Blockchain gaming gets a boost with Mythical Games’ $16M Series A

Blockchain gaming gets a boost with Mythical Games’ $16M Series A

11:42pm, 16th November, 2018
Fortnite, the free multi-player survival game, has earned an astonishing from in-game virtual purchases alone. Now, others in the gaming industry are experimenting with how they too can capitalize on new trends in gaming. , a startup out of stealth today with $16 million in Series A funding, is embracing a future in gaming where user-generated content and intimate ties between players, content creators, brands and developers is the norm. Mythical is using its infusion of venture capital to develop a line of PC, mobile and console games on the which will also be open to developers to build games with “player-owned economies.” The company says an announcement regarding its initial lineup of games is on the way. Mythical is led by a group of gaming industry veterans. Its chief executive officer is John Linden, a former studio head at Activision and president of the Seismic Games. The rest of its C-suite includes chief compliance officer Jamie Jackson, another former studio head at Activision; chief product officer Stephan Cunningham, a former director of product management at Yahoo; and head of blockchain Rudy Kock, a former senior producer at Blizzard — the Activision subsidiary known for World of Warcraft. Together, the team has worked on games including Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, Marvel Strike Force and Skylanders. Galaxy Digital’s EOS VC Fund has led the round for Mythical. The $325 million fund, , is focused on expanding the EOSIO ecosystem via strategic investments in startups building on EOSIO blockchain software. Javelin Venture Partners, Divergence Digital Currency, cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin and others also participated in the round. It’s no surprise investors are getting excited about the booming gaming business given the success of Epic Games, Twitch, Discord and others in the space. Epic Games raised a late last month thanks to the cultural phenomenon that its game, Fortnite, has become. KKR, Iconiq Capital, Smash Ventures,Kleiner Perkins, and others participated in that round. Discord, a chat application for gamers, in April at a $1.65 billion valuation from Benchmark Capital, Greylock Partners, IVP, Spark Capital and Tencent. And Dapper Labs, best known for the blockchain-based game CryptoKitties, even raised a VC round this year — afinancing led by Venrock, with participation from GV and Samsung NEXT. In total, VCs have invested $1.8 billion in gaming startups this year, per .
Gears Of War Creator Cliff Bleszinski Is Apparently Done Making Games

Gears Of War Creator Cliff Bleszinski Is Apparently Done Making Games

8:12pm, 16th November, 2018
Cliff Bleszinski is best known for helping Microsoft dominate over Sony during the seventh generation of gaming with the Gears of War trilogy while he was working at Epic Games. It quickly made Bleszinski a millionaire since it attracted a very targeted demographic who loved the series....
Another Game Studio Has Shut Down

Another Game Studio Has Shut Down

5:54pm, 16th November, 2018
It hasn't been a rosy year in the world of video games. In fact, it's been rather difficult for some development studios given how harsh the financial times have been. This has become ever-so-present with the news that yet another sizable development outlet had to shut its doors recently.
Microsoft reportedly working on low-cost, disc-less Xbox One, with ‘disc to digital’ trade-in program

Microsoft reportedly working on low-cost, disc-less Xbox One, with ‘disc to digital’ trade-in program

5:06pm, 16th November, 2018
The Xbox One S. Microsoft is a new Xbox device that doesn’t have a disc drive and costs less than today’s Xbox One S. Brad Sams at reports that Microsoft could release the all-digital console as soon as next year. For the people who have compiled a collection of game discs over the years, Microsoft plans to offer a “disc to digital” program, where gamers can trade in their physical copies of games for digital downloads at participating retailers. Sams reports that the motivation behind the device is to reduce the cost of entry into the Xbox ecosystem. The new device could cost as much as $100 less than the Xbox One S, which retails for $299. A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment on the report. This device would be separate from the that could come out as soon as 2020, according to Sams. One of those rumored devices, known as “Scarlett Cloud,” could run games both locally and in its Azure cloud — also known as slice or splice. Microsoft’s possible push toward an all-digital Xbox comes as the company has invested heavily in game streaming services. , introduced last year, includes a rotating list of titles that can be downloaded directly. Last month, Microsoft introduced a new program called that will provide access to a library of more than 3,000 games developed for Xbox to gamers across consoles, PCs, and mobile devices.
Overwatch Will Be Free To Play Next Week

Overwatch Will Be Free To Play Next Week

11:30pm, 15th November, 2018
Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch is continuing to maintain its presence in the gaming market thanks to the consistent release of new DLC and the constant momentum held by the eSports division known as the Overwatch League. To keep that momentum flowing, Blizzard will allow...
E3 slouches towards irrelevance again as Sony announces it’s skipping the show

E3 slouches towards irrelevance again as Sony announces it’s skipping the show

7:45pm, 15th November, 2018
I like . I really do. But it’s also monumentally dumb: game companies spending millions to show off essentially faked content to an increasingly jaded audience. And it’s increasingly out of step with how the gaming industry works. So it should come as no surprise that will be skipping the show more or less altogether this year, joining Nintendo in taking a step back from spectacle. Sony has been a part of CES for 20 years and this will be the first one it’s ever missed. I’ve gone to their events every time I’ve attended; I was there for their after the latter announced some hugely unpopular restrictions on used games. I think you can actually see me near the front in the broadcast of that one. (You can! I’m at 1:29.) And E3 has been a part of Sony’s yearly cadence as well. Like other companies, for years Sony hoarded information to debut at E3, TGS, and Gamescom, but E3 was generally where you saw new consoles and flagship titles debut. But as even E3’s organizers have admitted over and over again, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Too often we have seen half-finished games on stage at E3 that end up cancelled before the year is out, or commitments made to dates the companies can’t possibly keep. Assigning a complex, creative industry to a yearly schedule of major announcements is a great way to burn them out, and that’s exactly what’s happening. from ESA communications. In a statement issued to multiple outlets, Sony said: As the industry evolves, Sony Interactive Entertainment continues to look for inventive opportunities to engage the community. PlayStation fans mean the world to us and we always want to innovate, think differently and experiment with new ways to delight gamers. As a result, we have decided not to participate in in 2019. We are exploring new and familiar ways to engage our community in 2019 and can’t wait to share our plans with you. They won’t be alone. Nintendo hasn’t had a real proper E3 press conference in years. Instead, they host a live stream around the event and have a big booth where people mainly just play games. Their Nintendo Direct videos come out throughout the year, when the titles and developers are good and ready. Microsoft is still there, and still puts on quite a show. I remember the original announcement of the Kinect, probably . It was memorable, at least. But Microsoft is also doing its own thing, announcing throughout the year and on its own terms. The Xbox One X was only hinted at during E3, and announced in full much later. I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft also announced they were taking it easy this year at E3 — though this might also be a good opportunity for them to double down. With the schedules these huge shows go on, they might already be committed to one course or another. Sony actually has its own PlayStation Experience event where it announces things and lets gamers and press play the latest, but even that was cancelled ahead of its expected December date. Is Sony just getting shy? More likely they are leveraging their dominance in the console market to be a market leader and “decider,” as they say. They have no shortage of amazing games coming out, including lots of hot-looking exclusives. What have they got to prove? Although Sony itself is not participating in E3, the developers it backs will almost certainly be there. What better way to school the competition than to not show up and still have everyone talking about you? With the PS4 Pro out there and a solid line-up already confirmed, Sony is sitting pretty for 2019, and the company probably feels this is a safe time to experiment with “inventive opportunities to engage the community,” as the statement put it. E3 will still be big, and it will still be fun. But the trend is clear: it just won’t be necessary.
Black Friday 2019's Best Gaming Deals

Black Friday 2019's Best Gaming Deals

4:36pm, 15th November, 2018
With Black Friday ready to get underway it means that gamers are going to be prepping to find the best deals possible for their favorite game systems and some of the latest games.
Game review: Archiacts Evasion is a challenging but rewarding VR trip through bullet hell

Game review: Archiacts Evasion is a challenging but rewarding VR trip through bullet hell

12:58pm, 15th November, 2018
, or danmaku (Japanese; lit. bullet curtain), is a sub-genre of shoot-em-up games thats all about dodging constant streams of enemy fire. The archetypical bullet hell shooter many of which never officially make it out of Japan is ferociously difficult and represents a pure test of the players reflexes and pattern recognition, as you spend your time scrambling for that fleeting half-inch of screen estate that isnt currently occupied by at least two different things that will kill you. From the moment I first saw it at PAX, Evasion was described to me as a bullet hell shooter in VR. It was developed by , a studio based in Vancouver, B.C., which hopes to use it as a big flagship franchise going forward. When I got the chance to play it on my own, my first impression was that it was one of those games that was designed and balanced around team play, which meant anyone trying to play it solo was working with a severe handicap from the start. I was getting absolutely murdered by enemies that could hit me from any direction at any time, with mission objectives that further limited my ability to fight back. When the game is built around constant movement in order to evade enemy fire, it feels doubly restrictive when youre forced to stand still for a while. But of course, its a bullet hell game. They arent supposed to be fair. The more experience I got, the more I was able to adapt and overcome each challenge, even as the next one queued up to take a swing at me. Evasion is challenging in an old-school way, where each time you reach a new area, youll get through it by the skin of your teeth if you make it at all, but the next trip will be a little easier, and the trip after that will feel almost easy. Enemies show up in vast packs from all around you, but they do so in predictable patterns, and you have a lot of tools at your disposal with which to deal with them. Its a game about forcing fairness onto a fundamentally unfair situation, and doing so with style. Evasion is set in the nondescript space future, where you play as a member of a Vanguard, a team of troubleshooters from a rapid-response unit, which features a snarky AI handler and, to go by what shes saying, a low survival rate. The issue at the start of the game is that a mining colony has been invaded and seemingly depopulated by the Ophera, a race of robot insects, for no reason you can determine from orbit. Youre dropped into the fray to figure out whats happened to the colonists, and while youre there, to murder any alien bug that so much as glances in your general direction. You can play as one of four specialized units, each of which has a different arsenal. In each case, however, youve got a main gun in one hand and a portable energy shield in the other. Any enemy fire that strikes the shield gets reflected backward, letting you provide your own hard cover on the fly. The same hand that bears the shield also contains an energy lash the game calls a tether, which is used to interact with objects, yank power-ups over to you, heal fallen co-op partners, and finish off weakened targets. It probably also makes toast. The tether does it all. The trick with Evasion is that while youre surprisingly durable healing items dont simply restore a set value, but drop a healing field at your feet that rapidly restores lost health for as long as you stand in the area the game is also set up to encourage you to avoid incoming fire. You can get power-ups that gradually improve your guns standard mode of fire, but the guns power level gets lowered dramatically when you take damage. Its a lot like the old Gradius games, or Life Force on the NES: you can sort of stumble through Evasion by relying heavily on health, but as the name of the game suggests, you get further more efficiently by dodging and reflecting as much as you can. Youre rewarded for your ability to skate through enemy fire with a better, more destructive offense. There are a lot of shooters in virtual reality in 2018. A lot of them arent far removed from the old light-gun games youd play in an arcade 15 years ago. The only real difference is in the controls, and hopefully in the degree to which youre immersed in the experience. Evasion, conversely, feels like its own thing. It took me a while to get used to it, and I have to figure its going to be brutal on people who dont have my experience with the genre. If youre fine with a game thats more than a little sadistic, and you dont mind wrestling with Evasions particular learning curve, its a challenging, occasionally funny shoot-em-up that feels immediately rewarding as you learn its ins and outs. A challenge thats crushing you on one run will suddenly feel like a stroll in the park next time, and thats how it sucks you in.