The evolution of video games distribution in the last twenty years has been nothing short of mind boggling from bulky plastic cartridges in the 80s to digital downloads over the internet. Even though the plastic cartridges have transformed to CDs and now DVDs and that market is still going fairly strong, the trend of buying online is growing every day. Internet speeds are faster than ever expected and the gaming boxes have plenty of storage space for the downloads. It’s easier and faster to buy online than driving to the store and fighting the crowds and people love that convenience.
Buying games online is easy with the Xbox Store which covers the Xbox One family, and that includes the Xbox One S and Xbox One X. The Xbox Store will allow you to buy and download games with your Xbox console or your PC or laptop. The Xbox Store is the official and most complete collection of Xbox software; the selection is absolutely gigantic! The Xbox Store not only has the latest trending titles, but also it has small arcade games and even older Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. The prices are reasonable, ranging from $5.00USD to about $75.00USD.
What’s nice about buying from the Xbox Store with a web browser is that there’s a button that you can click that will download and install the game!
It seems that the Chinese prefer doing their illegal gambling in countries other than their own. Who can blame them since getting caught on Chinese soil would likely mean a horrible prison sentence. For example, on December 4th, two ringleaders of an illegal online gambling scam were sentenced to life in prison. And the other operators involved received from 6 months to 15 years just for their participation in the scam.
Here are a few recent incidents:
November 22 – fifteen Chinese nationals were arrested in Manila and Angeles City for working in the country illegally and for being involved in illegal online gambling operations. Equipment that officers of the National Bureau of Investigation seized from the units were Wi-Fi routers, smartphones, laptops and desktops. Oddly, it is estimated that from 200,000 to 400,000 Chinese nationals may be working in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations companies.
On December 21 – police in Malaysia broke up an online gambling operation that included over 30 Chinese nationals, many of whom the police believe were tricked into working for the gambling ring.
December 20 – there was another incident in the Philippines, officers from the NBI arrested 14 Chinese nationals for illegal online gambling in Bacolor. In this case, the NBI even published there names.
- Chen Ya Ting
- Chen Chengang
- Sun Qiao Yan
- Wei Bing
- Lei Shi Feng
- Gao Cheng Feng
- Lin Jin
- Wang Hai Tao
- Wu Cheng Pin
- Ruan Cheng Hui
- Gao Fei
- Chen Long Xi
This problem is repeated every few months so there is a hole in the visa policy somewhere.
China has the lead in what’s called 5G broadband; super fast connections. Their pet corporation, Huawei, is number two in the world for smartphone sales, they’ve expanded their landmass by building artificial islands, and China is the world’s biggest online games market. What’s next?
Now the Chinese have established an Online Game Ethics Committee that will vet online games, (established by the Central Propaganda Department, no less). At first glance it seems that this committee will protect kids from bad games and bad actors in those games. It might do that, but the bigger picture is that this committee will enforce and advance the Chinese government’s social order.
Of the first twenty games that were reviewed, nine were rejected, the other eleven were sent back with instructions to make certain changes. The Chinese online game industry has already been having a slow year due to other government regulations. Even TenCent Holdings, the leader in online games in China, reported lost over US$100bil (RM417bil) in market value since the beginning of the year. This is due to the government not approving and new titles in 2018. The reasons they give were violent content, sexual content, nearsightedness in children and teens, and quell addiction fears.
If you’re new to online gaming, ‘boosting’ might be a new term for you. Boosting is basically cheating by various means such as having a friend join the other team and letting you kill him which you gain points for the kill. Another way is if a skilled player plays on a less skilled friend’s account in order to help that friend boost their ranking.
Although online games are popular all around the world, there are some countries where playing online games is more than just a casual pastime; it’s an obsession and if players are highly skilled they can earn substantial money playing some of the games. Where there is money, there is always some people that will do anything in order to get some sort of unfair advantage.
South Korea is one of those countries where ‘gaming’ is rampant. There are internet cafes that stay open all night and the seats are usually filled with teens playing games and trying to improved their skills and advantage. In South Korea, there are actually online ‘boosting’ services that will bring unskilled players into a certain game of your choice in order to make it easier for you to excel.
However, recently, the South Korean government has been cracking down on boosting and if one is caught, it could actually mean time spent in jail.
Is it worth it?
The online gambling industry is booming, expanding, and advancing at a rate that is boggling the minds of investors and innovators. It is predicted to bring in over $70 billion dollars just five years from now. The most basic reason for this rapid growth is that there is no better thrill for the average person than placing a bet and watching the results come in with the chance of hitting it big!
With a closer look, there seem to be two deeper reasons for this gambling surge. One is the technology of the internet itself. Everyday tens of thousands of people become connected to the internet for the first time, and more and more countries are ‘getting wired’ simply because it helps their economy.
The second reason is the availability of mobile phones. It has been said there are more cell phones in the world than people. The bookmakers have noticed and just about everyone of them has developed an application that will run on any smart phone. Therefore, a person can place a bet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And this is not just betting on horse races; it’s all the games in typical casino, plus many, many sports bets.
Governments are taking notice since there is huge tax income that can be generated from legalizing online betting. Plus, the licensing fees in the millions of dollars. It’s all very hard to turn a blind eye.
And it’s not slowing down!
Epic Games, the maker of the huge hit Fortnite recently announced that they will be launching an online games store similar to Apple’s, Google’s, and Valve’s stores. Fortnite Battle Royale is said to have a player base of over 200 million and has raked in of $1 billion USD by way of in-game microtransactions. The game itself is free to play which attracts a lot of players. Fortnite has everyone from young teens to celebrities as it’s players. Some say that it’s a cultural phenomenon.
Because of it’s overall acceptance and popularity, Epic Games is sure to draw a huge crowd to it’s online games store, but the real kicker is that Epic has taken the bold step of asking for only 12% from app developers; that’s less than half of what the other games stores are charging. This could put pressure on Google, Apple, and Valve and eventually change the whole game-ecosystem.
“This is a big deal and has potentially far-reaching
implications well beyond just game developers”
Benjamin Schachter, an analyst with Macquarie Capital.
In another cost saving move, Epic will wave royalty fees for it’s game development tool Unreal Engine when the game is hosted in their store. All in all, Epic will be shaking things up.
We’ll see what happens!
The holidays are here, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve. This is always a special time of the year with office parties, company dinners, friends throwing house parties, and all the time that we spend with our families. However, there is also all of the rushing around with the Christmas shopping list. The hassle of the crowds at the malls, and in some regions there is a weather problem on the roads. Also the planning and scheduling of all the holiday activities and buying new dresses, shoes, etc, etc for all those events.
The bottom line is that the holidays can be a joyous time, but also can bring a lot of stress and possibly some domestic quarrels. This is where video online games come in to relieve that stress or at least reduce it. A recent study of the millennial gamers consisting of one thousand gamers showed that 55% play video games in order to reduce their stress levels. And 47% think that playing video games can increase their happiness even when away from the screen. Half of the respondents also claimed that online gaming is a form of fantasy that breaks the pressure of their daily lives.
Of course there are the single player games that do not require an internet connection and then there are hundreds of high adventure, fast-action multiplayer games where you would be competing against people all around the world.
Which are best for you depends on your type of stress and your other preferences.
Just a few days ago, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) issued several new licenses for online gambling, sports betting, and a few fines at their monthly meeting. The PGCB also gave interim approval to an online gambling petition for Presque Isle Downs, owned by Churchhill Downs, and one other to a joint venture of an as yet unbuilt Stadium Casino project.
The breakdown of the new licenses are:
- Two online gambling licenses,
- Three sports betting diplomas
- Five fines to the state’s licensed gaming operators.
Oddly, the joint venture of Cordish Gaming and Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment) in Philadelphia for the unbuilt Stadium Casino project has hit a snag and at the monthly meeting of the PGCB, the Stadium representative actually asked the committee to reduce the scope of the license which means that poker betting would not be included.
In the case of sports betting, the PGCB approved the petitions for sports betting for
- Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack,
- Rivers Casino,
- and SugarHouse Casino.
Those sports betting operators now join Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino and Greenwood Gaming’s Parx Casino bring the total sports betting permits to five.
Regarding the fines mentioned above:
- Harrah’s Philadelphia was fined a total of $40k
for two infractions allowing the operation of non-compliant slot machines and for shoddy record-keeping in Roulette Chip Discrepancy Logs.
- Presque Isle Downs was fined $45k
for five incidents of individuals under the age of 21 gaining access to the gaming floor where they played slots and table games and consumed alcohol.
- Parx owner Greenwood Gaming was penalized $22,500
for three instances of putting progressive slots into play without the approval of the PGCB’s technical field rep.
- Genesis Gaming Solutions was fined $8k
for failing to submit their required annual financial statements on time for three years running.
That’s a wrap!
Well, here we go again… it’s time to shop for Christmas gifts. If you have a gamer in your family or if YOU are a gamer, here’s a short list of the best online games stocking stuffers. Do not delay because this year, Black Friday sales have already started! By the way, although we called these games ‘stocking stuffers’, many of them would be just fine under the Christmas tree.
Red Dead Redemption II
This is one of the most popular games that has been recently released and it’s sure to be on the wishlist of many gamers. Red Dead Redemption II is from Rockstar Games and it’s actually a prequel to Rockstar’s 2010 hit Red Dead Redemption. The game is set in the 1800s and follows the story of outlaw Arthur Morgan and the shootem’ up gang that he led. Available on Xbox One and PS4.
Sea of Thieves
Just about everyone likes a pirate adventure so that automatically puts Sea of Thieves at the top of millions of Christmas Santa Claus lists. Sea of Thieves is an online shared pirate world where players, alone or with a crew, sail the open seas in search of treasure. However, every pirate ship is out to discover and hoard that same treasure, so it gets dangerous as the struggles begin.
God of War
God of War is a mythology-based action-adventure video game franchise series. The series began in 2005 and totals eight at this time. God of War is a single-player game that is very popular and proves that many online game players desire to just get lost in a mythological adventure by themselves without a lot of other players running around messing things up. Of course, being single-player, it also eliminates the problems of bullying, trash talking, and female harassment and sexism.
The PlayStation Plus 1-Year Subscription is a hot deal on Amazon’s Black Friday sales. Amazon has dropped the price from $59 down to just $40 for the 1-year subscription to PlayStation Plus. The PlayStation Plus subscription will allow you to play games online on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita.
In addition to being able to play games online with your friends, Sony, (the publisher of PlayStation), provides a few free games each month. That means more savings for you. Plus, PlayStation Plus members can get discounts on new games. And of course, the PlayStation subscription would make a great stocking stuffer for Christmas!
Although Black Friday is actually the day after Thanksgiving, the Amazon Black Friday Sale is Live Now through Friday, November 24 and Amazon is boasting that new deals are added every five minutes, so it’s a Christmas shopping bonanza!
A few of Amazons Sale Items are:
- Ring Video Doorbell 2 for $139.00
- All-new Echo Dot (3rd Gen) for $24.00
- Fire HD 10.1-inch Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free for $99.99
- Fire TV Stick 4K with all-new Alexa Voice Remote for $34.99
- Blink XT Home Security Camera System for $78.99
- Echo Dot Kids Edition for $49.99
- All-New Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet, 8-in HD Display, for $89.99
- Echo (2nd Generation) for $69.00
- All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet 8-in HD Display for $49.99
- All-new Echo Plus (2nd Gen) for 109.99