Guitar Hero III Tops 'This Generation's Top Ten'

March 25, 2011 -

According to NPD Group, Guitar Hero III is the bestselling video game of the "current generation." Other games in the top ten list include Call of Duty: Black Ops, Modern Warfare, Modern Warfare 2, Wii Fit, Wii Plus, and Mario Kart Wii. The data goes all the way back to 1995, and does not include games bundled with systems or digital sales. Those factors probably make a big difference in what games appear in the list.

Top Ten list below:

1. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
2. Call of Duty: Black Ops
3. Wii Fit
4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
5. Rock Band
6. Wii Play
7. Guitar Hero World Tour
8. Wii Fit Plus
9. Mario Kart Wii
10. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Source: ShackNews

27 comments

Gearbox Explains Duke Nukem Forever Delay

March 25, 2011 -

Gearbox Software's Randy Pitchford has been speaking to the media today to clarify the recently announced delay of Duke Nukem Forever. Speaking to Eurogamer, Pitchford said that trying to meet the May launch deadline would not have done justice to the game or those who have waited over a decade to play it. He also noted that this was not some slick PR trick - they intended to release the game in May when they announced the date.

"No trick - we believed May when we announced it," Pitchford said. "There is always uncertainty and we use experience and trends to help us be predictive. We are not perfect when it comes to predicting uncertain outcomes, but we are perfect at being committed to our goals and working relentlessly towards them. I think we may have been able to force May, but we think that would've introduced risks that would not have served gamers who have waited as long as we have to finally play Duke Nukem Forever."

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Runic Games Sees Highest Sale Day Ever with Torchlight XBLA Launch

March 15, 2011 -

Runic Games announced today that the launch of Torchlight for Xbox LIVE Arcade resulted in the game's best sale day in the company's admittedly short history, but did not disclose sales numbers. Torchlight for Xbox LIVE premiered as part of Microsoft’s House Party lineup on Wednesday, March 9th. The game is an action-RPG based on the PC game of the same name. The XBLA version has been streamlined for Microsoft's platform, though much of the content remains mostly the same. New features include a revamped user interface, streamlined inventory management, new items, Achievements and Avatar awards.

"We're very excited to bring Torchlight to the 360, and have been really gratified by the positive reaction. It's affirming to know that console players love this genre as much as we do. We think the experience translates pretty well to the couch," said President Travis Baldree.

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Silicon Sisters: Games For Women, Made By Women

March 7, 2011 -

Last year Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch and Kirsten Forbes of Vancouver launched Silicon Sisters, a game company dedicated to creating games made by women for women. Soon they will release their first game, School 26. School 26 is a casual role-playing game that puts players in the shoes of a high school student who helps her peer with personal problems.

"The core game world has not moved aggressively into the female space," says Gershkovitch. "The casual and social gaming world has."

"We're not concentrating on building games for those gals because they've figured out what they want," Gershkovitch added – addressing those gamers that play hardcore games like Call of Duty. "We're building games for the rest of the girls out there - the girls who haven't yet broken into traditional gaming."

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Homefront Developers Safe.. For Now

March 4, 2011 -

It looks like the team developing future Homefront titles will be in Montreal, and not Manhattan exclusively. According to a report on Joystiq, THQ Montreal/Kaos Studios collaborated on the first game. Senior VP of Core Studios Dave Davis mentioned the Montreal/Kaos Studios collaboration during a studio head roundtable this afternoon at GDC.

"Wherever the talent is, we will have our studios," Davis told , though he admitted that "Manhattan is an incredibly expensive place. There isn't a talent pool -- most of the people we have there are imported to NYC."

Davis said that, while it is expensive to develop games in Manhattan, he doesn't see the Kaos Studio offices closing anytime soon. But at the same time, he admits that there could be some consolidation of the two studios:

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Report: No Online Pass in Crysis 2

March 1, 2011 -

There will not be an Online Pass code in the retail console versions of Crysis 2, according to a Eurogamer report (citing a recent Gamertag Radio new story). The reason for the omission of the one-time code for online play that EA has used in other games is simple enough: developer Crytek didn't want it. Crytek is an independent studio who uses EA Partners to distribute its games. As such it has the right to refuse using Online Pass.

Crytek wanted as many people to play multiplayer as possible when it is released and they don't care if those players are playing a new or used copy of Crysis 2. Further, the company indicated that it felt that the Online Pass technology is just too young.

Whatever the reasons, we are delighted that Crytek opted not to use this.

Crysis 2 is due for release shortly on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

Source: Eurogamer

5 comments

You Rock the Body in MicroBots

January 3, 2011 -

Electronic Arts releases MicroBot, a new game that takes players inside the human body. The game is available on Xbox Live Arcade for 800 Microsoft Points ($10) and coming Jan. 4 on PlayStation Network ($10). The arcade-style shooter created in collaboration with Naked Sky Entertainment challenges gamers to control a microscopic ship on a mission to destroy a biotechnological infestation.

Players battle malicious enemies as they travel through the bloodstream, bones, lungs and brain. The rhythms and fluids of the human body create an environment that affects movement and gameplay, providing combat advantages and additional hazards to overcome.

In addition to a Story Mode, MicroBot features a Challenge Mode, where either one or two players can see how long they can survive the battle using just one ship configuration.

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BBC2 Vietnam Operation Hastings Unlocked For Everyone

January 3, 2011 -

Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 Battlefield Bad Company 2 Vietnam players finally manage to unlock the Operation Hastings multiplayer map - well after PC players, who managed to accomplish the milestone last week. DICE challenged players on all platforms to hit the 69 million team actions milestone to unlock the map. Team actions include such activities as healing teammates, spotting enemies, resupplying teammates, reviving teammates, and repairing equipment.

Unfortunately, DICE gave Xbox 360 and PS3 a free pass; they did not have to hit the 69 million mark. As of this writing, Xbox 360 players had 51,943,729 team actions, while PS3 players hit the 38,796,680 mark.

Source: BattleFieldBadCompany2.com by way Joystiq

1 comment

Video of ECA SCOTUS Rally

November 29, 2010 -

As readers of GamePolitics well know, November 2 was a momentous day for the videogame industry as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Schwarzenegger vs EMA case.

That same day the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) held a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court steps in which gamers from all walks of life stood up for their favored medium.

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Yee Out to Ruin Xmas for Kids

November 23, 2010 -

Citing their “potential harmful effects,” California State Senator, and anti-videogame law architect, Leland Yee is advising parents and anyone else buying gifts for kids this holiday season, to avoid purchasing violent videogames.

Yee urged purchasers to retain awareness of marketing and advertising that targets kids, check a game’s age ratings and content descriptors and to become familiar with the game. He warned that if any violent or sexual images appear on a game’s box, or in its title, “you can assume these themes are also in the game."

It was also suggested that shoppers avoid all first and third-person shooters entirely, as they “usually focus on gunning down hundreds of people,” and to avoid games “that reward the player with more points or new scenes for anti-social and violent behavior.”

Poll: Books and Games Top Holiday Buyers' Lists

November 23, 2010 -

According to a new Harris Poll, over half of Americans (53 percent) say they are planning to purchase toys as gifts this year while two in five (40 percent) say they will not purchase toys and 7 percent are not sure. Three-quarters of those surveyed in a household with children (73 percent) say they will purchase toys as gifts this year. I feel sorry for the one-fourth of those kids who live in those other households. These are just some of the results of a special Harris Poll of 3,084 adults surveyed online between October 11 - 18, 2010.

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AU Christian Groups Still Battling Over R18+

November 22, 2010 -

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and the Australian Catholic Bishops (ACB) have differing opinions on the introduction of an R18+ adult videogame rating Down Under, which has caused a chasm between the two groups.

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Professor: SCOTUS Should Use Schwarzenegger Case to Fix its “Extreme” First Amendment Stance

November 17, 2010 -

In an opinion piece appearing in the Los Angeles Times, Pepperdine University constitutional law professor Barry McDonald argues that the Supreme Court should use Schwarzenegger vs. EMA to “adjust its severe approach to content-based regulations of speech.”

McDonald opined that the California law in question “puts teeth” in the attempt to stop kids from buying violent games, and he notes that the plaintiffs in the case “are not minors who are eager to receive the ‘speech’ in question,” but game manufacturers themselves.

He continued:

Despite the fact that it seems the 1st Amendment is being used to protect the manufacturers' purses rather than their ideas, lower courts across the country have uniformly invalidated such video-game restrictions on free-speech grounds.

Four Games & Devices Earn NPC Seal of Approval for Holidays

November 15, 2010 -

After a Fall 2010 update failed to include any videogames, the National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval awards focused on the 2010 holiday season includes four such entries.

The winners, part of the NPC’s 20th annual incarnation of the awards, were chosen following two months of testing by both parents and kids in the NPC’s test centers. Entries are judged by “a variety of levels including, but not limited to, price, packaging, design, stimulation, desirability, age appropriateness, instructions and more.”

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Ex-COPA Commissioner: Parents > Age Gates

November 10, 2010 -

In response to Microsoft’s recent Xbox Live dashboard update, which added the ability for parents to limit non-game content such as downloaded movies and television shows on a per-user basis, CNN took a look at the current state of other measures designed to keep kids from viewing content that perhaps they shouldn’t be.

The article focuses mainly on “age gates,” or content that is hidden behind a screen in which users must input their birth date. Obviously such obstacles are easily overcome by any mouse-wielder, regardless of age.

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Don’t Expect an R18+ Decision Anytime Soon

November 9, 2010 -

For all the Australian gamers waiting patiently for an R18+ videogame rating category, a GameSpot columnist offers some advice—don’t hold your breath.

Despite petitions in favor of the addition of an R18+ rating, sponsored by retailer GAME (which received over 72,000 signatures) and EB Games and Grow Up Australia (which was signed by over 46,000 supporters), the government continues to drag its feet when it comes to the subject.

Dueling Opinions on Schwarzenegger vs EMA in USA Today

October 29, 2010 -

A pair of opposing editorials appear on the USA Today website, delivering two distinct takes on Schwarzenegger vs EMA.

Common Sense Media CEO James Steyer penned a piece opposing the game industry, stating that the showdown “pits the profits of a multibillion dollar video game industry against the best interests of kids.”

Steyer, whose organization backed California with an amicus brief of its own (PDF), went on to cite American Academy of Pediatrics research to back his choice of sides, research which “declared the connection between game violence and aggression nearly as strong as the medical association between cigarettes and lung cancer.”

ALA Prepping 3rd Annual National Gaming Day

October 27, 2010 -

Over 1,500 libraries are participating in the American Library Association’s (ALA) third annual National Gaming Day, which takes place on November 13.

The organization is billing the event as “the largest simultaneous national video game tournament ever held,” as it will allow participants to play against competitors in other libraries around North America. This year's tournament games are Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Rock Band.

During last year’s event, over 31,000 people played games at over 600 libraries in the U.S. and Canada.

Librarians, it was stated, follow the ESRB rating system and also do “extensive research” into games before allowing kids to play them. Featuring new media, like games, allows libraries to expand their reach, while meeting community expectations.

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Students Grant Win to Game Industry in Schwarzenegger Case Sim

October 26, 2010 -

Students at the California Western School of Law (CWSL) staged a simulation of the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA case last week and ultimately, issued a ruling in favor of the game industry.

CWSL Professor Glenn Smith, organizer of the event (pictured), discussed with GamePolitics the unique approach he and his students adapted for the simulation—each student assigned to play the role of a Supreme Court Justice conducted “substantial research” into a particular judge’s past case decisions, writings and speeches in order to more effectively immerse themselves into the role.

Develop Magazine's Twenty Companies to Watch List

October 25, 2010 -

Game Developer magazine announced its list of the "twenty companies to watch for 2010 - 2011" in its October 2010 issue. Sister site Gamasutra reprints them - and we co-opt them for our own purposes. Among the usual suspects like Nintendo, ThatGameCompany, LucasArts, and Apple, are companies such as Runic Games, Capy Games, Google, and Indie Fund.

Full list below, in no particular order:

 

  • Capy Games
  • CCP Games
  • Danger Close Games
  • Nintendo
  • Microsoft for Windows Phone 7
  • Quantic Dream
  • The Behemoth
  • Unity Technologies
  • Runic Games
  • ThatGameCompany
  • Apple
  • Blitz Games Studios
  • Pixologic
  • LucasArts
  • GameStop
  • Junction Point Studios
  • OnLive
  • Google
  • Arkane Studios
  • Indie Fund

 

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Guest Column: ECA General Counsel Outlines Road Ahead for Schwarzenegger Case

October 25, 2010 -

With all of the interest around the violent video game case, Schwarzenegger v EMA, we get questions daily on the process, the case, the legal principals, our amicus brief, others’ briefs, and what is going to happen on the day of oral arguments and beyond. While we hope that the following information will shed some light on the oral argument process, we also routinely refer folks to the Supreme Court website, as well as to relevant articles on GamePolitics.

Yee “Hopeful” for SCOTUS Win

October 25, 2010 -

As the case surrounding a law he originally authored makes its way to the Supreme Court next week, California State Senator Leland Yee issued a handful of comments related to what will eventually be a landmark decision for gamers.

The Court will, of course, hear oral arguments for Schwarzenegger v EMA on Tuesday, November 2 at 10:00 AM.

Yee said he was “hopeful” that the Court would give “parents a valuable tool to protect children from the harmful effects of excessively violent, interactive video games.”

Yee additionally claimed that SCOTUS has "often ruled" in favor of protecting kids and limiting their access, citing topics such as "pornography, gambling, marriage, firearms, jury duty, tobacco, alcohol, voting, abortion, licenses, and the death penalty" as examples.

Yee continued:

“Cyber Junkie” Author Discusses Addiction

October 21, 2010 -

If you happen to live in the Michigan area, the Royal Oak Public Library will be holding a videogame addiction discussion on Thursday, October 28.

The chat will be headed up by Kevin Roberts, author of the book Cyber Junkie: Escaping the Gaming and Internet Trap. Roberts, who states that he has been “both gifted and challenged with ADHD,” is a self-proclaimed recovering “cyber junkie” himself, having “wasted years” of his life in front of a computer screen.

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AU Greens Still Behind R18+, But Won’t Force the Issue

October 21, 2010 -

While Australia’s Green Party is pushing forward with two private member’s bills (regarding euthanasia and same-sex marriage), the party has decided against using the same tactic to introduce an R18+ videogame rating.

Speaking to GameSpot, Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam explained his party’s thinking, stating, “I'm not convinced [a private member's bill] is the way to go. The government would certainly oppose it, and it's not easy to conclude that the Opposition wouldn't either.”

Ludlam would rather “keep putting pressure” on the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) in order to “come up with a cooperative agreement” and avoid “pushing people into a confrontational position.”

New Partners will Sanitize, Localize Games for Middle East

October 20, 2010 -

Media firm Rubicon Group Holding has partnered with Modern Electronics Co. Ltd., the sole distributor of Sony products in Saudi Arabia, in order to localize content appearing on various Sony platforms for Middle East users.

United Arab Emirates publication The National (thanks The Escapist) details the plans, which will include dubbing "certain games” into Arabic, adding Arabian characters and eliminating scenes that could run afoul of censors. Rubicon Executive Director Ghassan Ayoubi explained, “Those games that are extra-violent, or have sensitive issues for the region, will be edited for content.”

Report: Sony Targeting German Buyers of PS3 Hack Device

October 20, 2010 -

According to admittedly loose translations, a shipment of dongles to be used for hacking the PlayStation 3 have been seized by customs officers in Germany, and now Sony is targeting the purchasers of the devices with cease-and-desist letters and threats of fines and litigation.

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PTC Wants You to Thank AGs That Supported California

October 19, 2010 -

The Parents Television Council (PTC) is urging its ranks to thank attorneys-general from the states that supported the California side in the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA case now before the Supreme Court.

The PTC’s website features the mailing and email addresses for AGs from Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Texas and Virgina in order to make the process easier.

But what if you don’t live in one of the aforementioned states? The PTC then would urge you to “please write to thank California Governor Arnold Schwartzeneggar and California State Senator Leland Yee for creating and supporting this law.” Lee especially might appreciate such correspondence, as he, “in particular has come under attack from the videogame industry.”

Op-Ed Focuses on Retail Implications of Schwarzenegger Case

October 18, 2010 -

Entertainment Software Association (ESA) chief Michael Gallagher, along with Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) CEO James Hallan, took to the Lansing State Journal website for an opinion piece outlining the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court battle could impact retailers.

The piece states that the “misguided” California law—which contains “subjective and indefinite language” in relation to what would constitute an offensive game—is “particularly concerning for retailers,” because “the retail industry has already taken giant strides toward ensuring that violent videos do not end up in children's hands.”

According to the opinion piece, the “vague law” could be trouble for retailers because:

California: “Three-Prong” Test Will Preserve Free Speech

October 18, 2010 -

The petitioner in the Schwarzenegger vs. EMA Supreme Court Case is the state of California, and as such, it receives the opportunity to furnish the Court with a reply brief, in which it can argue against statements presented in the brief of the respondent.

California has done just this, submitting its reply brief (PDF, thanks PHX Corp!) in which it begins by stating that the respondents are off base in their attacks:

Respondents and their amici paint an alarming picture of government censorship of both classic and contemporary art and literature, ignoring the level of extreme violence depicted in the narrow category of video games that is actually covered by the Act.

Analyst Pegs U.S. Used Games Business at Nearly $2B

October 15, 2010 -

The Street is running a three part series on the popularity of second-hand goods in a down economy and, in the second part of the series, which focuses on the used videogames market, Wedbush analyst Ed Woo pegged 2009’s used videogame market at “close to $2 billion.”

Woo said that figure represented 10 percent growth and added that he expects the sector to grow again in 2010. The article further claims that GameStop, which does not break out used videogame sales in its financial results, “bases nearly 80% of its bricks-and-mortar business on trade-ins.”

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