current consoles and PCs for the same experience, there may not be that many additional potential players who don't currently have high-end gaming hardware. "I can't sit here and argue it will be a sea change in the business," Zelnick said of future streaming game services.

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Nintendo Switch Online, a Paid Subscription Service Required For Console Owners To Access Internet-Enable Features Like Multiplayer Mode, To Launch This EveningSeptember 18 @ 4 PM source

Nintendo announced Tuesday that its paid Nintendo Switch Online service will launch "later this evening," and that to prepare for the launch it will be taking the Switch eShop offline starting at 8 p.m. ET. From a report: It's expected to be unavailable for up to three hours, it said, putting the launch of Switch Online about 11 p.m. Tuesday night. Nintendo Switch Online comes with a seven-day free trial for all Nintendo Account holders. The official website for the service notes that it will cost $4 for a month, $8 for three months and $20 for a year. A family membership, which supports up to seven others in a family group, will run for $35 for a year. The Nintendo Switch Online service, which will be free to users to try for seven days, will be required for console owners to access any internet-enable features, including multiplayer and cloud saves. It will also grant them the ability to play 20 different Nintendo Entertainment System games at launch, although Nintendo hasn't revealed the entire lineup yet.

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Addiction To Fortnite Cited In Over 200 Divorce PetitionsSeptember 16 @ 8 AM source

An anonymous reader writes:
In just the last 35 weeks, one online divorce site received over 200 petitions citing addiction to Fortnite and other online games as one of the reasons someone wanted a divorce. "[T]he dawn of the digital revolution has introduced new addictions," said a spokesperson for the company, also citing online pornography and social media. "These numbers equate to roughly 5% of the 4,665 petitions we have handled since the beginning of the year and as one of the largest filers of divorce petitions in the UK, is a pretty good indicator."
On the other hand, the A.V. Club notes that the web site's creators "have a vested interest in making divorce seem sexy and cool in a way that only 'You walked in front of the screen and a 10-year-old in Wyoming shot me dead so now I'm taking the house' truly can."

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Nintendo Switch Cloud Save Data Disappears If You Cancel SubscriptionSeptember 14 @ 10 PM source

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Nintendo Switch game save data stored in the cloud is only available "as long as you have an active Nintendo Switch Online membership." If you eventually cancel the $20/year subscription, Nintendo is "unable to guarantee that cloud save data will be retained after an extended period of time from when your membership is ended." That wrinkle in Nintendo's plan was not included in the details of yesterday's Nintendo Direct presentation, but it can be found digging through the FAQs and customer support pages on Nintendo's website this morning. On the plus side, Nintendo clarified that you will be able to transfer cloud-based saves between Switch systems just by signing in with your Nintendo account on as many consoles as you want. But Nintendo also said it will continue not allowing local backups of save data to an SD card or other outside storage.

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Tencent Shuts Poker Platform Amid Widening Gaming CrackdownSeptember 11 @ 7 PM source

An anonymous reader shares a report: Tencent Holdings will shut a popular Texas Hold'Em poker video game, the Chinese tech giant said to its users on Monday, in a further step to comply with intensifying government scrutiny hitting the country's gaming industry. Tencent said it would formally begin to shutter "Everyday Texas Hold'Em" from Monday and would closer the game's server from Sept 25. Tencent would compensate users in accordance with regulations of Ministry of Culture. The Shenzhen-based company, which draws a huge amount of its profit from gaming, is facing mounting challenges this year from stringent regulation and government censorship. It has had to pull one blockbuster game and seen others censured.

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Nintendo's Promised Cloud Saves On Switch Won't Work For Every GameSeptember 7 @ 10 PM source

An anonymous reader writes: The first paid online service for Nintendo Switch, simply named Nintendo Switch Online, is set to arrive at some point later this month, and we're still waiting on a few key details. One detail about the service emerged on Friday via Nintendo's official site, and it's not a great one: there will be specific limits to the service's promised cloud-save support. Nintendo Switch Online's $20/year cost includes a promise to "save your data online for easy access" -- which, for the uninitiated, will be the only way to back up your Switch games' save data when it launches. Currently, should your Nintendo Switch be lost, stolen, or damaged, your progress in games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is toast, as you can neither move save data from one console to another nor personally back it up to a hard drive. The following current and upcoming Switch games do not support Save Data Cloud backups: Splatoon 2, Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu, Pokemon Let's Go Eevee, Dark Souls Remastered, Dead Cells, FIFA 19, NBA 2K19, and NBA Playgrounds.

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Valve Explains How It Decides Who's a 'Straight Up Troll' Publishing Video Games On SteamSeptember 7 @ 1 AM source

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Wednesday, Valve, the company that operates the huge online video game store Steam, shared more details about how it plans to control and moderate the ever-increasing number of games published on its platform. In the post published Wednesday, Valve shared more details about how it determines what it considers "outright trolling." "It is vague and we'll tell you why," Valve wrote. "You're a denizen of the internet so you know that trolls come in all forms. On Steam, some are simply trying to rile people up with something we call 'a game shaped object' (ie: a crudely made piece of software that technically and just barely passes our bar as a functioning video game but isn't what 99.9% of folks would say is "good.")

Valve goes on to explain that some trolls are trying to scam folks out of their Steam inventory items (digital items that can be traded for real money), while others are trying to generate a small amount of money through a variety of schemes that have to do with how developers use keys to unlock Steam games, while others are trying to "incite and sow discord." "Trolls are figuring out new ways to be loathsome as we write this," Valve said. "But the thing these folks have in common is that they aren't actually interested in good faith efforts to make and sell games to you or anyone. When a developer's motives aren't that, they're probably a troll." One interesting observation Valve shares in the blog post is that it rarely bans individual games from Steam, and more often bans developers and/or publishers entirely. [...] Valve said that its review process for determining that something may be a "troll game" is a "deep assessment" that involves investigating who the developer is, what they've done in the past, their behavior on Steam as a developer, as a customer, their banking information, developers they associate with, and more.

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'Eve Online' Studio Acquired By Korean MMO MakerSeptember 6 @ 8 PM source

MAXOMENOS writes: EVE Online developer CCP Games has been acquired by Pearl Abyss, the South Korean studio behind the action-oriented MMORPG Black Desert Online. According to VentureBeat, the deal was worth $425 million and will close in early October. It's a surprise announcement for CCP, which has long operated as an independent developer. Eve Online isn't the biggest MMORPG on the market, but it has maintained a steady and loyal userbase through continuous updates and a well-timed switch to a hybrid premium and free-to-play model. The 15-year-old game is unique, too, with its large-scale battles and notoriously complex economic and political systems.

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