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Play Chess For Your Soul In Chess Ultra – VRFocus

Best known as a videogames publisher rather than a developer, Ripstone Games has announced the launch of the first title to be entirely developed by its in-house development team; Chess Ultra.

The title will be heading to PC and console, with virtual reality (VR) versions available for PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift. Non-VR versions will also be released on Steam, Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and the company have also announced that the title will be heading to the Xbox One X.

Ripstone Games have revealed that the AI for Chess Ultra was tested an approved by a chess Grandmaster. Single-player within VR consists of the player taking on The Grim Reaper, playing against Death himself to save their mortal soul. If players do well, Deaths eyes with light up with rage and lava will flow through the pits of Gomorrah where the chess duel is taking place. If the player loses, then Death claims their soul.

There are 10 Grand-master approved levels, with several modes including Classical, Blitz and Marathon, all of which feature several different styles of chess set to choose from. Cross-platfrom play between console and PC has been included, the allow for both local and online multiplayer, along with a ranking system. Over 80 chess puzzles have been included, and there are tutorials for players who are new to chess.

To support online play, Ripstone plans to hold official tournaments where users can either spectate or compete, using the full Twitch integration to allow players to show off how well (or how poorly) they perform against friends or the AI.

You can view the Chess Ultra launch trailer below.

VRFocus will bring you further information on Chess Ultra and other new VR titles as they become available.

Staff Writer at VRFocus who helps bring the news to your screens. Rebecca comes from a background in technology and computing and has been a gamer and console collector since the days of the Commodore 64. She also hosts a weekly gaming related radio show on RadioSEGA.

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Play Chess For Your Soul In Chess Ultra – VRFocus

8 must-see indie Xbox and PC games you may have missed at E3 2017 – Windows Central


Windows Central
8 must-see indie Xbox and PC games you may have missed at E3 2017
Windows Central
More than 80 chess puzzles will challenge players' mettle, including historic matches that can play out identically or differently to their real-life counterparts. Need to brush up on your chess skills? A vast array of tutorials will get you back onto

and more »

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8 must-see indie Xbox and PC games you may have missed at E3 2017 – Windows Central

Chess Ultra is now available for pre-order on Xbox One – OnMSFT (blog)

Chess Ultra is finally available for pre-order on the Xbox One and has been given a special discount in all regions for those that pre-order it before it launches on June 23rd. The game is a digital version of the traditional game but comes with a variety of different themed boards, online multiplayer, leaderboards, and a collection of chess-related puzzles to solve. Heres the official description:

Introducing the most breathtaking chess game ever made. Chess Ultra features stunning visuals, seamless online multiplayer and Grandmaster-approved AI to offer the ultimate chess experience. Explore an array of intricately crafted environments and choose from a selection of iconic chess sets designed with both the modern and traditional chess player in mind. Whether youre a beginner or a veteran of the great game, Chess Ultra has something to offer for players of all ages and ability.

Stunning chess sets and beautiful environments

10 Grandmaster-approved AI levels

Intuitive, overhauled local and online multiplayer with ELO ranking system

Comprehensive time controls, including Classical, Blitz and Marathon, available online

Spectate and compete in Official Ripstone tournaments

Demonstrate your skills in over 80 chess puzzles

Re-write the past by winning the biggest historic matches

In-depth tutorials to help improve your game

Chess has never looked this good!

Do you like playing chess video games? Let us know why or why not in the comments below.

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Chess Ultra is now available for pre-order on Xbox One – OnMSFT (blog)

Chess Ultra release date announced for Xbox One to go alongside … – TheXboxHub (blog)

You may be sitting there happily pondering your every move with Pure Chess, but very soon youll be given the chance to play the most breath-taking chess game ever created. Its been 1500 years in the makingthis is CHESS ULTRA!

Ripstone Games have today announced that Chess Ultra will soon be launching. Due for release on Xbox One come 23rd June 2017, with pre-order options open from the 7th June, Chess Ultra is the chess game you always wanted.

It comes with absolutely stunning visuals, the most seamless of online multiplayer options and a Grandmaster approved AI system that will provide the ultimate chess experience. Itll also deliver Classical, Blitza and Marathon game modes, more than 80 chess puzzles and the chance to rewrite history by proving your worth in some of the most historic chess scenarios ever seen.

But thats not all, as alongside some beautiful environments and chess sets, the chance to play cross-platform with PC players from the comfort of your Xbox One shouldnt be ignored.

Key features include:

Chess Ultra is not only coming to Xbox One though, and Ripstone will be delivering the goods to PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, Steam, HTC Vive & Oculus players as well.

If that all sounds good to you, and you wish to know even more, then you could do worse than hit up the Ripstone Twitch stream at 4pm UK time on the 7th June 2017 as the team show off Chess Ultra. Failing that, just grab a view of the new trailer below. It looks awesome!

Originally posted here:
Chess Ultra release date announced for Xbox One to go alongside … – TheXboxHub (blog)

Play the Grim Reaper and Save Your Soul in Chess Ultra This … – VRFocus

Back in February British indie developer Ripstone Games announced virtual reality (VR) compatible board game Chess Ultra, due tobe released forOculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR this year. Today, the studio has confirmed a launch date and released a brand new trailer showcasing a previously undisclosed feature, a game with the Grim Reaper.

As you may expectChess Ultrais about one thing the classic, centuries old game of chess. Not content with providing just your average chess videogame, Ripstone Games has added a wealth of features, whether youre new to the game or an experienced pro.

Featuring high-resolution 4K environments,Chess Ultrahas in-depth tutorials to start newbies off, learning what piece does what and the myriad of tactics that can be used. Matches can be played either locally or online, with cross-platform support available as well astime controls, including Classical, Blitz and Marathon.

There are over 80 chess puzzles to complete, and for those well versed in the game, ten grandmaster approved AI levels are included to really test those skills out. Additionally,Chess Ultraincludes full Twitch integration so that matches can be viewed online andinvite fans to play against their community. There will also be official Ripstone tournaments to spectate and compete in.

Lastly theres the Grim Reaper seen right at the end of the trailer specifically for VR. Players can challenge Death in the pits of Gomorrah, putting their mortal soul in jeopardy. Play well and hell get angry, his eyes burn with rage and the lava will flow ferociously. Lose, and hell reach over and take their soul.

If you want to see theTwitch integration in action, Ripstone is hosting a livestream on Twitch at 4pm BST time on 7thJune, where viewers can play Chess Ultra against the team and ask questions about the videogame.

ChessUltra will be released on 21st June 2017 via Steam and PlayStation Store. For further updates from Ripstone Games,keep reading VRFocus.

Staff writer at VRFocus who enjoys bringing the latest news to our keen readers all over the world. Obsessive gamer since the days of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, when Peter does step outside he’s off to practice Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kun Do, or see the latest local live bands.

E-mail: pgraham@vrfocus.com

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Play the Grim Reaper and Save Your Soul in Chess Ultra This … – VRFocus

On Chess: Are chess books dying? – St. Louis Public Radio

I must confess. I have a very difficult time answering the classic question: Whats your favorite chess book? Heck, I dont know if I can even name the last chess book that Ive read to completion. As an international master and chess coach, the inability to answer such a simple question could raise some eyebrows.

Perhaps 20 to 30 years ago, books were the dominant resource for learning chess. Today, this is no longer the case. Having begun my chess pursuit in the 21st century, the vast majority of my chess knowledge has been consumed through a computer. Between instructional videos, online lessons with grandmaster coaches, and the tens of thousands of games I have played online, I have been able to continually learn and develop as a player. A boom of young and improving players are taking a similar approach.

The influence of technology on education extends well beyond chess. Schools across the world are integrating technology into their curriculums to make learning experiences more interesting, interactive, and efficient. The chess community is taking advantage of the same opportunities. With just a Wi-Fi connection, learning chess is now easier and more accessible than ever.

Lets look at a website like ChessKid.com. The kid-friendly, online platform gives young players access to a complete training curriculum, video lessons and more than 50,000 chess puzzles. Also, users can compete against anyone from around the world. The advantages to a site like ChessKid over books are endless. Active engagement, interactivity, animation, progress tracking, and easy communication with other chess enthusiasts are all features that books cant provide.

Comparable platforms like Chessity, Chess.com, Lichess.org, The Internet Chess Cluband many others offer users a vast amount of educational resources. Why buy a puzzle book, when you can solve more than 30,000 tactics on Chess Tempo? Why buy a chess opening book when you can interactively learn hundreds of openings researched by grandmasters on Chessable? You can even find a host of chess lessons on YouTube, like the channel hosted by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center here in St. Louis that has more than 100,00 subscribers.

Now is an exciting time for chess. We are witnessing the brink of technologys influence on chess education. New websites and applications are emerging at a fast rate and are providing greater value and power for the learning chess player. Today, I can walk around with a 7-million game database and an engine as strong as IBMs Deep Blue in my back pocket. A couple decades ago, this would be unimaginable.

With the sheer amount of information across the web, its difficult to see how books can compete. Will chess books go extinct? Probably not anytime soon. To be fair, books are still a valuable resource especially the classics. They offer guidance and specializations in certain areas that could be difficult to locate online. Just go ahead and check out any book by MarkDvoretsky.

However, the popularity of physical chess books is certainly declining. If I were to read a chess book, I would much rather have it in a digital format where I could interactively play through the moves. As a chess player it is important to leverage the available resources and technologies to facilitate engaging learning and further improvement.

Eric Rosen is an international master and a member of the Webster University Chess Team. In 2011, he won the National K-12 Championships with a perfect 7/7 score. In addition to being an active tournament player, Rosen coaches students from all over the world via the internet.

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On Chess: Are chess books dying? – St. Louis Public Radio

On Chess: Are Chess Books Dying? – KBIA

I must confess. I have a very difficult time answering the classic question: Whats your favorite chess book? Heck, I dont know if I can even name the last chess book that Ive read to completion. As an International Master and chess coach, the inability to answer such a simple question could raise some eyebrows.

Perhaps 20 to 30 years ago, books were the dominant resource for learning chess. Today, this is no longer the case. Having begun my chess pursuit in the 21st century, the vast majority of my chess knowledge has been consumed through a computer. Between instructional videos, online lessons with grandmaster coaches, and the tens of thousands of games I have played online, I have been able to continually learn and develop as a player. A boom of young and improving players are taking a similar approach.

The influence of technology on education extends well beyond chess. Schools across the world are integrating technology into their curriculums to make learning experiences more interesting, interactive, and efficient. The chess community is taking advantage of the same opportunities. With just a wifi connection, learning chess is now easier and more accessible than ever.

Lets look at a website like ChessKid.com. The kid-friendly online platform gives young players access to a complete training curriculum, video lessons and over 50,000 chess puzzles. Also, users can compete against anyone from around the world. The advantages to a site like ChessKid over books are endless. Active engagement, interactivity, animation, progress tracking, and easy communication with other chess enthusiasts are all features which books cant provide.

Comparable platforms like Chessity, Chess.com, Lichess.org, The Internet Chess Cluband many others offer users a vast amount of educational resources. Why buy a puzzle book, when you can solve over 30,000 tactics on Chess Tempo? Why buy a chess opening book when you can interactively learn hundreds of openings researched by grandmasters on Chessable? You can even access a whole host of chess lessons on YouTube, like the channel hosted by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center here in St. Louis that has over 100,00 subscribers.

It is an exciting time for chess. We are witnessing the brink of technologys influence on chess education. New websites and applications are emerging at a fast rate which are providing greater value and power for the learning chess player. Today, I can walk around with a 7-million game database and an engine as strong as IBMs Deep Blue in my back pocket. A couple decades ago, this would be unimaginable.

With the sheer amount of information across the web, its difficult to see how books can compete. Will chess books go extinct? Probably not anytime soon. To be fair, books are still a valuable resource especially the classics. They offer guidance and specializations in certain areas that could be difficult to locate online. Just go ahead and check out any book by MarkDvoretsky.

However, the popularity of physical chess books is certainly declining. If I were to read a chess book, I would much rather have it in a digital format where I could interactively play through the moves. As a chess player it is important to leverage the available resources and technologies to facilitate engaging learning and further improvement.

Eric Rosen is an international master and a member of the Webster University Chess Team. In 2011, he won the National K-12 Championships with a perfect 7/7 score. In addition to being an active tournament player, Rosen coaches students from all over the world via the internet.

The rest is here:
On Chess: Are Chess Books Dying? – KBIA

New data show most drivers use handheld devices – The Salinas Californian

MACGREGOR ‘GOYA’ EDDY 1:26 p.m. PT April 27, 2017

Motorists with handheld smart phones use them in 88 of every 100 trips, according to data released April 17 by Zendrive, a company that monitors driving behavior using sensors within the smart phone.

Previous, and much lower, estimates of distracted driving behavior were based on self-reporting. The data show that, on average, drivers spend 3.5 minutes of every hour manipulating their devices by hand. The study did not include hands-free activity, just using the smart phone manually.

The data was collected during 10 billion miles driven by 5 million motorists, the largest study ever done. Previous research has indicated that taking your eyes off the road for two seconds increases the likelihood of a collision by 24 times. (For details of the study see blog.zendrive.com)

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Traffic collision deaths have risen sharply the past two years. The National Safely Council states that in a covering 2015-16, the increase in traffic collision deaths in the United States is the largest two-year jump in 50 years. With the use of seat belts and airbags, the mortality (death) rate of traffic collisions had been decreasing until the past few years, when this 14% jump occurred. The rapid increase of handheld devices while driving is one possible factor in the rising collision fatalities.

Which brings us to a reminder: You can text on a bus or train. The promoters of public transit are missing an educational opportunity to point out that you can text and use apps safely on a bus or a train. A lot of money is being spent on advertisements urging people not to text and drive, but I have not seen any linked to transit use.

When I suggest that people take the bus or try the train, most people say, Yes, Goya, but it takes longer. What do we do with extra time that is saved by taking the car? If texting, answering emails or using an app is one thing you do with your time (and research shows that for most of us that is true) then you can do that safely on the bus or train. Time stuck in traffic driving for hours feels wasted, so it is tempting to use the smart phone. I understand the temptation. I enjoy doing chess puzzles on my Android phone and, at bus stops, my time goes quickly.

Rail policy

Monday, 3 p.m., The Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) Rail Policy Committee will meet at 55 Plaza Circle Salinas. http://www.tamcmonterey.org or call 775-0903.

Boronda Road widening

Wednesday, 6 p.m., McKinnon Elementary School, 2100 McKinnon St. Salinas city public works will hold a meeting about the widening of Boronda Road. Call Frank Aguayo at 758-7427 for details.

Wednesday, 6 p.m., The Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee, 1 Sylvan Park, Sand City. May is Bike Month and for a list of county bicycle activities see http://www.tamcmonterey.org or call 775-0903 or email: virginia@tamcmonterey.org.

May 7, 7 a.m., Salinas Criterium street bike race for cash prizes. Course is flat, five-corners (all left), corner of Moffett Street and La Guardia Street, Salinas, near the Airport. Registration: http://www.BikeReg.com ($10). Info at http://www.pedalialpini.org/

May 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Natividad Creek Park: Take it Outside Salinas. Free helmets for children and a fun bike rodeo, music, games and a human chess game. See http://www.facebook.com/takeitoutsidesalinas

Send comments or questions to MacGregor Eddy (Goya) at wecouldcarless@gmail.com

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New data show most drivers use handheld devices – The Salinas Californian

Can You Outsmart Our Elementary School Math Problems? – FiveThirtyEight

Apr. 7, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Welcome to The Riddler. Every week, I offer up problems related to the things we hold dear around here: math, logic and probability. There are two types: Riddler Express for those of you who want something bite-sized and Riddler Classic for those of you in the slow-puzzle movement. Submit a correct answer for either, and you may get a shoutout in next weeks column. If you need a hint, or if you have a favorite puzzle collecting dust in your attic, find me on Twitter.

From Trevor Ferril, some cafeteria multiplication:

Two intelligent, honest students are sitting together at lunch one day when their math teacher hands them each a card. Your cards each have an integer on them, the teacher tells them. The product of the two numbers is either 12, 15 or 18. The first to correctly guess the number on the others card wins.

The first student looks at her card and says, I dont know what your number is.

The second student looks at her card and says, I dont know what your number is, either.

The first student then says, Now I know your number.

What number is on the losers card?

Submit your answer

From Josh and Laura Pasek, another elementary school (but not elementary in difficulty) math problem:

Consider the following game. In front of you is a stack of 10 cards printed with the numbers 0 through 9, one per card. The stack is shuffled and, sight unseen, you draw a number from the top. You look at the number and place it somewhere in the multiplication equation below. You then draw another number, look at it, and place it somewhere else in the equation. You do that two more times, until all four slots are filled. Once a digit is placed, it cant be moved, and it cant be drawn again because its no longer in the stack.

Your goal is to build a multiplication equation with the lowest possible product. What is the optimal strategy? And how much of this game is luck and how much is skill? In other words, how much does the expected product under the optimal strategy differ from simply placing the cards randomly?

Submit your answer

Congratulations to Dan Mitchell of Minneapolis, winner of last weeks Express puzzle!

You and I agree to meet in our favorite park for a picnic. We each agree to arrive sometime between noon and 1 p.m., and we agree that whoever arrives first will wait for the other for up to 15 minutes before leaving to spend the day with a more punctual friend. If we each arrive at an independently random time during that hour, what are the chances well actually have lunch together?

The chances are 7/16. This is a problem that can be solved geometrically, which makes it a lot more convenient to answer. Lets start with a picture, with my possible arrival times on one axis and your possible arrival times on the other.

The shaded area is all the pairs of times that are within 15 minutes of one another that is, when we successfully meet up to picnic! Now we just need to calculate its area.

Work from the outside in. The area of the square is its width times its height, or one hour-squared. The area of each unshaded triangle is one-half its base times its height, and each of those dimensions are three-quarters of an hour in our case. So each triangle has an area of ()()(). That leaves our shaded area as 1-2(()()()) = 7/16. In other words, theres about a 44 percent chance well have lunch together. I like those odds!

Congratulations to Luke Robinson of Oakwood, Ohio, winner of last weeks Classic puzzle!

The U.S. Chess Championship is in full swing, and last week I offered up two groups of chess puzzles to get us in the chess mood.

First, on a standard chessboard, what is the largest number of each piece (kings, knights, bishops, rooks and queens) that can be placed such that none of the pieces attack each other? Second, on a standard chessboard, what is the smallest number of each piece that can be placed such that every empty square is under attack? A summary of the solutions is in the table.

And here are examples of what those solutions could look like on the board, created with Chess.coms board editor. First, the largest number such that no piece attacks another:

Some of these solutions are fairly straightforward. For example, a knight, by rule, always attacks squares of the opposite color of the square on which it sits. Therefore, you can put knights on all the black squares and be sure none will attack another. Half the squares are black, so you can deploy 32 knights in this way. (You may need to buy a few extra chess sets to do this, however!) Also fairly straightforward are the rooks. Given their north-south, east-west attacks, you can just string them up the boards main diagonal and theyll all remain safe.

The solution for queens, on the other hand, is more intricate. You can pack in eight of them safely, but youve got to be precise about how you do it. In fact, for larger chess boards of size N-by-N, you can always pack in N queens. For a standard board, there are 92 different arrangements of queens that will work.

Second, here are examples of the smallest number of pieces such that each empty square is attacked:

Again, for some pieces, the arrangements are straightforward. The rook, for example, bites off chunks of the board horizontally and vertically, so as long as they dont get in each others way, they can efficiently deploy their attack. Lining them up along the diagonal does that. The knights, however, with their L-shaped hopping, are trickier this time. It takes intricate trios of horsemen to successfully attack all the pesky squares in the corners.

And, once again, the queens might be the most interesting piece to think about. An extensive mathematical literature has sprung up around the queens problem. Whereas the rooks line up in a brutish diagonal phalanx to dominate the board, the five queens are snipers, and must be deployed wisely and intricately. Similar to the earlier problem, there are 91 arrangements that meet our criteria. Mathematicians have figured out the minimum number of queens needed to dominate boards of various sizes. You could also attack all 121 squares of an 11-by-11 board with just five queens!

Email me at oliver.roeder@fivethirtyeight.com.

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Can You Outsmart Our Elementary School Math Problems? – FiveThirtyEight

Desktop v Mobile the best platforms for online gaming – Live in Limbo

Desktop PC or mobile phone? Whats best for online gaming? Because, lets face it, most games released these days seem to require an internet connection to play. Be it the latest Steam titles, console games, or phone apps, online is increasingly baked into game titles at the point of creation.

From multiplayer lobbiesand team maps to online chat rooms, playing the latest titles means getting and staying online. If only to download critical game fixes that should have been tested during the development stage (wry wave at the Assassins Creed series), an online capability is usually required to enable the best gaming experience that the game can offer.

So, which to pick? Desktop versus phone: two platforms, one winner. Let battle commence.

Horses for courses

Actually, its a false equivalence, so no need for fisticuffs.

The question of which platform is best suited for you as a gamer depends in large part on the kind of games you like to play, and how you like to play them.

Game developers tailor their creations to the platform upon which they will be presented, playing to strengths and sidestepping weaknesses. A game app designed for smartphone play will have far different requirements than a game designed to be played on a high-end PC rig.

The range of games available for phone-based systems is vast and growing all the time. From heavy hitters like Nintendo to a wealth of indie game stables, theres plenty of choice to be had if youre on the hunt for something moreish to while away a coffee break.

How about a round or two of online bingo? Fabulous Bingo offers different game rooms, slots games as well as arewards system based on fab points. Or perhaps youre more of a chess person? In addition to a vast array of straightforward chess games, theres Chess Opening Blunders, a smartphone app for iPhone and Android designed to present you with smart chess puzzles to improve your skills. Or maybe you yearn for an esoteric puzzle game thatll tie your mind in knots. Whatever your preference, if youre looking for a quick yet satisfying burst of online gaming, your gaming tastes will be well catered for in any app store you care to mention. Smartphones(CC BY-ND 2.0)byinternetsense

Mobile games are well-suited to a quick burst of frenetic arcade-style gameplay, with cartoony visuals and lots of scrolling action. Those cabinet-sized game machines from the eighties paved the way for the home console market, which in turn has forged contemporary expectations of casual gaming addictive platformers with smooth parallax scrolling and colourful tile-sliding puzzlers make for a great way to showcase the sugar rush pick-up-and-play nature of what the mobile platform has to offer.

A top-range modern smartphone such as the iPhone 7 Plus ships with a scanty 3 GB of RAM, and an onboard memory which starts at a mere 32 GB. Specs like that would disappoint your average goldfish, but these limitations can be made to work in the platforms favour, and canny game designers pull this trick all the time; its what makes them canny game designers.

Big is better in the Desktop world

Alternatively, should your gaming tastes run to exploring massively immersive worlds where your character might roam all day and night without once bumping into a boundary wall, then you have hardware considerations to take into account. Youre going to be looking at the processing oomph of a high-end PC gaming rig in order to maximise your gaming pleasure. Or indeed to run your game at all.

Open world RPGs are generally anything but pick up and play or at least pick up and play well. They reward solid game hours with a level-based progress system, chaining quests for items and better kit.

If youre the kind of person who rates The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt over Candy Crush, then youre considering taking on a sprawling game that might take upwards of a hundred hours to complete. Thats a massive investment in time and energy and most especially graphics. Without a decent graphics card, your spiffy new game is a world that will remain forever closed off this game and others like it require a bare minimum of 6 GB of RAM, and earmarks hard drive space at around the whopping 40 GB mark. So it wouldnt even fit on a modern smartphone, even if the phone carried sufficient memory to hold it. And this is hardly an untypical example.

Your game, your choice

Horses for course, remember? The two platforms, PC and mobile, are entirely different platforms, built to do different things in different ways and for different reasons. If mobile games represent gaming on the go, then the PC games market is all about settling in for an evening session: a marathon over a sprint.

The gaming race you choose to run is ultimately up to you. Internet connectivity wont be going away anytime soon, so how you get online becomes less important than what you choose to play when youre there. So pick your game and have fun. Thats what its all about, after all.

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Desktop v Mobile the best platforms for online gaming – Live in Limbo


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