Happy New Year, everybody! Welcome back, time to round up the news as per usual. Today’s selection should serve as a healthy reminder that not all publicity is good publicity, as the good David Bowie can attest to. Here’s what went down over break:
- The PS Vita launched in Japan, moving fewer than expected numbers and with several software glitches. Even straight-up hardware reviews were mixed, like this one from Joystiq. Sony is probably relieved that’s all they had to worry about.
- BioWare’s co-founder hints that they’re taking cues from open-world games, including Skyrim, for Dragon Age 3. Oil, meet water.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 also sold less than anticipated, which was a total surprise to people that have no idea how sequels work.
- A Firefox add-on subverts DNS blockades like the ones proposed by the Stop Online Piracy Act… before the Act is even released. No prize for second place, Congress!
- Leaked email chains provoke the internet to converge on one Ocean Marketting (typo intentional) and its hilariously awful one-man operation. The Mayor of Boston is now a meme.
- Nintendo finally unveils the official Legend of Zelda timeline. All three of them. That high-pitched collective cry of anguish you’re hearing is the fandom trying to sort this out.
- Star Wars: the Old Republic finally launches, the Big Three “kind of” withdraw their support of SOPA, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Shame, What You Have is Gone Tomorrow’ »
The news never stops, which in that respect is very much like Skyrim. But I digress. The Spike VGAs have given us plenty of material, and thus tonight’s topics include:
- The nominees, broken down: Skyrim wins GOTY, Dragon Age 2 somehow got on a ‘best of’ list for RPGs, Witcher 2 is looking mighty snubbed…
- …although the train of unneeded celebrities, lackluster announcements, and literal on-stage teabagging did a fine job distracting from the awards themselves. And we wonder why gaming is still seen as immature.
- Meanwhile, with the VGAs posing as E3 Lite, speculation abounds that the actual E3 could come to an end (as we know it).
- A team of students at George Washington University use Kinect for other than its intended purpose, netting a $100,000 scholarship. And they complain about the kids today!
- Shiggy scares everybody with a Wired interview, saying he’s stepping down, prompting a panic until he can finish the sentence with “to smaller projects.”
- GSC Game World closes its doors, signalling an end to the eccentric yet beloved S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. Let’s drink to them once more.
- Namco-Bandai wins their suit re: Witcher 2 distribution in Europe, the 3DS sells 3 million units in Japan, Square Enix moves FFXIV to a paid subscription, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Such is Life in the Industry’ »
Howdy-howdy! Slowly getting back to a working schedule, though still suffering connection issues. Making some progress on my end, or at least narrowing down the problem. But enough about my griping, we’re here for the news! News, and the joy of shows about time-travelling quad bikes on YouTube.
Gotta love Klyka, man. Anyway, let’s get at it:
- Sony is reportedly beginning work on game concepts for the yet-unannounced PS4, with an expected release window of 2014…
- …while Microsoft looks to debut the “Xbox Next” at E3 2013. Also, Fable will get a chance to disappoint people on the Next.
- A Gamasutra interview on Rage sparks… rage. The writer responds, arguing that being potentially blacklisted for a pointed question or two is kind of an overreaction.
- Blizzard offers up a side of Diablo III free with $180 worth of World of Warcraft. Such a deal! Blizzard, throw in Warcraft 4 or the rest of Starcraft II and we’ll talk.
- Speaking of tie-ins, Mass Effect 3 teams up with Battlefield 3 to prop up the latter gain early access to the ME3 multiplayer demo. Maybe they’re hoping BF3‘s multiplayer mojo will rub off or something.
- Namco Bandai is set to publish Ni no Kuni in Rest-of-the-Worldia, Yoshida says more about FFXIV, Batman: Arkham City opens up fresh DLC wounds, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – New Generation, Same Tricks’ »
With over a year since its launch fiasco, Final Fantasy XIV has seen extensive overhaul efforts and is nearing a re-release of sorts. Over on the Lodestone, Square Enix’s Yoichi Wada and Naoki Yoshida have announced a slew of upcoming changes for the game, not the least of which is a plan to roll out the previously suspended subscription model. Further updates have been broken down into a bulleted list, which includes the following: Continue reading ‘Final Fantasy XIV Going to 2.0, Beginning Subscription Phase’ »
Hello hellooooo! Here’s hoping this brisk fall evening is treating you well, and you’re not smarting from not-insubstantial gambling losses like I am. As mentioned I’m still struggling with Comcast-related internet woes, which were enough to delay but not permanently forestall the news. So let’s get on it, shall we? Today’s lineup covers the following:
- Square Enix dropped a Final Fantasy-sized bomb by revealing the latest updates for Final Fantasy XIV, including a phase-in for the subscription service. Cue panic and ridicule.
- That said, the changes do sound pretty swank, and the full list is worth reading if you’re so inclined. The larger question is, who’s in a gambling mood?
- Speaking of wailing and gnashing of teeth, Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer mode has caused quite a stir. Best guess: the co-op missions are likely just supplements to the main plot and risk feeling somewhat unnecessary. Further evaluation requires building consensus.
- Netflix tries to call backsies on that whole Qwikster thing, in the process raising the question of whether we’re even ready for nationwide video streaming. Short answer, no. Long answer, are you out of your mind?!
- Zynga comes up with Project Z, also known as “our back-up plan in case relations with Facebook turn south.”
- Rovio overvalues itself even more, Obsidian hires Tim Cain, Sega confirms Valkyria Chronicles 3 isn’t getting localized, and more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Square Enix Goes Double Or Nothing’ »
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’ »
In recent press conference, Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada publicly acknowledged the damage that Final Fantasy XIV has caused the brand name. Released to negative, indeed scathing reviews on PC last year, the title has undergone significant restructuring, with a large portion of the development team replaced and the PS3 version delayed indefinitely. Wada indicated that the fixes are ongoing and the company intends to “revive the FFXIV that should have been released.” No timeframe was given for the redevelopment efforts.
Hey-hey-hey, how’s everybody doing? Well, we’re all still here, so Debtastrophe 2011 hasn’t completely screwed us over yet. Still, with markets worldwide getting antsy it’s anybody’s guess what, exactly, is going to happen tomorrow. The safe money says “bad things.” In the meantime, let us converse on the following.
- Square Enix posts a bad Q1, which is what happens when you don’t have any major releases for that period. My take: Squenix needs a Final Fantasy IX. Well, I want one, at least.
- Atlus scores (relatively) big with Catherine, breaking the 200k mark in its first week. Larger developers would be aghast at the numbers. Atlus’ response: “Got a problem?”
- Team Bondi pulls a Blackwater and tries to rebrand itself by getting bought out… by a company that hired many of its ex-employees. Awk-waaard~
- South Korean officials arrest hackers and programmers for breaking into online games and funneling cash to Best Korea, presumably to fund Kim Jong-Il’s Farmville addiction.
- EA declares that Battlefield 3 will not show up on Steam. An EA spokesperson is quoted as saying “We hate money and hate ourselves even more.”
- John Carmack gives a great keynote speech at QuakeCon. He spends some time talking about the technology behind iD’s long-delayed Rage…
- …and provides some fascinating insights into the technical side of game development. I summarized as best I can in the podcast, but give the whole thing a listen if you have time.
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Role Models’ »
Addressing the official Final Fantasy XIV forums, producer Naoki Yoshida announced some of the upcoming changes with the latest version. Of particular note is a move away from guildleves as a central mechanic, which Yoshida openly admits is a retraction from prior statements about the system. Replacing them will be actual quests, as has been requested by fans for some time. Leves will still be available, but are being repositioned more as solo content: a quick and optional means of character building in between more time-consuming adventures. Details about the changes to the system are bulleted below: Continue reading ‘FFXIV Producer Reveals 1.18 Patch Notes; Guildleves “No Longer Central”’ »
With at least one MMO – actually two – already on its plate, Square Enix has revealed that a new online property is in the works. Little is known, though CEO Yoichi Wada has mentioned the company plans to run another MMO alongside Final Fantasy XIV. This title is already in development, and Wada hinted that a proper announcement will take place sometime before the end of the fiscal year.
Commenting on FFXIV, Wada says more work is needed but the company is “at the point where they can see the target.”
Related to its forecast revision, Square Enix has released information from a recent earnings briefing that sheds more light on its future plans. Of particular note is the intent to double its major IPs: two from its main Tokyo studio (Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts, etc.) and one each from subsidiaries Eidos Montreal, IO Interactive, and Wimbledon.
The company also aims to become more “network centric,” by way of strengthening downloadable content and digitizing catalog titles. “Revitalizing our major MMO titles” is its own bullet point in this subsection, which likely refers to the ongoing renovation effort in Final Fantasy XIV.
Lastly, the presentation also covered sales projections, revealing the numbers behind the revision: 16.85 million total sales in 2011, down from 26.66 million in 2010, with a projected 14.50 in 2012. This in spite of a marked increase in investment abroad, with spending in North America and Europe up to 8.4 billion yen from the prior year’s 5.7 billion.
I miss Dr. Weird.
What’s happening, everybody? Hope you’re braced for the coming week, what with Witcher 2 and New Vegas DLC coming up. In the meantime, let us discuss the many interesting things that have happened since last Sunday:
- The Economist speculates on a possible tech/internet bubble, driven by overconfident investors and unproven business models. And here we thought time travel was impossible.
- Microsoft pays $Texas for Skype. Why would they buy a largely free VOIP service as a tech bubble is being built? Why, indeed.
- PSN is finally back up, bringing the catastrophic train wreck to at least partial closure. Which means we can now focus on Sony’s harmless and entertaining train wrecks.
- Eidos and Deus Ex: Human Revolution websites get hacked. Hey, hackers, that’s not funny. Deus Ex has been delayed enough.
- Square Enix has a rough week, owing in part to Final Fantasy XIV‘s amazingly poor launch condition. Really now, are high-res catgirls and magic midgets that hard to deliver?
- The National Endowment for the Arts classifies games as art, thus solving all problems with the games industry forever.
- Call of Duty vs. Battlefield at launch, the US Navy makes an anti-piracy MMO, the Harvest Moon folk join up with some weird colleagues, and much more!
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – It’s Not Different At All, Is It Steve?!’ »
With FY 2010 ending back on March 31, Square Enix has sent out a revised forecast of its performance. As of February, the company had been holding onto a ¥1 billion profit, but by the end of the fiscal year that had fallen to a ¥12 billion loss. At an investor’s briefing, CEO Yoichi Wada explained that about ¥4.5 billion stem from ongoing Final Fantasy XIV maintenance and title cancellations.
As part of a recovery effort, Wada stated that he aims to increase the push for social networking games and phone apps, and to double the company’s major brands to ten or so over time.
Square Enix announced that they intend to reopen Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV starting March 25. With energy restrictions in place, the company has opted to reduce certain operations to offset the amount required by the servers. As mentioned before, players will not be billed for April due to the outage.
The announcement can be read in full via Lodestone.
Media time, boys and girls! No fancy introduction this time, just the pics: Cladun 2, Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection, Final Fantasy XIV, Tales of the Abyss 3DS, and Tales of Xillia. Get ‘em here! Continue reading ‘Mass Media 03/22/11’ »
In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that recently struck Japan, Square Enix announced this week that both Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XIV would temporarily be shut down. The move is an attempt to conserve power amidst energy shortages and rolling blackouts, and the servers are expected to be offline for at least a week. In the meantime, players will not be billed through the April statement cycle.
The announcement can be read in full on the Lodestone, and further information will be posted as it becomes available.
Welcome back, everybody! Good to be back from Las Vegas, where tragically I was unable to recruit Danny Trejo and hunt down Matthew Perry. But I suppose a nacho platter at Margaritaville is victory enough for one trip. Anyway, it’s time to round up What Happened This Week. Let’s see what we have this time:
- Sony convinces European authorities to release PS3s, but the legal back-and-forth with LG continues.
- Human Revolution sees a release date, and the reason for the pushback likely goes deeper than Final Fantasy XIV‘s misfired launch.
- Microsoft to retool Windows Live and apologize for unleashing it. Well, they’re doing the first one at least. Also, speculation on possible price cuts.
- Best Buy is on the ropes, but Amazon.com and Steam need better infrastructure to viably fill the gap.
- Strange but true: criticize BioWare, get locked out of Dragon Age 2. Developers have feelings too, you know!
- Krazy Kaz is back, E3 rumor mills are in full swing, and portables join consoles in the counterproductive spending arms race.
- Japan, as you know, was recently hit by a massive earthquake and resulting tsunami. The Red Cross is accepting donations, so chip in if you can.
Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – Cost-Cutting Spin Doctors Reopen Europe’ »
With the results from the player survey compiled, Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida posted a list of planned changes on the Lodestone alongside his reaction to player feedback. The list is surprisingly extensive, and key bits are bulleted below: Continue reading ‘FFXIV Director Reveals Survey Results, Planned Changes’ »
Since his recent entry as producer/director of Final Fantasy XIV, Naoki Yoshida has understandably been busy working to turn the game around from its troubled launch. However, he recently stopped to clear a few things up and address player responses to a recent survey. In particular, he revealed the following information: Continue reading ‘FFXIV’s New Director Clears the Air’ »
Final Fantasy XIV‘s replacement director, Naoki Yoshida, recently sat down for an interview with 4Gamer.net. Topics ranged from prior MMO experiences to key goals with FFXIV, and some of the more interesting snippets are bulleted below: Continue reading ‘Tell Us a Little About Yourself, New FFXIV Director’ »