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Valve's Source engine arrived in 2004 and has powered some truly great games such as Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, Counter Strike: Source, and more. Now the game engine is stepping over into movies where it will be used in the upcoming movie 'Deep'.
Deep is a small-budget animated movie, utilising the Source engine as its a low-cost solution for real-time rendering and editing. Thanks to the partnership between the developer and film producer, Deep could be the first movie released on Steam. Deep is an animated film set in the post-apocalyptic landscape of World War III, where the remaining few members of mankind huddle together in abandoned ship hulls, struggling to survive.
Deep has a budget of a shave under $19 million. This could be a step in a very interesting direction for Valve, and Steam.
Nintendo is promoting their view of social interaction using the upcoming WiiU and it is a bit weird. The guy is talking to an action figure, writes off his friend, and calls an old guy using the WiiU video chat. While the WiiU does feature some interesting social networking features, I'm not sure this is the best way to promote them. Take a look for yourself:
It's a bit odd and, quite frankly, has me a bit creeped out. I'm hoping they have a better way of pitching the product at E3 this week, as this is not it. That said, I see the usefulness in being able to post and ask for help with games and the ability to video chat is a nice touch. I'm still not sure about the controller, but will hopefully get to use it at E3.
Valve today announced through a press release that the upcoming DOTA 2 will be a free-to-play title, and in preparation for the DOTA 2's release, also announced the DOTA Store. When the DOTA 2 Store's doors open, it will offer items created by Valve, and members of the community.
These items can be used immediately, and will be carrier over after the public launch of DOTA 2. Early access to the game isn't required in order to purchase items before the launch. Gamers may, however, get into the game now by purchasing the DOTA 2 Early Access Bundle of items. IceFrog, design lead on DOTA 2 says:
The opening of the Dota Store is a big part of our final push to launch. With support for the Steam Workshop, the majority of the items made available on day one were created and being sold by members of the community. By making the game Free to Play, we hope to give gamers the ability to decide how - and how much - they want to invest in the game.
DOTA 2 is slated for release on the PC later this year, and promises to deliver a "unique blend of online RTS and RPG action that has made Dota popular with tens of millions of gamers around the world".
The producers of Far Cry have released a trailer ahead of E3 so that they could advertise the live stream of their press conference. In the video, it shows some pretty good graphics, but these could be pre-rendered which would give them an advantage over actual in-game footage. It doesn't give much of the story away and contains some NSFW language.
Overall, the upcoming game looks pretty good. If you are a Far Cry fan, then you should watch Ubisoft's press conference. It will start June 4 at 3PM PDT and is available on http://www.youtube.com/ubisoft or http://www.uplay.com. This means 6PM for NY, 11PM for London, and June 5 for Paris, Moscow, Tokyo, and Sydney.
We will do our best to bring you the latest Far Cry information from E3 while we are there covering the show. Let us know what you think of the trailer in the comments!
Diablo III has been a massively successful game. It's also been a buggy game which has kept users from being able to play. As such, Blizzard is needing to release patches to fix these issues. The first patch that is coming is version 1.0.2 and launches next week. This patch will focus on service issues and hopefully fix the issues that have kept players from playing.
Players are probably more interested in patch 1.0.3 which is the patch that will bring the first in-game balancing. The patch includes changes to the Inferno difficulty mode, blacksmith changes, and item levels shown on 60+ weapons. The developers feel the Inferno difficulty mode has too much spike damage and want to lower the cost of training blacksmiths.
Player-vs-player has also been delayed and is set to come in patch 1.1. Patch 1.1 isn't just about player killing, however, as it will also bring buffs to legendary items. Along with talking updates, Blizzard has released some stats about Diablo III and its players. Players usually create three characters, 80% of which are between level 1 and 30. Only 1.9% of characters have unlocked Inferno difficulty mode.
Often times job postings give us a view into the future plans of a company. The latest example of this is one of Microsoft's job postings which is pointing towards Skype integration into the upcoming Xbox 720. According to the posting, Microsoft is looking for a London-based Lead Program Manager to bring voice and video services to the Xbox 720.
The posting says: "Skype is working on powering real-time voice and video communications on the Xbox. Xbox is a fundamental lynchpin of Skype's living-room strategy, and we are focused on enabling amazing new in-game and in-console voice and video experiences for the next generation of Xbox. This is a crucial initiative for Xbox, and it is time-critical given the hardware lead times involved."
It's not exactly clear what the Skype integration would entail, but it seems like Microsoft feels this is a pretty big deal for the upcoming Xbox 720. The rumored release date is sometime in 2013, so they have some time to get it right. It could allow others to see user's Kinect motions or to share a celebration after a rough Call of Duty match.
This looks to be the reason for Microsoft's acquisition of Skype. They spent a fortune on Skype, around $8.5 billion, and haven't really done much since. There has been a lackluster Windows Phone app, but aside from that, nothing. It would also be cool if they use Skype to stream the display output of the Xbox 720 to people who want to watch.
Our latest poll had almost 1,700 people who answered gave us their thoughts about Diablo III.
On the positive side 39% were for Diablo III with 19% saying it deserves Game of the year honors and 20% said they are buying it.
However, on the negative side, 40% said that they weren't interested ("meh") and 8% even responded that they don't know what Diablo III is. Finishing up, 12% said they'd rather be playing BF3 or another game. Overall, the results for D3 were not as bad as they could have been, but they were not that positive either.
Minecraft has been phenomenally successful over the time it has entered multiple alpha and beta builds before it even hit version 1.0. But now developer Mojang has continued to update the game, and it is getting close to 30 million registered users.
Minecraft spans quite the assortment of devices, including Android, iOS, and Xbox versions of the game. The Xbox Live activity stats showed that the game was the most popular arcade game last week.
But better than that, Minecraft came in second place among all Xbox Live games, where it only lost to the ever-so-popular Call of Duty franchise. Not too bad for a game that doesn't really amp up the graphics. We're also looking at seeing a Lego tie-in as well, where the officially endorsed Lego Minecraft Micro World being available for pre-order and should hit select shelves this summer.
There's also MineCon, an entire convention dedicated to the game.
Sony wants to show you ads while you're playing on the PlayStation. Or at least that's what a new patent indicates. A sharp-eyed person who goes by the handle onQ13 on NeoGAF spotted the patent on Thursday. The patent is titled "Advertisement Scheme for use with interactive content" and appears to stop the game in order to show an advertisement.
In-game advertising isn't a new idea. Many games feature ads in the environment where one would expect them to be. Common locations for these in-game ads are on vending machines or billboards. Never before, however, has a game actually been stopped in order to show an ad. Nintendo does nag users about taking a break every now and again.
Now, advertising is fine when it is paying for things like broadcast TV, but if a user shells out $60 for a game like Call of Duty, I imagine that user is going to be a bit upset. Additionally, if this is used during multiplayer settings, every user would need to be shown the ad at the same time or the game will be broken beyond repair.
This patent does have uses for free games. Similar to how games are ad supported on iOS and Android, free games on PlayStation could become ad supported. But with the multiplayer issue, users could only be paired with other free users or users would have to be limited to only single player play. It is an interesting idea.
Microsoft and Sony aren't saying much about the release dates for their next-gen consoles. Microsoft has let us know not to expect it at E3 this year, but that is about all they are saying. But thanks to the Activision lawsuit, some confidential agreements have been unsealed and given some possible launch time frames.
A little history behind this lawsuit: former Activision developers sued Activision saying they were owed royalties and bonus checks due to the massive success of the Call of Duty series. Activision countered the claims saying that the developers had breached the contract and thus not due any funds from Call of Duty.
The documents unsealed show a high-profile deal between Activision and Bungie, the developers behind Halo. The deal calls for four games to be developed and released starting in fall of 2013. Dudley, of the Seattle Times, has interpreted this information in an interesting way. The theory is somewhat likely. Here is what he said:
Microsoft hasn't said when the next version of the Xbox will go on sale, but the Bungie contract suggests that it could happen in the 2013 holiday season, with "Destiny" as a key launch title. That would be similar to the way Halo was a cornerstone of the first Xbox launch in November 2001.
Additionally, the documents further say that it will be released for the PlayStation 3 successor in the fall of 2014. Of course, the names could change between now and the release.