Before we hit the headlines, I’d just like to make a personal apology for the lack of articles recently – I’ve been on a lot of overtime at work which has cut into my personal time that I have free for writing, but ultimately it means that in a few weeks time I can celebrate being a small cog in the wheel of a very big project…anyway, THE NEWS!
Headline Of The Week
Looking to follow in the footsteps of online retailer Amazon and their Fire TV micro-console, Google have announced its own set-top box called the Nexus Player.
Focusing on the streaming of video, applications and games from the Google Play service (and with the option to ‘cast’ content from connected devices in a similar method to the Chromecast dongle), the Nexus Player is designed by Asus, features a specially designed Android TV interface and will retail for $99 – the exact same price as the Fire TV. It will also require a separate controller costing $39.99, so it is unlikely to put a dent into the console majority enjoyed by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo – however bear in mind this is Google we are talking about, and the sheer brute force of their financial coffers means that any attempt to muscle in on the home console market should at least raise an eyebrow.
Microsoft are reportedly in talks with Mojang, the developers of sales juggernaut Minecraft, to buy the studio – and if the latest reports from Reuters are to be believed, the ballpark figure for the acquisition is an astonishing $2.5 BILLION.
If the rumors of the deal are true then this is strange news indeed, as Mojang’s founder Markus Persson has regularly criticized Microsoft in the past (going as far as claiming that the company were trying to ‘ruin the PC as an open platform’ with Windows 8) – and given Minecraft’s availability on virtual every system under the sun as well (except ironically on Windows Phones), you would suspect that any exclusivity for future content or a possible sequel would not go down well with those already infatuated with the game. More to the point, two billion dollars is a simply ludicrous amount to splash out for a studio that, despite Minecraft’s enviable success, is essentially a one hit wonder.
The Reuters report claims that the deal could be completed as soon as Monday; so watch this space for one of the most expensive and odd deals in video game history to happen.
This week saw the unexpected delay of one of the most eagerly anticipated titles of the Winter period and a key launch title for the PS4 & Xbox One, as Ubisoft announced that Watch Dogs has been set back from its initial launch date of November 19th to early 2014. In a blog post, Ubisoft said:
“Our ambition from the start with Watch Dogs has been to deliver something that embodies what we wanted to see in the next-generation of gaming…it is with this in mind that we’ve made the tough decision to delay the release until Spring 2014.”
The statement also confirmed that open-world racer The Crew (which I recently got hands on with at Eurogamer)would be delayed as well. The company have said that customers who have preordered next-gen consoles bundled with Watch Dogs will be able to swap the title for another game.
It’s a real shame, because both games were things that I was really looking forward to that might have convinced me to buy into the next generation early. Oh well, back to the Steam backlog I go…
Last Friday, I popped down to London with a few mates to attend my first video gaming exposition; the Eurogamer Expo, held inside Earl’s Court. After humble beginnings in the Docklands just six years ago, the Eurogamer Expo has grown to become one of the most important dates on the British gaming calendar – and this year was all the more significant as the public got their first hands-on experience with the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft, the PS4 and Xbox One.