Rumors persist that Amazon will launch some sort of set box device or console later this year. According to a new report on the subject over at Recode, sources inside Amazon's "partners" have said that the Android-powered box is real and will compete with Apple TV and Roku's line of steaming devices..
Comcast is expected to announce a deal worth $44 billion to buy out rival cable operator Time Warner Cable today, according to a Bloomberg report. The company will reportedly announce today that it plans to pay $159 a share to Time Warner Stock holders.
According to a research note from Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter to investors, game sales dipped 20 percent on the weakness of current generation sales in the month of January. Pachter is making his predictions ahead of the NPD Groups' retail report for the month of January. When those numbers are released on Thursday, Pachter says that they will show that retail software sales fell 20 percent in January to around $300 million - down 20 percent from the $373 million generated in the same period a year ago.
According to an OnGamers report, World Cyber Games is finished holding eSports tournaments this year and may cease operations beyond being just a "brand." The World Cyber Games is one of the world's most popular and recognized e-sports tournament organizations operating competitions in Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Oceania.
Angry Birds maker Rovio issued a statement today (which they passed along to GamePolitics this morning following a request for comment yesterday) in response to a report from ProPublica that spy agencies were gathering information on users of its popular game. The company said in a statement that it does not share data about its users with government agencies such as the NSA or the UK's GCHQ.
Update: Apparently a system error is being blamed for the disappearance of pre-orders for the Wii U version of Ubisoft's Watch Dogs at GameStop. A spokesperson for the retailer tells Kotaku that the error has been corrected and that pre-orders for the game will be available again soon.
While we have no way to confirm it, one of our readers claims that a man whose game recently launched on Kongregate (owned by GameStop) has been arrested by the Iranian government and jailed. The game he was supposedly jailed for is "Kill Dictators," and as the title suggest, players are charged with killing various leaders inside and outside Iran including Bashar, Erdogan, Amhadi Nejad, Khameni, Nasrallah, and Putin.
The CEO of a major Chinese corporation has hinted that the Xbox One will be available in China next year. Luo Jiangchun, CEO of online video service Funshion, said during a marketing and advertising strategy meeting last week that the Xbox One would be available in China in 2014, according to Chinese tech site Sohu IT (as uncovered by this Kotaku report).
According to several outlets including CVG, Texas-based development studio Terminal Reality is believed to be closing its doors. Former Terminal Reality employee Jesse Sosa said in a Facebook post that the studio "seems to have finally shut down," and follow-up comments on the post from a number of now ex-Terminal Reality staff members appear to back up Sosa's claim.
An interesting report in the LA Business Journal (citing a Bloomberg report) says that Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick allegedly threatened to quit as Activision Blizzard’s top executive if the board didn't accept his buyout plan to re-secure Vivendi’s stake in the company. This little morsel of information - which Activision Blizzard has not publicly commented on as of this writing - comes from claims in a shareholder lawsuit over the deal.
Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter estimates that Sony, who has promised "substantial resupplies" of the PlayStation 4 consoles in North America before the end of 2013, is making one million units per month. Pachter says that Sony is shipping about one million units to North America per month, with about half of those units going to retailer GameStop.
According to "trusted sources" speaking to Eurogamer, game streaming on PlayStation 4 powered by Gaikai will launch in the third quarter of 2014, with a European launch slated for sometime in 2015. Developers have been briefed on Gaikai, the report claims, and some have been asked to participate in a beta for the cloud service said to begin in 2014.
According to CVG Sony is acquiring the rights to Crash Bandicoot from Activision. Crash Bandicoot became the official mascot of the first Sony PlayStation console and was a popular franchise for many years until it was sold as part of a deal with Vivendi.
According to a circular uncovered by VideoGamer, a bundle offering the PlayStation 4 and the PS Vita will be available to consumers in early December. While Sony has confirmed that the "Ultimate Bundle" is real, it looks like it will only confirm it for the United Kingdom.
Several reports have surfaced today (originating from a Kotaku report) that Sony has supposedly been pressuring certain publications to pull down reports about a debug mode in Beyond: Two Souls that allows access to alternate camera angles, including one for the game's shower scene. From that angle, users can supposedly see a detailed nude version of the game's main character, who was based on Ellen Page.
Citing multiple sources "close to the situation," Eurogamer is claiming that the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V will be released in the first quarter of 2014 (January to March). There's been a lot of speculation about a PC version of the game being released, but Rockstar has been pretty quiet about it so far.
Variety is reporting that The Escapist and Warcry parent company Alloy Digital and GameFront parent company Break Media (who also owns Break.com) will soon announce a merger of the two properties under a new 50-50 partnership. The new company will be called Defy Media. Variety claims that Defy Media will focus on creating video content aimed at the 14 - 34 year-old mostly male demographic.
AllThingsD is reporting that Apple will reveal a new version of the iPad at the end of this month. At an event on Oct. 29, Apple will reveal the new iPad and make some other product announcements, according to the report.
According to Reuters, three of the top 20 of Microsoft's investors - who collectively hold about five percent of the company's stock, are looking to force company co-founder Bill Gates out of the company and into retirement. Last week Microsoft co-founder Steve Ballmer left the company, stepping down as its CEO.
Rockstar Games' upcoming open-world action game Grand Theft Auto V may have cost up to $266 million to develop and market, according to a report by Scottish newspaper The Scotsman. The article also claims that industry analysts expect the game "could sell" upwards of 25 million copies in its first year on the market. That would generate over $1.56 billion in sales for Take-Two Interactive, they say.
It looks like PlayStation 4 owners won't have to worry about Sony ever considering support for Oculus Rift because the company is working on its own VR headset. According to CVG, Sony will reveal the last bit of its hardware strategy for the PS4 at the Tokyo Game Show by revealing its own custom-built virtual reality headset.
President Barack Obama will soon choose members of a panel that will "independently review" the National Security Agency's surveillance policies. The President announced the plan to form such a committee earlier this month at a press conference, and promised that it would be comprised of "high level group of outside experts." But early indications of his possible picks for this committee show that some of the choices are anything but outsiders. In fact, several have worked in past administrations, and at least one worked in two administrations.
An update to the Age of Empires Online support page on Xbox.com - that went live yesterday and was quickly removed - indicated that Games for Windows Live services will be discontinued on July 1, 2014. The page also revealed that Age of Empires Online would be shut down at right around the same time.
The deleted entry from the site:
Engadget is reporting that a 12 GB flash-based PlayStation 3 retail SKU is set to hit North American markets on August 18. The story first surfaced when Engadget spotted a flyer from Canada's Future Shop showing off the 12 GB PS3 for $199. The 12 GB PS3 was released in Europe last October, but never made its way to North America.
Game Informer reports that Amazon is moving into the home console space, with plans to launch its own console by year's end. Speaking to GI, several sources close to the situation say that Amazon is developing an Android-based console that will release by the year's end - perhaps on Black Friday.
If you were hoping to buy an Xbox One without a Kinect and believed some of the rumors that a SKU would be available that featured only the console in Summer 2014, then you will be sad to hear that it just isn't true. Microsoft today shot down rumors that the Kinect or the console could be purchased separately.
Update: Microsoft has confirmed that "every Xbox One" can be used to make games, meaning that every unit can in fact be turned into a development kit, or debug unit. Kotaku offers this statement from Microsoft on the matter:
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Vivendi may force Activision Blizzard to pay a special dividend that would give the company $2 - $3 billion to help it pay down some of its debt. The company's board will discuss the move at a regular meeting on Monday and may seek Activison's board members to approve it at a meeting later this week, WSJ claims in its report. Since six of eleven Activision board members are from the Vivendi group or its units such a vote would likely be approved.