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GameStop will fund unique DLC, won't hinder creative process

GameStop CEO Paul Raines does not deny the company's plans to pay developers to create GameStop-exclusive content for their games, but he does point out that the retailer will not interfere with the artists, writers and designers building the core game content.

"When you think about the business of gaming and the cost of developing games, we think there's an opportunity to put capital at risk with publishers and developers in exchange for exclusive content that would be distributed through our online platforms, in stores, our download business, et cetera," Raines explained to Time, before being asked about the immediate backlash against the idea of GameStop dictating a game's development once it's partially funding development. "I think we'd be foolish to tell developers how to develop games or publishers how to bring product to market. That's what they do extremely well. What we'll do well is put capital at risk and help distribute and connect with PowerUp Rewards customers."

"I think the day you see us in the creative side is when you can tell me we've officially lost our minds," Raines added.
[Image: Ubisoft]

New Nintendo eShop releases: One Piece Unlimited World Red, Bases Loaded

Just five new releases on the eShop in North America this week, and ... nope, not one of them is Pokemon Trading Card Game. Sorry, Poke-trainers, the 3DS Virtual Console port of the Game Boy Color classic is staying in Europe for now, it seems.

So, what's on the menu? Well, One Piece Unlimited World Red is out on Wii U and 3DS this week, as well as PS3 and Vita. If you're planning on getting it on Wii U, don't bother heading to the mall because that version is only on the eShop. If you'd prefer something with less anime, more baseball, and altogether fewer pixels, why sir or madam you're in luck! That's because NES baseball sim Bases Loaded is also on its way to both Nintendo systems.

For the full list of new releases (all five of them), head on below the break. Finally, if you're after sales, new ones are start today for Jett Rocket 2 ($9 to $5), Swords & Soldiers 3D (half-price at $4) and Witch & Hero (30 percent off $4).

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Joystiq Streams: Divinity Original Sin pumps up our RPG bonafides

Larian Studios will never say die! More than a decade on from Divine Divinity, the studios remains committed to old-fashioned PC RPG style. Adventures in the magical kingdom of Rivellon do not need streamlined first-person shooting and aggressive Facebook features in 2014! Quests performed for the Council of Seven need not be augmented by pre-order exclusive DLC! This is turn-based role-playing the way grandma and grandpa used to like it back when you were just a twinkle in SteamOS' eye. Joystiq Streams is ready for a learning experience so we're diving blind into Divinity: Original Sin starting at 4PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch. Not only that, but we have a few copies of the game to give out too.

Here's how it's going down. Anthony John Agnello will jump head first into Divinity to create a character and learn the ropes during the stream pre-show at 3:30PM EST. Alexander Sliwinski, a Divinity vet, will join him to help. Then both brave souls will wander into Rivellon starting at 4PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch. The chat's open all day so pop in and give us tips on how to play.

Joystiq Streams broadcasts every Tuesday and Thursday at 4PM right here and at Twitch.tv/Joystiq.

[Images: Larian Studios]

Ubisoft reports first-quarter growth of 374%, bolstered by Watch Dogs

Ubisoft announced its financial results for the fiscal quarter ending on June 30, revealing that it has shipped more than 8 million copies of its hacking-themed sandbox action game Watch Dogs to date.

Reporting €360 million (approximately $490 million) in sales for the first quarter of 2014-2015, Ubisoft notes a year-on-year improvement of 374 percent compared to the €76 million recorded for the same quarter last year.

The publisher attributes its growth to the release of Watch Dogs and a strong showing in its digital segment with recent games like Valiant Hearts, Child of Light, and Trials Fusion. Ubisoft previously reported a 32 percent jump in year-on-year digital sales for the 2014 fiscal year.

More details regarding Ubisoft's first-quarter financial performance will be available soon.

[Image: Ubisoft]

Watch Dogs ships 8 million copies

Ubisoft has shipped 8 million copies of Watch Dogs since the game's launch in May, the company announced in its Q1 2014 – 2015 financial report.

Sales for the quarter were above expectations, hitting €360 million of an expected €310 million, and that's thanks in large part to Watch Dogs, Ubisoft says. In its first week at retail, Watch Dogs sales hit 4 million, making it Ubisoft's "best-selling game ever in week one." It also broke the publisher's day-one sales records.

"The success of Watch Dogs and the quality of our games portfolio presented at this year's E3 highlight our strategic positioning as well as our continuous drive for innovation, and affirm our long-term approach," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said in today's report. "Watch Dogs is now well-positioned as a major franchise and we will be able to replicate and build on its success in the coming years. Its sales performance testifies to Ubisoft's expertise as a creator of blockbuster brands."
[Image: Ubisoft]

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10 Years, 10 Great Games: Thomas' picks

Throughout the week, Joystiq celebrates its tenth anniversary by revealing each writer's favorite – not "best" – games of the last decade. Aside from selecting a number one, each list is unordered.

For his top game of the last decade, Weekend Editor Thomas Schulenberg talks about one of the latest games starring the video game industry's most beloved mascot.

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Apple Design Award sale discounts Threes, Monument Valley, and more

The iTunes App Store is hosting an unannounced sale on several Apple Design Award-winning apps, giving frugal players the opportunity to check out some of the best games to hit iOS devices this year.

Featured games are Asher Vollmer's sliding number-cruncher Threes (99 cents), ustwo's perspective-shifting adventure game Monument Valley ($1.99), and Denis Mikan's touchscreen puzzler Blek (99 cents).

Other award-nominated sale highlights include Tengami ($1.99), Eliss Infinity (99 cents), and Lost Toys ($1.99). There's no word as to when these app discounts will expire, so grab 'em while you can.
[Image: ustwo]

Xbox 360 deals: Black Ops 2, Garden Warfare, Oblivion

The third day of Microsoft's Xbox 360 Ultimate Games Sale features discounts on five games through Xbox Live. Activision's 2012 first-person shooter Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 is half-off today ($29.99 / £24.99 / €34.99), as is today's lone XBLA deal, Assassin's Creed Liberation ($9.99 £7.99 / €9.99).

Three other digital Games on Demand titles are on sale through the end of the day, starting with Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare at 33 percent off ($20.09 / £16.74 / €20.09). Bethesda's 2006 RPG The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion is 75 percent off today ($3.74 / £2.99 / €3.74) as well, and wrapping the day's deals is Red Faction: Armageddon at 77 percent off ($6.89 / £4.59 / €14.94). Microsoft is also sporting a number of deals that extend further into the month, such as Titanfall at $20 off and 40 percent off the Call of Duty: Ghosts season pass, both for Xbox One and discounted through July 14.
[Image: EA Games]

Roundabout spins onto Steam Sept. 18, consoles in early 2015

Finally on September 18 we can live our dream of becoming the world's most famous revolving limo driver, all thanks to Dan Teasdale's Roundabout. In addition to September's Steam release, the former Harmonix and Twisted Pixel designer is also bringing the dream to Xbox One and PS4 in early 2015.

The long and short of Roundabout is it's exactly like being a chauffeur in the 1970s, except your limo is always spinning around. Teasdale's No Goblin studio joshes the game includes "cutting edge full motion video technology," with games industry faces taking the limelight.

Check out a new trailer below the break.

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Blizzard boss responds to lack of diversity in games, marketing

Every few years the lumbering entity that is Blizzard forgets its demographics and diverse player base and goes on an apology tour. The latest one comes courtesy of the male-heavy marketing for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, a potentially tone-deaf April Fool's joke and pivoting on a diversity issues the company dealt with nearly ten years ago already.

"And we know that actions speak louder than words, so we are challenging ourselves to draw from more diverse voices within and outside of the company and create more diverse heroes and content," wrote Blizzard President Mike Morhaime, responding to a rather well-detailed bit of criticism. "We are also actively looking at our story development and other processes to ensure that our values are fully represented."

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Danganronpa 2 trailer is 219 seconds of madness


A new trailer for Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair claims to offer a "simple explanation" of the class trial. And it's true, we can't say it doesn't explain the game's Survivor-like twist on its Ace Attorney-esque gameplay. That said, it's also utterly bonkers.

Suffice to say, here's a warning if you don't like talking rabbits getting thumped by talking bears, or NSFW content (Teruteru, man, what's up with you?) Anyway, Spike Chunsoft's Vita game hits North America on September 2 and Europe three days later.

If you'd prefer something a bit lighter, below the break there's another NIS America trailer for Vita platformer The Firefly Diary, which is due on PSN this fall.

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Heavenly Sword movie slicing and dicing in September


Cinedigm announced the Heavenly Sword movie arrives on Blu-ray. DVD and the PlayStation Store on September 2, proving this is still a reality in which the Heavenly Sword movie exists. It's still so weird to see Blockade Entertainment's CGI film in action, knowing it's the first major use of the Sony property since Ninja Theory's 2007 PS3 game.

As IGN reports, the film stars Fringe actress Anna Torv as heroine Nariko, Alfred Molina as King Bohan, Thomas Jane as Loki and Nolan North in a surprise Nathan Drake cameo - okay, that last one's not true, but maybe it should be. North is really in the film, but a man who isn't is Andy Serkis, who wasn't available to reprise his role as the villainous Bohan.

Meanwhile, rumors of a Haze film adaptation remain something we made up just now.
[Image: Sony]

Newly discovered Halo 3 easter egg is short, subtle and sweet


One of the last known but undiscovered Halo 3 easter eggs was finally cracked open this week, nearly seven years after the shooter first hit shelves. While it's not mind-blowingly awesome in terms of spectacle, it does have plenty of d'awwww value.

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Report: Games industry saw $12.5 billion in acquisitions last year

Over $12.5 billion in game company acquisitions were announced in the last year, London-based game advisory firm Digi-Capital reports. The firm's second quarter review, as highlighted by GamesBeat, showed $4.6 billion of the deals involved mobile gaming companies. That was followed by $4 billion for MMOs, $2.5 billion in game technology and $1 billion for console deals.

Digi-Capital managing director Tim Merel pointed to five reasons for the "consolidation crush" that occurred in the past year. For starters, Merel said that companies acquiring mobile developers are "buying into a large, high-growth market," as the firm forecasted that mobile games will generate $33 billion in revenue by 2017, growing from $4 billion in 2011 and $16 billion in 2013. Merel pointed to Zynga's purchase of Backbreaker developer NaturalMotion in January to the tune of $527 million as an example of its second reason for the industry's consolidation, mobile's cannibalization of other media and platforms.

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Train Simulator dev lands Microsoft Flight Sim license

Dovetail Games, a developer best known for its work on the unexpectedly popular Train Simulator franchise, has announced an agreement allowing it to create new entries in Microsoft's storied Flight Simulator line.

Under the terms of the agreement, not only is Dovetail now able to create new Flight Simulator games, but the company is also licensed to distribute 2006's Flight Simulator X on Steam. Dubbed "Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition," the late-2014 re-release will include both Flight Simulator X expansions, as well as the base game. "When it comes to licensing our simulation engine, Dovetail Games is the obvious choice for us to work with," stated Microsoft executive producer Kevin Perry. "We respect their approach in terms of delivering premium quality simulation games and look forward to seeing their vision of the next chapter in flight simulations unfold."
[Image: Microsoft]

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