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Lanning: Xbox One team should be fired over indie stance

Friday, 19 July 2013 11:45 GMT By Patrick Garratt

According to Oddworld Inhabitant’s boss, Microsoft should cull its Xbox One team and start again. Lorne Lanning speaks out on Redmond’s great next-gen indie disaster.

“Out of Washington, we see a pretty good understanding of who makes really expensive great games, but beyond that there’s not really any insight into how people get there from nothing… I’m not sure who they’re listening to. Whoever their PR people are, whoever their marketing agents are, they should fire them all. That’s where they should start.”

E3 left “Microsoft” and “indie” as immiscible as oil and vinegar. Phil Harrison did his best to make Minecraft look like the future of smalltime console games, but Sony presented something infinitely more sensible with its swathe of independent variety. Xbox One won’t allow self-published games and PlayStation 4 will. Microsoft’s backpedalling so fast it’s had to turn its handlebars ass-ways, but without another major policy u-turn it seems next-gen Xbox, baffingly, is refusing to acknowledge the importance of indie development to the future of video games consoles.

“I’ve watched them make this mistake before,” Oddworld boss Lorne Lanning told VG247 in LA last month. “I’ll give you a true story. When they were launching the first Xbox – and we were a launch title on that – it was an exciting time as well. We did a European tour before Xbox released, and I was with Peter Molyneux and other designers of note, and we met with the press in Germany and France. We could not talk about the games. The press were so irate about the price point, about the way they were handling the euro in different territories, and we couldn’t talk about the games. We couldn’t get in that discussion, and they wanted to hammer on Microsoft.

“We get back to the States and we were like, ‘You’ve got a big problem. You’re sinking, tanking in Europe.’ ‘No, no, no, no. You don’t understand. We’ve got our numbers covered.’ We could not get them to avoid the train wreck that was right in front of them. You know what this feels like? Déjà vu.”

Lanning was one of eight indie developers on stage at Sony’s E3 press conference with Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, and was “floored at how open Sony’s been, and, in my opinion, really smart and prophetic they’ve been. The indie aspect is going to be a big thing. But just being there was winning enough.”

A new generation of problems

While Lanning’s relationship with Sony means PlayStation owners will have easy access to Oddworld’s games in the future, Microsoft has proved to be a puzzle the creative, and his UK partner Just Add Water, couldn’t crack.

“At the business level, Microsoft isn’t acknowledging people like us,” said Lanning. “It’s as if we don’t matter.”

Microsoft’s stance towards indies with Xbox One is a continuation of problems encountered in the current generation: Lanning and JAW boss Stewart Gilray tried for over a year to get Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD released on Xbox Live before ultimately failing.

“The target kept on moving, and eventually we couldn’t get clear answers for 15 months. We don’t have five biz dev guys and two attorneys and some PR people to send up there to roll out whatever carpets you have to roll out to get attention.

“We were like, ‘Look. We’re on seven other networks. It’s been no-brainers on all of them. We’re not asking you for money. We’re not asking you for advertising.”

Lanning added: “We’re little guys, we have to release. We can’t get a straight answer. Then we release on PSN, and we get a mail the next day that says, ‘Oh, you released on PSN at a lower price point, you didn’t meet our margins, sorry you can’t be on the system.’ Boom. And that was it.

“We’re not on the radar. We’re little guys. It doesn’t seem like any of the little guys are on the radar. When we listen to them talk, we have to laugh. It’s pure rhetoric.”

Refusal to change

The problem Microsoft is presenting is this. For an indie to get published on XBLA, it needs a publishing partner as self-releasing on Live is prohibited. This partner may be Microsoft itself, the most prominent example of this type of deal being Minecraft. This means the indie has to give up a revenue share to get onto XBLA, whether it’s to Microsoft or a third-party like Warner, the publisher of Supergiant’s Bastion.

“We’re not on the radar. We’re little guys. It doesn’t seem like any of the little guys are on the radar. When we listen to them talk, we have to laugh. It’s pure rhetoric.”

In the last generation Microsoft held plenty of cards, but Xbox 360 released in 2005 and the world has changed. The truth Microsoft must now confront is that it is wrong to force publishing deals on independent developers when faced with enormously popular self-publishing platforms such as Steam and the App Store. Sony clearly understands it can never be prudish on the subject of self-publication again. This isn’t even an ethical issue: financially, larger indies like JAW and Supergiant simply don’t need Xbox any more. Millions of sales are possible through other platforms, and as a result Microsoft appears to be both draconian and out of touch. For a tech company, especially one in a market as fast-moving as video games, that’s unacceptable.

“In order for us to give up the revenues we depend on as a share, they have to be bringing something of value to our sales,” said Lanning. “We haven’t been doing badly ourselves. Maybe we’ll be able to say, ‘Hey, we’ll be on Xbox too,’ but right now people like us are clearly not in Xbox One’s business model. And there’s nothing we can do about that.”

It isn’t just the here-and-now in which Microsoft is making life difficult for itself. Lanning warned that by stifling indies and their innate creativity, Xbox’s policies show a gross lack of understanding about the formation of future hits.

“Ten years from now, the biggest banners out there, the hundred million dollar games, are going to be what happened in the indie community. That’s the only place we’re seeing real innovation because that’s the only place people can really afford to. You can’t do it on a hundred million dollar title because you have to be dialled into what that audience really knows and wants.

“Someone’s going to be burning the next hundred million dollar properties here, and it might be the least likely guy that was on that stage at the Sony conference. But that’s where it’s going to come from, and the smart people know that. I don’t see any indication of that foresight up in Redmond. They do not seem to be listening to their audience.”

Lanning was blunt about solutions.

“Quite frankly, out of Washington, we see a pretty good understanding of who makes really expensive great games, but beyond that there’s not really any insight into how people get there from nothing.

“It’s a bit puzzling. It’s clear they’re not listening. I’m not sure who they’re listening to. Whoever their PR people are, whoever their marketing agents are, they should fire them all. That’s where they should start. There should be a big, mass firing and they should publicise that. Then they’d get people saying, ‘Hey, maybe there’s going to be a good change.’ But if they keep the rhetoric flowing, obviously everyone’s looking at it saying, ‘This isn’t real.’ How are they going to keep what they’ve got today? That’s a big question.”

Microsoft is in the middle of one of the most difficult periods ever experienced on the Xbox project, and while Xbox One pre-orders are outpacing those seen for Xbox 360, there are great risks involved with shunning such a powerful market sector as that of the indie. Redmond needs to start making the right noises, and soon. Either way, it’s doubtful the likes of Lanning will hang around to listen.

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26 Comments

  1. Ge0force

    I’ll repeat my message for all Indies: just ignore the Xbox and focus on other platforms where your amazing games ARE welcome. It may take a while, but of indie-games will follow.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Ali

    I firmy believe the indies are going to be an important factor for consoles fierce war against the emerging mobiles. With technology providing enough power to be handled by the indies, I think more devs will be forming small studios and produce small budget hitters.

    It all follows the simple logic of ” more options, more interest”, I certainly loved some indie developed games more than triple A hitters that simply werent well thought off. Besides, some of the younger generations will have more opportunities getting into the business.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Legion

    I find this very valid for point on Indie development for XBLA titles. But just the opposite for the smaller actual Indie titles that can be released on XBL Indie titling.

    As Sony does not have a true avenue for such launching on it’s platform. I can’t develop for Sony without having money. I can develop for MS from my garage though.

    Though MS has recently stated they will announce their Indie support outlook in the near future.

    we will have to see hat they have to say. Because nothing official has been mentioned for XO yet.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. machy

    ^the system is lunching after 3 months their plan for the division isn’t clear they keep making u-turns and as far as I know a division such as Xbox plan must been in work for at less 2 years to 5

    M$ is in bad shap .. bad news since the beginning of this year bad PR, and those whom perordering x1 now r the halo and froza hardcore fan others r jumping ships, and with mainstreamers I think 500$ won’t help

    my opinion nothing more

    #4 2 years ago
  5. MCTJim

    Yes their PR team stinks..That I can agree on..time to re-organize that part of their team. Other than that, I am happy with what they are offering.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Erthabutt

    Yeah Ive never been strong on indie games on consoles, only on PC. So it totally doesnt matter to me when I’ll get an Xbox.

    HOWEVER, of course, Microsoft should get their head out of their asses. They have so many great offerings & smart peeps, but jesuschrist some of their execs are just so out of touch with everyting other than their office desk. I believe they live in somekind of Executive Wild Dream. I hope the restructuring helps over time, and that their indie strategy will be something solid. We can only hope.

    >:(

    #6 2 years ago
  7. VibraniumSpork

    “Whoever their PR people are, whoever their marketing agents are, they should fire them all. That’s where they should start. There should be a big, mass firing and they should publicise that.”

    Right on the money. With all the mixed messages and back-pedaling and ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’, it’s felt like Microsoft have been experiencing a Marketing ‘Amateur Hour’ for the best part of 2013. The XB1 and the PS4 are, in large part, so similar that you could barely fit a Rizla between them – it’s the promo and marketing messages that have turned so many people off. They can backtrack all they want, but there’s only so many bridges that they’ll be able to unburn.

    That said, it’s only a matter of days/weeks before Microsoft announce that indies can also self-publish on their system. It’ll be interesting to see what the indies do then; to see if this really is about business ethics as much as it is about profit margins.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. DarkElfa

    I’m sorry but “You should fire them all” is something I expect from an angry fan-boy, not some developer.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. noamlol2

    who cares really? cause they’ll make more sales on PS4 and steam

    #9 2 years ago
  10. OlderGamer

    I would think that indies (for the most part) will do better on PC/Mobile then they can on any console. Esp traditional consoles. There are exceptions, there are hits, like Minecraft for XBLA, but that game didn’t start on XBLA as an unknown indie game. It already paved its way to success on PC. It was already a name brand. And it had MS promoting it. And it Still sold more on PC then on XBLA.

    And that is the biggest indie I can think of on a console as a poster child for success. But w/o PC, if the game had released straight to XBLA(or the true indie channel) I doubt it would have succeeded.

    I believe Indies are the spark and the nudge the dev sides needs. The games are fresh. They are affordable to make and purchase. I love indies. I don’t know yet what MS will do. Or how indies will do on either platform. If I had to guess, I would say that MS(prolly Sony too) will keep an eye out for indies on PC and then promote the ones that look like they could market and take off…ala Minecraft.

    But that isn’t the same thing as promoting indie selfpublishing, or reducing the dev costs, liscencing fees, etc. In short, time will tell.

    As for X1, I think it has been on the wrong path for awhile…in a lot of areas. Very misguided.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. bradk825

    This is costing them beyond just missing out on indie development. They have a lot of great things being offered that no one is paying attention to, they are focusing on one marketing gaff, and then the next, and then you get a little 2 or 3 small paragraph story about something cool, then onto the next marketing gaff.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Dirkster_Dude

    Microsoft’s attitude about Independent developers is similar to what happened when LINUX was becoming popular and Microsoft tried to make FREE and INDEPENDENT seem less appealing than PAY and CONTROLLED. While most of the old guard are computer users they are rarely going to be gamers and they are the ones that will be the hardest minds to change. The problem is they can’t quite let go and let a new generation run the company.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Matthew Doucette

    Sort of a sensationalized title, as it’s only the PR and marketing teams, basically the communications of Microsoft, he wants re-worked: “Whoever their PR people are, whoever their marketing agents are, they should fire them all. That’s where they should start.” I agree this is Microsoft’s weak point. Indies, like ourselves, need communication that Microsoft does not offer. The more rules and blockades you construct for the indies, the more you need to communicate with them.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. KAP

    Don’t you just love when people make excuses for Microsoft downfall..

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Ireland Michael

    Though I usually admire Lanning’s willingness to stick to his morals, wishing for the systematic firing of people with jobs and families is way beyond excessive, and reeks of self entitled ego. Reel it in a bit, mate.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Cobra951

    Microsoft’s in it for the money. They’ll do whatever they think will bring the most in for the least cost, and hang the rest. If they see Sony getting the upper hand–and the better money–they’ll do another 180, like the One’s DRM policies, and the game-patching fees. They don’t care about indies per se, or big publishers for that matter. They never will. It’s all about the bottom line. If Sony and others prove how much money Microsoft is leaving on the table, the changes will happen overnight. For now, my attitude remains wait and see. No way am I diving into those murky waters in November.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. zmotorola360

    “While Lanning’s relationship with Sony means PlayStation owners will have easy access to Oddworld’s games in the future,”

    >>> COULD SOMEONE inform M. Lanning that in Europe (excepted the UK) we have been waiting FOR A FUCKING YEAR a release of Munch oddyssee and that there is still no release date on euro PSN. We cant even get on US psn because of bank card security system (checking the address and comparing the one given at US psn account subscribtion) Thank you Lanning…

    #17 2 years ago
  18. lookingglass

    And I can’t believe we now have gaming hipsters who promote garbage indies in order to seem intellectual and cool. “So I played this awesome retro 2D game by this developer you’ve probably never heard of and you probably wouldn’t “get it” ya know, but its like my favorite game ever.”

    Not to mention these developers jumping on the PS4 freedom-penis bandwagon so that they look cool to these hipsters on the forums.

    “Yea man, like stuff should be free and open and like, totally about the consumer. I’ve got this cool side scroller game that’s like, WHOA man, and the corporations wouldn’t let me make it so I did it anyways! *sips a PBR dressed like an idiot while listening to a record no one cares about*”

    They aren’t changing the world. They’re making games that play like Super Nintendo games and getting excited about it. /facepalm

    P.S. of course there are some diamonds in the indie mountain of turds, but it’s still just a pile of shit with a couple rocks in it.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Nikaas

    @18 So you try to say that AAA titles are not few exceptions in a huge pile of shit?

    You must be clueless if you think that multi-million title can risk to experiment with unproven design choices.

    P.S Honestly i don’t want to insult you, but you still sound like angry fan-boy kid :P

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Lord Gremlin

    Microsoft really needs to die. As a company. They are cancer of PC market, tablet market, phone market and they harm game industry.
    They need to die. And they eventually will. Only they have so much money now that it will be slow, agonizing process.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Lengendaryboss

    @20
    No-one needs to go anywhere the big three are here to stay until they go irrelevant.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. bamn66

    Indie games are horrible . Stop making shitty articles just to get a hit . Indie devs need to stop crying and focus on what the can do , develop bad games for the ps3.5

    #22 2 years ago
  23. DSB

    I know some of the guys from JAW read VG247, so when are we getting the HD upgrade of Munch’s Oddysee on Steam?

    Lanning has every reason to hate Microsoft though. First there was the whole Stranger’s Wrath fiasco, and then when he actually brings it back, Microsoft cockblocks the rerelease with their utterly moronic publishing system.

    Beyond the incompetence, I just don’t think they really give a shit about gaming. They approach it in the same way they’d approach any other software production.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. ps3fanboy

    here’s a tip for the indie guys that are xbots… ignore the micro$hafts and go to sonys playstation where your amazing games ARE welcome… just saying.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. macdaddy42

    I’m so sick of Lorne Lanning trashing Ms for Indie games, 95% of them not worth spending any money on,..If he did not think Xbox1 would sell a lot of systems, He wouldn’t be trashing MS so much over this, He just wants his game on Xbox1 is all…Funny thing is he all bout the PS4 but he sure is doing a lot of PR work for MS for Free, cause that’s all he talks bout is Xbox1, So Lorne Lanning???? keep up the good work my Friend, We xbox1 gamers like to thank you

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Kreion

    @16
    Just to point out (as I always have to ) that every company ever made is in it for the money. That includes, but is not limited to: Sony, Valve, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Samsung…the list goes on. Even small ‘indie’ companies are only generally artistic because they aren’t large enough yet. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – but making a profit is always going to be the end goal.

    In terms of the indie argument: Microsoft do need to have a look at the gaming scene and see that some indie games are worth having. That’s not to say that all of them are, because many are pretty generic and rubbish (anyone want another pixel platformer?) but there are some genuinely good games among that. Honestly, I’d say they need some sort of vetting process ala Greenlight – but not even Valve likes greenlight.

    #26 2 years ago

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    Another cross-device multiplayer game for Windows 10 and Xbox One has been announced, and it’s Super Dungeon Bros – a “rock-themed, co-op dungeon brawler” from React Games. Super Dungeon Bros tasks four “bros” with raiding underground crypts built by the gods through an ever-changing layout. There, they will be up against “dangerous foes, deadly obstacles, […]

  • Pre-ordering State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition in US nets an in-game knife

    Those who pre-order the State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition will net a bonus, according to Undead Labs. Select retailers in the US will offer the following knives as in-game pre-order bonus content: GameStop -  The Avalonian :  A true work of art, taken off the body of a fantasy enthusiast whose excitement at having […]

  • Rollercoaster Tycoon World gameplay teaser video released

    Today, Atari has provided a look at gameplay for Rollercoaster Tycoon World. Set for release during the first part of this year, the game allows players to build their own rides and which can be shared with other players. It will also feature four-player co-op.

  • One Heist challenge in GTA Online pays out $10 million in cash

    GTA Online’s new Heists content was previewed by various outlets at GDC 2015 this week, and according to hands-on with the free upcoming content, there’s over 20 hours worth of things to do and quite a bit of money to gain. Oh, and a VTOL Hydra jet too. According to a really informative piece from […]

  • Activision Blizzard makes Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list

    For the first time, Activision Blizzard has been named to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for 2015. The survey conducted by Fortune found the company “ranked highly with its employees” which felt the atmosphere was friendly and place in which they could “be themselves.” “We have always considered Activision Blizzard to be […]

  • Evolve Hunt for Gold Weekend nets players special monster skin

    A Evolve community event is taking place this weekend, and participants will receive a special skin for Goliath, Kraken, and Wraith. Dubbed the Evolve Hunt for Gold Weekend, it’s the first in a series of upcoming online community challenges and events taking place over the coming months. Those who log-in starting today at 9pm PST […]

  • This video teases contents of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 3

    A teaser video and images for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 – Episode 3 have been posted by Capcom. The assets can be considered potential spoilers, so just be aware of that before having a look. The game’s Season Pass costs $20, and the disc version releases March 17 in North America and on March 20 […]

  • GTA Online Heists teaser video is extremely short

    With Heists coming to GTA Online next week, Rockstar has released one of the shortest teaser videos we’ve seen in ages. Hopefully you didn’t blink. Heists, along with Daily Objectives and Adversary Mode, arrive next week on March 10. The PC version of Heists will arrive on April 14 when the PC version of the […]

  • The Division rumors claim Dark Zones support up to 100 players – video

    With the recent leak of older, pre-alpha footage of the The Division, rumors over the game’s contents have been swirling, and today we have a video for you discussing said rumors. Once of the rumors pertain to the game is that it contains 50-100 Player Dark Zones, which are PvP areas. Supposedly, these areas also […]

  • Here’s a look at MGS5: The Phantom Pain emblem creation, limited edition bionic arm

    A look at how to create your own emblems in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was demonstrated in the latest Kojima Station broadcast, along with a look at the bionic arm replica included in the limited edition. A Venom Snake emblem will come with the limited edition version of the game, parts of […]

  • Elite: Dangerous coming to PS4 once Xbox One exclusivity period ends

    Elite: Dangerous was announced for Xbox One at GDC 2015 yesterday, and those disappointed over the lack of a PlayStation 4 announcement will be pleased to know it’s in the cards. According to Frontier boss David Braben the space-sim will head to PS4 at some point, once the console exclusivity deal with Microsoft has expired. […]

  • Here’s two new The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt screenshots to salivate over

    Two new screenshots from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have been released, and they are gorgeous as always. The screenshots follow the two released over the weekend. You can look at the new images in full HD glory over on Only Single Player. CD Projekt Red is at PAX East this weekend showing off the latest […]

  • Microsoft looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One

    With Windows 10, Xbox One users will soon be able to stream their games to PC. Microsoft is also looking into streaming PC games to Xbox One, according to news out of GDC. Speaking with Polygon at GDC 2015, Xbox program director Mike Ybarra said the company is also looking into the ability to stream […]

  • Free! Vindictus Lann Revamp codes worth €25

    We have 400 Lann Revamp codes worth €25 to giveaway for free to VG247 readers. All you need to do is enter your details in the box below and you’ll be given a code to redeem in game. The codes are for warrior character Lann and offer a 7 day unlimited Inner Armour pass, battle […]

  • US eShop update: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars, OlliOlli and a demo version of Azure Striker GUNVOL. Your full update is below. eShop Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars – Wii U, 3DS – Cross Buy OlliOlli – Wii U, 3DS – Cross-Buy Proun+ – Proun+ […]

  • Rock Band 4 confirmed for Xbox One and PS4: supports old instruments and 2,168 songs

    Harmonix has lifted the lid on the long-rumoured Rock Band 4, stating it will support 2,168 previously released tracks and last-gen instruments on PS4 and Xbox One. The game will be out this year. Harmonix has yet to reveal specific features for the game, but it has been built with a completely new engine. As […]

  • First run of Rodea the Sky Soldier copies on Wii U come with Wii version

    The first print run of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will come with the Wii version packed in, NIS America has confirmed. The publisher confirmed today in a press release that anyone who buys the first run of the retail version of Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U will find the Wii […]

  • Unreal Tournament 4 lets modders sell cosmetic items to players

    Unreal Tournament 4 is a game built with the help of the modding community. So it’s only natural that it will feature a marketplace where all cosmetic items can be sold. Epic Games has confirmed that it will allow modders from the community to sell the cosmetics items they’ve created on the game’s marketplace. The […]

  • D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is coming to PC – rumour

    SWERY 65 has shown off D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die running on PC at GDC this week, teasing that a possible port may be on the way. D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die is SWERY 65′s latest project. An episodic detective affair, D4 came out on Xbox One last September and utilised Kinect as its main […]

  • Valve’s Lighthouse, VR controllers and more explained

    Valve’s less-talked about prototype VR controllers and its Lighthouse technology have been shown in more detail. When HTC announced Vive, the VR headset it’s working on with Valve, it mentioned “base stations” and ergonomic controllers. Now we know what they meant by that. The controllers are still in prototype phase, and will look better when […]

  • Listen to two professional Counter-Strike players explain why Dust2 is so popular

    Hear what makes iconic Counter-Strike map Dust2 one of the most popular maps in shooter history from two former eSports players. Sal “Volcano” Garozzo and Shawn “FMPONE” Snelling are both retired professional Counter-Strike players who are currently working as designers. At GDC this year, the pair hosted a panel titled “Community Level Design for Competitive […]

  • Core Morpheus hardware locked in, no plans for wireless version

    Sony has finalised the core hardware for its VR headset Project Morpheus, and does not currently plan on releasing a wireless version. SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida spoke to Gamespot at GDC and confirmed that the core hardware of Morpheus is “pretty much done” but that “lots of tweaks and improvements” are still being […]

  • Watch the full Phil Spencer keynote from GDC 2015

    The full GDC 2015 keynote of Xbox boss Phil Spencer is now available to watch. In case you missed last nights’s Phil Spencer keynote at GDC 2015, the whole thing has been made available to watch on YouTube. The address is titled “The Future of Gaming Across the Microsoft Ecosytem,” and it’s where Spencer announced […]

  • Elite: Dangerous won’t be “dumbed down” for Xbox One

    The Xbox One version of Elite: Dangerous will in fact be the same as the PC one. Elite: Dangerous developer Frontier came out on stage last night at GDC to announce the game making its console debut on Xbox One. Some have feared that the port would not provide the same experience as the PC […]

  • Virtual reality: by gum, it’s really happening

    Virtual reality has exited the realm of peripheral gimmick and turned into something that just might go mainstream. VR has an uphill battle ahead of it. The tech is going to be expensive, and there are a number of problems that need to be solved before it could be considered an inclusive technology (motion sickness, […]

  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor takes Game of the Year at GDC Awards 2015

    And the winner is: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor beat out Alien: Isolation, Bayonetta 2, Destiny, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft to win Game of the Year at the Game Developer’s Choice Awards 2015. Elsewhere in the awards, Ustwo’s mobile hit Monument Valley was a stand-out favourite, with wins in the Innovation, […]

  • Alien: Isolation was prototyped in third-person – video

    Alien: Isolation is one of the most effectively scary triple-A games in years, but it didn’t start off a perfect creation of pure terror. Creative Assembly prototyped Alien: Isolation in third-person perspective before they nailed down the final approach. The developer revealed this during a GDC 2015 presentation, and it’s a good reminder that games […]

  • Madden 15 added to EA Vault

    Madden 15 is now included in EA’s all-you-can-eat subscriber service. Madden 15 is the ninth game to be added to the EA Vault, a stash of games available on demand for EA Access subscribers. It's still Madden Season for EA Access members – Madden NFL 15 is now in The Vault for all members. Go […]

  • Source Engine 2 doesn’t have hidden costs or royalties – but is Steam exclusive

    Three major engines went free at GDC 2015, and each of them is monetising in a different way. There’s been a heck of a lot of discussion about development tools and the costs associated with them during GDC 2015. First Epic announced that Unreal Engine 4 would be free, bar royalities on successful releases. Then […]

  • Final Fantasy creator hates sequels

    Final Fantasy, a byword in prolific franchises, was created by a man who hates sequel. Final Fantasy games are famous for being reinvented with each core release, and it was not until series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi began to withdraw from the franchise after Final Fantasy 9 that we started seeing regular sequels and spin-offs. Speaking […]

  • Guardian complaints led to the closure of Destiny’s Loot Cave

    Destiny players are to blame for the shuttering of the much loved Loot Cave. Early in Destiny‘s history, many players got hugely excited about the “Loot Cave”. Accessible shortly after starting the game for the first time, this high-volume spawn point allowed players to stand in one place, taking out waves and waves of low-level […]

  • Xbox and PC games boss Phil Harrison to leave Microsoft – rumour

    Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Business VP and EMEA head of games Phil Harrison is rumoured to have thrown in the towel. Microsoft has not issued a statement on Harrison’s alleged departure, despite repeated questioning by press at GDC 2015. Instead, word comes via multiple sources speaking to GamesIndustry at the show. According to the rumours, Harrison […]

  • Metal Gear Online commentated trailer explains stuffed dog – but not invisibility

    Metal Gear Online developer Kojima Productions has provided significantly more insight into how the multiplayer side of The Phantom Pain works. Metal Gear Online is the online multiplayer component of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. Konami hasn’t shared a great deal about it yet, but we did see a very cool Metal Gear […]

  • Elite: Dangerous Xbox One trailer shows off space MMO

    If Elite: Dangerous looks this good on Xbox One we have nothing to complain about. Microsoft revealed Elite: Dangerous is coming to Xbox One this year during its GDC presentations today. We don’t know very much about the port, but I suppose we ought to have expected it; Frontier Developments has a very close relationship […]

  • Battletoads to appear in Shovel Knight Xbox One

    A Battletoads remake must be on the horizon. Right? Right?? The Battletoads will appear in the upcoming Xbox One version of Shovel Knight, Yacht Club Games revealed today. The Battletoads drop in for a fight! Shovel Knight is headed to Xbox One and meets up with @RareLtd brawling trio! pic.twitter.com/OCQIuWbH3W — Yacht Club Games (@YachtClubGames) […]

  • The Division pre-alpha footage leaks, Ubisoft says it’s well out of date

    The Division fans finally got a look at Ubisoft’s MMO this week, but the publisher has said the footage is not in any way representative. Pre-alpha footage of the The Division was leaked this week, but has since been thoroughly smacked down by takedown notices. All that remains are a few screenshots and a GIF: […]

  • Microsoft HoloLens designer killed in hit and run accident

    Very sad news out of Redmond this week, as Mike Ey was killed in a tragic accident. Ey, 30, was one of the key project designers on Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset. He was killed on Saturday morning in a rear-end collision. The driver of the second vehicle fled the scene but was tracked down by […]

  • AMD throws support behind VR with new low-latency anti-nausea tech

    GPU manufacturer AMD has released a new SDK compatible with “a broad set of VR devices”. Called LiquidVR, the tech is designed to “bring better content, comfort, and compatibility to VR applications” including games, simulation, entertainment, education, social media, travel, medicine, real estate and ecommerce, apparently. AMD said maintaining comfort and realism in VR environments […]

  • Danganronpa 3 in the works, but a long way off yet

    A new Danganronpa is happening. Danganronpa 3 is in the very, very early production stages, writer Kodaka Kazutaka has confirmed. Nothing about the project is “set in stone”, Kazutaka told Polygon, so there are no details to share yet; the characters and story may change several times before being finalised. The writer said he’s weighing […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League 2015 schedule announced

    Major League Gaming has announced the full schedule for the 2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League. The eSpots firm revealed two more seasons of Pro League, a live Relegation tournament for Season Three, and a season ending World Championship with $250,000 up for grabs You can watch all the action on MLG.tv […]

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation 2, you are almost old enough to drive

    Amidst all the GDC 2015 hoopla today, we forgot to wish PlayStation 2 a Happy Birthday. The system turned 15 years old today, going by its March 4, 2000 launch date in Japan. It was released in the west that autumn, and had shipped 100 million units in less than six years post launch. PS2 […]

  • Here’s what the final version of Valve’s Steam Controller looks like

    A look at the updated Steam Controller has surfaced via a hands-on post from Polygon. Valve said what you see in the images below is the final version of the controller. The controller has gone through numerous revisions since it was first revealed, but it seems Valve has decided on two touch pads which work […]

  • The Sims, SimCity developer closed down

    The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been shuttered, EA has confirmed. The Sims, SimCity and the rest of the Sim franchise has traditionally been helmed by Maxis, which had its flagship studio in Emeryville, California. Now EA has confirmed with Kotaku that this studio is being closed. “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to […]

  • Gigantic MOBA coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One with cross-play

    Today during GDC 2015, Microsoft announced that the new IP from Motiga called Gigantic will be cross-play enabled. Slated for Windows 10 and Xbox One, the five-on-five third-person battle arena game allows the player to select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles. Players will then make their way through areas […]

  • Here’s a look at Unreal Tournament DirectX 12 gameplay

    Epic Games is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which Microsoft says “sets a new bar for visual fidelity.” DirectX 12 is a single API developers can access across Windows devices, which can result in a 20% improvement in performance over DX11 running on the same machine. The Unreal Tournament […]

  • Wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers out later this year

    Microsoft announced at GDC 2015 today it will that all wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, a wireless adapter will be released, allowing current Xbox controllers and future devices to be used wirelessly on PCs. This will […]

  • Microsoft offers up more details on Spencer’s GDC 2015 talk

    Microsoft has provided more details on Cross-Buy functionality between Windows 10 and Xbox One as well as the Xbox Live SKU and other announcements made during Phil Spencer’s talk today. During the session, the head of Xbox shared “the next step” in the company’s plans for a unified platform across all Windows 10 devices which […]

  • Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 this summer

    Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 as a Game of the Year Edition. inXile Entertainment announced the news on the PS Blog, noting the edition contains enhancements and improvements. The game has been ported to Unity 5, which was announced over the weekend, providing upgraded visual effects, “improved character models, upgraded environments, and Unity […]

  • Cross-Buy detailed for Windows 10 and Xbox One; Elite: Dangerous coming to Xbox One

    During Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s session at GDC 2015 today, it was announced Elite: Dangerous would release on Xbox One. Spencer also outlined cross-buy functionality across Windows 10 and Xbox One. Spencer’s talk started off with Frontier Developments announcing Elite: Dangerous for release this summer as a console debut on Xbox One, suggesting the Elite: […]

  • Longbeards Culture Pack available now for Total War: Attila

    The Longbeards Culture Pack is now available for Total War: Attila and it comes with three new playable factions. The Langobards, the Burgundians and the Alamans can be played in both single and multiplayer campaign modes as well as custom and multiplayer battles. A new feature called The Lay of Ybor is also included. It […]

  • Nvidia unveils Titan X as world’s “most advanced GPU” – video

    Nvidia revealed Titan X as “the world’s most advanced GPU” during Epic founder Tim Sweeney’s State of Unreal session a t GDC 2015 today. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the stage during the panel stating it contains “8 billion transistors,” and has 12GB of RAM. Pricing wasn’t announced, but it was rumored back in January […]

  • Steam sale discounts titles announced for SteamOS

    With many of the year’s most popular games heading to SteamOS, Valve has decided to host sale in celebration. Here’s a short list of titles on sale. The full list of PC, Linux, Mac and SteamOS discounts can be found through the link. The Banner Saga Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Batman: Arkham […]

  • PayDay 2 announced for SteamOS, celebrating with franchise sale

    PayDay 2 is coming to SteamOS, Overkill has announced. Still under development, a release date will be announced at a later date. “Making sure PAYDAY 2 is available on SteamOS felt like a no-brainer,” said Bo Andersson Klint, CEO of Starbreeze in the press release. “With PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition coming to the next generation […]

  • Magicka 2 has a release date and a crazy new trailer

    Magicka 2 has a release date for PC and the PlayStation 4, and Paradox Interactive has released a trailer featuring “Vlad’s latest lyrical triumph,” which is his rendition of the Game of Thrones theme. Magicka arrived on PC and PS4 May 26 and the game can be pre-ordered on PC beginning today, with PS4 pre-orders […]

  • Nintendo eShop schedule: Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone, others

    Nintendo has sent over a list of titles heading to the eShop in 2015. The schedule contains titles such as Affordable Space Adventures, Runbow, Swords & Soldiers 2, Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. Below a preliminary list of games scheduled to launch in the Nintendo eShop on […]

  • Week 8: Can you win the weekly VG247 GTA Online playlist? Play tonight at 8pm UK time!

    We’re hotdogging tonight. I don’t even know what that means. Eight weeks of ridiculous death. Such a brave, true milestone. We’re going to celebrate two entire months of playing weekly GTA Online playlists with VG247 readers with Hotdogging, a set of six jobs I named completely at random. This one ends with a straight-up border […]

  • Puzzle platformer Four Sided Fantasy coming to PC, consoles in early 2016

    Curve Digital and developer Logan Fieth’s studio Ludo Land are bringing puzzle platformer, Four Sided Fantasy, to PC all major consoles in early 2016. Ludo Land are developing the PC version, with Curve Digital handling the console and Vita versions. Four Sided Fantasy tasks players with venturing across “dreamlike levels” by controlling and manipulating the […]

  • Tropico 5 arrives on PS4 in April – video

    A release date for Tropico 5 on PlayStation 4 has been announced. This is the franchise’s first foray onto PlayStation consoles. It arrived in Europe on April 24 and in North America on April 28. A Limited Edition has also been announced, and it includes The Big Cheese DLC and the Bayo Del Olfato sandbox […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain Limited Edition PS4 releasing in Asia

    A limited edition Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain PlayStation 4 system will be released in Asia. The system and its DualShock controller were designed in collaboration with Konami Digital Entertainment and targeted for the Asia region, per Gematsu. It will be released as part of PS4 Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain […]