BrianGaar FIRST Member Star(s) Indication of membership status - One star is a FIRST member, two stars is Double Gold

from Austin, TX

  • Activity

    • Are lootboxes gambling? We ask a developer's group

      2 weeks ago


      Lootboxes in video games are definitely a hot topic these days. If you need proof, just look at the controversy around Battlefront 2.

      While some governments are calling for them to be regulated similar to gambling devices, groups that represent game developers have pushed back hard on that idea. 

      Recently, the International Game Developers Association referred to regulating lootboxes as "censorship," in advance of a panel discussion that it's holding at the Game Developer's Conference next month. 

      To dig into the issue a big more, we chatted with the IGDA's executive director Jen MacLean. Here’s what she said, regarding the whole gambling/censorship issue.

      Does the IGDA feel like regulating lootboxes in games (ie - not selling them to people
      under 18/21) is censorship? And if so, why? It doesn't seem like anyone's proposed
      regulating what kind of content can be in games.

      The IGDA is concerned about the potential unintended consequences of regulations, made
      by people who don’t understand game development or game design, and done in hundreds
      of different political systems around the world. Poorly-written regulations, or laws that are
      inconsistent, do pose a risk of restricting content in games.

      For example, if a law banned all random in-game prizes, the restriction could apply to a
      large number of RPGs that have random loot drops but do not use lootboxes.
      We believe that it’s important to discuss the issue openly – including the steps game
      developers and game players can and should take – to make sure game content isn’t
      inappropriately restricted or limited.

      A lot has been said about lootboxes being necessary these days to make up for the low
      sticker price of games (considering they've been $50-60 for years). Do you guys think that
      lootboxes can be predatory in some cases?

      Yes, lootboxes can be predatory in some cases, and can be relatively innocuous in others.
      We think the best approach to lootboxes involves reasonable, responsible implementations
      by game developers, including agreeing not to target children with lootboxes, clearly
      disclosing drop rates, and making it easy for players to track how much money they’ve spent
      on lootboxes.

      We strongly favor an open, constructive dialogue between game players and game
      developers about lootboxes, especially as an alternative to regulation. By choosing not to
      purchase lootboxes, or not to play games that use lootboxes in ways players feel are
      unethical, gamers wield tremendous influence and can push change in the interactive

      entertainment industry far more effectively and more quickly than regulation possibly
      It’s also important to note that in addition to the censorship roundtable, the IGDA’s Game
      Design Special Interest Group is holding a roundtable on professional ethics in game design.

      You guys represent indie devs, are they looking more into implementing lootboxes lately,
      as we've seen with bigger publishers like EA?

      As more games have moved to service models, requiring additional ongoing investment in
      content and operations, developers of all sizes are exploring ways to maintain and grow

      What role do parents have to play in this?

      Parents have final responsibility to monitor the content that their children consume.
      However, game developers and publishers also have a responsibility – to parents and
      consumers of all kinds – to clearly disclose the type of content (including microtransactions
      and random purchases) in their games so that parents can make well-informed decisions
      about the games their children play.

    • New service lets you sell Steam games

      2 months ago


      A new platform that will let you resell Steam games is launching soon. Robot Cache says it will let you resell games - oh, and its got its own cryptocurrency called "Iron" for use when you buy and sell your games.

      According to the site, selling a game will get you 25 percent of the money, while 70 percent goes to the developer. The remaining 5 percent -- presumably -- goes to the site. 

      The platform is the brainchild of inXile CEO Brian Fargo and former Atari exec Lee Jacobson. It's expected to launch later this year. 

    • Big Switch sale

      3 months ago


      It looks like Nintendo has rolled out its first holiday sale for the Switch. 

      There are a bunch of good games on sale currently, like the excellent SteamWorld Dig 2 for $15, and Overcooked: Special Edition for $16. There's also Shantae: Half-Genie Hero for $13.39 and Party Golf for $10. Party Golf!!

      Head on over and check it out for yourself. We don't know when the North American Sale ends but the UK eshop sale ends on Dec. 28. 

    • World of Warcraft guild beats boss after wiping 320 times

      3 months ago


      A top World of Warcraft guild beat the final boss of World of Warcraft: Legion -- Argus The Unmaker on mythic difficulty -- and, um, it sounds like a bit of a chore. 

      Guild officer George Georgiadis of the EU-based guild Method tweeted that they accomplished this after wiping 320 times. Which, I'm not sure if it's amazing or horrifying. He tweeted that Argus wasn't quite as hard as Tomb of Sargeras boss Kil’jaeden but he added that it was “still quite a tough one—heart was going BOOM BOOM BOOM.” 

      The victory came after the mythic version of the boss had been released for about a week -- and of course all the top guilds were racing to see who would be first.  

      Here's a Twitch clip of the Method crew screaming in nerd joy after beating the boss.

    • Player Unknown's Battlegrounds out now on Xbox One

      3 months ago


      If you don't know a gaming PC and want to know what all the fuss is about, when it comes to Player Unknown's Battlegrounds -- today is your day. Well, if you own an Xbox One, that is. 

      A port of the game is now available on Xbox Game Review (meaning that it's still unfinished) and reviewers say that it's clunkier than PC, but still worth a shot. 

      The Verge said: "PUBG is one of the most brilliantly designed shooters of recent years, and that design remains intact on console. You don’t have to be an experienced online shooter fan to have fun with PUBG. It certainly rewards skill, but the way that each game has an element of luck keeps you coming back to see if you can do better next time."

      But yeah, it's definitely not as smooth of an experience on the console. Kotaku said: "The console’s more casual feel benefits players who prefer a more strategic, slow-moving pace, but that’s in part because the game’s signature jankiness is significantly jankier here—it’s hard to play ambitiously when everything from switching weapons to jumping off the airplane is just a little more finicky. If you were hoping for a more polished Battlegrounds experience, I’m sorry." 

      Still, most agree that it's worth playing if you haven't checked it out on PC. You can buy the preview version for $30 starting today. 

    • Breakdancing game 'Floor Kids' now out on Switch

      3 months ago


      The Switch has been filling out its lineup of games nicely ever since it released in March. And now it's getting a genre that you didn't even know you needed -- a breakdancing game!

      Floor Kids is now out on the eShop and it's described as "a unique freestyle game featuring fresh rhythm challenges and multiplayer sessions." 

      Here's a trailer if you want to check it out

    • Super Mario Odyssey beaten ... without jumping?

      3 months ago


      We've already seen some crazy Super Mario Odyssey runs, but this one might take the cake. 

      Youtuber Gamechamp3000 posted a video showing off the seemingly impossible task -- finishing the game with your jump counter at zero. No jumps, no double jumps, no triple jumps, no backflips, side flips or long jumps! Basically nothing using the jump button while Mario is on the ground. 

      Amazingly, Gamechamp pulled it off, making liberal use of cap jumps -- only to discover at the end, that the game (for some ungodly reason) counts the act of talking to NPCs as a jump. What the hell??

      But like a true champ, he ran through it again -- this time, without talking to NPCs -- and finally got a zero. 

      Check out the video, it has to be seen to be believed.

    • Latest Hearthstone expansion is here

      3 months ago


      The latest expansion to the popular card-playing game Hearthstone is here. Kobolds and Catacombs, which features 135 new cards and a new mode called "Dungeon run," introduces some new mechanics like Spellstones to the game. 

      That's a welcome addition for the community, who have been complaining for awhile now that the game has gotten too reliant on luck and a few popular decks.

      You can learn more about the expansion on the official Hearthstone website here

    • Ubisoft won't take Russia out of its Olympics game

      3 months ago


      Russia might be out of the Olympics next year, but not the video game version! 

      Ubisoft says that, despite being banned for cheating, Russia will stay in its winter sports game "Steep Road to the Olympics." It's an expansion to the 2016 game "Steep" and it was released just a few days ago -- on Dec. 5th, which coincidentally was the same day that Russia was banned from the Olympics for widespread doping. Talk about bad timing!

      Ubisoft told Kotaku, though, that "there are no existing plans to patch Russia out of Steep Road to the Olympics." 

      It's worth noting, though, that some Russian athletes still might compete in the Olympics, just under a neutral uniform and without the Russian flag or anthem. 

    • Dark Souls remaster coming to the Switch?

      3 months ago


      The Nintendo Switch is getting all kinds of ports lately, from Doom to Rocket League. And the latest rumor is that a remastered version of the first Dark Souls is on the way, as well. 

      That's according to games writer Marcus Sellars, who tweeted that Bandai Namco will be hosting an event on Dec. 15th where "5 unannounced games will be shown off." He added that Nintendo will have a "big presence at the event." 

      And then in a followup tweet that is now deleted, he added that one of the games announced will be a "Dark Souls One Remaster" and he added the hashtags #DarkSoulsSwitch #DarkSoulsPS4 #DarkSoulsXbox, which seems to indicate that it would be coming for all current gen platforms. 

      No word yet on whether or not this is true, but if it is, that would certainly be a welcome addition to the Switch.

  • About Me

    I'm a writer for The Know and I also do standup comedy and play video games. Also, I beat Battletoads.

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