I daresay that many of you have been following today's budget with considerable interest, but seeing as we're a gaming site, we'll ignore the wider discussion in order to focus on the ramifications for the UK games industry. Notably: that the long-promised tax breaks have been delayed yet again, but an extra £10 million will be invested into the creative entertainment sector.Click here to read more...
Sir James Dyson, the creator of the Dyson vacuum range, is concerned that the government's effort to revitalise the UK games industry might cause a shortage of graduates going into engineering, science and traditional manufacturing.Click here to read more...
As of today, Kickstarter is now accepting UK startups, which will hopefully lead to plenty of homegrown British indie games over the coming months. The crowd funding portal allowed several projects to get prepared before today's launch, including Simon Roth's Maia and Industry from Robert Hesketh.
Naturally we'll keep our ears to the ground for more British talent taking to the service.
Konami have announced that they will be creating a new studio dedicated toits Pro Evolution Soccer series right here in footy-mad Britain.
“Konami has reaffirmed its commitment to its Pro Evolution Soccer series with a large-scale commitment that will see a dedicated European wing of the Tokyo-based PES Productions team established within Europe,” said the company.Click here to read more...
A new report suggests that Microsoft are preparing to launch a retail in the UK capital early next year, following on from the launch of the UK online store this summer.Click here to read more...
Nintendo has launched a brand new UK Customer Support and Service Centre, which allows customers to arrange/book hardware repairs or ask questions to local staff. Items still under warranty can get free repairs with items returned within seven days, with an extra year of warranty included.
We could have done with this back when a nasty Metroid: Other M bug forced many consumers to mail their Wii memory cards off for manual fixing. Still, it's better late than never, and a great foundation to have in place before the Wii U launches later this year.
It's been a long time coming, but tax breaks for UK-based game developers has been officially announced by Chancellor George Osborne as part of this year's budget. These tax credits will "support our brilliant video games and animations industries," and more importantly, stop British studios relocating to more financially attractive areas such as Canada and Korea.
As you'd expect, our homegrown developers are welcoming the decision across the board. We've got their reactions and more details after the break.Click here to read more...
Double Fine's Kickstarter venture has now raised over $1,200,000 in 24 hours, shattering records and granting them a massive war chest to put towards developing their mysterious new adventure game.
This is more important than just proving that adventure games still have an audience, though. It demonstrates that even relatively major developers can use crowd funding to cut out publishers completely... thus retaining creative control of their own franchises and 100% of their own profits. With such a powerful tool at their disposal, British industry body UKIE will be seeking to convince the government to relax our current legislation and let homegrown developers take advantage of this emergent funding alternative. More details below.Click here to read more...
Drum roll please.
UKIE has finally released the full charts of 2011's highest selling games in the UK, platform by platform. As far as the all format charts are concerned, you probably won't be surprised to hear that Modern Warfare 3 has romped to victory - hounded as it is by EA's FIFA 12 and Battlefield 3. Serial chart-botherer Zumba Fitness managed to spectacularly beat Skyrim to fourth place, becoming the only game in the top ten to have not released in the holiday season.
Uncharted 3 and Gears Of War 3 both charted well on their respective systems, while Football Manager claimed overwhelming dominance on the PC.
So there you have it... and who cares? Sales are a poor way of judging games and systems unless you're a tie clip-wearing shareholder, but if you're interested, we've got the full charts below.Click here to read more...
A survey of broadband speeds throughout the UK has led to an interesting conclusion: most of us simply aren't receiving the speeds we deserve. And more importantly, the speeds that most ISPs advertise. The study, conducted by Pando Networks, has polled over 400,000 subjects and listed the nation's service providers in order of their average speeds. We've got the full details after the break.Click here to read more...
Codemasters represent one of the only UK-based publishers - and though they pump out some fantastic titles along with SEGA's Creative Assembly, they feel that the British games industry is in a dangerous situation. With Black Rock, Bizarre Creations and THQ Digital Warrington now closed for business, they've every right to be worried - and one of Codies' senior developers believes that we're in danger of becoming a nation of "iPhone developers."Click here to read more about this sad state of affairs >>
Can Call of Duty be stopped? Activision's annualized blockbuster has shattered yet another record, with the latest edition Black Ops becoming the top-selling UK game of all time. It bested step-sibling, Modern Warfare 2, which up until now had held the crown. No stranger to rampant success, Black Ops earned a massive 650 million dollars within five days when it was released in November of last year.Click here for more
SEGA has praised its UK-based studios for being the foundation of their games lineup - and are as important to their success as the lurching Sonic franchise. Creative Assembly and Sports Interactive have recently brought us Total War: Shogun 2 and Football Manager 2011; demonstrating that our proud British developers are more than capable of producing world class game experiences. It's great to see UK studios get the credit they deserve after the recent doom and gloom surrounding Bizarre Creations and Realtime Worlds, and we have the full story after the jump.Click here for the details >>
A new survey commissioned by casual giant PopCap Games has revealed that a third of UK adults regularly play games on their mobile phones, and that smartphones are surpassing consoles and PC in terms of market penetration. Let's face it, you can't play your PS3 on the loo. Or at least, most of us don't.Click here for more details...
Blam. Here's another megaton rumour courtesy of Kotaku, who have reportedly caught wind of details regarding Bungie's latest project. According to a confidential source, the game will be a massive-multiplayer FPS that ascribes to being "WoW in space." The project is entitled Destiny, though is apparently known internally as Tiger.
The recently laid-off source also suggested that "unfair treatment" is currently rife within the studio, but since he's been let go, we can probably chalk this up to sour grapes as much as Activision getting up to their old tricks.
As far as the new IP is concerned, we'll simply have to wait and see. However, it ties in nicely with hints about a persistent online world from Bungie's Joe Staten last year. We'll keep you posted. [Kotaku]
Techland have released a new trailer for Dead Island: their first person zombie title set on a vacation resort. As well as four-player cooperative functionality, weapon customisation and RPG elements, the new trailer attempts to convince us that it will take a more emotional tack than most titles in the genre. You know, like that certain Valve game. Whether the final product will actually manage it is anyone's guess.
The explicit nature of the trailer is also set to kick off another round of the ever-tedious violent games debate. At least it might help boot Bulletstorm out of the firing line. [Thanks, IGN]
The Coalition government may have reneged on its predecessors promises to provide tax breaks to the UK gaming industry, but Chancellor George Osborne has reportedly met with senior gaming figures to discuss supporting British-based studios. Industry guru Ian Livingstone (who recently penned a far-reaching report into the state of the UK gaming curriculum) felt that the meeting was an "acknowledgment" of their importance to the economy, and that it has laid the foundations for close future cooperation.
The fact that we had representation at the meeting is an acknowledgment in itself that the videogames industry is being taken seriously and that it is important socially, culturally and economically to the UK.
There was certainly a great sense of his wanting to work with, and assist, the digital and creative industries to ensure they become a cornerstone of the UK economy, acknowledged and viewed as a valuable sector like the financial and pharmaceutical sectors.
With our homegrown British developers and outsourced studios contributing to our country's economy and workforce, we hope that Osborne will see fit to support their growth- as well as providing better IT education from a secondary school level. [gamesindustry]
And the hammer comes crashing down. As part of their effort to crack down on PS3 hackers, Sony has started the first wave of irreversable PSN bans that will block modified hardware from the Playstation network. Here's the official line:
By identifying PlayStation 3 systems that breach our guidelines and terminating their ability to connect to PlayStation Network, we are protecting our business and preserving the honest gameplay experiences that you expect and deserve.
According to several reports, hackers or homebrew users will receive an email threatening immediate service denial unless the console is reset to factory standards.
The Entertainment Software Association has preemptively attacked a piece of games research that purports to prove a link between gaming and mental health problems in Singapore. The preliminary study conducted by the noted anti-games critic Douglas Gentile has been slammed as biased, incomplete and questionable- before it's even had chance to be officially published.
There simply is no concrete evidence that computer and videogames cause harm. In fact, a wide body of research has shown the many ways games are being used to improve our lives through education, health and business applications.
Throughout our nation's history, those critical of new entertainment forms have sought to blame those creative works for society's ills and some of have sought to use flawed research to support their theories. - Richard Taylor, ESA
It's about time that someone stood up to officially defend our medium from shortsighted and self-serving agendas. We applaud the ESA's decision to get involved at this early stage, and hope that more organisations will aggressively defend our ever-growing and emergent art form. [GI]
In another piece of good news, several MPs including Cabinet Minister Ed Vaisey and Labour's Luciana Berger praised the recent Parliament Games Day in which UK politicians were exposed to the latest games and software. Founder Ian Livingstone was delighted by the turnout and reception; stating that it helped to "dispel some misconceptions about videogames."
In a surprising move, even the notoriously outspoken hater Keith Vaz turned up to watch- and told Eurogamer that he's only ever opposed the sale of violent games to minors rather than our medium as a whole.
I've never been against games. I've been against violent games that are able to fall into the hands of young people who are perhaps not able to understand the implications of what they're doing. -Keith Vaz MP
With gaming driving an increasingly significant proportion of our economy, it's only a matter of time before it becomes a major player in Whitehall. We can't wait!
Hacker George "Geohot" Hotz has legally responded to Sony's lawsuit ahead of the first hearing tomorrow morning. His attorney has stated that Sony is attempting to make an example of homebrew coders regardless of whether or not the case is legal- and has highlighted several possible holes in their allegations.
Since Hotz has never created a PSN account, his attorney alleges that he isn't bound by their terms of service- and that the "It Only Does Everything" marketing campaign invites people to take advantage of the PS3's versatile capabilities. More scandalously, Sony's attempt to prove that Hotz is profiting financially from his efforts appears to be supported only by a $1 donation from Sony themselves. Delicious.
Sony will doubtlessly counter these latest arguments tomorrow, and we'll bring you the latest by the wire. However, considering that Hotz has demonstrated his mastery of the PS3's hardware and firmware, it's a shame that they haven't just gone ahead and hired him into their development team or a first party studio. [Gamespot UK]
We caught wind of SEGA's planned Dreamcast collection a few weeks ago... and as we predicted, it contains the two lacklustre ports of Crazy Taxi and Sonic Adventure that are already available on XBLA and PSN. SEGA Bass Fishing and Space Channel 5: Part 2 will also make an appearance alongside "updated" graphics, achievements and leaderboards.
The Xbox 360 retail version and PC digital download will release on February 25th- though the PS3 version is curiously MIA at the time of writing. Maybe they haven't flogged enough crappy standalone ports yet?
More to the point: where the hell is Jet Set Radio? Oh, that's right. It's coming out as a standalone version first in order to push yet another lacklustre version on us- along with the two other games in the Dreamcast Collection! [Jon, breathe into this paper bag for a while. You'll feel better. -Ed]
Breaking news. EA has just confirmed that a Bulletstorm demo's set to hit Xbox Live on January 25th, followed closely on PSN the next day.
So... yeah. January 25th. Get ready for some brutal slow motion shenanigans!
THQ's Danny Bilson recently suggested that games ought to get cheaper in order to inspire greater sales and DLC potential, but a new report from MCV suggests that the exact opposite is more likely to happen. As many of you know, VAT is set to rise next month which will put UK retailers in a very difficult position. A few suppliers will be attempting to freeze game prices, but in the majority of cases, vendors may be forced to up their prices to absorb the new tax increase being passed on from wholesalers.
This could be as much as a quid for a £40 game, but consoles are another matter entirely. They're considerably more expensive (attracting a larger price increase due to the VAT hike) and will probably incur an added cost of between £5-£10 across the board. [MCV]
Finding the best deals will be more important than ever before. Keep your eyes on HUKD and our feeds... and be sure to take advantage of the boxing day sales!
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is one of our most anticipated titles for 2011, but Square have announced that it will miss its Q1 launch window in favour of a post-April release. Godammit. [Joystiq]
Square Enix have stated that the delay will allow them to "further polish" the experience... and it's plain to see why. The publisher recently slashed its annual earning projections by a whopping 91% (blaming the hopeless Final Fantasy XIV debacle and weak console game sales), meaning that Deus Ex HR is going to have to be absolutely incredible in order to rake back some cash. From what we've seen, it's on course to do just that.
UK-based charity SpecialEffect is committed to adapting videogame technology to allow handicapped and disabled gamers to get involved. They've been making massive strides in the fields of webcam-based eye control and other alternative input methods. After a year and a half of hard work, they've opened the first ever accessible gaming suite at the Helen and Douglas House Children’s Hospice in Oxfordshire.
SpecialEffect's Dr. Mick Donegan explained that the new suite will open up gaming in a uniquely inclusive way, taking advantage of the charity's recent technological advances.
The new gaming suite contains a wide range of access technology, from eye-gaze devices to switches, to ensure that as many of the guests are catered for as possible. SpecialEffect hope to continue to work with the hospice by including the suite in our road show project next year and continue to work with the staff and guests at the hospice to help find a way for everyone to play.
We applaud SpecialEffect's work and wish them every success in their worthy cause. Stay tuned for our interview with Dr. Donegan!
The games industry represents an ever-increasing proportion of our economy, with our British studios arguably representing a thriving manufacturing industry in its own right. Gordon Brown's Labour administration originally proposed to extend tax breaks to homegrown UK developers and British-based arms of larger corporations in order to promote growth and foreign investment in the industry... but the current Coalition government recently decided to shelve the plans.
Further to this news, Culture minister Ed Vaizey confirmed that he will likely put these tax breaks on a "three or four year hiatus" during yesterday's Culture Department Select Committee meeting. This essentially means that we'll probably have to wait for the next general election for the issue to be put back onto the table. [Gamespot]
We have no political bias here at Dealspwn (apart from our overt affiliation with the Mushroom Kingdom and our glorious Combine overlords), but we'd love to get your take on the situation. Have your say in the comments!
The quirky veterans at Twisted Pixel have announced that they're working on a sequel to XBLA hit Splosion Man. Titled Ms Splosion Man (an interesting gender issue that I'm not going to touch with a barge pole), it's set for an Autumn 2011 release.
Twisted Pixel CEO Josh Bear confirmed that there was one major difference between the new protagonist and the original adorable maniac.
"Splosion Man has a penis, Ms. Splosion Man has a vagina."
Thanks for the anatomy lesson, Josh. Luckily there will also be new gameplay elements and a fleshed out cooperative mode. TP are also working on a mysterious new franchise with ex-Harmonix dev Dan Teasdale... and would like to revisit Comic Jumper if they "can add more sexist and racist things to it." [Thanks, Joystiq]
Their latest release, Comic Jumper, had an exciting premise yet oddly delivered less innovation than we're used to from the left-field studio. We're looking forward to a return to form.
Our Gamescom preview of Def Jam Rapstar highlighted the impressive social networking aspects of the title that allow aspiring rap stars to upload their videos to be rated by the community. We were informed that numerous competitions for cash prizes and event invitations would be awarded to encourage fresh UK talent... but in a surprisingly epic turn of events, Konami have teamed up with Atlantic Records UK to offer a recording contract for "Britain's Best New Rapper."
Videos are viewed and judged by the Rapstar community- and the highest rated MCs will be invited to compete in "8 Mile style" regional qualifiers. The winners will proceed to a prestigious London final- where the best rapper will receive a recording contract for his first single.
We've seen fourth-wall breaking contests and integrated community functionality before... but with continual support, Def Jam Rapstar has the potential to become something very special indeed. The competition will begin in the new year and we'll keep an eye on the brackets.
Yo, we heard y'all like PS2. So we put one... inside your TV!
Well, on the bottom anyway. Sony has rolled out a new 22 inch Bravia television that includes built-in PS2 hardware. The BRAVIA KDL-22PX300 runs in 720p (though won't upscale), can play PS2 games, is backwards-compatible with the original Playstation... and costs £199.
This is a thing that we want.
England's sportsmen may have crashed and burned in the World Cup and are enjoying mixed success at the commonwealth games, but representatives from our gaming scene have achieved their best-ever results at the World Cyber Games (WGC) this weekend. The prestigious four-day competition was held in Los Angeles, and saw more than 450 players from 58 countries compete in 13 games for a share of a quarter of a million dollars.
Our valiant gaming team was victorious at the Guitar Hero 5 and Forza Motorsport events, which propelled them to joint second in the medal charts - behind (surprise surprise) South Korea and tied with Germany and Brazil.
"We're enormously proud of our UK players. In a thrilling weekend of videogaming competitions we proved we're close to the best in the world - and we hope the achievement this weekend will propel our players to go one better next time." - Craig Fletcher, MD of Multiplay.co.uk
Daveskills and George Boothby did us proud, folks! We hope that the WGC helps to elevate our favourite entertainment medium as well as cement our reputation as a bona fide gaming nation.
Crysis 2 and Killzone 3 have famously comitted to 3D support at launch day, but it appears that Activision has beaten them to the punch. Treyarch has confirmed that Call of Duty: Black Ops will support stereoscopic 3D on "all platforms" and will be available from November 9th.
Apparently the 3D effect is being used to create a greater depth of field rather than making bullets and shrapnel fly out of the screen, but we're looking forward to. As far as "all platforms" are concerned, we can definitely expect PS3 and Xbox 360 3D support as well as PC compatibility with nVidia's 3D Vision. But the Wii? Not so sure. It will be interesting to see whether CoD's adoption of 3D tech has a knock-on effect for the rest of the industry.
We didn't see this one coming. It's been over 10 years since Panasonic's last foray into the portable gaming scene, but the hardware giant has now revealed The Jungle: a slimline concept handheld that's designed to offer MMO and competitive multiplayer experiences on the move.
A full QWERTY keyboard and some serious hardware grunt will allow The Jungle to deliver a mini-PC experience... and we assume that it will have built-in 3G. Frankly, it had better. Apparently a browser-based Battlestar Galactica MMO will be heading the launch titles, but we assume that Panasonic will be designed for compatibility with other browser RPGs and flash games.
This may sound like an insane pipe dream, but some sources have placed the PSP2's release date at the tail end of 2011. There could be a gap in the market if Panasonic offer enough features for our money.