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The Game Awards Partners With Devs to Release Demos on Steam This Weekend

The Game Awards is partnering with game developers to present The Game Festival, a 48-hour event that will allow gamers around the world to try out more than a dozen first-look game demos on Steam like System Shock, SkateBird, Carrion, and Spiritfarer.

The Game Festival is a “first-of-its-kind digital consumer event” that is launching its digital pilot program in 2019 and will run from Thursday, December 12 at 10am PT/1pm ET/6pm GMT to Saturday, December 14 at 10am PT/1pm ET/6pm GMT. Following the end of The Game Festivals, the demos will be removed from Steam.

The list of announced free game demos is as follows;

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‘Get Closer’ Cheers Up a Lonely Frog Through Conversation

A frog waits in the foliage, looking for someone to talk too. Get Closer is a narrative experience dealing with depression where you have a conversation with this sad frog.

Playing as yourself, you are brought to a very sad frog. This frog needs your help, even if they don’t realize it yet. The conversation works very easily, as the frog talks and there are three choices as a reply. This will take the conversation down a few different routes. The conversation is short, but should provide meaningful support for this frog battling with depression.

I got the chance to play Get Closer at the Games Library Night. You can comfort the frog and let them know you’ve felt the same way or offer to leave or try to cheer them up. It’s all up to you, but I am sure the frog just enjoys speaking their mind with someone else and not being alone in the flowers. It’s an emotional, well written, short experience where you can be there for a frog, one who really needs a friend.

These types of games, that allow you to comfort another person or creature, are really important, and their messages stick with you. …read more

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Acquia nabs CDP startup AgilOne, which raised $41M

Acquia announced it has acquired customer data platform (CDP) startup AgilOne today. The companies did not disclose the purchase price.

CDPs are all the rage among customer experience vendors, as they provide a way to pull data from a variety of channels to build a more complete picture of the customer. The goal here is to deliver meaningful content to the customer based on what you know about them. Having a platform like this to draw upon makes it more likely that you will hit the target more accurately.

Acquia co-founder and CTO Dries Buytaert says he has been watching this space for the last year, and wanted to add this piece to the Acquia tool chest. “Adding a CDP like AgilOne to our existing platform will help our customers unify their data across various tools in their technology stack to drive better, more personal customer experiences,” he said.

In particular, he says he liked AgilOne because it used an intelligence layer while building the customer record. “What sets AgilOne apart from other CDPs are its machine learning capabilities, which intelligently segment customers and predict customer behaviors (such as when a customer is likely to purchase …read more

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Arcona uses machine learning to compose adaptive soundtracks in real time

Arcona Music took to the stage at Disrupt Berlin today to showcase its adaptive music service. The local startup utilizes machine learning to create musical beds capable of adapting to different contexts in real-time. The user simply needs to input a handful of parameters, and the service will adjust accordingly.

“Give it a style, an emotion and a musical theme, and you can say, ‘play this,’ and the engine will take that blueprint and realize it,” service cofounder Ryan Groves explained, in a conversation with TechCrunch. “If, at any point, the emotion or style changes, it will adapt to that and create this essentially infinite stream of music. You can play a particular song blueprint for as long as is necessary in any dynamic environment.”

The service is still in its infancy, at the moment. Its two founders are its only two full-time employees, along with a part-time developer. Groves and co-founder Amélie Anglade bootstrapped the scrappy startup, which has yet to seek funding.

Groves is a composer and musical theorist who formerly worked at popular AI-based music composition service, Ditty. Anglade is a music information retrieval specialist who worked at SoundCloud.

Rhythm gaming is the first clear application for …read more

Childcare benefits startup Kinside launches with $4 million from investors including Initialized Capital

Childcare is one of the biggest expenses for American parents and it’s not just families who are taking a hit. Childcare issues cost the United States’ economy an estimated $4.4 billion in lost productivity each year and also impacts employee retention rates. Kinside wants to help with a platform that not only enables families to get the most out of their family care benefits, but also find the right providers for their kids. The startup announced the public launch of its platform today, along with $3 million in a new funding round led by Initialized Capital.

This brings Kinside’s total raised since it was founded 18 months ago to $4 million. Its other investors include Precursor Ventures, Kairos, Jane VC and Escondido Ventures.

Founded by Shadiah Sigala, Brittney Barrett and Abe Han, Kinside began its private beta with 10 clients while participating in Y Combinator last summer. Over the past year, it has signed up over a thousand employers, underscoring the demand for childcare benefits.

“Getting meetings with employers has not been the hard part,” Sigala, Kinside’s CEO, tells TechCrunch. “Any subject line that says ‘do you want childcare for your employees?’ immediately gets …read more

Highly Anticipated MMORPG, ‘Black Desert Mobile’, is Out Now for iOS and Android

Pearl Abyss’ hugely ambitious MMORPG, Black Desert Mobile (Free), has now launched globally for iOS and Android. There’s a lot of hype behind this one due to its stunning visuals, promise of fast-paced action, and epic fantasy storyline. Over 4 million players in total pre-registered prior to today, so it’s fair to say a lot of people will be hopping on to see what all the fuss is about.

Right now, there are five distinct character classes to pick from, including the Warrior, Witch, Ranger, Giant, and Valkyrie. Each of these classes plays quite differently, and you’ll be able to customise them to your exact preferences thanks to the game’s in-depth character creator. There are so many options and ways to make them unique to you, though the creator itself is still easy to get to grips with.

Black Desert Mobile is of course an action-packed MMO, so you can expect a range of compelling multiplayer and co-op modes to get stuck into. The 3v3 PvP is fast-paced and intense, while the co-op dungeon raids serve up tons of great loot and huge bosses to take down together.

Life Skills are another big part of progression here, with areas like gathering, crafting, …read more

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Resident Evil 3 Is Reportedly Being Worked On By Former Platinum CEO

Former PlatinumGames CEO Tatsuya Minami has reportedly set up a new studio that’s been backed by Capcom, with its first project being the remake of Resident Evil 3.

If you watch the reveal trailer for the Resident Evil 3 remake to the end you’ll see logos for a number of studios that are working on the game alongside Capcom.

Two of the studios have worked with Capcom before but a third one, called M-Two Inc, is new. Where did this studio come from? VGC reports that its sources are saying that M-Two Inc is a new studio that’s been operating for about a year and that was backed by Capcom.

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‘Cover Your Eyes’ Follows a Broken Family Trying to Survive Against the Supernatural

You had it all. Loving spouse, children, a cat – a great family dynamic. Unfortunately, Cover Your Eyes, shows off a darker side to marriage and trying to keep your family safe from terrifying monsters.

A loving mother of two children is a fierce thing to get between, and with your guidance, you can keep it that way. You’ll be in the shoes of a mother who has just learned of her husband having an affair, and in the same turn, destroying their happiness.

She doesn’t have much time to sulk, though, as a strange occurrence has descended upon the town and abnormal creatures are appearing everywhere. Your husband is nowhere to be found, either. It’s up to you to keep your kids safe while searching for your unfaithful husband. And also your house cat. It’s a family member too, after all.

Surviving won’t be easy. You’ll need to make quick decisions on whether to make a run for it or stay and fight. Shotgun shells are finite, and you may need them to face off against sturdier foes down the road. Keep your eyes peeled as you explore, for those who loot and scavenge will be the most rewarded. You need …read more

‘DOOM’ and ‘DOOM II’ from Bethesda Will Be Updated Soon to Add Support for 60fps, More Aspect Ratios, New Add-Ons, and a Lot More

When Bethesda surprise released updated versions of DOOM ($4.99) and DOOM II ($4.99) on the App Store and Google Play, the ports had some issues. While many people including myself were annoyed at the forced login requirements, Bethesda patched the ports. An update was eventually released to fix the music and lighting issues on all platforms. Today, Bethesda announced a new update coming to both ports with some surprising additions and some great features.

As of now, Bethesda has said the updates are coming soon to “all platforms”. While there has been no specific mention of iOS and Android, the previous updates also arrived on mobile despite only seeing mentions of console platforms in most places. The updates will add support for more aspect ratios, 60fps (the originals were not 60fps), curated add-ons, and more. This was revealed in the 26th anniversary stream after the 46 minute mark in the video here. Both games will be updated for free. I can’t wait to play SIGIL and replay Final DOOM through the patches when they arrive. Final DOOM and SIGIL will be available in both DOOM and DOOM …read more