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Minecraft Dungeons Launches On Nintendo Switch In April Next Year

After being delayed earlier this year, Mojang has now confirmed its new title Minecraft Dungeons will arrive on the Switch and multiple other platforms in April next year.

Coming to PC, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One and Xbox Game Pass in April 2020.

The game itself is described as an “all-new action-adventure” inspired by classic dungeon crawlers of yesteryear.

You’ll battle nasty mobs alongside three other players with your very own unique character in online or local play – while powering up your weapons and items, and collecting as much treasure as possible.

Classes? Never heard of them! Minecraft Dungeons is all about how you build your character with the gear you aquire. Want to be a hard-hitting wizard-knight-rogue with a top hat? Nothing is stopping you!

The main quest is to defeat the evil Arch-Illager.

Above is the clip Microsoft shared at its Inside Xbox X019 event, which took place in London yesterday.

If you’ve been interested in Minecraft Dungeons since it was originally announced, you can sign up for the latest news, events and early access via the game’s official website.

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Everything the Xbox team announced at X019

X019 kicked off with the biggest episode of Inside Xbox
ever, celebrating all things Xbox with an incredible slate of news, including
over ten Xbox Game Studios games on stage, three brand new games revealed from
Xbox Game Studios, and four more world premiere titles from developers around
the world.

Inside Xbox was also home to big news from Xbox Game Pass (with 21 titles from developers in the ID@Xbox program coming day one with Xbox Game Pass) and Project xCloud, as well as for revealing great new Black Friday deals for the holiday season. Read on for the full recap news from the show.

Obsidian Tackles the Survival Genre with Grounded

During the show, Obsidian debuted a trailer introducing Grounded – a brand-new Xbox Game Preview title launching in Spring 2020 with Xbox Game Pass. Studio Design Director Josh Sawyer and Senior Programmer Roby Atadero joined us to share the inspiration behind Grounded’s development before Obsidian became part of Xbox Game Studios. We also received insight into how Obsidian is injecting narrative and RPG elements into the survival genre with this title. Obsidian closed by highlighting the importance of community involvement for the on-going development of Grounded. Grounded launches on Xbox One digitally through Xbox Game Preview and with Xbox Game Pass, the Microsoft Store, and on Steam this upcoming spring. For full details, check out our Grounded announcement post.

Project xCloud Coming to Windows 10 PCs and New Markets

We announced that more than 50 new titles from over 25 of our valued partners will join the Project xCloud public preview, such as Madden NFL 20, Devil May Cry 5, and Tekken 7. In 2020, we’ll bring Project xCloud to Windows 10 PCs, and we’re collaborating with a broad set of partners to make game streaming available on other devices as well. We’re also expanding support to more Bluetooth controllers, including the DualShock 4 wireless controller and game pads from Razer. Moreover, in 2020, we are expanding the Project xCloud preview to new markets, will enable gamers to stream Xbox games that they already own or will purchase, and will add game streaming from the cloud to Xbox Game Pass. For all of our Project xCloud announcements, take a look at our X019 Project xCloud post.

Rare announces its next New
IP Everwild

Executive producer, Louise O’Connor, appeared on Inside Xbox and shared a glimpse of Everwild, the next new IP from Rare. The team are passionate about creating something special and this first reveal is just a taste of the magical, natural world the team at Rare are bringing to life. There will be more to share at a later date, for now to watch the trailer again, head over to www.xbox.com/games/everwild or take a look at our full Everwild announcement.

The Seabound Soul and Fire comes to Sea of Thieves

On Inside Xbox, Sea of Thieves debuted details for the game’s latest FREE monthly update arriving on Nov. 20 “The Seabound Soul,” This update features an all-new, lore-focused Tall Tale quest for players looking to play their part in a thrilling story. Join Captain Pendragon to uncover the mystery of the feared ship, the Ashen Dragon, and reveal the secrets of a sinister new threat. This update also brings the heat to Sea of Thieves with the introduction of firebombs! This explosive ammo can be thrown or loaded into cannons to put a fiery panic in the hearts of opposing crews in both Adventure and in The Arena. To find out more go to www.seaofthieves.com.

Save Big on Xbox Consoles, Games, and More this Black
Friday

The stage is set for big savings this holiday season. From the hallowed halls of X019 came the reveal of Black Friday deals on Xbox hardware: the Xbox One X, Xbox One S, and Xbox One S All Digital Edition consoles are all up to $150 off! You can also get three months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for just $1 and get Xbox Game Studios titles for up to 50% off. Finally, select Xbox Wireless Controllers are up to $20 off and we’re offering $10 off Xbox Design Lab Controllers. For complete details, head on over to our Black Friday announcement post.

Xbox Game Pass at X019: Announcing New Games and the
Ultimate Holiday Offer

On today’s Inside Xbox, we unveiled over 50 games coming to Xbox Game Pass. Read more here for complete details on these titles and their availability with Xbox Game Pass. We also revealed the Xbox Game Pass holiday offer: starting November 14, get 3 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for just $1. And for the first time, eligible Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members in select markets will also get 1 month of EA Access, 3 months of Discord Nitro, and 6 months of Spotify Premium as part of their member benefits. For all of our Xbox Game Pass news, take a look at our X019 Xbox Game Pass post.

Peeling Back the Layers of Bleeding Edge

On Inside Xbox, a new trailer for Bleeding Edge was revealed by Creative Director Rahni Tucker, along with the March 24, 2020 launch date and pre-order. Pre-order incentives include Closed Beta access on February 14, 2020 and Punk Pack bonus in-game cosmetics. Bleeding Edge will be available with Xbox Game Pass. For complete details, check out our X019 Bleeding Edge blog post.

DONTNOD Narrative in Tell Me Why

On Inside Xbox, Xbox Game Studios revealed Tell Me Why, an exclusive new narrative adventure from DONTNOD Entertainment, the studio behind the beloved Life is Strange franchise. All of Tell Me Why’s gripping chapters will release Summer, 2020. For more information please visit www.tellmewhygame.com and take a look at our Tell Me Why announcement post.

Halo: Reach
Coming to Halo: The Master Chief Collection on December 3

On Inside Xbox, 343 Industries Community Director Brian Jarrard appeared onstage to announce that Halo: Reach lands in Halo: The Master Chief Collection on December 3. Along with sharing a stunning, all-new new launch trailer, Brian announced that all six titles in Halo: The Master Chief Collection can be purchased up-front on PC for $39.99 with Halo: Reach available for individual purchase for $9.99. Halo: The Master Chief Collection isavailable with Xbox Game Pass. On console, players can get the updated Halo: The Master Chief Collection bundle, which includes the Halo 3: ODST campaign and Halo: Reach, for the same price. What’s more, Brian announced that players can get started today by pre-installing on Xbox Game Pass or pre-ordering on either the Microsoft Store or Steam. To find out more, go to xbox.com/halo.  

The Sky’s the Limit in New Footage from Microsoft Flight
Simulator

Today, we shared an all-new trailer for the upcoming Microsoft Flight Simulator with new footage of the realistic world, authentic aircraft and real-time dynamic weather in this next generation simulator being developed in partnership with Asobo Studios. We’ve also just announced our first wave of aircraft manufacturing partners! For more details and to keep up with all the latest news on Microsoft Flight Simulator, visit https://www.flightsimulator.com or head on over to our Flight Simulator partnership announcement post.

The Future of Strategy is Revealed in the First Gameplay
Trailer for Age of Empires IV

Today, the newly named studio World’s Edge revealed the first ever gameplay trailer for their highly anticipated upcoming game, Age of Empires IV, which included a special visit from studio head Shannon Loftis for an in-depth discussion about the future of the dedicated franchise. Shannon also introduced a brand-new launch trailer to celebrate the release of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, which includes remastered 4K graphics and a new expansion, The Last Khans. You can play Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition starting today on Xbox Game Pass, Windows 10, and Steam. Want to learn more? Take a look at our X019 Age of Empires update post.

Taking a Deeper Look at Minecraft Dungeons

Minecraft players were pumped to see Minecraft Dungeons
Executive Producer David Nisshagen live on our stage to show us the all-new
game. He talked through some key facets of never-before-seen gameplay as Game
Director Måns Olson and Senior Producer Nathan Rose did a live demo of this new
and exciting experience!

Minecraft Earth Celebrates Early Access with Pop Up
Events

In
celebration of the game’s continued early access rollout, we unveiled “Mobs at
the Park”
at X019 – the one-of-a-kind, life-sized statues of interactive
mobs popping up in New York City, London and Sydney starting on Saturday,
November 16
. The statues are life-sized creations of the Muddy Pig,
Moobloom and the all-new, amazingly-festive Jolly Llama which will feature a
scannable QR code to play an exclusive new adventure built by the Minecraft
Earth
development team and allow players to receive exclusive access
to the Jolly Llama in-game before it’s globally available in December. The
pop-ups will be live in three locations around the world – Hudson Yards in New
York City
, the Queens Walk in London and Campbell’s Cove in Sydney
– during the weekends of November 16-17, November 23-24 and November
30-December 1, from 10am-7pm local time. Everyone can stay tuned to Minecraft.net or @MinecraftEarth for more
information.

Explore Wasteland 3’s Post-Apocalyptic World in
May 2020

inXile Studio Head Brian Fargo appeared on Inside Xbox to
debut an all-new trailer for Wasteland 3, showing us some incredible new
gameplay footage and unveiling the release date of May 19, 2020. On stage,
Fargo explained the origins of this 80s-inspired post-apocalyptic world, as
well as the brand-new story that will take place in the frozen wastes of
Colorado. He also shared how the partnership with Xbox has helped to allow the
team to make Wasteland 3 the biggest and best game of the franchise,
demonstrated by their recent award of best RPG at Gamescom. You can pre-order Wasteland 3
today
on Xbox One or Windows 10. Wasteland 3 will also be available
on console and PC on day one with Xbox Game Pass.

Get Blown Away by the First Glimpse of CrossfireX
Gameplay

Inside Xbox host @BennyCentral took us on a global journey from Seoul to Finland to Seattle to meet the teams working on CrossfireX, followed by the debut of a gameplay teaser trailer that gives fans just a taste of this massive FPS coming exclusively to Xbox in 2020. Stay tuned to xbox.com/CrossfireX for all the latest game news.

Catch the Drift in KartRider: Drift on Xbox One

If you’re looking for the ultimate challenge, DS Choi from the KartRider: Drift team unveiled what you’re looking for with their latestgame. Pro racers and league champions Hojun Moon and Insoo Park demonstrated this racing experience by taking us through outrageous conditions at breakneck speeds with customizations to boot, proving this game will challenge even the most road tested when it comes to Xbox One.

Final Fantasy Series
Joins Xbox Game Pass and Kingdom Hearts Classics Coming to Xbox One

Square Enix Developers Shinji Hashimoto and Ichiro Hazama appeared on Inside Xbox to announce that the Final Fantasy series on Xbox including Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII Remastered, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age, Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, and Final Fantasy XV will be coming to Xbox Game Pass on Console and PC starting in 2020. Also, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 Remix and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue will come to Xbox One in 2020. Finally, a new Kingdom Hearts 3 demo is available starting today, November 14 on Xbox One – click here to download it now.

We Feel the Force with an Exclusive Look at Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Earlier today,
Electronic Arts and Xbox debuted the co-created Become a Jedi video to kick off
the X019 broadcast of Inside Xbox, as an invitation for all gamers to Jump In
and indulge your ultimate Jedi fantasy. Following, Respawn Game Director Stig
Asmussen provided an exclusive look at new gameplay leading into the game’s
launch on November 15.

Enter the
Criminal Underworld of the Critically Acclaimed Yakuza Series on Xbox One

Today on Inside Xbox, Sega announced that Yakuza is coming soon to Xbox Game Pass. In a new trailer debuted today on the show, Sega and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s cult classics Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami 1, and Yakuza Kiwami 2 were revealed to be coming to Xbox for the first time. If you want to learn more, head over to our X019 Yakuza announcement post.

Strap in for a
New Look at Planet Coaster on Xbox One

Thrills, chills, and
popcorn spills! Planet Coaster showcased its latest gameplay trailer for
the fans at X019.

Play Around in
Purgatory in West of Dead

Developer Raw Fury announced West of Dead, which
lets you step into the boots of the dead man William Mason (voiced by Ron
Perlman) and descend into the grim and gritty world of Purgatory in this
fast-paced twin-stick shooter that’ll put your skills to test. Dodge behind
cover as you try to outgun your enemies in the unknown procedurally generated
hunting grounds. The Wild West has never been this dark. Sign up for the Open
Beta today at westofdead.com.

Build a Village in a Twisted Mirrored Universe in Drake
Hollow

The
Molasses Flood announced their next game, Drake Hollow, a cooperative
action village building game set in the Hollow – a blighted mirror of our world
– in which you build and defend villages of Drakes, the local vegetable folk.
Either solo or with friends, you explore a procedurally generated world of
islands trapped in poisonous aether. You gather supplies, build networks to
bring them back to your camp, find and rescue Drakes in the wilderness, raise
them, and defend them from attacks by a menagerie of feral beasts. You need to
balance your time carefully: what supplies are most crucial at any given
moment, what does your village need: more resources to keep the Drakes thriving
or more defenses to help protect them while you explore.

Experience a Supernatural Crisis in the
Upcoming Anthology Series Last Stop

Last Stop is
the new game from Variable State, creators of the award-winning Virginia,
and will be published by Annapurna Interactive. The game is a single-player
third-person adventure set in present-day London, where you play as three
separate characters whose worlds collide during a supernatural crisis. Last
Stop
is an anthology connecting three stories in one, centered on secret
lives, the ties that bind, and how magic can be found in the mundane.

Embark on a Multidimensional Journey in The
Artful Escape

A fresh, new peek of The Artful Escape was also unveiled during Inside Xbox. Developed by Beethoven & Dinosaur and published by Annapurna Interactive, The Artful Escape tells the story of Francis Vendetti as he embarks on a multidimensional journey to create his stage persona. The Artful Escape is an action-adventure, narrative driven, musical-laser-light-battle kind of videogame with dazzling visuals, killer music, and a soulful message about what it means to find your true self.

We hope you enjoyed the show, and we’ll see you next time!

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Project xCloud preview sees 50 more games, hits Windows 10 in 2020

Project xCloud is bolstering its library ahead of its eventual launch by increasing its current preview library of 4 games to more than 50 titles, while also detailing how the service will evolve moving into 2020.

Games like Borderlands, Hellblade, Devil May Cry 5, Tekken 7, and many others are joining Gears 5, Halo 5 Guardians, Sea of Thieves, and Killer Instinct as titles playable for those in the xCloud Preview.

Looking into 2020, the Project xCloud Preview is slated to launch for players in Canada, India, Japan, and Western Europe and Xbox plans to bring Project xCloud to a number of other platforms next year as well.

Windows 10 is, understandably, the first one mentioned and only one explicitly confirmed right now, but Xbox says that its “collaborating with a broad set of partners” to bring the service to other devices down the line.

Support for the PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 wireless controller, along with support for Razer gamepads, is slated for 2020 as well and Xbox plans to bring other features, like the ability to stream games from their own personal Xbox consoles, to the service that same year.

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Apple News+ fails to bring in new subscribers despite impressive launch

 

Apple’s Apple News+ launched earlier this year with impressive initial subscriber counts, but the company has failed to bring in significant numbers since then.

Apple News+

When it launched in March, Apple News+ had wrangled more than 200,000 subscriptions in its first two days. Since then, the company has struggled to gain new subscribers, according to those familiar with the subject.

Apple News+ costs customers $9.99 a month, the same cost as Apple Music, and gives customers access to over 300 curated publications. Publications included are People, Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and paywalled versions of popular online news sites.

However, the subscribers don’t seem to be rolling in, according to CNBC. One publisher had told them his company received somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 per month in revenue, a number that was far lower than initially expected.

Interestingly enough, another publisher disclosed that while subscription revenue was lower than expected, it had brought in a different demographic of readers that skewed younger and more female. The same publisher had also said that advertising revenue from Apple News, a free news service from Apple, has consistently trended upwards.

Publisher revenue is an issue Apple is reportedly attempting to improve, with one June report indicating it is seeking input from participating publishers to tweak the service. At that time, publishers who were allegedly advised by Apple they would see ten times the revenue of Apple acquisition Texture in its first year of operation, one publishing executive claimed “it’s one-twentieth of what they said. It isn’t coming true.”

Apple News is, however, starting to pay off for some European publishers, despite the relatively small number of countries offering Apple News+. An August report revealed publishers were seeing increased revenues from being on the basic Apple News service, including some where ad impressions had tripled while revenue doubled.

A report on Thursday had claimed that Apple is including a section in deals signed, telling publishers that it reserves the right to bundle services in the future. Sources familiar with the matter say that Apple may roll out these bundles in 2020, in an attempt to get more people to subscribe. This would likely give users the option to subscribe to Apple TV+, Apple Music, and Apple News+ for one lower monthly rate.

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Video: Inside Far Cry Primal’s character pipeline and customization tech

In this 2017 GDC talk, Ubisoft’s Julien Lalleve and Kieran O’Sullivan describe how they moved from their 3DS Max-based pipeline, to a cross-software pipeline using Python and ShaderFX to create the character pipeline for Far Cry Primal.

The pair also revealed how they built Wolfskin, a deep character customization system that works across the pipeline in the modeling software and the game engine. By splitting up data efficiently and removing complex setup from the daily workflow, they show how they greatly increased productivity, integration and iteration time.

It’s a fascinating talk rich in technical details, one you can now watch completely free via the official GDC YouTube channel!

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its accompanying YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC or VRDC already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page

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Review: WRC 8 FIA World Rally Championship – A Decent Racer That Struggles In Switch’s Portable Mode

After the disappointment that was V-Rally 4 on Switch – the only other ‘pure’ rally game currently available on Nintendo’s console which arrived in something of a shambolic state – can developer Kylotonn return to the platform and finally give fans of the genre something to smile about with the latest entry in its WRC series of games?

Well, with WRC 8, the developer has taken all the necessary measures to deliver a solid 30fps framerate for its intense rally action here – something it totally manages to maintain in docked mode – dialling the graphics right back to their most basic settings in order to provide a driving experience that, while not exactly the greatest looking, performs solidly on Nintendo’s console… as long as you refrain from taking things portable. Yes, that’s right; we said please refrain from engaging portable mode on your portable console.

The fact of the matter is handheld play here is a pretty messy affair – a blurry, pixelated jumble that makes it hard to get a handle on where you’re headed, especially when pelting down a narrow dirt track or through an icy forest at crazy speeds, which is what you tend to spend quite a lot of the time doing whilst rallying. It’s a situation made worse by what we’re guessing is some pretty harsh dynamic resolution scaling that has a tendency to kick in whenever the screen is at its busiest, adding to the graphical misery as it very noticeably downgrades the resolution in an attempt to stabilise a framerate that tends to drop whenever things get hectic. In short, this is certainly the weakest port of Kylotonn’s racer.

Which is a real shame, because WRC 8 was greeted with some pretty positive reviews on its initial release in September and it’s perhaps the strongest entry in the long-running series to date. It’s a thoroughly solo-focused affair that overhauls the usually spartan career mode – adding a bunch of team management aspects, R&D upgrade mechanics and an oh-so-fashionable XP skill tree – and delivers plenty of top-notch rally action on some supremely well-designed tracks, with a total of 100 stages in total spread over 14 impressively diverse locations.

Alongside the career mode there’s Seasons – which rips all the team management aspects out of proceedings and throws you into a full rally season without interruption – and constantly-updated weekly challenges that see you earn XP as you battle to earn a top spot on the online leaderboards. It should also be noted at this point that this Switch version arrives sans the split-screen multiplayer and eSports modes available on other platforms – not great when you consider it’s exactly the same price as those more feature-rich and smoother-running versions of the game.

The car handling model in WRC 8 is serious simulator business and feels much less drift-oriented than is the case with many of its rally competitors; you’ll need to get to know courses intimately, pre-empting where your car needs to be on the road at any given time, lining yourself up in advance to blast through corners, over jumps and through chicanes. It’s exhilarating stuff; fast and exacting with cars that handle impressively differently from one another. Difficult to master even at easier settings, it’s a racer that rewards patience and skill.

And none of this is lost in this Switch version – as long as you keep things docked. Indeed, if you can somehow accept the graphical sacrifices and avoid portable mode entirely you’ll find the best pure rally game Nintendo’s console has to offer by quite some distance here. In our time dipping in and out of the superb career mode, seasons and various weekly challenges on offer, we didn’t experience any noticeable framerate drops in docked mode and were able to get on with enjoying the driving action.

However, ignoring portable mode in this way isn’t something that you should realistically be expected to do (indeed, if you own a Switch Lite, then you can’t avoid it, full stop), so it’s hard to properly recommend this compromised version of the game. It’s a real shame because this is a supremely engaging title when it’s firing on all cylinders; one that has a ton of excellent tracks and a riveting career mode to get stuck into, but the technical issues here put far too many barriers in the way of your unfettered enjoyment of these strong points to make it worth anyone but the most hardcore of rally fan’s time.

Away from the racing action, WRC 8 also suffers from a pretty terrible UI, with overly-complicated, convoluted menus that tend to stutter and pause for annoyingly long periods of time as you try to navigate around your team emails, R&D section and so on. Loading times on Switch are also much longer than other versions we checked out for comparison during this review and, really, it all adds up to a port that feels lacklustre and shoddy; one that you’ll have to work hard with in order to extract enjoyment from.

Rallying is a precision sport that demands perfection. It requires split-second decision making and rewards those who are able to hold their nerve, think fast and keep their foot down long after others have reached for the brake. So too, in its video game form, it requires the player be able to read what’s coming quickly, adapt and manoeuvre precisely in order to keep their car from flying off track into the nearest scenery. But, when what’s coming down that track towards you is pixelated, blurry, prone to pop-in and hampered by a dodgy framerate, everything that makes this type of game so fiendishly addictive and precise is lost. Unfortunately, WRC 8 on Switch suffers from all of these technical problems, making that required perfection an impossibility whilst you play it in portable.

Conclusion

WRC 8 is a hugely enjoyable rally game – perhaps the strongest in the history of this long-running series – but it arrives on Switch in a disappointing state. Playing exclusively in docked mode, you’ll be able to enjoy what’s on offer here without any technical issues to hold you back, with developer Kylotonn making the necessary graphical sacrifices to keep everything moving at a solid 30fps. Honestly, if you’re planning on playing docked only, feel free to stick another two stars on the score below. However, once you switch to portable it’s another story, one all too familiar to Switch owners who already suffered through V-Rally 4. Heavily pixelated graphics, aggressive resolution scaling, scenery pop-in and an unreliable framerate all ensure that there are just too many barriers in the way of you freely enjoying the top-notch rally action.

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Unity And Oculus Team Up on VR Course–John Carmack Leaves Oculus

Two completely unrelated stories (beyond the Oculus commonality) in one today.  First, Unity and Oculus have teamed up to launch an 11 part, 20+ hour course on all aspects of creating a VR game using the Unity game engine with the Oculus Rift SDK and hardware.

Details from the Unity blog:

We’ve partnered with Oculus, to launch an extensive intermediate level course guiding you through all aspects of building a virtual reality (VR) game. As the VR industry continues to grow and mature, developers are asking more questions about making the switch to VR, and developers who already work in VR want to improve their skills. That’s why we teamed up with the experts at Oculus to build this comprehensive VR course, “Design, Develop, and Deploy for VR.

In more than 20 hours of hands-on course content, you’ll learn about programming, user experience (UX) considerations for VR, optimization, launching your game and more. Twelve experts from Oculus and Unity give you in-depth lessons to help you build your own vertical slice (think, level of a game) of an escape room game. Plus, after you complete the course, you can submit your vertical slice for feedback from Oculus.

Even though this course is centered around creating a game, the principles and learnings apply to almost any type of VR content, whether you’re building practical business applications or immersive experiences as art or entertainment. You’ll find this course useful even if your interests go beyond making a game. 

The course is hosted on the Unity Learn platform.  You can learn more about Unity learn here.

In additional Oculus news, John Carmack (of id fame) has announced he is stepping down as CIO of Oculus.  His announcement came via Facebook post, excerpt below:

Starting this week, I’m moving to a “Consulting CTO” position with Oculus.

I will still have a voice in the development work, but it will only be consuming a modest slice of my time.

As for what I am going to be doing with the rest of my time: When I think back over everything I have done across games, aerospace, and VR, I have always felt that I had at least a vague “line of sight” to the solutions, even if they were unconventional or unproven. I have sometimes wondered how I would fare with a problem where the solution really isn’t in sight. I decided that I should give it a try before I get too old.

I’m going to work on artificial general intelligence (AGI).

Thankfully John is leaving Facebook before working on artificial intelligence!  You can learn more about both announcements in the video below.

GameDev News


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Net game sales up 117% at THQ Nordic parent Embracer Group

Embracer Group, the entity previously known as THQ Nordic AB and parent of the publisher THQ Nordic, saw net sales for its game group (which includes THQ Nordic, Deep Silver, and Coffee Stain) jump 117 percent to SEK 816 million (~$84.2 million) for the quarter ending September 30.

The Group cites the strong release of the THQ Nordic-published racing game Wreckfest as one of the driving forces behind that sizeable jump, alongside continued performance from past releases.

As a whole, Embracer Group’s consolated net sales fell 1 percent year-over-year to SEK 1.26 billion (~$130 million). Operational earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased to SEK 241 million (~$24.9 million), a 133 percent growth from the same period last year.

Alongside Wreckfest’s success, Embracer Group credits its increase in profitability to the Metro franchise’s back catalog success, an increased share of digital sales, and an increased share of sales from its own IP.   

Embracer Group has a total of 86 games in its development pipelines, including two triple-A titles due out next fiscal year and 49 games that have yet to be announced. As part of that, the group notes its development spending is up 47 percent this quarter to SEK 343 million (~$35.4 million).

Continuing the trend it started as THQ Nordic AB, Embracer Group acquired five game companies this quarter including Milestone, Remnant: From the Ashes dev Gunfire Games, Goodbye Kansas Game Invest, Game Outlet Europe, and KSM. However, the group notes in its reporting that its success doesn’t hinge on new acquisitions. Instead, it says such deals serve to accelerate Embracer’s growth.

“Our acquisition strategy is to add publishers, studios and IP’s to accelerate our growth and achieve further diversification, provided we find the right companies that share our values and ambitions, and of course that the terms are reasonable,” explains CEO and founder Lars Wingefors. “We acquire businesses to make them more valuable by enabling them to achieve their best work through developing more and better games, growing faster, becoming more profitable and generating more cash flow.”