GTA V is Back for a New Generation

Rockstar’s anarchic masterpiece has been freshened up for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X nine years after it was originally released. From a report: And so the boys are back in town. Michael, Trevor and Franklin, the sociopathic trio that lit up the gaming scene nine years ago, have been made over for the 2020s with this crisp new reworking of Grand Theft Auto V for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The game’s violent narrative of shifting loyalties and doomed machismo felt wild and edgy back in 2013, so how does it fare in the modern era? The good news is, the overhauled visuals definitely give the game new zest and freshness. You can play in either 4K at 30 frames-per-second or in a performance mode that lowers the resolution but bumps up the frame rate to 60, giving wonderful fluidity to car chases, swooping helicopter rides and mass shootouts. The DualSense controller features on PlayStation 5 are very good too: improved driving feedback via the analogue triggers makes the game’s cumbersome handling a little easier to, well, handle. It’s been quite a joy to rediscover this alternate-reality California; to see the sun drop behind the downtown skyscrapers, or to hit Senora as dawn splashes orange-yellow light across the burning desert.

What the vast upshift in resolution can’t hide is the fact that GTA V is a game originally designed for consoles that are now two generations out of date. The character models and facial details look positively archaic compared with, say, Horizon Forbidden West, and the building architecture too seems almost quaint in its stylised blockiness. Compare it with 2018’s Red Dead Redemption 2 and you can see just how far Rockstar has come in its building of intricate next-gen worlds. In many ways, however, the design of the world itself has not been been bettered in the decade since it arrived. The size of San Andreas, the sheer variety of landscapes and the diversity of actions and activities is still incredible — Cyberpunk 2077 may look better, but it doesn’t let you play golf or tennis, or go on day trips on a bike, or set up incredibly complex car or helicopter stunts. Los Santos is a vast playground, a gangster Fortnite — a factor underlined by the massive community that still gathers in GTA Online (which is where we find this new version’s only totally new content — Hao’s Special Works, which lets you unlock faster cars and new tasks).

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After Just 24 Hours ‘Lost Ark’ Becomes the Second Most Played Game in Steam History

“Lost Ark has comfortably passed 1 million concurrent players after just 24 hours, becoming the second most played game in Steam history by concurrent counts,” reports the Verge:

The Diablo-like MMO launched Friday in the West, after Amazon Games collaborated with Smilegate RPG to localize and translate Lost Ark and make it available in English. It has now passed concurrent records for both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, which regularly dominate the top of Steam’s most-played games.

Lost Ark is so popular right now that it has experienced server issues and there’s a queue just to start playing. SteamDB lists concurrent players of Lost Ark at 1,311,842, passing CS:GO’s record of 1,308,963 players and Dota 2’s of 1,295,114. It’s not clear exactly how many of those players are actually actively playing the game and not sitting in a server queue, though.

Either way, it’s now second place on the top concurrent list behind only PUGB…

The article notes it’s Amazon’s second big hit after its game New World “set a concurrent record of 913,634 players four months ago.”

GameSpot also spotted a playful clause in the game’s terms of service. It specifies that while players must be human (and not AI), that doesn’t apply if Earth is taken over by robots, simians, or aliens. “In that event, Amazon said these beings will be allowed to play Lost Ark and other games. ‘We welcome our alien, robots, ape, or other overlords, as applicable,’ Amazon said.”

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Virtual Guns in Videogames Could Soon Be Worth Real Money

Game makers are increasingly selling virtual weapons and gear as NFTs, extending the trendy digital deeds’ reach but rankling some players. From a report: More videogame makers are selling virtual guns, helmets and other gear in the form of NFTs, a move that is increasingly pushing the trendy digital deeds into the average household. Players have been paying for virtual goods in games like “Grand Theft Auto Online” and “World of Warcraft” for years, but turning those items into nonfungible tokens would let gamers trade and resell them, making them into potentially valuable assets. The change also could mean that players who buy an NFT in one game could use it later in other games, on social media and in other corners of the internet — an important step in developing an economy for the so-called metaverse. “FarmVille” maker Zynga and “Assassin’s Creed” creator Ubisoft Entertainment are among the first big, publicly traded gaming companies to say they are experimenting with the strategy. Electronic Arts, Playtika and others are also looking into NFTs’ potential use for engaging players.

“We’re doing this because this may be part of the future of gaming,” said Matt Wolf, Zynga’s new vice president of blockchain gaming. “This is all about community building.” Nonfungible tokens are essentially digital deeds that verify the authenticity of the items they represent as unique. They are the latest internet-based collecting craze, and so far they have come in forms ranging from digital artwork and trading cards to virtual real estate and sneakers, as well as concert tickets and even sports highlights. The tokens are stored on a blockchain, a digital ledger that shows when they were purchased and for how much, and ensures NFTs can’t be duplicated or changed. Amid all that activity, NFTs’ advent in videogames holds particular significance because gamers spend so much time in virtual worlds. That makes them potential early adopters in the metaverse — a virtual realm where proponents say people will work, play and shop and where technology experts say the ability to buy and sell NFTs will be key.

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