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  1. The end seems nigh for Xbox Live Gold, the industry standard paid subscription service that motivated both Sony and Nintendo to offer their own paid offerings in the years after it debuted. It may be the end of an era, but the alternative may end up making Microsoft even more money. There are currently rumblings that Microsoft is going to kill off the concept of Xbox Live Gold entirely, the subscription service that usually retails for around $60 a year which gives players the simple ability to access access online multiplayer for Xbox games. This has been “accepted” by gamers at this point, but it’s always been a little weird, considering that you are already paying your internet company money to access the internet, then you’re paying Xbox to access online gameplay through that internet, while also paying for the games themselves, where as you don’t have to do both for say, PC or mobile games. While Microsoft would be loathe to give up an essentially standard $60 a year, every year, from consumers, the reason they’ll likely do so is because the alternative is going to make them even more money. The answer is of course, Game Pass. Game Pass is Microsoft’s $10 a month subscription service that gives players access to a host of ready to play Xbox games, including all new Microsoft releases across Xbox consoles and PC. But past that, Microsoft eventually came up with Game Pass Ultimate, which rolled up Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold into one $15 a month subscription. Recently, they have also added its streaming service, Xcloud, on top of that, which allows you to stream games without hardware similar to Google Stadia. All of that bundled into $15. This is why Xbox Live Gold is effectively dead. This week, Microsoft confirmed that Halo Infinite would have free-to-play multiplayer, and yet it’s not really free if you still have to pay for Gold. So, here’s what is extremely likely to happen: “Free” games like Halo MP and Fortnite and such will be truly free to play across Xbox hardware without any sort of subscription, just an internet connection. Xbox Live Gold will go away entirely, and yet Game Pass will become the new standard instead. So instead of getting $60 a year from the majority of players, Microsoft will either be getting $120 a year from 12 month, $10 Game Pass subscriptions, or $180 a year from 12 month, $15 Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions which will still have the benefit of including Xcloud. Maybe knock that down to $100 and $150 respectively with some kind of deal or bundle, and lo and behold you still are making far, far more than when $60 a year XBL Gold subscriptions were the standard. You also have the added bonus of offering something of actual value. XBL Gold was an arbitrary paywall for something that everyone should have already been able to access in the first place. Game Pass and Ultimate are Netflix-like libraries of games you can play on your current hardware or anywhere, via Xcloud. That’s an actual product that feels worth paying for, and at the very least, Game Pass feels like a default purchase for anyone with an Xbox, given that two, $60 game purchases a year will essentially pay for it. Sony does not have anything to fully match this, and as far as we know, will still be having players pay $60 a year for PS Plus, which is required for online gameplay, but offers a couple free games a month. PS Now has a far, far lower adoption rate than Xbox Game Pass, as you won’t find new Sony exclusive releases on it, and Sony does not have a streaming service like Xcloud coming any time soon. They do have the advantage of…enormous console sales and a huge library of insta-buy exclusives, but Microsoft is trying to play the long game here. Article author: Paul Tassi
  2. The end seems nigh for Xbox Live Gold, the industry standard paid subscription service that motivated both Sony and Nintendo to offer their own paid offerings in the years after it debuted. It may be the end of an era, but the alternative may end up making Microsoft even more money. There are currently rumblings that Microsoft is going to kill off the concept of Xbox Live Gold entirely, the subscription service that usually retails for around $60 a year which gives players the simple ability to access access online multiplayer for Xbox games. This has been “accepted” by gamers at this point, but it’s always been a little weird, considering that you are already paying your internet company money to access the internet, then you’re paying Xbox to access online gameplay through that internet, while also paying for the games themselves, where as you don’t have to do both for say, PC or mobile games. While Microsoft would be loathe to give up an essentially standard $60 a year, every year, from consumers, the reason they’ll likely do so is because the alternative is going to make them even more money. The answer is of course, Game Pass. Game Pass is Microsoft’s $10 a month subscription service that gives players access to a host of ready to play Xbox games, including all new Microsoft releases across Xbox consoles and PC. But past that, Microsoft eventually came up with Game Pass Ultimate, which rolled up Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold into one $15 a month subscription. Recently, they have also added its streaming service, Xcloud, on top of that, which allows you to stream games without hardware similar to Google Stadia. All of that bundled into $15. This is why Xbox Live Gold is effectively dead. This week, Microsoft confirmed that Halo Infinite would have free-to-play multiplayer, and yet it’s not really free if you still have to pay for Gold. So, here’s what is extremely likely to happen: “Free” games like Halo MP and Fortnite and such will be truly free to play across Xbox hardware without any sort of subscription, just an internet connection. Xbox Live Gold will go away entirely, and yet Game Pass will become the new standard instead. So instead of getting $60 a year from the majority of players, Microsoft will either be getting $120 a year from 12 month, $10 Game Pass subscriptions, or $180 a year from 12 month, $15 Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions which will still have the benefit of including Xcloud. Maybe knock that down to $100 and $150 respectively with some kind of deal or bundle, and lo and behold you still are making far, far more than when $60 a year XBL Gold subscriptions were the standard. You also have the added bonus of offering something of actual value. XBL Gold was an arbitrary paywall for something that everyone should have already been able to access in the first place. Game Pass and Ultimate are Netflix-like libraries of games you can play on your current hardware or anywhere, via Xcloud. That’s an actual product that feels worth paying for, and at the very least, Game Pass feels like a default purchase for anyone with an Xbox, given that two, $60 game purchases a year will essentially pay for it. Sony does not have anything to fully match this, and as far as we know, will still be having players pay $60 a year for PS Plus, which is required for online gameplay, but offers a couple free games a month. PS Now has a far, far lower adoption rate than Xbox Game Pass, as you won’t find new Sony exclusive releases on it, and Sony does not have a streaming service like Xcloud coming any time soon. They do have the advantage of…enormous console sales and a huge library of insta-buy exclusives, but Microsoft is trying to play the long game here. Article author: Paul Tassi View full article
  3. Galactic Civilizations II: Ultimate Edition is provided via Steam key for Windows. For key redemption, a free Steam account is required. DESCRIPTION Get the complete Galactic Civilizations II saga including the acclaimed PC strategy game of the year Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords, the award winning expansion pack Dark Avatar, and the newest expansion pack Twilight of the Arnor! Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords: Galactic Civilizations II is the sequel to 2003's hit turn-based strategy game of the same name. The player takes on the role of the leader of a space-faring civilization and must guide its expansion in a hostile galaxy. Gamers must balance their economic, technological, diplomatic, cultural, and military power to forge alliances, fight wars, and ultimately dominate the galaxy. The game is single-player and allows the player to play randomly generated galactic maps or play through a multi-mission campaign that tells the story of an ancient enemy called the Dread Lords. Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar: The expansion pack for Stardock's award-winning hit strategy game, Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords. This expansion pack not only adds the usual content that expansion packs tend to do such as new opponents, new units and a new campaign. It also greatly expands the game play of Galactic Civilizations II. New features include asteroid belts on the map that can be mined for resources, unique planets that require special technologies to colonize, spies to conduct sabotage and destabilization (or used to protect your worlds from the same), new types of diplomatic treaties, an enhanced artificial intelligence engine, and much more! Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor: The year is 2227 and the fire of war is consuming the galaxy thanks to the manipulations of the evil Dread Lords. But the remaining factions, led by the humans, have a plan to rid the galaxy of the Dread Lords once and for all. Expand the Galactic Civilizations II universe with Terror Stars, unique technology trees per civilization, Map editors, Custom Scenario makers, campaign editors, new types of ships, new planetary improvements, and much more! Key features: Beautiful 3D engine brings planets, stars, asteroids and ship battles to life. Create custom 3D ships piece-by-piece with your Shipyard. Play as any of a dozen unique civilizations or create your own. Multiple paths to victory: Military conquest, cultural domination, political alliance, technological supremacy or ascension. Addictive gameplay: Dynamic galaxies ranging from tiny to gigantic. Superior multi-threaded artificial intelligence enables computer players to provide a challenge without having to cheat. Put your scores online via the Metaverse and compete with players from around the world. Fully moddable design enables players to create unique opponents, graphics and scenarios. Advanced diplomacy enables players to trade, make treaties, alliances and more. Get the Game Free Here!
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