The original Crysis didn't exactly give piracy a nanosuit-powered sock to the face, and Crysis 2 doesn't appear to be faring much better. TorrentFreak's annual report pegs the not-quite-as-PC-melting sequel at 3,920,000 downloads. Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, meanwhile, wouldn't even stop nipping at each other's throats while someone robbed them blind -- coming in at 3,650,000 and 3,510,000 downloads, respectively. And, because even keeping PC gaming as we know it from face-planting and flat-lining isn't worth some brand loyalty, Valve's Portal 2 also made the list with 3,240,000 downloads. Which is all our way of saying: 2012 Mayan dieties, we humbly offer the world's supply of PC pirates in exchange for the continued existence of the rest of, er, existence. Huh, what's that about a swirling abyss of pain and torment? Oh no, you won't hear any objections from us.
Outside of death and taxes, both of which you can cheat, there are very few guarantees in life. One of them is that there will be another Call of Duty game. We can say this with absolute certainty because Activision Publishing would be foolish to kill its record breaking cash cow, especially after Modern Warfare 3 just became the only entertainment property to eclipse Avatar's 17-day $1 billion sales record.
Everyone seems to love The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and that's because there's very little not to like (unless you're just not into RPGs, in which case you should seek counseling immediately). Underscoring the widespread appeal of a game like Skyrim, the average gamer spent 23 hours hunting dragons and picking virtual pockets during Skyrim's first week of sales.
It's a brave new PC gaming world, and -- to be perfectly honest -- we're pretty OK with it. PC Gamer's been examining Steam's graphs through the unfaltering lens of scrutiny, and it's discovered a back-and-forth, Balrog-worthy battle between Modern Warfare and its fiercest natural rival: Terraria. Wait, what? Well, for one thing, Battlefield 3's not actually on Steam, but even still, this is pretty impressive. MW3 and Terraria have spent the past week nearly neck-and-neck for second place (Skyrim's got first, of course) on Steam's most-played list, with both peaking at around the 55,000-60,000 concurrent player range. Granted, the Minecraft-influenced 2D platformer's riding a nice boost from its massive 1.1 update, but that does little to dull the sheen on this accomplishment. After all, Terraria's running on word-of-mouth, while MW3 has one of the biggest ad budgets in gaming history. David and Goliath, we believe you just got upstaged.
Game characters talk too much. Unless, of course, they're J'zargo.
I like shirts. I enjoy owning them, wearing them -- pretty much everything you can do with shirts, really. Which is mostly just those two things. So I recently visited a custom T-shirt website, because why not? And then -- because I'm oddly proud of my exceedingly embarrassing geekiness -- I searched for Skyrim apparel. What I discovered made me laugh like a hyena that'd recently eaten a live clown. Then it made me deeply, deeply depressed. Mere days after the game had launched, there were shirts emblazoned with phrases like “You tried mercenary work? It might suit you” and “My cousin's out fighting dragons, and what do I get? Guard duty.”
If you've played Skyrim for more than two seconds, those phrases probably haunt your nightmares -- perhaps uttered by deeply unsettling images of your disapproving father as a giant praying mantis. Why? Because Skyrim's all-too-talkative denizens bellow them every time you're within bellowing range. Dovahkiin shouts? The Voice? Those are nothing compared to these all-powerful, sanity shattering sentences. And that's a rather large problem.
What happened to a delivery truck carrying a videogame shipment in France over the weekend was so brazen and wild that it could have qualified as a game level. In this case, the action was real as a truck traveling in Créteil, south Paris, was rammed by a car on Saturday as part of an organized accident that involved masked men, tear gas, and the theft of 6,000 copies of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Regardless of how you feel about Activision, or the Call of Duty franchise in general, it’s hard to deny these guys have found a winning formula that countless other publishers are struggling to emulate. And while Battlefield 3 team will probably be doing backflips all the way to the bank if they come even remotely close to matching Modern Warefare’s sales numbers, the companies new subscription based Elite service has created a moving target that EA would no doubt copy if they thought they could pull it off. During the Call of Duty XP keynote, Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirsberg has finally detailed what subscribers would get, and what it would cost.
E3 is finally far enough behind us that I can start to make sense of it. Taken all at once – it pretty much sounded like a bunch of ungodly screaming occasionally punctuated by the word “transfarring” (which isn't even a real word). You tried to roll with the punches, I'm sure – to stand before News Godzilla without fleeing while shouting something in badly lip-synced Japanese – but it eventually broke you. So, what happens next? Now that the news/preview/interview barrage dust has finally settled, what does it all mean? Well, since I did one of these things last year and I'm nothing if not a slave to habit, here are a few thoughts on this year's show.
Call of Duty's a strange beast. It's all at once the gaming industry's calling card and whipping boy, with frequent angry words flying between sides like so many spammed grenades. If you keep your ear against the industry's pulse, though, Infinity Ward's infinitely sequelized cash cow that lays golden eggs is kind of a joke. It never changes. It's everything that's wrong with first-person shooters. Etc. Id Software mega-brain John Carmack, however, thinks it's high-time you come down from that high horse.
Wait just a minute. Take a deep breath. The sky isn't falling. You still don't have to spend a dime to hunt filthy mouthed 12-year-olds online in Call of Duty. Make no mistake: Activision wants your money, but it's not crazy. Call of Duty: Elite – as the newly announced service is known – will give you more bang for more bucks, but you certainly won't be left high-and-dry if you decide you're a miser, not a fighter.