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.
Hello one and all; my sincere apologies once again for a lack of blogging output over the last month or so, but I’ve been kind of busy…buying and moving into a house! What you will find below if some of the choicer stories that made the headlines over the past month.
Headlines For 27th April to 3rd May
If you remember a couple of months back, a group of former Rare employees broke off to create their own studio, Playtonic Games, with the intent to create a spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie. The project was subsequently revealed to be Yooka-Laylee, a colourful platformer featuring a chameleon and it’s bat sidekick in a 3D enviroment packed with good old collectibles.
A Kickstarter campaign was set up to help fund development of the game to the tune of £175,000. They raised that total in less than 45 minutes.
As I write this article now, I’m delighted to say that the figure stands at a whopping £1,480,866 – that amount means that a number of stretch goals were met that will result in the game having a 2-4 player multiplayer mode, an N64 style shader mode and a simultaneous release across PC, PS4, Xbox One and Wii U platforms. While the game is only set to come out in October next year, the incredibly positive feedback towards the project does put a smile across my face – it suggests that the love and enthusiasm for the classic platformer genre isn’t quite dead as feared.
Due to moving house and other complications, this will just be a short collection of stories this week. Apologies for the delay!
PS3 users can now wirelessly connect a DualShock 4 controller after downloading the 4.60 firmware update, having only been able to utilize them previously via a wired connection. Functions including rumble force and motion control are still unavailable, and the DualShock 4 does not fully support every PS3 game as of yet
Facebook is to purchase Oculus VR for $2 billion, in a deal which includes $400 million of cash and 23 million shares in the social networking site. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has hailed Oculus, who are currently working on the Oculus Rift VR headset, as the ‘social platform of the future’ (you can read the full statement here). The company will continue to work on the Rift at their headquarters in California.
The reaction to the deal has been…volatile.
The internet seems to have taken a mostly apocalyptic view of events; many early backers of the Oculus Rift (which was Kickstarted to the tune of $2.4 million) have expressed their disgust with Oculus for variously; killing virtual reality and the future of gaming, selling out, and making a mockery of crowd funding. The share price of Facebook took a nose dive after the announcement, dropping 6.9% by the end of day trading on Wednesday. And anyone hoping to play an official version of Minecraft on the Rift will be left extremely disappointed as creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson cancelled the deal to bring the game to the hardware – amusingly taking to Twitter to express that ‘Facebook creeps me out’.
Facebook have flatly denied that they will rebrand the Rift or detract from its focus on gaming, and Oculus themselves have claimed that while the are surprised at just how negative the reaction has been, the benefits will be found in cheaper units and reduced delays of production. Chief technology officer John Carmack has remained optimistic about the deal claiming that Facebook’s vast financial resources will help to avoid ‘an embarrassing scaling crisis for VR’.