TRD Insights: These metro areas are seeing the most CMBS loan distress

first_imgTagsCoronavirusHotelsRetailTRD Insights From top: Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago and New YorkThe coronavirus pandemic has thrown tens of billions of dollars in commercial-mortgage backed securities debt into special servicing, and even more loans have fallen behind on their monthly payments.The economic impact of shutdowns and social distancing has hit some sectors far more than others, and the geographic distribution of distress has also been uneven, as a new report from Trepp shows.The New York City metropolitan area, an early epicenter of the U.S. outbreak and home to much of the country’s priciest real estate, has unsurprisingly seen the biggest impact in terms of monetary value, with $6.8 billion in delinquent CMBS loans. Apart from countless hotels and retail properties, CMBS loans on other types of assets, like the ground under an office building and a corporate rental apartment building, have also run into hard times.ADVERTISEMENTThe next most impacted market is the Chicago metro area, with $2.2 billion in delinquent loans. While that’s less than half of New York’s total balance, the delinquency rate in Chicago is twice as high, with nearly 14 percent of the area’s total CMBS debt currently delinquent.Minnesota’s Twin Cities area comes in at number three with $1.8 billion in delinquent CMBS debt, the bulk of which comes from just one loan: the $1.4 billion loan on Triple Five Group’s Mall of America, which is more than 60 days delinquent and has been transferred to special servicing.Among top markets, Houston’s hotel sector — facing the double whammy of coronavirus and falling oil prices — has been among the hardest hit, with more than 60 percent of its hotel CMBS debt now delinquent, compared to about 40 percent in New York and less than 24 percent in Los Angeles. The city’s office sector is also struggling, with almost 14 percent of office CMBS debt in delinquency, far more than any other metropolitan area. Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinkcenter_img Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

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Bronx scores only mid-market deals in past two weeks

first_imgFull Name* Share via Shortlink Message* Email Address* From left: 580 Gerard Avenue and buyer Joshua Schuster of Silverback Development, and 437-441 164th Street with buyer Jason Friedland of Westrock Development (Google Maps)Just two investment sales between $10 million and $30 million have been recorded in public records since Sept. 20. Both came last week and were for industrial space in the Bronx. Here are details:1. Silverback Development acquired a 31,200-square-foot parking facility at 580 Gerard Avenue in Concourse for $16.9 million, through the limited liability company SD Gerard Avenue. The property has 214,800 square feet of development potential. Emmes Asset Management was the seller, acting through NR Property 2 LLC.2. A limited liability company affiliated with Shlepper’s Moving and Storage purchased six industrial properties and a vacant lot in Morrisania with a total of 59,207 square feet for $14 million. The seller was A&I Bronx Realty Corp. The properties are located at 437, 439 and 441 164th Street; and 432, 434 and 442 165th Street as well as a nearby vacant lot. Jason Friedland, president of Shlepper’s, signed the sales document as the buyer. Friedland is also president of Westrock Development, an industrial real estate brokerage firm servicing the Bronx and Lower Westchester.Write to Orion Jones TagsBronxIndustrial Real EstateInvestment Sales Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

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Cohen Brothers employees allege harassment, endangerment

first_imgShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Email Address* Tagscharles cohencohen brothers realtyReal Estate Lawsuits Message* Full Name* Cohen Brothers’ Charles Cohen and Stephen Fredericks (Getty; iStock; LinkedIn)In March, Charles Cohen, the billionaire head of Cohen Brothers Realty, complained that it was “ridiculous how the news was portraying the pandemic.” Instead of allowing employees to work from home, he allegedly told one of his executive assistants “we have to be a soldier and soldier on.”Two days later, he and his family took a private plane to Palm Beach, and later boarded a private yacht in the Caribbean, according to a lawsuit filed by three of Cohen’s furloughed employees. The wide-ranging suit alleges that the firm’s cavalier response to the pandemic culminated from a toxic work environment where employees were berated, belittled and in some instances, sexually harassed by other executives.An attorney representing Cohen Brothers, Ivan Smith, declined to discuss specific allegations but called the lawsuit’s claims “totally baseless.”One plaintiff, Evelyn Julia, a senior showroom leasing administrator, alleges that she was repeatedly subjected to unwelcome comments about her appearance from her direct supervisor, Stephen Fredericks, head of national leasing at Cohen Brothers. Fredericks would allegedly recount his sexual encounters to Julia and ask about her love life. According to the lawsuit, Julia would respond that such discussions were inappropriate.She also alleges that he would touch her in “inappropriate and unwelcome ways,” including quickly kissing her on the cheek before he went on trips, leaving her no time to react.The lawsuit notes that another former employee either filed a sexual harassment complaint against Fredericks or threatened to do so. The claims were settled, after which Cohen Brothers told employees that they needed to complete sexual harassment training — which Fredericks never did, according to the lawsuit.Fredericks did not return an email or call seeking comment.The lawsuit alleges that CEO Charles Cohen — whose firm’s portfolio spans 12 million square feet across New York, South Florida and Southern California — had a “a longstanding reputation for verbally abusing, screaming at, berating, belittling, and humiliating employees.”Roseann Hylemon, who served as an executive assistant to Cohen and then to COO Steven Cherniak, claims that Cohen repeatedly said “I’m going to kill you” when she did something that displeased him. The reasons for his yelling varied, according to the lawsuit, but included when she ordered a hamburger for him that included cheese.Another of Cohen’s executive assistants, Corinne Arazi, alleges that she was also berated and told that she was not permitted to leave her desk without permission — even to use the bathroom. Cohen did not respond to email requests for comment.When the pandemic hit New York City in March, executives mocked and retaliated against the employees for expressing concern for their safety, according to the complaint.No shutdown was in effect at the time, but the following week the company allegedly ignored Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s March 19 order to reduce in-office non-essential employees by 50 percent. The office remained open when the governor ordered all non-essential employees to stay home starting March 22, according to the lawsuit.The firm’s human resources office emailed employees that day, saying that the governor’s order was ambiguous as to what qualified as essential, the complaint recounts. The email said the office would stay open, but employees could decide for themselves “whether or not to come to work being guided by the time off policies.”There was considerable confusion over whether the real estate industry was “essential” under the state’s orders. Initial guidance and comments from the governor seemed to indicate that while some construction was essential, real estate was not. On April 9, however, the state clarified that real estate services were essential but that in-person activity was allowed only if “legally necessary.”After an employee tested positive for Covid-19, the company allegedly failed to notify Julia, Arazi or Hylemon, who worked in close proximity to the employee. They only learned of his status from a text message he sent Arazi two weeks later, the complaint claims.According to the lawsuit, the three women emailed company executives in April to say that after exhausting their paid time off, they planned to abide by the state’s stay-at-home mandate. They have been on unpaid furlough since and have not been told if they can return to work, according to their attorney.In addition to damages to be determined by the court, the women are seeking compensation for unpaid overtime, according to the complaint.An attorney for the women, Michael Grenert, said the claims share a common thread.“You have a very wealthy company, and my clients were relatively low-level employees,” he said. “You have a kind of culture that looks at the lower level of the company, women in particular, as expendable.”Contact Kathryn Brenzel Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

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Why Gary The Gull is the future of VR

first_img 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. Why Gary The Gull is the future of VRLimitless and Motional prove the potential of emotional connections in the virtual worldRachel WeberSenior EditorThursday 10th March 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareI’m sitting in a meeting room, a VR headset flattening my hair, having a conversation with a gull. He’s trying to trick me as we chat, and I know that, but I’m going to allow it because I don’t want to hurt his feelings. I’m having a relationship with Gary the con-gull, but more than that, I’m beginning to understand the emotional potential of virtual reality experiences.This emotional awakening is the result of a partnership between two ex-Pixar guys, Tom Sanocki and Mark Walsh. Sanocki is now the founder of Limitless, the technology that acts as (in the simplest terms) an emotion engine for virtual reality. Walsh is the creator of Gary The Gull and the man behind VR content company Motional.”I got really interested in how to have an interactive, not passive, experience and how to create interaction using the character skills I built at Pixar. The first person I started talking to was Tom because Tom had a similar interest and he comes from a technical background,” says Walsh. “People are the user interface of real life” “What Tom was able to provide for Motional was this platform that provides voice speech recognition and head nodding and shaking recognition within the game engine.”He’s the first client for Limitless, having worked with Sanocki at Pixar, and a great advert for its potential. The two guys clearly care about bringing a unique type of interaction to virtual reality and, together, they can tackle it both creatively and technically. Sanocki is clear on his goals. “We want to make content creation easy for people. I’ve done that in my career in studios but we want to bring it to everybody. VR is that perfect medium to bring that kind of entertainment to not just folks who like games, but to folks who like anything where you’re engaged in something. To bring story and character and emotional connection.”It’s hard to know what to call this new type of virtual reality game or not-game. Experience? Someone paid a lot more than me in an advertising agency is already figuring that out, but these guys have their own descriptions. “There’s a genre here that’s not quite game, not quite film, that is storytelling that has beginning, middle and end, that you have influence on but you do not steer completely,” says Walsh.Sanocki compares it to some of the more narrative focused games that have emerged in recent years. “Telltale does a lot of this. We want to take that and increase that emotional engagement by taking those principles and going way further and extending that into VR.””I got really interested in how to have an interactive, not passive, experience and how to create interaction using the character skills I built at Pixar” And Gary The Gull, the demo they show me, is a beautiful encapsulation of that aim. He comes to join me on a beach and keeps trying to distract me, telling me to look behind me, in order to steal from my cooler. He makes jokes. He asks if I like Picasso. If I lean too close to him he will fly away, but I don’t because I like him. Finally, it’s a virtual reality character I can wave at who knows I’m there, rather than a dead eyed NPC who doesn’t even notice when I accidentally stumble through their body.”The philosophy Mark and I have is we need to take our cues from real life and think what’s real life like? Because that’s the promise of VR. So by taking real life into VR we can achieve that promise, and a lot of that is about people, because people are the user interface of real life. That’s what we care about and that’s a lot about responding and going on a story, because all our conversations are really mini-stories,” says Sanocki.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “We want to be able to empower other people to take this into the directions they want to go. There’ll be people who do very scripted stories – you’re going to go to Mordor – and there are people that are going to take it and branch it and we can support both. People will figure out more exciting ways to do it. It’s going to be the character engagement that’s important, and that’s what’s going to bring VR to the mainstream. The group of people who watch more action movies than play video games.”Walsh and Sanocki both cite Disneyland as an influence. When you interact with someone dressed as Snow White you know there’s a script, Snow White isn’t going to talk soccer scores, but there’s still a feeling of a real connection. That’s how it feels hanging out with Gary. I want to hang out with him again, and I can’t wait to see what else people do with the Limitless technology. I’ve seen the future of VR, and it’s full of feels.You can try Gary The Gull for yourself at GDC.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The VR & AR newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 7 hours agoEA Play Live set for July 22Formerly E3-adjacent event moves to take place a month and half after the ESA’s showBy Jeffrey Rousseau 9 hours agoLatest comments (1)Jordi Rovira i Bonet Lead Engineer, Anticto5 years ago Wow, they’ll have a hard time trying to avoid people thinking Kinect’s “Milo and Kate” with this demo. Especially now that Lionhead is gone.last_img read more

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Roundtable: What we learned about VR at GDC

first_img 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyShow all comments (4)Julian Williams Founder, WIZDISH Ltd.5 years ago You’re right Greg, there’s a veritable herd.If you’re standing in VR (essential if your character is) then you’re going to need a containment frame anyway. These issues can’t just be swept under the carpet because they’re inconvenient. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJulian Williams Founder, WIZDISH Ltd.5 years ago I hope game developers and HMD manufacturers are taking note, particularly regarding Matthew’s point about locomotion. It really is the elephant in the room. With the best of intentions many developers are breaking the core rules of good VR. The key is to simplify reality to emulate it. That way your brain will willingly accept the simulation. If you don’t your brain will constantly tell you this is fake.Lands End is a beautiful and wonderfully produced game but it’s compromised by non-natural navigation. Their idea is that you stare at a spot and it carries you there like a puppet. The problem is that you don’t feel grounded. Walking up a sheer cliff path should cause a very strong visceral reaction but you get nothing. When you use your legs to move around in VR the impact is dramatic, so like it or not locomotion platforms (omni-directional treadmills) are crucial to the future of VR.If you want an example watch the way this girl screams and runs away from the monster in this Gear VR test:https://youtu.be/-zaq7CtBhpoHave you ever seen anything like that?So my plea to game developers is simple: by all means add obscure methods like teleportation but PLEASE leave in the default gamepad interface as a player option. That way those who acquire the right hardware can really appreciate your game (even if you can’t yourselves!).If you are in London and would like to try this we have just been chosen for the first Virgin Media Techstars accelerator programme, so we now have Liberty Global, the world’s largest cable company, as a shareholder. For 2 months in a couple of weeks we will have a permanent demo set up at VM’s marketing office in Aldgate East. 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyGreg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago Hmmm. No one has noted the other elephants in the room: pets + small children + VR cables = a lot of busted expensive gear when the curious kid or kitty gets tangled up. Those light horror stories will be fun to read as will the ones about waving fields of pet hair in one’s expensive goggles from time to time. 😀center_img 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. Roundtable: What we learned about VR at GDCVirtual reality is a current reality, but its future remains a question mark – the GI.biz team reflects on VR we saw during GDCGamesIndustry InternationalTuesday 22nd March 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareIf there was one big trend that dominated last week’s Game Developers Conference, it was virtual reality. It was obvious going into the show that VR would be prominent, what with the imminent launches of the Rift and Vive and a two-day “VRDC” summit taking place during the show. However, the degree of interest and enthusiasm surrounding VR surprised even the show’s organizers. After the first day’s VRDC talks packed not only their conference rooms but planned overflow rooms, organizers rearranged the show schedule overnight, moving the entire track into larger auditoriums in another hall of the conference center a block away. That set the tone for a week where seemingly everyone wanted to talk about VR, whether they were long-time advocates for the tech, new converts, or immutable skeptics.The GamesIndustry.biz team was no exception, so after allowing a few days to process everything we saw and heard and experienced during the week, here’s how GDC 2016 informed and impacted each of our perspectives in the dawning era of VR.James BrightmanAfter having tried several more VR games during GDC last week, including Valve’s The Lab and Star Wars: Tatooine demos on Vive, I’m finally a believer in the promise of VR. Admittedly, there are very few people who are going to have an ideal space in their homes or apartments for proper room-scale VR that Vive can offer (especially in parts of Asia), but what The Lab and Tatooine showed me is just how incredibly immersive VR can be. I’ve never had that sense of presence in a video game more than I did with Vive, and it’s truly astonishing to think about all the wild games and experiences that could be built using that technology. There are several questions about VR that will take some time to be properly answered, however. When will the games feel less like demos and more like full-blown titles? How many brand-new genres will pop up to take advantage specifically of VR? How long will it be before we can all get into VR without selling our blood and kidneys on the black market? How long can players truly play a VR title without feeling out of sorts? The same genres that we can play for 2-3 hours on an HDTV may be difficult to stay engaged with for that same period of time wearing a headset.For me personally, motion sickness is still an issue – not in all games, but anything with faster movements and lots of head turning and spinning. In playing Ubisoft’s Eagle Flight, for example, while I didn’t have a severe case of motion sickness, after using my head to steer the eagle for a period of 15 minutes I began to feel slightly woozy. Not only that, but from the hardware perspective it’s still a major annoyance to have VR goggles smashed up against your own prescription glasses. Vive feels slightly more comfortable to me, but then again with Vive I had to be aware of all the wires coming out of the back of my head. Jacking into the matrix is a blast, but being on the lookout for wires definitely takes you out of the experience. Over time, all of these issues will be addressed. VR headsets will be made ever more streamlined and comfortable, you’ll likely be able to get custom prescription lenses (as Jesse Schell predicted), and wireless headsets will be the norm (AMD already has one it’s promoting). And yes, VR is currently a luxury for people who have lots of disposable income, but that’s always been true for any new exciting technology. We’re all walking around with supercomputers in our pockets nowadays, and they are completely commoditized – eventually VR, AR or some mixture will get there as well. I think VR’s greatest potential lies in what it can do to connect players with in-game characters and indeed, other players. Playing Ubisoft’s Werewolves Within (a social deduction game) forced me to engage with my fellow human beings in a way that no other online game has. Being fully immersed in a VR world also can allow players to sympathize and empathize on a far greater level than we have with characters in traditional games. Imagine how intense a game like Papers, Please might be in VR, for example. Likewise, emotions may be so strong in VR that already developers during GDC talked about the very real dangers of pushing people’s fear buttons too hard. VR is a new paradigm and it’s going to take some time to iron out the wrinkles. Remember the jump from pixels and sprites in 2D to the very first 3D polygonal games? There was a ton of excitement but also, frankly, a lot of utter garbage. But the industry is undoubtedly better for it. Rachel WeberThe most exciting thing for me at this year’s GDC, aside from watching my boyfriend scream his way through a Paranormal Activity VR demo, was realising just how much new blood virtual reality is bringing to the industry. GDC is so often a place to see all the usual faces, the AAA people in their expensive IP celebrating t-shirts, the indies making us all look like middle-grade math teachers, but this year there were a whole bunch of fresh faces. The new technology has attracted people from the worlds of film and television, as well as new indies, and they’re offering a totally new perspective that doesn’t come from years of making and playing console games or mobile time munchers.”It’s time to stop pretending that the VR revolution is an ‘if’ and accept that it’s a ‘when'” The Paranormal Activity VR demo was a good example of an intense experience that could only have come from a team familiar with the pacing and set up of a good film or TV show. Gary The Gull is another personal favourite, a collaboration between Limitless and Motional, both founded by former Pixar employees who understand characters and connection in an entirely different way.A lot of people will want to focus on the problems VR will face — motion sickness, marketing, comfort, content — but then when the motorcar was invented a lot of people were worried they would scare the horses. PlayStation VR’s price has made this a truly accessible technology — less than the latest mobile phone — and the fact that pre-orders have sold out for it and all the other headsets prove there is an appetite. It’s time to stop pretending that the VR revolution is an “if” and accept that it’s a “when”. Matthew HandrahanFor me, GDC posed a lot more questions about VR than it answered, reinforcing the same familiar strengths and further accentuating the size and importance of the lingering problems.The most obvious of those was player movement, a particularly difficult issue due to its role in inducing motion sickness through acceleration, deceleration and independent movement of the player’s viewpoint. If you are designing a VR experience in first-person — and this is where much of the promise of VR lies — then the smartest choice is to limit the player’s in-game movements to those they can make in the real-world. With Vive, due to the wire that tethers the headset to the PC, this means walking a few feet in any direction. With Oculus Rift and PSVR, neither of which have an equivalent to Vive’s Lighthouse technology, the player’s avatar is better off sitting or standing still. There’s a very good reason why Valve and HTC are insisting that wand controllers are part of the entry-level package, and I now believe that Oculus and Sony should be doing the same with Touch and Move respectively. Packing in an Xbox One controller, in particular, sends the wrong message to both players and designers alike.”It isn’t so much a problem with the hardware as a problem with the human brain, and until there is an omni-directional treadmill in every VR user’s home, we will have to make do with ‘solutions’ like teleportation” Ultimately, the limitation on movement is a severe limitation in general, one that directly contributes to the absence of substantial experiences that Rob Fahey pointed out in his editorial last week. When the player must stay in either a single position (as with Oculus and PSVR) or a very limited space (as with Vive), and they can only interact with objects within touching distance (via hand inputs), there are only so many nails the developer’s hammer can strike: either contained, focused and brief, or a game where the player’s static position is integral and organic to the game design, hence the surfeit of experiences based around racing and flying. For now, this mix of dog-fighting and short, sharp shocks will suffice, but the assumption that a solution to limited movement will arrive in the near future seems hopeful at best. Put simply, it isn’t so much a problem with the hardware as a problem with the human brain, and until there is an omni-directional treadmill in every VR user’s home, we will have to make do with “solutions” like teleportation – a feature of almost every demo I tried that wanted the player to actually explore and interact with the world, and one that felt abstract and immersion shattering every single time.Brendan SinclairWhile everyone is excited to see the creative possibilities VR will offer game developers, I’m wondering about the creative possibilities it could offer other industry players. Specifically, I look at mobile VR right now and I see an opportunity for companies to rewrite history, because repeating it beat-for-beat probably won’t work.I don’t think Apple intended free-to-play to dominate like this when it launched the App Store, but it was a rational endpoint when you had an open platform hosting inexpensive games that also suffered from discoverability problems and virtually no platform management apart from forbidding games that were straight up stolen or dared to comment on something relevant in the world. With mobile VR, I wonder if that rational endpoint, or the route there, might still be changed.”I don’t think the standard mobile business model will work for [mobile VR], but I’m not sure it can borrow the premium models of its PC and console cousins, either” Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games For one thing, the installed base of VR headsets isn’t large enough to support the massive communities on which free-to-play games thrive; there simply aren’t enough whales in that pond (at least, not yet). Beyond the cold numbers, I don’t think VR games are good enough to make free-to-play viable yet. The model works best with games that get their hooks into players and keep them coming back again and again for months or years. To date, all the experiences I’ve seen in VR have been driven more by the novelty of the tech than any long-term appeal. Developers are still coming to terms with the basic language they use to talk about making VR games, and we’re a long way from having effective VR gameplay templates that can be endlessly reworked, reskinned, and rehashed like in the free-to-play mobile space.Then there’s the increased potential mobile VR has to command a premium price point as a standard. People get that it’s a different experience, and I suspect they’re willing to pay specifically for that difference in the same way movie theaters charge a few bucks more to see the latest blockbuster in 3D (We can debate whether the analogy can be further extended to 3DTVs some other time).While mobile VR is the area I have the least interest in as a consumer, it’s the area I’m most curious about as an industry watcher. I don’t think the standard mobile business model will work for it, but I’m not sure it can borrow the premium models of its PC and console cousins, either. If mobile VR is going to find its footing, some of the bigger players in the field will have to articulate a clear vision of how the market’s going to work and what they want it to be.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The VR & AR newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEA leans on Apex Legends and live services in fourth quarterQ4 and full year revenues close to flat and profits take a tumble, but publisher’s bookings still up double-digitsBy Brendan Sinclair 7 hours agoEA Play Live set for July 22Formerly E3-adjacent event moves to take place a month and half after the ESA’s showBy Jeffrey Rousseau 9 hours agoLatest comments (4)Emmanuel Dorée Studying Software Engineering, Open University5 years ago Matthew is on the money with his comment. Not only solving this core issue will be delicate but also I am not sure the audience wants to go on a treadmill or move from the chair/couch. So VR gaming’s problem could indeed be more of a human problem than a technical one.last_img read more

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Microsoft plans to sabotage Steam – Sweeney

first_imgMicrosoft plans to sabotage Steam – SweeneyEpic co-founder says Windows 10 updates will progressively break Valve’s storefront, Microsoft acknowledges that UWP is a work in progressBrendan SinclairManaging EditorThursday 28th July 2016Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleEpic GamesMicrosoftUpdate: Microsoft has issued an amicable response to Tim Sweeney’s criticisms, maintaining that UWP is an open platform while acknowledging that there is some room for improvement.”Tim is a respected figure in the gaming world, and we value his feedback,” a company representative told Game Informer. “The Universal Windows Platform is a fully open ecosystem that is available to every developer, and can be supported by any store. It’s early, and we recognise there is still work to be done, but we want to make Windows the best development platform regardless of technologies used.”Original Story: Tim Sweeney has never been shy with his criticisms of Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform, but his jabs appear to be getting increasingly pointed. In March, he warned that there is a danger that Microsoft could neglect, and possibly even degrade Windows 10 support for standard Win32 apps over time. In a new interview with Edge (as covered by the magazine’s sister site PC Gamer), Sweeney said the process has already begun, with Valve’s Steam storefront as one of its first targets.”Slowly, over the next five years, [Microsoft] will force-patch Windows 10 to make Steam progressively worse and more broken,” Sweeney said. “They’ll never completely break it, but will continue to break it until, in five years, people are so fed up that Steam is buggy that the Windows Store seems like an ideal alternative. That’s exactly what they did to their previous competitors in other areas. Now they’re doing it to Steam. It’s only just starting to become visible. Microsoft might not be competent enough to succeed with their plan, but they’re certainly trying.”Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games If Microsoft can swing developers to use UWP instead of Win32, Sweeney warns that it will be trivial for the company to mandate such apps can only be distributed through the Windows Store, effectively turning Windows PCs into a closed platform.”It won’t be that one day they flip a switch that will break your Steam library – what they’re trying to do is a series of sneaky manoeuvres. They make it more and more inconvenient to use the old apps, and, simultaneously, they try to become the only source for the new ones.”Microsoft has previously denied Sweeney’s criticisms, insisting that UWP is “a fully open ecosystem available to every developer, that can be supported by any store.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesEpic vs Apple – Week One Review: Epic still faces an “uphill battle”Legal experts share their thoughts on the proceedings so far, and what to expect from the coming weekBy James Batchelor 15 hours agoEpic Games claims Fortnite is at “full penetration” on consoleAsserts that mobile with the biggest growth potential as it fights for restoration to iOS App StoreBy James Batchelor 18 hours agoLatest comments (27)Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 2Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyMorville O’Driscoll Blogger & Critic 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyPaul Shirley Programmers 4 years agoWhy would any PC game developer go for UWP? Is there an advantage to limiting yourself to the Windows store?Well, it’s been extrapolated that Rise of the Tomb Raider sold 15,000 copies on Windows Store, so I’m going to go with…. No? 😀 4 years ago hmmmm. What did microsoft do on mobile? They could have decided their best apps like office, outlook, skype and so on worked only with WindowsPhone, make that into a closed system of sorts aswell and force consumers to their platform if they valued the software.But no, they didnt go that route, they made their all their “killer” apps for iOS and Android aswell. That goes against the walled garden approach that for example Robin clarke mentioned above? Why would Ms in this case go a completely different route? Try to force people to their store? I just donmt buy it….i need more convincing. 4 years ago Ars Technical has a good piece http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/07/now-tim-sweeney-thinks-that-microsoft-will-use-windows-10-to-break-steam/0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyRobin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd4 years ago @Al Nelson It took years of antitrust action to stop Microsoft from tightly integrating Internet Explorer to Windows and several more years for Chrome and Firefox to win back market share.Steadily making it less convenient to use alternatives is the strategy Microsoft used to try to kill off competing office software, browsers and media players on Windows, and it’s a valid concern when they’ve spend the past 4-5 years outlining their plans for a walled garden. 5Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyMurray Lorden Game Designer & Developer, MUZBOZ4 years ago Valve have been gently massaging the Linux escape system for several years now, and it’s been kind of slow, but I think basically, if Microsoft ramp up any sort of funny business, Valve will be ramping up it’s encouragement to get people OFF Windows. Now I know that would be quite a crazy ask, but… if anyone could cause a swell of people to move away from Windows, it’s Valve and Steam.And if Linux started to get a lot more users, I think we’d actually see a fairly quick (5 – 10 year) shift to have 1000000% more software being released by that platform. I can imagine a future, 10 years from now, where the appeal of a more open OS, like Linux, could be the major player in the market.I think for most people, computers need to be easy to use, need to do everything you want, without going into some command line, etc. I think Linux is getting there. And Apple and Microsoft might be going deeper and deeper into walled / proprietary bad places.We’ll see! Interesting times. 🙂 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyMorville O’Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago Gabe and the gang’s “look and sound of good enough” and nigh zero I vestment in the quality of their service seems to do that just fine. When you have to be forced by courts to have a customer service phone line for a $4 billion company, give me a break. Steam succeeds mostly on forward momentumAll Microsoft has to do is guarantee to grandfather your Steam keys and they’re halfway there push a button and they all port just like Ultraviolet. 4 years agoAll Microsoft has to do is guarantee to grandfather your Steam keys and they’re halfway there push a button and they all port just like Ultraviolet.Aha ha! Really? MS can promise all they want, but reworking Win32 apps to UWP is going to be on the developers and publishers. And do you really think MS is going to finance everyone from Activision to Jo Blow to make UWP versions of Win32 apps and games? Unless they can literally push a button and have them port across without any bugs or broken features, then it won’t happen. And it’ll be impossible due to how tightly some games are wound into Steamworks (VAC, Steam Controller, Achievements).I agree that a Ultraviolet-like system would be the way forward, but MS aren’t going to be the ones to do it… At least, not alone. A conglomerate of publishers and distributors, sure, but not just MS. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyShow all comments (27)Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years ago Well, it depends upon your view (obviously. :p ). Quantum Break had no promotion specific to the Windows release. Same with GoW Ultimate. To me, this is indicative of MS not having a clue how to market games outside of XBox hardware and bundles – Rise of the Tomb Raider had MS money in it, and they failed just as much to promote it. They could create a marketing juggernaut for their IP releases on PC (QB, KI, GoW), but they haven’t, which tells me they lack confidence. That said, the new Dead Rising game is a timed-exclusive for WinStore, so I don’t think we’ll have long to wait to see how they really push a game that PC gamers care about.In any event, I think we’re both on the same page with regards to the wider industry – large-scale PC gaming distribution should not be the sole domain of a single company, be it Valve, MS, EA or Ubisoft. 🙂 4 years ago @ JeffInterestingly, MS seem to have proven their confusion about gaming once more. Quantum Break (MS owned IP and UWP WinStore exclusive) has just been announced for Steam, with a physical retail release that activates on Steam, and requires Windows 7 (not 10).I can’t help but think that if they hired you to head their gaming division, they’d at least have a clear business plan and direction. 🙂 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years agoExcept UWP doesn’t limit you to the Windows store,Show me a UWP app that’s available outside of Windows Store. The whole point of UWP is that it’s ingrained into Windows, so even when UWP apps become available elsewhere, still the only real winner is MS. Just like Steam-activatable games tie the consumer into Steam, so UWP ties the user into WinStore. And, again, only MS truly benefit from that.The question that needs to be asked is a must-have title that is ONLY on Windows store, how many won’t buy it because it’s not on Steam, and how you convert the vast majority of those holdouts.Well, currently there’s Quantum Break, Gears of War Ultimate and Killer Instinct that are Winstore/UWP exclusive. PC gamers (on the whole) care for none of these MS owned IP. So, as it stands, it would need a large third-party title that already has a following on PC to become Winstore exclusive, I think. And why would Square or Activision, say, go exclusive to a store with less eyes, less features, less promotion? Everyone saw the poor sales of XBone Rise of The Tomb Raider (relative to PC) and people no longer believe MS’s money can offset the lost sales.Honestly, I think itch.io is a bigger “true” threat to Steam. MS may try to bull Valve out the industry, but itch.io is the one that third parties will shift to rather than MS.IMO, of course. 😀 Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O’Driscoll on 29th July 2016 10:17am 2Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyKlaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyMorville O’Driscoll Blogger & Critic 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyMorville O’Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago What the hell has he been smoking? Lately he is making a lot of weird statements.. 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyKlaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 4 years agoWindows update fucked up fonts in russian steam client, M$ never learnswindows update changed my steam font?Two posts from Neogaf. Cocking-up fonts is not something MS would do on purpose specifically to screw with Steam/Steam users (too many knock-on effects for other software, I should think), but it’s interesting that this has occurred so soon after what Tim Sweeney said. 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyrobert troughton Managing Director, Coconut Lizard4 years ago I think the only way that Windows Store would ever realistically take over from Steam is if the users truly preferred it. Chrome has a large install base because many users prefer it. If the day comes when users prefer Windows Store over Steam, who really cares..? So developers would pay the cut to Microsoft instead of Valve… 4 years ago Except UWP doesn’t limit you to the Windows store,The only thing it proves is that people are used to Steam and like having all their games in one place. The question that needs to be asked is a must-have title that is ONLY on Windows store, how many won’t buy it because it’s not on Steam, and how you convert the vast majority of those holdouts. 4 years ago @Morvillle All they have to do is honor them for versions on the Windows store. Which don’t have to be UWP. The key is your rights to the game just like cross buy works (automatically behind the scenes). The love of Steam is first and foremost about everything being in one place.With Ultraviolet your key carries entitlements, which may or may not be supported by the vendor you’re accessing the movie through. Some have bonus materials, others don’t. Some lack HD versions of detain titles, or director’s cuts.center_img 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years ago Paul you’ve missed what I’m saying. There’s nothing stopping them running existing program through packager for th there’s nothing stopping them running existing program through packager store e windows store. Re-read what I wrote, particularly the second paragraph. Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O’Driscoll on 28th July 2016 11:05pm 3Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyPaul Jace Merchandiser 4 years agoWith Ultraviolet your key carries entitlements, which may or may not be supported by the vendor you’re accessing the movie through. Some have bonus materials, others don’t. Some lack HD versions of detain titles, or director’s cuts.So why would people choose MS’s “grandfathered” versions of games which lack features, when they could just use Steam? And why would devs and pubs go-along with this, when it would just irritate users? Gamers are an irritable bunch at the best of times, but saying to them “Hey, go to the MS store where you can get a free key for this game to use, but you won’t have access to your Steam Controller, Steam Friends, Steam Cards, Steam Wallet…” Well, you can see where I’m going. Yeah, MS could sort some deal for games like that, but why would anyone other than MS agree to it? Only MS stand to gain from it. And it’s fairly plain to see that MS are giving up on money-hatting games, if the XBone exclusives are anything to go by.Edit: Ironically, if MS actually competed on features, rather than trying to bull Valve out the market, they’d be in a prime position to do the “Ultraviolet” scheme above. 6Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyAl Nelson Producer, Tripwire Interactive4 years ago The strategy described here is so effective, it has made Internet Explorer and Edge, the only technically viable and so, most popular browsers in the world [sarcasm]…And Xbone…and BTW, would you like a better deal of cards in Windows Solitaire in trade for watching a commercial? No? Win10 – the panhandler of operating systems.Though, Steam, the defacto standard, is showing its age. They sure could spruce it up a bit. I guess that Valve, lassez faire, no managers, no schedules system moves in mysterious ways. 2Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyMorville O’Driscoll Blogger & Critic 4 years ago Steam is a hypercharged commerce machine, that will relentlessly shoot buzzwords at you: pre-order, early-access, public-beta, f2p, midweek sale, weekend-sale, special sale, game suggestions for you, your friends play this, etc.Open the Windows 10 store and you will see Disney Crossy Road and Microsoft Bingo.Why would any PC game developer go for UWP? Is there an advantage to limiting yourself to the Windows store? 4 years ago @morville.I’m not saying they have to. They can also do what they do with their x360 porting and develop something to mostly automate such tasks. It’s really not that big a deal compared to that to change over steam to live. Again the big issue is getting people to boot live instead. Of steam, and they’re playing the long game. 4Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyMurray Lorden Game Designer & Developer, MUZBOZ4 years ago But as people have mentioned, it’s still all quite hypothetical. Obviously Windows would LIKE it if everything went through the Windows Store, so they got a tasty cut of the dollars.But I don’t think Microsoft are really THAT against an open platform. Windows has always thrived because it’s fairly open.It would be tricky being a massive corporation that makes the foundational software upon which everything else runs, and feel somehow “still not part of the cool gang”. Like, no one really goes to the Windows Store, do they? Poor old Microsoft. :)So many people there. I’m sure there’s plenty of good ideas that come up, and many probably get lost in the mix. Xbox has been a reasonable success for them. And Microsoft is currently the only one making an OS that runs across desktop PCs and tablets, as well as Xbox and mobile. And I think that’s a good thing to be doing. So, you know, it’s easy to criticise them, especially if they seem to be over-reaching and “a bit grabby”. But you know, they’re alllriiiiight… 🙂 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyAleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager 4 years agoThis is some tinfoil hattery, if you ask me.The main thing missing from this story is a picture of a tinfoil hat, preferably on Mr. Sweeney’s head. But if that’s not possible a picture of a tinfoil hat-wearing cat will get across the same message loud and clear. 2Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years ago @Jeff completely missing the point. Doesn’t matter if you can get a key from the store, that doesn’t make the game magically immune to platform degradation, doesn’t magically convert it to UWP and won’t supply missing Steam features if it could. DirectX is already being neglected to death on Win32, it’s just the start of degrading it in favour of UWP. Or whatever they decide to change to next. Edited 2 times. Last edit by Al Nelson on 27th July 2016 12:02am 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyChristopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus4 years ago This is bar room pontificating. Not news, and not even really sourceable. 4 years ago @morville Tomb Raider was a poor example if for no other reason than its release timing was awful. It came out the same day as Fallout 4 and within a week of Call of Duty and Battlefront , is it that shocking it got stomped? Alan Wake got moved directly onto Red Dead’s release day and likewise got its ass kicked. . Tomb Raider simply isn’t in those games orbit.It’s a poor choice to prove your point. Like I said, how many people will refuse to use it.Best Biy offers 20% off and often a $10 gift certificate on top of it.i pay $37.99 for most triple A games. A hell of a lot of people started shopping there for that that Amazon has emulated it. Couple that with grandfathering Steam keys and it’s a viable plan of atta k. Again, we have no idea what the true situation is until something gargantuan is only on WS. Mocrosoft’s money is better spent doing what they’re already doing, making sure games support the native Xbox features, like offering 360 games in the future including grandfathered rights. Steam is a house of cards someone is going to topple, and frankly I’d prefer the entire industry move to a universal rights platform so you can shop where you want like UV. 4 years ago What is the point of Outlook, if companies stop using Exchange because Microsoft thinks it is cute to ignore all mobile devices? If people do not use Office, it will affect Microsoft’s bottom line far more than with just a few Office copies sold less. There are a ton of user CALs to consider as well. Office costs money to buy, but it also costs Microsoft money to make. User CALs cost nothing and companies need them before they can even think of rolling out Outlook to everybody. There is a giant incentive to keep people hooked on Outlook, so companies are hooked on Exchange. So when forced to move by the popularity of something else than Windows, Microsoft will move.By contrast, Microsoft’s stabs at bigger video gaming market shares do not have to be measured at all. There is no grown ecosystem of big IT departments reluctant to change. You are dope one generation and obsolescent the next; total in the moment consumerism tyranny fueled by nothing but snap decisions from customers who will never know any consequence. Worst case for a consumer buying the wrong console? Nothing.So no matter what the business facing division did in the past, it will not work for gaming division in the future. 1Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyPaul Shirley Programmers 10Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyAndrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 4 years ago @Aleksi They could have decided their best apps like office, outlook, skype and so on worked only with WindowsPhoneThe timeline suggest that’s exactly what Ballmer tried, with only Nokia and Windows devices getting Office from 2007 till June 2013. The Android+IOS versions launched just before he announced his resignation. By then WP7 had failed, WP8 was in trouble and Microsoft were desperate for any way into mobile, something even Ballmer could no longer ignore. Also worth remembering office on Apple desktops is part of the existing scheme to avoid monopoly sanctions by supporting Apple as a competitor they could point to.Today’s Microsoft finally remembered you can still make money on someone else’s platform, that cloud lock in is nearly as effective as platform lock in. If they can achieve both platform and cloud lock in for even part of the market even better. 2Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyJeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O’Driscoll on 2nd August 2016 8:25pm 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyMorville O’Driscoll Blogger & Critic 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replyMorville O’Driscoll Blogger & Critic Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O’Driscoll on 10th August 2016 7:02pm 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

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Nintendo will release a Mario Kart mobile game by March 2019

first_imgNintendo will release a Mario Kart mobile game by March 2019Mario Kart Tour will launch in the next financial year, the publisher said todayMatthew HandrahanEditor-in-ChiefThursday 1st February 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleNintendoNintendo will launch a mobile game based on the Mario Kart franchise by March 2019, the company has told investors.The new game will be called Mario Kart Tour, and it will launch at some point in the next financial year: between April 2018 and March 2019. Nintendo has no other details on the product at this point in time.However, it did offer an update on the rest of its mobile portfolio, the cornerstone of which remains Super Mario Run. Nintendo didn’t offer a specific update on the 200 million lifetime downloads it reported in October last year, but it did confirm that Mario’s mobile debut has a base of 20 million monthly active users.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “This game helps to maximize the number of people who have access to Nintendo IP by providing a Mario game that a wide variety of users around the world can enjoy,” the company said.The company’s last mobile release was Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Nintendo had no specific figures around downloads or monetisation to offer. However, it did reveal that female players, “make up a high percentage of the user base.”Most of those players are adults, the company said, and an accompanying graphic suggested the proportion of female players is higher than 75 per cent.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Mobile newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesNintendo appointing Despicable Me studio head to board of directorsAnimation studio behind Mario movie gains influence as Illumination Entertainment CEO Chris Meledandri expected to join board next monthBy Brendan Sinclair 5 days agoNintendo reports record full-year profits as Switch nears 85m units soldAnd, despite forecasting decline, the platform holder expects console to beat Wii’s 101 million lifetime sales this yearBy James Batchelor 6 days agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

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Sports Direct buys 50% of GAME’s esports arenas in £3.2m deal

first_imgSports Direct buys 50% of GAME’s esports arenas in £3.2m dealBelong arenas to appear in Sports Direct stores, with additional £55m in loansChristopher DringHead of Games B2BMonday 12th February 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleGAME DigitalSports Direct has increased its relationship with GAME by acquiring 50% of Belong.Belong is the name of the in-store areas that exist within selected GAME stores. These are places where gamers can pay to participate in a series of local competitive multiplayer PC games. GAME views them as a key part of its future as the games industry becomes increasingly digital.Sports Direct has acquired 50% of the rights to the Belong IP for £3.2m and will take a 50% share of future profits from Belong.The sports retailer has also entered into a loan agreement with GAME where it will provide £55m in capital. This money is to accelerate the roll-out of Belong and GAME Retail stores into some Sports Direct shops across the UK. The money will also be used for new ventures and the development of the Belong website.GAME opened 19 Belong stores so far, and said it will open 35 by the end of its next financial year. It’s not clear if this new deal will accelerate that roll-out.In July year, Sports Direct acquired 26% of GAME after its share price plummeted amid growing concerns for the retailer. However, the share price has rallied slightly and the video game chain has posted improved financial results since then.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games “I am delighted that through the Collaboration Agreement we are able to accelerate the implementation of a key element of our transformational strategy to move from a seller of physical products to providing gaming experiences,” said GAME CEO Martyn Gibbs.  “As more consumer focus and spend moves to experiences, we are well advanced in delivering unique, world class gaming at both local and national level. Having launched the Belong brand just over a year ago, we have now opened 19 arenas and are very encouraged by the popularity and performance of these locations.  We look forward to collaborating with Sports Direct to increase the availability and scale of Belong and to capitalise on the increasing overlap between sports and esports fans by bringing this unique experience to a wider consumer base.”Sports Direct CFO Jon Kempster added: “We are very happy to partner with GAME in building an increased presence in the esports market through the Belong brand. This is a very good example of building a commercial relationship via our strategic investment approach.”Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Publishing & Retail newsletter and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesGAME parent Frasers Group criticises “worthless” government relief packageMike Ashley-owned organisation will review portfolio for “unviable” stores By Marie Dealessandri 2 months agoGAME details efforts to prevent PS5 scalpersUK retailer assures automatic checks will help ensure the ‘one per customer’ rule is upheld as new stock becomes availableBy James Batchelor 3 months agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

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Tenchu: No prescription needed

first_imgTenchu: No prescription neededWhy I Love: Solar Sail’s Tancred Dyke-Wells finds freedom in an overshadowed PSone ninja gameTancred Dyke-WellsTuesday 8th May 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleAcquireFromSoftwareWhy I Love is a series of guest editorials on GamesIndustry.biz intended to showcase the ways in which game developers appreciate each other’s work. This entry was contributed by Solar Sail Games co-founder Tancred Dyke-Wells, who used to direct Nintendo’s Art Academy and Battalion Wars games, and is currently at work on the open-world narrative-driven RPG Smoke and Sacrifice.I can’t claim this was the moment I fell in love with Tenchu: Stealth Assassins because I’d already fallen for that game pretty hard by this point, but there was a certain moment – an incident – which roused me to howls of rage and swearing so colourful I surprised myself and burned this game indelibly into my experience.It was 1998; I’d only been in the industry a couple of years at that time, working on a sim/point-and-click adventure hybrid, BiOSys. That game was pretty far removed from Tenchu, a seminal stealth game created at the height of the PS1 era by Japanese development house Acquire, (the license subsequently acquired by From Software).The game lacked the production values of the contemporary stealth blockbuster Metal Gear Solid, but also the prescription – and so for me it was something special.What Tenchu lacked in production values it made up for in player freedom. (Images pulled from playthrough by YouTube user Miliens0fKills)Featuring a distinctive original soundtrack from Noriyuki Asakura which fused Western pop with Chinese, Thai, Japanese and even Arabic influences, the game wore its musical charisma brazenly. The soundtrack was acoustic, vocal (in West African Hausa!) and unashamedly prominent – the antithesis of the forgettable scores that characterise contemporary action movies (and often sadly, AAA games). Voice acting was similarly bold, Seiichi Hirai and the rest of the cast dividing audiences with unabashed overacting. But love it or hate it, few games are so quoted. “It looks like you chose the wrong party to crash…!”Anyway, I’d fought and failed to kill Onikage before, ninja grappling and stealth-killing my way to the top of the castle at the end of Level 9 to do so. Tenchu’s bosses were not the rock-hard exercises in suffering that current IP holders From Software’s oeuvre is known for, but the arrogant bastard fought bare-handed, and his double spin kicks dealt a lot of damage.I’d seen that he could use his own health potions, and I’d also discovered that it was possible to lure or knock (or more likely be knocked by) him outside the rooftop that at first appeared to be the designated fight zone. One fight had carried on right down the stairwells of the castle. This in itself was flabbergasting, a boss fight not being confined to an arena. And it reflected the openness that made the game a stand-out experience.But what really had me screaming at my cathode ray TV was when, worn down by the fight and mid-way through attempting to consume a health restorative of my own, he’d kicked it from my hands, and then shortly afterward snatched it from the floor and guzzled it himself! The temerity!The Okinage fight could spill out of the main fighting area and onto the rooftops. (Images pulled from playthrough by YouTube user Miliens0fKills)This was an unscripted moment. Onikage was just an AI agent driven by a state machine that allowed him to share some actions with the player. Giving him these abilities may even have been a development economy over creating more bespoke actions for the character.”Tenchu’s grapple could be used on any surface, not just predefined points. The game seemed unafraid to allow the odd glitch in order to maximise player freedom” But this application of a seemingly consistent ruleset between the player and AI characters – that they could take up and use my own tools against me – was, for me, deeply compelling and something rarely seen since. The even-handedness conjured up the feeling of a world that felt alive, with internal consistency – somewhere with a sense of possibility.This was a little before true open-world, sandbox games such as Outcast and Grant Theft Auto III would appear. Ocarina of Time was the darling of the moment, and while I could appreciate the elegance of that game’s design, at some level I couldn’t help feel that my play experience was likely to conform very closely to that of other people. Dare I say it, at times it felt like an exercise in beautifully-refined hoop-jumping – a shepherded, predetermined experience – and all that breaking pots in people’s houses just didn’t give me the feeling of a living world.Similarly Metal Gear, honed and polished as it was also for me lacked the feeling of an internally coherent world. Rooms would reset on exit and entry, alerted guards instantly becoming oblivious to your presence on stepping in or out of a door. The illusion broke easily.But Tenchu’s enemy layouts varied with each attempt and characters could pursue you from one end of the map to the other – the weapon selection on offer (smoke bombs, caltrops, poison rice cakes, grenades, mines, coloured rice) seemed to offer and encourage experimentation.Emblematic of its overall design philosophy, its grapple could be used on any surface, not just predefined points. The game seemed unafraid to allow the odd glitch in order to maximise player freedom.Twenty years on, this attitude still informs my own approach. With Smoke and Sacrifice, we’re melding an organic, open world with rich, crafted storytelling. For me, the ideal game experience finds that sweet spot where meaningful emotional engagement is brought together with the freedom to experiment and set your own goals – but most importantly, in a world that feels alive.Upcoming Why I Love columns:Tuesday, May 22 – Sperasoft’s Steven Thornton on Portal 2Tuesday, June 5 – Over the Moon Studios’ John Warner on Dark SoulsTuesday, June 19 – Infinite State Games’ Mike Daw on Bubble BobbleTuesday, July 3 – Infinite State Games’ Charlie Scott-Skinner on Monster HunterDevelopers interested in contributing their own Why I Love column are encouraged to reach out to us at [email protected] employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesSony now has a stake in parent of Dark Souls dev From SoftwarePlayStation firm forms ‘capital alliance’ with Kadokawa Corporation, taking 1.93% ownershipBy James Batchelor 3 months agoXbox closes E3 2019 conference with Project Scarlett, coming Holiday 2020Hardware details, plus every major announcement from the platform holder’s press conferenceBy Rebekah Valentine A year agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

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Twitch counter-sues streamer banned for gambling, inappropriate conduct

first_img 0Sign inorRegisterto rate and replySign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now. Twitch counter-sues streamer banned for gambling, inappropriate conductJames Varga, aka “Phantoml0rd”, sued Twitch over the ban last monthRebekah ValentineSenior Staff WriterFriday 11th May 2018Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareCompanies in this articleTwitchTwitch has filed a counter-suit against a former partnered streamer banned for on-stream gambling in 2015. The streamer in question, James “Phantoml0rd” Varga, initially sued Twitch over the ban last month.As a Twitch partner, Varga primarily streamed Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. His streams were very popular, with over one million followers prior to his ban. In July of 2016, he was banned following multiple suspensions for violations of Twitch’s overall Terms of Service and its Partner-specific terms. His primary offense was streaming gambling content from a website called CSGOShuffle, where he would gamble to win CS:GO skins and show off his wins on-stream. Gambling content violated Twitch’s terms, but a second accusation against Varga escalated the problem. Allegedly, Varga was one of the owners of the site, and had been gambling with in-house currency with rigged odds.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games In addition, Twitch warned Varga for violations of its policy against “sexually suggestive content, content involving self-harm, and content involving racist symbols.”Varga sued Twitch nearly two years after the ban, claiming that the ban subjected him to “significant monetary damages” and damage to his reputation. Per his complaint, Twitch did not provide a concrete reason for his suspension. He also continues to deny ownership of CSGOShuffle.Twitch’s countersuit attempts to invalidate Varga’s suit by citing multiple, specific conversations with Varga about the nature of his violations of the Terms of Service. In addition, Twitch seeks finanicial compensation for damages incurred from the breach of contract, fraud, and Varga’s “negligent misrepresentation” of his affiliation with CSGOShuffle.Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesStreamer Phantoml0rd wins three-year Twitch lawsuitCS:GO player James Varga was banned from the platform in 2016By Danielle Partis 15 days agoTwitch continues to grow in Q1 2021, but YouTube Gaming is laggingHours watched on Twitch are up 97%, but Facebook is poised to overtake YouTube By Danielle Partis 27 days agoLatest comments (1)AbdulBasit Saliu Mechanic, Flowmotion Entertainment Inc3 years ago Private Division is owned by a $15 Blast_img read more

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