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.
Gamescom organizer Koelnmesse revealed that Gamescom 2014 drew an estimated 335,000 people from 88 countries to its annual event in Cologne, Germany last week. The attendance number is slightly less than last year's attendance number: 340,000 people. This year's attendance number included 31,500 regular people and 6,000 members of the press.
Koelnmesse also said that 700 exhibitors from 47 countries showcased their gaming products this year, up from 635 exhibitors in 2013.
If you aren't at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany this week (because you live in North America or because you aren't independently wealthy enough to attend) then you can check out a lot of the show on Twitch.
All week the folks at Twitch will be hosting content directly from the show including demos from the show floor, press conferences, and whatever cool stuff is going on at Europe's biggest annual gaming event for fans and the media.
You can find Twitch's Gamescom portal at www.twitch.tv/event/gamescom.
The show hasn't even started yet but Gamescom organizers have already announced the nominees for the 2014 Best Of Show awards. How, you may ask, can nominees already be selected when the games haven't been seen and the show has not opened yet? Well, because they have been seen by a jury of journalists.
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.
Stockholm, Sweden's week-long Stockholm Pride Festival kicks off today, and to celebrate Swedish retailer Webhallen is auctioning off a custom rainbow flag colored PS4 which it is calling the "Sony GayStation." Proceeds raised from this auction will go to the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights.
The European Union announced today that it is working with member states to create guidelines that ensure that games and apps with in-app purchases are marketed to consumers in an "appropriate manner." These rules come after an investigation into App store marketing practices aimed at children.
The EU said that, going forward, the following guidelines will be applied to Apple, Google, and other app store owners:
- Games advertised as "free" should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved
The Game Developers Conference (GDC) Europe today released results from its second annual European State of the Industry Survey, which reveals trends around regional development hubs, tax incentives and more. The survey is conducted annually prior to the launch of GDC Europe in August.
GDC Europe 2014 is organized by UBM Tech Game Network and runs from August 11-13 at the Congress-Centrum Ost in Cologne, Germany. It takes place in tandem with Europe's biggest video game trade and public show gamescom.
New guidelines from Ofcom (the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries) will make switching from one superfast broadband supplier to another less expensive. Prior to changes in the rules, when a consumer switched from BT's Openreach (the company that controls BT's phone and broadband infrastructure) the new ISP would be hit with a £50 connection fee. This fee was typically passed on to the consumer.
If you play Sony Online Entertainment games is Europe then you deal with a partner company called ProSiebenSat1. Games (PSG). The company handles accounts for a number of SOE titles including PlanetSide 2, DC Universe Online and EverQuest 2, and many others. Soon users of those games will have to transfer their accounts to Sony Online Entertainment.
Nintendo announced today that it will consolidate its European operations and lay off 130 employees. The company said in a press release today that it will be closing its headquarters building and a warehouse in Großostheim, Germany and moving its European operations to Frankfurt. These changes mean that an estimated "130 permanent employees" will be laid off.
PR 101: if the President of the United States name checks your product in an international speech, it is the best thing in the world that can happen to you. While visiting Poland today, President Barack Obama mentioned CD Projekt Red's popular RPG, The Witcher. The last time the president was visiting the country, he was given a copy of The Witcher 2 Collector's Edition as a gift by prime minister Donald Tusk. Today while in Poland the President mentioned the game and admitted that he wasn't very good at games in general.
Nominees for the 2014 Nordic Game Awards have been announced today highlighting the best games from the region's developers over the last 12 months. Six prizes will be awarded at the Nordic Game show in Malmö, (which takes place from may 21-23, 2014), decided by a jury of judges selected from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.
Rockstar Games' open-world action game Grand Theft Auto V was the biggest winner at this year's European Game Awards. The latest game in the GTA series picked up awards for Best Sound, Best Action Game, and Best Game. Ubisoft was named Best Publisher, while Goodgame Studios won awards for Best Studio and Best Browser game for Empire: Four Kingdoms. Other notable winners included World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition, Beyond: Two Souls and Battlefield 4 - which was honored for Best Art Direction and Best Multiplayer Game.
EVE Online maker CCP Games announced that it is offering live streaming options for its annual fan celebration EVE Fanfest (May 1-3). Each year, thousands of EVE Online, DUST 514, and now EVE: Valkyrie players from around the world travel to CCP's headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland for three days of celebration of the EVE universe.
The European Parliament has voted to implement net neutrality rules that would - if fully approved - restrict internet service providers' from charging data-intensive services such as Netflix for faster network access. The new law still needs to be approved by Europe's Council of Ministers.
The new rules would also prohibit mobile networks and broadband providers from blocking services such as WhatApp messages or Google Drive storage, which critics argue could be exploited to allow child pornography to be shared via these types of services.
UK-based 'Cut the Rope' developer ZeptoLab has filed an official challenge to King's "Candy" trademark in Europe. The company filed its official challenge to the broad trademark on March 20. In the European Union, King still has an active trademark registration for Candy that covers video games, video game services, and clothing. ZeptoLab is strongly objecting to this in that region, noting that no company should holds the rights to such a broad and commonly used term such as "Candy."
Speaking at the Cebit tech fair in Hanover, Germany recently, European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes said that the future of the internet has to be based on trust. Kroes is responsible for the European Commission's Digital Agenda, and was giving the speech to an audience which included such state leaders as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
South Park co-creator Matt Stone is pretty upset that the European release of the game he helped create with Obsidian Studios, South Park: The Stick of Truth, was censored. In an interview with Metro, Stone expressed his frustration with the removal of seven scenes from the European release that involved abortion and anal probing.
The European video game ratings board PEGI, says that it did not in any way force publisher Ubisoft to cut the content it did from the European version of its new South Park RPG, South Park: Stick of Truth. In fact the ratings body said that it judged the uncut version of the game and gave it an appropriate rating.
Kotaku shows off a couple of screenshots from the European version of South Park: The Stick of Truth. The screenshots - both of which contain spoilers (so if you don't want this specific plot element revealed to you, don't view it) - show off what happens in the uncensored version of the game versus the European version.
European Union ministers are acknowledging that free trade talks between the European Union and the United States are being continually opposed by advocacy groups who are fighting against such issues as globalization, multinationals, and more. The rise of these groups' influence on negotiations, along with reports that the U.S. has been spying in Europe and that trade agreements are favored by big companies (who are helping to craft the language of some of these treaties) has proven to be a challenge to EU officials.
The European Commission announced that it is holding meetings with member states and key players in the mobile app space like Apple and Google to enforce even stronger regulation of free-to-play games. The European Union's executive body said that it is concerned that a substantial number of games are marketed as free but contain in-app purchases that can prove to be very costly to consumers and that children are "particularly vulnerable" to messaging and marketing.
A number of scenes have been cut from South Park: Stick of Truth to get the game a lower rating in Europe. According to a BT Games report citing a document given to the publication by publisher Ubisoft, at least seven 20-second scenes were removed from the European version of the game.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during her weekly podcast that she is proposing to other European nations - most notably France - to build their own communications network to help improve data protection. Chancellor Merkel described a network that would not have to automatically pass through the United States.
Erling Ellingsen, Funcom's director of communications, tells MMORPG.com that his company is cooperating with Norwegian authorities who are conducting an investigation into allegations that executives at the MMO developer engaged in insider trading.
Norwegian MMO developer and publisher Funcom is under investigation for insider trading, according to this Eurogamer report. According to the report, staff were sent home today as Norwegian authorities collected documents related to an investigation into insider trading, though specific details about the investigation remain unknown as of this writing. Funcom's stock has also been temporarily frozen on the Oslo stock market.
Though Nintendo recently said that the Wii production halt was only aimed at Japan, it turns out that the original Wii will no longer be produced for European markets either. Instead Nintendo UK says that consumers who don't own a Wii and want one can still buy the Wii Mini - a SKU offering a lower price-point at the cost of a number of missing features (only disc-based Wii games can be played and backwards compatibility and downloadable titles are not supported).