The war between two of the biggest infotainment companies is about to spread to a new theater: game streaming.
According to sources speaking to The Daily Dot, Google is looking to move into game streaming with a re-launch of the rarely used YouTube Live service. The move would likely be announced at E3 this June, and would instantly create the biggest competition to the dominance of game streaming leader Twitch.
The story becomes more interesting when you consider the giants behind the moves. Google is among the biggest of the big, and they were reportedly set to purchase Twitch last spring before the deal fell through. Later in the summer, Amazon swooped in an acquired Twitch for nearly $1B. So Google is, apparently, set to use an existing brand - YouTube - in their quest to create a competitor to a company they failed to acquire before one of their biggest rivals snatched them up. It's almost Shakespearean.
Google is one of the few companies with both the resources and expertise to create a Twitch competitor almost overnight. It could also signal the start of a bidding war for streaming personalities and even the rights to major eSport events. Blizzard, Riot and Valve own titles which regularly make up a huge percentage of the Twitch streams at any given time. How much would exclusive streaming of those game mean to either Amazon or Google? How much would they pay to be the streaming home of PewDiePie or other top personalities?
We're still playing Cities Skylines at the following link.
There wasnít much analysis to give over the recent announcement from Nintendo on breaking into the mobile gaming market. Thatís probably because pretty much none of us do mobile gaming. I mean, yeah, thereís a select few games Iíll personally dip into but itís very rare for me to do mobile gaming (or handheld for that matter). What we can all seem to agree on is the decision of the big N to hand the development of their online network to someone else, because clearly, they havenít been able to really get it right.
Speaking of getting things right...Konami, what the hell are you doing?
I've grown a deep and abiding love of Rogue-likes over the last few years. In that light, I'd like to show you the launch trailer for Convoy, which hits Steam next month.
As you can see from the trailer, it seems to be a mix of FTL and the old Atari title Roadblasters. You upgrade and customize your vehicle before exploring the procedurally-generated map and fighting off enemies in real time combat. Pricing has not yet been announced.
I have a feeling this news won't be a surprise to the devotees of the developer, but we're here to remind you that Bloodborne, from Dark Souls' developer From Software, launches today on the Playstation 4.
I've seen snippets of various reviews, but they all seem to say the game is as punishingly difficult and beautifully rendered as you'd expect. If you're a Souls fan and own a PS4, you'll probably want this one.
The first DLC pack for Dragon Age Inquisition will hit the Xbox One and PC tomorrow. Titled, Jaws of Hakkon, the DLC will hit the PS4 (and PS3 and 360) at some still unspecified future date.
Beyond the name, we don't know anything about the DLC. A trailer for the module will also be released tomorrow, so we'll learn more then. DA:I won a ton of GOTY awards, and was one of the bigger hits of the holiday season, both critically and commercially (I can't find any firm numbers, but EA calls it the "most successful launch in Bioware history" which means a lot of units moved).
What began the day as a smattering of rumors has blossomed into a tempest. By several accounts, it seems like Hideo Kojima - creator and executive producer of the Metal Gear series - is going through a messy divorce from publisher Konami.
For the time being, we have to stress that all of these are rumors, and nothing drastic has been confirmed. The day began with the announcement of a number of minor reorganizations, including new Twitter feeds for Metal Gear. Then someone noticed that the promotional materials for MGSV no longer bore the 'A Hideo Kojima Game' imprint.
So far, it's just rumors surrounding innocent-seeming corporate reorganizations. Then Gamespot published an anonymous account of the friction within the company.
Power struggles between Kojima Productions and Konami have convinced the publisher to make drastic changes, including amending the employee status of its Metal Gear team. Some senior staff at the studio, including Kojima, now essentially work as contractors, not permanent employees.
The extraordinary measures were revealed by a source within Konami, speaking to GameSpot on the condition of anonymity. The person explained that, once the Phantom Pain project is finished, in all likelihood the management at the studio will disband.
"After we finish MGSV, Mr. Kojima and upper management will leave Konami. They said their contract ends in December," the source claimed.
While Konami owns a number of well known franchises - including Castlevania, Yu-Gi-Oh and Silent Hill - the only ones which seem to be in regular development are Metal Gear and Pro Evolution Soccer.
While best known in the West as a video game publisher, in their native Japan, their portfolio is much larger, with significant reach into automated gaming machines (pachinko, slot machines, etc). Metal Gear Solid 5 is still apparently on track for a September launch. But Kojima was also working on a revival/reboot of the Silent Hill franchise - remember the P.T. demo from last year? - and who knows what will happen to that if or when Kojima exits the company.
Sony is rolling out their answer to pay TV across three of America's largest cities. Starting today, consumers who live in New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia can sign up for Playstation Vue, which combines live TV, on-demand streaming, and virtual DVR features in one service.
Vue will launch with a trio of programming plans: Access at $50/month, Core at $60/mo (which adds local sports channels) and Elite at $70/mo (focused lifestyle channels). The plans include the bulk of the most popular cable networks, with the notable exception of the ABC/Disney/ESPN family of networks.
Of particular note is the cloud-based DVR, which Polygon calls "as good as, if not better than [Comcast's X1]," which is generally regarded as one of the best DVR in the industry. The DVR saves shows on the cloud for 28 days, and when you add a show to your 'Favorites' list, it records every airing of that show across all networks on your system, and the picture quality on those recordings is very good.
The Vue currently requires a broadband internet connection and either a PS3 or PS4 console, although there are plans to expand to other hardware platforms such as the iPad and Roku (sorry, but Sony says it's not coming to the Vita, as the service is "too complex" for the handheld).
All in all, it's a nice step forward, but considering the cost - and the required broadband connection - it's not yet the cord cutters dream some were hoping for. Sony hopes to bring the Vue to most of the top 50 American markets by the end of the year.
Nintendo held a surprise press conference today to drop what amounts to a bombshell on the game industry. The venerable Japanese publisher is partnering with countrymen DeNA to bring Nintendo's catalog of characters to smart devices. Nintendo and DeNA are also partnering to create a new membership service - replacing Club Nintendo - that will cross between the Wii U, 3DS, PC and mobile OS'.
Oh, and as you can see from the graphic below, Nintendo also casually announced their new console, codenamed 'NX.'
No one was expecting even a press conference from Nintendo today, much less such a major announcement. Nintendo says they won't just be porting existing games to smart devices, but creating new games, and adapting existing ones to touchscreen controls. We don't have a timetable on when these games will start hitting the market, but we're about ten weeks out from E3, so we may get some answers on that front then.
Fans and analysts have been clamoring for Nintendo to expand to mobile for years, and they've always said no. That move was largely seen as a way to protect their wholly owned platforms from being cannibalized by platforms they don't control. Something - or someone - changed the minds of Nintendo's higher ups, leading to this announcement. But they're not abandoning their own platforms, and they've already said that the new membership service will reward those who play Nintendo games across multiple platforms.
Oh, and then there's the revelation that the next Nintendo home console is being developed under the codename NX. Contrary to what some of the more...excitable outlets are reporting, this doesn't mean the end of the Wii U, but it may mean that it's end is in sight. Nintendo says they'll reveal more on the NX next year, so no launch is imminent.
Weíre getting calls on the hotline at the following link.
The city simulation talk continues further in this episode as I get to spend even more time with the game and my city (In-Game Chattington). But we do get to talk further about other games. Nateís back with us and has had plenty to play in the two weeks heís been away. One of those games happens to be one heís been looking forward to for a while. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number released this past week and Nate spent a good amount of time figuring out what he likes and what he doesnít about the game.
This is also the episode where we wish the best of luck to our very own ArJay as he heads to Atlanta for the Final Round fighting tournament. He has a few tournaments heíll be competing in and we hope to hear from him during this Saturdayís show on how things all went.
Reloaded Games, the studio behind APB Reloaded has announced their acquisition of mech shooter Hawken from original devs Adhesive Games.
Hawken was announced four years ago to a fair amount of buzz based almost entirely on it's debut trailer. The free-to-play game launched an open beta in 2012 before making it's way to Steam Early Access in early 2014. But while the servers remained up, the game itself had gone silent for the last several months, with no news from the dev, a complete lack of patches and even the eventual closure of the official forums.
It's only March, and the exodus from the holiday season has already begun!
Today Sony and Naughty Dog announced that Uncharted 4: A Thief's End will not hit the PS4 this holiday season as previously expected, and will instead drop in the spring of 2016.
There was an interesting bit in Naughty Dog's statement, which I've copied in part (bold mine)
After spending so many years with Nathan Drake, he means a lot to the team, and telling the climactic chapter of his adventures is a task we donít take lightly ó this game deserves every bit of the attention to detail, precise pacing, and nuanced storytelling Naughty Dog is known for. So weíve made the difficult choice of pushing the gameís release date. Giving us a few extra months will make certain that Uncharted 4: A Thiefís End not only meets the teamís high standards, but the high standards that gamers have come to expect from a Naughty Dog title.
Have I just not been paying that much attention, or is this the first time Sony is formally saying that Uncharted 4 would be the end of Drake's story? Obviously the "Thief's End" subtitle implied some finality for Drake, but they've implied that before.
Microsoft has quietly made all DLC packs for Titanfall available for free on the Xbox One and 360. You can hit this link to see the season passes for both Xbox versions listed as free, however the DLC is still listed as full price on the Origin store for the PC.
We're nearing the one year anniversary of Titanfall's launch, so this could be an anniversary deal that went live a bit early, or it could be a glitch. Either way, if you own the game on an Xbox platform and don't already own the DLC, you may as well grab it while it's free.
Pardon our dust again - the existing web host was insufficient for the amount of traffic being generated by any database calls, so we've migrated to a new host. If posts were lost, I apologize greatly - shouldn't be much that was lost, sometime from 1:15-2:15 PM CDT is when things would've been lost.
Today we look at Tormentum Dark Sorrow, a point and click adventure title from Polish studio OhNoo. Itís a dark and twisted world with a visual style reminiscent of hitting HR Geiger with Boris Vallejo. But do those pieces combine to make a great game?
Human Head Studios, best known for Prey has announced their new collaboration with Amazon Game Studios. Lost Within is a survival horror title slated for release on various Fire products, plus iPad and iPhone, this summer.
Based solely on the trailer, Lost Within doesn't look like a mobile game. If you had told me it was a downloadable title on the PC or any of the two active generations of consoles I wouldn't have batted an eye. Very few mobile games can make that claim. The focus of the game seems to be on cobbling together weapons when possible, and stealthily avoiding battles when not. Nothing beyond the above video has been publicly announced for the game.
Human Head is best known for Prey, but all of their recent press has revolved around its aborted sequel, Prey 2. Announced with much fanfare back in 2011, it soon after became a cautionary tale. Stories emerged that it had been canceled, with publisher Bethesda first issuing full denials, then slowly hedging those denials until they formally announced the game's cancellation last year. But the cancellation came only after the acrimony between developer and publisher was exposed in a number of postings, mostly from Human Head employees. It's also a reminder that no matter how good a game seems pre-release, the reality is often a very different matter.
Prepare yourself - the Cities: Skylines talk is coming. Sure, while the backlog is overflowing with options, the new stuff just isnít sinking its hooks into me. Save for Cities: Skylines. And it is quite the focus with this episode, and Iíll probably talk more about it in the next episode as well. Itís a great city builder and fills that hole that SimCity 5 left in me by not living up to its namesake.
While Skylines does take up a good chunk of the episode, we still have time to bring up the closing of the studio that made SimCity 5 as well as the horrible trailer released for another game dear to me, Rollercoaster Tycoon World. Not only that but we take a call to wrap up the episode and discuss a bit about Valveís entry into the VR ring - and weíre pretty happy about that.
In an absolutely shocking turn of events, Apple today announced their new wearable, and it's not named the iWatch. No, instead it's going by the boring old name of 'Apple Watch,' and it's pretty much what everyone was expecting.
The Apple Watch will be available in two different sizes - 38mm and 42mm - across three different lines. The base Apple Watch Sport ($349-$399) the mid-level Apple Watch ($549-$1099) and the super premium Apple Watch Edition ($10,000+). The Watch and Watch Edition units include the new sapphire crystal touch surface, which is supposed to be the most scratch- and damage-resistant facing ever used on commercial touch screens. All will be available in a number of different bands at launch, with more presumable coming all the time. Hardware will be available for pre-order starting April 10, and go on sale April 24.
If you've seen or read about any sort of wearables in the last year, you can guess the features of the Apple Watch. Customizable watch screens, email and text notifications, Siri-interactivity, Apple Pay usability and the like. The biggest selling point for many will be the fitness features, with this being touted as the ultimate version of the fitness band.
All Apple Watches will also need to sync with an iPhone running iOS 8.2 (available today), which limits them to iPhone 5,5c, 5s, 6 or 6 Plus for the time being. It also uses a proprietary charging cable (a disc that plugs into the back of the watch) but promises 18 hours of battery life.
So, you're getting a fitness health wearable and a communications notifier for $350, minimum. With the much hyped sapphire crystal screen only available on the $550 and up models. That's a lot, but new Apple devices are always expensive, and they almost always sell massive numbers. Strangely, the feature that seems like the biggest plus for me is one of the least hyped on tech sites: Apple Pay usability. Letting customers play for their purchases with the swipe of their wrist could be the next big thing. Imagine you're out for a jog or bike ride, and you can grab a coffee without having to take your wallet along or even take your phone out of your pocket or paying for takeout at the drivethru without pulling your phone out of it's cradle. None of the rest of the features sound all that amazing at the moment, but I imagine some creative devs will get some innovative apps up quickly.
It's not an earth moving announcement the way the iPhone or iPad were, and there will be a lot of people who simply don't want to go back to wearing a watch, much less an expensive one they have to charge every night. But there is a significant segment of the population who will buy this simply because Apple puts it out, and their designs nearly always influence the near future of commercial tech. I'm not smart enough to be able to see exactly where the Apple Watch is in two years, but I'd be willing to wager it's at the top of the smartwatch/wearable band heap just on the strength of design and brand loyalty alone.
Start getting the band back together. Harmonix has announced Rock Band 4 will be hitting the PS4 and XB1 this holiday season.
And the answer to your first two questions are yes, and a qualified yes. Firstly, you'll be able to get all of tracks you owned for previous Rock Band titles free of charge on the new game so long as you keep within your console family (PS3->PS4, 360->XB1). Since there is a bit of work required to port all of these thousands of tracks, they won't all be available at launch, but if you bought them on an older Rock Band title, you will get it for free on the new title when it launches. Secondly, Harmonix is working with both Sony and Microsoft to make sure any legacy instruments you have will work on the new game. They haven't yet nailed down how that will work - meaning what sort of adapters, if any will be needed - but they're aiming to make that happen.
Of course there will be new instruments available too - again, from Mad Catz - although the keyboard is being retired in favor of a more 'core' band experience. Hardware options will be kept pretty minimal, with the 'pro' instruments and similar high end widgets absent this time around. Harmonix want Rock Band 4 to be the platform from now on, so no yearly releases and arms races. You'll also notice that EA's name is nowhere to be found, and it seems like Harmonix is self publishing Rock Band 4.
Harmonix will be at PAX East starting tomorrow, and we'll learn more about the game in the coming months.
The main Maxis studio in Emeryville, CA has been shut down by owner and publisher EA. The studio came to prominence in the 90s on the strength of Sim City and subsequent Sim-related spinoffs.
Recent years had seen the studio's output drop, with only three titles developed primarily at the Emeryville studio hitting store shelves since 1994: Spore, Darkspore, and 2013's SimCity. Main development duties on arguably the studio's biggest hit - The Sims - had been shifted to EA's main Redwood City campus starting with Sims 3, and apparently only had limited duties on last year's Sims 4.
We should also not be shocked that such an announcement comes during GDC and just before PAX East, possibly the second biggest news cycle in gaming after E3. Publishers have done this before with studio closings in the hopes the news would pass under the public's radar.
WARNING! If you listen to this trailer, you WILL get the song stuck in your head. In fact, you may find yourself compelled to hum the song softly, or even start singing. Truly, the devs behind Magicka 2 are evil incarnate.
Magicka 2 will be released May 26 on the PC and PS4 at a cost of $14.99. Not a vampire.