Xbox Winter Game Fest is about to serve up a ton of indie game demos

With The 2021 Game Awards just around the corner, Microsoft has announced that it will once more host a collection of game demos for Xbox owners to check out. Officially called the ID@Xbox Winter Game Fest Demo Event, this two-week event will give Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One owners the chance to check out some upcoming indie games. Unlike the Steam Next Fest, which runs for a week and includes more demos than anyone could ever hope to complete in that timeframe, the Winter Game Fest event will be a little more manageable.

Xbox indie games on display

Before we can dive into the details about the Winter Game Fest Demo Event, it’s probably good to have a refresher about what the ID@Xbox program actually is. The ID@Xbox program allows independent developers to self-publish games to Xbox consoles, and while that’s big enough on its own, the program also supports developers in those endeavors by doing things like providing free dev kits and documentation.

Since this is an ID@Xbox event, that means all of the titles on display will be indie games destined for self-publication on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, or both. Microsoft says that it will have demos for more than 35 games on display, and with the event slated to run for two weeks, that should be plenty of time to check each one out (for motivated players who want to try every single one, at least).

Microsoft says that it will share a full list of the demos that will be available closer to the event’s start date, but it named five of the participating games on Xbox Wire today: Loot River, Death Trash, Blacktail, The Tale of Bistun, and Nobody Saves the World.

When does the Winter Game Fest Demo Event begin

Since this is a tie-in event with The Game Awards, it comes as little surprise to hear that the Winter Game Fest Demo Event will kick off on December 7th – just a couple of days before The Game Awards. The event will run for two weeks, wrapping up on December 21st. In today’s announcement, Microsoft also made a couple of points that players should consider before diving in.

The first thing to keep in mind is that these aren’t going to be like traditional game demos in that they won’t necessarily be representative of the finished product. Since many of these games are still early in development, what we see in a given demo could drastically change by the time the full game actually releases.

Microsoft also warns players not to put off playing any demos that catch their eye, as most demos probably won’t come back after they disappear on December 21st. In short: play any demos you may be interested in while you’re sure you have the chance during the event, because there’s no guarantee that they’ll be published to the Xbox Demo channel later.

As for The 2021 Game Awards, you’ll be able to catch the show live streaming on a huge number of platforms on December 9th at 7 PM EST. The nominees for each category have already been announced, and they include a packed ticket for Game of the Year 2021.

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Valve reveals dates for Steam’s Halloween, autumn and winter sales

Even though usually keeps the dates of sales close to the chest until almost the time they go live, the details usually end up leaking anyway. This time, though, Valve is getting ahead of the curve. It confirmed when the next three sales will take place.

As spotted by , the Steamworks Documentation page notes that the Steam Halloween sale is this weekend and it runs between October 28th and November 1st. The autumn sale will take place from November 24th-30th. As for the Steam winter sale, one of the platform’s two biggest sales of the year alongside the summer edition, you’ll be able to score discounts on a ton of games between December 22nd and January 5th.

It’s not a bad idea to reveal the dates well in advance. Steam connoisseurs know the sales are coming anyway and the dates are less important than announcing which games will be included beforehand. If a player knows that a game they want to buy will likely get a hefty discount in a couple of months, they’ll be less inclined to buy it now. In any case, Steam users now know when they’ll be able to stockpile games for their .

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Fortnite Minty Legends Pack winter skins revealed months early

In a somewhat surprising twist on its usual habits, Epic Games has revealed a winter skin bundle called Minty Legends Pack that won’t be available until early November. The company gives a sneak-peek at the skins that will be included in the pack, also promising buyers 1,000 V-Bucks and more. The company promises a ‘closer look’ at the new skins soon.

Epic won’t release the Fortnite Minty Legends Pack until November 2, at which point it will be available on all platforms that support the game as a digital purchase. As well, Epic plans to make physical releases available on the same day for the Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation consoles.

Though all of the Minty Legends Pack details haven’t yet been revealed, Epic did say that this bundle will feature 10 “fresh items,” including three new makeovers for existing skins:

– Fresh Aura
– Minty Bomber
– Skellemint Oro

It seems these will be the only skins included in the bundle; the other items will include three new “chilling” Back Bling items, a trio of spearing Pickaxes, and one “spicy hot Wrap.” Epic hasn’t revealed any of these items, but says it will offer a closer look at them soon.

The Fortnite Minty Legends Pack will also give players 1,000 V-Bucks, which should help make the pack’s price a little bit easier to justify. The company hasn’t yet said how much the bundle will cost, but we’ll know for sure by early November.

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Fallout 76 is losing its Nuclear Winter battle royale mode

If you’re a fan of Fallout 76‘s battle royale mode, Nuclear Winter, then we’ve got some bad news for you: Bethesda has announced that it will be sunsetting the mode later this year. While Nuclear Winter will be going away, it isn’t all bad news for those who enjoy PvP, as Bethesda says that it’s working on new ways to play the game that will be revealed at a later date. In addition, those who played Nuclear Winter will be getting some compensation for its removal in the form of Perk Coins.

In a blog post to the Fallout website – which also details preparations for July’s Steel Reign update – Bethesda explains that, over time, Fallout 76 players have largely stopped playing the Nuclear Winter mode. “It has also become tougher to put full Nuclear Winter lobbies together without also making sacrifices on match wait times,” Bethesda wrote. “Additionally, we’ve found it challenging to provide meaningful updates for Nuclear Winter, while also developing and supporting exciting new content for Adventure Mode in recent and upcoming updates.”

So, Bethesda has decided to nix the mode altogether. Nuclear Winter isn’t going away immediately, but rather it’ll be removed from the game with an update that’s landing at some point in September. “Ending support for the mode was a difficult decision, and not one that we made lightly,” Bethesda continued. “We’re still working to provide methods of PVP combat for those who enjoy squaring off against other former Vault Dwellers, and a little later this year, we will release details on how we plan to offer players even more ways to play Fallout 76.”

In addition to this vague promise of more ways to play Fallout 76, Bethesda promises that those who have participated in Nuclear Winter mode will be compensated with Perk coins. When Nuclear Winter goes offline, Bethesda will give players 6 Perk Coins for each Overseer Rank they achieved (with a maximum of 600) and 1 Perk Coin for each Overseer Ticket they earned (up to a maximum of 200). Every player who completed at least one Nuclear Winter match will also get a Nuclear Winter Pennant for the CAMPs.

So, those who played a lot of Nuclear Winter are going to get a bunch of Perk Coins when the mode goes away, but what of the rewards that were available through the mode? Bethesda says that while some items will remain exclusive, there are others like Power Armor/weapon paints, outfits, and CAMP objects that will become obtainable through other game modes and events, including “Scorched Earth, Project Paradise, Encryptid, A Colossal Problem, and even Hunt for the Treasure Hunter.” For more on Fallout 76 and the impending removal of Nuclear Winter, be sure to check out the Fallout blog post linked above.

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Epic accidentally reveals Fortnite Winter Trials with rewards and tournaments

It’s not every day that Epic accidentally leaks its own upcoming Fortnite plans, but that’s exactly what happened. Fans noticed that Epic published — and then quickly deleted — a web page for an event called Fortnite Winter Trials, including details about a tournament starring popular streamers, rewards, and more.

It seems that Epic didn’t mean to publish the Fortnite Winter Trials web page as evidenced by the fact that it was soon deleted. That deletion didn’t happen fast enough, however, and known game data-miner HYPEX managed to capture a video of the full page before it was taken down.

It seems the upcoming event will include some new winter-themed skins, including a creepy variation of Crackshot. As well, players will be able to earn some Winter Trials badges quickly by logging into their Epic account, playing Fortnite for 20 minutes, and supporting a team.

Based on the leaked page, supporting a team seems to refer to the streamers tapped to participate in a Winter Trials tournament. Badges will let players get rewards, including a new weapon wrap and what appears to be a new emote image, as well as a unique spraypaint design.

There are a total of 12 rewards listed on the page, the three aforementioned ones made visible while the remainder were kept hidden. As for the tournament, the ‘Influencer Leaderboard’ listed on the Winter Trials page lists streamers Nick Eh 30, SypherPK, Nate Hill, EMADGG, and 72hrs.

Supporting one of the teams will involve clicking a thumbs-up button next to their team name on the leaderboard. Players will also vote for the next challenge in the trials, options of which involve solo missions like ‘The Mercenary,’ ‘The Bounty Hunter,’ and ‘The Pacifist.’

As for dates, the leaked page shows individual and team challenges taking place on January 26, 27, 29, and 30. The group tournaments, meanwhile, list January 25 (today) as the start date, so it seems these details may not be entirely accurate. We’ll know for sure once Epic officially announces the event.

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