The fall is usually crowded with major, triple-A game launches, but this year is getting out of hand! But we don’t mind, as long as we have a controller in hand. Heh…sorry.
The end of another week, another edition of TriplePoints of interest. This week Nintendo’s first mobile game gets a name, PewDiePie squares off against AdBlock,
Nintendo goes mobile in March
Nintendo has this week announced their first mobile game, Miitomo, which will launch in March of 2016. The app appears to be a messaging and communication app that will use Nintendo Mii characters to communicate with other players. GamesIndustry.biz has their take: Nintendo is taking a careful and thoughtful approach to mobile.
PewDiePie vs. AdBlock….FIGHT!
Last week, YouTube launched YouTube Red, a subscription service allowing viewers access to their favorite channels and content without having to watch ads. One of the more interesting threads to come of this was many viewers proclaiming that it didn’t matter to them because they use AdBlock, effectively enjoying YouTube ad-free and subscription-free. But cometh the hour, cometh the king – this week PewDiePie took to his blog to explain the pros to YouTube Red and the cons to AdBlock, noting particularly that AdBlock has a hugely negative effect on smaller channels trying to grow.
EA is going to sell so much Star Wars
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away the beta for Star Wars Battlefront attracted over 9 million players, making it the biggest video game beta in history. Based on this, Electronic Arts now expects to sell more than 13 million copies of the game by March 2016. That’s a lot of Galactic credits!
People on the internet are terrible
SXSW Interactive found itself in the middle of a bit of controversy this week when it cancelled two planned panels focused on online harassment in the video game space in the face of threats of violence on the – you guessed it – internet. In response to the conference’s decision, Vox Media boycotted the event, pulling it’s CEO from a featured speaker slot. SXSW has since apologized and begun building out a larger Online Harassment Summit to feature at the show. Can’t we all just get along on 6th street?
This week in games, tech, and entertainment has been full of Augmented Reality, eSports, drama at Konami, and something called Star Wars…
Has Hideo Kojima actually left Konami?
Konami is in continued crisis mode after it was leaked that the infamous designer Hideo Kojima has left the company, but more recently denied by Konami as merely being on vacation. It’s publicly known that he has a non-compete clause expiring in December, which press are anticipating to be the more formal departure from the publisher. Meanwhile, nobody knows what’s going on outside of those with first-hand knowledge within Konami, and the speculations continue to run rampant. All of this, after the LA-based Kojima Productions was apparently “dissolved” earlier this year.
Magic Leap claims to be manufacturing in the millions
One of the most interesting and mysterious players in the Augmented Reality space, Magic Leap, claimed at this week’s Wall Street Journal Digital Live event that they are preparing to manufacture “millions” of devices. Many have been suspicious of these claims – Magic Leap has secured more than half a billion dollars in funding and talks a big game, but has yet to show any actual product or reveal the technology it is based on. Perhaps to combat this, Magic Leap has also released a teaser demo video this week which it claims was recorded through their tech without any external effects.
Activision Blizzard starts new eSports division
In a move that speaks to the growing popularity and relevance of eSports, GamesIndustry International reports that Activision Blizzard has hired former CEO of ESPN and the NFL Network, Steve Bornstein, to head up their new eSports division. No word yet on the details of this new division, but we’re sure to find out more in the coming months.
Something, something, dark side
The biggest event in all of entertainment news this week certainly has been the reveal of the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This hype train is certainly moving at top speed, as Forbes reports that ticket presales for opening weekend have crashed ticketing sites and set a new record at Fandango.
Where do you prefer to watch the League of Legends World Championships? Twitch? Azubu? Maybe you should tune in on…BBC! This and other news from the world of games!
BBC: the next big thing in eSports
ESPN, TBS, and now BBC! Game Informer reports that BBC Three will be streaming the League of Legends World Championships starting on October 15, including all four days of the quarterfinals and other supplemental programs. Commentators will be broadcasting live from London’s Wembley Stadium, adding BBC to the list of mainstream channels broadcasting eSports tournaments.
Spend to meet your Destiny
Bungie announced they will be adding microtransactions to Destiny on October 13. GamesIndustry International reports that Bungie added this feature to “bolster the service provided by the live team for another full year, as they grow and create more robust and engaging events that we’ll announce later this year.” Bungie will be introducing silver as the Destiny’s in-game currency.
Everything you need to know about Rock Band, you learn from GameSpot
Purchased Rock Band 4 and have a lot of burning questions? GameSpot has you covered with their “everything you need to know” guide that includes how to import old songs from previous installments–including on-disc tracks, which old instruments will work on the new system, and where to buy new gear.
Ads can be games too!
Who is excited for Rock Band 4? I’ll see if I can cram all that awesome equipment into my small gaming room because I need to practice my ailing drumming skills. On that note, what is your favorite song from the Rock Band list?
Please Don’t Stop the Music!
With the impending release of Rock Band 4 next week, USA Today took a look at the resurgence of the music game genre, what led to its recession in the last 5 years, and how positive sales data for the newest generation of consoles can bring it back to the giant it once was.
Comcast: The Next Roller Coaster Tycoon?
Comcast announced it will purchase a $1.5 billion stake in Universal Studios Japan. This move comes after Comcast’s bid to purchase Time Warner Cable for $45.2 billion collapsed. Wall Street Journal explains how this investment will help Comcast profit from the booming theme park industry in Asia, fueled by an influx of tourists from China and increasing competition from the likes of Six Flags and Disney, who plan to open major parks in the region as well.
…Or Digital Ad Tycoon?
In other Comcast news, the company announced the start of the beta period for Watchable, an app meant for streaming “short-form” content, with 30 video network partners including Machinima, Buzzfeed, VICE, and Maker Studios. CNBC reports this is part of Comcast’s strategy to tap into the digital video advertising business and help the transition of digital video to living room TVs. This is allegedly also a move away from the business of TV channel bundles and more about selling broadband access.
eSports is big. This is how it gets bigger.
The eSports industry could reach a value of over $1 billion by 2020, says Newzoo, if it can tackle five key areas. SiliconAngle details what they are: diversity of games i.e. moving beyond the MOBA safe zone and finding other accessible genres, regional expansion i.e. organizations that represent specific regions of fans (like traditional sports do), regulation, media rights, and breaking into traditional media like ESPN.
Microsoft and Twisted Pixel ended their relationship </3
Twisted Pixel, developer of the Splosion Man franchise, announced they had parted ways with Microsoft. GamesIndustry International says this ends a 2011 acquisition Microsoft made of the then-indie developer, making Twisted Pixel independent once again. Though now privately held, Twisted Pixel confirmed they will still continue to collaborate with Microsoft.
You might not be reading this if you’re standing in line for a new iPhone 6S. Nonetheless, here is a fun tidbit about the craze around the latest iPhone, plus other fun news from the games industry and beyond.
Are you the biggest Apple fan?
Does anyone else want the new iPhone 6S or 6S Plus more than you? The Verge reports that Australian Lucy Kelly might take the crown for most dedicated iOS user by placing an iPad powered by a robot to hold her spot in line at Sydney’s flagship Apple store. Mashable reports that Ms. Kelly intends to purchase her iPhone through her robot, therefore not requiring her to be present at the register when she receives her new product (keeping in mind it is cold and rainy in Sydney now).
Keep your iPhones safe!
Apple has removed 300 apps from the App Store believed to be infected with malware. According to WIRED, several security companies have pointed out that infected apps can help attackers create a direct line to individual devices and steal information including passwords. MacRumors has the list of the top 25 apps affected by the attack.
More TV stations will broadcast eSports!
Building on the efforts of eSports to go mainstream, TBS will be broadcasting 20 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive live events starting in 2016. VICE Motherboard points out that this production is put on by WME/IMG, a sports events company, and Turner Broadcasting, without the help from an existing eSports organization like ESL, showing traditional sports media’s commitment to the genre.
Half-Life 3… Now I have your attention!
Fans just can’t get enough of Half-Life 3 rumors and teases. One of Valve’s main writers, Chet Faliszek, responded with a firm “no” when an audience member at EGX Birmingham asked if the game will have VR support. PCGamesN speculates that Mr. Faliszek’s response suggests that Valve is backhandedly confirming Half-Life 3’s impending release.
TwitchCon kicks off today!
Watch the keynote and all the action, and learn about the future of broadcasting on the official Twitch streaming channel!
Who’s looking forward to getting that new iPhone 6S or 6S Plus? This week, we read opinions on iOS 9 and take a look at the biggest news out of Tokyo Game Show! Also, who misses the days of going to the arcade to meet your friends? One company wants to bring that experience to today’s kids.
iOS over 9,000!
Apple rolled out iOS 9 this week in advance of its upcoming iPhone 6S and 6S Plus launch. Fortune has rounded up reviews on the software from top sites like Wall Street Journal who praised it for fixing a long-standing issue of smartphone users: battery life. CNBC reported some users had difficulties downloading the software, but Fortune’s roundup reveals sentiments among press were mostly positive.
Persona 5 is so close yet so far
Tokyo Game Show kicked off this week and Polygon has a roundup of the biggest stories coming out of the event. Probably the most hard-hitting piece of news making ripples stateside is the announcement that Persona 5 is delayed, coupled with a beautiful new trailer as a consolation prize.
Video game arcades are back in movie theaters, but not how you’d envision it!
Remember the days when gamers used to congregate at arcades to not only beat the neighborhood kids at their favorite game, but also spend time with friends? COO of Super League Gaming, Brett Morris, noticed that today’s kids don’t have that thanks to online gaming giving kids getting less face time. According to Variety, Mr. Morris started Super League Gaming in order to convert today’s movie theaters into arenas for competitive gaming leagues. Super League Gaming will invite kids to bring their laptops to Cinemark theaters at over 30 locations nationwide starting October 5, turning the traditional movie theater into a modern-day video game arcade.
PC Gamer goes Pro
PC Gamer announced a new section of the site, PC Gamer Pro, which will be a dedicated section for eSports and competitive gaming. Chris Thursten, PC Gamer’s Deputy Editor of the UK magazine, will head the editorial department for this new domain.
Photo from Gizmodo
It was a big week in video games, but for two starkly different reasons. The summer is wrapping up with two major console game launches in Super Mario Maker for the WiiU and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for, well, everything else. On the other hand, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel sparked a controversy with a comedy segment aimed at YouTube’s new gaming channel and the concept of watching people play video games.
Super Mario Maker and Metal Gear See Critical Success
Two major console titles have launched this week to critical acclaim – Nintendo’s Super Mario Maker for the WiiU and Konami’s Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Nintendo’s latest allows players to create and share their own Mario levels and currently has a score of 89 on Metacritic. The latest in the Metal Gear Solid series – with a rating of 94 on Metacritic – represents famed designer Hideo Kojima’s final production for publisher Konami as the two parties continue their acrimonious separation.
Jimmy Kimmel Versus Gamers
Last week, late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel aired a segment making fun of YouTube’s new Gaming channel and parodying the concept of watching people play video games. This lead to many angry comments and vitriol directed at the host from upset gamers, including death threats, which Jimmy Kimmel shared in not one, but two follow up segments on his show this week. This only continues to grow, with much of the games and tech press covering the controversy, and we expect that this won’t be the last we hear from the talk show host on this.
Machinima’s Slap on the Wrist
Popular YouTube content network Machinima has come under fire from the FTC for deceptive business practices pertaining to an XBox One launch campaign. According to Kotaku, Machinima paid YouTubers to create positive content around the XBox One while preventing them from disclosing that the videos were paid for by Microsoft. The FTC and Machinima have come to a settlement preventing this type of business practice in the future.
The Most Popular Apps of All Time
App Store analytics firm App Annie released a new report this week on the most popular iPhone and iPad apps of all time. GamesIndustry International reports that, in terms of the highest grossing games on the App Store, Supercell comes out on top with their megahits Clash of Clans, Hay Day, and Boom Beach.
The eSports gods have spoken: watching the tournaments on streams is a hit and more! Check out the awesome statistics from the eSports tournaments of the past weekend as well as some interesting insight of how much time Americans REALLY spend on their phones and playing games.
Counter-Strike: Global Phenomenon
The stream numbers are in and VentureBeat reports over 27 million people tuned in to watch the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament at ESL One and noted that while Evo 2015 only received 248,000 peak concurrent viewers, it still saw a 75% increase from last year’s numbers. Writer, Jeff Grubb, notes that this signals a diversification of eSports content seeing brands other than Dota 2 and League of Legends grow at such a high rate.
Pass the blood samples
Two major eSports tournaments wrapped up this weekend: League of Legends North American LCS Summer Finals in New York City and ESL One in Cologne, Germany. PC World takes a look at the first tournament where ESL began testing players for drug use. Writer, John Gaudiosi, discusses the mixed reactions from fans and notes that other organizations like Major League Gaming and Riot Games have yet to implement such procedures.
Conventions got snug and cozy this year
GamesIndustry.biz takes a look at the move of Gamescom to earlier in the month of August, setting it less than 2 months after E3, and causing Nintendo to cancel their press conference and Sony moving their presence to Paris Games Week. While this meant press schedules becoming more compressed, writer, Dan Pearson, notes that this gave an opportunity for Microsoft to garner most of the press attention during Gamescom thanks to maintaining their presence at the show despite tight scheduling.
Smartphone addictions continue!
Yahoo analytics firm, Flurry, released data relating to US smartphone use and how it relates to the time spent gaming. GamesIndustry.biz reports that although time spent on smartphones has risen 35%, the amount of time spent gaming has halved. Writer, Dan Pearson says, “Flurry attributes this shift to three major factors: a lack of new hit games, with the top grossing charts remaining static; the rise of spectator gaming, as gamers spend more time learning by watching streaming services rather than playing; and the unwillingness of players to spend time grinding their way through games, instead paying their way to content via free-to-play mechanisms.”
Photo from ESL
When we read we begin with ABC. When we sing we begin with Do Re Mi. I wonder when Google is going to choose musical notes for their next project name (even though A, B, and C are also music notes).
ABC is easy as 123
Google made waves earlier this week when it announced Alphabet, the name of its newly-created parent entity to encompass the “sprawl of businesses” it has entered according to New York Times. Google as the search engine that started it all will be one such entity under Alphabet, of which founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will be at the helm.
New York Times also reported on a trademark issue the company ran into when BMW revealed it was the owner of the domain “Alphabet.com” and its trademark. Google has yet to provide comment, but it should be noted Alphabet’s website is already housed at domain “abc.xyz.”
It takes an Evil Genius to know how to rake in cash
The Dota 2 International tournament wrapped up last weekend with Evil Geniuses taking home the $6 million prize. Forbes highlighted Valve’s ability to rack up the large sum of money through selling an in-game item, making the prize pool partially crowdfunded as well. Writer, Paul Tassi, wonders if other companies like Riot and Blizzard will also follow the crowdfunding model to raise the prize pool for future major tournaments.
The function of luck in games
PopMatters released an insightful post on the role that chance plays in game design. Writer, Erik Kersting, references tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons, which rely on chance (the roll of dice) to determine outcomes, leaving the ability to make smart deductions about chance the most important skill a player can have. Mr. Kersting explains how adding an element of chance makes a game more accessible for lower skilled players while also keeping a game interesting with high replay value for higher skilled players. He also touches on the use of Critical Strikes, a mechanic that relies on chance while allowing the player being able to manipulate its likelihood of occurring in games like League of Legends and Dota 2.
An A+ in CS:GO
Universities aren’t the only educational institutions embracing eSports. High schools in Sweden are now offering eSports courses as part of the curriculum, said Daily Dot. Students can train in the ways of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 in the 2015-2016 school year. Perhaps it’s not long before you can get an A in Pokémon video games AND TCG!
Casual vs. Core: no contest
EEDAR released data on the sales performance of this generation’s console market, with a special look at the Xbox One and PS4. GamesIndustry International‘s Rob Fahey concludes that the hardware and software sales for those platforms together paints a complex picture of the health of core gaming amidst the rise of casual, “bite-sized” games on mobile. Overall, however, Mr. Fahey asserts that casual games can never squeeze out core games due to the tastes of the players themselves and that consoles can only “die” if said core experiences are replicated on other devices like mobile. He still raises the question of whether return on investments for creating core AAA games will help companies stay sustainable in the long run due to rising costs of production due not to competition from casual games, but to the plateauing expansion of the core gamer audience against the exponential rise in technology.
Summer’s heating up and so are the acquisition and earnings news! Big this week are Ouya’s new home with Razer and Valve’s whopping 10 figure earnings! On that note, what are your favorite games on Ouya and Steam?
Razer Forges new bond with Ouya
Razer has confirmed they have purchased Ouya. According to TechCrunch, all of Ouya’s VC investors have cashed out and that Alibaba, who invested $10 million in the platform, will be working alongside Razer moving forward. Ouya CEO, Julie Uhrman, confirmed Razer has not purchased the hardware section of the business. All Ouya users will be transitioned into Razer’s Android TV service, Forge.
Valve earnings pick up major Steam
Valve announced Steam raked in a whopping $1.5 billion in 2014, according to Ubergizmo. Market data firm, SuperData, revealed that about $400 million alone was brought in by Valve’s own games such as DotA 2, Team Fortress 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. They also state that since Steam takes a 30% cut of every game sale on the platform, about $330 million came from royalties alone.
Consoles cross the Great Wall of China
China has lifted the final restrictions on console sales, making game consoles like Wii U, Xbox One, and PS4 free to enter the country, said SiliconAngle. When the ban was initially lifted earlier this year, console makers like Microsoft and Sony were forced to funnel all systems through Shanghai, China’s experimental free-trade zone, but can now ship and manufacture them anywhere in the country. While it is still unknown how well the Chinese public will receive these new products, Sony told the Wall Street Journal that they welcome the news. According to GamesIndustry International, Microsoft’s Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, says the company will use this opportunity to work with Chinese game studios to bring Chinese games to Xbox’s international audience.
Gaming mouse and keyboard enter the living room
Sony revealed the Tactical Assault Commander 4, the officially-licensed mouse and keyboard compatible with the PlayStation 4. According to IGN, the device is listed for an October 4 release in the UK and a November 30 release in Japan for a price of $120.
Photo from AFTVnews
This week, we learned that the eSports world ruled players CAN gain an unfair advantage competing in video games by using drugs prescribed for ADHD. We also learned a new way developers are making their games as an outlet for creativity for their fans. Games can and do make you an artist!
eSports pros draw First Blood for drug tests
Electronic Sports League (ESL), the world’s largest eSports organization, announced they will implement new policies in the wake of an Adderall abuse scandal that broke out at IEM Katowice’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament. VICE Motherboard reports that ESL will soon require drug abuse policing, education, and prevention among participants, but will not punish teams who have since been accused of drug use at previous events.
The Art of Video Games…and Gaming
Outpost Games CEO, Sachin Pansuria, told GamesIndustry International that their business model will treat gamers not as consumers, but as performers and creators of content. They seek to create games that play on a gamer’s skill and creativity, making the game a creative outlet, and not just roll out DLC in hopes to keep players interested. Others in the industry share Outpost’s sentiments as they just secured $6.2 million in funding from Benchmark!
Gamescom survival guide!
Heading to Europe’s largest video game show next month? Amsterdam’s tinyBuild Games, veterans of Gamescom, provided a list of tactics on Gamasutra for how to make your booth showing the best yet! Tips include how to structure your booth so it’s welcoming to attendees and how to reward attendees for stopping by!
Photo from TeamLiquid.net
We always want to give you your weekly dose of VR news, but also poignant this week are tips and tricks for how to stay healthy when doing marathon gaming sessions. Did you know there are exercises you should do after clicking a mouse for many hours straight? I’m down for just getting a hand massage…
Virtual Reality isn’t just for games!
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, told ZDNet that the first iteration of the HoloLens won’t be focused on gaming. Mr. Nadella says the technology will be geared more toward developers themselves and enterprise scenarios, prioritizing compatibility of tools like Autodesk and Maya. GamesIndustry International suggests this approach is safest as the HoloLens still has limitations with field of view, for example, requiring testing and a proof of concept with an enterprise audience before releasing to a gamer and consumer audience.
To multiplayer or not to multiplayer?
Should a game include multiplayer if the story mode would suffice? Should developers commit to multiplayer solely if they wish to make it a focus of the game? These are often questions asked by critics and developers today, particularly indie developers stepping out with their first game made by a small team. Gamaustra caught up with six developers who agonized over the question and had words of advice to other developers grappling with the same dilemma.
Video games aren’t bad for you, but they can hurt!
In the wake of reports of young eSports professionals retiring due to computer overuse injuries, VICE Motherboard spoke to Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Levi Harrison, about professional Counter-Strike and Dota 2 players he has treated, comparing their injuries to hand trauma experienced by MMA fighters. Dr. Harrison also provides tips for gamers and all athletes to prevent such injuries and prolong eSports careers.
Photo from Mashable
What is everyone spending their summer 2015 playing? I just need a reminder that it is summer since it’s gray and chilly here in San Francisco. For those of you mobile folks, who has tried to stream your gameplay? I really wonder how many people would tune in to watch birds get flappy or angry. I know I would!
The rise of streaming mobile games
Sony announced a partnership with Twitch to stream mobile games from Xperia devices. The Xperia exclusivity is due to the fact that the streaming app is developed by Sony and not Twitch, according to SiliconAngle. Writer, Eric David, asks whether there is an audience yet for mobile game streaming, seeing that PC still dominates Twitch. Twitch, on the other hand, believes that creating as many avenues as possible to stream games on a wide array of devices is necessary to serve the community properly.
Your weekly VR report from Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida
GamesIndustry International caught up with Sony Computer Entertainment president, Shuhei Yoshida, to hear his take on the state of the VR industry. He discusses Sony’s focus on VR content at E3 versus GDC’s focus on the hardware itself, emphasizing the need for swift turnaround in profits for developers creating games for the headsets. He also explains why virtually no headset maker has discussed price points yet despite most release dates being set for as early as Q1 2016.
Bet to make eSports bigger!
There is already no question that eSports is a global phenomenon. Will the age-old pastime of betting on traditional sports establish itself in the video game space as fast as competitive gaming did? VICE believes it will based on companies like Unikrn receiving large sums from investors and its ability to bridge the gap between hardcore and casual viewers of eSports.
The Early (Access) Bird gets the worm…or does it?!
DayZ’s creator, Dean Hall, presented his insights on the pros and cons of using Early Access as part of a game launch’s strategy. According to Gamasutra, Mr. Hall believes that Early Access allows developers a chance to receive authentic user feedback, but can also set wrong expectations for the game at launch. He used Kerbal Space Program as an example of a game that benefited from Early Access as it allowed the game to improve into the experience it needed to be, while delaying and launching the game as a fully finished product might not have given the game room to grow.
Photo from Digital Trends
Here is an earlier edition of TriplePoints of Interest as it’s almost time for us to head out on our merry way for the 4th of July long weekend! Anyone here pre-ordered a Steam Machine? Purchased a Compendium in Dota 2 and helped Valve create the biggest prize pool in the history of eSports?
A rare $7 million unicorn
Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank host, Mark Cuban, announced he has invested $7 million in eSports betting platform, Unikrn. According to Inc, Mr. Cuban stated he is attracted to the eSports space as it presents a new category of competition.
Full Steam ahead for Steam Machines
After going up for pre-order on June 4, Valve announced all their hardware has been sold out, according to GamesIndustry International. This suggests the Steam Machines will be popular with gamers come launch on November 10.
A super rare $15 million crowd
The largest prize pool in the history of competitive video games is officially Dota 2: The International’s $15 million purse, according to IGN. The funds were generated mostly by fans purchasing the Compendium, a digital program available within the game client. Valve’s approach in generating funds for eSports prize pools is unique in that it relies mostly on crowdfunding.
In other (crowd)funding news…
After publicly supporting the crowdfunding initiatives for Shenmue 3, Sony announced First Flight, its proprietary internal crowdfunding service where employees may seek funding for new business and product ideas from people both inside and outside the company. According to GamesIndustry International, the first project on First Flight will be Huis, and e-paper based adaptive remote controller.