Gaming News - Page 1852
Blizzard has changed their StarCraft 2 demo and morphed it into the StarCraft II: Starter Edition. The new demo has been revamped and removes the time restrictions that plagued the original demo which means you can play the same missions over and over again if you wish. Multiplayer is there in some form, with the new Starter Edition capable of using the StarCraft II AI and allows you to take on the Skynet-like AI in a quarter of the full games maps.
A detailed run down of what is included in the new Starter Edition:
The first four missions of the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single-player campaign, including Mar Sara 1-3 and the choice to embark on Tychus's first mission or Dr. Hansen's first mission.
Gearbox Software has officially announced the development of the sequel to Borderlands. The sequel will be based on the rustic planet of Pandora (Avatar, anyone?) and will have players traversing uncharted lands to discover new "mysteries." As usual at the time of a new game announcement, details are very low but Gearbox are promising to deliver an "ambitiously crafted story" that unfolds alongside new characters, skills, environments, enemies, weapons and equipment.
Wow, I'm pretty sure that's also known as "stating the obvious." If Borderlands 2 follows its previous title, we can expect the same four-player, role-playing, FPS lootfest that the original game made oh-so much fun. Hopefully this time round, the PC version is at least worked on. The original Borderlands stank of console port, which was very disappointing to say the least.
More information will be available about Borderlands 2 shortly in the form of next month's issue of Game Informer magazine as well as the game being shown off at Gamescon in Cologne, Germany on August 17-18 and finally at PAX Prime on August 26-28. The official release window for Borderlands 2 is slated for Take-Two's 2013 fiscal year which runs from April 1, 2012 through to March 31, 2013.
Smartphones and tablets are edging ever-so-close to the now ageing consoles in terms of capabilities, with the future not looking bright for the old consoles. SoC (System on Chip) creators such as NVIDIA and Qualcomm have some very powerful technology coming out and Qualcomm has gone as far as saying that future SoCs will be capable of beating current-generation consoles such as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in terms of graphics and that we'll see a move from console and PC gaming to mobile-based gaming.
Their vision is to have a device such as a smartphone or tablet based on a high-end SoC, plug it into the wall or tether to a display (either wirelessly or through HDMI) and you've got a portable gaming console. Qualcomm is committed to delivering both the hardware and software support needed to bring developers to these platforms.
Most players in the SoC market are looking at doing this as the smartphone and tablet market expands at what seems to be a never-ending rate. With console sales slowing down, there is no better time for next-generation console announcements from the juggernauts of Microsoft and Sony. The transition from console and PC-based gaming to mobile-based gaming won't happen overnight, as there are too many AAA franchises on the big boy platforms.
Sony have previously said their next-generation portable gaming machine, PlayStation Vita, will launch globally by the end of the year and have said more specifically, that'll it'll be in the fall. Blockbuster have jumped the gun, with IGN nabbing their flier which suggests the PS Vita will hit UK retail shelves on Friday, October 28, 2011. The advertisement suggests that both Vita models will arrive in Europe after two months. Will we see a US or Japan release at the same time? We don't know.
As we can see from the above image (if true), the Vita will be £$229.99 for the Wi-Fi only model, with the 3G & Wi-Fi Vita at £279.99. Pricing doesn't seem too bad considering Sony has promised a PlayStation 3-level experience, as the Vita sports a quad-core ARM Cortex A9 processor with a multi-core PowerVT SGX543MP4 graphics chip that is four times as fast as the PSP. The Vita will come with a 5-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 950x544, two micro-analog sticks to simulate the Dual Shock experience, front and rear-facing cameras, as well as a two-finger multitouch pad on the back of the Vita unit.
Sony is hoping that the front and rear touch screens will offer new three dimension-like motion gameplay experiences never before seem on any device through "touch, grab, trace, push and pull" finger motions. A Sixaxis equivalent with a gyroscope and accelerometer is also available to let players control games by moving and tilting the Vita itself.
Blizzard have released some drips of information for their upcoming keyboard/mouse-thrashing RPG, Diablo 3. First off, Diablo 3 will be online-only, Blizzard believe that a high number of users have access to permanent internet connections anyway, and even though piracy was a concern it was not "a deciding factor" in making the decision. Blizzard instead claim that internet connectivity will be necessary due to a cache of Battle.net features that complement the game.
Things like persistent character saving server-side and the possibility of opting in/out of co-op play, persistent friends list, party system and matchmaking, the game's achievement system, and an auction house system that will allow real world currency to purchase items. Blizzard is not planning on selling any items directly through the auction house, instead, they'll let players list items for which they will charge a fixed fee.
The point of this is, real money auctions will be allowed along with in-game gold and normal item trade. Players will be allowed to rock up at the auction house at any time, with instant transactions of nearly everything, inclusive of characters themselves. Finally, Diablo 3 will not include support for bots or mods which Blizzard say is for a "variety of gameplay and security reasons."
This is something I have covered in my editorials, forums and Facebook, that games should be created and developed on the much more powerful PC platform and scaled down to consoles that are no way near as fast. Instead of being developed on ageing hardware and then ported across to PC where they don't scale up in graphics or use DX11 properly, or multi-GPU setups properly, etc.
DICE have come out and said that the biggest difference between the PC and console versions are shown in the multiplayer side of things, down from 64 players on PC to just 24 on consoles. DICE studio head, Patrick Bach says:
The biggest difference between the PC and console version of Battlefield 3 is that we have 64 players on PC and 24 players maximum on console. The rest is more or less the same: we use the same engine, the same technology, the same animation system, the same lighting system. Our aim is to give the player the exact same experience and not try to dumb down the console version. If you want the same quality of game, I would say it's really, really hard. We tried to get more players in [to the console version] but then you need to scale down all the graphics, scale down all the destructibility, and sometimes you need to scale down all the map sizes. Everything is a compromise on: where do you cut?
A report from a meeting between GameStop and financial research firm Baird is suggesting that (sob) Battlefield 3 will not be making its way to Steam. According to Develop, the key quote from the report that comes directly from the GameStop executives is "the upcoming EA title Battlefield 3 will be sold as a download through GameStop, but not through Steam."
This is on top of the news from a little while ago now that EA published a list of retailers for Battlefield 3 in which Steam was missing. Other digital download sites such as Gamersgate, Direct2Drive and EA's own Origin were on the list. Another GameStop executive also told Develop that Battlefield 3 will be coming to digital retailers other than GameStop. This look as though Steam is just being ignored.
Remember, Crysis 2 was removed from Steam which was apparently due to a hissy fit over a DLC exclusivity agreement with Direct2Drive. EA also announced just recently that Mass Effect 3 will get its own Origin-exclusive pre-order bonuses as well as Star War: The Old Republic only being available through EA's Origin.
After numerous rumors and hearsay, EA have announced an agreement to acquire PopCap Games. The transaction is expected to close next month subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. The deal includes EA pay approximately $650 million in cash and $100 million in shares of EA common stock to be issued to certain stockholders of PopCap.
PopCap employees roughly 400 people and makes casual digital games for mobile phones, tablets, PCs and social networking sites. Their games include smash-hit titles such as Plants Vs. Zombies, Bejeweled and Zuma. PopCap Games is a Seattle-based company which has more than 150 million games installed and played worldwide on a range of platforms: the Web, PC, Mac, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Zeebo, Cell Phones, PDAs, iPod Classic, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android.
Last year, PopCap made over $100 million in revenue. EA CEO John Riccitiello said in a statement:
I was going to post this yesterday but the sources for this news were not what I would deem trustworthy. The news has popped up again that Microsoft might be including Xbox 360 compatibility in Windows 8. This would mean that anyone who purchases Windows 8 (and has a minimum requirement in hardware) should be capable of running Xbox 360 games! This is obviously a very, very bold move by Microsoft and if true, could really shake up the entire gaming industry.
As you can see from the above picture, in the Windows 8 source code is a line with "XBOX360_SYSTEM_CRASH", gee, I wonder what that could be for. If you look at the source (Engadget) and its comments, most people don't understand why this would be beneficial. Well, let's look at it this way. Microsoft have 400 million Windows 7 licenses out in the wild, 50 million plus Xbox 360 users and hundreds of millions of other customers who may not yet be on either platform.
The biggest thing to remember, is Microsoft are set to launch a next-generation console, if they do so by holiday season 2012 it would be a huge coup for them. The way I see it is, they could market by holiday season this year, until the launch of Windows 8 that Xbox 360 games will be compatible. It'll drum up unimaginable business and amazing PR for them. Once it launches, they could announce the next-gen Xbox at E3 2012 and release in holiday season later that year.
With Nintendo releasing their next-generation console next year in the form of the Wii U, it must be making Sony and Microsoft shake in their boots. Their consoles are getting old, cannot handle AAA titles in 1080p and are beginning to age, fast. With the underdog (in terms of hardware) coming out with a next-gen solution, it seems Sony are already looking at the PS4 for a possible 2012 release.
Taiwanese component makers have told DigiTimes that Sony are prepping a new home console for a 2012 release, which will feature body-movement controls ala Microsoft's Kinect. Unexpected? Well, yes... after the time, sweat, tears and money into their Move technology, it's a strange move indeed. The report states that both Foxconn and Pegatron Technology will assemble the PS4 for Sony, as they did with the PS3.
Sources told DigiTimes that the PlayStation 4 will go into production at the end of the year for a 2012 launch, with rumors that Sony will pump out 20 million PS4 consoles for 2012. Launching in 2012 has its benefits and draw backs. Draw backs are the US economy, yes it's bad, but people are still buying tech. Apple haven't slowed in sales, they've grown. Release a great product and people will find the money to buy it.