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Microsoft officially purchases Minecraft maker Mojang for $2.5 billion

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Two Point Five Billion Dollars. That’s how much Microsoft just spent to acquire Mojang, the developer behind the wildly popular Minecraft. To put that in perspective, Disney paid $4.64 billion for Marvel in 2009 and $4.05 billion for Lucasfilm in 2012. So the Minecraft community carries the same value as 19,000 characters from the Marvel multiverse or 60% of the entire Star Wars canon. That is unbelievable.

As expected, Markus “Notch” Persson will leave Mojang after the acquisition is complete to work on new projects. And, in a surprising move, Microsoft has confirmed that Minecraft will not become a PC/Xbox exclusive. The game will continue to be available on mobile devices, the PS3, the PS4, and the Vita.

“Minecraft is one of the most popular franchises of all time,” said Phil Spencer, head of Xbox. “We are going to maintain Minecraft and its community in all the ways people love today, with a commitment to nurture and grow it long into the future.”

To date, more than 50 million copies of Minecraft have been sold across all platforms, making it one of the best-selling games of all time.

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Apple Watch, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus announced

iphone6Apple held their annual iPhone announcement event today and unveiled the iPhone 6 and the slightly larger iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 screen measures 4.7 inches diagonally, which is larger than the iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen. But the Plus takes things to even larger heights with a 5.5-inch screen. The new form factor will be paired with a brand new processor and Apple promises that the A8 Chip that will power the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is their fastest yet.

With a renewed focus on gaming, Apple has recruited a wide variety of publishers and developers to create content using the iPhone’s new Metal engine. A slide shown during the presentation confirmed that EA, Disney Interactive, Epic Games, Ubisoft, CD Projekt RED, Square Enix, and many more will be flood the iOS App Store with new iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus games by the end of the year. One such game, Super Evil Megacorp’s Vainglory was showcased on stage.

Apple also unveiled their long-awaited smartwatch, the aptly named Apple Watch. The Apple Watch will be available three styles including the basic Watch, the sporty Sport model, and the classy Edition series.

Finally, Apple announced that U2’s newest album, Songs of Innocence, is available now to download (for free) from iTunes. Previously pegged as a “Fall” release, Songs of Innocence will be available as a free download until October 13. You have to admit, this is a huge move (Apple is calling it the “largest album release in history”) and it’s some savvy secret-keeping from U2.

If you want to learn more about all of Apple’s announcements today, be sure to check out their live blog of the event and more details about the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch can be found at Apple’s official website.

Posted in Mobile, News |

Angry Birds Transformers will be out October 15… and it has the greatest launch trailer ever

Rovio has announced that Angry Birds Transformers will be available for mobile devices on October 15. To celebrate this momentous news, the developer enlisted Vince Di Cola, the composer on Transformers: The Movie, and asked him to create an 80s-style song to go with a trailer patterned after a VHS rip of the old cartoon.

As you might have guessed, it is a thing of beauty.

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Kickstart This! The Indiegogo-What-Now? Edition

Like it says on the tin, Kickstart This! usually covers game projects currently seeking your funding and support on Kickstarter. However, there is a whole world of crowdfunding platforms out there, and so this month, we’re venturing into the uncharted waters of Indiegogo.

The main difference between the two platforms is that Indiegogo features Flexible Funding, which means a campaign doesn’t need to reach its goal in order to get your cash. Every dollar you pledge goes straight to the developers. While this means more people will most likely gain some form of funding, it also opens the crowdfunding platform up to what we in Scotland would term a “chancer.” In order to find an actual game project, I had to wade through endless endeavours of people trying to raise money to buy a game, build a gaming PC or open a YouTube channel. While the occasional ridiculous project makes it through Kickstarter’s quality control (like Zack Danger Brown’s creamy potato salad), Indiegogo has no filter, allowing someone to beg for a new pair of jeans in the gaming section.

But lurking amidst these vanity projects are some great games waiting for an adrenalin-esque cash injection to push them into full-steam development. First up is steampunk FPS Fabula Mortis, tower defence / FPS hybrid World of Undead, and medieval strategy title Nocturion. Following that is the colourful puzzler Panic Pump, and last but not least, God sim Crest

Let’s Indie-go-go-GO! (more…)

Posted in Features, Mobile, PC, Top Story |

Square Enix @ PAX 2014: Lara Croft, Kingdom Hearts 2.5, Dragon Quest mobile games, more

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Square Enix has got quite an impressive array of titles in development including Final Fantasy XV, Kingdom Hearts III, and Rise of the Tomb Raider. However, all of those games are currently on track for a release in 2015, so they won’t be appearing at next weekend’s PAX Prime convention.

Instead, the publisher will put out playable demos of overhead puzzle platformer Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, Kingdom Hearts compilation Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMix, and free-to-play team fighter Nosgoth. Square Enix will also show off some of their handheld offerings including the upcoming Hitman: Sniper, musical sequel Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, and a pair of currently available Dragon Quest games for mobile devices (Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen and Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King).

The 2014 PAX Prime convention will be held from August 29 to September 1. I hope you’ve already got your tickets, because it is sold out. More information on everything Square Enix plans to bring to the expo can be found after the break. (more…)

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There’s “No Going Back” as The Walking Dead Season 2 ends next week

Telltale Games has announced that “No Going Back,” the final episode of The Walking Dead Season 2, will be available next week. But before you watch the trailer embedded above, you may want to heed the warning that came with it (all the bolding was done by Telltale to let you know they’re serious):

This trailer includes a special all-new scene just for the trailer and some MAJOR spoilers for previous episodes in the past two seasons, but contains no spoilers for the upcoming season finale.

Here’s the release schedule for the final episode of The Walking Dead Season 2. If you’ve been playing the game on an Android device, Telltale asks that you be patient as they’ll have an official release date for all Android devices, including tablets and micro-consoles, “as they become available.”

Tuesday, August 26:
PC/Mac via Steam, the Telltale Online Store, and other digital distribution services
PS3 and PS Vita via PlayStation Store in North America

Wednesday, August 27
Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Marketplace
PS3 and PS Vita via PlayStation Store in North America in European territories

Thursday, August 28
iOS App Store

As always, “No Going Back” will be individually priced at $4.99 on each platform. It is also included as part of the Season Pass, which carries a $19.99 price tag.

Posted in Mobile, News, PC, PS3, Vita, Xbox 360 | Tagged



NextGen Pants launches Kickstarter campaign to complete Tetropolis development

Tetropolis was one of our favorite games on display at this year’s PAX East convention. The Metroidvania-style puzzle platformer puts players in the minos of a pair of deformed tetrominos as they attempt to escape the obstacles laid out before them. It’s an interesting new take on the genre and I’m looking forward to the rest of its progress.

However, developer NextGen Pants announced today that they’re need of a bit more money to complete Tetropolis and they have launched a Kickstarter campaign in their quest to complete its development. The team is seeking $50,000 to finish the game and hopefully eager backers won’t be as elusive as one of those line pieces.

In addition to the previously announced PC edition of Tetropolis, the game is in development for Mac and Linux. An Ouya version is also in the works and NextGen Pants is participating in their FreeTheGames Fund, which will provide matching funds up to $250,000.

If all goes well, Tetropolis will be available sometime next Summer. In the meantime, be sure to check out the demo available through the Kickstarter page.

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BioShock will be released for iPhone and iPad later this Summer

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That BioShock Twitter tease riled up the fan community and many hoped that the seemingly defunct franchise would re-emerge via a splashy Comic-Con announcement. That didn’t happen, but now we know what 2K was teasing: an iOS port of the original game.

BioShock will be available through the iOS App Store later this Summer as a “premium title.” The port is in development at 2K China, the same team that brought XCOM: Enemy Unknown to mobile platforms last year.

Like Enemy Unknown, the iOS version of BioShock will match up very closely with its console counterpart and include the full game as it appeared on consoles and the PC in 2007. Bluetooth controller support will be included, but a touchscreen control option will also be available. Because it needs to push your iDevice to the limit, BioShock will only operate on the iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPad 4, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, and iPhone 5.

Since we’re already well into August, BioShock’s “Summer” launch date is probably right around the corner.

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