Google Debuts Game Sub Service Similar to Apple Arcade

This week, Google began rolling out a video game and app subscription service, Play Pass, with 350 games and apps, priced at $4.99 per month. The service first debuted on Android devices in the U.S. and will be unveiled in additional countries over the next few months. Google is also readying Stadia, a streaming video game service for big-budget titles. Play Pass arrives just a few days after Apple unveiled Apple Arcade, with over 100 games — most of them exclusives — at the same monthly price. Continue reading Google Debuts Game Sub Service Similar to Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade Introduces New Model for Subscription Games

Apple’s video game subscription service Arcade, due to unveil September 19, is based on an established model for casual mobile games — with a twist. Ordinarily, the games are free to download and play, but the companies make money with ads and sales of in-game purchases. Apple is charging $5 per month for those free games, but shedding the ads and digital add-ons. The question is if Apple can change an industry’s typical business model. Microsoft and Google have tried the subscription model, but for higher end games. Continue reading Apple Arcade Introduces New Model for Subscription Games

Epic’s New Game Store Poses Threat to Steam’s Dominance

During The Game Awards last week, Epic Games debuted a new digital marketplace that offers a favorable 88/12 percent revenue split to game creators. By opening a new marketplace, the company may be establishing a game store competitor to Valve’s Steam, which has dominated PC game distribution for over ten years. Epic chief executive Tim Sweeney has also pledged to better support creators. Although the store’s first list of games is small, it will be part of Epic Launcher, the software required to update and play “Fortnite.” Continue reading Epic’s New Game Store Poses Threat to Steam’s Dominance

Rokoko Offers Up Motion-Capture Library in Unity Asset Store

Rokoko made its library of professionally produced digital motion capture assets available for purchase in the Unity Asset Store. Its SmartSuit Pro captures an actor’s movements, turning them into data that can be used to animate characters in games and movies. Unity Technologies, which makes the Unity game engine, offers pre-made assets to game developers who are looking to avoid the hefty price of professional motion capture. Assets in The Motion Library are available for as little as $1 and a $10 monthly subscription. Continue reading Rokoko Offers Up Motion-Capture Library in Unity Asset Store

VR Gaming Turns to Cryptocurrencies for Buying Virtual Assets

VR games and cryptocurrencies are joining forces. Social virtual reality company High Fidelity, co-founded by “Second Life” creator Philip Rosedale, began developing a blockchain for in-game cryptocurrency and intellectual protection in 2017. Now the company has debuted Avatar Island, a VR shopping center for avatars created by digital artists around the globe, and will accept payment in a new cryptocurrency running on blockchain. Rosedale notes that Linden Dollar for “Second Life” was one of the first digital goods currencies. Continue reading VR Gaming Turns to Cryptocurrencies for Buying Virtual Assets

Facebook Opens Gameroom to Unity Developers, PC Gamers

Facebook just announced that its PC gaming platform, Gameroom (formerly dubbed Facebook Games Arcade), is now open for all developers. The app is also available to users, for Windows 7 and up. Developers using the upcoming Unity 5.6 game engine will be able to export their games directly to the Gameroom platform. The new platform most closely resembles Valve’s Steam, which boasts 125 million active users. But Facebook is counting on its 1.71 billion monthly active users to intrigue developers and gamers alike. Continue reading Facebook Opens Gameroom to Unity Developers, PC Gamers

Facebook and Unity Team to Build Desktop Gaming Platform

Facebook is working with game engine Unity to build a dedicated, downloadable desktop gaming platform. The new platform will not require the intensive coding of Facebook’s previous SDK, making it easier for game publishers to offer iOS and Android games on the desktop. Developers now have until August 31 to get “instant access” to an alpha version of Unity 5.4 needed to build and export games to Facebook’s Web and desktop app. Facebook’s move is seen as an attempt to regain gaming revenues lost to the mobile platform. Continue reading Facebook and Unity Team to Build Desktop Gaming Platform

Videogame Developers Tap Music Industry for Song Licensing

Videogame app creators are turning out to be a boon to the music industry, for their willingness to pay real money for the rights to well-known songs. Startup music-licensing platform SongLily has inked deals with major record companies and publishers for licensing songs for videogames and mobile apps, for an annual flat fee of about $1,440 per song for up to 100,000 app downloads or individual registered players. For videogame developers — especially smaller ones — eager for recognizable music, that’s a bargain. Continue reading Videogame Developers Tap Music Industry for Song Licensing

Twitch Debuts Tools to Encourage Developers to ‘Stream First’

Twitch, which has been successful with “Twitch Plays Pokemon,” just launched an initiative it’s calling “stream first” with the goal of encouraging game developers to integrate Twitch functionality. To make that easier, Twitch is also debuting development services and three “stream first” games that show off the possibilities of Twitch functionality. One of those is Schell Games’ “Wastelanders,” in which teams led by different broadcasters are lead into battle in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Continue reading Twitch Debuts Tools to Encourage Developers to ‘Stream First’

Oculus Rift the Most Popular VR Platform Among Developers

Today’s game developers are most interested in creating virtual reality projects for the Oculus Rift headset, according to a new survey from the Game Developers Conference. Nineteen percent of the 2,000 respondents said they were currently working on a new game for the device and 20 percent said their next VR project would be for the Oculus Rift. Only 8 percent of respondents said they were working on VR projects for Samsung’s Gear VR, the second most popular VR headset. Continue reading Oculus Rift the Most Popular VR Platform Among Developers

Facebook Expands its Shopping Options with Dedicated Feed

Facebook is focusing full-bore on shopping with an array of new features. But the most prominent is a new Shopping feed that aggregates posts and photos from different retailers for specific products. The Shopping feed is being tested as a way to pull out all the products being showcased by retailers on their own Facebook pages. Facebook is also allowing retailers to host entire product catalogs on Facebook pages — what the company is calling “immersive ads” — as opposed to sending users to a mobile browser. Continue reading Facebook Expands its Shopping Options with Dedicated Feed

Nvidia Debuts GeForce Experience Feature for Game Sharing

As part of a beta release of GeForce Experience, Nvidia is introducing GameStream co-op, which allows two gamers to play with a single copy by one streaming the game to another PC. The co-op feature, which resembles Sony’s Share Play feature on PlayStation 4, allows for three different modes of play. It is based on the same technology found in Nvidia’s GameStream service, which lets users stream a game from their PC, over a local network, to another device, such as a Shield tablet. Continue reading Nvidia Debuts GeForce Experience Feature for Game Sharing

Virtual Reality Startups Define Diverse Facets of New Medium

The tech world is awash in virtual reality startups, each of them focusing on developing different aspects of the new medium. Oculus VR, which was purchased by Facebook last year for $2 billion, has made great strides in several areas, including its virtual reality head-mounted display Oculus Rift, but is also working on Oculus Cinema, a consumer-facing movie-watching app. Other companies are creating avatars, virtual worlds and virtual games, and a camera that allows viewers to go on tours of homes for sale and hotel rooms. Continue reading Virtual Reality Startups Define Diverse Facets of New Medium

HTC and Valve Join Forces to Develop New Vive VR Headset

HTC is partnering with gaming company Valve to develop the HTC Vive, a virtual reality headset with plans to compete with the Oculus Rift. HTC claims that the HTC Vive will deliver high-quality graphics, video at 90 frames per second and remarkable audio quality to provide an unparalleled VR experience. The device also offers users the unique ability to touch those objects projected around them in augmented space. The companies plan to roll out a consumer version of the HTC Vive by the end of this year. Continue reading HTC and Valve Join Forces to Develop New Vive VR Headset

Virtual World Game Offers New Level of Interactive Storytelling

“Dragon Age: Inquisition” is a true testament to how sophisticated story-based virtual world games have become. The video game experience has become as immersive as any other story telling medium, told using compelling techniques that game developers have experimented with over the years. “Dragon Age: Inquisition” — while not the first video game to offer sophisticated interactive narrative — has been deemed one of the most ambitious story-based games of the year.  Continue reading Virtual World Game Offers New Level of Interactive Storytelling

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