Late last year Activision announced a licensing deal with LEGO competitor and toy maker Mega Brands to make building toy sets based on its popular mature-rated action game series, Call of Duty. The toy sets, which were launched in January, are finally getting the attention of children's advocacy groups and one outspoken UK MP - UK Labour MP Keith Vaz, who chairs the Commons Home Affairs Committee.
UK indie developer NotGames has launched a new game called NotGTAV, an extremely low-budget PC parody of Rockstar's popular open-world action adventure, set in the UK. The game lets you: harass sheep in rural Wales, raid a LIDL in Swindon and play as David Cameron in London running over liberals and public sector workers," according to Eurogamer.
The UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries said that, now that the UK video games industry is confirmed to get tax relief, he wants the sector to focus on bringing more youngsters into the business, as opposed to spending that money on hiring from outside the region. Last week the European Parliament gave the greenlight to the scheme, much to the delight of the industry in the UK and the members of parliament that have long supported giving tax incentives to the sector.
It will soon be legal to rips CDs, DVDs, and other media in the United Kingdom, according to this TorrentFreak report. The UK government has released a guide informing its citizenry that an upcoming revision of copyright laws in the country which will make it perfectly legal to make backup copies of CD and DVDs for personal use. Those changes will be in effect this summer.
Sony has confirmed that several studios in its UK studio system have been affected by a round of layoffs. The studios affected by layoffs include its London Studio, Guerrilla Cambridge Studio, and Evolution Studio. While the company confirmed the layoffs it would not say just how many employees were let go in this latest round of layoffs that are part of a restructuring plan.
UK-based games charity GamesAid has announced the line-up of comedians that will be taking part in its annual comedy-charity event Stand Up for GamesAid. The annual comedy show takes place this year on April 14 at the Comedy Store in London and will be hosted by Imran Yusuf, and Eurogamer's Ellie Gibson.
They will be joined by comedians Paul Tonkinson, Ola, Holly Walsh, Paul Thorne, Jarred Christmas, Susan Calman, and Kev Orkian.
Money raised from the event through ticket sales will go directly into the coffers of GamesAid.
The 2014 budget has been passed in the United Kingdom, but once again this year tax relief for the video games industry in the region were not included. UKIE CEO Jo Twist described the ongoing struggle to get tax relief included in the budget "frustrating." The campaign for tax relief similar to what is enjoyed by the film and TV industries has been going on for years, but there were high hopes from the sector and the trade groups representing it in the UK that it would happen this year.
Naughty Dog's The Last of Us was the biggest winner at the 2014 Video Game BAFTA awards in London last night, garnering five awards for Action & Adventure, Audio Achievement, Best Game, Performer, and Story. Grand Theft Auto V and Tearaway won three awards each, while Rockstar Games was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship award.
The most interesting winner was the popular indie game Papers, Please, which won Strategy & Simulation. Not too many indie games are even nominated for a BAFTA, let alone make it far enough to win an award.
Game Art Connect Ltd. announced that Game Music Connect, a one day event dedicated to all things related to music in video games, will return to Southbank Centre in London, England on September 24.
Game Music Connect is aimed at aspiring and professional composers of all backgrounds and those interested in learning about the process of creating video game soundtracks. The event features interviews, practical demonstrations and roundtable discussions with leading composers and audio directors working in the space.
According to this Eurogamer report UK retailer HMV is getting out of the used games business to make room for other merchandise. A "UK industry source" told the publication this morning that HMV is no longer buying used games or game systems.
New documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden cited in a new Guardian report indicate that UK spy agency GCHQ evaluated the potential of using the Xbox 360 (and now Xbox One) Kinect peripheral as a means to spy on people. The report also indicates that the agency also considered the usefulness of the PlayStation Eye as well.
Just for fun, check out this audio interview from the BBC featuring a mother who claims that her 13-year-old son racked up a £4,000 bill on FIFA 14 by buying "Player Packs." He apparently spent £1,000 of that on DLC in 24 hours, according what his mom tells the BBC.
You can check it out here.
EA declined to comment on the story.
Microsoft's chief marketing and strategy officer Yusuf Mehdi announced that a limited edition Titanfall Xbox One bundle will be released on March 11 in the United States. The bundle offers the standard edition Xbox One console, Kinect peripheral, wireless controller and headset, a download code for Titanfall and a voucher for one month of Xbox Live Gold. The bundle is available to pre-order at participating retailers and will cost $499.99.
UK video game retailer GAME has been ordered by the Court of Appeals to pay missed rent payments of around £3 million amassed during its period of administration back in 2012, according to MCV. The retailer said that it had put aside £3 million in the event that it lost its case.
A new teaching lab has opened at Abertay University in Dundee (Scotland). The new lab represents the largest in Europe and offers 30 new PlayStation Vita development kits, and stock of PS3 and PS4 dev kits. Students attending the lab have access to all of the hardware. The University has dubbed it the "Playstation lab." The development kits were given to the university as part of a partnership with PlayStation First, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Academic Development Program.
Worms developer Team17 has won the British Game Jam, beating out fellow UK developers Future Studios and Bossa Studios with a game it developed in 48 hours called [R]evolve. As is usually the case with game jams, teams had 48 hours to develop a game based around a theme - in this case "resilience." Team17's game beat out Future Studios' submission Fearless Finn, and two titles from Bossa - I HATE YOU and Space Radish. Indie developer Luke Whiston tweeted his own entry to the competition on Twitter called Gobulus Rift.
The UKIE, the trade group that represents the video games industry in the United Kingdom, issued a statement today concerning the Office of Fair Trading’s principles for online and app-based games (you can read about that here). UKIE CEO Jo Twist said that her organization has worked closely with its members and the OFT to help form guidelines that protect children and continue to grow business in the UK.
The United Kingdom's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) watchdog agency has given mobile phone app developers two months to adapt to new in-app purchasing rules that better protect children (and subsequently their credit-card holding parents) from in-game micro-transactions and messaging that generally encourages them to buy things to advance gameplay. The OFT has given developers a deadline of April 1 to make their apps for iOS, Windows Phone, and Android devices comply with new rules.
The anti-porn filtering law takes effect the United Kingdom this month, but according to a forum post over at the official League of Legends community site, the new system may also stop you from updating your favorite MOBA game in the region.
In an interview published on Sunday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron revealed that his children are banned from video games and technology. Noting that he worries about the effects of technology on his young children, the Prime Minister says that his children are banned from playing video games, using mobile phones and tablets. He also is apparently no longer a fan of Miley Cyrus because he doesn't want his children to know what "twerking is." On that we can probably agree...
New research confirms what most parents with young children and the people that market all kinds of things to them already know: that there is a synergy between films, video games, toys, and books. A survey of more than 420,000 British school children found that almost all the most-loved books of 2012 and 2013 also existed as films, apps or video games.
Video game industry trade group UKIE is strongly disputing the Government's claim that the games industry in the United Kingdom is shrinking. The UK games industry shrank by nearly half in 2012 compared to 2011, according to figures released by the department for Culture, Media and Sport. UKIE disputes the findings of the report and warns that many UK games companies are not being counted as part of official industrial and economic figures.
A University Campus Suffolk (UCS) computer games design student and a graduate are the winners of a prestigious national games award, much to the delight of the UK-based school. Brad Smith, currently studying at UCS, and former student Joe Kinglake, were the overall winners in the Walking Dead 48-hour game jam – held in October 2013. The two students teamed up to enter The Walking Dead’s ‘All-out War’ themed Game Jam where they competed with 140 other game jam teams.
By all accounts online retailer Zavvi made a mistake when it mailed out a PlayStation Vita and Tearaway bundle to UK customers who simply ordered only the PS Vita game, but the company's response to customers is what's making news this morning. According to Eurogamer, the retailer has sent customers who received the PS Vita bundle by accident emails filled with ultimatums and legal threats.
According to a lengthy report co-published by Pro Publica and the New York Times, American and British spy agencies have infiltrated World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and collecting data in the games played by millions of people around the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents. Agents supposedly created characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, and collected data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents disclosed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden.
UK games industry-related charity GamesAid has begun a Christmas campaign to get video game companies in the country to donate unwanted merchandise to its eBay activity. The UK games industry charity raises money throughout the year and is distributed annually, as per the votes of GamesAid members. Almost £1m has been raised since GamesAid was founded five years ago, and in September alone, £260,000 was donated equally to five youth-orientated charities.
Rakuten, owner of the UK-based games retailer Play.com, claims that Nintendo’s Wii U has seen a 75 percent sales spike in October. The company predicts that Wii U and iPad will be more popular than Xbox One and PS4 amongst children during the holiday season. The company also cites a Twitter analysis that comes to the conclusion that its Wii U and iPad range are "the most talked about presents for children this Christmas."