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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.
Blizzard discusses Diablo III hotfixes, secutity, announces that the real-money auction house has been postponed
Blizzard community manager 'Nethaera' has posted on the official Diablo III forums, talking about some of the problems and concerns from the Diablo III community, and how the company plan to handle some of the post-launch issues so that players can continue slaying demons and more in Diablo III.
Blizzard have applied various hotfixes to Diablo III since the launch of the game that address gameplay issues, as well as tweaks to improve service stability, and performed occasionally server maintenance when necessary to ensure that in the long-term, players have the best gameplay experience possible. But, the fixes won't stop there, Nethaera has said that sometime next week we should expect a game update in the form of a patch that will address client issues, as well as additional bug fixes.
One of the big shockers from this post is the delay of the real-money auction house. It was previous delayed from May 22 to May 29, but has now been delayed beyond this date. Blizzard want to ensure that everyone has the "smoothest experience possible when the real-money auction house launches", citing that they need more time to iron out the existing general stability and gameplay issues before a feature like that goes live. Blizzard haven't given a date for this yet.
Bungie's next game is an MMO style sci-fi FPS 'Destiny', arrives next year on the Xbox 360 and next-gen Xbox 720
Ah, Bungie. Fresh from the Halo titles, their next game 'Destiny' is, er, destined, to launch next year initially on the Xbox 360, and the next-gen Xbox, according to the developer's contract with new publisher, Activision. The contract was made public as part of the lawsuit between Activision and Call of Duty creators, Jason West and Vince Zampella.
The contract unveils that Bungie are signed to make up to four "sci-fantasy, action shooter games" in the Destiny universe, every other year from autumn 2013 to 2019. Bungie won't stop there, they will also make four downloadable expansions packs codenamed Comet every other year from autumn 2014 up to 2020.
The document does reveal some very interesting information about, not only do we know how many Destiny titles are coming, but it states the next Xbox as "Xbox 720". This should be considered unofficial confirmation of Microsoft's next-generation console, and if I had to predict, it should be here next year. Destiny will be sold in shops, be boosted with DLC, subscriptions, and micro-transactions. Activision and Bungie are considering a PlayStation 3 port for 2014.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick had some interesting comments during his speech on the company's fourth quarter earnings call yesterday, where he said that transitions to new a hardware cycle can create challenges for some publishers and opportunities for others. Zelnick expects to fall into the opportunity category.
Zelnick also said that those with strong technology, strong owned intellectual property and top talent thrive in a new console cycle, and he believes that is what Take-Two is made up of, but not many of its competitors, he says "we expect to be at the front of the line". Now, let's talk numbers, this was an earnings call after all.
The company saw a net revenue of $148.1 million this quarter, compared to $182.3 million to the same time last year, a drop of close to $34 million. For the entire year, Take-Two's net loss was $108.8 million, when compared to 2011, where they made a profit of $48 million. Zelnick says:
While our financial results were disappointing, the decisions we made position Take-Two for growth and profitability both this year and over the long-term.