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EA's Frank Gibeau has said some good things about the future of PC gaming, as strongly as saying that he sees the PC platform as possibly being the biggest market for EA over the coming years.
He said to Gamasutra that 'The use base is gigantic, PC retail may be a big problem, but PC downloads are awesome.' With the recent success we've seen with Steam, this comes as no surprise - it's just good to hear from someone in the market who isn't whinging about piracy on PC. EA has also said that Battlefield: Heroes is doing very, very well with 368, 241 new users every month on the PC alone and now have over 7 million registered users since launch. The free-to-play title shows that it can do very well in the PC world.
Microsoft's latest press-release is out and with it comes the news of 10 million Kinect sensors being sold and over 10 million Kinect games sold since launch. With the news Microsoft is now able to proudly hold their chest high as they've broken a Guinness World Record: Kinect for Xbox 360 is the Fastest Selling Consumer Electronics Device.
Guinness World Records officially named the Kinect for Xbox 360 the fastest selling consumer electronics device after the smashing success that Microsoft has seen with the Kinect. Personally? I'm waiting for some games to really take advantage of it... but, kudos, Microsoft.
Before I was distracted by the AR.Drone cage's techno music at GDC last week, I spent some time at the 3dvia booth. I must have been in the French section of GDC, as 3dvia is part of Dassault Systèmes.
I was initially attracted to their augmented reality promotional game demo on the outside of their booth. There was a French Cereal Box resting, unattended beneath an external-camera-equipped flatscreen. Recognizing the giant AR marker on the back of the box, I lifted it to the camera to see what I was going to get. As I had expected, an interactive augmented reality game materialized on the screen in front of me. What appeared to be a cereal mascot seemed to be trapped on the right side of the box, standing on top of a spring. A marble rolled back and forth idly at the top left as my hand moved the box slightly. Tilting the box either way moved the marble, so I experimented. The object was to collect a series of wispy white light orbs positioned throughout the plinko style drop down "maze", and upon collecting them the spring jettisoned the mascot sprite outside the box where it did a little dance and offered to let me Rejouer.
I find this one a bit strange, Microsoft are only hiring people now for work on the next-gen Xbox? Surely they'd have R&D constantly going before the Xbox 360 was even finished, but anyway, on with the news. Microsoft has reportedly begun recruiting hardware engineers to work on the next-gen console.
Microsoft have yet to have confirmed the news, but have advertised three job positions on LinkedIn with each position looking for people to work on designing new console architectures. The roles currently being advertised include Graphics Hardware Architect, Senior Architect and Performance Engineer for the Xbox Console Architecture Group and Senior Hardware Design Verification Engineer. Quite the mouthful.
Dragon Age II launched today in North America and BioWire has decided to surprise PC gamers with a download of a high-resolution texture patch which adds an option to enable higher detail replacements for most textures in the game.
Obviously a beefy PC would be required, but it's nice to have the PC version having something over the console releases. To take advantage of the high-resolution textures, you'll need to have a video card with at least 1GB of memory. BioWire has also noted that most of the benefits from the high-res textures will only be seen when running the game in DirectX 11 mode.
GDC was all about the 3D engines and games- and none was so impressive as Crytek's passive 3D engine. I demoed at least 5 different passive and active 3D engines, and Crytek's shined more than any of them.
The Crytek section looked like a scene from Risky Business: GDC with all of the dudes wearing the Real 3D glasses, both spectating and playing. The camera really doesn't do it justice, but the 3D here is top of the line. And it would have to be, as the Crytek demo area was crowded from beginning to end of Friday's Expo.
Part of that is undoubtedly due to Crysis 2's environment within the game. Unlike a lot of FPS's these days, the surroundings in Crysis 2 are very subdued, and reactive rather than constantly shifting and moving. The player is immersed almost seamlessly within the action because of how easily accessible it is. Though the gameplay is enhanced, there are few 3D gimmicks here (flying random projectiles, unnecessary "gotcha" pop-ups, etc), which sets it apart from much of the 3D media out on the market now (Don't get me wrong, I know it was absolutely imperative that the Justin Beiber movie was in 3D).
The AR.Drone by Parrot might be the coolest video game ever, if you can even call it that. Imagine for a second that you could take the external camera on your iPhone and fly it around your backyard. Or your neighbor's backyard. Or have it follow you while you're on the 21 Bus going down Market Street in San Francisco. Now make the camera a bad-ass insectoid quadracopter. That's the AR.Drone.
While I was checking out 3dvia's 3D game development engine, I couldn't help but notice some reverberating techno dance music. I looked to my left and noticed the following:
Maybe it was the music, maybe it was the giant cage- I had to go check it out. I had heard a lot about the AR.Drone previously, but never seen it in person. I experience a moment of eager child-like euphoria as I realized there was no line, just spectators, and that I would be able to fly it like one of those annoying kiosk dudes in every mall in America- but I just as soon realized that they weren't allowing attendees to try it out. I spoke to the rep in French for a bit (no big deal) and he explained to me that the Moscone Center wireless was too spotty to let people test it out, and they had the Drone on automatic pilot. Damn you Moscone Center!
It seems a little late, but I'll be posting wrap up reviews and cool things we found on the Expo floor at last week's GDC, including video and more photos.
The Nintendo section was almost entirely devoted to showcasing the new 3DS. The active 3D engine was pretty impressive, and the 3DS has an adjustment slide that lets the user decide how much he or she enjoys it or finds it necessary (which for the most part, I didn't). No offense to the good people at Nintendo, I just find active 3D disorienting and just a tad bit gimmicky. Luckily, the 3DS didn't sacrifice or slack on any of the other features in the wake of 3D, and all I saw at the booth were wide eyes and smiles. My own eyes and smile were added to that mix when I tried out two of the augmented reality games that come preloaded on the system. Nintendo uses marker-based AR technology to run their games, launching the AR experiences from a small card (cARd? No? Okay, I'll stop) bearing the familiar Nintendo Question Mark logo. The user orients the 3DS camera toward the card until it recognizes it, and then a variety of things happen depending on what game you're playing.
Owners of Bulletstorms "Epic Edition" get access to the Gears of War 3 beta coming on April 18 - those without Bulletstorm get access on April 25 if they pre-order Gears of War 3 at GameStop in either standard, limited or "epic" edition form.
The beta wraps up on May 15 giving players a month of multiplayer thrashing, there's a tonne of content to unlock in the beta. Below is a list of what is able to be unlocked to those who have access to the GoW3 beta.
Rovio has been enjoying their sky-rocketing success lately and have TV/movie spin-offs happening but also a new 'collaborative' Facebook game coming out. Currently the PS3 has a version of Angry Birds out on the PSN with Wii and 360 getting their shot soon.
The Facebook version, "there will be completely new aspects to it that just haven't been experienced in any other platform," said studio boss Mikael Hed, who confirms that due to the social site's 'collaborative nature', "the pigs will have a more prominent role". Launching in a few days is "Angry Birds Rio" which is a tie-in with a Fox movie and swaps the evil pigs for monkeys.