Catch ‘Em All, Including Your Next Date!

Yup, you’ve read the title right. With the Pokémon GO app the current hottest thing in App stores around the world, it was only a matter of time before those pale-skinned basement gamers came outside to socialize with real people. Why not do one better and possibly get a date while you’re at it? You never know what your destiny may hold!

PokeMatch co-creator Rene Roosen needed a date while wanting to catch Pokemon. He teamed up with his friends Pim de Witte and Troy Osinoff to Create PokeMatch. PokeMatch is an app that allows you to find dates or friends that play Pokemon GO. After launching Android-only, the app went crazy on Reddit and was covered by major news outlets such as CBS and Forbes. PokeMatch has already created more than 10 THOUSAND matches! Today, the app was released for iPhone.

Pim de Witte, co-creator of the app says: “We’re seeing insane growth. Something I’ve never seen before is happening to us, and it is feeling kind of surreal. People are using our app all over the world. With the launch of our new iOS app, we hope to connect every single Pokemon GO player.”

Players are not only using the app to find dates, but also to find other team members to play with. With the release of our new feature to find friends, we are helping bring more players together than ever. This highly requested feature will bring in a whole new audience into the app. This is no longer a Pokemon dating app, this is now an app to make connections.

“It’s not just a hook-up app, PokeMatch and Pokemon GO create actual connections between people, completely for free,” says Pim de Witte.

“Our objective since launch has expanded, from an app to find a date to an app to make connections. Pokemon GO has brought everyone outside to play Pokemon, our objective is to connect them,” says Troy Osinoff.

“We’re also seeing people use it because they feel safer going Pokemon hunting with other people. It can be quite scary to go out on your own,” says Rene Roosen.

Rene has also managed to find a date himself using the app. Pim is already married and has simply been enjoying the ride.

It can be found on the following links:

IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pokematch-meet-new-trainers/id1135238529?ls=1&mt=8
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pokedashmatch

Mojang, Creator of Minecraft, Sells Out to Microsoft for $2.5B

 

In a stunning turn of recent events, Microsoft has acquired Mojang for a smooth $2.5 billion dollars. What more is there to say? The founders; Notch, Carl, and Jakob have moved on to greener fields, leaving Minecraft in the hands of this tech giant.

It was be expected, seeing as how Mojang treated the multiplayer community of server owners, developers and modders over recent months. More on that below. As for the players, nothing will change and you will still be able to play Minecraft on your tech gadget of choice. Microsoft plans to continue to make Minecraft available across all the platforms on which it is available today: PC, iOS, Android, Xbox and PlayStation.

According to Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, “Minecraft is more than a great game franchise – it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft.”

The Minecraft community is among the most active and passionate in the industry, with more than 2 billion hours played on Xbox 360 alone in the past two years. Minecraft fans are loyal, with nearly 90 percent of paid customers on the PC having signed in within the past 12 months.

Minecraft has grown from a simple game to a project of monumental significance. Though Mojang is massively proud of what Minecraft has become, it was never Notch’s intention for it to get this big.

“The Minecraft players have taken the game and turned it into something that surpassed all of our expectations. The acquisition by Microsoft brings a new chapter to the incredible story of Minecraft, ” said Carl Manneh, CEO of Mojang. “As the founders move on to start new projects, we believe the high level of creativity from the community will continue the game’s success far into the future.”

As you might already know, Notch is the creator of Minecraft and the majority shareholder at Mojang. He’s decided that he doesn’t want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance. Over the past few years he’s made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang and move on to other projects.

My Opinion

I’m still deeply torn regarding this decision and the chaos happening with Minecraft in recent months. On one hand, I’m happy that this project is finally within capable hands but on the other I’m sad to hear of yet another indie game company being gobbled up by the tech giants. I’ve seen these acquisitions go both ways, some turn out pretty good but most plateau and fade away or take a quick nosedive.

I also have a personal investment in this. I’ve had experience in running a Minecraft server that’s accumulated over 11k+ unique players over several years, helped other server owners, tweaked plugins and am fairly active in several communities that touch the core of what makes up the Minecraft Community. That being the intense creative output of people working behind the scenes to make the game better for themselves, sharing it with others and then watching their creation become popular and in some cases bought/pulled into Minecraft.

Remember when Steve Jobs left Apple and the world watched Apple struggle until their creative leader returned to revitalize Apple to make it into the tech giant it is today? Notch, in a similar way, was that indie game leader, the creative force that allowed his community to take his creation and make it into what it is today. I do not believe Minecraft became what it is today because Notch wanted his players to “will it into being”. I do not believe Minecraft became what it is today because his minuscule staff exerted super-human effort into making notable changes that molded Minecraft into a smooth running machine. Matter of fact, I don’t believe players kept “sticking around” because making dirt houses and killing enderdragons would be “cool” for the next 5 years.

I am of the strong opinion that Minecraft became what it is because of the creative input of server owners, plugin developers and modders who tweaked the multiplayer aspect of the game to fit their visions. Because we know that just having Single Player would have fizzled out a long time ago. Their ideals for the game just happened to stick somewhere within the community and became part of the game in some way. Now I’m not discrediting the work that the “Mojangsters” have done with pushing out version updates nor the initial vision of the game as envisioned by Notch, but can you honestly give credit where credit is due? Yes, I’m looking at you Notch and whoever else works at Mojang/Microsoft. And by credit I mean doing something other then a tip of the hat to people who have spent, collectively, longer hours and sleepless nights and endless debugging sessions and serious medical/family issues and intense times of stress then you ever will, working FOR FREE on your stupid game to make their friends and the multiplayer community happy? Give them more then a tip of your fedora as you leave, because in many ways it feels like a slap in the face to them.

Mojang, you owe your success of Minecraft to the multiplayer community that raised you to stardom. By selling out you may not have shown all your cards to the table, but you have shown us part of your true colors. Not necessarily bad in any way, but actions have a way of speaking louder then words do. Now I understand that a business can do whatever they want, whenever they want, because that is what businesses do all the time. Just don’t push the cash cow off the cliff, because it will soon start to cost you the integrity of your company name. All I need to do is say the name Enron to conjure up those enlightening memories, which I don’t ever want to see a company ever repeat again.

Microsoft, I’m hopeful you haven’t inherited a project that will soon fade out like Zune and the Halo franchise did. But if you’re listening, just please keep community involvement open source and encourage the creativity of server owners, plugin developers and modders to continue on to bigger and better ideas for the future. You’re nurturing a whole generation of programmers, video game developers/testers, business leaders and financial careers that would be in the worlds’ best interest to keep. As nasty as we are at times when it comes to changes and news, we’re human beings just like you.

My apologies, it appears my personal thoughts have leaked into this article. But I do hope, in some way, that you’ve finished reading this article with a bit more knowledge and an open mind. Thanks for letting me rant. 🙂

What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments and let’s start a conversation on this.

The Evolution of Handheld Gaming

For a long time, handheld gaming was seen as the little brother to its console counterparts, but with the rise of popularity in smartphone gaming that may not be the case much longer. A recent report by AppLift provides data that estimates smartphone gaming will be a $14 billion industry by 2016, with an estimated yearly growth of almost 20 percent. The power of handheld games has multiplied exponentially over the last 30 years and we’ve come so far that it is hard to believe. Here is a look at the history of handheld gaming, from its earliest history to the present.

The Dawn of Portable Gaming

The first portable video games were beyond primitive. Geek.com reports the first portable video game ever designed was 1977’s Auto Race, a LED handheld that had a measly 512 bytes of memory. LED handhelds were the first portable video games, with thrilling titles such as Basketball, Baseball, and Football. In 1979, primitive handhelds such as these were eclipsed by Milton-Bradley’s Microvision system, a cartridge-based handheld that featured multiple titles. This gave rise to the legendary Nintendo Game & Watch system, which featured LCD screens and single-title handhelds that doubled as alarm clocks. The basic LCD screen concept was copied by countless developers around the world, and companies such as Tiger developed and released LCD games based on the Game & Watch technology well into the 90’s.

The Second Wave

It wasn’t until 1989 that the tide shifted for portable games. 1989 saw the release of the Nintendo Game Boy as well as its lesser known competitor, the Atari Lynx. The Lynx is a sad story of what may have been – the handheld system featured multiplayer support, was capable of 3D graphics, and outclassed its competitors in terms of power. According to Atari Age, it possessed two 16-bit processors, making it nearly 4 times as powerful as the Nintendo Game Boy. Lynx’s downfall came from the fact that Atari simply couldn’t convince programmers to develop games for the console, and within a few years the Nintendo Game Boy dominated the market. The Game Boy sold millions of units in its lifespan, greatly outpacing competitors such as the Game Gear; according to numbers released by Nintendo, the Game Boy family of consoles sold more than 118 million units and more than 500 million games.

Catching Up

Nintendo dominated the handheld market with the Game Boy family of games for years, and it wasn’t until the arrival of the Playstation Portable in 2004 that it had anything to worry about. The PSP was the most powerful handheld platform on the market up to then, but in 2003 cell-phone manufacturer Nokia released a handheld of its own, the N-Gage. Something of a historical novelty, the N-Gage was a combination cell-phone and game console that, in its own way, predicted the era of smartphone games. While it’s unlikely anyone foresaw the era of free games online, Nokia saw the potential to combine two technologies long before any competitor. But for playing this online games you need good internet at home to download them and then take them everywhere wit you, that’s why more and more people is now getting the best internet routers and learning more about it at places like factschronicle.com ultimate buying guide and reviews for users.

Today, the realm of handheld gaming lays firmly in smartphones and similar devices, and we may very well be at the end of the era of dedicated handheld consoles. While tech titan Sony has hinted at the release of a new handheld console soon, the truth is that the age of the app allows indie game developers the freedom to release their game on the market without the aid of the giants of the industry. This shift in the way games can be released may mirror the death of the Atari Lynx back in the 80’s, as developers choose the app marketplace over handheld console exclusivity.

GameStop Finally Simplifies Trade-Ins!

Credit: Forbes.com

Now I’m not an avid gamer, but I do play games on a semi-regular basis but for whatever reason I always go to GameStop to get new games. Maybe it was their marketing that got to me or something… but just so you know this is not a sponsored article.

Anywho, somewhere along the lines I realized I could trade-in my games for either cash or credit to new game purchases. This I liked because A) I didn’t have unplayed games taking up space in my home and B) I could use the funds for another game or just to get some of my money back. Turns out this is where the rules got really goofy when it came to trading my old games in. This game only gets you this amount of money, but if you bundle it with this other game you get more; or we can’t buy this game back; or this game loses trade-in value the longer you wait to turn it in (which is dumb if it was a game I liked and I didn’t want to be rushed into having to finish it)… you get the idea.

GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) decided to simplify their trade-in program. This new, streamlined program is rolling out nationwide on August 18th. It doesn’t apply to all games, but they have added around 100 games that are worth $20 or more to the program and replacing the current 10 possible price points with four. So if your game is worth $20 and you are a PowerUp Rewards Pro member you could get up to a $22 credit or $16 if you are a non-member.

And the reason for this whole article, and why I decided to do a quick write up, is because of a cool statistic I found. According to GameStop, 70% of trade-in customers applied their credits to the purchase of new games, consoles, and mobile electronics. Pretty sweet deal I’d say.