The wait’s nearly over, but it’s not going down without a fight. Today, developer Relic confirmed that Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II, its long-awaited RTS sequel, will take back the tabletop on February 23. However, should your need to… er, what were we saying? Sorry, we got distracted by some wicked-awesome Dawn of War II screenshots and realized that we’d really like to play the game before its relea...
On January 28, Relic will finally let its armor-clad, gun-toting progeny wander outside its baby-pen for a quick open beta. Even better, those who purchased the final Dawn of War expansion, Soulstorm, can expect beta access on January 21.
The beta will give players a chance to poke and prod all four of the game’s races across five multiplayer maps. Steam and Games for Windows Live are teaming up to put on this peep show, with Steam providing the downloads and GFW the matchmaking.
So then, we’re just going to sleep for the next 456 hours, because we’re not into the whole waiting thing. You, er, probably won’t even notice.
Microsoft’s CES keynote was, as expected, light on megaton gaming news, but a somewhat small – though undeniably interesting -- gem did manage to escape from Microsoft’s warchest. Titled Kodu, this easy-to-use game-creation tool is operated with only the Xbox 360 controller. However, based on a demonstration given during the keynote, Kodu could very well relegate games like LittleBigPlanet to the musty back corner of the toy box. Said MPC’s own Will Smith upon viewing the demo:
“The kid doing the Kodu demo (Sparrow) is hardcore with the radial menus. I forget how awesome they are if they're fast enough that you can actually use them. She was using the radial menus to adjust items in her game world. These are incredibly deep radial menus, compared to other apps. This is a pretty impressive tool, and she's controlling it entirely using the Xbox controller. There are lots of little games in the world.”
According to a Microsoft press release, Kodu’s colorful vistas are “expressed in physical action-reaction terms, using basic concepts like vision, hearing and time to control your character’s behavior.” Sounds pretty wicked.
Kodu launches this spring on the Xbox Live Community Games Channel.
See the rest of Microsoft’s game-related announcements after the break.
Want to bring some law back to this lawless, DRM-overrun country? Here’s your chance. The Federal Trade Commission plans to devote an entire town hall meeting to the do’s and don’ts of DRM, and it’s asking for input from those who feel that digital rights management has been mismanaged.
“Digital rights management (DRM) refers to technologies typically used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, and copyright holders to attempt to control how consumers access and use media and entertainment content," the FTC explained on its official page. "Among other issues, the workshop will address the need to improve disclosures to consumers about DRM limitations."
Even better, making your voice heard is as simple as vandalizing a blank email page with one of your scandalous messages – though bombarding the FTC’s inbox with outraged anti-DRM hatemail probably isn’t the best idea.
"The Commission invites interested parties to submit requests to be panelists and to recommend other topics for discussion. The requests should be submitted electronically to email@example.com by January 30, 2009....The Commission will select panelists based on their expertise and on the need to represent a range of views."
Frankly, we’re all for this. No matter the meeting’s outcome, it’s a sign that people in positions of power – and not just keyboard warriors – are beginning to realize DRM’s invasive nature. At the very least, cries of DRM’s deviance will no longer ring ineffectively in the ears of companies like EA. DRM has finally hit the big time, and the big time’s hitting back.
When the words “gaming” and “desktop” come to mind, we often associate the words “pricey” and “unaffordable” with them. HP hopes to change that mindset with the launch of their new series of low cost gaming computers. At CES this week, HP will be showcasing not only an inexpensive line of gaming PCs but also a new line of affordable and ultra-light notebooks.
The Firebird desktops will come equipped with a Core 2 Quad, 4GB of DDR2 memory, and dual GeForce 9800 video cards. These desktops will be utilizing energy saving components, usually found in notebooks, to lower power consumption. HP claims the power usage by these desktops will not exceed 350 watts, which is impressive considering your average GeForce 9800 card can consume almost 250 watts under load on their own. With a price tag starting at $1800, consumers will be happy to know they’re saving money both at the register and on their energy bill.
The 3.8 pound HP Pavilion DV2 is said to be less than an inch thick while sporting the new AMD Neo processor, a 12.1 inch screen, 500 gigabyte hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon 3410. The DV2 is said to hit stores this March with a price tag between the $600 and $800 range.
It’s the end of an era for videogame magazines. Electronic Gaming Monthly, Ziff Davis’ flagship multiplatform gaming magazine that began publication in 1989, is no more. Today, Ziff Davis announced the sale of its Game Group to Hearst Corporation, owner of the UGO network of websites. EGM, sadly, won’t be making the jump -- nor will the fan-favorite 1UP Show or any of the network's podcasts.
"We are extremely excited to join the UGO team," said Sam Kennedy, editorial director and creator of 1UP. "Relying on UGO's publishing platform will allow us to focus on what we do best -- creating great content and 'owning the conversation' among gamers through our unique, authentic and definitive voice and community."
Many of 1UP/EGM’s former employees, on the other hand, don’t share Kennedy’s excitement. Joystiq has the full list of lay-offs and departures – which they’ve aptly titled “Assessing the damage” – should you wish to get an up-close look at 1UP’s shattered remains.
Our best wishes go out to the many affected by this unexpected turn of events. Your smiling faces' monthly presence in our mailbox will be sorely missed. Even so, whatever you do next, we’re sure it’ll be amazing.
After a two-month brush with death (which may or may not have involved dueling a Balrog), Tribes 2 once again walks among us. However, the jetpack-heavy multiplayer shooter has cast aside its old, Sierra-shuttered servers in favor of a new robo-brain provided by an enigmatic group known as “TribesNext”.
Fortunately, TribesNext’s rule is a benevolent one, and Tribes 2 remains completely free – as it has been since 2004.
Whether you’re a death-frisbee spewing Tribes vet or simply think Left 4 Dead should fling you six feet into the air instead of six feet under, Tribes 2 is definitely a great game. Give the TribesNext beta a download here.
We've already spent some hands-on time with the G13 gamepad announced last month, but now Logitech has finally unveiled its full CES peripheral lineup with the rest of the new G-series family members. The popular G15 gaming keyboard has been completely revamped in a new G19 model, not only boasting more macro keys (the count is now up to 12 physical keys with 3 modes each) and customization options, but also a full color 320x240 GamePanel LCD display. Logitech also announced a brand new USB gaming headset, the G35. Dolby 7.1 surround-sound technology, noise-cancelling mic, convenient button locations, and voice-morphing software make this the first Logitech headset that we’re actually excited about. The $200 keyboard and $130 headset will be available in March, but we have some hands-on impressions and photos for you right now!
BFG Technologies, most known for its Nvidia-based videocards and, more recently, a power supply lineup and a short stint with 650i/680i-based motherboards, is jumping into the system building scene with a line of gaming and multimedia PCs called Phobos.
"Phobos was designed for gamers and media enthusiasts who demand top of the line performance, but may not have the time, desire, or expertise to build or maintain a high end system,” said John Malley, senior director of marketing for BFG Technologies.
BFG's banking on its reputation as a player in the enthusiast market to be successful in a sector which has seen consolidation in recent years, such as Dell acquiring Alienware and HP picking up Voodoo PC, two boutique vendors who helped define the niche market. BFG also looks to set its Phobos line apart with a combination of high end parts, "refined aesthetics," and a touch panel LCD.
Hit the jump to find out what BFG's new rigs will be packing underneath the hood.
Research group The Nielsen Company recently released a list of 2008’s 10 most played PC games, but seeing as how you’re probably still scraping bolded numbers off your monitor after you last careened into our listsanctum, we nearly skipped it. However, as it turns out, Nielsen’s runway strut contained a pretty interesting anomaly, so we want you to look at it.
Top 10 PC Game Titles in the U.S.
World of Warcraft (2004) / Blizzard Entertainment 671 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.723% AU*
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) / Infinity Ward 403 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.163% AU*
Halo: Combat Evolved (2003) / Gearbox, Bungie 295 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.092% AU*
The Sims (2000) / EA Maxis 213 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.09% AU*
The Sims 2 (2004) / EA Maxis 291 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.086% AU*
RuneScape (2001) / Jagex Ltd. 451 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.084% AU*
Diablo II (2000) / Blizzard Entertainment 313 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.065% AU*
Team Fortress 2 (2007) / Valve 371 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.063% AU*
Counter-Strike (2000) / Valve 282 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.062% AU*
Counter-Strike: Source (2004) / Valve 426 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.061% AU*
*AU is the percent of PC Gamers playing title in the average minute. Data from Jan - Oct 2008.
Notice anything? Yep. Not a single game on the list was released in 2008 – except for maybe WoW: WotLK, but even then, this is telling sign of where PC gaming now needs to park its tuckus. Bottom line: Subscriptions and microtransactions. You’re welcome, industry. Our bill’s in the mail.
As you may or may not have heard, CES is coming up, and there will be plenty of big name vendors there. That includes MSI, who has recently announced their full 2009 lineup, which is chock-full of new goodies!
First up, their netbook announcements! Thanks to the success of the Wind U100, MSI is planning to release a U115 and U120 to compliment the previous model. The U115 sports the option of being the first netbook capable of simultaneously running an SSD and an HDD. The U120 will be the power user’s option, designed for being portable without sacrificing performance.
They’ll also be offering 16”, 19” and 22” versions of their new All-In-One Wind at CES. It’ll feature an Intel Atom processor, which will allow it to consume a fraction of the power that a 250W PC does. The All-In-One will also feature a nice 16:9 display.
Finally, the gaming notebooks will be expanded to include the (deep breath) GT725, GT727, GT627 and the GX420. Reportedly, the GT725 and GT727 are capable of breaking 10,000 3D Marks.
While unfortunately most of this information is pretty broad (thank you, press releases!) CES will provide us a great opportunity to check out these new toys and find out more about them. Who knows, with any luck we’ll be able to figure out exactly what’s under the hood and how much they’ll cost!