WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 8TH – 15TH DECEMBER

Headline Of The Week

Thousands of videos on YouTube featuring gameplay footage have been flagged following the instigation of new scanning features. Google, who own YouTube, is using a new Content ID system that automatically flags content in breach of copyright, and many users who regularly upload gaming content have been caught out with any potential revenue generated from the video being redirected to the owner of the copyright.

In spite of these new measures, a number of developers have moved to support the content creators; Blizzard (World Of Warcraft, Diablo), Capcom, Deep Silver and Ubisoft have all claimed that they wish for content from their games to remain on the video sharing site and that they did not call for the cull of videos. Most recently Valve has also given its blessing to non-commercial videos.

The legality of gaming videos and the content within them has become a thorny issue this year, following Nintendo’s announcement that they would receive a portion of advertising revenue from clips featuring their games. YouTube have invited users affected by ‘invalid’ Content ID claims to get in touch

In Other News…

The long struggles of DVD and game rental chain Blockbuster is to end – all of its 91 remaining stores in the UK will be shut by the end of Sunday, costing 808 jobs in the process.

Blockbuster has steadily lost business over the past few years to instant streaming services such as LoveFilm and Netflix, and had already entered administration twice this year in January and then again in October. Following the shutdown of several outlets in October, they have been unable to find a buyer to help them with their financial woes and have therefore made the ultimate decision to shut up shop for good.

All remaining stock in stores, including games, will be sold with up to 90% discounts this weekend.

The first prototypes of Valve’s Steam Machine have been distributed to 300 lucky Steam users for beta testing. Along with Valve’s custom controller for the console, the beta testers will also be the first to try out the new SteamOS as well as some of the games that will run natively on the system including Metro: Last Light.

Valve also shared this image showing the machines and controllers on the production line

Valve also shared this image showing the machines and controllers on the production line

The 300 participants have been randomly selected from the Steam Universe community page, although because of legal mumbo-jumbo all of them are from the United States. In an official announcement, Valve said the following

“This was not our original plan, and it means we can’t collect beta feedback from Steam customers world-wide, which is pretty unfortunate. All things considered, we’re sure it was the right decision, because the alternative was to delay the whole beta beyond the point when we’d be able to incorporate any feedback into the 2014 products”

The integrated ability to directly stream gameplay footage from a PlayStation 4 to Twitch at the click of a button has proven to be quite popular. According to the Vice President of Marketing Matthew DiPietro, PS4 owners already make up 10% of all content on the streaming website. Sony reckon that in less than a month, PS4 users have shared over 20 million minutes of footage – that’s a lot of people playing Killzone: Shadowfall by the sound of things.

Although Twitch integration was planned for the Xbox One, Microsoft had to delay the feature at the last minute. They plan to have the service ready in early 2014.

London is set to host another symphonic celebration of the music from The Legend Of Zelda. The Symphonic Legends London concert will take place at the Barbican on 13th July 2014, and will feature both the London Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Chorus.

I'm telling ya, a video game music prom is just around the corner...

I’m telling ya, a video game music prom is just around the corner…

Music from A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker & Twilight Princess will feature, as well as an exclusive new arrangement from Skyward Sword. Tickets have already gone on sale starting from £35, but if you are serious about going then you had better book some seats quick because they are disappearing very fast.

In other video game music related news, a remastered version of the soundtracks from Pokemon Fire Red & Leaf Green (adapted by regular series composers Junichi Masuda, Gō Ichinose and Morikazu Aoki)  is now available to download on ITunes for $20, with further soundtracks planned for the other games in the series.

It was a quiet week for retail releases following the recent launches of the PS4 and Xbox One, and Gran Turismo 6 was the beneficiary of the lack of competition – despite this it sold just over 20% of the figure managed by its predecessor, Gran Turismo 5, on its way to 8th spot in the UK Game Sales Charts.

Call Of Duty: Ghosts still rules the roost, while Knack continues to outsell Super Mario 3D World.

Top Ten For Week Ending 7th December 2013 (from GFK/Chart-Track)

1 – Call Of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward)

2 – FIFA 14 (EA Canada)

3 – Battlefield 4 (DICE)

4 – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft Montreal)

5 – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North)

6 – Lego Marvel Superheroes (Traveller’s Tales)

7 – Just Dance 2014 (Ubisoft)

8 – Gran Turismo 6 (Polyphony Digital)*

9 –  Killzone: Shadowfall (Guerrilla Games)

10 – Batman: Arkham Origins (WB Games Montreal)

(* signifies a new chart entry)

And Finally…

In this modern world in which we live, computer science is increasingly becoming a must-have subject on the school curriculum. In an effort to teach more young children the art of computer coding, EA are offering a free game to kids in the USA who complete a twenty hour coding course.

The misleadingly named ‘Hour Of Code’ course is a collaborative effort between EA and the non-profit organization Code.org, which uses characters from Angry Birds and Plants Vs. Zombies to teach kids the basics of coding. The project has received support from some of the biggest names in the computing industry including Microsoft supremo Bill Gates, Valve co-founder Gabe Newell and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg. Even Barack Obama has given his vocal support to the idea, so it’s nothing to be scoffed at.

The games on offer for completing the course aren’t exactly the best that EA could offer – one of either Bejeweled 3, FIFA 13, Plants vs. Zombies or Sim City 4; and of course they are only available via Origin. What interests me however isn’t the games on offer, but the core idea of a big gaming company such as EA supporting an educational drive. One wonders if a similar kind of program will appear in the United Kingdom in the not too distant future.

In the meantime, you can visit Code.org and try out the tutorials for yourself for free.

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