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Pokemon X/Y photo
Pokemon X/Y

Government shutdown halts Pokemon X/Y shipment


Congress = Team Rocket?
Oct 12
// Jonathan Holmes
The U.S. government shut down is a national embarrassment and a hazard to the lives of millions across the country. National Parks are closed, Federal prison guards are going without pay, Government websites containing sensit...

A little refresher on the fall of the Dreamcast

Aug 11 // Tony Ponce
Furthermore, SEGA was heavily pushing the Dreamcast's online capabilities, despite the fact that it was pretty much eating all of those costs from the beginning. Said Takezaki, "I think it was the right choice to aim for a net-centric strategy at that time. However, we went through with it even though our break-even was far too high for it to work. The idea of accessing the net for free at that time was simply fantastic, and we were the ones footing the bill, so in a weird way, Sega was the company paying out the most money for its users at the time." On January 31, 2001, Takezaki posted the news online that SEGA was going third party, signalling the beginning of the end of an important era in gaming. "PCs really began to evolve and improve at a dizzying rate beginning then, and it made people begin to wonder if a console tuned exclusively for games had any chance of surviving any longer," he recalled. It's unfortunate that SEGA wound up this way, but that's what happens when you throw all caution to the wind and have nothing to fall back on. Why did the Dreamcast fail? Sega's marketing veteran looks back [Polygon via NeoGAF]
Dreamcast photo
SEGA's Tadashi Takezaki remembers the Dreamcast's struggles
As a young 'un, my only experience with the SEGA Dreamcast was with Sonic Adventure at a Target demo station. I was very much an outsider, admiring the machine as it appeared in magazines and on television. I finally picked u...

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Daily Mail claims Sonic made a boy have a heart attack


'Killed by a videogame'
Jul 17
// Jim Sterling
A 16-year-old boy with Asperger's syndrome and Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome had a heart attack after getting overexcited by Sonic the Hedgehog. The Daily Mail's take on the story? He was, of course, killed by a video...
ZombiU unprofitable photo
AAAAARRRRGGGHHH!
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has revealed ZombiU made no money, the Wii U launch title failing to become "even close" to profitable. Despite rumors and teasing, it now appears no sequel is on the cards for the foresee...


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Defense Grid is July's amazing free Xbox Live game


Microsoft is really spoiling us
Jul 01
// Jim Sterling
Microsoft made a big deal of its new generous streak at E3, revealing Halo 3 and Assassin's Creed II would be given free to Xbox Live subscribers. It was hardly a drop in the ocean compared to PlayStation Plus, but Microsoft'...
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PS3 firmware 4.46 is out to fix what 4.45 screwed up


Fiiiiiirmwaaaaaare!
Jun 27
// Jim Sterling
Sony loves releasing firmware more than anything else, but it may have been a bit too eager to thrust firmware 4.45 out of the gate, considering it bricked a load of PS3s. Luckily, your PS3 is not totally ruined, and Sony's g...

An industry that needs Xbox One DRM is a failed industry

Jun 20 // Jim Sterling
One need only look at the PC and its dominant digital market to see how far major publishers can be trusted. Steam is its own DRM. When you buy a game from Steam, it's about as protected from piracy as it can get. That didn't stop companies like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft from sticking their own DRM in on top of Steam's protection. Be it SecuROM or constant Internet connections, these publishers were so paranoid and desperate for a sense of control they crammed extra restrictions on top of existing ones.  And to linger further on Electronic Arts, this is the same company that said, five years ago, games need to stop all coming out at $60. CEO John Riccitiello said companies need to explore cheaper games and flexible pricing. Did EA lead the charge? Did it fuck! Instead, it produced Origin, its own digital service where it could handle distribution and do away with physical production ... and still charges $60 per game.  People could argue that EA still relies on retail and can't afford to tread on its toes. What, exactly, was Xbox One doing to change that? Retail was still a massive part of Microsoft's plans. GameStop, the pretend villain of the game industry, was going to be looked after, because the game industry is in league with it.  Some suggest we'll see an increase in pre-order bonuses, but again, such things are still all over the fucking PC market. Going all-digital doesn't change that. Companies will still use these things to try and desperately entice gamers, with exclusive pre-order DLC on various online store fronts, and "digital deluxe" editions that allow a company to charge $80 for a bunch of virtual goods. This is shit already happening in the increasingly digital PC market, and the idea that companies would suddenly stop a gravy train in full motion is almost child-like. That we all could believe in faeries! And let's take a whimsical trip to the world of mobile gaming. No retail to worry about there, right? It's all digital distribution by default, so surely our beloved major publishers are being reasonable. Oh ... but what's this I see? Is that Square Enix charging $30 for iOS games, and releasing one of the most vile money-grabbing non-games of all time? Is that Electronic Arts turning Theme Park into a gigantic free-to-play scam?  Why ... it's almost as if major publishers aren't looking for ways to make games cheaper for us, and instead will squeeze as much money out of us as they can get away with, simply because they can. But how could that be? Surely Square Enix and Electronic Arts are misrepresented heroes, who only want to break free from GameStop's shackles and look after us. No. Only in the picture books. In the real world, they've demonstrated a consistent willingness to turn any freedom they have into new methods of pulling egregious bullshit. Above all, this glittering ideal of digital distribution as a cure-all magic potion for the industry's problems is the product of remedial fantasy. A digital market won't free publishers from their obligations to clueless investors who demand all of the money at all times. It won't stop companies focus testing the shit out of their games as more and more products appeal to audiences spread thin by such saturation. It won't stop ludicrously excessive development and marketing budgets. I'm a big believer in digital distribution, but I don't believe in sorcery, and as such I don't think digital's going to solve everything rotten in the game industry. The big budget market is too far gone for that.  Xbox One tried to leap to step five without doing steps one, two, three, and four. It wanted to rush us from physical media to digital media, without clearly communicating its goals, or producing a console that gave direct and tangible benefits to the consumer, or proving it could withstand the demands of a product so reliant on the Internet, or without even ensuring there was a big enough audience for it. You can ask Sony how well that worked with the PSPgo (it didn't work very well). The PC proved it was ready for digital distribution, but it took years to do so. You can't just get up and start running when you're not even crawling properly, and in the years since Steam and GOG rose to become justifiable alternatives to physical media, home consoles languished with slow interfaces, clunky storefronts, and expensive games without any of the benefits we've come to expect from PC games. No mods. No quick option for patching content. No user fixes. None of that. Consoles need to work to earn their digital future. They can't just wake up one day and have it presented to them on a velvet pillow.  And if that's what consoles need, if they so require magic and wishes to avoid drowning in their own mess, then what good are they? Why should they survive? My God, do these companies love the fuck out of capitalism, but it seems that when capitalism comes to collect, when the flip-side of the system's benefits come to bite them on the ass, they try their best to run away from it. Even if the very worst of dooms befalls the so-called "AAA" console industry, I'm not worried. If this past E3 of buzz words and brown games taught me anything, it's that old companies and shriveled executives need to be cut down to make way for new blood. We need a new generation of game producers, not game consoles, and when the big trees fall, the smaller ones can finally get some sunlight. Good games will always be around, they just won't need the Old Guard to tell them what to do, to buy them up and spit them out. The death of a convoluted and broken market doesn't sound like a bad thing to me. Not if, according to some, the only way for them to survive is to directly fuck with their own audience.  What is it people like Cliff Bleszinski always say to gamers? Oh right, it's a business! Yeah, it's a business alright. You know what businesses are very good at doing? Failing. And if companies fail because they needed a console that inconvenienced consumers and imposed restrictions on other markets, well ... that's business for you.  Prove you deserve to survive. It's a business ... and that means you're not fucking entitled to your existence.
Xbox DRM controversy photo
Some things deserve to die
It looks like we're going to do this dance again. So soon. In the wake of Microsoft reversing its Xbox One DRM policies, brave corporate warrior Cliff Bleszinski wasted little time in telling us how this would be a bad thing ...

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Xbox One is terrible on Google, amazing on Bing


Oh, Microsoft!
Jun 19
// Jim Sterling
If you type "The Xbox One is" on Google, autocomplete will helpfully offer suggestions based on what the world is saying about it. Right now those suggestions are less than flattering. "The Xbox One is terrible," reads the fi...
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Microsoft: Xbox One 'overdelivers value'


Mattrick ... you've got to stop
Jun 17
// Jim Sterling
Microsoft's Don Mattrick is at it again, defending Xbox One in such a way that ensure I'll never get a vacation if he keeps it up. This time, Lil' Donny claims the Xbox One is cheap at $499, with Microsoft being way too gener...

Xbox One has 'single handedly alienated the military'

Jun 17 // Jim Sterling
"Even when the Xbox One is in sleep mode, its built-in microphone can always listen in," explains the article. "It’s a feature developers say will provide quick voice-command access to games and apps -- but that could spook commanders who might worry the always-connected device could also capture more than just idle chit-chat among troops." Videogames have become a big part of military downtime, and the Xbox 360 was undoubtedly a hugely popular choice. Don Mattrick has expressed his belief that anybody unable to use the Xbox One (basically the entire armed forces) can just keep using the 360, but I have a feeling service members will instead just migrate to the PS4. According to a local air force buddy of mine, that's already being seen as the best option by some folks.  Now we just need Jack Tretton to appear naked, wearing only the American flag and claiming PS4 is the only console to support the troops, and I'd say this generation is over. Well ... maybe without the flag bit.  No ... no, do the flag bit. New Xbox 'a sin against all service members' [Navy Times]
Xbox One military photo
Armed forces thoroughly unimpressed with Microsoft's DRM
Regular gamers have expressed quite a bit of upset at Xbox One's ridiculous DRM policies, but nowhere is the disdain more keenly felt -- nor more justified -- than that coming from America's armed services. Considering the tr...

Xbox One kills game ownership, here's what Xbox fans say

Jun 07 // Jim Sterling
"So essentially if my internet goes out for more than 24 hours I've got a $400+ shiny brick." - Matthew. "Pretty much! A shiny liquid black blu-ray player that won't be able to play games once they turn off the servers. I can still play my Playstation, 3DO Saturn, Dreamcast, Xbox, and older consoles no problem, but retro Xbox One is not going to happen. Essentially, they sell you a expensive box that allows you to play the games you "licensed" but not own, a box that needs MS to run or do anything, Forces you to use their service for a yearly or monthly fee, to get the most features out of the box, without the sales or prices of Steam on PC, and unlike steam, wont allow you to play offline for longer than 24 hours."It's essentially a very corporate hardware version of Steam, without the benefits Steam offers, or the sales. It's a corporate publisher dream come true, and its a consumer nightmare." - Fear Monkey. "This is a great day for corporate America and a terrible day for consumers. Guess we know who Microsoft's "real" customers are. "Microsoft... You. Never. Learn." - BrandonL. "One thing I'm confused about, is why Major Nelson and Microsoft acted like what Phil Harrison said in the interviews on May 21st were incorrect and all the rumors were misrepresenting the truth. In reality, it was all true and accurate. Why even bother lying just to admit it two weeks later?" - UNSCleric. "If you rent games, XBOX one is not for you.If you trade games with your friends , XBOX one is not for you.If you don't have a good connection, XBOX one is not for you.And if you don't want to support these kind of policies and restrictions because you love games and you know the impact that this will have to the future of gaming, then XBOX one is definitely not for you" - Costas. "Would have been so easy to fix with a small alteration: online check not needed if the user inserts the disk. "As it stands, no way. I have suffered with SimCity enough to know that this is a terrible platform." - arrow22. "There will be a lot of lost business from those in the military. When you are forward deployed, either boots on ground or on a ship, one of the most common things to do with your free time is play video games. You can't expect soldiers and sailors to buy this system if they aren't even going to be able to play it. There is no way for them to be able to connect it to a network." - Seth Simmons. "So absolutely no benefits to me as a consumer, a chart just to know when and how I can play, destruction of personal sale, tear down of physical media preservation, AND a requirement to authenticate. Good job." - Matt Paprocki. "The more I read about the Xbox One, the less I want one." - CyberSkull. "1. Thank you for compiling this overview of the points that were woefully unclear during the Reveal Conference, it is greatly appreciated. "2. I no longer see myself purchasing your console in the future "To those making cute excuses about the 24hr. sign in requirement: It is not only a matter of solidarity with those who don't have a stable connection, just imagine that Microsoft has just informed |every hacker group out there| that to piss off |all| of their customers all they need to do is hit MS's servers for 48hrs. "If the powers that be at Microsoft can't understand how bad an idea this is then words cannot describe how myopic they are." - R Moss.  "What truly blows my mind is MS willingness to shift the balance of power so completely from themselves to these major publishers. Publishers that have already more than proven their disdain for their own customers." - Adam Stamos. "So MS is saying if my internet is broken for longer the 24 hrs than my XBox One just becomes a fking TV remote ?! WHAT THE FK!!" - h2h. "Hey, thanks for making this decision much easier for me, Major. Since I'm going to be screwed by anti-consumerism and the destruction of the First Sale Doctrine either way, I'll be leaving the Xbox Brand behind in favor of PC. "At least on PC I can get games on mega sale, deploy developer sanctioned game extending mods, and have better graphics and data management. I've been an Xbox owner since day one of the first console (ah, memories of Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee) but no longer." - Captiosus. "I can't believe there are people brainwashed enough by Microsoft to be fine with this news lmao. This is one of the shadiest and most money-hungry / power-hungry things I've ever seen a corporation try and do in this industry...this is absolutely pathetic and disgusting." - Johnathan. "What I hate the most is this constant pushing of Kinect that none of us really want. They say we can turn of all of the features and not be required to use it, great! So why the hell do I have to have it plugged in then? It makes NO sense. I don't want it, I don't like it and I never will. And I really don't trust MS to not sell my data, so their word means nothing to me. I feel this is being overlooked and it shouldn't be, it's a disgrace." - LittleSaintGopher. "You know what will be hilarious? When this console gets hacked and its your paying customers that are inconvenienced." - Hein. "Why do you allow used blu rays Microsoft?! Please think of the movie industry families living in dirt houses! Fix this!!" - NoBullet. "I thought I would never say this, but I'm sony playstation." - Some guy called Sony PlayStation, I think.
Fans on Xbox One policy photo
Gamers react to Microsoft's robbery of consumer rights
Microsoft finally clarified much of its policy on used games and online restrictions with the Xbox One, and the news is grim for those who actually believe in consumer rights. With its new system, Microsoft will take the fina...

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The Daily Mail's review of The Last of Us is incredible


Britain's worst newspaper has the best review
Jun 06
// Jim Sterling
British tabloid The Daily Mail has a review for The Last of Us, a game enjoying perhaps the most unanimous critical acclaim in videogame history. The Mail, ever a bastion of wisdom and judicious thinking, feels it doesn'...
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Microsoft: Xbox One reports 'inaccurate and incomplete'


Vague Microsoft doesn't know why we misunderstand its vague statements
May 25
// Jim Sterling
Microsoft, by way of mouthpiece Major Nelson, has criticized reports on its Xbox One used game policy as "inaccurate and incomplete," seeming to miss the fact they're based entirely on Microsoft's own statements -- which have...
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Bonus Jimquisition gives Microsoft a telling off
The Xbox One was revealed this weak to thunderous applause. Oh wait, did we say applause? We meant, farts. Thunderous farts. Speaking of farts, here's a man who loves the smell of his, tearing Microsoft's unified entertainment philosophy to shreds and arguing how the Xbox One is basically a system for nobody but the privileged and demented.

Super Metroid photo
Super Metroid

Wii U owners don't know how to play Super Metroid


Guys, why can't Metroid crawl?
May 17
// Jim Sterling
If you're a jaded hardcore gamer, and if you've ever complained that the new generation of "dumbed down" console gamers are the bane of life, prepare to feel justified. The arrival of Super Metroid on Wii U demonstrates the d...
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Hypocrisy: The Sun calls 3DS the greatest console ever


Tabloid reverses its '3DS is dangerous' stance
May 13
// Jim Sterling
British tabloid The Sun came out strong against the 3DS when it first launched several years ago, going above and beyond the call of sleazy duty to try and prove it was harmful, disorienting, and unpleasant to use. Today? Tod...
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Resident Evil 6 fails to meet sales projections ... again


But overall numbers are looking good for Capcom
May 09
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Capcom originally projected that Resident Evil 6 would sell seven million copies. They revised that number in February to five million, but as of yesterday's financial results Resident Evil 6 fell barely short of the target w...
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Dead Space 3 is the latest game to have officially failed


Electronic Arts declares the game performed below expectations
May 08
// Jim Sterling
It had co-op and cover-based shooting, but Electronic Arts' flailing attempts to make Dead Space 3 "appeal to a wider audience" apparently failed. Visceral's latest game now joins Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution and Resident ...
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JUST STOP IT!


Mars: War Logs needs to STOP IT!
May 04
// Jim Sterling
NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!
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Dead Island Riptide Steam codes unlock Dark Souls


Accidental quasi-giveaway for UK and Nordic copies
Apr 26
// Jim Sterling
Dead Island Riptide customers in the UK and Nordic regions are discovering that retail PC copies of the game contain the wrong Steam codes. Redeeming these codes will give gamers a copy of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition i...
Miiverse photo
Miiverse

You can't view Miiverse on Wii U or 3DS browsers


DENIED, SUCKAS!
Apr 25
// Tony Ponce
Nintendo made Miiverse accessible via PC and mobile browsers yesterday, giving you the chance to interact with the (not so wide) Wii U online community while away from your console. But as Nintendo notes at the bottom of the ...

Embracing failure: We're all losers and that's OK

Apr 25 // Steven Hansen
One of the singularly unique features of videogames is your ability to lose them. A movie isn't going to stop 3/5 through and ask, "Hey, smart guy, who's the bad guy?" and then shut off if you’re too dense to figure it. Or maybe you were too busy fantasizing about a quixotic life in a small, but modern apartment with your waifu, eating steak fresh from the local butcher. Books don't quiz you on the moves and tactics you've learned and ask you to write a page before carrying on. Games can do this, and it can be a wonderful thing. I was thinking back to X-COM: Enemy Unknown and how it allows you to fail spectacularly at saving the world. With all the games that task you with being the Ultimate Savior of All Things, few offer a sense of urgency or suspense. You generally know you'll save the world, even if some grind is involved. Eventually. Whenever you're good and ready. In X-COM, you can play for 20 hours, fail to prepare adequately for an alien invasion, and lose the game. Game over, man. Game over. Feel free to try harder next time, you twit. It's easy to fall into the "ain't nobody got time for that" camp, but there's something delightfully droll about the game telling you you've reached absolute failure. And something in me that makes me want to try again. After all, I knew the stakes going in, and I should've been a bad enough dude to handle them, right? There's an untapped level of tension that keeps you engaged and on your toes when the impetus to succeed is put squarely on the player. It's the same feeling that encourages people to do self-imposed permanent death runs of games. Developers don't even have to be as damning as Firaxis was with X-COM, though. It would be neat to miss a QTE and end up with a scar that follows your player for the rest of the game. Just some semblance of consequence that elevates things beyond circumstance, or more ambiguous states of failure and success beyond the "dead/not dead" binary. In Persona 4’s narrative, you -- that’s you, the player, by way of a mute, surrogate main character -- are trying to catch a criminal. It's easy to lull yourself into a state of passivity and complacency, busying yourself with the tertiary mechanics and wonderful trivial details while you wait for the story to play out and tell you what's what. If you do that, though, the only things that will get you to the best, fullest endings are either a guide or plum luck. The game assumes you're properly invested. The quest for truth and, subsequently, what truth means, seems to be the highest thematic goal of the narrative and it’s reflected on the metagame level of rewarding players with a thirst for satisfaction and an attention span to match. It’s a good thing. It encourages an attuned, critical audience. There's something to be said for a challenge, whether reflexive or mental. I'm not advocating arcane rules, difficulty spikes, or cheap mechanics aimed to preclude potential players. I don’t mean to perpetuate insularity. But death or failure in games doesn't have to be pointless, or merely a brief respawn to a previous, uncorrupted state. Imagine a pure detective game that, unlike L.A. Noire, actually requires you to do proper detective work to succeed rather than scurry you up the promotion ladder because of player nepotism. There was something arresting about playing Myst and being told, “Figure it out,” as I scrawled across notebooks record of each and every little island discovery. Why is this market so painfully underserved while companies churn out samey games. Didn’t anyone ever tell them not to go chasing waterfalls? I'm reminded of the visual novel/puzzle game 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, which ended with me being stabbed in the back by an unknown assailant. It was awesome. It was infuriating. It had me yearning for another playthrough in which I do a better job of staying on my toes, unraveling its mysteries, and avoiding an empty death. What we need less of, in part, is what we’re inundated with: linear adventures in which we’re led by the nose by way of noisy, arrow-laden UI, toward inevitable, empowering success. Having actual threat and consequence to the player can make for unique experiences -- Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls come to mind as games in which you fully inhabit their worlds -- and serves as one way to heighten engagement as players explore the finely tuned digital space. It is also a means through which less stagnated design can be born as genre conventions would have to be either interestingly worked around or entirely cast off. In the case of the L.A. Noire example, a team would have to work out a viable way to make an actual detective game. Even some games in which you can’t “lose” offer a fresh alternative to the whitewashing of failure and instantaneous reversion to a comfortable, safe save state. During a particularly treacherous portion of Journey, I felt more possessive and protective of my lengthy, hard-earned scarf than I would have a lives counter ticking away and subsequently resetting me a couple of minutes. Failure is part of life. It's most of life for most of us. It also has room to be a meaningful part of a game beyond a temporary state to be overcome with the smallest amounts of added insight, skill, or chance. Giving failure meaning or consequence -- and exploring different modes of failure beyond the kill or be killed dichotomy -- is a chance to inculcate players with another experience beyond reckless abandon and lethargic play. It can add tension or engagement. If I’m just carted around on a sightseeing tour, made more voyeur than participant, my actions and attention both meaning little, it becomes easier to disengage.
Eminent fail photo
Or; Another reason why Persona 4 is still cooler than most other games
As I was knee deep in the glorious Persona 4: Golden, something curious happened. A heavy 50 hours into the game after something resembling a climax, the game ended. It was an ending that felt hollow, strangely devoid of reso...

Star Trek on PC is broken as f*ck!

Apr 21 // Jim Sterling
Most insultingly of all, the game's official PR channels have decided to try and diminish the problems of those affected, claiming "only a fraction" of users have experienced problems. When that "fraction" seems to include anybody attempting to review the thing and loads of customers, I don't think we're dealing with a tiny handful.  Even if it were the case, having a "tiny fraction" of users unable to play the game's only real draw is fucking shameful, and absolutely nothing to boast about. It especially doesn't help when a developer for the game, Kenneth Lindenbaum, is posting on the Steam forums that it works fine for him and there isn't a problem.  And this is all before we get into the accusations of the development team flooding Metacritic with fake positive user reviews. While it promises to be looking into the issues, Digital Extremes has so far displayed a lackluster and slow response to complaints, as well as a bad attitude it's in no position to have.  So yes, Star Trek for PC is broken, unable to do what it advertised itself as doing. We'll have a review coming from Ian Bonds, but my personal recommendation is to ignore this crude waste of time.  You had one job. One.
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The sole reason the game exists ... doesn't work
The latest Star Trek release has its fair share of problems -- chief among them being that it's kind of boring -- but PC users are in for an altogether more shocking problem. The online co-op, arguably the entire point of th...

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GOW: Judgment and GOW: Ascension failed, says analyst


Leading franchises for Microsoft and Sony 'significantly underperform'
Apr 16
// Jim Sterling
Recently, the PS3 and Xbox 360 each saw prequels for their leading franchises -- God of War: Ascension and Gears of War: Judgment. According to analyst firm Cowen & Company, the two GOWs failed to impress at retail. ...
Jimquisition photo
Jimquisition

Jimquisition: Dark Souls and Dark Sales


Jimquisition happens every Monday!
Apr 15
// Jim Sterling
Dark Souls sold over two million copies and is a bonafide success. Tomb Raider sold over three million copies and is a disappointing failure. Wut? Different projects obviously have different standards for succ...
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EA scrapping The Sims Social, SimCity Social


Oh, and Pet Society ... ha ha
Apr 15
// Jim Sterling
The Sims Social is being scrapped by Electronic Arts, along with fellow Facebook games SimCity Social and Pet Society. In the case of SimCity, this will be a case of a game shutting down less than a year after launch. That wh...
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Nintendo Korea calls weather reporter a brainless bitch


This week's Twitter goof winner!
Apr 15
// Jim Sterling
Nintendo of Korea is in hot water after its Twitter account insulted TV weather reporter Eun Ji Park. A mystery representative of the company criticized Park's growing fame, suggesting her looks were respo...

EA voted worst American company in 2013

Apr 09 // Jim Sterling
"Video games are big business," the outlet wrote. "A company like EA -- and Activision, Ubisoft, Nintendo, and Sony, etc. -- merits just as much scrutiny as any other business that plays a leading role in a multibillion-dollar industry. It’s only a fractured, antiquated public perception that video games are somehow frivolous holdovers from childhood that allows gamers to be abused and taken advantage of by the very people who supply them the games they play. "... When we live in an era marked by massive oil spills, faulty foreclosures by bad banks, and rampant consolidation in the airline and telecom industry, what does it say about EA’s business practices that so many people have -- for the second year in a row -- come out to hand it the title of Worst Company In America?" Some would argue -- and have -- that the results say more about gamers and their broken priorities than it does about Electronic Arts' business practices. Is that the right call to make? Depends on where your own priorities lie, I suppose.  I'll certainly agree, as I did last year, that it may be silly to have EA considered worse than such monstrosities as Bank of America, but at the same time I hardly consider it worthy of outrage. Gamers are concerned with game-related companies, and Electronic Arts has done a lot to earn their ire. It makes sense they'd vote for what they're most intimately concerned with. Ultimately, it's not like the prize for the victory is jail-time, fines, or any other tangible punishment. It's an online poll in which the winner receives a "golden poo."  I'd argue getting upset over EA receiving metal-plated feces is about as silly as it winning in the first place.
EA voted worst of 2013 photo
Electronic Arts takes home the prize for a second straight year
How time flies! In April of last year, Electronic Arts "won" the worst American company of 2012 award, beating out near-criminal banks and oil companies to achieve victory in The Consumerist's publicly voted poll. EA has now ...

Aliens: Colonial Marines photo
Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens: Colonial Marines Wii U canceled


What. A. Shock.
Apr 05
// Jim Sterling
Those of you left caring may have noticed Aliens: Colonial Marines missed its Wii U release launch window. There's a very good reason for that -- SEGA finally decided to shoot the lame dog in the head, and has quietly cancele...

Microsoft man on always-online consoles: 'Deal with it'

Apr 05 // Jim Sterling
When his comments were taken to task by BioWare's Manveer Heir, who pointed out the embarrassing issues faced by Diablo III and SimCity at launch, Orth got even more derisive. Heir mentioned America's less-than-consistent broadband coverage, and how users in areas such as Janesville, WI or Backsburg, VA would have a rough time dealing with a console that required a constant connection. His response?  "Why on Earth would I live there?" Wow. His comments were seized upon by NeoGAF commenters, who took him to task in their usual merciless way. Aside from making comments on things Microsoft has been staunchly refusing to comment on, he was taken to task for his general snotty attitude and derogatory comments toward those who don't live in cities blessed with non-shit broadband. Some have taken his combative defense of the idea as a strong hint that Microsoft will, indeed, force Next Xbox users to stay online -- an absolutely absurd hypothetical plan that banks on broadband infrastructures around the world improving immeasurably in an incredibly short time.  Detective-GAF also found a comment from an experienced developer following the issue, posting a line from Nikolai Mohilchock, who said: "Given that legally I cannot confirm or deny if this information is true, nor can I comment on rumor or speculation, all I can say is be sure to pay your ISP bills." In response to the online battering, both Orth (who likes to be called Sweet Billy) and Heir downplayed the nature of their discussion, the latter saying: "Don't read too much into our back & forth ... All those tweets you are seeing about the city being superior. That's him just trolling me. And I fell for it. Don't bust his balls on that." Unfortunately for Orth, it was way too late for that, and his comments were damning even without the "trolling" about cities.  In the wake of the shitstorm started by his statements, Orth has now protected his Twitter account, hiding further commentary from public view. Once again, this is little more than a case of locking the door after the horse has bolted, but there you go.  A number of industry members, most notably David Jaffe, have rallied to Orth's defense, asking members of NeoGAF and other communities to stop giving Orth a pummeling and insisting he's "one of the good guys." While that might be true (unconfirmed), and while he's probably suffering some disproportionate retribution, what he said to begin with was impressively, jaw-droppingly ignorant, and he does deserve to have such poisonous, anti-consumer rhetoric counteracted. He's going to have to "deal with it" for a while. The privileged attitude of "deal with it," seems to be one held by many members of the mainstream publishing industry, and more and more customers are getting sick of it. As the console market spirals ever haphazardly toward a crash, I feel people like Orth will learn exactly what happens when consumers en masse begin to learn they don't actually have to deal with any of this bullshit, and go looking for entertainment elsewhere. When the major companies fall to their knees after trying to shave the sheep one too many times, I wonder if they'll be able to "deal with it." On the subject of an always-online, DRM-gated console, I think Michael Hartman of Frogdice Inc. sums it up perfectly: "I hope the entire next gen is 'always on DRM.' I love anything AAA does to make it easier for us indies to sell our games." Deal with it.
Next Xbox always online? photo
Director spews bullshit about DRM-locked system
[Update: Microsoft has since apologized for Orth's statements. Deal with it.] Rumors that the Next Xbox will be restricted by the same always-online requirement that has crippled several major PC releases of late has not exac...


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