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.
At the end of a week which has seen Sony celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original Sony Playstation (a milestone which reinforces just how quickly time has passed me by), the company has been looking ahead to the future with a number of announcements made both at The Game Awards 2014 and the Playstation Experience event – perhaps the most pivotal of which is that Street Fighter V will be console exclusive to the PS4. And that’s not a timed exclusive like Rise Of The Tomb Raider; Xbox One owners will not be fitting themselves into Ryu’s oversized mitts at all.
You might remember in the last weekly news update, I was discussing how a number of games recently released had run into criticism for being extremely buggy; the most high profile case being Ubisoft Montreal’s Assassins Creed: Unity. In a rather drastic move Ubisoft have discontinued the Season Pass DLC for the game, offering one of a selection of five games for free after an open letter of apology to fans by CEO Yannis Mallet.
Anyone who purchased the season pass will now be gifted one of either Watch Dogs, Assassins Creed: Black Flag, Rayman Legends, Just Dance 2015, Far Cry 4 or the upcoming open world racer The Crew, while everyone who bought Unity will also be able to pick up the Dead Kings DLC for free. That’s a pretty sweet compromise for those who haven’t got Legends or Far Cry yet.
For reference, Mallet said the following in his open letter:
“Unfortunately, at launch, the overall quality of the game was diminished by bugs and unexpected technical issues…I want to sincerely apologize on behalf of Ubisoft and the entire Assassin’s Creed team. These problems took away from your enjoyment of the game, and kept many of you from experiencing the game at its fullest potential…We’ve been working hard to fix the problems players are reporting, and the patches we have released so far have resolved many of them”
A new model of the Nintendo 3DS & 3DS XL has been revealed in a Japanese exclusive Nintendo Direct broadcast this week. Dubbed as the ‘New 3DS’ and ‘New 3DS XL’ (lengthening Nintendo’s fascination with calling slight tweaks to existing products as ‘new’), the updated models will feature a directional nub inspired by the C-stick of Gamecube controllers, trigger buttons, NFC support for Amiibo figurines and improved 3D functionality, as well as a faster CPU that will be required to play some more demanding games – including a newly announced port of the highly rated Wii title Xenoblade Chronicles.
The new 3DS will debut first in Japan on October 11th for a as of yet revealed price (with the XL version available in Metallic Blue or Black), but Europe will not receive the models until at least 2015. In the same Direct broadcast, Nintendo also revealed that Bayonetta 2 will finally launch in the United States on October 24th (with a Wii U version of the original included with retail copies). Continue reading WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 25TH – 31ST AUGUST→
After weeks without a single debilitating comment, Microsoft have returned to form by announcing and then quickly denying a development with it’s Xbox One(-Eighty) console.
On Wednesday it was suggested by Martin Fuller from the Xbox Advanced Technology Group that the console would no longer double up as a development kit as originally intended, before a spokesman rebuked the claims the next day (“We remain committed to ensuring the best possible solutions for developers and hobbyists to create games for Xbox One”), and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reiterated the company’s support to its gaming division.
The relevance of the story was reinforced by a survey conducted at GDC Europe (Game Developers Conference) this week suggesting that on the console front, more developers prefer to use the architecture offered by Sony’s PS4 (25% compared to 13% for Xbox One). However, the survey also suggested that the influence of consoles is starting to wear thin on developers, with over 60% claiming to be working on PC and mobile platforms. From the survey, it was also decreed that Sweden is current premier hub for game development in Europe, with the UK and Germany not far behind. Continue reading WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 7TH – 13TH JULY→
The greatest of all the Pokemon, Charizard, has been confirmed as a standalone character for Super Smash Bros on 3DS and Wii U. Let’s take a moment to bask in his magnificence.
The Other Headline Of The Week
The Nintendo Direct presentation on Tuesday also revealed plenty more details on the upcoming Super Smash Bros – most important of all was the news that the 3DS version will be launching in the Summer ahead of the Wii U version, which still has a non-specific release date of late 2014.
The 40 minute presentation (hosted by Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai) also had plenty more surprises in store; revealing new items, assist trophies & stages, a two tier system for online play separating those who wish for fun or glory, and a brand new game mode called Smash Run which will be 3DS exclusive. Finally, it was confirmed that Yoshi will return to the roster (along with Zero Suit Samus and Sheik who now have individual spots) with the second newcomer from the Pokemon series unveiled to be Greninja. If you missed the presentation on Tuesday, you can watch the whole thing via the video link below.
All eyes on the gaming world will be on Los Angeles later today – it might not be the best gaming conference in existence (that title for me belongs to GamesCom), but E3 is certainly the biggest of them all and as a result garners the attention of the media like no other gaming event.
For the past two years I have produced a relatively in depth live-blog of events as they unfolded through the day (which, if you want to invoke a bit of nostalgia and have a laugh at all the broken promises can be seen here both for 2011 and 2012) – I very much enjoyed typing up these reports, but this year a combination of actual academic work, a lack of a laptop that won’t overheat after five hours and general laziness means that I’ll be producing a much more concise report on events which you should expect around Wednesday or Thursday.