Casual Game News

Twitch: Soon broadcasting from a mobile phone near you

Mar 6, 2014

The future of mobile gameplay may be broadcasted and recorded, if Twitch has its way.  Today, Twitch announced it is releasing a mobile SDK to enable the live broadcasting, video capture, and archiving of play in mobile games.

So what?  Startups Everyplay and Kamkord have been doing this for years.  The big deal is that Twitch is so ginormous that I’m using the term ginormous instead of big.

How ginormous?  Twitch attracts 45 million viewers per month.  That’s bigger than Hulu.  It’s mobile app has been downloaded 10 million times, with an equal amount between iOS and Android.  It’s game streaming and broadcast service has created the genre of Let’s Play videos on the PC, taken esports mainstream, and made League of Legends a household name. A recent Pokemon game on Twitch attracted hundreds of thousands of players.  

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And now Twitch is coming to the mobile phone.

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WhatsApp with games and chat?

Mar 6, 2014

Now that a week has passed since Facebook bought WhatsApp for $18 billion, it’s time for our obligatory post about it.

Just to get it out of the way, I have no clue why Facebook bought WhatsApp for this amount.  My guess is that Facebook’s social network is dying (especially among teens) but its ad platform is revolutionary.  Buying WhatsApp and its 450 million global users enables Facebook to remain on top for mobile and ads, though given WhatsApp owns no real data on its users, that’s in theory.  Mark Zuckerberg is far smarter and more successful than I, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

What does WhatsApp have to do with games?  Absolutely nothing.  But, messaging and chat could be the next big thing in games, Facebook and WhatsApp notwithstanding.

WhatsApp really has nothing to do with games.  Just look at the famous handwritten note between WhatsApp founders. 

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WhatsApp has no interest in games, and the founders believe that this is partly the secret to their success.  Given they just sold their company for $18 billion, they could be right.



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OUYA's next phase: 'It's ready to be embedded in other people's devices'

Mar 6, 2014

In a blow to the hopes of people who champion the cause of microconsoles, the OUYA hasn’t exactly taken the gaming world by storm since its launch. The Android-based box became a Kickstarter sensation, but some PR missteps hurt its public perception, (though Gamezebo is still pretty smitten with how things turned out).

Ah, but what if OUYA wasn’t just a game machine, but a platform in and of itself? That surprising revelation came from an interview OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman recently gave to [a]listdaily, flat out telling people to look for OUYA on other devices.

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Here’s the money quote:

“We started with a $99 box, but we always wanted to create a console platform that can live on other people's devices. We just knew it was going to take us a little bit of time to get it ready. Now we think the software is good enough, it's ready to be embedded in other people's devices.”

 

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BlackSoul backpedals its way into Steam Early Access (and that’s worrisome)

Mar 5, 2014

PC

BlackSoul: Extended Edition is available on Steam. At first it was labeled as a complete game, but now it’s made the jump – retroactively – to Early Access. What happened?

 According to the developer, as well as the Steam community, the game was released in a rather dire state.

The developer stated in an email that “we are receiving a lot of feedback and we found the game still need some more work to make it more enjoyable, so our decision is to keep supporting it with further updates...”

The email was apparently sent to multiple publications that received review codes for the game. It goes on to say the game “might also switch to Early Access,” although it seems they chose to do so rather quickly, as the game is now listed as such on Steam.

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The Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Mac Bundle

Mar 5, 2014

Mac

Assassin’s Creed fans with Mac love in your hearts, rejoice! The first two chapters in the saga of Ezio Auditore da Firenze – aka everybody’s favorite 16th century assassin – can be grabbed together in the latest Gamezebo Deals bundle for just $14.99.

Both games, Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, are included in their “Deluxe Edition” format, which means more maps, more characters – more everything. You’ll even get the complete movie Assassin’s Creed Lineage.

What are you? A Templar? Quit stalling and click “buy” already!

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Is Xbox Live about to make a big push towards iOS and Android integration?

Mar 5, 2014

Until Sauron devises the One Service to connect all mobile games, we’ve had to make do with a patchwork quilt of systems to serve up achievements, leaderboards, friend notifications and the like. There’s GameCenter for iOS, Google Play Games for Android, and products like OpenKit attempting to cover all the bases.

But a familiar face with plenty of resources at its disposal might be entering the fray. Sources have told The Verge that Microsoft is looking to expand Xbox Live to offer mobile games some of the same features the service has provided to console games, even going so far as to create job posts looking for developers to aid in the initiative.

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X-Mercs sounds like XCOM on your iPad (assuming you don’t own XCOM on your iPad)

Mar 4, 2014

Firaxis did an amazing job resurrecting the XCOM (or X-COM, if you prefer) with Enemy Unknown. Now that their alien invasion strategy simulation has its own outstanding port on iOS, it was only a matter of time before imitators made their way to the platform as well.

With a name like X-Mercs: Invasion, developer Game Insight isn’t making any bones about where its inspiration comes from.

“In X-Mercs: Invasion, players will spearhead their very own military campaign,” the developer’s press release reads “by assembling an army of the finest mercenary soldiers in the world, constructing a military base, and researching and converting alien tech into deadly weapons to use against their extraterrestrial creators.”

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LAST CHANCE: Save 32% on an OUYA

Mar 4, 2014

It might not be the most popular opinion in the world, but here at Gamezebo we really dig the OUYA. Friends may roll their eyes whenever we bring it up – and at least once I’ve had somebody say “oh yOUYA” at my microconsole affections – but once you get your hands on one, we know you’ll feel the same way we do.

Which is why you should do it. RIGHT NOW.

Our 14 day deal on an OUYA + game credit is about to come to a close – but (depending on when you’re reading this) it’s not too late! For $85 you can grab an OUYA (normally $99) plus a $25 credit towards OUYA games, because Towerfall.

Click here. Do the buying thing. Thank us later.

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Orion: Dino Horde avoids extinction, sells 500,000 through a Steam event

Mar 4, 2014

PC

When Orion: Dino Beatdown launched in 2012, it was a developer's worst nightmare. The critics tore the game apart, some even ranking the game as one of the worst games of the year. Orion: Dino Beatdown released as a buggy, broken mess, and Spiral Game Studios knew they had to do something in order to fix their reputation. In 2013, Orion: Dino Beatdown was rebranded Orion: Dino Horde and the game went on to receive a number of free content updates and plenty of patches to ensure the stability of the game and a future for the brand.

To entice players apprehensive about giving the remodeled game a try, and breathe life back into the game's community for existing game owners, Spiral Game Studios promoted Orion: Dino Horde on Steam through a weeklong, free-to-play event. Between February 20th and the 27th, Steam users could give the game a try at no cost. The game itself was heavily discounted to $1 (from $14.99) during the duration of the event as well.

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Zynga going back to the mobile future with FarmVille 2: Country Escape

Mar 3, 2014

Zynga’s new CEO is confident that he can get the company into the mobile future, or at the very least, to the present. But what mobile gamers can expect first are some offerings very much rooted in past successes.

Former Xbox chief and EA executive Don Mattrick is that CEO, and he’s ready to face Wall Street types today for the first time. He also gave an exclusive interview to the San Francisco Chronicle that detailed what the company has up its sleeve over the next few months as it finally launches a concentrated assault on the mobile market after floundering in its efforts for quite some time.

Initially, Zynga is banking on a long overdue mobile-first FarmVille game called FarmVille 2: Country Escape. Unlike previous, half-hearted efforts to bring the brand to smartphones and tablets, this one is a full-featured game that has the company saying all the right things. Most notably, it can be played offline, and it won’t require you to spam friends to advance (wait, can it really be FarmVille then?).

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