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Here is what has been making news: New Releases, Used Games, Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes, Assassin’s Creed 2014, Minecraft, Unreal Tournament, Call of Duty: Ghosts – Onslaught, Infamous: Second Son, Titanfall 2, Trails Fusion, EA Servers Hacked, Xbox Live Reward, Borderlands 2 – Vita Edition.
March 23rd – March 29th
Monday, March 24th
Betrayer will be available for the PC.
Escape Goat 2 will be available for the PC and iPhone.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Millennium Duels will be available for the Xbox 360.
Tuesday, March 25th
EITHER One will be available for the PC.
Pier Solar HD will be available for the PC.
Fez will be available for the PS3, PS4 and PS Vita.
TitanFall will be available for the Xbox 360.
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls will be available for the PC and MAC.
Cut the Rope: Triple Treat will be available for the 3DS.
SMITE will be available for the PC.
The Croods: Prehistoric Party! and Rise of the Guardians: Combo Pack will be available for the Wii.
Destiny of Spirits will be available for the PS Vita.
Montas will be available for the PC.
Cabela’s Big Game Hunter: Pro Hunts will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U and PC.
Last Knight: Rogue Rider Edition will be available for the PC.
Quest of Dungeons will be available for the PC.
The Witch and the Hundred Knight will be available for the PS3.
Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Complete Edition will be available for the PS3, PS4 and PS Vita.
Deceptive IV Blood Ties will be available for the PS3 and PS Vita.
MXGP: The Official Motocross Video Game will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita and PC.
Blazblue: Chrome Phantasma will be available for the PS3.
Castelvania: Lords of Shadow 2 – Revelations DLC will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
Deus EX: The Fall will be available for the PC.
Wednesday, March 26th
Fez will be available (in UK) for the PS3, PS4 and PS Vita.
Thursday, March 27th
Sly Collection will be available for the PS Vita.
Warhammer 40,000: Storm of Vengeance will be available for the PC.
Golden Time: Vivid Memories will be available for the PS Vita.
Ro-Kyu-Bu! Naisho no Shutter Chance will be available for the PS Vita.
Carmageddon: Reincarnation will be available for the PS4 and PC.
Winning Post 8 will be available for the PS3, PS Vita and PC.
Fight the Dragon will be available for the PC.
Friday, March 28th
Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright will be available for the 3DS.
Putty Squad will be available for the PS3.
We Sing UK Hits will be available for the Wii.
Invizimals: The Alliance will be available (in UK) for the PS Vita.
Deceptive IV Blood Ties will be available (in UK) for the PS3 and PS Vita.
Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom will be available (in UK) for the PS3.
MX GP will be available in the UK for the Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita and PC.
Wal-Mart now competing with GameStop
Recently Wal-Mart announced that it will start to buy back used video games in exchange for gift cards which you could use on any item in their store. The program will begin Wednesday, March 26th at many of its locations. Your gift card can also be used at Sam’s Club.
All this means more competition for stores like GameStop who depend on game trade-ins for a large part of their revenue. Following Wal-Mart’s announcement, GameStop stock fell sharply.
Duncan Mac Naughton, the chief merchandising and marketing officer for Wal-Mart, stated in a press release that, “Gaming continues to be an important business for us and we’re actively taking aim at the $2 billion pre-owned video game opportunity. When we disrupt markets and compete, our customer wins. They’ll save money on video games and have the flexibility to spend it however they want.”
This isn’t the first time that Wal-Mart has attempted to break into the used gaming market. At one time they had offered a limited video game trade-in system online, and in the late 2000s they tried using trade-in kiosks at their stores. Neither of those ventures went very well.
Paul Raines, GameStop’s chief executive states that he is not intimidated by Wal-Mart’s recent announcement, adding, “We win those market share battles because we’ve been at it a long time. There are lots and lots of risks when you’re buying a pre-owned product.”
Censored in Japan
Hideo Kojima, Metal Gear Solid series creator, recently reported that the Japanese version of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes has been censored by the Japanese video game ratings board, Computer Entertainment Ratings Organization (CERO).
Kojima isn’t clear on what specifically was censored when he stated “That part got flagged by CERO so the production was changed that way, but in the North American version [of Ground Zeroes] you can see everything.” Ground Zeroes does include depictions of water-boarding and other means of torture.
Earlier this month Kojima expressed that he thinks games will never be considered culture if they don’t tackle some sensitive subjects. “If we don’t cross that line, if we don’t make attempts to express what we really want to express, games will only be games. If we don’t try to go beyond that, we won’t be able to achieve what movies or novels have achieved. I didn’t want to stay away from these things that could be considered sensitive. If we don’t go that far, games will never be considered as culture.”
Next game set in Paris?
Recently leaked images of this year’s Assassin’s Creed game suggest the game will be set in 18th century Paris. The screenshots were from an early-in-development version of the game and showed Notre Dame and the Seine river. While it is not clear if this will be the actual title, the game is dubbed Unity.
There are also reports that this year’s Assassin’s Creed game will have a different versions for the new consoles and old consoles. This means that the game won’t be designed as a cross-generational title like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. There has been no word on the possibility of a Wii U version as of yet.
According to Ubisoft, the most requested settings for their new Assassin’s Creed game has been feudal Japan, Ancient Egypt and World War II.
Developer making big bucks
According to Wall Street Journal reports, Minecraft made about $326 million last year, netting Mojang about $128 million in profit.
Over 90 percent of Mojang’s money came directly from sales of Minecraft. About 38 percent of the sales from the PC version, 30 percent from the console versions and about 25 percent from the mobile version. The rest of the money came from merchandise and Scrolls, its card-battler game.
Carl Manneh, Mojang’s chief executive, stated that the company had a few other game projects in the works, however, they don’t feel any pressure to rush them to launch. “Financially speaking, we have no pressure whatsoever to rush into any new projects. Besides, we have no outside owners that require us to reach any particular goals.”
Nothing new coming down the pike
Epic Games has revealed that they currently have no plans for developing a new Unreal Tournament game. Tim Sweeney, Epic’s boss, stated, “We’re not [planning on] shipping an Unreal Tournament game. We have a lot of nostalgia for the game, but we’re actually not developing anything in the Unreal game universe at all at the moment.”
So what is Epic up to these days then? According to Sweeney, “We’ve announced Fortnite… That’s a game we’ll be talking about later. There are several other projects that aren’t announced yet that are being developed with Unreal Engine 4.”
Epic recently made an announcement that they were unveiling a new licensing model for Unreal Engine 4 which allowed developers to subscribe for $19 per month.
Free DLC trial
On Friday, March 21st, Activision released a trial version of the Onslaught DLC for Call of Duty: Ghosts. The trial version will be free and playable until Monday, March 24th. The downloadable content contains all four of the new maps, Fog, Bay View, Ignition, and Containment, as well as the Maverick dual assault sniper rifle.
This offer is only available for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One due to the exclusivity deal Activision has with Microsoft. Activision does state that other platforms will have the free trial available to them a little later, however, no specific date was named.
Lead designer leaves and Pre-order upgrade revealed
Sony owned Sucker Punch Productions recently lost a lead designer, Jaime Griesemer. Griesemer was lead designer on Infamous: Second Son and recently commented about the game and his departure on Twitter stating, “I’m excited for people to get their hands on it. And yes, I have left [Sucker Punch]. Not really talking about it yet, tho.”
Later he did make an official announcement regarding his departure from the studio saying, “I appreciate all the well-wishes on the news that I am leaving Sucker Punch, but please don’t take the timing as cause for concern about Second Son–it’s a great game that I am proud to have on my resume and I can’t wait for everyone to play it–or Sucker Punch–a studio on the rise with a bright future–or Sony–a great organization with some of the savviest, most pro-gamer executives in the business. And while I am honored to be mentioned in the same articles as legendary designers like Amy Hennig and Stig Asmussen, please don’t look too hard for some sinister pattern.”
He went on to say, “The truth is that any creative, vibrant industry is necessarily volatile; the only sure bet is that the next few years will not look the same as the last. Change is part of the job, but along with the upheaval and uncertainty, there’s opportunity and new challenges. It’s an exciting time to be a free agent and I’m going to go see what’s out there. Simple as that…”
Griesemer joined Sucker Punch in 2011. Before that he had spent 12 years working at Bungie on various Halo games as well as Destiny.
Infamous: Second Son launched on March 21st exclusively for the PS4. Just prior to launch GameStop had announced that all pre-ordered games would be upgraded to the limited-edition of the game at no extra cost. The limited edition includes a premium foil cover, an exclusive DLC titled Cole’s Legacy and in-game vests for protagonist Delsin. And if that wasn’t enough, it also included 500 Sony Reward points.
Won’t be an exclusive
Recently Electronic Arts had acquired the rights to publish a sequel to Titanfall. Currently Titanfall is exclusive to the Xbox 360, Xbox One, and the PC, however, Titanfall 2 will reportedly not be a Microsoft exclusive.
Respawn Entertainment suggested last October that Titanfall 2 was already in the works when asked if the studio would ever make Titanfall available to the PS4. Vince Zampella, the studio’s cofounder, stated, “Of course we will, just not the first Titanfall.”
PC release date delay
Trials Fusion’s PC launch has moved from April 16th to April 24th. But the week delay isn’t all that bad, especially if you have pre-ordered the game. You will be able to access a Trials Fusion closed beta that started March 21st. According to Ubisoft, the beta will include 14 tracks and 2 sill games at first. The content will change weekly.
Trial Fusion will be available for the Xbox 360, Xbox One and the PS4 on the original launch date of April 16th.
Phishing scheme uncovered
Recently Netcraft, an internet security site, reported that one of Electronic Arts’ servers had been hijacked as part of a phishing scheme. The server hosts two websites within the ea.com domain and are used to host a calendar based on Webcalendar 1.2.0 which Netcraft states “was released in September 2008 and contains several security vulnerabilities which have been addressed in subsequent releases. It is likely that one of these vulnerabilities was used to compromise the server, as the phishing content is located in the same directory as the WebCalendar application.”
The hijacked site now tries to trick you into giving up your Apple ID log in information, if you do that then you will get a request for your address credit card information and other details such as your mother’s maiden name, useful to a fraudster.
Netcraft states they have informed EA of the server compromise, and EA states they are working on resolving the issue, however the vulnerable server still contained the phishing content at the time Netcraft published their report.
An EA spokesperson recently stated, “We have found it, we have isolated it, and we are making sure such attempts are no longer possible. Privacy and security are of the utmost importance to us.”
Folks, always be wary of any site that asks for credit card information, if it looks suspicious, it likely is .. be careful and keep your personal information safe.
Get rewarded for good behavior
Frank Savage, development lead, recently revealed that Microsoft wants their gamers to contribute positively to the gaming community. For that reason they are considering a system that will reward “well-behaved” Xbox Live users.
Savage stated that if you have a good reputation and “you’re this amazing player everyone wants to be with” Xbox Live’s reputation algorithm may recognize that and give you a reward. While this is only in the brainstorming phase at this time, the goal is to do more than just penalize players for bad behavior. Microsoft wants to “actively encourage” gamers to be better members of the community. Savage explained, “It’s Microsoft’s way of saying, “Thanks for being such a good member of the community, here’s a reward.”
What rewards will be offered has yet to be determined. However, the Xbox Live reputation system was first revealed at the 2013 E3 along with the community moderation program beta that began last August.
For all the complaining we do (that is the collective “we”) about “big brother” Microsoft, the idea that they would dedicate themselves to bettering the manners of the gaming community is a welcomed addition to the gaming experience. If you don’t want to play with cheats and jerks, you shouldn’t have to just eliminate online playtime from your gaming experience. All gamers should feel comfortable enjoying the fun of playing with others online.
Coming out this spring
Selling millions of copies, Borderlands 2 was a big hit for Gearbox Software, big enough that they let Sony help bring the game over to the PS Vita. The game on Vita looks great, is content complete, including some of the DLC, but it still isn’t on the same level as the console and PC versions.
It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that, at the moment at least, the game’s performance on Vita isn’t up to snuff, the Vita may be powerful, but not as powerful as the PS3. The game is a bit sluggish due to subpar frame-rates. Its control scheme is a bit awkward because the Vita lacks R2 and L2 functionality and its analog sticks are not clickable. The loss of four buttons caused some creative solutions, which don’t actually seem to be very good solutions within gameplay.
We expect that Sony and Gearbox are working toward further optimization and the game is a bit more refined before it’s PS Vita launch. Borderlands 2 – Vita Edition will launch this spring along with an all new model of the PS Vita. As launch gets closer we will keep you informed on any changes that may make the game that much better for you Vita gamers.