Train2Game News: Xbox Live using local currency

Xbox LiveThe latest Xbox 360 system update has retired Microsoft points and now all transactions on the platform will make use of local currency.

The change is effective in all regions, and brings Microsoft’s digital console platform into closer step with its direct rival by eliminating the virtual currency.

The hope for some developers is that without the need for an intermediary currency, users will be more likely to purchase digital games and goods through Xbox Live. While this is certainly a possibility, exchange rates are a new and potentially troublesome consideration for developers publishing games to multiple regions.

Users will receive the equivalent value of their Microsoft Points in local currency (80 points to the dollar) the next time they make a transaction.

Microsoft says the change hasn’t affected any other part of their online business, and has published some FAQ to help guide customers through the transition.

Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 17.05.13

Batman and DeathstrokeIt’s the end of the week so it is time for the Train2Game round up of Games Industry news from across the week!

First of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment released a teaser trailer for Batman Arkham Origins. This most certainly is a tease! The full trailer is scheduled to be released on May 20, the day before the big Xbox reveal. You can enjoy your teaser here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvQXipKxrCE&feature=youtu.be

To continue our trailer theme, a trailer for Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was also released earlier this week. This is following comments made by CEO Yves Guillemot who stated that they don’t expect AC4 to do as well as it’s predecessors. This cautious approach is a refreshing change. You can enjoy the PEGI 18 trailer here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Iys4wq7O_fQ

2K and Gearbox Software today announced that the sixth playable character for Borderlands 2, Krieg the Psycho, is now available via digital download across all available platforms for $9.99 or 800 Microsoft Points. The Psycho Pack offers fans a chance to play with one of the most iconic personalities in the Borderlands universe. The sixth playable character for Borderlands 2, Krieg the Psycho, harnesses his psychotic multiple personalities to give the bandits and baddies of Pandora a taste of their own medicine. Vault Hunters can use the new character class to shoot and loot their way to new heights in Borderlands 2 with the recently released Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack. The pack raises the level cap to 61 for all six characters, unlocks a third play through called Ultimate Vault Hunter Mode, and is available now for $4.99 or 400 Microsoft Points as a standalone purchase. It is also included as part of the Borderlands 2 Season Pass.

Valve has announced the Steam Trading Card beta is available for sign up now. Fans participating in the beta can unlock virtual trading cards by playing selected titles including CS: GO, Portal 2,  Dota 2 and more to come. The cards can be turned into game badges and trade-able Steam community items, according to info on the Steam site. Full sets of cards can be combined to earn Steam badges, all of which will contribute to your overall Steam level. “Up to half the card set is dropped through game play, the other half is earned through your collecting prowess,” says the blurb. Collecting prowess means that you can get more cards by interacting and trading with fellow Steam community members. Images on the Steam Trading Cards page indicate that these could entitle you to money off purchases on the Steam store. If you’d like to sign up for the beta, you can do it here.

Tech website The Verge is reporting that Microsoft is about to kill off its points system, the method by which we use to buy products off Xbox live, and is moving instead towards using real world prices, and allowing gift cards to pay for its services. These gift cards will supposedly work in the same way as Apple iTunes vouchers do, and the change will also allow users to buy with normal credit or debit cards. This comes after Windows 8 was changed late last year to reflect real-world prices rather than points. This should be confirmed to be true or not at this years E3.

Train2Game News: Mid-week Round up – 8.11.12

Curiosity: What’s inside the cube? was released for iOS and Android on Tuesday and already the first layer has been tapped away. There has been so many people trying to satisfy their curiosity that there has been some server issues but Peter Molyneux and 22Cans are working to fix that.

Peter Molyneux has said that the big game that 22Cans is leading to will be the last game he makes. He revealed the information in an interview 24 hours after the launch of Curiosity. Mr Molyneux has also revealed that the next experience could be “kind of” live on Friday.

Total Film has revealed that a reboot of Mortal Kombat will be coming soon. The original film based on the video game is one I always enjoyed so I am really hoping they do a good job. Kevin Tancharoen has been named as likely director of the film, who previously worked on the digital series released in anticipation of Mortal Kombat 9.

This month, if you play the Halo 4 multiplayer Microsoft are giving you points to spend. You do have to clock some serious hours to earn points. 35 hours earns you a whopping 100 points. Over 70 hours and you’ll receive 300. Playing 140 hours earns you 600 MS points. It is all part of the Microsoft Rewards Scheme.

Several sources aware of plans within Microsoft’s Redmond HQ have said that initial hardware planning for an Xbox Surface has begun. Specifications for an Xbox Surface 7-inch tablet computer leaked back in June ahead of Microsoft’s Surface announcement. The news outlet says the final implementation of new Xbox tablet is being worked on now.

Resident Evil developer and publisher Capcom is looking to hire 1,000 developers over the next ten years, the company has claimed. Capcom, which currently houses around 1,500 developers, also said that it wanted to increase the number of employees at the company to create a larger percentage of its games internally.

Finally Angry Birds: Star Wars has hit iOS, Android and Windows Phones today. You can see the trailer for the game, here.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 10.5.12

The OnLive console is not dead according to CEO Charles Jablonski and UK general manager Bruce Grove. The new plan is all about forming partnerships to provide OnLive’s service, instead of relying on PCs and its own console.

The Volus race has come to Mass Effect 3 multiplayer with the new DLC, The Retaliation Pack. The comic relief character has been put in to the online game play to show the ever expanding war according to BioWare’s Chris Schanche. The new pack also sees the return of The Collectors to battle against.

Earlier this week it was announced that Windows 8 will primarily use real world currency over Microsoft points. This had the games world speculating that the Xbox Live Arcade was going to start phasing out MS points. Microsoft have announced this is not the case. XBLA will still use the previous points system.

Rovio and LucasArts have teamed up in an interesting combination to create Angry Birds Star Wars. The game will see the birds dressed as the main Star Wars protagonists and the pigs are going to be dressed as Storm Troopers and Darth Vader. The levels will be famous Star Wars locations such as Hoth and Tattooine. The game is being released November 8 for iOS.

IGN have brought their application to Xbox in the UK. The app is already available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the USA. The app offers content, shows and access to its pro-gaming league.

Mark Zuckerberg has announced that Facebook has now surpassed one billion users. Since Facebook’s formation in 2004, it has seen more than 140 billion friend connections made, 219 billion photos uploaded, and 1.13 trillion likes. Facebook’s director of developer products said around a quarter of its active user base, about 230 million people, play games on the site in a month. He also noted that Facebook has more than 130 apps.

A one-man company, Cryptic Sea, has created a game called A New Zero. The game has no animation and only uses physics for any movement in the first person shooter. In addition, visuals are also procedurally generated, chopping Zero’s total size below a single megabyte. You can download the game from Cryptic Sea’s website.