After Adi Shankar chalked up a hit with his animated Castlevania series on Netflix, what’s he going to do next? Why, adapt another classic, darkly-themed video game franchise, of course. Shankar told IGN in an interview that he’s developing an animated Devil May Cry series as part of what he says is a “bootleg multiverse.” He did buy the rights, to be clear — he’s just making sure the “jabronis in Hollywood” don’t mess up the treatment of Capcom’s stylish shoot-and-slash titles. There’s not much to show beyond that, although Shankar did post a teaser picture showing what looks like Dante from the DMC games.
There’s also no mention of which service would carry the series, provided all goes well. Netflix sounds like an obvious candidate given that it has enthusiastically supported Castlevania (the show quickly got a third season), but that’s not set in stone.
It will likely take a while before you see the first fruits of the project. However, Shankar’s involvement is promising. Castlevania has generally been well-received both critically and commercially — even if it’s not a stunner, it’s arguably better than many game adaptations. This doesn’t guarantee that a Devil May Cry show will be as good or better, but it suggests that the production could capture the visceral spirit of the games in a way that other studios might miss.
According to a new report from Thurott, Microsoft has been working on a new console in the Xbox One family. This cheaper model could play regular Xbox One games, but there would be no Blu-Ray drive.
This move would lower the price of the entry-level Xbox One. An Xbox One S officially starts at $299 but you can currently find it for around $250 on Amazon. The disc-less Xbox One could start at $199.
If you already have an Xbox One and physical games, you could imagine going to an official retailer to trade your discs for a digital download code. Let’s hope that this new Xbox comes with a big hard drive for those who have a slow internet connection.
Back when Microsoft first unveiled the Xbox One in 2013, the company wanted to make a big push toward digital games. The original plan was that you would associate your physical games with your Xbox account. After that, you could play the game even without inserting the disc. Microsoft also planned a way to lend a digital game to a friend for 30 days.
After some backlash, Microsoft gave up on this plan and switched back to a more traditional system. But it’s been five years, digital games are more popular than ever and internet connections are faster than ever.
Microsoft also thinks the future of games is based on subscriptions. With the Xbox Game Pass, you can access dozens of games for $10 per month. You can also subscribe to EA Access on the Xbox One. Eventually, you could imagine replacing the Xbox altogether with a subscription for a streaming service. But we’re not there yet.
According to Thurott, Microsoft is also working on an updated Xbox One S that could be a bit cheaper. This one would have a traditional disc drive.
Welcome to your weekend! We’ve looked directly into the push notification abyss and come out the other side, while scientists made important decisions about the kilogram. Of course, we’re also tracking all kinds of Black Friday discounts and other highlight stories from this week like the Iron Man-ish adrenaline junkies who took their jetpack flights to a new level and some impressive results from Google’s Night Sight Pixel feature.
A recent study found that a majority of users who made a deliberate choice to turn their notifications down as part of an enforced break were not likely to turn them back on. This got Zach Hines wondering: What would happen if I cranked them in the opposite direction? What might I learn about how phones are reshaping minds? What might I learn about my own mind?
A joint Point and Engadget investigation has found that several British American Tobacco brands sponsored music events and created entirely new lifestyle brands that initially seem unrelated to cigarettes. But on closer inspection, they are used to raise awareness of cigarette brands in markets across Europe and Asia where overt tobacco advertisements are forbidden.
Autonomous. Jetpack. Flight. Jetman Yves Rossy and his two protégés (Fred Fugen and Vince Reffet) show off some incredible stunts in a trailer for their upcoming documentary about developing the personal flying machines.
The “Keurig of cocktails” market is already crowded with wannabes that don’t seem to be gaining much traction, but if anyone can build the Keurig of anything, it’s got to be Keurig itself, right? Drinkworks is a joint venture between the single-serving coffee-pod giant and Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), and it’s building a familiar-looking machine that mixes up cocktails using disposable pods. The results are drinkable, but it’s still a hard sell.
On Friday, scientists voted to change the definition of the kilogram as well as three other units of measurement. The new definitions will be based on “what we call the fundamental constants of nature,” as Estefanía de Mirandés of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) told Science News, instead of the less precise definitions these measurements are currently tied to.
As of May 20th, 2019, the kilogram will now be defined by the Planck Constant, while the ampere, kelvin and mole will be tied to the elementary electrical charge, the Boltzmann constant and the Avogadro constant, respectively.
In 2014, Google’s life sciences division showed off its design for a contact lens that could monitor the wearer’s glucose level via their tears. Now Verily operates under Google’s parent company Alphabet and has announced that it’s moving on from the project because it was unable to get reliable results.
However, it has also been working on a smart accommodating contact lens for presbyopia (age-related farsightedness) as well as an intraocular lens to help improve eyesight after cataract surgery. Separately, it’s still working on other technology for glucose monitoring that doesn’t rely on a sensor-packed contact lens.
It seems like just yesterday that Engadget began judging the official Best of CES Awards in January 2014, but now we’re already approaching our sixth consecutive year on the job. This year we’re expanding what was formerly known as the “Best Vision of the Future (Smart City)” category and renaming it “Most Impactful.” You can see all the categories, as well as submission requirements, in our post today, then check back in January to find out who we’ve picked as the winners.
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Fortnite, the free multi-player survival game, has earned an astonishing $1 billion from in-game virtual purchases alone. Now, others in the gaming industry are experimenting with how they too can capitalize on new trends in gaming.
Mythical Games, a startup out of stealth today with $16 million in Series A funding, is embracing a future in gaming where user-generated content and intimate ties between players, content creators, brands and developers is the norm. Mythical is using its infusion of venture capital to develop a line of PC, mobile and console games on the EOSIO blockchain, which will also be open to developers to build games with “player-owned economies.”
The company says an announcement regarding its initial lineup of games is on the way.
Mythical is led by a group of gaming industry veterans. Its chief executive officer is John Linden, a former studio head at Activision and president of the Niantic-acquired Seismic Games. The rest of its C-suite includes chief compliance officer Jamie Jackson, another former studio head at Activision; chief product officer Stephan Cunningham, a former director of product management at Yahoo; and head of blockchain Rudy Kock, a former senior producer at Blizzard — the Activision subsidiary known for World of Warcraft. Together, the team has worked on games including Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, Marvel Strike Force and Skylanders.
Galaxy Digital’s EOS VC Fund has led the round for Mythical. The $325 million fund, launched earlier this year, is focused on expanding the EOSIO ecosystem via strategic investments in startups building on EOSIO blockchain software. Javelin Venture Partners, Divergence Digital Currency, cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin and others also participated in the round.
It’s no surprise investors are getting excited about the booming gaming business given the success of Epic Games, Twitch, Discord and others in the space.
Epic Games raised a $1.25 billion round late last month thanks to the cultural phenomenon that its game, Fortnite, has become. KKR, Iconiq Capital, Smash Ventures,Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners and others participated in that round. Discord, a chat application for gamers, raised a $50 million financing in April at a $1.65 billion valuation from Benchmark Capital, Greylock Partners, IVP, Spark Capital and Tencent. And Dapper Labs, best known for the blockchain-based game CryptoKitties, even raised a VC round this year — a $15 million financing led by Venrock, with participation from GV and Samsung NEXT.
In total, VCs have invested $1.8 billion in gaming startups this year, per PitchBook.
Choose from either classic colors (Gen 1) or new colors (Gen 2) • Includes original addictive gameplay • Small size makes it super-portable
Non-backlit display is antiquated • Battery isn’t rechargable
The Bottom Line
Other than some color updates, there isn’t much new to be had in the Gen 1 and Gen 2 Tamagotchis. But simplicity is the point: This is a fun, affordable pet-simulation toy that owners of the original will find irresistible.
Bang for the Buck5.0
In 2017, Bandai marked the 20th anniversary of the Tamagotchi with a miniature version of the electronic pet. Now, the company is hoping to capitalize on ’90s nostalgia by re-releasing the original.
I’ve been trying the new collections (called Gen 1 and Gen 2), which are still in the iconic handheld egg-shaped form, for a week.
There isn’t a whole lot that’s new about these Tamagotchi collections. Gen 1 comes in the same colors and with the same software as the original. Gen 2 has some newer designs (I love the galaxy one with its adorable space theme) and identical software except for the game.
With these two Tamagotchi collections offering little in the way of new features, are they anything more than a nostalgia play?
Back in the day, the Tamagotchi ushered in a wave of handheld toys that used non-backlit displays to recreate sports, favorite TV show characters, and, of course, pets. And even in this modern day of handheld devices with color touchscreens, little has changed about the Tamagotchi.
It’s still the iconic digital pet, and yep, it needs a lot of attention. In their prime, Tamagotchis didn’t have to compete with the constant pings of phones or smartwatches.
Bandai is still using a plastic build that’s outfitted in various finishes. There are several color choices across Gen 1 and Gen 2. I personally like the classic yellow color with some light blue accents, or the previously mentioned galaxy-themed Gen 2. It reminds me a lot of the galaxy-themed 3DS from Nintendo.
Gen 1 comes in all the original colors from 1997: purple with pink, translucent blue, rainbow, striped tiger, pink with yellow, white with black, red glitter, and a mermaid. Gen 2 has eight new colors including white and pink, black and silver, green glitter, leopard, blue with silver, yellow with blue, galaxy, and white with colorful characters.
Both feature a metal ball chain attached to the top of the egg, allowing you to attach it to your key chain or belt loop to keep it from getting lost. It also turns the Tamagotchi into a bit of a fashion statement.
Previous iterations of the Tamagotchi introduced smaller sizes and smartphone integration, but the Gen 1 and Gen 2 revert back to the original dimensions.
It’s an eye test for some
The Gen 1 and Gen 2 also keep the Tamagotchi’s classic non-backlit LCD screen, which is about the size of a quarter. It works well on this tiny device, but still seems a bit antiquated in the age of color touchscreens.
Don’t get me wrong: It’s certainly usable, and it doesn’t drain the battery the way a pixel-packed color screen would. However, I found it could be hard to see the screen clearly in direct sunlight or low-lit conditions.
The small screen can be a test for some eyes, though. I found myself squinting to play at times.
The pro side of this rudimentary screen is that battery life doesn’t take a hit, and you should even get an extended playtime thanks to the battery improvements. These 2018 Tamagotchis use a CR2032 battery, most commonly used to power watches and Tile trackers. When it comes to replacing it, you will need to pop off the back of the handheld and swap in a new one.
Since the original Tamagotchi, other virtual pet games have added more connectivity, stronger hardware, and a more modern experience. For instance, many iOS tap games require you to frequently play them.
Once the egg-shaped game is out of the box, starting it up simply involves pulling a white tab out of the right-hand side. Once the device is turned on, you’ll see an egg appear on the screen (representing your unhatched animal), and you’re prompted to set the time. You can control the game using the three buttons, referred to simply as A, B, and C, below the display. The buttons control various aspects of the gaming experience. For instance, when setting the time, A controls the hour, B controls the minutes, and C locks the time in.
One trick that I employed was to set the time a bit behind. That way, you have some time to get ready in the morning before your Tamagotchi hounds you for attention.
Once the unit is turned on, it takes 5 minutes for the animal to hatch. After that, your new friend will ping you every few minutes to take care of his or her needs. I recommend feeding the Tamagotchi first by selecting the knife and fork.
The Gen 1 and Gen 2 models are loaded with different games.
Gen 1 includes a game that involves guessing the direction the animal will move in. As the animal ages up, he or she will become better at stumping you. On Gen 2 you have a number guessing game, in which you’re presented a number from 1 to 10, and guess if the next number will be high or lower. This game is easier than the direction game of the Gen 1, since fewer choices means a better chance of winning.
Truthfully there is no way to game the system — both of these come down to chance.
It’s like having a pet — one that needs a ton of attention
With all of the pings that the Tamagotchi brings hits you with, it makes me feel like I have a pet. Along with that comes the anxiety of taking care of a “living” thing. I found myself continuously worrying about whether my pet needed food, to be played with, to have its poop cleaned, or to have the lights turned off. While you might get the feeling of guilt or anxiousness, the neediness of the Tamagotchi can also be an enjoyable time-waster.
At at easy-to-swallow $19.99, it’s a fun, addictive handheld game, even if it comes with a small side of anxiety. If you had a Tamagotchi or another virtual pet toy growing up, I think you’ll enjoy either Gen 1 or Gen 2. The nostalgia factor here is cool, especially given that you can pick the color of your original Tamagotchi. Throw in the eminently affordable price and you have this holiday’s perfect stocking stuffer.
One of the good things about shopping for a gamer on Black Friday: it’s really easy to find some stocking stuffers. This could include games, a basic headset, extra cables, or even a gift card.
One of the best stocking stuffers you can get in today’s connected world (specifically for a PS4 owner) is a PlayStation Plus membership. They’re cheaper than paying monthly and you won’t need to put in any credit card information. That may not sound like much, but at least you’ll rest easy knowing your kids aren’t racking up your credit card bill on V-Bucks.
Considering the amount of games that require an online connection or where online multiplayer is the main hook, this is a necessity. Without it, you’ll lose out on what makes a game like Destiny 2 or FortNite worth it. (Not sure what that means? Your kid will.)
Sunset Overdrive is a garish, over-the-top explosion of color and sound. Its punk rock sensibilities are evident at every turn. Even four years after launching in 2014 as an Xbox One exclusive, this is still one of the best games of its generation.
The credit for that belongs entirely to Insomniac Games, the same studio responsible for 2018 game of the year contender Spider-Man. Fans of Sunset no doubt felt echoes of that earlier game in Spidey. At their core, both games are about the joy of movement.
Spider-Man feeds that joy with the bursts of motion that spring out of your web-swinging and death-defying leaps through the breaks in Manhattan’s concrete jungle. The Marvel superhero is you constant anchor, a fixed focus point who sails through the skies under your guidance as the bustling Big Apple becomes a blur all around you.
Sunset Overdrive pulls more from the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater playbook. There’s no skateboard (or wheels of any kind), but your custom hero’s seemingly magical footwear can grind on, bounce off of, or wall run across most surfaces, physics be damned. Realism goes out the window in the name of fun. It works.
The premise is simple, if ridiculous: It’s 2027 and Sunset City is caught in the grip of an apocalyptic mutant uprising triggered by a shady company’s toxic energy drink. Your nameless hero — a completely blank slate for you to customize — is one of the few survivors of the so-called “awesomepocalypse,” and you’re on a mission to figure out What The Hell Happened.
It’s hardly a straightforward effort. Many of the surviving humans in Sunset City have formed together around different factions, with each one based in a fortified location that keeps them safe from the mutant hordes. Your investigation crosses paths with all of them at different points, and those interactions drive the bulk of Sunset Overdrive‘s plot.
The factions of Sunset City are similar in a lot of ways to the gangs of director Walter Hill’s cult film classic, The Warriors. Each group of average Joes and Janes has defined their post-society identity around whatever stuff they were into: fantasy LARPers, a privileged rich-kid faction of “Oxfords,” and a group of former Scouts that now lives by the samurai code.
Sunset Overdrive pulls from the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater playbook.
Helping them is often a matter of defeating some baddie or finding and fetching a lost treasure — simple video game objectives — but Sunset Overdrive‘s sticky mechanics keep you engaged. Once you master the controls (no small feat!), the simple act of getting from A to B becomes deeply satisfying.
That’s especially true when you factor in the combat. Sunset Overdrive draws much of its inspiration there from another notable Insomniac favorite: the Ratchet & Clank series.
You have a massive arsenal at your disposal in this game, but it’s not the all-too-familiar video game lineup of handguns, assault rifles, and grenade/rocket launchers. Sunset Overdrive‘s weapons are cobbled-together creations, built out of the remains of a fractured world.
There’s the High Fidelity, a Sunset Overdrive take on an assault rifle that spits out a stream of vinyl records whenever you pull the trigger. The Dude, on the other hand, is a grenade launcher-like weapon that you can charge up to fire explosive bowling balls. Many of Sunset Overdrive‘s weapons behave like more traditional guns, but with a twist: for example, High Fidelity’s records bounce off of walls and ricochet around the environment; The Dude’s bowling balls aren’t launched so much as they just roll along on the ground.
In case it wasn’t clear already: Sunset Overdrive doesn’t take itself very seriously. But it commits. There’s no space for realism in this world, but the internal logic is consistent all throughout. Once you understand Sunset City and the motivations driving the people living in it, everything else falls into place.
Wrapping around all of Sunset Overdrive‘s big ideas is a punk rock aesthetic that informs every inch of the game: the blaring music that responds organically to whatever’s happening on the screen; the garish cartoon graphics that more often than not look like an elaborate back tattoo come to life; the DIY design of the weapons, and the “have it your way” approach to character customization.
Even the game itself rebels against traditional ideas of open world design. The environment is littered with different kinds of collectibles, but all of it doubles as in-game currency. More standard “fetch/find/kill this thing” quests are broken up around much more elaborate tower defense-style encounters where you set up defenses around a base as you fend off hordes of mutants.
Games like this that aren’t built around drawing in a large online community don’t tend to have a long shelf life. And four years old is positively ancient in video game industry terms. But this is the rare game that’s filled with such fresh ideas and novel mechanics, it’s as vital now as it was when it launched on Oct. 28, 2014.
Now, in 2018, it’s easier to get than ever. You can find Xbox One copies for pennies online, or subscribe to Xbox Game Pass and get it that way. Sunset Overdrive is also, in an unexpected twist, coming to Windows on Nov. 16, 2018. It’s a special game. Go play it.
This disc-less Xbox is going to be a part of Microsoft’s current generation of Xbox consoles, not a part of the upcoming Scarlett family of consoles that are expected to hit the markets at a later date. It will be a lighter-weight option for folks who still haven’t purchased an Xbox One or are interested in a newer console.
If you do already have a collection of physical games for your Xbox One, Microsoft will have a ” disc-to-digital” program, according to Thurrott, in which owners will be able to trade in their discs for download codes. It’s a good way to save space if your collection is getting a little unwieldy.
The disc-less Xbox will reportedly cost $200, about $100 less than the current model, but there is an expected price drop of as much as $100 for the consoles, Thurrott reported. So really it comes down to whether you want discs or not.
While Thurrott didn’t name any specific names in his report, his Microsoft scoops are unparalleled and very reliable.
This new spin on the Xbox One falls in line with Microsoft’s current outlook on the console market, which focuses on digital games and cloud-streaming games — the ability to play games over an internet connection without needing to download it on your own console. Microsoft was all about it at E3 2018.
The only downside to streaming games from the cloud is if you don’t have a strong internet connection. And for the disc-less console, you’ll need a pretty sizable hard drive if you want to have a decent collection of games.
Microsoft is no doubt pouring much of its energy into the next-gen Xbox, but it might give the current generation one last hurrah. Thurrottsources understand that it’s planning new Xbox One configurations in 2019, including one without a disc drive. This would lower the cost for people who aren’t attached to physical game copies or Blu-ray movies, potentially by as much as $100. And no, you wouldn’t be hosed if you already have a disc-based game library. Reportedly, there would be a “disc-to-digital” exchange program where you could visit a store and turn in your tangible games in return for download codes.
The second system, meanwhile, would be a “revised” Xbox One S that would lower costs but still include a disc reader. It’s fully aware that some people still prefer physical games and wants to cater to them, according to the insiders.
Microsoft declined to comment to Engadget on the rumor.
It wouldn’t be outlandish to axe the disc drive. Cost-cutting notwithstanding, optical drives just aren’t as vital as they used to be. If you rarely visit the local game store and prefer Netflix or Amazon for your movie viewing, why pay for hardware that will largely go unused? The question is whether or not console makers will ditch discs altogether. That isn’t certain even for Microsoft’s future Scarlett consoles, the sources said, and they may not completely go away until it’s virtually guaranteed that gamers around the world have reliable broadband.