GameStop Picks Up Cloud Gaming, Digital Download Services

GameStop has announced that they are closing a deal to purchase Stardock subsidiary Impulse and Spawn Labs. This access to a digital delivery service and streaming technology will give the retailer an important foothold in the downloads market and compliment their acquisition of Kongregate.

“With these important acquisitions, we will continue to make appropriate investments related to our multichannel strategy,” said GameStop CEO J. Paul Raines. “GameStop is uniquely positioned to be the leader in both the physical and digital gaming space.”

Twitter Ditches QuickBar

Twitter recently released their QuickBar on their iPhone apps, adding ads the the top. The move proved unpopular with users, and Twitter has announced that it was only a test and that they are removing it.

Rather than continue to make changes to the QuickBar as it exists, we removed the bar from the update appearing in the App Store today. We believe there are still significant benefits to increasing awareness of what s happening outside the home timeline,” said the Twitter blog. “Evidence of the incredibly high usage metrics for the QuickBar support this. For now, we re going back to the drawing board to explore the best possible experience for in-app notification and discovery.:

Source: Twitter Blog

Gears Of War 3 Will Own N00bz

Wunderkind Pictures has announced that it has received permission to use Gears of War 3 in the upcoming movie N00bz. The comedy from director Blake Freeman will start production in May 2011.

N00bz revolved around competitive online gaming and follows four friends on their journey to Las Vegas to compete in the gaming world championships. Gears of War 3 will release on Xbox 360 on September 20, 2011.

Platinum Games Assumes Roll As ‘Japanese Standard Bearer’

Platinum Games has released several critically acclaimed games including Bayonetta, Vanquish and MadWorld. They’ve been a shining example of quality and originality from a Japanese game industry that has fallen on hard times, something Platinum Games President and CEO Tatsuya Minami is acutely aware of.

“The current games business is struggling. The ‘fresh surprises’ I mention are becoming few and far between, especially in our home of Japan. Not so long ago, Japan lead the world’s games business, and it was not a stretch to call games a uniquely Japanese specialty; however, now it appears that Japanese games companies have lost their vigor,” wrote Minami. “Series grow ever-longer; original titles are on the decline. Games with new at their core are disappearing. Japanese games that garner worldwide acclaim are slipping away. This state of affairs deeply saddens us.”

“When we turn this mirror on ourselves, I feel it is fair to say that PlatinumGames is currently one of the very few healthy Japanese games companies. I also came to realize that we must now consider our work in creating games to be that of a mandate, he continued. ‘The Japanese Standard Bearer in Global Competition.’ At PlatinumGames, we strive to be the face of Japanese game studios on the worldwide stage. We want our contributions to not only be towards the games industry as a whole, but also be contributions towards our homeland of Japan. That is the principle that will guide our company into the future.”

“We aim to bring happiness to gamers worldwide. We seek to ignite a Japanese games revival. And our troops will have the highest morale. We’re in this fight for the long haul, he concluded.”


Heavy Rain Creator Skeptical Of L.A. Noire Technology

The DepthAnalysis’ Motion Scan technology used for L.A. Noire uses 32 HD cameras that capture all the details of an actors head from various angles, resulting in some of the best facial animation seen in a game to date. Heavy Rain creator David Cage, however, is less impressed.

“What to say about L.A Noire I think it’s an interesting solution to a problem for now, said Cage. “But it’s also an interesting dead end. That’s exactly what I feel. Their technique is incredibly expensive and they will never be able to shoot body and face at the same time.”

“We are doing that now [at Quantic], and our next games will be shot with performance capture,” he explained. “We see a huge difference between shooting the face and body separately and shooting everything at the same time. Suddenly you’ve got a real sense of acting that is consistent. You can’t imagine how related what you say with your face is to what your body does.”

“[Those using MotionScan] will never be able to do that. The other thing is that they can’t have real time lighting,” he added. “Their technique means they can’t have lighting the way I think we should do it. Basically, they take pictures; they take scans several times per frame. They also have limitations on the shaders they use, they can’t re-target the eyes because they eyes are captured. When you have actors in real time you like to to re-target the eyes to make sure they look at each other [convincingly] etc. etc.”

“It’s a list of important problems that cannot be solved with their technology. I think L.A Noire looks good – honestly, it does – but I don’t think they’ll go much further than where they are. With the technology we use, we can improve; there is a lot of room for improvement and we hope to show very soon where we are now. We’ve made significant progress since Heavy Rain and will continue to make progress until we reach the stage of Avatar. That is probably three, four five years from now.”

When asked if this meant that photo-realistic graphics were coming soon, he said, “Yes. Four or five years. Maybe it’s going to require a new [gaming] platform, but when you look at where real-time is right now, it’s probably where CG was five, six years ago. You can say there’s a five-year gap between CG and real time. Avatar was released last year, so that’s where we should be in five, six years from now.”

Source: CVG

Tiger Wants To Be Your Friend Again

Walk the course at Augusta just days before the actual Masters tournament begins on the Facebook fan page for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 with the Course View {link no longer active} official destination.   You’re a virtual caddy, prepping your palms to chip in on the green.  Click the arrow to progress from hole to hole to plan out your tough shots and when to use a power swing.  Spin the camera around at each stop to get a sense of location and surrounding.

Be The Bunny

In anticipation of the upcoming Easter Bunny 3D animated movie Hop, a flash animated quiz for kids and families to enjoy lets you see if you re ready to Be the Bunny!  Answer a series of timed questions that require quick pattern recognition or preferential choices to get to the end.  Try for your best score to see if you have what it takes to be the bunny, just like E.B. in the movie!  Listen for voices from the film like Russell Brand saying, “Keep hopping!” as you progress through to the end.  Fans that complete the quiz to the end will receive a downloadable PDF activity page to keep the fun going all afternoon!