Microsoft introduces cross-game rewards program for XBLA


Avatar Famestars will allow players to earn rewards for their avatars by completing various challenges; program to launch with this week’s release of Wreckateer on XBLA.

Microsoft has announced the introduction of a new rewards program for Xbox Live Arcade called Avatar Famestars.

The program will allow players to earn rewards for their avatars and accumulate “Famestar points” by completing challenges across multiple XBLA titles.

According to Microsoft, the Avatar Famestars program will include weekly and one-time challenges, and provide players with avatar rewards such as new outfits and items. Players will be able to carry these rewards over from one game to the next.

Avatar Famestars will launch this week with the release of Iron Galaxy’s Wreckateer, part of Microsoft’s Summer or Arcade annual promotion.

The avatar rewards program will also be added to Full House Poker and A World of Keflings, as well as upcoming titles including Fire Pro Wrestling, Homerun Stars and Avatar Motocross Madness.

PES makers to open UK studio

Pro Evolution Soccer publisher Konami plans to establish a European studio for Tokyo-based PES Productions. The London studio will focus on PES projects for “high-end consoles and PCs,” Konami said in a press release.

The new London-based satellite office will “adopt and recreate local football culture that will ensure the long-running series is kept fresh and exciting,” according to Konami. The Japanese firm will be recruiting staff for the new studio at the Games Developer Conference Europe, the mid-August industry conference that precedes Gamescom in Cologne, Germany.

With the Tokyo team’s PES 2013 scheduled for release this autumn, a secondary team dedicated to “high-end consoles” might turn its attention to the next generation of games machines, given that the Wii U launches this winter and Sony and Microsoft are expected to unveil their efforts next summer.

The football franchise will be looking to recover ground lost to rival series FIFA. Though last year’s PES 2012 performed solidly for Konami , it debuted in the UK sales chart at five, while FIFA 12 charted at number one and outdid PES’ first-week sales several times over.

Konami president Shinji Hirano talks up the new UK studio as an initiative to capture “the majesty of European football,” saying that “these are hugely exciting times for the PES series.”

Final Fantasy Versus XIII not canceled

Square Enix pres. Yoichi Wada tweets that rumors of the long-delayed action role-playing game being abandoned are false.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII has not been canceled, Square Enix president Yoichi Wada said over Twitter today. A translation byKotaku confirms the executive recently saw a build of the project during a meeting, and was very impressed by it.

“There’s someone making a false rumor that Versus was cancelled. Haha…Just a minute ago, the regular Versus meeting ended,” he said. “If you saw the presentation of the city, it’d knock you off your feet – lol.”

Rumors that the game had been canceled were sparked last week when Kotaku cited unnamed sources saying that work on the project had quietly ended a few weeks ago. The project was absent from June’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, as well as the most recent Tokyo Game Show.

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