Tag - industry

BenQ Announces ZOWIE eSports Brand

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COSTA MESA, Calif. — Dec. 10, 2015 — BenQ America Corp., the internationally renowned pioneer in monitors designed for eSports, today announced that the ZOWIE brand will represent the company’s future releases in this market.

Following the recent announcement of its investment in ZOWIE GEAR, BenQ has further demonstrated its dedication to this segment by adopting ZOWIE as the new brand for its gaming-related line. BenQ will continue to show its commitment to gamers by providing eSports athletes with premium, professional gaming products via the ZOWIE identity.

All future BenQ gaming-related merchandise will be introduced under the ZOWIE name. Combining the core competences of BenQ and ZOWIE, new ZOWIE-branded eSports devices will focus on ergonomics and personalization to provide innovations that truly enhance player performance and enjoyment.

More information on the ZOWIE line by BenQ is available at http://info.benq.us/zowie.

Facebook Buys Oculus for $2 Billion Dollars

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So… This is either going to be great or not so great. It looks like Facebook has acquired Oculus VR for a whopping $2 Billion dollars. The danger? Will Facebook significantly alter the Oculus plan of creating a VR device for amazing PC gaming? Will “Facebook Next” be VR compatible? Personally, I don’t want to see a VR version of Farmville. Let’s cross our fingers that this is not the case and they leave them independent!

Here is the official post from the Oculus website:

We started Oculus with a vision of delivering incredible, affordable, and ubiquitous consumer virtual reality to the world. We’ve come a long way in the last 18 months: from foam core prototypes built in a garage to an incredible community of active and talented developers with more than 75,000 development kits ordered. In the process, we’ve defined what consumer virtual reality needs to be and what it’s going to require to deliver it.

A few months ago, Mark, Chris, and Cory from the Facebook team came down to visit our office, see the latest demos, and discuss how we could work together to bring our vision to millions of people. As we talked more, we discovered the two teams shared an even deeper vision of creating a new platform for interaction that allows billions of people to connect in a way never before possible.

Today, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve joined forces with Facebook to create the best virtual reality platform in the world.

At first glance, it might not seem obvious why Oculus is partnering with Facebook, a company focused on connecting people, investing in internet access for the world and pushing an open computing platform. But when you consider it more carefully, we’re culturally aligned with a focus on innovating and hiring the best and brightest; we believe communication drives new platforms; we want to contribute to a more open, connected world; and we both see virtual reality as the next step.

Most important, Facebook understands the potential for VR. Mark and his team share our vision for virtual reality’s potential to transform the way we learn, share, play, and communicate. Facebook is a company that believes that anything is possible with the right group of people, and we couldn’t agree more.

This partnership is one of the most important moments for virtual reality: it gives us the best shot at truly changing the world. It opens doors to new opportunities and partnerships, reduces risk on the manufacturing and work capital side, allows us to publish more made-for-VR content, and lets us focus on what we do best: solving hard engineering challenges and delivering the future of VR.

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Over the next 10 years, virtual reality will become ubiquitous, affordable, and transformative, and it begins with a truly next-generation gaming experience. This partnership ensures that the Oculus platform is coming, and that it’s going to change gaming forever.

We’ll see you in the Metaverse!

– Palmer, Brendan, John and the Oculus team

Harmonix Acquires Site License for RAD Game Tools Telemetry

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Cambridge, MA, March 13, 2013—Harmonix Music Systems, Inc., developer of the award-winning Rock Band™ and Dance Central™ video game franchises, has announced that it has acquired a site license for RAD Game Tools’ performance visualization tool, Telemetry. During the term, Harmonix’s license allows the company to use the tool on every game it develops and on every platform.

“Harmonix games have traditionally hit a hard 60 frames per second with the use of our custom timing system,” says Harmonix technical director, Eric Malafeew. “As our code moved onto more threads, we went with Telemetry’s powerful interface and logging system rather than extend our own.  You don’t just see total timings, you see every individual timing and when it happens in a frame using powerful level-of-detail zooming.  This lets you know what you are missing and how timings relate across threads.”  

Telemetry is a complete performance visualization system that helps development teams understand and optimize their game.  Instead of focusing on the instruction-level performance characteristics, Telemetry shows how multiple aspects of a game’s performance vary over time, helping teams fix intermittent performance problems such as hitches and spikes.

“The ability to save out profiling sessions allows QA to capture problems for coders to dissect, and we can compare changes over days of development,” adds Malafeew, “The game hookup was easy and had negligible impact, and RAD support has been friendly and professional, as always.”

Telemetry is available immediately on Windows, Mac, Linux (both x86 and ARM), Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and iOS based platforms, with additional platforms to be announced.

The ESA Announces Parental Controls Education Campaign

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Washington, DC – March 11, 2013 – The U.S. video game industry today announced a new national public education campaign to educate American parents further about the tools and information available so they can manage the entertainment choices for their families. The campaign’s focal point will be a new series of Public Service Announcements (PSA) encouraging parents to review the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) video game ratings and utilize existing video game console parental controls.

“This campaign will connect with consumers in an immediate and sustained way in addition to the traditional mechanisms over TV outlets. By channeling our industry’s compelling and innovative medium, we will instantly provide proven, practical, and effective information to millions of consumers,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the U.S. trade association representing video game publishers.

“No one knows better than parents when it comes to making decisions about which games their children should and should not play,” said U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. “The video game industry makes games for people of all ages, but that doesn’t mean all games are appropriate for everyone. I commend the industry for raising awareness of the tools available to parents that can help them make informed decisions about the games their children play.”

Every month, the video game industry has more than 300 million interactions with consumers through online storefronts and video game play. Leveraging this energy and passion, the industry will:

  • Enhance public education efforts around video game ratings and parental controls by developing and funding a series of new PSAs;
  • Utilize the unique interconnectivity and reach of the video game industry’s platforms to promote these public service messages and related content;
  • Coordinate with video game retailers to use both their physical store footprints and dedicated online networks to educate millions of their customers about video game ratings and parental controls;
  • Work with policy makers to extend the proven ESRB rating system to the broader games ecosystem of smart phones, tablets, and online social games; and,
  • Support and partner with non-profits using video games for educational and other pro-social purposes.

“The more parents know about the wealth of dynamic tools the video game industry has developed for monitoring game play, the more empowered they will be to make informed decisions about which video games are appropriate for their family. I commend the video game industry for recognizing the importance of educating and engaging parents about the ratings and other resources and for leading a national program that will ensure the decision-making power remains where it should be – with parents,” said Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-23).

Specifically, the video game industry stated that they will accomplish their objectives by:

  • Featuring new PSAs on video game platforms that will expand on the series already completed and available here;
  • Providing consumers with information on video game-specific web sites and online stores;
  • Providing PSAs to video game industry news and fan discussion sites for use;
  • Encouraging broadcast outlets to run the PSAs on local channels;
  • Working with federal and state elected officials to provide rating and parental control information to their constituents; and,
  • Distributing PSAs to retailers for use on their in-store and online channels.

“Our industry has a long-standing, high-quality track record of empowering parents,” said Mr. Gallagher. “The Federal Trade Commission described the ESRB as having the
strongest self-regulatory code with regard to its marketing guidelines and enforcement system. Today we will build on that success.”

According to industry statistics, approximately half of American homes have at least one video game console. Every video game console has password-protected parental controls that allow parents to limit their children’s video game use. As such, each of those consoles, handheld devices, and PCs can be activated to block types of video games and restrict access to the Internet.

For more than 18 years, all computer and video games sold at retail have been rated by the ESRB. 85% of parents of children who play video games are aware of the industry’s rating system and this campaign will build on the already high awareness rate. The Federal Trade Commission reports that parents are present when video games are purchased 9 out of 10 times.

According to a survey conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates in 2012, 70% of parents regularly check the ESRB rating before buying video games. The ESRB rating system also enjoys high levels of trust among parents, who consistently report being satisfied with the information it provides in terms of selecting games for their children.

In the future, the distribution channels established as part of this campaign could also provide a platform for other educational and pro-social messages and information.

ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers, including conducting business and consumer research, providing legal and policy analysis and advocacy on First Amendment, intellectual property and technology/e-commerce issues, managing a global anti-piracy program, owning and operating E3, and representing video game industry interests in federal and state government relations. For more information, please visit www.theESA.com or follow us on Twitter at @RichatESA or @ESAGovAffairs.

The ESRB is a non-profit, self-regulatory body that assigns age and content ratings for video games and apps so parents can make informed choices. As part of its regulatory role for the video game industry the ESRB also enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices under its Privacy Online program. ESRB was established in 1994 by the ESA.

THQ Files Chapter 11, Game-Making to Continue

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AGOURA HILLS, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– THQ Inc. (NASDAQ: THQI), a leading worldwide developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software, today announced that it entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement with a “stalking horse bidder,” affiliates of Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., to acquire substantially all of the assets of THQ’s operating business, including THQ’s four owned studios and games in development. The sale will allow THQ to shed certain legacy obligations and emerge with the strong financial backing of a new owner with substantial experience in software and technology.

To facilitate the sale, THQ and its domestic business units have filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The company’s foreign operations, including Canada, are not included in the filings. The company has obtained commitments from Wells Fargo and Clearlake for debtor-in possession (DIP) financing of approximately $37.5 million, subject to Court approval.

THQ will continue operating its business without interruption during the sale period, subject to Court approval of THQ’s first-day motions. All of the company’s studios remain open, and all development teams continue. The company remains confident in its existing pipeline of games. THQ maintains relationships with some of the top independent development studios around the globe. As part of the sale, the company is seeking approval to assume the contracts of these studios, and Clearlake will assume these contracts.

“The sale and filing are necessary next steps to complete THQ’s transformation and position the company for the future, as we remain confident in our existing pipeline of games, the strength of our studios and THQ’s deep bench of talent,” said Brian Farrell, Chairman and CEO of THQ. “We are grateful to our outstanding team of employees, partners and suppliers who have worked with us through this transition. We are pleased to have attracted a strong financial partner for our business, and we hope to complete the sale swiftly to make the process as seamless as possible.”

According to Jason Rubin, who joined THQ as President last May, “We have incredible, creative talent here at THQ. We look forward to partnering with experienced investors for a new start as we will continue to use our intellectual property assets to develop high-quality core games, create new franchise titles, and drive demand through both traditional and digital channels.”

Clearlake has agreed to serve as the “stalking horse bidder” for a Section 363 sale process, which allows other interested parties to come forward with competing bids. Aggregate consideration offered by Clearlake for the purchase totals approximately $60 million, including a new $10 million note for the benefit of the company’s creditors. The company is asking the Court for a schedule to complete the sale process in about 30 days.

Consumers and retailers should see no changes while the company completes a sale. The new financing will support business operations throughout the period. THQ does not intend to reduce its workforce as a result of the filing, and employees will continue to work their usual schedules and receive normal compensation and benefits, pending customary Court approval.

As is the case after a Chapter 11 filing, THQ expects to receive notice from NASDAQ informing the company that its shares will be delisted from the exchange within nine calendar days of notification.

THQ is being advised by Centerview Partners LLC and FTI Consulting as its financial advisors and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher as legal counsel. Clearlake is being advised by DLA Piper as legal counsel.

For additional information about THQ, please visit www.thq.com. For information regarding the Chapter 11 case, please visit www.kccllc.net/thq.

Spike Video Game Awards 2012 Award Winners

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Getting home after a long night at the Spike Video Game Awards, I wanted to post up a comprehensive list of the award winners. Congrats to all the studios that won!

Award Winners

 Game of the Year – The Walking Dead: The Game (Telltale Games)

 Studio of the Year – Telltale Games

 Best XBOX 360 Game – Halo 4 (Microsoft Studios/343 Industries)

Best PS3 Game – Journey (Sony Computer Entertainment/thatgamecompany)

Best Wii / Wii-U Game – New Super Mario Bros. U (Nintendo)

Best PC Game – XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2K Games/Firaxis Games)

Best Handheld / Mobile Game –Sound Shapes (Sony Computer Entertainment/Queasy Games)

Best Shooter – Borderlands 2 (2K Games/Gearbox Software)

 Best Action Adventure Game – Dishonored (Bethesda Softworks/Arkane Studios)

 Best RPG – Mass Effect 3 (Electronic Arts/BioWare)

 Best Multi-Player Game – Borderlands 2 (2K Games/Gearbox Software)

 Best Individual Sports Game – SSX (Electronic Arts/EA Canada)

 Best Team Sports Game – NBA 2K13 (2K Sports/Visual Concepts)

 Best Driving Game – Need For Speed Most Wanted (Electronic Arts/Criterion Games)

 Best Fighting Game – Persona 4 Arena (Atlus/ARC System Works/Atlus)

 Best Adapted Video Game – The Walking Dead: The Game (Telltale Games)

 Best Independent Game – Journey (thatgamecompany)

 Best Graphics – Halo 4 (Microsoft Studios/343 Industries)

 Best Song in a Game – “Cities” by Beck (Sound Shapes)

 Best Original Score – Journey (Sony Computer Entertainment/thatgamecompany)

 Best Performance By a Human Male – Dameon Clarke as Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2)

 Best Performance By a Human Female – Melissa Hutchison as Clementine (The Walking Dead: The Game)

 Best Downloadable Game – The Walking Dead: The Game (Telltale Games)

 Best Social Game – You Don’t Know Jack (Jellyvision Games)

 Best DLC – Dawnguard – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Bethesda Softworks/Bethesda Game Studios)

 Most Anticipated Game – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar Games)

Black Ops II Hits $1 Billion in Sales

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Santa Monica, CA – December 5, 2012 –Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), announced today that Call of Duty®: Black Ops II has crossed the $1 billion mark in worldwide retail sales, according to Chart-Track retail customer sell-through information and internal company estimates. Illustrating the strong appeal of interactive entertainment to audiences worldwide, the game achieved this milestone in just 15 days after its launch on November 13, 2012. Last year’s Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare®3 reached $1 billion in retail sales in 16 days. The box office record set for feature films in 2009 by “Avatar” was $1 billion in 17 days¹.

“The release of Call of Duty® has been one of the most significant entertainment events of each of the last six years,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard.   “SinceCall of Duty was launched, cumulative franchise revenues from players around the world are greater than current worldwide box office receipts to date for the top-10 grossing films of 2012 combined.  Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded worldwide theatrical box office receipts for ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Star Wars,’ the two most successful movie franchises of all time.”

Since the game’s launch, more than 150 million hours have been logged online playingCall of Duty: Black Ops II on Xbox® LIVE® and PlayStation Network.

¹According to screenrant.com

“Entertainment franchises that captivate audiences for as long as Call of Duty has, on the scale that Call of Duty has, are very rare things. And it takes a lot of brilliant people working across many different disciplines to make it happen. It is incredibly humbling and gratifying to be a part of,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. “In order for Call of Duty to remain the entertainment juggernaut that it is, and keep our fans coming back for more, we need to continue to bring fresh ideas and new innovations to the table every time, while always staying true to what people fell in love with in the first place. That’s what we did with Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and that’s what we intend to keep on doing. This is an incredible milestone for an incredible franchise, and I want to thank every passionate, talented, committed person on our team who made it happen.”

Call of Duty: Black Ops II is available at retail locations worldwide on the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Wii U™ game system from Nintendo and Windows PC. The game is rated “M” (Mature – Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Drugs – content suitable for persons ages 18 and older) by the ESRB.

Paradox Interactive to Expand North American Presence

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NEW YORK – December 4, 2012 – Leading global PC game publisher Paradox Interactive today announced the planned expansion of its U.S. presence, starting with the opening of a larger New York office. The Stockholm-based publisher will begin recruiting for open positions to fill out its new office in Manhattan and, in commemoration of the move, will hold an event at their new facility for media to attend.

Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester, along with the rest of the executive team, will be present at the inauguration to speak with attendees about the upcoming changes for the company. Plans for the new office include strengthening global distribution and sales, as well as looking into emerging markets and business segments.

HeroEngine 2 is Now Available

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LONDON – November 28, 2012 – Idea Fabrik today announced the launch of HeroEngine 2. The new Engine will offer developers state-of-the-art graphics, high spec development tools and integrated middleware.

“We are very excited about the new features and expanded tools available in HeroEngine 2” said Alex Shalash, Idea Fabrik’ co-Founder and Chairman. “The release of HeroEngine 2 proves our continued commitment to empowering any game developer to create – faster and easier than ever before – powerful online games across all genres.”

HeroEngine 2 provides all the necessary tools to build online games; it streamlines the entire process and allows teams to create and update their game faster and in real-time. “We are providing development tools without restrictions, code crunching and time constraints; games can now be designed with fun and creativity at heart. HeroEngine is leveling the playing field and opening game development to everyone” concluded Shalash.

HeroEngine 2 includes the following keys features and updates:

Graphics:
Powerful changes to graphics engine including several new tools that make it easier for game developers to create and re-create realistic scenes such as custom shaders, shadows and HDR rendering.

Development Tools:
New Foundation Framework components have been added including game matchmaking lobbies, multi-area and group chat, and an item and social system. The Foundation Framework are customizable core system building blocks that are able to be used in any online game, By adding these new core game systems, HeroEngine allows developers instead to focus on innovative gameplay features.

HeroEngine 2 also includes a more intuitive new user interface for the engine’s editor and repository browser.

Overall engine performance improvements have also been made.

Middleware:
In addition to the existing middleware providers, HeroEngine 2 now integrates two new key middleware solutions:

 

  • SpeedTree® for Games 6, a professional solution for adding animated trees and foliage seamlessly into games
  • Awesomium® Web UI Browser Framework, which allows for seamless integration of critical in-game systems such as micro transactions and subscriptions, and also provides an easy and flexible way to create immersive UI and web content.

HeroEngine 2 is immediately available on HeroCloud through various licensing options starting from $99 per year. HeroCloud is Idea Fabrik’s cloud-hosted development and live game service, offering affordable access to HeroEngine. For more information on source code licenses, please visitheroengine.com.

THQ Announces Deal with Wells Fargo

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AGOURA HILLS, Calif.– THQ Inc. (NASDAQ: THQI) announced today that it has entered into a forbearance agreement with Wells Fargo Capital Finance, LLC. Under the agreement, Wells Fargo has agreed to forbear from exercising its rights and remedies against THQ and its subsidiaries with respect to previous events of default under its credit facility. The period of the forbearance currently extends to January 15, 2013, during which time Wells Fargo has agreed to make additional loans to the company subject to the terms and conditions of the forbearance agreement.

Additionally, THQ announced that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with a financial sponsor regarding financing alternatives which may result in, among other things, significant and material dilution to shareholders. Information concerning the identity of the sponsor, deal size, structure and/or timing will not be disclosed until such time negotiations have concluded. There can be no assurance these negotiations will result in a transaction.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Wells Fargo. This agreement enables us to continue focusing on bringing our games in development to market,” said Brian Farrell, THQ’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Meanwhile, we are evaluating financial alternatives that will transition the company into its next phase.”

THQ also announced today the resignation of Paul Pucino, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. The Company is evaluating its alternatives with respect to the Chief Financial Officer role, and has retained FTI Consulting to assist its finance and accounting team.

“We would like to thank Paul for his significant contributions over the past four years and wish him well in his future endeavors,” commented Farrell.