Magic Leap One’s first big game is another Angry Birds; here’s what it’s like

Magic Leap One’s first big game is another Angry Birds; here’s what it’s like

9:38am, 19th September, 2018
Magic Leap promised us a world of dreams, we’re getting Angry Birds. After about a month in the public spotlight, the Magic Leap One is starting to get its first titles. Rovio and Resolution Games announced publicly today that they will be releasing Angry Birds FPS: First Person Slingshot this fall for the Magic Leap One. It’s an actual game, not just a little tech demo. I had a chance to play with the soon-to-be-released title and it’s actually pretty refreshing and fun making the futuristic hardware feel a little less alien. It wasn’t my first bout with Magic Leap’s new hardware, but it was the first time that I truly appreciated what improvements it boasts over headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens. You could probably beat the 20 levels of Angry Birds FPS in around an hour, but I started fumbling and having to seriously strategize after just a few of them, though like many others I can honestly say I haven’t played an Angry Birds title since I had an iPhone 3GS so it’s been a minute. That said, the mechanics are pretty familiar in that you’re trying to knock over a little tower of blocks and the green pigs that inhabit their far reaches. What’s unique is that the tower is now stacked on your coffee table that you can approach from any angle and the Magic Leap controller is your slingshot that you can aim a lot more precisely as a result. The Resolution Games team said that they had previously been experimenting with Microsoft’s headset but it was Magic Leap’s positionally tracked controller that really opened up the headset to develop something like a full gaming title. It’s kind of interesting that and Magic Leap’s first full title are slingshot games, but I guess you find what works and move from there. The title isn’t ground-breaking by any means in terms of enabling some sort of futuristic AR use case, but what felt most unique was how familiar it felt. Part of that is obviously the IP with Angry Birds but it’s also a game that doesn’t ask you to freestyle too much and doesn’t give you a world of options. It felt like a mobile game, if only one that allowed you to visualize the mobile content overlaid on the world in front of you. You learn to deal with limitations like field-of-view and there does seem to be a lot developers can do to minimize that being the only thing you focus on. It’s kind of bizarre that Magic Leap didn’t actually ship the headset with more content like this because the short demos that came onboard the One Creator’s Edition really didn’t sell it too well. Fortunately, the device is definitely a developer’s edition and it seems that even by the company’s developer conference next month, more content seems to be on the way from partners like Resolution Games and Rovio who have been building this title since January as an early partner of Magic Leap. Magic Leap One may not be the headset everyone wanted it to be — or what the company told us it would be — but judging by the first big title coming to it, it seems like it gets enough right that developers are going to have a fun time with it even if it is just a labor of love for them right now.
Sony announces the PlayStation Classic, its own mini retro console

Sony announces the PlayStation Classic, its own mini retro console

3:11am, 19th September, 2018
If you’re the kind of person who has two beers and regularly launches into the same 20 minute-long ode to the original PlayStation for playing a seminal role in the maturation of gaming as an art form, well, do we have some news for you. Sony just announced its intentions to give the PlayStation the (winning) Classic treatment with a tiny to-scale version of the PS1 called the . The teeniest new console is scheduled to hit shelves on December 3, retailing for $99.99. Like Nintendo’s wildly popular SNES and NES Classics that paved the way, Sony’s PlayStation Classic will come pre-loaded with a cache of well-loved games. The will feature 20 classic games, including Final Fantasy VII [editor’s note: hell yeah], Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms. “Almost 25 years ago, the original PlayStation was introduced to the world. Developed by Sony Computer Entertainment, it was the first home console in video game history to ship 100 million units worldwide, offering consumers a chance to play games with real-time 3D rendered graphics in their homes for the first time,” Sony said, waxing nostalgic in a announcing the console. We’re here for it. “Long-time fans will appreciate the nostalgia that comes with rediscovering the games they know and love, while gamers who might be new to the platform can enjoy the groundbreaking PlayStation console experience that started it all.” According to Sony, the new mini PlayStation will be 45% smaller than a real PlayStation, complete with smaller controllers that also mimic their forebears. Each unit will ship with an HDMI and USB cable and two controllers for couch multiplayer. The consoles will be available to pre-order at some retailers in Canada and the U.S and more details (including the 15 other games) so keep an eye out — Sony will be sharing more details in the next month or two. All games “will be playable in their original format” so expect them to look and feel just like they did in the dark ages, when things were simple and good. Most of us can agree that this particular nostalgia baiting tactic is awesome, take our money, but have you seen this thing? It’s extra cute. Maybe it’s because the PS1 had those iconic circular buttons that echoed its game discs and round things are cute like Kirby is cute (Toad, on the other hand, is over). If you spent significant time marveling over the PS1 when it made waves in 1995, you too likely retain a proprioceptive kind of intimacy with its then cutting-edge form. Do you remember precisely how much give the buttons had when you depressed them, how the disc hood yawned open gracefully, almost suspensefully? Of course you do. Sure we gave five years of our actual lives to this thing — what’s a few months more?
Nintendo is offering an exclusive Fortnite bundle with the Switch

Nintendo is offering an exclusive Fortnite bundle with the Switch

2:18pm, 18th September, 2018
Fortnite has taken the world by storm. In fact, the game is so popular that Epic has released versions for PC, Xbox, PS4, iOS, Android and the Nintendo Switch, making the game about as accessible as possible. The popularity of the game stems from the general popularity of the Battle Royale genre and popular streamers like Ninja, who have made the game so much fun to watch. But it also comes from the fun, and often fleeting, skins, dances and pick axes the game offers in its Item Shop. On October 5th, folks interested in the Switch can pick up some extra Fortnite swag. It’s a bundle royale! A bundle including special in-game items and 1,000 V-Bucks will make the jump into stores on 10/05. — Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) Nintendo is releasing a bundle that will include an exclusive Fortnite skin, glider and pick-axe, as well as an extra 1,000 V-Bucks. To be clear, 1,000 V-bucks is the equivalent of $10 and won’t get you much from the Item Shop. Plus, as pointed out by , Nintendo has offered several different bundles which would allow customers to pick up a Switch for $329 alongside one of a few games. In most cases, those games cost money, whereas Fortnite is a free to play game. But the Nintendo Switch bundle is the only way to get your hands on the Switch gear that comes with it. This isn’t the first time that Epic has given out exclusive gear to players using different hardware or services. There is an exclusive Twitch Prime skin, a Sony PS4 skin, and even a skin for . The Bundle is available for $329 on October 5.
YouTube to shut down standalone Gaming app, as gaming gets a new home on YouTube

YouTube to shut down standalone Gaming app, as gaming gets a new home on YouTube

12:09pm, 18th September, 2018
YouTube will no longer maintain a separate app targeting gaming and live game streaming, the company announced today. The YouTube Gaming app, which , will be sunset sometime next spring as its host of features make their way over to YouTube’s main site. Over the years, the YouTube Gaming app has been a place where YouTube experimented with features catering to game creators and viewers who like to watch live and recorded esports. Here, it tested things like Game Pages to make games more discoverable, Super Chat, and Channel Memberships – features which the Amazon-owned game streaming site Twitch had also popularized among the game community. Some of YouTube Gaming’s features became so well-received that the company brought them to YouTube. For example, this June to its main site. And before that, – a way for creators to make money from live streams – to its broader community, as well. But while gaming remains one of YouTube’s top verticals, no one was really using the standalone YouTube Gaming app, the company says. “We have 200 million people that are logged in, watching gaming content every single day,” Ryan Wyatt, YouTube’s Director of Gaming Content and Partnerships, tells TechCrunch. “And the majority of them, quite frankly, are just not using the YouTube Gaming app for their gaming experiences,” he says. However, data from Sensor Tower shows the app had over 11 million installs across iOS and Android, and those installs have remained consistent over time. That indicates a large number of people were at least willing to try the app. But the firm also found that its daily users were a “tiny fraction” of Twitch’s on iOS, which confirms Wyatt’s point about lack of usage. Instead, gamers are logging into YouTube to watch gaming, Wyatt explains. They watch a lot of gaming, too – over the last twelve months, fans streamed more than 50 billion hours of gaming content, and YouTube has over . In other words, YouTube’s decision to sunset the standalone app should not be seen as an admission that it’s ceding this space to Twitch – rather, that it’s now deciding to use the power of YouTube’s flagship app to better compete. On that front, the company is today launching a new YouTube Gaming destination at . The destination is first available in the U.S., and will roll out globally in the months ahead. A link to the new vertical will appear in the left-side navigation bar, where you find other top-level sections like Trending and Subscriptions. The Gaming destination will feature personalized content at the top of the page, based on what you like to watch, along with top live games, the latest gaming videos from your subscriptions, and dedicated shelves for live streams and trending videos. Another feature, “gaming creator on the rise,” will highlight up-and-coming gaming creators who are still trying to build an audience. That’s something that say is still an issue on Amazon-owned Twitch – often, their early days . They soon find that they need the blessing of an existing influencer to bring more viewers to their channel. Wyatt points out, too, that YouTube Gaming won’t be all about live streams. “The other thing that we learned through this process was that the gaming app, and the narrative around it, was very heavily live-focused. Everybody always talked about all the live streaming and live gaming,” he says. “But what that did was underserve the vast gaming business. So by moving it over to YouTube main, you have this beautiful combination of both the living gaming streams that are continuing to grow massively on YouTube, as well as all the other VOD content on the platform.” There are several things that YouTube’s new Gaming destination still lacks, however. Most notably, the ability to right from your phone. That’s why the YouTube Gaming app won’t immediately disappear. Instead, it will stick around until March or maybe even April 2019, while YouTube works on porting the experience over to its main site and app. “We’re still working through that,” Wyatt admits, when asked how the live streaming component will come to YouTube proper. “We haven’t made a decision on if [live game streaming] will be in there by March, but we do need to have a solution for easy mobile capture from the phone,” he says. The YouTube Gaming app was never a global release, as it was only live in select markets, we should note. YouTube’s Gaming vertical will eventually be launched worldwide. That could make it more of a challenge to Twitch, as it taps into the eyeballs of , while also expanding to take advantage of other new YouTube features like . “It’s a great opportunity to use those features,” Wyatt notes, regarding the shift from YouTube Gaming to YouTube proper. “And we’re going to keep creating more features that will that will really lend themselves to live, but ultimately we’ll be thinking about really unique ways to apply them to VOD as well,” he says.
Assassin's Creed May Be Getting A New Board Game

Assassin's Creed May Be Getting A New Board Game

9:57pm, 17th September, 2018
According to recent reports, it appears as if the bread and butter under Ubisoft's publishing wing could be on the receiving end of yet another board game. Yes, a second Assassin's Creed could be coming.