An Offer You Can't Refuse!



:woooh:We got a pretty little package in the virtual mail today. No, it wasn't a fish wrapped in a bullet proof fish (though, hey, we don't mind the odd sleep with a fish), but rather eight new screens from The Godfather 2. EA Redwood is developing the sequel, and it's already looking like a mighty improvement on the first, which was a bit of sleeper hit in some quarters, and reviled as the work of the devil in others. The new game follows - very roughly - the plot and action of the second Godfather film, and even features some actors whor... we mean, reprising their roles from both films and the first game. ( www.atomicmpc.com.au )

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Barack Obama Adviser Is Warcraft Gamer

:ahaha:

The man charged with providing the President-Elect with information about the US media regulator spends his spare time fighting monsters and completing quests on the fictional planet of Azeroth. Kevin Werbach, an academic, is a member of two guilds in the world's most popular online game, playing under the name Supernovan Jenkins. He has invested so many hours in the game that his "Tauren Shaman" character has reached Level 70, one of the higher ranks. Mr Werbach, an assistant professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, is to co-author a review of the work of the Federal Communications Commission, to help Mr Obama plan his media policies when he assumes the presidency in January. Bloggers and gamers have already begun speculating about what impact Mr Werbach's Warcraft background might have on his professional outlook, with some suggesting that his appointment indicates that the new administration may be more open to virtual worlds. In a blog post written in 2006 Mr Werbach praised massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) like Warcraft for fostering a sense of community. ( www.telegraph.co.uk )


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Nintendo Wii Sales Slowing Down



:siga:

Sales of the Nintendo Wii have slowed considerably in Japan in the last month – although the popular family console has moved past the 7 million mark in its birthplace. The Wii has been a roaring success for Nintendo but Enterbrain statistics point to a 24 per cent drop in sales as it enters its second year. That is based on figures that show that 5 million consoles had sold by January of this year or around 386,000 average monthly units, but only 2 million since (or 292k a month). ( www.techradar.com )


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US Army Spends MillionsOn Video Games

:woooh:The US Army plans to spend $50 million on developing video games over the next six years for training soldiers. The US Army publication Stars & Stripes reports that the Training and Doctrine Command will start video game development in 2010, with a projected delivery date sometime in 2015. Meanwhile, the US military will be setting up its own network of LAN gaming parties, with 70 gaming systems to be installed at 53 sites in the US, Germany, Italy and South Korea by September 2009. ( www.theinquirer.net )

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Only One In Five Video Games Make A Decent Profit



:siga:Strangely enough, the data only really garnered much attention thanks to being completely misquoted by Forbes. The site ran an article using EEDAR’s data stating that only four per cent of games ever turned a profit, when what the data actually said was that only four per cent of all games that ever entered into production make a profit. This is significant because the majority of games which go into development, don’t actually come out the other side and never actually make it to the shelves in the first place. Of the games that do actually make it through to production, however, an astoundingly low 20 per cent of them actually make a "significant profit".
( www.atomicmpc.com.au )

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Xbox 360 Is 3 Years Old, First Warranties Expire

:waaah:

Microsoft's Xbox 360 hit three years of age this last weekend, following its original release in the US and Canada on 22 November 2005. European gamers were treated to our new toy a couple of weeks later on 2 December 2005 (and our Japanese cousins collectively shrugged when it was launched over there on 10 December 2005). Despite its much-reported problems with overheating (the dreaded 'Red Ring of Death') the machine is still the under-TV box of choice for the hardcore console gamer. TechRadar fondly remembers the Xbox 360's UK launch party in London nearly three years ago, when we were treated to what, at the time, was a massive leap forward in videogames (as well as some lovely free massages and gallons of killer cocktails that took us out of action for around 48-72 hours following the event!). ( www.techradar.com )


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Eidos And Censorship



:ayokona:A lot of people place stock in game reviews. Whether we end up basing a purchasing decision on the words or rating attached to a game by a particular review source is largely immaterial, many of us will still factor it in. The game review – good or bad – becomes a part of the process. So, you can imagine that we’d all like to get our hands on those reviews in a timely manner and with an opinion that’s solely the thoughts of the person reviewing it, free from bias and Orwellian mind control. It would seem however, that Eidos Interactive (the publisher behind of Age of Conan, Hitman and Tomb Raider) has a different concept of game reviews and how they should be crafted. In what can plainly be seen (at Eidos’ own admission) as an attempt to prevent unfavorable reviews of Tomb Raider: Underworld making it online before it has had a chance to sell a bunch of copies, the company has given a PR firm the job of convincing review sites to hold off publishing reviews if the scores are below a certain threshold. The whole debacle originally came to light thanks to a UK journalist posting on twitter to say he received a call from Eidos asking him to hold off publishing a review of Tomb Raider if the score would be below 8.0 until the title had been on sale for three days. ( www.atomicmpc.com.au )

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Numbers Support Players Returning To World of Warcraft



:scream:Massively : With the recent launch of World of Warcraft's second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, industry watchers have been poring over the numbers, trying to see what can be gleaned from the data. With 2.8 million copies sold in the first 24 hours, Blizzard's 800-pound-gorilla continues to break records. Following the flood of numbers, our friends over at GamerDNA have just come out with their own Wrath reports, based on their member data from anywhere between a few days to a few months before Wrath's launch. As expected, there was an increase in the number of returning players, out to experience all that Wrath has to offer. We admit we're curious about potential skewing of the numbers, though. On the surface, it would be largely what one would expect - Wrath launches, the numbers went up. However, we'd note that they started running a World of Warcraft-themed contest for Razer gear on the 12th, and a SwagDog guild promotion on the 19th that may account for at least a small portion of the metric increase; how much of a difference remains to be seen. Also noted is the number of WoW pages created on their service after the launch of Warhammer Online, which is by itself, a fairly interesting point. ( www.massively.com )

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Thrustmaster Presents The Ferrari F340 Force Feedback Racing Wheel



:okay:Have a fetish for Ferrari F430s? Thrustmaster may just have the solution for you. They have gotten the official license from Ferrari to produce an exact replica of the Ferrari F430 steering wheel, even featuring the “Manettino” 5 position dial. The dial allows you to actually store 5 separate vehicle setups in games that are compatible with the feature. The wheel also is available in an automatic or manual set up. ( www.autogaming.net )

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How Barack Obama Can Bring The Change The Video Game Industry Needs



:ahaha:Kombo : On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama made history by becoming the first African-American President-Elect in United States history. Throughout Obama's presidential campaign, he ran on a platform of change -- a platform that has captured the hearts and minds of a great number of the American people. From a more bipartisan government to promises of lower taxes and more, Obama has laid out a path for himself on how to accomplish the change he has promised. Americans, in the midst of two wars and the greatest economic crisis in this country since the Great Depression, sit with baited breath and fingers crossed that Obama's change is exactly what America's doctor ordered. We, the video game industry, need change -- and we need Barack Obama as well. ( www.kombo.com )

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Creative Unveils New Gaming Headsets



:okay:

Creative has extended its gaming range with three sets of headphones – including the latest in the Fatal1ty range. The Digital Wireless Gaming Headset HS-1200, the Fatal1ty USB Gaming Headset HS-1000, and the USB Gaming Headset HS-950 all boast Creative's X-Fi audio technology and have full EAX support. Creative is one of the powerhouses of audio for PCs and their gaming peripherals are boosted by the Fatal1ty brand – endorsed by probably the western world's most famous gamer Jonathan Fatal1ty Wendell. "We designed these headsets for gamers who want to deploy the best technology for a competitive advantage," explains Mark Grover, European Brand Manager with Creative. "All three models feature our X-Fi technology, which delivers amazing surround sound over headphones. X-Fi gives gamers 3D positional audio that's so precise it helps them pinpoint their enemies and gain a winning edge.

( www.techradar.com )


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The New Game Monster



:ahaha:Wrath of the Lich King, the latest expansion to the soul-destroyingly epic MMO World of Warcraft launched this week to much fanfare, and already it's made a huge mark. The game, the second WoW expansion, has broken the record for the biggest single 24 hour sales period - a massive 2.8 million copies of the title were sold in a single day following midnight launches all over the world. Here in Sydney was no exception, and the event took place at EB Games new George St digs. Hundreds of eager WoW fans turned up for the late night launch, and staggering numbers seen elsewhere made their not all that unexpected appearance. "Blizzard Entertainment continues to deliver massive titles and results," said Kim Green, PC Buyer for EB Games in Australia. "Wrath of the Lich King is the biggest single format release in EB Games history." Of course, no launch is without its controversy, and while our resident WoW expert is diligently exploring the new continent of Northrend (it's a hard bloody life at times), some were rather disappointed to find allocation of games at some stores was rather short. ( www.atomicmpc.com.au )

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iPhone's SimCity Game Nearly Finished



:okay:

Feted games designer Will Wright is more widely known these days for his recent hits with The Sims series and this year's mind-bogglingly deep Spore. Yet TechRadar will always hold a special place deep within our geek heart for one of Wright's original 'God simulation' masterpieces, SimCity, a promising-looking version of which is almost ready for launch on the iPhone. VentureBeat over in the US nabbed a Hands-On with EA's iPhone version of Wright's SimCity, already claiming that the experience is pretty much identical to SimCity 3000on PC, with a bit of multi-touch control thrown in for zooming in and out of your bustling metropolis, as you build your own city of dreams (on the bus on your commute into work every morning!).

( www.techradar.com )


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PETA Brings Blood And Guts To Cooking Game

:ahaha:

PETA or People for the Ethical Treatments of Animals, has brought out a rather more graphic spin-off of Majesco’s game Cooking Mama. PETA’s game, Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals, involves the player plucking feathers and removing guts from a turkey - the main character, Cooking Mama, is also no longer a pleasant looking housewife, but a demonic killer. When we look at the gaming aspect to this ridiculous parody the version is not that bad, with higher than average Flash graphics and decent sound affects. ( www.theinquirer.net )


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Belt-Tightening In Games Industry Good For Gamers



:ahaha:

As the games industry hits its busiest time of the year over the next month, many are wondering if the trade is somehow 'credit crunch proof', with yet more record sales planned for Xmas '08. "Gamers are so cocky," writes Aleks Krotoski in The Guardian this week. "After all, it appears that the only market continuing to rise is theirs." And gamers really do have something to be cocky about, what with a slew of superb titles on the shelves this Christmas including such interactive gems as (in no particular order) Fallout 3, Call of Duty: World at War, Left 4 Dead, Gears of War 2, LittleBigPlanet, Resistance 2 and (*cough* its for the kids *cough*) Animal Crossing on Wii. Both the UK and US markets are predicted to have their busiest financial quarters over the holiday periods, now that the latest generation hardware is well installed. However, glancing over the list above, 'cash rich, time poor' gamers are struggling to get through two or three of the season's big hitters, never mind the ten to fifteen titles they probably would want to play, if they had a spare month or two. ( www.techradar.com )


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GTA 4 Downloadable Content Coming To Xbox In February



:bringiton:

Owners of Xbox 360 consoles will have access to a new episode, reportedly called The Lost and Damned. It builds on the plots and storylines that emerged in the most recent game, Grand Theft Auto IV, but the game's protagonist, Niko Bellic, has only a bit-part in the new episode. Instead, The Lost and Damned focuses on Johnny Klebitz, a member of a biker gang that roams the mean streets of the fictional Liberty City. "Johnny is a very different character than Niko, with a very different background," Dan Houser, vice president of creative development for Rockstar Games. publishers of the franchise, told USA Today. "I can't go into too much detail on the story, because we try not to give away too much plot before the game is released. But I can say that the story will show you a different side of Liberty City.

"Tons of details and mysteries from the main story get explained, so it will add a lot of colour to the main story." The extra episode will only be available to Xbox 360 users who own a copy of the original GTA IV game and subscribe to Microsoft's online gaming platform, Xbox Live. No official pricing information for the downloadable content has been released, and Rockstar Games refuse to confirm a rumoured February 17 release date. ( www.telegraph.co.uk )


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PS3 Wireless Keypad Launch Detailed



:okay:

Sony's PS3 wireless keypad, including a laptop-style mini touchpad, is set to launch on the 28November at a cost of £24.99. The device is similar in design to the Xbox 360 controller keyboard add-on, with the key differences being that this touchpad fits above the controller, not below it, so presumably you have to type using your fingers as opposed to your thumbs. The touchpad was first unveiled back in the summer at the Leipzig Games Convention.

( www.techradar.com )


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Who Will Win This HD Console Generation?



:ahaha:We all hear this question around the web and we can not seem to avoid it no matter how hard we try. There are always fanboys out there saying anything possible to back their system up and prove why their console will win and why it is the best. I am going to give you guys a very in-depth view on who I think will win this console generation and why. What will each company have to do to convince customers to buy their console over the other? This is the true non-fanboyish view on who will win this console generation. ( www.thegameraccess.com )

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Blizzard Discourages WoW 'Poopsocking'



:galit:

Blizzard has slammed the unhealthy practise of 'poopsocking'- the act of neglecting basic hygiene in favour of remaining at your PC. Following the UK mainstream media's rush to cover the unfortunate story of a young World Of Warcraft gamer collapsing after a lengthy session on Blizzard's massively popular MMO, TechRadar spoke to PC Zone to get their take on the matter. "The problem with World of Warcraft is that its developer, Blizzard, has had four years now to refine and perfect a set of game rules which promotes addiction," said Deputy Editor of PC Zone, Steve Hogarty. Though Hogarty is quick to add the disclaimer,"though it's cynical to think that the creators of WoW are happy with children and adults wasting away in front of their game." "In fact, when PC Zone confronted lead game designer Tom Chilton with the phenomenon of 'poopsocking', he was stunned, saying "no, no... I highly encourage players to use the restroom..."!" ( www.techradar.com )


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World of Warcraft: Teenager Collapses After 24-hour Gaming Session



:sakit:

The 15-year-old is believed to have suffered an epileptic seizure after his marathon session of the fantasy game. Psychiatrists have previously warned that World of Warcraft's addictive qualities could have "serious consequences" on young people. The boy and six friends are understood to have played Wrath of the Lich King, the new extension of the game released last week, for 24 hours straight at his house in Laholm, Sweden this weekend. "They played all day and all night. Maybe they got a few hours of sleep. They ate a little food and breakfast at their computers," his father told a local newspaper. After the teenager collapsed on Sunday afternoon, doctors said that his system had been weakened by lack of sleep, lack of food and over-concentration. He is expected to make a full recovery. The boy's father says he now plans to limit his son's computer time and urged other parents to do the same. World of Warcraft, which creates a vast interactive world for the gamer to explore, has grown into one of the most popular of all online games. More than 11 million people worldwide are registered as players.

( www.telegraph.co.uk )


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Star Trek MMO Heads To PlayStation 3



:bringiton:

MMO developer Cryptic Studios is bringing its Star Trek MMO to Sony's PlayStation 3 console, according to latest reports based on job ads from the well-respected studio. An official confirmation of a PS3 version is still to be made, but Kotaku noticed a job ad on Craigslist that pretty much confirms what we already suspected. The Federation-themed MMO Star Trek online will be truly multi-format, appearing on Microsoft's Xbox 360 as well as Sony's PS3 and the good ol' PC.

( www.techradar.com )


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World of Warcraft: Wrath Of The Lich King -- Why You Should Buy It



:okay:

The latest World of Warcraft expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King, hit shops at midnight on Wednesday. Hordes of gamers queued through the night to be the first to get their hands on the latest instalment in the World of Warcraft franchise. But what extra features does Wrath of the Lich King offer Warcraft addicts? Is it worth the money? Here's five reasons you should splash out:

1) New characters

2) New player-vs-player battle modes

3) A whole new world

4) Improved graphics and game engine

5) It's World of Warcraft, just better

( www.telegraph.co.uk )


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'Technical Hitch' Weekend On Xbox Live



:siga:

Xbox Live users were hit with numerous technical problems over the weekend, with hundreds of users being booted off the service. The problems come a few days before the much-touted new Xbox Live Experience launches this coming Wednesday (19 November), featuring cutesy Mii-like avatars. Microsoft's Xbox Live evangelist, Larry 'Major Nelson' Hyrb claims on his blog that over the weekend: "the Xbox Operations Centre noticed that a large number of members were disconnected from Xbox Live, some more than once." ( www.techradar.com )


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New Xbox 360 GUI Out This Week

:woooh:

The 360 should shortly break the 25 million unit mark, beating the original Xbox's top selling point. Microsoft boss Don Mattrick still believes he was the very first person to invent controllable human avatars using the most tenuous argument ever. Don't forget that the 'New Xbox Experience', which is a complete change of the GUI for the Xbox 360, is out this week, on Wednesday the 19th of November. This may give you something to do when you've finished Halo 3 Recon, which Bungie states is only between three and five hours long. ( www.theinquirer.net )


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New 'Wii Fit'-Style Game Launched By EA

:astig:

EA Sports Active hopes to encourage players to box, skip and jog their way to fitness in the comfort of their own home with a personalised training programme. The company says it is the first in a line of sports perfomance games designed to improve the well-being of people of all ages. EA said it was aimed primarily at women who are seeking a fun and easy way to achieve a healthy lifestyle. "We have a real opportunity to redefine the home fitness experience with a more Western cardiovascular approach and exercises that will appeal to a diverse audience, getting people off the couch and into shape," said Peter Moore, president of EA Sports. "This game costs less than a gym membership, it provides a variety of exercises unlike a one dimensional in-home fitness contraption, and it delivers an interactive experience that you don't get from a DVD. ( www.telegraph.co.uk )


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$10,000 Second Life Prize Up For Grabs



:bringiton:

Second Life is in the news yet again this week, although this time not because of virtual adultery, but because $10,000 is up for grabs for canny developers. Linden Labs is calling on freelance developers to build Second Life's greatest ever application or in-game project that will improve the lives of the virtual world's residents when they are offline, with a $10,000 carrot for the feature that wins out. The Linden prize-winning app needs to help Second Lifers "work, learn and communicate". ( www.techradar.com )


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Woman Divorces Husband For Having A 'Virtual' Affair On Second Life

:sobrakana:

The internet game, "Second Life", sees players create characters for themselves and live in a parallel, virtual universe - including having jobs, relationships and children. But after Amy Pollard, 28, discovered her husband's character having sex with another female player online she filed for divorce citing "unreasonable behaviour". She claimed that David Pollard, 40, committed adultery with the animated woman and said that it is the second time she had caught his character cheating on her. In February last year, she said that he was having sex with an online call girl character and she even hired an online private detective in the game to investigate his adultery.

She has filed for divorce, which is due to be finalised next week. "The solicitor wasn't at all surprised - she said it was her second divorce case involving Second Life that week," Mrs Pollard said More than 10 million people worldwide are active users of the website game. Companies created a virtual presence on the site - the clothing firm American Apparel has a retail outlet there, and Reuters has a news bureau within Second Life to report on events in the virtual universe.The couple, who have been married for three years, had first met in the game, where their alter egos were called 'Dave Barmy' and 'Laura Skye'. They arranged to meet up in real life and moved into a house together in Cornwall. They were married at a registry office in St Austell in July 2005 - and even marked the occasion by holding a virtual wedding in Second Life, modelling it on the "fairytale" ceremony of David and Victoria Beckham.

( www.telegraph.co.uk )


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Nintendo Begins Wii War On Used Games

:ahaha:Nintendo seems to have fired the opening shots in the war against the resale of its Wii games. Games publishers love the idea of the resale of their games like Ian Paisley loves Pope Benedict and lately they have been coming up with wizard wheezes to shut down the industry. Nintendo’s cunning plan is to block the sales of its Wii Speak peripheral on the secondary market.
( www.theinquirer.net )

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Wrath 101: Getting from Borean Tundra To Howling Fjord And Vice Versa



:hi:

One of the questions frequently asked is which zone will you be leveling in first? A large majority of players will pick Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord. Why not both? Not to worry, there's a far easier way of getting from the Tundra to the Fjord and back again. You don't necessarily have to go back to your capital city zones and then transfer to a different zeppelin or boat. Our new walrusian friends the Tuskarr will be supplying the main modes of transportation with really big turtles. Those Goblin turtle mounts are no match for these behemoths. ( www.wowinsider.com )


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