04th May2010

Weekly Byte for 5/3/2010

by Chris Maeurer

Release List

  • Total War Battle Pack – Medieval TW I & II with Rome TW and expansion for $29.99 – 5/4
  • Stimulus Package for Modern Warfare 2 (PC only) – $14.99 – 5/4
  • Mass Effect 2 Equalizer Pack for 160 Bioware Points($2) – adding a visor, helmet and Inferno armor – 5/4

News Bytes

  • The biggest news this week seems to be Bungie’s deal with Activision. Partly because of the rivalry Bungie had with Microsoft and their new willingness to ink a ten year deal with another major player in the industry.  Further scrutiny makes it also surprising because Bungie seems to have been able to negotiate many of the rights desired by the now departed Infinity Ward members.  These include the ability to remain independent and to retain rights and control of their new, and unannounced, IP.  With regard to Infinity Ward, analysts are predicting their closing will be official after their next map pack is released, and hopes for Bungie are high.  One has to wonder if they will be called in to lend their expertise to the Call of Duty series.  Personally, I am glad to hear of their deal because for PC gamers it seems to mean that their new titles will be more likely to hit the PC platform, now that Microsoft’s control has been lifted from their shoulders.  The deal didn’t seem to distract all attention form the ongoing IW/Activision saga as the attorney from the fired Jason West and Vince Zamponella had this to say :

“It’s astonishing how much money Activision had to pay to cover up its horns and pitchforks with a halo.”

  • In other news, casual smash hit Puzzle Quest has opened new doors with it’s beta on Facebook. That’s correct, the Puzzle Quest 2 Mage Trainer is available on Facebook to offer a sneak peak at some of the new enemies and gameplay in the game’s sequel, due out in June of this year.  It seems like a no brainer to merge the addictive gameplay to the social competitive Facebook network, but I don’t think anyone saw this coming.  If you already have a Facebook account, you can jump in for free, and prepare for war in PQ2.
  • As mentioned in our Daily Bits section, but worth repeating here, Blizzard has set a release date for Starcraft II. The game, subtitled Wings Of Liberty and featuring the terran campaign,  will be retailing for $60 and hitting store shelves on July 27th of this year.  The campaign will span 29 missions, and the multiplayer component will likely be the draw for most-with beta keys available through a Gamestop pre-order.  Be wary though-cancellations will not be accepted once your beta key has been received.  Feedback from the beta must have the game available by that date, and I don’t think anyone thought we’d see it before the fall/holiday season this year.  Is anyone cancelling their vacation right about now?
  • Intriguing, is the sight of World of Warcraft running on an ipad, thanks to the Gaikai service. Gaikai CEO Dave Perry posted a picture of the game working on an ipad via wifi connectivity.  Curious are the inner-workings of this, seeing as how apple products are yet incompatible with Adobe Flash, the cornerstone of the Gaikai delivery technology.  Great news for ipad owners to be able to use Gaikai, but I’m still not sold on the ipad model.
  • DRM ALERT PC GAMERS!!! If you are looking forward to the spy antics of Alpha Protocol on the PC, like I am, you can breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge that Sega’s June 1st release will NOT take a page from Ubisoft’s new, obnoxious DRM scheme.  Sega has released a statement saying they will use the Uniloc system, simply requiring online verification of the game’s initial activation, and no further connectivity required after that.  The game will also be limited to five installs, with the ability to deactivate installs and gain them back, should you need.  Sega also went on to say that the DRM will be patched out in the future, long after the release.  It’s nice to see that the spy tactics will remain a game mechanic and not a technique required to actually play the game on the PC platform.
  • Lastly, a feat worth mentioning on the Popcap top seller Bejeweled 2. California contractor, Mike Leyde, reached the game’s top score of 2,147,483,647 after 2,205 hours and 51 minutes of gameplay—at which point his score froze and could not go any higher.  One can only admire the amount of patience and determination Mr. Leyde had to sit through Bejeweled for that long.  I wonder if he’ll be picking up Puzzle Quest 2 next month, now that he has “finished” Bejeweled!

Deals

The last week of the Direct2Drive Spring sale is here, bringing lots of goodies to keep your pasty white physique inside and away from the warm spring air.  Check out these highlights, and more available at their site.

  • Mass Effect 1 & 2 Bundle for $34.95
  • Newly released MMO, Aion, for only $24.95
  • Fallout 3 for $14.95
  • Majesty 2 for $8.95
  • Trine, Defense Grid : The Awakening and the Titan Quest Bundle for $4.95 each

Geared Up

This week we have a one-two punch of Valve goodies, for those of us with deep pockets.  First, is the newly available ‘Boomer’ plush, retailing at $49.99 on Valve’s online store.  It stands 13″ tall and features10 sound effects/phrases from the game franchise.  This is the first of five in a line of Special Infected Plushies, from Valve.  Unless it vomited hot coffee into a L4D mug, I can’t bite for that steep price point, but I’m sure many others will.  Also announced from Valve, are one foot tall statues of famous Valve game franchise characters manufactured by Gaming Heads.  The first in a series of Team Fortress themed statues announced, was the Heavy, available in Red and Blue varieties.  Half-Life 2 and Left 4 Dead characters are rumored to follow, but pricing and timeframes have not been announced.  One can only wonder, if a Boomer doll carries a $50 price tag, what would a highly detailed 12″ statue fetch?

boomer plush 204x215 Weekly Byte for 5/3/2010heavystatue Weekly Byte for 5/3/2010

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