This week hosts Andrew Eisen and E. Zachary Knight talk about fresh Xbox 720 rumors, new game bills in America, the releases cycle of the Ouya, and last week's GamePolitics Poll. All this and more awaits in Episode 40. Download it now: SuperPAC Episode 40 (1 hour) 55.5 MB.
Rice University in Houston, Texas is using Bethesda's hit role-playing game Elder Scrolls IV: Skyrim to help teach an English course about Scandinavian fantasy worlds. The course is called "Scandanavian Fantasy Worlds: Old Norse Sagas and Skyrim" and hopes to teach students about fantasy as a psychological concept and how it is important in gaming culture. Students will play certain quests within the game, read selections from Norse and Icelandic sagas and identify parallels between literature and the game.
Major League Gaming announced that it is withholding the prizes and titles for the top two League of Legends teams that played at this weekend’s MLG Summer Championships. The pro gaming league said in a statement that the two teams engaged in acts of "collusion."
"MLG regrets to announce that we will not be awarding 1st or 2nd Place finishes for the Summer Championship League of Legends Event," the company said in a statement. "We have determined that there was collusion between the two final teams, Curse NA and Team Dignitas."
League of Legends maker Riot Games has managed to wrestle a web domain from a porn company. The URL, LeagueofLegends.co, relied heavily on user error to lure unsuspecting surfers to its dark and saucy doors where they were served up all kinds of nakedness... Riot Games won its legal dispute against the owner of LeagueofLegends.co, a domain that redirected users looking for the official site of multiplayer online battle arena League of Legends to a porn site.
According to this Joystiq report, EA has made a ton of money off of FIFA 12's Ultimate Team DLC last year, but this year it wants to avoid the headaches associated with the "FIFA hack." The company reportedly made over $39 million in just three months off the DLC, a 69 percent increase from the same period the year before. But it also created a lot of headaches for consumers who found their security on Xbox Live compromised.
While employees of OnLive felt the most immediate sting on Friday when the company announced mass staff layoffs, other entities involved with the cloud-based game streaming service felt their investments of time and money disappear like a building at a David Copperfield show in Vegas. Too bad that it wasn't an illusion.
League of Legends maker Riot Games announced that, beginning in early 2013, it will kick off the League of Legends Championship Series. The new professional gaming league will feature teams from North America, Europe and Asia, taking part in multiple regular season matches each week, all streamed in HD broadcasts available globally for free.
More importantly, players will actually be paid like the professional gamers that many of them are.
A job listing from Irrational Games has a peculiar requirement: the applicant has to have worked on a game receiving an average Metacric.com score of 85 or higher. The job posting, which can be found on Gamasutra's Jobs section, seeks applicants to fill a Design Manager position at the company for its Boston offices.
Blizzard President Mike Morhaime posted a rather lengthy open letter on Battle.net to talk about the launch of Diablo III, the problems associated with that launch, the need for the "always-on" requirement, and what the company has planned for the game in the future.
Morhaime starts by talking about how the launch was a smashing success, but noted that it is hard to predict how the number of players they would have to deal with at launch in advance.
With QuakeCon kicking off on August 2, organizers decided that now is as good a time as any to detail some of the special things going on at the annual event dedicated to id Software's beloved first-person shooter franchise. With Zenimax now owning the studio responsible for Quake and Doom, you can expect to see some games in the works from Zenimax Online and Bethesda as well.
According to a post on the Battle.net forums, Blizzard plans to limit the number of games a player can create within a given timeframe to combat the use of bots. The company did not detail the number of games, nor the time frame in which players would be limited - that roast is still in the proverbial oven. Whatever the parameters are, this change will happen in the "near future."
Cevat Yerli, CEO and president of Crytek, recently said that after his company finishes up its current projects all future titles from the studio will be free-to-play. In a lengthy interview with Computer & Videogames, Yerli said that free-to-play gaming is the future of the industry and the reason we do not see free-to-play games on consoles is because platform holders have done a good job of not allowing them at the behest of retail partners.
Social game matchmaking company Xfire announced this morning that it has secured an additional $3 million in funding. The company will use the cash injection to expand into Asian territories. The financing round was led by Singapore-based firm IDM Venture Capital. The cash follows the news that Xfire has inked a partnership deal with CHINA YOUTH GOYOR TECHNOLOGY (BEIJING) CO., LTD., who will help bring the service to more than 400 million gamers in Asia.
If you are one of the millions (?) of poor souls (Diablo III players) wondering "why can't I log on to my local Battle.net server?" or "what the f**k is an 'error 37' or 'error 3003'?" then you need only look to Battle.net's various pages designed to keep you from losing your mind. First there's the server status page which tells you if the server in your region is up, down, or downright lost in the ether.
GameStop is banking on a new deal with Blizzard that it hopes will shore up its digital sales over the next several years. The deal will see GameStop offer customers the ability to buy games and digital goods for Blizzard games in the retailer’s stores in the U.S. and other regions. Diablo III, coming May 15, will be the first game sold via download codes in the stores.
According to Electronic Arts over a million gamers worldwide celebrated the holidays in front of their PCs playing BioWare's MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Over the weekend, players spent over 5.5 million hours playing the game, according to EA.
SWTOR has hit a number of other milestones in the first week of release, according to EA:
Nexon has gone public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and has managed to raise $1.17 billion from its IPO. Nexon's IPO is the biggest of the year for the exchange, putting the company's total market value of between $7.69 billion and $8.97 billion. In an interview with Bloomberg, Nexon CFO Owen Mahoney said that the social gaming and online gaming company plans on using the money to fund new acquisitions.
Zynga is telling investors as it pitches for its upcoming initial public offering, that it can and will double its user base - a user base that has been in decline for the last few months due to good-old-fashioned drop-off and Facebook's change in the way it measures user activity. "We could see that doubling," Pincus said at the luncheon at a Boston hotel with potential investors. He did not give a time frame for meeting this target.
Bethesda announced that it is hard at work fixing bugs and glitches associated with various versions of its epic RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. After pages of forum posts and an avalanche of consumer complaints, Bethesda will attempt to fix the issues plaguing PlayStation 3 Skyrim players with a new patch next week - after the Thanksgiving holiday.
"PS3 and 360 updates have been submitted for certification. PC coming too. Current estimate is they will be live the week after Thanksgiving," said Bethesda's Pete Hines.
Analyst firm Cowen & Company has raised first-year sales estimates for EA's Battlefield 3 from 8 million to 11 million, after noting vigorous pre-order numbers. The firm said that the game is already benefiting from an extensive marketing campaign (some estimate that EA is spending around $50 million to promote the game prior to launch) ahead of its October release on Xbox 360, Ps3, and PC; and it is seeing pre-orders for Battlefield 3 "comparable" to Call of Duty Black Ops' numbers from last year.
The firm also commented on Star Wars: The Old Republic and the market’s reaction to a planned beta test. Yesterday Electronic Arts began taking pre-orders for the game and announced a beta for sometime in September ahead of its expected holiday release. For some reason this caused shares in EA to take a small hit.
According to new research data from Gartner Inc., an estimated $74 billion will be spent on gaming on 2011, delivering - by year's end - a 10 percent increase over 2010 numbers. The firm also estimates that two-thirds of that money will be spent on software. By 2015 that number will grow to $112 billion.
“As the popularity of smartphones and tablets continues to expand, gaming will remain a key component in the use of these devices," said principal research analyst Tuong Nguyen. "Mobile games are the most downloaded application category across most application stores. For this reason, mobile gaming will continue to thrive as more consumers expand their use of new and innovative portable connected devices."
Video-game industry-related funding and acquisition deals rose 36 percent to a total of 210 in 2010, driven by developments in the online and social network gaming segments. This is according to new IHS Screen Digest research. The research firm said that 123 funding rounds and 87 acquisitions closed in 2010, and that the volume of activity last year was up by more than a third from the 2009's total of 154 events.
Acquisitions doubled last year, with 20 - 24 events occurring every quarter, compared to 49 acquisitions for all of 2009. Total funding for 2010 reached $1.89 billion, up 130 percent from $819 million in 2009. The numbers cover funding and acquisitions activity in all areas of the games market (excluding mobile gaming, which was tracked separately).
Capcom says that it is "saddened" by the controversy surrounding its mobile division's game, "MaXplosion" for iOS platforms. The company has every reason to be, I guess. Many in the community have called it a blatant rip-off of Twisted Pixel's popular Xbox Live Arcade game 'Splosion Man. But what's worse is that Twisted Pixel has had a few things to say about Capcom's game in a very public way.
While the company has said that it won't sue Capcom for its game (Twisted Pixel CEO Mike Wilford says the company is too small to take Capcom on in court), many members of the company have had harsh things to say in the media and on Twitter. One Twisted Pixel developer went so far as to call it "complete theft." Wilford also said that his company pitched 'Splosion Man to Capcom, who passed on the game. That fact adds insult to the perceived injury.
While Blizzard was launching its biggest product of the year, behind the scenes it was having some serious problems with a data leak in China, according to a report on VentureBeat. According to that report, citing several news stories from MMOGameSite, Blizzard's release schedule and subscriber numbers were leaked from its China offices, and the general manager of the studio, Ye Weilun, was subsequently fired for it - allegedly.
The Associated Press reports that the Entertainment Software Association, which represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers, spent $1.2 million on government lobbying efforts during the period April-June, 2009.
Looking beneath the surface, GamePolitics has obtained an actual copy of the ESA's latest federal lobbying report. The document shows that Big Gaming has its fingers in a surprising number of legislative and governmental pies. The following are issues which the ESA reports that it lobbied on in Q2:
Agencies lobbied by the ESA include some surprising entities. Here's the list:
DOCUMENT DUMP: Grab your own copy of the ESA's lobbying report... (9-page PDF)