December 17, 2015

Tencent Purchases Remaining Stake In League of Legends Developer Riot Games

Posted on December 17, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

League Of Legends Logo 2015

TenCent the Chinese technological behemoth that operates the popular Chinese FPS Cross Fire and holds a minority stake in Epic Games among other entertainment ventures has purchased the remaining equity in League of Legends developer Riot Games.

This change in ownership was announced via Riot Game’s official website. They say that this allow them to offer more competitive wages and benefits to the employees while continuing their upward growth.

Here’s the full statement as it appears on Riot’s website:

“As a result of our continued growth and changing circumstances, we’re shifting to a new structure to recognize and reward Rioters’ contributions – and that first involves a big change to our existing equity program. As part of this effort, our majority investor, Tencent, recently purchased the remaining equity of Riot Games. This allows us to move away from a Riot equity program towards a cash based incentive program that allows Rioters to share in Riot’s success. This program comes in addition to our highly competitive salaries, open PTO, learning and development programs, 401K match, subsidized medical plans, and kitchens stocked with snax (poro and otherwise) all full-time Rioters get.”

TenCent originally invested a reported $400 million USD in Riot Games in return for a majority share in 2011. After this acquisition it was reported that League has earned Riot more than $960+ million dollars per year according to their 2014 financials.

Considering that this is a business transaction I don’t think that existing League players should be too concerned about their favorite heroes disappearing into the aether.


Turok: Remastered Trailer Proves Game Isn’t Extinct

Posted on December 17, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

Do you remember Turok: The Dinosaur Hunter for the Nintendo 64? If you’re younger than 25 I’d not considering the original version was released nearly 20 years ago in 1996! Despite its age there is a high of enough demand that a Windows PC port is launching on Steam nearly two decades after the game hit store shelves.

Developer Night Dive Studio is handling the translation to modern operating systems. Turok: Remastered won’t just include cleaned up textures and various Steam features but also the removal of the once infamous “pea soup” fog that plagued the original games. Due to the hardware limitations of the Nintendo 64 the original games had quite the poor draw distance.

Turok: Remastered includes content from the 1996 original as well as the sequel 1998’s Turok: Seeds of Evil. It is also available for purchase via GOG and the Humble Store.

[youtube id=”gHX5NArspxg”]



Comcept Unloads A Barrage of Mighty Number 9 Screenshots

Posted on December 17, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

Mighty Number 9

Comcept the developer behind the Kickstarted Mega Man spiritual successor Mighty Number 9 has released a whole set of brand new screenshots for your viewing pleasure. We’ve got an entire gallery containing all of the high-rez colorful screnshots at the bottom of this post.

Mighty Number 9 was originally revealed back in September 2013 and reached its funding goal only after 2 days. With gameplay that is reminiscent of Keiji Inafune’s former Capcom creation, long time platform veterans and those familiar with his other works should have no problem jumping right into protagonist Beck’s shoes.  This past August the project was delayed from a September 2015 release into February of next year for most versions of Mighty Number 9. It will be released on Windows PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, OSX, Linux. Wii U and at a later date PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS.


Steam sale: the greatest good, or the worst evil?

Posted on December 17, 2015 by Fionna Schweit

The Beginning

I remember a time when you couldn’t get computer games any way but by going out to Funcoland, or another store to buy them. In those days places like Funcoland had bargain bins, whole large bins full of games that were often rightly called shovelware. Most of these games would have fit right in on todays overcrowded indie game sphere, with the one difference that they had a box. Digital distribution has killed the bargain bin box, but not what lived inside it, it’s found a new home on Steam, and to a greater extent the twice annual steam sale.


Deep Discounts

As I peruse the current steam sale a title catches my eye “Angels Fall First” is an indie tactical, infantry, first person shooter, set in space, where you fly your ship in first person too. Whoa, that’s a mouth full, all of that costs 14.39 (20% off today!) and that’s just one example of hundreds. This one happens to be in early access and absolutely screams feature creep, but it still caught my eye. Why? Well it had the right price tag (for me <15$) a laundry list of features and a flashy splash image that was featured in today’s deals.  It’s that kind of exposure that can mean a huge infusion of cash to a developer and major media coverage for an otherwise sleeper game. This has created a get rich or die trying type of culture in today’s indie game sphere where a game can go from being unknown to a major hit in just a few days, with no publisher or PR. The end result of this is that we get a lot of games that might not have ever seen the light of day going up on steam and getting a lot of sales during these twice annual times of deep discounts.

The Sale Now

Steam sales started out as something great. Twice a year Valve thanked their users by throwing them some pretty extreme sales on titles. The result was a great way to get your hands on games you might otherwise never play. It also had the perhaps unintentional side effect of giving huge boosts to several indie developers. The steam Green Tags have become legendary 20% 40% 70%, steam even has a tab for games under 10$ and games under 5$. The psychology of the sale keeps us buying, but is it really worth it? Its clear that Steam is playing its audience here. Steam knows at what price point people buy, and how much they have to discount a game to get it out the door in quantity. I remember the first time I saw a game on steam listed at 50% off, it was normally a 50$ game, and that green tag was just too much resist, despite having never intended to buy the game for various reasons, I put the game in my cart and bought it. Why? Because it was 50% off, I played about 20 minutes of the game and then got bored, never to play it again. It now sits in my library with literally hundreds of other 10$ titles that I buy on impulse because they are 10% off, and then install and play for 30 minuets or an hour then never touch again.

Gaben Steam Sale Love

I don’t think cheap games have to be bad, I got more play time out of Terreria that almost any other game ever, and it’s been on sale for as low as 1$! I also have plenty of 60$ games in my library that haven’t been touched. It’s really a question of quantity and availability. I have over 300 games in my steam library and somewhere in the neighborhood of half of those have never been installed. Now you chalk a few of them up to things like the full Valve pack which I picked up on sale (40% off!) and humble bundles (2$ for 5 games?|!!?!?!) but a lot of those games I would never have if it wasn’t for the steam sales. The sum total of those games represents enough capitol investment to purchase lots of new computer parts, or invest elsewhere.

On the other hand, I also have some games I doubt I ever would have noticed if they hadn’t been on sale. Dungeons of dreadmore, Recettear, and Oblivion fall in to this category. In 2011 I purchased all three of these in various steam sales for <20$ total for all of them. All three of these games have >100 hours of play time in my library. They all together cost about 15$ during that steam sale. That same year (the same sale even) I also bought Supreme commander 2 (>30$ and also 40% off) and that game never even got installed. It’s a great good and a terrible evil. While I have a lot of games, the more games that I have it seems the less inclined I am to play some of them.

Quality vs Quantity

The quality of the sale has also decreased recently, the most prevalent games get 10% discounts and the smaller indies get larger ones. Im not sure im ever going to play Doorkickers, but you can bet I have it in my library. Why? Because in 2014 it was on sale for 5$ and I thought it looked kinda neat. Turns out its basically a mobile tactics game, and really not up my alley at all. If I had bothered to do any research like I would have if I had spent 20$ (the games MSRP) I would probably have known this and been fine and not bought it. Instead I saw a green price tag with -75% on it, and decided I need the game regardless of the content.


And so dear readers we arrive at our conclusion, and that is Caveat emptor (buyer beware) because Steam is an amazing platform for equalizing million dollar PR budgets and 0$ PR budgets. That of course creates an obvious problem. Those games with million dollar budgets also had three year (or longer) development cycles, whereas the others might have been put together in 6 months or 6 years, and not subjected to playtesting or quality control. Quality of the sale has also gone down as the number of sales has gone up. When you have 4 sales a year you have to find at least 4 sales worth of items to sell. While I appreciate the recent abolition of flash sales,  which were clear bait to get you to come back to the sale as many times as possible, but I honestly think its time for Steam to evaluate how its running its sales, and maybe cut down to one a year.


Star Citizen 2.0 Procedurally Generated Planet Landing Video Swoops In

Posted on December 17, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

Star Citizen

It seems that not a week goes by without a a brand new video for Star Citizen. The latest short video that has our attention is a three minute segment that showcases the upcoming ability  seamlessly fly from the outer orbit of a planet all the way down to the surface. It should be noted that this feature has not yet been implemented into the version of Star Citizen 2.0 that is currently available to backers.  In fact this video came from a Live-Stream of the game according to comments on both the r/PCGaming sub reddit and the video’s comment section.

[youtube id=”X5XSiww9ZO4″]

I think EvilNight on Reddit said it best when describing what kind of a technical achievement this is:

“All the things that SC does were done before in other games.

The praiseworthy part is that SC ties together a half dozen different game engine styles into one seamless, no-loading-screen persistent universe. This is something that a hell of a lot of people (including veteran game developers) have always said couldn’t be done. It is a truly mind boggling technical challenge to pull off.

SC is proving them wrong, one step at a time. It’s only been in development 3 years and the alpha v2 is already showing they’ve nailed most of the hard stuff. The rest is just fine tuning, bug squashing, prettying things up, and content generation.”

Star Citizen  of course recently passed the $100 million mark in crowdfunding in the last few weeks and has made steady progress in deploying regular updates to backers. The developers over at Cloud Imperium Games have also released an official Dev video educating potential pilots about their procedural generation system. These new features are expected to be rolled out with the Star Citizen 2.1 update sometime soon.

[youtube id=”-yLTm8DZ8s4″]


GeForce Experience Beta update adds new options

Posted on December 17, 2015 by Fionna Schweit

Nvidia has updated its GeForce Experience to add screen shots, editing, and capture tools in to it. Though I think at this point the horse is out of the barn and well, competently gone from the farm. Nvidia has been known for their “stable” drivers for the majority of their company existence, and the Geforce experience is basically a bloated piece of spyware which constantly searches for updates you don’t really need, and now it can stream and take screen shots!

There have been a number of entries in to the streaming field recently, and why not its quite profitable. Im not really suprised to see Nvidia entering the market, and im sure there are some technical arguments for using a capture software directly off of your cards manufacturer’s website, but can it beat OBS?

Screenshot capture comes in addition to the existing video capture feature. You can edit and upload your screenshots without leaving the game. One cool thing is that Nvidia has partnered with Imgur to enable image uploading with resolutions up to 4K. You will of course need to share your Imgur log in details with Nvidia

Nvida streaming

For the streaming crowd  Nvidia has included the ability to stream with a custom overlay, and there’s now an on-screen viewer count which is enabled via an option in the Overlays section of Experience. That is pretty neat, as prior to this I do not belive there has been a tool to easily do this. Additionally, in order to improve your stream’s quality, you can now select your nearest Twitch server to make the most out of your upload speed.

if you want to try it out you can grab it here If you use it and think its better than OBS leave a comment because im still not sold on the idea of using anything branded with Nvidia to stream.


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