Penguin UK Reaching for the Skylands with First Licensed Magazine

SkylandersLogoPenguin UK is taking its first steps into licensed magazine publishing after acquiring the world representation rights to a new Skylanders Universe magazine, based on the Skylanders video games.

Penguin, which also owns the rights to the Skylanders Universe books, acquired the rights from brand owners Activision. It has appointed Immediate Media to produce the content and distribute the magazine in the UK.

The stories in the magazine will be based on characters from the Skylanders games—Skylanders Spyro’s Adventures, Skylanders Giants, and Skylanders Swap Force.

Disney Interactive to Launch Disney-Themed Toy Box Starter Pack

Merida and StitchDisney Interactive will launch a special Disney-themed Toy Box Starter Pack this November. The Disney Infinity: Toy Box Starter Pack (2.0 Edition) gives Disney fans the chance to experience the Toy Box 2.0 mode, set in the world of Disney, and is compatible with the game’s Marvel Play Sets.

Players can create unique stories featuring Starter Pack characters Merida and Stitch, utilize newly announced Disney and Marvel characters, as well as bring all of their existing characters from Disney Infinity into the Toy Box 2.0 mode. The Toy Box Starter Pack is compatible with all Disney Infinity content, including Marvel Play Sets, figures, and Power Discs. Fans can also unlock Disney-themed content and purchase additional figures and Play Sets separately. [Read more...]

NPD Group Reports Strong Growth for Video Game Hardware, Decline for Software in July

npd_group_logoAccording to The NPD Group, strong growth in hardware sales offset declines in software sales in July, while accessory sales had modest growth, leading to an increase of 16 percent in overall new physical video game sales compared to July of last year.

Hardware sales doubled in July compared to the same month last year, stemming from growth in eighth generation console sales, which offset declines in seventh generation console and portable hardware. When combining life-to-date sales of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (PS4) after nine months, and comparing them to the combined totals of nine months’ worth of sales for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (PS3), sales of the newest consoles are larger than the prior generation by close to 80 percent. [Read more...]

Disney Infinity 2.0 to Include Full Set of Toy Box 2.0 Features

DisneyInfinityA host of new Toy Box features will debut in the new Disney Infinity (2.0 Edition) from Disney Interactive, which hits retail stores next month. The new Disney Infinity Toy Box 2.0 Edition will have Toy Box tools for world creators and builders. For creators, there will be tools that can be placed into a world in real-time, and a themed arrangement will build that world within minutes; while for builders, there will be non-player characters that can be dropped into Toy Boxes to build out detailed worlds.

There will also be new templates—including battle arenas, race tracks, and more—that players can use and customize using items saved to their personal Toy Boxes, and other customizable features.

In addition, more toys have been added to the Toy Box to allow for more detailed games with beginnings, endings, winners, and losers. A news feed will also be featured on the main menu, giving players access to more storage, and allowing them to like and store user-generated toy boxes.

PS4 Sales Grow at Fastest Rate in PlayStation Hardware History

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA LLC LOGOPlayStation 4 (PS4) computer entertainment systems have cumulatively sold more than 10 million units worldwide as of August 10, according to Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) The hardware system has demonstrated the fastest and strongest growth in PlayStation history. The PS4 system is currently available in 100 countries and regions worldwide.

SCE will continue to enhance the PS4 system’s network features, including the ability to upload game footage directly to YouTube. It will also incorporate Share Play, a feature that allows players to enjoy game play as if they are in the same room, such as remotely taking over a friend’s controller to help him or her through tricky sections of a game.

With strong support from users as well as third party developers and publishers worldwide, PS4 software sales passed 30 million copies sold in retail stores globally and through digital downloads on the PlayStation Store as of August 10.

COMMENTARY: Sports Video Games Are Getting More Realistic All the Time

Phil.NHL15.08.13

NHL 15, from EA Sports

Face it, sports fans: People of all ages love watching football, baseball, basketball, etc., and ever since the first video game based on any sport was released for home consoles, people have loved playing sports video games. I myself grew up with the Madden NFL and NBA Live series, both from Electronic Arts (EA Games), and I still remember the thrill of throwing a Dan Marino touchdown, or making Shaquille O’Neal uncharacteristically fire up a three-pointer. [Read more...]

Toy Armies Are Ready for Combat in Ubisoft’s Toy Soldiers: War Chest

ToySoldiers.WarChestThe next iteration in the Toy Soldiers video game series, Toy Soldiers: War Chest, has been announced by Ubisoft and Signal Studios. The game will be available for download on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 early next year.

Toy Soldiers: War Chest allows players to face off against rival toy armies; the goal is to rule the battlefield. The game will feature four distinct armies ready to fight, and each will have its own attack vehicles and army units, making for different and unique play experiences.

Two additional armies are set to be announced closer to the launch date.

Donald Duck Quacks the Line-Up for Disney Infinity 2.0

donald duckDonald Duck will join the cast of characters set to appear in Disney Infinity 2.0 Edition, from Disney Interactive, alongside Merida, Maleficent, Stitch, Tinker Bell, Aladdin, and Jasmine.

Donald will deliver his signature catch-phrases, fiery temper, and special abilities like tossing objects, sweeping up enemies with a broom, and becoming a feathered fury to the new Toy Box mode, where families will be able to use hundreds of Disney- and Marvel-themed items, locations, props, vehicles and characters.

A new Donald Duck themed Power Disc will also be available for players to use in the Toy Box mode, which allows players to change the characters’ outfits, among other features.

Donald Duck and the All for One Power Disc will be available in retail stores this fall.

Skylanders Trap Team Will Be Unleashed on Tablets

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoActivision Publishing Inc. will bring the complete Skylanders Trap Team video game to tablets at launch, marking the first time a full Skylanders game will be available on iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets day-and-date with the console version. The tablet version of the game delivers the same experience with console-quality graphics and comes with its own high-performance controller.

The Skylanders Trap Team Tablet Starter Pack will include a Bluetooth Traptanium Portal, an embedded Bluetooth controller, a built-in tablet stand, two Skylanders characters, two Traps, and a display tray that lets Portal Masters keep track of the Traps they’ve collected and which villains they have trapped. [Read more...]

Sony Pictures Teams Up with Iconic Video Game Companies for Pixels

Sony Pictures Entertainment has brought together a number of iconic video game companies, whose characters—such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede, Frogger, and Q*bert—will be featured in next year’s action comedy Pixels, to be released on May 15.

Companies with classic arcade games that are teaming with Sony Pictures on the film include: Atari Interactive (publisher of Asteroids, Breakout, Centipede, and Missile Command), Konami Digital Entertainment Co. Ltd. (Frogger), Bandai Namco Games Inc. (Pac-Man, Galaga, and Dig Dug), Nintendo (Donkey Kong), Columbia Pictures Industries Inc. (Q*bert), Taito Corporation (Space Invaders), and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (Joust, Defender, Robotron, and Wizard of Wor).