Google Stadia now free to anyone with a Gmail address

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Google Stadia now free to anyone with a Gmail address

Google’s video game streaming platform, Stadia, is now free to anyone with a Gmail address, the company announced on Wednesday. To sweeten the deal, Google is also giving new users two months of Stadia Pro — including access to nine games — for free.

Existing Stadia Pro subscribers won’t be charged for the next two months of the service, Google said.

Resident Evil’s first board game was too dark, developers promise fix for RE3 Kickstarter

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Resident Evil’s first board game was too dark, developers promise fix for RE3 Kickstarter

Steamforged Games is charging ahead with its plan to make another classic video game into a board game. Its Kickstarter campaign for Resident Evil 3: The Board Game kicks off on April 28, and the team says it’s listening to feedback from consumers upset with the quality of Resident Evil 2: The Board Game, which shipped in early 2019.

Resident Evil 3: The Board Game will use the same gameplay system as Resident Evil 2, which relies on dice-based combat and a modular game board. But fans complained that the game board itself was too dark, making details hard to see. Steamforged says it has taken that criticism to heart.

Twitch has new nudity rules, and they’re detailed

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Twitch has new nudity rules, and they’re detailed

Twitch rolled out a highly specific revision to its nudity and attire policy for streamers on Tuesday, to hopefully accommodate contexts in which skimpier apparel is appropriate even if it goes against the letter of the previous, broader rules such as cosplay, body art discussions, or even streams from a swimming pool or beach.

The revision follows the Feb. 13 suspension (and Feb. 21 reinstatement) of body-painting streamer Forkgirl, and other enforcement of rules that streamers and viewers complained were inconsistently applied. Last fall, a Twitch crackdown on “sexually suggestive” content included sanctions for streamers wearing athletic apparel at a gym, or cosplaying fighting game characters.

Sea of Thieves’ next update is all about factions, fighting, and cats

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Sea of Thieves’ next update is all about factions, fighting, and cats

Sea of Thieves currently has a handful of factions that hand out quests and cosmetics; they serve as the backbone for the game’s content delivery. The next free update to Sea of Thieves, titled Ships of Fortune, is all about reinforcing and upgrading those systems.

Players will be able to build a closer relationship with the game’s original factions from launch: Gold Hoarders, Merchant Alliance, Order of Souls, and Athena’s faction. By becoming an Emissary, that faction will provide boosted rewards and a new range of cosmetics. Becoming an Emissary will require “a significant donation”, and then players will be able to earn one of five Grades via that faction’s standard gameplay loop. If a player has a high Grade, selling loot to that faction will come with a significant multiplier for an even bigger cash-out and new cosmetics. For instance, Emissaries of the Order of Souls will be able to earn new, spooky ships.

Xbox Game Pass adding Journey to the Savage Planet, Football Manager 2020

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Xbox Game Pass adding Journey to the Savage Planet, Football Manager 2020

Xbox Game Pass subscribers will soon get access to games like Journey to the Savage Planet and Yakuza Kiwami on Xbox One, and Football Manager 2020 on Windows PC.

Journey to the Savage Planet will be available via Xbox Game Pass on April 9, Microsoft announced during today’s Inside Xbox livestream. The same day, Kemco’s retro role-playing game Alvastia Chronicles, will join the Xbox Game Pass library on Xbox One. Microsoft also said Yakuza Kiwami, the “extreme” remaster of the original Yakuza game, will come to Xbox Game Pass soon.

Shadowlands is bringing back tons of tools and toys to World of Warcraft classes

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Shadowlands is bringing back tons of tools and toys to World of Warcraft classes

World of Warcraft fans have a big complaint with the current expansion, Battle for Azeroth. Players said the classes are too stripped down and streamlined, leading to a frustrating experience. Blizzard seems on track to change this with the next expansion, Shadowlands.

Today, Blizzard released a new blog post that explains the big picture changes coming for each class and specialization in Shadowlands, and there are some juicy morsels there for long-time World of Warcraft fans.

Obsidian’s survival game, Grounded, enters early access on July 28

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Obsidian’s survival game, Grounded, enters early access on July 28

Obsidian Entertainment’s backyard survival game Grounded will go into early Steam Early Access and Xbox Game Preview for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on July 28, Microsoft announced during an episode of Inside Xbox.

On Tuesday, the publisher also showcased a new trailer centered on the single-player story experience in Grounded. The new trailer showed base building, weapons, and the dangers of the backyard. Game director Adam Brennecke said a big focus for Obsidian was the environment building in the mysterious backyard — clearly, it’s not your everyday yard. Brennecke also noted that the storyline won’t be finished when it’s in early access, and the team will be looking to player feedback to kick things off.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ cherry blossom season is over soon

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ cherry blossom season is over soon

I was devastated when I noticed this morning that cherry blossom petals are now everywhere. The wind’s blown them all over Sears, my Animal Crossing: New Horizons island. Yes, it’s lovely — but it signals something terrible. Cherry blossom season is almost over.

In real life, cherry blossoms bloom for around 14 days each year, but it’s even shorter in New Horizons. The trees have been tinged pink since April 1 and will remain that way until April 10 — and it’s only until then we’re able to collect cherry blossom leaves and find recipes for the seasonal furniture.

World of Warcraft: Shadowlands’ new Covenants system is already causing some stress

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World of Warcraft: Shadowlands’ new Covenants system is already causing some stress

World of Warcraft is starting to roll out the red carpet for its next expansion, Shadowlands. With the game’s alpha on the way, Blizzard is starting to unveil one of the most important features of the new update: Covenants. These four factions represent the forces of death in the Shadowlands, and they will reward players with powerful in-game abilities and cosmetic items.

There’s just one problem: Picking a Covenant is meant to be a big deal. I can’t switch between the Night Fae and Necrolords willy-nilly; instead, I need to carefully plan whom I’m going to join and what they can offer me.