When it began shipping last year, the Stadia Controller worked wirelessly on TVs hooked up to a Chromecast Ultra, but using it with any phone or laptop required it to be connected via USB-C cable, which doesn't make for the most comfortable gaming experience. Earlier this year, Google rolled out the ability to connect wirelessly via the Chrome browser, and starting today, users can now do it with any supported Android device as well.
Mobile gaming has become a big deal in recent years, thanks to an increase in both smartphone performance and user base. While developers only have to deal with a very limited amount of hardware targets when it comes to iOS, publishing games for Android requires optimizing for a wide range of devices with varying levels of power. Now a new library in the Android Game SDK will help developers improve the performance of their games on Android phones in a much more streamlined fashion.
Games can be big and cellular connections can be slow. Rather than have users download the complete package upfront, Google has long supported a system for installing a base APK initially and then using APK Expansion Files to download the rest of the content at launch. That came with its own downsides, though. Now, Google has rolled out a new system dubbed Play Asset Delivery, first announced earlier this year, that promises to make the entire experience much more seamless for both users and developers.
If you're not a PC gamer, you may have never heard of the gaming security firm Denuvo. To quickly fill you in, this firm has offered an anti-tamper DRM solution for many prominent video game publishers of PC titles. Of course, this DRM is a lot less popular amongst gamers (and even developers) that claim the DRM slows down their titles. While Denuvo states that there should be no perceptible effect, the service is still regularly demonized. This is probably why most Android gamers won't be thrilled to learn that Denuvo has launched a mobile-focused DRM solution for Android called Mobile Game Protection.
In this day and age, it's easy to be cynical about the games industry, advertising, and the general state of a lot of consumer technology. Google has magnanimously decided to help Android game developers increase monetization opportunities by offering means to re-capture wayward players and keep paying ones happy in ad-free bliss. How, you might ask? Two ways: using ads to draw people back into a game and by using machine learning to only serve advertisements to those deemed less likely to buy in-app purchases.
Running Android on a PC seems like a good idea, until you actually look at the logistics of making the platform work on a non-touch interface. Add to that all the projects out there attempting to do so with limited or completely absent support for Google Play, and you've got a recipe for lame. Console OS was looking for a cool $50k to make Android work on PCs, and the company has succeeded with almost a month left in the campaign.
With all the Android gaming hardware announcements of late, I've really started to wonder: are people actually going to buy any of this stuff in meaningful quantities? You've got Moga's new controllers, Mad Catz is doing a console, BlueStacks is doing a console, and then there are the already-announced things like Shield, Ouya, GameStick, and the seemingly ever-growing list of "made for Android" wireless controllers.
There's something that's been eating at me about all this stuff, though: it really does feel like a lot of the hype around the Android gaming segment is self-generated. There has been a vocal demand among some Android users, yes, for a good wireless game controller.
Back in August, Archos announced its then-upcoming GamePad, a tablet which looks to "revolutionize" gaming on Android. Featuring built-in physical game controls and custom button mapping software, the GamePad removes the need for touch controls, giving mobile gaming a more console-like feel, while its 7" display still keeps it portable enough to toss in your bag and take on-the-go. And now, it's finally available.
The GamePad is on sale in Europe for 149.99€, with North American availability coming in early 2013. The GP features some fairly decent specs, which should make for a solid gaming experience:
7" 1024x600 display
1.6GHz dual-core processor, with Mali 400 MP GPU
8GB onboard storage with microSD card slot and support for up to 64GB of additional space
At this time, there's no official word on North American pricing, but we'll keep you posted as soon as more information becomes available.
What looks, plays, and sounds like a Final Fantasy game, but isn’t? If you answered Chaos Rings Omega, I’d like to give you a no-prize. This game comes to us from publisher Square-Enix, who also handles a lot of the other JRPGs that have shaped the genre into what it is today.
Like my colleagues at AP have commented, the Chaos Rings series may be their way of testing the waters before a full-fledged Final Fantasy mobile title, and it shows; the game is one of the most beautiful that I’ve ever played on the Android platform, and it is worth every penny of the $12.99 price tag.
After a long time in development, Marvel (and their parent company Disney) have released Avengers Initiative to the Android masses. Coming with a $6.99 price tag on a limited number of devices, it adds to the growing list of Avengers-themed mobile games, even if only one of those heroes is available in this particular title.
Avengers Initiative puts you in the role of the Hulk, who has been tasked in bringing in a number of super-villains who have escaped from a high-tech prison in the Marvel Universe. The game plays almost exactly like the popular Ininity Blade series on iOs, where you'll dodge, parry, and perform attacks in 1-on-1 duels.