Amazon's party-ready Echo Buttons are available to pre-order

about X hours ago from
Amazon's party-ready Echo Buttons are available to pre-order

The holidays are almost here, and that means you may end up playing a lot of party games with visiting friends and relatives. Amazon might spare you from having to break out yet another board game, though: it just put its Echo Button accessory up for pre-order. Pay $20 and you'll get two of the super-simple controllers for Alexa-driven entertainment like Beat the Intro (a name-that-song title) or Fourth Down Football Trivia. They should be released on December 19th, or just soon enough that they could accompany an Echo speaker you're gifting to a special someone.

'Gran Turismo Sport' brings back a classic solo racing mode

about X hours ago from
'Gran Turismo Sport' brings back a classic solo racing mode

As good as it was for Polyphony Digital to finally reach the PS4 with Gran Turismo Sport, its game modes were a bit of a shock for long-time fans. What about those old-fashioned cups? You're about to get them back. The developers are releasing an update in December that will introduce GT League, a single-player mode which resurrects the classic GT modes of earlier games. True to form, you have to compete in a series of cup competitions, some of which require certain cars. You may need a car with a boxer engine, for example, or you might have to own a specific model.

'PUBG' will be tweaked to add socialist-friendly messages in China

about X hours ago from
'PUBG' will be tweaked to add socialist-friendly messages in China

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has been this year's sleeper hit, and it's about to officially be released in China. The rub is, it'll have some pretty significant changes given the country's strict state-mandated censorship. Local publisher Tencent will "make adjustment to content and make sure they accord with socialist core values, Chinese traditional culture and moral rules," according to a statement obtained by Reuters. Last month, China said that the game was too violent and that the game's sale would likely be blocked because it strongly goes against the country's "socialist core values."

'Pokemon Go' is making major changes to raids

about X hours ago from
'Pokemon Go' is making major changes to raids

Niantic has announced big changes to Pokemon Go raids, designed to even the playing field for trainers at all levels -- and pleasing Magikarp fans in the process. The raid system, particularly EX Raids, has faced criticism because of the way it seems to favor certain players and locations, but the changes -- a result of field-testing and feedback -- should rectify things.

Xbox's $1 Game Pass includes 'Gears of War 4' and 'Mass Effect'

about X hours ago from
Xbox's $1 Game Pass includes 'Gears of War 4' and 'Mass Effect'

If you've been thinking about trying out the Xbox Game Pass, but don't want to risk the normal $10 price, Microsoft has a deal for you. It's offering the first month of membership for $1, giving you access to well over 100 games. It's also offering Xbox Gold for $1, so Xbox is clearly trying to push users onto memberships over the holidays. This month, new titles include Gears of War 4, Darksiders: Warmastered Edition, Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter and others.

Belgium moves to ban 'Star Wars Battlefront 2'-style loot boxes

about X hours ago from
 Belgium moves to ban 'Star Wars Battlefront 2'-style loot boxes

We learned last week that Belgium's gambling authority was investigating loot crates in Star Wars Battlefront II over concerns that they constitute gambling. Now, the decision is in, and the answer is a resounding yes, according to Dutch-language publication VTM Nieuws. The commission claims that purchasable add-on boxes, the contents of which are randomized, mix "money and addiction" and thus are a form of gambling.

Steam tweaks community reviews to fight spam

about X hours ago from
Steam tweaks community reviews to fight spam

Valve has known that its platform Steam, the biggest marketplace for PC titles, has had a review problem for years. Groups of users abuse a game's rating by 'review bombing' them, propping up negative feedback with far more 'this was helpful' votes than is humanly possible. While Valve tried a passive solution two months ago, but it didn't fix the problem. So the company is trying a couple more changes: Diluting the effects of likely review-manipulators and making sure a game's top ten reflect the title's overall approval rating.

'Minecraft' now livestreams building sessions directly to Mixer

about X hours ago from
'Minecraft' now livestreams building sessions directly to Mixer

A large part of Minecraft's allure is showing off your work. And now, it should be relatively easy to do that in real time. Mojang has released an update that lets you livestream directly to Microsoft Mixer (its parent company's service, naturally) from within the game on Android devices, Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One consoles. If you've just finished recreating an entire country, you can take people on a live tour without starting a broadcast in a separate app or service first. And your audience doesn't have to simply watch, either.