League of Legends gets World of Warcraft Veteran game designer


World of Warcraft veteran leaves Blizzard to join RIOT Games as League of Legends developer.

Greg Street

Former World of Warcraft lead systems designer Greg Street has updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect that he is now a lead game designer at Riot Games.

The Linked profile doesn’t indicate the project he is working on at Riot Games. In a post on his Twitter account, Street alluded to the change but implied it would be some time before he provided more clarification on it.

“Thank you for all the recent tweets, but I think the appropriate thing for me to do is lie low for awhile,” Street said. “I won’t vanish forever. Cheers.”

Street, also known as Ghostcrawler on the World of Warcraft forums, had been with Blizzard for nearly six years when he left last month. Prior to that, he worked at Microsoft’s Ensemble Studios as the lead game designer on Age of Empires III.

 

[source]

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NASA using Oculus Rift with Xbox One’s Kinect to control robots


NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab team is testing a combination of the Xbox One Kinect sensor and the Oculus Rift headset to control robots:

Using the new Xbox One Kinect sensor, we are able to manipulate the JACO robot arm in real time. By combining position tracking from the Kinect and rotational tracking with the Oculus, we provide a first-person view for the operator. Future work will include integrating sensor array data into the scene and translating our research to the Robonaut 2 humanoid on the International Space Station.

From the research side of things, this is a great proof-of-concept to show another application of consumer technology in a research environment. This sort of thing could be applied anywhere humans shouldn’t be going but autonomous or controller-operated robots aren’t quite nimble enough to work. It could also decrease the need extra-vehicular activities during space missions or even future landings on the Moon and Mars.

 

[source]

Nintendo games on iOS?


Nintendo Is “Experimenting” With Bringing Games To IOS

Nintendo_on_iphoneNintendo has been finding themselves between a rock and a hard place in recent years when it comes to handheld gaming versus mobile gaming, as is Sony with their PS Vita.

While the DS, 2DS and 3DS are great devices and are enjoying great sales, it could always be better. Smartphones and tablets have been taking potential profits away from their portable consoles little by little over the past few years.

The belief by many is simple, who wants to carry an additional device dedicated to gaming when our phones have everything we need already? Well I guess it really depends on the type of consumer/gamer you are and where you are going. If it’s a quick commute, maybe a quick round of Angry Birds, Candy Crush or my favorite Nimble Quest is enough but most gamers do not consider these types of games as true deep playing games along the lines of, lets say a Zelda or Mario Kart for 3DS on the go are.

To remedy (somewhat) this problem, Nintendo is looking at various experimental ways they can add their brand on mobile devices but, and here is the tricky part..not take sales away from their own devices. A catch 22.

In a recent interview, Reginald “Reggie” Fils-Aime, president/chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, suggested a shift in Nintendo’s current strategy. Fils-Aime explained that while the ultimate goal will be to draw gamers to Nintendo hardware, the company is aware of the need for expansion. “We recognize that there are a lot of smartphones and tablets out there, and so what we’re doing is we’re being very smart in how we use these devices as marketing tools for our content.” He went on to say, “We’re also doing a lot of experimentation of what I would call the little experiences you can have on your smartphone and tablet that will drive you back to your Nintendo hardware.”

Fils-Aime was also quick to point out “We believe our games are best played and best enjoyed on our devices,” so it’s unlikely that Donkey Kong 3D and Mario Kart 8 will be available in full mode on a future iOS.

Many consumers and analysts are suggesting that Nintendo get out all together from the console market and focus on the great games they make just as Sega has done. But as a writer for Cult of Mac suggests and I tend to agree:

“Many people will wonder why Nintendo doesn’t just give-up, and just start releasing games for iOS, but that’s too cynical. Nintendo is, in many ways, Japan’s Apple, tightly integrating hardware and software to create a magical experience. Telling them to just give up on hardware is like telling Apple to start licensing iOS to competitors and stop making iPhones. But Nintendo does need to be smarter about what a gaming console even looks like in a world saturated with smartphones, and it looks like they have finally started.”

John Carmack’s laments and regrets for Next Gen


“Just as you fully understand a previous generation, you have to put it away to surf forward on the tidal wave of technology that’s always moving”

John Carmack

John Carmack’s name is synonymous with the technical evolution of gaming, but the Oculus VR CTO now feels uncomfortable with the relentless progress in console hardware.

Speaking to Wired on the 20th anniversary of the release of Doom, the genre-defining FPS he co-created with Jon Romero, Carmack recalled id Software’s tendency to demand better hardware with each new release – ignoring the huge number of people with aging graphics cards to cater for the more dedicated and tech-savvy players.

With the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 now on-sale in most major territories, Carmack noted that the trend has continued, the huge audience and untapped potential of the previous generation abandoned for uncertainty and rising costs.

“The 360 and PS3 are far from tapped out in terms of what a developer could do with them, but the whole world’s gonna move over towards next-gen and high-end PCs”

“Even to this day, I struggle a little bit with that,” he said. “There’s so much you can still do on the previous console generation. The 360 and PS3 are far from tapped out in terms of what a developer could do with them, but the whole world’s gonna move over towards next-gen and high-end PCs and all these other things.

“Part of me still frets a little bit about that, where just as you fully understand a previous generation, you have to put it away to kind of surf forward on the tidal wave of technology that’s always moving. That’s something that we’ve struggled with in every generation. And now I at least know enough to recognize that some of my internal feelings or fondness for technology that I understand or have done various things with usually has to be put aside. Because data has shown over the decades that that’s usually not as important as you think it is.”

Carmack now has one clear regret from his time at id Software. In the push for technical excellence, the studio missed the opportunity to make more games, falling into a cycle where huge production cycles were the norm. Carmack would not comment the protracted development of Doom 4, but he did admit that establishing the core of the franchise so many years later is, “a heck of a lot harder than you might think.”

“The worst aspect of the continuing pace of game development that we fell into was the longer and longer times between releases. If I could go back in time and change one thing along the trajectory of id Software, it would be, do more things more often.

“And that was id’s mantra for so long: ‘It’ll be done when it’s done.’ And I recant from that. I no longer think that is the appropriate way to build games. I mean, time matters, and as years go by-if it’s done when it’s done and you’re talking a month or two, fine. But if it’s a year or two, you need to be making a different game.”

The last year has not been kind to id Software. In April, reports surfaced that work on Doom 4 had essentially been scrapped and started again, and ZeniMax PR boss Pete Hines admitted that the original plans, “did not exhibit the quality and excitement that id and Bethesda intend to deliver.”

In June, CEO Todd Hollenshead left the company after 17 years, with Carmack officially jumping to Oculus in November after a short period where he focused the bulk of his efforts on the nascent VR technology.

PS4 Sold 1.25 Million Units During November 2013 in the US, Xbox One at 750,000


ps4

Wedbush Securities, who is usually very close when it comes to NPD predictions, is estimating (via GI.Biz) that the PlayStation 4 sold 1.25 million consoles during the month of November, while the Xbox One was at 750,000. As well, they believe the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii U will be down 44%, 28%, and 65%, respectively, when compared to last year.

Even with the PS4 and Xbox One introduction, Michael Pachter of Wedbush thinks that console and handheld sales were down 13% overall to $1.25 billion.

When it comes to software sales in November 2013, it’s expected they will be down 13% as well, with “far weaker-than-expected debuts” for Battlefield 4 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag attributing to this. As well, Pachter believes Call of Duty: Ghosts’ sales were down due to the low reviews and PS4 and Xbox One launches.

The NPD should be releasing their official November 2013 US retail sales report Thursday night.

 

[source]