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Among Us - A Tiny Game Exploding After 2 Years

Back in 2018, the American game studio of InnerSloth eagerly released their new game of 'Among Us' to the world. Available on Android, iOS and Windows, their exciting new implication of a classic idea was bound to succeed but at first, it simply didn't. No, for some reason, they'd have to wait for roughly two years and a pandemic before the multiplayer game would suddenly sky rocket in popularity! I know, it's crazy sometimes how the videogame industry works. In this article, we'll be covering all thing Among Us. What is Among Us? If you haven't realized, ever since August 2020 when multiple popular content creators suddenly began playing it, Among Us is now on most phones and for good reasons. Let's first dive into what it is, as a game. Among Us is a multiplayer game for up to 10 players where 1-3 players are randomly picked to be 'Imposters' and the others 'Crewmates' all aboard a ship/vessel of some kind. Depending on your role, there are different objectives: Crewmates: given tasks to take care of across the map. Winning takes place by finishing all the tasks or eliminating the Imposter through voting  Imposter: fake list of tasks, they're given the ability to slay Crewmates, travel through vents and to sabotage the map too. Winning happens by eliminating enough Crewmates or successfully sabotaging ship.  Deduction is the name of the game here. You've got to be careful who to trust and know how to act when it's time to vote after finding a body or calling an emergency meeting.  And that's basically it, a virtual form of the party game Mafia.  An Explosion in Player Count  Back in 2018, figures show that after release Among Us had an average player count of 30 to 50 players concurrently! Accordingly, the development team admitted that due to bad marketing, they were that close to giving up entirely. However, despite the small player base, more work and maps were put into the game.  With this work, the game just snowballed to the point that 20 million downloads rocked August, with 40 million hitting September and 400,000 concurrent players on Steam. It's great to see such a long-term investment pay off for the small studio.  Why is it so popular? It's why Mafia is so fun at parties - you force people into discussions, arguments and accusations that you could never make in any other environments. With a group of friends or family, such a game is a tonne of fun, giggles, frustration and yelling at one another. Otherwise, even playing online is a lot of fun as you test your ability to be both sneaky and influential on the thoughts of others.  Just like Fall Guys a month ago, Among Us is a new way in which people are connecting and giggling through these tough times. From my experience, it's a game for the whole family and a party game which evolves in complexity due to the elite strategies possible. There's nothing more exciting than being an Imposter in Among Us.  The Future of Among Us - Sequel and Console Port?  Due to the popularity, the developers have had to cancel all thought behind a sequel. Why? Although they wished to create a fresh version with a more modern engine, they decided to abandon the idea and instead focus on the original due to the popularity behind it. Accordingly, new features and maps will be rolling out for it.  Also, console ports for PS4 and Xbox have been considered, but issues are being encountered for communication systems amongst other issues.  Otherwise, I genuinely hope the game keeps growing. It's a superb party game with a dedicated studio behind it that suffered for two years.  Let us know your thoughts in the comment section! What do you think about Among Us?   

CoD Black Ops Cold War SBMM - Why the Massive Debate?

The Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War Alpha was probably the best piece of surprising news this year, as I hastily jumped onto my PS4 after its announcement. While the Alpha itself was only a small representation of the future title, one aspect of it threw the community into a massive debate on whether it should or shouldn't be implemented. This argument extended beyond the Call of Duty community as personalities such as Ninja also threw in their opinion. We're talking about SBMM, Skill-Based-Match-Making. Read on as I'll explain exactly what's going on.  What is SBMM exactly then? Luckily, its definition doesn't escape its namesake by much. The concept involves matching players against equally skilled players in online lobbies, evaluating skill through in-game statistics such as Damage Per Game, K/D or Score. Such an idea is quite common in ranked playlists in any game, to effectively allow people to slowly climb up the ladders and allow for fair matches. However, for Call of Duty, the argument comes about the fact that SBMM, for the Alpha at least, was implemented in casual lobbies. So after playing some incredible games myself, I suddenly began to match up against significantly tougher and 'sweatier' opponents. Yes, it's definitely tougher and more rewarding should a victory be earned, but it's half as fun. Meanwhile, on the other side of the argument, many were quick to defend the casual player - why should he/she be stomped by tryhards and not matched up against other new players?  That's basically the entire argument, as content creators found it difficult at times to create enjoyable gameplay due to this. Here are some Tweets on the subject by certain people:  Above is a commonly referenced thread on the matter, as professional fighting player TSM Leffen stood out into the limelight to challenge Hitch, a Call of Duty content creator. Beyond these two, we've got quotes from three more personalities for you to enjoy:  SBMM does not belong in Call of Duty. There should be a ranked playlist for people to sweat in. I’m not trying to play Scuf wielding game fuel chugging demons with szn in their psn on Miami TDM. Also, to the noobies that are gonna cry about this tweet, hold this choppy gunny. — Seth Huntsmen (@scump) September 19, 2020 Here's what Ninja and Shroud both have to say on the matter too:  “You can’t be good at a game, like, way better than your average gamer and then complain when you matching with people that are on your skill level,” said Ninja. "It's weird, why do they have that [SBMM], it kind of makes Ranked Play irrelevant," he commented. "PUBG is way more fun than that, I'll tell you right now, way more fun than that. [...] As unfortunate as it is, part of the fun of playing BRs is to sh*t on some noobs." - Shroud  A bunch of point of views here - pro players, pro CoD players, streamers and content creators all with their own opinion. I think it all stems from what the specific person wants to experience from lobbies. In fact, to get around the SBMM, players such as "Scump" have publically confessed to having to smurf (using new accounts) or stats dumping (purposely entering lobbies and doing horribly) in order to match with worse players. The pressure is definitely on content creators to get that content.  Otherwise, it's still in the Alpha stages and Treyarch will probably need to revise SBMM and come out with a public statement on the matter. Let's see how this turns out.  What about you? Did you experience aggressive SBMM in the Alpha were you suddenly matched against way tougher opponents? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Xbox Buys Bethesda - A Massive Move for Exclusives

Woke up and everywhere, headlines are screaming all over about Xbox's recent investment of a gobsmacking $7.5 billion. Yep, you read that right, $7.5 billion. This week on Monday, Microsoft announced that they have acquired the entire ZeniMax Media company and all of its intellectual properties - namely, Bethesda Game Studios. Moments before pre-orders open for the Xbox Series X/S, this is a massive move for great exclusive games on Xbox!  By buying out ZeniMax Media, Microsoft now owns Bethesda and all of the following studios:  Arkane Tango Gameworks MachineGames id Bethesda Softworks Bethesda Game Studios Roundhouse Studios  Alpha Dog  If you're unaware, here are some of the games that have been released by the above in the past months:  Prey  Quake  Wolfenstein  DOOM  Dishonored Elder Scrolls Online  Fallout 76 And many more.. I'll say it again, this is a massive move by Microsoft. Personally, I'm a fan of both the Wolfenstein and moreso, the DOOM series of titles. Having them exclusively on Xbox will definitely give me something to think about. Otherwise, games such as Fallout and Elder Scrolls Online also have large communities.  According to the folks over at Microsoft, this is part of a greater plan:  Over the last few weeks, we’ve been excited to share more detail on important elements of a plan we’ve been building towards for years. A plan that is the fulfilment of a promise, to you the Xbox player, to deliver the most performant, immersive and compatible next-generation gaming experiences, and the freedom to play blockbuster games with your friends, anytime, anywhere. Today is a landmark step in our journey together and I’m incredibly energized by what this step means for Xbox. Buying out game developers is definitely a great tactic to claim full ownership of titles. However, I doubt Microsoft will be shelling out many more billions into acquiring further developers.  And that's where we turn our attention to Sony. While they already have multiple game studios allied to them, this move definitely hurts Sony's PS5 due to a loss of games. They'll have to work harder to make up for the loss or even make a little announcement of their own. Notably, this also affects the Nintendo Switch as it offered some of the above titles too. One thing to note is that this doesn't necessarily mean exclusivity, but Xbox won't give up these IPs unless at a very high price.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below! 

Sony Apologizes for Pure Chaos Around PS5 Pre-Orders

Following the incredible showcase event which we covered earlier, Sony did something unprecedented in the industry. Indeed, you've probably heard of the fact that PS5s are becoming scarce on launch thanks to this. For some reason, Sony opened pre-orders only a handful of hours after the event live stream. Here's what happened afterwards.  Sony's showcase for the console was great, perhaps too great. By opening preorders momentarily, everyone hopped on to secure their own pre-orders as soon as possible. The main issues came when certain international retailers offered preorders a day early - effectively jumping the gun. In doing so, many who were gearing up for a pre-order on the release date were met with a horrifying message - 'out of stock'.  So much so, that even multiple content creators such as AngryJoe have shown frustration over the fact that they themselves missed out on the pre-order stock. After minutes, preorder stocks simply vanishes as everybody rushed to them. Besides that, people who have already secured a preorder are being warned that their product may arrive after launch day.  What's worse is that in this situation, Sony has blatantly contradicted itself. Only week's ago, a marketing employee of Eric Lempel had explicitly stated that chaos will be noted.  It's safe to say, we'll let you know when pre-orders will happen. It's not going to happen with a minute's notice.  Two weeks later, here's Playstation's apology over the situation:  Let’s be honest: PS5 preorders could have been a lot smoother. We truly apologize for that. Over the next few days, we will release more PS5 consoles for preorder – retailers will share more details. And more PS5s will be available through the end of the year. pic.twitter.com/h1TaGsGBun — PlayStation (@PlayStation) September 19, 2020 I know a 'sorry' doesn't really fix anything, but at least the situation is acknowledged. The question I'm pondering is whether this is a dent on Sony's part in the console war. We'll probably find out in the long run.  Either way, feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments section below! Did you manage to secure a preorder? 

Shroud and Logitech G Partner - Pro Series Peripherals

It's likely that almost all of our readers are aware of who the modern personality of shroud - the so-called God of Shooters, former CS:GO professional, prominent Twitch streamer and above all, a headshot machine. Who doesn't want aim like him? That's the answer that Logitech G is trying to provide through their recent partnership with the streaming star. Let's set the mood with the official announcement video:  Started using Logitech G products years ago and now we have a line of our own. Introducing the shroud x @LogitechG PRO line. Get yours: https://t.co/lALCEnGFtk pic.twitter.com/YnH9zwroKu— Michael Grzesiek (@shroud) September 15, 2020 Accordingly, Shroud has partnered to produce an entire peripheral line, with a branded keyboard, headset, mouse and mousepad. With regards to additional features, none were mentioned and the product line seems to be a reskin of the already very popular Logitech G line. Namely, the following are available: Pro Wireless Lightspeed Gaming Mouse  Pro X Wireless Lightspeed Gaming Headset  Pro X Keyboard GX Red Linear  G840 XL Gaming Mousepad  As most of his loyal fans know, Shroud has been using Logitech products for his entire life, so it's fitting that this eventually happened. All of the above are respectively great products and buying them all together is definitely not a bad idea. Supposedly, the products will not be part of limited stock and are expected to remain available. The last time shroud was involved with a hardware producer like this was probably the HyperX Heroes initiative a while ago, but since then is no longer affiliated.  This massive announcement is comparable to his return to Twitch, The streamer is back to making waves within the community and viewership-wise he's been happily pulling his own weight and getting back in form. Right now, the sky is the ceiling for the streamer following his few months at Mixer and we're all excited to see what he does next.  Let us know your thoughts on the product line and if you're interested in picking it up in the comments section below! 

Esports Tip - Why Do Pros Wear Earphones and Headphones at Events?

So, this morning I woke up with a recurring question I seem to ask myself when watching esports - why do professionals need so many pairs of headphones? Wouldn't it just make sense to have one pair only? What exactly do the earbuds do? It's a great question, one with massive implications and strong reasoning behind it. For those new to esports or even experienced members of the community, here's a small break down of how it all works! First off, let's discuss audio in esports. What is its function? Arguably, audio is as essential as the visuals provided by a monitor. To begin with, there's the in-game sound. Certain in-game queues provide players with a world of information - incoming footsteps, bomb plants and defuses, weapon arming, flashbangs and grenades, ultimate/ability usage, alerts, gunfire, engine noise and many other noises can be game-changing in those clutch moments.  Simultaneously, player communications are just as essential. Live comms allow for teams to share strategies, make in-game decisions, to hype one another up in clutch situations, pinpoint enemies, to work as a unit and most importantly, to scream 'Rush B' at one another. Jokes aside, without communication, no team esports could possibly be played out.  At live events, esports players may wear up to three pairs of audio devices. Within the ears, a pair of eabuds snugly sit, covered by another, bigger pair of headphones sealing the ear entirely. Then, at times, a third pair of headphones may be found hanging around the neck for certain reasons. So, what purpose do these all serve? Here's a quick summary which applies to most esports/events: Earbuds - used for all output present, as in, in-game sounds and communications Headphones (head) - used mainly for noise cancellation, aviation-style. Otherwise, oftentimes offer the microphone input for communications.  Headphones (neck) - not always present. If so, it's due to sponsorship by a headphone producing company. In rare cases, these 'neck headphones' have been used for the microphone input.  Do note that apart from players, coaches in certain esports scenes may also be armed with their own audio.  The Importance of Noise Cancelling  In competitive poker, there's no crowd to not give away the cards of competitors and potentially fluff up a bluff due to this interference.  For esports, it's the same concept. Noise cancelling is essential to block out both the castors' audio blasting through the stadium and the crowd's chanting to avoid giving away game-changing information. Due to this, esports 'booths' are sometimes used as contained rooms purpose-built to further cancel out audio. However, despite this, there have been multiple occasions when the audio makes it to the ears of players, making them aware of a defuse or an enemy player. This is mainly seen in Call of Duty and CS:GO where the crowds become awfully passionate. For CS:GO there was one event where crowds were shouting out where an attacking team was taking the bomb each round.  Of course, this is unacceptable and completely smashes competitive integrity. Despite this, a balance needs to be struck - you cannot completely eliminate the crowd. And why would you? The roaring and rumble of a crowd is what allows players to rise to the occasion despite the pressure and truly make a name for themselves - that's the difference between a LAN and online event.  This argument is especially valid nowadays in our little pandemic. Online variants of esports events may have the same name, but the community is in mutual agreement that these victories carry less weight. Not to take away from the hard work of teams, no, but to consider the fact that playing from home eliminates so much of the pressure found on the live-stage. No lights, no sound, familiarity with a home environment - nonetheless, I'm really grateful to still be able to enjoy esports in this weird time.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!  Need some headphones and earphones for a live event? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Visit our store to benefit from our great prices!

PS5 Price Finally Revealed - Showcase Recap!

Sony did it, they released the prices for the PS5 and the community is blowing up with enthusiasm. The hour-long live stream took place last night on the Playstation YouTube channel - apart from the price, the release date and a bunch of new game trailers were shown off. Read on for a concise recap of the event!  Game Trailers  For the first 40 minutes or so of the event, game trailers were shown off, with many of them showing a great amount of gameplay. However, I would recommend checking out the individual trailers in order to watch them at a higher frame rate and resolution.  Final Fantasy XVI - the first console exclusive listed at the event, and many were quick to point out the incredible-looking combat in the established series, with the trailer itself being rather epic.  Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales - keeping up the taste of exclusives, the new Spider-Man game looks incredible. A long snippet of gameplay left the community buzzing as it looks great - the lighting, action sequences and design look super.  Harry Potter: Hogwarts Legacy - this game was a massive surprise and it gave me goosebumps to the days when I'd play HP:Goblet of Fire on my PSP. Since then, we've been long overdue for an open world filled with the magic and mystery of the series, though no gameplay was shown.  Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War - a small campaign update graced the show together with shocking news that a free Open Alpha will be available this weekend starting from 18th September! Otherwise, the campaign looks great.  Resident Evil Village - not for the squeamish, the eighth iteration of the horror franchise set things up with an eerie environment and weird folklore. Beyond that, it's probably the cleverest naming of a game I've seen in a while.  Deathloop - made by a smaller studio it seems, it looks to push the limits of time-travel in a shooter perspective. Coming out in 2021, it'll be great to see how the PS5 would push time-travel.  Devil May Cry 5 - a new version will be available to make the most of the PS5's hardware Oddworld:Soulstorm - more gameplay shining through for this odd game.  Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach - nobody watching enjoyed the jump scare.  Demon's Souls - the incredible remake by Bluepoint, the guys behind the Shadow of the Colossus remake too, looks really awesome. Offering a younger community the chance to explore an older gem, it'll be a massive part of the launch library.  Fortnite - they just made to sure to let everybody know it'll be available on PS5 immediately. Price, Release Date and Playstation Plus Collection To round off the show, Sony specifically announced stuff pertaining to the PS5. To begin with, the 'Playstation Plus Collection' looks to provide owners with an incredible array of some of the most popular PS4 games ever to get you started in your next-gen experience in case you missed out on any. Better than the Xbox game pass? Well, it is a very wide variety of games.  Anyways, then Sony announced the prices:  PS5 Disc Edition - $499 PS5 Digital Edition - $399 And that's it - we finally have our numbers. That digital edition looks very persuasive and a great buy for anyone determined to buy digital games only. Also, for some reasons, Europeans are paying the most out of everybody.  Pre-orders are open as of today, 17th September! After pre-ordering, you can expect your console to release on November 12th for North America, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. Other countries such as Malta will enjoy a November 19th release date.  Cheeky Sony - as soon as we thought no more games would be announced, they ended the stream with a teaser of God of War: Ragnarok!  Did Sony Win?  I don't know. In terms of games, sure. However, for some reason, Sony didn't show off the power of the PS5 or try to compare it to the Xbox Series X console. Either way, it's too early to consider a victor as there are other factors - such as quality of release and UIs.  What did you guys think of the showcase? Any favourite games? Let us know in the comment section below! 

Playstation 5 Showcase September 16th - Our Expectations

It's finally here. Sony is letting the community know just that bit more about the Playstation 5 in an upcoming showcase taking place on September 16th. Read on for a quick preview, including our hopes and expectations for potentially, the reveal event of the year.  That price. It's all anybody's been talking about, especially since the recent reveal of the Xbox Series S coming in at an incredible $299. Endless rumours and leaks have plagued the internet and everybody's mind, especially due to how loud and transparent Microsoft has been during this time.  Why has Sony waited so long to reveal the price?  Here's my take. Think about anything you might buy on a daily basis - before you buy anything, it's likely you'll be educated on the product in order to justify the price. I think here, Sony is waiting to show everyone the potential and features of the Playstation 5 before giving it a price tag. By giving a price tag before describing the product, it's one way to potentially set yourself up for failure and losing people's interest, especially those who look at the price only.  What else do we expect?  Besides the pressing matter of the price, here's what we expect from the showcase:  Potential reveal of 2 versions of the console being available at launch  An explanation on how Playstation Plus will function on next-gen  A look into the computing potential of the PS5, especially compared to the Xbox One X Series  More controller features  Any surprise exclusive titles they've left for closer to launch  Pre-order details and release date Some awesome features Sony has been hiding from everybody  Even though I probably won't be buying the console at launch as I'm a student, I'm still terribly excited. This will be Sony's official fully-fledged dive into the console war - everything needs to be perfect if they want to win.  The stream will be available on Playstation's YouTube channel, September 16th 1pm PDT.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

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