Electronic Arts is really excited about not letting you own any games

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Speaking to the Deutsche Bank Technology Conference, Electronic Arts’ vice president of investor relations Chris Evenden, was bullish on the game-streaming concept. According to GamesIndustry‘s report, Evenden said cloud technology has been catching up to everyone’s ambition over the past few years with the infrastructure barrier shrinking rapidly. He cited a recent demonstration given to a major internet company for streaming Battlefield. The publisher has slowly been enticing customers to its services like Origin on PC and EA Access on consoles, and expects the transition to full-blown cloud gaming will happen someday.

“I think it’s inevitable that the gaming entertainment world will move in much the same way that the music and video entertainment worlds have already moved, in the sense that people have moved from an ownership model to an access model. And you’ll see that in gaming, just as you’ve seen it with Spotify and Netflix in other media businesses.”

Previous cloud gaming services like OnLive jumped the gun and got ahead of the technology curve, ending in failure. More recent services like NVIDIA’s GeForce Now and PlayStation’s Gaikai have found success with modest growth and investments in technology.

You shouldn’t pay more than $80 for the SNES Classic

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Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has some advice for fans preparing to pay outrageous amounts for the SNES Classic Edition. Relax and don’t pay more than the $79.99 list price. Speaking to the Financial Times, Reggie Fils-Aime said the company has “dramatically increased” production and that despite issues with pre-orders at retailers, there should be no shortage of stock.

“I would strongly urge you not to over-bid on an SNES Classic on any of the auction sites.”

Nintendo hasn’t actually said how many of the mini-consoles it will manufacture, but the company says it will be ship product from September 29th through the end of the year. Hopefully, we won’t see a repeat of the inflated prices the NES Classic saw during the holidays along with the abrupt stock sellout.

In WWII boardgame Triumph & Tragedy, WWII doesn’t even have to happen

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Well designed games shine whether you are playing them or just watching. The consistency of theme, presentation, and mechanics that make playing a good game such a joy translates — in the best games — into an eloquent dance that you can appreciate as an observer. If you’re really familiar with the game, you can pick up patterns, see the swings, watch the crescendos and decrescendos, almost like listening to a symphony. A good design realizes that every piece of the game needs to fit together, like strings and brass and woodwinds, but each piece needs to bring something different, like strings and brass and woodwinds. It’s hard to design something that fits its pieces together so distinctly and neatly, which is why so many games just add as many pieces as they can, hoping some of them work together. Dice and cards and plastic pieces and a tableau and victory points here and there and oh look! — a mancala. Good luck getting the conductor to harmonize that.

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Activision figured out how to give away nothing for Call of Duty: WWII preorders

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Activision and Sledgehammer Games have announced details of Call of Duty: WWII’s preorder program. The preorder “multiplayer upgrade” features a token to unlock one weapon of your choice when you start playing, instead of unlocking it eventually in the normal progression scheme. You’ll also get a 2x experience multiplier good for four hours, and a collection of five gear sets that correspond to the Divisions system.

Previous Call of Duty games have been criticized by fans for offering exclusive multiplayer maps, (such as variations of Nuketown) or locking away cooperative zombie campaigns behind preorder bonuses. Some gamers are now criticizing the publisher for not making WWII preorders worthwhile because the incentives aren’t good enough.

Hey, Call of Duty players! Chill out. Activision could make your weapon and player camo skins consumable like Shaders in Destiny 2.

One does not simply walk into the high-def era with Battle for Middle-earth

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If you’re one of the lucky owners of 2004’s The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, you may know that there’s a fan-run outfit that stepped in to supply multiplayer capability to the game after publisher Electronic Arts shut down the servers in 2010. That’s all well and good, but the pre-HD textures and models haven’t aged well. Blowing up what looked good in 2004 onto a 2017 monitor is a quick way to reassess the rose-colored glasses you were wearing. Thanks to a couple of dedicated modders, there is now a way to get the game to look as good as Peter Jackson’s green-screen adventures. The HD Edition mod from “RiderOfRohan” and “Mathijs” gives every blocky low-poly model a sharp upgrade. No longer will Aragorn look like he missed second breakfast.

The real winner of the chicken dinner is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds

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Are you one of the 10 million people playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds? Despite still being in early access on Steam, the Battle Royale multiplayer game from independent developer Bluehole is a sales hit. It’s a darling of streamers and YouTube gaming. In fact, Battlegrounds recently surpassed Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 as the most played games on Steam. It is a growth phenomenon. One can only wonder how much more it will sell when it launches on Xbox One by the end of the year.

If you want to watch Tom Chick and Jason McMaster help others get their chicken dinner, you can check out their play here.

The galaxy is once again a less lonely place in Star Wars Empire at War

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Star Wars Empire at War is a complete game once again. The real-time strategy game has been hobbled since 2014 when the online service Gamespy was shuttered effectively ending all multiplayer capability. Thanks to a new update from Petroglyph, multiplayer has been restored via Steamworks! The Gold Pack version of the game on Steam now even includes Workshop support for mods. That’s good news for everyone that wanted to play out those Galactica versus Star Destroyer versus TARDIS fights against other humans.

Yo ho ho! Where did Sid Meier’s Pirates! on iOS go?

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2K Games is sunsetting Sid Meier’s Pirates! on Apple iOS. Because of 64-bit compatibility issues with the release of iOS 11, 2K Games announced changes to their App Store catalog. While Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution 2 and XCOM: Enemy Within are being temporarily pulled from sale so the developers can update them to 64-bit executables, a handful of games are being taken off the store permanently. While there probably won’t be many tears shed for the loss of the Duke Nukem Forever Soundboard, fans of ballroom dancing and broadsides may be concerned that Pirates! will no longer be purchased, and the game will not be supported going forward.

Early reports are that the retired games are completely inoperable on iOS 11, so updating the system dooms the titles to forever taunt you as useless icons on your screen.

You can thank Strat-O-Matic Baseball for Battlefield, Madden, and Mass Effect

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Trip Hawkins is a fan of Strat-O-Matic Baseball. To him, the dice and cards simulation of baseball that’s been published since 1961, is pure genius and he’s been a fan for five decades. As a young man, he was also a fan of football, so he tried the Start-O-Matic version of that but found it wanting. Thinking he could do better, Hawkins borrowed money from his family and created Accu-Stat Football, his take on the formula. It was a financial failure, but the experience taught him that he liked making games and being an entrepreneur. Once personal computing started to take off, Hawkins figured machines could remove some of the barriers between sports fans and gaming, so he spent most of his college education learning as much as he could about the nascent industry. After a stint at Apple, Hawkins would go on to found Electronic Arts in 1982 and helped design John Madden Football in 1988. That’s how we go from throwing dice onto a table to throwing our controllers at our TVs.

Funnily enough, Strat-O-Matic Baseball’s business model still thrives on annual version updates to the game.