Sunday, March 6, 2011

Recent Gaming News

DCU Online: Licensing Console Games?

DC Universe Online, the popular new MMORPG published by Sony Online Entertainment, is much different from other console games you own. What's the difference? In order to play it, you need to license the game, much like one does with the purchase of certain PC titles, limiting the number of people that can own or play it.

From second you type in that license key, the value of your copy of DCUO instantly plummets, rendering it virtually useless to any other gamer. In addition to affecting consumer resale, this requirement means DCUO is essentially un-rentable by major services like GameFly.

Of course, the game itself is unaffected, but a word of warning to anybody who wishes to purchase it: Don't bother purchasing this title if you only wanted to play it for a few weeks and then planned on selling it.

EA's CEO talks about Dead Space 3 and Battlefield 3

EA's CEO, John Riccitiello, recently discussed the success of Dead Space 2 which shipped over 2 million units the first month, comparing its success to the success of the original Dead Space. Riccitiello claims Dead Space 2 sold double the number of copies Dead Space did in the same number of weeks. Regarding the cause of these burgeoning sales, Riccitiello says “It's an example of how we can take a key intellectual property, put it in the marketplace, and then build on it. Games with 2s, 3s, and 4s behind them almost always sell better than the original launch edition."

EA publishes many popular game franchises, such as Madden, FIFA, Medal of Honor, Battlefield, and Dragon Age, all of which could be strategically expanded on. But how far would EA go when it comes to reproducing a series iteration and sticking a new number after it?

Lets face it, Battlefield 3 could just be Battlefield 2 with better graphics and with the Bad Company 2 Frostbyte engine, and it would still make a ton of money. Hopefully, EA is better than that. The company is good at what it does, and it seems unlikely that EA will fall into this trap at any point in time in the near future. My recommendation? If you enjoy EA’s franchises, don’t be hesitant to support them until the end product shows the same level of milking as Activision’s Call of Duty series..

Sony's S1 tablet?

Last month Sony announced Playstation Suite, a new program that will be introduced to Android devices. Along with making a program that will run Playstation 1 games on your Android, Sony is developing a tablet, code-named the S1, running a custom version of the Android Honeycomb. The device will have a 9.4” screen, with a 1240 x 800 pixel display, and will rival Apple's iPad.

The S1 device will be compatible with the Playstation Suite program, and will allegedly come preloaded with some Playstation 1 titles, and will have some Remote Play connectivity with the PS3. The S1 will also have a USB port, unlike the iPad, and will be initially priced at $599. Not much else is known about the S1, but from the information that is available, it seems like it will be the perfect iPad rival. If I had the money, I would definitely buy one of these because Sony is known for its high quality products.

Steam controls the PC Market

Almost every single gamer, PC or console, knows what Steam is. The reason is because Steam owns 50-70% of the PC gaming market. Last October, Valve predicted its year-over-year growth to be 200%.

Steam is so popular for many reasons, mostly because Steam is extremely mod-friendly. One of the motivations to be a PC gamer is that you have the ability to edit the game itself, which you aren't able to do (or at least, aren't able to do easily) with console games. Not only is Steam amazing for the PC gamers, but also for the game developers. On Steam, publishers get 70% gross margin, while if they retailed the game, they would only get 30%.

Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve, claims his company, per employee, is more profitable than Apple or Google. For PC gamers, this means you are sure to be getting your moneys worth if you buy games from the Steam Marketplace. So many games are offered through Steam, and Steam boasts an easy-to-use interface. Even Indie game fans will find tons of titles they will enjoy on the Steam Market. Steam also sells many games for a low price, and offer discounts all the time.

Games that are years old, such as Team Fortress 2 and Counter Strike: Source still receive updates extremely frequently, and that proves Valve's dedication to the gaming community. My advice is to support Steam games and their developers, and Steam will continue to dominate the PC gaming market, and soon will even tap even more into the console gaming market. Steam has been and will continue to dominate the PC gaming community, and it's a great thing.

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