2015 Games for Change Awards Nominees Announced

GamesforChangeThe nominees have been announced for the Games for Change Awards, which celebrate the year’s best social impact games. The award categories include Best Gameplay, Most Significant Impact, and Most Innovative. The eight finalists, narrowed down from a field of more than 150 titles, will also be considered for the top honor, Game of the Year, which is awarded to the game that best exemplifies all three categories.

A jury of leaders from the gaming, philanthropic, media, and tech communities evaluated all game submissions. The winners will be announced at the Games for Change Festival’s Awards Ceremony on April 22, hosted by Jesse Schell. A full list of the nominees can be found at Games for Change’s home page.

Lego Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin Key Artwork Revealed

LEGO_LogoWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has released the key art for Lego Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin, coming to Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita on March 24.

In Lego Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin, players take on the roles of their favorite Ninja warriors and use an array of vehicles, mechs, and dragons to battle their way through the Ninjago universe. A new enemy named Ronin enters the game and has the ability to steal the memories of Ninja warriors by using the Obsidian Glaive weapons. Players must locate these weapons and retrieve their powers before Ronin succeeds in completing his evil plans.

The new key artwork features ninjas Kai, Jay, Cole, Zane, and Lloyd, as well as the mysterious Ronin.

LEGO Ninjago Shadow of Ronin_Key Art

Activision Blizzard Announces Record Fourth Quarter and Full Year Earnings Per Share

On Thursday, Activision Blizzard Inc. announced record fourth quarter and full year earnings per share. For calendar year 2014, Activision Blizzard delivered record non-GAAP earnings per diluted share of $1.42, compared to $0.94 per diluted share for the previous year. On a GAAP basis, the company delivered record earnings per diluted share of $1.13, compared to $0.95 per diluted share for the prior year. [Read more...]

GUEST OP-ED: Is That a Squirt Gun in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Displaying Your Deep Human Need to Play?

by Matthew Lawrence, strategist, Fresh Squeezed Ideas

FreshSqueezedPlay2As a 42-year-old dad to two young boys, I get excited when they ask for toys bearing the same franchises I loved as a child during the 70’s and 80’s (It seems to be superhero everything, these days!). Providing them these experiences reminds me that I still have some youthful zeal and enthusiasm, which is a great asset in my role as a cultural strategist who works day-to-day at loftier, more adult-natured stuff. But it also reminds me that they are able to enjoy the richest play experiences possible, through tried and true brands that have endured the test of time. [Read more...]

Bandai Namco Games America Inc. Changes Name to Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc.

Effective April 1, Bandai Namco Games America Inc. will officially rebrand itself as Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc. The company’s new corporate name and logo will be fully integrated into all of the company’s communications, product branding, and presence in digital and online spaces.

Bandai Namco Entertainment America Inc. reflects the next stage for the company as it leverages its intellectual properties and franchises into new business opportunities and a wider network of content beyond that of video games.

Ubisoft Pushes Further into China with PlayStation 4 Titles

Ubisoft.logoUbisoft will release a number of titles from its popular franchises for the PlayStation 4 (PS4) computer entertainment system in China, where the PS4 console will be available starting on January 11. Ubisoft’s releases will include Trials Fusion and Rayman Legends: Rayman.

Trials Fusion will retain many elements from the original Trials game, while enhancing the experience with new game play elements, such as a physics-based trick system and new social features. As for Rayman Legends: Rayman, the latest installment adds new characters and environments, as well as an updated soundtrack.

Target Offering Last-Minute Sales During Final Week of Holiday Season

Target LogoWith one week until Christmas, Target Corp. will offer last-minute deals and free shipping on target.com, where orders placed through December 20 can still be delivered by Christmas. Meanwhile, on Christmas Eve, guests can place online orders for store pickup as late as 5 p.m. and have their items ready that day.

Over the next week, Target will offer deals on gifts including the Sony PlayStation 4; select video games and starter packs, including Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, Disney Infinity Marvel, and Skylanders Trap Team; select Disney Junior toys; and the New Bright Mud Slinger R/C Jeep.

Cartwheel, Target’s mobile savings app, is offering 50 percent off a different toy every day until December 24. From now until Christmas, Cartwheel is also featuring more than 150 offers, including discounts off Sony PlayStation 4 bundles.

Target stores are also offering extended hours through the holiday season, with the following days and times: December 16 to 20, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. or 12 a.m.; December 21 to 22, 8 a.m. to 12 a.m.; December 23, 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.; December 24, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.; December 26, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., 11 p.m., or 12 a.m.; and December 31, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

SCEI Launches PlayStation Business in People’s Republic Of China

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA LLC LOGOSony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) will launch its PlayStation 4 (PS4) and PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) in the People’s Republic of China on January 11. Along with the release of the two systems, SCEI will offer an after-sales service to ensure Chinese users have a smooth and positive experience on PlayStation.

Along with SCE Worldwide Studios, 70 third-party software developers and publishers plan to deliver a stream of software titles to gamers in China. In addition, a variety of titles created by Chinese game developers will be available on PlayStation.

In cooperation with modian.com and business partner Shanghai Oriental Pearl Suole Culture Development Ltd., SCEI will actively provide support to Chinese game developers to bring their content to PlayStation platforms.

Next Lego Ninjago Video Game Slated for Next Spring

LEGO Ninjago_Shadow of Ronin_Announce ArtTo celebrate International Ninja Day, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games, and The Lego Group announced that the next installment of Lego Ninjago franchise, Lego Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin, will be available for Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita next spring. Developed by TT Fusion, a subsidiary of TT Games, the latest Lego handheld game delivers an untold story of the Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu TV show.

In Lego Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin, players will battle through iconic locales from the TV series, including the Ice Temple, the Toxic Bogs, and a mysterious new island, as well as visit the mountain village of Spinjago, where the Ninjas are training with Grand Sensei Dareth and Sensei Wu. Using their Spinjitzu abilities, players can unleash their Ninja’s elemental power and smash their way through enemies and solve puzzles. They can even team up and create multi-elemental builds using the Tornado of Creation.

Nintendo Files U.S. Patent for Handheld Video Game Emulator

NintendoAs reported by The Wall Street Journal this past Tuesday, Nintendo has filed a patent with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that could pave the way for Nintendo to offer its games on smartphones or other mobile devices.

The patent, which was published last Thursday and filed by Nintendo in June, is described as a software emulator for emulating a handheld video game platform. However, analysts are skeptical that Nintendo is planning a move into video games on mobile devices. The patent, originally filed in 2000 and extended in 2003 and 2012, could also be used to fight piracy.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata previously said the company would stick to using its intellectual property, which includes Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, solely on its own game device.