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Report: Kixeye lays off staff

A number of employees at the San Francisco-based online game company Kixeye lost their jobs today, though it’s yet unclear how widespread the layoffs were or how it might affect the company’s ongoing operations. …

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[Update] Razer Details How Developers Can Get Owed Ouya Funds

Update – 8:26 p.m. Central on July 28: Razer has provided information to Game Informer detailing how it will handle the outstading $ 620,000 of Free the Games funds owed to developers. While there are stipulations, Razer is working to find a solution that is both equitable to developers and the company, which has no obligation to fulfill Ouya's outstanding commitments.

Developers will need to sign a publishing agreement with Razer's new Ouya platform. There is no exclusivity required, and developers will be able to distribute their game to all Android platforms, including Google Play.

However, developers will be required to provide an equitable value of games for free on the Cortex TV platform. The example provided suggests that if a developer receives $ 10,000 for a game ultimately sold for $ 1 on the store, 10,000 copies will need to be available for giveaway.

Razer is careful to reiterate that it only acquired certain assets previously owned by Ouya, a now defunct corporation. Just as Ouya's obligations did not transfer to the company, neither did legal arrangements. This explains why developers will need to sign new agreements. 


Our Take (Updated)
This is a smart move by Razer as it should earn the company good will in the development community. The revised arrangements also favor developers, who would only be hurt by exclusivity on the nascent platform.

This also gives Razer a way to start building a usership for Cortex with $ 620,000 worth of games to give away (assuming all developers sign new agreements). There aren't many ways this could have ended better, as Razer was under no obligation to pay out anything. 

Update – 4:30 p.m. Central on July 28: Razer has decided to quieted the storm surrounding Ouya's failed Free the Games program. The company has made a good will gesture toward affected developers and, in the process, cleared the Ouya brand which it purchased of some recent bad press.

As we recently reported (see below), Ouya's closure meant that developers were losing any outstanding funds owed from the incentive program. Razer has decided to fulfill the remaining obligations from the $ 1 million program.

According to a report on Polygon, Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan has decided to close the approximately $ 600,000 gap left by Ouya's demise. The company has no financial or legal obligations to do so, as it only purchased select assets and did not assume any outstanding Ouya liabilities, including those tied to the Free the Games program. We've reached out to Razer for more information and will update should we receive a response.

Original Report – 3:45 p.m. Central on July 28:

The writing was on the wall for Ouya for a number of months leading up to yesterday’s announcement of a partial asset buyout by Razer. While the Ouya name will live on, only its technical and developer relations staff remain onboard. Hardware and outstanding company commitments have ceased to exist.

One such commitment was the troubled Free the Games program that was designed to lock up timed exclusivity in exchange for cash incentives. According to a report by Motherboard, a number of developers are out thousands of dollars.

Because of a clause in the contract, there’s nothing they can do about it either. Ouya included a section that gives the company an out from its obligations in the case of bankruptcy or insolvency. 

Motherboard reports that Ouya informed developers via Skype rather than put notification in writing. The report also alleges that Ouya implored developers not to speak with press.

Razer has no commitments to those developers, as it did not acquire the Ouya corporation, just some assets (its Android storefront) and the brand name. Razer intends to integrate its new acquisition with the Forge TV Android microconsole.

For more on the acquisition and Razer’s plans for its new assets, please read our previous coverage.

[Source: Motherboard]


Our Take
This is an unfortunate situation for the developers who put their trust in Julie Uhrman and Ouya. The contract (as reported) seems to cover the exact contingency that Ouya went through as it scrambled to find a buyer, which means there is little recourse for those anticipating funds. 

Razer carries no obligation to those developers, but should it choose, it could earn some good will. That is something entirely optional though, and no one impacted should have any expectations. – The Feed

Bandai Namco Says There Are No Plans To Take Dragon Ball Xenoverse Offline At This Time

Some Dragon Ball Xenoverse players have encountered a message indicating the game's online services have ended. Bandai Namco says this is not the case.

Twitter users like @RyGuy176 took to twitter share images of a message that offered the following when trying to sign online:

Online service for "DRAGON BALL XENOVERSE" has ended. The following features will not be available.

  • Multi Lobby
  • Timespace Delivery
  • Registering favorites
  • Auto-Patrols

We reached out to Bandai Namco about the unexpected outtage and received the following statement:

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America is currently looking into the online connectivity and feature set limitation issues that some players may be experiencing with Dragon Ball Xenoverse. Players should expect full online functionality for Dragon Ball Xenoverse to be restored soon. There are no plans to sunset any online features for Dragon Ball Xenoverse at this time.

Bandai Namco also offered this reassuring tweet:

It seems the error message seen by many was delivered in error. For our review of Dragon Ball Xenoverse, head here.


Our Take
At not even a full year since release, to see Xenoverse's online services shut down already would be surprising. I had a decent time with the game, and haven't played online much since shortly after release, but I would be disappointed to see it go offline so quickly. Hopefully this is truly an error and not an indication of near-future plans. – The Feed

August Xbox Live Games With Gold Takes Us To The Metro And Ground Zeroes

Microsoft has announced August's Games with Gold offerings. For those who have held off on the prequel chapter for Metal Gear Solid V, your ship has come in.

From August 1 through August 31, you'll be able to nab Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes for Xbox One. From August 16 through September 15, you'll also be able to get How to Survive: Storm Warning edition.

Xbox 360 players can enter the Metro, with both titles hitting the service in August. For the first half of the month, you'll be able to get Metro 2033. Starting on August 16 through the end of the month, you can continue the adventure with Metro: Last Light.

As a reminder, you can grab the second Xbox One and Xbox 360 titles for July right now.

[Source: Major Nelson] – The Feed

Microsoft Runs Down Windows 10′s Xbox Live Overlap

Xbox is a big part of Windows 10, and Microsoft has released a video detailing just how integral Microsoft's gaming platform is to its new operating system.

You can check out the video below to see how your Xbox will speak to your Windows 10 enabled PC or Surface tablet.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Arguably the most exciting feature, is the ability to stream Xbox One gameplay to Windows 10, meaning you don't necessarily have to be connected to your television to play Xbox One.

Windows 10 will be available globally starting tomorrow, July 29 and will be available as a free upgrade for Windows 7 & 8.1 devices or with new PCs and tablets. – The Feed

China eases restrictions on game console manufacturing

Last week China’s Ministry of Culture lifted its ban on video game consoles being manufactured anywhere in the country outside the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, making life a bit easier for console makers. …

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Get a job: Retro Studios is hiring a Graphics Engineer

Nintendo-owned developer Retro Studios (Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze) is looking for an engineer with some 3D graphics chops to join the team at Retro’s Austin, Texas office. …

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Video: Learning to love procedural art while making No Man’s Sky

At GDC 2015, Hello Games’ Grant Duncan popped up on stage to speak frankly with fellow developers about exactly how and why the studio came to procedurally generate the worlds of No Man’s Sky. …

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Some Steam accounts compromised, but security fix now in place

A security hole — since patched — allowed attackers to gain access to a number of Steam accounts quite easily. …

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What’s in a game title? Analyzing the words we use and names we choose

“I took a look at the top words that occur in videogame titles. There were 150,000 game titles and a vocabulary of around 45,000 unique words. About 21,000 of these were used only once in any game title.” …

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