XCOM: What Is It?

XCOM is a reimagining of the franchise, but it also builds out of concepts from the original strategy games. This developer diary details what’s new to the world of XCOM.

Game Of Thrones: Genesis Prepares

The game A Game of Thrones: Genesis will take place over a millennium of fictional history of Westeros, beginning with the arrival of the Rhoynar. It will take all the strength, the charisma and the cunning you have to win the Iron Throne.

FIFA Ultimate Team Connects Across The Web

On the official Facebook fan page for FIFA 12, a new app allows fans to view video about and of the game as well as pre-order to receive ultimate team gold packs. The ultimate team features are also detailed on the official site for the game and explains the ways that FIFA Ultimate Team Web will extend the console experience of playing the game. FUT Web allows fans to manage their squads and optimize the chemistry of their line-ups anywhere that they’re connected to the internet. Fans can compete against friends, other players and participate in a massive online community testing their skills in weekly global tournaments for in-game coins and trophies.

PlayStation Home Gets Shooting Game

Part of the new redesign for PlayStation Home will include some games included in the interface. Notably, this will include Bootleggers in the Action hub, which will be a sort of rudimentary FPS with the Avatars.

Also included will be a poker game with a matchmaking system. There will also be highlights of real sporting events running in the background.

Both of these games will be completely free when they launch later in 2011.

Source: shacknews.com

Music Games Rock — History Of Music Video Gaming Book

Scott Steinberg has released a new book detailing the rise and fall of the gaming industry. Called Music Games Rock: Rhythm Gaming’s Greatest Hits of All Time, it is available for free download at www.MusicGamesRock.com.

“Partying its way to success faster than any genre before and leaving an indelible mark on pop culture, music and rhythm gaming had become a $1.7 billion juggernaut by 2008, only to crash and burn just a year later, single-handedly taking the game industry’s fortunes with it. Hailed as “a must-read” by today’s top music and technology critics, Music Games Rock – the first book to explore the field’s triumph and tragedy – ably covers where music gaming is going, and has been, via full-color photos and in-depth looks at dozens of landmark titles,” reads the release. “From the arcade and pre-Atari 2600 era to groundbreaking new software for the iPhone, Facebook and Xbox 360 Kinect, featured articles and essays chronicle the field’s leading lights and trends, including its surprise and often shocking origins.”

Extra Life 2011 Charity Event Coming Soon

Extra Life is running its annual fundraiser, asking interested gamers to sign up for the event. Those interested will be encouraged to sign up and play video games for 24 hours.

The general idea is to get friends or family members to sponsor players at $1 per hour ($24 each). The program will take place Saturday, October 15 at 8 AM and run for 24 hours, sponsoring the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

To find out more, please visit extra-life.org.

Sony Tablets Get Gameloft Support

Gameloft has announced that they are supporting Sony’s upcoming tablets with optimized games. The French publisher announced that games like Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD, N.O.V.A. 2 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance HD, Real Soccer 2011 HD, Spider-Man: Total Mayhem HD, and Green Farm HD will be directly accessible on Sony’s upcoming tablets.

“The convergence of high performance, a stunning display, and the focus on a networked device provided by ‘Sony Tablet’ devices perfectly complements Gameloft’s high quality games and online multiplayer functionality,” said Gonzague de Vallois, Senior Vice President Publishing, Gameloft. “The high impact of the ‘Sony Tablet S’s’ large display along with the unique dual screen configuration of the ‘Sony Tablet P’ truly enhances the overall entertainment value of the gaming experience.”

“We are extremely pleased to offer our customers access to Gameloft’s exciting entertainment contents through ‘Sony Tablet’ said Makoto Ishii, General Manager, Product Planning Dept. No.2, Business Planning and Strategy Div., VAIO & Mobile Business Group Sony Corporation. “I’m convinced they will enrich the user experience of our upcoming tablets.”

UFC Undisputed 3 Pre-Order Roll Outs

THQ has unveiled the various pre-order packs that players will receive, depending on where they pre-order UFC Undisputed 3. Those that pre-order UFC Undisputed 3 at GameStop in the United States or EB Games in Canada will have access to the Contenders Fighter Pack featuring UFC newcomers Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Brian Stann, Phil Davis and Nick Diaz.

Consumers who pre-order UFC Undisputed 3 at Best Buy in the United States or Canada will have early access to a variety of content including 150 in-game items for created fighters, including t-shirts, hoodies, caps and nicknames new bouts in Ultimate Fights Mode, and the “Legendary Chuck Liddell” playable fighter. Walmart.com will have Ultimate Fights: Knockout Pack featuring five of the most memorable knockouts in UFC history and Amazon will have the Ultimate Knockout Artist Boost Pack, enabling the player to build his or her own specially created knockout artist using instant upgrade tips from UFC Undisputed 3 game designers.

Google Optimizing For Mobile Ads Before Holidays

Google is looking to make their ads more mobile friendly. Their mobile optimization will now be included in Google’s “ads quality” ranking, which (along with pricing) determines what ads get served when.

What this means is that mobile-friendly websites are more likely to be linked by Mobile results. A survey in February found that 79 percent of Google’s largest advertisers don’t have mobile-friendly websites, so this could be an incentive.

“We cannot expect that every site will dramatically or magically become mobile optimized,” says Surojit Chatterjee, who leads Google’s mobile search ads team. “[However, mobile-friendly sites can] drive more traffic at a slightly lower cost.”

Mobile-friendliness is key, since a recent survey indicated that 61 percent of respondents indicated they would be unlikely to return to a website if it doesn’t perform well on their mobile phone. The timing is sensitive too; 15 percent of all Black Friday searches are expected be mobile.

Source: AdWeek

Valve Hosts Best Field Trip Ever

In what sounds like a blast, Valve hosted some seventh graders and allowed them to make their own levels in Portal. It’s a test of spacial relations and looks like a darned good time.