U.S. senator Josh Hawley has announced the outline for a bill that could apply new consumer protections to video games played by minors. Specifically, it targets games played by those younger than eighteen years of age and aims to prohibit several forms of abusive monetization practices, such as loot boxes and pay-to-win elements. The goal is to have the Federal Trade Commission enforce the bill's proposed rules by treating the distribution of any offending games as unfair trade practices. Read More
After the noteworthy release of Monster Hunter Stories earlier this week, it's surprising to see Capcom releasing another game on the Play Store, and this time around it's actually an original IP for mobile. It's called Black Command, and it is a military sim that's been designed in collaboration with Japan's largest military website so that it accurately reflects real-world military standards. Read More
Sega's Sonic Forces: Speed Battle has officially released worldwide as of today. Luckily this release is nothing like the poorly received PC and console version of Sonic Forces as this is an entirely different game focused on multiplayer PvP gameplay. Sadly it is a competitive free-to-play auto-runner filled with loot boxes, multiple currencies, wait timers, a long grind to unlock any new heroes, plenty of advertisements, and of course a whole range of in-app purchases that go as high as $99.99 per item. Read More
NEXON's Titanfall: Assault is now officially available on the Play Store. More or less it takes the tried and true gameplay from Clash Royale and adds giant robots. While it is billed as "a mobile RTS with fast-paced action and intense PvP battles," you have to wonder how the $109.99 in-app purchases affect the head-to-head multiplayer gameplay. Read More
Trivia Crack Heroes is the latest Trivia Crack game from Etermax. It's a strange mix of simplistic MOBA gameplay and trivia questions. You will be collecting heroes via a loot crate system in order to battle them against live opponents. While the premise may sound appealing, the execution has left me feeling utterly unimpressed, thanks to the clear pay-to-win design.
Who doesn't love seeing movie tie-in games? Especially ones that call back to a cash-flush demographic of 20 to 30-somethings. Not only are these just an obvious advertisement, they often utilize detrimental gacha free-to-play mechanics. I mean, who wouldn't want this trendy new form of gambling shoved into their media? That is right, today's winner of egregious cash-ins off the backs of people's nostalgia is Power Rangers: Legacy Wars. Read More
I kind of wish that Supercell, developers of the base-building IAPfests Clash of Clans and Boom Beach, would go into cartoons or movies. The 30-second commercial skits that they make to reel players into games are much more entertaining than the games themselves. But if wishes were horses, we'd all be eating steak, so let's just take a look at the company's latest offering. Clash Royale is available worldwide today, after spending several months as a geo-limited beta. Read More
The various detractors of the free-to-play gaming model, including yours truly, often refer to such titles from the likes of Glu and Gamevil as "pay-to-win." That's never been so true as in FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE 2 PLAY, where an ogre steals the princess and you have to literally ransom her back. You could spend hours and hours grinding through the 2D platformer, avoiding the advertising that will crush you and stomping on it to collect coins, slowly building up to 1,000,000 in-game dollars.
Or you could pay a $3 in-app purchase to buy her back and win the game. Read More
Free-to-play is a divisive topic in the games industry right now. Some developers and publishers, especially in the mobile gaming world, love it - free games get downloaded more, and they have the potential to bring in more revenue. Gamers used to the "pay once, pay forever" model of games and software in general over the last 30 years think it's changing the industry and damaging both the economics and the mechanics of gaming itself.
But at the end of the day, the decision of how to make a game, how to monetize it, and whether or not to adopt that tempting, lucrative, and divisive "pay to win" model should rest with the people actually making the game. Read More