Posts Tagged ‘Valve’

What Happened This Week – Naysayers Right and Wrong

News time, everybody! Get it while it’s hot, metaphorically speaking as the transfer of information is not linked to temperature! In tonight’s episode:

  • Zynga’s stock takes a nosedive due to slashed earnings estimates and insiders dumped the stock months ago.  Pardon me, I’ll be over here doing my “I called it” dance.
  • Boston Magazine provides an in-depth postmortem on the many, many warning signs leading up to 38 Studios’ closing.  Short version: Schilling mixed up baseball and business.
  • Key developers come out strongly against Windows 8, with Gabe Newell saying Valve may encourage Linux development as a hedge.  Mr. Newell, hedges are supposed to save money.
  • Crunchyroll breaks down a Japanese poll showing the Japanese are no longer bullish on their own gaming industry.  Clearly, the industry needs more ara ara~
  • Square Enix takes to Twitter to confirm Versus XIII is still alive.  CEO Yoichi Wada has to stop himself from saying it’ll be done “when it’s done.”
  • FFXIV gets rebranded, Irrational Games uses Metacritic as a hiring requirement, OnLive joins up with the Ouya, and more!

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What Happened This Week – Now Seventy-Five Percent Off!

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!

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What Happened This Week – The Future Needs More RAM

Nothing quite like a sales binge to pick up on games you missed, especially when it reminds you how expensive some of them are. Hey, dude selling Suikoden V for $100: I hope your parents hated you, because I do. Also, a heads-up: I’ll be in DC next week starting Sunday, so no podcast while I’m away. See you all the following week! With that said, here are this week’s headlines:

  • Rumors swirl that EA may be laying people off, though even if they’re true there may be a plausible explanation.  Or EA’s stock could be dropping, it could be that too.
  • That said, Zynga appears to have gone off the deep end, with more OMGPop-style pricey acquisitions in the future.  OMGPop, incidentally, may have peaked the very day of its acquisition.  Get some popcorn, folks.
  • Two of the Big Three schedule their E3 conferences, prompting a rehash of speculation.  My take: Microsoft offers no surprises, Sony needs to explain themselves, and Nintendo will steal headlines whether it wants to or not.
  • Speaking of Sony, the New York Times offers a revealing look on where the electronics giant stumbled.  Short version: departmental tribalism, right down to war paint and scalping.
  • Wired’s Chris Kohler asserts the existing publisher-hardware-retailer model is broken and we don’t really need it.  I agree, but scrapping it all seems premature.
  • Namco-Bandai may avoid using GFWL for the PC version of Dark Souls.  On bended knee, I beseech Bamco to do the right thing and serve the Newell.
  • A rumored meeting between Apple and Valve is debunked, Saints Row DLC may have saved THQ, and more!

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What Happened This Week – There He Goes Again On His Own

Hello and welcome, everybody! It’s that time again. GDC occupied a lot of the news this week, but among that we have the following:

  • Valve’s marketing director clarifies that they are not working on a Steam box… for now.  Actually they left off the “for now” part, but let a man dream :3
  • Peter Molyneux leaves Lionhead and Microsoft to start his own company once more.  Shine on, you awesome fibber.  Shine on… or go on to develop social/iOS games like other gaming legends.
  • Blizzard offers a rather hefty bounty returning bonus for players who bring friends back to World of Warcraft
  • …which doesn’t quite distract from their announcement that Diablo III will not have PvP at launch.
  • A quartet of big names – Will Wright, Sid Meier, John Romero, and Cliff Bleszinski – offer various insights on the state of the industry, ranging from concerns about self-referential development to homeless simulators.  It makes sense in context.
  • Tim Cain gives a postmortem on Fallout, sharing the dirt on how the now famous post-apocalyptic RPG almost never saw the light of day.  Short answer: blame Windows NT.  Watch the whole thing if you can, it’s enlightening stuff.
  • Two men make more or less the same complaints about Japanese games, with vastly different levels of tact (and authority), I suggest the big picture might be a bit more complicated, and more!

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What Happened This Week – Should’ve Kept the Base

You know it’s true.

Sorry for the delay, folks! Man, ME3 and Super Tuesday tomorrow! The political junkie and the Mass Effect fanboy are having a fistfight for dominance in my brain stem. Gonna be busyyyyyy~

Anyway, to the news:

  • Mass Effect 3 comes out tomorrow, or, if pirates are to be believed, today.  Guess somebody got ahold of one of those low-orbit packages.  And speaking of which…
  • …one of them got stuck in a tree north of San Francisco, boldly resisting an intrepid IGN team’s attempt to dislodge it.  Well, at least bears weren’t involved.
  • UK retailer GAME is in a bit of financial trouble, revealing they will be unable to stock Mass Effect 3 or Mario Party 9.  Hey, guys?  I know your parents probably told you honesty is the best policy and all, but, uh, you may have wanted to make something up this one time.
  • The rumor mill is abuzz that Valve may be developing a Steam-centric PC-slash-console with baseline stats for modern games.  Hey Valve, Derek and I got this great idea for a mascot.  You ready for this?  He’s a scientist, see, and he’s fighting an alien invasion…
  • Facebook gaming takes a sharp downturn from 2011, with the company having to work harder to draw in new users.
  • By contrast, Zynga unveils their own content delivery platform to stand apart from Facebook, forgetting how they got so many people playing their games in the first place.
  • Pokemon Black & White Version 2 makes like Daft Punk and goes around the world, Kinect gets a tinfoil hat accessory, and more!

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What Happened This Week – Push Button, Receive Social Commentary

While you can’t stop the signal, you can certainly delay it an awful lot by having a wonky, uncooperative internet connection. Yes, at long last that issue’s been resolved and I can get back to updating in a timely fashion, which means more news for you and more chances to posit that Deus Ex is our true Lord and savior. But in the meantime, let’s play catch-up and discuss what happened the past couple weeks:

  • H.R. 3261, the Kill the Internet Stop Online Piracy Act, gains a surprising amount of steam with a who’s who of big-name supporters.  I’m not normally one to pray for Congressional gridlock, but these are hardly normal circumstances.
  • In a related story, I Am Alive‘s creative director cancels the PC version, blaming piracy and accusing PC gamers of bitching…
  • …as Valve, Steam, and Croteam make compelling counterarguments in the form of “make your games less of a hassle to buy and play” and “stop making people hate you.”
  • Bethesda’s probably-not-serious “name your kid Dovahkiin” proposal from a while ago has at last found a taker.  World, meet Dovahkiin Tom Kellermeyer, born 11/11/11.
  • Zynga’s CBO steps down, forfeiting a large chunk of stock while staying on the board in an advisory capacity.  Meanwhile, tech stocks take another brutal dive on Mr. Keynes’ Wild Ride.
  • Meanwhile, Skyrim sets sales records by being awesome.
  • BioWare’s new property might be well outside their comfort zone, Namco-Bandai brings the Tales studio back into the fold, and NPR introduces us all to the mad genius behind Cow Clicker.  Read the whole story if you can, it’s a doozy.

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What Happened This Week – Coercion: Our New Business Strategy

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!

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What Happened This Week – Doom For Everyone!

Happy Halloween, everybody! Hope you’re all full on candy already, because we’re fresh out. We do, however, have plenty of delicious DOOOOOOOOOOOM to go around! Help yourself!

In today’s obesity-causing episode:

  • Shooter Season 2011 rolls on as Battlefield 3 launches to great scores attached to surprisingly critical text. Also, install to your hard drive or the game looks like this.
  • Nintendo announces a sizable loss for the year, that may have largely been a fluke in currency exchange rates. Clearly, doom is just around the corner.
  • Zynga’s new properties are eating into their existing userbase, while one of the company’s officers leaves for Las Vegas. Given Nevada’s unemployment rate, somebody’s in a gambling mood… or they didn’t like what they saw at Zynga.
  • Sony states that the PSN hack “woke up dormant customers,” perhaps figuring such a statement might distract people from the Vita’s cumbersome saving mechanism.
  • Bethesda loses its preliminary injunction against Interplay, and so development of Fallout Online can continue in the magical fantasy world that only Interplay inhabits.
  • EA, who once claimed Origin was not a competing service to Steam, starts picking up publishers to commit to Origin. Look, EA, just… let’s not do anything crazy, okay? Put Mass Effect 3 back down and let’s talk.

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What Happened This Week – Strategic Signal Loss

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!

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What Happened This Week – Buy Shares in Black Mesa

And we’re back on task, no worse for wear. Well, I’m still fighting a cough, but at least we’re up and running again. As I said yesterday, sorry for the delay folks. Fortunately it wasn’t too busy a news week so I had time to chew on some rich, yummy financial analysis alongside the TGS leftovers. Let’s get down on it, shall we?

  • Tokyo Game Show wrap-ups: 3DS releases are promising and its match-up with the Vita is the fight to watch; Square Enix needs something to reassure fans it knows what it’s doing, which probably isn’t FFXII-2; Konami lets Suikoden out of the cellar into yet another cellar; Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2 confuses yet taps into the mysterious ‘buy me’ impulse; Namco-Bandai still hates money.
  • Dualshockers.com provides some insights into the Japanese stock market and its reactions to TGS.  Short version: Sony should be thankful Japan likes the Vita.  The full article is definitely worth the read.
  • Sony has a brief network outage that’s quickly corrected as authorities nab yet more LulzSec participants.  The irony of this is not lost on me.
  • A university study crowdsources viral protein modeling to a bunch of FoldIt players, with surprising results.  Look to see someone try to weaponize this in the near future.
  • Not exactly game-related, but the CERN researchers firing a particle that seemingly broke the speed of light is too fascinating not to discuss and/or fantasize about.  Read up on it if you haven’t already, it could very well be science fiction in the making.
  • And speaking of science gone mad, code-hunters find an apparent teaser for Half-Life 2: Episode 3 in Valve’s DotA 2.  Don’t play games with my heart, Valve.  Just… don’t.

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What Happened This Week – My Business is Augmented

Damn but it was hard to focus and get this done. Human Revolution is right there on my hard drive, locked away and waiting for a signal from the Steam mothership to grant access. Buuuut I guess while I’m waiting we should get to the news. Here’s what’s going on this week:

  • Following sluggish sales, Japanese retailers begin scaling down 360 business.  Microsoft, trying sticking anime girls on more things next time.  Hey, it worked for Windows 7.
  • Valve’s Gabe Newell responds to the whole EA-taking-its-games-off-Steam thing.  Gabe, if they threaten Mass Effect 3, for the love of god just give them what they ask for.  It’s not worth the risk, man.
  • Sony and Nintendo have a crazy-off, chopping features out of new PSP and Wii models in Europe.  I’m short on explanations that don’t involve hallucinogens.
  • Nintendo announces The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower for Europe, while ShopTo.net reports “unexpected late demand” for Xenoblade Chronicles.  Well, gosh, where could that possibly be coming from?
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic may actually need a limited launch to keep servers running smoothly.  No, that still doesn’t make it a World of Warcraft killer, stop asking.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution is rumored to be region-locked in Europe, until Squenix drops this idea after being warned it may be illegal in response to fan outcry.  Hooray!
  • Seriously guys, we’re getting another Deus Ex in a matter of days oh god I forgot to turn off italics I don’t even care eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Continue reading ‘What Happened This Week – My Business is Augmented’ »

What Happened This Week – Role Models

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.

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What Happened This Week – Worldwide Economic Catastrophes, Now With Bears!

Greetings to you all on this lovely Sunday, or as the media calls it, “two days until the world ends.” The debt ceiling might be on everyone’s mind these days – actually job creation is, or at least it should be – but we’ve still got some gaming news to cover. In tonight’s gravity-defying* episode:

  • The Big N announces a sizable price drop on the 3DS and Iwata takes the heat for low sales numbers.  Some say this is brilliant, others that it’s risky; smarter people say it’s both.
  • Alleged members of LulzSec are under increasing scrutiny from the UK authorities, leading to at least one arrest.  This is what happens, Larry!  This is what happens when you [censored by Standards and Practices]!
  • Dragon Age 2 disappears from Steam in the wake of their Legacy DLC release, and EA and Valve bicker despite making so much money together off Portal 2.   Somewhere, Bobby Kotick is giggling like a schoolgirl.
  • A major Battlefield 3 release party holds a “No girls allowed” stipulation.  Apparently, booting less-than-ideal representatives of the online community requires actual work.
  • THQ ends the Red Faction series, wondering why people found a corridor shooter about killing aliens in a cave less interesting than a sandbox destruction simulator on the surface of Mars.
  • Kinectimals DLC will add bears to the game.  The title: Kinectimals: Now With Bears! Would that more DLC could be so honest.
  • Lastly, I offer some pointers about the debt ceiling fiasco: how we got here, what might happen, and what (little) we can do about it.

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What Happened This Week – It Only Leaks Everything

Greetings and salutations!  Time for the news, and what a busy week it’s been for that.  You gotta hand it to Sony, when it comes to spectacular failures they’re such hard act to follow.  Anyway, let’s see what’s happening:

  • Sony’s PSN saga thus far: Network goes down, small problem; company waited a week to warn of compromised personal info, big problem.
  • The scope of the hack has hit mainstream news, and both state and federal investigations are being conducted.  Sony’s marketing team prepares to make themselves taller.
  • What does this mean for Sony’s E3 showing?  Probably more than it does for their long-term prospects.  The internet never forgets, but it does have a short attention span.
  • Kaz Hirai’s press conference: Please overlook password insecurity with this free month of PSN+.  The month is also cursed.
  • Zynga acquires EA’s chief operating officer and a UK office. It’s like the 90s all over again, only closer to a depressing cyberpunk dystopia!
  • Portal 2 making-of feature hints it may be “Valve’s last game with an isolated single-player experience.”  That screaming you’re hearing is the Half-Life fanbase.
  • Nintendo issues a statement that the Wii 2 will be at E3.  Also, getting to 90% of the sales target for the 3DS is considered a flop, apparently.
  • Smurfs dancing game screenshots and Love Plus on the 3DS offer definitive proof that our creator has abandoned us.

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What Happened This Week – The Industry Drives People to Binge Drinking

Happy Easter, folks!  The news doesn’t take holidays, however, so here’s what’s new and exciting:

  • A reading from the Book of Royko: the proper way to deal with a hangover.  Sony is gonna need this.  And speaking of which…
  • Sony’s PSN shutdown continues for as-yet unexplained reasons.  Valve cannot possibly be amused by this.
  • Ironically, the PSP Go quietly slips out the back during this same time.  With the PSN down, it shall not be missed.
  • More Wii 2 specs: screens on controllers, Radeon hardware in the box, and a potential price range.  And the crowd falls silent.
  • Very Serious People say Nintendo is doooooooomed! because it doesn’t sell games for $0.99.  Yeah, I’m not seeing it either.
  • Obsidian lays off a few New Vegas personnel.  Speculation abounds on what this means and what Obsidian does best.  Hint: more Bethsidian Fallout please.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution devs respond to fans, the ESRB launches a machine to do their job for them, and so much more!

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What Happened This Week – The Other Half of Wii’s Life

Happy Sunday, folks! Yeah, I know, getting up for work is no fun, so why not put off going to bed a little while longer? Stick around and let’s talk some news. In today’s award* winning** broadcast:

  • Wii 2 speculation is a go: higher definition, screens in the controller, competitive specs with the 360 and PS3.  Well, at least two are plausible.
  • 3DS to sell 11.6 million units by year end, or, to hear doomsayers tell it, “3DS UNDERSELLS DS BY 1.6 MILLION!”
  • iOS/Android get a better share of the handheld market.  Analysts jump to conclusions speculate how this affects Nintendo.
  • Stardock’s Wardell insists that Half-Life 2 Episode 3 has been delayed because of Steam.  I, too, have trouble finishing things when I’m making $Texas.  Of course I have trouble even without the money, a trait that Valve seems to share.
  • Mass Effect and Persona 4 get “the animes.”  Ohhh goody.
  • Jay Walker, of Walker Digital: Suing everybody over alleged minor IP violations erry day.

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