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Mass Effect 3 is set to be one of this years biggest titles, and with EA's new Origin digital distribution service to kick-start it, it should be a big change for the game itself. Little did I know, that a PC demo had arrived for Mass Effect 3.
So now that the excitement is building for the demo you've just found out about, how about I throw you another surprise? On the 17th of this month, the multi-player gets unlocked and lets you try it out however you want. Wait, there's more! If you have a Battlefield 3 online pass activated you can play it, well, right now!
I'm not able to test it right now, but if you're keen to try it out, comment below and let us know your thoughts on the game! Graphics! Sound! Acting, gameplay, mechanics, all of it. Remember that Mass Effect 3 launches with four-player co-operative play. Something that old-school PC gamers will enjoy.
Grab the demo, here.
Our Mobile App of the Day is TapSplosion for Windows Phone 7.
TapSplosion is the game that the Windows Phone 7 platform has been waiting for, and now it's even better, with Achievements! With fast, frantic and addictive gameplay you just have to try it for yourself.
In TapSplosion, you tilt your phone to control the player and tap the screen to place explosions in that position. You have to battle an oncoming enemy hoard which is constantly increasing in size and complexity and always tracking you down. If one of these enemies touches you, you will explode and it's game over for you! You get points based on combo kills, time alive and number of enemies on the screen and you can submit your score to global leaderboards and compete with other players from around the world!
Grab it from the Windows Marketplace directly on your Windows Phone 7 device, or here.
[UPDATE] And we're good! We're good people! Amendments will be made to the Classification Act 1995 and Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and will roll through in January 2013. I cannot believe this actually happened, and this shows the power of the people, and the Internet. When they work together, they can really push through new things!
News from last month told us that the new Federal Minister for Home Affairs, Jason Clare, had announced his intentions to stick to former Federal Minster for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor's previous plans in regards to the introduction of an R18+ adult classification for video games in Australia.
Clare stated that he would follow O'Connor's decision to introduce the R18+ bill in the February 2012 session of parliament. Well, it's February 2012, and here we are. Clare has stayed true to his word, with news arriving today that the R18+ legislation has been cleared by the Federal Parliamentary Caucus of the Australian Labor Party in its meeting in Canberra, and is now ready to be introduced in parliament.
Celebrations? Well, not quite. Federal parliament resumed just over a week ago on February 7, and in order for the R18+ bill to be passed through the Lower House (House of Representatives), Clare's office says it requires the support of at least two crossbench MP's.
Next-gen consoles and next-gen graphics engines are something that I have quite close to my heart. It's something I think needs to really evolve. I see the AAA gaming market as something that is stuck inside of a bubble.
The cause of that bubble? Consoles. I've covered this a fair bit in a few of my editorials, where I've talked about smartphones and tablets getting close to, and will eventually pass the power in current-gen consoles. Once this happens, consoles will have a hard time selling, unless we see next-gen consoles.
The previous generation of consoles teased "Full HD gaming", but delivered sub-HD gaming. Most AAA titles run at a resolution lower than 1280x720 and at frame rates less than 30fps. Of course, there are some games that run at either slightly higher resolutions, or slightly higher frame rates, but never both. We don't see games like Halo, Gears of War, Uncharted or Metal Gear Solid running at 1080p with 30fps.
Enter Unreal Engine 4.
This is something that's been needed to happen for years now, but it seems as though Microsoft's Windows Store will obviously include downloadable apps, where the Xbox and Windows brands will finally merge into one ultimate champion of awesomeness.
There was a list of recent Xbox Live games that The Verge reported on, that would be made available to purchase within the Windows 8 Consumer Preview version. Sources have now confirmed with The Daily that these games will be set within Windows' first Xbox-branded portal, instead of the older "Games for Windows" platform. This will now completely integrate Xbox functionality, including achievements and friends lists, and will look like the recent Xbox Live app for iPad in terms of design.
The preview version of Windows 8 will sell older games, but sources are saying that some games currently in development for Xbox Live will be deliberately delayed to launch with Windows 8 in September. Names of these games have not yet been revealed, but sources are saying that they're a mix of "casual and hardcore" games, some of which have already been announced as future Xbox Live-based titles.
Valve's Steam has had quite the press lately, last year they announced Steam Guard, which featured increased security for gamers, but in November of last year, we reported that Steam confirmed they had been hacked. This was after the Steam Forums went down for "maintenance".
This year, Valve released Steam for Mobile, which was a step in a different direction, and then just a few days ago confirmed that last year's hack was actually worse than previously thought. So as you can see, they're having a hard time.
Our Mobile App of the Day is Live Holdem Poker Pro for Android.
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Tim Sweeney, Epic CEO and Technical Director spoke at the 2012 D.I.C.E. Summit, where he predicted that the number of platforms for games will shrink to three or four over time. He also added that consumer have many choices when it comes to gaming platforms with tablets, PCs, smartphones, Macs, consoles and new handhelds. He adds:
This is too many platforms. We're seeing now iPad sales have surpassed the sales of PCs. This is a real revelation, this is a product that wasn't invented until a few years ago and its basically supplanting personal computers. Over time these platforms will be whittled down to a competing set of platforms to maybe three winners worldwide across everything - computers, game platforms, smartphones...We should expect a lot of consolidation here and winners and losers according to who picks the right directions and executes successfully.
Sweeney also predicted that there would be new devices on the market, as well as new technologies for developers to tap into:
I see a bright future for technology and its implications on games. The ability of game developers to exploit another thousand-fold increase in computing power on future generations of platforms. Some of it will be consoles, some of it PC and some of it tablets. The form factor we can't predict, but the opportunity is there. Our industry's brightest days are yet to come.
Well, to celebrate the release of Skyrim's new freshly-baked Creation Kit on Valve's Steam, Bethesda and the creators of Portal have joined forces and released an official mod for Skyrim. THis brings Portal 2's Space Core to Skyrim, how exciting!
To celebrate the opening of the Steam Workshop for Skyrim, Valve and Bethesda have teamed up to bring you the Portal 2 Space Core mod, which will let the aggressively space-centric little robot tag along on your adventures in Tamriel.
Also, since Skyrim was the only major release of 2011 without Nolan North in it, you should consider this mod a patch to fix that problem. You can now feel free to include Skyrim in the "Nolan North" section of your video game library, which is to say, your video game library.
This is how you keep your fans happy on both sides of the fence, Valve and Bethesda, FTW.
Hawken. If you haven't heard of it, take a look at some official gameplay videos of it below, where you can get a taste for the robot-stomping FPS title. Hawken is currently in development by indie developer Adhesive Games, a Los Angeles-based developer.
Beta signups are now open, and a release date is now known: 12-12-12. On top of this, Hawken will launch as a free-to-play model, which is even better news. If you want to strap into the beta, head on over to PlayHawken.com, and if you can get three people to themselves sign up through your referral link, you'll get access to reserve your callsign in advance.
Adhesive CEO, co-founder and creative director, Khang Le, said in an announcement:
Hawken is a passion project for myself and the whole Adhesive team; giving it away for free is icing on the cake.