With Super Mario Maker 2, Nintendo both unleashes and leashes creators


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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Nintendo’s Mario Maker series is among the most generous gifts the company could have given to its fans, and the new installment on Switch is better than its predecessor in every way. Yet despite the freedom and encouragement it gives, it’s hard not to feel a gentle tug groundward when your ambitions begin to soar.

For those unfamiliar with Mario Maker, the original was a totally unexpected joy on the Wii U and one of the few games that truly took advantage of that console’s unusual hardware. It allowed players to use the touchscreen and stylus to put together Mario levels in a variety of styles, and the resulting number and complexity of creations boggled minds worldwide.

The sequel, Super Mario Maker 2, announced in February and released at the end of June, is a natural evolution of the previous game. It adds new items, new styles, new ways to

mario tutorial
storymode levels
puzzle
mycourse
courseworld

Continue reading “With Super Mario Maker 2, Nintendo both unleashes and leashes creators”

Stranger Things portals have appeared in Fortnite


This post is by Jordan Crook from TechCrunch


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This summer has blessed us with a wealth of awesome television options, from Big Little Lies to Chernobyl to The Handmaid’s Tale. And the good times keep rollin’. Tomorrow, Stranger Things Season 3 drops on Netflix.

To celebrate, it would appear that Epic Games is adding portals in Fortnite’s Mega Mall.

Netflix’s Chris Lee, director of interactive games, confirmed that there would be more crossover goodness on a panel at E3 after fans noticed the Scoops Ahoy ice cream store, which is the same name of the ice cream parlor in the show, in the Fortnite Mega Mall. Today, portals (that look like the ones leading to the Upside Down in the show) were also added to the Mega Mall.

These portals don’t actually transport you

Continue reading “Stranger Things portals have appeared in Fortnite”

Stranger Things portals have appeared in Fortnite


This post is by Jordan Crook from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




This summer has blessed us with a wealth of awesome television options, from Big Little Lies to Chernobyl to The Handmaid’s Tale. And the good times keep rollin’. Tomorrow, Stranger Things Season 3 drops on Netflix.

To celebrate, it would appear that Epic Games is adding portals in Fortnite’s Mega Mall.

Netflix’s Chris Lee, director of interactive games, confirmed that there would be more crossover goodness on a panel at E3 after fans noticed the Scoops Ahoy ice cream store, which is the same name of the ice cream parlor in the show, in the Fortnite Mega Mall. Today, portals (that look like the ones leading to the Upside Down in the show) were also added to the Mega Mall.

These portals don’t actually transport you

Continue reading “Stranger Things portals have appeared in Fortnite”

Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ comes to Roblox ahead of its July 4 premiere


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Netflix is bringing its hit TV show Stranger Things to Roblox. On Monday, Roblox announced the launch of limited-time, Stanger Things-themed items that will be made available to its over 90 million players, who can earn them by solving daily riddles and puzzles. Other free, limited-time items like a “Scoops Ahoy” hat and Demogorgon mask will also be offered as virtual items for players’ Roblox avatars.

The first of the two themed items are live now and will be free to download through July 12. Four more items can be unlocked by solving daily riddles and puzzles, with a new clue arriving each day ahead of the July 4 premiere of Stranger Things Season 3.

Roblox will also share clues across its social media accounts on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, it says.

What’s interesting about the Roblox integration is that it may reach children

Continue reading “Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ comes to Roblox ahead of its July 4 premiere”

Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony pen letter highlighting ‘harm’ from Trump’s tariffs


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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It’s not every day the three biggest competitors in a space join forces to denounced political action. Of course, this isn’t the first time the Trump administration has had this impact on a category.

Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony (collectively known as gaming’s “big three) penned a joint letter noting the harm the industry stands to face in the age of Trump administration tariffs on China. Addressed to Office of the United States Trade Representative General Counsel Joseph Barloon, the note asks for a modification the existing tariff list.

“While we appreciate the Administration’s efforts to protect U.S. intellectual property and preserve U.S. high-tech leadership,” the letter reads, diplomatically, “the disproportionate harm caused by these tariffs to U.S. consumers and businesses will undermine—not advance—these goals.”

The three companies highlight a broad range of cascading impacts the laws could ultimately have the vast industry, including,

Razer goes big on payments with Visa prepaid card


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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The latest pairing between a tech upstart and a financial titan is a digital prepaid card targeted at Southeast Asia’s 430 million-plus unbanked and underserved population.

On Monday, Razer, the Singapore-based company best known for its gaming laptops and peripherals, announced a partnership with Visa to develop a Visa prepaid solution. The service, which allows unbanked users to top up and cash out easily, will be available as a mini program embedded in Razer Pay, the gaming company’s mobile payments app. That means Razer’s 60 million registered users will be able to pay at any of the 54 million merchant locations around the world that take Visa.

Going virtual is the natural step given the region’s fast-growing digital population, but the pair does not rule out the possibility to introduce a physical prepaid card down the road, Razer’s chief strategy officer Li Meng Lee told TechCrunch over a phone interview.

Continue reading “Razer goes big on payments with Visa prepaid card”

‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ reaches 400K downloads, $300K in consumer spend in U.K. and U.S.


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the highly anticipated new mobile game from Pokémon Go makers Niantic and Warner Brothers’ games division, is off to a good start but it’s not breaking Pokémon Go records. According to preliminary estimates from Sensor Tower, the new game has been installed some 400,000 times in its first 24 hours in its launch markets of the U.S. and U.K. — where the game arrived ahead of schedule on Thursday. Gross player spending in these markets hit around $300,000 across both iOS and Android during this time.

This is not the full picture, however.

The game was also available in Australia and New Zealand during a pre-launch beta trial of sorts, and is only now rolling out to worldwide users on a country-by-country basis. During its beta test period, Sensor Tower estimates the game grossed around $80,000.

But in the same number of

Continue reading “‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ reaches 400K downloads, $300K in consumer spend in U.K. and U.S.”

Northzone’s Paul Murphy goes deep on the next era of gaming


This post is by Eric Peckham from TechCrunch


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As the gaming market continues to boom, billions of dollars are being invested in new games and new streaming platforms vying to own a piece of the action. Most of the value is accruing to the large incumbents in a space, however, and the entrance of Google and other big tech companies makes it difficult to identify where there are compelling opportunities for entrepreneurs to build new empires.

TechCrunch media analyst Eric Peckham recently sat down with Paul Murphy, Partner at European venture firm Northzone, to discuss Paul’s view of the market and where he is focusing his dollars. Below is the transcript of the conversation (edited for length and clarity):


Eric Peckham: You co-founded the hit mobile game Dots before moving to London and joining Northzone last year. Are you still bullish on investment opportunities in mobile gaming or do you think the market has changed?

Paul

Continue reading “Northzone’s Paul Murphy goes deep on the next era of gaming”

A chat with Niantic CEO John Hanke on the launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite


This post is by Greg Kumparak from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Just shy of three years ago, Pokémon GO took over the world. Players filled the sidewalks, and crowds of trainers flooded parks and landmarks. Anywhere you looked, people were throwing Pokéballs and chasing Snorlax.

As the game grew, so did the company behind it. Niantic had started its life as an experimental “lab” within Google — an effort on Google’s part to keep the team’s founder, John Hanke, from heading out to start his own thing. In the months surrounding GO’s launch, Niantic’s team shrank dramatically, spun out of Google, and then rapidly expanded… all while trying to keep GO’s servers from buckling under demand and to keep this massive influx of players happy. Want to know more about the company’s story so far? Check out the Niantic EC-1 on ExtraCrunch here.

Now Niantic is back with its next title, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Built in collaboration with WB Games,

Continue reading “A chat with Niantic CEO John Hanke on the launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite”

A chat with Niantic CEO John Hanke on the launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite


This post is by Greg Kumparak from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Just shy of three years ago, Pokémon GO took over the world. Players filled the sidewalks, and crowds of trainers flooded parks and landmarks. Anywhere you looked, people were throwing Pokéballs and chasing Snorlax.

As the game grew, so did the company behind it. Niantic had started its life as an experimental “lab” within Google — an effort on Google’s part to keep the team’s founder, John Hanke, from heading out to start his own thing. In the months surrounding GO’s launch, Niantic’s team shrank dramatically, spun out of Google, and then rapidly expanded… all while trying to keep GO’s servers from buckling under demand and to keep this massive influx of players happy. Want to know more about the company’s story so far? Check out the Niantic EC-1 on ExtraCrunch here.

Now Niantic is back with its next title, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Built in collaboration with WB Games,

Continue reading “A chat with Niantic CEO John Hanke on the launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite”

China to lose top spot to U.S. in 2019 gaming market


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




China is losing its global lead in games. By the end of 2019, the U.S. will replace China as the world’s largest gaming market with an estimated revenue of $36.9 billion, says a new report from research firm Newzoo.

This will mark the first time since 2015 that the U.S. will top the global gaming market, thanks to healthy domestic growth in consoles. Globally, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo and other console games are on track to rise 13.4% in revenue this year. Driving the growth is the continued shift toward the games-as-a-service model, Newzoo points out, on top of a solid installed base across the current console generation and spending from new model releases.

China, on the other hand, suffered from a nine-month freeze on game licenses last year that significantly shrank the stream of new titles. Though applications have resumed, industry experts warn of a slower

Continue reading “China to lose top spot to U.S. in 2019 gaming market”

Dr. Mario is in (on iOS and Android) July 10


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




After years of heel dragging, Nintendo finally opened itself up to the smartphone world in late-2016. The gaming giant hasn’t exactly opened the floodgates in the intervening years, but Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Dragalia Lost have filled the void in some form or other.

There’s something to be said for the company’s thoughtful approach to the category. Nintendo clearly values its IP and is only interesting in releasing games that make sense on the platform. Dr. Mario is pretty high on that list. After all, similar puzzle-style games have come to dominate the mobile platform, and Nintendo had a perfectly good title gathering dust.

Dr. Mario World was unveiled back in February — or the title was, at least — with a broad Summer release for iOS and Android. Last night, Nintendo offered a deeper glimpse in the form of a YouTube video. The basics of

Continue reading “Dr. Mario is in (on iOS and Android) July 10”

Amazon’s Twitch acquired social networking platform Bebo for $25M to bolster its esports efforts


This post is by Ingrid Lunden from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




While Facebook makes a bold move into cryptocurrency to capitalise on its multi-billion user base, a social network that was once a credible competitor to it has quietly been snapped up by a subsidiary of Amazon. TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Bebo, one of the earlier platforms to let people share thoughts and media with their friends, has been acquired by Twitch, the streaming video platform owned by Amazon. Together the two will be working on building out Twitch’s esports business, and specifically Twitch Rivals.

A spokesperson for Twitch confirmed the acquisition, which includes both people (around 10 employees) and IP, but declined to provide further comment.

From what we understand from our sources, Twitch paid $25 million for the company earlier this month, after beating out at least one other bidder, Discord (which itself has been building out its own esports business). Indeed, LinkedIn profiles for

Continue reading “Amazon’s Twitch acquired social networking platform Bebo for $25M to bolster its esports efforts”

Carmen Sandiego returns to Google Earth with a new caper


This post is by Darrell Etherington from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Google Earth first made use of its rich global 3D visualization as a backdrop for a Carmen Sandiego tie-in back in March, but today there’s a new adventure to explore. After solving The Crown Jewels Caper, amateur home gumshoes are now tasked with finding out the secrets of The Keys to the Kremlin Caper, which kicks off in Russia, as you might’ve guessed from the name.

Google makes use of the Netflix re-imagining of the classic globetrotting Carmen Sandiego character, which debuted in a 1985 computer game released by Broderbund Software. The Google Earth version includes pixelated graphics and gameplay inspired by the original series, with the modern look that’s used in the Netflix show by educational publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The game can be played on Android, iOS or desktop (via Chrome) and has a lot of the same charm and appeal of the original series, with similar

Continue reading “Carmen Sandiego returns to Google Earth with a new caper”

From Project Scarlett to Gooigi: The best of E3 2019


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Every story about E3 has opened with a mention of Sony’s absence, and this one’s no different. The lack of one of gaming’s “big three” loomed large over the show, right down to a strange sense of space on the showroom floor.

Even Xbox chief Phil Spencer mourned the absence of the company’s biggest competitor, stating, “I wish Sony was here,” during a live stream.

But the show went on, as it has through countless ebbs and flows of the gaming industry. Sony’s clearly got plenty up its sleeve with regard to next-generation content, and frankly, no one’s too worried about their health.

Microsoft, meanwhile, came out swinging on Sunday. The company had a TON of games to reveal at the show, with dozens of trailers, all told. And while Microsoft did touch upon two key pieces of news, it ultimately ended up blowing through those announcements, with very

Continue reading “From Project Scarlett to Gooigi: The best of E3 2019”

Nintendo exec on E3, streaming and game delays


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




This year’s E3 was a bit of a mixed bag. Sony was completely absent, Microsoft was looking toward the future and Nintendo, as ever, was all about the games. The show came at an odd time in Nintendo’s release cycle.

The company recently spilled all the details about soon-to-be-released titles Mario Maker 2 and Pokémon Sword and Shield, making Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Luigi’s Mansion 3 the foundations of the company’s big Nintendo Direct unveil on Tuesday morning.

The long-awaited Animal Crossing title, sadly, came with the caveat that players are going to have to wait until even longer (2020), but the company had plenty of playable titles at the show, including the Link’s Awakening remaster and the aforementioned Luigi sequel. That featured arguably was the surprise hit of the show, Gooigi — which, as the portmanteau

Continue reading “Nintendo exec on E3, streaming and game delays”

Nintendo: we’re ‘evaluating’ streaming


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Game streaming loomed large as the biggest story of E3. Between Google’s Stadia news late last week, Microsoft’s Game Pass additions, a Ubisoft announcement and even the presence of Netflix, the writing is clearly on the wall.

Nintendo, of course, has largely been absent from that conversation. No real surprise, really. The gaming company has always marched to the beat of its own drum, bucking larger industry trends in favor of its own singular vision. The approach has sometimes been to its determent (as is the case with its longtime heel-dragging on mobile), but has largely resulted in a number of the industry’s most beloved platforms, titles and IP.

Given the company’s rich and storied gaming history, a Netflix-style approach to content makes a lot of sense for a company like Nintendo. And certainly, the notion of paying $10 a month for access to 30 years of Mario, Zelda and

Continue reading “Nintendo: we’re ‘evaluating’ streaming”

Google’s Game Builder turns building multiplayer games into a game


This post is by Frederic Lardinois from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Google’s Area 120 team, the company’s in-house incubator for some of its more experimental projects, today launched Game Builder, a free and easy to use tool for PC and macOS users who want to build their own 3D games without having to know how to code. Game Builder is currently only available through Valve’s Steam platform, so you’ll need an account there to try it.

After a quick download, Game Builder asks you about what screen size you want to work on and then drops you right into the experience after you tell it whether you want to start a new project, work on an existing project or try out some sample projects. These sample projects include a first-person shooter, a platformer and a demo of the tool’s card system for programming more complex interactions.

The menu system and building experience take some getting used to and isn’t immediately

Continue reading “Google’s Game Builder turns building multiplayer games into a game”

Microsoft will offer console streaming for free to Xbox One owners


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Microsoft’s Sunday E3 pressure was all about the games. In fact, while the company did offer some information about hardware and services, the information all arrived fast and furious at the end of the conference. While it’s probably unsurprising that the company had very little to offer in the way of information about its upcoming 8K console, Project Scarlett, most of us expected Project xCloud to get a lot more face time on stage.

The company powered through a whole lot of information about its upcoming streaming offering like it was going out of style (or, perhaps, like the lights were going out at its own theater). The speed and brevity of it all left a number of audience members confused on the specifics — and caused some to speculate that the service night not be as far along as Microsoft had hoped.