Peter Molyneux, Lionhead boss and man behind the curtain of games like Black & White and Fable, has delivered his unofficial state of PC gaming address. His verdict? Take a gander at the headline. (Or the following quote.)
"If you look at the gamer market on PC, I'll be quite honest with you, it's in tatters," he told Videogamer. "There aren't that many releases on PC. There are some high points like Crysis and what Blizzard is doing, but other than that you are restricted to The Sims and World of Warcraft, they seem to be dominating the PC side."
"I would say while me as a player hates any restrictions, I can understand that publishers need to do something to give them the confidence to make games for the PC, to spend the huge amounts of money necessary to spend on development and to get their return," he said. "Anything that may give them more confidence on the PC means that ultimately we as gamers will come out better off because they will invest more in the game."
"I don't think three (Spore PC authorisations per game) sounds that bad. I'd prefer it not to be there but if it is going to be there then I think three is OK, but I can understand people being very upset. Personally I hate any copy protection. I hate typing in that number. I loathe it as a gamer. It just makes me feel insulted. And I always lose the blasted manual anyway."
Agree? Disagree? Think keeping track of manuals isn't all that difficult if you just keep your games in their cases? C'mon, it can't just be us.
Video games have always been linked to providing gamers with above average hand-eye coordination, but could video games be linked to making better drivers? Allstate is looking to find out, and possibly give insurance discounts to those that do.
A new program, called InSight, will provide specialized games to 100,000 Allstate insured drivers in Pennsylvania aged from 50-75. While drivers in their 50’s and 60’s have the least amount of accidents, once they hit mid-60’s the rate begins to climb. Tom Warden, an assistant vice president at Allstate hopes that the games will provide brain fitness for these drivers, and “significant benefits … beyond dollars and cents.”
The games, developed by San Francisco’s own Posit Science, include many non-driving specific games such as Jewel Diver. In Jewel Diver you’re required to keep track of jewels underwater that are hidden by fish. The fish shuffle themselves around the screen, and the goal is to select the fishes that are hiding the treasures. As the game progresses, it gets increasingly difficult, adding more fish to the screen.
Allstate will decide next year whether or not to roll out the program in other states, and with any luck they’ll leave Grand Theft Auto IV out of their curriculum (might I suggest FlatOut?).
If you just unloaded your original DS on Ebay and replaced it with a DS Lite, you'll soon be outdated again. During their Fall Press Conference in Japan, Nintendo announced its new DSi, the "third platform" in the DS handheld gaming hardware series.
The new version comes a little thinner than the model it's replacing while offering 17 percent larger screens at 3.25 inches each. Certain "audio enhancements" have been made, but arguably the biggest addition is the inclusion of a .3 megapixel camera capable of 640x480 resolution.
Old school gamers won't have any place to put their Gameboy Advance cartridges, as the GBA slot has been removed. Instead the DSi comes with an SD memory card slot. The DSi also features a built-in browser, and gamers will be able to download games and other DSiWare from Nintendo's DSi Shop. As is sadly the trend, pricing is based on a points scale, and customers will start off with 1,000 free points that must be used by March 2010.
Japan will get first crack at the DSi this November for roughly $180 USD, with other markets to follow sometime next year.
At this year's QuakeCon, programming god John Carmack turned an entire Internet's worth of heads with his announcement that Rage would only storm your PC's walls via DVD-ROM. Well, kids, it's time to un-cry those salty tears, because id intends to digitally distribute its latest first-person beauty after all.
"We haven't quite worked through our electronic-distribution," said id Software creative director Tim Willits. "John Carmack [id co-founder] made a comment about the media size, which unfortunately wasn't exactly correct because we haven't crossed that bridge yet. He said it was going to be too large to download, and I was thinking to myself, 'You know, uhhhhh, people can do lots of things.'"
"Rage won't break the Internet. Our relationship with Valve and our stuff on Steam has been very successful for us. A lot of the older games that we had to fix to work on newer operating systems allowed us to make them current. I had a Steam account on my machine at work, and if I wanted to load up old Wolfenstein or Doom at work, I [would] load it up on Steam because of DOSBox and all that stuff. And it's actually pretty awesome. We've been very successful with that."
"We haven't figured out what we want to do yet. But I do want to fix the fact that John said [digital distribution is] not going to happen. What I'm saying is that's not true."
Anyone that plays World of Wacraft will know all about the woes of bots. They provide players with unfair advantages, and the ability to level their character when they’re not even at their computer. Blizzard has been aware of this as well, having recently won a lawsuit against the bot program MMOGlider’s creator, MDY Industries.
For those that don’t know, MMOGlider is a third party application that runs the many repetitive tasks involved in World of Warcraft. Whether it’s leveling your character up from 1 to 70 or grinding for leatherworking materials, the application can do it for you. And the best part about it? You don’t even have to be at your computer, you simply run a script that sends your character in a pre-determined route.
Blizzard’s lawsuit is based on MMOGlider’s automation of said repetitive tasks. Using this application to complete these tasks breaks the terms of service that players agree to when they play World of Warcraft. The software is said to have sold 100,000 copies for $25 a piece.
While admittedly $6 million is no small number (unless you’re Blizzard), the amount could have been higher if MDY hadn’t won some of the prior arguments about the claimed damages in court. But there’s still a possibility for more, should Blizzard decided to appeal the judgment in favor of going for their original claim, which was double or triple that number.
The remainder of the case is set to go to court in January 2009, where the last of the issues in the legal conflict are likely to be settled.
When an MMO begins to feel its bones a creakin', and decides it's time to curl up and die from natural causes (read: WoW), one of the first phenomena an outside observer will witness is the server merge. Generally a result of sudden population deflations from formerly-packed games, when servers collide, the game in question has probably seen better days. Age of Conan, sadly, is one such game.
"I can today confirm that we are actively working on an approach to merge servers, both in Europe and North America," announced AoC director Craig Morrison. "It's important for us to ensure the best gameplay experience for you all, and more healthy populations on each and every server will make sure we maintain healthy communities for the game in the future."
But AoC's troubles don't end there. Funcom, the loincloth-tacular MMO's publisher, may soon be dressing like its scantily clad (but undeniably manly) hero. As of now, Funcom's stock is sitting at a two-year low -- trading for a mere $5.
So, moral of the story? Never, ever prefix your game's title with "Age of..."
Tiberium, EA's second attempt at bolstering the frail, emaciated FPS genre with its popular Command & Conquer license, sucks. Or at least it did -- until EA gave it the old "It's not us; it's you" speech while pointing to a particularly splintery portion of the chopping block.
"The game had fundamental design challenges from the start," said EA LA's Mike Verdu. "We fought to correct the issues, but we were not successful; the game just isn't coming together well enough to meet our own quality expectations as well as those of our consumers."
"The quality bar has been raised," he added. "Now we need to step up our focus on great design and execution, catching any problems early and correcting them quickly."
Additionally, a portion of EA LA's elite team now finds itself jobless, but EA corporate "will make every effort to place affected individuals on projects within the studio – and where that isn't possible, to connect them with opportunities in other teams at EA."
As game development costs continue to surge upward, we can't help but fear we'll see more mid-development games unceremoniously dashed against the curb, with no chance for a reinvigorating adjustment or two.
Are there any other troubled games you think might soon be circling the drain?
"Here's the problem right now; the person who is savvy enough to want to have a good PC to upgrade their video card, is a person who is savvy enough to know Bittorrent to know all the elements so they can pirate software. Therefore, high-end videogames are suffering very much on the PC."
"Right now, it makes sense for us to focus on Xbox 360 for a number of reasons. Not least PCs with multiple configurations and piracy."
And finally, when questioned about a PC port for our jump-suit clad selves of the future:
But along with giving me one extra reason to cry myself to sleep at night -- as well as driving a nice, fat stake into GFW's termite-infested coffin -- Bleszinski's comments raise an interesting question: What's worse? Tearing open a game box only to find the sour scent of DRM sulking its way into your nostrils, or never being given the chance to purchase (or "rent," for the more bitter among you) a game at all?
Nova Gaming is best known as a long-time purveyor of a line of high-performance gaming mousepads in the Killer, Winner, Master and Raider series. And, now, to make sure its Nova B4L gamer's bag has more Nova gear inside than ever before, the French company is rolling out a gaming mouse, the Slider X600, at next week's E for All Expo in Los Angeles.
The gaming mouse market already has some formidable competition, such as the corded Logitech G9 (laser sensor, up to 3200 dpi, interchangeable grips, 5 buttons, adjustable mouse weights), corded Microsoft SideWinter (laser sensor, up to 2000 dpi sensor, 5 buttons, adjustable mouse weights and replaceable feet) and upcoming cordless Microsoft SideWinder X8 (Blue Track optical sensor, up to 4000 dpi, replaceable mouse feet, macro recording).
The X600 brings up to 3200 dpi resolution and ceramic mouse feet to the game, but it's the position of the cable that might be the biggest difference between Nova Gaming's newcomer and the established players. Hit the jump to learn more.
When Mythic proclaimed its intent to only credit Warhammer dev team members who were on board at or around the game's launch, it more or less shot controversy a lashy eyed "Oh, I'm digging you" look. But seeing as Mythic has bigger battles to fight, the developer decided this was one sh***storm it couldn't afford to weather. Thus, the Warhammer Online developer has provided -- but not credited the writers of -- this list of steps to resolve the crediting controversy:
In-game and manual credits will be reserved for the launch team.
Mythic will create an online database listing the name and title of everyone who contributed to a project, regardless of current employment status. Additionally, the studio will make best efforts to provide this information for its previous online games
Step three, which apparently wasn't important enough to make the list, involves partying-up with the IGDA to "promote fair and accurate trade reporting across the industry."
Overall, though, we couldn't be happier with Mythic's decision. Great job, guys!