It’s not an exaggeration to say that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed everything, including how we work. Many people have become remote employees, at least temporarily, for the first time in their careers.
While remote work has many benefits, it can be a difficult working arrangement to adjust to for some people — especially when other family members and/or roommates have been forced into quarantine at home. Home and work-life are constantly colliding.
We’re here to help and have created this brief guide with remote working tips to help you be as productive as possible during this new remote working era. Let’s dive in!
The Remote Working Era
Remote work has been growing in popularity for some time. In fact, in 2019 48% of U.S. workers worked remotely at least once per week. But since the COVID-19 outbreak, pretty much everyone has become a remote worker.
While the current circumstances are quite undesirable, remote work, in general, has numerous benefits — even as we all shelter in our homes and practice social distancing:
- Most employees are 22% more productive when working from home.
- The average person has 43% less meetings than they did before the pandemic.
- Most people have 2.5 more hours in their schedules than they did before COVID-19.
These are promising stats and proof that there is a silver lining, albeit a small one, to the current pandemic we’re all facing. We just have to take advantage of it.
5 Remote Working Tips for the Modern Workplace
Remote workers have the potential to be more productive than their in-office counterparts. But you have to follow a few tips, tricks, and best practices to reach this level of efficiency. Here are five remote working tips you can implement right now to become super productive during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
1. Remove Distractions
Distraction is an ever-present concern, whether you’re working remotely or in-office. In fact, one in three millennials list chatty co-workers as their biggest distractions in the workplace. Now that we’re all working from home due to social distancing best practices, chatty co-workers are much less of a concern. But self-quarantined family members can make it hard to focus, too.
What’s the game plan? How can you concentrate on your work for solid stretches of time, even when the world around you seems intent on distracting you? We have a few suggestions:
- Lock Your Door: This is one of the most important things you can do to avoid distractions. Why does this work so well? Because you’re physically blocking distractions from entering your workspace. Your family members won’t be able to just burst in and ask you a million questions that take your mind away from the task at hand.
- Wear Headphones: We also recommend working with headphones on. Again, this is another way to block out distractions. If you can’t hear what’s going on in the room next to your home office, you won’t be tempted to postpone your work and engage with the commotion. Similarly, when your family and/or roommates see you in headphones, they’ll be much less likely to interrupt you unless absolutely necessary.
- Turn Off the TV: You know what really kills remote productivity? Netflix, Hulu, Disney+… The streaming networks are so convenient and will suck you in if you’re not careful. For most people, it makes more sense to never turn the TV on during work hours, that way they’re not tempted to watch “just one more episode!”
- Mute Your Notifications: If possible, turn off your phone and log out of your email while doing your most important work. A text or email, even if it’s job-related, is a distraction that will keep you from doing your best work. If you’re not willing to turn off your phone and log out of your email because you need to be reached in case of an emergency, try silencing your notifications so that you’re not breaking focus as often.
- Prioritize Deep Work: Deep work is a popular phrase that was originally coined by Cal Newport in his 2016 book of the same title. According to Newport, deep work is “the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.” In other words, it’s the practice of setting aside time to focus on one (keyword, one) important task. By doing this, you naturally eliminate distractions.
If you follow these five quick tips, you’ll be able to quickly reduce distractions and focus on your work for longer stretches of time, guaranteed.
2. Keep a Standard Routine
It can be tempting when working remotely to wake up late, wear your pajamas all day, and start work whenever you feel like. You don’t have to commute to the office, so what’s the harm in a more relaxed schedule and work wardrobe? A lot actually…
Many experts encourage remote workers to keep a standard routine that’s very similar to the office schedule they’re accustomed to. Get up in the morning, take a shower, get dressed, etc.
For some folks, setting a standard routine is difficult when working from home. Without a standard time to clock-in, it’s too easy to base your day around how you feel in the moment. But this rarely leads to high levels of productivity.
Instead, follow these three tips to help you keep a standard routine:
- Know Yourself: When are you most productive? Some people work best in the morning, others excel in the midnight hours. Neither is right or wrong, they’re just different. The key is knowing how you work best and then planning your schedule around your natural tendencies and preferences.
- Have an Accountability Partner: Just because you work best in the morning, doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be excited to get up, get ready, and start working every morning. That’s why having an accountability partner can be so effective. If you know that your colleague is expecting you to check-in at a specific time before work, you’ll be more incentivized to get yourself out of bed on time.
- Reduce Meetings: We suggest scheduling company and team meetings for specific days only. Meetings are widely known to be incredibly unproductive for most organizations. But you can’t simply not meet. Instead, plan meetings for specific days and then give your team the autonomy to complete their work by the required deadlines.
- Have Fun! It can be easy to forget to have fun, but its important to help with mental health.
3. Use Calendar Blocking
Calendar blocking is the practice of blocking out time on one’s calendar to focus on specific tasks. Simple, right? Unfortunately, very few people actually do this consistently. Here are a few tips to help you properly calendar block:
- Prioritize: There are a million things you could do every day. But some projects and tasks will be more important than others. You need to prioritize these activities and make sure you block off enough time on your calendar to accomplish them.
- Eliminate: Look at your list of tasks and ask yourself, “What does not need to be on my calendar right now?” After you answer that question, cut any tasks (especially meetings!) that don’t fit your current schedule or aren’t one of your immediate top priorities.
- Prepare: You want to be ready to hit the ground running as soon as you begin working. This means starting the day with preparation is unproductive. Before you clock-out, decide what you’re going to work on and when the next day. Then block out time for each one of those tasks in your calendar.
- Review: There’s one final task you should accomplish before you shut down your computer and exit your home office: a daily review. How was your day? Did you achieve everything you planned to? Were you able to stick to your calendar? Now use these insights to plan an even better day for tomorrow.
4. Take Productivity Breaks
As the old saying goes, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” While it may seem counterintuitive, breaks throughout the day will actually increase your productivity levels. They’ll also make your day more enjoyable, which is equally as important and worth mentioning.
But breaks can be tricky when working remotely for a couple of reasons.
- First: It’s easy to get so wrapped up in your work that you forget to stop for a quick breather. When working in a regular office, this is less of an issue because you’re usually able to see your colleagues take occasional breaks and are reminded to do the same.
- Second: Some remote workers are afraid to take breaks at home because it’s so easy to become distracted while doing so. What if your significant other has the TV on in the living room and you hear it when venturing to the kitchen for a snack? Do you have the willpower not to sit down and watch with them? Not everyone does. To combat this issue, use the techniques we outlined above in the “Remove Distractions” section.
It’s crucial that you don’t just try to take breaks, but you actually schedule time for them in your calendar. That’s right, use the calendar blacking strategy for breaks too!
If you’re wondering how to take a productive break, we have a couple of ideas for you:
- Go Outside: Enjoy the sun and listen to the birds. Sip a cup of coffee or tea while you’re out there or consider meditating if that’s your thing. Whatever you do, plan two or three times (at least) during the day that you can break from your work and reset in nature.
- Leave Your Work Zone: What if it’s raining and you can’t go outside? Simply go to another room or area of your home. This physical split from your normal work environment will help your brain “turn off” for a few minutes and rest.
- Play a Team Game: Get your colleagues involved in your break time and play a game with them while you all rest and rejuvenate. There are plenty of apps that will allow you and your remote teammates to play trivia, go on digital scavenger hunts, and more. To really up the ante, divvy out rewards for those who win the games!
Breaks, as crazy as it sounds, will definitely help you become more productive as you work remotely. Give them a try and see for yourself!
5. Manage Your Technology
Technology can be a great asset when it comes to productivity and time management. From communication tools to automation solutions, allow the various software applications available help you get more done in less time. Here are a few top options in this regard:
- CloudApp: CloudApp combines screen and webcam recording, GIF creation, and screenshot features into one solution that makes team collaboration between remote employees quick and easy. Why send a long-winded email when you can simply record yourself explaining your thoughts or an annotated image pinpointing your exact areas of concern?
- Calendar.com: Calendar is a popular calendar app used by industry heavyweights like Fox News, Forbes, and CNN. Your most precious asset is your time. This app helps you spend it wisely by allowing users to quickly schedule meetings and block off time for productive deep work. It also features AI and machine learning to tailor the Calendar experience to each user and detailed analytics so you can discover exactly how you’re spending your time and refocus your efforts when needed.
- Slack: In all likelihood, your organization has been using Slack for years. Now that your entire team is working remotely, it’s an even more valuable tool. If you’re not familiar with it, users can converse with each other via text, voice, and video chat; organize conversations into specific channels; and easily search past conversations with Slack’s handy searchable history feature.
- Zoom: Zoom has held the title of “most popular video conferencing app” for quite a while. But ever since the novel coronavirus pandemic began, usage of the tool has really exploded — with good reason. Zoom is a great way to connect with your team and host meetings. It also comes with some useful features including HD audio and video, meeting transcripts, and virtual backgrounds.
- PandaDoc: We all create, send, and sign documents regularly. PandaDoc will help you do it much more efficiently with its suite of time-saving features that include customizable templates, a drag and drop editor, esignature capability, convenient document storage, and integrations with other top tools.
- Google Docs: Many companies already use Google Docs to craft blog posts, proposals, and other written documents; then easily send them to each other. But if your organization doesn’t use the tool to collaborate on specific projects as well, it’s missing out. Google Docs is a quick and easy way to work with your team and get writing jobs done faster than ever before.
- Project Management Apps: Tools like Trello, Asana, and Airtable help keep teams on the same page and focusing on the right goals. They also allow colleagues to converse about projects, send important files to each other, and more. We suggest researching each of these three apps in greater detail (if you aren’t already using one of them) and choosing the tool that best fits your team’s needs.
At least a piece of the modern workplace is remote. These tips will help you to maximize your place in the future of work.
Top Image Credit: kelly fairytale; pexels
Lay Down Some Tracks with The GoTrax Traveler – ReadWrite
Who remembers the first time they saw one of those electric scooters or bikes propped up against a bus stop in their city? Nowadays, you can’t walk down a city block without seeing rows of e-scooters, e-bikes, and even mopeds. Needless to say, the micro-mobility trend has not only caught on, but it’s here to stay.
The on-demand model took off as we saw companies like Lime and Bird jump onto the scene. This trend is both an awesome and fun innovation, but soon these companies ran into some problems working with local jurisdictions. Scooters were crowding sidewalks, left in streets, freeways, and even found floating in rivers. These “micro-vehicles” needed a home, so a new opportunity was born.
Lay Down Some Tracks with The GoTrax Traveler
The demand was clearly there, but the pay-as-you-go model had its fair set of problems. That’s when GoTrax realized there was an opportunity.
GoTrax is a relatively new company making strides in the micro-mobility space. They are most commonly known for making an awesome line of inexpensive e-scooters. Now they’re breaking into the e-bike market and the ReadWrite team was lucky enough to take their GoTrax Traveler for a spin. Here’s my review:
Unboxing the GoTrax Traveler
The team here at ReadWrite definitely knows a thing or two about technology — but when it comes to bike mechanics, several people on our team we’re as “green” as they come. Luckily, the GoTrax Traveler was a breeze to assemble.
The box comes with all the tools and parts you’ll need to put the bike together. The instruction manual is fairly straightforward, but take a few pointers to heart from our experience.
First, this is definitely a two-person job. The front wheel is attached towards the end of the assembly process, so you won’t be able to prop the bike up on its kickstand for assembly. We already keep a bike stand inside our office to encourage a healthy lifestyle — so we assembled the bike using that when needed.
When attaching the handlebars, make sure the bars are aligned with the front wheel before tightening down the handlebar. Again you’ll want your assistant mechanic to hold the front wheel in place as the handlebars are aligned and tightened.
Lastly, I had a little trouble fitting the front wheel disc break into the brake pad without causing some friction. After loosening the pad and a few parts of the brake mechanism, everything worked fine—time for the fun part.
GoTrax Traveler Specs
The GoTrax traveler is the newest e-bike model in their 2021 line as of today. The e-bike boasts a 31 mile per charge (31 miles using pedal assist and 20.5 on pure electric) and speeds up to 20mph. Additionally, the GoTrax website lists the following specs:
- 36v 10.4AH Battery
- 500W Motor
- Electronic display with 3 speeds low (8.7mph), medium (14.3 mph), and high (20mph)
- 29″ Air filled tires
- Size – 60.62″ x 9.45″ x 31.89″
- Weight – 58.5lbs (max rider weight – 265 lbs)
The battery can be easily detached from the frame for charging, which takes anywhere from 4-6 hours and can be locked to the frame to avoid any “sticky fingers.” The goal of my test ride was to test these specs to what’s advertised on the GOTRAX site.
But, of course, everyone in the office wanted to watch and then see how this bike compared with their bikes at home. Obviously, many factors make up these numbers, but I did my best to give our readership an idea of what to expect.
We have had a ton of fun on these e-bikes.
Our main bike riders are about 6 ft. 160-180lbs and fit quite comfortably on the bike — but we have two women on the team and they like this size as well.
The seat is adjustable and the ride is more of a “cruiser” feel than a typical road bike. We all liked the bike on the fastest speed setting but can attest to the fact that the other speed settings are a great way to keep things in control.
If you are using pedal assist, use the lowest speed setting as the motor will quickly replace any effort you put into pedaling the bike.
The bike is quite powerful, the 500W motor can quickly get you up to the 20mph top speed quickly and the bike can climb uphill with ease. The ride is very smooth and really fun to ride around city streets, neighborhoods, and the thick tires even allow for some very light off-roading (this is probably not recommended, but we did it anyway).
The battery lasts long enough for several days/or even weeks of short trips and can easily be taken out for a full day of riding. The overall frame feels strong, and the bike should last a long time, assuming the electronics are taken care of. (I wouldn’t leave my bike out in the rain for long, though it might be fine.)
The bottom line is this bike is not only fun but a great option if you’re looking for a fair-priced electric bike. The GoTrax Traveler is currently retailing for $949.99 (at the time of writing this article), which includes a 30-day return policy and 3-5 day free shipping.
The ReadWrite team thoroughly enjoyed this e-bike, and given the 30-day return policy, we’d recommend taking a GoTrax Traveler out for a spin!
What Causes a Website to Load Slowly and How to Fix Them – ReadWrite
It is a common occurrence for business owners, bloggers, hobby website developers, or anyone else who has a site. Your site’s visitors could be wondering why your site loads very slowly, whether it is their online shop, blog, or social media platform.
What Causes a Website to Load Slowly and How to Fix Them
The speed of your site determines how successful your website will be. It has a central role to play, including the conversion rate and the visibility of your site. Thus, optimizing your website’s speed is vital, although it might need some input to get it done.
Luckily, there are several accessible speed tests applicable. Even though there are several reasons why your site may be slow, you can resolve most of them for free. Unfortunately, slow speed for your website is undoubtedly a recipe for failure.
It is frustrating to both you and the visitors to your site. Slow loading sites account for at least 2.6 billion in losses of lost revenue each year. Thus, we look at some of the most common reasons why your site runs slowly and possible solutions you apply to start noticing a difference in your business.
Using unoptimized images on your website
If you have large file sizes with no tags, no description, or names, such images are considered unoptimized, and they may slow your website.
Images resulting from programs such as Photoshop are known to be large files. Even though they may be quality images, they can slow your website since they carry many details.
Besides, Goggle can’t see images. Thus, they usually read alternate tags only, which gives you room to add a small description of the image, but without the description, Google will not know what your images are.
How to solve it
You will need to optimize the images on your website hence turning your website into a fast one. While optimizing the images, you should start by compressing them first.
If you resize images, you should keep the ratio intact. Thus, if you resize the height, you will also need to resize the width; otherwise, you will be distorting the image quality.
Look for a photo editing platform that will allow you to stick to the correct ratio. It will be essential to change the size of the actual images instead of stating the size of the image on the website’s code since that will not optimize your images.
It is advisable to resize the photo before you insert the code. Besides, the file type is also vital in resizing the size of the image.
For instance, PNGs are applicable when using images that require some transparency or in instances where you need a very detailed image. But you should know that PNGs are larger files that take more time to load.
Since you want a standard file type that will load quickly, you should go for JPGs since they load quickly due to their smaller file sizes. Thus, the site will load faster for your visitors, particularly on mobile devices.
Too much flash content
Flash is a great tool that adds interactivity to your website, but it could also slow your website. Flash content consists of bulky files that are big hence making the pages load slowly.
Thus, reducing the size of the flash files or doing away with them will ultimately significantly improve your site’s speed. Also, you can look for HTML5 alternatives and use them to replace the existing flash content.
How to solve it
Find HTML5 replacements and reduce the size of the HTML files or eliminate them.
High traffic on the website
High traffic is another reason why websites get slow. Although information moves at a very high speed, it can only accommodate a given number of users before slowing down. The bandwidth of the website determines the number of visitors it can handle at a given time.
Bandwidth is how much technical information an internet connection can handle at a given time. A large bandwidth will handle more information, and thus it can handle more visitors.
The same case applies to the Mbps, which refers to megabits per second. It helps you to know how much information is transferred through your internet connection per second.
How to fix it
High traffic is necessary, and you should welcome it. But you will need to find a solution to keep your site loading faster by increasing your bandwidth.
That is achievable by contacting whoever is hosting your site and getting a better plan which will come with some increments.
Too many ads on your site
Ads will take a significant part on your site, just like videos and images, and can result in slow websites. If you are allowing third parties to advertise your website, they can cause your website to be slow.
The ads will increase the amount of time it takes to load the website and keep annoying the visitors to your site. The visitors on your site might bounce because of ads or the load time.
How to fix It
In case the visitors on your site are bouncing from your site due to too much load time, then decreasing the load time would be advisable; otherwise, you might end up losing valuable customers who would be worth more than the adverts.
Besides, if ads are your primary revenue source, you could be losing money if you have so many on your site. If the site takes too long to load, the visitors might find that they were waiting for ads instead of the content, and they bounce off annoyed.
Thus, it would be best to reduce the number of ads to at most two on your site. That will not slow your site much, and it will help to sustain your visitors.
A large number of social sharing buttons
It would be best to allow you and users to share information on social media fast, but it can also slow the load time if you have so many sharing buttons.
For these buttons to work, you will need to add them to your site plugins. You will also need to retrieve data from the respective social media site where they are used.
Thus, you will need to note that having a button for every social platform can lead to a slow pace for your site.
How to fix it
If you know your content does not get any share, you should do away with the share buttons. You should also reduce the number of share buttons on the page. It would be best if you only focus on high-value sites such as Facebook and Twitter without overloading your site.
It will also help to save your page from loading data from sites.
Lack of content delivery network (CDN)
Failure to use a content delivery network might be the cause of your slow website. Content delivery networks have several servers placed in various geographical places to serve your website users. The user will connect much faster to your website if you are using CDN with your website server. The content delivery network reduces the distance between the website server and the user.
The site loads very fast since the distance between the user and the website server is concise. A content delivery network speeds the communication between your browser and website server; without it, you might have to wait a bit longer to open your browser.
How to fix it
To fix a slow website, implement a content delivery network. You will have to engage a company offering professional content delivery network services for your website to be more accessible. The load time will be short, and you will have your website running in no time.
Having too many elements on a page
The videos, images, scripts, and various elements you have determine your page’s size. If you have more elements on a page, then it will load very slowly. When all pages load like snails, your website will be relatively slow.
How to fix it
To fix this problem, reduce the quantity and size of elements per page; this will reduce your website’s load. Maximize fewer images, videos, and other elements to achieve the desired effects. Consider performing a heat map test on your website to know what users are clicking and viewing.
The heat map test will help you know whether you have excess content on your website. Go ahead and delete videos, images, and other elements that have no views.
Inefficient web hosting
You need a hosting service for you to display your website online. Web host gives you space to create your website. As a result, it operates your website from its server. If a user enters your website in a browser, the web host uses its server and serves the user of your website.
Web hosting services have different costs, a cheap hosting service will load very slowly, and you may lose your customers.
How to fix it
Paying for a reliable web host will cost you more to acquire good hosting services, but you will enjoy peace of mind knowing that your website is easily accessible and loading time is reduced to seconds. Keep in mind that poor hosting services and a slow website can make you lose valuable customers. To avoid losing customers, always invest more in a hosting service that guarantees your users a fast load time.
Besides, you can acquire VPS windows since it is an inexpensive package, but it allows you to create and run complex websites. You can also store huge chunks of data and also stream it to a number of adaptable services. It is suitable for your company if you are not sure how much traffic you will experience.
Failure to make use of caching techniques
Caching is a technique that enables you to store data used frequently in cached memory. To improve the functioning and efficiency of your website, engage in the caching process. Without caching, you must be missing out.
The data at cached memory is easily retrieved as requests of this data are received directly to the point. Your website performance will drastically improve if you implement server and browser caching.
How to fix it
Caching is a bit tricky but can always be done carefully without altering something else. You can also engage an expert to do caching for you.
Various factors make your website load slowly. You require to take a lot of steps to make sure your website loads fast. It means a lot of time is required, while you may be engaged elsewhere. Being a business person, you may not have enough time to optimize your website. Hire an expert to clean the mess for you and have your fast-loading website.
How to fix it
Hire a professional is the easiest solution to having a fast-loading website. Experts always have knowledge, time, and resources to ensure your website is easily accessible. They also offer you advice on what you should do to have your website optimized.
Unclean coding is another cause of website slowness if your website has inline styling, large white spaces, empty new line, and irrelevant comments, the style sheet becomes more extensive in size, making your website load slowly.
How to fix it
Reduce the file size and compress the code to improve your website loading time; this process is called Minifying. If you don’t have enough knowledge in minifying, engage various online tools to clean and minify your stylesheet files. You can also consult IT experts.
Various factors affect the website loading speed. These factors include high traffic, too much flash content, numerous ads, bulky codes, and unoptimized images. It is challenging to determine what is the leading cause of a slow website.
You should put every effort into knowing the root cause of the problem and solve it, matter how hard it might seem. The fast-loading speed will attract customers and increase your monthly earnings. You can also look for an efficient support team to help you increase your website loading speed and solve your problem permanently.
Netflix and the Netflix of Gaming Opportunity – ReadWrite
Gaming has been big business for a long time — but Netflix just kicked the whole industry up about ten notches in one swipe during Netflix’s latest earnings call. Now, all of us have the great opportunity to Binge-Game as well as Binge-Watch.
Personally, I wish this essential entertainment step had been taken at the start of COVID — but whether Netflix makes this move early or late — the step is epic for all of us.
Netflix and the Netflix of Gaming Opportunity
“Games” is a really interesting component. There’s no doubt that games are going to be an important form of entertainment and important modality to deepen that fan experience so we’re going to keep going.” — Greg Peters
That statement once again fueled speculation that Netflix may be getting into gaming in a much bigger way.
In an industry that has long been dominated by a-la-carte and freemium business models, the idea of a subscription gaming service continues to be one of the most sought-after paradigm shifts for game companies.
In fact, Forbes said, “’The Netflix of video games’ is a label thrown around like confetti at a victory parade. It’s held out as the prize that awaits the winner in the burgeoning game streaming arena.”
Where are we in this paradigm shift, and what are the various subscription gaming platforms currently out there today?
Apple Arcade costs $5 per month and has over 180 of the best collection of mobile games — Arcade Originals, Timeless Classics, and App Store. Apple’s subscription is ad-free, has no in-app purchases, and is shareable with the entire family.
Some of the more popular games in Apple Arcade: NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, Star Trek: Legends, Badland+, Monument Valley+, Sonic Racing, The Oregon Trail, SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit, Mini Metro, PAC-MAN Party Royale, Fantasian, What the Golf?, and LEGO® Brawls.
Microsoft Game Pass costs $10 per month for PC or Console, or $15 per month for both. The service continues to expand its offering and includes EA Play with the PC and PC+Console offers.
Microsoft finalized its acquisition of Zenimax and expanded its library for Game Pass by 20 massive games all at once, including The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind, Doom Eternal, Dishonored 2, and Prey.
The service includes other hit titles like Grand Theft Auto V, MLB® The Show™ 21, Outriders, Zombie Army 4: Dead War, NHL® 21, Minecraft, Forza Horizon 4, Destiny 2, Madden NFL 21, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six®, Star Wars™ Battlefront™II, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Age of Empires II, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
PlayStation Plus costs $5 per month when buying for the full year and $10 per month when subscribing monthly. Very different than the Microsoft Game Pass, Sony’s solution for PlayStation Plus provides 2 games each month that users are able to download and play for as long as they remain a subscriber.
Games include Call of Duty Black Ops III, Crash Banidcoot N Sane Trilogy, Resident Evil Biohazard, Fallout 4, Monster Hunter World, Battlefield 1, Days Gone, Zombie Army 4: Dead War, and Oddworld Soulstorm.
Stadia’s Pro subscription gaming solution costs $10 per month for PC streaming of games. Games playable for free as part of the subscription include Enter the Gungeon, Hitman 1, Everspace, PAC-MAN Mega Tunnel Battle, Lara Croft & the Guardian of Light, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, Republique, and Submerged: Hidden Depths.
Nintendo Switch Online costs only $20 per year, and the service is billed as primarily giving the ability to play hit Nintendo Switch games online, such as Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, Diablo 3, and pretty much everything else that has online connectivity.
The service does come with the bonus of offering over 80 Super NES™ and NES™ classic games—including Super Mario Kart™, Super Metroid™, The Legend of Zelda™: A Link to the Past™, Donkey Kong™ Country™ as part of the service.
TapTop — Alexa Built-In is a tabletop gaming console primarily for board games and costs $5 per month. It also includes Amazon’s free Alexa service providing all of Amazon’s Alexa Voice-Based Games.
TapTop’s library and full coming soon include — Yes! All of these — Catan, Ticket to Ride, Codenames, SET, Pandemic, Terraforming Mars, Machi Koro, Space Base, Dead Giveaway, Downforce, Conspiracy, My Little Scythe, Splendor, War Chest, Rival Restaurants, Fake News, Game of 49, Burgle Bros, Mini Metro, Hardback, 12 Orbits, Texcoco, Avalon, Tigris & Euphrates, Carcassonne, Takenoko, Jaipur, Love Letter, Medici, Axio, Ra, Mansions of Madness, Towers of Arkhanos, Mysterium, Pathfinder, Smallworld, Lost Cities, Concept, Blue Moon City, The Quest for El Dorado, Rise of Tribes, Game of Thrones, 7 Wonders, 7 Wonders Duel, Dream Home, Patchwork, Zombicide, Abandon Ship, Modern Art, Castle Panic, Night of the Ninja, Planet Apocalypse, Can’t Stop, Games of Art, and 8 Minute Empire.
In addition to traditional board games, the TapTop interacts with physical RFID-enabled figures placed directly on the screen and will be launching several titles incorporating physical RFID figures and RFID cards in late 2021.
Netflix of Gaming
Until Netflix enters the fold — the question of “Who will be the Netflix of gaming?” will be a question that continues. We are all banking (and hopeful) on Netflix!
Even after Netflix “makes it” — it seems that the “The Netflix of Gaming” title will be a debated and debated — long into the future.
At this point in time, Microsoft’s Game Pass, Apple’s Arcade, and Blok Party’s TapTop – Alexa Built-In seem to be the ones to beat.
Stay tuned to see how it all develops.
Top Image Credit: tima miroshnichenko; pexels; thank you!