WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 21ST – 27TH JULY

Headline Of The Week

According to insider reports from VentureBeat, Google’s $1 billion buyout of game streaming service Twitch which was previously hyped up in May is now apparently a done deal.

If the information is correct, it would mean that Google own a serious monopoly on game streaming, having already acquired YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion…which in the modern day seems like a bargain. Twitch currently has over 50 million active users; for what it is worth, Twitch has declined to comment on the rumors

I’ll update the story if the purchase is confirmed in the next day or two.

In Other News…

EA have made a bold decision by delaying two of its upcoming big titles; Battlefield Hardline (being developed by Visceral Games) will now ship in 2015 on all platforms after feedback from a beta test in June with a further open beta set to begin soon, and Dragon Age: Inquisition has been pushed back to November for additional spit and polish after an initial release date of October 7th was proposed.

Several expected games have failed to make the cut this year, including Inquisition’s main rival The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, as well as other titles including Batman: Arkham Knight & The Order 1886.

Marty O’Donnell, the man who worked as composer on several titles in the Halo series, has been awarded $95,000 in damages after successfully suing Bungie. As I reported in April, O’Donell claimed that he had been terminated early ‘without cause’ from his contract after providing input on the soundtrack to Bungie’s upcoming Destiny (which has just undergone a beta across multiple platforms).

For anyone interested in law, the settlement of the lawsuit means that Bungie is to pay over $38,385 in unpaid work and vacation time, with double damages. The rest of the cost is made up from attorney’s fees and interest

The release dates for the first two games in the Sonic Boom franchise have been nailed down by Sega. The 3DS title Shattered Crystal will launch on November 11th, with Wii U title Rise Of Lyric following a week later. Sonic Boom is to be its own universe within the Sonic franchise, and a pilot for the tie-in television animation was released a couple of weeks ago.

Early reports from E3 said that this was pretty average. I'll hope for something on a Sonic Generations level

Early reports from E3 said that this was pretty average. I’ll hope for something on a Sonic Generations level

In additional release news, a series of leaks from a Korean Game Ratings board and the PS4 GamesCom schedule suggests that a next-gen version of the award winning Journey (the last PS3 exclusive from thatgamecompany, who have already ported Flower to PS4), along with the incredibly charming The Unfinished Swan will be coming soon – which is excellent timing for me, as I’ve finally ordered a PS4 this week!

As part of the ongoing tit-for-tat battle between the PS4 and Xbox One for feature updates, both consoles will soon add 3D support for Blu-Ray films.

The feature was announced as part of Microsoft’s planned August updates for the X1, which also include tweaks to the Activity and Friends menus, the ability to remotely purchase games via Smartglass or Xbox.com and a notification for low batteries. The bootup screen will also feature the addition of flashing dots to let users know their console isn’t crashing (which isn’t as dumb sounding an update as you might think given how bare the bootup screen is right now).

In response, Sony announced that 3D support would be added as part of the system software update 1.75 while also adding the Sky Now TV application in Europe. Everybody wins!

Sony have agreed to provide up to $15 million of digital content to individuals in the US who were affected by the great PSN outage of 2011.

Despite offering free games at the time as part of a ‘Welcome Back’ programme, a lawsuit was filed and Sony are now responding with a settlement where users who did not opt into the programme but had a PSN account in 2011 can either get two free games from a choice of 14, or six months of PS Plus. Users who did opt into the programme still get to pick one of the options.

Watch_Dogs claimed a fifth week at the top of the UK Game Sales Charts, after a third successive week in which no new entries made the Top 40 – this is what is known among gamers as ‘The Summer Drought’. Perhaps influenced by the release of the excellent film on DVD/Blu Ray, The Lego Movie Videogame surged back into the Top Ten, alongside Grand Theft Auto V.

Top Ten For Week Ending 26th July 2014 (from GFK/Chart-Track)

1 – Watch_Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal)

2 – FIFA 14 (EA Canada)

3 – Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (4J Studios)

4 – Sniper Elite 3 (Rebellion/505 Games)

5 – The Lego Movie Videogame (Traveller’s Tales)

6 – Minecraft: PS3 Edition (4J Studios)

7 – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar North)

8 – Titanfall (Respawn Entertainment/Bluepoint Games)

9 – Call Of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward)

10 – Battlefield 4 (DICE)

And Finally…

Sony Pictures have stated that a film adaptation of the Uncharted series is set for release on June 10th 2016; taking the slot of The Amazing Spider-Man 3 which has been pushed back to November of the same year. Seth Gordon has been attached as director for the project (the third person to be considered), but the search for a suitable actor to play protagonist Nathan Drake continues after Mark Wahlberg was (mercifully) ousted from the project. How long it takes Nathan Fillion to be confirmed is as of yet unknown…

In additional Naughty Dog game-to-film news, a panel at San Diego Comic-Con has also revealed that the proposed The Last Of Us film will be indeed be directed by Sam Raimi (of Evil Dead & Spiderman fame), with Naughty Dog’s creative director Neil Druckmann also involved. Game Of Thrones actress Maisie Williams has been teased to play Ellie.

This was the promo image outed at the panel, giving nothing away about who might play Ellie

This was the promo image outed at the panel, giving nothing away about who might play Ellie

Quite how such an adaptation of both highly rated games will work on the big screen is questionable – each game has proved a hit thanks to their emphasis on strong story telling and high octane action anyway, so why not just do like Metal Gear Solid 3 and edit the cut-scenes into a supercut?

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