Computer Games

'Civilization VI' expansion 'Gathering Storm' launches February 14th


Civilization VI is a strategy game with some legs, and we don't just mean its ever-expanding platform support. Firaxis and 2K have revealed that the title's second expansion, Gathering Storm, will reach Windows gamers on February 14th, 2019. Mac and Linux users should get it soon afterward. It's not just adding the usual round of cultures, technologies and units (although there are more of those), either. Rather, Firaxis is changing how the world itself works.

What's the best video games console for Christmas 2018?

The Guardian

A games console is the perfect Christmas present – it's exciting, it's cool and everyone can join in on the day (as long as you've had the foresight to sneak it out of its packaging on Christmas Eve to download the inevitable six hours of system updates). But selecting which machine to opt for is complicated and confusing, and if you get it wrong you may end up with yet another unloved gadget crammed in the cupboard where you keep the air fryer and mini candyfloss machine. Here are some tips for harassed parents or partners who have found the words "games console" on a loved one's Christmas list and are experiencing technophobic panic. There are three major consoles: the Sony PlayStation 4, the Microsoft Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch. The PS4 and Xbox One are very similar in terms of technology (they're basically mid-range PCs), providing high-end graphical performance, especially if you purchase the more expensive PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, which include full support for 4K television displays.

One of the best early Black Friday gaming deals: Get an Xbox One S Minecraft bundle for $199 at Walmart


Black Friday delivers plenty of choices when it comes to deals, and that's especially true in gaming. From discounts on games and accessories to consoles and laptops, you should have no problem finding a great deal for the gamer in your life. One of our favorite gaming deals for Black Friday 2018 went on sale over the weekend, and we're pretty stoked about it. The Xbox One S 1TB Minecraft Creators Bundle is on sale for $199 at Walmart, which is $100 off the original price of $299. Whether you're new to Minecraft or have been playing it for years, you'll get everything you need to start messing around in this blocky world.

Ben Wander's quest to become a household name


Even casual video game fans know Sid Meier's name. They've seen it countless times, printed in sturdy text across every box in the Civilization series for the past 27 years, the most recent one being 2016's Sid Meier's Civilization VI. It's come to the point where most gamers can't hear "Civilization" without immediately thinking, "Sid Meier," and vice versa. "People know who Sid Meier is because his name's on the front," indie developer Ben Wander said on the busy Tulsa Pop Culture XPO show floor. He was showing off his first game as independent developer The Wandering Ben, a noir murder mystery called A Cast of Distrust.

Xbox's Black Friday deals start early for Live Gold members


Microsoft's Xbox Black Friday sale is kicking off early for Xbox Live Gold members, and you can grab discounts on some of the biggest titles around right now. Red Dead Redemption 2 was only released a few weeks ago, but you can save 10 percent in the sale. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is 20 percent cheaper, and if you're eager to explore Assassin's Creed Odyssey, you'll get up to 35 percent off, depending on which edition you pick up. You can grab FIFA 19 for a 40 percent discount, or Madden NFL 19, NBA 2K19, WWE 2K19 or NHL 19, all for 50 percent off. The discounts also include Forza Motorsport 7 (50 percent), Sea of Thieves (50 percent), Destiny 2: Forsaken (up to 40 percent), Far Cry 5 (50 percent), Shadow of the Tomb Raider (50 percent) and The Witcher 3 (50 percent).

eBay's toy catalog includes a $100,000 'Magic: The Gathering' card


The online retailer is putting together a Toy Book containing the hottest items of this year and all the retro playthings that will make your nostalgia kick in. If you're in New York City, eBay is also opening up an interactive storefront called Toytopia where kids can come in and play with the toys. While Amazon's catalog shows the best toys of this year, eBay has the best toys of any year as long as price is no object for you. If you have some fat stacks of cash you're just waiting to burn through, eBay has a 1967 DC Justice League Games Set -- which includes Aquaman, Flash and Wonder Woman games -- for $6,000. Jump up to the $100,000 price range and you can get a Magic: The Gathering Alpha Black Lotus card.

The Game Awards 2018: God of War and Red Dead dominate

BBC News

The Christmas countdown clock is ticking, and you might be wondering what games to ask for in your stocking. With so many launching every month, it can be tricky to pick out the must-plays. The Game Awards recognises the best games released every year, and has announced the full list of nominees. Perhaps unsurprisingly Red Dead Redemption II and God of War lead the pack, with eight nominations each. Both were nominated for the highest prize, Game of the Year, alongside Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Celeste, Marvel's Spider-Man and Monster Hunter: World.

From Pac-Mania to Fortnite fever: are video games becoming more addictive?

The Guardian

In 2001, a young graduate named John Hopson wrote a detailed article for the industry website Gamasutra on the topic of behavioural game design. Hopson, an amateur game-designer, decided to pair his hobby and his research, detailing in coolly clinical terms concepts that the industry had previously handled primarily through intuition and artistry. "Under what circumstances do players stop playing, and how can you avoid them?" "Motivation is relative: the desire to play your game is always being measured against other activities." Hopson offered a number of suggestions to developers who wanted to encourage gamers to play harder, play for longer and play more frequently. Offer them a variety of tasks to carry out, for instance, so that if the main challenge becomes unappealing, they have other goals to achieve within the game without simply clocking off; avoid punishing difficulty spikes, which can cause a player to quit entirely; and offer rewards in a variable schedule, so that there is always the chance of a reward very soon, to keep them playing forever.

Microsoft buys two more video game studios

The Guardian

In a broadcast from its Xbox Fanfest event this weekend, Microsoft announced the acquisition of two new video game studios: inXile Entertainment and Obsidian Entertainment. Both studios are headquartered in California, and both specialise in role-playing games. Both studios also have their roots in the 1990s "golden age" of computer RPGs, staffed by veteran developers from beloved 90s studio Black Isle. Obsidian Entertainment is responsible for acclaimed modern RPGs Fallout: New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Pillars of Eternity, and South Park: The Stick of Truth. These acquisitions mean that Microsoft now owns 13 game studios, seven of which have been acquired or founded in 2018.

Microsoft Studios buys 'Fallout: New Vegas' house Obsidian


With the next generation of gaming consoles on the horizon, Microsoft Studios has been gobbling up high-profile developers, and it's continuing that trend today with the acquisition of Fallout: New Vegas studio Obsidian Entertainment and Wasteland 2 company inXile Entertainment. Obsidian and inXile represent some of Microsoft Studios' most notable acquisitions yet, especially when taken together. Obsidian is responsible for Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, South Park: The Stick of Truth and the Pillars of Eternity series, while inXile is behind Fantastic Contraption, Torment: Tides of Numenera and the upcoming Wasteland 3, which raised more than $3 million via crowdfunding platform Fig in 2016. There's rich history between Obsidian and inXile, as both studios are the product of a 2003 developer exodus from original Fallout house Interplay. They have an agreement to share tools and technology with each other, and Obsidian even helped inXile develop Wasteland 2. "While they do share a common heritage, the two creative teams at Obsidian and inXile are very different," Microsoft said in a statement.