It's always refreshing to hear a company that 'gets it,' and Nintendo appears to be one of those outfits. During a recent investor call, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata was given the opportunity to blame piracy as the reason why Nintendo's hardware and software sales haven't met expectations, but he didn't do that.
"Even with piracy, as long as we can create products which can attract attention from many consumers and which can greatly entertain them, that software can make it to the number one position of the hit software sales chart," Iwata explains.
"So, we would like to consider it from both perspectives simultaneously. It is true there is always the influence of piracy, but it is important for us to increase the number of our consumers who are willing to shell out their money to purchase our products."
That doesn't mean Nintendo plans to turn a blind eye to piracy, and according to Iwata, Nintendo is working on ways to "beef up the countermeasures" starting with the 3DS console. Just don't expect Nintendo to go all Crytek on us any time soon.
There are now more World of Warcraft subscribers than there are people living in Ireland, New Zealand, and Jamaica combined. More specifically, the most successful MMORPG of all time now claims over 12 million users, a milestone that Blizzard says was reached in the wake of the mainland Chinese launch of Wow's second expansion.
"The support and enthusiasm that gamers across the world continue to show for World of Warcraft reaffirms our belief that it offers one of the best entertainment values available today," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We are as committed as ever to taking the game to new heights, and we look forward to demonstrating that with Cataclysm in December."
WoW had been holding steady at 11.5 million subscribers for over a year, leading some to assume the franchise had peaked. Apparently not, and once the game's third expansion arrives in early December, we're willing to bet that number will surge even higher.
If you factor in the sales figures for Halo: Reach, the Halo series is a multi-billion dollar franchise. Maybe it's time Microsoft starts thinking about movies, especially if rumors suggesting Stephen Spielberg is interested in making a Halo film turn out to be true.
According to the latest chatter, Spielberg is trying to secure the rights for DreamWorks to produce the first live action film based on the Halo franchise. Both the videogames and the Halo novels would be used as source material for the script.
This isn't the first time Halo has been linked to the big screen. Universal and Fox spent millions of dollars trying to put the pieces in place to make a Halo movie, but the project eventually fell apart. Whatever script Spielberg might be working on is said to be totally different.
Duke Nukem fans owe Gearbox a Thank You card, because thanks to the Texas-based game development company, Duke Nukem Forever has morphed from arguably the most popular vaporware of all time to a game we now actually expect to ship on time (on time being 12+ years after the fact).
Still skeptical? After waiting more than a decade for a sequel, you should be. But to reaffirm that the game is on track, Gearbox is apparently taking DNF on a world tour starting with a live demo in Amsterdam.
Check out the 9 minute video below, just be warned this is Duke Nukem we're talking about, so it's probably not a good idea to click the play button at work or in front of small children. It has it all -- language, sexual content, violence, and of course drawing man parts on a dry erase board.
Is there a special, unwritten set of rules for downloading freeware? I’d like to think there are—for me, at least. For even though I’m “that guy” at Maximum PC, perhaps the only (former) editor to actually come close to pushing past one’s monthly Comcast bandwidth limits, I still have to keep my trips through freeware land in some kind of perspective. And you should too.
So what, gentle sir or madam, compels you to grab a particular piece of software?
That’s the crux of what I’ll be tackling in this week’s column—the first in a long time, mind you, thanks to an unruly show schedule on my part (I missed you too). But I digress. In my non-writing time, I’ve been doing a bunch of downloading, analyzing, and tweaking on the various devices I own, and I’ve noticed that all of my extended file-hunting sessions always have a few themes in common.
The world is full of mysteries. What killed the dinosaurs? What is stored in Area 51? Why—oh dear goodness, why—does anyone think Dane Cook is funny? And now, there’s a new head-scratcher for that list: Why didn’t Activision give Singularity, easily its best new IP in years, a promotional push to match? After all, it’s a fantastic game. It’s the Mega Man to modern shooters’ robot masters, absorbing the best bits of games like Half-Life, BioShock, and F.E.A.R., and mixing in just enough of its own unique ideas to keep things fresh.
So, what makes Singularity tick? Well, clocks, actually, when you get right down to it. See, Singularity’s all about time travel, and while that makes for an entertaining—though not exactly revolutionary—plot about an alternate timeline in which Russia takes over the world, for once it’s the game itself that benefits most from humanity’s ill-advised canonball into the time stream.
Sony still isn't ready to talk about its rumored second generation PlayStation Portable console, but that didn't stop one of the developers of Mortal Kombat from flapping his gums. In response to a question about porting a version of the upcoming Mortal Kombat refresh on the current PSP or 3DS, Executive Producer of Netherrealm Studios Shaun Himmerick said:
"We're not launching day one on all consoles like that. We are looking at them; we have a PSP 2 in the house and we're looking at the engine, like what it can support. Always a big thing for us is the performance. We're running at 60FPS, what can we do and do we have to build all the art assets over. We're definitely looking at them. PSP 2 looks like it's a pretty powerful machine. We don't have a 3DS system in-house yet, but we're looking to get one, and we'll certainly look at what its power is."
Sony, of course, held onto its usual "We can't comment on rumors or speculation" line, but given that this is a game developer talking about the next-gen console and not some unknown anonymous source, we're willing to give it a bit more weight. Most of the rumors up to this point have the PSP 2 shipping sometime in 2011, with Sony expected to unveil the device at CES.
One of manyy varied renderings of what the PSP 2 might (but probably won't) look like.
Good Old Games, or GOG.com, the online portal for DRM-free copies of older games ported and sold on the cheap to run under Windows, has waved the white flag and closed up shop, at least for now.
"We have recently had to give serious thought to whether we could really keep GOG.com the way it is," a message on GOG.com's website reads. "We've debated it for quite some time and, unfortunately, we've decided that GOG.com simply cannot remain in its current form.
"We've very grateful for all support we've received from all of you in the past two years. Working on GOG.com was a great adventure for all of us and an unforgettable journey to the past, through the long and wonderful history of PC gaming."
What the future holds for GOG.com remains to be seen. In their parting note, the GOG.com team said that the closure doesn't mean the idea behind the site is closed forever, but didn't elaborate.
For those of you who previously purchased titles through GOG.com but may have since formatted your PC, the company said it will put in place a solution so that you can re-download them. Updates on this will be posted on GOG.com and on the company's Twitter and Facebook pages.
If you weren't one of the first to snatch up a copy of Halo: Reach for the Xbox 360 earlier this week, there were plenty of others who filled in the gap. According to Microsoft, the latest title in the still uber popular Halo series pulled in $200 million in global sales on launch day.
"We feel really good about where the 'Halo: Reach' numbers are," said Phil Spencer, vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. "What 'Halo: Reach' numbers tell me is gamers are there. They are willing to buy the great experiences when they come out. In fact, that we are exceeding 'Halo 3' numbers out of the gate tells me that the industry is in a healthy state."
Fetching $200 million on day 1 day made Reach the biggest launch of any game or movie so far this year, Spencer claims. All told, the entire Halo franchise has sold more than 34 million copies during its ten-year tenure, pulling in almost $2 billion in sales.
Sony this week announced a new firmware release for the PlayStation 3 that will expand the console's 3D capabilities.
"We've announced that the PS3 system will be able to play back 3D content on Blu-ray 3D discs with the system software update (v3.50), slated for release on September 21," Sony wrote in a blog post. "We know that many consumers have purchased 3D TVs already and more of you will be purchasing them as the holidays approach -- so we're excited to offer this firmware update that makes all 38 million PS3s worldwide compatible with Blu-ray 3D discs."
PS3 owners have been able to play stereoscopic 3D games with the 3.30 firmware update released in April, but 3D movies wasn't yet part of the package. That changes next week, however there's a small caveat. Unlike dedicated 3D Blu-ray players, some parts of the menu and other minor portions of some DVDs will remain in 2D, Sony said.
Sony also recently updated its list of supported 3D games for the PS3 during, including Final Fantasy XIV (due out in March), Everybody's Golf 5, Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories, and Metal Gear Solid: Rising.