Well, the numbers were close that the Wall Street Journal posted last week on Minecraft's sale to Microsoft. The popular first person building game sold for a whopping $2.5B to Microsoft. Mojang's founders will be leaving in the deal.
This all being said, Phil Spencer wrote that: "We will continue to make Minecraft available across all platforms, including iOS, Android, Playstation, in addition to Xbox and PC.
Lost in all of this was reasoning. Why did Notch want to sell off Mojang? He answered that in his blog today:
I'm leaving Mojang
I donít see myself as a real game developer. I make games because itís fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I donít make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits, and I donít try to change the world. Minecraft certainly became a huge hit, and people are telling me itís changed games. I never meant for it to do either. Itís 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, Iíve had so much fun with work. I wasnít 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 didnít understand. I tweeted this in frustration. Later on, I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didnít have the connection to my fans I thought I had. Iíve become a symbol. I donít want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I donít understand, that I donít want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. Iím not an entrepreneur. Iím not a CEO. Iím 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, Iíll probably abandon it immediately.
Considering the public image of me already is a bit skewed, I donít expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I wonít feel a responsibility to read them.
Iím aware this goes against a lot of what Iíve said in public. I have no good response to that. Iím also aware a lot of you were using me as a symbol of some perceived struggle. Iím not. Iím a person, and Iím 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 canít be responsible for something this big. In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, itís belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change.
Itís not about the money. Itís about my sanity.
This brings to light the more recent trials of developers in gaming: a hostile vocal minority in gaming that is more abusive than constructive. I can see the reasoning for Notch wanting out and wish him well in his future endeavors.
The second week of Nintendo's Super Smashing Sale continues with sales of games from The Legend of Zelda, Mega Man, Kid Icarus, F-Zero and Fire Emblem franchises. There's even a little SEGA lovin' with Sonic the Hedgehog. Titles such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Fire Emblem Awakening can be had for 38% off if you've been holding out for a price drop. And Telsagrad for WiiU eShop is now available to purchase.
Nintendo WiiU eShop
Publisher: Rain Games
Developer: Rain Games
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Original Price: $7.99, Sale Price: $4.99)
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (Original Price: $7.99, Sale Price: $4.99) F-Zero (Original Price: $7.99, Sale Price: $4.99) Mega Man x (Original Price: $7.99, Sale Price: $4.99) Mega Man X2 (Original Price: $7.99, Sale Price: $4.99) Kid Icarus (Original Price: $4.99, Sale Price: $3.49)
Nintendo WiiU Demos
Publisher: Neko Entertainment
Developer: Upper Byte Studio
Nintendo 3DS eShop
Scott has, as usual, returned home from PAX bearing the gift of pox and illness for us all. There are nearly as many strains of plague attacking his system as there were indie games and discussion panels for him to lost track of. He had a swell time, allegedly, so I'm sure it was worth it in the end. He has also returned having borne witness to a long list of desirable and sadly far-distant games, most of which we'd love to own and cherish right this very minute. Until we can, rambling stories from a sick man will have to do.
Ubisoft has released a (relatively) quick <5 minute video showcasing a co-op mission in Assassins' Creed Unity. A lot of people were impressed by the co-op demo at E3, and it's nice to see a more nuts & bolts look at the missions.
Assassins' Creed Unity will be released November 11 for the Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC
An absolute blockbuster of a gaming deal may be on the horizon, according to a source speaking to the Wall Street Journal. The paper is reporting that Microsoft is nearing completion of a deal to acquire Minecraft developer Mojang for $2B. None of the principles are commenting on the rumor at this time.
On the surface, the deal doesn't make a ton of sense to me. Minecraft is a legitimate phenomenon, and you could make an argument that it's the most important video game of the last decade. So it's a huge deal, but is it a $2B huge deal? Unlike a lot of other blockbuster games, there doesn't seem to be a ton of obvious expansion potential in the near term. You're not going to annualize Minecraft in the same way you do a Call of Duty or an Assassins' Creed. Meanwhile, Mojang had already begun tapping into non-gaming merchandising.
According to one source, Microsoft thinks that it can expand Minecraft's reach in both the game and licensed property. Currently, a Minecraft movie is already in the works, and Mojang has already licensed books, toys and a plethora of other merchandise.
The next most obvious reason for the deal would be to lock up future Minecrafts on Microsoft platforms. But even that has flaws. A theoretical Minecraft 2 would be a huge seller, but how many of the game's devotees would migrate to it? And would that be enough to get otherwise recalcitrant people to invest in an Xbox One or a Windows 9 PC or a Surface tablet over one of their respective competitors?
All in all, it feels to me like a deal being made for the sake of making a splash, and without a clear synergy or need behind it. It could turn out great, or it could being a repeat of the Rare deal.
So you’d almost think there’s some big game coming out this week that everyone was getting out of the way of. Of course I’m talking about the release of Mega Man X5 as a PS1 Classic. If you’re not planning on playing MM however there is a pretty nice GTA sale going on, but that’s really about it. The full update from the PlayStation Blog:
Destiny Digital Guardian Edition ($89.99)
NHL 15 ($59.99)
Destiny Digital Guardian Edition ($89.99)
NHL 15 ($59.99)
Mega Man X5 ($5.99) [PS1]
Alawar Farm Frenzy Bundle ($5.99) [PS1]
Grand Theft Auto 3 PS3 $2.49
Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars PS Vita/PSP $4.99
Grand Theft Auto Episodes From Liberty City PS3 $5.99
Grand Theft Auto IV PS3 $4.99
Grand Theft Auto V PS3 $29.99
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories PS Vita/PSP $4.99
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories PS3 $4.99
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas PS3 $3.99
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City PS3 $2.49
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories PS Vita/PSP $2.49
The new Batman title from Rocksteady was set to originally release in October of this year. Fitting since the game takes place during Halloween. However, it was delayed just a few weeks after the announcement to "sometime in 2015".
That "sometime" looks to be June 2nd, 2015. And look, it comes with two different editions to pick from!
Developer Netherrealm and publisher WBIE have announced that Mortal Kombat X will be released April 14. The quadra-armed boss Goro will be returning to the game as a pre-order bonus after a nearly decade long absence from the series. MK X will be coming to both last- and current-gen platforms.
We have a different point of view at the following link.
There was most definitely a show last week, but there was no Scott to host it or to help it on its way from the studio to the internet. He's back now, and all is right with the world, so we apologize for the lateness of the post and the strangeness of the episode it contains.
First and foremost, I'd like to apologize for not posting last week's Nintendo Download. I had a busy work schedule, so I was unable to get that out to you guys.
Now, to the good stuff: Lots of sales. In particular, Nintendo of America is using the month of September as a "Super Smashing Sale" month. Every week from now until October 2, a set of first-party titles across both systems will be on sale at 33% off, based on characters present in the Super Smash Bros franchise. And the first week centers on Mario and Little Mac. The titles will be switched out every week, so make sure to check next Thursday for a new set of titles.
On a lighter note, Nintendo 3DS owners can now sample a demo of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call.
In celebration of their recent 10th anniversary, Rising Star Games is holding a sale for the entire month of September, in which a variety of PlayStation Network and Nintendo eShop titles will be on sale.
The first of the sale will start with PlayStation Network. From September 2-16, the following titles will be on sale at 70% off:
Deadly Premonition: Directorís Cut (£6.00/Ä7.50)
Deadly Premonition: Directorís Cut Ė Gold Edition (£6.00/Ä7.50)
The King Of Fighters XIII (£3.60/Ä4.50)
Rune Factory Oceans (£7.20/Ä9.00)
Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition (£6.00/Ä8.00)
Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God (£9.60/Ä11.20)
Virtueís Last Reward (£8.25/Ä9.90)
Virtueís Last Reward: Complete Collection (£8.25/Ä9.90)
Deadly Premonition: Directorís Cut ($5.99)
Deadly Premonition: Directorís Cut Ė Gold Edition ($5.99)
Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition ($2.99)
Then from September 11-24, the following Nintendo 3DS eShop titles will be on sale between 50-75% off:
BIT TRIP SAGA (£7.20/Ä7.99)
Hakuoki: Memories of the Shinsengumi (£11.99/Ä11.99)
Hometown Story (£14.99/Ä14.99)
Virtueís Last Reward (£9.99/Ä12.49)
Girlsí Fashion Shoot (£7.99/Ä7.99)
Beyblade: Evolution (£9.99/Ä9.99)
Shifting World (£7.20/Ä7.99)
Harvest Moon: Tale of Two Towns (£8.99/Ä9.99)
Jewel Master: Cradle of Rome 2 (£4.49/Ä4.99)
Jewel Master: Cradle of Egypt 2 (£4.49/Ä4.99)
Super Black Bass 3D (£4.49/Ä4.99)
Girlsí Fashion Shoot ($7.98)
Beyblade: Evolution ($9.98)
Jewel Master: Cradle of Rome 2 (3.74)
Jewel Master: Cradle of Egypt 2 ($3.74)
Super Black Bass 3D ($3.74)
In addition to checking Rising Star Games' website for the full details, some things of importance to note is that PlayStation Plus members will not be able to use their 10% discount on these titles. And all PlayStation Portable titles listed above are compatible with PlayStation Vita.
Itís PS Plus free games week, so that alone makes this a good update. I wonít reiterate whatís below completely, but Velocity 2X people, this is a good thing. As for regular releases there isnít too much, the Vita and PS3 get a free to play game called Deathmatch Village, so that could be cool. Otherwise thatís about it on the purely digital front, aside from Mega Man X4 coming out as a PS1 classic. There are some pretty nice sales this week, some in the sub-$5 range for retail games. The full update from the PlayStation Blog:
Velocity 2X ($19.99, Cross-Buy, Free for Plus Members)
Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate ($59.99)
Deathmatch Village (Free to Play)
Mega Man X4 ($5.99) [PS1]
Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate ($49.99)
Epic Adventures Bundle ($28.99)
Velocity 2X ($19.99, Cross-Buy, Free for Plus Members)
Donít Starve: Giant Edition ($14.99, Cross-Buy)
Joe Danger ($10.99, Free for Plus
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair ($39.99)
Mahjong Gold ($4.99)
Mega Man X4 ($5.99) [PS1]
Deathmatch Village (Free to Play)
Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate ($39.99)
Velocity 2X (PS4/Vita) [Free]
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3/Vita) [Free]
Joe Danger (Vita) [Free]
Sportsfriends (PS4/PS3) [Free]
Hoard (PS3) [Free]
TxK (Vita) [Free]
Alice: Madness Returns Ultimate Edition PS3 $6.29
Army Of Two The Devilís Cartel PS3 $4.89
Battlefield 3 PS3 $4.89
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 PS3 $4.89
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam PS3 $4.89
Crysis PS3 $4.89
Crysis 2 PS3 $4.89
Dead Space PS3 $4.89
Dead Space 2 PS3 $4.89
Deadly Premonition: The Directorís Cut PS3 $5.39
Deadly Premonition: The Directorís Cut Ultimate Edition PS3 $5.39
EA Sports UFC PS3 $31.49
Fight Night Champion PS3 $4.89
Fuse PS3 $4.89
Mass Effect Trilogy PS3 $13.99
Mirrorís Edge PS3 $4.89
SSX PS3 $5.24
Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition PS3 $2.69
Alice: Madness Returns Ultimate Edition PS3 $6.99
Army Of Two The Devilís Cartel PS3 $6.99
Battlefield 3 PS3 $6.99
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 PS3 $6.99
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam PS3 $6.99
Crysis PS3 $6.99
Crysis 2 PS3 $6.99
Dead Space PS3 $6.99
Dead Space 2 PS3 $6.99
Deadly Premonition: The Directorís Cut PS3 $5.99
Deadly Premonition: The Directorís Cut Ultimate Edition PS3 $5.99
Lets get this out of the way. The game I'm talking about today, Runers, was developed by Lets Get Kraken. They get points just for being so blatant in their punning. But they've also created a game that looks pretty interesting.
As with many indie games, LGK is mashing together a bunch of different genres and mechanics in the hope that it becomes a 'peanut butter & chocolate' match made in heaven. In this case they're taking a top-down shooter, tossing in Magicka-like mix-n-match spells, and throwing the whole shebang into a procedurally generated descending dungeon. Create a character from a large selection of classes, races and traits, then descend to fight off the hordes on your way to a succession of boss battles.
A pre-TGS press conference by Sony has revealed that Atlus' Persona 5 won't make it's announced 2014 release date. That's the bad news. Here's the good news: the game will be coming to the PS4 in addition to the PS3. While I don't have any real experience with the franchise, it's one of the bigger JRPG franchises, and has a hugely rabid fanbase. We don't know when in 2015 it will drop, although I presume it will come to Japan before it gets a North American or European launch.
"I'm gonna shoot the devil in the face." - Johnny Gat
I love the Saints' Row series. The developers don't give a crap about realism, or grounding. They don't bother will 'real' weapons or cars. They make a game where your gangster character is so over the top he/she becomes a mega celebrity, then President of the US, then the god-emperor of an alien empire. And I love it. The story continues this January with a standalone expansion.
Gat out of Hell has The Boss sucked into hell to marry the devil's daughter Jezebel, so his loyal friends Johnny Gat and Kenzie have to follow him into The Pit to save the day. The game will feature 2 player co-op, and let you switch between Gat and Kenzie when playing solo. The map will be about half the size of the Steelport seen in Saints' Row 4. You'll have the requisite new weapons and toys, including the "Arm Chairmageddon", a flying recliner loaded with guns.
Saints' Row: Gat Out of Hell will be released January 27 for the 360, XB1, PS3, PS4 and PC. It will retail for $20.
On a Japanese language Nintendo Direct broadcast, the company announced a new hardware revision of the 3DS. The new 3DS (and 3DS XL) will include a more powerful processor, built in NFC support, a larger screen with better 3D, snap-on cover plates to customize the system, and new buttons and stick.
On the last point, Nintendo has added new ZR/ZL buttons on the top of the console, inside of the existing R/L buttons. A new 'C' stick control nubbin has been added to the face as well, and the other buttons have been recolored in the same scheme as the SNES buttons.
At the same presentation, Nintendo announced that Xenoblade Chronicles will be coming exclusively to the new 3DS/3DS XL. So far Nintendo is just calling this the "New 3DS", but if they're making software exclusive to the new hardware, they may be rolling out a more specific name later on.
The new 3DS' will launch in Japan on October 11. Releases for Europe and North America will be announced at a later date, but they won't be out this calendar year outside of Japan.
Over at IGN, Bioware has unveiled the co-op multiplayer component of Dragon Age Inquisition. Let me assuage some fears right off the bat: multiplayer is walled off in it's own section away from the campaign.
Matches in multiplayer are designed to run for 20-30 minutes, and has your squad of four running through a trio of MP campaigns. Each campaign is randomly generated from a pool of 10 or so sections, each of which can be additionally randomized. Players will choose from a roster of 12 characters, four each from the game's three core classes (Legionnaire, Reaver and Mage).
From the video and text releases, it sounds like there will be an unlocking scheme similar to the Mass Effect 3 multi. You get currency and items as you play, but you don't necessarily get to pick which upgrades you earn.
I was a big fan of the Mass Effect 3 multi. If the Dragon Age co-op is built around similar themes and mechanics, I'm in.
Dragon Age Inquisition will be released on November 18 in NA and Nove 21 in Europe for all the usual suspects.
Nintendo of America plans to grace Mario Kart 8 owners with two new DLC packs starting later this fall and next spring, including the new software update that will release for the game tomorrow, mind you. Starting at that time (Aug 27), gamers will have the ability to advance purchase these DLC packs, either through Mario Kart 8's new shop icon, or Nintendo eShop. The packs can be purchased seperately at $7.99 each, or both as an $11.99 bundle.
The first pack, "The Legend of Zelda X Mario Kart 8", will be available in November and includes Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach and Link, 4 vehicles and 8 courses. The second, "Animal Crossing X Mario Kart 8", arrives next year in May 2015, and includes Isabella and the Villager from Animal Crossing, Dry Bowser, 4 vehicles and 8 courses. If both packs are purchased, you'll gain immediate access to 8 colored yoshi and 8 colored shyguy.
Note: Be sure to download the software update to get the in-game shop icon.
Nintendo of America is sending word today that Hyrule Warriors can be pre-ordered from select retailers to earn a particular costume set.
If pre-ordering through GameStop, you'll receive a Ocarina of Time costume set, Best Buy a Skyward Sword costume set, and a Twilight Princess costume set from Amazon. And during the period of September 26 - October 23, if the game is registered at Club Nintendo at the time, you'll earn additional DLC in the form of two downloadable costumes for Ganondorf.
Hyrule Warriors will see release on September 26, 2014.