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From the Magnificent Six to the Rise of Social Gaming - News Roundup 20th July 2010

Jonathan Lester
Activision, FarmVille, Games news, Modern Warfare, Report, Six legends, Social network gaming, Subscriptions, World Record

Activision Refute CoD Subscription Rumours

mw2 logo

The question of Activision instigating a subscription-based membership system for the Call of Duty series has been weighing heavily on our worried minds for some time... and the (albeit slightly suspect) MW gameplay video released yesterday did little to ease our burden. However, Activision's Dan Amrich has stepped forward to nip these rumours in the bud.

"No such [subscription] plan exists for this or any other Call of Duty (including the upcoming Black Ops)."

So there... for now. Call of Duty Subs are something that Activision deeply desires, though- and I doubt we've heard the last of this. [fourzerotwo]

Dutch Gamers Break 50 Hour Gaming Record


A team of six Dutch gamers have beaten the world record for consecutive gaming by playing Red Dead Redemption for 50 hours straight. That means no breaks... for anything. Whilst this has been technically achieved before (resulting in the death of a Korean World of Warcraft player), the Guinness team were on hand to monitor the proceedings and ensure the safety of everyone involved.

In a stunning and genuinely heartwarming display of gaming solidarity, the six hardcore contenders started out as competitors, but decided to work together in order to win the title as allies.

“The participants entered as foes and left as worldrecord-holding friends.” - Gaz Deaves, Guinness World Records official

Brothers, we salute you. [Video Games Blogger]

Report: Social Gaming to Make $1bn by 2012


There's no doubt that casual and application games are clawing their way into the games market... but social networking-based games are tipped to become The social network gaming market earned a whopping $639 million dollars last year (exploding from $76 million in 2008)- and according to a new report by the Screen Digest analyst firm, this figure is set to top $1bn by 2012. I can believe it- after all, Zynga (the developers behind the insidious mind control software fantastically-successful Farmville series) is already netting over 100 million dollars! Screen Digest predict that this will start putting the squeeze on the casual and indie scene.

"There is no doubt that the traditional PC casual markets of ‘try and buy’ and subscriptions have come under pressure from the success of games on social networks,"

"As users of social networks have increased and the volume of social games content has expanded rapidly, casual games portals have had to work harder to compete." - Piers Harding Rolls, Screen Digest

So what does this mean for the mainstream games industry? In my opinion, not necessarily that much. Busy people with only a few minutes a day to log on to Facebook or an iPhone app are a very different (and entirely new) consumer base than hardcore gamers... though we can expect big publishers to take a growing interest in the social market. In fact, they already are... [Gamesindustry]

How often do you play social networking-based games? Are they a threat to the games market as a whole... or just a much-need evolution of our beloved medium? Have your say in the comments!

From New Pokemon Characters To Move Release Rumors - News Roundup 15th May 2010

Matt Gardner
FarmVille, News, Playstation Move, Pokémon, Zynga

Pokemon Black/White Characters, Starters And Setting Revealed

pokemon black white

Updating the game's official site yesterday evening, Nintendo revealed some more details about the upcoming Pokemon Black/White games including a peek at some new character details, revealing the game's setting and introducing us to the three new starting Pokemon.

Forget Johto and Kanto, the new games will take place on the region of Iishu, which is apparently situated 'far, far away' from the series' previous settings. We might also be in for a change to the village hopping of previous titles with the site describing the area as follows: 'Many never before seen Pokemon inhabit this area where greenery surrounds a modern megalopolis with nature and man coexisting'.

As for the three new starters, we have Pokabu (a pig like Pokemon that looks like it might be harnessing fire), Mirumaru (a water based cat Pokemon with a seashell on its chest) and Tsutjara (a grassy lizard with a leaf at the end of its tail). We've got to be honest, for a series build upon the notion of carrying around a small army of creatures for periodical cockfights, these three starters don't seem quite as badass as we might have liked. But then again who could have predicted that Squirtle would end up as an armour-plater Blastoise with water cannons sprouting from its back?! Check out some of the pics over at 1up here.

Zynga And Facebook In Lovers Tiff


News reports have been rolling in that things between social media giant Facebook and FarmVille creators Zynga have become somewhat frosty. Apparently, according to The Times, Zynga are rather less than happy at the new Facebook Credits scheme which sees the site take 30% of all transactions that take place there and have threatened to leave. Facebook, not prepared to be bossed around, is allegedly preparing to give Zynga the boot anyway due to the company being a 'bad actor' and putting profits before its users...if that strikes you as being somewhat hypocritical then you're not the only one.

If Zynga does leave, and they'll be taking all of their games including Mafia Wars and Cafe World alongside the farming/resource management sim, they're apparently looking at launching a social networking service of their own. Should this happen we'd wish them well, of course, but we've got to say, considering FarmVille's success has largely been based on a marriage of convenience with the second most popular site  in the world, we'd imagine that stepping into the ring with Facebook might be biting off more than Zynga can chew. [GamesIndustry.biz]

Nonetheless we want to hear what you guys and girls have to say on the matter. Hit us up with your views below.

Playstation Move Rumoured For A September Release


It's been reported that Jason Bradbury, host of TV's The Gadget Show, (accidentally?) revealed on Twitter that the Playstation Move will be arriving this September. Shortly after getting to grips with Sony's new motion control hardware with a hands-on demo, Bradbury tweeted 'another thing I was meaning to say. Sept for Playstation Move!!! I’m sure of it. Can’t say why. Just.. September 2010,?'

Whilst we're under pains to reiterate that this is just a rumour, it would make perfect sense, landing a month before natal has been touted to be rearing its head. Scheduled to be showcased at E3, and now likely to arrive in time for this year's Tokyo Game Show, it would seem that all the pieces are moving into position before the final sprint in the motion control battle. [GossipGamers]

From Kojima's Confidentiality to the Manual's Demise - News Roundup 20th April 2010

Jonathan Lester
Bionic Commando, FarmVille, Games news, Kojima, Marvel Vs Capcom, Ubisoft

Ubisoft Swaps Paper Manuals for Digital Downloads


Ubisoft have announced that they will be transitioning to downloadable digital game manuals instead of physical paper media. This is a shrewd business move since since it improves the publisher's environmental image,  public image (which is at an all-time low thanks to the ongoing DRM snafu) and reduces printing costs. After all, most games integrate a full tutorial into the first level...so why bother including a redundant instruction manual?

On the other hand, I've got find memories of buying a game and reading the manual on the bus on the way home- and I miss the beastly tomes that used to be included with PC titles. If other publishers follow suit, an entire generation will be denied this simple joy. Many publishers have been publishing slim manuals with a supplementary downloadable addendum...so is this the beginning of the end for the humble instruction booklet?[1UP]

Is it time to abandon the paper manual and go green? Let us know what you think in the comments!

MvC3 and Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 Confirmed


We recently presented you some choice rumours that managed to slip through Capcom's news embargo: namely, the possibility of a next-gen Marvel vs Capcom and Bionic Commando sequel (courtesy of Planet Xbox360). Both of these rumours have now been confirmed thanks to leaked trailers in the wake of the Captivate closed-doors press event.

  • Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is happening. Check out the leaked trailer here (before it gets yanked later today). Whilst it's just a CG teaser, it does confirm that fan favourites such as Wolverine, Iron Man and the Hulk will be making an appearance... as well as Resident Evil's Chris Redfield. Seriously, watch the teaser while you can!
  • Bionic Commando Rearmed, the XBLA and PSN sidescroller, will be getting a sequel. Check out the leaked trailer here (before it gets yanked later today). Whilst this isn't a full sequel to the mediocre 3D offering, this is actually much better. Rearmed is one of the highest-rated downloadable titles and deserves another outing... though we're a little confused by the fact that our titular hero can now jump.

Kojima Starts work on another "Confidential Project"


Hideo Kojima has been making a lot of noise about his current secret "taboo" project that may or may not contain mechs (possibly Zone of the Enders 3?). However, it seems that he's going to shelve this project for the moment in order to focus on another game.

“I’m going to leave my next project to the side while I focus on the “Confidential Project.”

The eccentric dev is working polishing up Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (ahead of its immanent Japanese release) and working on the multiplatform MGS Rising. As I've said before, Kojima is almost impossible to predict... so I'm not even going to try.  What do you reckon this latest project might be? [VG247]

FarmVille to Infest Mobile Platforms


FarmVille, the insidious Facebook agriculture simulator and national thief of time, will probably be expanding to several mobile platforms. Superannuation has discovered the registration of several suggestive domains including farmvilleipad.com, farmvilleandroid.com, farmvilleiphone.com and farmvillesms.com; which implies that we'll be seeing Zynga's first foray into the mobile market. Want to waste hours of your life staring at a banal ...  even when you're not at your computer? There'll soon be an app for that. [Superannuation via Kotaku]

From PlayDates to Farmville Government Scandal - News Roundup 26th March 2010

Jonathan Lester
FarmVille, Gamecrush, Natal, Scandal

Natal “World Premiere” Hits 13th June


Microsoft has been suspiciously silent about Natal recently, taking hit after hit from both Sony and Nintendo without so much as a word. However, a recent press announcement indicates that Microsoft plans to unveil its vaunted peripheral in under three months.

The adverts proudly proclaim that Natal will be the pinnacle of your life thus far- putting the motion capture device on the same level as our first day of school, first crush and first victory. Microsoft is known for its hyperbole when announcing a new system- but considering our current intelligence on Natal's capabilities, I'm not sure I'd trade in any of my firsts for a go at flailing my arms around or playing virtual yoga.

Regardless, our “First Look at the Future of Fun” will arrive on June 13th at an invitation-only US press event (hitting just before E3). We're looking forward to seeing what Natal can do... and finding out how much it will cost. [1UP]

Bulgarian Councillor Sacked... for Milking Virtual Cows


Everyone knows that Farmville is crazy addictive- but now it's literally taking down the Bulgarian government. Councillor Dimitar Kerin from the Ataka nationalist party has been voted out because he's been taking care of his farm during important meetings. Despite several warnings, he just can't resist milking his herd instead of paying attention to important state matters.

However, Kerin isn't going down quietly- he's trying to take down his fellow farmers as well by blowing the lid off of Farmville's political corruption. Apparently, Kerin is only level 40, whereas one of his political opponents has already reached level 46... and apparently "several" other ministers have also been brought under Farmville's control.  We'll bring you more on this shocking political scandal as it develops.

Actually, no we won't. Bust learn from Kerin's mistake and keep Farmville out of the workplace! [noinvite]

Pay to Play with "Flirty, Dirty Girls"


Oh boy. Just when the decades-old stereotype of desperate, virgin gamers has almost been completely overhauled, this happens.

Gamecrush gives gamers the option to play online with an a la carte selection of "flirty, dirty" girls for the low price of $8 for 10 minutes. Known as "Playdates", these gaming companions will do their best to humour you as you do your best to play one-handed. The site is ostensibly a social network...but when you have to choose between “flirty” and “dirty” as your only two options, you pretty much know what you're in for.

I'd love to mock the creators for coming up with such a degrading, pointless idea... but apparently their servers are down due to the overwhelming demand. Arguably, the phrase "Achievement Whore" has a whole new meaning? [The Examiner. Thanks for the tip, Emma!]

Harvest Moon: Magical Melody £4.97 @ Amazon Jersey [Wii Games]

Matt Gardner
FarmVille, Games deals, Harvest Moon, Role playing game, Simulation games, Wii games


Harvest Moon has a lot to answer for. Without it, and it's quirky, charming gameplay, we might never have seen the advent of that most insidious of social simulation games, the mighty FarmVille. Harvest Moon's innards share a few blobs of DNA with Zynga's Facebook classic, and the odd chromosome with The Sims and Animal Crossing. The premise is simple and relaxing, tend to your virtual farm, keep up appearances in town, engage in a whole host of cutesy minigames to cook, fish, rear and groom, and find yourself a wife.

Magical Melody was originally released for the Gamecube way back in 2006, but never came to Europe. It took two years for its release over here and when it finally came it arrived on the Wii. Today you can grab a copy for £4.97 from Argos, which'll save you nearly £10 on the nearest in stock competitor at the time of writing (Coolshop - £13.99).

This Wii version adds a few features such as motion sensitive compatibility for the mini-games, which play a little bit like WiiPlay now but that's no bad thing, but unfortunately for the fairer sex, you'll no longer be able to play as a woman. Everything else is exactly the same as its two year old progenitor, from the music right down to the conversations you'll have with the bobble-headed townsfolk. If you didn't play the original then that's more or less fine (if a little depressingly lazy), but there's nothing new here really for the seasoned farmer.

Harvest Moon: Magical Melody is still great fun, and its classic blend of wonderfully endearing presentation and soothingly laid-back gameplay is still as attractive as ever, but certain parts of this game smack of hasty cynicism. This game's existence makes me angry for a number of reasons - lazy motion control elements, a complete lack of new features, and a hatchet job on the female demographic to name a few - but if you haven't played this before and fancy a more expansive experience than FarmVille can offer then this is well worth picking up for under a fiver.

Thanks to amibees at HUKD

Daily Bite: Pushing The Limits Of Imagination...Backwards!

Matt Gardner
Daily Bite, FarmVille

FarmVille: Devised by Kronos himself to deal with the burden of time!

[via Gaming Funnies]

Daily Bite: Trouble on the Farm

Matt Gardner
Daily Bite, FarmVille

Warning: This post contains strong language, agrarian politics and Caps Lock abuse.

FarmVille. It's the most played game in the entire world. Over 75 million active users have sown their seeds and plough their virtual furrows. But we've never seen a farmyard domestic quite like this one.


[Via Digg]