Subscriptions Are About to Swallow Gaming

By now, you’ve likely felt the subscription pinch, and readied yourself for the coming escalation. Netflix, Amazon, HBO Now, Hulu, Disney Plus—it’s a mess out there! Then again, it’s nothing compared to what’s coming for gamers. Subscriptions aren’t anything new to the world of videogames. Microsoft and Sony have both offered them for over a decade, tying online experiences to Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus, respectively. But as ownership has given way to monthly payments—not just in streaming video but music, clothes, and everything in between—the choices facing gamers have multiplied. This trend was on full display at industry conference E3 last week, where developer Ubisoft revealed its UPlay Plus subscription, Google detailed its streaming Stadia platform, and Microsoft announced …

Companies Don’t Need Big Conventions. They Should Go Anyway

Since its start in 1995, E3 has been the premiere event of the gaming industry, the place every outfit had to be to show off their wares. That's far less true now. In recent years, videogame companies announcing they're skipping the gaming confab has become commonplace. Electronic Arts pulled out a few years ago, launching their own event across town. A few years before that, Nintendo stopped doing annual press conferences, though it still has a presence on E3's show floor. This year, it was Sony's turn: The major publisher and hardware manufacturer passed on the show altogether. With all of Sony's resources presumably focused on the rumored PlayStation 5, the company avoided the event like an embittered college senior …

Here’s Everything Nintendo Didand Didn’tAnnounce at E3

Greetings, and welcome back to WIRED's ongoing E3 coverage! What have you missed since yesterday? A lot, actually. The bulk of the news came from Nintendo's presentation, so we'll start there, but there's plenty more to get through. Here are the big stories—and the big absences—from the last 24 hours at gaming's biggest confab. Nintendo's Sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Looks Spooky Easily the biggest news to come out of E3 yesterday was Nintendo's announcement that the company is already working on a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. What's intriguing about the teaser Nintendo released at the show is the huge tonal shift from the previous game. It's Zelda and …

Google Stadia Lands This YearIf You’re Willing to Pony Up

Streaming high-quality video to your laptop or television has been a given for more than a decade now. Streaming high-quality games the same way? Not so much. Yet, after numerous stalled efforts throughout the '00s, cloud gaming is poised for its highest-profile deployment yet, with Microsoft, Tencent, Electronic Arts, and others all working on their own platforms. Out of that increasingly crowded field, it seems all but certain that Google's forthcoming Stadia service will be the first to emerge. In a digital keynote this morning, Google's Phil Harrison and John Justice announced a slew of new details, from launch titles to pricing to (not-quite-exact) timing. The short version: Stadia will officially arrive in November. The slightly longer version: … if …

Pathologic 2 and What Games Can Learn From Low-Tech Art

At the start of Pathologic 2, I wake up in an empty room. I follow a light, and end up on a stage. I'm introduced to the show, by a wicked-looking director and extras in tragedy masks and skin-tight black suits. I'm an actor, the star, one of many. Then the game begins, I walk off the stage, and people start dying. Julie Muncy Observation Is About Putting Yourself Back Together Julie Muncy Rage 2's Open World Is More Barren Than It Should Be Julie Muncy Last Day of Spring Is a Powerful Exercise in Trans Visibility Pathologic 2 is the remake/sequel to the cult classic Russian plague simulator, Pathologic. Released in 2005, the game, developed by Ice Pick Lodge, …

Call of Duty Is Here, Apple Updates Are Coming, and More News

Call of Duty is back, Apple's ready to unveil some new software, and New York is prepared to say goodbye to the MetroCard. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less. Today's Headlines A new Call of Duty game is out, and it has a confusing name If you're a big fan, you remember the legendary Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Just to make things confusing, the franchise is dropping a new installment with a funny name. It's called—wait for it—Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. It's grim, morally ambiguous, and comes out on October 25. New York is ready to ditch the MetroCard Starting today, New York enters the 21st century of transportation and allows …

Cantina Talk: Meet the New New Class of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Hello, and welcome to a new edition of Cantina Talk, WIRED's look at everything happening in the world of Star Wars. But first: If you haven't already read it, open another tab immediately and bookmark this oral history of Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace, because, really, there are some droids in there you've probably been looking for. But if you're not in the mood for revisiting the way the movies looked a long time ago, perhaps you'll be happier with these glimpses of what's to come. The Next Movie Is About Millennials, Kind Of Source: The man behind Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, J.J. Abrams Probable accuracy: The thing with thematic descriptors is, who can really say what …

This Senator Wants to Ban Videogame Loot Boxes Aimed at Kids

Greetings, and welcome to a decidedly not lighthearted edition of Replay, WIRED's videogame news roundup. This week we have loot-box legislation, labor walkouts, and the return of Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford. Let's get started. US Senator Introduces Bill to Ban Loot Boxes and 'Pay-to-Win' Mechanics in Games US Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, announced plans this week to introduce a bill titled "The Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act." The legislation, according to press materials provided by Hawley's camp, will make it illegal for games "played by minors" to include loot boxes or pay-to-win microtransactions. Precisely how a bill would accomplish this is less clear, as the very concepts of "pay-to-win" and even microtransactions are both a bit …

Fortnite‘s Avengers: Endgame Tie-In Lets You Be a Hero

Greetings, and thank you, once again, for tuning in to Replay, WIRED's collection of the week's hottest gaming news. This time around we've got news about Fortnite's latest Marvel tie-in, Epic Store exclusives, and Overwatch modding. Let's get to it. Fortnite's Newest Marvel Tie-In Gives You a Chance to One-Up the Avengers It's time for Avengers: Endgame, which means it's also time for Fortnite to throw in another big Avengers tie-in. This time, PC Gamer reports, Thanos is back, and you can take up the weapons of Marvel heroes to fight him in a new game mode. The Avengers didn't fare so well against Thanos the first time, but, y'know what? Forget those nerds. You can handle it. Take up …

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice Is All About the Fight

Every duel begins with jitters. A nervous stepping back and forth, a careful circling of my opponent. I, as Wolf, the protagonist of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, raise my sword, and my opponent raises their own weapon, whether it be a sword, a stave, or something stranger. Eventually, one of us strikes, and we clash—a wild burst of shining metal, flying sparks, blocks and parries and attacks—until one of us backs away, or one of us makes an error. Usually, the error is mine, but I'm not easy to beat. I'm usually the weaker fighter, but I'm also usually the most determined. That kind of thing goes farther than you think. Julie Muncy Return of the Obra Dinn Is the …