In a world full of fast cars, dangerous characters, and other fast cars, someone's bound to get left behind. In the case of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, that “someone” is unfortunately you, Mr. John Q PC Gaming Aficionado. (Perhaps they were intimidated by your excessively lengthy name?)
“Hey all, unfortunately we will not be releasing Need for Speed Hot Pursuit PDLC for the PC. While we are certainly committed to providing the best possible game experience and ongoing support for our PC community, (as you have already noted) we have a limited amount of resources that makes it so that we are unable to deliver new content to all platforms,” a poster from developer Criterion wrote on the game's official forums.
Fortunately, he also gave some vague (but nonetheless appreciated) assurance, adding that “on the positive side we do have more updates and content on the way for PC players--look for news very soon.”
EA Mobile, a division of Electronic Arts, is raring to go on the Windows Phone 7 platform and has announced the first batch of EA games to ship on WP7 devices this fall. EA's titles will be Xbox LIVE enabled, allowing users to track and share scores with leaderboards, unlock Achievements, add to their Gamerscore, and communicate with other Xbox Live users across the Xbox 360, PC, and WP7.
"Our collaboration with Microsoft brings EA’s world-class catalog of global game franchises to Windows Phone 7, offering a unique set of gaming features perfectly suited to the deep, innovative experiences we value at EA," said Travis Boatman, vice president of Worldwide Studios for EA Mobile. "We see consumers deeply integrating devices into their lives and entertainment in new ways every day. Challenging your Xbox Live friends to an EA game from the phone in your pocket keeps you connected and having fun no matter where you are."
The first wave of games will include Need for Speed: Undercover, Tetris, The Sims 3, and Monopoly. EA won't be the only publisher to support gaming on the WP7 platform, however. According to Microsoft, EA will be joined by a handful of studios, including Micrsosoft Game Studios, Gameloft, Konami, Namco Bandai, PopCap, and THQ. Microsoft says you can expect new titles each week.
Electronic Arts has finally ported its Scrabble game over to the Kindle, which also happens to be the first premium app of any kind for Amazon's popular eBook Reader. At $4.99, it's exactly $4.99 more than Shuffled Row and Every Word, two addicting word games in their right, but neither of which offer the full Scrabble experience.
The controls are simple -- just use the directional pad to move around, choose a direction, and type out your word. If you're stuck, or a weenie, you can use the Best Word feature to cheat your way to the highest scoring word possible with your combination of letters.
Unfortunately, Electronic Arts didn't tap into the Kindle's Wi-Fi or 3G functionality, and as such, it's impossible to play against friends remotely. There is a Pass N' Play option, though, which is exactly like it sounds.
It's no secret that game publishers and developers typically aren't very fond of GameStop and the used game business in general, but rather than sit around and complain about it, it looks like Electronic Arts has finally found a way to cash in on second-hand titles. Starting in June, EA will block players who buy used copies of sports titles out of online multiplayer.
"It's quite simple -- every game will come with a game-specific, one-time use registration code with each unit sold new at retail," EA explains. "With your Online Pass, you'll have access to multiplayer online play, group features like only dynasty and leagues, user created content, and bonus downloadable content for your game including, for example, a new driver in Tiger."
If you pick up or rent a game where the code has already been registered, you'll be given a 7-day trial, after which time you can choose to purchase a $10 pass. The Online Pass will give online access to multiple users logged into the console where the it was first activated, so on the plus side, you won't need to fork over $10 for every gamer in your household.
"This is an important inflection point in our business because it allows us to accelerate our commitment to enhance premium online services to the entire robust EA SPORTS online community," EA said.
Nothing is set in stone just yet, but according to analyst Michael Pachter, Electronic Arts is planning to charge gamers for what he describes as very long game demos.
"The PDLC would be sold for $10 or $15 through Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, and would essentially be a very long game demo, along the lines of 2009's Battlefield 1943," Pachter explains. "A full-blown packaged game would follow shortly after the release of the PDLC, bearing a full retail price."
The revelation came during an analyst visit to Electronic Arts' Redwood City headquarters, in which Pachter met with EA Group General Manager Nick Earl. According to Pachter, Earl describes the extended demos as a "low-cost marketing tool."
"EA's view is that the PDLC costs a lot less to develop (essentially, it's the first few levels of the full-blown game), and they have the opportunity to fix whatever needs to be fixed in the packaged product that is released a few months later, whether than entails doing more of what people like or doing less of what they don't like," Pachter said. "It sounds like a brilliant strategy to me."
And to us it sounds like paying to beta test a product, which we suppose would be brilliant if EA manages to pull this off.
In addition to squashing a number of bugs and shining up the game’s UI, a recent patch stripped Battlefield Bad Company 2’s Steam version of its – most would say – unneeded SecuROM DRM. After all, Steam’s a big PC gaming platform now. It can take care of piracy protection itself.
Sadly, if you didn’t acquire your copy of the game from Valve’s storefront, consider yourself stuck in the bad company of SecuROM for the time being. But hey, here’s this nice list of changes and upgrades to take your mind off that depressing reality. Better than nothing, we suppose.
After an exceedingly long tour of duty in World War II, EA’s Medal of Honor series has finally that it’s time for a change of scenery. So, where to? Well, we hear modern times are pretty nice this time of year, and evidently, so did EA.
"EA has always been an advocate for telling the soldiers' story. The new Medal of Honor follows that tradition. We felt it was important to tell the story of today's war and today's elite soldiers via today's most relevant medium--videogames," explained EALA general manager Sean Decker. "We are so proud to bring together two powerhouse development teams to make this game a reality; EA Los Angeles and EA DICE. Medal of Honor promises to be an unforgettable entry in the modern shooter genre."
Battlefield developer DICE on multiplayer duty? Yes please.
If you’re afraid EA might be attempting to ape the 800 lb. gorilla that is Activision’s Modern Warfare series, though, fear not. While Modern Warfare has all the trappings of a (good) Michael Bay film, the new Medal of Honor’s shooting for something a bit more grounded in reality.
“Medal of Honor, an all-new first-person shooter game, will introduce the Tier 1 Operator: a relatively unknown entity directly under the National Command Authority who takes on missions no one else can handle. The development team has been working closely with Tier 1 Operators from the US Special Operations Community since the earliest stages of development to create the most authentic modern war experience,” said EA.
Battlefield Heroes, DICE’s “free-to-play” browser-based installment in the Battlefield franchise, has declared war on gamers’ wallets with a recent update. In a nutshell, the update ensures that Valor Points – an earnable in-game currency – get you far less bang for your buck, while all microtransaction-based “Battlefund” price tags have seen a significant reduction.
Whereas before, upping your arsenal on skill alone was a perfectly viable option, now the best weapons are virtually out of you reach unless your outstretched hand contains some cold hard cash. But it can’t be that bad, right? Fans – who’ve officially hit the boiling point on the Outrage-O-Meter – say differently.
"So, 450 VP a day... at a maximum of 7 VP a game, that's 50 games a day. About 4 hours worth of playing," one fan explained. "Now, when you lose a round you can only get 5 VP, making the amount of rounds you need to play each day to keep ONE weapon about 60, which is about 5 hours playtime, every day, for one Uber/Super weapon."
"Now it's impossible for me to play the game for free. I can't even afford the long ranged pistol anymore, let alone bandages. Let me make this clear: now it takes 22 wins for us to earn enough VPs to rent a weapon for a day. If each match is 10 minutes long, that means I'll have to play for 3 hours and a half with a stellar team just to afford the weapon. This is not a casual game. I can't even be a knife + pistol commando anymore," wrote another fan.
To be fair, calling EA’s financial fortunes of late a “disaster” would be charitable, with the publisher ultimately deciding to lay-off 1,500 employees, including Mercenaries developer Pandemic. Our guess? Battlefield Heroes needs to get profitable in a hurry, or else it might be next in line for the chopping block.
At first glance, you might think the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 PC beta’s last-minute leap into early 2010 is just another example of PC gamers getting the shaft. After all, PS3 owners are taking the beta for a spin right now, so what’s the hold up on PC? Well, as it turns out, DICE is merely saving the best for last.
“With the huge success of the PS3 Beta we decided to drastically increase the PC Beta's capacity to insure as many people as possible could participate. Unfortunately this meant we had to delay the Beta to very early next year giving us more planning time to make it happen and implement more optimizations,” producer Gordon VanDyke wrote on the Battlefield blog.
Oh, he is so cruising for a boycot-- wait, what'd he just say?
VanDyke also emphasized that Bad Company 2’s PC iteration will come loaded with an increased multiplayer count, dedicated server support, extra graphical settings, and tons more. Basically, the whole thing’s a spicy love letter to PC gamers, peppered with all the fixings we like best. Is this what it feels like to be… acknowledged?
With Star Wars: The Old Republic making such lofty claims as being the Death Star to World of Warcraft’s Alderaan, many people forget that the upcoming MMO is actually BioWare’s first. Fortunately, the renowned RPG factory is no longer orchestrating the colossal space opera all by its lonesome. “Yeeeehaw,” we can only imagine Mythic screaming, shortly after the two developers’ recent merger. “BioWare, let’s blow this thing and go home!”
“Oh yeah, without a doubt,” BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk told Eurogamer when asked if Mythic would be lending some of its considerable MMO know-how to Star Wars: The Old Republic’s development.
Moreover, Zeschuk added that the two merged-but-still-somehow-independent companies have a lot to gain from swapping notes – not just for The Old Republic, but for Mythic’s games as well.
“I think we always have lots of opinions to share, Ray and I,” he said. “We've both played Warhammer, and actually I've still been playing it on and off for a while, so I think for us it's not too much a popularity boost as just the fact that we can probably bring perspectives to the table that will be new and perhaps helpful to the guys from Mythic in the same way from an online perspective they can certainly share with us.”
And so, the two companies lived happily ever after, developing games about endless slaughter in pursuit of loot and power. *Sniff* Brings a tear to the eye, doesn’t it?