Someone at Sony is probably listening to the Carter Family belt out "Keep On the Sunny Side" after having to report to investors (PDF) a $315 million net loss during the company's first fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2012, but as it turns out, maintaining a positive outlook is no easy task. In fact, Sony's financial outlook for the full fiscal year is the exact opposite. In pretty much every sector of business, Sony expects business to be lower than previously forecast, and in terms of portable hardware (think PS Vita), Sony expects "significantly lower" sales than what was being forecast in May.
Bioware said it's adding a free-to-play (F2P) option to its online game Star Wars: The Old Republic this fall. The F2P option will give players access to each of the eight Star Wars character class storylines, which they can grind up to level 50. Bioware's pro bono mode will also include unlimited game access and new higher-level game content and features made available through individual purchases or via a subscription.
You may have heard that Valve is hard at work porting its Steam client to the Linux platform, but it's not because the company has developed a sudden affinity towards the open source space. The real reason is because Valve views Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 release as a "catastrophe" in the making for the PC industry at large, or at least that's the viewpoint held by Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director at Valve.
Bob Feldstein, a name you're probably not familiar with, worked behind the scenes at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) getting the company's chips into game consoles, including securing deals to use AMD hardware in all three next-generation console devices from Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. He was a pretty important figure at AMD, joining the Sunnyvale company when it acquired ATI six years ago, and now he's taking his talents to Nvidia.
Nearly a dozen game developers, including Electronic Arts (EA), stand accused of infringing upon a patent held by Uniloc that relates to a "system and method for preventing unauthorized access to electronic data." According to Uniloc, EA and others are using the patented technology, without permission, in certain Android-based mobile games, including Bejeweled 2, which was specifically named in the lawsuit.
If you grew up playing games on the Commodore 64 and, later down the line, 286/386/486 IBM compatible PCs, there's a good chance you spent many hours serving Lord British, the mostly unkillable ruler of Britannia (save for an incident during an Ultima Online beta test). Well, you can stop longing for days gone by and re-experience (or experience for the first time) the series with a new, free-to-play title called Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar.
Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo may think they have the game console market cornered, but they could be in for a rude surprise if Ouya's Android-based game system is able to gain traction. Serving as a wake-up call to the big three, Ouya has already managed to raise almost three times its $950,000 pledge goal on Kickstarter, getting commitments for over $2.8 million from more than 22,000 backers in less than two full days.
Remember when you could walk into a store like Software Etc. and wade through aisles and aisles of PC games packaged in gigantic boxes? Those days are long gone, and though you can still find a single rack of PC titles at your local GameStop, boxed copies are becoming something of a rarity these days. For Electronic Arts, the demise of boxed games, PC and console, can't happen fast enough as it looks to go all-in with digital downloads.
I can't tell you the number of times I came down with dysentery, one of the many diseases that stopped me dead in my tracks on the Oregon Trail. But I plodded on, a banker from Boston who developed a skill for shooting bison and fast moving critters. And then it would be time for recess. Today's generation may never known of the awesomeness that was playing Oregon Trail on an Apple computer, but thanks to Valve, a good many will experience Portal 2 in the classroom as part of a "Steams for School" initiative.
The Wii U isn't the only big console news coming from Nintendo's camp. On the mobile gaming front, Nintendo today revealed plans to launch an XL version of its 3DS console with a screen that's almost twice as large (90 percent bigger) than the original version. It will ship in North America on August 19, 2012 for $200, packing a new form factor and either red or blue digs.