The long wait for video game consoles to be available to the public in China is over.
But it appears that the public may not be that overjoyed by the news.
Microsoft and Sony are poised to start selling their popular video game consoles in the country after a ban on them was lifted.
Both companies are estimated to sell over half a million of their Xbox One and Playstation consoles respectively, but those numbers pale when lumped into global sale tallies for Microsoft and Sony.
Part of the issue is that gamers in China are more prone to play games on mobile devices or personal computers as opposed to games on consoles hooked up to television sets.
Another issue that comes into play is that both Sony and Microsoft were required to associate themselves with a Chinese partner to sell their consoles and games.
Sony teamed up with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group, and Microsoft partnered with BesTV.
But both of those local partners merged late last year.
Game publishers have also seen some obstacles as government regulators are slow to approve a heavy amount of games due to their internal codes regarding offensive content.
At present, 31 titles have been approved by the government with 20 titles pending.
When it comes to the Xbox One, Microsoft is finding that the old ways can still be very helpful.
At the E3 conference held in Los Angeles, California on Monday, Microsoft announced that popular older titles that worked on the Xbox 360 will be able to be played on their latest video game entertainment system.
This is all thanks to backwards compatibility being a key feature of the Xbox One, a feature beloved on the Xbox 360.
Attendees at the event were surprised by the news, but received it warmly.
The main rival for the Xbox One, Sony’s PlayStation 4, doesn’t offer that same compatibility feature in terms of disc-based games.
It does have older games available for purchase and play on its PlayStation Now cloud-based service.
The news has already caused a stir across social media platforms and forums, with some publicly declaring their intentions to switch from the PlayStation to the Xbox One.
Microsoft has major plans for a widely known game and a highly-anticipated product, and chose to give the word on both on Monday.
A representative for the company spoke at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3 to give word that they plan to package the popular game Minecraft along with their soon-to-be-released HoloLens headset.
The package would be intended for use with their Xbox One video game system.
This would be the biggest addition to Minecraft since the game’s debut in 2009.
The augmented reality headset would enhance the gameplay and compel users to not utilize their televisions and instead create the block worlds associated with the game right in front of them.
Players would be able to then use their hands, voice and their body in the process.
It’s expected that the ‘MineCraft HoloLens’ may cost a pretty penny – initial speculation put the price of the HoloLens above that of the Xbox One upon its release.
Facebook’s latest service just got another new feature for the gamer in everyone.
Facebook Messenger has just unveiled its first game for the service, called “Doodle Draw Game”.
Previously, the closest thing to games that Messenger offered since its launch in April were content creators for GIFs and sound effects.
Behind the scenes however, the company was actively exploring the possibilities for full games to be offered within the platform.
The game itself is highly similar to the viral sensation Draw Something that was prevalent back in 2012.
You basically draw something on the screen, add a color or two, then send your work to a friend for them to ascertain what you drew.
You get a chance to get more colors for your palette by playing, and the same goes for earning currency.
The success of Doodle Draw will be dependent not so much on how many will flock to it, but its staying power without having to rely on spam methods like constantly inviting friends.
Not wanting to be left out in the cold, YouTube is now making a direct appeal to gamers with their latest initiative.
The company plans to develop and launch their own site dedicated to video games as well as a related application entitled YouTube Gaming.
This move is expected to be a deterrent against the online popularity of Twitch, a website that allows users to watch and connect with players on live broadcasts.
Google had made a bid to buy Twitch but were beat out by Amazon’s bid of nearly one billion dollars.
YouTube Gaming will have 25,000 individual game portals for dedicated activity on a single page and will launch first in the United States and the United Kingdom.
In terms of advertising profits, it’s split between YouTube and the individual who’s broadcasting.
There’s also plans to bolster the ‘tip jar’ feature which allows visitors to give the broadcaster money for their efforts in creating and uploading game footage.
Magic Leap is gathering momentum, and one of the immediate results of that is a new platform launched by the company that builds on one of its strengths.
The company has released an augmented-reality developer platform meant for coders from third-party companies to build products atop its technology.
The software developer kit will be on the way soon, as promised by the company’s CEO at a conference sponsored by MIT last week.
Magic Leap’s tech promises great advances within that technology but not much else in terms of details.
The company has gotten wide attention dating back to last October when it garnered close to half a billion dollars in funding from a group of companies that included Qualcomm and Google.
That has led to an intensive research and development period that has seen Magic Leap build a sizeable facility in Florida to manufacture chips for their Dynamic Digitized Lightfield Signal, which is meant to insert artificial imagery into real-world surroundings making them nearly indistinguishable to enhance one’s experience.
Magic Leap wants this to be a major competitor to Google Glass and Microsoft’s Holo Lens.
Those interested can sign up on their website to receive the software developer’s kit which is reportedly compatible with the Unreal and Unity game engines.
If you’re an avid fan of the hip and nerdishly cool website ThinkGeek, the latest news concerning its new collaboration may be of some interest.
Word has gotten out that ThinkGeek and GeekNet, its parent company, will be acquired by the video game retail chain GameStop.
The news comes in a startling way; prior to this, it had seemed that discount clothing retailer and pop culture trinkets giant Hot Topic would be acquiring the company and website.
The reason for the switch?
GameStop won by the power of the dollar in offering more per share than Hot Topic did, at $20 as opposed to $17.50.
GeekNet chose to go with GameStop’s offer and paid a termination fee to Hot Topic for their trouble.
There aren’t many details to offer in terms of what a merger like this can bring, but it seems likely that GameStop has taken notice of the vast array of video game and tech products that ThinkGeek is famous for and wants to see how that expertise could be integrated into their stores.
And maybe that will also include ordering ThinkGeek products and having them available in GameStop locations for pickup.
A new lawsuit once again has the enormously popular video game Grand Theft Auto as the main subject.
Rockstar Games, along with their parent company and publisher Take-Two Interactive have filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the British Broadcasting Company.
It was done in response to the BBC moving forward with a documentary on the real-life details behind the creation and development of the game that has become a part of pop culture since its first appearance over ten years ago on video game consoles.
According to a Rockstar spokesperson, the lawsuit is meant to “ensure that our trademarks are not misused in the BBC’s pursuit of an unofficial depiction of purported events related to Rockstar Games.”
They went on to remark that all parties were in negotiations to have the signature trademark as part of the docudrama but had to sue once the talks fizzled.
The script docudrama, entitled ‘Game Changer’, is based on on the book “Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto” by David Kurshner.
Daniel Radcliffe is set to star as Rockstar co-founder Sam Houser, and Bill Paxton will appear in the 90-minute film as noted anti-video game activist Jack Thompson.
Gaming company Zynga is scaling back operations; cutting staff by 18 percent, and leaving behind their activities in the sports video-game niche, according to a story in The New York Times.
346 employees will be released from their positions in the round of layoffs and Zynga will shutter a few of their data centers.
The company expects to see an annual savings of around $100 million.
Mark Pincus, who originally founded the company, recently returned and has wasted no time in making moves in the hope of restoring the company to better financial health.
Mr. Pincus said “What I believe we need is to narrow our focus…We have plenty of great opportunities in front of us. What we need to do now is intensify our focus around these opportunities.”
Facebook-owned virtual reality company Oculus VR, is set to launch its Rift headset sometime during the first quarter of 2016.
HTC has their own virtual reality headset, the Vive, which will launch before the Oculus product.
According to this report, Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games at the IHS Technology consultancy said “All the hype around virtual reality grew up around Oculus over the last two years, and not to come to market before what is looking like a compelling proposition from HTC represents a moderate surrendering of the initiative…But I don’t think we’re talking about it missing out on huge sales volumes at what will be an early stage of demand for VR.”