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Friday, March 24, 2023

'Reigns' Is Heading to Westeros, and the Rest of the Week in Games

It's the end of summer, which means things are quiet, but not that quiet. This week, we've got Xbox rentals, the ongoing problem of sexy games on Steam, and some card-swiping royalty gameplay in the Game of Thrones universe. 🎶 Come with me, and you'll be in a world of pure gamification …. 🎶

We've Got More Details on Microsoft's Xbox Subscription Service

Like everyone in the games industry, Microsoft has been working to figure out most successful ways to distribute their games and systems to the masses. Does the traditional model still work in 2018? Or is there a better way? Game streaming is one option a lot of people have tried, or are interested in—Microsoft included—but a recent report by The Verge suggests they're opting for another route, too: console subscriptions.

Remember when you could rent, like, a whole Dreamcast from Blockbuster for a week? It seems like it'll work like that: according to early sources, the subscription from Microsoft Stores will include an Xbox One (either the S or the fancy X version), Xbox Live Gold, and the Xbox Game Pass, which offers various games for download on a subscription basis, for $34.99 a month. It's an interesting deal, though I'm not sure how many people want to go to a physical location to rent a console. Still, alternatives to the current method—i.e., buying another big videogame-running brick every five years—are always welcome.

The Situation for Sexy Steam Games is Supremely Sticky

Steam's problems with content regulation are old hat to anyone who is familiar with games by now, but this story still is pretty jarring: with a new content moderation system in progress, Steam has seemingly halted the approval process for some adult games until the new system is finished. According to a report by Kotaku, several developers have found themselves stuck in release purgatory for months, with no clear answers and no end in sight.

It's understandable for Steam to not want certain content on its platform—that's its prerogative. But withholding both approval and clarity from developers isn't particularly good for anyone.

The Mobile Hit Reigns is Coming to Westeros

Reigns is an immensely clever game, a mash-up of the mind-numbing minutiae of ruling a kingdom with the mind-numbing habit of swiping right or left to run your dating life. Sassy and artistic, Reigns and its sequel have been a mobile smash hit;—and now their creators, alongside publisher Devolver Digital, have done the natural thing, and teamed up with the folks who made Game of Thrones. Introducing, uh, Reigns: Game of Thrones, due out in October in Android, iOS, and PC.

When it comes out, you'll be able to take on the roles of various royal types from the universe, beginning as Daenerys and unlocking more as you go along, die, and try again. Can you get to the Iron Throne? Or at least survive the winter? I probably can't; I'm terrible at these sorts of games.

Recommendation of the Week: Shenmue 1 & 2

In this current age of the remaster, this is no doubt one of the big ones. The Shenmue games, first released for the Dreamcast in 1999 and 2001, respectively, were epochal in so many ways. Their DNA is all over modern-day open-world games, slice-of-life role-playing games, and the entire genre of modern, peaceful indies. A fascinating soap operatic story of seeking a father's killer mixed with bits of brawling, romance, and regular life simulation make Shenmue and its sequel two of the most distinct, and fondly remembered, games of their time. Now, they're on modern consoles and PC. Check 'em out.

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