300M-user Imgur launches Melee, a gaming meme app – TechCrunch

10 years after debut, 300 million monthly user Imgur is one of the last massively popular yet unpersonalized home pages on the internet. Since everyone sees the same upvoted posts when they open Imgur, it creates a shared experience full of inside jokes and running gags. But while you can switch to a feed of topics and creators your follow, Imgur has focused on a one-size-fits-all approach over catering to niche audiences.

The gaming community deserved better, and Imgur needed to seize this opportunity. Video and board game tags were the most popular on Imgur, with 46% of users following them. Esports, Twitch, and streaming stars like Ninja have gone mainstream. And there’s a whole world of esoteric memes about absurd in-game moments, highlights from epic wins, and commentary about the industry. That stuff gets diluted and buried on cross-functional apps like Imgur, is tough to easily browse on Reddit, and often times content about all games is mashed together even though you might only play certain ones.

Imgur

That’s why today, Imgur is launching Melee, the company’s first app beyond its flagship product. Melee lets users subscribe to the games they love to get a feed of memes and gameplay clips. It’s an elegant way to prevent you from seeing jokes you don’t understand or feats of skill you don’t care about. You can also scroll through a popular posts feed if you’re curious about unfamiliar games. Melee debuts today on iOS with an Android version coming in Q1 2020 and a desktop version down the road.

Gamers are constantly taking recordings and screenshots of the games they’re playing” Imgur founder and CEO Alan Schaaf tells me. “But we found that there’s no place for gamers to share those clips. We want to give these highlights a home.” If 92% of surveyed Imgurians consider themselves ‘gamers’, and the average one already spends 30 minutes per day on Imgur despite it being a general purpose image sharing network, there was clearly room to build something just for them.  Schaaf says “Imgur is interested in building things that the Internet wants.”

There’s an immediate in-group feel when you play with Melee. Whether you’re into Fortnite, Smash Bros, or Dungeons & Dragons, you can find your people to geek out with. There’s certainly already forums on Reddit, Memedroid, and elsewhere dedicated to specific games, but those can get a bit exhausting. Melee keeps things spicy by combining content about your picks in one feed. It’s actually a savvy way to browse any genre of memes. I could see Melee expanding into letting you follow your favorite TV shows, movies, and bands…or someone else might with a copy of its format.

I was glad to hear that Imgur took safety seriously with Melee after stumbling into building messaging into its main app without proper protections in 2016. It has multiple layers of community and staff moderation, will remove obscene content, and won’t tolerate bullying. That’s critical in the gaming space that has a nasty habit of turning toxic. If Imgur can keep things on the rails, it plans to monetize Melee with the company’s expertise in display ads.

Eventually, Schaaf hopes Melee can also help up-and-coming game streaming stars find a following, since on Twitch and YouTube they’re often overshadowed by the biggest stars. “If you start a stream today, you have virtually no chance of attracting an audience and competing in this market. Streamers need a place to post their gameplay in order to grow their audience on streaming platforms” Schaaf tells me. “Melee is that place.” He plans to add more robust profiles and ways for broadcasters to promote their streams in 2020. Viewers will benefit as Melee lets them bypass watching a multi-hour stream just for the best parts.

Imgur remains one of the biggest internet communities no one talks about, despite being a top 15 most popular site in the US according to Alexa. Schaaf bootstrapped the company from his bedroom and beyond for the first 5 years before taking a $40 million Series A in 2014 from Andreessen Horowitz. Now it’s focusing on becoming a more lucrative business. The startup took a $20 million funding round from strategic partner Coil which is going to help Imgur launch a premium subscription tier to its free site.

Imgur started at the end of the web era, and took years to build a full-fledged mobile app. Melee is truly mobile first, and offers a lifeboat to Imgur in case its original tribe disperses. It’s a smart way to harness the massive untapped energy of gamers, the way Instagram harnessed our newfound phone cameras. Finally, meme culture is getting purpose-built social networks.

Source link

Nintendo’s Switch just had its best sales week in the US – TechCrunch

Nintendo today noted that the Switch just had its best-ever sales week in the States. Over the course of Thanksgiving week, the three-year-old console moved more than 830,000 units. That brings the system up to a combined 17.5 million units in the U.S., by Nintendo’s count. It’s pretty impressive momentum for a mature console.

Back in late October, the Switch hit the 15 million mark in the States. It continues to sit atop the console sales charts posted by analytics firms like NPD. The numbers, of course, were juiced by both the upcoming holidays, the addition of the new, lower-priced Switch Lite and various Black Friday offers that bundle in things like a free copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

The system is expected to get another major boost outside of the U.S., with a forthcoming launch in China. Nintendo is teaming up with Tencent to deliver the system to a potentially massive market at around $300 a pop. Pre-orders in the country opened today, with sales starting on December 10, along with a trio of Mario titles.

As of late-September, the system has sold in excess of 40 million units globally — a healthy upgrade from its lukewarmly received predecessor, the Wii U, which only managed to move 13.5 million in its lifetime. The Switch still has some catching up to do with the eight-year-old 3DS, which has sold 75.5 million units globally. 

Source link

Apple and Google reveal the best apps and games of 2019 – TechCrunch

Continuing their annual tradition, Apple and Google have released their list of the best apps and games of 2019. Apple, for the first time, held a real-world event to celebrate its winners, where it crowned AI-powered camera app Spectre Camera as its best iPhone app of the year and Sky: Children of the Light as its best game. Google, meanwhile, dubbed video messaging app Ablo as its app winner and Call of Duty: Mobile as its best game.

Apple’s event held in New York put its winning developers in front of media in order to demonstrate their apps and games. The event was less formal than the Apple Design Awards held at the company’s worldwide developer conference each year, and instead focused on private presentations to press.

Apple said its winners this year sit “at the nexus of digital and pop culture,” but its list really better highlights what Apple thinks are the key selling features for its devices. For example, with Spectre Camera by Lux Optics, it’s about the iPhone’s ability to serve as your main camera even for complicated tasks like long-exposure photos.

The iPad app of the year was Flow by Moleskin, an app that already won a 2019 Design Award. In this case, the digital notebook app shows off a top iPad use case of being a device aimed at creative professionals. Users can take advantage of its digital graphite pencils and chisel-tipped markers to draw and sketch as they could in real life.

The Mac app of the year, Affinity Publisher by Serif Labs, allows users to design and publish books, magazines, brochures, posters and more — a task that best lends itself to a larger device with a full-sized keyboard.

Finally, the Apple TV app of the year, The Explorers by The Explorers Network, showcases something that works best on your TV’s larger, high-def screen. The app’s community of photographers and videographers are working together to create a visual inventory of the natural world, which you can enjoy on your big screen.

Apple’s iPhone Game of the Year, Sky: Children of the Light by thatgamecompany (makers of Journey, the 2013 Game of the Year), iPad Game of the Year Hyper Light Drifter by Abylight S.L. and Mac Game of the Year GRIS by Nomada Studio, are all the sort of beautifully designed games that Apple prefers to showcase.

Today’s gaming market has become over-filled with free-to-play titles due to the sort of supported business models that work on the App Store. That’s something Apple Arcade is an attempt to correct, in fact. Apple winners show that even free games can be works of art.

Sky: Children...is a free to play social adventure with in-app purchases, but is also beautiful and creative. Similarly, adventure game Hyper Light was already a visual arts award winner at the Independent Games Festival. And GRIS has been described as one of the most gorgeous games.

The Apple TV Game of the Year, Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap by DotEmu, was developed by LizardCube with the cooperation of series creator Ryuichi Nishizawa to bring an ’80s cult classic back to life. That’s part of one of Apple’s larger App Store gaming trends — a year of “blockbusters reimagined.”

Apple also gave mention of other launches in this space, like Mario Kart Tour, Dr. Mario World, Minecraft Earth, Pokémon Masters, Assassin’s Creed Rebellion, Gears POP!, The Elder Scrolls: Blades, Alien: Blackout and Google’s Game of the Year, Call of Duty: Mobile.

And in what could be the start of a new tradition, Apple also anointed an Apple Arcade Game of the Year with the gorgeous, fast-paced and music-filled Sayonara Wild Hearts developed by Simogo and published by Annapurna Interactive.

Apple’s year-end list also highlighted App Store non-gaming trend of  “Storytelling,” which featured a variety of apps to tell stories, including visually, as well as through audio and text. Noted apps here were Anchor, Canva, Unfold, Steller, Spark Camera, Over and Wattpad.

Separately, Apple featured a list of the “top” (most downloaded) apps and games on its App Store for the year, which featured Mario Kart Tour at No. 1 in Games and YouTube as No. 1 in Apps.

Google doesn’t go all-out as Apple does for its “Best of 2019” picks.

Instead, it simply featured best app Ablo and best game Call of Duty: Mobile as its editorial picks, then leaves the rest to a User’s Choice. Voters selected the same game, but gave the Best App award to a video editor, Glitch Video Effects.

Google’s full list also includes Google Play’s best e-books, audiobooks, TV shows and movies, which you can see here.

Source link

This 16-game arcade for AIs tests their playing prowess – TechCrunch

Figuring out just what an AI is good at is one of the hardest thing about understanding them. To help determine this, OpenAI has designed a set of games that can help researchers tell whether their machine learning agent is actually learning basic skills or, what is equally likely, has figured out how to rig the system in its favor.

It’s one of those aspects of AI research that never fails to delight: the ways an agent will bend or break the rules in its endeavors to appear good at whatever the researchers are asking it to do. Cheating may be thinking outside the box, but it isn’t always welcome, and one way to check is to change the rules a bit and see if the system breaks down.

What the agent actually learned can be determined by seeing if those “skills” can be applied when it’s put into new circumstances where only some of its knowledge is relevant.

For instance, say you want to learn if an AI has learned to play a Mario-like game where it travels right and jumps over obstacles. You could switch things around so it has to walk left; you could change the order of the obstacles; or you could change the game entirely and have monsters appear that the AI has to shoot while it travels right instead.

If the agent has really learned something about playing a game like this, it should be able to pick up the modified versions of the game much quicker than something entirely new. This is called “generalizing” — applying existing knowledge to a new set of circumstances — and humans do it constantly.

OpenAI researchers have encountered this many times in their research, and in order to test generalizable AI knowledge at a basic level, they’ve designed a sort of AI arcade where an agent has to prove its mettle in a variety of games with varying overlap of gameplay concepts.

The 16 game environments they designed are similar to games we know and love, like Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Asteroids, and so on. The difference is the environments have been build from the ground up towards AI play, with simplified controls, rewards, and graphics.

Each taxes an AI’s abilities in a different way. For instance in one game there may be no penalty for sitting still and observing the game environment for a few seconds, while in others it may place the agent in danger. In some the AI must explore the environment, in others it may be focused on a single big boss spaceship. But they’re all made to be unmistakably different games, not unlike (though obviously a bit different from) what you might find available for an Atari or NES console.

Here’s the full list, as seen in the gif below from top to bottom, left to right:

  • Ninja: Climb a tower while avoiding bombs or destroying them with throwing stars.
  • Coinrun: Get the coin at the right side of the level while avoiding traps and monsters.
  • Plunder: Fire cannonballs from the bottom of the screen to hit enemy ships and avoid friendlies.
  • Caveflyer: Navigate caves using Asteroids-style controls, shooting enemies and avoiding obstacles.
  • Jumper: Open-world platformer with a double-jumping rabbit and compass pointing towards the goal.
  • Miner: Dig through dirt to get diamonds and boulders that obey Atari-era gravity rules.
  • Maze: Navigate randomly generated mazes of various sizes.
  • Bigfish: Eat smaller fish than you to become the bigger fish, while avoiding a similar fate.
  • Chaser: Like Pac-Man, eat the dots and use power pellets strategically to eat enemies.
  • Starpilot: Gradius-like shmup focused on dodging and quick elimination of enemy ships.
  • Bossfight: 1 on 1 battle with a boss ship with randomly selected attacks and replenishing shields.
  • Heist: Navigate a maze with colored locks and corresponding keys.
  • Fruitbot: Ascend through levels while collecting fruit and avoiding non-fruit.
  • Dodgeball: Move around a room without touching walls, hitting others with balls and avoiding getting hit.
  • Climber: Climb a series of platforms collecting stars along the way and avoiding monsters.
  • Leaper: Frogger-type lane-crossing game with cars, logs, etc.

You can imagine that an AI might be created that excels at the grid-based ones like Heist, Maze, and Chaser, but loses the track in Jumper, Coinrun, and Bossfight. Just like a human — because there are different skills involved in each. But there are shared ones as well: understanding that the player character and moving objects may have consequences, or that certain areas of the play area are inaccessible. An AI that can generalize and adapt quickly will learn to dominate all these games in a shorter time than one that doesn’t generalize well.

The set of games and methods for observing and rating agent performance in them is called the ProcGen benchmark, since the environments and enemy placements in the games are procedurally generated. You can read more about them, or learn to build your own little AI arcade, at the project’s GitHub page.

Source link

Valve’s flagship Half-Life VR game will land in March of 2020 – TechCrunch

As expected, Valve just dropped some details about Half-Life: Alyx, the flagship VR game it teased earlier this week.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • It’s scheduled for release in March of 2020.
  • Players will take on the role of Alyx, wearing a pair of “gravity gloves” that allow you to grab things otherwise out of reach.
  • It’ll take place sometime between Half-Life and Half-Life 2. Alas, for anyone hoping for something that takes place after the events set in motion in Half-Life 2: Episode 2 12 years ago, it sounds like this ain’t it. With that said, they told The Verge in an interview that players should play through Episode 2 first… so Valve might have surprises in store there.
  • It’s built on the Source 2 engine, and will work on “all SteamVR compatible VR systems” — so HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest when hooked to a PC, Windows Mixed Reality headset, or Valve’s own Index VR headset.
  • It’s built to be played whether you want to move around your room, stand in one place or sit in a chair.
  • It’ll cost $60, but be free for anyone who owns Valve’s Index VR headset. Index owners will also get alternate in-game gun skins, and “Alyx-themed content” in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Valve also posted a trailer, showing everything from headcrabs to the Citadel from Alyx’s first-person VR perspective… plus a special little cameo if you stick around to the end. Check it out here:

 

Source link

Bunch, the Discord for mobile games, raises $3.85M from Supercell, Tencent, Riot Games – TechCrunch

Growing up, Selcuk Atli spent a good deal of his free time playing video games with his friends. And when I say with his friends, I mean actually with them. They’re called LAN parties, where everyone brings over their consoles and the group gets to play together virtually and in real life, all at the same time.

Atli, a grown man now, still loves games, but misses the memories made during LAN parties.

That’s how Bunch was born.

Bunch is a lot like Discord, but for mobile games. Users who download the game can connect with friends and join an audio or video chat with them. From there, users can choose a game to load and the whole party is instantly taken not just to the game, but into a multiplayer game session with their friends.

Today, Bunch has announced the close of a strategic investment round of $3.85 million from top game makers including Supercell, Tencent, Riot Games, Miniclip, and Colopl Next. Bunch’s previous investors include London Venture Partners, Founders Fund, Betaworks, Shrug Capital, North Zone, Streamlined Ventures, and 500 Startups.

Bunch has a handful of first-party games on its platform to ensure that new users have a starting off point. However, one of the biggest challenges of scaling is creating relationships with third-party game makers to eventually integrate that deep linking technology into the Bunch app.

With this new money, Bunch finds itself under the arm of a handful of some of the biggest mobile game publishers in the world. This new funding also brings Bunch’s total financing since launch to $8.5 million.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a company try to bring the nostalgia of 90s gaming into the 21st Century. Discord has made quite a name for itself in the gaming world with a platform that allows gamers to communicate before, during and after a game.

However, Discord is more targeted at PC gamers, and is meant to give users the chance to meet and communicate with other gamers, rather than just hopping on a call with existing friends.

TeaTime Live, founded by QuizUp founder Thor Friedricksein, is another competitor focused squarely on mobile. However, TeaTime Live is going hard into Snapchat-like filters and avatars for video chat. And, like Discord, TTL wants users to meet other gamers, not connect with their IRL friends.

Bunch is primarily focused on connecting gamers with their actual friends. Once you’ve both loaded into a game, Bunch keeps running in the background to power voice chat. By focusing on real friends, Atli believes that the impact of Bunch can be much greater for both users and the games themselves.

In fact, Atli says that user retention on a specific game grows 1.3 times with every new friend added on the platform. Indeed, between Day 7 and Day 30, Bunch Cohorts’ retention rates are 2x the retention of normal players, according to the Bunch CEO.

For now, Bunch is focused entirely on user acquisition and scaling to more games, but could see an opportunity to generate revenue through a subscription or in-app purchase model around premium Bunch features.

Source link

Logitech accessory kit makes the Xbox Adaptive Controller even more accessible – TechCrunch

Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller was a breath of fresh air in a gaming world that has largely failed to consider the needs of people with disabilities. Now Logitech has joined the effort to empower this diverse population with an expanded set of XAC-compatible buttons and triggers.

Logitech’s $100 Adaptive Gaming Kit comes with a dozen buttons in a variety of sizes, two large analog levers to control the triggers, and a Velcro-style pad to which they can all be securely attached. It’s hopefully the start of a hardware ecosystem that will be at least a significant fraction of the diversity available to the able population.

The visibility of gamers with disabilities has grown both as the communities have organized and communicated their needs, and as gaming itself has moved towards the mainstream. Turns out there are millions of people who, for one reason or another, can’t use a controller or mouse and keyboard the way others can — and they want to play games too.

Always one of the more reliably considerate companies when it comes to accessibility issues, Microsoft began developing the XAC a couple years back — though admittedly after years of, like the rest of the gaming hardware community, failing to accommodate disabled gamers.

Logitech was an unwitting partner, having provided joysticks for the project without being told what they were for. But when the XAC was unveiled, Logitech was stunned and chagrined.

“This is something that, shame on us, we didn’t think about,” said Mark Starrett, Logitech G’s senior global product manager. “We’ve been trying to diversify gaming, like getting more girls to play, but we totally did not think about this. But you see the videos Microsoft put out, how excited the kids are — it’s so motivating to see that, it makes you want to continue that work.”

And to their credit, the team got in contact with Microsoft soon after and said they’d like to collaborate on some accessories for the system.

In some ways this wouldn’t be particularly difficult: The XAC uses 3.5mm headphone jacks as its main input, so it can accept signals from a wide range of devices, from its own buttons and sticks to things like blow tubes, so there’s no worries about proprietary connections, for instance. But when it comes to accessible devices and systems like this, there are often other rigorous standards in place that need to be upheld throughout, so it’s necessary to work closely with both the platform provider (Microsoft) and, naturally, the people who will actually be using them.

“This community, you can’t make anything for them without doing it with them,” said Starrett. “When we design a gaming keyboard or mouse, we engage pros, players, all that stuff, right? So with this, it’s absolutely critical to watch them with every piece.”

“The biggest takeaway is that everybody is so different: every challenge, every setup, everyone we talked to,” he continued. “We had a 70, 80 year old guy who plays Destiny and has arthritis — all we really needed to do was put a block on the back of his controller, because he couldn’t pull the trigger. Then we worked with a girl who has a quadstick, she was playing Madden like a pro with something you just puff and blow on. Another guy played everything with his feet. So we spent a lot of time on the site just watching.”

The final set of buttons they arrived at includes three very large ones, four smaller ones (though still big compared with ordinary controller buttons), four “light touch” buttons that can be easily activated by any contact, and two big triggers. Because they knew different gamers would use the sets differently, there’s a set of labels in the box that can be applied however they like.

Then there are two hook and loop (i.e. Velcro) mats to which the buttons can be attached, one rigid and the other flexible, so it can be draped over a leg, the arm of a couch, etc.

Even the packaging the buttons come in is accessible: A single strip of tape pulls out and causes the whole box to unfold, and then everything is in non-sealed reusable bags. The guide is wordless so it can be used in any country, by any player.

It’s nice to see such consideration at work, and no doubt the players who will benefit from these products will be happy to have a variety of options to choose from. I was starting to think I could use a couple of these buttons myself.

Starrett seemed very happy with the results, and also proud that the work had started something new at Logitech.

“The groups we talked to brought a lot of different things to mind for us,” he said. “We’re always updating things, but now we’re updating everything with an eye to accessibility. It’s helped Logitech as a company to learn about this stuff.”

You can pick up Logitech’s Adaptive Gaming kit here for $100.

Source link

Valve confirms it’s making a ‘flagship’ Half-Life VR game – TechCrunch

After what feels like years of rumors, it’s official: Valve is making a virtual reality Half-Life game.

Official word of the new title comes via Valve’s (brand new, but verified) Twitter account, where the company is promising more details later this week:

While it’s a bit curious to drop news like this as the first tweet from a brand new account, Valve’s long-established official Steam twitter account retweeted it — so signs are pointing toward it being legit.

Alas, we know next to nothing besides the name — Half-Life: Alyx — until 10 am on Thursday. Will we finally get a proper conclusion for Alyx Vance, whose storyline ended so abruptly when Valve dropped the Half-Life storyline mid-sentence 12 years ago ?



Source link

The Gathering’ game maker exposed 452,000 players’ account data – TechCrunch

The maker of Magic: The Gathering has confirmed that a security lapse exposed the data on hundreds of thousands of game players.

The game’s developer, the Washington-based Wizards of the Coast, left a database backup file in a public Amazon Web Services storage bucket. The database file contained user account information for the game’s online arena. But there was no password on the storage bucket, allowing anyone to access the files inside.

The bucket is not believed to have been exposed for long — since around early-September — but it was long enough for U.K. cybersecurity firm Fidus Information Security to find the database.

A review of the database file showed there were 452,634 players’ information, including about 470 email addresses associated with Wizards’ staff. The database included player names and usernames, email addresses, and the date and time of the account’s creation. The database also had user passwords, which were hashed and salted, making it difficult but not impossible to unscramble.

None of the data was encrypted. The accounts date back to at least 2012, according to our review of the data, but some of the more recent entries date back to mid-2018.

A formatted version of the database backup file, redacted, containing 452,000 user records. (Image: TechCrunch)

Fidus reached out to Wizards of the Coast but did not hear back. It was only after TechCrunch reached out that the game maker pulled the storage bucket offline.

Bruce Dugan, a spokesperson for the game developer, told TechCrunch in a statement: “We learned that a database file from a decommissioned website had inadvertently been made accessible outside the company.”

“We removed the database file from our server and commenced an investigation to determine the scope of the incident,” he said. “We believe that this was an isolated incident and we have no reason to believe that any malicious use has been made of the data,” but the spokesperson did not provide any evidence for this claim.

“However, in an abundance of caution, we are notifying players whose information was contained in the database and requiring them to reset their passwords on our current system,” he said.

Harriet Lester, Fidus’ director of research and development, said it was “surprising in this day and age that misconfigurations and lack of basic security hygiene still exist on this scale, especially when referring to such large companies with a userbase of over 450,000 accounts.”

“Our research team work continuously, looking for misconfigurations such as this to alert companies as soon as possible to avoid the data falling into the wrong hands. It’s our small way of helping make the internet a safer place,” she told TechCrunch.

The game maker said it informed the U.K. data protection authorities about the exposure, in line with breach notification rules under Europe’s GDPR regulations. The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office did not immediately return an email to confirm the disclosure.

Companies can be fined up to 4% of their annual turnover for GDPR violations.

Source link

Microsoft announces its xCloud streaming service and a truckload of new games are coming in 2020 – TechCrunch

Microsoft has announced a vague intention to launch its xCloud game streaming service sometime in 2020, and dropped a double handful of new titles that will arrive on it and the existing Game Pass subscription. It seems that next year will indeed be the opening battle in the streaming wars to come.

The announcements came at XO19, the company’s Xbox-focused event, which is taking place in London. They seem calculated to take the wind out of Google’s sails; the opening lineup of Stadia, Google’s entry in the game streaming world, was finalized earlier this week and is rather bare bones. Microsoft is hoping Google’s first-mover advantage will be nullified by the expected confusion around payments, features, titles and other issues Stadia is still working out.

Game Pass is currently in a preview period on PC. Although Microsoft did not supply a hard release date, saying only that 2020 is the plan. That year will also bring Windows 10 support, PC game streaming and potentially an expansion beyond Android for mobile streaming.

The price, too, is TBA — Google’s proposition is remarkably complicated, and it will take time for consumers to figure out what they’re willing to pay for, what the real costs are, and so on. So Microsoft is probably going to wait and see here.

But what is known about xCloud is that gamers will get access to all the games currently available on Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription — well over a hundred PC and console titles right now, with more being added regularly. That makes it easier to commit to for a lot of gamers.

New controllers will be supported soon, including Sony’s DualShock 4, which comes with the PlayStation 4; that’s a real olive branch to Microsoft’s arch-rival. And new countries will be brought into the fold soon, as well: Canada, India, Japan and “Western Europe.”

Game Pass will also be receiving dozens of titles old and new throughout 2020, including Final Fantasy 7 through 15, Darksiders 3, Flight Simulator and a bunch of newly announced games such as Obsidian’s new “Honey, I Shrunk the Survival Game” title, “Grounded.”

Several brand new properties and gameplay for known but unreleased games were also teased at XO19. Check them out below:

Everwild is a new IP from Rare that appears to involve a lot of sneaking around a lush forest and either avoiding or interacting with fantastical animals. It’s still early days, but the team wants to create “new ways to play in a natural and magical world.” I’m just here for the solar-powered dino-deer.

Tell Me Why is a new one from Dontnod, makers of Life Is Strange starring a pair of twins with some kind of paranormal connection. Notably one of the twins is transgender, not common among game protagonists, and the company worked with GLAAD to make sure the representation of the character is genuine.

Age of Empires IV got an only slightly satisfying gameplay reveal. Real-time strategy buffs will want more than this, but no doubt they’re excited to see this venerable franchise getting a modern sequel.

You can catch up on the rest over at the Xbox official blog post.

Source link