Blizzard Entertainment passed along a reminder that tickets go on sale for BlizzCon later this week in three different allotments. The tickets for the annual fan gathering put on by Blizzard Entertainment (November 8 and 9 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California) sell out very fast, so being prepared is essential to getting your hands on them.
On the heels of revealing its full year results, social game maker Zynga announced that it would close three of its games - CityVille 2, The Friend Game and Party Place. All three games launched in the last quarter, though other games that launched at about the same time will remain active - CoasterVille, Bubble Safari Ocean and Ayakashi. No word on when these games will go offline...
According to this Reddit thread Sega has been forcing YouTube users to remove videos relating to the Sega Saturn hit strategy RPG Shining Force III. Many are speculating that Sega is doing this to prepare for the launch of a new PSP installment in the Shining series, Shining Ark, which will launch in Japan in February.
As is usually the case with UK paper The Daily Mail, they have taken a new study from the University of Pittsburgh about the relationship between sleep and insulin production and turned it into a commentary on how games are bad. In their headline they proclaim "Staying up all night playing video games 'puts teenagers at greater risk of diabetes.'" The horror.
Variety reports that G4TV owners NBC Universal are going to revamp the popular tech and geek culture channel to be more "GQ," catering to the "modern male." Details on the revamp, set to happen in early 2013, have not been revealed, and many in the gaming, geek and technology culture of the internet are concerned that NBCU will dump the decent programming G4TV offers such as extensive event coverage. G4TV has always had a strong presence at events like Comic-Con, E3, and GDC.
Even though its investors are pretty much left holding the bag and most of its employees have lost all their stock options and unceremoniously shown the door, OnLive CEO Steve Perlman will hold onto his position at the company.
In a statement to OnLive Fans a company rep said that Perlman was still with the company:
Earlier reports from various media outlets today had indicated that BioWare co-founder Dr. Greg Zeschuk had left the company. The confusion (on the media's part) was that Zeschuk was leaving BioWare Austin to return home to Edmonton. This led many in the media to interpret that his exit as the head of the studio responsible for Star Wars: The Old Republic in Austin meant he was leaving BioWare altogether.
Gamers who bought the PlayStation 3 version of Konami's game, Silent Hill HD, got a patch last month that dealt with a number of frame rate and audio-sync issues. Good service. But those who bought the game on the Xbox 360 have pretty much been told to "go pound salt." Konami issued a brief statement this week noting that it wouldn't be releasing an update for Xbox 360 gamers who bought the game. Bad service.
Australia New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione is taking a lot heat for comments he made recently blaming the rise of teen knife-related crimes on playing violent video games. Scipione recently told The Daily Telegraph that teens were being desensitized to violence by playing violent video games that reward them for "killing and raping people." Obviously a tired trope related to Grand Theft Auto spewed by politicians.
Microsoft has a new Xbox 360 bundle that costs $99, but consumers that buy it will have to commit to a two-year contract for an Xbox Live Gold membership. And that two year membership will cost you about $15 a month. While the idea might be to subsidize or finance the console as a trade-off for the low price point, the move also smacks of false advertising because the console will ultimately cost consumers $99, then 24 months of paying $15, for a grand total (not including sales tax) of $459 (24 months x $15 = $360, plus the price of the console at $99).
Comcast has dropped the term "Private Network" from the Xfinity On Demand on Xbox Live FAQ. The company did this after several sites - including VentureBeat (the source of this story) - called the company out on it. Comcast claimed that it used Xbox Live (which it described as "private network") to deliver its video content, but critics pointed out that the public internet and private networks are delivered over the same broadband infrastructure.
According to PC Gamer, you'll get a pretty lousy ending if you don't play multiplayer in Mass effect 3. Apparently BioWare decided that the best way to "encourage" co-op play in the game was to tie it to the single-player ending. As the player engages in a war with the Reapers, he or she earns what the game calls "War Assets" and "Readiness."
Online file-sharing company RapidShare has apparently slowed down the connection of users who are not registered members. These free users have been complaining about reduced download speeds during transfers. Some users have reported speeds as slow as 30/kbs. RapidShare says that the reason for this is simple enough: Throttling these users drive pirates away from their service. They claim that, since the close of MegaUpload, they have seen a major uptick in traffic, and some of it is only interested in sharing and downloading illegal software.
A documentary that aired on Britain's ITV channel Monday night called "Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA" has a problem with reality. Apparently the makers of the documentary promised footage linking Libya's Colonel Moammar Gadhafi and the IRA, but mistakenly included video from a video game. The documentary claimed that the Libyan dictator gave the IRA tons of military hardware, and purported to show the IRA members using it to shoot down a helicopter in 1988.
This morning Kotaku pointed out a video from Germany's RTL Television in which commentators took great delight in mocking what they characterized as the "computer freaks" that they filmed at last week's Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. Today the show, apparently embarrassed (and likely humbled by fans that were pissed off at their mean-spirited characterizations) is now apologizing for their bad judgment in airing the report.
One year after acquiring webOS from Palm, HP has decided that the mobile OS is no longer worth the effort. Hewlett-Packard officially announced this week that support for webOS will soon come to a screeching halt. The company announced via a press release that "it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward."
Social gaming company CrowdStar has joined forces with consumer Internet and mobile computing incubator, YouWeb. CrowdStar hit a major milestone last month with the release of its hit social game, Top Girl. The iOS game made its way to the #1 spot in Apple’s App Store, acquiring over 1 million downloads in just 10 days and establishing itself as the top-grossing game in the App Store over Zynga Poker and Angry Birds. On the heels of this success, CrowdStar is establishing StarFund and allocating up to $10 million for investments in game developers with innovative game concepts.
Casual game developer MumboJumbo has filed several new motions in its ongoing attempt to collect money from casual publisher PopCap Games for services rendered. MumboJumbo is laying the groundwork to make sure that - even if PopCap gets sold - it still has to pay what it owes to MumboJumbo. MumboJumbo has also requested the deposition of a high level PopCap executive in order to find out more about the possible sales.
"We're hearing all sorts of talk about a sale or IPO of PopCap – and that's great – but the company has a responsibility to pay its debts," says attorney Martin Rose of Rose Walker, the firm representing MumboJumbo. "We just want to do everything we can to make sure that what the jury and the court called for is carried out. Depending on the terms of the reported sale, there may be no assets left in PopCap to satisfy the full judgment, including attorney fees."
That study conducted by Divorce Online suggested that 15 percent of divorces filed with the company are a result of video game addiction - usually World of Warcraft or Call of Duty. But a deeper look at the methodology, the actual numbers, and what is required to file a divorce in the UK paints a slightly different picture.
A North Carolina father has gotten his 5 - 10 minutes of fame by complaining about adoption jokes in Portal 2. Charlotte news channel WBTV indulges the complaining parent in a story that goes out of its way to malign one of the best games of 2011. According to the report, Neal Stapel was playing Portal 2 with his adopted daughter and enjoying it until jokes started to fly about one of the characters being adopted. Stapel found himself utterly offended. None of the other jokes and occasionally crude humor bothered him, apparently.
"It throws the question, the most ultimate question that that child is ever gonna have for you and it just throws it right in your living room," he said. "It says it's rated "E" for everybody and I'm thinking maybe it's rated "E" for everybody except for orphans."
As part of an earnings report today, Atari announced it is divesting of its interest in Champions Online developer Cryptic Studios, calling the development house a "discontinued operation" as of March 31.
Atari will continue to support all current Cryptic products while the publisher looks to sell the studio, Gamasutra understands. Development on the Bay Area studio's Neverwinter project will continue as normal for the time being.
The studio showed a loss of $7.5 million for the 2010/11 fiscal year period, up from a loss of $17.9 million in the same period a year ago. Most of this was due to turning its super hero MMO Champions Online to a free-to-play game, instead relying on micro-transaction to make money off the game. Its success was apparently not appreciated by parent company Atari.
Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton said that the Nintendo DS, is nothing more than a kids-only "babysitting tool." He made the comments during a recent interview with CNN.
"Our view of the 'Game Boy experience' is that it's a great babysitting tool," Tretton said in a bruising chat with CNN, "something young kids do on airplanes, but no self-respecting 20-something is going to be sitting on an airplane with one of those. He's too old for that."
Not content to bag exclusively on the DS, Tretton also took shots at the Wii and Xbox 360.
In the last year research firm NPD Group has drawn a curtain of secrecy on its retail and digital sales data. As a result, journalists no longer have access to hard numbers. Now journalists must rely on the kindness of hardware manufacturers, publishers and the NPD's general top ten lists to figure out what the top selling games are from month to month. Analysts enjoy more access to that data, but it looks like NPD is tightening security even among that class.
Epic Games' president Mike Capps is delighted with the early success of Bulletstorm, saying that the game sold out its first run at "one major retailer."
"We got a reorder on day one from one of the big U.S. retailers that focuses on games," said Capps. "So that was a pretty good feeling."
We would assume he did not want to say "GameStop" for some reason. Capps went on to say that launching a brand new IP is one of the most challenging aspects of developing a game:
"[Launching a new IP] is really hard. I read something that less than 1% of console games this generation launched as new IP sold a million units,” he added. “So if you don't sell a million units you lost money, basically. I'm pretty confident we'll be on the good side of that [1 million] number. I'd rather sell Gears-type numbers that'd be fantastic."
According to a report on Kotaku Australia Mortal Kombat has been refused classification in Australia. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment issued the following statement to the media:
Blizzard announced today that it has banned an undisclosed amount of Battle.net users for using cheats and hacks while playing StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty online. Here is the official word from Battle.net:
According to Develop, Bizarre Creations will close on Friday, February 18. The Liverpool, UK-based studio was founded in 1994, and created over 20 games including Formula 1 '97, Metropolis Street Racer for Dreamcast, several Project Gotham Racing 1 - 4, Geometry Wars, The Club, and Blur.
In 2007 the studio lost its independence when it was acquired by Activision. In a forum post on the developer’s website (no longer available) at the time Bizarre staff members described Activision’s buyout optimistically:
"Bizarre isn't a developer in financial trouble, and we're certainly not looking to be 'saved' by a bigger corporation," the post read. "We're a dev looking to take our games to the next level, and make the absolute best products we can possibly make. Likewise, Activision is not in the business of 'buying out' struggling developers either."
I am sure that Blizzard (and other MMO companies) is delighted with today's press release from World of Wacraft gold reseller outfit BYGamer. While the press release isn't particularly thrilling one could imagine that the China-based gold farmers are not well liked on this side of the world.
The company issued a press release to announce changes to its web site - BYGAMER.com - which now offers visitors a plethora of fancy colors, improved navigation and lovely new frames. Are they mocking Blizzard? It sure seems that way.
The company tops off its wonderful announcement with customer testimonials:
"It’s amazing! What a beautiful site and Buy WOW Gold here is absolutely a good choice!, said new customer Monica to one of BYGAMER’s call center operators.
The company says that this new design is already proving to help "increase traffic and sales."
Full release below:
EA has responded to a recent Fox News story that asked the question "Is Bulletstorm the Worst Video Game in the World?" and (thanks to one participant) made the amazing claim that the increase in rapes can be attributed to playing games. There were other amazing claims in the report, but the most disturbing words came from Psychologist Carol Lieberman, who insisted that there was a correlation between playing sex scenes in games and rape. She told Fox news:
"The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games." Of course, there is no research to back up her claims that we are aware of, but the truth should never get in the way of a good talking point.