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VentureBeat

Scopely raises $340 million at $3.3 billion valuation as mobile games thrive during pandemic

Scopely, the publisher of games like Star Trek: Fleet Command and Marvel Strike Force, has raised $340 million to continue its mobile gaming growth plans as players embrace games during the pandemic. The deal values Scopely at $3.3 billion (according to a source close to the matter), post-money, and it gives the company a war chest so that it can continue to make big acquisitions like the purchase of FoxNext Games last January from Disney. It also shows that some big, experienced investors are willing to double down on games as they become a giant industry in the midst of COVID-19. The fifth round of funding comes from Wellington Management, NewView Capital, TSG Consumer Partners, CPP Investments, funds managed by BlackRock, D1, Battery Ventures, Eldridge, Declaration Partners, and Moore Strategic Ventures. Additional investors in the round include Greycroft, Baillie Gifford, Sands Capital, Revolution Growth, and Highland Capital Partners. The amount of money is impressive, and it shows that game companies are becoming more valuable and expensive to buy. So Scopely needs more money to do its deals. Scopely has a diversified portfolio of top-grossing games, and it will use the funds to accelerate its ambition to become the top mobile games company in the West. The capital will continue to support Scopely’s acquisition strategy, as well as its expansion into new product categories. “We had a really successful year, and we will close the year with more than $900 million in revenue,” said Javier Ferreira, Scopely co-CEO, in an interview with…Continue readingScopely raises $340 million at $3.3 billion valuation as mobile games thrive during pandemic

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VentureBeat

Xbox Series X’s backward compatibility is good for live-service games

Gamers are preparing for a leap into the next generation in November with the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5, but many of the people who upgrade are going to find themselves returning to games that came out years ago. Live-service hits like Apex Legends, Warframe, and Rocket League aren’t going to vanish. They’re going to have a major role in the early months of the new systems. But the thing about Apex Legends, Warframe, and Rocket League in particular is that their developers have not committed to launching native versions for next-gen consoles yet. Instead, they will likely run in backward-compatibility mode. Is that a problem, though? In most cases, not really. But it’s a reminder that legacy support is about more than just replaying old games. The PS5 and Xbox X/S have robust support for the current generation of video games. Almost everything should work. I’ve spent weeks testing the Xbox Series X, and the actual game-playing experience is excellent. Its more powerful hardware and faster storage improve almost everything I’ve played. And any game that I’ve tried with dynamic resolution or an unlocked framerate runs sharper and faster on Series X. I’m less certain about the PS5, in part because I haven’t gone hands-on with that console yet. Sony has said that almost every game will work. And I expect that loading times should improve thanks to the SSD. But PS5’s backward-compatible system does seem to have some limitations that might diminish the experience slightly. And…Continue readingXbox Series X’s backward compatibility is good for live-service games

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VentureBeat

NFL sacks all comers as video games’ best source of ad impressions

Gaming industry TV ads generated over 1.54 billion impressions from September 16 to October 15, nearly identical to the amount in the previous 30-day period. Just under 75% of impressions came from PlayStation and Nintendo. Of the top five programs that delivered impressions, only one — SpongeBob SquarePants — wasn’t sports-related. The NFL led for impressions (247.8 million), delivering over 100 million more than the NBA playoffs (131.6 million), at No. 2. GamesBeat has partnered with iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company, to bring you a monthly report on TV advertising by the gaming industry. These are the ads, and by extension the games, that game marketers have been putting major muscle behind. Below are the top five most-seen gaming industry TV advertisers from the period measured. PlayStation continues to be a heavy hitter, this time generating 650.2 million TV ad impressions from over 1,300 airings of six spots. With 422.1 million impressions, the brand’s most-seen commercial was “The Edge: Play Has No Limits.” Top programming driving impressions: the NFL, NBA, and MLB; top networks included ESPN, ABC, and ESPN2. At No. 2: Nintendo, which aired 26 spots over 3,300 times, resulting in 435.9 million TV ad impressions. “A True Hero,” promoting Super Mario 3D All-Stars, was the most-seen ad with 60.9 million impressions. Once again, Nintendo was the only top-five brand that didn’t target sports fans; instead (and per usual), it prioritized reaching a family-friendly audience: Nick, Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network were the top impressions-driving…Continue readingNFL sacks all comers as video games’ best source of ad impressions

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VentureBeat

How Counterplay Games approached Godfall for PS5 and PC

Pretty soon, you’ll be able to play as one of the last of the Valorian Knights, the heroes of the looter-slasher, action-role-playing game Godfall. And for that, you can thank Keith Lee and his team at Counterplay Games. The Emeryville, California-based studio has been working on the PlayStation 5 and PC game for three years, mostly with just 30 people. That’s a small team for a triple-A title, but Counterplay Games is a scrappy indie company that will launch a prestigious PS5 launch title before just about any other big triple-A game company. In Godfall, you’ll hack and slice your way through ugly enemies and fantastic beasts, earning 12 kinds of armor, or Valorplates, that help you fend off your foes. This isn’t Lee’s first time in the spotlight. He sweated out his early days at Blizzard Entertainment, working on games such as Diablo II, as well as Insomniac Games, where he worked on Resistance: Fall of Man and the original Ratchet & Clank. In the early days of the iPhone in 2008, Lee founded Booyah, a mobile game company that created MyTown, which was like Monopoly overlaid on the real world. It was a simple game, and it definitely wasn’t triple-A, but it worked in the fledgling days of apps. As those heady days wound down, Lee left Booyah in 2011 and disappeared for a while, going on extended travels. In 2014, he got back into gaming with Emil Anticevic. They founded Counterplay Games as a small indie game…Continue readingHow Counterplay Games approached Godfall for PS5 and PC

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Engadget

A massive spam attack is ruining public ‘Among Us’ games

As for the hacker, it appears their primary motive in all of this was to troll people. “I was curious to see what would happen, and personally I found it funny,” they told Kotaku. “The anger and hatred is the part that makes it funny. If you care about a game and are willing to go and spam dislike some random dude on the internet because you cant [sic] play it for three minutes, it’s stupid.” As Kotaku points out, Among Us has had a hacking problem for a while now, but this most recent hack is on a different scale. With the help of a dozen or so volunteers, the hacker claims they’ve able to hit as many as 1.5 million games, in turn affecting approximately 5 million players in total. At the very least, the Among Us subreddit is filled with threads dedicated to the current situation. One, titled “Ok, who is Eris Loris?,” has more than 700 comments. As you might imagine, most don’t have positive things to say about Eris Loris, but some have also tried to approach the situation with a sense of humor. Source linkContinue readingA massive spam attack is ruining public ‘Among Us’ games

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VentureBeat

RetroBeat: 5 other games Nintendo needs to finally bring to the U.S.

Nintendo announced this week that it is finally giving the original Fire Emblem an English translation. Yay! But I hope that Nintendo doesn’t stop there. Plenty of Nintendo games have never made the U.S. journey from Japan. I’m hoping that they can also get the localizations that they deserve. And these days, why not! Tons of games that we used to think would never leave Japan have been making the trip overseas. I’m talking about titles like Trials of Mana and Phantasy Star Online 2. These days, it feels like anything is possible! So hopefully we’ll see these five games available in the U.S. soon. Famicom WarsFamicom — 1988 Fire Emblem isn’t the only tactics game for the NES (or Famicom, rather, as it was called in Japan) that needs an English translation. Famicom Wars came from the same team, Intelligent Systems. It started a franchise that we didn’t see until the 2001 release of Advance Wars for Game Boy Advance. Just like that game, Famicom Wars is a turn-based tactics affair with soldiers and tanks. Is it as good as the newer games in the series? Probably not! But neither is the original Fire Emblem. It’s just fun to see how these franchises started. Freshly-Picked Tingle’s Rosy RupeelandNintendo DS — 2006 Tingle is a creepy side character from the Zelda series. He’s a middle-aged man who thinks he’s a fairy. He is so ugly and weird that you can’t help but love him. [Oh yes you can — Ed.]…Continue readingRetroBeat: 5 other games Nintendo needs to finally bring to the U.S.

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VentureBeat

FIFA 20, Final Fantasy XV, and big games that divided critics and players

The Last of Us Part II is likely the most contentious game of 2020, with gamers battling critics over what kind of review score to give Sony’s blockbuster. But in terms of the all-time most divisive games, it isn’t even in the top 10, according to a study by TheToyZone. With Naughty Dog’s game, a group of players started a “review bomb” campaign on the internet to criticize its cultural and political stances. It depicted queer relationships and non-conforming gender characters. But critics ranked it among the best games of all time (I rated it 95 out of 100), according to review aggregator Metacritic. Review bombing is often one of the only ways that players can voice their strong feedback, and sometimes it isn’t for a good reason. Politics, views about monetization, bugs, and developer miscommunications can trigger fierce responses. And the internet makes it easier to spread such campaigns these days, which may explain while so many EA Sports and 2K Sports titles are on the top of the list. Review-bombing became so popular that Metacritic stopped it from happening on the first day a game was released. Metacritic did that in July because so many players were review bombing games without playing them, skewing results. TheToyZone, which rates the best toys it can recommend based on its own research, compared the critic and user review scores on Metacritic for over 24,000 video games. The most divisive video game of all time is FIFA 20, ranked by game critics…Continue readingFIFA 20, Final Fantasy XV, and big games that divided critics and players

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The Verge

Microsoft’s new Xbox app lets you stream Xbox One games to your iPhone or iPad

Microsoft’s Xbox app update for iOS and iPadOS is now live, allowing Xbox One owners to stream games to their devices. A new Xbox app is available in the App Store that includes a remote play feature, which lets Xbox One console owners stream their games to an iPhone or iPad. Remote play is different to Microsoft’s xCloud service, which streams games directly from servers instead of your own Xbox One console. This Xbox remote play feature will only connect to your own Xbox console, not to xCloud. It’s similar to Sony’s own PS4 Remote Play feature that’s also available on Android and iOS. This app also supports the ability to access an Xbox console over Wi-Fi, or even an LTE or 5G connection, too. The Xbox app will let you take control of your home Xbox, and you can also remotely start your console outside of your home. The Xbox will start up without a sound or the Xbox light at the front, and when you disconnect, it goes back into standby after a brief period of inactivity. A new Xbox app arrived on Android recently, and this updated iPhone version includes the same new design and features. It also compliments the new Xbox Series X and Series S consoles, allowing players to quickly download or share game clips and screenshots. You can even manage console space and delete games from the app. This new Xbox app is also a lot speedier than the previous iOS version, and its…Continue readingMicrosoft’s new Xbox app lets you stream Xbox One games to your iPhone or iPad

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Tech Radar

Playing Xbox Series X games makes it hard to go back to the Xbox One

TechRadar has had hands-on time with a not-final version of the Xbox Series X as part of the Xbox Series X preview program. It’s only when you play Xbox Series X-optimized games that you realize just how powerful the new Xbox is. The colors are more vibrant, the environments more detailed, and everything is simply sharper. That’s primarily down to the raw power of the Xbox Series X itself, which boasts a custom-designed GPU from AMD with 12 teraflops of computing performance. But, when combined with a HDMI 2.1-compliant display capable of the 4K UHD and 120fps Microsoft recommends (in our case a Samsung Q80T QLED 4K HDR Smart TV), you really get the full impact of how much better Xbox Series X games look compared to the Xbox One. But it’s not just that Xbox Series X games look better, they perform better too. Minimal loading screens mean that you are rarely out of the action for more than a few seconds, and it results in a seamless experience that may have you wondering how you ever lived with lengthy loading times. Having spent some hands-on time with preview builds of the upcoming Xbox Series X Optimized games, it looks like my Xbox One S could be going into retirement. Here are some impressions of the games I’ve been trying out so far.  Vibrant visuals (Image credit: Sega) As part of the Xbox Series X preview program, I’ve got access to Yakuza: Like a Dragon and Dirt 5. Both games…Continue readingPlaying Xbox Series X games makes it hard to go back to the Xbox One

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Tech Radar

Xbox says Bethesda deal ‘was not done to take games away’ from other platforms

Will The Elder Scrolls 6 be exclusive to the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S? Since Microsoft’s unexpected acquisition of Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax last month it’s a question that many have asked. Despite this, the future remains unclear for Elder Scrolls and other big Bethesda franchises on the PlayStation platform. When head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, was asked in a recent interview with Kotaku if Microsoft would be able to recoup its $7.5 billion investment in Bethesda without selling Elder Scrolls 6 on PlayStation his immediate response was “yes”. However, Spencer also said that securing exclusives wasn’t necessarily the primary aim of the deal with Bethesda: “This deal was not done to take games away from another player base like that. Nowhere in the documentation that we put together was: ‘How do we keep other players from playing these games?’ We want more people to be able to play games, not fewer people to be able to go play games.” Get the best Xbox Series X deals before anyone else! We’ll send you pre-order details and the best Xbox Series X deals as soon as they’re available. Send me details about other relevant products from Techradar and other Future brands. Send me details about other relevant products from third parties. No spam, we promise. You can unsubscribe at any time and we’ll never share your details without your permission. Going back to the question asked of him, though, Spencer made it clear that “I don’t have to go…Continue readingXbox says Bethesda deal ‘was not done to take games away’ from other platforms