Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 20.09.13

Andrew WilsonIt’s the end of the week so it is time for the industry news round up.

Electronic Arts’ exhaustive search for a new CEO led it to promote from within after all. The publisher today announced that executive VP of EA Sports Andrew Wilson is now the company’s CEO, replacing the seat left vacant by John Riccitiello’s resignation in March. EA executive chairman (and a former CEO of the company himself) Larry Probst will stay on as executive chairman for an undetermined length of time in order to assist Wilson with the transition to his new role.

Shinji Mikami, the father of survival horror, is back to direct The Evil Within, a game embodying the meaning of pure survival horror. Highly-crafted environments, horrifying anxiety, and an intricate story weave together to create an immersive world that will bring players to the height of tension. The Evil Within is in development for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC and is slated for release in 2014. A new trailer has been released for the game. If you are over eighteen and aren’t of a nervous disposition you can watch the trailer here, http://youtu.be/Z4WqOQTxisM

Blue Manchu is happy to announce that Card Hunter is finally available for all to play at www.cardhunter.com. Created in collaboration with legendary Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield, Card Hunter is Irrational Games co-founder Jonathan Chey’s first game since BioShock. Its unique mix of card collecting, board gaming and fantasy role-playing is set to reinvigorate the collectible card gaming scene. Card Hunter is a free to play game.

Jasper Smith, CEO of PlayJam, the company behind the highly anticipated micro games console – GameStick, confirmed a Global on-sale release date for the device of Tuesday 29th October 2013. Retailers GameStop, GAME, and Amazon will partner for the launch with additional outlets in Canada, Europe and the Middle East receiving stock prior to the end of year Holiday season. The console, which broke onto the games scene in January of this year following a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, has moved from paper to production in just 9 months.

Game Lab Social, a vibrant co-working space for creatives, is pleased to announce the opening of a new studio space in Leamington Spa designed to foster creativity, collaboration and knowledge sharing. As the vision of industry veterans Ollie Clarke and Steve Stopps and supported by Warwick District Council, Game Lab Social will open a space to work with local talent in specifically created workshops, on-site training and access to marketing, pitching and monetization expertise. Game Lab Social will also work to talent match, combining developer skills to create new development teams with the business infrastructure in place to support burgeoning talent, including graphic design, accounting and legal services.

Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 03.05.13

GameStickIt’s the end of the week and it is time for the Train2Game news round up!

Playjam, the team behind the much anticipated GameStick have released a new product ´explainer´ video. The product came under attack when people felt it didn’t live up to expectations. The console is not yet released however and only developers have had hands on. You can see their explainer video here: http://youtu.be/QlNjIzNZh4o

Gazillion Entertainment will be kicking off a Marvel Heroes “Iron Man 3” Open Beta Weekend beginning on Saturday, May 4 through to Monday May 6. This is to coincide with the release of the film. As part of the “Iron Man 3” Open Beta Weekend, new players who participate will be able to select an Avenger as their starting hero – including Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America and Black Widow. In order access the Marvel Heroes “Iron Man 3” Open Beta Weekend, players should register now at www.MarvelHeroes.com. As the weekend approaches, an email will be sent with download instructions.

In further Marvel news prepare to Hero Up this autumn, when LEGO Marvel Super Heroes puts players in control of their favourite Super Heroes from the Marvel Universe. With more than one hundred memorable characters to choose from, each with their own unique powers and abilities, players are in for a brick-smashing adventure. In a new video released today, you’ll get a sneak peek at a few members of the Amazing, Mighty and Uncanny (hint) team who join forces to stop an array of Marvel villains. You can enjoy the trailer, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYAXHqCM-b4

Now for further LEGO news, The LEGO Group proudly announce that their latest, action-packed free mobile game LEGO Star Wars The Yoda Chronicles will be available to play on iOS devices as well as on the official LEGO website from May the Fourth 2013. This is of course, unofficially, Star Wars Day. Questing with Yoda or Count Dooku, players can choose to join the Light Side or the Dark Side in this new game. The LEGO Star Wars The Yoda Chronicles story and game intertwines with the 2013 LEGO Star Wars novelty products in a mix of real time laser battles, intricate dungeon crawling, lightsaber duels and tense space combat high above Coruscant.

Finally, Perfect World Entertainment Inc. and Cryptic Studios are proud to announce that one of the most anticipated free MMORPG’s of 2013, Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter, is officially in Open Beta. Free to download and play, Neverwinter is built for gamers who crave more action combat, adventure and glory out of MMOs. The major milestone of Open Beta marks the beginning of unrestricted access to Neverwinter and its content creation system, the Foundry, along with no further character wipes. For more information about Neverwinter and to begin playing the Open Beta now, please visit the official website: www.playneverwinter.com/

Train2Game News: Microsoft analyst comments on next Xbox

XboxPreviously, on the Train2Game blog, we reported rumours, that the next Xbox may have to always be connected to the internet. It seems, as time goes on, those rumours may be true.

Microsoft analyst Paul Thurrot has revealed that Microsoft will reveal its next-generation Xbox at an event on 21st May and the console will launch in early November.

Thurrot reiterated what was rumoured already – that previous Microsoft design documents have mentioned the “always internet connected” feature.

Thurrot claims “Looking at some of the stuff I got a long time ago, it actually says ‘must be internet-connected to use’ in the notes. That’s all I have, but it does say that.”

Mr Thurrot also revealed the console will be named just “Xbox” and the Microsoft’s machine will be “expensive”. He estimated they will cost around $500 (roughly £326, although likely higher in the UK) but a lower price $300 (£195) model will also be available with some form of subscription.

He also mentioned two other unannounced Xbox-branded machines. One, code-named “Yumo”, was to be an Xbox device purely for entertainment apps, rather than games. The product has seemingly been abandoned to avoid confusing consumers.

The other machine is a new budget-priced Xbox 360 model, code-named “Stingray” which is due for release later this year and the device will cost just $99 (£65). Thurrot suggested this may mean Microsoft’s new Xbox would not play Xbox 360 games.

I would speculate, the choice to create a cheap 360 model would be there way of competing with Android consoles such as the Ouya and Gamestick.

All eyes now look to May 21 in hopes of learning more about Microsoft’s next generation console.

Train2Game News: GameStick Kickstarter earns over $600k

GameStickThe Android based GameStick has now finished its Kickstarter and it has made over 6 times more than it needed.

The GameStick is a new portable console that runs the android operating system. It is a very small stick, similar to that of a USB stick, with a HDMI connection so it can plug straight in to your HD TV. The stick can be stored inside of it’s specially made Bluetooth controller to keep it safe and compact. The GameStick will also work with other Bluetooth controllers.

GameStick´s purpose-built game store will be powered by PlayJam´s built-for-TV technology enabling users to browse, download content and interact with the wider GameStick community.

The campaign to fund the production of GameStick, which is set to ship in April 2013, closed on Friday with pledges coming in right up to the last second finishing at 648% of the original target with a total of $648k. Those that missed out on the Kickstarter campaign will be able to pre-order via the GameStick website at www.gamestick.tv.

Anthony Johnson, CMO, PlayJam said “We are overwhelmed, excited, grateful, thrilled and everything in between. The campaign has been an incredible success with support from thousands of backers worldwide but this is just the beginning. The feedback from the Kickstarter community has been invaluable in shaping the final product and we will continue to seek input from those that supported us to ensure continued innovation ahead of a global retail launch.”

Throughout the campaign the team responded to thousands of comments and suggestions from Kickstarter backers that saw the product evolve in real-time as the team scrambled to incorporate a number of requested features from additional memory capacity to support for peripheral hardware via a docking station.

GameStick, described as ‘The Most Portable TV games Console Ever Created’ has been hailed by many supporters as the console to disrupt the games industry. The device has gathered high profile supporters throughout the campaign such as; Jason Kingsley, (Founder of Rebellion), Jason Bradbury (Gadget Show host) Jermaine Dupri (Record producer) and Shaquille O’Neal (Basketball Legend).

You can download a SDK for the new device at www.gamestick.tv and start developing for a new consoling experience.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 30.01.13

It’s time for another Train2Game mid-week round up!

As the Kickstarter draws to a close for the Gamestick console, images of the android gaming machine have been released. You can visit the Kickstarter site to view the console and add to the cause if it takes your interest. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/872297630/gamestick-the-most-portable-tv-games-console-ever

In previous Bioshock games, the moral decisions have been to choose whether the Little Sisters lived or died. In Bioshock Infinite, the decisions you have to make are more powerful and less commonplace. BioShock Infinite will still present plenty of moral quandaries, but these are not tied to a specific system that in turn determines what ending you’ll get.

Google is to provide UK schools with 15,000 free Raspberry Pi Model B computers. Qualifications awarding body OCR will also create free teaching and learning packs to go with each Raspberry Pi. Responding to the news, games industry veteran Ian Livingstone said: “Putting Raspberry Pis into the hands of children on this scale is potentially the most positive initiative to spur digital creativity since the advent of the BBC Micro in the 1980s.”

Lifetime Xbox 360 sales look certain to overtake those of current-gen leader Nintendo Wii in the UK. Microsoft’s console was less than 200,000 sales behind Wii at the end of December, having sold over four times more units than Wii in 2012. Nintendo UK confirmed before Christmas that around 8 million Wii consoles had been sold in the UK. Despite a reported 33% decline in video game console sales last year, Xbox 360 is said to have outsold its current-gen rivals by a “significant margin” in Britain during 2012. Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2 remain the UK’s first and second best selling games consoles respectively, with Wii and Xbox 360 currently in third and fourth spots.

Temple Run 2 has been released for iOS and now Android. The sequel to the hit game has hit 20,000 downloads on iOS alone. Developed by Imangi Studios, the app rushed to the top of the free App charts on iOS in just eight hours, and also hit number three in the Top Grossing chart. In its first week on sale, Temple Run 2 racked up 210 million sessions and 1,775 years of gameplay.

Train2Game News: New Nvidia hand-held console announced

Project ShieldTrain2Game has discovered that Nvidia just announced Project Shield, a new gaming console that looks like a controller attached to a 5 inch HD screen.

The new hand held console runs on the Android operating system but what sets it apart from the other android platforms is that it has a controller similar to a current console controller for ease of use.

Project Shield is powered by a custom 72-core Nvidia A15 GeForce GPU and features a 5-inch 720p retinal multi-touch display, integrated speakers, wi-fi connectivity and the Android operating system. It’s also designed to interface as a controller with an Nvidia GPU-equipped PC, allowing you to play games from your couch.

Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and CEO of Nvidia said “Project Shield was created by Nvidia engineers who love to game and imagined a new way to play. We were inspired by a vision that the rise of mobile and cloud technologies will free us from our boxes, letting us game anywhere, on any screen. We imagined a device that would do for games what the iPod and Kindle have done for music and books, letting us play in a cool new way”

No word yet on what the device will cost. A post on the official GeForce website lists a tentative release window of Q2 2013. The site states “It will first launch in the US and Canada, with a worldwide rollout to follow. Pricing and final specs will be unveiled closer to availability.”

The Android gaming platform seems to be a big player in 2013 with the OUYA games console, the recently announced GameStick and now Project Shield from Nvidia.