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Investors put up millions for a virtual reality treadmill and now it could come to consoles

Virtuix raised $1.1 million on Kickstarter to release the Omni virtual reality treadmill, but the company isn’t finished raising capital. Virtuix has just completed a $3 million seed investment round, which will be used to expand the company size, enhance distribution and make sure the company has enough stock to meet possible demand. The investors include Mark Cuban, who originally declined an investment when the product appeared on the popular television show Shark Tank. It’s an interesting situation; investors are interested in virtual reality due to a single massive investment from one of the most powerful companies in tech, not the sales of any released product. "The Facebook acquisition of Oculus was great news for our industry, and validated all the work we’ve been doing and...
Video
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Botanicula ready for iPad on May 1

Charming point-and-click adventure Botanicula will be available for iPad on May 1, according to its developer Amanite Design. To mark the news, a new trailer was released today, featuring the game's central insect-like characters, which are seeking to rid their garden-home of an unwelcome infestation of spiders and other bugs. Players help the heroes by exploring environments and picking up useful items. Created in the Czech Republic by the makers of Machinarium, the Windows PC original picked up various awards, especially for its audio work, which won an Independent Games Festival Award in 2012.
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XCOM: Enemy Unknown is 'coming soon' to Android

XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Firaxis Games' turned-based strategy game that pits a human resistance against alien invaders, is headed to Android "soon," according to a recent tweet from the series' official Twitter account. The game will be available through Google Play and the Amazon Appstore, according to the tweet. XCOM: Enemy Unknown arrived on iOS for iPad and iPhone last June where it's available for $19.99. You can check out the launch trailer for the game's first mobile incarnation below. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is also available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac and Windows PC. XCOM: Enemy Unknown - The Complete Edition, a version that includes its major add-on content, was released last month for Mac and PC for $49.99. For on the game's original incarnation, be sure to read Polygon's X...
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Zynga founder Mark Pincus steps down as chief product officer amid executive shuffle

Mark Pincus, the co-founder and former CEO of social game maker Zynga, is making another transition at the company, leaving his role as chief product officer to focus on serving as chairman of Zynga's board of directors. Pincus' role change is just one of many happening at Zynga, according to a note from current CEO Don Mattrick. In a letter to employees, Mattrick said he and Pincus "will continue to be close partners and work together" to lead Zynga. Pincus stepped down as CEO last year when Zynga brought Mattrick on board. Mattrick also announced a handful of new hires and new appointments, including Alex Garden, former general manager of Xbox Live and Xbox Music at Microsoft. Garden, who was previously CEO at Nexon Publishing North Ameica and founded Relic Entertainment, will serve...
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Amazon, Media Molecule, Twitch to speak at Develop 2014

The 2014 Develop in Brighton conference confirmed its first round of speakers this morning, which includes developers from Amazon, Tearaway studio Media Molecule and streaming platform Twitch, among a dozen others. The Develop 2014 conference, currently in its ninth year, will be held July 8-10 in Brighton's Hilton Metropole. The three-day event will feature more than 100 speakers across 90 different sessions — including representatives from Crytek, Nickelodeon, Chillingo, Codemasters, Ubisoft Montreal and Aardman Studios. These speakers will discuss popular industry topics, including cloud and second screen gaming, the growth of virtual reality and new funding and publishing models, and the psychology of player-game interaction. A full list of confirmed sessions is currently...
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Armello: the sneaky, treacherous race to the throne

"What we've always loved in board games is treachery," says Trent Kusters, co-founder of game studio League of Geeks. "Treachery in board games is great. It's like one minute we're buddies, but you know at some point one person is going to stab the other in the back." Kusters is demoing the alpha build of Armello, League of Geeks' debut title for PC and tablets, which is currently seeking funds on Kickstarter. It's a digital board game. Players tap on their hero character to move it around as they would on a physical board. They roll virtual dice like they would physical dice. And they commit acts of treachery, they plot and scheme and form alliances just like they would in a traditional board game. "That's what we wanted to set up," Kusters says, "the ability for people to create...
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Train Jam 2014 offers up first batch of games

The first batch of games conceived out of Train Jam 2014, a 52-hour game jam held on a train travelling from Chicago to San Francisco, are now available on the event's official website. At the time of writing, the growing list currently offers 18 games available to freely download for Windows PC, Mac, Oculus or Android, or play online in a browser. Games include Android title Disconnect from Rami Ismail, Brice Puls and Benedict Fritz; Off the Grid by Ryan Wiemeyer, Jamie Sanchez, David Laskey and Chris Wade; Space Jeff from Matthew Hudgins; and, Oculus Team by Alicia Avril and Andrew Gleeson. The event, which took place March 13-15, offered a way to rally developers heading to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and create games whilst in transit. Train Jam was organized...
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Multiplayer coming to Injustice: Gods Among Us mobile

The mobile version of NetherRealm Studios' fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us, is set to receive a multiplayer update, according to a teaser posted by DC Entertainment. Injustice: Gods Among Us was released last year. It features villains and heroes facing off against one other, while the mobile editions use collectible card mechanics. The trailer, which you can view in the video above around the 48-second mark, provides a brief look at the update. Players will be able to challenge their friends and participate in leaderboards; no other details were provided. A date for the update was not announced. Console and handheld versions of the game already include ad-hoc multiplayer and traditional multiplayer over wi-fi. The free-to-play mobile version of Injustice: Gods Among Us is...
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Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within trailer shows Masters of the Force in action

Zen Studios' is preparing to launch the final round of tables for Star Wars Pinball later this month, sharing a trailer today showing the Masters of the Force table in action. Masters of the Force — a table featuring Force-wielding heavy hitters like Yoda, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine — is part of the Heroes Within DLC pack, which launches on April 29 for PlayStation 3, Android, iOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows PC via Steam and Xbox 360. The pack includes four tables for $9.99 on console and PC and individual tables will be available for $1.99 through the iTunes App Store, Google Play and the Amazon App Store. "The past two years of Star Wars Pinball development have been tremendously rewarding," reads a press statement from Zen Studios. "Masters of the Force feels...
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Monument Valley: new levels on the way

New levels are on their way to popular iOS architectural puzzler Monument Valley, according to developer ustwo. The game, which Polygon's review described as "short and sweet ... like a dream I didn't want to forget" takes a few hours to complete and costs $3.99. It involves creating Escher-like pathways using building techniques. "We are making some more levels, but the reasons we're doing it are artistic reasons," said designer Neil McFarland. "There are some ideas that we didn't get to work so didn't put in there, but which we'd like to see work. There are some other things we'd like to try." No details have been released on the timing of the new levels or how they will fit in with the main story. "The only thing is we presented a complete story in the game, which we don't want to...
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Social Clues creates a game world to help autistic children

Social Clues is a combination puzzle game and therapy tool in development from a team of 35 University of Southern California students, USC News reports. The game combines aspects of behavioral therapy with video game mechanics to help children on the autistic spectrum. In Social Clues, players take on the role of particiPETE or communiKATE as they participate in teachable scenarios. In one where a vending machine is out of apple juice, a virtual parrot called Sherlock teaches players that they need to look at someone and make eye contact to get juice. "What we're trying to do is break down everyday interactions into something very understandable, very manageable," said project lead and USC Marshall School of Business MBA student Jeremy Bernstein. "We're basically giving our players a...
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Dwarven Den launches May 1 for iOS devices

Backflip Studios' free puzzle, exploration and mining game, Dwarven Den, will be available May 1 via the iTunes App Store, the developer announced today. As a "jolly, rotund" dwarf, players embark on an underground quest to save their ancestors, who have been trapped in underground mines. During their journey through the earth, players hunt for ancient civilizations, items and more while solving puzzles. The game also features opportunities to team up with Facebook friends to form guilds and take on special challenges. "Each underground level has players mining ancient, buried ruins for loot," the game's description reads. "Spelunking can be tough, however, with hungry monsters and cave-ins looming around every corner. Never fear: an ample supply of bombs and skills make obstacles...
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Hearthstone Fireside Gatherings will help players meet in the real world April 26

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment is encouraging players of the collectible card game to meet in the real world with Fireside Gathering events scheduled for April 26. In Hearthstone, players gather around virtual tables for card battles. Fireside Gatherings invite players to assemble around real world tables to build decks, play tournaments and otherwise delve deep into the game. Those who do will unlock a special card back. You can see a list of April 26 events being held from Alabama to Hawaii on Blizzard's official Fireside Gatherings page, where you'll also find information on how to host your own event. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is available on Mac, Windows PC and iPad with Android device and iPhone versions to come. For more on the game and...
Video
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This is how you get a lightsaber in Disney Infinity

There is a way to get Star Wars' iconic lightsaber in Disney Infinity — it just takes a bit of effort and a lot of cash. In the video above, Stephen Alva Wood of YouTube channel Nerdflip runs down how to obtain the coveted item. By using all 29 NFC figurines within the game and raising all characters to level one, players can unlock a green lightsaber, a weapon used in the space epic by Jedi including Luke Skywalker and Yoda. According to Wood, unlocking the lightsaber means players have spent at least $500 on Disney Infinity figurines at this point. In late 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm — and the rights to the Star Wars franchise — in a $4 billion acquisition deal. More recently, the Disney Store Facebook page responded to a comment from a fan that there were no plans to add Star...
Opinion
108 Comments

Blizzard silenced Hearthstone players, and it made the game amazing

A well-constructed Mage deck in Blizzard’s free-to-play collectible card game Hearthstone has the satisfying ability to take the enemy’s figurative arm over your knee to snap the bone in two.The Polymorph card allows you to turn any minion on the board into a sheep that can only hit for one damage, with one unit of health. It can take out some of the biggest threats from your opponent. The Fireball card costs four mana and deals six points of damage to whatever it hits. But the Mage's holy terror of doom is Flame Strike. It’s not a complicated card. You don’t have to set it up in order to bring destruction on your enemy. You don’t have to build your deck around it. It costs seven mana to cast, and deals four damage to every enemy minion on the board. It all but destroys your...
News
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Doctor Who: Legacy first major update will add more than 20 hours of gameplay

Doctor Who: Legacy, Seed Studio and BBC Worldwide's free-to-play puzzle role-playing game, will receive more than 20 hours of new gameplay inspired by the show's fifth season, the developer announced today. In Legacy, players travel through time to put together a team of characters from the show and solve gem-based puzzles. Doctor Who: Legacy Version 2.0: Rise of the Master, the game's first major update, introduces a new perk system, expert level modes and new abilities, in addition to new allies and enemies. With the game's perk system, players unlock additional abilities for their allies. Players will have access to four more forms of the Doctor: the First, Second, Ninth and War Doctor. "The Season 5 story arc, Rise of the Master, sees the most recent incarnation of the Master, as...
News
22 Comments

Candy Crush maker King settles trademark disputes with The Banner Saga developer

Social and mobile game developer King has settled its trademark disputes with The Banner Saga developer Stoic Studio and CandySwipe developer Albert Ransom, according to statements both developers recently released. "Stoic is pleased to have come to an agreement with King regarding Stoic's The Banner Saga trademark, which enables both parties to protect their respective trademarks now and in the future," the developer wrote on its website. CandySwipe developer Albert Ransom, who has previously accused King of being overly litigious with its candy-related trademark filings, posted a similar note to his website yesterday. "I am happy to announce that I have amicably resolved my dispute with King over my CandySwipe trademark and that I am withdrawing my opposition to their mark and they...
News
18 Comments

Hitman Go trailer heralds its iOS release today

Hitman Go, Square Enix Montreal's turn-based puzzle game, arrived on iOS today for $4.99, and Square Enix released a trailer to celebrate. Check out the video above to see the game's diorama-like style, which places Agent 47 and his adversaries on board game-inspired levels. Alongside the series longstanding protagonist, Hitman Go also includes his established stealth tools like disguises, distractions and hiding spots and will allow players to complete levels with stealth or force. You can download Hitman Go in the iOS App Store and play it on iPad 2, iPad Mini, iPhone 4, iPod Touch fifth generation and newer devices. For more on the game, be sure to read our interview with its developers from PAX East 2014.
News
35 Comments

Why Square Enix uses DRM

Square Enix uses digital rights management to earn profits and protect its intellectual property, Square Enix America's senior manager of business and legal affairs Adam Sullivan told TorrentFreak. Square Enix has "a well-known reputation for being very protective of our IPs," Sullivan said, and it employs DRM to further that goal. "The primary benefit to us is the same as with any business: profit," he said. Though he acknowledged that some players have problems and there is "no perfect solution yet," DRM also has other benefits that help developers. "When F2P began trending, lots of people thought it would be the death of DRM. I remember talking with one F2P developer who couldn't imagine why hackers would want to attack his game, since it was free and all. Two months later they...
News
3 Comments

FarmVille 2: Country Escape launches on mobile today

It was hard to imagine FarmVille 2 on mobile. The web version, which launched in 2012, was designed with the mouse cursor in mind. It played like a simulation and real-time strategy game. There may not have been enemies or beasts to slay, but there were things to move on a game board, crops to plant and items to craft. The cute farming exterior was, in some ways, deceptive, because if players wanted to get strategic and competitive with their farms, they could. In bringing FarmVille 2 to mobile, developer Zynga had to redesign the game to be "mobile first." Porting the web version to mobile devices wouldn't have worked for a number of reasons. The web version relies on mouse input; mobile devices use swipe inputs. Web players are likely to spend more time with the game during play...
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