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Diablo Immortal Announced for Mobile Platforms

The Diablo series spent most of its life tied down to the PC, but recently Blizzard introduced the series to consoles with Diablo III. Now, they're transitioning the game over to mobile platforms with a new title named, Diablo Immortal.

Diablo Immortal Mobile Game

Blizzard made this surprising announcement during the Blizzcon 2018 opening ceremony, revealing the brand new mobile Diablo game. The company claims that they are going to uphold their value of gameplay first and ensure that it feels like the Diablo fans all know and love. Diablo Immortal is described as full-fledged action RPG that users can play anytime, anywhere, and with anyone. The title is being developed in collaboration with NetEase, a Chinese company that has helped Blizzard port their games over to the country.

Diablo Immortal plans to fill in the story between Diablo II and Diablo III. It will follow characters that fans will recognize like Tyrael, Malthael, and other returning favorites. Blizzard also played a cinematic trailer that focused on the story after the destruction of the Worldstone, eventually leading to an entertaining action sequence that revealed the classes included in the game.

Blizzard offered a look at how the game will perform on mobile devices with a short gameplay trailer. The gameplay is easily recognizable and even features all the classes from Diablo III. New abilities for each class will be available along with an expansive new world to explore. Online multiplayer is a core function of the game with the trailer showing upwards of 6 characters on the screen at once.

While this certainly wasn't the news fans expected, it will be interesting to see what Blizzard has planned for this controversial game. We'll be sure to keep a close eye on Diablo Immortal so check back here at GigamaxGames.com for all the latest details!

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Old School RuneScape on iOS and Android

The billion-dollar franchise and globally recognized MMORPG, RuneScape is ready to take the world back to 2007. Old School RuneScape launched yesterday in full on iOS and Android.  Jagex is celebrating Old School RuneScape achieving a groundbreaking milestone, becoming the first mainstream PC MMORPG to release in its entirety on mobile devices.

A Historic Moment for Old School RuneScape and Jagex

In addition to this historic moment in the world of gaming, Jagex's step into the world of mobile devices offers gamers a seamless cross-platform play experience. This means gamers can easily and effortlessly jump from PC to mobile platforms and vice versa. There have been over one million pre-orders or pre-registrations placed by the RuneScape community. Additionally, there are already over a million already playing Old School RuneScape on Android devices which were a part of the Members’ Beta and soft launch.

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Let's be honest, almost everyone has seen this screen.

Old School RuneScape is a free-to-download app but joins the club with subscription-based apps like Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube Premium. Not only is Old School RuneScape the first full PC MMORPG that expanded to mobile devices, but it will also be the first mainstream game to transfer their monthly membership to mobile. Most RuneScape players already know what a membership offers but for those that may not, this paid service gives gamers access to additional world locations, skills, quests, and massively expands the RuneScape universe.

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Who remembers this?

A membership doesn’t just apply to Old School RuneScape but also provides a membership for the current version of RuneScape as well. Modern RuneScape is not currently available on mobile devices.

RuneScape Membership pricing is as follows:

USD | GB Pounds | Euros

1 Month $10.99 £6.99 €9.49
3 Months $29.99 £18.99 €25.99
6 Months $54.99 £34.99 €47.99
12 Months $99.99 £62.99 €88.99

Old School RuneScape launched back in 2013, offering fans the opportunity to relive the glory days of the MMORPG. Many still see RuneScape as that browser-based MMO everyone played back when they were young kids, and that might be true. However, RuneScape has come such a long way and the end-game is surprisingly in-depth. RuneScape allows for countless hours of solo play as well as the option to take part in 100-player raids, far beyond the nostalgic RuneScape experience everyone remembers. It has even set itself apart by fully embracing a competitive community with a seasonal free-for-all event called Deadman Tournaments. The winners receive a huge cash prize and membership.

With over 250 million player accounts worldwide, RuneScape has been going strong since 2001 and only shows signs of continuing to move forward. It’s been a long while since any member of the Gigamax Games crew played either the new or old RuneScape but it might be time for a hasty return.

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Adventure Sync – New Gameplay System by Niantic

Niantic, an American software development company announced yesterday they are releasing Adventure Sync. The company explained that this is a new Niantic Real World Platform gameplay system to get gamers going outside and exploring the actual world. Niantic, the developers of the massively popular Augmented Reality game, Pokemon GO will be implementing this technology alongside the mobile app. 

Adventure Sync - New Real World Gameplay System 

The Niantic Real World Platform was designed to give Pokemon GO players the ability to record their steps while having their phone in their pockets. Niantic explained in their official press release, “The key feature unlocks a wide variety of gameplay opportunities on the Niantic Real World Platform, servicing as an efficient and phone-friendly high-engagement tool that inspires players to head out into their local communities.” This explanation was followed up by the company expressing they will continue looking for new and exciting ways to use this technology in their future titles.

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At first, this sounded like a new game from Niantic. However, Adventure Sync is a new technology that will improve the experience of Niantic’s Real World gameplay experiences.

Syncing with the iOS HealthKit and Android Google Fit, gamers will be able to access weekly summaries that offers insight about their total distance traveled as well as other stats. Data on their calories burned and the number of steps they’ve taken will also be tracked if their devices allow it. Pokemon GO trainers can expect the Adventure Sync system to begin rolling out worldwide, shortly.

Big Rewards for Extra Activity

Pokemon GO players will soon have the option to use their activity and movement tracked through the Adventure Sync to cash for “big rewards”. Gamers can take part in weekly milestones to receive these new prizes. The software developer also made sure to mention that these big rewards go beyond Candy or Eggs hatching quicker.

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Pokemon GO took over the world for a short time when it released in July of 2016. It didn’t die out quickly but slowly fell out of fashion. After a few updates and gameplay improvements, Pokemon GO regained a strong audience. Niantic continues to add to and improve on Pokemon GO. With this new technology, the company will be able to add more incentive to go out and hunt for those beloved pocket monsters.

Niantic Gets Gamers Moving

In 2018 alone, Pokemon GO Trainers already walked a mindblowing 53% more while playing the game than they did in 2017. A survey of almost 2,000 Trainers found that 70% of them said Pokemon GO motivated them to walk more and 64% were motivated to go outdoors because of the game. 47% even feel their overall physical activity level increased since playing the Augmented Reality mobile app.

This response shows Niantic’s goal of getting gamers up and walking was a glowing success. Real world gameplay and Augmented Reality on this level is fairly new and Niantics Adventure Sync technology which is focused on a player's physical activity is absolutely innovative.

Even with all the success, Pokemon GO wasn’t without its negative press. People were trespassing, getting hit by cars, and the app was distracting them while driving. Now, that movement and travel is being tracked even while the app is off with Adventure Sync, this could even help avoid these situations.

There’s no set release date but Niantic hinted at a 2019 release. It’ll be exciting to see how this technology is used and improved on in the future. Be sure to keep checking back on GigamaxGames.com or follow the crew on Twitter or Facebook for the latest gaming news, reviews, and industry updated. 

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Animal Crossing Nintendo Direct Announced

Animal Crossing Nintendo Direct Announced

Fans of the long-running Nintendo series, Animal Crossing, will be delighted to hear that the home building simulator will be getting a Nintendo Direct this week. Unfortunately, it's not for a Switch or 3DS version of the game but instead, it will be for a mobile version. The Nintendo Direct will take place on October 25th and the pre-recorded broadcast will stream on Youtube starting at 11:00 pm EST. According to the Japanese Nintendo twitter account, the Direct will last a total of 15 minutes.

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What Might Be Announced

If you're hoping that the company may surprise fans with a Switch or 3DS announcement, don't get too excited because Nintendo already said on their website that there will not be any information on either of the console versions. That's not to say the series will never appear on the Switch. Nintendo has previously stated that they're bringing all of their main IP's to the console.

Nintendo initially slotted the Animal Crossing mobile game for the first quarter of this year but it was delayed into the company's next fiscal year. This means the game could come out in March of 2018. Nintendo attributes the delay to the launch of their other two mobile games Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes, which they launched earlier this year in a partnership with DeNA.

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Shigeru Miyamoto, Co-Representative Director at Nintendo, has said that the company will continue to craft original games for mobile devices instead of porting old ones. This has been backed up with their previous two mobile releases, much to the chagrin of their fans who have not been happy with the titles.

Could This Be The Perfect Mobile Fit? 

Animal Crossing could potentially be the perfect fit for smartphones, with its slow and relaxing nature and home/town building, this series could take off for an entirely new audience. Hopefully, Nintendo doesn't squander the opportunity to generate a whole new group of people that will buy consoles for the full Animal Crossing experience but their track record isn't great so far. Either way, Gigamax will be downloading the title when it comes out so stay tuned for more information as it becomes available!

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Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon Trailer Reveals Interdimensional Travel

Pokemon Ultra Sun/Moon Trailer Reveals Interdimensional Travel

A new trailer for Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon revealed plenty of new details about the pair of 3DS games. The video offers a deeper look at some of the new features Gamefreak added to the upcoming titles as well as a look at a brand new legendary.

The previously revealed UB-Burst and UB-Assembly are getting a new friend in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon that goes by the codename, UB-Adhesive. This little guy is a mysterious (and adorable) new Poison-type, said to understand humans if it spends enough time around them.

UB-Burst and UB-Assembly Info

The trailer released today revealed some new details about UB-Burst and UB-Assembly. UB-Burst has been revealed as a Fire/Ghost-type that is exclusive to Ultra Sun. It comes packaged with a unique attack called Mind Blown. This move has the horrifying monster remove his head and lob it at the defending Pokemon. UB-Assembly is more of a defensive beast that is a Rock/Steel type and exclusive to Ultra Moon. It was also revealed that the new Ultra Beasts have the same Beast Boost ability held by the previous iterations.

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Ultra Beasts come from another dimension and travel to the Alola region through portals known as Ultra Wormholes. In the two new titles, players will be able to traverse atop Solgaleo or Lunala through these rifts and visit the worlds the Ultra Beasts hail from. The trailer also revealed a dark new world known as Ultra Metalopolis, which Nintendo describes as a city that lost its light to the legendary Necrozma.

The Final Details

The final details revealed by the trailer were on a new mysterious team known as, Ultra Recon Squad, a cast of characters is made up of four trainers. In Ultra Sun, players will encounter Dulse and Zossie while in Ultra Moon, backers will run into Phyco and Soliera. Not much else was revealed on the Ultra Recon Squad but in the trailer, they show up with UB-Adhesive.

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The two new games will be released on November 17th. If you buy the game before January 18th, 2018 you also get your hands on a Rockruff that can evolve into the previously revealed Dusk Form Lycanroc.

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Microtransactions: Little Bits of Joy or Tiny Problems

Microtransactions: What's The True Cost?

In recent years microtransactions have become increasingly prevalent in video games big and small. Although they are a fundamental part of the free to play structure, they have made their way into games that players have already bought. Most of these low cost purchases only net the player cosmetic items that will make in game models look different, but that isn’t always the case. It seems that in a matter of years microtransactions have gone from a stigma, to a widely used and accepted part of the industry.

Overwatch microtransactions screen

One of the first “microtransactions” was the infamous horse armor DLC in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. This extra content was an armor set for the mounts in game. When it launched, the community responded with serious backlash. Priced at $2.49 on Xbox 360, players denounced it as a cash grab by Bethesda. It’s understandable, considering it was the early days of the DLC and previous paid for downloads were very substantial. The horse armor was not simply cosmetic, it was a functional piece as well, which is more than most mini DLC’s offer today.

The Early Days

This incident happened in 2005. It is easy to forget that the industry was still trying to figure out how to handle DLC. With modding still being a very important part of the PC gaming community, a paid download for something minuscule felt like a stab in the back. Bethesda dealt with the complaints and time went on. In 2008 the Iphone App Store released and thus started the beginning of the microtransaction structure. Mobile developers started to realize the ad’s on games or purchasing price were not nearly making enough profit and quickly found a remedy. With the addition of small incremental purchases that allowed the player to progress quickly or unlock content faster, they were seeing a huge profit.

Pokemon Go microtransactions screen

Some of the most popular games to do this are Clash of Clans and Hearthstone. These applications are considered “pay to win” which means if someone pays more they get better gear, troops, equipment, etc… which in turn gives them a higher chance of winning. Most of the time someone can download this game and earn all the rewards by playing, but typically it takes a ridiculous amount of time and effort. Some games handle the pay wall a little more subtly such as a more recent application, Pokemon Go. In this players can walk to “Poke Stops” in real life to receive items necessary to play or purchase them with actual cash. While not an unrealistic accomplishment based on location, they can be extremely accessible or extremely elusive which forces players into a pay wall.

Console Takes Control

Console games have adapted microtransactions and turned them into loot boxes containing new items. Call of Duty, Overwatch, and Battlefield are all examples of games that offer boxes containing a random set of loot. There is no guarantee that spending money will actually pay off, many have spent a lot only to not see any reward. While these rewards can be earned in game developers like Blizzard have implemented seasonal rewards. Players will only have a limited time to earn specific themed gear, which is very easy to miss if they can not log into the game.

Titanfall 2 microtransactions screen

With microtransactions becoming almost unavoidable in today’s market, it is hard not to question if they will remain. However, it looks as though these small payments are here to stay. It is hard to say whether they benefit the player or just the developer. Nothing is forcing a player's hand, but cool content that is merely cosmetic shouldn’t be hidden behind a paywall. It can feel cheap and like something forced in by a publisher just to make a buck. On the other hand, this could encourage developers to extend the lifetime of a game because there is still profit to be had.

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What are your thoughts on microtransactions? Let us know in the comments below!

Next-Gen Mobile Gaming: Which Phone Will Prevail

Before you say ‘a console’ lets remember how damn accessible our phones are and how amazing it would be if we could finally take serious gaming, mobile. This next generation of mobile phone technology is supposably the tech that will bring the new world of mobile gaming into fruition.

We’re not saying mobile games" alt="mobile games">mobile games aren’t already incredibly successful right now. The mobile phone video game industry is a $36.6 billion (with a B) a year industry already. What we’re implying is the ability to take console-like or near console-like gaming and push it down into your mobile phone. Mobile games have already taken a huge bite out of the leading mobile console, the Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo revised their annual sales projections for the 2015-2016 fiscal year and lowered their sales estimates for the 3DS to 6.6 million down from 7.6 million. Now that new mobile phones are promising such an incredible improvement to mobile gaming, it could have an even more dramatic impact on Nintendo’s 3DS sales.

Mobile Gaming:

The big three mobile phone generations have all recently been released or will be released soon: the iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy Series 7 and Google’s new Pixel. These phones are supposedly able to process new mobile games that will absolutely blow our minds. “Cinematic gameplay experiences that were simply not possible before” is just one quote taken from the iPhone 7 reveal, describing a new title, ‘Ozbargain kingdom’. I do have to say Both the graphics and gameplay looked pretty sweet.

But let's break it down to specs and fine details. Let’s look at the phones and see what's inside to find out which of these next gen mobile phones are made with the gamer in mind. Below are the stats, side by side, and taken from the most advanced available model.

iPhone 7 Plus:

Storage: 256GB
Size & Weight: 6.21in x 3.07in / 6.63 ounces
Display: 5.5’’ Retina HD display; LED-backlit widescreen; 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution at 401pp; 1300:1 contrast ratio
‘Chip’: A10 Fusion chip with 64-bit architecture;’ Embedded M10 motion coprocessor’
(Skipping Camera Specs: We’re gaming at the moment)

The first thing that stands out is that massive hard drive, 256GB is pretty damn decent for a phone and around 3x as spacious as my first laptop. But there is no slot for an SD card, which could come in handy for gaming. The display is the same as the Samsung and Pixel as you’ll see below, but the phone is bigger than the Galaxy. This could actually be a plus for gaming because it gives you more to hold on to when the phone is flipped sideways. Resolution is great and Apple’s Chip’s have always been powerful. They’ve offered up some pretty big promises, specifically focused on gaming, which they assure the A10 can deliver.

Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge (Dual-SIM model):

Storage: 2 microSD cards up to 256GB card slots; 64GB hard drive - 4GB RAM
Size & Weight: 5.94 x 2.86 / 5.54oz
Display:5.5’’ Always-on Display Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors; 1440 x 2560 pixel resolution.
‘Chip’: Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820 Exynos 8890 Octa

“MicroSD cards” is the first thing that stood out. This gives gamers some flexibility with their games. You can clear space or turn your phone into a designated gaming machine. This might be Samsung's big 1-Up over the iPhone when it comes to gaming. Their Always-on Display and 16M color limit seems like it won't hold up to the iPhone 7 Plus’, Retina HD display; LED-backlit widescreen.

Pixel XL:

Storage: 128GB
Size & Weight: 6in x 2.9in / 5.93 oz
Display:5.5 in, 2560x1440, 534 ppi - 4GB RAM
‘Chip’:2.15Hz + 1.6Hz quad-core Qulcomm Snapdragon 821

Google seems to have created a nice, sleek, and functional mobile phone. In what is a classic Google move, they seem to have designed their phone to perform the most common actions a smartphone performs. Can it play and stream video and audio? Check. Can it go online and quickly navigate the internet? Check. Email and other office functions? Check. Now as for gaming: maybe it’ll perform that function just as well. Think about Google’s search engine. It’s just a blank bar and a button (essentially, I’m just describing the main functions) and everyone knows how to use it. Even when Google first came out and the internet was still relatively new, there was a reason why Google took off and crushed the competition, because it was simple and user friendly and worked better than everything else.

Results:

Maybe Google will surprise us and create the most capable gaming phone just as they did with the search engine. Maybe after the Galaxy stops catching fire, the gaming experience will be superb. But even if the iPhone is the undoubted champ of the mobile phone industry, there’s one thing we need to see happen first: exquisite and engrossing mobile games — AAA quality that will be worth dropping over $20 on for this industry to really reach its pinnacle. Until the mobile game industry starts dropping AAA titles, it will be hard to see a discernible difference in the gaming quality of these impressive machines. I feel as though they are currently being underutilised in regard to gaming. These machines have some serious power behind them and the videogames on these phones should be a representation of that technology.

-Mack

Sources:

http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/223720-nintendos-3ds-sales-are-plummeting-the-nx-console-cant-come-fast-enough
http://www.apple.com/iphone-7/specs/
http://www.apple.com/apple-events/september-2016/
http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s7_edge-7945.php\
http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s7_edge-7945.php
https://www.cnet.com/products/google-pixel-xl-phone/preview/
http://venturebeat.com/2016/10/04/pixel-and-pixel-xl-specs-what-google-changed/

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