We remember it like it was roughly five years ago. Our wave goodbye. Their shocked silence. Our shoulders gloomily slumped as we trudged out their door. Their faces pressed against the cold glass, rain-like water pouring dramatically, but mostly because the fire alarm was malfunctioning. It was the day we discovered Steam -- our final farewell to a helpful cadre of GameStop employees. And today, it looks like our departure -- along with that of most other PC gamers -- is finally hitting GameStop right in the pocketbook.
However, that doesn't mean GameStop plans to drop PC games without a fight.
"[GameStop's PC game sales] are down probably more than I had anticipated," GameStop SVP Bob McKenzie told Gamasutra. "...We had planned for it to be down. Again, the number of new titles we have on PC is down probably more than what I had anticipated it would be down -- but I don't see that as a threat or a signaling, we're not backing away from it at all."
"A year ago we had 350 stores that didn't carry PC merchandise and today, that number hasn't grown any... [bit] the PC market is definitely still very alive, and a portion of our business that we're hanging onto."
Speaking of the digitally distributed elephant in the room -- the straw currently slurping up his company's PC sales -- McKenzie noted:
"Our position with our publishers is that we're not afraid to compete with them -- against that digital distribution model. We can offer it. It's really another choice for the consumer, as long as they're not making that choice an unfair advantage for them, where they're able to sell it earlier or they add something into the game that we can't get our hands on for our consumer."
McKenzie, you so just lost your place on Dan DeMatteo's Facebook friends list.
That's the last time we press an ear up against this grapevine; sometimes, we'd rather a rumor soothe us with sweet, sweet lies than bludgeon us with a harsh truth -- that truth being, of course, a nebulous delay for the PC edition of Mirror's Edge.
Today, EA sent out a press release that trumpeted the hotly anticipated first-person free-runner's upcoming console release. For those fortunate fuc-- fellows, the game will be bouncing onto shelves November 11. And, as a spot of Mrs. Dash for you wounds, Xbox 360 and PS3 owners can also look forward to a demo of Mirror's Edge featuring "the prologue of the game including the tutorial and a segment of the single-player story mode."
We'd also parrot back the bit about how players who pre-order a console version of Mirror's Edge will break the chains off of exclusive demo content in the form of a ridiculously awesome time trial, but we don't want to upset you any further.
The PC version of Mirror's Edge, meanwhile, will launch "later this winter." Why? EA wouldn't say. However, we prefer to think it's because EA loves us, and people only hurt the ones they love.
Speaking of which, does anyone know where we could find a nice, sturdy tire iron, a plane ticket, and meticulously detailed directions to EA's offices? We want to tell EA how much we love them, and coincidentally, a tire iron is the perfect "thiiiis much" measuring tool.
If you ever wondered what constitutes an epic fail as opposed to a regular fail, here it is. According to UK based news and reviews site PC Pro, one of its readers claims to have received a recovery DVD with his Asus notebook purchase filled with various software cracks and several confidential documents. Oops!
The reader says his antivirus software discovered a key crack for the WinRAR compression software, and upon further investigation, he uncovered a folder labeled 'Crack,' inside which are what he claims are serial numbers for other software. But that's not all that was included. Another directory is said to contain confidential Microsoft documents for PC manufacturers, complete with program files and key codes. PC Pro says that yet another directory contains internal Asus documents along with source code for some of the company's software.
Apparently this isn't an isolated incident, prompting an Asus spokesman to issue an apology to affected customers, saying "We will be investigating this at quite a high level. Once the investigation is complete, we will ensure it doesn't happen again."
Have better things to do than to surf your videocard maker's website every day to check for updated drivers? That's okay, because we've done the legwork for you and found new drivers, so go ahead an hightail it over to ATI.
The just released Catalyst 8.9 driver package applies to both Windows XP and Vista in 32- and 64-bit trim. Home theater buffs should be particularly interested in the new drivers, as 8.9 introduces a 1080P @ 50Hz custom display mode for HDTVs. On the extreme gaming front, ATI's OverDrive overclocking utility now supports quad CrossFireX configurations, giving gamers the ability to overclock each card using manual controls or via the auto-tuning option.
Other goodies include OpenGL 3.0 extension support and several bug fixes for a variety of games, including recent releases Age of Conan and Spore.
As we've become painfully aware over the past couple of weeks, game publishers will do just about anything if it means pointing an over-sized foam middle-finger in piracy's direction. But, with EA's recent decision to plunge a grimy claw into an old wound that was finally beginning to scar over, another lesson has been hammered into our collective conscious: DRM doesn't work. It alienates legitimate customers and pushes budding pirates right over the edge.
However, there are other, much more viable methods of thwarting thieves, most of which are only now heaving themselves upward and making awkward, Bambi-esque strides into the limelight. Thus far, however, only one such anti-piracy tool has proven itself stupidly lucrative: the subscription fee.
During this week's Activision Analyst Day event, Activision Publishing CEO Mike Griffith mused about a possible Guitar Hero subscription service -- part of the publisher's plan to "monetize" the series. In addition, he noted that Call of Duty could fall under a similar, dollar-shaped banner.
Taken on its own, I see no problem with this pseudo-announcement. In both cases, a subscription service would have us lazing in a warm tub of new content with minimal hassle, and, as WoW has kindly pointed out, PC piracy of those games would slope off drastically.
But try ka-ching-ing a few more subscriptions onto your bank account's emaciated form and suddenly, this idea doesn't seem quite so dandy.
Continue reading to find out why subscription fees -- in their current form -- just can't muster the strength to heft the gaming industry above piracy's grasping mitts, as well as how they might be altered to succeed.
Allow us to paint you a picture: It's non-denominational politically correct holiday morning. You burst free from beneath your covers, quivering from a mix of the wintery chill meandering through your room and sheer, unbridled excitement. With each successive footfall, your speed builds; the world around you is a blur. Chairs, tables, and boxes impede your path, but it's no matter -- you've been practicing. Bathed in the glow of your fireplace, you shatter the brightly colored paper that encases your gift.
However, within the box's ruins, you find only a small scrap of paper. Obviously composed by your parents, it tells you to check Maximum PC for the sad truth that sullied what should've been your finest day. According to your parents' note, the MPC post is dated 9/16/08.
After hurriedly booting up your PC and searching the article, your eyes shift immediately to a bolded bit of text near the middle of the page. "GameStop's website now lists Mirror's Edge PC's release date as January 6, 2009," it reads. "Additionally, Amazon users who preordered the title have also been notified that the game will be launching on that day."
Disheartened, but willing to wait, you decide to read the rest of the article to pass the time. But the article -- its contents -- seem a little too accurate, you soon realize as your eyes grow wide.
We know everything about you, unsuspecting reader from Applewood, Colorado. Your past, future, and present are an open book -- a brittle-paged tome for our amusement. You can't escape; we will always know where you are.
Update: Looks like this one got blown out of proportion. Willits, after a glance at his inbox, released the following statement: "During my talk at Austin GDC I mentioned that we originally wanted to have around five or six smaller wasteland environments but later decided instead to have two larger wastelands - mostly because we were going to be shipping on two DVDs for the 360 and felt that it would play better with one large wasteland on each disc so there would be no loading between wastelands. Not loading levels while you drive around is a much better decision regardless of platform. There was NO CONTENT removed from RAGE because of the 360--NONE AT ALL. Moving from multiple wastelands into fewer but larger wastelands was a far better decision and is actually giving us more gameplay in the game. We feel the 360 is a great platform and will provide a fantastic Rage experience."
"The PC is limitless in the amount of data you can put on it.The PS3 has about 25GB. But the Xbox 360 roughly has 6 to 8 GB of data. We're hoping we can squeeze the game down to two discs for the 360 version."
"I wouldn't say the overall story was changed in any way in order to fit on the Xbox 360 version," Willits explained, "but how the player experiences Rage's story has been altered."
Foremost, he said, the game's overall structure has changed significantly. Whereas before, Rage featured "several" wastelands in which players could run race and gun, now only two remain. Don't worry, though; the two wastelands have been split into multiple, hardware-friendly instances, so it'll be just like traveling through multiple areas!
Somewhat perplexingly -- though probably in order to wave the game out the door by "When it's done" instead of "When your great grandchild begins balding" -- id elected to take the razor to all three versions of the game, as opposed to merely the Xbox edition.
This, it would seem, is only the beginning of a very slippery slope.
Barney the purple dinosaur became a 90s phenomenon that still airs on television more than a decade later, so naturally the only logical conclusion is to attribute the runaway success to him being purple. Why else would Yahoo put so much effort into a new campaign imploring users to "Start Wearing Purple"?
To be fair, purple has been Yahoo's official color for some time now, though you wouldn't know it by the red colored logo prominently displayed on Yahoo's homepage. The new campaign kicks off with a kooky video that serves as an intro to several purple designated features, including Purple Picks, a daily series of links picked out by Yahoo's editors which "highlight the people, trend, fashion, and companies that exemplify life in the purple lane," and even Purple Merchandise, with everything from Yahoo Pony shoes to a purple Mimobot Code Ninja 1GB USB flash drive.
Is Yahoo on to something here, or is this another example of Web 2.0 having gone wrong? Check it out, hit the jump, and give us your thoughts.
According to daily browsing statistics provided by Net Applications, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 has garnered a fair bit of interest from users, with the latest beta increasing market share from 0.23 percent at the beginning of the month to now sitting at 0.41 percent. Still, Google's new Chrome browser (also in beta form) has been more popular, breaching the 1 percent mark early in September and now claiming 0.79 percent of the market.
Looking at the overall picture, Microsoft can't be too concerned. Net Applications notes an average market share for IE 7 and IE 6 of 46.38 and 24.08 percent respectively, which when combined with IE 8's 0.31 percent average, has Internet Explorer still dominating the browser wars with 70.82 percent of the market in the first half of September. In August, IE claimed a slightly larger slice at 72.15 percent.
Meanwhile, open-source stalwart Firefox also noted a slight drop since August, with combined market share taking a small dip from 19.73 percent to 19.38 percent. What's interesting to note here is that Microsoft's IE 6 still grabs a larger share than all three Firefox browsers combined.
Hit the jump and let us know what browser you're using.
If you're still sporting an older version of Google Desktop, you might consider upgrading. The search giant has just released version 5.8 of it's Google Desktop software for Windows with a handful of improvements it hopes will make it worthy of a second look for anyone who previously dismissed it.
The biggest change with version 5.8 concerns speed, with the company's blog indicating that the new version is "based entirely on performance." Google claims it found a way to cut memory usage during startup by about 50 percent, and that shutdown has been improved five-fold. But more than just an octane injection, Google Desktop 5.8 also sports a few new features, such as improved Outlook integration and support for Flash in gadgets.
Sadly, 64-bit XP and Vista users need not apply. For the 32-bit crowd, download your copy here and hit the jump to let us know what you think.