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SYFY WIRE Nintendo

Gaming: Nintendo keeping prices down, EVE’s 10,000-player challenge, more

By Benjamin Bullard
Super Mario Odyssey via Nintendo site 2019

Nintendo’s reluctance to put its games on smartphones finally broke when it debuted Super Mario Run in 2016, but despite a trickle of titles since then, the big N’s presence in the mobile gaming space is still surprisingly sparse.

Now the reason behind the Mario maker’s reluctance to dive headfirst into the world of mobile gaming may be coming into clearer focus: Nintendo is reportedly loath to disrupt its family-friendly image as a maker of accessible games that aren’t out to bleed your wallet dry. In fact, it’s reportedly telling its mobile game developers to figure out ways to avoid asking app-based gamers to endlessly shell out for microtransactions.

Via The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo asked developer CyberAgent, the maker of Dragalia Lost, to improve players’ odds of scoring rare characters in order to keep them from having to pay their way to success. “Nintendo is not interested in making a large amount of revenue from a single smartphone game,” one source at CyberAgent, which has cut its earnings forecast thanks to the game’s lighter revenues, told WSJ. “If we managed the game alone, we would have made a lot more.”

The mobile gaming world is rife with pay-to-win games that, while often popular, carry a stigma that doesn’t sit well with many hardcore gamers, as well as parents who want peace of mind about the app-based games their kids are playing being benign pastimes — not credit-card-exploiting money pits.

Aware of the sketchy public perception surrounding the wild mobile marketplace, Nintendo reportedly views protecting its image as worth the lost opportunity to make a quick buck or two. But that doesn’t mean it’s not interested in making mobile games. In addition to Super Mario Run, which is already available, everyone’s favorite mustachioed plumber will get behind the wheel for the upcoming mobile Mario Kart Tour racing game. Just don’t expect Nintendo to nickel-and-dime you if you can’t drive 55.

EVE Online has been around since 2003, and teasing out ways to evolve the game’s aging technical underpinnings is precisely the reason for developer CCP’s wild new experiment: jamming a record number of players onto servers at once.

A new tech demo event called EVE: Aether Wars aims to hit as many as 10,000 concurrent users later this month, all by tapping the power of the cloud. In a blog post, CCP said it’s partnering with cloud services company Hadean to stage the event, which will help EVE “make radical and drastic improvements to the technical infrastructure that power our internet spaceships.”

Back in 2018, a non-cloud effort to load up EVE’s servers achieved a whopping 6,142 concurrent players, but, as PC Gamer reports, it did so at the expense of real-time gaming. CCP isn’t predicting the immediate outcome of the new, cloud-based experiment, which it’s referring to as a tech demo rather than a proper game — but, as the developer puts it, “R&D is about breaking things!”

EVE: Aether Wars will debut at this year’s Game Developers Conference, which takes place March 18-22, and participating is as easy as signing up via the demo’s official site.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is almost here, and the new launch trailer leaves us itching to run out and save the world — or at least what’s left of the United States.

The follow-up to 2016’s The Division moves the post-civil-war action from New York to the nation’s capital, and there are no superheroes — only teamwork, which can protect Washington, D.C., from the radical new sects threatening to seize control. It’s an epic and ongoing battle, one with upcoming free DLC on top of a story mode that’ll have players sticking around for months (or longer) after beating the main campaign, all to keep things from going straight to hell.

Set to Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” and framed by epically scaled cinematics, the D.C. ruins are as decimated as anything we’ve seen in a game since scavenging through Fallout 3’s irradiated Capital Wasteland. We’ll have to wait until the game arrives for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on March 15 to know how much fun it’ll be to play — but we’re already in awe of The Division 2's hyper-realistic playground.

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