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  • What does HBO's Westworld have to teach us about game design? [10.19.16]
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    Spoilers for Westworld ahead.

    Earlier this month, HBO premiered its new sci-fi show Westworld. The premise is that in a utopian/dystopian future, a powerful mogul has bought up Monument Valley (or somehow constructed a perfect recreation of it) and built a full simulation of a Wild Wild West setting on it, where guests can pay money to live out their cowboy fantasies, be they innocent or lurid.

    Developers and critics immediately took to Twitter to pontificate about how familiar and game-like it seemed.

  • Dead Star removed from PSN and Steam pending online server shutdown [10.18.16]
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    Armature Studio has announced that the company will be shutting down multiplayer servers for its game Dead Star on November 1. Since 10v10 multiplayer combat is a huge part of the actual game itself, Dead Star has also been removed from both PlayStation Network and Steam in anticipation of the shutdown.

    After November 1st, owners of the game will only be able to play the in-game tutorial. 

    Unfortunate events like this serve as a grim reminder of the dangers game developers face when developing a game dependent on online features. 

    The shutdown comes just 7 months after the game first launched in April, and was offered as a free game to PlayStation Plus members during its launch month.

  • Valve refutes Washington State accusations over CS:GO gambling [10.18.16]
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    Valve has responded to an earlier notice from the Washington State Gambling Commission that accused the company of facilitating online gambling activities through features on Steam.

    In a recently released letter to the State Commission, Valve states the company has taken steps to discourage Counter-Strike: Global Offensive-centric gambling in the past, and that the Commission has no factual or legal basis for such accusations. 

    Valve’s response, and the original implication of wrongdoing from Washington, could potentially change the way platforms like Steam handle digital item trading and sales. 

    The original letter from the Washington State Gambling Commission alleged that it was Valve's responsibility to stop websites from using Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skins as virtual betting chips, and that the ability to trade skins through Steam facilitated these illegal gambling activities.

    “Outside of Steam and, we believe, outside of the United States, certain websites offer gambling propositions,” said legal counsel Liam Lavery on behalf of Valve.

  • Red Dead Redemption 2 confirmed, analyst suggests strong upside [10.18.16]
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    After days of teasing, Rockstar has confirmed that a sequel to its 2010 western sandbox Read Dead Redemption will arrive next fall. 

    While the unveiling of Red Dead Redemption 2 was always something of an inevitability given the 14 million global sales its predecessor racked up, it's interesting to see Rockstar talk up a "brand new online multiplayer experience" in its first official announcement

    It's a move that all but confirms the veteran developer is keen to build on the progress made by GTA V's ever-expanding and popular GTA Online mode. 

    According to Macquarie Securities analyst Ben Schachter, "We also expect the game to have features similar to GTA Online, which has been positive for monetizing GTA V three years beyond its release."

    He added that Rockstar could also look to capitalize on the sequel by releasing it alongside a remastered version of Redemption, and might even be working on a virtual reality experience for PlayStation VR.

    "Red Dead 2 will release in Fall 2017 for PS4 and Xbox One, and similar to GTA V, will likely release on PC early the following year," added Schachter.


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