Never let it be said the life of a videogame developer is easy. In an interview with Develop Online, Bioware founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk talked about what they've been up to lately and a handful of other topics, but one of the most interesting answers came when asked what disappoints them about the games industry today.
"There's too many games released today," Muzyka complained. "It's interesting, because it's very, very busy, it makes it very hard as a player to keep up. The releases clump up -- even though that is changing a little bit.
"For us, we have to play our games, play competitor's games, play other relevant games, and play the handful of games we just really want to play more of and finish. I try and play two or three hours a night, but that's hard it's not enough."
Rough life, eh? You can read the full interview here.
Millions of Android users have now had a chance to see what all the fuss is about surrounding Angry Birds, the popular mobile app previously only available via Apple's App Store and Ovi. Since launching in the Android Market, Angry Birds has racked up 7 million downloads on the open source platform, Rovio confirmed in a Twitter post.
If you're an Android user, you have reason to gloat. Angry Birds is a 99 cent app for the iPhone and iPod touch, and $2.99 on the iPad. But on Android, it's free. The reason?
That leaves the Windows Phone 7 platform, but don't get your hopes up for a 2010 release. When asked if it's going to happen, the Twitter-happy company responded, "never say never, but it's highly unlikely."
You wouldn't think we'd need to post a PSA warning people against eating their World of Warcraft Authenticator, but it just so happens that's exactly what one gamer did.
"I was sitting in my chair and biting into my authenticator while thinking about several RP related story arcs that I have planned," a WoW player wrote on the game's official forums. "I swivel around in my chair and presume to fall off it and shoot the authenticator into my mouth and down my throat.
"I have drank some of that stuff that makes you vomit, but I'm apparently resistant to a whole bottle of it. I am curious on what I should do."
Whether or not he was whoring for attention, we don't know, but he did get some solid advice. "Get off the Internet and call medical services," one poster replied. "I would recommend chewing gum over authenticators. If you're feeling like something more like food, apples work well also," another poster commented.
Researchers from the Department of Psychology at the Yale University School of Medicine in West Haven, Connecticut, surveyed 4,028 adolescents about "gaming and reported problems with gaming and other health behaviors." A little over half (51.2 percent) reported gaming, and of those nearly a third (29.2 percent) were girls.
Nothing surprising so far, but get this:
"There were no negative health correlates of gaming in boys and lower odds of smoking regularly; however, girls who reported gaming were less likely to report depression and more likely to report getting into serious fights and carrying a weapon to school," according to the survey.
What's more, 4.9 percent of respondents reported "problematic gaming," which the survey defines as trying to cut back, experiencing an irresistible urge to play, and experience a growing tension that can only be relieved by playing.
We do, however, have to the give the study's authors credit for not making any wild claims about violence in videogames or twisting the results of the survey.
"The prevalence of problematic gaming is low but not insignificant, and problematic gaming may be contained within a larger spectrum of externalizing behaviors," the study concludes. "More research is needed to define safe levels of gaming, refine the definition of problematic gaming, and evaluate effective prevention and intervention strategies."
Trying to track down a list of “five game mods you must download right now” is a lot like trying to choose your five top games of all time. Sure, your list might be impressive—maybe even awesome—but you’re still going to get a heap of contenders sobbing in the corner at your refusal to acknowledge their almost-noteworthy existences. And nobody likes bawling boxed titles.
So let that be a warning to you, fun-loving gamer who continues to read this article. I’m covering freeware game modifications this time around—freeware, obviously, because I doubt your average enthusiast is going to risk the wrath of a developer’s fury because he or she is selling blood, sweat, and tears in the form of a $5 game add-on. As well, I’m not just looking at maps, or other whip-dip little tweaks. I’m talking about huge transformations that range from, “making this game playable in the modern era” to “wow, I want to go back and revisit this title because it is now sweet.”
I’m paraphrasing, of course. But you get the idea.
But as I mentioned, narrowing down to a list of five is near-impossible. So if you don’t have an affinity for the Infinity Engine (including Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment), Sins of a Solar Empire, Fallout 3, TIE Fighter/X-Wing Alliance, or Half-Life 2… you might want to sit this one out. Otherwise, let’s get real.
Jon Jacobs spent five years managing a virtual space station in Entropia Universe, a Swedish-made MMORPG in which gamers can purchase in-game currency and convert it back to real-world dollars at a fixed exchange rate. So how did that work out for Jacobs? Really well, apparently. All told, Jacobs cashed out with $635,000 by selling his in-game properties, the largest chunk being a $335,000 slice of real estate.
If that sounds insane, well, that's because it is. So much so that Forbes went and tracked down the dude who shelled out well over a quarter of a million dollars for virtual property. His name is Yan Panasjuk, and according to Forbes, all the funds came out of his own pocket. So why do it?
"When motion pictures were first invented there were a lot of critics saying that is a novelty act and it would never amount to anything nor will be able to make any real money once the novelty wears off -- last time I checked Avatar grossed $2.7 billion worldwide," Panasjuk explained to Forbes in an email. "Most recent example is MTV and Internet but then you know those stories well enough. Virtual Universe is the next logical step in world entertainment and although there are a lot of critics and people shaking heads it is here to stay and take its ranks among the greats."
Maybe he's on to something. Before selling off his virtual property, which was called "Club Neverdie," Jacobs was making $200,000 a year from sales of virtual goods and services.
Mafia II’s got a script that’s probably as thick as four phonebooks, but the phrase we uttered most while playing the game was, “So close.” Over and over, it’s all we could think as we watched the game grasp at greatness, only to latch onto big old handfuls of disappointment. Unfortunately, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and last we checked, our copy of Mafia II was neither neighing nor exploding in our faces. (We’re kind of thankful about that last one.)
Mafia II sees you take on the role of Vito Scaletta, a young Italian immigrant who’s fresh off the front lines of World War II. Or rather, he’s on permanent leave, thanks to a buddy of questionable moral fiber who pulled a few strings. Long story short, Vito dives right into the deep end of organized crime—mostly because he wants money and hates dirtying his hands with menial labor. Seriously. See, here’s the thing: Vito’s kind of an a-hole.
Sony plans to launch a "Titanium Blue" PlayStation 3 console later this month to promote the release not of a new Smurfs game, but of Gran Turismo 5, Nexus404.com reports.
"The date is locked in: Gran Turismo 5 will go on sale throughout North America on Wednesday, November 24th," Sony announced in a blog post. "That means you'll be experiencing over 1,000 cars, including karts and select NASCAR cars, scores of tracks, the all-new Course Maker, a dynamic weather system, a robust online community, and everything else Gran Turismo 5 has to offer in less than two weeks."
As for the blue console, that will be part of the Gran Turismo Racking Pack bundle, albeit available only in Japan (at least initially) for around $435.
It seems like so long ago that we were skeptical Steam could get us to stop bitching about DRM and provide a viable distribution system that both publishers and game players could live with. Well, we're not finished groaning about DRM, but there's no denying Steam does what it's supposed to, and does it well. Perhaps too well.
According to U.K.'s weekly gaming rag MCV, some retailers are threatening to ban games that integrate the Steam service on fears that Steam has a monopoly on the download market.
"If we have a digital service, then I don't want to start selling a rival in-store," said the head of one of U.K.'s biggest gamers retailers. "Publishers are creating a monster -- we are telling suppliers to stop using Steam in their games."
A purportedly big-name digital service provider backed up those remarks, saying "At the moment the big digital distributors need to stock games with Steam. But the power resides with brick and mortar retailers, they can refuse to stock these titles. Publishers are hesitant, but retail must put pressure on them."
Should retailers be concerned that selling games with Steam baked in only pushes users towards buying games through Valve online, or is this just another 'wambulance' call?
Two men toting hand guns walked into a Baltimore area Gamestop and stole 100 copies of Call of Duy: Black Ops the night before it launched, according to a report in The Baltimore Sun.
The robbery took place just as Gamestop employees were getting ready to lock up and head home. That's when two men wielding semi-automatic handguns barged in an stole four cases packed with the Black Ops games, as well as some cash and game consoles. During the heist, two customers walked into the store, who were then led to the storage area (along with the employees) at gunpoint.
Black Ops retails for $60 pop, meaning the two men walked away with over $6,000 in goods and cash. And for you job seekers out there, this is actually the second time a Hartford County Gamestop store has been robbed in the past three weeks. Just something to think about.