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Microsoft has halted development on its free-to-play Age of Empires Online game that came out in 2011. What this means is that there will be no new content coming for the game, though the game will continue to operate. Microsoft detailed what it means in a blog post:
Age of Empires Online has finished its development phase, and now moves on into the support phase. It means that there will be no new content created for Age of Empires Online. There is a small amount of content still in the pipeline that will be released in the next few weeks, but that is all. No new features will be added. Most significantly, no new civilizations will be released. However, nothing else changes for players, nothing that currently exists will be removed.
So, the game will eventually die, and until then, bug support will be slow and possibly non-existant: "Fixing and remaining bugs and addressing balance issues will be slower and, frankly, more difficult for the team. Some may, in fact, be unfixable. We will be watching carefully in case any critical bugs appear."
Microsoft could be devoting the resources towards developing a new version of the game, or something else. It's always possible it could be ressurected in the future by another publisher, as well.
Some say gaming addiction is real, while others say it is a myth. Either way, spending all of your waking hours playing Star Craft or WOW is just simply not productive. 23 year old Xiao Feng's father decided to take his sons "excessive" game play down a notch.
After several hours of repeated deaths in an online game from the same character, Feng figured out that the high-level assassins had been hired by his father in hopes that the repeated attacks would cause his son to loose interest in the game.
The father reportedly took these drastic (and comical) measures because he "wanted his adult son to find a job". Xiao Feng maintains that he's not going to settle for just any job and that he hasn't found the right fit yet.
R2 Studions, a company founded by the guys who brought us the Slingbox has been shopping around for acquisition offers for some time now. Early reports mentioned Google and Apple as buyers, but it looks like Microsoft has beaten them to the punch.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Microsoft has closed the deal and is now the new owners of R2 Studios. The acquisition comes just a week after R2 founder Blake Krikorian stepped down from his position on Amazon's board of directors.
The sale price was undisclosed but reports are coming in that Microsoft acquired several patents that cover controlling electronic devices. R2 has been working on different ways to distribute content on TVs which lines up nicely with Redmond's plans to make the Xbox the center of your media experience.
Razer has launched a new Xbox 360 controller known as the Sabertooth. The device looks very similar to the Microsoft Xbox controller, save for the fact it features six extra buttons. It has the normal buttons all in the same locations and could easily be mistaken as a normal controller.
It's currently available in the UK and US for £69.99/$79.99 and comes with a carrying case and a detachable cable. Two buttons are on the shoulder, two are on the undercarriage, and two are beside the OLED screen. It's not clear if the device features any sort of rapid fire or other mods.
There are multiple reviews on the Internet should you find yourself interested in buying one.
Nintendo 3DS gets cracked, homebrew code should be able to be ran in the future, pirated games as well
The Nintendo 3DS has proved a tough nut to crack, but hackers have finally managed to get the system to run homebrew code. Back on December 16, hacker Yellows8 posted images of the 3DS with the screen displaying the text "We hacked it!" At the time, the 3DS was only capable of displaying text, but that has changed.
In the few weeks between initially cracking the device and today, hackers have successfully managed to produce images on both of the screens using homebrew code. While we're still a ways from running full homebrew games and pirated games, progress seems to be progressing quickly.
The original DS suffered from rampant piracy in the form of the R4 card. The piracy was so bad it led to many developers abandoning the platform completely. Fears from several developers regarding this on the 3DS have already been voiced, and many more are likely to join them.
The hackers have said they believe Nintendo could easily patch this exploit with a firmware update.
A picture of a GameStop Black Ops 2 DLC poster has leaked to the internet and provided precious details about the upcoming DLC. In the picture, you can see that there will be four new multiplayer maps, a new zombies map, and a new SMG. As far as the details go, we really only have names, so it's time to let your imagination go wild as to what the maps will look like.
"Hydro", "Grind", "Downhill", and "Mirage" are the new multiplayer maps, with "Die Rise" being the new Zombies map. Downhill appears to be a ski resort, which would make sense, while Mirage appears to be in the desert. The other two pictures aren't as clear and the names could align the maps in many different settings.
The SMG is named the Peacekeeper and there are no details as to which game modes it will be available in. The DLC is set to come to the Xbox 360 on January 29 and will likely cost $15, if it stays in line with the pricing of Black Ops DLC. If you have the Season Pass, you'll get the DLC for free when it releases.
Rumors have a way of starting using data that could mean next to nothing. For instance, a rumor is now saying that the countdown to E3 posted by Microsoft today is proof positive that they will be announcing the next Xbox at E3 in June. While there have been rumors saying this is the case, this timer does not have any shred of definite proof.
While it is pretty likely that the next Xbox will make its first appearance at E3 this year in June, a simple timer does not give any hard evidence. The text "And it's on..." only adds fuel to the fire, but still does not prove that this is Microsoft's plan. While it certainly is time for Microsoft to update the Xbox 360, they will likely try to milk it for every dollar its worth.
It's also important to consider that Microsoft still has some major Xbox 360 game releases to get through, including Gears of War Judgement in March. Would Microsoft really release the next-gen console so quickly after a major game release? It's hard to say. If the console includes backwards compatibility, then it is possible.
With that said, it's completely possible that the Xbox successor will launch at E3 this year, however, it's completely possible that it won't.
Both Zynga and EA are in the midst of cost cutting efforts and Facebook games are the first to take the hit. Zynga has either marked or already shut down 24 games with more cuts coming.
EA has reportedly marked several of its popular app style games for end of life as well. The hard truth is that people are just not playing them anymore. Everyone is gaming on their mobile devices and not using facebook as their gaming console anymore.
Zynga is even planning on shutting down its most popular game, PetVille, which still attracts over a million users each month. That is about 60,000 users daily. This leaves us wondering where the next big gaming boom will take place.
PlayJam, a company known for its Smart TV roots, will be competing with the OUYA for Android-based gaming console supremacy this spring. The company is building the "GameStick", a TV based system that is no larger than a normal flash drive.
The finished version will even be capable of stowing itself inside its wireless gamepad. It will run Jellybean and dual-core Amlogic processor that while not as powerful as the Tegra 3 in the OUYA, should also not be as expensive.
PlayJam is still looking to raise $100,000 to push the GameStick through the last phase of development and is hoping to begin shipping the device in April of this year.
Sony has sent out an invite to members of the press for an event in February. Destination PlayStation will be held February 25-28 in Scottsdale, Arizona and will show off games, with attendees being "treated to food, drink, play, and a first look at all the amazing new releases coming from Sony Computer Entertainment America Entertainment in 2013."
SlashGear suspects that the PlayStation 4 will be announced here and released in 2014, if it follows past release trends from Sony. Couple this with the rumor that Sony has ended production of the PS2 to focus on the next-gen console, and it's starting to look really good for console gamers.
The PlayStation 4 will be competing against Microsoft's next-gen console, rumored to be called the Xbox 720, whenever it does eventually decide to launch. Some rumors have placed the announcements as E3 this year, but others say that it won't be until 2014. One thing is certain, they can't be too far in the future.