roblox

Roblox Hires Online Safety Expert as Director of Digital Civility

Posted by | News, PC, Xbox One | No Comments

Fortnite is getting all the attention, but online free-to-play game Roblox is still one of the most popular gaming destinations for young people around the world, with an active user base in the millions. Much of that crowd is under 18. Roblox Corporation has made numerous steps to ensure online safety, a top concern for parents whose kids enjoy exploring virtual worlds.

The Roblox Corporation has recently hired British online safety expert Laura Higgins as its Director of Digital Civility (the staff page lists her as Online Safety Operations Manager). Higgins has 20 years of experience working with online safety and educational organizations like the South West Grid for Learning. Higgins will work to create a safe, fun, productive environment for players, as well as develop educational resources for parents.

“Because Roblox is rapidly growing into one of the most popular places for kids and teens to hang out and play online, we have a duty to make sure that when they use our platform they can explore their creativity freely and safely,” said Higgins. “We have an opportunity to engage with young people in a unique way, and I hope that by listening to them and giving them a voice, we can help shape their positive behaviors both online and offline. I am beyond delighted to be joining this world-class team of innovators, and I look forward to working with external partners around the world.”

Roblox’s new Digital Civility Initiative will work to improve programs for parents, enhance user experience, and extend Roblox’s educational work with schools.

Roblox originally launched on PC way back in 2006 as a building creation game using Lego-like blocks. It’s also available on mobile devices and Xbox One. The ESRB has rated the Xbox One version E10+ for Fantasy Violence.

destiny 2

Bungie and Activision Getting a Divorce, Bungie Keeping Destiny

Posted by | News, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One | No Comments

Bungie, best known for creating the Halo series and more recently the Destiny games, has announced they are splitting from parent company Activision after eight years. As part of the deal, Activision will transfer ownership rights of Destiny to Bungie, who will become an independent publisher.

“We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on Destiny,” states the official update post. “Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for Destiny to Bungie. With our remarkable Destiny community, we are ready to publish on our own, while Activision will increase their focus on owned IP projects.”

Bungie has a history of independent development as well as partnerships with large corporations. After developing PC games in the 90s, Bungie was acquired by Microsoft in 1999 after showing its new first-person shooter, Halo: Combat Evolved. Halo became an Xbox exclusive and was instrumental in catapulting the new console’s success throughout the early 2000s.

In 2007 Bungie split from Microsoft, but Microsoft would retain the rights to the Halo franchise. Bungie continued to develop Halo games for Microsoft, releasing Halo 3: ODST and Halo Reach.

Then in 2010 Bungie announced a 10-year publishing agreement with Activision, which included letting Bungie keep the intellectual property rights of any new games. The Destiny series was born from that agreement. “We had a vision for Destiny that we believed in, but to launch a game of that magnitude, we needed the support of an established publishing partner,” states the post.

Destiny and its sequel, Destiny 2, have enjoyed critical and commercial success, with numerous content updates and DLC over the years. Bungie promises to continue this trend as they resume life as an independent developer. “We’ll continue to deliver on the existing Destiny roadmap, and we’re looking forward to releasing more seasonal experiences in the coming months, as well as surprising our community with some exciting announcements about what lies beyond,” states the post. “We know self-publishing won’t be easy; there’s still much for us to learn as we grow as an independent, global studio, but we see unbounded opportunities and potential in Destiny.”

Tropico 6

Tropico 6 Delayed to March, Free DLC to Early Pre-Orders

Posted by | News, PC | No Comments

Kalypso Media has again pushed back the release date for Tropico 6, the latest in the island simulation series. It was originally set to launch on PC in January 2019; now it’s releasing March 29 (console versions to follow later). As compensation, the company is offering the first planned DLC for free for anyone who pre-orders Tropico 6 before January 10.

You can pre-order through Steam, Kaylpso’s website, or any other digital platforms to get in on the deal. But you must pre-order by 10 am Pacific/1pm Eastern on January 10 to qualify. The first planned DLC is due out Q2 2019.

Simon Hellwig, Owner and Director of Kalypso Media, posted an open letter to fans addressing the delay. “Over the holidays, I have played Tropico 6 for many hours and really liked what I saw. But, in my humble opinion, it is not enough to like a game – I want to love it! And Tropico 6 is good, but not very good, or outstanding. Yet. Combining my own opinion and the response we had from thousands of dedicated beta players around the world, Kalypso has decided to postpone the release of the game for another couple of months.”

Hellwig specifically mentions pathfinding, multiplayer, and general AI simulation could all use more tweaks and balances, none of which can be done over night.

Tropico 6 is shaping up to be the definitive Tropico game as you manage your banana republic’s economy, infrastructure, and people. For the first time in the series you can control and run multiple islands in a single archipelago. Tropico 6 also supports cooperative and competitive multiplayer for up to four would-be dictators.

Tropico 6 is now set to launch on March 29 on PC, Mac, and Linux. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions are due later this summer.