written by Fyren
Trion Worlds bought out
Trion Worlds is a developer and publisher of some fairly successful online games. They are notably responsible for titles like Rift, Archeage, Defiance 2050 and Trove. This week the company was sold to the primarily mobile publisher Gamigo. Following the sale several layoffs hit Trion as the new bosses aim to consolidate and cut costs. This feels a bit like rubbing salt in the wound for the gaming industry coming so soon after the closure of Telltale and layoffs at several other companies as well. I suppose the up side is that there is a lot of talent out there right now looking to add their piece to new projects. Of course there are concerns that Trion games, mainly MMOs, now being under the reign of a company primarily focused on the mobile market will cause those titles to become increasingly plagued by things like booster packs, micro transactions and absurdly priced premium currencies.
Xbox Game Pass coming to PC
In a statement to investors it was revealed by the folks over at Microsoft that the Xbox Game Pass subscription service will be coming to PC in the future. Of course this will require Windows 10 and use of the Windows Game Store. The subscription service is $10/month and provides unlimited access to the growing library of games. Looking at the catalog as of today though, doesn’t really inspire me to want to sign up for the subscription. There are a few great games in there, but as with most of these subscription services the majority is a sort of ‘filler’. I’ll be interested to see if PC gamers actually go for this when it launches at a time that Microsoft was unwilling to reveal.
New features for Twitch
TwitchCon is a thing that happened. A get together of all the people that think highly of themselves because of their subscriber numbers. Oh, there was also some announcements of new features headed to the popular streaming platform. VIP badges that streamers can hand out to distinguished viewers. More custom sub badges. Snapchat filters for face cams. More moderation tools. More editing, clipping and highlighting tools. More singing with the new Twitch Sings karaoke game. And of course more bounties. Bounties? Yeah, it’s this thing where streamers get paid to stream a certain game. The image above shows what that looks like and frankly it has me a bit worried for the future of authentic and sincere content on the platform.
Ambitious mod Fallout: New California launches
Everyone is talking about Fallout 76, but if the online thing just doesn’t do it for you. Try this on for size. A single player narrative experience set at the beginning of New California in the wasteland before the events of Fallout 3 and New Vegas. Contribute to the construction of the new nation that controls the west. This mod for New Vegas is fully voiced and promises to deliver nearly as much content as New Vegas itself.
DMCA relaxed to allow repairs and more
A revision to the DMCA, that pesky law that continues to see content creators on YouTube silenced and shut down, now allows more freedom not only to those creators but to consumers as well. There are several changes to the law, too many to enumerate them all here, so I will only cover the important ones to me. There were changes to Unlocking and Jailbreaking protections that now allow users to modify their smart devices such as phones, tablets, smart watches and smart speakers. Previously, this sort of thing would be punishable under DMCA, though most often simply voided the warranty. The big standout to me, was a revision on the rules regarding the preservation of software and games. It is now legal to crack DRM on games that are no longer supported or available for sale, as long as the intent is the preservation of that piece of history. Piracy is obviously still a big no no here, but this is a big win for conservation projects. There is an exemption added as well for ‘sever dependent games’ however in order to be DMCA compliant, the user must have the original server code and must only run the server locally. Meaning that private servers for long dead MMOs that have had the server code reconstructed are still in violation of the law. However, a private server that is only accessible via LAN is apparently ok?