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Games and Twitch at the heart of Nvidia's Shield Tablet

Nvidia believes the market is ready for a specialty tablet that can run Unreal Engine 4 with ease, play your PC games remotely and broadcast your every demise in Spelunky. Built around its Tegra K1 processor and partnered with a wireless controller, Nvidia's Shield Tablet is that specialty product. It plays native Android games, streams your large Steam library (aren't they all inevitably large?) and offers a quick route to Twitch.

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Modern Combat 5 cracked, pirated by contest winner

Pirated copies of the mobile first-person shooter Modern Combat 5: Blackout flooded torrent websites this weekend, reportedly originating from a copy of the game distributed by the developer as part of a contest.

Gameloft held the giveaway recently, inviting players into the game early. "One of the winners cracked and uploaded it," Touch Arcade editor-in-chief Eli Hodapp tweeted. Thousands of players are already online, he added.

"As you can imagine I am really pissed off," Gameloft community manager Florian Weber wrote in a message on a Modern Combat Facebook group HUB page. "To anybody who got MC5 already, shame on you! We are making games for you and all you can do is pirate them? Anybody which is talking to me and shows in some way that he already has MC5 will get an instant ban."

In a separate statement, Gameloft said it has activated its anti-piracy measures in the game and that all "illegitimate users on a non-official version have been incapacitated." Modern Combat 5 officially launches for iOS, Android and Windows 8 devices on July 24. "We will continue to stay alert and respond adequately to all hacking attempts," Gameloft further promised.

[Art: Gameloft]

Overkill 3 shifts to third person shooting on mobile devices

Overkill 3 pulls back from the series' fondness for staring down gun sights, focusing on third person, cover-focused gameplay. Developer Craneballs Studios released the above teaser this week, giving fans snapshots of the locales, infantry and vehicles they'll riddle with bullets on their Android and iOS devices in Q3 of this year.

Serving as Craneballs' first project developed with Unity, Overkill 3 will spread more than 50 unique levels and a dozen boss fights across 10 environments. There should be a noticeable uptick in visuals too, as Overkill 3's opposing forces have "6-10 times more polygons" than the targets found in its predecessor.
[Image: Craneballs]

More than 1 million sales are comin' round Monument Valley

Monument Valley, an Apple Design Award-winning game that twists player perspective like an MC Escher painting twists stairs, has surpassed more than one million sales. We're not sure what that number means to a game that cares nothing for the laws of physics, but developer ustwo seems pleased enough to start planning for post-release content.

Producer Dan Gray told TechCrunch that the team plans to double the average gameplay time of 90 minutes with additional "lost scenes" for the game. Gray wasn't sure if these scenes would be sold or free to download, but either way they'll take place outside of the main story. Ustwo is aiming to release the extra levels sometime in the fall.

If you're not sure what all the fuss is about, Monument Valley - along with its fellow Design Award winners - is on sale in the iTunes store.
[Image: ustwo]

Google won't call games with in-app purchases 'free' anymore

In an era where video games can be sold as "free-to-pay" and/or "freemium" products, it's important to know what "free" really means. A "free" game might actually cost you nothing and generate revenue purely through in-game advertising, or it might be free to download, but in-game purchases can set you back quite the hefty sum. As they say, freedom isn't free. Thankfully, Google is here to help clarify the distinction.

Engadget reports that after the European Commission requested Google change the way it markets the apps shown on digital storefronts such as its Google Play market, the company responded that it would take several initiatives to keep consumers informed, including no longer allowing apps with in-app purchases to label themselves as "free."

Google said it would also implement guidelines for games and developers so that children would not be encouraged to buy items once in-game. Kind of makes you long for the days when kids would sneak some cash out of the parental stash to buy a phosphate from the drug store soda jerk, huh?
[Image: Google]

Europe wants better safeguards on in-app iOS purchases

It appears the European Commission isn't thrilled with Apple's slow movement to provide more safeguards from accidental in-app purchases made on its devices. The administration issued a press release today discussing joint action from the firm and member states to enforce better protection for consumers in regards to incidental purchases, praising Google's proposed solutions to the issue.

"Although, regrettably, no concrete and immediate solutions have been made by Apple to date to address the concerns linked in particular to payment authorisation," the European Commission wrote, noting that Apple said it will address the issues in due time, though it did not provide a time-frame for the changes. An Apple spokesman told Reuters that "over the last year we made sure any app which enables customers to make in-app purchases is clearly marked," and that it will "continue to work with the EC member states to respond to their concerns."

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Final Fantasy Record Keeper relives the series' battles for mobile

Square Enix revealed Final Fantasy Record Keeper today, a new mobile game that remixes memorable battles from the popular RPG series. The game is in development by DeNA for iOS and Android, and has players clearing dungeons that represent individual games in the Final Fantasy series.

The game stars Deci, a worker in Dr. Mog's history department, according to Siliconera. Thanks to Dr. Mog's magical abilities, Deci is able to dive into paintings to clear the 16-bit-style dungeons from games in the series, eventually unlocking characters from those games, such as Final Fantasy 7's Cloud. After unlocking the familiar heroes, players can bring the companion of their choice into other dungeons, equipping new weapons and abilities along the way. Final Fantasy Record Keeper will launch this summer for free in Japan, and will support microtransactions.
[Image: Square Enix]

Magic 2015 now available on Steam, Xbox 360, Android, Kindle

Following last week's iPad debut, virtual collectible card game Magic 2015 - Duels of the Planeswalkers has now arrived on Steam, the Xbox 360, Amazon's Kindle Fire and Android devices.

The 2015 installment of this annual series offers the typical sort of high-fantasy plotline fans have come to expect: "Magic 2015 - Duels of the Planeswalkers challenges players to 'Hunt Bigger Game' and confront the deadliest hunter in the Magic Multiverse – Garruk Wildspeaker," reads the game's official description. "Players must attempt to stop Garruk as he turns his instincts away from beasts of the wild to a new quarry - you, his fellow Planeswalker."

More crucially, Magic 2015 is the first entry in the series to offer players a "full deck-building experience." Prior Magic games only allowed players to modify pre-built decks, a baffling design choice that removed one of the most crucial aspects of the series' card game inspiration. Whether this inclusion was inspired by the overwhelming success of Blizzard's similar, more fully-featured Hearthstone is unknown, but it's nice to see the virtual Magic franchise finally live up to its full, addictive potential.

Both the Xbox 360 and Steam versions of Magic 2015 bear $10 price tags, while the Android and Kindle incarnations are free-to-play games supported by in-app purchases.
[Image: Wizards of the Coast]

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Space survival sim Out There goes multiplatform with Omega Edition

Developer Mi-Clos Studio's spacefaring resource management game Out There will soon hit Windows, Mac, Linux, Windows Phone and "an unannounced platform" with the upcoming launch of Out There: Omega Edition.

Omega Edition expands on Out There's initial iOS and Android release with new alien breeds, additional ships, and a collection of 50 text adventures that flesh out the game's otherworldly environments. Out There challenges players to survive in an uncharted and hostile section of the galaxy, finding and maintaining garden planets as they gradually become better equipped to take on aggressive alien forces.

Players who purchased Out There on iOS or Android will be able to upgrade to Omega Edition for free upon its launch. The PC version is currently up for vote at Steam Greenlight.

[Image: Mi-Clos Studio]

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Resident Evil's monsters invade Deadman's Cross

Card game / first-person shooter Deadman's Cross is about to get even more deader, thanks to an injection of Resident Evil's particular brand of horror. From now until July 27, players will be able to access Raccoon City as a special hunt area, where they'll be able to take down and collect some of Resident Evil's most iconic monstrosities. These include the Tyrant, gross zombie dogs, chainsaw dude from Resident Evil 4 and, of course, Nemesis.

Also, lest Resident Evil's Lickers give you the wrong idea, remember to never lick your mobile device. Deadman's Cross is available now on the App Store and Google Play.
[Image: Square Enix]

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Destiny companion app offers up lore, loadout changes

When Destiny's July 17 beta launches on PlayStation platforms, Guardians hungry for more information can download and utilize the game's companion app. Revealed by IGN, the app allows players to examine and swap equipment, peruse missions and bounties and learn more about the lore in Bungie's shooter-RPG.

The app features detailed models of a player's characters, their gear and more. Swapping equipment with the app will happen in real time when playing the game. In standard Bungie form, the app will also delve into detailed stats for each Destiny play session.

For the beta, the companion app will be available for free on iPhone and Android as well as on the web. The app will work alongside the beta on PS3 and PS4 on July 17, and with the Xbox 360 and Xbox One when the beta begins for those platforms on July 23. When Destiny arrives on September 9, the app will be made available for a variety of other iOS devices.

Want access to the Destiny beta? Joystiq is your source, with hundreds of beta codes to give away. Enter today for your chance to win! Watch the Destiny app in action after the break.

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Sonic Jump Fever has spread to iOS and Google Play

Sonic Jump Fever has arrived on both iOS and Google Play, Sega has announced. The game follows up on the Blue Blur's previous mobile outing, Sonic Jump, and it promises even more of the rodent's famous, signature talent: jumping. Players jump and bounce as high as possible, collecting lots of goodies along the way to increase their score.

The big addition to Sonic Jump Fever is the ability to compete with friends and earn prizes. In fact, duping ... er, gently convincing your friends to play will reap rewards, as "the more friends players have, the more elite the prizes up for grabs." The game is free, though there are plenty of microtransactions available if you feel like feeding the Sonic fever.

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Fluffy platformer Leo's Fortune rolls to Android

Leo's Fortune, the tablet-based platformer from 1337 & Senri, is now available on Android. The game first launched on iOS in May, and stars a mustachioed blue ball named Leopold, who is on the hunt for his missing gold. Players must leap and glide through levels with switches and spiky traps, collecting Leo's gold coins and toppling record times to perfect each area along the way.

Our review of the game praised its touch-based controls as well as its creative, contraption-like level design, though Leo's Fortune is a little on the short side with only a few dozen levels to complete. The game costs $4.99 on Google Play and supports controllers and gamepads made for Android devices as well as leaderboards, achievements and cloud save support.
[Image: 1337 & Senri]

FTC sues Amazon over in-app purchase practices

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has sued online retailer Amazon for refusing to change its framework for purchases made within its hosted mobile apps, according to a Reuters report.

The lawsuit is an expected result of Amazon's denial of FTC-issued requests to change its in-app purchase policies. To meet FTC guidelines, Amazon would need to add another layer of password protection and overhaul its refund policies in order to curb in-app purchases made by children without parental permission. In a recent letter to the FTC, Amazon noted that it prefers to "defend our approach in court," rather than change its policies.

The FTC's lawsuit seeks refunds for affected customers and a ban on unlimited purchases within Amazon apps. Apple issued more than $32.5 million in refunds to App Store customers following a similar FTC complaint earlier this year.

[Image: Amazon]

Gibeau: EA 'innovated too much' with Dungeon Keeper

EA's reboot of Dungeon Keeper rubbed new and old fans the wrong way with an aggressive approach to monetization – it's a free, mobile app heavy on microtransactions and shifty five-star rating schemes. The original game's creator, Peter Molyneux, dubbed the reboot "ridiculous," and in June, EA CEO Andrew Wilson called the situation "a shame."

EA Mobile head Frank Gibeau this week told GamesIndustry that EA didn't do a good job marketing the game or communicating to fans what they could expect from a new Dungeon Keeper.

"Brands ultimately have a certain amount of permission that you can make changes to, and I think we might have innovated too much or tried some different things that people just weren't ready for," Gibeau said. "Or, frankly, were not in tune with what the brand would have allowed us to do. We like the idea that you can bring back a brand at EA and express it in a new way. We've had some successes on that front, but in the case of Dungeon Keeper, that just didn't connect with an audience for a variety of reasons."

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