WEEKLY NEWS UPDATES FOR 31ST AUGUST – 13TH SEPTEMBER

Headlines For 7th-13th September

Microsoft is set to shutter the Xbox Live Indie Games service. New submissions to the service were halted on September 9th, and anyone currently working on a title now has less than a year to complete it. The marketplace and XNA developer website will then be fully closed in September 2017 – although any content purchased before that point can still be played and downloaded if previously deleted.

The move is a long time coming; the Indie Games marketplace is largely filled with dross focusing on avatar interaction or shameless Minecraft rip-offs (with only the excellent I Maed A Gam3 W1th Z0mb1es worth a purchase), and has barely been promoted since 2011 when a Xbox 360 dashboard update pushed them out of sight. The Xbox One also launched without the programme, focusing instead on self-publishing indie titles through the much more promising ID@Xbox initiative which has the likes of Cuphead on it’s radar. Continue reading

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WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 24TH -31ST AUGUST

Headline Of The Week

Video game soundtracks have been in the news again this week – not once, not twice, but THRICE.

The most high profile story concerns the soundtrack to the PS4 exclusive Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture – initially the album was included on the Classical Artists Albums Chart, before the Official Charts Company moved it to the Official Soundtrack Album Chart claiming that the first classification had been an error. Composer Jessica Curry took to Twitter to vent her frustration at being left off the list, as she felt she would have had a No.1 entry on her hands.

The British developers behind Rapture, The Chinese Room, also accused the firm of elitism when it came to including game soundtracks – a debate which has been ongoing since video game soundtracks were first included on the Classic FM Hall Of Fame in 2012.

In related soundtrack news, a vinyl CD for the cult SNES classic Earthbound will be getting a Western release – the 24 song release is available for a £25 pre-order now with a choice of four disc colours, set to ship to Europe and North America in early 2016. Finally, Nintendo’s surprise hit Splatoon is also getting an official soundtrack; amusingly called ‘Splatune’ it will feature 61 tracks and cost just $26 when it release in October.

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WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 17TH -23RD AUGUST

Headline Of The Week

Having skipped GamesCom 2015, Sony have outlined their planned conference for Paris Games Week.

The conference will be held at 5pm on Tuesday 27th October, and will mark the first big media showing from the Japanese giant since the headline announcements it unveiled at E3 earlier this year. It is unlikely that Sony will focus too much on the likes of The Last Guardian or the remake of Final Fantasy VII, but one would expect outings for No Man’s Sky, some of the games announced at last year’s GamesCom presentation included Rime & Wild, and maybe an update on the likes of The Witness.

Sony will also be doing its annual presentation at the Toyko Games Show halfway through September; where if I’m lucky they’ll be able to get Persona 5 shoehorned in for the end of the year. Continue reading

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 11TH -16TH AUGUST

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From September 1st, Sony will be increasing the prices of PS Plus subscriptions in the United Kingdom. Although the new prices have yet to be confirmed, a one month subscription will rise from £5.49 and three months will increase from £11.99. The £39.99 annual subscription will remain the same however, offering the best value for money but locking people into a year of service. It is expected that prices will rise in line with the current cost for Xbox Live, which stands at £5.99/£14.99/£39.99. Continue reading

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 3RD – 10TH AUGUST

Headline Of The Week

Most of the important news of the week has come from GamesCom 2015, the biggest European gaming convention on the calender held in Cologne, Germany. As previously reported Sony declined to hold a press conference this year, but there were still big presentations from Microsoft, EA and Blizzard Entertainment, the first two of which you can watch in their entirety online. I’ve picked out some of the juicer headlines below: Continue reading

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 27TH JULY – 2ND AUGUST

Headline Of The Week

The computer hardware manufacturer Razer has acquired all of the software assets of Ouya (the ‘one time Kickstarted micro-console darling turned embarrassing failure of a venture’), with the intention of migrating all current users to its own Forge TV micro-console in the near future. Old Ouya customers will be allowed to transfer their games and accounts, while the Ouya marketplace will be rebranded. Most of the folks that worked at Ouya will retain their jobs, but the founder and CEO Juile Uhrman has bailed out.

The acquisition caused a panic storm when it was initially reported that Razer would not honor the poorly planned ‘Free The Games Fund’ that Ouya set up, meaning that a number of the twenty-seven developers who took part in the promotion would lose out on the income needed to complete their games. Razer’s CEO Min-Liang Tan quickly confirmed that his company would then cover the $620,000 that Ouya owed to developers, with a few caveats – a more in-depth explanation of the situation by Polygon can be found here.

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WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 20TH -26TH JULY

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The last dedicated gaming arcade in London, the Heart Of Gaming, is back up and running after thieves broke in and stole over £5,000 worth of consoles and equipment. The arcade was broken into on Tuesday night but the thieves did not target any of the arcade machines, which do not hold any money (all the machines are set to free-play, which is then covered by entry fees). A GoFundMe campaign set up in response to the robbery raised over £5,000 in less than 24 hours to help get the community run venue back on its feet. Continue reading

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 13TH -19TH JULY

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This week the gaming world has paid its respects to Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, who passed away on Monday from a bile duct growth. He was aged 55.

Iwata had a long and illustrious history with Nintendo, working as a programmer at HAL Laboratory on titles including Earthbound and Balloon Fight, before succeeding Hiroshi Yamauchi in 2002 to become only the fourth President of the company. During his tenure the company enjoyed great success with the DS and Wii consoles, while Iwata himself received praise for his hands-on approach to the role; regularly hosting Nintendo Direct announcements and highlighting the work of developers with ‘Iwata Asks’ interviews. In recent years he took a voluntary 50% paycut in response to Nintendo’s falling profits, and following E3 less than a month ago he publicly apologized for what was perceived by hardcore fans as a disappointing showing. While fighting illness in recent months, he also announced Nintendo’s intention to get into the mobile games sector. Continue reading

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 29TH JUNE -12TH JULY

Headlines For 6th – 12th July

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is to give every 11-12 year old child in the UK starting Year Seven this upcoming academic year a free micro-computer as part of its ‘Make It Digital’ initiative to improve knowledge on coding from a young age.

The Micro Bit (a knowing nod to the BBC Micro of the 80s) is roughly the size of a credit card (4cm x 5cm) and features 25 programmable red LED’s, two buttons which can be utilized as a controller or to pause and skip songs in a playlist, a built in accelerometer, compass and magnet and Bluetooth compatibility. It is intended that once kids become familiar with the technology that they would then upgrade to a more complex system like the Raspberry Pi. Plans are already in place for a not-for-profit organization to be established to create commercial units from 2016 onwards. Continue reading

WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 22ND-28TH JUNE

Good afternoon all; and welcome to the world of a post-E3 news update! I’m still bruised from when I flopped around the room following the Final Fantasy VII remake announcement…Apologies once again for a serious lack of output recently, but The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt continues to sap time out of my days with remarkable force. Anyway, the news!

Headline Of The Week

It’s been nigh-on impossible to escape the saga that has been the release of Batman: Arkham Knight this week. The final chapter in Rocksteady’s adventures with the Dark Knight has been one of the most anticipated games of the year, and early signs suggested that it was heading to glory with reviews in the highest echelon from several publications. The release of the PC port however has ensured that the game will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Continue reading