Sidestepping App Stores, Facebook Lite and Groups get Instant Games

HTML5 almost ruined Facebook when baking in the mobile web standard to speed up development slowed down the performance of the social network’s main iOS and Android apps. For a brief moment in 2011, Facebook even tried to build an HTML5 gaming platform codenamed Sparta to escape the taxes of Apple and Google’s mobile operating systems. But at the time, HTML5 wasn’t powerful enough for great gaming. Facebook eventually ditched HTML5, rebuilt the apps natively, and Facebook became one of the most powerful players in mobile. Now Facebook is giving HTML5 another shot as a way to expand its Instant Games like Pac-Man and Words With Friends to the developing world through Facebook Lite, and to interest communities via Facebook Groups. With improvements to smartphone processing power and the underlying mobile browser app technology, HTML5 can now support snappy, graphically-complex games like Everwing seen below. Instead of having to download Read the full article…

How to pick the graphics card that’s right for you

Nvidia’s new lineup of powerful gaming GPUs, the GeForce RTX 20-series, is now available. At their best (and most expensive), you’ll be able to game in 4K beyond 60 frames per second, and for the games that support it, ray tracing allows for more realistic lighting and reflections. You’ll pay a lot for the latest tech, though: pricing for Nvidia’s Founders Editions reference cards starts at $599 for the RTX 2070. The RTX 2080 is the next step up and will cost $799. The new high-end card, the RTX 2080 Ti, sits at $1,199. Though, if you opt for a third-party card, you’re likely to save some money no matter which card you choose. For prospective PC builders or those in need of a graphics card upgrade, the decision of what and when to buy is… Read the full article…

Limited edition Xbox One makes Taco Bell ‘bong’ noise at startup

A strange but intriguing new promotion from Taco Bell and Microsoft will soon make Doritos and Mountain Dew passé for the gaming elite. Taco Bell customers who purchase a double chalupa box for $5 beginning tomorrow will automatically be entered to win a very special limited edition Xbox One X console that includes “Taco Bell’s famous ‘ring’ when powered on,” according to a press release. Yes, Taco Bell’s infamous little bell that rings at the end of commercials. It’s like Pavlov’s dog experiment come to life: hear the ring when you power up your Xbox One X, hit up Taco Bell. The console, which includes a nifty monochromatic design scheme exclusive to Taco Bell and Microsoft’s promotion, comes with an “Xbox Elite Wireless Controller… Read the full article…

The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories Review

Beautiful, brutal and frequently bizarre, The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories is a side-scrolling puzzle platformer that has cult hero game director Hidetaka Suehiro’s (aka Swery’s) fingerprints smudged all over it. Yet amidst the schizophrenic tonal shifts and fantastical, deathtrap-strewn settings, The Missing manages to tell a surprisingly human story that builds to an emotionally powerful payoff at its conclusion. Its execution may be a little rough around the edges compared to genre champions Limbo and Inside, but it brings plenty of its own unique personality that allows it to shine despite the slight lack of polish. Read the full article…

Blizzard Casts Doubt on Diablo 4 BlizzCon Announcement

BlizzCon 2018 is almost here, but a new post from Blizzard strongly suggests we won’t see any new Diablo projects announced. “We’ve seen a lot of rumors flying around about our plans for Diablo at the show,” reads a post on the Blizzard forums. “These are very exciting times—we currently have multiple teams working on different Diablo projects and we can’t wait to tell you all about them . . . when the time is right.” The post goes on to say that “good things come to those who wait, but evil things often take longer”. While Blizzard may not be ready to share all its projects, the company promised that it does intend to share “some Diablo-related news” at the show. Read the full article…

Pokémon GO update bringing ‘mon from the Sinnoh region is live

If you’ve been laying off the Pokémon GO for a while due to a lack of new monsters, prepare to be glued to your phone again. Niantic is now adding pokémon from the rugged Sinnoh region that first appeared in 2007’s Diamond, Pearl and Platinum games. Of course, it’s not so simple as a dump of a hundred new ‘mon into your area. The new guys are arriving in waves, likely meaning the most common sorts will start appearing today, while cooler ones and sets of themed critters will arrive over the coming weeks. These are part of the Generation 4 set, but it’s not clear yet which will be appearing first or indeed at all. It’s entirely up to Niantic and you can be sure they’re going to mete out these little guys over several months, interspersed with other events — anything to keep you catching. Everyone will probably Read the full article…

Discord’s new game store rolls out to the rest of the world today

When Discord first launched its new built-in game store just a few weeks back, there was one big caveat: it was available to only a tiny, tiny slice of its 150 million users; 50,000 of them, to be exact — all of them in Canada. Today it’s going global. Discord says that access to its store should be rolling out to the rest of the world throughout the day. Discord’s move to become a store comes just weeks after Valve overhauled the chat system in Steam. While perhaps a coincidence, the timing certainly felt very “two-can-play-at-that-game.” When you first start poking around Discord’s store, you might notice that… well, there’s not a ton there. Around 20 games, at first. That, says the company, is deliberate; whereas the competition might offer 10,000 different games, Discord is trying to frame its store as something closer to “a local bookstore” — if it’s Read the full article…

Magic Leap’s conference teases the thrilling potential of what its hardware can’t yet provide

Florida-based startup Magic Leap became infamous for hyping itself as a revolutionary company whose vision for augmented and mixed reality would transform the worlds of computing, communication, and entertainment — whenever it finally decided to show its hyper-secretive technology to the public, that is. The company set expectations high, but when it finally shipped its first headset, the Magic Leap One Creator Editor, the consensus was that some of those expectations hadn’t been met. Magic Leap hadn’t magically solved AR’s biggest challenges, it turned out. Like the Microsoft HoloLens before it, Magic Leap’s headset was a glimpse at a compelling, but far from mature, technology that simply couldn’t deliver on the grand vision founder… Read the full article…

This sleek console plays old Sega cartridges on your new TV

Analogue is known for providing high-end consoles designed to play classic Nintendo games, and now, the company is turning its attention to Sega. Today, Analogue is announcing the Mega Sg, a retro console that can play Sega Genesis, Mega Drive, and Master System cartridges, and it works seamlessly with modern TVs. “I’ve wanted to do the end all, be all Sega system for a long time,” says Analogue’s Christopher Taber. “There is zero proper way to explore Sega’s history, and it’s time to give Sega their due.” If you’re familiar with Analogue’s work, then you know exactly what to expect from the Mega Sg. Much like the Super Nt, an aftermarket Super Nintendo released at the beginning of this year, the Mega Sg is a modern console designed to… Read the full article…

Fourth-generation pokémon are coming to Pokémon Go this week

Pokémon Go players will be able to considerably expand their pokédexes this week, as Niantic has confirmed the arrival of the fourth generation of pokémon. This generation first appeared in the Nintendo DS games Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum, and hail from the Hokkaido-influenced Sinnoh region. As with the third generation, Niantic will be rolling out the new pokémon in waves rather than all at once. The company says it’ll also be announcing new features and expansion to pokémon storage soon. Meanwhile, a handful of generation 3 pokémon — and even one from generation 2 — are yet to be added to the game, mostly because of unique characteristics that Niantic has to figure out how to integrate. While the world-dominating hype from… Read the full article…

Soulcalibur 6 Review

After a six-year absence from the 3D fighting scene, Soulcalibur makes a triumphant return in its seventh entry in the main series. The next in Bandai Namco’s line of arcade fighting games keeps true to its unique brand of weapon-based combat while sprinkling in just the right amount of new mechanics. The combination not only sets it apart from its predecessors, but also keeps it competitive against all others in its genre. The story goes back to its roots, retelling the events of the original Soulcalibur, and provides two very different but equally worthwhile story modes that flesh out the tale of swords and souls in a way that’s more digestible than ever. Read the full article…