Microsoft wants to encourage better behavior in online interactions on Xbox One by handing out rewards to players. While punishing players that engage in racist, sexist, homophobic, or generally unacceptable behavior while playing games online is always an option, Microsoft also wants to add a layer of incentives that might serve as a positive way to get players to behave themselves.
Mental health awareness organization 'Take This' announced that it will be continuing its association with PAX at PAX East 2014, with a presentation on the best way to discuss important mental health issues with co-workers, a dedicated "AFK Room" for attendees who need a quiet space to take a break from the show and a program specifically designed to help PAX East's volunteer "Enforcers" with recognizing and assisting attendees in need.
As a tease for what it will be showcasing later this month at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Epic Games and Firefox browser maker Mozilla have released a demo reel video showcasing Unreal Engine 4 game content playing at top speed within Firefox.
Epic and Mozilla claim that this video showcases Unreal Engine 4 games playing within Firefox without the need of any additional plug-ins. The video shows off the Epic Soul tech demo, which will likely get a bit more attention when GDC gets underway.
The International Game Developers Association has named this year's recipients for the 2014 Game Developers Conference Scholars program. The program gives recipients a pass into a specific conference (in this case the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in March), but they are still responsible for other costs like travel lodging, meals, etc.
The Independent Games Festival has chosen the 2014 Student Showcase winners for 2014, with each winning team winning a cool $1,000, passes to Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this March, and the chance to win an additional $2,000 prize for Best Student Game.
The eight winners, picked from 346 entries, are listed below along with a number of honorable mentions.
Museum of Simulation Technology (Albert Shih - Carnegie Mellon University, Entertainment Technology Center)
Engare (Mahdi Bahrami & Moslem Rasouli - NHTV University of Applied Science)
Take This founder and president Russ Pitts (who also happens to be the Features Editor at Polygon) will give a talk at the 2014 Game Developers Conference entitled "How to Depression-Proof Your Studio Culture." The one-hour talk is part of this year's "advocacy" track, and offers some perspective on issues related to depression in the workplace and how both employees and employers can best deal with it.
The Last of Us, Tearaway, and Gone Home are the front runners when it comes to nominations for the 2014 Game Developers Choice Awards. Leading the pack with five nominations each are Naughty Dog's post-apocalyptic PS3 action-adventure game The Last of Us and Media Molecule's PS Vita-exclusive platformer Tearaway. The Fullbright Company's PC environmental storytelling game Gone Home also had five nominations. Rockstar's open-world crime game Grand Theft Auto V and Galactic Café's first-person game The Stanley Parable, each had nominations in four categories.
While GDC may be over, the accusations continue to fly over the International Game Developers Association's GDC party which was brought to light last week in this report. Now the co-presenter of the party, YetiZen, is throwing a few elbows at the IGDA and the press.
While GREE made a lot of developers upset when it discontinued the OpenFeint platform in December of last year, the co-founder of the social mobile platform will soon have something to replace it. Late last year GREE shut down the OpenFeint platform, feeling that Apple's GameCenter was dominating the space. Much to the chagrin of developers using that platform, they were not given enough time to migrate their game data to another platform and lost a lot of the user data they were storing in the OpenFeint cloud.
Women in Games International today announced its plan to present a panel at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco later this month that focuses on the need to encourage more youth participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects. The panel brings together leaders from video games, government, and media organizations to discuss the issue and to raise awareness. The panel is called "Responsibility to Youth and Staying Competitive in the Global Marketplace" and will take place Wed., March 27 from 2 - 3 p.m.
BioWare's founding fathers - Doctors Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk - will be honored at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco as part of the Game Developers Choice Awards. The founders of the studio that have brought us such hits as Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Knights, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age will be honored with lifetime achievement awards for their "contributions to the art and science of games."
Develop reports that UK-based indie developers Byron Atkinson-Jones and Andrew Roper have a novel way for game developers to pass the time while flying to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in March: create a game! They are challenging themselves and other developers to make a game on their flight to GDC with a special "Plane Jam." The only hard rule is that the game must be created during your flight to GDC.
The Independent Games Festival (IGF) juries have announced the Main Competition finalists for the 15th annual awards - nominating nearly 30 independent game titles from around the world. This year's finalists were picked by expert juries, following "playthroughs and recommendations" of 580+ IGF entries from over 200 top independent game experts, according to organizers.
Epic Games revealed its plans for the Game Developers Conference (GDC) which will include a preview of Unreal Engine 4 game engine technology, planned press sessions, and participation in various panels and discussion. Epic Games Design Director Cliff Bleszinski will also serve as the host for the Game Developer Choice Awards.
THQ is apparently planning a crazy promotional event at GDC for its soon-to-be-released action game Homefront. According to SF Weekly, THQ has hired actors to pose as anti-North Korean protesters, march across the Golden Gate bridge, down the streets of San Francisco, and stopping across the street from GDC at Yerba Buena Gardens.
It seems odd to decry North Korea's "human rights violations" to promote a video game, but THQ's marketing department didn't consult us. The staged promotional event will also feature speeches by global experts, musical performances, and the launch of 10,000 balloons. Nothing says "we've been invaded" like a bunch of balloons, after all.
The "event" will take place on Wednesday in San Francisco.
Interactive Studio Management (ISM) will host its fourth annual Invitational Charity Poker Tournament alongside the 2011 Game Developers Conference (GDC 2011). As is the case every year with the event, all proceeds will benefit charity. The proceeds for this year's event will go to Best Buddies California, a nonprofit 501©(3) organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, utilizing a global volunteer movement to create opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development.
On average, the ISM poker events see an average of average of 160 players, spectators and video game companies participate. The event hopes to exceed the annual $80,000 it raised last year.