Android-powered micro-consoles seemed like a fantastic idea back when the word on everyone's lips was "OUYA," not "PS4." Cheap hardware, affordable games, ease of development, everybody wins. What a wonderful concept.
However, the reality of the situation didn't take long to dawn on us, especially after a few months of OUYA ownership. The problems were myriad, from Android's lacklustre gaming library to out-of-box obsolescence. Not to mention some borderline-psychopathic decisions made by Boxer8's top brass. Most importantly of all, microconsoles are stuck in a Catch-22 situation whereby they can't make money on software sold through the Google Play marketplace, yet Google Play is the only long-term Android marketplace developers will bother developing for.
Now they've revealed a gaming platform of their own -- Android TV -- which has pretty much made every existing contender using their operating system obsolete.
We've seen it all before, but don't start rolling your eyes just yet. The twist here is that Android TV isn't going to be a set-top box for long, rather that's just the first step in securing world domination. It's a service, not so much a piece of hardware, which will soon live inside your telly and other more versatile devices.Click here to read more...
OnLive has signed a new deal with Marvell (no, not the comics), that will allow all devices powered by their ARMADA 1500 chipset to access the streaming games service. This includes all second generation Google TVs, meaning that these new smart tellies will feature streaming games out of the box.Click here to read more...
David Darling, Codemasters' co-founder and Kwalee CEO, has pointed towards the relationship between console platform holders and retailers, saying that a reliance on traditional retail partnerships will lead to console extinction in the face of far more flexible business structures from Apple and Google that actually serve consumer needs.Click here to read more...
Gadget hounds prepare for possible excitement. Valve are working on a super secret project that involves "wearable computing", and are actively looking into mobile technology so small that you can have it on/in/around your person at all times.
Temper that excitement with a modicum of restraint, though, as everything is still very much at the R&D stage.Click here to read more...
Not content with simply being the world's most valuable company, Apple smashed through the $500 dollar share price barrier yesterday, with the end of the trading day having seen the iCompany's stock finish on £502.60.
Apple now have a market capitalization of roughly $465 billion, which is 17 percent more than Exxon Mobile's $400 billion. The two of them had been leapfrogging one another in the bid to be the world's most valuable company, but off the back of huge sales for the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2, Apple are leading the charge.Click here to read more...
Not content with dominating the lucrative search-engine business, it appears the billion-dollar Google enterprise is making steps towards entering the videogame industry. A post on their jobs listing site is looking for a "game-loving" Product Manager to spearhead internal development of videogames at Google. Google's Android operating software powers a slew of new smartphones, with over 200,000 apps for sale.Click here for more
I'm not going to lie or pretend to be objectively impartial on this, I cannot think about anything I'm more apathetic right now than stereoscopic 3D in gaming...and I'm pretty sure, as our poll results are starting to show, that I'm not the only one. But now, largely thanks to a study conducted by The Eyecare Trust, some research has come to light suggesting that as much as 12% of the British population have eyes too screwed up to fully appreciate the effect anyway. According to Edge magazine, the charity reports:
'3-D technology relies on our eyes’ ability to work together as a co-ordinated team to achieve an accurate perception of depth. [...] However, more than one in ten of us (12%) has a visual impairment that means our brains are unable to correctly process the individual images that are transmitted to it via our left and right eyes. This leads to an inconsistency in viewing the three spatial dimensions (height, width and depth) required to enjoy 3-D films in all their glory.'
By and large this won't make an ounce of difference to those already putting all of their weight behind 3D (yes Sony...and Ubisoft, I'm looking at you), but gradually frittering away percentile chunks of your target audience is never really a good thing. 3D is rapidly becoming gaming's equivalent of a leprous Big Brother winner...for some reason people keep talking about it but frankly most of us can't wait to see which bit's going to drop off next. Stop trying to excite me now and wait three or four years until this technology is at a price which means we won't have to all take out second mortgages or sell our relatives to medical science. [VG247]
The title to this one pretty much speaks for itself. Yes, Captain Obvious is back, this time in a Pach Attack that's actually reassuringly professional and highly informative. Of course, The Pach can't resist making a prediction and this time he's plumped for ex-Infinity Ward veterans' studio Respawn attempting a 'Halo-killer' with their first game and crating a space shooter for their debut. With EALA and DICE working on the latest Medal of Honor to try and square up to Activision's COD: Black Ops it's reasonable to assume that Respawn might have Bungie in their sights. [Gametrailers]
Astute Twitter fans may have witness something of a tirade last Friday on Hideo Kajima's account as the enigmatic development genius went on a bit of a rant and vented his worries that the Japanese games industry was under serious threat of being outpaced by the West, something the bespectacled developer put down to his country's education system and a lack of motivation:
'The West is very motivated. The younger generation of Japan is losing [...] The designers and to-be-designers in the West have the focus, ambition, and ability to make their dream become true. It is not the Japanese technology or culture that is losing; we are lacking the motivation.'
Kojima certainly didn't hold back, citing a lack of cross-cultural experience as a major issue when he said that
'The number of students that study abroad from Japan has decreased. There are very few Japanese students at the prestigious Harvard University, and in MIT...zero. The engineering population in Japan may be in jeopardy. We should first review our education system here in Japan.'
But he didn't stop there, signing off with a complaint that questioned the enthusiasm of those working in the industry at the moment, proclaiming himself to be 'tired of taking care of people who do not have the passion'. do you reckon he has a point? Hit us up with your thoughts in the box below. [GamesIndustry.biz]
I reported back in May that Google had been on the lookout for some high level development talent, specialising, it seemed, in internet gaming. Back then we hypothesised that Google was preparing to launch it's own online gaming platform and now it seems that the Big G has jumped into bed with Zynga, the company behind insidious resource management game FarmVille.
TechCrunch reports that the search engine behemoth has invested somewhere between $100-200 million in Zynga and, whilst the investment part of the deal is now done and dusted, a larger strategic partnership is still being drawn up.
With Zynga reportedly falling out with Facebook and Google potentially looking to make Google Games an actuality by 2011, this one looks to be one to watch. Not that Zynga really need the money mind you, they turned over a massive $350 million profit last year with predicted figures for 2011 looking to nudge the billion mark. World domination looks depressingly within their grasp. [Eurogamer]
Sony should have seen this one coming really. After all, back in 2006 the PS3 managed to excite a good number of people who weren't gamers thanks to the much lauded ability to harness the power of multiple PS3s to essentially create mini supercomputer clusters with the help of the IBM Cell processor.
Ars Technica reports, however, that the recent firmware update to remove the OtherOS option which allowed the running of Linux as an operating system to enable such operations, which has received no small amount of backlash not to mention several class-action lawsuits, has also rubbed several larger groups the wrong way too...including the US Airforce.
As one representative noted:
'We will have to continue to use the systems we already have in hand. [However] this will make it difficult to replace systems that break or fail. The refurbished PS3s also have the problem that when they come back from Sony, they have the firmware (gameOS) and it will not allow Other OS, which seems wrong. We are aware of class-action lawsuits against Sony for taking away this option on systems that used to have it.'
It's not an immediate concern, as the Airforce's clusters aren't linked up to the PSN, negating the need for the firmware update...yet. But we're betting that we haven't heard the last of this, after all, removing functionality that people have paid for is a bad thing. [1UP]
Yesterday came reports that the Yakuza series' jump to the PSP has been officially named and dated by director Toshihiro Nagoshi. Originally hiding under the moniker Project K, the PSP game has now been named Kurohyu: Ryu ga Gotoku Shinshou, which roughly translates to Black Leopard: A New Yakuza Chapter and is out in Japan on September 22nd. Check out the massive story-based debut trailer above. It's got us excited, why not tell us what you think in the comments box. [VG247]
Google and games have neverreally gone hand in hand. Their attempts to create a virtual world service - the ill-fated Lively - was dead in under six months. But news comes to us now, courtesy of Develop, that the company is now looking for a 'project management leader, games' which might suggest a renewed focus.
Have a read of the job role description below:
The Product Management Leader, Games will be a flexible, results-oriented, and experienced senior leader who will be responsible for developing Google's games commerce product strategy and partnering to build and manage the business with a cross-functional team. You will have visionary product insight, combined with experience in the online content business, significant technical expertise and extensive leadership and business skills. The Product Management Leader, Games combines a great instinct for developing compelling products with a strong focus on users and technical aptitude to work with a world class engineering team and the business sense to drive product goals and strategies.
Sound like generic jargon? yeah, that's what we thought. But lower down, under 'Requirements', it reads that the applicant should have 'experience building an online gaming business both on the web and on mobile devices. Deep understanding of the game business and how to create hits.' To us that suggests a future foray into the world of casual online gaming dominated at present by Zynga and Playfish, whether or not it'll be successful only time can tell. Watch this space for more. [1UP]
Much as the title might suggest a load of broadband enthusiasts having an enormous pile-up, what this actually means is that BT have entered into a commercial arrangement with cloud-based games distributor OnLive that will see the telecoms company nab a 2.6% stake in OnLive and also exclusive rights to bundle the service with its broadband packages in the UK. Gavin Patterson, BT Retail's CEO had this to say on the matter:
'Entertainment is going to be at the heart of what we offer customers in the future [...] The partnership with OnLive complements our existing BT Vision service. It's great for our customers - they'll have access to a huge catalogue of games, available instantly on their TV or PC without expensive hardware. [...] And it's great for BT - it will enhance our premium broadband position and we'll be entering into a market that's worth more than £2 billion.'
As OnLive prepares to launch this summer, receiving a due date at this year's GDC of June 17th, no doubt the buzz will start snowballing and it's not just BT who's excited about this. Patterson's counterpart at OnLive, Steve Perlman, views 'BT as the ideal UK partner. As gamers are moving increasingly to online game distribution, OnLive delivers video games as a pure form of online media, playable instantly on almost any video-capable device attached to the internet. The implications are nothing short of transformative to video games and in time, all interactive media. OnLive is delighted to be pioneering this revolutionary technology in the UK together with BT.'
Fighting talk indeed, but how excited are you guys by services such as OnLive and Gaikai? The broad theory is certainly attractive, but are we ready for it? Drop us a line or two with your thoughts below. [GamesIndustry.biz]