Technology US

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 remake studio will now focus exclusively on Blizzard games

Vicarious Visions, the studio that developed Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and the remake for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, has been reassigned within Activision Blizzard, reports. Moving forward, the studio’s team of about 200 people will now be “fully dedicated to existing Blizzard games and initiatives.” That means for any games Vicarious Visions works on in the future, it will not serve as the lead development studio.

“After collaborating with Vicarious Visions for some time and developing a great relationship, Blizzard realized there was an opportunity for [Vicarious Visions] to provide long-term support,” a Blizzard spokesperson told The studio did not specify what projects Vicarious Visions is providing support for currently, as Blizzard Entertainment is currently working on three titles — an ARPG hack and slash mobile game, Diablo Immortal, in addition to sequels for Diablo and Overwatch.

As part of the merger, Jen Oneal, who previously served as the studio’s head, has been promoted as the executive vice president of development at Blizzard. Vicarious Visions was founded in 1990 and became a subsidiary of Activision in 2005. Throughout its 30-plus year lifespan, the studio has worked on various projects across numerous franchises, including Tony Hawk, Crash Bandicoot, and Guitar Hero.

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There is no going back: they reject Barcelona’s appeal to the sanction of two games for Leo Messi | The State

Leo Messi will have to fully comply with his sanction.

JOSEP LAGO / AFP / Getty Images

The Appeal Committee of the Spanish Football Federation dismissed Barcelona’s appeal against the sanction of two parties to Leo Messi, by his expulsion in the final of the Super Cup against Athletic Club on the 17th in Seville.

The Appeal resolution published this Friday by the RFEF indicates that “For the presumption of veracity of the arbitration act to be maintained” it is sufficient “that the images do not flatly contradict what is expressed in it”.

“What can be seen in the images is perfectly compatible with the existence of hitting, as much as it may also be with other possibilities, including the Club version ”.

Messi, what andyesterday the first of the two matches in the clash against Cornellá of the Copa del Rey, was sent off with a direct red card for the first time as a Barcelona player after referee Jesús Gil Manzano reviewed the action in the video of an attack without the ball on Athletic player Asier Villalibre.

The referee reflected in the minutes that he was shown the red card for hitting an opponent with the arm using excessive force while the ball is in play but not within distance of being played.



Four native martial arts are now part of Khelo India Youth Games

Four indigenous martial art forms walk a tightrope to maintain their core culture and the need to modernise, after their inclusion in 2021 into the Khelo India Youth Games

Every morning before sunrise, Narayanan Embranthri steps into the kalari, a rectangular training space, with his right foot first.

He reverently touches the mud floor, a gesture to God and the gurus of the ancient martial discipline of Kalaripayattu. Before his students arrive, he lights the lamp, oils his body and dons the arakacha or tight loincloth. He then goes to the southwest corner of the kalari (which means battlefield) where seven steps, representing the seven power points in the body, are built, and offers a prayer. “That’s the poothara. Every student who learns this art follows these rituals: the prayer, the dress, the techniques,” says Narayanan, who teaches Kalaripayattu at the ENS Kalari built by his father in 1954 in Nettoor, Kochi.

Culture vs Sports

In a recent move, the Sports Ministry inducted four indigenous martial art forms — Kalaripayattu of Kerala, Mallakhamb of Central India, Gatka of Punjab and Thang-ta of Manipur — into the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG). As practitioners, coaches, students and federations who have kept these ancient martial arts alive rejoice, they also voice concern over a possible dilution of the culture and ritual that is at the core of these regional forms, when modified to a sport version.

“It is a moment of great joy and pride for all of us who are continuing this 3,000-year-old tradition,” says Narayanan, who is also the secretary, sports of Kalaripayattu Association of Kerala. “Despite the British banning it, we have nurtured this native form of battle and defence. There are roughly 1,000 to 1,500 kalaris in Kerala. This recognition is as gratifying as much as it is a challenge, for teachers and practitioners.”

He is wary that this new-found scope as a sport may overshadow the essence of Kalaripayattu, if not formatted with care. While he accepts that it will make the art form more popular and recognised, he adds, “We have to take care that it does not lose its traditional element. It has rituals and philosophy.”

Kalari and yoga guru Sharath S Achari states, “This is the mother of all martial arts. Judo, Kung Fu, karate are its children. These are world famous but Kalaripayattu has remained inside Kerala. Why?” He explains that there are several grades of Kalarippayattu like meythari, which is practice of body flexibility and leg movements, followed by kolthari or fight using short and long sticks and an advanced state of sword play with shield. “As of now, we are not clear what will be included in the Khelo India competitions, and how will it be marked and graded.”

For the 50-year-old Narayanan, who began learning the art from his father at the age of 14, “A sporting career is only between the age of 7 to 21. What will happen to the sports practitioners after that?” He adds that the kalaris, registered and unregistered, have so far received little support from the Government.

However, advocate Poonthura Soman, Secretary General Indian Kalaripayattu Federation, Thiruvananthapuram, differs: “Technically Kalaripayattu is a sport. It consists of 18 different warfare techniques. In 1958 the Government of Kerala recognised the Kerala Kalaripayttu Association and affiliated to the Kerala State Sports Council. It was considered a sport then itself.” In 2015,Indian Kalaripayattu Federation was recognised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, as a National Sports Federation. Since then we have been conducting National Championships. This decision is a boost for the Kalaripayattu fraternity,” he says. According to him eight events ranging from basic steps to sword and shield play have been included in the Khelo India sports format.

Ramesh Indoliya, president, M

Four native martial arts are now part of Khelo India Youth Games

allakhmabh Federation of India, is elated. Mallakhamb is a traditional form of gymnastics performed with a wooden pole (made of wood from sheesham or Indian rosewood and polished with castor oil), a cane, or a rope.

“This is a huge step for Bharatiya [Indian] games. Till now only Olympic games were given importance. Now indigenous sports will get respect. Earlier it was a demo game but now it is part of the mainstream; it’s a big honour,” he says, adding that they have contemporising an ancient art is required for it to remain relevant. Ramesh points out that girls are now allowed to perform with the pole, which was not the case earlier. “We have introduced that,” he says.

Though Madhya Pradesh declared Mallakhamb the State sport only in 2013, it had been developed as a competitive sport since 1981, with rules and regulations introduced at the first National Championship that year.

Future forward

Harjeet Singh Grewal, president of the Chandigarh-based National Gatka Federation of India, is thrilled at the new platform accorded to Gatka. He does not fear the dilution of the cultural aspect. “It is in our hands how much we keep and how much we forfeit. We have to change with the times.”

Gatka is a style of fighting with wooden sticks that originated in Punjab in the 15th Century. Originally called Shastar Vidya, it began as a means to defend righteousness and is considered both a spiritual and physical practice. The bana and chola are worn for the ritualistic performances but, when performed as a sport, the practitioner wears track pants and T-shirt. “The techniques remain the same,” he says emphatically. Besides, the stick is no longer the size of a man, he points out.

Four native martial arts are now part of Khelo India Youth Games

Gatka originally began with a display of over two dozen equipment used in battle and self-defence. “Of these, only the gatka has been taken into the sport. Our aim is to take it till the Olympics,” he says, adding that this may necessitate redesigning the format.

“Look at how far the T20 version took cricket. Similarly, the sports version of Thang-ta will rejuvenate it,” says Vinod Sharma, secretary-general, Thang Ta Federation of India. This Manipuri art form combines ritual, demonstration and combat and involves a variety of dance forms and warrior drills. Training begins with stepping patterns and basic sword strikes. Spear techniques are taught later.

“It is a moment of great pride that Thang Ta has been made a part of the Youth Games. It would have passed into oblivion in the recent decades had the national recognition not come,” he says, adding that it can be compared to the Chinese Wushu, the Japanese Ninjutsu and the martial arts of the Filipinos. Thang Ta, which has eight to 10 types of punching and 12 types of kick techniques, is “the best form of self-defence,” says Vinod.It was converted into sports version 25 years ago, and 25 National Championships and five International championships have been conducted so far. “If a newer format is required for Khelo India Youth Games, so be it,” he adds.

HYDERABAD, TELANGANA, 27/03/2015: Artistes from Manipur display ‘Thang- Ta’ dance during the inauguration function of “Parv Purvottar” festival at Shilparamam in Hyderabad on Friday, March 27, 2015. Thang means sword and Ta means spear. Thang-Ta is the martial art of Manipur practiced with sword and spear such as sword fight, spear fight and wrestling style of fight (Mukna). These were not originally a performing art but a serious form for self-defense event, acts of aggression against the enemy in martial tactics. Thang-Ta provided basic training of warfare, and kings of Manipur maintained Than-Ta experts in their courts. Photo: Nagara Gopal

HYDERABAD, TELANGANA, 27/03/2015: Artistes from Manipur display ‘Thang- Ta’ dance during the inauguration function of “Parv Purvottar” festival at Shilparamam in Hyderabad on Friday, March 27, 2015. Thang means sword and Ta means spear. Thang-Ta is the martial art of Manipur practiced with sword and spear such as sword fight, spear fight and wrestling style of fight (Mukna). These were not originally a performing art but a serious form for self-defense event, acts of aggression against the enemy in martial tactics. Thang-Ta provided basic training of warfare, and kings of Manipur maintained Than-Ta experts in their courts. Photo: Nagara Gopal
| Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

A conservative Narayanan sums up the challenge: “Keep the tradition and develop the sport.”

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Technology US

Valve and five game publishers fined millions for geo-blocking Steam games in EU

Valve and five PC video game publishers have been fined a total of €7.8 million (around $9.5 million) by the European Commission for restricting cross-border game sales in the European Economic Area. The Commission said that the companies geo-blocked around 100 PC video games, preventing them from being activated and played outside certain EU countries. This broke the EU’s Digital Single Market rules which prohibit those types of barriers.

The European Commission says the geo-blocking was to prevent games being activated outside Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Geo-blocking prevents gamers living in EU countries with higher average incomes from being able to save money buying them in EU states where they’re cheaper and then activating them on Steam. Activation keys were geo-blocked between 2010 and 2015, the European Commission said.

“Today’s sanctions against the ‘geo-blocking’ practices of Valve and five PC video game publishers serve as a reminder that under EU competition law, companies are prohibited from contractually restricting cross-border sales,” the European Commission’s head of competition policy said. “Such practices deprive European consumers of the benefits of the EU Digital Single Market and of the opportunity to shop around for the most suitable offer in the EU.”

Five publishers were fined in total. Focus Home was fined almost €2.9 million (around $ 3.5 million), ZeniMax over €1.6 million (around $2 million), Koch Media almost €1 million (around $1.2 million), Capcom €396,000 (around $480,000), and Bandai Namco €340,000 (around $410,000). Because each of these companies cooperated with the investigation, their fines were reduced by between 10 and 15 percent. Valve, however, chose not to cooperate, and was fined over €1.6 million (around $1.9 million).

The European Commission opened its formal investigation into the practice of geo-blocking back in 2017, and formally asked Valve to stop the practice back in 2019. Valve has previously argued that only a small number of games used region-locked activation keys, and argued it shouldn’t be liable for region locks requested by publishers. It said it ended the practice in 2015, with limited exceptions.

Tech News

We Spent a Lot of 2020 Playing Video Games, Steam Data Shows

Steam Year in Review for 2020 shows 21.4 percent more games were purchased compared to 2019 and the total amount of playtime doubled in 2020. With the coronavirus pandemic having forced people to stay inside their homes for most of last year, more and more people gravitated towards video games, be it on their smartphones,l consoles, or PCs. Valve’s Year in Review for Steam shows just that, along with some interesting statistics showing significant increase in engagement on the platform.

The 2020 Year in Review for Steam shows there were 120 million active players on the platform per month in the year. With these many players dedicatedly playing video games, the overall hours invested increased by 50.7 percent compared to 2019. 21.4 percent more games were purchased during 2020 from Steam and there were 2.6 million first time purchases monthly.

Steam saw 62.6 million daily active players in 2020 across the globe with the highest concurrent player count reaching 24.8 million.

There were the usual multiple seasonal sales organised by Steam last year and the major ones – Summer, Autumn, and Winter were “record breaking in terms of revenue generated for developers and publishers,” according to the official blog post. Compared to Winter Sale of 2019, 2020 saw a 36 percent increase in the number of games that grossed more than $100,000 (roughly Rs. 73 lakh). 

To provide opportunities for visibility to games in Steam’s catalogue, the platform organised Steam Game Festival: Spring Edition which saw 559,000 demo activations for a few dozen demos. Then, Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition saw 4 million customers sign up for over 900 demos. Finally, Steam Game Festival: Autumn Edition saw 5.1 million demo activations.

Last year, Steam also launched the Steam Points programme that rewards users for buying games and engaging with the community. Till now, 99 million items including animated backgrounds, avatars, frames, and more have been redeemed by 15.5 million users.

Coming to SteamVR, the platform saw 71 percent more revenue and a 30 percent increase in playtime for VR games. There were 104 million SteamVR sessions with 1.7 million users experiencing SteamVR for the first time.

Valve recently released its list of ‘Best Games of 2020′ on Steam and the top 12 selling games of 2020 in the platinum category include Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, Among Us, Cyberpunk 2077, Doom Eternal, Monster Hunter World, and Red Dead Redemption 2, among others.

What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.


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He was saved! Schalke won after 30 games and avoided equaling the worst record in Bundesliga history | The State

He Schalke, team that works in the Bundesliga, was one game away from matching the worst record in league history with no wins.

With his win this Saturday 4-0 about him Hoffenheim, the Miners ended the malaria without winning that they dragged during two campaigns, with 30 games without knowing the victory and remaining one to equal the record of the Tasmania from Berlin dating from the 1965-66 season, in which they fell after not winning in 31 games.

Schalke aimed their victory thanks to a triplet of the hero of the encounter, Matthew hoppe, the American who scored at 42,57 and 63 minutes; the account was closed by Amine Harit at 79 ‘; thus ending the winless streak that the team dragged since January 17 of last year, when they defeated 2-0 at Borussia Mönchengladbach.

With this result, the miners not only avoided the negative record, but also they came out of the last place on the table, ascending to the penultimate, with 7 points out of 45 possible; however, the risk of decline remains latent for them.



Wild-card trends to know before betting this weekend’s games

As with any recurring sporting event, the NFL playoffs have gone through various trend patterns over the years, with some seasons being dominated by underdog and upstart teams and others being relatively predictable with favorites taking care of business. Because of this ever-changing nature, it can be difficult for bettors to thrive when using past playoff results as a guide. In past eras, predicting the playoffs was usually as easy as looking at a team’s body of work.

When you consider road teams are on a 10-2 SU and 11-1 ATS run in the wild-card round over the last three seasons, perhaps handicapping this stuff is easy, right? If you prefer betting totals, you’re probably going to want to consider that Under is 10-2 in that same span and 24-7-1 in the last eight playoff seasons. Trust me though, if it were that easy, they wouldn’t play the games and sportsbooks wouldn’t be expanding their operations.

With that in mind here are some wild-card round trends that might end up being worth knowing:

 Quarterbacks in their first playoff game are just 15-36 SU and 14-36-1 ATS (28 percent) since ’04 when matched up against an opposing QB NOT in his first playoff game. This experience factor comes into play most in games with point spreads in the +3 to -3 range, as these first-time QBs are just 4-21 SU and 3-21-1 ATS (12.5 percent) in those games.

 First-time playoff coaches have been much more successful in recent years than quarterbacks and are currently on a 7-1 SU and ATS run over the last three seasons when not matched up against another rookie head coach.

The Browns qualify for both of these situations with Baker Mayfield at quarterback and Kevin Stefanski as coach, though Stefanski will miss the game due to COVID. John Wolford also would qualify as quarterback of the Rams should he be called upon Saturday.

The outright winner owns a point spread record of 44-5-1 ATS in the last 50 wild-card playoff games. If you can’t see the team you’re betting on winning the game, you’re better off not trying to sneak a cover in, even though three games are showing point spreads of seven points or more.

 Underdogs are on a run of 10-3-1 ATS in the last 14 NFC wild-card games.

Wild-card road favorites have become increasingly common as there have been 13 in the last 12 seasons. Those teams are 8-5 SU and 6-6-1 ATS. For 2021, we have two of them — Buccaneers at Washington and Ravens at Titans.

Home favorites of a touchdown or more in the wild-card round are 11-2 SU and 10-3 ATS since 2005.

In the last 24 Saturday games, home teams are 17-11 SU and 16-11-1 ATS. In that same span, Sunday home teams are 13-15 SU and 10-17-1 ATS.

In the 12 wild-card matchups between divisional opponents since 2003, road teams own a 9-3 ATS edge (6-6 SU). Two of this weekend’s six games are divisional matchups — Rams-Seahawks on Saturday and Browns-Steelers on Sunday.

Of the 16 No. 6-vs.-No. 3 wild-card matchups over the last eight seasons, Under the total is 15-0-1! This year’s 6-3 matchups are Rams-Seahawks and Browns-Steelers. Road teams are on a 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS surge in the series as well.

Technology UK

Monster Hunter Rise could possible be one of the biggest games of 2021

It’s been three years since Capcom blew everyone away with the release Monster Hunter: World and it’s safe to say that fans are still enjoying the Iceborne expansion.

But much, to everyone’s surprise, Capcom announced that the next instalment Monster Hunter Rise would be a Nintendo Switch exclusive.

This was definitely a shock as Monster Hunter: World was a must-have on PS4, Xbox One and PC, so it would have been an obvious choice to make Rise multiplatform.

This means the fans will get a game that is specifically built to utilise the Nintendo Switch’s functionality and not just a substandard port.

The Monster Hunter Series has evolved over the years adding new features, abilities and weapons to be used in the various different areas.

Hunters will be able to ride monsters

However, the core gameplay loop where players take the role of a Hunter to slay or trap large monsters as part of the quest to gain loot remains the same throughout.

Players can use the loot to improve their weapons and armour which in turn allows them to hunt stronger monsters.

One of the best features is the multiplayer mode where players can team up with other Hunters to tackle really hard quests and slay a really powerful monster.

If you haven’t played any of the previous Monster Hunter games, no need to worry as even though the games take place in the Monster Hunter World all the stories are independent of each other.

In anticipation of its worldwide release on March 26th, Capcom sent the Mirror Online an early access demo for us to sink our teeth into.

Firstly Monster Hunter Rise looks great on the Nintendo Switch, characters models are extremely detailed with each colourful hunter bursting with personality.

It runs smoothly in both docked and undocked modes with no frames drops even during hectic combat, it will be interesting to see if this holds up in the full version with the larger monsters and during online co-op.

After completing the tutorial I was able to test my skills against the Great Izuchi and the Mizutsune in the missions provided.

If you’ve played any of the previous entries then you’ll be able to jump right in, picking one of the fourteen Hunters who feel very unique and original.

Gameplay feels very similar to the to Monster Hunter: World with combat being very different depending on which character you pick.

Players will want to make use of the Endemic Life for stat boosting, they really make a difference during quests.

The major new addition is the Wirebug- an insect that produces a special kind of silk that acts like a grappling hook allowing players to reach new areas.

It’s very similar to the Clutch Claw in Monster Hunter: World but a lot more flashy and a few other technical differences.

The Wirebug can also be used with each weapon to create a Skillbind action, this adds to the weapons move set and combos.

Players will also be able to use the Wirebug to ride monsters, allowing them to aid you in battle with other behemoths.

Palicos returns to help hunters during their quest, but this time players will also have another companion.

Palamutes are new additions to the Monster Hunter series, these canine companions will become your new best friend as they allow players to ride them and they even help in battle.

Capcom has said that new travel buddies can personalise, so it will be interesting to see the level design that will be allowed.

From what the Mirror Online has seen from the early demo, Monster Hunter Rise is shaping up to be an amazing game with so much depth.

The Wirebugs and Palamutes are fully welcomed new additions that feel like they should have always been included in Monster Hunter games.

Players are going to relish being able to take play on the go in undocked mode which currently works like a charm

Monster Hunter Rise is out for the Nintendo Switch on March 26th and a demo is avaliblew from the Nintendo eShop now.

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Tokyo in a state of emergency less than 200 days before the Olympic Games | The State

The Japanese capital and site of the Olympic Games, Tokyo suffers a hard record increase in daily numbers of COVID-19 infections, a situation that has led the authorities of the country of the rising sun to take more restrictive measures and declare the city in a state of emergency.

The Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, assured this Thursday that the country will host the Tokyo Olympics next summer in a “stable and safe” manner.. The Japanese leader noted that the hosts and the International Olympic Committee “will continue working” to organize the Games “without fail” and within schedule.

This measure, which will be in force until February 7 Initially, it entails restrictions on the opening hours of bars and restaurants and the recommendation of teleworking, among other restrictions that do not include the confinement of the population.

Suga also expressed his confidence that the start of vaccination campaigns in different countries and in Japan, where the drug is not expected to begin distribution until the end of February, it will “change the atmosphere in the Japanese people” ahead of the Games.

Popular support for the Games among the Japanese declined during the last months of last year mainly due to the incessant spread of the coronavirus in the country, according to different surveys released by local media.

A query carried out by the public television channel NHK showed that 32% of those surveyed were in favor of canceling the Games permanently, while 31% were in favor of postponing them again and 27% agreed to keep the date.

The Tokyo Games are scheduled between July 23 and August 8, after being delayed for a year last March due to the pandemic.

It may interest you:

Vaccine or no audience, the expensive alternatives facing the Tokyo Olympics


Technology US

More than half of Americans turned to video games during lockdown

With 2020 consumed almost entirely by the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of US residents turned to video games to fill the time. According to Nielsen company SuperData’s 2020 year in review, 55 percent of people picked up video games — out of boredom, to escape the real world, to socialize — during the first phase of lockdowns.

The shift points to a larger one in entertainment. Movie theaters, sports, plays, and more have been largely inaccessible, if not outright dangerous to public health. Just as streaming, both of the Twitch and Netflix variety, became a huge source of entertainment, so did games — especially for adults. According to SuperData, 66 percent of consumers from 18 to 24 played more console games, while 60 percent played more mobile titles. Unsurprisingly, buyers also tended toward digital purchases.

SuperData reports that 27 percent of people — about 1 in 4 — played games to stay in touch with each other. In 2020, games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Among Us became cultural touchstones. Animal Crossing was the hit of the early pandemic, while Among Us had nearly half a billion players in November alone. Politicians like Joe Biden and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez capitalized on their popularity to raise awareness for the year’s presidential election. Even Pokémon Go managed to adapt to the pandemic and grow 39 percent year over year, thanks to Niantic’s updates.

As physical spaces disappeared, video games became one of the few places for people to spend time together — whether that was to enjoy virtual concerts in Fortnite, learn how to vote, or just hang out. SuperData estimates that digital games alone garnered $126.6 billion over the course of the year. The numbers may not spike this year as much as they did in 2020, but SuperData predicts “the long-term habits formed during lockdown are here to stay.”