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EA have announced that they will be building micro-transactions into all of their future games on PC and consoles, with the decision forming amidst the controversy over the micro-transactions in Dead Space 3, which was the first game in the EA-published series to be impacted by micro-transactions. Chief Financial Officer, Blake Jorgensen, when speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, said:
The next and much bigger piece [of the business] is microtransactions within games. We're building into all of our games the ability to pay for things along the way, either to get to a higher level to buy a new character, to buy a truck, a gun, whatever it might be. Consumers are enjoying and embracing that way of the business. Without a doubt, you're going to see more digital business and particularly more digital components of the gameplay allowed because the ease of it will be much better and the storage capability better.
It looks like micro-transactions are here to stay, and I'd even be willing to get we'll move toward a future of cheaper or even free-to-play games that are financed from micro-transactions.
Nintendo's Wii U console isn't doing too well in Japan, where according to last week's sales figures, Sony's PlayStation Vita outsold it. Japanese sales analyst, Media Create, had a report published where the Vita sold 11,456 units between February 18-24, with the Wii U selling just 9,633.
The PS Vita did have a price drop, but these sales were before the price drop had come into effect. Next week's numbers should be even stronger for the Vita. Nintendo's 3DS is still going strong, selling a blistering 74,729 units last week along.
Our UK readers will soon be able to purchase the Nintendo Wii Mini for 80 pounds. Game and Amazon both currently have the Wii Mini up for pre-order at that price and ShopTo has it for 85 pounds. The device will be available for purchase on March 22, 2013.
80 pounds comes in at around 50 pounds cheaper than the original Wii and is over 150 pounds cheaper than the cheapest Wii U pack currently available. We've reported about the Wii Mini before, which has previously only been available in Canada. The Wii Mini features stripped down internals, such as no SD card and only one USB port.
We've heard so much about the PlayStation 4 in the last week or so, but what about the cost of games? Surely these next-gen games cost more to develop? Yes, yes they do, and that cost will see games rise by 5-10% at launch, thanks to the higher development costs on the PS4.
The news comes from EA's latest investor call, where the company's Chief Financial Officer, Blake Jorgensen, stated that there will be a 5-10% increase in development costs for PS4 titles. This means we should expect to see PS4 titles priced at $69.99 at launch, where over time, they'll eventually fall down to $59.99. In order to back this up, EA's Chief Technology Officer, Rajat Taneja, has said that PS4 games will be capable of 8-10 times the graphic capabilities of current-gen games, where we'll see games in 1080p at 60fps.
One last surprise, Taneja also said that he's seen Battlefield 4 and that "it's stunning."
If you're into StarCraft, you will be delighted to know that the latest trailer to StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm is now available and you can check it out below.
I can't wait until we get to the point where these CG trailers are in-game graphics, but what did you think of the trailer overall? I'm not a StarCraft fan at all, but I know the power that the franchise has, and it is unstoppable. Leave your thoughts on the trailer in our comments section below!
I'm pretty excited about the PlayStation 4, mainly because it's going to give the PC a much needed injection of next-gen games instead of sub-par ports. Ubisoft were asked what they wanted the PlayStation 4 to be like, with Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot telling Kotaku last week:
Because we've been in the industry for a while, what happens generally - before creating the specs and creating the machine - the manufacturers come to us and say, 'What do you want on the next one?'
Ubisoft's reply was something we all wanted to hear, with some of us expecting it:
We want social, we want all the things that exist on PC to be possible on a console. We want the mobile capacities to play short-term and to play from anywhere you want.
EA pushing cross-platform 'single identity' system, prepares for next-gen consoles, PC and Mac platform integration
EA has sat down with VentureBeat to talk about a future of gaming with EA under a single identity across multiple platforms, even if that platform is Xbox 360, iOS, or Mac. This move will see EA follow gamers across all platforms, where they can track their activity and even move into new business models that would better target consumers. EA's chief technology officer, Rajat Taneja, said:
Our strategic vision at EA is to create a single backend system so that we can truly embrace the secular trends in our industry that are creating massive growth for games. And we will be able to embrace all of the new business models that come with that.
All of this is the work of 1500 engineers, and more than 18 months of pure time. It's all part of a major investment that EA chief executive John Riccitiello has made, in order to help the company bridge from being just a game publisher, to a multi-platform digital games company.
I think it was all inevitable - EA doing this, will only see gamers embraced instead of fenced off in their respective platforms. Being able to game on the Xbox or PlayStation, and then quickly jump up and get on the bus or train for school or work, and continue gaming under that identity on your smartphone or tablet, is going to be great - for everyone.
You might not know who Respawn Entertainment are right now, but in a few months time, I'm sure they're going to blow most of our minds away with some next-gen first-person shooter. Vince Zampella and Jason West are the brains behind Respawn Entertainment, the two guys who were the co-founders of Infinity Ward - the developer behind Call of Duty.
Zampella told the world Respawn was attending E3 2013 through his Twitter account, where he said "I've gotten a 'few' questions about @e3expo plans this year. Yes, we will finally be at E3!" There's no details on what we should expect to see, but I think we should get ready for some mind-blowing next-gen FPS on the next-gen consoles and PC. The time for gaming to really change is here, and with the guys who bought us the first, and arguably best Call of Duty titles, we should be nothing but excited right now.
Sony has confirmed that all PlayStation 4 games will be available as digital downloads. This is part of Sony's push to the cloud and will reduce the costs to game manufacturers as they don't have to produce CDs. Shuhei Yoshida, Worldwide Studios President at Sony, confirmed the details.
We're shifting our platform more and more to the digital side - PS4 will be similar to PS Vita in that every game will be available as a digital download, and some will also be available as a disc.
It's very possible that this cloud push could result in smaller titles not being available in physical form in countries where broadband internet is widely available. We'll know more once the console actually launches around holiday 2013.
One of the original Xbox launch titles was Project Gotham Racing, something I thoroughly enjoyed alongside the original Halo, but Microsoft have put it in the pit stops permanently, until now it seems. Just weeks before we expect the next-generation Xbox to be unveiled, Microsoft have renewed their trademark for Project Gotham Racing.
Trademarkia is the source, and the trademark covers "computer programs, namely, game software for use on computers and video game players" and was registered back in 2001 before the first game launched. This is just business, the renewing of trademarks, but weeks before the next-gen Xbox unveiling has rumors circling that we could expect a next-gen PGR from Lucid Games, now wouldn't that be exciting?