During its Tokyo Game Show press conference yesterday, Square Enix revealed Shinra Technologies, a new cloud-based gaming platform that hopes to deliver first-party titles to consumers. Named after the evil corporation in Final Fantasy VII, and headed up by former Square Enix president and representative director Yoichi Wada, the service is set for a beta launch early next year in Japan. A North American beta is planned for sometime in 2015 as well, but a concrete date has not been set.
Cleve Blakemore, the man behind Grimoire: Heralds of the Dark Exemplar (a game that has been in development since 1997, by some accounts) is threatening to file a trademark dispute with Kickstarter if developer OmniConnection does not shut down its crowdfunding campaign for its similarly named game, Grimoire.
Rust and Gary's Mod creator Garry Newman says that he would have done exactly the same thing as Markus 'Notch' Persson did if given the same opportunity. Newman is referring to the sale of Minecraft and Mojang to Microsoft that was formally announced on Monday.
Some fans have criticized Notch for selling the popular game and the company that makes it for $2.5 billion dollars; some say that they will "never forgive him," or that he has "sold out."
On Monday night's episode of Conan on TBS, Conan O'Brien talked about Microsoft acquiring Mojang and Minecraft for $2.5 billion. And while he didn't mention Markus "Notch" Persson (who made an estimated $1.75 billion off the deal before taxes and other considerations) by name, he introduced the one minute animated clip as "checking in with the creator of Minecraft" to see what he is up to now that the deal has been announced.
We won't spoil it for you, but it is kind of cute and funny.
An interesting reprint of a blog post by Zachary Strebeck over at Gamasutra attempts to explain whether someone can get away with using someone else's trademark in marketing their own games. For example, would it be legal to say that your game is "like DOOM with a bit of Oblivion and Borderlands mixed in?"
Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe has donated $31 million to his alma matter, the University of Maryland - the largest single donation ever received by the university. According to the AP report detailing the donation, the money will be used to back a scholarship and for the construction of a new computer science building that will bear Iribe's name.
Wesley "wolvereness" Wolfe is the latest to become victimized by a swatting prank. According to Chron, the 25-year-old programmer best known for Craftbukkit for Minecraft, was the victim of someone sending a swat team to his house, claiming that he had shot and killed his parents and was going to kill more people.
IndieCade, an annual international festival that celebrates independently developed games, has revealed the more than 35 games that have been named nominees for awards at IndieCade Festival 2014. This year's event will be held in Culver City, California October 9-12, 2014. This year's event will showcase almost 150 independent games and highlight the importance of "promotion, cultivation, and community of independent games development."
According to statistics released by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) this week, around 390 academic institutions across the country are now offering video game-related certificates, undergraduate and graduate degrees.
As the ESA points out in its release, that represents a 50 percent increase over the 254 schools that offered video game-related education in 2009. While there are schools all over the country that are now offering these types of courses, California had the most with 73 schools, followed by New York with 26, and 24 each in Illinois and Texas.
The SETI Institute announced that it will be hosting the "SETI-JAM" October 17th-19th at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. What the hell is a SETI-Jam? It's a collaborative game-building event that will include over 70 scientists who will design games of any genre that use genuine SETI data. The event's focus is on the Drake Equation, a calculation that estimates the number of 'communicative extra-terrestrial civilizations' in the Milky Way galaxy.
Bohemia Interactive's Brian Hicks - producer for DayZ - recently took to the DayZ forums to address a forum thread titled, "has anyone else lost faith in DayZ?"
Hicks' rather lengthy response points out that people who are playing DayZ at this stage signed up for an "early access" game on Steam, which means, it is very far from being polished or feature complete.
Here's what Hicks noted in the thread:
GameSoundCon has released the results of a recent survey (PDF) it conducted to determine what the average annual salary of game audio and sound professionals was. The group decided to conduct its own study after Gamasutra released its annual game developer salary survey; it described the data on game audio professionals puzzling because they were higher than every other field except business and management.
Backers of the failed Yogventures Kickstarter - a game strongly associated with the popular YouTube channel Yogscast - have received free copies of EverQuest Next Landmark. This is in addition to the free game codes backers already received for TUG, another Yogscast-backed game. Yogventures was canceled earlier this year when it ran out of money - even after its developers raised $567,665 from 13,647 backers via a highly successful Kickstarter campaign.
If you missed Saturday's live broadcast of Super Podcast Action Committee (Episode 113), you can watch the video replay on YouTube or download it below.
Organizers of GamesBeat 2014 announced today that four additional speakers have been added to this year's event. Those speakers are Matt Higby - creative director of Sony Online Entertainment’s PlanetSide 2, Oliver Miao of Pixelberry, Janis Zech of Fyber, and Dan Brody, vice president of business development at Tencent.
Video game publisher Little Orbit announced that it acquired video game developer Vicious Cycle Software earlier this year. Vicious Cycle Software is best known for creating video game properties based on TV and film licenses such as Ben 10 Omniverse and Ben 10: Alien Force, Madagascar 3: The Video Game, and Flushed Away. The company is also know for creating its own unique game franchises such as Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon, Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard, and Dead Head Fred.
The FBI is working with the IGDA and "bullying experts" to help game developers cope with and fight against online bullying, harassment and threats. According to Polygon, the IGDA began talking to the federal law enforcement agency during Comic-Con in San Diego back in July.
Another day, another cautionary tale for consumers eager to plunk down their hard-earned money for early access games on Steam and for Kickstarter funding. Today Valve has pulled the action survival game The Stomping Land from Steam Early Access.
Sources speaking to GamesIndustry International are telling the publication that Malta-based development studio TRC Family Media is in serious financial trouble. According to multiple sources inside the company, TRC's financial situation is so dire that it has told employees that 90 percent of the company's work force may be laid off.
An open letter signed by a number of game developers is asking the gaming community at large to respect everyone who plays, criticizes, and makes games. The thrust of the letter is that people should respect each other even when they disagree, and should never tolerate harassment or threats.
The letter is signed by a number of game developers working for such companies as BioWare, Bungie, Boss Key, Google, Sports Interactive, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Oculus VR, Ubisoft, Spry Fox, Vlambeer, EA, Kickstarter, Humble Bundle, and many more.
The International Game Developers Association has thrown its support behind game developers who have been the target of harassment online over the last week or so on social media. Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn, Polytron founder and Fez creator Phil Fish, and Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series creator Anita Sarkeesian were just some of the names mentioned by the IGDA.
Puppy Games has launched a Patreon to fund the ongoing development of its free MMO Battledroid. While the small indie studio continues to work on it, it has come to the conclusion that the MMO needs at least another year of development time and it does not have enough money to fund that effort. So they decided to turn to Patreon instead of other crowdfunding methods like Indiegogo or Kickstarter to raise some funds.
Organizers of GamesBeat 2014 announced today that Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson will be a key speaker at this year's event Sept. 15 and Sept. 16 (at the Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel) in San Francisco. Wilson will take part in a fireside chat hosted by Mike Vorhaus, the president of Magid Advisors. The fireside chat will open the event and focus on how EA is pivoting from a traditional publisher to a more digitally focused company in the constantly evolving business of making and selling games.
At least one good thing came out of the state of Rhode Island losing $75 million dollars (plus an undetermined amount in related costs including penalties, etc.) from the failed loan deal with Curt Schilling's 38 Studios: the success story of Danny Mandel and Ben Chichoski.
When 38 Studios went bankrupt and left dozens of its employees unemployed and abandoned - including many who relocated to Providence and the surrounding area to work there - employees like Danny Mandel and Ben Chichoski had to find something else to do in order to survive.
Firaxis Games will hold its first-ever fan event called "Firaxicon" at the Embassy Suites Baltimore (Hunt Valley, Maryland) on September 27 and September 28. Tickets for attending the two-day event will cost you $40. Tickets are described as "extremely limited," so get them while you still can.
Attendees will be able to meet members of the Firaxis Games team, enjoy a special "Evening with Sid Meier" presentation, get some hands-on time with the upcoming PC game Civilization: Beyond Earth and get a tour of the Firaxis Games office.
GungHo Online's popular mobile title Puzzles & Dragons, has been downloaded over 30 million times to-date in Japan. The news was revealed by industry veteran Dr. Serkan Toto, who cites a press release circulated by GungHo earlier this week.
That same press release says that Puzzle & Dragons has seen 4 million downloads in the U.S. and Canada, 2 million downloads in South Korea and 1 million downloads across Taiwan and Hong Kong.
If you were wondering why the releases of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U are staggered, the answer is the debugging process. According to series creator Masahiro Sakurai, who recently wrote about the games in his Famitsu Weekly column (as translated by Kotaku East), the debugging process for both games is very time consuming. Sakurai is currently debugging the 3DS version of the game, which is set to be released first.