Two game developers with disabilities are headed to the 31st annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year via Train Jam, a four-day rail excursion from Chicago to San Francisco that was founded in 2013. Train Jam participants collaborate to create new games during the trip, which they can debut at GDC. Both developers are being sponsored by the AbleGamers Foundation, a nonprofit that provides access to video games for people with disabilities via assistive technologies like adapted controllers.
Since it launched in 2014, Blizzard's free-to-play digital card game Hearthstone has dominated its niche. To keep gameplay fresh, the studio has alternated new content additions between "Adventures," which guarantee some cards for a $20 flat fee, and larger expansion sets that dole out cards in randomized packs bought with in-game gold or real-world currency. Last week, the studio announced it will forgo any Adventure releases in 2017, instead launching three of the latter full-size content blocks for 2017. While this means a record amount of cards will be added, it will be harder -- and more expensive -- to get all of them.
With millions of gamers willing to watch people play League of Legends or FIFA for fun, major players in the entertainment industry see eSports as an intriguing business opportunity. Earlier this month, the NBA announced a partnership with Take-Two Interactive, developer of the renowned NBA2K franchise, to create a one-of-a-kind eSports league. This new professional gaming competition, known as "NBA 2K eLeague," will be the first owned by a major US sports organization when it starts in 2018. That's assuming the NFL, MLB or MLS don't make any sudden moves before then.
In a bid to appease fans, Nintendo has revealed that the F-Zero inspired indie racer FAST RMX will be arriving on the eShop day one, alongside two entries in the Shovel Knight series. Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment is the game's latest campaign which will be a timed exclusive for the Nintendo Switch. Alongside this, Yacht Club Games will also be bringing Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove to the eShop for launch - which serves as a collection of all the existing series content to date.
One of the top FIFA eSports competitions is going to be shown on BT Sport in the UK. Today, the broadcaster has announced "exclusive" coverage of the FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Championship Series, an EA organised tournament built around 'FUT Champions,' a fantasy mode where players build and compete with custom teams. BT will start with the North American regional final in Vancouver on April 8th, followed by the Asia-Pacific heats in Singapore on April 22nd. The channel will then televise the European regional final in Madrid on May 6th, before tackling the all-important Championship Final in Berlin on May 20th and 21st.