Gaming news summary for August 27, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, CD Projekt managed to achieve over 6 million The Witcher 3 sales in six weeks, Rovio announces more job cuts, AMD reveals details of the Radeon R9 Nano GPU, and the creator of Gears of War unveils his latest project.
Angry Birds gets a proper sequel, but it falls short
At this point, we're sure that almost everyone who owns an iPhone or iPad has at least tried out an Angry Birds game, be it the original or one of the many sequels. It's hard to go a public place without coming across some sort of Angry Birds merchandise. Billionaire developers Rovio have finally made a proper sequel, Angry Birds 2, and we sat down and took a look at it to see how it holds up to the original.
Gaming news summary for July 16, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, a thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Goat Simulator heads to Sony consoles, Rovio announces a sequel to Angry Birds, Oculus acquires some new VR interfacing technology, and another Duke Nukem game is hinted at by Gearbox.
Federal judge rejects move to dismiss
This week Hartz Mountain, a maker of pet toys, requested a federal judge dismiss a lawsuit by Seattle artist Juli Adams regarding the sale of her intellectual property without her permission or knowledge. The case is notable because Adams' designs were the basis of the characters now universally known as "Angry Birds," a name originally suggested by Adams and since used widely by Rovio and Hartz to market both the video game sensation and ancillary merchandise. The judge has refused to dismiss the matter.
Company faced with declining growth, lack of non-Angry Birds titles
In a blog post pointing out some of the issues surrounding Angry Birds purveyor Rovio, the company's outgoing CEO announced that the game maker will shed 130 people in an effort to reduce costs. The layoffs are all in the company's home country of Finland, and represents 16 percent of the company's total workforce.
Angry Birds' new release focuses on female characters
Rovio has announced its upcoming new game Angry Birds Stella, offering a female lead character. Rovio CEO Mikael Hed says Stella will feature "passionate characters who really stand for something, while adding plenty of action and and reality into the mix." As with previous Angry Birds games, Stella will likely have books, toys, and other merchandise associated with the title. It is anticipated to be released this fall.
Suggests third-party app networks may be entry point
Angry Birds developer Rovio has issued a new official statement, denying collaborating with the NSA, GCHQ, or any other government agency It emerged yesterday that the NSA and GCHQ have been using the "leaky" nature of some smartphone apps to collect data about individuals. Rovio suggests that the spy agencies may be gathering data from third-party ad networks without its consent. "If advertising networks are indeed targeted, it would appear that no internet-enabled device that visits ad-enabled web sites or uses ad-enabled applications is immune to such surveillance," the company comments.
App Store gets new Angry Birds racer
Rovio has released the latest addition to its Angry Birds series of Apps on iOS with Angry Birds Go! The new entry in the popular franchise is a Mario Kart-like downhill racer with the eponymous fowls facing off against each other, as well as their ever-present porcine nemeses. The entry also brings into play a number of physical toys that open up new items in the game's virtual world.
Evernote update intros Shortcuts
Evernote has pushed out an update for the iOS version of its popular note-taking app. Version 5.4 introduces Shortcuts, a rebranding of the Favorites feature from the iPhone, which gives users a method to quickly access important notes, notebooks and tags. These Shortcuts can be synced across all versions of Evernote, and can even be made for saved searches. Other changes include support for marking up images, PDFs and notes, the ability to see recently viewed notes along the bottom of any note, and a new Announcements section with the latest news from Evernote.
Angry Birds Star Wars II announced for September launch
Following last week's tease, Rovio has posted a full trailer for its upcoming Angry Birds Star Wars II iOS title. Set to launch worldwide on September 19, the new game expands upon the same physics-based gameplay through the addition of new birds and the option to choose which side of the force to fight for. In addition, the sequel will provide players with a new way to interact with the game thanks to a partnership with Hasbro.
Rovio's latest game already at number 1 on App Store
Rovio’s eagerly anticipated Angry Birds Star Wars is out now on iOS, Mac and Android. The game is available in a standard version for iPhone and iPod ($0.99, App Store), an HD version for iPad ($2.99, App Store), and for Mac ($4.99, Mac App Store. It is also available as an ad-supported version for Android (Free, Google Play) and as an HD premium version ($2.99, Google Play).
Case-Mate partners with Vaja for luxury cases
Case-Mate has announced a partnership with Vaja, Argentinian maker of handcrafted leather products. The electronics accessory maker will now be leading the worldwide marketing, sales, and distribution efforts for Vaja's products.
Active Network launches two campsite reservation apps
Outdoor enthusiasts will now be able to make reservations for campsites at national parks, forests and other recreational facilities through the release of two new apps for iOS. The ReserveAmerica camping app (free) lists nearby state campground sites, and provides information on sites, RV restrictions, tent and cabin use and other options.
Angry Birds creator may get $9 billion valuation
Rovio Entertainment, fresh off of announcing phenomenal sales for the latest installment of its Angry Birds series, is reportedly looking to go public. The Finnish video game developer is in the process of preparing for an initial public offering in 2013, Reuters reports. Analysts peg the value of the company at up to $9 billion.
App World gets bird-physics-slingshot simulator
The newest installation of Rovio's popular game series, Angry Birds Space ($3, BlackBerry App World) arrived for RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet on Tuesday. Previously, the game was erroneously posted as available on April 10 of this year, though the link was quickly removed. Now, the zero-gravity bird slingshot game is available to all PlayBook owners except those in South Korea and Brazil.
Rovio says Angry Birds Space a no go for WP7
(Update: Rovio CEO denies it) A notable, and somewhat surprising, omission from yesterday’s global launch of Angry Birds Space across multiple platforms was a Windows Phone 7 version. In what may amount to a significant blow to the prestige and perceived value of the Windows Phone 7 platform, Angry Birds Space developer Rovio told Bloomberg that it has no plans at all for a WP7 version. This is despite its original version of Angry Birds remaining one of the top sellers on the WP7 Marketplace.
Angry Birds Space ready for download
[Update: live across platforms] The latest title in the hugely popular Angry Birds franchise, Angry Birds Space is now live on the iTunes App Store. The standard version ($0.99, iTunes) of the app will run on compatible iPhones, iPads and iPod touchs, while Rovio has also released an HD version ($2.99, iTunes) for the iPad only. Highlighting just how big Rovio have made it with its Angry Birds titles, the company teamed up with NASA to promote the launch of the new game.
mobileEcho 3.0 adds iPhone support
On October 30th the Progress M-13M, an unmanned resupply spacecraft, will start its trip to the International Space Station (ISS). Along with propellant, oxygen, water and crew equipment, the spacecraft will also be carrying two iPads. The iPads are being sent strictly as entertainment devices and will extend the ISS's line of iPods and iPhones already in use. In addition, a three-man craft will launch on November 13th carrying an Angry Birds plush toy as a zero-g indicator.
Gamemaker trying to widen appeal as preps for IPO
Game maker Rovio is looking create new nests for its “Angry Birds”. Bloomberg reports that the company is in talks with Starbucks and other retailers in order to to attract new customers and get existing players to venture out of their digital world and buy real-world goods, such as books, stuffed animals, and T-shirts. Rovio is diversifying beyond the virtual realm to make itself more attractive to investors in anticipation of a future IPO.
Game appears in leaked video
Corroborating earlier reports, Roku may be preparing to launch the popular game Angry Birds for the company's upcoming line of second-generation set-top boxes. A YouTube video briefly showed Rokue 2 packaging with references to Angry Birds. The video was quickly pulled, likely at the request of the company, but it was later reposted by Engadget.
Release limits gamers to one level per day
Rovio has launched 30 new levels of summer-themed gameplay in Angry Birds Seasons for iPhone and Angry Birds Seasons HD for iPad today. The Seasons version of the popular game series, pitting flying birds with unique skills against evil, egg-stealing, green pigs with engineering talents for setting up a variety of bird-safe structures, periodically adds levels related to seasonal, holiday or cultural celebrations, including such additions as Go Green, Get Lucky (St. Patrick's), Trick or Treat, Easter Eggs, Hogs and Kisses (Valentine's Day), Season's Greetings and now Summer Pignic.
Chrome Web Store expands to 41 lanuages, more
During the day two keynote at Google I/O 2011, the company revealed its Chrome Web Store has been launched to 160 million users of the browser and in 41 languages. There is good news for developers too, as Google will only take a five percent cut, with 95 percent of app revenues going to the developer's pocket. Those outside the current markets will only have access to free apps, at least initially, however.
Windows Phone 7 gets Skype and Spotify
Microsoft during its MIX11 event caught up in app development in significant fashion with a handful of major Windows Phone 7 apps that will take advantage of its fall 2011 update, Mango. Skype was unveiled first and will take advantage of Mango's deeper access to hardware like the microphone. The app on demo didn't make any mention of video chat, though Mango so far doesn't have front camera support.
Samsung App store gets 100m downloads
Samsung announced on Thursday that its Samsung Apps mobile and TV application store has seen 100 million downloads since the service launched in June. This milestone was reached in 10 months, and the store now offers more than 13,000 apps for the company's hardware offerings. In comparison, Angry Birds series reached the 100 million mark earlier this month, on the 14th, though the game is offered in many title and across multiple platforms, including Android, BlackBerry, iOS and more.