Pain dev Idol Minds rebrands and shifts focus to ‘narrative-driven’ games

Idol Minds announced today that it’s shifting gears to focus on making “narrative-driven titles” with its new StoryForge game dev toolset, and as part of the change it has a new name: Deck Nine. …

from Gamasutra News

Rockstar’s Parent Company Talks Microtransactions, VR Doubts, Nintendo Switch Optimism

During a speaking appearance today, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick discussed a number of interesting topics, including microtransactions, virtual reality, and the Nintendo Switch.

Starting with microtransactions, Zelnick said Take-Two is not trying to nickel-and-dime players, though he did acknowledge that the company has received some amount of criticism on the subject. Microtransactions are part of what Take-Two calls “recurrent consumer spending” and this is big business for the company, and highly lucrative given the margins on digital content.

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You can expect Take-Two’s future games to continue to make use of microtransactions.

“You can’t give stuff away for free in perpetuity; there’s no business model in that,” Zelnick said at the Cowen and Company 45th Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference today. “But we’re not trying to optimise the monetisiation of everything we do to the nth degree.

“My concern is, if you do that, the consumer knows,” he said. “They might not even know that they know, but they feel it.”

Zelnick added: “Think about it anecdotally–when you paid a little too much for something, even if it was something really good, it really irks you. Paying too much for something bad is even worse. Paying too much for something really good, even if you can afford it, just leaves you with a bad feeling. We don’t want our consumers to ever feel that way.”

Also during the talk, Zelnick said Take-Two isn’t do as much in the area of microtransactions as its competitors, though he didn’t mention any by name. So you can expect Take-Two to try to walk the line of making more money per user, but in a way that doesn’t negatively impact the user experience.

“We are convinced that we are probably from an industry view undermonetising on a per-user basis,” the executive said. “There is wood to chop because I think we can do more, and we can do more without interfering with our strategy of being the most creative and our ethical approach, which is delighting consumers.”

“We’re not going to grab the last nickel.”

Grand Theft Auto Online was a significant contributor to Take-Two’s recurrent consumer spending revenue in the last quarter. Looking ahead, Rockstar has said Red Dead Redemption 2 will have an online element, though it has yet to be formally revealed.

Switching to virtual reality, Zelnick–who has been critical of VR in the past–started off by saying with a laugh, “[VR is] developing exactly as I said it would.”

He remains skeptical of VR: “So far there is not a significant entertainment market for VR software. I think that’s a factual statement.”

Take-Two’s Carnival Games virtual reality title “sold some units,” Zelnick said, while he also called out the NBA VR experience that Take-Two made.

Overall, Zelnick said Take-Two will support VR if the install base is big enough, which is the company’s plan for basically all platforms.

“If VR develops as a meaningful entertainment platform, we’ll be there,” he said.

“I am highly convinced it’s not going to be, ‘put on the headset, put on the earphones, stand up, hold two controllers, and do that for six hours.’ That’s very unlikely to happen” — Zelnick

“I am highly convinced it’s not going to be, ‘put on the headset, put on the earphones, stand up, hold two controllers, and do that for six hours.’ That’s very unlikely to happen,” he said.

A third major topic that came up during the talk was Nintendo Switch. Asked how much support Take-Two and its labels plan to give the hybrid console, the executive started off by pointing out, “We’re there, front and center” with the new NBA 2K game coming to the console this year.

Regarding Switch in general, Zelnick said, “We believe in it. We see it the way [Nintendo does]; it’s been a very successful launch. It remains to be seen how it does, but we’re excited about it. Assuming there is an installed base, we’ll be there. Not with all of our titles, but selectively.”

The Switch is Nintendo’s fastest-selling console ever, with sales passing 2.74 million units in its first month.

For more on Zelnick’s speaking event today, you can listen to a replay of the 40-minute talk here.

In other Take-Two news, the company announced today that it has acquired Kerbal Space Program.

from GameSpot

Survey: Americans under 35 like eSports as much as actual sports

A recent survey suggests “Millennials” (aka anyone between the ages of 18 and 34) in the U.S. are basically evenly split when it comes to whether they prefer traditional sports or eSports. …

from Gamasutra News

Teen Titans, Powerpuff Girls, And Beetlejuice Expansions Announced For Lego Dimensions

Warner Bros. Interactive has announced the latest wave of expansions for Lego Dimensions. This time, players can step into the worlds of The Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans Go, and Beetlejuice.

The Teen Titans Go expansion comes in the form of a new Team Pack and Fun Pack based on the animated series. The Team Pack includes minifigs of Raven and Beast Boy, as well as a transformable T-Car and Spellbook of Azaroth. The Fun Pack, meanwhile, contains a minifig of Starfire and a 3-in-1 Titan Robot. Each minifig allows players to access the Teen Titans Adventure World, Jump City.

Warner Bros. is also releasing Team and Fun Packs for Powerpuff Girls. The Team Pack contains minifigs of Blossom and Bubbles, as well as a 3-in-1 Octi and PPG Smartphone. The Fun Pack includes Buttercup and a transformable Mega Blast Bot. All three minifigs grant access to the Powerpuff Girls Adventure World.

The Beetlejuice expansion, meanwhile, is only releasing as a Fun Pack. It includes a minifig of the poltergeist himself along with Saturn’s Sandworm, which can be rebuilt into the Haunted Vacuum and Spooky Spider.

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The latest batch of expansions is the ninth such wave released for Lego Dimensions so far. Most recently, the game received an expansion based on the Lego Batman Movie. Other notable expansions for the title include Sonic the Hedgehog, Adventure Time, Ghostbusters, and The Simpsons.

Lego Dimensions is available for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii U. The Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans Go, and Beetlejuice expansions are slated to arrive on September 12.

from GameSpot

Payday Designer’s New Game Is Actually Called GTFO

10 Chambers Collective, a studio composed of several ex-Payday developers, announced today that its new game is called GTFO.

That’s right–the developer’s game tells you to “get the f*** out” right up front. The studio is still being tight-lipped about what GTFO is, but it describes the project as a “four-player hardcore co-op action horror FPS.” How all those different elements are brought together is still unknown.

10 Chambers announced the name via a short teaser trailer, which you can see above. All that you can see in the video is a series of chasms or holes with jagged edges, as light flickers.

The developer isn’t even attempting to make GTFO appeal to broad audiences; rather, it is targeting a niche group of players. As founder Ulf Andersson said in a press release, “10 Chambers is completely self funded, meaning there is no board of directors that dictates our creative choices. We can go for a more niche audience–so GTFO goes out to the tight knit, die hard co-op teams of 2-4 people. Technically you can play alone, but really, the world of GTFO is no place for lone wolves and stragglers. They’ll die, lost in the game’s endless maze.”

There’s no word yet on platforms or release date, but 10 Chambers stated that more news will come later in 2017.

from GameSpot