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This morning the air is thick with sadness at EA's Montreal studio where the company has reportedly laid off most of its staff. The reports have been confirmed by EA, but no official word on how many employees were let go.
Our early findings appear to show that as many as 170 employees got the notice this morning, with once source saying that most of those affected were quality assurance and contract workers. In a statement to gaming site Joystiq, EA said that the layoffs were part of an effort to sharpen their focus on providing games for new platforms and mobile.
"These are difficult decisions to let go of good people who have made important contributions to EA, and whenever possible we retrain or relocate employees to new roles. Streamlining our operations will help ensure EA is bringing the best next-generation games to players around the world."
The latest rumor to surface regarding the Xbox 720 talks about what games will be available at launch. According to The Verge, who have been active with numerous Xbox 720 rumors as of late, the Xbox 720 will be launching with several new games including a new Forza and Ryse.
Ryse was originally shown off during E3 2011--the trailer can be seen above--but has yet to materialize. Crytek and Microsoft Studios have reportedly been working on rewriting the game to make use the hardware and features present on the new Xbox 720. Ryse is said to be the mega launch title for the new Xbox 720 console. It will apparently be Microsoft's new Gears of War or Halo series.
AMD have been kicking all sorts of ass when it comes to their Never Settle Reloaded program, which offers up some of the best games on the market for free when you purchase an AMD Radeon GPU.
The chipmaker have just announced that they're extending this offer, and will give gamers Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon for free to any customer who has redeemed a Reloaded code! How can it get better than that?! AMD will offer the keys to be redeemable through Ubisoft's Ubisoft for UPlay, and will be send by May 1.
The developer behind the PlayStation 3-exclusive game Heavy Rain, is hiring staff for some upcoming multiplayer title(s). A job listing spotted by Kotaku states that the developer is looking for a "creative lead online programmer with a passion for online gaming in order to be with us for our future AAA projects."
Quantic Dream says they're looking for an experienced programmer with a "strong understanding of the multiplayer genre". Up until now, Quantic Dream's games have been single-player experiences, driven heavily by their story. Next-gen consoles might help all of this, where we might see some multiplayer elements.
The thing is, Quantic Dream are no normal developer - they don't just release a game, they invest so much time into the details within the game world, that this multiplayer news should excite all gamers. Multiplayer within a Quantic Dream game could see gamers playing characters, within the single-player world. What if it was your job to play a detective, and you could lie or tell the truth, kill the main character or not, and have multiple choices through an open-world game?
The Verge is reporting that the next generation Xbox from Microsoft will take over your TV and feature deep set-top box integration. They say that the Xbox 720 will be able to interact with a user's cable box and TV much like Google TV.
The report states that the Xbox 720 will accept an HDMI connection from the cable box so that it can pass the signal through with an extra UI imposed on top. The Xbox 720 will also make use of Kinect to detect viewers watching and be able to pause video content if a viewer looks away much like the Galaxy S3's eye-tracking technology.
We still don't know much about the Xbox 720, but an event is expected in May at which Microsoft will detail the next-gen console.
iFixit seems to tear apart every piece of new technology that is released these days and we love them for that. This time the Oculus Rift goes under the
knife screwdriver to show us what makes it tick.
The team at iFixit were able to get their hands on a developer's edition of the virtual reality headset and made it clear that this is merely a prototype model and the actual production unit may change. The tear down reviled an Innolux HJ070IA-02D 7-inch LCD that has a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, with 640 x 800 per eye.
The LCD is controlled by a Himax HX8851 controller. The head tracking is accomplished by a STMicroelectronics 32F103C8 ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller with 72MHz CPU, Invensense MPU-6000 six-axis (gyro + accelerometer) motion tracking controller and an A983 2206, which is believed to be a three-axis magnetometer.
iFixit awarded the Oculus Rift a repairability score of high, which is rare these days.
SimCity coming to Mac June 11th, if you bought the Windows version you get access to the Mac version
Despite its rough start, SimCity is now running smoothly and it appears that server issues are a thing of the past. This morning EA and Maxis announced that the popular city building simulator will be making its way to Mac on June 11th.
Lucy Bradshaw, Senior Vice President and General Manager of EA's Maxis Label, said in the announcement:
"SimCity is coming to Mac on June 11 and one purchase will give you both the Mac and PC versions. You only need to buy SimCity once to play together across the same servers, regardless of which version you're playing. We didn't want to make any compromises when it came to the Mac so we created a native version that is optimized for the hardware and OSX."
That means that players who previously purchased the game for Windows will get a free Mac download as well. EA says that you will use the same Origin account to log in on both the PC and Mac leading to seamless management of your cities, regardless of which system you are playing on.
Since its release more than 1.3 million copies of the game have been sold.
Batman: Arkham Origins announced with Rocksteady Studios not involved, are Warner Bros pulling an Activision?
Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequel, Arkham City, have been some of the most memorable, and most successful games of this generation. These games were developed by Rocksteady Studios - but there has now been a third game in the series announced today, Batman: Arkham Origins.
Batman: Arkham Origins will be released for the PC, PlayStation 3, Wii U and Xbox 360 - with no mention of next-generation consoles. It is being put together by WB Games Montreal, and has the game world of Origins set years before the events of the previous Arkham games. Players take control of a younger Batman, who meets many of the series' iconic characters for the very first time.
From my perspective, it looks like Warner Bros. are pulling an Activision here, with their Call of Duty series. Back in its hey day (I guess it's still there, isn't it?) it was being pushed between Infinity Ward and Treyarch - the former releasing the best COD titles, the latter selling the lesser quality titles. It made lots of money for Activision, but the entire series has been run into the ground (again, in my opinion).
Before the PS4 was announced, third-party developers were told the PS4 could feature 4GB of GDDR5, were surprised to see 8GB
It was only at the unveiling of Sony's PlayStation 4 that third-party developers discovered there was 8GB of GDDR5 RAM inside of the machine, as they were told that the PS4 would only come with 4GB of GDDR5 previously.
These developers even received development kits before the PS4 was announced, and were still not aware of the bump in RAM until the PS4 reveal. Just Add Water's CEO, Stewart Gilray, spoke with VideoGamer.com, teasing that they're working on a mystery title for the PS4, said that third-party developers were told that the PS4 would feature just 4GB of RAM, but were very surprised when the PS4 system lead architect, Mark Cerny, announced the 8GB of RAM cranking along inside of the PlayStation 4.
Gilray told VideoGamer.com:
We were told [PS4] was 4GB originally. And we first knew it had 8GBs when Mark said at the event's stage, 'And it has 8GB of memory.' We'd had kits at that point for a good while.
Gilray suspects that a few of the bigger, first-party developers knew the PS4 would feature 8GB of RAM before the PS4 reveal. He continues: "It's a fantastic amount of memory. especially DDR5 memory, because it's so fast you don't have to have everything there at once. You can swap it in and out instantly, effectively. But when they said 8GB it was like, 'Ooookay.'"
Microsoft is said to be using an AMD processor in its upcoming Xbox 720, according to a Bloomberg report. News of the upcoming product has boosted AMD's stock by over 13 percent, or up $0.30, to $2.59. Meanwhile, Competitor NVIDIA's stock fell a quarter of a percent to $12.43.
AMD is already confirmed to be powering the next-gen PlayStation 4 from Sony, so it will be a major win if AMD is inside the Xbox 720. Microsoft's logic in switching to AMD could include lowering production price and trying to entice more developers to produce games for the platform. By adapting a PC architecture, both are achieved.
Neither AMD nor Microsoft would comment on the report. Microsoft is said to be aiming for a May or June unveiling, possibly at E3. Other sources have pegged May 21 as the day that Microsoft will unveil the Xbox 720.