Most Recent Gaming Insights news

The Independent Games Developers Association says UK Videogame Industry is ‘Back on Track’

Xbox-One-Controller-HDThe Independent Games Developer Association (TIGA) has issued a press release summarising its Making Games in the UK Today: June 2014 Annual Report. The report outlines that “the UK videogame development sector is back on track, with studio headcounts, wider games industry employment, tax revenue and investment all on the up.” The report continues, “Employment in the UK games development sector has returned to levels last seen in 2008, with a rise of seven per cent in 2013 representing a five-year high. The games development sector also contributes more than £1 billion to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

The findings illustrate how successful post-recession UK videogame companies have been – from the smallest to the largest. The report stated that nearly 28,000 individuals are employed – directly or indirectly – by the UK videogames sector. The British Government received £419 million from combined direct and indirect taxes generated by the sector as a whole. These numbers are massive and highlight how successful British gaming has become. However, it should be noted that whilst the TIGA assessment rings true, the 2007/08 recession impacted heavily upon the sector and it has taken up until now to plateau at that level. The wider industry has seen a decline in traditional console/PC based gaming with a higher percentage generated from mobile gaming revenue – which back in 2007/08 was still in its infancy.

The success of mobile gaming, whilst brilliant for job creation and tax revenue collection, does augment the argument in a sense that more development is needed to return to pre-2008 levels of console/PC gaming development – the closure of different companies from Blitz to Modus Operandi highlight how tough the sector can be. However, from such closures – smaller companies have, like a phoenix swooping from the ashes, risen from these closures to create smaller and more innovative gaming companies. Perhaps what this report fails to really ‘applaud’ is this new rise of micro developer working in the mainstream?

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E3 Expo LIVE on UGP

E3 Expo LIVE right here on UGP!


E3 Expo 2014 was a fantastic event with some really awesome unveils and news coming out of L.A.

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Sony reveals E3 Expo lineup


Sony Logo  - Ultimate Gaming ParadiseThe list of games that Sony are going to exhibit at the E3 Expo this year has been revealed and consist of over 50 titles including DestinyDriveClub and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX.

The official Sony PlayStation press conference will be held at 6:00pm PDT on June 9 (that’s 2am Wednesday morning UK time).  From June 10, Sony will hold a 3 day live stream showcasing game demos, developer interviews and new title trailers.

“One more thing: I’m pleased to reveal a selection of fine PlayStation software that will be showing in our E3 booth,” said Sid Shuman via the PlayStation Blog”Obviously, we can’t dish on every game that we’ll be showing at E3, but consider this a conversation starter. See you Monday!”

Here’s the full list of what Sony will be giving us insight to at E3 Expo this year.

  • Aaru’s Awakening (Lumenox, PS3)
  • Akiba’s Trip Undead & Undressed (XSEED, PS Vita)
  • Apotheon (Alientrap, PS4)
  • Assault Android Cactus (Witchbeam Games, PS4)
  • Axiom Verge (Thomas Happ Games, PS4)
  • Big Fest (SCE / On The Metal Ltd., PS Vita)
  • The Binding of Issac: Rebirth (Nicalis, PS4)
  • Chasm (Discord Games, PS4)
  • CounterSpy (SCE/Dynamighty, PS4/PS3/PS Vita)
  • Danganronpa 2 (NIS America, PS Vita)
  • Destiny (Activision/Bungie, PS4)
  • Diablo III: The Ultimate Evil Edition (Activision Blizzard, PS4)
  • Disgaea 4 (NIS America, PS Vita)
  • Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes (Disney Interactive, PS4)
  • DRIVECLUB (SCE/Evolution Studios, PS4)
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn (Bandai Namco Games, PS3)
  • EarthNight (Cleaversoft, PS4)
  • Freedom Wars (SCE/SCE Japan Studios SHIFT and Dimps, PS Vita)
  • GALAK-Z: The Dimensional (17-BIT, PS4)
  • Gravity Crash Ultra (Just Add Water, PS Vita)
  • Guilty Gear Xrd (Aksys Games, PS4)
  • Gunship X (Hidden Elephant, PS Vita)
  • Helldivers (SCE/Arrowhead Game Studios, PS4/PS3)
  • Hohokum (SCE/Honeyslug, PS4/PS3)
  • Home (Benjamin Rivers Inc., PS Vita)
  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (Devolver, PS Vita)
  • Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine, PS Vita)
  • Invizimals: The Alliance (SCE/Novarama, PS Vita)
  • Jamestown Plus (Final Form Games, PS4)
  • Killzone Shadow Fall Intercept (SCE/Guerrilla Games, PS4)
  • Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix (Square Enix, PS3)
  • Legend of Raven (Nicalis, PS Vita)
  • LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Warner Bros, PS4)
  • MechRunner (Spark Plug Games, PS Vita)
  • Metrico (Digital Dreams, PS Vita)
  • MLB 14 The Show (SCE/San Diego Studio, PS4/PS Vita)
  • Murasaki Baby (SCE/Ovosonico, PS Vita)
  • N++ (Metanet Software, PS4)
  • Nidhogg (Messhof, PS4)
  • Night in the Woods (Finji Games, PS4)
  • Nuclear Throne (Vlambeer, PS4)
  • Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty (Oddworld Inhabitants, Inc, PS4)
  • One Way Trip (Beret Applications, PS Vita)
  • Persona 4: Arena Ultimax (Atlus Games, PS3)
  • PS Vita Pets (Spiral House, PS Vita)
  • PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate (Double 11, PS Vita)
  • Planetside 2 (SOE, PS4)
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare (EA, PS4)
  • Project CARS (Slightly Mad, PS4)
  • Race the Sun (Flippfly PS, Vita)
  • Road Not Taken (Spry Fox, PS4)
  • Rogue Legacy (Cellar Door, PS Vita)
  • Samurai Warriors 4 (Tecmo-Koei, PS4)
  • Secret Ponchos (Switchblade Monkeys, PS4)
  • Shadow Warrior (Devolver Digital, PS4)
  • Source (Fenixfire, PS4)
  • Starwhal: Just the Tip (Breakfall, PS3)
  • Super Exploding Zoo (Honeyslug, PS Vita)
  • Switch Galaxy Ultra (Atomicon, PS Vita)
  • Tales of Xillia 2 (Bandai Namco Games, PS3)
  • Teslagrad (Rain Games, PS3)
  • The Crew (Ubisoft, PS4)
  • The Golf Club (HB Studios, PS4)
  • The Order: 1886 SCE / Ready At Dawn, PS4
  • The Swapper (Curve Studios, PS3)
  • To Leave (Freaky Creations, PS Vita)
  • EA Sports UFC (EA Sports, PS4)
  • Valiant Hearts (Ubisoft, PS4)
  • Velocity 2X (FuturLab, PS4)
  • Zen Pinball 2: The Walking Dead Table (Pack Zen Studios, PS3)
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ASUS unveil new kit at Computex 2014

NX500 LaptopAt Computex 2014, ASUS have unveiled to the World a whole host of new and exciting products including the Zenbook NX500 laptop, as pictured.

ASUS Chariman Jonney Shih had this to say at the event:

“As we celebrate 25 years of innovation and engineering, we are excited to introduce these new products designed to provide the ultimate digital life for everyone. 

We are passionate about technology and driven by innovation, and we will continue to dream, dare and strive to challenge the boundaries of the possible as we move forward on our journey in search of incredible.” 


Transformer Book V

This is the world’s first five-mode, three-in-one converged laptop that features a Windows and Android laptop and tablet as well as an Android smartphone.

Transformer Book T300 Chi

The ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi is a detachable notebook that has a 12.5-inch tablet display, a fanless 2-in-1 design powered by Intel’s next-gen processor based on the Core micro-architecture. The detachable tablet is also the thinnest Intel Core-powered tablet at 7.3mm thick. The T300 has a 2560 x 1440 WQHD IPS display.

Fonepad and MeMO Pad Series

The Fonepad 8 (FE380CG) is an eight-inch tablet with built-in 3G connectivity and phone functionality. It has a narrow 5.06mm bezel, an HD 1280 x 800 IPS display and a 72.2 per cent screen-to-body ratio. Featuring the latest 64-bit Intel Atom Z3560 1.8GHz quad-core processor, Fonepad 8 also has dual front speakers and ASUS SonicMaster audio.

The MeMO Pad 7 (ME176C) is a seven-inch 64-bit Android tablet with a 5-megapixel main camera and 2-megapixel front-facing camera, plus a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3745 quad-core processor (up to 1.86GHz).

The MeMO Pad 8 (ME581CL) claims to be the world’s lightest eight-inch LTE tablet with a 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 2.3GHz quad-core processor, Ultrafast 802.11ac Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity and a Full HD IPS display. It weighs 299g and is 7.45mm thick.

RT-AC3200 router

This delivers combined data speeds up to 3200Mbit/s, features SmartConnect, which increases Wi-Fi performance by up to 200 per cent by automatically selecting the ideal band for network clients depending on their location and needs, and setup takes 30 seconds.

ProArt PA328Q 4K/UHD Monitor

This is a 32-inch 4K/UHD monitor with a 16:9 aspect ratio, WLED display and a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. With a pixel density of 138 pixels per inch (ppi), the PA328Q provides over eight million pixels, four times the pixel density of standard Full HD displays.

It’s capable of displaying 1.07 billion colors, has a 350cd/m² brightness and a 100,000,000:1 ASUS Smart Contrast Ratio (ASCR). Built-in Picture-in-Picture (PiP) and Picture-by-Picture (PbP) functionality lets users view content from two different sources simultaneously, with the ability to switch video between sources easily.

Zenbook NX500 (pictured)

Zenbook NX500 is an Ultrabook powered by an Intel Core up to i7 quad-core processor and up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M graphics, supported by 2GB of GDDR5 video memory. Its Broadcom 3-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi delivers fast network speeds and SATA 3 RAID 0 or PCIe x4 SSD storage provides stunningly fast read and write speeds.

It’s the first Asus notebook with a 4K/UHD display with VisualMaster technology. Its 15.6-inch 3840 x 2160 resolution IPS panel provides a large workspace, and it boasts titanium-film speakers and SonicMaster audio technology, incorporating ICEpower Bang & Olufsen technology.

Portable AiO PT2001

The 19.5-inch touchscreen All-in-One PC weighs 3.2kg, has a high-definition 19.5-inch IPS 10-point touchscreen display and is powered by Windows 8.1, a 4th generation Intel Core processor and a NVIDIA GeForce 820M GPU.

It also features gesture control that lets users interact with and control the PC from a distance, plus it optionally includes support for Near Field Communication (NFC).

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Next Generation and the Mediocrity of Purpose

maxresdefaultWhen the rock band, The Who, released their anthem in the late 60s which also came to define the early seventies entitled, “My Generation”, a new and exciting period of change occurred in collaboration with this song. This change was social, economic and political and the song came to define an era. This is the centrality of purpose. In 2013, both Microsoft and Sony released what they entitled the ‘next-generation’ of consoles. However, they have been received by ‘My Generation’, sorry couldn’t help that one, as a flop. Yes, Sony is beating Microsoft in some ‘console war’ that doesn’t really matter. However, in reality the only real winner it seems, is mediocrity?

When the PS4 and Xbox One were released to billions of dollars of marketing and hyped up fanfare, the reality was a series of botched hardware and software endeavours. Think about it. Do you have a ‘next gen’ console? If you do, how many times has the console ‘updated’? Did you think that the next generation console would be a bug-ridden pile of cow dung that was really a massive entertainment machine that could, when the patches enabled it, play video games? We are losing purpose here. The mediocrity of Sony and Microsoft are equal. The release by EA of Battlefield, or Thief by Square Enix, all of which have been buggy and driven by ‘patch-updates’ are great examples of mediocrity within the current batch of titles. Perhaps the period of launch equates to the wider social successes of the platform?

Now hold on and give me a moment. The Xbox 360 was a success, the PlayStation Two was a success and the Nintendo 64 was another massive success. The Xbox 360, launched in 2005, the economy was okay, politically the Government of the day was popular and when those two things are in tandem, people feel good about themselves. The same relationship can be gleaned from the PlayStation Two, launched in 2000, or the Nintendo 64 in 1997. Think about it, the N64 was released when Tony Blair ‘saved Britain’, and likewise the political and social fallout of the new millennium drove the Sony PlayStation 2 sales. There you have it, of sorts, a theory about success.

However, before we get too carried away. The current period of austerity and the wider socio-economic fallout of the recession and the unpopularity of the Coalition government can create a social phenomenon around the economy which impacts sales. That said, the overall uncertainty about both consoles highlights the uncertainty the public has over all politicians and the wider economy. Perhaps the Next Generation Consoles own mediocrity of purpose echoes that of the wider public perceptions of the political classes? All I know, the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One was meant to be something ‘more’ and something ‘cooler’. In fact, all we’ve had so far is a flurry of mid-level crappy titles, the flat sales of consoles and people unsure about how these ‘next gen’ consoles will fair over the next five years. Microsoft and Sony should have done more to engage and the cost of this lack of engagement is that mediocrity without purpose has reigned supreme.

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HR Giger – creator of Alien monster passes due to fall

hr-giger-headshotThe surrealist artist responsible for creating the revolutionary sci-fi sets and incredible monster for the Alien films has died aged 74, reports Swiss television. It is H.R Giger’s vision that is responsible for the upcoming Alien Isolation game that we’re all looking forward to.

Giger was the son of a chemist and was born in the eastern Swiss town of Chur in 1940. His injuries came as the result of a fall. Injuries that he succumbed to on Monday night sadly.

Giger made his name leading the charge on the creation of the famous extra-terrestrial creature that was born with the coming of Ridley Scott’s 1979 horror film, Alien. Giger received an Oscar for Best Acheivment in Visual Effects in 1980.

With an education in architecture and industrial design, Giger’s works explore the interaction between the human body and machines, culminating in the creation of nightmarish dreamscapes that he dubbed as “biomechanical”.

Back in 1998, Giger opened a museum of his own in Gruyeres, central Switzerland, where many of his own paintings, sculptures and  film design are displayed. Alongside these works is his private art collection including works by the famous Salvador Dali.

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Facebook enter the games world with the acquisition of Oculus VR


It has been announced in the last few minutes via Mark Zuckerberg’s official Facebook page, that they have agreed to the acquisition of Oculus VR. Facebook are forever looking to expand the platforms on which its social network is available and are tipping virtual reality as the next big platform. Of course, Facebook needs to be part of it.

It’s being reported that the acquisition is primed to set Facebook back approximately $2 billion. The breakdown is $400 million in cash and 23.1 million Facebook shares valued at $1.6 billion as of today’s closing market valuation. The agreement goes further to include a ratcheted $300 million based on the performance of Oculus VR so the resultant acquisition could cost a lot more or less than the $2 billion.

Facebook are saying that they aren’t wanting to change the direction of Oculus immediately and instead bolster their games development. With the DNA that’s already in place at Oculus, the cash that the acquisition will bring can surely only mean Sony and Microsoft stand next to no chance of catching, let alone overtaking Oculus in the development race. Zuckerberg had this to say about Oculus’ current game development. “We’re going to focus on helping Oculus build out their product and develop partnerships to support more games. Oculus will continue operating independently within Facebook to achieve this.”

Facebook’s long term plans for Oculus and virtual reality is to create a truly immersive and unlimited communication platform. Facebook’s vision is that you can go and do things for real without actually needing to leave the comfort of your own home, a scary thought. “Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.”

Zuckerberg continues to state that he hopes for virtual reality, via the Oculus powered Facebook platform, to become part of daily life for billions around the world. Friends will be able to discover and share new experiences and adventures, all through a set of goggles. “By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”

It’s a scary thought to think that before long, people will be living their lives entirely through a computer and Facebook. We’ll bring you full analysis and opinion on what this news means. For the immediate future, it’s great news as the games Oculus will be releasing are sure to be exceptional.

Update – 10:45pm: Minecraft’s Markus “Notch” Persson has just tweeted that he’s pulling Minecraft from Oculus Rift following the company’s acquisition by Facebook. “We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal,” the Notch tweeted. “Facebook creeps me out.”


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