Sundar Pichai, our CEO, with students at the Nie Weiping Go school last year.
Six months ago, the Future of Go Summit was held in Wuzhen, China to test the limits of what human and artificial intelligence could achieve together. China’s best players teamed up with DeepMind’s AlphaGo to play Go in the country where it was invented and first played more than 3,000 years ago.
I had watched the earlier games between Korean Go legend Lee Sedol and AlphaGo. In Wuzhen, I was again struck by how AlphaGo’s unconventional moves pushed human players into equally creative responses, creating fascinating new gameplay and sparking new momentum in the Go community. After AlphaGo’s games, people bought so many Go boards that stores were reportedly selling out! The brilliance and dedication that great players like Ke Jie, Gu Li and Lian Xiao demonstrated in Wuzhen has stayed with me.
We’d like to help the next generation of Go players in China discover that same passion. So we’re supporting the Nie Weiping Go School, one of the world’s most prestigious Go-learning institutions, to hold open Go competitions for kids and young adults across China—in hope of helping to find and nurture China’s next great Go talent.
Any Go player as young as four and up to the age of 18 will be able to take part. The best players will travel to Beijing for a national contest next summer. There, they’ll play for a chance to win one of more than 200 scholarships that we will fundContinue Reading
Just over a year ago, we saw a major milestone in the field of artificial intelligence: DeepMind’s AlphaGo took on and defeated one of the world’s top Go players, the legendary Lee Sedol. Even then, we had no idea how this moment would affect the 3,000 year old game of Go and the growing global community of devotees to this beautiful board game.
Instead of diminishing the game, as some feared, artificial intelligence (A.I.) has actually made human players stronger and more creative. It’s humbling to see how pros and amateurs alike, who have pored over every detail of AlphaGo’s innovative game play, have actually learned new knowledge and strategies about perhaps the most studied and contemplated game in history. You can read more about some of these creative strategies in this blog post.
AlphaGo’s play makes us feel free, that no move is impossible. Now everyone is trying to play in a style that hasn’t been tried before.
9 Dan Professional
Clearly, there remains much more to learn from this partnership between Go’s best humanContinue Reading
Netmarble launched Star Wars: Force Arena on iOS and Android. The multiplayer online battle arena game allows users to collect more than 80 characters from the Star Wars universe and take them into battles against other players.
Specifically, the game allows users to compete against other real players in one-on-one and two-on-two battles. Users can also train against the computer in single-player practice matches.
In each battle, players are challenged to destroy the shield generator protecting the enemy’s base before time runs out. Users must also prevent the enemy from destroying their own generator. Each shield generator is guarded by turrets, and if time runs out before either generator can be destroyed, the player who destroyed the most turrets will win the match.
During battles, each player can control their leader character, such as Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, by tapping on the battlefield to move and tapping on enemies or structures to attack. Users can deploy secondary units to the battlefield by spending energy to play cards from their decks. Each card requires a different amount of energy to play, and this energy recharges automatically over time.
As users win matches, they’ll receive packs containing additional cards for their decks. As users collect duplicate cards, they can use the duplicates to upgrade the base cards, improving their stats. Overall, players can create four different decks, with two decks representing the Rebel Alliance and two decks representing the Galactic Empire.
While players begin with access to only a few leader characters, they can collect additional leaders over time. Users can change the leader associated with each deck between battles.
Finally, users can join guilds with other players.Continue Reading
King announced the release of Bubble Witch 3 Saga, the third installment in the Bubble Witch Saga franchise. The bubble shooter challenges players to help Stella the Witch break a curse that has been placed on Wilbur, a cat with the power of dark magic.
In each level of Bubble Witch 3 Saga, players are challenged to complete an objective before running out of shots. For instance, one stage may ask players to rescue owls that have been trapped inside colorful bubbles by making matches with those bubbles, while another stage may ask users to clear every bubble on the screen, and so on.
Users can complete objectives by shooting bubbles at bubble formations at the top of the screen. Users must create groups of three or more like-colored bubbles to remove them from the formation.
As players progress, they will be able to face off against Wilbur in special boss stages. During these levels, players will need to pop bubbles that contain special fairies who will attack Wilbur and drain a bar at the top of the screen. Users will need to empty this bar completely before running out of shots.
Elsewhere, early on in the game, Wilbur will destroy Stella’s house, and players will need to collect Fairy Dust in order to repair it. To collect Fairy Dust, users will need to earn stars on future stages. Players will earn up to three stars on each stage, depending on their score, and these stars are automatically converted to Fairy Dust. Users will be able to choose from multiple visual options each time they purchase an upgrade for Stella’s home or yard.
Juan Perez, producer on Bubble Witch 3 Saga at King, commented:
We’re excited to be launching Bubble Witch 3 Saga today. With this thirdContinue Reading
First, with this update, players can discover a magical tiny world filled with Fairy Circle Fields, Leaky Lake Canoe Rides and more. In this world, users will be able to swing on flowers, feed lady bugs and jump on spider webs. In addition, as part of this event, players will be able to help a Prince and Princess to earn an in-game prize.
Elsewhere, this update includes two new hobbies for players’ Sims: the Ice Sculpture Hobby and the Aerobics Hobby. Users will also be able to participate in a Healthy Living Discovery Quest.
Finally, players will be able to give their male Sims new hairstyles by participating in the Charming Barber Hair Event.Continue Reading
Plarium announced the release of Soldiers Inc: Mobile Warfare on iOS and Android. The base-building strategy game is the sequel to the original Soldiers Inc., which was released on social platforms like Facebook in 2013.
In Soldiers Inc: Mobile Warfare, each player will build a base and recruit an army in the “failed state” of Selva de Fuego. Gamers can construct and upgrade buildings around their bases by collecting and spending three key resources: rations, munitions and fuel. Resource production buildings will automatically generate these resources over time, and users can spend resources to upgrade these buildings to increase their productivity.
As users collect resources, they can spend some to recruit military units for their armies. Players can recruit units in four different categories: light infantry, mechanized infantry, armor and aviation. Players can send their units to complete special operations for a chance to collect extra resources, units and more. These operations take time to complete, but players have the option to complete them instantly using premium currency.
Elsewhere, players can use their armies to take control of resource sites on the world map, and they can also attack bases owned by other real players.
Over time, players can research new technologies for their bases, which can improve the stats of their units, can unlock new items for construction and more. Users can also join alliances with other players, and alliances can battle against one another. Finally, players can compete against other players and alliances in tournaments for a chance to win in-game rewards.
In a statement, Avi Shalel, CEO of Plarium, commented:
We have worked diligently to transfer the hardcore MMO (massively mutliplayer online) aspects that made the original Soldiers Inc. so successful into a sleek and modern mobile format. By using motion captureContinue Reading
Are you looking for a new mobile game to play this weekend? As usual, there are lots of new options available for you to try, including Cars vs Bosses from Eat Sleep Play. The endless driving game challenges players to defeat boss vehicles as they drive.
Here’s a look at some of the additional mobile games that were released this week.
Turbine Fighter (Free on iOS, Android) – This robot battle game from Animoca Brands allows users to build and customize fighting robots called Tankbots. Players can take their Tankbots into battles against other robots, and they can also complete time attack courses. Over time, users can collect new parts for their Tankbots, such as arms and batteries, and they can upgrade individual parts to improve their stats.
Calming Lia (Free on iOS) – This match-three puzzle game from Mingle Games asks users to rescue a girl named Lia from the monsters in her nightmares. In each level, players can slide whole rows or columns of symbols to create matches containing three or more symbols of the same color. Calming Lia was designed specifically for nighttime gameplay, and it encourages players to turn on their devices’ Night Shift mode.
Battlestar Galactica: Squadrons (Free on iOS, Android, Amazon) – This turn-based combat game from Ludia allows each user to become the Commander of the Galactica and set out on a quest to find a new home for humanity. The game allows users to battle against enemy spaceships using their own ships. Users can collect new ships for their fleets over time, and these ships can level up andContinue Reading
Blizzard Entertainment revealed the fourth expansion coming to Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The expansion is called Mean Streets of Gadgetzan, and it will contain 132 new cards for players to collect.
The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion will take players to the city of Gadgetzan, which is home to three crime families, or factions: the Grimy Goons, the Jade Lotus and the Kabal. Each of the three factions is associated with three different character classes.
Specifically, the Grimy Goons are affiliated with the Hunter, Paladin and Warrior classes, while the Jade Lotus are affiliated with the Druid, Rogue and Shaman classes. Finally, the Kabal are affiliated with the Mage, Priest and Warlock classes.
As part of this expansion, Tri-Class cards will be added to the game. Each faction will have its own Tri-Class cards, and only the classes associated with a faction will be able to use its cards. For example, a Tri-Class card associated with the Grimy Goons faction will only be available to use in Hunter, Paladin and Warrior decks.
Once this expansion launches, players will be able to win Mean Streets of Gadgetzan card packs in Hearthstone’s Arena mode. Players will also be able to purchase packs with in-game gold and real money.
The Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion is expected to launch on iOS, Android and PC in early December. Users can pre-purchase a bundle of 50 Mean Streets of Gadgetzan card packs now for $49.99, and players will be able to open them when the expansion launches. Each pack will contain five cards, and at least one card in each pack will be of “Rare” quality or better.
Readers: What do you think about Hearthstone’s upcoming expansion?Continue Reading
Publisher Kongregate and game developer 22cans (founded by game industry veteran Peter Molyneux) announced the release of The Trail on iOS and Android. The exploration game allows users to travel to the new world and make a fortune by collecting resources and crafting a variety of items.
In The Trail, users will begin by walking along a trail in the forest on the way to a town called Eden Falls. Users can swipe up and down to make their characters walk faster or slower along the trail. Players can find and collect a variety of resources as they walk, and they can store these items in their backpacks, so long as their backpacks aren’t full.
As players walk along the trail, their characters will lose energy. Players can stop at campsites along the path to regain their energy, and they can also collect food items while they walk, which they can use to restore their energy between campsites.
Early on in the game, players will meet Beatrice, who will give them quests to complete over time. For instance, one quest may ask players to collect 13 seashells while they’re walking. When players have collected the required resources, Beatrice will give them a crafting recipe for an item. Users can craft the item by collecting the necessary resources.
Depending on the item, the item may increase the player’s stats or allow them to complete a new action along the trail. As examples, a pair of moccasins can increase the player’s maximum running speed, while an ax allows players to chop down short trees to collect logs, and so on.
As users craft better items or collect unnecessary resources, they can sell their old or unwanted items to other players at campsites to free up room in their backpacks and collectContinue Reading
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment announced the launch of DC Legends on mobile. The turn-based role-playing game allows users to collect superheroes and villains from the DC Universe.
In DC Legends, players can travel to multiple locations in the DC Universe including Metropolis, Themyscira and Thanagar as they battle against Nekron and the Manhunters. In each battle, players can tap on enemies to attack them. In addition, each hero has different abilities players can activate during battle. Heroes have different affinities, or types, which make them stronger or weaker against specific kinds of enemies.
As users complete battles, they’ll earn rewards such as experience points, currency, bonus XP items, ability upgrade items and more. The XP items can be used to give heroes extra experience points. As characters level up, their stats will increase, and they will become more powerful. Meanwhile, ability upgrade items allow players to improve their characters’ abilities.
While players begin with only a few characters on their teams, they can recruit additional characters over time by collecting special hero fragments that are specific to each hero. For instance, players need to collect 90 Superman hero fragments to unlock Superman. Users can collect hero fragments as they complete battles, and they can also purchase bundles containing hero fragments in the game’s store.
In addition to a single-player story mode, DC Legends includes a player-vs-player multiplayer arena.
In a statement, Jonathan Knight, vice president and studio head at WB Games San Francisco, commented:
We think DC fans will appreciate the authenticity and depth we’ve brought to DC Legends. The game delivers an experience that’s both exciting and engaging, empowering players to strategically customize their teams and upgrade their super powers as they battle against other players across the world.
DC Legends isContinue Reading