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
Headline Of The Week
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
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
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The Independent Games Developers Association (Tiga) has stated this week in an interview that video games deserve to be officially classified as ‘cultural products’ in the UK, alongside television, film and animation.
The CEO of Tiga, Dr Richard Wilson, commented that “recognizing games as cultural products would untie the red tape which unfairly prevents EU member state governments from supporting their national video game sectors” – video games are currently recognized as software under EU law, which resulted in a long drawn out process to get tax breaks for UK game companies (which was finally approved by the European Commission in March); the argument made by Tiga is that this would not have been the case had games enjoyed the same benefits as film or TV.
The latest financial analysis by Tiga would certainly suggest that such a move would be in the Government’s interests; estimating that video games generate up to £93 billion worldwide compared to $88.3 billion for films and a surprisingly low $15 billion for music. On a personal note, I think that to declare video games as cultural products is a perfectly logically decision – the impact they have on modern life, not only from a financial standpoint, means they deserve to be celebrated and remembered as much as the next number one single or box-office hit.
Headline Of The Week
The Last Of Us was the headline stealer at the 2014 Video Game BAFTA’s in London this week, scooping up five awards including Best Game. Naughty Dog’s survival horror has been the standout performer during the videogame award season, and now it has added gongs for Best Action & Adventure, Audio Achievement, Story and Best Performer (Ashley Johnson as Ellie) to its sizeable trophy cabinet.
Media Molecule’s Vita exclusive Tearaway and Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V picked up three awards each, with Rockstar also being presented with the BAFTA Fellowship by Hideo Kojima. Elsewhere, Bioshock: Infinite walked away with Best Music, Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons earned Best Game Innovation, and Papers, Please nudged out strong competition to win Best Strategy & Simulation.
If you missed the ceremony on Wednesday which was hosted by comedian Dara O’Briain, then you can catch online via the BAFTA Twitch Page . Continue reading