Atari in collaboration with amusement and entertainment device manufacturer UNIS Technology Ltd. announced the Atari Mini PONG Jr., a new home arcade device based on the classic PONG arcade game. The stylish small-form-factor digital Atari Mini PONG Jr. gaming device will arrive in time for the holidays.
The Atari Mini PONG Jr. from UNIS allows players to experience PONG in a whole new dimension, bringing a high-tech yet retro ‘80s arcade experience to the home living room. The Atari Mini PONG Jr. measures just 30-centimeters in length and is outfitted with an LCD screen, fitting perfectly on any table surface.
The device features single-player play against an AI, 2-player local multiplayer, retro arcade sound effects, and physical dials for players to control their respective PONG paddles. The device is powered by a USB cable and adapter; users can optionally install three lithium rechargeable batteries for portable play.
Atari will soon announce details on pricing and pre-orders.
– Lightweight and compact in size – Perfect for home, office, and on-the-go – Play with AI or friends – Ten AI difficulty levels – Intuitive interface, simple to use controls – 7.9 Inch LCD Panel – Lithium Rechargeable battery (3) for portable use – USB powered
Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues delivers an original two-fold story from dueling perspectives made in collaboration with the series showrunners, complete with character-driven cutscenes and dialogue featuring the voices of Ralph Macchio, William Zabka and more.
Play as Daniel LaRusso and his students at Miyagi-Do Karate, or their Cobra Kai rivals, led by Daniel’s old rival, Johnny Lawrence. The choice is yours, but only completing both sides of the campaign will unlock the ultimate ending.
Swap between eight playable characters seamlessly in battle, each with their own unique upgradeable attacks, combos and skill trees. Face down fierce enemies and bosses in hard-hitting brawls and explore the Los Angeles of the Cobra Kai universe across 28 story missions. The fight is in your hands!
The game will launch on October 27th on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with the Nintendo Switch version following later on November 24th.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a mixed reality (MR) game that combines a camera-enabled physical kart and course gate markers to turn any living space into the next great Mario Kart circuit. With Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, players design and construct courses in the real world, and race the circuit in a mixed reality experience that blends the digital game world with the real world in an immersive way on the Nintendo Switch system.
For some gamers, microtransactions are a horrible plight that has been afflicting video games for the last decade. For others, they’re something to just ignore while they enjoy their favourite games. And for another group, microtransactions are a great way to add new elements to a game.
Like them or loathe them, microtransactions have become an unavoidable part of modern-day video gaming, permeating just about every genre and every platform.
A Time Before Microtransactions
This wasn’t always the case though. Ever since video games entered the home with consoles like the Atari 2600, the Nintendo Entertainment System, and the Sega Mark III, gamers bought their games from stores, receiving access to all the games in one go.
Over time the distribution channels changed, with a mix of brick and mortar stores, online retailers, and digital downloads through services like Steam used today. However, all of these methods still charge gamers a flat fee upfront.
Until recently though, these games remained free of microtransactions, with the exception of expansion packs and add-ons.
Free to Play Games
You will find microtransactions in many free to play games today. They are a good way for developers to monetise their games, while still appealing to a broad audience. The typical model for free to play games is to give players an in-game currency or a finite number of lives, then when they use them up they must wait several hours before they can play again. If they don’t wish to wait, they can choose to buy more with real money.
Examples of this include PokerStars, which gives play chips to each new player, adding more every few hours. Additional play chips can then be bought for a small fee. A similar system is used in Candy Crush, generating the company $1.5 billion in 2018 as players spent money to buy additional lives in the game.
These free to play games are most commonly found on mobile platforms, covering just about every genre with games like Farmville and Call of Duty: Mobile all featuring some form of microtransaction.
For the most part, gamers accepted microtransactions for free to play games since the majority understood that it was necessary to pay for the game’s development.
However, in more recent years, microtransactions have found their way into blockbuster titles that consumers still have to pay upfront for. It started with map packs, additional weapons and cars, or expansion packs, all collectively referred to as downloadable content (DLC).
These were widely accepted too. With map packs for games like Halo: Reach and Modern Warfare 2, cars for Forza, and a whole new storyline for Grand Theft Auto IV, all proving popular. These types of transactions were seen as a good way to extend the life of a game beyond its usual lifespan, with the fans getting the enjoyment of an almost new game for much less money.
The opposition of most fans came when publishers began asking fans to pay extra to receive increased skill levels or to progress faster through the game. Many argue that this completely changes the paradigm from paying for content to simply paying to win.
Games like Star Wars Battlefront II and FIFA 19 were widely criticised by fans for this practice, with EA shutting down the premium currency feature in the former game after fans complained.
That said, EA alone earned $1 billion from microtransactions in the final three months of 2019, so it’s unlikely they will be going away anytime soon.
Paying for Increased Costs
It’s not all about greedy publishers wanting to extract every last penny from their games though.
Video games have been priced as $60 since 2005. Accounting for inflation in the US over the last 15 years, they should now cost just over $79. Games are also more detailed in terms of graphics, physics and features, meaning they cost more to produce.
For perspective, characters designed in 1997 would take around 1-2 weeks to create, while today they take around two months. Scale this up to every element in the game, and it’s clear to see why video game publishers need to find new ways to make money.
It is for this reason then that microtransactions are likely to stick around in some form or another for the foreseeable future. At least until developers and publishers find another way to pay for the increased development costs.
Today Netflix and King Features Syndicate, a part of Hearst Entertainment and Syndication jointly announced an all-new animated series The Cuphead Show!, based on Studio MDHR’s award-winning video game Cuphead, the wildly popular global phenomenon.
The game that has won the hearts and minds of fans with its gorgeous retro hand-animated style, crazy boss-brawls, and challenging gameplay will come to life on television for the first time ever in The Cuphead Show!.
The new series will expand on the characters and world of Cuphead, with an animation style inspired by the classic Fleischer cartoons from the 1930s. For King Features, CJ Kettler will serve as the Executive Producer and creators Chad and Jared Moldenhauer will serve as Executive Producers for Studio MDHR. The series will be produced by Netflix Animation and is executive produced by Emmy and Annie Award-winning producer, Dave Wasson (Mickey Mouse Shorts) and Cosmo Segurson (Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling) serves as co-executive producer.
The character-driven comedy follows the unique misadventures of the impulsive Cuphead and his cautious but easily swayed brother Mugman. Through their many misadventures across their surreal home of the Inkwell Isles, they’ve always got one another’s backs.
To date, Cuphead has sold over 4 million units worldwide, and has won over 20 major awards, including Special Achievement in Animation at the 45th Annual Annie Awards, Xbox One’s Game of the Year, a BAFTA Games award for Music, and a trio of statues at the 2017 Game Awards for Best Debut, Best Independent Game, and Best Art Direction. The game continues to be celebrated by fans for its arcade-action gameplay, highly original art design, and an award-winning soundtrack featuring almost three hours of original jazz, early big band, and ragtime music.
After more than 20 years of making quality apps for Mac and iOS, Panic was, frankly, ready to try something new. Their first attempt: jumping into videogame publishing with Firewatch in 2016 and Untitled Goose Game later this year.
Today, after more than four years of work by a small and talented team, Panic is extremely excited to introduce Playdate, a brand new handheld gaming system.
Playdate is both very familiar, and totally new. It’s yellow, and fits perfectly in a pocket. It has a black-and-white screen with high reflectivity, a crystal-clear image, and no backlight. And of course, it has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-C, and a headphone jack. But it also has a crank. Yes, a crank: a cute, rotating analog controller that flips out from the side. It’s literally revolutionary.
There’s more: Playdate includes games — a full season of them. The games will be delivered over-the-air, once a week for 12 weeks, and they’ll be a surprise: when the new game light flashes, you’ll never know what you’re about to play. Panic recruited some of the world’s best game designers — some well known; others under the radar — to make games exclusively for our system. Playdate isn’t just hardware: it’s a complete experience.
Today, Panic is revealing one of these original Playdate games: Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure, from Keita Takahashi, the creator of Namco’s Katamari Damacy. This game uses the crank exclusively to control the flow of time, backwards and forwards. Your goal? Get Crankin’ to his date with Crankette while avoiding an ever-increasing series of ridiculous obstacles — obstacles that aren’t affected by the time control. Will Crankin’ make it to his rendezvous on-time? (Spoiler alert: no)
Playdate will ship in early 2020, with pre-orders anticipated in late 2019 for US $149.
More information can be found on the official site at https://play.date, where users wanting to be first in line for a Playdate can sign up for our mailing list.
Paramount Pictures has released the Sonic the Hedgehog trailer for the upcoming live-action adaptation.
Sonic is voiced by Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation, Night School, House of Lies).
The cast of Sonic the Hedgehog film also includes Jim Carrey as Doctor Robotnik/Eggman, Sonic’s villainous rival; James Marsden as Tom Wachowski, a police officer who teams up with Sonic to thwart Eggman’s evil schemes; Adam Pally (The Mindy Project, Iron Man 3) as Tom’s fellow police officer; Tika Sumpter and Natasha Rothwell. Neal McDonough (Captain America: The First Avenger), Sumpter and Rothwell’s roles are currently under wraps.
Sonic the Hedgehog will take its cues from the popular games, focusing on Sonic’s attempts to battle the evil Doctor Robotnik who is on a quest to assemble the Chaos Emeralds. This mark the first time that the Sonic games have been adapted for the big screen, but the character has previously appeared in both Wreck-It Ralph and this year’s Ready Player One.
Neal H. Moritz from Original Film Inc. (Fast and Furious series) will produce the adaptation which has Jeff Fowler (Blur Studio, Academy Award nominee for 2005 Best Animated Short Film Gopher Broke) directing and Deadpool‘s Tim Miller executive producing. Production of the film began in Vancouver and is set to continue through the end of September. The exact plot of the film is unknown, but it’s production title is said to be “Casino Night,” a callback to a level in Sonic 2.
Sonic the Hedgehog was first seen in 1991 on the SEGA Genesis. Since then, the character was inducted into the “World Video Game Hall of Fame” in 2016 at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. Most recently, the popular franchise has seen two new hit releases in 2017, Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces (PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC). Total sales of the series including both packaged and digital downloads count over 360 million units.
Sonic the Hedgehog movie will feature a mixture of CGI animation and live-action characters. Paramount Pictures will release the film on November 8.
The first-ever live-action Pokémon movie, Pokémon Detective Pikachu stars Ryan Reynolds as the titular character in the first-ever live-action movie based on the iconic face of the global Pokémon brand—one of the world’s most popular, multi-generation entertainment properties and most successful media franchises of all time.
Fans everywhere can now experience Pikachu on the big screen as never before, as a talking detective Pikachu, a Pokémon like no other. The film also showcases a wide array of beloved Pokémon characters, each with its own unique abilities and personality.
The story begins when ace private eye Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world—they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu also stars Justice Smith (“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”) as Tim; Kathryn Newton (“Lady Bird,” TV’s “Big Little Lies”) as Lucy, a junior reporter following her first big story; and Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe (“Godzilla,” “The Last Samurai”) as Lt. Yoshida.
Directed by Rob Letterman (“Goosebumps,” “Monsters Vs. Aliens”), the Pokémon Detective Pikachu creative filmmaking team includes two-time Oscar nominated director of photography John Mathieson (“The Phantom of the Opera,” “Gladiator”), production designer Nigel Phelps (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Lies”) and Oscar-winning editor Mark Sanger (“Gravity”). Visual effects are by Moving Picture Company (“Wonder Woman”) and Framestore (“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”).
Launched in 1996 to overwhelming response, the Pokémon brand is a global sensation that now encompasses a robust video gaming fandom with over 300 million units sold worldwide; the Pokémon Trading Card Game available in 11 languages with more than 23.6 billion cards shipped; an animated television series in its 21st season that is available in more than 160 countries; and over 20 animated films; as well as books, manga comics, music, toys, merchandise, and apps, including the wildly popular Pokémon GO, that has been downloaded over 850 million times and is enjoyed across the globe by fans of all ages.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu is set for release on Friday, May 10, 2019.
Overwatch players have long enjoyed assembling teams featuring the iconic hero Bastion. Soon members of the community will be able to assemble Bastion in real life thanks to a new collaboration between Blizzard Entertainment and The LEGO Group.
In advance of the launch of a full collection of LEGO Overwatch building sets, Overwatch fans may now purchase an exclusive, limited edition LEGO Overwatch Omnic Bastion model starting today on the Blizzard Gear Store for $25, or purchase on-site at BlizzCon 2018, taking place November 2 and 3 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
This Blizzard-exclusive display model features Bastion in the orange Omnic Crisis skin with a display plate built from LEGO bricks. The figure features a swiveling upper body, moveable arms, and a weapon built into the right arm, and comes with Bastion’s trusty bird, Ganymede. This unique figure, which stands over 4” (12cm) tall in robot mode, is the ideal collector’s item for Overwatch fans and will be a welcome addition to any gaming setup.
With a player base of 40 million, Overwatch has quickly built a global community of passionate followers, spawning a robust merchandising program with brands like The LEGO Group.