Train2Game News: Steam reaches new milestone

SteamSteam has had an incredible year this year with their Valve digital distribution service with a rise of 30% of users.

Sixty five million users are now on Steam marking a new milestone for the company. This number has been reached with thanks to 2013 seein the introduction of Family Sharing, Steam Trading Cards, Early Access and the introduction of Linux support.

Steam also passed it’s 10th birthday this year with many more in sight thanks to the announcements of the company’s movement into gaming hardware with the 2014 launch of various Steam Machines, its new operating system SteamOS, and a Steam Controller featuring dual trackpads and haptic feedback.

“The main goal of Steam has always been to increase the quality of the user’s experience by reducing the distance between content creators and their audience,” Valve boss Gabe Newell explained.

“As the platform grows, our job is to adapt to the changing needs of both the development and user communities. In the coming year, we plan to make perhaps our most significant collaborations with both communities through the Steam Dev Days and the Steam Machines beta.”

I imagine that Valve and Steam will continue to go from strength to strength through their eleventh year and on wards.

Train2Game News: The Walking Dead Season Two announced

The Walking Dead season 2Telltale Games and Robert Kirkman, the Eisner Award-winning creator and writer of The Walking Dead, have officially revealed The Walking Dead: Season Two – A Telltale Games Series.

The Walking Dead: Season Two – A Telltale Games Series, is now available for pre-order on PC/Mac via the Telltale Games Online Store as well as Steam.  The second season will make its highly-anticipated premiere later this year on PC/Mac, home consoles and iOS, with additional platforms to be announced.

The Walking Dead: Season Two – A Telltale Games Series will continue the story of Clementine, a young girl orphaned at the outset of the undead apocalypse, now left to her own devices to seek safety and survive in a world gone mad.  Now assuming the role of an ordinary child, players will struggle to outwit both the dead and the living in situations that will test their morals and control the flow of the story through their decisions and actions.

“The terrifying nature of Robert Kirkman’s world has allowed Telltale to push the boundaries of interactive drama in video games to a place that has had fans anxious to know what will happen next in this series,” said Dan Connors, Co-Founder and CEO of Telltale Games. “Today we can finally lift the veil, albeit only a little, on how this story will continue, and we’ll soon be putting players in the shoes of a lead role that will challenge their expectations of how to survive in a world where no one can be trusted.”

Expected to premiere later this year, The Walking Dead: Season Two – A Telltale Games Series will consist of five episodes that will be released for digital download over the course of the season and will conclude in 2014.  Players can save 10% off of the purchase price of the PC/Mac versions with a pre-order of the season pass, giving them access to all five episodes when ordering through the Telltale Online Store, or through the Steam digital distribution service.

To date, The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series has sold more than 21 million episodes worldwide, earning more than 90 Game of the Year honors from outlets including Metacritic, USA Today, Wired, Spike TV VGAs, Yahoo!, The Telegraph, Mashable, Polygon, Destructoid and GamesRadar, and was also the recipient of two BAFTA Video Games Awards for Best Story and Best Mobile Game.

Train2Game News: BioShock Infinite DLC release date

BioShock Infinite Burial at Sea2K and Irrational Games announced that BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1, the second add-on content pack for the award-winning BioShock Infinite, will be available for download worldwide starting November 12.

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1, developed by Irrational Games, the studio behind the original BioShock and BioShock Infinite, features Rapture as you’ve never seen it before – a shining jewel at the bottom of the ocean, built almost entirely from scratch in the BioShock Infinite game engine. Join Booker and Elizabeth in a film noir-style story that places them in a shining, pristine Rapture on the eve of its fall from grace. Explore the underwater city, try your hand at a grift or two, and even encounter some old “friends” from the original BioShock.

The combat experience has been rebalanced and reworked with a greater emphasis on stealth and resource management that merges the best parts of BioShock and BioShock Infinite. It includes a new weapon, an old favorite weapon from the original BioShock, the return of the weapon wheel, a new Plasmid, new Gear, and Tears.

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1 will be available via online marketplaces on all participating platforms starting November 12, and can be purchased separately for $14.99, or as part of the BioShock Infinite Season Pass. The Season Pass, which is currently available for purchase, contains $35 of playable content for $19.99, including both Burial at Sea episodes, the previously released Clash in the Clouds add-on pack, as well as the Early Bird Special Pack that has powerful weapon upgrades, exclusive gold weapon skins, and infusion bottles to upgrade player abilities.

“This is a love letter to the fans, but it’s also the beginning of a story that will give gamers a new perspective on the BioShock universe,” said Ken Levine, creative director of Irrational Games. “With Burial at Sea, we built a Rapture not from BioShock and BioShock Infinite scraps and pieces, but with environments almost entirely crafted from scratch.”

Still in development at Irrational Games, and also included in the Season Pass, is BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 2, which brings gamers something they have been asking for since they first met the character of Elizabeth: the chance to see the world through her eyes and face challenges as she would. In this second episode of Burial at Sea, players will experience a new storyline, and a new stealth-oriented gameplay experience.

Train2Game News: 2013 Golden Joystick award winners

Golden JoystickThe Golden Joystick awards were held recently in London and the list of winners have now been announced.

The majority of the awards you could expect with the one surprising exception of the winner of the Most Wanted category being The Witcher 3 over Xbox One and PlayStation 4. I’m not sure whether this says more about the next generation consoles or about the anticipation for The Witcher.

Other highlights include Oculus Rift being voted Innovation of the Year and Valve’s Steam service being named Platform of the Year. Activision’s Call of Duty was also inducted into the Hall of Fame.

A full list of the winners can be found below:

Best Newcomer
The Last of Us

Most Wanted in association with Playfire
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Best Indie Game
Mark of the Ninja

Best Visual Design
BioShock Infinite

Best Multiplayer
Payday 2

Best Gaming Moment in association with Absolute Radio
Far Cry 3 – The Definition of Insanity

Studio of the Year in association with MPG Universal
Naughty Dog

Innovation of the Year in association with T3
Oculus Rift

Best Storytelling
The Last of Us

Best Online Game
World of Tanks

Best Handheld Game
Assassin’s Creed 3: Liberation

YouTube Gamer Award in association with YouTube
Yogscast

Best Gaming Platform in association with Digital Spy
Steam

Best Mobile/Tablet Game of the Year
XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Game of the Year
Grand Theft Auto V

Hall of Fame
Activison: Call of Duty

Lifetime Achievement
Ken Levine

 

Train2Game News: Jonathan Ross joins Microsoft

'The Jonathan Ross ShowMicrosoft have announced that TV presenter Jonathan Ross has been brought in to the company to be a consultant.

The announcement was made last night at an Xbox One event held last night in London, Ross will function as a consultant, advising various Microsoft teams in the UK. What projects Ross will be helping with however is yet to be announced.

“We wanted to change our thinking,” said Microsoft corporate VP Phil Harrison following the announcement.

“We wanted to do was to bring in new talent that would challenge the way we build games and the way we think about what an audience is, to think about what is entertainment, and broaden the concept of gaming to maybe blur the distinctions about what is a traditional game is and what a traditional television programme or what is a traditional linear media.”

Jonathan Ross is no stranger to the video game world having previously released Catcha Catcha Aliens on mobile devices with his own gaming company, Hotsauce.

I look forward to what Jonathan Ross will be bringing to Microsoft in the near future.

Train2Game News: SpecialEffect reach fund raising goal

SpecialEffect SpecialEffects recent crowd funding project, Playing with your eyes, has been a success. The money has been raised to purchase a new eye controlled controller.

The fund raising project on Gambitious for SpecialEffect to purchase a controller for disabled gamers to play the games we all love with their eyes is coming to a close today and the charity has hit their goal!

Thanks to all the donations SpecialEffect received, the eye-controlled gaming system will be able to help more of the increasing number of people contacting them quicker than before. The equipment will be used with a wide range of people over it’s lifetime and bring many gamers with disabilities unimaginable joy.

A statement featured on the SpecialEffect website has this message for everyone “Bless my cotton socks – you did it! THANK YOU to all you fantastic people who’ve dug deep and donated to our charity crowdfunder and raised nearly £7,000 for a very special controller to enable disabled gamers to join in the fun of playing video games, just using their eyes.

We’re honoured that so many people – including Jonathan Ross, Tim Schafer and Tom Watson – have put their weight behind the campaign. The eye-gaze system it funds is going to make a huge difference to a whole bunch of people.

You can find out more about SpecialEffect and the work they do by visiting http://www.specialeffect.org.uk/

Train2Game News: UK Top 20 Games – 28.10.13

Batman and DeathstrokeThe third Batman: Arkham game has followed in the footsteps of it’s predecessors debuting at number one, selling almost the exact amount of games that Batman: Arkham Aslyum sold in it’s first week. The all-time best-selling Batman game there has been in the UK however is Lego Batman: The Videogame from 2008. Further down the chart Ubisoft debut at number fifteen with Rocksmith 2014 Edition and EA debut at eighteen with The Sims 3: Into the Future.

All formats

Week ending 26 October 2013

POS.  TITLE  PUBLISHER  LAST
WEEK 
1 BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE
2 GRAND THEFT AUTO V ROCKSTAR 1
3 FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 2
4 SKYLANDERS SWAP FORCE SKYLANDERS 3
5 POKEMON X NINTENDO 4
6 POKEMON Y NINTENDO 5
7 MINECRAFT: XBOX 360 EDITION MICROSOFT 7
8 LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 19
9 MOSHI MONSTERS: KATSUMA UNLEASHED MIND CANDY
10 JUST DANCE 2014 UBISOFT 9
11 DISNEY INFINITY DISNEY INFINITY 10
12 F1 2013 CODEMASTERS 8
13 BEYOND TWO SOULS SONY COMPUTER ENT. 6
14 LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 12
15 ROCKSMITH 2014 EDITION UBISOFT
16 MAX PAYNE 3 ROCKSTAR 14
17 TOM CLANCY’S SPLINTER CELL: BLACKLIST UBISOFT
18 THE SIMS 3: INTO THE FUTURE EA GAMES
19 ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW LEAF NINTENDO 17
20 SONIC: LOST WORLD NINTENDO 11
< previous week
Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2013 UKIE Ltd

These charts cannot be reproduced either in print or online without obtaining permission from Ukie. If you wish to reproduce the charts in print or online, please contact david.smith@ukie.org.uk for the appropriate license.

Train2Game News: Ken Levine to be honoured at Golden Joystick Awards

Ken Levine Train2Game blog imageThe Golden Joystick Awards presented by Green Man Gaming have announced that Ken Levine, BioShock Creative Director and Co-Founder of Irrational Games, will be bestowed with a special Lifetime Achievement award at this year’s ceremony.

For the first time in its 31 year history, the Golden Joystick Awards will honour an individual for their lifetime’s work by celebrating Levine’s creative accomplishments ranging from 1999’s System Shock 2 to 2013’s BioShock Infinite.

Recognised as a luminary of the gaming world, Levine led the creation of the five-million-unit-selling, multiple-game-of-the-year-winning BioShock. As the highest-rated first-person-shooter of all time, the masterpiece helped spark the ‘games as art’ debate. Levine’s latest game, BioShock Infinite, released in March this year, has already won 88 awards and has sold more than four million units to date.

Described by legendary film director Guillermo del Toro as ‘one of the best world creators in any of the visual forms’, Levine is also penning a screenplay based on the sci-fi tale Logan’s Run for Warner Bros.

Upon hearing the news, Levine took a moment to contemplate the time he has spent in the industry: “In most fields, people begin their careers being inspired by others. In turn, they hopefully end up inspiring others. The great thing about the still-maturing nature of video games is you get to be inspired by the work of novices and veterans alike. We’re all figuring out day by day exactly what the medium is capable of.”

Tim Clark, Group Senior Editor – Golden Joysticks and Future Games says: “From spaceships infected with extraterrestrial intelligence to the brutal politics of a city beyond the clouds, Ken Levine’s games transport players to new worlds that are as rich as they are dark. Best known for the critically-acclaimed BioShock series, his exploration of player choice and consequence, as well as his dizzying imaginative design work and storytelling, continues to be a huge influence on game makers around the world. As this year’s BioShock Infinite proved, Levine is one of the most interesting creators working in games – and its fitting that he should be the inaugural winner of our Lifetime Achievement award.”

The Golden Joystick Awards are the world’s most popular and credible games awards and celebrate the very best in the gaming industry. Levine was selected for the honour by a group of gaming experts made up from Future’s enviable portfolio of games brands, including CVG, GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, Official PlayStation Magazine, Edge and PC Gamer. The award will be in addition to the 15 fiercely contested gamer-voted categories, including Most Wanted in association with Playfire, Best Gaming Moment in association with Absolute Radio, Best Gaming Platform in association with Digital Spy and The YouTube Gamer Award.

Levine has just wrapped up his work on BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1, the new add-on content pack for BioShock Infinite and is currently working on BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 2, which brings gamers something they have been asking for since they first met the character of Elizabeth: the chance to see the world through her eyes and face challenges as Elizabeth would.

The Golden Joystick Awards will take place at The Westminster Park Plaza on Friday October 25, 2013. For more information on the Golden Joystick Awards, visit http://www.goldenjoystick.com

Train2Game News: Nokia Lumia 2520 Tablet

Nokia Lumia 2520Nokia has announced their very first tablet. The Nokia Lumia 2520 which runs Microsoft’s Windows RT 8.1

The Nokia Lumia 2520 is ideal for life on the move, with high definition 1080p, 10.1-inch screen is made using Gorilla Glass 2 for toughness, and has been made to give less reflection than other tablets in the marketplace, a superior brightness range to see your content in different lighting environments, as well as a wide-viewing angle, for sharing or presenting.

The components, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, were selected for flawless performance from the touch-screen OS, without soaking up the battery. The system is designed to selectively cut down power consumption when it’s not needed.

While it’s running a full computer operating system, the Lumia 2520’s battery is capable of such feats as playing video for ten hours non-stop without a charge. The battery also offers a quick start with its ultra-fast charging time. It can go from zero to 80 per-cent charged in an hour.

On the back, there’s a high quality 6.7-megapixel camera with ZEISS optics and an f1.9 aperture that delivers great low light performance. This is supported by two new apps from Nokia – Storyteller and Video Director, which will help you make the most of the media you capture and create. On the front, a secondary 2-megapixel camera allows for crystal clear video calls.

The Windows RT 8.1 operating system offers a complete Microsoft Outlook and Office experience, preinstalled, at no extra cost. Also, from Nokia, you’ll find a new version of HERE Maps, making this the first tablet with a true offline mapping capability. There’s also Nokia Music onboard, for free streaming and offline Mixes.

The Nokia Lumia 2520 is estimated to be £399 and be released this quarter but nothing has yet been confirmed.

Train2Game News: New Apple iPad’s

Apple LogoApple has unveiled their new iPad Air and the latest version of its smaller iPad Mini line, both of which sport Apple’s 64-bit A7 processor.

The new iPad Air’s biggest selling point is it a smaller form factor and is about 20 per cent thinner than the fouth generation iPad, but still boasts a 9.7 inch screen. It is one of the lightest tablets in the world at only one pound in weight.

The A7 chip made its debut with the iPhone 5S, and Apple claims it provides “twice the CPU and graphics performance” of the last iPad. The new processor also supports OpenGL ES version 3.0.

Both models also have the same M7 motion coprocessor as the iPhone 5S, which tracks accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass data, and a 2048×1536 resolution retina display. Both new devices also come with an iSight 5 megapixel camera, and run iOS 7.

The iPad Air is due on shelves November 1st at a $399-to-$699 price tag. The iPad mini should follow later in the month for $529. Apple have also dropped the price of the current iPad mini to $299.