It's a big chunk of change to spend on an independent studio founded in 2010, but its juggernaut product has since sold over 15 million units and spawned a merchandising empire. Minecraft earned a reported $326 million in revenue last year, continuing its year-on-year trend of increased profitability.
Creator Markus Persson expressed a desire to move away from Minecraft earlier this year following a notable shift in indie development culture, however. "The current indie scene is as new for the people making games as it is for the audience," Joystiq editor Jess Conditt wrote. "Indie developers don't have trained PR teams to guide them through the drama; many don't know that the press and public will take their tweets seriously; some of them aren't even sure what an embargo is. They receive death threats and then react like candid humans when the audience expects them to behave like detached professionals."
"As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I'll probably abandon it immediately," Persson said in reference to the Microsoft purchase.
Here's a quick rundown of the events that led up to today's deal.
Yeah, it is, and while ArcheAge has its share of issues, its breadth and depth is incredibly welcome in a genre that's gotten far too comfortable repackaging the same tired experience.
One of the ways they'll be able to build their team this year is through a real-time auction house, seen in a few of the game's screens provided by 2K. Players will also have a challenge mode to put their team through its paces in several "What if?" fantasy scenarios. 2K Sports plans to add both multiplayer and weekly challenges to MyTeam throughout the year as well as user-created content. NBA 2K15 will launch October 7 for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
"At Microsoft, we believe in the power of content to unite people," Spencer wrote on Xbox Wire. "Minecraft adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms. Gaming is the top activity across devices and we see great potential to continue to grow the Minecraft community and nurture the franchise.
"That is why we plan to continue to make Minecraft available across platforms – including iOS, Android and PlayStation, in addition to Xbox and PC."
The New 3DS itself launches in Japan on October 11 in both regular and XL models, and its New features include the right-hand analog C-stick, ZL and ZR shoulder buttons, built-in NFC tech, greater battery life, improved CPU and customizable faceplates, suede or otherwise. As for when the New 3DS launches outside of Japan, Nintendo's ruled out bringing it West in this calendar year. But you can nab Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby when the two 3DS remakes launch in North America on November 21 and Europe on November 28.
In other words, expect the portal gun to get a dubstep attachment soon enough. As for Volition, the Deep Silver studio's working with High Voltage Software to bring Saints Row 4 to PS4 and Xbox One on January 27, 2015, with Gat out of Hell releasing on the same day for last-gen, current-gen and PC.
Evolution Studio's sim is out October 7 as a full retail game and in an edition free for Plus members, with the latter missing most of the cars and tracks available in the former. The Plus edition includes 10 cars and 5 tracks with 11 variations or routes, while the full game features 50 cars and 25 tracks with 55 routes. It's unclear whether or not the hashtag is included in the Plus edition, but the good news those who download the Driveclub freebie can upgrade to the full game for $50.
Not that any of that's surprising, frankly, and we're still waiting on hard sales figures from Activision. It's maybe more revealing to dissect Destiny's UK sales-by-platform percentages, especially since they offer a 50-50 cross-generation split between PlayStation and Xbox. While PS4 leads the way with 46 percent, Xbox One and Xbox 360 come in second and third with 36 and 14 percent respectively, and PS3 makes up the remaining 4 percent.
Early Access, where betas and generally-unfinished portions of games can be sold with the promise of eventual full admission to the final experience. It seems increasingly more common for pre-orders to be rewarded with a headstart too, as was the case with Destiny's beta.
The decision to pay for access to unfinished concepts is always in the hands of a player, of course, but between Kickstarters, Early Access and pre-order samples, it all makes me wonder: How do you feel about it? Is there a thrill to getting a headstart on something you've been dying to play, even if it's rough around the edges or a year away from completion? Would you prefer it if development teams stuck to trailers, press releases and livestreams to promote their work? Is a compelling Kickstarter pitch enough to get a few bucks from you?
It feels like a conversation with a lot of angles to consider, and it'd be interesting to hear when you consider a project finished enough to spend some cash on a taste of it. Share your perspective on demos, betas and any other form of pre-launch gaming you have thoughts on, right after you check the Xbox One's debut in this week's Japanese hardware sales after the break!
Science and technology advisers from the Obama administration hosted the weekend-long jam, with attendees including Far Cry 4 contributing developer Red Storm Entertainment, Angry Birds developer Rovio, and GlassLab, a collaborative effort which includes members from the Entertainment Software Association and Electronic Arts.
The 23 participating teams retain all rights to the concepts they cooked up during the jam, and while there doesn't seem to be an official gallery to host the designs, there's plenty of photos and recollections unified by the "WHGameJam" hashtag on Twitter.
Combining the innards of an Xbox One with a 22-inch screen from a Vizio television and custom 3D printed parts, Zarick has turned Microsoft's newest home console into a portable device for mobile gaming. Well ... kind of.
While certainly easier to lug around than a standard Xbox One and 22-inch TV, the Xbook One isn't a device you can use just anywhere; it still requires an outlet for power, and the Kinect is not integrated into the design. Still, the modding on display here is impressive, and we could easily imagine the Xbook One being a hit with LAN parties and the like. Also, it's just fun to say: Xbook. Xbook.
You can check out Zarick's breakdown of the process at his website, and watch a video demonstration of the box after the break. If you want to get your own, you can order one straight from Zarick for the sum of $1,495, plus shipping.
There's more in Distance's bag of tricks than just speeding along raceways – as displayed in the beta trailer, players can twist, flip and spread their wings to navigate between sections of Distance's winding tracks.
Distance is a spiritual successor to Nitronic Rush, a similarly-hectic racer that the Refract team contributed to while studying at DigiPen. Since rights for Nitronic Rush were retained by DigiPen, Refract set out to finish their vision with Distance, which is eventually due for release on PC, Mac and Linux.
A huge MMO launched this week! No, not Destiny, although that launched too. I'm talking about ArcheAge, the long-awaited Trion/XL Games sandbox MMORPG that has finally sailed its way across the pond to western shores, probably in an actual boat because, you know, this game has actual boats. Yes, ArcheAge's head start is now live for founders, though it's not been without the usual round of long queues and server instability and DDoS attacks and people waiting in polite and tidy lines for quest mobs. We've been chronicling the head start in a series of launch diaries and streams and will continue doing so this week as we approach the formal launch.
Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories.
So just what is Challenge Mode? According to members of a Nintendo Treehouse stream made earlier this week, it's basically "Adventure Mode on steroids." So ... it's tougher and angrier, but also has some acne problems and premature balding? Whatever you say, Nintendo.
Obviously that's a joke, but the truth of the matter is we won't know what Challenge Mode has in store for us until later this month. Remember warriors, patience is a virtue.
In Twelve A Dozen, players guide Twelve and her companion Dot in an effort to save Twelve's family as a disaster descends upon Dozenopolis. Twelve's lesson plan spans 30 levels' worth of puzzles, with more coming in an eventual update. The App Store description notes that Twelve A Dozen is meant to support the curriculum of those aged 10 - 14, but all iPad users can brush up on the basics for $4.99 (£2.99).
Just ... don't go thinking you're a few hours away from practicing heart surgery once you can do algebra in your sleep.
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