Monthly Archives: September 2014

  • Microsoft buys Mojang and Minecraft for $2.5bn

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    Although rumors had been going around for a while, it has now been made official. Microsoft bought Mojang and Minecraft for a cool $2.5 billion. Crazier still is the estimation that they will make up the $2.5 invested by June 2015!

    Understandably everyone is worried about the other platforms Minecraft was available on. However, Xbox boss Phil Spencer assured that Microsoft will be supporting the initial plans for supporting Minecraft across iOS, Android and PlayStation.

    Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had a few things to say about how the acquisition, “Gaming is a top activity spanning devices, from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobile, with billions of hours spent each year.”

    "Minecraft is more than a great game franchise - it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.”

    "The Minecraft community is passionate and diverse, ranging across all ages and demographics. We respect the brand and independent spirit that has made Minecraft great, and we'll carry on the tradition of innovation to move the franchise forward.

    "Our investments in cloud, Xbox Live and mobile technology will enable players to benefit from richer and faster worlds, more powerful development tools, and more opportunities to connect with the Minecraft community."

    Although the current Minecraft lead developer Jens Bergensten will remains at Mojang, Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson as his Mojang co-founders will be leaving. Notch new the massive following Minecraft had and had addressed his decision in a post on his website. His letter follows:

    I don't see myself as a real game developer. I make games because it's fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don't make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I don't try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me it's changed games. I never meant for it to do either. It's certainly flattering, and to gradually get thrust into some kind of public spotlight is interesting.

    A relatively long time ago, I decided to step down from Minecraft development. Jens was the perfect person to take over leading it, and I wanted to try to do new things. At first, I failed by trying to make something big again, but since I decided to just stick to small prototypes and interesting challenges, I've had so much fun with work. I wasn't exactly sure how I fit into Mojang where people did actual work, but since people said I was important for the culture, I stayed.

    I was at home with a bad cold a couple of weeks ago when the internet exploded with hate against me over some kind of EULA situation that I had nothing to do with. I was confused. I didn't understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn't have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I've become a symbol. I don't want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don't understand, that I don't want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I'm not an entrepreneur. I'm not a CEO. I'm a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.

    As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I'll probably abandon it immediately.

    Considering the public image of me already is a bit skewed, I don't expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won't feel a responsibility to read them.

    I'm aware this goes against a lot of what I've said in public. I have no good response to that. I'm also aware a lot of you were using me as a symbol of some perceived struggle. I'm not. I'm a person, and I'm right there struggling with you.

    I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can't be responsible for something this big. In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it's belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change.

    It's not about the money. It's about my sanity.

  • Destiny Is Like A First-Party For PlayStation 4

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    There is no denying that Sony made some big deals with Activision that give Sony major perks when it comes to Destiny. Exclusive content aside, Microsoft does not even have the right to advertise Destiny!

    Just recently Microsoft did an advert for a fragrance called Destiny in a cheeky bid to still advertise the game’s connection with Microsoft. He is what a spokesperson from Xbox UK had to say - "Okay, so here's the lowdown. Destiny is actually an epic new first-person shooter, available on Xbox. Thing is, we didn't have permission to run adverts for the game. So we didn't. Thanks for smelling that something was up. Now get the game and become a legend."

    This marketing strategy is to create a feeling that Destiny is sort of a PlayStation exclusive. We all know it’s not, but at the very least it makes gamers see that Destiny is best on the PS4 and PS3.

    Sony UK boss Fergal Gara said in an interview with Eurogamer that Sony is so involved with Destiny that it almost feels like a first-party game:

    "We're treating it, for all intents and purposes internally, as if it's a first-party release," he said. "We're wrapping our arms around it on all levels of the organisation. It's a special project and an important project and it has the power to launch Christmas. It's hugely important."

    "I think a lot of people are going to decide now is the time to go and buy a PlayStation 4 because this very ambitious project has come along that looks exciting. Yes, it's fantastic to have the exclusive content and the co-marketing, but it's more than that. It's a parallel track we've ridden together to get to this point. It's a lovely synergy that we're also going to have big milestones and set records."

    Since the launch of the PS4, Destiny has surely become the bestselling game on the console. And there is no doubt that it is a system seller. This game boosted the sales of both the Xbox One and PS4 upon release. The PS4 Destiny bundle did especially well. Now let’s hope that the mediocre reviews for Destiny don’t slow down this trend, otherwise Sony might have just lost a bet.

  • GTAV for PS4 & Xbox One Coming November 2014

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    Good news for console gamers. Not so much for PC gamers. It was rumored recently that GTAV for the PS4 and Xbox One was going to be delayed till 2015. This time around fortunately the rumors were wrong... well, partly wrong.

    Although the PC release has been delayed till 27th January 2015, the Xbox One and PS4 versions will be releasing on time on the 18th of November 2014. I know it must be a bit frustrating for the PC gamers, but at least there is a definite PC release to look forward to.

    As expected there will be bonus features on this version of GTAV compared to the last gen version. Players can expect to see better details and longer draw distances, more wildlife, more traffic, updated foliage system, enhanced damage and weather effects, and new weapons, vehicles and activities. The radio will also be getting over 100 new songs and DJ mixes.

    There is a pre-order bonus as well as players who buy the game in advance will receive a cool $1 million of virtual cash to spend in GTA Online. There are also improvements coming to GTA online with upto 30 players playing together on the PS4 and Xbox One. Along with all the current upgrades and content available on the PS3 and Xbox One for GTA online coming to the PS4 and Xbox One, many more new things will be added shortly.

    The best part of course being that the save data from the last gen consoles can be easily transferred to the current gen one.

  • Nintendo’s new 3DS and 3DS XL

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    The 3DS is what keeps Nintendo going. Guess it makes sense that they keep coming out with better versions of it. But with all the different types available, do you think there is already too many out there?

    Regardless here are the features of the new 3DS and 3DS XL. The new design comes with an additional button called the “C-button”, which acts as a directional nubbin, and will allow the use of dual analogue controls to games which need it. They will also feature NFC support (for the Amiibo toys), micro USB card slot, new trigger buttons, and improved screens that allow better viewing angles for 3D effects.

    They will also boast a faster CPU which will actually be required to play some of the new games such as the recently announced 3DS port of Xenoblade Chronicles. As a consequence the devices will be able to boot Miiverse and 3DS eShop faster. The browser will also support HTML5.

    The 3DS XL will come in Metallic Black or Metallic Blue while the 3DS will come in white and black. The 3DS will also support a wide variety of face plates which will make them highly customizable.

    These 3DSes will be arriving in Japan on the 11th of October 2014 but will not arrive in Europe till 2015. This is what a Nintendo spokesperson told Eurogamer:

    "Different territories make their own business decisions regarding individual products and timing. We plan to launch these products in Europe in 2015. We have a variety of compelling portable gaming options for consumers now and through the Christmas shopping season, including a variety of different Nintendo 2DS and Nintendo 3DS XL bundles at retail. We also have a strong library of hundreds of games for these systems that appeal to all kinds of players, with titles like Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire still on the way before the end of the year."

    So are you bummed? Did you want one of the new 3DS systems this Christmas?

  • COD Advanced Warfare: Innovation in the Form of the Exosuit

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    Well a lot rides on Sledgehammer games. Everyone is looking at them to breathe new life into the Call of Duty franchise. We all know that we want innovation but we also don’t want to lose the mechanics what make us like COD to begin with.

    Bringing change without ruining the golden formula must have been a challenge to deal with, especially considering the anticipation of the franchise finally coming to the next generation. It seems that the exosuit was the answer the team was looking for. Speaking with Gamespot, Sledgehammer games co-founder Michael Condrey said the following:

    "We had heard loud and clear from fans that they wanted change, they wanted innovation; that we needed to bring something new to Call of Duty. And change is scary sometimes, right? I can't say everybody thought it was the right idea on day one, but I'm pretty sure most people think it's the right idea today."

    "Three years ago, the exo wasn't in the mind's eye of the public like it is today. You think about it now; it's films like Elysium and Edge of Tomorrow and Oblivion; and you see it all over the news of the military adopting it and healthcare. So everyone's talking about the exo. But three years ago, it was a big step."

    Considering that these guys started their development back in 2011, this indeed was quite a bit of forward thinking. In the last three years we have been exposed to stuff like this but if we hadn’t, this feature would have seemed that much more radical. Overall it seems the COD Advanced Warfare is pushing the right buttons – new gameplay mechanics, solid core, updated graphics and a seemingly promising story. Won’t be long before we get to experience the final product for ourselves.

  • PlayStation TV Coming to US in October 2014

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    The PlayStation TV, formerly known as the Vita TV, is finally making its way to the US and Europe. It has been revealed that it will arrive in North America somewhere in the 14th of October 2014, while on 14th of November in Europe.

    It will cost $99 in North America and €99 in Europe. European consumers will also receive 3 free digital games with the device, though the same has not yet been confirmed for North America.

    If you are not sure of what it does exactly, let me summarize. It can play PS Vita, PSP and PS1 games. It also is compatible with Sony’s PS Now streaming service. Also via the Remote Play feature, PS4 games can be streamed from a console attached to a TV to another TV attached to PS TV.

    The PS TV also supports both DualShock 3 and DualShock 4 controllers. Currently there is also a bundle available which comes with the PS TV, a Dual Shock 3 controller, 8GB memory card, Lego Movie the Videogame for $139.99.

  • Another PS4 Exclusive Revealed: Bloodborne

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    From the renowned Japanese developer team From Software comes another PlayStation 4 exclusive titled Bloodborne. Since the first time it was announced, gamers have been waiting to get a look at the game. At Gamescom 2014 they showed off an impressive trailer that definitely made the wait worth it. A playable demo was made available at this year's PAX Prime as well. The world is highly detailed, the monsters look incredibly scary, and the weapons look very cool.

    Considering From Software is behind both Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, you can definitely see a hint of that in the game in terms of movement. But that gives me that much assurance that this game has the chance of becoming another classic. Check out the trailer below!

  • Ninja Theory’s New IP: Hellblade

    From Ninja Theory, the creators of Heavenly Sword and DMC, comes a new IP called Hellblade. It has been set to be a timed exclusive for the PlayStation 4. There is not much known about the game other than the reveal trailer (link below) and a bit of a description on their official Ninja Theory website:

    "Ninja Theory is defined by three things: ninja-class melee gameplay, strong character stories and a unique art vision. On Hellblade, we will double down on what we do best to give you a deeper character in a twisted world with brutal, uncompromising, combat. We are embracing the creative spirit that comes with independence without letting go of the stunning production values that we are known for. It’s not indie, it’s not AAA. This is a third way. It's independent AAA."

    For now the game is still very early stages of development. But as all good studios do, the team is going to frequently update their state so fans can be with them throughout this journey. Maybe even provide feedback to help make the game that much better.

  • Tomb Raider's Xbox Exclusivity: Shuhei Yoshida Had No Clue

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    The drama behind Tomb Raider’s exclusive deal with Xbox just keeps getting better. It seems that even Shuhei Yoshida had no clue prior to the big reveal that Rise of the Tomb Raider was going to be an Xbox exclusive.

    He spoke to Eurogamer saying that he assumed in time the game will come to PlayStation as well, but that is something he could not simply answer now.

    "Tomb Raider being exclusive. It's very interesting the way Phil Spencer said, what we are saying is, in holiday 2015 Tomb Raider is exclusive to Xbox. So it's open to interpretation. But still, we didn't anticipate something like this would happen. How could we know?... They might have to our third-party relations team, but I didn't know."

    "I hope the game will come out eventually on PS4. But how can I tell? Other than that cryptic message by Phil Spencer. If you're a marketing person at Square Enix and projecting your sales for the game, if it doesn't come out on PS4, it must be lots of units that have to be covered by some means."

    In an interview with IGN, Phil Spencer also shared a bit of his story. It seems that they might want this franchise to rival the Uncharted series PlayStation has. So they’re doing all they can to fill a gap they see and take advantage of an opportunity they had.

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider: Xbox Exclusivity Explained

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    A lot of people got mad more than happy when it was revealed that the sequel to Tomb Raider, launching holiday 2015, was going to be an Xbox exclusive. However there were questions regarding the nature of the exclusivity. Was it a timed exclusive or not? Well Eurogamer has been able to get clear answers from Phil Spencer regarding this situation. Here is part of that conversation.

    Spencer speaking to Eurogamer:

    "When people want me to say, can you tell us when or if it's coming to other platforms, it's not my job. My job is not to talk about games I don't own. I have a certain relationship on this version of Tomb Raider, which we announced, and I feel really good about our long term relationship with Crystal and Square.”

    "I get the reaction I see. If I'm a PlayStation person all of a sudden I feel like, the franchise has gone. I didn't buy the IP. I didn't buy the studio. It's not mine. Where this thing will go over time, just like Dead Rising or Ryse, we'll see what happens with the game. I don't own every iteration of Tomb Raider.

    "I don't own them building Tomb Raider on other platforms. I can't talk about the franchise that way. I can talk about the deal I have."

    So, what, exactly, is that deal?

    "I have Tomb Raider shipping next holiday exclusively on Xbox. It is Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I'm not trying to fake anybody out in terms of where this thing is. What they do with the franchise in the long run is not mine. I don't control it. So all I can talk about is the deal I have. I don't know where else Tomb Raider goes."

    Is there a time limit on the exclusivity period?

    "Yes, the deal has a duration. I didn't buy it. I don't own the franchise."

    Can you tell us how long the duration is?

    "No. It's not because I'm trying to be a headfake on anybody. It's a deal between us and the partner. People ask me how much did we pay. There are certain things I'm just not going to talk about because it's a business deal between us and them. Obviously the deal does have a duration. I didn't buy the IP in perpetuity."

    As expected many gamers were mad at Square Enix for their surprise reveal. Quite understandable considering that the players, who supported the first game on PC and PlayStation, are now being cut from the sequel till they decide to get an Xbox One. They believe that they not only sold out but also alienated PC and PlayStation users.

    To this out roar Darrell Gallagher wrote on Tomb Raider tumblr,

    "Our friends at Microsoft have always seen huge potential in Tomb Raider and have believed in our vision since our first unveil with them on their stage at E3 2011. We know they will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past - we believe this will be a step to really forging the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gaming, with the help, belief and backing of a major partner like Microsoft."

    Not really sure if he tried to defend their choice; just explaining that it was in their best interest. Well, Microsoft hopes that this will be a system seller. Hope it doesn’t turn out the other way around and people stop buying Tomb Raider as well.

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