You may remember that Sony were trying to trademark the common term ‘Let’s Play’. Well, now it seems as though they were unsuccessful trademarking this term as one might expect. The US Patent and Trademark Office rejected the trademark and said that it is a far too ‘generic term’ that’s descriptive in nature. That’s because it’s a commonly used word amongst streamers and YouTubers and it’s not associated with Sony products.
As shown in the attached evidence, the term ‘Let’s Play’ used in connection with video games refers to ‘a video, or less commonly, a series of screenshots, documenting a playthrough of a video game, almost always including commentary by the gamer’ and ‘Let’s Play’ (sometimes called Learn to Play); One or more people that record themselves playing video games through screenshots or captured video (Mostly the latter).’ This phrase merely describes applicant’s services because applicant would stream Let’s Play’ videos.
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We posted last week about the potential of Sony trying to trademark the term ‘Let’s Play’, the definition on the trademark application was: ‘Electronic transmission and streaming of video games via global and local computer networks; streaming of audio, visual, and audiovisual material via global and local computer networks’.
Some documents have surfaced online, showing the application date of December 29th, 2015, that give further insight into what Sony was trying to apply to trademark. You can take a look at them here.
The documents also go over features of a logo such as ‘the colours green, black, silver, white and gray is/are claimed as a feature of the trademark’, also on attachment 3 you can see an image of the logo. Underneath the attachments is a refusal that states “Registration of the applied-for mark is refused because of a likelihood of confusion with the mark in U.S. Registration No. 4459011. Trademark Act Section 2(d), 15 U.S.C. §1052(d); see TMEP §§1207.01 et seq. See the enclosed registration.”
The UK is one of the biggest video game markets in Europe so it comes as a surprise that less software for video game formats was sold in 2015 than it was in 2014. Software has tumbled 6% compared to the previous year. Interestingly both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One saw software sales increase by a large margin. Wii U software sales also slightly increased in 2015 but it was the decline in sales for older software such as that for Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 which pulled sales down. One thing to note is the figures provided are for retail, and not for digital, which is currently booming.
UK Top 5, 2015
- FIFA 16 (Electronic Arts) – 2,516,079
- Call of Duty: Black Ops III (Activision Blizzard ) – 1,928,813
- Fallout 4 (Bethesda Softworks) – 1,126,929
- Star Wars: Battlefront (Electronic Arts) – 1,018,884
- Grand Theft Auto V (Take-Two Interactive) – 998,726 / 6,010,432
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Online review aggregation site Metacritic has listed its Game of the Year 2015 based on average review scores. The highest rated game this year is Metal Gear Solid V which has a Metascore of 95. The site has also produced a console and PC comparison to show how each format has fared against each other. You can check that out below along with the runner-ups.
Winner: Metal Gear Solid V
- GTA V PC (96)
- Witcher 3 (93)
- Undertale (93)
- Journey PS4 (92)
- Bloodborne (92)
- Shovel Knight (90)
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Respected Asian news publication The Nikkei is reporting that the immensely talented Hideo Kojima has now left Konami and is expected to form a brand new studio with various Kojima Production members. The reliable news site is also reporting that Kojima is in talks with Sony Computer Entertainment which may plan to purchase the new studio.
Respected online gaming publication Gamasutra has listed their top ten favourite video game developers of 2015. We’ve had some great games from a number of talented developers so it’s certainly interesting to see their picks. Nintendo fans will be glad to learn that Monolith Soft and Nintendo EPD have been listed along with the likes of Bethesda and Blizzard. Here’s their picks for the best game developers of 2015.
- Bethesda Game Studios
We noticed something about Fallout 4 after it launched. We noticed the same thing a couple weeks after launch…and we continue to notice it a month later. People, across all different tastes and backgrounds are still talking about Fallout 4, and likely will be for the foreseeable future. The game is inescapable; its popularity hitting a kind of critical mass that has outdone most other, if not all, triple-A games this year.
Bethesda-style RPGs already are inclined to provide emergent gameplay and personalized experiences, but throw in user-generated content, and launch it on multiple platforms that allow for easy game streaming, you get a thoroughly shareable game that finally feels like it’s at home.
- Blizzard Entertainment
But beyond its market savvy, Blizzard deserves to be recognized for cultivating an environment where developers can work on a variety of projects with different scales, stakes, and design challenges. (…)
Blizzard continues to experiment with new ideas and embrace popular shifts in the market while supporting its venerable franchises (and the developers who work on them), and for that we recognize it as a top developer of the year.
- Colossal Order
We recognize Colossal Order as a standout developer of the year not just because it made a great city management game, but because it did so with less than 20 people, one-upping entrenched market leader SimCity in the process. The studio saw an opening, recognized there was an underserved audience, and capitalized on that fact brilliantly.
- Davey Wreden, Everything Unlimited, Ltd.
With The Beginner’s Guide, Davey Wreden made a game that was ostensibly about game development, but it was in fact more purely about creating things and handing partial ownership of those things over to other people. It’s a game that walks the line between “about game development” and “about the existential crisis of a creator” and it often loses balance, finding itself on either side of that line at different points in time. It’s all deliberate and brilliantly authored, and it resonated strongly with game developers.
- Kojima Productions
Here’s a doozy of a challenge for you: Take a beloved franchise, nearly two decades old, and known for its deep narrative and very specific style of handcrafted gameplay, and adapt it for the modern era of open-world games—without killing its soul or alienating its fans, and yet make it accessible and appealing to the players of today.
The original 1998 Metal Gear Solid was itself a recapitulation of everything that made the first two 8-bit Metal Gear games into 1980s classics — but reinterpreted for the original PlayStation, in 3D, and with an entirely new form of creative expression.
Metal Gear Solid V may not be as epoch-making as that game, but it does prove that things like a singular creative vision, handcrafted levels, and an eye for idiosyncratic detail can thrive in an open-world game. These were not settled questions, by any means. If this is Kojima’s last game for Konami, so be it — there can be no question it was executed with the care and creativity we’d expect.
In a broader sense, Fumoto deserves to be recognized as an example of the sort of talent and creativity that’s brewing in the Japanese indie scene. His success this year with Downwell is a welcome one, and we look forward to seeing what he and his contemporaries do next.
- Monolith Soft
The secret to understanding this it to consider that the “Xeno” series mastermind, Tetsuya Takahashi, has never lacked for ambition—though his reach, in the past, exceeded his grasp. Not so this time. It’s clear that it’s the simple result of careful planning, long development experience, and hard work.
And if Xenoblade Chronicles X had a mission statement, it would be “show the world that the Japanese RPG can stand toe-to-toe with Western ones.” Outside of the struggling Final Fantasy series, there are so few examples of the genre that can truly be classified as triple-A; yet here’s a game that has a truly staggering breadth of content (including both passive and active online modes alongside a deep and long single-player campaign) and which can legitimately wear that moniker.
- Nintendo EPD
Nintendo’s internal development studio hit hard this year with two standout titles that were, in many ways, polar opposites.
Super Mario Maker may sound like a gimme, but realistically, to execute on this premise so well, it requires the patient craft of experienced developers and creative leadership who fully understand the soul of their own franchise.
Few teams can make a bold, playable, and distinctive game in a new genre the first time they tackle it; few games have as strong an identity as Splatoon, and certainly almost none approach its quality from a design perspective.
Pulling all of this together shows the formidable skill of Nintendo’s internal development teams, indeed.
In a year that saw many developers try their hands at emulating established successes, we recognize Psyonix for sticking with — and ceaselessly iterating on — a set of core concepts that it knew, internally, would make for a great game if brought together in just the right way. Such tenacity in itself is admirable, so much more so when it brings about a game like Rocket League that will be played and talked about for years to come.
- Tale of Tales
Even if the studio never made another game, the fact would remain that Tale of Tales is a developer that inspired and influenced a modern design apparent in games like Gone Home from Fullbright and SOMA from horror game studio Frictional Games, among others. And those games, and games like them, will continue to reach and inspire ever more developers.
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Do you remember the SNES PlayStation prototype that was discovered? Well despite the naysayers it turns out that it was legitimate and that it actually works. The owners of the system took it to the Retro.HK Expo to showcase it and played the iconic Street Fighter 2 on the console. The system works with cartridges but there are no known CDs that work on the console. The cartridge that was found alongside the system doesn’t work, but they have tried other cartridges without a problem. You can check out a gallery of the SNES PlayStation, below.
Thanks to MasterPikachu6 for the tip