Sometimes it seems like this whole gaming thing is built on the future, and this week bears that out, with hints of things that could, possibly, be good? Someday? Speculation is always a tricky business, but don't worry—there's also news of some long-overdue changes that lots of you will appreciate, as well as a merch line that will literally brick your favorite game.
Way More Details on Microsoft's Xbox Streaming Service
Courtesy of a new report by—hey, us!—we have a lot more information about Microsoft's Xbox streaming service, which is called Project xCloud as of right now. The project aims to leverage a pretty huge swath of Microsoft technology, including Microsoft's Azure cloud server infrastructure, to potentially stream Xbox games anywhere, uniquely adapting them for mobile settings to truly untether the platform from, well, the platform.
It's always hard to tell whether these things will work until they're out in the wild, and no word on that yet, but what is clear is that Microsoft is working on this project on a scale that's unprecedented. The thing always missing with these efforts is the proper data infrastructure to pull it off—and if anyone can put that together, it's Microsoft. I'm not convinced, yet, but I am, certainly, curious.
Finally, You'll Be Able to Change Your PlayStation Network Name (For A Price)
Not long after Sony finally caved on crossplay with other consoles, it looks like fans are going to get something else they've been clamoring for: the ability to change usernames on the PlayStation Network. This service is one that would benefit a lot of people, from transgender folks who want a name that doesn't signal a gender they don't identify with (like, uh, me) to people who are ready move on from the youthful indiscretions of GameLover69 or whatever the hell they chose when they first signed up.
Name changes are going to be rolled out to participants in the PlayStation Preview Program in the near future, and to everyone else next year. It's not quite that easy, though. Changing your name will be free–once. Every one after that will cost $10 USD, $5 if you're a PlayStation Plus member. What took them so long? Not entirely clear. Apparently it was more complicated to code than it sounds. Videogame systems are weird.
Attention, Overwatch Fans Who Are Also Lego Fans
Lego and videogames have been connected from early in the industry, but Lego also often stood apart as the sort of pinnacle of analog toys, reaching a level of creativity and openness that most games would be hard pressed to match. That's changed. Lego has become more and more intertwined with the industry—not even counting the TT Games franchise—and now games like Minecraft reflect a Lego-style creativity while Lego now is a proud purveyor of gaming merchandise. Analog toys and digital toys, formerly separate industries, now reinforce and build upon one another. It's a symbol of how far videogames have come, and how much they've transformed.
All of which is to say: there are Overwatch Lego sets now. The first one is Bastion, and he looks amazing. And he has a bird friend! I'm excited. Let me have this.
Recommendation of the Week: Mark of the Ninja Remastered on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch
Mark of the Ninja is one of the finest stealth games of all time, and it's out in a newly remastered edition on all major platforms this week. It takes the classic stealth game formula, with dumb but dangerous guards and a weak but crafty protagonist, and slams it somewhere people didn't think it could go: 2D. And in this format, it absolutely sings. Stick to the shadows, rend your foes with your blade, and try not to get caught. There aren't many pure stealth games coming out anymore; most games with stealth in them include it among a wide variety of options. But if you miss the purity of really, seriously having to not get caught, Mark of the Ninja is absolutely for you.