Light Start: Xbox’s Mobile Store, RAge’s VR War, meme Domains To Explore, And Game Pass Wants More

Gaming on the Xbox Store

Just about everybody is getting in on mobile games. Most are happy to let Google and Apple run the show, happy to be part of the fun and raking in a sizeable fee. Just yesterday, Netflix announced that it was bolstering its library of mobile games with three GTA games. Not Microsoft, though. The Xbox owner is reportedly discussing the idea of its own mobile gaming store — separate from the App or Play Store — according to Phil Spencer, head of video games at Xbox.

“It’s an important part of our strategy and something we are actively working on today not only alone but talking to other partners who’d also like to see more choice for how they can monetise on the phone,’’ Spencer said in an interview in Sao Paulo during the CCXP comics and entertainment convention, via a report from Bloomberg.

Spencer didn’t delve too deeply into what that store could and would look like, and spurned any advances from those asking for a solid release date. He did dabble with the vague, however, mentioning that he didn’t think the service was “multiple years” away from bearing fruit. “I think this is sooner than that,” he concluded.

Part of the company’s desire to go it alone has to do with the company’s massive $70 billion or so buyout of Activision Blizzard — which houses big-name brands like King (the people who make Candy Crush) and Call of Duty Mobile. Had the deal closed sooner rather than later, Microsoft would likely have its mobile store’s metaphysical doors open for business by now.

rAge is stepping up its VR game this year

This is it. We’re officially in December, and that means a couple of things. A) Tears of the Kingdom will be picking up its Game of the Year award very soon, and B) South Africa’s rAge Expo opens its doors on the same day; Friday, 8 December. That’s big news – especially after rAge’s latest release landed on our desk (we got an email), announcing the RGB Gaming virtual reality (VR) Arena.

Yup, it’s about as cool as it sounds. It’s described as a 100-square-metre VR arena that “introduces a free-roaming VR combat arena accommodating up to four players and two referees simultaneously.” RGB Gaming acting as the arena’s sponsor, meaning there’ll be tons of pretty lights to gawk at and a level of quality control that’s almost essential to pull something like this off. If it’s anything like this, we’ll be happy.

“Ditching traditional fixed layouts, the arena transforms into an expansive, dynamic laser tag battleground,” rAge said. “Utilising the most advanced virtual reality system available, players will find themselves seamlessly merging with the game environment—a dream come true for gaming enthusiasts.”

Unfortunately, rAge doesn’t mention any specifics about the tech powering this thing. We’re still in the dark about the sort of headsets that’ll be used, nor the price an attendee should expect to pay. We doubt it’ll be cheap but if it’s as high-end as the Expo makes it sound, it’ll be worth the price of admission. If we had to guess the most likely headset culprit is something from the Oculus department.

The rAge Expo opens its doors on Friday, 8 December before closing on Sunday, 10 December.

Memes finally get a corner of the internet all to themselves

Memes have long since been a staple of the internet as we know it. They’ve integrated themselves into just about every aspect of social media — and are about the only way Gen Z can communicate anymore (source). It’s about time they’re shown the respect they deserve, which is why Google Registry just launched an entirely new domain that’ll let you stick a fancy .meme at the end of it. You know, to prove that your meme website is serious.

.meme domains can be coined right now as part of the new domain’s pre-registration period, though they’ll require an “additional one-time fee” to get them off the ground before they go public. If spending a buttload of dough on what’ll be considered a big joke doesn’t seem like the smartest money move (it can’t be worse than buying NFTs) then waiting until the 5 December public launch date might be a better idea.

It isn’t difficult to find those websites already embracing their namesake. The famous KnowYourMeme has already adopted the new standard – now going by – while other sites have been created in honour of those memes of yore., and are just a few that Google Registry is showing off.
Xbox wants Game Pass on every screen possible. That includes PlayStation

Xbox, in an unusually busy morning for the PlayStation rival, is in the headlines again. Microsoft wants Game Pass, its subscription-based service that puts games on your PC or Xbox — on PlayStation and Nintendo‘s platforms. Earlier this week, Tim Stuart (Xbox’s CFO) spoke at the Wells Fargo TMT Summit, pointing out the company’s plans to make Game Pass available on “every screen that can play games.” That means its biggest rivals, too.

“It’s a bit of a change of strategy. Not announcing anything broadly here, but our mission is to bring our first-party experiences [and] our subscription services to every screen that can play games,” Stuart said. “That means smart TVs, that means mobile devices, that means what we would have thought of as competitors in the past like PlayStation and Nintendo.”
That’s Xbox’s thoughts on the matter, at least. Whether Nintendo or PlayStation will go for it is another question entirely. Being the most value-centric subscription of the three, it would almost certainly demean the two Japanese company’s offerings from the word go. But who knows? Were the idea a complete write-off, Xbox would likely keep its mouth tight shut. The fact we’re hearing about it at all means… there’s a chance.

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