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Saturday, Mar 23, 2019

PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS Turns Two

There's a PUBG 2nd Anniversary Letter on Steam celebrating the second anniversary of the release of PLAYERUNKNOWN'S BATTLEGROUNDS, which kicked off a battle royale craze that continues to this day. Word is: "We’ve witnessed a gaming revolution with the birth of the Battle Royale genre, grew and learned together through beta and early access, and watched our game rise from a small title developed by an even smaller team to one of the most played games in the world. We’ve chosen this day as our overall PUBG anniversary for all platforms, as we felt it best reflects our game’s humble beginnings." This includes a video with a special message from CH Kim, the CEO of PUBG Corporation. The video is in Kim's native Korean, but it features English subtitles. Here's a bit on their plans going forward:
But just because we’re celebrating how far we’ve come doesn’t mean we’re not aware of what we still need to accomplish. We’re currently deep into planning improvements to our first map, Erangel. The first changes in this process, increasing and improving loot, have already deployed to test servers, where we welcome your feedback.

We can never properly thank you for your unparalleled support, but on a day such as this, we are happy, we are humbled, and we are more dedicated than ever to making PUBG the best game it can possibly be.
Continue here to read the full story.

Valve on Usage Tracking and Reading Your Mind

Ars Technica recaps a talk from GDC where Mike Ambinder, Valve's "Principal Experimental Psychologist," who discusses mind games and attempts to understand, and arguably manipulate gamers. This even touches on the possibility that they will eventually be able to draw feedback directly from a player's mind: "Not everyone plays VR, but VR gives you semi-consistent contact with a source of brain activity." Here's a bit talking about the potential to automatically collect more user feedback and what sort of improved skinner boxes they could potentially create down the road:
Existing hardware, if money wasn't a limit, could allow game makers to track everything from synaptic responses to "galvanic skin response," from eyes' gaze to muscle tension and posture. Many of Ambinder's suggestions for what a game maker might do with this data sound like heart-rate sensor experiments, such as adjusting difficulty based on a player's feelings at a given moment. We've seen Valve (and other studios) talk about the gameplay-tweaking potential of eye-tracking in previous years.

But one suggestion in particular raised our alarms: adjusting virtual goodies in a game on the fly. "We can figure out what kinds of rewards you like, and the kinds you don't," Ambinder suggested, potentially based on the physiological responses a player might have from getting loot. He didn't talk to the very severe privacy implications of this feedback loop, however, nor about the abuse potential for having a game pump players with loot-driven endorphins at the moment they might start getting bored. (Slot machine and loot box mechanics are already decried for artificially toying with player expectations to hook them longer.)

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB SSD on APH Networks.
  • ASRock Phantom Gaming Alliance System Build (8700K + RX 580) on TechPowerUp.
  • Icy Dock flexiDock MB795SP-B 3.5" & 2.5" Single Bay NAS on TweakTown.
  • Logitech G903 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse on TweakTown.
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