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North Carolina is going to provide some epic tax breaks to video game developers. According to the ESA, a bill signed by Governor Beverly Perdue will provide a 15 percent tax credit on “wages and compensation for employees involved in digital media production, or the creation of a platform or engine to run such media. ” Of course, the big winner here is North Carolina-based Epic Games, which swims in a lake of Unreal Engine money and develops games in its spare time. However, other benefactors of the tax breaks include Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and another dozen or so developers in the state. The incentives take effect January 1, 2011.

Publishers, developers and governments use tax breaks like Ezio wields the hidden blade. It’s a weapon, either for financial defense (which seems to be the case in North Carolina) or aggression. With Canada’s relentless siren call of tax incentives, if other countries and states don’t step up their game, The Great White North will continue its Tim Hortons-fueled march to eventually developing most of the world’s video games.

JoystiqNorth Carolina to provide tax breaks for game companies originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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There are two ways in which your acquaintances will likely be impressed should you load up Zenitum’s Space InvadAR app on your Android-equipped device:

  1. Using a picture of the Earth, it creates a pretty neat augmented reality overlay which forces you to defend the planet from a neverending onslaught of circling extraterrestrials. Line up your shot using your mobile device’s camera, and drop your favorite Independence Day quote as you blast aliens from the sky.
  2. The app itself costs $25, so your friends should be wowed by your apparently vast amounts of expendable income.

Check out a video of the pricey application after the jump.

Continue reading Impress your friends with Space InvadAR Android app

JoystiqImpress your friends with Space InvadAR Android app originally appeared on Joystiq on Wed, 02 Jun 2010 00:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Rock Band Twitter account has been a real beehive of activity as of late. No wonder, considering Harmonix has slowly been teasing new artists coming to Rock Band 3. So far, Tears for Fears, Marilyn Manson, The B-52s and Def Leppard have been confirmed for the game.

Harmonix promises to slowly trickle out more artists as Comic-Con progresses this weekend, so we’ll be sure to relay the info as it’s made available. In the meanwhile, we suggest you grab your hot pants and celebrate!

[Thanks, Conor]

JoystiqRock Band 3 adds Tears for Fears, Marilyn Manson, The B-52s and Def Leppard originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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I spent a lot of this week wondering while playing (and enjoying) Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4, “What in the world am I gonna tell our readers about this that they don’t already know? “

Considering it’s the hojillionth Lego game to be released, what could I possibly impart about the latest iteration that isn’t a variation on the “This is a great game for kids of all ages and for parents with Harry Potter-loving children” descriptor? Thankfully, the answer was more obvious than I could have hoped: It’s just like Metroid with training wheels! … And, you know, with Harry Potter instead of a space bounty hunter.

Continue reading Review: Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4

JoystiqReview: Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 02 Jul 2010 17:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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You’ll definitely want to watch this gameplay clip of inFamous 2. Not only does it show off Cole’s new look, it highlights the revamped graphics engine, improved “in your face” camera . .. and best of all, a new power.

Continue reading Video: inFamous 2 gameplay, now with more cyclones

JoystiqVideo: inFamous 2 gameplay, now with more cyclones originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 03 Jul 2010 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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OnLive: The first few weeks

Much like reviewing an MMO, I didn’t really feel comfortable “reviewing” OnLive and I don’t know that I ever will. I can (and will) make a handful of declarative statements about my feelings on the service as it stands right now, but, like an MMO, sweeping changes could occur tomorrow that obliviate all previous statements. That said, as of right now, OnLive works.

In my experience with the service — on both coasts and three major US cities — it was quick, responsive, and relatively free of bugs (though I did encounter a couple). And demos are available for almost every game, so I put at least a bit of time in with nearly every title currently playable. Dirt 2 with DirectX 11 running on my 10-month-old (Apple!) laptop? Speeds along without a hitch. Unreal Tournament 3? No issues (well, other than not finding anyone to play against outside of bots). I was also able to hook up a wired Xbox 360 controller without any additional installation and it worked flawlessly — the Xbox guide button even brought up the OnLive guide and auto-paused games (madness!). And though I probably wouldn’t suggest OnLIve for hardcore, twitch gamers — and neither would the company itself — I would absolutely recommend it to everyone else.

Continue reading OnLive: The first few weeks

JoystiqOnLive: The first few weeks originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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For those of you who have to keep your Spartan dressed in the latest styles, GameStop is offering exclusive armor and helmet configurations with pre-orders of Halo: Reach. Those who reserve the game will receive tokens for a Spartan Recon Helmet with Visor/Blast Shield and a UA Multi-Threat Mjolnir Mark V(B) Armor, which features a unique chestplate design and a grenade belt. Can’t you hear it? “Hey, (your name here)! Looking good in that UAMTMMVBA! ” You and your Multi-Threat, Blast Shield-sporting friends can mock the Spartans who dare to show up wearing default armor.

Of course, you also receive a $20 coupon, just like those offered by Walmart and Amazon.

JoystiqPre-order Halo Reach at GameStop for exclusive armor originally appeared on Joystiq on Wed, 07 Jul 2010 22:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GoldenEye 007

Let’s clear one thing up: This GoldenEye Wii game is not your GoldenEye N64 game all prettied up. This is an original game based on the same Bond … movie (though featuring the Daniel Craig Bond). That’s not to say that the new GoldenEye 007 doesn’t borrow — what it legally can — from Rare’s classic console FPS, but be careful about expecting a modern port of the 1997 game known simply and lovingly as “Bond.” (That project is still not happening. )

At Nintendo’s E3 booth, I played a quick round of two-player split-screen multiplayer of this new GoldenEye, and it left a positive impression. I could have sworn my opponent and I had faced off in a classic Bond map (the Archives, I thought), but Activision insists this is an “original” level, in so much as it is not a recreation of one of Rare’s maps from the N64 game. Of course, Rare’s maps were based on sets from the movie, and Activision has the rights to have maps designed from these same sets. So, expect to get a sense of déjà vu when playing the new Goldeneye.

Continue reading Preview: GoldenEye 007 (multiplayer)

JoystiqPreview: GoldenEye 007 (multiplayer) originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 19 Jun 2010 21:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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TechCrunch and VentureBeat both have sources claiming Disney is ready to purchase social gaming developer Playdom for over $600 million. There are currently obscene amounts of money being invested in the social gaming arena; just last year EA purchased Playfish, another big player in the space, for $300 million.

Disney Interactive Media, which continues to have annual losses, has been working on making or buying a mega-money maker. Split/Second obviously isn’t panning out, but Club Penguin seems to be doing fine. There’s also the question of how the company will eventually incorporate the Marvel properties, unless it opts to continue licensing those out. The Playdom purchase, if true, would give the company access to a demographic that its current mouse house of studios doesn’t directly service.

JoystiqRumor: Disney eyeing Playdom acquisition originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 23 Jul 2010 23:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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If your anticipation for the co-op treasure-plundering action of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is so strong that you’re seeking for outlets through which to give Crystal Dynamics money, here’s your chance. A handful of Avatar items based on the XBLA title will arrive on the Xbox Live Marketplace July 29. The particulars and prices of these items have yet to be revealed, though a handful of images posted in the gallery below indicate costumes for Lara, her partner-in-raiding Totec, a Tomb Raider-themed T-shirt, a hideous matted wig and … some kind of … demon suit.

The background featured in these images is actually available on the Marketplace today for 240 MSP, under the title “The Lava Tomb. ” It’s perfect for those who think their menu navigation experience could use a bit more molten rock and ugly statuettes.

Continue reading Lara Croft Avatar items and premium theme coming to Marketplace

JoystiqLara Croft Avatar items and premium theme coming to Marketplace originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 24 Jul 2010 01:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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