Electronic Arts has cut the price of online passes for dozens of its games - and in some cases - has made them free of charge, according to Eurogamer. Earlier in the month EA announced that it was discontinuing the use of its online pass system.
While some may be worried that the PS3 and Xbox 360 would be abandoned as soon as the PS4 and Xbox One is released to retail at the end of this year, EA says that it plans to continue to support both platforms with new games for at least another four years. Chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen revealed the company's commitment to the current generation during his recent keynote address at the Stifel 2013 Technology Conference in New York. Games already widely known to be in development for the current generation systems include Battlefield 4, FIFA 14 and the next Need For Speed.
Nintendo has a novel way of getting gamers (who do not already own a Wii U) excited about the games it will be showcasing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles next month. At participating Best Buy stores consumers will be able to get hands-on time with pretty much the same game demos as the press gets access to from the E3 show floor. The announcement was made by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime today during a Nintendo Direct presentation.
Is EA and its Maxis studio learning a lesson from SimCity? We think so. Today Electronic Arts announced The Sims 4 will be coming to the PC and Mac sometime in 2014. The company also confirmed to IGN that the game will not require an internet connection in order to play, or more precisely, that it will have a single-player offline play.
According to this Bloomberg report Sony executives have agreed to forgo salary bonuses for the second year in a row following another year of less than stellar profits from the electronics giant. According to a Sony spokesperson (speaking to Bloomberg), around 40 of the company's executives will return bonuses scheduled to be paid out following a general shareholders meeting this June.
Earlier this week the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) issued a statement on CISPA (which we admittedly missed) coming out strongly against the cybersecurity bill passed in the House yesterday afternoon.
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI 3rd District) has increased his public critique of Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act in the last few days after an amendment that would have added more privacy protections to the bill were rejected in the House Rules Committee this week.
A mother in Toronto (Ontario, Canada) blames lax security at Microsoft after her 11-year-old son's Xbox Live account was hacked for $300 in fraudulent charges for in-game content. Jennifer Stubbs of Toronto said an unknown hacker charged the FIFA 13 Ultimate in-game buys to her credit card.
"I wasn't aware that these purchases were happening," she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. "Someone had gone into our device remotely."
When Diablo 3 lands on the PS3 and PS4 it won't have some of the features or the requirements that its PC counterpart currently has. According to Polygon, a Blizzard official told them at PAX East this weekend that Diablo 3 will not require a constant internet connection in order to play.
The Federal Trade Commission today released the results of its "Secret Shopper Survey" to test whether retailers were doing their part to keep adult entertainment out of the hands of children. The results of that survey are here, but the take-away is that retailers are continuing to self-police - without government intervention, I might add - just who buys video games, music and other entertainment.
Remember those ridiculous age restrictions on Wii U eShop content in Europe because Nintendo of Europe is based out of Germany and subject to German laws about content? Yeah, well those silly restrictions have been removed much to the delight of our Wii U owning brothers and sisters in various regions throughout Europe including the UK, according to Daily Joypad.
A man sentenced to ten years in prison for robbing two men for $110 and their driver's licenses in 1999 spent a good portion of his time playing chess and developing a new puzzle-based game that uses the classic board game to teach children how to make good choices in life. Nkosi Brown said that he spent much of his time in prison playing chess to avoid fighting with guards and other inmates and during his time in solitary confinement he would play chess with other isolated inmates by yelling out moves and using a chess board scrawled onto the floor.
According to new research from Adam Chie-Ming Oei and Michael Donald Patterson (from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) published this week in the open access journal PLOS ONE, playing video games a little bit every day can improve cognitive performance. The research is based on a study conducted by Oei and Patterson that directed participants identified as "non-gamers" to play five different games on their smart phones for one hour a day, five days a week, for one month.
Earlier in the week Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA.) penned an editorial over at Politico that takes aim at parenting and deflects the idea that video games are to blame for violent crimes in America. The editorial title sums up Hunter's thoughts on the top pretty succinctly: "Target parenting, not games for violence."
EA Maxis General Manager Lucy Bradshaw took to EA's blog for three updates over the weekend to talk about the progress the company has made in making SimCity a bit more stable for players. In her first update on March 8 Bradshaw said that they had increased server capacity by 120 percent and that it had proven to help more people get in and play the game. Bradshaw also said that the number of "disrupted experiences" had dropped by roughly 80 percent."
We mentioned this in passing when we reported on EA and other game companies signing onto an amicus brief supporting the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, but the event deserves a little more attention: On March 7 Electronic Arts and the Human Rights Campaign will host an event to address the full spectrum of LGBT issues in gaming in New York City.
While most big game developers and publishers have abandoned a lot of the studios they used to run in Australia, one company has decided that it is a good place to open up a new office. Riot Games, makers of the popular online multiplayer battle arena game League of Legends, announced that it has opened up a brand new studio in Sydney Australia.
Kotaku is reporting that Queensland has finally joined other states in Australia in officially approving an R18+ ratings classification for videogames after a false start earlier in the day when a press release was accidently released announcing that the R18+ rating had been approved by the government. All that needs to be done is for the governor of Queensland to sign it for the new ratings to be in force - expect that to take at least another couple of weeks.
Free-to-play MMO developer and publisher Wargaming has come to the rescue of Gas Powered Games, who looked like it might go out of business just a few days ago after it canceled a Kickstarter campaign for its game Wildman - the success of which founder Chris Taylor categorized as vital to the company's future survival. Wargaming bought the Seattle-Washington-based developer of such hit franchises as Dungeon Siege, Supreme Commander and Demigod for an undisclosed amount of money.
Google will donate 15,000 Raspberry Pi computers to various schools in the United Kingdom, reports Develop. The massive donation is part of an initiative to stimulate a new generation of computer scientists in the region. The partnership was announced at Chesterton Community College in Cambridge, where students were given the unique opportunity to get a programming lesson from Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt and Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton.
Electronic Arts announced that it has joined a coalition of businesses forming a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to end federal discrimination against legally married gay and lesbian couples via the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The company is taking part in the "The Business Coalition for DOMA Repeal" effort, which includes a number of Fortune 500 companies that seek marriage equality for everyone through what it calls "Respect for Marriage Act."
According to a Polygon report, the video game industry executives and other interested parties that met with Vice-President Joe Biden's Gun Violence Commission walked away feeling that they were unscathed, and that Biden was looking for general input on media and violence.
Alex Garden, General Manager of Xbox Live at Microsoft, announced that people who were adversely affected by recent problems with saving their games via the Xbox Live cloud will get some hefty compensation. In a message delivered through Major Nelson's Blog, Garden thanked everyone who were impacted by problems with the Cloud Saved Games service for their patience. Anyone who lost access to game saves for a "couple of hours" or a "couple of days" will be compensated in the following way:
On the heels of generating over $5 million from the Humble THQ Bundle, THQ says that it is evaluating various options for making more of its PC games Linux friendly. One of the biggest complaints against this particular bundle was that it was Windows-only. THQ now says that it is evaluating the costs and benefits of Linux, following consumer feedback on the Humble THQ Bundle.
We often like to point out when companies crush fan-made projects under a barrage of cease-and-desist letters and threats of punitive court actions, but Capcom has taken a different and positive tact for the fan-made mash-up game Street Fighter X Mega Man. The game pits the Blue Bomber against the stars of the popular Street Fighter series of fighting games, and as Mega Man beats the snot out of the likes of Blanka, Ryu, and Rose, he gains their special powers to use against other folks in the Street Fighter universe.
Electronic Arts employee Wendell Harlow has been honored by the Make-A-Wish Foundation with a Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award. The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal marks the 60th anniversary of England's Queen Elizabeth II’s "accession to the Throne" and honors the achievements and contributions of Canadians. Wendell received the distinct honor for over a decade of supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Canada.