Xbox Original Shows Coming In 2014

It’s been known for a while now that Microsoft was working on original programming for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One game systems, with an announcement of a new Halo series executive produced by Steven Spielberg earlier this year. This weekend, the company clarified just when we would start seeing this programming.

Microsoft’s TV executive, Nancy Tellem, spoke with Variety on the subject, explaining that it would start sometime next year. “We’re hoping we will be able to put something up in the first quarter, at minimum second quarter,” said Tellem.

No particular programming, outside of the Halo series, has been announced yet, as the company I still signing deals to finalize content for the service. Tellem explained, “We aren’t Netflix, we aren’t Amazon, we’re a different animal. We’re neither or we’re a little like them. It all depends. The lack of black and white and this is the template and this is what we’re following is very difficult. As we continue to do deals, everyone’s going to get more comfortable.”

Expect a better idea of programming sometime in 2014.

Source: Variety

Top Features Of 2013

Today kicks off a week in review for [a]list daily, where we look back on the top features, news and videos of the year, take a look at the entire year, and then look forward in to 2014. Join us as we go over the best of the last year and look forward to the future!

It’s been a momentous year in the gaming industry, which has grown massively in revenue and in its reach both demographically and geographically. [a]list daily hunted down some of the movers and shakers that made this happen, and here we’ve collected the most popular features of the year for you. It’s a good chance to catch up on things you may have missed, or review some of the key insights from industry leaders.

One of the major areas of growth in games has been in the eSports arena, and we documented one of the milestones achieved this year when American Express forged a sponsorship deal with Riot Games’ massively popular League of Legends. We also took a look back at the rise of eSports and where it all started when early eSports star Dennis Fong talked to us about the early days.

We went inside some of the most interesting games around this year, with inXile Entertainment’s upcoming Torment: Tides of Numenera and its massively successful Kickstarter campaign. In a completely different direction lies the Kerbal Space Program, and we talked about the game’s unusual marketing and PR in an in-depth feature. The story of how Rovio has been handling the success of Angry Birds and beyond is a compelling one about the interaction of marketing, brand development and game design.

During this period of rapid change and evolution of the gaming industry, insights from thought leaders are especially valued.  [a]list daily sat down for an in-depth chat with industry veteran Ed Fries, who helped launch the original Xbox, who warned that game publishers may vanish in the future. Ubisoft VP of sales and marketing Tony Key discussed how marketing has changed in this new era of blockbuster games, while Trion Worlds marketing SVP Noah Maffitt talked about the transmedia marketing challenge. Longtime industry veteran Brian Fargo gave his insights on the indie revolution that’s transforming PC, mobile and console gaming.

Finally, check out what we said about Microsoft’s Xbox One strategy and what Microsoft could do to come out on top in the latest round of the console wars. We also had some strategy ideas for Sony and daring options for Nintendo as well.



Pinterest Wins At E-Commerce Sharing

A new study by Gigya, a hawk-like watcher when it comes to social customer management took a look at social sharing habits in the third quarter. Although Facebook is a leader in generally sharing anything, when it comes to e-commerce, Pinterest was key in 44 percent of all e-commerce-based shares. Facebook was behind at 37 percent and Twitter clocked in at a surprising 12 percent. Google+ had only a 3 percent share, although this stands to change with the implementation of the new +Posts. LinkedIn wasn’t even on the map.
Facebook was still a leader for publishing and media companies when it comes to sharing out content. A neat 40 percent of shares goes to Facebook for its effectiveness at getting out the word. In second place was Twitter, at 30 percent and Pinterest at 20 percent.
As it stands, social has a bit of a way to go when it comes to matching e-commerce activity, but for now, Pinterest is your best bet.
Source: MediaPost

eSports Player Gets U.S. Athlete Visa

eSports have come a long way in terms of entertainment and popularity, and now they’ve reached another major milestone – they’ve helped a player obtain a visa usually reserved for athletes.

Kim “ViOLet” Dong Hwan, a South Korean professional game player who works his magic in StarCraft 2, has qualified to receive a P-1A visa from the American government, meaning he can officially compete in tournaments within the United States, according to Cyber Solutions Agency.

Usually reserved for internationally recognized athletes, the P-1A allows “ViOLet” to compete, provided that he meets the criteria that comes with the visa. This includes “coming to the United States to participate in an individual event, competition or performance in which you are internationally recognized with a high level of achievement; evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered so that the achievement is renowned, leading or well known in more than one country.”

This visa allows “ViOLet” to reside and compete in the U.S. over the next five years. “I’ve been so jealous when other Koreans traveled to the USA for tournaments,” he said. “I have been trying to go to (the) USA as well, but I got denied three times, and I was almost ready to give up…really almost. It was lots of drama. But my manager found out another last way, and we worked hard together. If we got denied this last time too, yeah, I would pretty much have to retire…”

Hwan follows Canadian player Danny “Shiptur” Le in getting his visa for game tournaments for League of Legends.

Source: Polygon

Rainbow Six: Patriots Starting From Scratch

Fans of the first-person tactical shooting series Rainbow Six have been wondering what happened with Ubisoft’s latest announcement, Patriots, considering it dropped off the map several months ago. This past week, the company broke its silence, stating that the game was still around, but going through some major changes.

First announced two years ago during the Spike Video Game Awards, Patriots has seen quite a bit of effort into it. However, in a conversation with IGN, Ubisoft North American president Luarent Detoc explained it wasn’t necessarily the right direction.

“We had a core team,” said Detoc. “They had a good vision. They got started, and then the game wasn’t working. So (they had) to start again.”

The game now has a new direction, and is being built from the ground up with new consoles in mind, including the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. There could be several changes coming as the game reaches fruition, including tweaks to its counter-terrorism plot and even the name.

There’s no word yet on a new release date.

Source: IGN

New BMW Drivable In Gran Turismo 6

Gran Turismo 6, the latest racing game from Sony for the PlayStation 3, is the perfect platform to launch “dream vehicles” that players can take control of, without needing to put down money on a lease or a testing track. This week, the company unveiled its latest addition – a forthcoming car from BMW.

The 2014 BMW M4 Coupe is now available through an update for the game, free of charge. This is the first time that the car is available, well, pretty much everywhere, since it won’t be physically on sale until early 2014 through the car maker.

The collaboration was a successful one between the manufacturer and the game’s developer, Polyphony Digital, who have shown a penchant for their passion for driving. To celebrate the car’s arrival, the developer has included a seasonal event running from now through December 26, where players can take it for a test drive on the infamous Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit.

Gran Turismo 6 is available now.

Source: Polygon

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Adornably Lets You Design Personal Space

A lot of people like to create their dream room in their house, whether it’s a “man cave” or a productive office. However, planning one out can be tricky, as sometimes you may run out of space or not know how something truly fits in there.

Luckily, a new application called Adornably can help you out with such matters. This application is an augmented reality tech platform in the home design space, which can turn your home into an interior design playground. The video below details how it works.

Essentially, you take a photo of a magazine that’s in a room, then begin placing virtual furniture within that space to see how it would look. There are dozens of types of chairs and tables together, and movement on the screen, including scaling and spacing, is done with a draw of your finger.

The app is available now on the App Store, and you can check out the official Facebook page for more details.

Source: Adornably


Plants vs. Zombies 2 Gets Update

Ever since its release earlier this year, Plants vs. Zombies 2 has been one of mobile’s most popular games, with a rather fair free-to-play structure and hours’ worth of puzzle gameplay to enjoy. This week, PopCap Games has added to the fun with a new, free update.

This latest add-on provides new “Piñata Party” levels, with various new challenges for players to take on. In addition, a new map is also accessible for exploration, and several “fixes” have been added to smooth over gameplay.

The interface also has signs of improvement so players can “know how much you’ve done, where you’re going and what loot you’ll get along the way,” according to the update listing. A new Turbo button will also make it easier to speed up zombies and planting, making progression “quicker and easier.”

Plants vs. Zombies 2 is available for download now on iTunes and Android.

Source: Polygon

The Wrath Of Smaug Comes To The Kingdoms Of Middle-Earth

The Kingdoms of Middle-earth is getting its latest expansion in Desolation of Smaug Expansion Pack, expanding the options and items for the popular mobile title greatly. This Ayzenberg-produced trailer shows and elf and a dwarf arguing over their riches… but are humbled by Smaug, showing how tough the fight for Middle-earth has become!

The Expansion Pack is available on the App Store and Google Play. It arrives just as Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit; film trilogy hit theaters this past weekend, allowing fans to immerse themselves in the story. You can earn new armor and weapons for the heroes, add your name to Middle-earth’s history as you defeat Smaug the Stupendous, and get armor sets and special weapons. There’s new campaign maps and bosses to boot.


Oculus VR’s $75 Million Push

Although it’s been in development for a while following its successful KickStarter, the Oculus Rift just got a huge push when it comes to spending.

The company has secured a $75 million in investment to help put the consumer version of the headset in place. The series B edition of the funding was led by Andreessen Horowitz, with additional contributions by Spark Capital, Matrix Partners and Formation 8. As a result of the huge investment, Marc Andreessen, the founder of Netscape and the main man at Andreessen Horowitz, will join Oculus VR’s board.

“Over the past 16 months, we’ve grown from a start-up to a company whose virtual reality headset is poised to change the way we play, work and communicate,” said Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe said in a statement issued to the press.

“40,000 developers and enthusiasts, as well as a number of great partners, have joined our cause and helped us bring the seemingly impossible to life. This additional infusion of capital, as well as the leadership and experience of Marc Andreessen, will help us take the final steps toward our ultimate goal: making virtual reality something consumers everywhere can enjoy.”

The Oculus VR should arrive sometime in 2014.

Source: GamesIndustry International