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Gaming is more popular than ever due to coronavirus

The video game industry was already doing very well in the last few years, showing impressive and steady growth. But the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders have given the industry an even bigger boost, according to a new report from The NPD Group.

About 32 million more people in the U.S. play games now than in 2018, which means that three in four Americans are now gamers. Those people are also playing way more often, with the average amount of time spent gaming each week up from 12 hours to 14. The category of people that play games less than five hours a week decreased to 39%, while those gaming between five and 15 hours and those gaming more than 15 hours increased to 32% and 20%, respectively.

Multipurpose devices such as smartphones, tablets and PCs are still overwhelmingly the platforms of choice, but more people game on multiple devices than ever before — that group saw an increase from 59% to 65%.

Where things get interesting is when the report delves into specific questions regarding players during the pandemic: 94% of those polled say they engage with their consoles more and 6% said they purchased additional gaming hardware. Thirty-five percent of people said they were gaming more because they were stuck at home.

This report was released days after The NPD Group dropped sales numbers for June, which showed the second-best June gaming has ever had in terms of sales. Sony has also boosted production for the PlayStation 5 due to the booming market.

Last week, the Game Developers Conference released its own report that showed the effect the pandemic had on the makers of games. While some saw a decrease in business, more than 30% of those polled said there had been a greater demand for their titles.

The report also went into the negative effect coronavirus was having on morale, as it found that isolation and lack of access to necessary tools was taking a heavy toll on developers.

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Tom Caswell
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The best trailers from The Game Awards 2022: Judas, Death Stranding 2, and more
A partially destroyed robot sits in Judas' reveal trailer.

The Game Awards 2022 was full of awesome reveals, and many of them had amazing trailers that we're still eager to rewatch after the show. From clever music choices to flashy visuals to stunning cast reveals, these seven trailers stuck out above the rest. If you don't experience anything else from The Game Awards 2022, make sure you still check out these trailers for Replaced, Judas, Death Stranding 2, and more.  
REPLACED - World Premiere Trailer | The Game Awards 2022
The best trailer of The Game Awards 2022's Opening Act pre-show was Replaced, an indie darling that made a strong first impression with a trailer at Xbox's E3 2022 showcase. This indie game stands out because of its utterly beautiful pixel art that looks just as good, if not even better, than HD-2D games like Live A Live. Even outside of Replaced's inherent style, this is just a well-paced trailer that slowly builds up the game's atmosphere before a song needle drop that compliments the trailer showcasing the game's action and platforming. Heading into 2023, Replaced is an indie that should definitely be on your radar.
Hades II
Hades II - Reveal Trailer
The first trailer of The Game Awards 2022's main show wasn't too shabby either. Starting with some fantastic animation made by Studio Grackle, it slowly becomes clear that this is an action-packed follow-up to one of the best game's ever made. The animation on its own would've been good enough to whet fans' appetites, but Supergiant Games also decided to show quite a bit of gameplay in the reveal trailer, affirming that Hades II will have the same smooth and satisfying combat as its predecessor. 
Judas Official Reveal Trailer | Game Awards 2022
We finally got a look at BioShock creator Ken Levine's first project in almost a decade at The Game Awards 2022, and its reveal trailer didn't disappoint. We're introduced to the main character Judas and the eccentric cast of characters they'll have to form alliances with pretty quickly, and we then get a look at the creepy sci-fi setting and gameplay that's certainly reminiscent of BioShock. While this trailer doesn't reveal much more about the game, we can't wait to see what Ken Levin has in store for us with Judas.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor - Official Reveal Trailer
There's nothing else quite like a good Star Wars trailer, and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor's The Game Awards 2022 trailer hits all the right notes. It not only sets the stage for a story that will be a little more intense than Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order but introduces us to new characters like mercenary Bode Akuna and awesome gameplay mechanics like dual-wielding lightsabers, riding animals, and freezing time with the Force. Ending it on a March 17 release date confirmation also proved that this great-looking game is coming much sooner than viewers may have thought.  
Death Stranding 2
DEATH STRANDING 2(Working Title)- TGA 2022 Teaser Trailer
Hideo Kojima is a master of releasing trailers that don't really tell players much about the game but still get the viewer very hyped. Most of the original Death Stranding's trailers were masterpieces, and Death Stranding 2's reveal trailer lives up to that quality. We see some cultists, then Lea Sedouyx playing with and then fleeing an attack with an actual baby. She fails, and we then flash to a corrupted BB tank, the game's logo, and then a conversation between her and Norman Reedus' Sam Porter Bridges. After the cast and credits of the trailer, we then get a look at Troy Baker's character, who seems to be the cultist villain of the game, as well as tentacles emerging in a BB tank. As always with new Kojima games, we're utterly intrigued.  
Crime Boss: Rockay City
Crime Boss: Rockay City Announcement Trailer [ESRB 4K]
Crime Boss: Rockay City's reveal trailer was memorable because of how it unveiled this first-person heist game's star-studded cast. After a quick intro introducing us to Rockay City, we get looks at Michael Madsen as Travis Baker, Kim Basinger as Casey, Damion Poitier as Nasara, Danny Trejo as The Dragon, Danny Glover as Gloves, Michael Rooker as Touchdown, Vanilla Ice as Hielo, and Chuck Norris in this smoothly edited trailer. Crime Boss: Rockay City certainly leaves a strong first impression; let's see if the gameplay lives up to that. 
Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon
Following Geoff Keighley's introduction to this trailer, it seemed like this trailer was for a new FromSoftware game, but we couldn't be sure. The post-apocalyptic sci-fi landscapes don't look like anything the developer has made recently. Slowly, it becomes clear that it's a new Armored Core game as the game's tagline "Feed the fire. Let the last cinders burn" and PlatinumGames logo show up. The Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon announcement trailer climaxes with some awesome mecha action, getting us very hyped for FromSoftware's first project post-Elden Ring. 

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Fae Farm is shaping up to be the coziest farming game ever
Two players farm outside during autumn in Fae Farm.

Thanks to games like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, self-described "cozy games" have become much more popular. Often nonviolent and relaxing, there are whole showcases dedicated to this type of game. Dauntless developer Phoenix Labs is putting its own spin on the growing genre with its multiplayer farming game Fae Farm, which was announced during September's Nintendo Direct.
Although cozy isn't the first adjective I'd use to describe Dauntless, Isaac Epp, the game's director, believes that Fae Farm ultimately achieves a similar goal to that game by going the wholesome route. "While Dauntless was a much more hardcore, high-action experience, at the heart of it, this is still about us building a game that is fun to play with the people that you love," he tells Digital Trends.
Fae Farm - Announcement Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Digital Trends got a hands-off look at Fae Farm earlier this month and came away intrigued. While farming and cozy games are a dime a dozen nowadays, Fae Farm's comfortable aesthetic and a couple of clever design decisions make me want to give this game a shot with friends when it launches.
Cozy crops
During the hands-off demo, I saw Epp and other developers play through different parts of Fae Farm at various stages of progression. To start, we began in a quaint early-game farm with just a batch of planted crops and a small house to its name. He then did some light farming, which played similarly to most other games in the genre, although one unique feature immediately caught my attention. Typically, players have to go into submenus to switch between tools as they tend to their land in most farming games. That isn't an issue in Fae Farm, as one button press will do.
Pressing the same button will cut down a tree with an ax or water crops with a watering can, contextually equipping itself. Players will only have to worry about equipping tools themselves if they want to use their fishing pole, net, or wand at specific locations. I also saw Fae Farm's multiplayer in action, as up to four players can independently farm and explore simultaneously. This is also seamless, as new players who drop into a game world will be caught up with the items and story details necessary to be on the same level as their peers.
These might seem like small features, but they demonstrated how Fae Farm is meant to be an approachable and relaxing experience that wants to take any frustrating roadblocks out of the player's way starting in just its opening moments. As the demo continued, I saw Epp accept quests from NPCs, catch bugs in a net Animal Crossing-style, fish off a bridge into a river, and do some light platforming around the game's world.

"We really wanted to make this beautiful space where when you're walking around, you can really see all the artists' hands that went into making it and elevating the genre where we could," Epp explained. "We want the whole world to feel like a play space, not just playable within rails."
After that, the developers came upon the nearby town's market, where they could speak and build relationships with NPCs and sell crops and other resources gathered. Soon thereafter, they obtained a wand and jumped forward to one of the game's dungeons, where players could explore, solve puzzles, fight enemies, and collect resources. In keeping with the cozier and more lighthearted nature of Fae Farm, Epp says enemies are more mischievous than evil and menacing.
The influence of action-adventure series like The Legend of Zelda as undeniable in this dungeon segments. They should provide a nice change of pace for those who are getting a little tired of farming. Still, progressing through the game and enhancing a character's magical abilities will make farming a little less tedious. This became clear when the developers jumped forward to a late-game farmstead, where they had advanced skills that allowed them to water more crops at once.
Wholesome homestead
Like most farming sims, exploring dungeons and tending to the homestead will require balancing the player's health, energy, and mana daily. Players can craft potions and other items like lunch boxes to give players an extra boost in any of those three areas, though. It's a gameplay loop as old as this farming sim genre itself, and Fae Farm looks to feature a solid implementation of that formula. After that, the developers went inside their new house, which was much bigger and more detailed than before.

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Your 2021 Samsung TV may get Xbox Game Pass and more game apps next week
A tv shows the new Xbox Game Pass that comes to Samsung Gaming Hub soon.

Samsung is expanding its Gaming Hub by adding the cloud-based streaming app to some 2021 smart TV models starting next week. The service itself is getting more enticing, as the app will soon support 4K cloud game streaming at 60 frames per second (fps) on select games via Nvidia GeForce Now.

Samsung Gaming Hub launched this summer on the company's line of 2022 smart TVs. At launch, the service allowed TV owners to stream games on their TV through cloud services like Xbox Game Pass and Amazon Luna. With its latest update, Samsung has made it clear that the service is only growing as it looks to retroactively put it in front of even more smart TV users.

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