Well, kinda. Make no mistake, BioWare, EA, and LucasArts hope to four-legged race right past WoW's 11 million subscriber record, but even if WoW's legions commit to Blizzard's ludicrously popular MMO, marry the game, have adorable children, and then sell them to buy more WoW gold, the Old Republic team won't lose any sleep over the lost customers.
“Just look at the base of Star Wars fans, plus what BioWare can do," EA Games president Frank Gibeau told Videogaming247. "Trust me: we want to win. EA’s reputation is for wanting to win."
“This is going to be a powerful category and there’s lots of ways to compete in this category. [Blizzard] created a much larger opportunity for everybody else, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way.”
LucasArts online boss Tom Nichols elaborated, and also downplayed Blizzard's userbase as the be-all, end-all of the MMO market.
“When World of Warcraft came out, everybody thought, ‘No, the market is only this big, because that’s as big as EverQuest was.’ Blizzard showed that it could be much larger,” he said.
“Our goal is to show that by bringing storytelling to the genre that we can attract an even wider audience. Plus, we have the benefit of this huge brand, which has done very, very well for nearly 30 years.”
We think The Old Republic has a better chance of seizing WoW's spot on the winner's podium than any other MMO. How about you?
With all the recent hubbub about DRM (seriously, we're getting tired of using that link), it was only a matter of time until some brave soul stepped forward to behead the "draconian" menace*. Fittingly, that someone is Stardock, whose handiwork birthed the Gamer's Bill of Rights.
"While Stardock doesn't put copy protection on its retail games, the fact is that most publishers are never going to agree to do that," Stardock CEO Brad Wardell said of one sticky stipulation in the Bill.
"So the publishers are telling us, 'Put your money where your mouth is. Why don't you guys develop something that you think is suitable that would protect our IP, but would be more acceptable to users?'"
"We're investigating what would make users happy to protect their needs, but also provide some security for the publishers. ... We're actually developing a technology that would do that."
Although Wardell's plan still has all four limps planted safely in the cradle, he does have one concrete idea. "We want that license to be yours, not per machine. ... It's not your machine buying the game. It's you," he said, voicing his hope for unlimited downloads of a purchased game.
When asked if his solution could be defined as DRM, however, Wardell was hesitant to slap the newborn plan with gaming's three scarlet letters.
"The problem with 'DRM' is that it's so loosely defined. ... Stardock's products use activation, and I wouldn't say that it's DRM," he emphasized. "We're just verifying if you're real customer."
All told, though, we think Wardell is really onto something. Now, with time out of the way, it's just a matter of how many bricks we'll have to chuck through John Riccitiello's window until he actually listens.
We don't claim to be businessmen, but even we have to say LucasArts' rationale behind Star Wars Galaxies' continued existence seems a little off. When asked whether the troubled Star Wars MMO would step down gracefully or take a lightsaber to the gut, LucasArts senior online exec Tom Nichols replied:
“We’re still committed to Star Wars Galaxies. A couple of things: a demonstration of that commitment includes a recent trading card game that we launched in August. It’s doing very well for us and we have a new expansion pack being planned for that."
“I think the market will definitely support [both Star Wars: The Old Republic and Star Wars Galaxies]."
He also noted that the two games feature different mechanics, which he believes will attract different audiences.
But if you've never played either game, what can Galaxies throw your way to entice you to its shriveled up side of the force?
“Shortly we’re going to release a new Hoth encounter that recreates that classic battle in the Empire Strikes Back, and that’s exciting content for our Galaxies community, so we’re definitely committed to the product.”
A Hoth level. Added to one of the few Star Wars games in history that didn't already have one.
Galaxies fans, feel free to tell us why we're wrong/why we should die in a fire.
It's official. E3 as you know it is no more. Again. E3 version 3.0 will return to the glitz and glamour of the gaming trade show's 2006 iteration, but with a few tweaks to put an end to those pesky money leaks.
"[E3 2009] will be smaller than E3 2006 because it will be a much smarter show than E3 2006," ESA President Mike Gallagher said, boasting the new format's cost-effectiveness.
Compared to its 2007 and 2008 counterparts, E3 2009 intends to stop sucking it in and let its girth flow freely. With a target attendance of 40,000 industry professionals, 2008's 5,000 will have plenty of company. However, 2006 and 2005 remain "king of the hill" and "hill," respectively, with totals of 60,000 and 70,000.
So, the question you probably skipped all of the other stuff to answer: Can you get into E3? Well, not really.
Strolling into E3's hallowed halls is as simple as being a "qualified" industry or media member -- though defining that position is much less simple.
"We have criteria set up to define what is an analyst, what is a media attendee," Gallagher said. "We want to make sure bloggers and others in the online space have the right path to admission, as long as they're legitimate."
"This is not a consumer show," he emphasized.
Unless, of course, you're a booth babe.
"Here's the thing," Gallagher said of the sisterhood of the traveling pants-less. "Our publishers will have the maximum ability to drive energy and excitement around their titles and their products. I would expect that you're going to see models there, but there will be controlled guildelines, just like we've had previous years."
E3 2009 will run from June 2-4. We'll be there, reporting with oodles of "energy and excitement." Oh, and booth babes -- look out. We've been known to get a little feisty while on show floors.
Sorry this post is so late. On the way to our computer, we were mobbed by women, had to refuse a couple marriage proposals, and were forced to drum up conversations with a few people who actually weren't my mom. But it's ok! Because according to a recent study by IGN Entertainment and Ipsos Media CT, this sort of thing happens to you guys all the time (even without the ability to flash Maximum PC blogger credentials), so you probably understand.
The study corralled 3,000 participants and discovered, foremost, that gamers no longer display aesthetic symptoms typical of vampirism -- casting aside their dimly lit basements and blanched-white skin to bask in the company of other people. But here's the kicker: apparently gamers, in between playing games, find more time for their social outings than non-gamers.
For example, the study noted that gamers are 13% more likely to frequent movie theaters, 11% more likely to throw down in real life sports, and 9% more likely to kick back with friends than non-gamers. But it gets better.
See, we make more money too. Our deft reflexes, calloused thumbs, and superlative interloping abilities snag, on average, $79,000 per year, while non-gamers are forced to make do with $54,000. (Note: average income was not calculated to include money spent on gamers' hedonistic gaming and movie-going habits.)
And of course, everyone loves us, since dropping a pebble into our wells of knowledge wouldn't yield a splash for years. As such, 37% of those surveyed said friends and family look to them for entertainment advice, and 39% said they assist acquaintances with tech and gadgets.
So, if the cool kids are still beating you up out by the monkey-bars, you're in the minority. In fact, a large portion of us are probably helping administer the mega wedgie-swirly combos. What? We get bored.
For the past few weeks we have presented you with our $1500 Budget Badass and $2500 Power User PC. This week we’re bringing to the table our picks for a $2500 Pro Gaming PC. With significant price cuts since our last Pro Gaming PC build-it guide, we were able to give our gaming PC some extra juice so system lag can no longer be blamed for missing a crucial headshot. Many parts have not changed since the last update, but with new hardware technology coming soon to the computer industry, be prepared for some significant tweaks next month. But for now, here’s what we got.
Would you build it differently? If so, we would love to hear how you would do it in the comments!
With all the hoopla surrounding Intel's Centrino 2 platform, it might be easy to forget that AMD is also a player in the mobile market. But who hasn't forgotten is MSI, who just released a pair of new gaming notebooks to the U.S. market with CPU support for AMD's Turion X2 Ultra dual-core mobile processors.
On the lighter end of the spec sheet, MSI's 15.4" GX630 utilizes Nvidia's MCP77 chipset with support for up to 4GB of DDR2-800 RAM. Gaming duties are handled by Nvidia's GeForce 9600M GT with a 512MB frame buffer, and two speakers tackle audio chores.
Depsite its Nvidia-centric name, the 17" GT735 runs on AMD's RX781+SB700 chipset, also with support for up to 4GB of DDR2-800 RAM. That also means an ATI based videocard, specifically the Mobility Radeon HD3850 along with 512MB of GDDR3. Audio gets an upgrade as well with four speakers plus a subwoofer.
Both notebooks boast a 320GB SATA hard drive, DVD burner (optional Blu-ray), 802.11b/g/n, webcam, an HDMI port, a 4-in-1 card reader, eSATA, and two (GX630) or three (GT735) USB 2.0 ports. But while the specs may seem standard fare, both machines will come with the option to overclock by way of a button, which MSI claims will increase the speed of the CPU by as much as 15 percent.
The new notebooks are available now from several online e-tailers, including Amazon.com, Buy.com, ZipZoomFly, and Mwave for between $1050 to $1115 (GX630) and $1230 to $1300 (GT735).
The wait is over. Today, LucasArts and BioWare finally force unleashed the first details on their joint MMO production, and it sounds like the best thing that could possibly come from Star Wars and gaming's unholy union aside from a Jar-Jar killing sim where you blast Jar-Jars with a Jar-Jar launcher*.
The game will take place a few hundred years after KOTOR 2 caught fire and skidded off a cliff to an eventual -- and undeniably painful -- halt, and will cast you as a jedi, sith, or something else that you probably won't bother with. As with any BioWare title, MMOTOR will focus on story foremost, spicing up the MMO genre with BioWare's top-notch storytelling prowess.
And oh will there be story content. According to BioWare president Greg Zeschuk and CEO Ray Muzyka, the game isn't KOTOR 3, "it's KOTOR 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. There's that much to it."
"It's a whole galaxy. It's a galaxy of Star Wars," they added.
In order to make such an ambitious story possible, The Old Republic will saddle you with single-player RPG-esque companion characters. You can change and manipulate them, and they can assist you throughout your adventures. As such, the game will "allow players to carve out their own epic stories," with your actions affecting the entire game world, as well as your characters' morality.
Even crazier, every class and faction configuration will have its own storyline. Lead writer on the project Daniel Ericson even claimed that his latest progeny could feasibly be played like a single-player RPG. There's that much story.
“If you’re a BioWare fan, you’re going to get everything you ever imagined from an extension of KOTOR,” he said.
We couldn't want this any more if it came with a ticket to beautiful women and infinite money island**. How about you?
*The alt fires are lightsabers and Hayden Christensen.
Being a blight upon the 99.8% of the gaming industry that enjoys making money, it's not too surprising that piracy has a place at gaming's Bad Guy table, where maniacal cackles flow freely and glasses are always half-empty. However, when one of PC gaming's great beneficiaries, the PC Gaming Alliance says piracy isn't so bad -- just misunderstood -- well, jaws drop.
That's exactly what happened when we heard about PCGA Pres. Randy Stude's plan to plant a money tree in piracy's apparently fertile soil.
"Let's monetize every one of those pirates, and let's advertise the hell out of them," Stude told Gamasutra.
Fearing that the big cheese had finally snapped, we nearly missed his explanation, wherein he said that such monetization should be "blatant." For instance, he noted, developers could plaster six times the number of in-game ads around unauthenticated versions of a game. The end result: pirates get an "inferior" version of a game, while developers rake in cash from ads.
"Don't throw [pirates] off [of the server], but show an ad every time a new level loads. The [paying customer] gets a billboard, a passive, less-aggressive ad than [pirates] are going to get," Stude added, demonstrably sane.
So those of you who play but don't pay, if Stude's grandiose plan were enacted, would you willfully download Far Cry 2: Viagra Blue Edition, or would you finally change your ways?
We'd slay zombies all day just for the heck of it, but turns out you can earn some sweet rewards for putting down the undead. Steam (and Xbox 360) achievement points, to be exact. Valve Software has hooked us up with the official full list of Left4Dead's 50 game achievements, which can be earned on both the Survivor and Infected side (in Versus mode). Among our favorites in the list? "Zombie Genocidest", which requires that we kill 53,595 common infected zombies, and "101 Cremations", which you earn by setting 101 infected on fire with the molotov cocktail. Hit the jump for the full list!
Edit: There are actually only 50 achievements, not 52.