After announcing its new team-based first-person shooter Overwatch, Blizzard has opened up registration for the beta it announced at BlizzCon today. You can sign up for that here. The beta will take place sometime in 2015.
Overwatch is reportedly based on its cancelled game codenamed "Titan" and is being helmed by World of Warcraft game director Jeff Kaplan. It is the first original IP announced by Blizzard in 17 years.
The LucasArts classic catalog is now available on GOG.com, and all of the games are DRM-free. The DRM-free digital distribution platform announced today that has secured the rights to carry LucasArts re-releases from LucasArts owner Disney including Star Wars: X-Wing and Tie Fighter. Both of those games will be released as "special editions" with better graphics and other extras. All of LucasArts' games on GOG.com have been reworked to be DRM-free and work on modern Windows operating systems too.
Blizzard announced that it has banned "several thousand" Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft players who allegedly used bots to cheat in the popular collectible card game. Blizzard says that a number of players have been using illicit 'bot' software to play the game endlessly in the background, allowing them to hit the daily gold cap and in turn make it easier to level up with minimal effort. It took the company until this week to deal with the issue of cheating.
In an interview with Polygon, Visceral Games' Ian Milham, the creative director of the upcoming cops v. robbers first-person shooter Battlefield Hardlines, tackles the thorny subject of the militarization of police departments in America. The subject came to the forefront of conversation after the police force in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri rolled out armored vehicles and military gear in response to large scale protests over the shooting of Michael Brown.
id Software and Bethesda Softworks announced today that QuakeCon 2015 is tentatively scheduled to take place July 23 - 26, 2015. Next year's event will mark the 20th anniversary of the event. QuakeCon 2015 will be at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas.
The free convention will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a busy lineup of parties, panels, competitions, exhibitions of upcoming games and hardware from Bethesda and partners, as well as what "North America's largest bring-your-own-computer LAN party," according to organizers.
Blizzard will do a major Heroes of the Storm account wipe prior to its multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game entering the final phase of "technical alpha," according to Eurogamer.
Microsoft announced this morning that it has acquired Minecraft and Scrolls maker Mojang for $2.5 billion. The deal was rumored to be in the works last week. While Microsoft will acquire the Swedish company and all of its IP including Minecraft on multiple mobile, PC, and console platforms, it will not get access to one important commodity: Notch.
A Bloomberg report citing three individuals with knowledge of the deal, claims that Microsoft is in talks with Marcus Persson to buy Minecraft maker Mojang AB for an estimated $2 billion.
There will be no Minecon fan gathering this year, according to Mojang. Mojang COO Vu Bui announced on the company blog that it will skip its 2014 event of the Minecraft-themed convention, with the next Minecon tentatively scheduled for sometime in 2015.
"While we don't have a set date for the next MINECON just yet, I wanted to let everyone know that it won't be until some time in 2015. I'm shooting to have it in the spring in London," Bui wrote before cautioning that even the 2015 event was not set in stone or a guarantee at this point.
Japanese game developer GungHo Entertainment has sold its stake in Supercell to its own parent company, SoftBank. GII reports that the Puzzle & Dragons developer sold its holdings in the Finnish studio because it wanted to focus more on emerging markets such as "China, Southeast Asia, and South America."
Koch Media and its publishing label Deep Silver announced that they have acquired the Homefront brand and all related assets from Crytek. The deal encompasses all things Homefront-related including the latest game in the series that was being developed by Crytek UK - Homefront: The Revolution. The game will continue to be developed in the newly formed Nottingham-based Deep Silver Dambuster Studios.
The final of the official Dota 2 International world championship took place yesterday, with Chinese team Newbee winning the $5 million prize pot. Newbee beat another team from China, ViCi Gaming in front of a capacity crowd at Seattle's Key Arena. As a team, Newbee took home $5 million, while runner-up team ViCi Gaming received $1.5 million. The third-place team, North America's Evil Geniuses, earned $1 million total.
The winner of Monday's DreamHack Hearthstone tournament has been accused of cheating by the community - even though organizers have reviewed the situation and given both participants a "pass," and the loser of the event says that the winner beat him fair and square. The trouble revolves around the winner, Radu 'RDU' Dima, who apparently received Battle.net messages from friends while the finals were taking place. Dima eventually bested Team Liquid's Jason 'Amaz' Chan by 3-0 to take home a $10,000 prize pot.
Angry Birds maker Rovio may have spent too much time focusing on its number one hit game franchise. According to this Gamasutra report, Rovio's profits were cut by more than 50 percent during the 2013 fiscal year.
Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and NetEase have inked an agreement to license Blizzard Entertainment's Heroes of the Storm to a NetEase-affiliate in mainland China for a term of three years. Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard's upcoming free-to-play, online team brawler featuring heroes from more than 20 years of Blizzard gaming history. Gamers will be able to play some of their favorite characters from the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo universes, and team up with friends to battle other teams online.
Wargaming CEO Victor Kisyli has pledged that his company will invest $10 million into improving and developing features that support eSports in 2014. At a press conference in Warsaw, Poland, Wargaming CEO Victor Kisyli said that there has been a huge upswing of interest in World of Tanks for eSports in the last two years. In 2012, 30,000 pro players took part in 120 World of Tanks tournaments, while in 2013 that number climbed to 200,000 players across more than 1,000 World of Tanks tournaments, according to Wargaming's calculations.
eSports brand Electronic Sports League (ESL) announced that parent company Turtle Entertainment GmbH, has entered into an agreement to acquire U.S. -based ESS Agency and that it would open a full production studio and offices in Los Angeles, California. This will mark the seventh international office for the eSports company to date. ESL’s North American operations will be conducted from two U.S. offices, New York and Los Angeles.
As is usually the case with new, popular, and multiplayer-focused games, cheating is a problem that has to be dealt with as swiftly as possible, and that is just what Respawn is doing with Titanfall. Respawn said that it is keeping track of those players who are cheating and will root them all out shortly. Titanfall launched on Xbox One and PC on Tuesday.
The developer announced via Twitter that it was keeping track of anyone using aimbots to boost their kill counts and has plans to ban them soon.
In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Candy Crush Saga maker King today said that it plans to price its shares between $21 and $24 for its initial public offering and that it plans to sell 22.2 million shares.
Here's an odd but true story. Online retailer and Kindle Fire maker Amazon has acquired Killer Instinct creator Double Helix for an undisclosed amount of cash. The Irvine, California-based company that created Killer Instinct for the Xbox One console, was founded in 2007 through the merger of The Collective and Shiny Entertainment. The company currently employs around 75 people, who will continue to operate out of their Orange County offices, according to TechCrunch.
According to an OnGamers report, World Cyber Games is finished holding eSports tournaments this year and may cease operations beyond being just a "brand." The World Cyber Games is one of the world's most popular and recognized e-sports tournament organizations operating competitions in Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Oceania.
Puzzle & Dragons developer GungHo Online expects to rake in around $1.2 billion in revenue this year, and because it keeps its overhead low, it expects to keep about $700 million of that figure after expenses. These numbers are from CEO Kazuki Morishita, who recently spoke with CNN Fortune about the company's runaway hit game and business in general.
He attributes at least some of his company's success to his experience as a Manzai artist and stand-up comedian - believe it or not.
Microsoft has purchased the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games, much like it did with Halo. The company now owns the franchise and all previous versions of the game. The Globe and Mail has all the details on the deal, including the fact that Microsoft's Vancouver-based studio, Black Tusk Studios, will be in charge of the franchise moving forward.
Minecraft for Mac and PC will soon have native support for Twitch live streaming, according to news coming out of Minecon 2013 this weekend. Speaking at Minecon 2013 over the weekend, Twitch Marketing Vice President Matthew DiPietro confirmed that this level of functionality would be introduced 'soon'.
"Minecraft has struck a very powerful chord with the Twitch community," DiPietro said.
The latest update for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm goes a step in the right direction for those players who are color blind. Blizzard Entertainment announced plans to release update 2.0.10 for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm later this week that will add a new color blind mode and some new eSports features.
The new color blind mode alternates the colors that are used to designate players and shows the build grid when the "Display Build Grid" message is enabled. The minimap terrain is also darkened to show more visual contrast between units and terrain.