It’s Real: Microsoft Purchases Mojang and Minecraft

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Well folks, it is now official. After being rumored these past couple weeks, Microsoft and Mojang announced yesterday that Mojang, the studio behind the wildly popular game Minecraft, has been purchased outright by Microsoft for a whopping $2.5 billion dollars. That’s Billion folks. I don’t even think I can wrap my head around that much money.

“At Microsoft, we believe in the power of content to unite people. Minecraft adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms,” Phil Spencer said yesterday in a post on Xbox Wire.  “Gaming is the top activity across devices and we see great potential to continue to grow the Minecraft community and nurture the franchise. That is why we plan to continue to make Minecraft available across platforms – including iOS, Android and PlayStation, in addition to Xbox and PC.”

From Microsoft’s standpoint, the move makes perfect sense. Minecraft is a global force and is incredibly popular from a huge range of fans. The two studios have worked very well with each other over the years when it first came to the Xbox 360 so the relationship continues to be strong. Plus, the title is on pretty much any and all platforms available so not only are they going to make a ton of money now owning the rights to it, but from a marketing perspective, they now have access to a wider demographic than they normally would through other brands like Xbox.

The good news for you non-Xbox platform folks is that Microsoft has no intentions of removing Minecraft from anything. So PlayStation owners can rest easy. In addition, Microsoft also intends to keep Minecon around at least for another year as well.

On the Mojang side, nothing really changes either. Employees are still employed, Minecraft continues to sell and be played, and the game isn’t going to be changed anytime soon. So why did Mojang feel the need to sell in the first place? In a very open and personal letter, Notch explained his decision process and why this deal ultimately happened.

“I love you. All of you. Thank you for turning Minecraft into what it has become, but there are too many of you, and I can’t be responsible for something this big,” said Markus ‘Notch’ Persson on a post via his blog. “In one sense, it belongs to Microsoft now. In a much bigger sense, it’s belonged to all of you for a long time, and that will never change.

It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity.”

As you can see, it seems Notch became something more than he intended with Minecraft and ultimately didn’t want that kind of attention. He’s a programmer at heart and it seems he’s going to go back to doing what he loves outside of the spotlight. If you want to read his entire letter, you can do so from his personal site, here. It’s a very interesting and worthwhile read.

So Minecraft fans, how does this news sit with you? Are you happy with the acquisition or are you a bit worried about the future? Let me know in the comments.

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Destiny First Impressions – To The Moon!

My travels in Destiny have been well documented with my adventures during the game’s Alpha and Beta stages, but now that the actual retail product is on store shelves, it’s time to see how the core experience holds up. Did it live up to the massive amount of pre-release hype?

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I began my career as a guardian with the Warlock class. You could say I’m a sucker for abilities that disintegrate a large group of enemies with an orb of purple light. If you’ve played the alpha or beta then the first zone on Earth will be immediately familiar to you. Old Russia and the Cosmodrome. It’s here were you’ll participate in a number of story quests, go on patrols to accomplish various tasks, and gain access to a strike mission. Here on Earth, it plays out pretty much exactly as the beta did except that I’ve been finding a little bit more loot than I did before.

For the full report, make sure to click below the jump…

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Saturday Video Round Up: Sept 7 – 13

Saturday has once again graced us with an appearance and so to has a brand new edition of the Saturday Video Round Up. There’s a ton of great video content for you this week so kick up those feet and crank the volume! Here’s a small taste of what’s waiting for you below the break.

Even though Assassin’s Creed Unity has been pushed out of it’s October time slot, the game is still on pace to deliver what looks like a refreshing and awesome Assassin’s Creed experience. This week we were given a detailed look at a new type of co-op mission: Heists. Taking a page from Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell franchise, this one is all about getting in undetected, stealing an artefact, and making it out without alerting anyone. It looks like a thrilling and fun style of mission in the game.

Releasing launch trailers early seems to be a trending theme with games this year and Forza Horizon 2 is another one to jump on the band wagon. Even though it’s not due out for another few weeks, the launch trailer has arrived and with it eye popping, high fidelity visuals and jaw droppingly gorgeous cars. Even if you’r enot a racing game fan, you can certainly appreciate the beauty going on here.

I’ve also got new videos for FIFA 15, Shadow of Mordor, Alien Isolation and so much more after the break, so come check out this week’s batch of trailers!

The full list of videos await you after the jump…

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Friday Release Announcements: Grand Theft Auto V and Dying Light

So, I wake up early on a Friday morning and am rewarded with a couple of release dates for some highly anticipated titles.

After announcing Grand Theft Auto V was coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC (finally), Rockstar has kept the cards very close to their chest in regards to time frames for release. With 2014 rapidly nearing the fall season, people were starting to wonder if GTA V was going to make it in time. Well, Rockstar finally put all those questions to rest this morning when it announced that the game will be coming to “next-gen” consoles on November 18 in what I’m calling the remastered edition. PC gamers, I’m sorry to say that you’ll need to wait just a bit longer as Rockstar has pushed that version to January 27, 2015.

So what’s new in this version? Well, the obvious feature will be the upgraded visuals which include enhanced damage and weather effects.  In addition, you’re getting more weapons, a new foliage system, new vehicles, activities, denser traffic, more wildlife, and 100 additional songs and DJ mixes. If you’re into GTA Online, all previously released content will be available from the start as well. What’s better though? Xbox 360 and PS3 players can also transfer progression and characters to this new version.

The other big news this morning comes out of Techland as they’ve announced that their first person parkour zombie game, Dying Light, will be available on January 27, 2015. Jeez, where have I heard that date before? Hmmm.

Featuring a dynamic day/night cycle, players try to accomplish missions during the daylight hours in this open world while being able to perform parkour moves while staving off the zombie horde. At night, zombies become empowered making traversal more difficult as you try to survive the night. For a glimpse of the action, here is their GamesCom gameplay trailer.

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CounterSpy Review – Randomized Sneaking

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Even though I wasn’t there to live through the heart of the Cold War between the United States and the (then) Soviet Union, we’ve all ready the history books and seen enough on it to know it was a intense and dangerous world. Developer, Dynamighty, taps into that uncertainty with their latest 2D stealth action title, CounterSpy. Instead of focusing on the more intense elements of this era, CounterSpy instead focuses on the more insane elements of the conflict (blowing up the moon?!?!) with a touch of humor to lighten the mood while you infiltrate enemy bases in an effort to steal launch plans and end the hostilities for good. Does this stealth action title make a clean kill or trip a silent alarm?

Full impressions after the jump…

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The Pros and Cons of “Next-Gen” Sharing

With so many great games now quickly approaching, content sharing is going to be thrust into the spotlight even more since both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have launched. Being able to capture, edit, and share videos or other media has never been easier from either console as each features diverse methods for capturing and sharing game content. I wanted to take a minute to share some of my favorite and least favorite things about both services.

Have a look below the jump for the full post…

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Warner Bros Prepares A Service Known As ‘WB Play’

Here’s something interesting for your Monday morning.

It appears that Warner Brothers is about to jump on the digital marketplace service bandwagon after they trademarked the term “WB Play” recently as captured by The Escapist. With some very curious terminology being used, could this be WB’s push to be like Steam, Origin, UPlay or perhaps the more recent EA Access?

Looking at the trademark, you can clearly see descriptive phrases like “Downloadable virtual goods” and “downloadable electronic strategy and instructional guides for computer and video games” being used so it definitely looks like this is going to be some sort of all-in-one marketplace for WB titles. What this service will ultimately be like however is still up in the air. You have to wonder if this will affect their current/future offerings on other digital marketplaces like Steam if this is their version of the service.

As we know, Shadow of Mordor is the next big title to come from the publisher and what’s intriguing is that the WB Play logo is clearly visible in the top left corner of the main site. I’m wondering if this system will be a way to “unock” additional content such as runs, skins, and challenges for people to sign up or subscribe. With publishers looking for more ways to generate a cash flow to cover rising development costs, it wouldn’t surprise me if this was there way of trying to monetize their community. Considering the game is only a few weeks from launch, it’s fair to say that we’ll be getting a definitive answer sooner than later.

What do you think? Is this poised to be a digital marketplace platform or a way to get people to pay for additional content for their games?

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