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November 26, 2012

Copacabana beckons as Firefall Beta is unveiled

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Red 5 Studio unveils a future Earth where it’s up to you to reclaim what’s yours.

Firefall Screenshot

There is a new MMO on the horizon, although it’s probably not like any MMO you’ve seen before. Described by Red 5’s Vice President, James Macualey and lead designer, Scott Youngblood as an “MMO Shooter”, this game is part shooter, part MMO, part RPG and part RTS. Firefall aims to improve upon the traditional questing models followed by other development companies such as Blizzard. The game is set on a future Earth where most of the population have been wiped out in a disaster which has created a ravenous race of creatures called The Chosen, it’s up to you to reclaim what’s yours and take back the Earth.

For much of 2012 Firefall has been in beta testing and this has allowed the development team to refine the game mechanics on a much larger scale than is conventionally seen with games like this, and it sounds like they are going to need this extra testing time because there is so much going on with this game, it’s ambitious to say the least. As I read about Firefall I notice more and more that Red 5 are mimicking the dynamic questing that we saw so prominently in Guild Wars 2, released this year, where players become part of world events that can happen anywhere and you instinctively form groups and alliances – and who can blame them, this dynamic questing is definitely proving a refreshing change from the norm and is definitely a hit with this player. It’s also going to be free-to-play, which no longer casts aspersions on the viability of the game, the free-to-play model is now a popular choice for both existing and new games to the market, e.g., swtor and GW2.

Firefall screenshot

What’s even more interesting about this game is that you can actually lose it, and when I say lose I mean that you can get kicked off the server! That’s something that I have never seen done in any MMO before, of course that really is the last straw, the aim is to work together to fight back The Chosen and keep hold of precious resources that give you the tactical advantage.

The release date for Firefall is set for Summer 2013, but you can sign up right now to join thousands of other players for the public beta weekends, where you can check out the first major city, Copacabana. The weekends are as follows:

Population Control: November 30th, 2012 until December 2nd, 2012
Chosen Invasion: December 7th, 2012 until December 9th, 2012

Or, to get free beta access you can get a beta code by picking up the Christmas edition of PC Gamer. Whatever method you choose you can find out more information on the beta weekends page of the Firefall website.

October 23, 2011

Are You Ready for Some Foot….. Battlefield?

Ok so I’m sure some of you are getting sick by the total media blitz that has hit every type of video/data stream entering your dwelling but you have to admit this game is going to be Epic to say the least. Now that there is less than 48 hours before launch and some last minute trailers have hit the You Tube! One is a fan made trailer for “Battlefield 4” and totally backed by Dice being that they put it up on their Facebook page and the second is a live action/CG trailer also up on the Battlefield Facebook page daring you to choose whats real and whats memorex!

 
 

First is the “Battlefield 4” made by Freddiew hit the link to check out their You Tube page they have some really well made video’s for your viewing pleasure!

 

 
 

Now here’s the live action/CG video that dares you to pick out the live action from the CG to me it’s a little obvious but still looks total kick-AZZ check out the Battlefield You Tube page for all the latest updates and freebies!

 

July 16, 2011

Uncharted 3 Beta Stats

It came, it saw, it blew our minds. The Uncharted 3 beta has wrapped up and now we have to wait until November to get to the fun again. Playstation posted some numbers on the beta saying it was the largest beta on the Playstation network to date. Here’s some food for thought:

-Total unique Beta players: 1.53 million people

-Total kills: 1.9 billion

-Total Cash collected: 1.4 TRILLION dollars (that’s greater than the gross domestic product of Spain, the eleventh highest GDP in the world!)

-Total shots fired: 48 billion

-Total matches completed: 22 million

-Total time played: More than 362 years worth of matches

Yea pretty insane it what I thought too.

July 14, 2011

One does not simply Tank Cat into the Emmy’s…..

We here at the TheGamersBlog would like to congratulate our favorite show (at least for most of us) that just debuted a few short months ago for being nominated for 13 Emmys, Game of Thrones. The series, based on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels, premiered on HBO back in April and was quickly picked up for a second season heralding to rave reviews and high ratings. Making sure to watch every episode, we would explode in discussion over that week’s episode; it’s still the only reason outside of some sporting events, that I keep my cable. The series had some great twist, a huge WTF moment, and a strong lead into its second season. Peter Dinklage was nominated for best supporting actor for his role of Tyrion Lannister. Unfortunately Sean Bean was snubbed, a much underrated actor in my opinion, but the Emmy’s are just too small for Bean to tank cat into. Either catch the series On Demand or via HBO GO, regardless you should check it out otherwise your missing one of the best series to hit T.V. in quite a while. Also there is a RTS based on the series coming sometime this fall, just to keep this post relevant to gaming. Below is a list of the nominations.

CASTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES

COSTUMES FOR A SERIES

DIRECTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES

HAIRSTYLING FOR A SINGLE-CAMERA SERIES

MAIN TITLE DESIGN

MAKEUP FOR A SINGLE-CAMERA SERIES (NON-PROSTHETIC)

PROSTHETIC MAKEUP FOR A SERIES, MINISERIES, MOVIE OR A SPECIAL

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

DRAMA SERIES

SOUND EDITING FOR A SERIES

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS FOR A SERIES

STUNT COORDINATION

WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES

July 14, 2011

For some reason stat tracking needs tested…..

If anyone signed up for the Call of Duty Elite beta, the first wave of emails are being sent out today for you to start testing their new stat tracking service CoD: Elite. I really didn’t know you needed to test a stat tracking service; Bungie had no problem implementing the same service in 2007 with Halo 3. But for all you CoD fans out there you will need the email and your copy of Black Ops, funny how they are testing a feature in a Treyarch developed game yet it will be implemented into IW’s MW2.5 MW3. I do believe Activision is the one implementing this but I just find it funny since Treyarch and Infinity Ward are just the best of pals (rolling sarcasm). If anyone dies get a chance to try this out let us know and how the service compares to other services like this already in existence. Now this portion of Elite will be free, just to correct anything that has been over heard in the uproar. The monthly fee portion still has yet to be shown outside of early access to their already overpriced map packs ($15 for 5 maps that have no edit options outside of game type is absurd). Now please don’t get us wrong, we here at TGB do enjoy CoD now and again, really haven’t had a great time with one since CoD 2, but the re-skinned game design and community of screaming 12 year olds is what keeps me away. Black Ops had a mundane, generic, and schizophrenic campaign but what I did play of the multiplayer (until I reached level 20 something and became bored) was fun while it lasted. So grab your copy of Black Ops, hope you got an email, and test that number system away. Again, if anyone is testing this please, let us know you opinion in the comments.

July 14, 2011

3DS Netflix goes live today…..

If you need a reason to dust off you 3DS and give it some love, Nintendo has your anti-static cloth in hand. The Netflix app that was discussed at last year’s E3 went live today on the3DS’s E-Shop. A bevy of content will be available as well as 3D movies that don’t require you to look like a hipster with those funky glasses. The parental controls on Netflix will work on the 3DS application as well as the 3DS parental controls will keep your rug rats from experiencing anything not age appropriate or from them witnessing the bevy of crap movies and shows available on the service and scaring them for life (Glee needs destroyed!). I am one excited to download this app. If I can have the 3D version of Tron Legacy available to me on the portable I will be in heaven, plus it will make work more tolerable (not this job, this is the fun job). The only problem I can see would be the battery life sucking horribly due to the 3D being used while the WI-FI is streaming. The app is set up a lot like the PS3 app and my whole instant queue is there, I had to try the app out with my favorite Futurama episode (as seen below). The app is great and I can see using this a lot while I am typing articles or on the go at an airport. Hopefully this will entice more people to pick up the handheld that have won me over (OoT FTW!). Anyone else excited that the 3DS features are finally coming to fruition?

  

July 13, 2011

Netflix Raising Prices

In an announcement that angered a great number of people, Netflix has announced that they will be redoing their pricing plans.  Currently users are able for $9.99 to get 1 DVD and unlimited streaming.  Netflix, starting in September, will be separating the two services.  The new pricing scheme is such 1 DVD out for $7.99 or unlimited streaming for $7.99 or both for $15.98.  This statement led to outrage because users were furious with the fact that they had to pay more money.  Netflix is also in the process of renegotiating their streaming contracts and as such several studios have pulled their movies from Netflix instant streaming.

While I don’t like the price change I think people need to look a little deeper into the price increase.  Most people think “I’m just steaming a moving how much can it really cost” and the answer is… alot.  First there is the bandwidth required to deliver streaming services to everyone who wants to watch it and sometimes on multiple devices.  Bandwidth isn’t cheap in mass quantities that would be required to serve users across the world.  Currently Netflix uses level 3 communications for all of their bandwidth needs and they probably use a good portion of that companies bandwidth.  The bandwidth alone probably costs the company over a million dollars a month just to keep data flowing to consumers.  That’s $12 million dollars a year.  That’s not chump change by any measure.  Then in addition to this they have to pay licensing fees to movie studios to have the right to show their movies online.  When Netflix first started offering this service they got a steal on licensing because no one really watched movies online.  Now, however, there are millions of people who are using the internet to watch their movies and movie studios know that they can make a killing and as such they are going to raise those costs.  Lets take the average TV show for example, it costs netflix around $100,000 to $1,000,000 per episode to have the rights to stream any given season.  Lets take Star Trek: Voyager, it has 100 episodes, that’s $10,000,000 just to have the rights to stream that to consumers and thats only one show.  Multiply that by the hundreds of TV episodes they have available and you get an idea of the immense cost of operating that kind of business.   Those costs have to be paid for somehow and if movie studios and bandwidth provides raise their costs so does Netflix, it’s just simple business. 

What do you guys think?

July 12, 2011

EA Acquires PopCap for $750 Million

EA is buying PopCap games for $750 million dollars.  The publishing giant is yet again purchasing another company to add to it’s lineup of developers. PopCap games is the developer of massively popular games like Plants vs Zombies and Peggle.

“EA and PopCap are a compelling combination,” said EA CEO John Riccitiello. “PopCap’s great studio talent and powerful IP add to EA’s momentum and accelerate our drive towards a $1 billion digital business. EA’s global studio and publishing network will help PopCap rapidly expand their business to more digital devices, more countries, and more channels.”

“We picked EA because they have recast their culture around making great digital games,” said David Roberts, CEO of PopCap. “By working with EA, we’ll scale our games and services to deliver more social, mobile, casual fun to an even bigger, global audience.”

There have been rumors circling for a few weeks now that PopCap was going to be purchased it just hasn’t been confirmed until today.

July 11, 2011

Digital Distribution… Competition Bad for Business?

A war is brewing on the internet for your money, support, and loyalty (no it’s not the PC vs Console war that you see flames on a daily basis) and the outcome could have dire consequences for the gaming industry.  That war is the supremacy over Digital Distribution.  Currently there are several key players in the industry, Steam (Valve Software), Impulse Driven (GameStop), Direct2Drive and GoG.  Steam is by far the most popular and largest of the group by several times however several companies are looking into providing their own services instead of selling them through a vendor and competitor like Steam.

We often hear the phrase “competition is better for consumers” and in many cases this is true but in the case of Digital Distribution is this truly the case?  Consider this, the majority of major title games can be had through Steam and Impulse at this point in time.  And they can generally be had below the standard retail costs of $50 – $60.  This provides the customer with a reliable source with a large and established customer base, prices below market standard, large selection of merchandise to choose from and many friends to socialize with.

Now enter EA and Activision that see the success of Steam and want to piece of those profits.  How do they bring customers over to their side that are perfectly happy with another, possibly superior product.  Simple, they create their own digital distribution service.  That alone, however, is not enough for customers to come crawling to them.  In the case of EA and Activision the chances of them pulling customers away from already established entities in the market is slim so what they do is withdraw all of their products from their competitors services.  More competition is good right?  Maybe?  Perhaps not…

In some cases in a free market there is an argument for a natural monopoly or perhaps a oligopoly.  Utilities are a prime example of this because it would be harmful to the customers to have more than one Utilities Company and it could even be dangerous.  This isn’t to say Steam, Origin or any other Digital Distribution service is as important as utilities services, because they most definitely are not.  However, it does create a interesting dilemma for customers who are now forced to choose between their favorite game and their platform of choice.  It’s in this way that large companies force customers to their product even if they don’t want to.  Crysis II was recently removed from steam because EA was violating Steam policies by dictating user content.  Shortly there after EA announced the reason for removing their games and announced that Crysis II, Mass Effect III, Battlefield 3 and The Old Republic would all be Origin exclusives and that they would not be available on other platforms.

Customers will now be forced to have not one but two or more of Digital Distribution software platforms adding more overhead to their systems.  They also have to split up their game collections across multiple platforms and this can be incredibly frustrating to consumers.  In addition to this these companies will now have exclusive monopolies of their product and now can dictate price as there is no longer and competition for their product.  This is almost NEVER good for consumers.

Customers should be wary as we star to see the market fragment as more developers try to develop their own Digital Distribution services.  What will consumers do as this happens?  That remains to be seen?  While I don’t think it will get to the point where there is legislation involved (not to say that it couldn’t) , I do expect there to be some major chances in the PC gaming industry as the market continues to move towards Digital Distribution.  What do you guys think?  Is more competition in the market when it comes to online games a good or bad thing? Do you think it will cause more harm than good?  Should companies be able to hold a monopoly over their games?  Let us know your thoughts!

July 10, 2011

Games for Windows + Xbox = ?

 

Games for Windows will merge with Xbox.com tomorrow July 11th making Xbox.com a single stop for console, PC and mobile gaming no specifics have been released other than the date of the merger confirmed at Joystiq.com and Eurogamer.com. Here’s a link to the forums at xbox.com to check up on the “heated” debate on the merger. Check it out  here:

    I think this is a sensible move to have one site for all gaming platforms. So what you think? Will this make a difference? Will it affect Steam in anyway?

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