Everyone knows the Call of Duty franchise is a cash cow, but even Activision Blizzard has to be a little surprised at just how successful the latest incarnation has been. Black Ops has netted $1 billion since its release on November 9, the game developer announced.
"In all of entertainment, only Call of Duty and 'Avatar' have ever achieved the billion dollar revenue milestone this quickly," said Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard. "This is a tribute to the global appeal of the Call of Duty franchise, the exceptional talent at Treyarch and the hundreds of extraordinary people across our many Call of Duty studios including Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer that work tirelessly on the franchise. Our ability to provide the most compelling, immersive entertainment experience, and enhance it with regular, recurring content that delivers hundreds of hours of audience value, has allowed Call of Duty to continue to set sales and usage records."
Chalk it up to just another record for Black Ops, which sold more than $650 million worldwide in its first five days of sales, "outpacing theatrical box office, book, and videogame sales records for five-day worldwide sell through in dollars," Activision Blizzard said.
Since its launch, gamers have logged over 600 million hours playing Black Ops.
New research suggests that Internet addiction on college campuses may be a bigger problem than many are willing to admit.
"Virtual gaming, where participants take an identity, has exploded in the past 10 years, particularly among 18 to 30 year olds," Sabrina Neu, a graduate school student at the University of the Rockies wrote in her doctoral dissertation. "Online game subscriber numbers are in the millions and profits for game developers are in the billions of dollars.
"The student lifestyle, with unlimited Internet access, large blocks of unstructured time, and absence of supervision, may place students at greater risk for over-utilization."
Neu did note several potential benefits to online gaming, such as players being able to overcome shyness and/or free themselves from physical disabilities, but also noted that it's common for college kids to lose sleep, miss meals, skip class, and withdraw from social interaction because of excess online game playing.
"Despite many pro-social benefits, there is also a harmful side," Neu said. "Players can suffer consequences such as neglecting friends and family and arranging one's real world life to fully accommodate game playing."
We did a triple-take when we saw that U.S. researchers were trying to separate aggressive behavior from violence in videogames, yet that's exactly what Dr. Christopher Ferguson of Texas A&M International University and his research team claim. Hasn't Ferguson been watching the news or listening to political speeches during election runs?
As crazy as it may seem to those who wish to blame wicked behavior on violent videogames the way the townspeople in Footloose linked dancing to bad karma and all sorts of other ills, Ferguson says that depressive symptoms are a much stronger predictor of aggression.
The study focused on 302 youths ages 10-14, mostly Hispanic, and all living in a city on the border of Mexico. According to the study, 75 percent of the youths played games within the past month on PCs, consoles, or other devices, while 40 percent played violent videogames. After a year passed, 7 percent reported one or more criminally violent acts, and 19 percent reported one or more non-violent crimes.
Ferguson ultimately concluded that exposure to videogame violence, or even violence in television, failed to predict aggressive behavior 12 months later, but depressive symptoms did.
Every year, Spike TV hosts the Video Game Awards (VGA) show, an all-out affair with much ballyhooing. With so many awesome titles to choose from, surely this type of event would draw fan interest, right?
Wrong, and we're sorry for calling you Shirley (we had to squeeze a Leslie Nielsen reference in eventually - RIP). According to Variety's figures, Spike TV's audience diminished for the fourth straight year, this time notching a 3 percent drop in viewership from last year and only pulling in 627,000 viewers. In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, what's the deal with that?
Take your pick. Maybe the numbers are down because the show is hosted on a Saturday when even die-hard gamers have other things to do. Perhaps Neil Patrick Harris can't draw in the kind of crowd Spike TV thought he would (have we broken the record for most celebrity references in a single tech blog, yet?). Or could it be that Spike TV's the one hosing the event?
No matter what the reason, there were a few consolation prizes. Adult viewers 18-49 were up 12 percent this year, while those ages 18-34 were up 5 percent overall, and 15 percent among men.
Did you tune in to watch? Hit the jump and let us know.
If you thought FarmVille was popular, get this. It's taken just 8 days for Zynga's new CityVille game to attract 6 million daily active users, making it the fast growing game the company has ever released, TechCrunch reports.
As a point of comparison, it took FarmVille 46 days to hit 6 million daily active users and FrontierVille 32 days. After 24 hours had passed, CityVille was inhabited with 300,000 players, and 3 million after a week went by.
Unlike FarmVille and FrontierVille, however, CityVille is the first game Zynga ever released on an international level. CityVille debuted in five languages, including English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian, and benefited from a bigger marketing campaign than either of the two other titles.
We first heard about the Rock Band 3 MIDI Pro Adapter by Mad Catz back in June of this year, and now it's finally here. With it, you can hook up just about any real MIDI keyboard or MIDI drum set while playing Rock Band 3, plus it works in conjunction with the upcoming Rock Band 3 Squier by Fender Stratocaster Guitar and Controller, Mad Catz says.
The MIDI Pro plugs right in your console's USB port and then works as an interface between the console and MIDI instrument. There's a velocity sensitivity adjustment for MIDI drums so cross-talk doesn't become an issue, as well as a full D-pad and standard gaming buttons right on the adapter itself.
The adapter is shipping now for the PlayStation 3 and and Wii, while the Xbox 360 version "is expected to ship imminently to Best Buy." It goes for $40.
Futuremark has some good news for all you benchmarking braggarts looking for new scores to boast in your favorite forum(s). Following what turned out to be a short delay, the much anticipated 3DMark 11 has gone gold.
3DMark 11 is the latest addition to Futuremark's GPU benchmarking suite and is designed for testing DirectX 11 hardware through six all new tests. There are three versions to choose from:
3DMark 11 Basic Edition: Free download offering an unlimited number of benchmark runs using the performance preset
3DMark 11 Advanced Edition: Offers all presets, custom settings, benchmark looping, unlimited online results storage, offline results management, and a few other goodies for $20.
3DMark 11 Professional Edition: The only edition licensed for commercial use. Includes all features, such as command automation, an image quality tool, logo-free demo looping, and priority support. This one runs $995.
New features added to 3DMark 11 include additional language support (including German, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, and Finnish), a native DirectX 11 engine, open source Bullet Physics library, and an improved online service.
In a recent interview with Google's AdMob, Rovio's Peter Vesterbacka said they expect to net about $1 million every month from the advertising supported Android version of Angry Birds. The free game has been downloaded 5-7 million times since it launched just over 1 month ago. That's a lot of ads being served. On the iPhone, where Angry Birds started out, the app is a paid download with 12 million sales.
Vesterbacka also dropped some juicy stats on us in his chat with AdMob. Rovio is seeing an 80% retention rate, meaning that 80% of users continue updating the app, as opposed to removing it. Vesterbacka says they take great notice of these sorts of figures. It was not Rovio's intention to just make a "throwaway app" that they released and never updated. So they encourage users to keep playing by releasing updates.
Rovio is expected to offer Android users a payment option to remove the ads in the near future. We hope they continue being so forthcoming with their revenue when that is rolled out. Do you think they will continue seeing huge earnings from Angry Birds over time?
War. War never changes.” OK, actually, that’s not entirely true. If Fallout’s gravelly voiced narrator were really a stickler for accuracy, he’d probably amend his catchphrase to read: “War. War changes slightly.” Make no mistake: Fallout: New Vegas is not Fallout 4. And in that respect, its greatest strength is also its most crippling weakness. See, everything you loved about Fallout 3 is still present in New Vegas—and some of it’s better than it’s ever been. Unfortunately, tiny flaws that plagued Fallout 3 also stuck around for New Vegas, and they’ve festered to become ugly scars on an otherwise excellent experience.
You have to hand it to Rovio for finding alternative ways to squeeze revenue from its Angry Birds game, which it recently released to the Android Market as a free download.
Available now but in limited quantities, Rovio is selling a collection of Angry Birds plush toys. There are nine in all to choose from, each one commanding $15. That works out to $135 for the whole lot, and you know there will be some super fans out there who absolutely have to have the entire set.
Unfortunately, even though you can order them now, they won't actually ship until January. That's a bummer if you were hoping to sneak one (or 15) under the Christmas tree / Hanukkah Menorah, etc.