Scope out a few of the news stories from the game industry this week, hand-picked from across the world of games.
Devcom and Gamescom Organizers Share Details About Online-Only Events
Devcom and Gamescom, one of the biggest game industry events to be moved online, share details what their events will offer to their attendees.
“Devcom and Gamescom have revealed more details about how they’re responding to the pandemic by staging digital-only events for European game developers and gamers.
Last year, Gamescom drew more than 373,000 attendees to Cologne, Germany, during August, while Devcom drew about 3,000 professional game developers. I attended both events and moderated sessions at the sprawling Koelnmesse convention grounds. But the German government has prohibited such big events because of the coronavirus, and online is the only path forward.
This year, Gamescom will start with Geoff Keighley’s Opening Night Live event on August 27 and continue until August 30, without the huge physical expo that it normally has had in the past. It will have an online-only format, with programming that will be announced at a later time, said Felix Falk, managing director of Game (the German game industry association), in an interview with GamesBeat.”
NVIDIA’s AI Recreates a Version of Pac-Man
Source: The Verge
Artificial intelligence systems are starting to go past simply playing and mastering games but starting to recreate them. NVIDIA may be the first one to effectively accomplish this:
Nvidia is best known for its graphics cards, but the company conducts some serious research into artificial intelligence, too. For its latest project, Nvidia researchers taught an AI system to recreate the game of Pac-Man simply by watching it being played.
There’s no coding involved, no pre-rendered images for the software to draw on. The AI model is simply fed visual data of the game in action along with the accompanying controller inputs and then recreates it frame by frame from this information. The resulting game is playable by humans, and Nvidia says it will be releasing it online in the near future.”
Troubled Magic Leap Receives $350 Million in Funding
Mixed reality platform company Magic Leap (as well as perhaps hundreds of its employees) has been given a lifeline in the form of a massive investment.
“Magic Leap has been struggling for quite a while now, but the past year has been especially difficult due to poor sales and the coronavirus pandemic. Back in April, the company announced that it’s laying off employees at every level, and The Information reported that around 1,000 people would lose their jobs. Now, the mixed-reality headset-maker has finally caught a break — according to Business Insider and The Information, company chief Rony Abovitz told his employees in a memo that Magic Leap has managed to raise $350 million from existing and new investors.
As a result, Abovitz has reportedly withdrawn the layoff notices sent to remaining staff in April. It’s unclear how many employees lost their jobs before this, but those still with the company won’t have to worry about getting laid off in the near future at least.”
Epic Store Next Free Games Revealed?
“Earlier this week, Epic followed up on Grand Theft Auto V by making Civilization VI free for users as well. While perhaps not as popular as Grand Theft Auto V (few games are, after all), Civilization VI is still a big title that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see offered for free on Epic’s storefront.
As it turns out, a Reddit leak published shortly before Grand Theft Auto V went live on the Epic Games Store may have predicted the next two free games as well. As VG247 notes, the leak’s poor quality and unconfirmed source meant that it didn’t get a ton of attention when it was originally posted, but now that it correctly predicted that Grand Theft Auto V and Civilization VI would be free, there’s reason to take it more seriously.”
To learn more about which games might be next up for free release, check out SlashGear’s story (linked above).
Amazon Launches First Big-Budget Title, Crucible
Amazon has leapt into deeper waters in the gaming market, one which has been booming during the pandemic, with the launch of a big, bold new title:
“Amazon took a big step into the gaming industry Wednesday with the launch of Crucible, a free-to-play online shooter and the company’s first original big-budget game.
The game, available for Windows 10, is a team-based shooter that lets players hunt down opponents. It’s similar to other megahits such as Overwatch, Apex Legends, and Fortnite. It was initially announced in 2016.”
What is Amazon’s Project Tempo?
Speaking of Amazon and Pac-Man, before Project Tempo launches, the release of Twitch-native game, Pac-Man Live Studio, may offer ideas to Amazon’s cloud gaming/streaming service approach may be.
“Project Tempo’s secret sauce might fundamentally change how game and content streaming coalesce. Tempo could let users launch games natively from Twitch. Tempo might not even have an actual launcher and simply use Twitch.tv’s billion-dollar ecosystem.”
Do you have interesting news to share, or something coming up that would also fit into this regular feature? Let us know!