Apple Is a Step
Closer to Making
Its Own TV Shows
While the company's television aspirations remain largely a mystery, Apple hired two big names this week to help build its slate of original shows. Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, presidents of Sony Pictures Television, will make the move to Cupertino this summer with experience making hits like Damages, Breaking Bad, Justified and other series. The Atlantic offers a look at what this means for Apple and what we can expect from Eddy Cue & Co. in the months to come.
All online games eventually die. But the difference between the original version of World of Warcraft and, say, Call of Duty: Ghosts is that WoW was more of a service on an open system (PC). Players were able to gradually migrate to its annual expansions, while remaining a part of the overall population.
Comparatively, CoD is a franchise with annual sequels on several different pieces of hardware, each with cordoned off players who jump from one game to the next. But sometimes you don't want to stop playing a game just because seemingly everyone has moved on after 14 months. Rocket League developer Psyonix's Jeremy Dunham has an idea for how to fix these fractured player bases: opening up cross-platform multiplayer.
Here we go again.
In 2011, Microsoft was the indie king. The industry was just blossoming thanks to services like Steam and Xbox Live Arcade, which introduced independent games to huge, hungry audiences. Indie Game: The Movie was about to debut, giving fans a deep, behind-the-scenes look at the perils and triumphs of small-scale development. The Xbox 360 served as the foundational platform for the film's major projects, Super Meat Boy, Fez and Braid.
And then, the pendulum swung -- in 2012, Journey landed exclusively on the PS3. It served as a lightning rod for discussions about emotion and art in video games, and it gave Sony the momentum to transform its indie ecosystem. By July 2013, Sony had opened up its processes, allowing indie developers to self-publish their games on the company's next console, the PlayStation 4. Even Microsoft still required indies to partner with established publishers, at this point.
Microsoft attempted to regain its indie dominance with the ID@Xbox program, though that turned out to be more complicated than most developers would have liked. The launch of the Xbox One was a low-key disaster, while Sony continually dropped the mic, showcasing indie games at E3 to widespread acclaim while Microsoft played catch-up. As recently as E3 2015, Sony's head hung heavy with indie jewels.
Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.
Welcome to the weekend. We have Galaxy Note 8 rumors, and information about an Amazon beehive -- we'll explain.
Earlier this month, Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two angered the PC gaming community after sending a cease and desist letter to the developers of the OpenIV modding tool. OpenIV allowed people to create modifications for GTA IV and GTA V single player, but according to its creators, the letter said their tool could "allow third parties to defeat security features of its software and modify that software in violation Take-Two's rights." Facing the threat of legal action, they announced on June 14th that they would stop distributing OpenIV.
If you were disappointed that you had to keep the $80 disc for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare in your gaming rig to be able to play the better-reviewed Modern Warfare remaster, you're in luck. Publisher Activision has announced that it will reverse the classic bait and switch tactic it employed with Infinite Warfare by putting out Modern Warfare Remastered as a standalone title on June 27th. Of course, it's not all straightforward, as the title will only be available for PS4 as a disc or digital download (at first). We've reached out to Activision for more specific information on other platform release dates.
Some Pokémon Go players can now start working in groups to take on powerful creatures in Raid Battles, one of the long-awaited features for the popular augmented reality game. There's a catch, though: Pokémon trainers have to be level 35 and up to access the new co-op mode, so don't get too excited if you're a noob. In addition to that, developer Niantic says the Raid Battles are only live at "select" Pokémon Go Gyms around the world, though it's unclear which exactly. Those of you who do happen to be near one will have the chance to capture rare Pokémon and unlock a handful of other rewards, such as Rare Candies, Golden Razz Berries and different types of Technical Machines.
Source: Pokémon Go (Twitter)
For all of modern gaming's advances, conversation is still a fairly unsophisticated affair. Starship Commander, an upcoming virtual reality game on Oculus and SteamVR, illustrates both the promise and challenge of a new paradigm seeking to remedy that: using your voice.
In an early demo, I control a starship delivering classified goods across treacherous space. Everything is controlled by my voice: flying the ship is as simple as saying "computer, use the autopilot," while my sergeant pops up in live action video to answer questions.
Players of Overwatch and Hearthstone should pay attention to Blizzard. The company has made two separate announcements that will significantly affect the loot systems in both games.
"Now let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild West.
A state that's untouchable like Eliot Ness."
It's rare for a video-game developer to rap during an interview. It's rarer still for him to recite a Tupac track with perfect pitch and cadence. But that's Keiichi Yano, the Tokyo-based game designer behind cult classics Gitaroo Man and Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, better known as Elite Beat Agents in the West. He loves music and will happily talk for hours about jazz, electronica or the intricacies of mumble rap.
Earlier this year, Nintendo announced a brand-new console, a hybrid portable device that serves as both a portable entertainment machine and a game system for the living room. At a glance, it looked great -- but some criticized the Nintendo Switch for having "nothing to play" except the new Legend of Zelda game, of course.
Nintendo's E3 show served as a strong answer to those critics: Between Super Mario Odyssey, the promise of a new Pokemon game, new Xenoblade, Yoshi and Kirby titles and a Switch port of Rocket League, Nintendo gave buyers every reason to pick up its latest portable console. At the same time, it gave fans almost no reason to pick its other handheld device. If you don't already own a 3DS, you're probably never going to buy one now.
You have a lot of Super Mario games to choose from, but you'll probably never be able to play one of the most fun versions out there. That's because it was created as an unofficial augmented reality game by developer Abhishek Singh for the Microsoft HoloLens. It's a first-person AR game, to be exact, so you'll literally have to walk and jump around to avoid virtual pipes, step on Goombas and chase mushrooms. Singh told CNET that the thought of recreating a whole Super Mario Bros. level struck him while learning the basics of HoloLens development, because why not?
Welcome to your Friday morning. As we prepare to phone in the rest of the day, read about how a lensless camera is possible with math, how car buyers aren't quite sold on autonomous vehicles, and how one company's working on a Photoshop for your voice.
Your wallet is about to get a bit lighter. Or, if you lack self-control, a lot lighter. That's because over the next 13 days games on Steam will be marked down dramatically during this year's summer sale. The first crop includes up to half off the Final Fantasy franchise and 70 percent off underwater indie charmer Abzu. Hyper Light Drifter has been discounted by half as well, and if you wanted to explore Mafia III's version of the Luisiana bayou, now it'll only cost you around $15.
Rhythm games live and die by their soundtracks. The problem is, if you're holding a plastic instrument in your hand, you've probably played through the same songs over and over whether it's in Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Regardless of how advanced the gameplay is, then, at the end of the day, if you're tapping through Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" in one game, you might as well be playing it on any of the popular franchises. That's where The Metronomicon: Slay the Dancefloor makes a bold left turn.
VR fans have been steadily following the development of Valve's new controller for SteamVR, called Knuckles. Now the device is being shipped to developers as a prototype, and as a result, Valve has released quite a bit of new information about Knuckles and how it will work.
Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.
Welcome to Thursday morning. We're reliving the '90s through, as Sega launches a selection of classic hits both with ads and without. We're also talking Instagram and its stealth shills, and new emoji. We hope you like fairies.
Niantic has decided that forcing Pokémon Go cheaters to a life of catching Pidgeys isn't quite enough of a punishment. Now, any Pokémon caught using "third-party services that circumvent normal gameplay" will be marked with a slash in people's inventories and "may not behave as expected." The developer has announced its new anti-cheating measure on The Silph Road subreddit, explaining that they're meant to ensure its new features remain fun and fair for all Trainers. Niantic is probably talking about its recently announced raid battles, wherein up to 20 players can participate, that's expected to launch in the coming weeks.
Seemingly every big TV network wants in on eSports. NBC Sports has revealed that it's launching an international two-on-two Rocket League tournament this summer. It'll start online July 22nd with regional qualifiers using Faceit's eSports platform, but players will eventually face each other in person through studio competitions and the grand finals on August 26th and 27th. Naturally, there will be plenty of video coverage: NBC is promising over 40 hours across both online sources and TV, including live coverage of the finals on NBCSN (in the US) and Syfy (in the UK and other countries).
Source: NBC Sports Group
Fans of classic role-playing games have had a lot to be happy about these past few years. The isometric genre has seen somewhat of a resurgence lately thanks to high-profile crowdfunded games like Wasteland 2 and the Divinity series -- both of which got console ports, no less. That trend continues with the news that Pillars of Eternity will make its way from PC to consoles as well. As the name suggests, Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition will pack all the expansions and patches from the PC version when it is released August 29th on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Source: Paradox Interactive (YouTube)