‘Observation’ is a tense, atmospheric puzzler where you play a modern HAL 9000


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




When you watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, do you find yourself criticizing HAL 9000’s machinations and thinking, “I could do better than that!” If so, Observation may be right up your alley. In it you play a space station AI called SAM that is called upon by the humans on board to help resolve a deadly mystery — though you may be a part of it yourself.

The game takes place in the near future on board the titular space station, a sort of expanded version of the ISS. You are booted up by astronaut Emma Fisher after an unspecified event that seems to have damaged the station. You, as the Systems Administration and Maintenance AI, are tasked with helping her as she first tries to simply survive the immediate aftermath, then starts to investigate what happened.

To do so you perform various tasks such a digital agent would

Continue reading “‘Observation’ is a tense, atmospheric puzzler where you play a modern HAL 9000”

Get the Amazing ‘Bloons TD 6’ for Free on iOS and Android


This post is by Brendan Hesse from Lifehacker


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The very-excellent tower defense game, Bloons TD 6—normally $5 on mobile—is now available for free on iOS and Android for a limited time. Even if tower defense games aren’t your scene, this one is going to suck you in with its combination of cutesy, monkey-themed gameplay and a decent difficulty curve as you get…

Read more…

Panic’s Playmate is a pint-sized gaming machine with a ‘season’ of 12 intriguing titles


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Tired of your smartphone games, and don’t want to take the Switch with you on the train today? Panic, renowned creator of useful Mac apps and more recently publisher of interesting games, has created a tiny handheld console that goes anywhere and receives a regular trickle of new games. It’s called Playdate.

One has to admire the gumption of jumping into a space that has been so thoroughly dominated by Nintendo and smartphones over the last decade that hardly anyone has even attempted to break in. But Panic isn’t trying to build an empire — just do something interesting and new.

“Nothing’s surprising anymore and surprises are great!” reads the Playdate’s FAQ. “Panic saw an opportunity for something truly different in the world of video games. Something small-scale that could deliver a dose of fun and delight to video game players who have otherwise seen it all.”

It’s

Continue reading “Panic’s Playmate is a pint-sized gaming machine with a ‘season’ of 12 intriguing titles”

Amazon has turned warehouse tasks into a (literal) game


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Working at an Amazon fulfillment center is tough and tedious. Stories of problematic working conditions have plagued the company for years now, and pressure has likely only increased as the retail giant is pushing to get packages out even faster.

To give the company some credit, it has worked to improve conditions, including the addition of a $15 minimum wage and automating certain tasks with the help of its growing robotics offering. Turns out the company has also been, quite literally, gamifying certain tasks.

WaPo (which, incidentally, is also own by Mr. Bezos) has a writeup of an “experimental” video game designed to motivator workers to fill orders. The games, which is apparently optional for employees, live on workstation screens, awarding points for fulfilling orders and pitting teams against one another in the process.

As the story notes, Amazon’s not alone in the idea. Gig-based companies like Uber and Lyft

Continue reading “Amazon has turned warehouse tasks into a (literal) game”

Now at Google, Facebook’s former teen-in-residence launches new social game Emojishot


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Facebook’s former teen-in-residence Michael Sayman, now at Google, is back today with the launch of a new game: Emojishot, an emoji-based guessing game for iOS, built over the past 10 weeks within Google’s in-house incubator, Area 120.

The game, which is basically a version of charades using emoji characters, is notable because of its creator.

By age 17, Sayman had launched five apps and had become Facebook’s youngest-ever employee. Best known for his hit game 4 Snaps, the developer caught Mark Zuckerberg’s eye, earning him a demo spot onstage at Facebook’s F8 conference. While at Facebook, Sayman built Facebook’s teen app Lifestage — a Snapchat-like standalone project which allowed the company to explore new concepts around social networking aimed at a younger demographic.

Lifestage was shut down two years ago, and Sayman defected to Google shortly afterward. At Google, he was rumored to be heading up an internal social

Continue reading “Now at Google, Facebook’s former teen-in-residence launches new social game Emojishot”

Pro gamer Tfue files lawsuit against esports org over ‘grossly oppressive’ contract


This post is by Jordan Crook from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Turner ‘Tfue’ Tenney, one of the world’s premier streamers and esports pros, has filed a lawsuit against esports organization Faze Clan over a ‘grossly oppressive, onerous and one-sided’ contract, according to THR.

The complaint alleges that Faze Clan’s Gamer Agreement relegates up to 80 percent of the streamer’s earnings from branded content (sponsored videos) to Faze Clan, and that the contract hinders Tfue from pursuing and earning money from sponsorship deals that Faze Clan hasn’t approved.

Tfue’s lawyer, Bryan Freedman of Freedman + Taitelman, took the complaint to the California Labor Commissioner with issues that span far beyond financial contracts. Freedman wrote that Faze Clan takes advantage of young artists and actually jeopardizes their health and safety, noting an incident where Tfue was allegedly pressured to skateboard in a video and injured his arm. Freedman also wrote that Faze Clan pressured Tfue to live in one of its homes

Continue reading “Pro gamer Tfue files lawsuit against esports org over ‘grossly oppressive’ contract”

Minecraft Earth makes the whole real world your very own blocky realm


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




When your game tops a hundred million players, your thoughts naturally turn to doubling that number. That’s the case with the creators, or rather stewards, of Minecraft at Microsoft, where the game has become a product category unto itself. And now it is making its biggest leap yet — to a real-world augmented reality game in the vein of Pokemon GO, called Minecraft Earth.

Announced today but not playable until summer (on iOS and Android) or later, MCE (as I’ll call it) is full-on Minecraft, reimagined to be mobile and AR-first. So what is it? As executive producer Jesse Merriam put it succinctly: “Everywhere you go, you see Minecraft. And everywhere you go, you can play Minecraft.”

Yes, yes — but what is it? Less succinctly put, MCE is like other real-world based AR games in that it lets you travel around a virtual version of your area, collecting

A pig from Minecraft showing in the real world via augmented reality.

Continue reading “Minecraft Earth makes the whole real world your very own blocky realm”

ObjectiveEd is building a better digital curriculum for vision-impaired kids


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Children with vision impairments struggle to get a solid K-12 education for a lot of reasons — so the more tools their teachers have to impart basic skills and concepts, the better. ObjectiveEd is a startup that aims to empower teachers and kids with a suite of learning games accessible to all vision levels, along with tools to track and promote progress.

Some of the reasons why vision-impaired kids don’t get the education they deserve are obvious, for example that reading and writing are slower and more difficult for them than for sighted kids. But other reasons are less obvious, for example that teachers have limited time and resources to dedicate to these special needs students when their overcrowded classrooms are already demanding more than they can provide.

Technology isn’t the solution, but it has to be part of the solution, because technology is so empowering and kids take to

Continue reading “ObjectiveEd is building a better digital curriculum for vision-impaired kids”

Rivals in gaming, Microsoft and Sony team up on cloud services


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




For the last two decades, Sony and Microsoft’s gaming divisions have been locked in all-out war against one another: on price, on hardware, on franchises, on exclusives… you name it. But it seems they’ve set their enmity aside temporarily that they might better prevent that filthy casual, Google, from joining the fray.

The official team-up, documented in a memorandum of understanding, was announced today, though details are few. But this is clear enough:

The two companies will explore joint development of future cloud solutions in Microsoft Azure to support their respective game and content-streaming services. In addition, the two companies will explore the use of current Microsoft Azure datacenter-based solutions for Sony’s game and content-streaming services.

Of course there is no doubt that Sony could have gone with a number of other cloud services for its gaming on demand services. It already runs one, Playstation Now, but the market

Continue reading “Rivals in gaming, Microsoft and Sony team up on cloud services”

Reality Check: The marvel of computer vision technology in today’s camera-based AR systems


This post is by Arman Tabatabai from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




British science fiction writer, Sir Arther C. Clark, once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Augmented reality has the potential to instill awe and wonder in us just as magic would. For the very first time in the history of computing, we now have the ability to blur the line between the physical world and the virtual world. AR promises to bring forth the dawn of a new creative economy, where digital media can be brought to life and given the ability to interact with the real world.

AR experiences can seem magical but what exactly is happening

Continue reading “Reality Check: The marvel of computer vision technology in today’s camera-based AR systems”

Twitch Prime adds its first non-gaming ‘loot’ with access to anime streaming service Crunchyroll


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Twitch Prime, the game streaming service’s version of Amazon Prime, has typically focused on offering subscribers free loot and other game-related perks since its debut a few years ago. Now, that’s changing. Twitch Prime is today rolling its first-ever non-gaming “loot” — a 30-day subscription to the anime streaming service Crunchyroll Premium.

Crunchyroll is a top destination for watching anime online, with over 45 million registered users and 2 million paying subscribers who usually pay $7.99 per month for its “Premium” tier. The service’s library includes over 1,000 series and 30,000 episodes. And the wider Crunchyroll brand includes things like mobile games, events, merchandise, and more.

The two companies, Twitch and Crunchyroll, already had a long-term relationship before today. For the past two years, Crunchyroll made the game streaming site the exclusive live streaming home to its annual Anime Awards show, for example, and it operates its own

Continue reading “Twitch Prime adds its first non-gaming ‘loot’ with access to anime streaming service Crunchyroll”

HP’s new gaming laptop has more screens for more content


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




There’s something about gaming laptops that make manufacturers do weird things. It’s kind of wonderful, in a way. Companies tend to give their teams a much wider berth for strange and novel designs, and HP’s Omen line is certainly no stranger. Designs that tend to be relegated to the concept shelf of history actually hit the market, and indeed, the Omen X 2S is currently on target for a May/June release.

The defining characteristic of the $2,700 notebook is almost certainly the inclusion of a second screen that lives just above the keyboard. HP’s not the first to attempt such a thing — in fact, we might actually be approaching a trend here. The six-inch secondary display is considerably smaller than the 15-inch mean dealie.

It’s designed to provide supplementary information at a glance. While the idea of a secondary screen has been around for some time, I do think

Continue reading “HP’s new gaming laptop has more screens for more content”

India’s most popular services are becoming super apps


This post is by Manish Singh from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Truecaller, an app that helps users screen strangers and robocallers, will soon allow users in India, its largest market, to borrow up to a few hundred dollars in the nation.

The crediting option will be the fourth feature the nine-year-old app adds to its service in the last two years. So far it has added to the service the ability to text, record phone calls and mobile payment features, some of which are only available to users in India. Of the 140 million daily active users of Truecaller, 100 million live in India.

The story of the ever-growing ambition of Truecaller illustrates an interesting phase in India’s internet market that is seeing a number of companies mold their single-functioning app into multi-functioning so-called super apps.

Inspired by China

This may sound familiar. Truecaller and others are trying to replicate Tencent’s playbook. The Chinese tech giant’s WeChat, an app that

Continue reading “India’s most popular services are becoming super apps”

The eSports Boom, and the Numbers Behind the Sector’s Explosive Growth


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Technology – Visual Capitalist


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The oldest professional sport teams can trace their start back to the mid-19th century, a period when casual past times such as baseball or football transitioned into more organized leagues.

Since this tipping point, pro sports has thrived around the world, and the business of sports has evolved into a multi-billion dollar ecosystem for teams, leagues, players, merchandisers, sponsors, broadcasters, and event spaces.

Today, this evolution still continues – and it is being driven by the emergence of eSports (electronic sports), an exciting frontier for fans and business alike.

eSports Extravaganza

Today’s chart breaks down the eSports boom, including data on the sector’s rapid growth, prize pools, and the most valuable eSports companies today.

Visualizing the eSports Boom, and the Numbers Behind Its Explosive Growth

Despite having a reputation in the media and in popular culture as being on the fringes, it is clear that gaming is now a truly mainstream phenomenon.

In fact, the global gaming industry has now eclipsed

Subscribe to Visual Capitalist

Continue reading “The eSports Boom, and the Numbers Behind the Sector’s Explosive Growth”

Final Fantasy VII Remake trailer shows redo of the classic in action


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




’90s kids will remember this. Final Fantasy VII, the game that busted JPRGs out of their niche and helped make the original PlayStation the must-have console of the generation, is, as we all know, being remade. But until today it wasn’t really clear just what “remade” actually meant.

The teaser trailer put online today is packed full of details, though of course they may change over the course of development. It’s exciting not just for fans of this game, but for those of us who prefer VI and are deeply interested in how that (superior) game might get remade. Or VIII or IX, honestly.

The trailer shows the usual suspects traversing the first main area of the game, Midgar. A mix of cutscenes and gameplay presents a game that looks to be more like Final Fantasy XV than anything else. This may be a bitter pill for some — while

Continue reading “Final Fantasy VII Remake trailer shows redo of the classic in action”

With new raise, Unity could nearly double valuation to $6 billion


This post is by Lucas Matney from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Unity Technologies, the company behind one of the world’s most popular game engines, could nearly double its reported valuation in a new round of funding.

The company has filed to raise up to $125 million in Series E funding according to a Delaware stock authorization filing uncovered by Prime Unicorn Index and reviewed by TechCrunch. If Unity closes the full authorized raise it will hold a valuation of $5.96 billion.

A Unity spokesperson confirmed the details of the document.

The SF company builds developer tools that allow game-makers to build titles and deploy them on consoles, mobile and PC. More than half of all new games are built using the platform. Customers pay for the platform per developer once their projects reach a certain scale.

Unity’s competitors include Fortnite-maker Epic Games, which has been able to rapidly acquire startups and game studios in the past two years fueled by

Continue reading “With new raise, Unity could nearly double valuation to $6 billion”

Fortnite Season 9 adds two locations and wind transport, but is mostly just new virtual items


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




It’s that time again. Parents across the world are doling out $15 to Epic Games after the developer released Season 9, the latest update for its hit game Fortnite that’s particularly popular among kids and young adults.

Fortnite is estimated to have over 250 million players, and it has proven to be a major money-spinner for Epic thanks to sales of seasonal Battle Passes, skins and virtual items for avatars. That’s very much for the focus for Season 9, which dropped today and is really about the cosmetics with the latest Battle Pass unlocking over 100 rewards, including a range of new skins and characters.

Season 9 is an upgrade that’ll keep existing gamers locked into Fortnite through evolution — there are no radical changes to excite new or less active players.

In terms of gameplay, Fortnite has added two new locations. Neo Tilted replaces Tilted Towers, which

Continue reading “Fortnite Season 9 adds two locations and wind transport, but is mostly just new virtual items”

Tencent’s new alternative to PUBG is already topping the revenue chart


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




In a move clearly driven by economic interests and an urgency to meet stringent regulations, the world’s largest games publisher Tencent pulled its mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on Wednesday and launched a new title called Game for Peace (the literal translation of its Chinese name 和平精英 is ‘peace elites’) on the same day.

As of this writing, Game for Peace is the most downloaded free game and top-grossing game in Apple’s China App Store, according to data from Sensor Tower data. That’s early evidence that the new title is on course to stimulate Tencent’s softening gaming revenues following a prolonged licensing freeze in China. Indeed, analysts at China Renaissance estimated that Game for Peace could generate up to $1.48 billion in annual revenue for Tencent.

Tencent licensed PUBG from South Korea’s Krafton, previously known as Bluehole, in 2017 and subsequently released a test version of the game for

Continue reading “Tencent’s new alternative to PUBG is already topping the revenue chart”

Tencent replaces hit mobile game PUBG with a Chinese government-friendly alternative


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




China’s new rules on video games, introduced last month, are having an effect on the country’s gamers. Today, Tencent replaced hugely popular battle royale shooter game PUBG with a more government-friendly alternative that seems primed to pull in significant revenue.

The company introduced ‘Game for Peace’ in a Weibo post at the same time as PUBG — which stands for Player Unknown Battlegrounds — was delisted from China. The title had been in wide testing but without revenue, and now it seems Tencent gave up on securing a license to monetize the title.

In its place, Game for Peace is very much the type of game that will pass the demands of China’s game censorship body. Last month, the country’s State Administration of Press and Publication released a series of demands for new titles, including bans on corpses and blood, references of imperial history and gambling. The new Tencent

Continue reading “Tencent replaces hit mobile game PUBG with a Chinese government-friendly alternative”