Both Gamestop and Amazon are making a bid for your used games with tantalizing promotions. For Gamestop's part, the used-game reseller has been running a tiered trade-in offer. Trade in at least 2 games and get 10 percent extra credit. That number doubles to 20 percent if trading in at least 4 games, and doubles once more to 40 percent if trading in at least 6 games. Naturally, the trade-ins must be in full working order and the offer is good towards games only.
Amazon, on the other hand, has begun a tiered offer of its own. Send the company two used titles and receive an additional $10 off select new releases, or send the company four games to receive $20 off. These credits are in addition to the Amazon.com Gift Card sellers receive when trading in used games. See here for a list of eligible new releases, which include titles like Halo Wars Limited, Resident Evil 5, MLB 09, Street Fighter IV, and a whole bunch more.
Amazon launched its trade-in store earlier this month with 1,500 eligible titles. The company foots the shipping bill when you send in your used games, then issues Amazon credit in the form of a Gift Card, which can be used anywhere on Amazon.com. A quick glance of eligible titles reveals slightly better trade-in pricing than Gamestop in many cases.
Some game developers and publishers are vehemently opposed to used game sales, and for them, Amazon's announcement of a new used-game trade-in program is nothing to jump for joy over. For everyone else, it just might be.
The Good More options is always a good thing, right? The obvious comparison here is to GameStop, and Amazon bursts out of the gates with over 1,500 eligible titles. But the real surprise is how the trade-in values compare. Amazon appears to be offering more than both GameStop and Game Crazy on most titles. For example, Little Big Planet (PS3) fetches $29 at Amazon versus $26.25 at GameStop and $22.73 with Game Crazy. In that same order, Left 4 Dead for the Xbox 360 pulls in $26.50, $24, and $22.73 respectively.
Fans of Half Life and, well, things that are cool are advised to take a five and a half minute break from the daily grind and check out the fan film Escape from City 17 - Part One.
Directed by The Purchase Brothers, the life-action fan flick started off as a test project to experiment with various post production techniques, but has now turned into a multi-part series. The directors claim the short film was shot with "no money, no time, no crew, and no script," and that it only took $500 to make the first two episodes.
Check it out, then hit the jump and offer your critique.
Microsoft received considerable buzz over its Silverlight web browser plugin during the Beijing Olympics, in which NBC opted to use Silverlight rather than Adobe's Flash to stream its Olympics coverage. But it didn't take long for NBC to run back to Flash once the Olympics were over, taking the spotlight off of the Silverlight platform.
Silverlight is back in the news, this time for a new contest Microsoft has launched at serverquestcontest.com. The contest is being aimed at Silverlight game developers age 16 or older and living in the U.S. To enter, eligible developers must create a user profile on the site, download the Software Development Kit, and then use it to create an online game.
Participants can submit up to three entries, each of which must follow a set of strict guidelines. These include a file download size not larger than 4MB and total file size of less than 10MB, resolution of 800x430 or less, the game cannot include any upload file aspects nor can it require or allow any external communication, it must be developed in Silverlight 2.0 and submitted in object/binary code format, and finally the game must clearly indicate to others that it is governed by the Creative Commons license. Phew!
The contest runs through April 30, 2009 (11:59 PM PST), with a voting period to take place between May 1 and May 14. Winners will be announced May 25, 2009.
Multiverse might be on the verge of revolutionizing web-based gaming, or so it claims. Using its technology platform, Multiverse says it's possible for developers to create 2D, browser-based versions of a full-scale downloadable 3D game, and then allow players to interact between them.
"Now, you can have proven genres of videogames, really popular games, like shooters, real-time strategy, sports, and things that exist on consoles or specially installed games, and those types of games can live in your web browser without a download," said Corey Bridges, Mulitverse co-founder.
To showcase the technology, Multiverse released a simple Flash game called Battle that runs on Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, and Kongregate. According to Bridges, Battle is one of the first-ever multiplayer, real-time, action or combat-based Flash games. And unlike most multiplayer Flash games, Battle isn't turn-based.
But the real value to developers in having a 2D to 3D cross-over capability might come from being able to offer free online trials where potential game buyers can jump in and play with other people without requiring a download.
Whether or not Multiverse's platform catches on, only time will tell. But according to Bridges, we may not have to wait long. He says a small handful of developers have begun taking their in-development 3D worlds and "are making a window into those worlds that can be done in Flash."
If your strict 2009 gaming schedule absolutely required that you give Sims 3 a day-one download and light tiny people on fire until Dragon Age: Origins’ “early 2009” release date, prepare to cancel that fake encounter with mononucleosis (followed by a string of extra long-lasting colds due to your “weakened immune system”), because the two games have run away together into the latter part of 2009.
“The June launch combined with the break-through game the team is building gives us the perfect runway to create awareness for The Sims 3,” said EA marketing boss Russell Arons.
Meanwhile, Dragon Age: Origins, as with any good BioWare game (the only non-delayed BioWare game, for reference) slipped big time and will be bed-ridden until EA’s third quarter, which runs from October 1 to December 31. Apparently, the delay will allow EA to more properly market to the Baldur’s Gate-esque RPG’s PC version alongside its console cousins.
"I'm really proud of our team, who are working very hard to make Dragon Age: Origins the biggest and most exciting BioWare game yet, and we will work to ensure it not only meets, but exceeds the expectations of our loyal audience," said CEO Ray Muzyka.
Kinda rubbing salt in the wound, aren’t you there, Muzyka? Something tells us this won’t be an easy wait.
If ever there was a case for parental controls, it's this: According to Virtual Worlds Management, there are now over 200 youth-oriented virtual worlds live, planned, or actively being developed. In other words, rather than grab a ball and glove after school, kids left on their own with access to a computer will literally have hundreds of virtual worlds to choose from and plenty of opportunities to spend their allowance.
When broken down into worlds targeting kids (7 and under), tweens (8-12), and teens (13+), VMW says "the kids market is the clear leader," noting 107 worlds are banking on at least part of their audience consisting of kids in the under-7 range. To make money off these markets, 59 of the virtual worlds use micro-transactions, giving users free access to the world but charging for virtual goods. Another 57 worlds follow the subscription based model, and 46 use advertising, VMW says.
Fifty square kilometers of African terrain. That’s how much open space you have to accomplish Far Cry 2’s primary objective: Kill the weapons dealer known as the Jackal, who has been supplying both sides of a bloody civil war in the game’s fictional setting. If the sheer size of the game world sounds daunting, just consider the fact that it’s densely occupied with dozens of towns, numerous encampments, and a whole population of NPC characters (potential allies and enemies alike). Far Cry 2’s expansive environment is undoubtedly its most notable asset, but what’s really impressive is that the game is filled with enough compelling action to actually make use of it.
Spore lets you take an extremely high-concept journey from a single-cell life form swimming through the seas to a continent-spanning superpower to the overlord of a galactic empire. Over the course of about five hours, you shepherd your critter through four introductory stages; then you leave for space.
We’ve played plenty of World War II shooters but have yet to find one that makes us care for its characters like we did for Tom Hanks and Vin Diesel in Saving Private Ryan. Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway comes close and rekindles our love of gritty 1940s warfare with its perfect combination of nail-biting tactical shoot-outs and a gripping character-driven story—an admirable feat in modern first-person shooters.