Ooof… man, what was I thinking? Don’t… nobody even tell me the damage. If I don’t see the bill, it doesn’t exist. I’ll pretend this big stack of games I bought just magically appeared there. Yeah, that works for me. Anyhow, it’s time to distract myself, and you, with the news:
- Apple suffers a serious hack, allowing users to bypass some in-app purchases and get the goods for free. Welcome to the 99%, Apple users!
- Meanwhile, Microsoft posted its first loss in 26 years. Strangely enough, they could probably commiserate with Nintendo, right down to the “constant media doom chorus” thing.
- Michael Pachter speculates that Activision strongarmed Nintendo into developing a conventional Wii U controller, a silly notion for multiple reasons.
- Gamasutra’s half-year analysis of gaming industry retail paints a grim picture for 2012. The numbers don’t lie: CODBLOPS2 probably won’t save this year.
- Torchlight‘s developer uncovers more than a few similar art assets between a Chinese-based iOS MMO and their game. Purely coincidental, I’m sure.
- Weird new software categories show up on Steam’s droid app, the Ouya’s first game is a prequel to a game planned for 2015, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Now Seventy-Five Percent Off!’ »
Is this year going fast for anybody else? Maybe it’s my mad scramble to find another job, virtually any job, outside banking right now, so I’m just noticing the passing weeks more. Oh well. It’s news time! In tonight’s episode:
- Via Kickstarter, we have the Ouya: an open source, Droid-based console priced at $99. Surely this will spearhead the glorious indie revolution that upends gaming forever…
- …except the numbers don’t quite add up, there doesn’t seem to be a concrete prototype, no games have been confirmed, and its own supporters have made comparisons to the Phantom.
- Meanwhile, Nintendo plans to link the Wii U and 3DS through its online service, which will (initially) be free to use. Shiggy asks: but what of Metroid and Star Fox?
- Vivendi discreetly scopes out possible buyers for an as-yet-unconfirmed sale of its ActiBlizzard stake. Even money says they’re waiting for CODBLOPS 2 numbers.
- Pachter sez: EA may break out the long knives for John Riccitiello, with Peter More as a possible replacement. Should’ve kept the base! And not picked a fight with Activision.
- BioWare reveals its plans for the Ultima franchise: a free-to-play action/RPG. Ugh, BioWare, and you were doing so well with the Mass Effect 3 DLC! Why?
- The Last Story gets its worldwide release date, CERN may have found the Higgs-boson, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Kickstart the Atom’ »
Yaaay, we’re back! And hopefully we’ll stay on time going forward, or at least we won’t lose power right when I’m about to start writing. Anyway, news time!
- Sony acquires streaming game service Gaikai for a cool $380 million. Speculation abounds as to how doomed modern consoles are (not very, for the moment).
- Vivendi plans to sell off its stake in Activision-Blizzard. Possibly a restructuring effort, or maybe they just see Call of Duty being the next Guitar Hero, with all that would imply.
- Zynga reveals “Zynga With Friends,” and exciting new games ending with -Ville that are totally not the same idea over and over. One’s even an “epic slot machine adventure” for extra irony.
- Yoichi Wada asserts Final Fantasy VII isn’t getting remade until they make a game that surpasses it. My take: better get a DeLorean, ’cause we’ll need the nineties again.
- Atlus announces and defends its decision to region-lock Persona 4 Arena. So that’s why the official forums melted down the other day.
- The EU rules that resale of digital games is legal, Pokemon Black and White 2 makes all of the money, Facebook suffers a sizable email fiasco, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Everybody Misses the Nineties’ »
If covering the news has taught me anything, it’s that companies would openly shoot at each other Syndicate-style if only they could get away with it. Anyway, welcome back, on this lovely evening before E3 kicks off! Here’s what’s happening:
- Silicon Knights loses in their lawsuit against Epic, and then loses the countersuit for damages. Expect Denis Dyack to insist that Too Human will continue… somehow.
- Epic, by the way, rescued members of Big Huge Games, rolling them into a new studio and tasking them with another fantasy action-RPG. Talk about paying it forward.
- Meanwhile, Activision settles out of court with West and Zampella, thus freeing Activision to keep making Call of Duty and spying on its own people. “But the future refused to change…”
- CD Projekt reveals their non-Witcher property: Cyberpunk. Apparently that’s the title of a pen-and-paper game easily confused with Shadowrun.
- Nintendo hosts a pre-E3 video demonstration showing off the Wii U… the exact same aspects we saw last year. Oh, and a classic-style controller and Nintendo-centric social network.
- E3 predictions: Nintendo needs to have some game demos ready, Sony’s going to spin like an overclocked centrifuge, and Microsoft will be my cue to go get a drink.
- A Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer is mistaken for FFXV, Sony may have picked up Gaikai for PSN-related announcements, and more!
Are you ready?
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – War By Other Means’ »
Say what you will about obscure Korean MMOs, but they come up with some catchy (if unrelated) promo videos. But I digress. News time! Here’s what’s going down:
- 38 Studios and Big Huge Games got shuttered this week, their staff laid off and Amalur now property of Rhode Island. Sadly, not too surprising given the money hole they were in.
- Conflicting sales goals hide the real issue of what those 300+ developers – and their shiny new second mortgages from relocating – are going to do now.
- Meanwhile, BioWare lays off some of its own people from The Old Republic team. How’s that $200 million development cost working out, guys?
- All this prompts Pachter to speculate that MMOs are dooooooomed! My take: maybe, if everybody keeps trying to imitate/defeat World of Warcraft. And speaking of which…
- Diablo III got hacked, with reports of stolen items, money, and even characters. Getting hacked in a single-player game has got to be some kind of record.
- The horrible, horrible contract between Activision and Bungie is revealed. Short version: 5 million sales of a new property in six months, and eight titles in eight years. Read it and weep.
- Sony patents a technology to interrupt your game with advertisements, Japan developers alternatives to kompu gacha, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Endless Online Phenomenon’ »
“Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.” John Maynard Keynes said that, and I’d wager he knows a little more about the economy than you do, because he invented it! Yeah, the financial world is abuzz over Facebook’s IPO, and we’ve got our own take on that, along with a few other items of interest. Behold:
- 38 Studios (Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning) owes the state of Rhode Island $75 million in loan payments. I don’t even have a quip, you have to hear the whole crazy situation to believe it.
- Facebook, as mentioned, went public, and then immediately flatlined before dropping a few bucks today. Cue me feeling smug in three… two…
- Activision drops its suit against EA over the Infinity Ward fiasco, on revelation that they went to absurd lengths to dig up dirt on IW staff. Bobby Kotick, up to no good? Pshaw, sirrah.
- Epic unveils the Unreal 4 engine, prompting a new wave of speculation as to how many shades of brown and grey it can render.
- CD Projekt’s hiring for a modern IP. Given their work with fantasy IP, I expect good things. Difficult things that kill me in the tutorial, but good things all the same.
- Diablo III goes live, then dies, then lives again, then dies again, and so on. Who could possibly have forseen difficulties with millions of players going online at once?
- Square Enix is profitable again, Bamco keeps busy with the Tales series, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Go Public or Die Trying’ »
Guess who’s back! How’s everybody doing? I spent the weekend watching mutants and mercenaries duke it out in the Capitol building. And then I came home to play Fallout 3 heyoooooooooo! Okay, yeah, obvious joke is obvious, but DC is a cool town even if you’re not a political junkie such as myself. But anyway, it’s good to be back at home base, got my computer a shiny new video card, the Mass Effect 3 review finally done, and ready to get down to business. So let’s get on it! In today’s headlines we have:
- Bethesda announces The Elder Scrolls Online. I explain why this is not going anywhere profitable, and point to a much more interesting property they’re funding for one Shinji Mikami.
- A Forbes article breaks down that Zynga, Groupon, and Facebook work with an accounting firm that makes rules up as they go. I wish I were kidding.
- Eurogamer runs a lengthy piece on the demise of Free Radical. Long story short, it took a little more treachery than doped-up marines going “Boosh!”
- NVidia rolls out a top-of-the-line graphics card for $1000.00. How else can a month’s salary last until next week when they push the envelope even further?
- FilePlanet is no longer being updated, thus preparing itself for the annals of Internet history. Behold, children, the days when patches didn’t download themselves.
- Electronic Arts rolls out an Indie Bundle, upending basically every sensible definition of the term ‘indie.’ And on Steam, no less, making it all the more confusing.
- A Chinese company develops a console specifically for
pirates China, EA asks for feedback on Origin, I speculate based on Sega-centric Steam deals, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Capitalism Means Never Saying Sorry’ »
Yaknow, you can say what you want about Silent Hill: Downpour, but when it comes to being tense and creepy it doesn’t screw around. The actual enemies and combat are pretty naff, but it does a fine job instilling a sense of dread. There are rooms I just do not want to enter. I consider that a mission accomplished for a horror game.
Anyhow, on to the news:
- The Consumerist wrapped up their online poll for 2012’s Worst Company in America. EA jumped to the front faster than you can say “biased sampling data.” And speaking of EA…
- Mass Effect 3‘s Extended Cut DLC was announced, prompting LOTS OF SPECULATION FROM EVERYONE. A PAX East BioWare panel offered some more information, likely only stoking the fire at this point.
- An industry analyst predicts doom for Nintendo, which happens often and just as often is disproven. What’s new here is getting basic facts wrong.
- Get your credsticks out: a Shadowrun Kickstarter launched and met its goals handily. Check it out here, chummer.
- Gamasutra ran a survey about salaries in the games industry, with some surprising data. Long story short, I’m in the wrong line of work.
- Sonic the Hedgehog‘s creator winds up at Nintendo of America, Final Fantasy Versus XIII music winds up in Theatrhythm, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Never Deal With a Dragon’ »
Note to self: if Recettear is any indication, EasyGameStation’s Chantelise is worth a look. It’s never too late to enjoy indie RPG goodness. But I ramble, this isn’t about me and my compulsive Steam purchases, it’s time for the news! Here’s what we’re covering:
- SCE’s Shu Yoshida explains why the Vita stumbled in Japan, and how for the US/EU release this time shall be different! We examine why it probably won’t be different at all, Steve.
- Jack Tretton confirms we won’t see any PS4 developments this year, freeing them up to
wait for Microsoft to release their specs focus on the Vita.
- Meanwhile, EA plans some unusual marketing schemes for Mass Effect 3, including launching early copies of it via weather balloons into the stratosphere. Quoth Sarcastic Hawke, “What could possibly go wrong?”
- Brian Fargo of inXile Entertainment announces a Kickstarter plan to fund production of Wasteland 2. And here I figured it’d take months to test the limits of Kickstarter’s power.
- The Guinness Book of World Records crowns, by popular vote, Call of Duty: Black Ops as the best videogame ending ever. I wish I were kidding.
- One of BioWare’s more accomplished writers strikes out on their own, Bobby Kotick gets elected to Coca-Cola’s board of directors, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Step One: Secure 3Gs’ »
Hello all! Thanks for sticking with us, got some news fresh out of the oven for you fine folks. As an aside, going to be out of town for the week of Thanksgiving so the next episode will be uploaded on the 27th. Enjoy the week, have a happy preemptive Turkey Day, and in the meantime let’s get to tonight’s topics:
- Zynga is caught forcing employees to either surrender stock or be fired, so they can turn around and use that stock to hire other people. Pretty sure breach-of-contract lawsuits start more or less like this.
- Steam servers get hacked, and while the damage appears limited Valve kindly reminded people to change passwords and watch credit card activity. See? Was that hard?
- Meanwhile, CD Projekt reveals digital sales numbers for The Witcher 2, offering a glimpse of the effect the Steam Collective has on the market.
- A slight error and some carelessness resulted in Japanese MMO M2 being completely deleted, which ironically is the first I’ve ever heard of the game.
- Sony reveals its complicated UMD conversion process to play PSP games on the Vita. Considering this is currently only in Japan, where the PSP is still an active platform, I can only guess at the the intended audience.
- Ubisoft says “buy Rayman Origins if you want more Beyond Good and Evil,” armed Frenchmen steal copies of Modern Warfare 3, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Coercion: Our New Business Strategy’ »
Howdy-ho, all! Managed a bit of a breakthrough, if only via workarounds I only half understand. Looking for a longer-term solution until the Comcast router decides to un-kink itself, since there doesn’t seem to be much else I can do on my end. Alas!
Anyway, got plenty to talk about, including the following:
- Steve Jobs passed away after battling cancer for the last several years. Say what you will about the man, but he knew how to develop and market shiny new gizmos people didn’t know they wanted.
- Apple revealed the iPhone 4, hyping up the processor as on par with handhelds and consoles. And yet everybody gets quiet when you ask how you’re supposed to move.
- GSC Game World gives us a brief S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2-related scare, showing just how potent the fear of DRM can really be.
- The Game of Thrones RPG was announced, prompting questions of how well a game can reproduce a complex, morally gray universe based on popular literature. My advice: ask CD Projekt for help studying.
- EA tries to reassure everybody that no, really, they’re not competing with Valve and Steam. They’re only setting up a separate distribution site and restricting certain games to it. NOT COMPETITION
- The Financial Times reveals scary new plans for European Debt, I ramble a bit about the Occupy Wall Street protests, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Strategic Signal Loss’ »
Good evening and greetings! Hope the fall is treating you well so far, and your punt returner didn’t showboat in the end zone, giving the other team good field position to score an answering touchdown. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love Devin Hester as should any red-blooded American male (cryingeagle.jpg) but that touchdown could have been avoided and thus the Bears didn’t beat the spread. Celebrate after the game, Devin!
That was a sweet return though, wasn’t it?
Ahem. Anyway, here’s what’s going down this week:
- Square Enix’s CEO catches up to everybody else by admitting the damage FFXIV did to the brand. I suspect the real issue is who did the damage to FFXIV, and I think Wada knows it.
- Meanwhile, City of Heroes goes free-to-play while The Old Republic reveals its pricing packages, providing an interesting compare/contrast as to who can withstand going F2P and why.
- Activision’s Jamie Berger says paid services like Call of Duty Elite – providing stat tracking, clan management, etc. – will be mandatory in 3-5 years. Hey, some of us remember when games provided that sort of thing for free. Don’t get greedy, man. Well, greedier, anyway.
- CliffyB gives a neat postmortem on Gears of War now that Gears 3 is out, speculating on how giant musclemen with saw-guns fighting evil intelligent bugs could be taken more seriously.
- Shigeru Miyamoto speaks out a bit on Skyward Sword, suggesting it’s one of the most expensive projects the company has worked on. Well, I guess if you’re gonna send the Wii off…
- I catch up on the Netflix news and correspondingly terrible stock performance, while Joystiq regales us with a story of the fastest-thinking men in the industry.
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Improvised Payment Devices’ »