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VentureBeat

Epic Games unveils $1.78 billion funding round at $17.3 billion valuation


Fortnite maker Epic Games today announced a $1.78 billion funding round at a $17.3 billion valuation. The company said the funding included new capital such as Sony’s previously announced $250 million investment as well as secondary purchases from employee equity holders.

Epic Games is the developer and publisher of Fortnite, which has more than 350 million registered players (this doesn’t mean they’re all active). And it’s also the creator of the Unreal Engine, a fundamental toolset for building many games (and increasingly, making movies and TV). Read More

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VentureBeat

Intellivision delays launch to April 2021 and unveils 20 new games


Intellivision Entertainment announced today that it will delay the launch of its Amico video game console from October 10 to April 15. The company also announced 20 new games for the “reboot” console (with a total of 30 in the works), which is aimed at getting young and old family members together on the couch again for fun games.

The original Intellivision was a game console from Mattel that gave Atari a run for its money in the early 1980s. It was more advanced than the 2600, with better graphics, and it even had simple voices in some games. Tommy Tallarico, the creator of the Video Games Live concert series, announced in 2018 that he had acquired the rights to the console and its original games, and he planned to relaunch Intellivision as a retro brand. Read More

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VentureBeat

Blackout Blitz creator Big Run Studios raises $5.25 million for casual mobile games


Big Run Studios has raised $5.25 million in seed round funding led by game investment firm Transcend Fund. Game and tech investor Galaxy Interactive, via its Galaxy EOS VC Fund, also participated in the round.

The Oakland, California-based studio develops casual mobile games that feature diverse characters. Big Run Studios’ hit, Blackout Blitz, is the top bingo game on the Apple App Store, the company said. Big Run Studios is building games based on the Skillz multiplayer competitive gaming platform. That means that players can place bets on the games as they play against rivals and friends. Read More

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Engadget

Riot Games gives its employees a week off to recharge


“As game developers, we’re all hyper aware of the effects of crunch and project-based deadlines. We owe it to ourselves and to you to prioritize our health as a team (well, many teams) so we can bring you new experiences long into the future.”

The company says it’s shifting some patch and release timelines, so it doesn’t end up dumping everything on players all at once. It also says some of its teams will be staggering their time off to make sure someone remains in charge.

The video game industry is known for subscribing to a “crunch culture” that expects developers to put in an ungodly amount of hours, especially before a title is launched. In addition to working on Valorant and its other games, Riot’s employees also had to deal with other issues within the company over the past few years. A 2018 Kotaku investigation described a work environment where women were routinely harassed and discriminated against. In 2019, a handful of employees sued the developer over gender discrimination and its sexist culture, and the lawsuits eventually gained class-action status. Riot agreed to settle in December 2019 and said it’s committed to becoming “an inclusive environment for the industry’s best talent.” Read More

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The Next Web

Stream Game Pass games to your Android with xCloud in September

After waiting for so long, Microsoft is finally launching on September 15 in 22 countries, albeit for Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. While it’ll be in beta form, it’ll be great to finally see Microsoft’s pet project finally reach gamers.

Project xCloud has been in the works for a while as Microsoft’s cloud gaming solution — a “play your games anywhere, anytime” ambition we’ve also seen from the likes of Google’s Stadia. Now it seems to have found a home as the “cloud gaming” portion of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Microsoft’s gaming subscription service. Starting on September 15, subscribers will be able to play their games on mobile via an updated Game Pass app. Only Android devices will be supported at first — somewhat of a surprise considering xCloud had an iOS beta. There’s no word yet on when it’ll be coming to iPhones and iPads. Read More

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VentureBeat

Take-Two Interactive coasts to $831.3 million in Q1 2021 revenue as fans flock to online games


Take-Two Interactive reported today that revenue for its first fiscal quarter (the second calendar quarter) ended June 30 rose 54% from a year ago to $831.3 million as fans played online games during the pandemic. The results for profits and revenues beat Wall Street’s expectations.

Grand Theft Auto Online and Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Online, and NBA 2K20 all contributed to huge sales for the company in a quarter when it launched only Disintegration from its Private Division indie label. Other contributors included Borderlands 3, Sid Meyer’s Civilization VI, WWE, The Outer Worlds, and Social Point’s mobile games. In after-hours trading, Take-Two’s stock is up 4.75% to $175.65 a share. Read More

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The Next Web

The PS4 controller will work with PS5, but not PS5 games

Well, R.I.P. the PS4 controller… kind of. Sony today revealed in an official PlayStation blog post which PS4 peripherals can still be used with the upcoming PlayStation 5. While some peripherals will carry over, the PS4 controller won’t, at least not when it comes to playing the new games.

The company says, in response to the question of whether the DualShock 4 controller will work with PS5 games: “No, we believe that PS5 games should take advantage of the new capabilities and features we’re bringing to the platform, including the features of DualSense wireless controller.” Read More

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The Verge

This is how Xbox games are getting touch controls for xCloud


Microsoft is preparing to launch its xCloud game streaming service as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate next month, and we’re now starting to get some more details on how touch controls will work with the service. Microsoft initially detailed touch controls last year, but the company has now been working with Xbox Game Studios developers like The Coalition and Ninja Theory to bring these controls to Xbox games.

During a Microsoft Game Stack stream today, Jarret Bradley, senior gameplay producer at The Coalition, showed off how touch controls will work with Gears 5. The Coalition has built custom layouts for anything you can do in the game, including buttons for aiming, shooting, reloading, and controls for driving vehicles. Read More

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Engadget

Classic ‘Halo’ games will get crossplay and custom game browsing in 2020


The Halo games in the Master Chief Collection should soon get many of the features you’re used to with modern shooters. The 343 Industries team has provided (via Eurogamer) an MCC “snapshot” indicating that several welcome additions are coming to the classic titles in 2020, most notably crossplay. Ideally, Xbox and Windows players won’t be fenced off for much longer. Developers are appropriately planning mouse and keyboard support for Xbox players to help them stay competitive.

Crossplay should launch alongside input-based matchmaking and server region options. Another update will bring a custom game browser, per-game graphics options and the previously mentioned Xbox mouse and keyboard support. Per-game audio settings, PC file sharing and Steam account linking are also in the works for this year. Read More

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Tech Radar

Games of the Generation: Stardew Valley is a welcome break from the chaos of the world


Games of the Generation

As we approach the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, TechRadar is looking back at the games that made this generation great. This week’s entry? Stardew Valley.

Have you ever just wanted to leave your busy city life behind and move to a small, country town? No more Starbucks queues. No being sardined onto the subway. Just you, the clean country air and locals who don’t wither when you accidentally make eye contact.

It’s a dream typically reserved for Hallmark films, dripping in cliché and usually fronted by some city slicker who learns to love their hometown roots. But somehow Eric Barone’s Stardew Valley pulls it off. Read More