If you've been itchin' to give PlayStation Now's streaming a go on your gaming handheld, the wait is over. The subscription service officially arrived on the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation TV, delivering access to over 125 games on those two devices. PlayStation Now had been available on the Vita and PlayStation TV in beta form for months, but now it's making a proper debut after hitting the PS3 back in May. In addition to equipping two more gaming gadgets with the service, five new titles are being added this month. Joining the library of titles in August are Dynasty Warriors 8, MX vs. ATV Supercross, Bomberman Ultra, The Last Guy and, most importantly, God of War III. With new games being added on the regular and Sony offering newcomers a free one-week trial, there's really now excuse for PlayStation owners to take the service for a test drive.
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The International is back and bigger than ever. The 2015 championships for Dota 2, Valve's massively popular MOBA, take off today in the "main event" stage, beginning with three matches between LGD Gaming and Team Empire. In total, 16 teams have a shot at winning The International when it comes to a close on Saturday, August 8th. There's a total of $18 million up for grabs, with payouts ranging from $54,000 for 16th place and $6.5 million for first -- and these figures should rise before the end of the tournament, since it's funded via ongoing purchases of the Compendium, a package that offers players in-game goodies at $10 or $27 a pop. Twenty-five percent of all Compendium sales go straight to The International's prize pool. Watch The International's official, live coverage below (heads up, it autoplays).
It's all well and good that Gears of War: Ultimate Edition lets you relive the original game in the series, but what about the other three titles? Don't worry -- you'll get those too. Microsoft and The Coalition have revealed that anyone who buys Ultimate Edition between its August 25th launch and the end of the year will also get access to all of the Xbox 360 Gears games through backward compatibility. They won't look nearly as polished as the remaster, of course, but you also won't have to dig out your old copies (or buy any games you don't have) just to follow humanity's fight against the Locust from start to finish. While it'd be nicer if this offer lasted so long as Ultimate Edition was available, this is still a big deal in an era when some studios are only interested in letting you replay one game from a much larger franchise.
Autodesk finally has a game engine to go along with its design tools. The company just launched Stingray, which it built around the Bitsquid engine it bought last year. Autodesk kept the basic guts of that program -- which has already been used on titles like Gauntlet from Warner Bros -- and revamped it with a new interface. The company told Engadget that the goal was to build an engine for smaller studios that can be customized without the need for a lot of programming. At the same time, it wanted Stingray to have all the bells and whistles of competing products like Unreal Engine 4 -- physical shading, post-processing effects, a high-performance reflection system and more.
If anything's kept pace with how video games have changed over the years, it's how we interact with them. Our biggest touchpoint with virtual worlds is the gamepad and -- akin to how games themselves have evolved from simple 2D affairs into 100-hour-long labyrinths in three dimensions -- controllers have changed to accommodate that. What you'll find in the gallery below is a comprehensive look at gamepads from the past 30-plus years of gaming, including high points and missteps alike.[Image: Adafruit Industries/Flickr]
When I entered the doors of the building, an approximately 7-foot Piranha Plant greeted me. Inside, I saw large question block cushions scattered throughout and 25 Wii U stations. Off in the corner was a Mario mascot, posing for photos in front of a big green pipe. If you thought I was in Nintendo Land, you'd be wrong. I was in Facebook's Menlo Park, California, offices. It was the second day of a two-day hackathon collaboration with Nintendo, where employees had the opportunity to create levels with the upcoming game Super Mario Maker. And the ultimate prize? The winning level design would be available to download when the game launches.
Sure, PlayStation Plus subscribers are used to getting "free" games every month, but they haven't had any say about what the gratis titles would be. Until now. With Vote to Play, you'll have a chance to make your voice heard. PlayStation VP of platforms marketing John Koller writes on the PlayStation Blog that the game with the most votes will automatically be added to the upcoming month's offerings, and that in the first round of voting the runner-up will be available at a discount. Pretty cool, huh? Exactly how the voting process will work (if there will be videos or whatnot to help make informed choices) isn't clear just yet, but Koller writes that more info is coming soon enough. The real question though is if you would've voted for Rocket League, the dark horse from last month's promo that's absolutely dominating the gaming conversation right now.
Nintendo isn't done with the 3DS and Wii U versions of Super Smash Bros. just yet. The company has released an update today which adds tournament modes and the ability to post video replays to YouTube. Both features were teased just before E3, but we weren't expecting a slew of new character outfits and stages to go along with them. Nintendo is offering the Hyrule Castle and Peach's Castle arenas from the original Super Smash Bros. on N64, priced at $1.99 per platform or $2.99 across both. They're joined by a deluge of Mii fighter costumes, including King K. Rool from Donkey Kong, Chrom from Fire Emblem: Awakening and Lloyd Irving from Tales of Symphonia. All eight are available for $0.75 or $1.15 across both 3DS and Wii U. Alternatively, you can get everything as a bundle for $9.98 or $15.18 on both Nintendo systems. One last thing: there's a K.K. Slider Mii Fighter costume from Animal Crossing too. It's free to download and looks darn cute.
It takes about 50 years for a "game" to become a "sport," according to Andrew Paradise's calculations. He's an entrepreneur who recently joined the wave of investors getting in on the eSports game: His app, Skillz, allows mobile-gaming fans to win real money while playing some of their favorite titles. That's right, mobile eSports. From smartphones to dedicated eSports arenas, Paradise knows why professional gaming is a booming market and he explains it all in a straightforward, money-focused manner. If you've ever looked at eSports and wondered, "Why?" Paradise might have your answer.
NVIDIA has issued a recall for the Shield Android tablet after determining that its battery "can overheat, posing a fire hazard." Although the recall is voluntary, NVIDIA is asking users to back up their data and fill in the relevant online form to receive a replacement. The issue pertains to tablets sold between July 2014 and July 2015. You can check to see if your tablet is affected by heading to the Settings menu, clicking "About tablet," then "Status," and looking at the "Battery" section. If you see "B01," you can carry on using the Shield as normal. If you see "Y01," though, your tablet is at risk of overheating and you should arrange a replacement ASAP.
What's the next step after fully funding your game in 40 minutes on Kickstarter? If you're the team behind Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic, you get a publisher to help with stuff like localization (translating dialogue and text for different regions), QA testing and other unglamorous but still necessary elements of game development. To wit, the former Banjo Kazooie creatives have hooked up with indie label Team17, perhaps best known for the Worms and Alien Breed franchises. This partnership means that Playtonic can worry about working on the game itself while Team17 takes care of the more menial bits and bobs. Good thing, too considering Playtonic is still planning to hit a simultaneous October 2016 release across PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Wii U. If you'd like to check out more, hit the jump for our interview with the folks from the studio.