Xbox Live Indie Games Programme to Be Shut Down

The Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) programme for the Xbox 360 lets independent developers release their games on the console without the need for a publisher. Over its lifetime it has seen over 3,300 games release through it. The future of the programme was unclear considering that the Xbox One did not have a section for indie games, asking developers to sign up for the ID@Xbox programme instead. Microsoft has confirmed that it is shutting the Xbox Live Games programme.

“Today we communicated to developers that we’re beginning the sunsetting process for the XNA Creator’s Club and Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) on Xbox 360. We’re working to ensure the process is as smooth as possible and to minimise any impact for developers who are still working on XBLIG games for Xbox 360,” a post on the XNA Game Studio Team Blog reads.

(Also see: Top 5 Indie Games You Should Play Right Now)

Developers have been informed that they have a year to have their games ready for release via XBLIG. Consumers can purchase them until 2017 before it permanently shuts down. Like the sunsetting of most digital initiatives, you will still be able to download and play what you’ve bought long after the service ends.

With developers flocking to Steam to hawk their wares, this should come as no surprise. Even more so considering features like Early Access are hugely popular in testing the validity of a game concept and ensure sustained development and support. It also highlights that most digital gaming services aren’t as sustainable as they’re made out to be for consumers. Which begs the question, how soon before games come with an explicit expiry date?

Check Out Windows 10 and Backwards Compatibility on the Xbox One Soon

At Gamescom 2015, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 and backwards compatibility – which lets you play your Xbox 360 games on your Xbox One – is finally hitting the console in November.

In a run up to that, members of the Xbox One Preview Program will be invited to try it out with invites being sent in phases.

“Our goal is to start with a group, get feedback, then roll out to larger groups for additional feedback over time. If you’re a member of the Xbox One Preview Program, you will get an invitation sent to you in an Xbox Live message,” said Mike Ybarra in a post on the Xbox website.

(Also see: Microsoft’s Gamescom 2015: Three Good Reasons to Get an Xbox One, Beyond Games)

Xbox One Preview Program members who don’t opt in to the update will continue to receive regular updates and will not be removed from the Xbox One Preview Program. Ybarra’s post goes on to outline that there will be new builds of this update rolled out over several weeks for those who take part and that Microsoft will improve features and fix bugs through this period.

Aside from a fresh UI and backwards compatibility, the overall experience will be a lot snappier. This will include easier and faster ways to access your games, friends, and the community as well as a revamped One Guide for video and movie apps.

It’s admirable how much time and effort Microsoft have put in correcting its missteps with the Xbox One. And while it can only hope to result in strong sales, early adopters and current Xbox One owners have a lot to look forward to.

Star Wars: Uprising for Android and iOS Is a Prequel to Force Awakens

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens out this December, the Disney marketing machine is in full swing. From unveiling hot ticket toys like the BB8 robot to the Crossguard Lightsaber, there’s a lot of tangible merchandise for fans.

(Also see: Missed Force Friday? Here’s Some Star Wars Merchandise You Can Buy in India)

And if you’re looking for your Star Wars fix without any embarrassing looking toys, there’s Star Wars: Uprising, it’s a role-playing game (RPG) for Android and iOS that lets you customise your own character and take part in cooperative, real-time combat with others around the world.

But the biggest hook comes from the fact that it ties in with the Star Wars lore. The events of Star Wars: Uprising take place between Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You’ll fight through the force of the Empire across iconic locations such as Hoth and Cloud City.

Like most mobile games nowadays, it’s free with in-app purchases. These range from Rs. 60 to Rs. 6,200 to help you progress through the game. Developed by Kabam, the company behind mobile games like Spirit Lords, Marvel Contest of Champions, Wartune, and Fast & Furious Legacy, Star Wars: Uprising doesn’t appear to be your standard cheap movie game cash in. No surprise considering the development staff consists of Daniel Erickson, the creative director on the Electronic Arts (EA) massively multiplayer online RPG (MMORPG) Star Wars: The Old Republic and Danny Keller, artist on the Clone Wars animated series.

Twitch for Android Now on Par With iOS; Updated With Push Notifications

Live streaming service Twitch has announced a crucial update to its Android app. You can now receive notifications when broadcasters you follow start streaming. In addition to this, you can just as easily enable or disable notifications from certain streamers without unfollowing them.

“Starting today, you can receive live alerts for any broadcasters you follow. If you already have our Android app, make sure you enable notifications. This can be done via your device’s settings. New users downloading our app for the first time won’t need to do anything at all to get notifications for followed broadcasters,” said a post on the official Twitch blog.

(Also see: Twitch Partners Cannot Stream on YouTube Gaming: Report)

Furthermore, if you have a tablet, you can chat via the app in landscape mode and the search bar is now visible across devices of all sizes.

What’s interesting is that push notifications and granular controls for the same were present on iOS devices for the longest time now. It’s odd that Android users are receiving this feature so late after their iPhone and iPad owning counterparts.

While the blog mentions that the app has been updated for the Amazon Appstore as well, push notifications will only be available to Google Play users for now. Odd considering it’s essentially the same build.

(Also see: YouTube Gaming Launched; Android and iOS Apps to Roll Out Gradually)

Nonetheless, these are welcome additions to the service that’s seen strong competition from Google with the recent launch of YouTube Gaming. The updated Twitch app for Android is now available viaGoogle Play.

Assassin’s Creed Soundtracks Are Coming On Vinyl

acGreat games are more than just good graphics, a great story and good gameplay. A big part of the experience is sound effects and music. Music can take a game to the next level. Well, fans of Assassin’s Creed will be happy to learn that Ubisoft will be publishing the game’s soundtracks.

They will be doing this in a unique way, by teaming up with record distributor Sumthing Else Music Works to release the soundtracks on vinyl. You can also get them on CD if you prefer that format, but vinyl collectors will be happy to know that they can add these soundtracks to their collection.

The CD releases will pretty much cover every Assassin’s Creed game released to date, while the vinyl releases will only be from select Assassin’s Creed games and they will be released in 2016. We don’t know yet which titles will get the vinyl treatment, but I’m sure they will give us that detail soon.

Assassin’s Creed is not the first game to have its soundtrack released on vinyl though. The Last of Us, Journey, and Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto have all been released on vinyl. You can now add Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed soundtracks to your collections.

The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Game Cost $81 Million To Create

Witcher-3

CD Projekt the creators of the awesome Witcher series of games that saw the launch of The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt earlier this year has unveiled that it cost the company $81 million to develop the triple-A game.

The $81 million in costs includes both the development and marketing expenditure and when compared to other triple-A games such as Grand Theft Auto V, which apparently cost around $265 million to develop. The CD Projekt development team has been pretty frugal with their expenditure.

This week CD Projekt CEO Adam Kicinski revealed more about the games sales announcing that CD Projekt was now in the black by $62.5 million for the period. Mostly thanks to the sales of the new Witcher 3 game which sold approximately 6 million units in just the first month after launch.

CD Projekt currently has a development and marketing team of roughly 240 people which Kicinski explains “know how to develop games efficiently.” and added the Witcher 3 was “a good investment.”

Worlds Largest Arcade Games Machine Receives Guinness World Record

Worlds Largest Arcade Games Machine

We have featured many different arcade game machine systems over the years from the expensive to the smallest. But now Jason Chamberis has built the world’s largest arcade games machine which has won a Guinness World Record for the largest arcade machine.

The creation stands 4.41 m tall and has taken two years to create and now includes over 200 classic arcade games for users to enjoy, if you are tall enough to reach the controls.

The arcade game system is fitted with a number of different controllers including a trackball that measures 16 inches across together with a joystick that is roughly the size of a man’s forearm. Watch the video below to learn more about this Guinness World Record breaking games machine and its features.

 

Jason Camberis from Chicago, USA: the man who has created the largest arcade machine ever and earned himself a place in the Guinness World Records 2016 book. The largest arcade machine is 4.41 m tall, 1.93 m wide and 1.06 metres deep, and was achieved by Jason Camberis (USA) as verified in Bensenville, Illinois, USA, on 23 March 2014.

Afro Samurai 2 Revenge of Kuma Launches On PS4 September 22nd

Afro Samurai

Fans of the Afro Samurai will be pleased to know that the new Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma Volume 1 game will be arriving on PlayStation 4 later this month on September 22nd 2015.

Providing PlayStation 4 gamers with a chance to experience the gameplay before any other platform. Lance James Community Director at Versus Evil has taken to the PlayStation blog this week to reveal more about the game as well as release a new trailer to whet your appetite before the game’s official launch.

Afro Samurai was originally a Japanese manga created by revered artist Takashi Okazaki. The story centered around this cool looking character called Afro Samurai. As a young child he witnesses his father being brutally murdered, all for the sake of the #1 headband (believed to give the wearer super powers). As he grows up, he is driven by an insatiable desire to avenge his father’s death, a desire that ends up getting a lot of innocent people — people that he would call his family — killed in the process.

It’s a dramatic, tragic story, full of action and a lot of brutal combat. Needless to say, the opportunity was ripe for the picking, and after being picked up by GONZO, the original story was turned into a cult animated TV series which aired on SPIKE TV, and also a video game. Fast forward several years and fans have almost been starved of any new piece of content that they could consume. Until now. Indie dev studio Redacted got the rights to breathe new life into Afro Samurai, and they’ve breathed a whole lot of action packed slicing and dicing into it as well!

Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma is the action-packed sequel to the original story and picks up where the first game left off. However this time the story follows the path of Kuma, a cybernetically enhanced killing machine with a bear’s head who was actually once Afro’s closest childhood friend called Jino.

Versus Evil has also announced that PlayStation gamers will be able to get a special discounted Trilogy bundle containing all 3 volumes of the game for 20 percent off the regular retail price, and PlayStation Plus members will get the bundle for 30 percent off.

GTA Online Freemode update adds werewolves and more

hunt

Grand Theft Auto Online’s next update adds a series of new gameplay challenges called Freemode Events. They look pretty fun. It is due out on September 15th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. In case you are unaware, Freemode Events are randomly triggered modes integrated into the Online world. For instance while in Freemode, an event can begin at any time and players can customize which events they want see. It’s a pretty unique way to deliver new content.

New Events include Hunt the Beast, where a player turns into a werewolf and the remaining team hunts him or her down, and King of the Castle, where players fight to control and defend a structure. Penned In looks like a derby battle with cars in a small cramped area. These options should add some fun to your gameplay. You are bound to like one or two of them worst case.

But wait. There’s more. The Freemode update also includes two new Adversary Modes and brings the new-and-improved Rockstar Editor to PS4 and Xbox One. On PC, players will get updates to the Rockstar Editor, like a library of ambient audio and sound effects. It sounds like some good additions that fans will want to check out. The werewolf hunt sounds especially fun.

Minecraft update lets Windows 10, iOS, and Android gamers play together

minecraftheroMicrosoft-owned Mojang just added a fun new feature to Minecraft: Pocket Edition on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Windows 10 Edition Beta. The mobile version of the open world sandbox now support cross-platform play as of version 0.12.1. All that’s required is that each device is on the same local network.

To start, one of the players has to enter a new world or one of their existing worlds. Then everyone else can join in. On Android and iOS, once someone on the same network is in a world, others can click Play and the local world should show up as an option. It may take a few seconds before you see it, but you can see which ones are local worlds since there will be a local IP address associated with it—as you can see above.

minecraftjoin

On Windows 10 Beta it works a little differently. Once you click Play the local worlds you can join will show up under the friends tab. In my tests it didn’t matter who started the game. I was able to join a world on my Nexus 5 from Windows 10, and both the Windows 10 version and my Nexus 5 had no problem jumping into a world created on a first-generation iPad.

Once the person who owns the world quits the game—or their battery dies—the game ends for all players. The new features supports up to five players at once.

If people are having trouble joining your world, go to the settings panel (options in Windows 10) and make sure the “Local Server Multiplayer” feature under game options is active.

Beyond cross-platform play, the new update also brings the Nether and all you’d expect from Minecraft’s underworld including Ghasts and Pigmen. There are also enhanced weather affects, new touch controls, and controller support.

The impact on you at home: It can be fun to play Minecraft alone, but a sandbox of any kind is far better when you play with others. Now, Minecraft mobile players can get together and build a castle, roller coaster, or logic gate. Even better, this update will save anyone stupid enough to start a Survival Mode game on their phone. After they’ve failed to build a structure to save them from things that go bump (or boom) in the night for the tenth night in a row a friend on a Windows 10 PC (you know, a gaming machine with proper controls) can come to their rescue.