Razer hooks up with Tencent to focus on mobile gaming

Razer is summoning a big gun as it bids to develop its mobile gaming strategy. The Hong Kong-listed company — which sells laptops, smartphones and gaming peripherals — said today it is working with Tencent on a raft of initiatives related to smartphone-based games. The collaboration will cover hardware, software and services. Some of the objectives include optimizing Tencent games — which include megahit PUBG and Fortnite — for Razer’s smartphones, mobile controllers and its Cortex Android launcher app. The duo also said they may “explore additional monetization opportunities for mobile gaming” which could see Tencent integrate Razer’s services, which include a rewards/loyalty program, in some areas. The news comes on the same day as Razer’s latest earnings,  which saw annual revenue grow 38 percent to reach $712.4 million. Razer recorded a net loss of $97 million for the year, up from $164 million in 2017. The big name partnership Read the full article…

Despite short-term questions, games software/hardware to top $200 billion by 2023

Tim Merel Contributor Tim Merel is managing director of Digi-Capital. More posts by this contributor For AR/VR 2.0 to live, AR/VR 1.0 must die Chinese investment into computer vision technology and AR surges as U.S. funding dries up There has been some negative sentiment surrounding the games industry recently, with stock prices of public games companies in question in both the U.S. and China. While being contrarian to market sentiment is always risky, it’s also possible that folks might be taking a long-term solution to a short-term problem. Games industry software/hardware combined revenue could drive well over $200 billion of revenue by 2023, and there was a record $5.7 billion investment in games companies in 2018. So what’s going on? The games industry isn’t one monolithic sector. Depending on how you slice it, the market is made up of 15 sectors, eight platform types (e.g. mobile, PC, console) and even more Read the full article…

What latency feels like on Google’s Stadia cloud gaming platform

After peppering Google employees with questions regarding Stadia’s latency, pricing and supported devices, to mostly no avail, I got my hands on one of their new controllers and pressed play on the Doom 2016 gameplay they were showing off on a big-screen TV. Things started off pretty ugly. The frame rate dropped to a fast-paced PowerPoint presentation, the resolution dipped between 4K crispness and indecipherable blurriness and latency seemed to be as much as a half-second. As the Google employees looked nervously at each other, someone grabbed the controller from me and restarted the system. After a system restart, things moved along much, much more smoothly. But what the situation sums up is that when it comes to game streaming, things can be unpredictable. To give Google credit, they stress-tested their system by running Stadia on hotel Wi-Fi rather than taking me down to Mountain View and letting me play Read the full article…

New Oculus VR headset unveiled to tepid reviews, but survey finds optimism for immersive tech

(Oculus Photo) Facebook-owned Oculus today unveiled its next-generation virtual reality headset that will reportedly some day replace its flagship Oculus Rift. The new $399 Oculus Rift S headset connects to a PC to create a powerful VR experience. In a surprising twist, Facebook worked with Lenovo to manufacture the device, speed up production and improve on the original Rift design. The device costs the same as the Oculus Quest, a standalone VR headset unveiled last year. Consumers will have a choice between a high-powered, PC-connected headset with the Rift S and a more simplified headset that doesn’t need to be tethered to a computer with the Quest. The Rift S will debut this spring but Facebook did not provide a specific release date today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Facebook’s big F8 developer conference is about six weeks away, and the company could launch both headsets then, Read the full article…

Nintendo reveals surprising new Switch game ‘Cadence of Hyrule,’ a Zelda-themed sequel to recent indie hit

(Nintendo Photo) Nintendo made a surprise announcement Wednesday morning at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, unveiling a crossover between one of its tentpole franchises and a recent independent hit that debuted last year on the Switch. Cadence of Hyrule is a mash-up between The Legend of Zelda and 2015’s Crypt of the Necrodancer, which sees Necrodancer‘s heroine Cadence unexpectedly visiting the world of Hyrule. Once there, she teams up with Link and Princess Zelda for an adventure. Cadence, which debuts this spring for the Switch, is developed by Necrodancer‘s original studio, the Vancouver, B.C.-based Brace Yourself Games, with a soundtrack by Danny Baranowsky, the Seattle-based musician who composed music for the original Necrodancer, Super Meat Boy, and The Binding of Isaac. Cadence‘s music will feature remixes of classic music from the Zelda series. As with Necrodancer, Cadence of Hyrule is a 2D dungeon crawler, with the additional mechanic that Read the full article…

Stadia is about the future of YouTube, not gaming

Yesterday, Google announced plans for a new game-streaming service called Stadia. Besides the logo, the controller, and a single game — Doom Eternal — the announcement left us with more questions than answers. Primary in my mind has been the query of why Google needs to be in the gaming business at all. Isn’t it enough to dominate web search, ads, and browsers, smartphone operating systems, and maps? What part of our lives does Google not want to know about? And then it dawned on me that we might be looking at it from the wrong perspective: what if Stadia isn’t a case of Google aggressively entering a new business sphere, but rather a defensive one to protect its existing kingdom? YouTube has a practical monopoly on user-generated video… Read the full article…

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney on PC store moderation: ‘We’re not in the porn business’

Fortnite creator Epic Games is in a unique position. Not only is the company overseeing development of one of the most popular and lucrative games on the planet, but it’s also now utilizing the success of that software to make its Unreal Engine development tools and, more recently, its online PC game store two of the most ubiquitous and disruptive elements in the industry. One of the main architects of this dramatic shift at Epic is CEO Tim Sweeney who hasn’t shied away from using his company’s renewed influence and stature to bring about bold changes to the status quo. One of the bigger challenges the company is pushing forward of late is its Epic Store, a new marketplace for PC games with an 88 / 12 percent revenue split that stands… Read the full article…

There ‘Never Was’ a Console for Google Stadia

Ahead of Google’s official announcement of Google Stadia, rumors arose in the last months about what exactly the tech giant planned to do in the gaming space. But, as Google’s Phil Harrison told me, those plans never included a proper physical console. I spoke with Harrison at GDC 2019 following Google Stadia’s official reveal keynote. He noted that particular interest in Google’s game initiative came after last year’s Project Stream collaboration with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. But despite whatever rumors may have popped up, Google did not intend to make a proper console like a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. “The world abhors a vacuum and when we weren’t telling the full story coming out of Project Steam, inevitability there was going to be speculation,” he said. “There was never a console, there was never going to be a console, there never will be a console.”

This Iconic ‘Uncharted’ Moment Was Almost Just Background Art

I may be in the minority, but I really love Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. It’s not my favorite entry in the franchise, but honestly? It’s pretty close. Chloe and Nadine were an unexpectedly fun pairing, and their spin-off adventure delivered a truncated experience complete with all of the trademark beats you’d expect from Naughty Dog’s flagship series. Exotic vistas, ancient puzzles, elaborate train chases – they were all there. Which is why I was surprised to learn during a recent panel at GDC 2019 that one of Lost Legacy’s – and of the Uncharted series’ as a whole – most memorable and impactful moments was never meant to be. Warning: Light Spoilers for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Below Read the full article…

The 9 biggest questions about Google’s Stadia game streaming service

Google’s Stadia is an impressive piece of engineering to be sure: Delivering high definition, high framerate, low latency video to devices like tablets and phones is an accomplishment in itself. But the game streaming services faces serious challenges if it wants to compete with the likes of Xbox and PlayStation, or even plain old PCs and smartphones. Here are our nine biggest questions about what the service will be and how it’ll work. 1. What’s the game selection like? We saw Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (a lot) and Doom: Eternal, and a few other things running on Stadia, but otherwise Google’s presentation was pretty light on details as far as what games exactly we can expect to see on there. It’s not an easy question to answer, since this isn’t just a question of “all PC games,” or “all games from these 6 publishers.” Stadia requires a game be ported, or Read the full article…

Here’s how you’ll access Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service

Google isn’t launching a gaming console. The company is launching a service instead: Stadia. You’ll be able to run a game on a server and stream the video feed to your device. You won’t need to buy new hardware to access Stadia, but Stadia won’t be available on all devices from day one. “With Google, your games will be immediately discoverable by 2 billion people on a Chrome browser, Chromebook, Chromecast, Pixel device. And we have plans to support more browsers and platforms over time,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said shortly after opening GDC 2019. As you can see, the Chrome browser will be the main interface to access the service on a laptop or desktop computer. The company says that you’ll be able to play with your existing controller. So if you have a PlayStation 4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch controller, that should work just fine. Google is Read the full article…

‘We did get there first’: Seattle game streaming startup CEO laments Google’s video game unveiling

Rainway CEO Andrew Sampson at TechStars Seattle Demo Day in 2018. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper) Google today jumpstarted the ninth generation of gaming hardware with the announcement of its Stadia project at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. Big on hype and short on details, Stadia promises to use Google’s cloud-computing power to let players jump straight into high-end, fast-paced games from existing devices without any need for additional hardware; if you can run a YouTube video at 4K, you’re already set up for Stadia. In Seattle, however, there’s already a startup doing what Google pitched on Tuesday. Rainway allows users to stream video games from personal devices to any other machine in their possession, as long as it has a browser and can comfortably run video at 60 frames per second. After raising investment dollars for its beta last year, the 2-year-old company that graduated from Techstars Seattle Read the full article…

Game over for game consoles? Google leaves key question of price unanswered in Stadia unveiling

Stadia controller (Google) Google’s new game platform, Stadia, promises to eliminate the need to buy a console by making games playable through streaming to any device, be it PC, TV, phone or tablet. But the competitive threat that Stadia poses to Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft will hinge on a key detail that Google is keeping secret, for now. The search giant did not disclose the expected price of the Stadia service and games during the unveiling at the Game Developers Conference on Tuesday. While avoiding the cost of a console could be a big selling point for potential users, the savings could be diminished if they’re required to pay individually for games, plus a monthly subscription fee for the service. An answer to the pricing question likely won’t come until later this year. In the meantime, Google is touting the quality of the Stadia gaming experience, saying it has made Read the full article…