February 20th, 2010

This is the worst that PC game DRM has ever been. I shouldn’t be as jarred as I am, considering Ubisoft’s history with StarForce. At the same time, I’d also think they’d have learned from how customers responded to those practices and not gone on to worse ones. Read as they try to justify it, and give major respect to PC Gamer for grilling them. They expect me to pay $60 for a game that was released on consoles 5 months ago in addition to being treated like a criminal? No. Fuck that.

These are better reasons (half-truths, as opposed to total lies), but it’s probably best for everyone if Remedy and Microsoft just stopped talking about the PC version of Alan Wake until they’re ready to announce it.

This is just wonderful. I’ve been worried that the console, hand-held, mobile, and social versions of Civilization were indicative of the future of the franchise. Civ IV has aged so extraordinarily well that it almost made sense. But Firaxis is simply colonizing every platform; I’ll consider all of those as practice games for this, a new, proper Civilization game. With hexagons.

This is Stardock using known gaming personalities to show games to customers. I love the concept, but I’d prefer if they did second takes (Bob Came In Pieces) and sound checks (Sins of a Solar Empire) for some of the videos.

An indie contest sponsored by Activision? Ah, I see Master Kotick has developed an appetite for the young and uncorrupted.

Yep, yep. Yep.


January 30th, 2010

I wish Ubisoft would just use Steam or Impulse for authentication, though there’s many reasons for them not to. Chief among them, I think, is that using their own log-in system sets the basis for their own distribution platform — if not for full games, then for DLC, and they wouldn’t be forced to share revenue with anyone else. But besides syncing some data (which Steam does already), almost nothing about this looks as though it will benefit consumers.

What’s worse is Ubisoft charging $60 for the PC version of Assassin’s Creed II. But we can’t blame Ubisoft alone; they’re only following the precedent set by Activison. Instead, we can thank everyone who bought Modern Warfare 2 for $60.

Still, this could backfire. Assassin’s Creed is popular, but not like Call of Duty, especially among PC players. Plus it’s a singleplayer game — many people view that alone as a license to pirate.

While I’m on the subject of games without multiplayer: Bioshock 2 probably should be one.

Noble, but I’m concerned the group is unintentionally implying that Counter-Strike and Counter-Strike: Source aren’t still immensely popular. A lot of people won’t know better.

It’s not Lost Odyssey 2, but that’s all right. I’m one of the four people who liked Blue Dragon, so Mistwalker is 2-2 by my count. I only hope they’re using discretion in designing controls, as it’s a Wii game. I’ve been playing Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, and I think it’s a good example of how to use motion controls in an RPG (not for combat).

Also, is the title “The Last Story” a wry parody of the title “Final Fantasy” (they’re both Hironobu Sakaguchi games)?

Terry Cavanagh is asked about his origins and his influences. He’s also asked about Vx6′s $15 price. It felt high to me at first, but that was a habitual response. I know $15 isn’t too much for a good game of decent length. But I still haven’t bought it; I’ve been waiting to see about a Steamworks edition. And I’ve only just finished Braid — I need a respite before I tax myself with another such platformer.

December 5th, 2009

For now, I’m in favor of this. Although Microsoft’s efforts with the Games For Windows Live software have done little but bring the Xbox experience to PC gamers, so have Valve’s efforts with Steamworks and Modern Warfare 2. And if anyone’s capable of muscling some marketshare away from Steam, it’s Microsoft.

I was skeptical of Stardock’s claims as well. It makes sense to me that, based on seniority alone, Direct 2 Drive’s marketshare would be larger than Impulse’s. But is Impulse’s share really so small that it doesn’t even chart?

Happy 10th Birthday to my second favorite game of all time.

This story originally reported that Threewave was to shut down, and I’m glad to see that’s not the case. I have no affinity for their recent games, but I was an avid Threewave CTF player in Quake 3. I would hate to see them simply run out of work.

I’ve read four novels based on BioWare games and haven’t been disappointed yet, but I may skip these. Maybe. Okay, probably not.

I’ve never played a Medal of Honor game, but bully to EA for the timing of this announcement.

And Area 5, too. I hope this relaunch works out; I’ve gotten nothing but bad vibes from the idea of it until now.

To clarify, these same bans (in addition to server-specific bans) could have still happened with dedicated servers.

There’s nothing remarkable about this post except that the headline is ridiculous. But do check out all this Brink gameplay footage.

November 21st, 2009

I don’t understand how EA can shut down a studio mere weeks before they ship a game. The Saboteur looks interesting, but its release is irreparably tainted by this news.

Hooray for that.

Stardock estimates that Impulse has 10% marketshare against Steam’s 70%, while Direct 2 Drive, GamersGate, and other services split the remaining 20%. 10% for Impulse feels generous, but assuming it’s accurate, I wonder how their marketshare will be fairing now that the Steam-exclusive Modern Warfare 2 has shipped. With MW2, Counter-Strike, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress, and Day of Defeat, Valve controls most of the PC’s multiplayer FPS market. Consider supporting the competition, people.

Speak of the devil…

…and his pal Judas.

Such as first-party dedicated servers?

I’ve spent over 50 hours playing Dragon Age, and frankly, I can’t wait to throw more money at more content.

This sounded really cool until I read that one of the cases from the DS version will be excluded. What gives?

I feel silly for discussing box art, but people have been pretty down on this new Mass Effect 2 cover. Although they still have a planet/moon in the background that seems inappropriately close, I prefer this new cover to the old one. It reminds me of the covers of cheesy Sci-Fi paperbacks — in a good way.

I’m not ashamed to say that I enjoyed Kane & Lynch. They’re on the right track with the movie by casting Bruce Willis as Kane, and I’m digging the style they’re establishing for Kane & Lynch 2 with these teasers.


October 3rd, 2009

It’s refreshing when a CEO — rather than speaking in marketing terms and generalities — speaks frankly, as a real person does. Earnestness shouldn’t be such a treat. Yet, it is, so have this bittersweet one.

*THUMP*

A good look at a good looking game. It even has bears.


September 25th, 2009

The Choices by by Flickr user Zrin ZebestChoices breed indecision, therefore preventing indecision requires identifying and eliminating our choices. This is our boon, our burden, and our charge as PC gamers. We mull over choices such as which video card, which mouse, how many cores, and how many watts. Digital distribution’s increasing popularity has, despite its merits, introduced the choice of where do I buy? The default choice, for most of us, is Steam. We would be justified, but competition is important for an industry to thrive. We must not surrender our opportunity to choose, and we must not surrender to complacency. To consumers and businesses, complacency is a common enemy. As consumers we should act out of self-interest, but we should be mindful of when supporting competition is in our interest. We must do more than merely acknowledge competition — when it’s deserving, and when it’s to our advantage, we must also support it.
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September 12th, 2009

I’ll be glad when the word “save,” as a verb, is no longer used when speaking of PC gaming. While not without its problems, the platform is no longer in danger. Regardless, Brad Wardell is making some valuable observations here.

Speaking of Stardock and digital distribution, Impulse Phase IV has just launched. The new website design is much easier to navigate, and I appreciate being able to filter by price. Ready To Play appears to be Stardock’s answer to Steam Community; I’m interested to see if Impulse will capitalize on what I think is a unique opportunity to one-up Steam on community features.

On a related note, EA has just partnered with, and added several games to, Impulse. Among them is Dragon Age: Origins (pre-order), The Sims 3, and Red Alert 3 along with its expansion, Uprising, which was previously exclusive to EA’s own digital distribution service.

Although Peter Moore’s view is probably limited to consoles, technically, the PC platform should be credited with having “laid the ground” for online multiplayer, communication, and content distribution.

News of this acquisition came as a relief to me because, due to 3D Realms’ tenuous existence, I’ve had concerns about Prey 2′s status. There is no telling if Human Head is still developing it, but the Prey IP should be in good hands now, at any rate.

This is nearly 30 minues of Jeff Gerstmann and Tim Schafer walking around at PAX while talking and letting their humor play off each other. Also, nerds.