Connect with us

Tech

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: Why Microsoft is all-in on gaming

Published

on

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: Why Microsoft is all-in on gaming

Elevate your enterprise data technology and strategy at Transform 2021.


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talked with game leader Phil Spencer about why Microsoft is all-in when it comes to gaming.

The hour-long business discussion with a bunch of Microsoft Xbox executives preceded Microsoft’s upcoming reveal event for games on Sunday at the all-online Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Wisely, the company got the dry business stuff out of the way so it can focus on the sizzling gameplay revelations on Sunday.

The conversation between Spencer and Nadella focused on the importance of gaming at Microsoft and in the world. Since this was such a vital conversation for Microsoft’s cred in the game business, the company decided to share it with gamers in its entirety. It was smart of Microsoft to separate this business talk from the other event. The message of this power display was targeted at game publishers, shareholders, and developers, as Microsoft has to convince them it is more serious about games than Nintendo or Sony.

These are the sorts of questions I would quiz Microsoft about, if I had the chance. But gamers would have hated this presentation because it would have taken up a lot of time talking about the game business, rather than showing them actual games and gameplay, as Microsoft will do on Sunday.

“Gaming has been key to Microsoft from our earliest of days,” Nadella said. “Our oldest currently supported software franchise is in fact our game Microsoft Flight Simulator, which we released three years before the first version of Windows, even. Gaming is fundamentally aligned and woven into our mission as a company. When you talk about Xbox’s mission to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone on the planet, which I absolutely love, this is precisely what I think of when we think about Microsoft’s mission, which is to empower every person, every organization on the planet to achieve more.”

That was good reinforcement of the CEO’s confidence in games, which is a healthy business but a very small part of Microsoft’s business and its value as a company. It reminded me of Google CEO Sundar Pichai showing up at the Game Developers Conference in March 2019 when Google entered the game business by unveiling its Stadia cloud gaming service. Of course, that venture hasn’t turned out as well as Google had hoped. But CEOs coming on stage to talk about games is a strong endorsement of the opportunity at hand.

Above: Microsoft is putting players at the center of gaming. That’s its brand message.

Image Credit: Microsoft

“As a company, Microsoft’s all-in on gaming. We believe we can play a leading role in democratizing gaming and defining that future of interactive entertainment, quite frankly, at scale,” Nadella said.

He said there are three areas where Microsoft has a competitive advantage. First is the leadership in cloud computing; second, the resources Microsoft has to build out the subscription value with Xbox Game Pass; and third is the overall focus on empowering creators, he said.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity in gaming,” Nadella said.

Cloud tech and cloud gaming

Speaking about Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology, Spencer said, “Going back to the birth of personal computing in the 1970s, the ability to play games has been limited by the cost and power of the specific device you’re using, whether it’s an arcade cabinet or a PC, a phone, a tablet, whatever. And that cost and those requirements have always severely limited who can play, where they can play, and who they can play with.”

Spencer said the company would continue to invest in cloud computing and spread across more devices to reach more gamers. It will move into internet-connected TVs, for instance.

Cloud gaming will launch later this year for Game Pass Ultimate members in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan. Cloud gaming will be added directly to the Xbox app on PCs and consoles later this year to enable features like “try before you download.” Cloud gaming is also moving into browsers, even on iPhones. You’ll also be able to get an Xbox Series X experience via the cloud through Azure. That project is in the latter stage of testing.

“When I was a kid, it was crazy to think about having a Galaga machine or a Ms. Pac-Man machine in your house,” Spencer said. “You had to go to the arcade. More recently, if you couldn’t spend hundreds of dollars on a game console, potentially thousands of dollars on a high-end PC, you simply couldn’t participate in the global gaming community in a significant way. The cloud will allow us to completely remove these barriers to play worldwide.”

He said there is still a place for consoles and PCs, and there always will be.

xbox Console Family Back To Back

Above: The Xbox Series X/S.

Image Credit: Microsoft

“But through the cloud, we will be able to deliver a robust gaming experience to anyone connected to the internet, even on the least powerful, least expensive devices, even on devices people already own,” Spencer said. “And with the cloud, gaming players can participate fully in the same Xbox experience as people on local hardware. We couldn’t do that if we weren’t part of Microsoft.”

Nadella said that the cloud and Azure put people at the center of gaming, enabling them to play wherever and whenever they want on any device.

“It’s been a game changer for me. I love that I can go from my PC to my Xbox to my Duo, picking up on any game right where I left off and even using the touch controls on Duo,” Nadella said. “That is super well done, and I can use my controller, of course, on my PC. You also see the power of the cloud when you look at the evolution of some of our first-party games, like Flight Simulator. It exemplifies, at least for me, what uniquely we can do by bringing together the power of all of Microsoft’s tech stack, from Azure AI to Bing maps, and even spatial computing, which came together to create essentially literally a digital twin of the entire planet.”

He noted that game developers like Pearl Abyss are using Azure to scale their games using the power of the cloud.

“And of course, game development doesn’t stop when the game is launched,” Nadella said. “In fact, one of the things we have learned from all of the work you all have done is in some sense, it starts after the game is launched because you want to be able to experiment, learn through analytics, and continuously change gameplay. And one of the things I’m most excited about is how we are enabling game developers to do just that with Azure PlayFab, which now holds more than 2.5 billion player accounts. It’s being used as the backend for more than 5,000 games, so a lot of exciting things that the cloud can enable.”

Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass PC Family Key Art

Above: Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s subscription service for games.

Image Credit: Microsoft

Spencer turned the subject to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass subscription service, which costs $10 a month or $15 a month for access to a wide range of games. He noted that at the beginning, Microsoft approached this business with trepidation because it wasn’t sure how fans and developers would react.

But like the rest of Microsoft, Xbox is shifting from packaged good software sales to services and subscriptions, Spencer said.

Microsoft is putting the big sell on its subscription service for games, which it believes is changing the habits of gamers. Earlier this year, the company said its Game Pass subscriptions had passed 18 million. Microsoft said that Xbox Game Pass members play 30% more genres and 40% more games. And more than 90% of members said they played a game that they would not have tried without Game Pass. The result of games going into Xbox Game Pass is that they get a lift at retail, Spencer said, and publishing partners see the benefit of being on the service.

“With Game Pass, we are truly redefining how games are distributed, played, and shared,” Nadella said. “The content is the driving force behind Game Pass’ growth, which is why I’m so excited about our acquisition of ZeniMax, which brings some of the world’s most iconic, beloved games to the service. With Game Pass coming to the browser, the value of the subscription is going to transcend from the console to the PC to mobile, and it’s great to see the progress. I’m looking forward to how we continue to invest in Game Pass to add more content and bring the service to even more geographies as we make progress.”

On average across the Game Pass library, partners see engagement go up by more than eight times when they enter Game Pass. Whether it’s purchasing games inside or outside of what’s available in the library, or purchasing additional content for the games they like, members spend 50% more than non-members.

“For the first couple of decades, the only way you could play the game was to buy the game outright,” Spencer said. “And for many players, this can be an investment that limits their ability to play. That cost, the retail model, has limited the audience for creators and the entire industry. That’s why we created Game Pass, to open up the ways that players can play more games with their friends, ultimately bringing in more players, making games more accessible to everyone.”

xbox Gaming Growth Infographic

Above: The game business has been growing.

Image Credit: Microsoft

Xbox Game Pass has become a discovery engine, a platform for connection and community, and is driving game sales, the company claims. Microsoft revealed today that, since its partnership with EA Play to make Game Pass Ultimate, EA Play has seen record usage on Microsoft platforms compared to before the integration, driving up hours played by more than 200%.

The new Square Enix game Outriders is in Game Pass; it was the No. 1 selling digital game on Xbox during its launch week and a top 10 selling digital game on Xbox in the month of April, said Liz Hamren, corporate vice president of game engineering at Microsoft. Game Pass helped introduce millions of players to the game, Microsoft said. During launch week, MLB: The Show 21 was the biggest sports game of the past year on Xbox, the No. 1 selling paid game on Xbox for the month of April, and the second biggest sports game of all time on Xbox. Again, Microsoft said Game Pass added millions of new fans and grew Major League Baseball’s player base significantly.

Hamren said the company is exploring new subscription options as a way to spread the reach of Xbox Game Pass.

“When you step back and look at the next decade and the evolution of technology, I think one of the most defining trends will be how the balance between consumption and creation is achieved and the changes it brings about,” Nadella said. “Already, more and more people are creating something new and magical every day. You see that in all sorts of platforms, and there are growing communities who want to discover, explore, and build on other’s creations. I believe we will need that virtuous cycle between content consumption, commerce driven by communities for everything we build. And there’s no better example of this than gaming.”

Nadella said Minecraft is leading the way into the creator economy, as Minecraft players craft their own worlds. Players have generated more than $350 million in proceeds from the more than one billion downloads of mods they created.

“That’s fantastic to see. And when I think about our new platform, Microsoft Mesh, which enables you to interact holographically with other people with a true presence in a very natural way, one of the most exciting applications, I think, will be gaming,” Nadella said. “Niantic, for example, showed a great demo of Pokémon Go using Mesh at our recent event. We’re very excited about what creators can do going forward with the platform shifts that we are going to have in the next 10 years.”

Xbox and Xbox Game Pass are coming to more screens

xbox Three Cs Infographic

Above: Microsoft’s three C’s.

Image Credit: Microsoft

Xbox is working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Xbox experience directly into internet-connected televisions with no extra hardware required except a controller, as well as new subscription offerings for Xbox Game Pass around the world.

Xbox is working with telecommunications providers on new purchasing models like Xbox All Access, which allows consumers to buy both a console and Game Pass for a low monthly price, rather than spending money upfront. The company is also building its own streaming devices for cloud gaming to reach gamers on any TV or monitor without the need for a console at all. Cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will launch in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan later this year.

In the next few weeks, cloud gaming on the browser will open to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. With Edge, Chrome, and Safari support, players will be a click away from gaming on almost any device. And Microsoft is in the final stages of updating its datacenters around the world with the latest generation of hardware, the Xbox Series X. The company said gamers will see faster load times, improved frame rates, and experience Xbox Series X|S optimized games.

Later this year, Microsoft will add cloud gaming directly into the Xbox app on PC and integrate it into its console to power features like “try before you download.”

A pipeline of games

xbox studios

Above: Microsoft owns 23 game studios.

Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft has spent a lot of money developing hardware like the Xbox Series X/S, but the cornerstone of big bets has been content acquisition. Role playing games, shooters, strategy titles, adventure games, and more are all being built by first-party teams to ensure a steady stream of compelling exclusive content.

With more than 23 studios worldwide creating games for Xbox, the company’s goal is to release at least one new, first-party game into Game Pass every quarter. The company has provided the financial support to make both small acquisitions like Double Fine and huge deals like the $7.5 billion purchase of ZeniMax/Bethesda, said Matt Booty, head of Xbox Game Studios.

Tim Stuart, Xbox chief financial officer, said the game division’s goal is to be an engine of growth for Microsoft. That means Microsoft has to be a player in large and growing global markets where it can gain share. Gaming fits that profile, he said.

And Microsoft’s independent developer program [email protected] has earned developers over $2 billion since the program’s inception, with over 2,000 titles launched and many more on the way, Spencer said. The company is expanding the model beyond games to [email protected], which allows independent devs to build cloud-based experiences.

Spencer said that gaming has become the most powerful form of entertainment globally because people from different backgrounds can come together and form real bonds through games. Microsoft wants billions more people to come to games.

Dave McCarthy, corporate vice president for Xbox product services, said a culture of inclusion is fundamental to the team at Microsoft. “Being intentionally inclusive is business critical,” he said, noting there are 400 million players with disabilities who should not be left behind because of accessibility problems.

Microsoft has added new accessibility features to its consoles and the Xbox Adaptive Controller, which was introduced in 1998 for players with limited mobility.

GamesBeat

GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it.

How will you do that? Membership includes access to:

  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and “open office” events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties

Become a member

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tech

Coromon will bring its Pokémon-plus-puzzles game to Nintendo Switch in Q1 2022

Published

on

Coromon will bring its Pokémon-plus-puzzles game to Nintendo Switch in Q1 2022

Elevate your enterprise data technology and strategy at Transform 2021.


Coromon twists the Pokémon formula with how it approaches dungeons, customization, and puzzles for its monster-taming gameplay. It’s already been announced for PC and mobile, and during the Freedom Games 2021 Showcase at the digital Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) today, developer TRAGsoft said Coromon is coming to another platform: the Nintendo Switch.

This feels like a good fit, as Coromon sports visuals similar to the early Pokémon games and is also about, you know, catching monsters. TRAGsoft has added a puzzle layer; as you explore maps, you find yourself dealing with these little brainteasers. And when your monsters level up, you can play with their statistics, giving it more RPG depth and other monster-taming games.

Your character works for a high-tech company, and your goal is to extract Titan Essences from the world. As the name implies, Titans are larger beasts you find in dungeons, and you and your monster teams must defeat them to get the essences and learn more about these “cornerstones” of the world.

“And this journey will lead you into a story of full plot twists that are full of interesting events and side quests to do,” TRAGsoft’s Marcel van der Made said. He’s the CEO and story writer for the studio, along with being the “Second Ridiculously Ambitious Guy.” (TRAGsoft stands for “Two Ridiculously Ambitious Guys.” Van der Made is the second, and fellow CEO and programmer Jochem Pouwels is the first).

TRAGsoft has been working on Coromon for over seven years, and the project is the result in part for their fondness for the Game Boy, Pokémon, and grand adventures with puzzles like Zelda.

“We love games and spent thousands of hours playing those games,” Marcel van der Made said. “Why not make a game with every the aspect we love and put that together for the ultimate RPG experience. That’s how Coromon came to life.”

And, of course, leads to the studio name “Two Ridiculously Ambitious Guys.”

Full of potential

Above: You can tweak your Coromon’s stats.

Image Credit: TARGsoft

Colors show how strong your Coromon can be. Two may be of the same species, but one may be brown, and the other is purple. This is part of TRAGsoft’s potential system. Coromon gain XP as they fight, and you can use those points to customize their stats. Van der Made says you can do that to make one a glass cannon (meaning with powerful attacks but weak health and defense), or make one that soaks up enemy damage.

It also has a shiny system (this reminds me of foils in Pokémon card packs), which plays into how you allocate a Coromon’s stats. They come in three versions as well: normal, potent, and perfect (think of these as the evolutions in Pokémon).

Nice work if you can get it

final 60b8fc88992b5a00293fad5a 655395

Above: You’d better not say, “I choose you, Pikachu” in Coromon.

Image Credit: TARGsoft

In games like Pokémon or Monster Rancher, you’re goal is to be the best trainer or collector you can be. And while that’s an important aspect of Coromon as well, you’re also working for a big company. You get paid for your endeavors, and along the way, you encounter other employees who are there to help you.

“They actually pay you to battle,” van der Made said. I dig this, as one of my few gripes with Pokémon is starting every adventure at home and getting a goodbye from your mom. “There’s even an outer space aspect to it, you’ll find out from the story itself.”

Puzzles and traps

As we explored a sandy dungeon, we encountered some dart traps. This is all about timing, avoiding the darts as you make your way through that part of the maze. Some of these dart traps have patterns you must watch for. Other traps include trapdoors, and some of these combine to make for some nasty tests. You also have buttons to move walls. None of them are difficult, but they do require you to pay attention to your surroundings and break the gameplay loop of finding and fighting monsters.

Coromon

Above: As you explore dungeons, you’ll find some traps.

Image Credit: TARGsoft

“[The puzzles” should be accessible enough so that you can find out [the solution] yourself. And some have people who are there to explain the mechanics,” van der Made said. “Some of the puzzles are really rewarding. You get a special item to solve puzzles that aren’t really required to progress any further. We’re really trying to make it accessible, but also complex enough for those who like exploring.”

The name game

Coromon has more than 120 creatures. Coming up for names for that many monsters could be tough, especially when you want to avoid using any that sound like names from Pokémon.

Turns out the TRAGsoft team enjoyed it.

“That’s really fun process, actually. We have brainstorms with about three people working on it. Sometimes you just get a beer and have a long brainstorm session on it,” van der Made said.

They’d look at monster designs and come up with ideas (some funny) until they found those that worked for them. One aspect of the localizations of Coromon is that you don’t need names that translate well from one language to another; you just use a good name from that language for the monster. They do try to stay away from certain pronunciations, as that can make it harder for naming three varieties of the same creature.

The studio also did some naming contests with its community.

Correction, 1:30 p.m.: Fixed the studio name to TRAGsoft throughout. I apologize for the error.

GamesBeat

GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it.

How will you do that? Membership includes access to:

  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and “open office” events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties

Become a member

Continue Reading

Tech

Mythical Games launches early access for Blankos Block Party

Published

on

Mythical Games launches early access for Blankos Block Party

Elevate your enterprise data technology and strategy at Transform 2021.


Mythical Games has launched early access on the PC for its Blankos Block Party open-world multiplayer game, which offers unique game characters authenticated with nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

The Los Angeles-based Mythical Games is pioneering the idea of “playable NFTs,” using that technology to uniquely identify game characters so players can truly own them. NFTs use blockchain, the secure and transparent digital ledger, to authenticate unique digital items. Just last week, Mythical raised $75 million from WestCap and others to pursue the larger opportunity to license its NFT technology to other game companies.

CEO John Linden made the announcement today in a talk at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) event, which is an all-online trade show. The company revealed some major fashion, music, and art collaborations for Blankos Block Party. It has deals with Burberry, DeadMau5, Quiccs, and El Grand Chamaco. The E3 talk included numerous artists talking about the potential they see in the blending of NFTs, art, and games.

“We’re moving the game into early access, which is exciting, and adding a lot of new features in the game itself,” said Linde, in an interview with GamesBeat. “The MMO hub has been redesigned. Deadmau5 is going to be involved. Burberry is going to be announcing their first NFT. And we have a lot of great artists involved too.”

Rob Manley, chief marketing officer at Burberry, said in the E3 talk that being a part of the gaming community is a big opportunity and it represents the company’s first move into NFTs.

Above: Burberry and Blankos have teamed up.

Image Credit: Mythical Games

Blankos Block Party has vinyl-style game characters who you earn (through gameplay), buy, or sell. It has begun testing its marketplace where players can buy and sell their characters, which can be customized or decorated with various things earned in the game.

The NFT craze

John Linden is CEO of Mythical Games.

Above: John Linden is CEO of Mythical Games.

Image Credit: Mythical

Mythical is one of many game companies offering a “play-to-earn” opportunity for gamers, enabling them to earn money from the time and investments they put into the game. NFTs have exploded in other applications, such as art, sports collectibles, and music. NBA Top Shot (a digital take on collectible basketball cards) is one example. Built by Dapper Labs, NBA Top Shot has surpassed $500 million in sales, five months after going public. And an NFT digital collage by the artist Beeple sold at Christie’s for $69.3 million. But more recently NFTs have seen price declines as some say that the hype is running out of steam.

While many NFT projects have been dismissed as overhyped schemes to get rich quick, Linden said in an interview with GamesBeat that the company wants to drive mass adoption of ownership in games through playable NFTs.

The playable NFTS in Blankos Block Party have the same utility as any character or accessory you might buy or earn in another game, but because of the blockchain technology behind them, players actually own what they buy and can sell them in real-money transactions when they no longer want or need them, unlocking the value of their time and money spent.

NFT marketplace

blankos 7

Above: Blankos Block Party’s marketplace.

Image Credit: Mythical Games

Pre-blockchain, players invested billions of dollars into digital items in other online games without a tangible way to benefit from it beyond gameplay advantages (or just showing off their bling); content remains locked behind their account because their purchase is really just a lease or licensing agreement, with no capability to transfer or sell, Mythical said. And while other secondary marketplaces have existed in the form of gray markets and black markets, players who participate are exposed to unsafe transactions, scams, and even the threat of losing their accounts for terms of service violations, the company said.

“The marketplace is where they can sell things,” he said. “Our accessories are still curated. But what the players can do then is, with most of the characters, players can now customize so they can level them up. We’ll keep adding things into this world. ”

Linden said that the various brands will have a lot of options for their NFT characters. They can limit the number of them or the time period in which they’re sold to create scarcity. They can also offer them at different prices. What’s different about this game is that blockchain enables provenance, or the capability to trace the history of an NFT. That means that brands can get paid a percentage of the sale price every time one of their NFT characters changes hands. And so they can benefit from a rise in price for an object over time.

You can buy Mythical's blockchain-based limited items for $25 to $150.

Above: You can buy Mythical’s blockchain-based limited items for $25 to $150.

Image Credit: Mythical Games

But the tech isn’t really easy to create. Mythical Games has more than 100 employees, and it has been working on its tech and game for three years, Linden said. Adding NFTs to a game means that a company has to create a digital wallet for players to securely hold their digital property. It sits on top of a blockchain platform, and that platform often has to be modified to reduce transaction costs, speed up transactions, and use less energy than the likes of Bitcoin and Ethereum. All of that takes engineering work, and Mythical is still hiring.

On top of that, Mythical Games is talking to other game companies to license its platform to them so that those game companies can create their own games with playable NFT characters.

Mythical wants to drive mass adoption of ownership in games through playable NFTs with the growth of its first game, Blankos Block Party; expansion to other gaming platforms; and new projects launching later this year and in 2022. Via its Mythical Economic Engine and Mythical Marketplace, the company says it is providing a platform for game developers to create their own player-owned economies, as well as new tools for content creators and brands to facilitate ownership of in-game assets.

Through the Mythical Marketplace, players can unlock the value of monetary, rarity, and time-based efforts by selling their NFTs to other players for real money, in safe and secure transactions with proof of authenticity.

Early access and influencer events

blankos 6

Above: Blankos Block Party has a marketplace for NFT characters.

Image Credit: Mythical

In the open beta for Blankos Block Party, Mythical has enabled player-designed levels. Players hold more than 100,000 NFTs; as the game’s audience continues to grow, earlier assets and specialized releases will become more scarce and likely more valuable in the secondary market, creating rarity on a mass-market scale and providing new sources of income for players.

Mythical streamers include KarlNetwork, Captain Sparklez, and KaraCorvus. Folks can tune in on Friday, June 18 to watch and even join some of their favorite streamers in Blankos and they can get a chance to get a playable NFT Twitch Drop.

Mythical's marketplace for the Blankos Block Party game.

Above: Mythical’s marketplace for the Blankos Block Party game.

Image Credit: Mythical

Mythical will work together with Deadmau5 (Joel Zimmerman) on a Blanko and accessory package modeled after his beloved cat, Professor Meowingtons, and the infamous deadmau5 helmet. This will drop in summer 2021.

Burberry will do a Blankos NFT drop, releasing this summer as a way to reach gamers. And Mythical is also working with Marathon Clothing, a brand owned by the late rapper Nipsey Hussle. They will work together on Blankos-related gear later this year.

And Mythical is working with El Grand Chamaco, an illustrator based in the small village of Los Ramones. El Grand Chamaco’s artworks are inspired by his Mexican roots, adopting the colorful vibrant palette of the culture into his 3D graphics. After years of perfecting his style, he gained his fame as a prominent illustrator and character designer—reimagining pop culture characters into his own depiction. And Mythical is working with Hackatao, an artist duo born in Milan in 2007. Hackatoo has pioneered crypto art since 2018.

alex pardee

Above: Alex Pardee is an artist who hopes to benefit from the NFT art craze.

Image Credit: Mythical Games

Blankos Block Party and the Mythical Marketplace are built on a private EOSIO blockchain using a proof of authority model that is more environmentally friendly and sustainable than the proof of work model (neither the game nor Blankos NFTs require any crypto mining). With Blankos Block Party and its Marketplace, Mythical aims to drive mass adoption of ownership in games through NFTs and blockchain technology, opening the door to a new kind of global game economy where creators are owners and players are asset holders. Mythical has raised $120 million to date and it has more than 100 employees.

Players can sign up now to join Blankos Block Party in early access on PC. The Mythical Marketplace, where players can buy and sell Blankos in peer-to-peer transactions for real money, is in its alpha phase and will continue rolling out to players this summer.

Linden said the game has had very good key performance indicators (KPIs) during its beta testing.

“We’re really taking the wraps off of all the fun stuff you can do in the game,” he said.

GamesBeat

GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it.

How will you do that? Membership includes access to:

  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and “open office” events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties

Become a member

Continue Reading

Tech

Intellivision Entertainment wants to own retro couch gaming

Published

on

The Intellivision Amico has a wood-paneled VIP model.

Elevate your enterprise data technology and strategy at Transform 2021.


Intellivision Entertainment CEO Tommy Tallarico made his pitch to gamers today to own the couch when it comes to retro console gaming, talking about the Intellivision Amico console in a speech at the online-only Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) today.

Intellivision has had to postpone its launch twice now, and its latest plan is to launch the Amico on October 10, about a year after it originally planned. Tallarico said the pandemic forced the company to postpone its launch, but it also gave the company an opportunity to get more games in place for its launch.

The focus is “that friendship, that multiplayer, that couch co-op experience,” he said.

The Amico has a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and its focus will be to enable multiplayer games that you can play with your friends in the same room, on the couch, like Tallarico used to do when he was young. The curvy, wedge-like console’s design is supposed to be friendly and accessible. They intend for the console to be something you can use right off the bat, and it isn’t aimed at the more limited audience of hardcore gamers. He thinks this is complementary to other consoles, and so he doesn’t view others as competition.

It’s not about screaming graphics, but having a good time with fun, simple, casual games that you can play with your friends.

A time machine

Above: The Intellivision Amico has a wood-paneled VIP model.

Image Credit: Intellivision

The original Intellivision is a game console from Mattel that gave Atari a run for its money in the early 1980s. It was more advanced than the Atari 2600, with better graphics, and it even had simple voices in some games.

Tallarico has been in the video game industry for 32 years, and he created the “oof” sound that became the signature sound for Roblox games. Tallarico, who created the Video Games Live concert series, announced in 2018 that he had acquired the rights to the console and its original games and planned to relaunch Intellivision as a retro brand.

He has rounded up many of the original Intellivision’s game creators. They’re remaking some of the original games for the old Intellivision, such as Breakout, but with modern designs.

Amico is the Italian word for “friend,” and October 10 is the birthday of Tallarico’s sister. “My mother is very proud,” Tallarico said.

A crafted console

Intellivision has a network of retailers who will sell the Amico.

Above: Intellivision has a network of retailers who will sell the Amico.

Image Credit: Intellivision

The machine has 40 independently controlled LEDs on the console base and 12 LEDs on each console controller, for a total of 64, product development director Todd Linthicum said. That provides for an endless amount of expression through lighting.

Some games will correlate colors on the controller’s lights with gameplay. The console’s wedge shape enables you to see the lights from all angles, and you can adjust the brightness of the LEDs or turn them off. The controllers can charge in 2 hours, and batteries last 4-6 hours.

The controllers have color capacitive touchscreens, gyroscopes, force feedback, speakers, microphones, and wireless contact charging. Two controllers nest inside the console base, which enables them to charge. You can also charge a controller with a USB-C cable. The controllers have four shoulder buttons and a touch wheel with a button. A Home button lets you pause or exit a game easily. The controller can be moved in 64 directions and the controller screen has touch sensitivity. If you take a controller to a friend’s house, you can play all the games that you own on your console on your friend’s machine.

The Amico has an HDMI out port, a USB-C connector, a power connection, and a microSD expansion slot for more memory. You can store up to 50 games on the device. Radio frequency identification (RFID) connectivity offers a new way to unlock features in games or to interact with the console. You can simply take an object like a gift card and tap it on the console to unlock something. Intellivision will talk more about boxed games later. There are no loot boxes or in-app ads. But there are online leaderboards where you can check your score against others.

Game lineup

Intellivision is targeting the Amico at families for couch play.

Above: Intellivision is targeting the Amico at families for couch play.

Image Credit: Intellivision

Tallarico mentioned some of the games that will be coming for the Amico.

The list includes:

  • Earthworm Jim
  • Night Stalker
  • Incan Gold
  • Shark Shark
  • Spades
  • Cornhole
  • Astro Smash
  • Retro Reimagined
  • Breakout
  • Asteroids
  • Tempest
  • Missile Command
  • Burger Time
  • Bump and Jump
  • Cloudy Mountain
  • Sesame Street
  • Care Bears
  • Finnegan Fox
  • Bomb Squad
  • Space Strikers
  • Rigid Force Redux Enhanced
  • Dyno Blaster
  • Major League Baseball
  • Blank Slate
  • Telestrations
  • Flying Tigers

The brands making games for the Amico include Hot Wheels and the Harlem Globetrotters, and there will be games based on charades, soccer, pool, card games, skiing, and more.

And he said the original Ecco the Dolphin team to create a new game called Dolphin Quest.

GamesBeat

GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it.

How will you do that? Membership includes access to:

  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and “open office” events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties

Become a member

Continue Reading

Trending