Headline Of The Week
A dedicated UK cultural centre for gaming is to open in Nottingham in 2015, at a projected cost of £2.5 million. Established by GameCity (who run an annual festival in the city), The National Videogame Arcade will open its doors in March; offering ‘a civic, cultural and academic space dedicated to the public’s relationship with videogames’.
Aiming to provide a gaming equivalent of the BFI (British Film Institute), the project is set to cover four floors and 33,000sq ft, hosting interactive quarterly exhibitions and providing facilities for education on game development in conjunction with Nottingham Trent University. The Arcade will also be the new home of thousands of items from the National Video Game Archive, looking to celebrate the UK’s illustrious history in the industry. Ian Livingstone CBE (the co-founder of Games Workshop who will sit on the Arcade’s advisory board) had the following to say regarding the project:
“For the millions of people who love them, it’s only natural that videogames should have their own, permanent cultural home…just as fine art enjoys the National Gallery, performance has the National Theatre, and film and music have many permanent spaces that celebrate them – it’s fantastic news that GameCity are pioneering this vital and much needed new space.
“Videogames have an important role to play in our economy, our education policies and our cultural lives – so whilst it’s taken a long time to arrive, I can’t wait to visit the first ever National Videogame Arcade’
In Other News
Nintendo are set to introduce pre-purchase and download functionality for both the 3DS and Wii U in the near future. Speaking during the company’s latest financial results (and back to full fitness after months of illness), president Satoru Iwata emphasized the importance of allowing consumers to get straight into their games and revealed that the first game to support the service will be Super Smash Bros for Wii U. For reference, pre-loading has been a feature of both the Xbox One and PS4 for some time.
Consumers will be able to pre-download with cards sold in stores, allowing them in theory to have the game ready to play the second the official release falls through. Although the functionality will be introduced on Wii U by the end of the year, 3DS owners will be waiting a little longer as Iwata confirmed that pre-purchase and downloads for handheld titles will only be ready in 2015.
In related news, it was revealed during the same financial calls that sales of the Wii U have been on an upward curve since the release of Mario Kart 8 in May, with 610,000 units sold in the last financial quarter. The Big N have also managed to reverse their overall fortunes reducing operating loss from 23.3 billion yen to 215 million yen – forecasts for net profit remain unchanged at 20 billion yen.
You may remember that I reported in July that due to restructuring at Microsoft, Xbox Entertainment Studios would be shutting up shop just over a year after being first established – well, the division is now officially done and dusted after Microsoft confirmed a report from Variety this past week.
XES (set up as a specialized TV production studio for Xbox platforms) will go down in the history books as being a poorly judged decision on Microsoft’s behalf – the belief that gamers wanted TV more than…games was short sighted. However the fruits of its labor will soon be available; the documentary following an archaeological dig for Atari cartridges in a New Mexico landfill will be on Xbox Live from November 20th, and Halo: Nightfall is being released alongside The Master Chief Collection.
Dragging out what has been one of the worst game launches in recent memory, Sony have officially postponed the PS Plus version of Driveclub until further notice. Posting on the Driveclub Facebook page, Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida apologized for the delay, stating that until Evolution Studios ‘can ensure that everyone (who bought the full price game) can enjoy the full social connected online experience’, we won’t be seeing the free PS Plus version which has been promised since the game’s original unveiling.
At the current rate, it would not surprise me if they decide to flat out cancel the free version to be honest.
When Disney bought out LucasFilm and subsequently shut down the highly successful LucasArts gaming division, there was a general fear that many of the developer’s classic games would be lost to the sands of time. Happily however, GOG.com has now negotiated a deal with Disney to re-release several of LucasArts’ old titles with some of them appearing for the first time as digital downloads – most notably, the classic point-and-click adventure Sam & Max Hit The Road.
Joining Sam & Max on the digital service are The Secret Of Monkey Island: Special Edition, Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis, Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic, Star Wars: X Wing Special Edition and Star Wars: TIE Fighter Special Edition, with the latter two receiving optimization for modern operating systems. No Grim Fandango yet then, but GOG.com has said to expect further games from the back catalogue enter the service in the coming months
Halloween brought with it annoying kids at my doorstep, an excuse for Steam to cut the prices on horror games, and also brought about another appetizing set of offers from the team at Humble Bundle, in the form of Humble Indie Bundle 13.
In what I believe is a first for the Indie Bundles, this time you can pick up a game for absolutely nothing – Teleglitch: Die More Edition. After that, you can pay what you want for OlliOlli, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet and Tower Of Guns, while paying over the average price will also net you Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs, Jazzpunk and FOUR copies of Risk Of Rain (with more games promised to arrive in a few days).
The bundle is running for another seven days, so remember to give generously as proceeds go to charity.
Amazingly, FIFA 15 has continued to weather a storm of new releases to make it five consecutive weeks at the top of the UK Game Sales Charts. EA has now had a game at the top of the charts for 18 out of the 43 weeks of the year so far…which is kind of ominous.
Strong sales on the PS4 for Minecraft pushed it up seven places into second spot. As for the new releases, Bayonetta 2 entered in 7th, PC exclusive Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth was 18th & Just Dance 2015 clumsily fell into 19th.
Top Ten For Week Ending 25th October 2014 (from GFK/Chart-Track)
1 – FIFA 15 (EA Canada)
2 – Minecraft: Playstation Edition (4J Studios)
3 – The Evil Within (Tango Gameworks)
4 – Destiny (Bungie)
5 – Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor (Monolith)
6 – Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! (2K Australia)
7 – Bayonetta 2 (Platinum Games)*
8 – Forza Horizon 2 (Playground Games)
9 – Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly)
10 – Skylanders: Trap Team (Toys For Bob)
(* indicates a new release)