Google tightens Play Store policies around weed, sex, hate, and loot

Google is taking a tougher stance on apps featuring things such as marijuana, sex, loot boxes, and hate speech with new Play Store policies.

Part of Google’s reasoning behind the changes is to protect young minds from being influenced by apps and games they stumble across.

Developers now have to define target age groups for their apps in the Play Console. When minors are included, new ‘Designed for Families’ policies must be applied.

Google provides some examples of common violations:

  • Apps that promote play for children in their...

By Ryan Daws, 30 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, App Stores, Gaming, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

EA demos ‘next-gen’ hair in Frostbite, because you’re worth it

EA has demonstrated how 'next-gen' hair will look when using the company's Frostbite graphics engine.

The impressive demo shows a creepy mannequin walking and the hair reacting naturally to both movement and light changes. Such detail on each strand is something to behold.

EA's technical achievement is the result of dedicating a small team to the task at its DICE and Criterion studios.

Back in 2012, Disney released its hit animation movie Brave. While many will have watched unaware, the curly...

By Ryan Daws, 24 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming, Industry.

Sony and Microsoft will partner on cloud, AI, and semiconductors

In a contender for the decade’s most surprising partnership, Sony and Microsoft have agreed to work together on cloud and AI technologies.

AI and cloud are increasingly vital technologies, and Sony isn’t exactly considered a leader in either. It’s easy to see what Sony is getting out of the partnership, but less so what Microsoft sees in the collaboration.

Microsoft and Sony are each other’s biggest competitor in the gaming space. Gaming is shifting towards cloud streaming, as shown by...

By Ryan Daws, 17 May 2019, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Cloud, Devices, Enterprise, Gaming, Industry.

Snapchat’s new platform delivers Mario Party-like games

Snap is launching a gaming platform which delivers a Mario Party-like experience for users while unlocking a new revenue stream for developers.

Mario Party, if you haven't played it, offers a series of minigames that are catered to multiplayer. Snap wants to harness that social experience to keep users on its platform.

The ‘Snap Games’ platform started from a late-2017 acquisition of Australian game studio Pretty Great. The studio was originally created by former Halfbrick talent which many...

By Ryan Daws, 05 April 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Gaming, iOS, Mobile, Platforms.

Opinion: Apple Arcade follows industry shift to gaming subscriptions

Apple Arcade is Cupertino’s jab at following the industry shift into providing unlimited access to games through a subscription model.

Gaming is among the last of the core entertainment industries to switch to such a model. Music is now primarily accessed through services like Spotify and Apple Music, while video is served by companies such as Netflix and Hulu. Even books are heading in that direction with services Like Kindle Unlimited.

Apple is the first platform-holder to debut the model on mobile....

By Ryan Daws, 27 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Apple, Gaming, Industry, iOS, Mobile.

GDC: Microsoft wants to bake Xbox Live into mobile games

Microsoft used this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC) to make a case for integrating Xbox Live features into Android and iOS titles.

The first of the aforementioned features is called ‘Trusted Gaming Identity’ and it's used to improve the sign-in experience.

Using the same Microsoft account used elsewhere, Trusted Gaming Identity supports: two-factor authentication for improved security, access to payment and billing options, and parental controls.

Custom achievements can be...

By Ryan Daws, 22 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming, Industry, Mobile, Platforms.

Phil Spencer: Google Stadia is impressive, but Xbox will ‘go big’ at E3

Xbox boss Phil Spencer his circulated an internal memo following the Google Stadia announcement promising that Microsoft will ‘go big’ at this year's E3 conference.

Microsoft has been working on a Google Stadia-like equivalent called xCloud for some time now and recently showed it off in a smaller demo. Google got the jump on Xbox by taking Stadia to the big stage at GDC yesterday.

In his memo, Spencer admitted that Stadia was impressive but had little surprises beyond...

By Ryan Daws, 20 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Cloud, Gaming, Industry, Platforms.

Opinion: Google is ready to become a major force in gaming

Google has made several moves which suggest it plans on doubling-down its gaming efforts to become a major industry player.

The company’s ambition to enter the gaming space is no secret. A patent for a Google gaming controller, which hopefully will be more comfortable than it looks by the time it reaches consumers’ hands, can already be found

By Ryan Daws, 13 March 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming, Industry, Platforms.

‘Android Game SDK’ is a joint project between Google and Unity

Google is partnering with Unity on a dedicated ‘Android Game SDK’ project with the goal of improving game development efficiency.

Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world, so it’s little surprise many game developers want to put their work in front of its audience. Google is more than happy to oblige and continues to find ways to invest in Android game development.

The project itself is based on the Android...

By Ryan Daws, 18 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, Development Tools, Gaming, Mobile, Platforms.

UK games industry expects strong 2019, expanding workforce

While resisting the ‘despite Brexit’ often accompanying positive UK stories, a study has found the British games industry expects strong growth in 2019.

Games trade association TIGA has released its latest Business Opinion Survey. Around 60 companies were questioned for the survey about their plans for the coming year.

The strongest indicator of growth is employment. Over three-quarters (77%) of businesses plan to expand their workforce in 2019, an increase of nine percent over last...

By Ryan Daws, 11 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming, Industry.

Video games market is now 80 percent digital in the UK

According to figures by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), digital now represents 80 percent of UK video games revenue.

Digital games offer convenience to consumers with instant availability, no chance of retailer stock issues, pre-downloads for pre-orders, access on other devices with just a login, and often no requirement to switch a physical medium between games.

There are also benefits to developers and publishers who do not have to account for the overheads involved with creating physical...

By Ryan Daws, 03 January 2019, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming, Industry.

Nvidia open-sources PhysX engine for games, AI, cars, and more

Nvidia’s physics engine PhysX has been made open-source for developers to advance the capabilities of various applications.

Gaming is what often comes to mind when thinking about virtual physics. While the PhysX engine is certainly useful for gaming purposes, it can go a lot further.

Nvidia says its physics simulation can be used for emerging technologies such as AI, robotics, computer vision, and self-driving vehicles.

In a blog post, the company highlights some challenges PhysX solves:

  • In AI, researchers need...

By Ryan Daws, 04 December 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Devices, Gaming, Platforms.

Fortnite developer and Google have an Epic spat over vulnerability​​​​​​​

Fortnite developer Epic is not too pleased with the way in which Google publicly disclosed a security vulnerability with the game’s Android installer.

Rather than pay the 30 percent cut which Google takes from distributing games through its Play Store, Epic decided to bypass the official app store in favour of its own installer.

Sideloading games poses an increased risk to consumers as it bypasses many of...

By Ryan Daws, 28 August 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Gaming, Hacking, Industry, Platforms, Security.

Fortnite bypassing the Play Store will cause Android changes

Fortnite is a phenomenon that Android users have waited a long time for, but the decision to bypass the Play Store will have consequences for the platform.

The battle royale game is an undeniable hit. According to SuperData Research in May, Fortnite had generated $296 million in the month of April across mobile, console, and PC platforms. This year, it’s expected to make developer Epic Games as much as $2 billion.

When it released on iOS, Fortnite earned...

By Ryan Daws, 06 August 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, App Stores, Ecosystem, Gaming, Mobile, Platforms.

Apple appears to be cracking the whip on Vulkan-Metal hybrid MoltenVK

Apple appears to be cracking down on the use of a hybrid graphics API which is a cross between Apple’s proprietary Metal and the open source Vulkan.

MoltenVK allows developers to use Vulkan in their programs, but the library then makes Metal API calls allowing the apps to run on iOS and macOS.

Apple has refused to update a game from an indie studio which uses MoltenVK.

MoltenVK 1.1.73 was being used without any modification. Had some tweaks been used, it would provide another potential reason for the...

By Ryan Daws, 09 July 2018, 0 comments. Categories: API, Apple, Gaming.

Unity makes it easier to build apps supporting both ARCore and ARKit

Game development platform Unity has made it easier to build apps supporting both ARCore and ARKit with a new cross-platform API.

Unity calls its new solution AR Foundation and it aims to solve many of the problems developers face with augmented reality development.

AR Foundation allows developers to leverage features in the ARCore and ARKit toolkits such as plane detection and world tracking.

 

Bradley Weiers, AR/VR Technical Product Manager, and Michael Durand, Lead AR/VR Software Engineer, wrote in a...

By Ryan Daws, 20 June 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, Development Tools, Gaming, iOS, Mobile, Platforms, VR.

E3 2018: Bethesda is embracing omnipresent gaming

Bethesda is establishing itself as the first game publisher to fully embrace omnipresent gaming, and it doesn't mind poking fun at itself for it.

Omnipresence is something which is everywhere. Bethesda has a reputation for making its games available to as many platforms as possible, but the company is taking it up a notch with Elder Scrolls Blades.

Elder Scrolls Blades is a new game in the popular series that features...

By Ryan Daws, 11 June 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Gaming, Industry, Platforms.

Game developers threaten to abandon Apple for deprecating OpenGL

A notice of OpenGL’s deprecation in Apple’s documentation has game developers threatening to abandon the company’s platforms.

OpenGL has been a tried-and-trusted library for cross-platform game developers for decades. Up-and-coming APIs like Vulkan and Apple’s own Metal offer promising alternatives, but many projects still use OpenGL.

apple opengl 1

Dan Omachi, Software Engineer at Apple,...

By Ryan Daws, 07 June 2018, 0 comments. Categories: API, Apple, Development Tools, Gaming, iOS, Mac, Platforms.

Ultra aims to revolutionise game distribution with blockchain

Former executives from Xbox, Atari, Dell, Unity, Uber, and Time Warner have joined forces to create Ultra, a blockchain platform aiming to revolutionise game distribution.

Game distribution is monopolised with leading players take advantage of their position to take large cuts from developers’ work.

Nicolas Gilot, Co-CEO of Ultra. says:

“The success of Steam, Google, and Apple’s app stores over the last decade means that users have grown to expect and demand...

By Ryan Daws, 31 May 2018, 1 comment. Categories: App Stores, Gaming, Industry, Marketing, Monetisation, Platforms.

Vulkan 1.1 on Android P brings VR improvements and more

In March, the first major update to the Vulkan cross-platform GPU API was released, and as of this week, Google have confirmed version 1.1 will be supported by Android P. Here's what you need to know about Vulkan 1.1 for Android development.

First of all, there are several features here are big news for the update as a whole, but aren't likely to be relevant to Android P devices. Multiple GPU support is perhaps the headline feature in this category, as it requires two or more discrete graphics cards...

By William Judd, 11 May 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Android, API, Development Tools, Gaming, VR.