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March 29, 2009

News Around the Watercooler, just like a knowledge milkshake only crunchy.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is complete, and ready to be released worldwide on April 24th according to Atari.
The Xbox 360, PS3, and PC game features a complete HD remaster of the previous Riddick title as well as an 11 hour-long new chapter. It also includes support for multiplayer across six game modes varying from players hunting down the one Riddick player in a lighting style similar to Left4Dead; to various teams fighting in a “Capture the Flag” style power cell hunt. The demo is already out on Xbox LIVE if you’d like a sneak peak.

It just hasn’t been going well publicly with Sony it seems. On Monday according to Korean news site Chosun Online, Sony has ceased supplying South Korea with PS3s because of the Japanese. Japanese tourists have been blamed for the cease in supplies because of ‘reverse importing‘, which is when products from Japan are exported into South Korea then bought and flown back into Japan. With the depreciating South Korean Won and the strong Japanese Yen the result is a considerable price difference between the two nations.

Sony and the PlayStation Network has also been slagged at GDC 09 by key reps and developers from Facebook, MySpace, N-Gage and iPhone. Former EA exec. and founder of Ngmoco, Neil Young, has hyped the iPhone as one of the next-gen platforms for gaming.Facebook‘s Gareth Davis and Myspace‘s Jason Oberfest have both jumped on the Young bandwagon in support of the iPhone as a social gaming tool, describing it as “very complementary to what we are doing”. Young continued to push Apple’s iPhone comparing it with the PSN. Your platforms are not working,” Young told Sony and Nokia, ” I’ve made games for the DS and PSP and iPhone is the better platform in terms of things you an do for core gamers and things you can do for casual gamers”. Nokia’s Greg Sauter ended the debate with “The days of the closed platforms are over.”

Sony’s PSN is also being attacked once again over their “PlayStation Network Bandwidth Fee” which might cost Sony more than it was meant to gain. Publishers are seriously consideringwhether or not to release IPs on the PSN that gives users free access but costs publishers16c a GB. That may not seem like much but consider demos like Resident Evil 5 weighing in at 942Mb and was downloaded more than four million times by late Feb, that’s $640,000 charged to Capcom to just release the demo on the PSN. Consider content from Guitar Hero and other games featuring DLCs. Sure for big name publishers and developers this potentially wouldn’t be a big deal but many third-party companies and even some of the big names would look at this an see it as a no-win situation. It’s expected many will switch to the Xbox Live system, which is a real shame for PSN users, but it seems like Sony’s saying this is the cost for having the PSN as a free system.

Well it seems once again the Games Industry like to serve me big fat dollops of scandal right in my lap, this time in the forever continuing saga of ‘thought police’ controversy is the ACB website getting a face-lift. It seems like Thursday Night‘s ABC Q&A with Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy over the proposed mandatory ‘Clean Feed‘ internet filter tipped some people over the edge, resulting in the Australian Classification Board Website being hacked to have featured on the front page:

“This site contains information about the boards that have the right to CONTROL YOUR FREEDOMZ,” the message read.

“The Classification Board has the right to not just classify content (the name is an ELABORATE TRICK), but also the right to DECIDE WHAT IS AND ISNT APPROPRIATE and BAN CONTENT FROM THE PUBLIC [sic].”

A spokeswoman from the Attorney-General’s department has stated that the ACB’s website hassince been taken down as the incident is under investigation, and a report will be given to the Minister of Home Affairs.

Modern Warfare 2, the sixth installment and “spin-off” of the Call of Duty series, is set to hit stores worldwide on November 10th ’09, after its announcement at GDC 09. Along with the announcement came the first trailer from Activision and Infinity Ward, you can see it at Modern Warfare 2 in a very stylized site layout.

Microsoft, always looking to be innovative in its developments, has decided to look into creating its own version of the Wii, only their system will be what the Wii should of been; something that works the way motion control should of worked, without a controller. After paying a mere $35 million to purchase 3DV Systems, Microsoft has been looking into using their ZCam digital camera to power their next evolution in motion-sensitive gaming. The camera uses virtual reality imaging technology to extrapolate three-dimensional depth from what it films. Meaning it can work out how far away any part of you is from the camera, in real-time. It’s already been demonstrated in boxing scenarios and using Media Center, however with Microsoft not mentioning whether they’re developing for the 360 or waiting for the next-gen consoles to come out Nintendo can breathe a sigh of relief.

Ubisoft is focusing on the Multiplayer aspect of their titles after signing a deal with Quazal. Classed as an ‘Enterprise license’, Ubisoft will be able to several of Quazal’s systems and will have a long-term consultancy agreement with the Multiplayer provider. Christine Burgess-Quémard, executive director of worldwide studios at Ubisoft, added:

“Cutting-edge multiplayer experiences are increasingly important to successful games. By securing this Enterprise deal, Ubisoft is positioning itself to be at the forefront of the next generation of online enabled titles.”

Square-Enix has taken over Tomb Raider and Hitman creator, Eidos Interactive. The move was accepted by an overwhelming majority of shareholders as 85 percent of all total shares were represented at the meeting. The Japanese software giant now has ownership of Eidos’ Intellectual property like the popular Tomb Raider and Hitman series. The handover will occursometime in April, but it was in both companies best interests as Eidos Interactive had been struggling considerably as many of their recent games failed to support the company on the retail shelves.

OnLive. Soak it in because it’s a name that will no doubt go down in history as either THE Latest and Greatest Next-Generation Console, or the Biggest Flop ever. It’s said torevolutionize the gaming experience. It will cost less than a Wii and will give you the abilityto play the most graphically heavy games without ever needing to buy any new computer hardware ever again. Or so Rearden Studios founder Steve Perlman would lead you to believe. Former developers from Atari, Apple, WebTV, Eidos and many more have been secretly working on this project for the last seven years, and here’s the result. The concept seems simple, your controller doesn’t connect to your machine, it goes through the internet to OnLive’s machines then back as streamed video, meaning OnLive does all the hard processing and you reap the benefits. Granted the big question on everyone’s lips is LAG, but many sources have reported quite a surprise to the fact that the system appears to work. And it’s convinced publishers, resulting in many buying in including EA, THQ, Codemasters, Ubisoft, Atari, Warner Bros., Take-Two, and Epic Games. The only consideration is your internet connection, but when you’re saving so much on hardware etc you could probably afford the 1.5 Megabit connection. It was previewed at GDC 09 and is currently still in Beta, it will be released in the States for external Betas so considering we’re in Australia we’ll probably all gets screwed over anyway.

Up for release this week is Afro Samurai (Xbox 360, PS3) on Thursday.