Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) is acquiring audio software company Audiokinetic, the two announced on Tuesday.
Audiokinetic provides cross-platform sound solutions for gaming and interactive media. Once the acquisition closes on Jan. 31, SIE said it will use the company's audio engineering expertise to add significant value to the PlayStation ecosystem. It will continue to operate independently and license its multi-platform tools and middleware to developers.
“A rich and all-encompassing audio experience is increasingly critical to the overall gameplay experience, further enhancing immersion and emotion for the player,” said SIE president and CEO John Kodera. “Audiokinetic is a preeminent provider of audio solutions for the gaming industry, and we are confident that this acquisition will allow us to further grow the PlayStation platform and contribute to the broader gaming industry. It’s our goal to support Audiokinetic’s efforts to advance its audio technology while maintaining independence and platform neutrality.”
Some of the games currently using Wwise include Blizzard Entertainment's online shooter "Overwatch," Playdead's indie puzzler "Inside," and Giant Squid Studios' underwater adventure "Abzû."” />
Klein believes the Sony acquisition is a win for both the company and its partners. Audiokinetic was founded in 2000 by a team of veterans from the music, film, and gaming industries. "We are also excited about the opportunity to contribute to SIE at a platform level.” “We will remain independent and continue to deliver our suite of audio solutions to developers and platform holders, with even greater resources to continue innovating, expanding our market and enhancing our technology," he said. President and CEO Martin H. Its flagship product is called Wwise, a comprehensive audio middleware solution featuring an open API that integrates easily with in-house and commercial game engines.

Blizzard said it will announce the final roster and additional details later this year. 25-28. Sixteen of the best "Hearthstone" players will compete for a shot at a $1 million prize pool. The event takes place Apr.
Blizzard announced the news during the 2018 Hearthstone All-Star Invitational in Taipei last week, where HCT Fall 2018 finalist Wu "BloodTrail" Zong-Chang defeated HCT World Championship 2017 winner Chen "tom60229" Wei Lin to claim a $20,000 prize.
The HCT World Championship is one of "Hearthstone's" biggest tournaments and it's coming to Taipei later this year, developer Blizzard Entertainment announced on Wednesday.
"Hearthstone" reportedly has over 100 million players four years after its launch. Its tenth full expansion, Rastakhan's Rumble, came out on Dec. 4 and added 135 new cards, a new keyword mechanic, and more.” />
Chen "tom60229" Wei Lin survived a five-game series against Frank "Fr0zen" Zhang — winning the final three matches after being down 0-2 — to win the tournament. The 2017 HCT World Championship took place in Amsterdam.
The new system will have qualifiers, live global tournaments, and an exclusive top tier, the developer said. This will be the Hearthstone Championship Tour's final event. Blizzard will hold the first tournaments in the spring and they will be primarily online and region-locked. More than $4 million in prizes will be up for grabs throughout the year. The winners will go on to compete in the live global tournaments throughout 2019 and 2020. Blizzard is replacing it with a new three-tiered competitive system, it announced in November.

Overwatch Contenders Week 7 begins on Wednesday, Jan. ET with a match between Mayhem Academy and Kungarna.” /> 2 at 7 p.m.
There's no word yet on whether or not Blizzard plans to implement the program in the Overwatch League. Under the new chat program, Blizzard said Overwatch Contenders viewers who try to chat with unlinked accounts will receive an automatic reply and be prompted to link them.
Seven players have already faced fines and/or suspensions for various infractions, including account boosting, match throwing, and toxicity. Earlier this month, the developer revealed it's maintaining a list of Overwatch League players who violate the organization's code of conduct throughout the upcoming 2019 season. Toxicity is a common problem for both social platforms like Twitch and online games like "Overwatch." But, it looks like Blizzard is making an effort to combat the problem.
Overwatch Contenders is trialing a new chat moderation program that requires users to link their Blizzard Battle.net and Twitch accounts, "Overwatch" developer Blizzard Entertainment announced in a post on Wednesday.
Blizzard will test the new chat moderation program during 2018 Season 3 quarterfinals matches across all regions, it said. 12. 28 through Jan. Those matches take place from Dec. Overwatch Contenders is a tournament series for aspiring professional players who want to make it into the Overwatch League. The Overwatch Contenders Path to Pro team will then evaluate the program's effectiveness at creating a more positive viewing experience.

"Hearthstone's" tenth expansion, Rastakhan's Rumble, is based on "World of Warcraft's" troll race and its lore. It adds 135 new cards, along with a new keyword mechanic called Overkill, which gives a bonus to players who deal more damage than necessary to destroy a minion.” />
Hakkar, the Soulflayer is a 10-cost legendary that shuffles a Corrupted Blood card into each player's deck. When it's drawn, the spell deals three damage and shuffles two more copies into the deck. Hakkar could see some play in fatigue-based decks, where a player forces their opponent to take damage by running out of cards. But, it's too soon to tell if it will make its way into the game's meta.
Some epidemiologists later used the incident to study how infectious real-world diseases can affect a population.
It caused a virtual pandemic that lasted for over a week, killing many lower level characters in the game's cities and disrupting gameplay in the process. When players encountered and attacked Hakkar there, he would cast the highly contagious Corrupted Blood debuff, which slowly drained their health and spread from player to player. Both cards are a reference to "World of Warcraft's" Zul'Gurub raid, which first launched in 2005. It was only supposed to last seconds and it wasn't supposed to work outside of the raid area. But, a bug allowed players' pets to carry the affliction to other areas.
4, and it's bringing with it two new cards that pay homage to one of "World of Warcraft's" most infamous incidents, according to PC Gamer. Blizzard Entertainment's digital collectible card game "Hearthstone" has a new expansion coming on Dec.

4 and adds 135 new cards, a new keyword mechanic, and more. It's also had a steady stream of new content since launch. Blizzard is currently working on "Hearthstone's" tenth full expansion, called Rastakhan's Rumble. It's free-to-play, and Blizzard recently overhauled the new player experience by adding ladder ranks exclusive to beginners. It comes out on Dec. Part of "Hearthstone's" continuing appeal is likely its accessibility.
There's also a series of celebration quests that reward up to 500 gold, the in-game currency used to buy new packs or entries into the Arena.” /> Anyone who logs in during the event will get a one-time reward of six free card packs from the most recent expansion, The Boomsday Project. As a thank you to players, Blizzard is holding a special in-game event from Nov. 7-Nov. 11.
“Reaching 100 million players is a huge milestone for 'Hearthstone,' but what matters to us even more is the fact that so many people around the world have embraced the spirit of the game,” said Blizzard Entertainment president J. “Whether at events like BlizzCon and Fireside Gatherings or just in tuning in to watch their favorite streamers, it’s been so inspiring to see millions of players and fans coming together, online and in real life, to participate in the 'Hearthstone' community.” Allen Brack.
Blizzard Entertainment's digital card game "Hearthstone" has reached the 100 million player mark four years after launch, the studio announced on Monday.
These are real world events scheduled around the globe. Meanwhile, Blizzard said fans are holding an average of 2,655 Fireside Gatherings each month. More than 23,000 Fireside Gatherings have happened this year alone.

Grappling Claw: While in Roll mode, Wrecking Ball can launch a short grappling hook to attach to surfaces, swing around, clear gaps, and move upwards. Using this ability allows Wrecking Ball to gain momentum, dealing damage and knocking back enemies upon impact
Minefield (Ultimate): Wrecking Ball litters the ground around him with damage-dealing proximity mines” />
Piledriver: Wrecking Ball slams down from the air, pulling enemies towards the center of impact and dealing damage
But, his battle mech automatically translates his voice in an appropriately menacing tone. He doesn't speak any human languages, Blizzard said. Because, you know, hamster.
Roll: Wrecking Ball transforms into a sphere with increased speed
Adaptive Shield: Grants Wrecking Ball a number of temporary shields based on the number of enemies nearby
Here's the full breakdown of his abilities:
Blizzard Entertainment unveiled the 28th hero coming to its popular online shooter "Overwatch" on Thursday — a giant, adorable hamster in a rolling battle mech called Wrecking Ball (because why the hell not?) — and he's now available on the game's public test realm.
He secretly attached his escape pod to the back of Winston's ship during a rebellion on the base and has been hanging out in the Australian Outback ever since. Hammond, also known as "Specimen 8," was genetically modified during his time on Horizon Lunar Colony and, like Winston, was granted increased size and intelligence as a result, Blizzard said.
Wrecking Ball is a tank character and can switch between a bipedal combat mode and a roll mode. He can also climb and swing onto surfaces using his grappling claw and perform a piledriver on enemies. His primary weapons are quad cannons and his ultimate deploys damage-dealing proximity mines around him.
Quad Cannons: Wrecking Ball fires machine guns