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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

  

EA Financial Results

EA Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2010 Results, reporting non-GAAP digital revenue up 33% year-over-year and saying Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has sold 5 million units to date. The report also lists the PC version of Dead Space 2 for Q4 (by March 31, 2011) along with a series of fiscal 2010 highlights:

  • EA leads the industry in quality with 20 titles earning a Metacritic rating of 80 or above.
  • EA is ranked #1 publisher with 19 percent segment share, up 1.7 points from the prior year, with four of the top 20 games in North America and four of the top 20 games in Europe.
  • EA is ranked #1 publisher on the PlayStation(R)3, Xbox 360(R), PC, and PlayStation(R)2. EA is the #1 third party publisher on the Wii and PSP(R) platforms.
  • EA was named to the 2010 Fortune 500 company list in April 2010.
  • Five EA titles sold more than four million units in the fiscal year: FIFA 10, Madden NFL 10, The Sims (TM)3, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and Need for Speed(TM) Shift.
  • EA strengthened its portfolio by launching new intellectual property -- EA SPORTS Active(TM), Dragon Age(TM), and Dante's Inferno.
  • EA's non-GAAP digital revenue, which includes online and wireless, was $570 million, up 33 percent year-over-year.
  • EA Mobile(TM), the world's leading publisher of games for wireless, delivered non-GAAP revenue of $212 million for fiscal 2010 -- up 12 percent year-over-year.
  • Battlefield 1943(TM) sold over 1.5 million units to date and is the best-selling download-only game on PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE(R) Arcade.
  • EA has sold over eight million units worldwide of Hasbro(R) branded family and kids video games to date.
  • The Sims franchise has sold over 125 million units worldwide to date.
  • FIFA 10 has sold over 10 million units since launch.

Fallout: New Vegas Collector's Edition

The Bethesda Blog outlines plans for a Fallout: New Vegas Collector's Edition to be released along with the standard editions of the upcoming Fallout RPG. Word is: "North Americans can pre-order at any participating retailer — like GameStop — starting today. European pre-orders will be available throughout Europe in the weeks to come." There will be Windows, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 editions of the game, which will offer the following.

  • Seven “Lucky 7” poker chips, each designed to represent chips from the major casinos found on the New Vegas strip and throughout the Mojave Wasteland.

  • A fully customized Fallout: New Vegas deck of cards. Each card in the pack has been uniquely illustrated to depict characters and factions found within the game. Use the cards to play poker, blackjack or Caravan, an original card game that was created by Obsidian especially for New Vegas.

  • A recreation of the game’s highly coveted “Lucky 38” platinum chip.

  • A hardcover graphic novel “All Roads” that tells the story of some of the characters and events that lead up to Fallout: New Vegas. “All Roads” was written by Chris Avellone, the game’s creative director, and created in conjunction with Dark Horse Comics.

  • ‘The Making of Fallout: New Vegas’ DVD. This documentary DVD will contain exclusive video content, including interviews with the developers in which they take you from concept to creation and discuss topics such as story, setting, legacy of the Fallout franchise and more.

Indie Bundle Hits Goal, Source Releases planned

The Humble Indie Bundle announces this pay-what-you-want indie game sale has hit its goal of $1 million in sales: "So far, in just over 7 days, 117,891 generous contributors have put down an incredible $1,071,577. Of this, contributors chose to allocate 30.96% to charity: $331,788 for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play Charity." As a result, they will be keeping their promise, and releasing the source code for Aquaria, Gish, and Penumbra Overture, with the Lugaru HD source code already available. They do point out these games will be "free as in 'free speech', not as in 'free beer'".

New Source SDK

Steam News announces the release of an updated version of the Source SDK. Word is: "The Source SDK was updated today to fix tool problems for some games and mods. We are sorry for the disruption to your work that the SDK issues may have caused for the past week. Thanks very much for your patience." The complete update notes follow. Continue here to read the full story.

Stargate Resistance Patched

Steam News announces a new patch for Stargate Resistance is now available, updating the third-person shooter to version 1.1.9.16. The update adds the planet of Leonops, which includes new battle types and other changes, as well as a bunch of bug fixes. Here are the patch notes. Continue here to read the full story.

Impulse Weekly Top 10

The Impulse Weekly Top 10 is available, listing the bestselling titles on Stardock's service for the week of May 2-8:

  1. Sins of a Solar Empire - Trinity
  2. Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy
  3. Sins of a Solar Empire Expansion Bundle
  4. Galactic Civilizations II - Ultimate Edition
  5. Sins of a Solar Empire - Entrenchment
  6. Flotilla
  7. Demigod
  8. Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment
  9. Arsenal of Democracy
  10. Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War: Gold Edition

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Counter-Strike: Source Beta

Steam News announces the availability of a new Counter-Strike: Source Beta that's now in testing. The beta is available to all Counter-Strike: Source owners and will be released to all after "a limited time." Word is: "The update includes a host of new features and functionality developed in collaboration with Hidden Path Studios. These include 144 new achievements, a new domination and revenge system, player stats, and more."

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Announced

Ubisoft offers an Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Fact Sheet and some artwork, officially unveiling the next installment in the Assassin's Creed series that was first revealed last week. True to indications, this game will add multiplayer play to the Assassin's Creed stealth/action experience when it is released for the holidays on Windows, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. They promise more details in the July issue of PlayStation: The Official Magazine, to be available in North America on June 1, 2010. Here's word on multiplayer support: "And for the first time, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood offers a never-before-seen multiplayer layer. Players can help the Templars by using Abstergo to train in the art of Assassination to eliminate the Assassins once and for all. Players can choose from a wide range of unique characters, each with their own signature weapons and assassination techniques, and match their skills against other players from all over the world in different game modes."

Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer Rises

The Rise of the Godslayer expansion is now live for Age of Conan, the barbaric MMORPG, announces Funcom. Word is: "'Rise of the Godslayer' is now available in retail as a combined package that includes the original game and the expansion, and is also available for purchase online for players upgrading from the original game. 'Rise of the Godslayer' not only introduces countless hours of new adventure through the addition of new lands and dungeons, it also adds all-new gameplay features such as the faction system." This page offers a list of new features in the expansion. "We are very excited about seeing ‘Age of Conan’ back on the shelves in retail as a renewed and revitalized experience comprised of both the original game and the expansion, exactly two years after the launch of the original game in May 2008," says Funcom CEO Trond Arne Aas. "We feel very confident about the level of quality offered in this expansion, and the initial reactions from press and players so far only serve to confirm our confidence in the game."

Mac Steam Client Tomorrow

Valve announces the promised Macintosh edition of the Steam client will be released tomorrow, and that: "On subsequent Wednesdays, additional collections of Mac titles will become available, each designed to highlight specific functionalities of Steam on the Mac." The first collection of Mac titles will demonstrate "Steam Play," which allows you to play purchased games on all Steam supported platforms, so word is: "Gamers who have previously purchased games on Steam will find them available in their account on the Mac as they are released." Here's more:

Portal, in addition to supporting Steam Play, will be the first of Valve's Source engine based games available on the Mac. Native OS/X support for the Source engine is also available immediately to licensees for use in their games.

Among the initial titles available on Wednesday will be Runic Games' critically acclaimed Torchlight. "We're very excited to be bringing Torchlight to the Mac," said Max Schaefer, co-founder of Runic Games. "Having Steam for the Mac solves so many problems for us as a developer. We look forward to our future games coming out on the Mac as well."

In addition to bringing the online functionality of Steam to the Mac, Valve will also make its Steamworks suite of publishing and development tools available on the Mac platform. These include product key authentication, copy protection, auto-updating, social networking, matchmaking, anti-cheat technology, and more. The features and services available in Steamworks are offered free of charge and may be used for both electronic and tangible versions of games.

Captains of DarkTide Announced

Silverlode Interactive announces Captains of DarkTide a subscription-free, browser-based MMORPG that combines naval strategy and fantasy themes. Word is: "Unlike other pirate titles, Captains of DarkTide is set in a fantasy realm, combining magic and gunpowder, dragons and steamships, elves and orcs... Through questing and crafting, players will acquire fire-belching or lighting-spitting cannons, and can crew up with everything from orc snipers to dwarven bombardiers to dragon-summoning dark elves; and for all you undead fans, yes, even the lich and his minions are included." Here are some screenshots, and the Captains of DarkTide Website has information about the game and offers beta signups, and here's word on how that will work: "All players who sign up will be admitted at some point in Beta testing. Initially, only US-based realms will be accessible, but Silverlode has indicated that they will admit EU players to the US servers; EU servers will be launching soon for an EU Closed Beta."

Second Life Virtual Property Lawsuit

An article on CNN.com outlines a pending class action lawsuit by some subscribers of Second Life who feel that money they've invested in this online world makes them "owners" of virtual property, in spite of the apparent inherent contradictions that would entail. Word is: "The federal complaint says many users were led to believe that they actually owned their virtual plots of land, on which many players build digital homes and shops that they use for business purposes." On the other hand, the Second Life ToS indicates this virtual land is a service: "Virtual Land is the graphical representation of three-dimensional virtual world space. When you acquire Virtual Land, you obtain a limited license to access and use certain features of the Service associated with Virtual Land stored on our Servers." The article quotes lawyers asserting that the law has been slow-moving compared with the fast-pace of technology in this regard, and plaintiffs are seeking at least $5 million in damages. Word is: "Linden Lab declined to comment on the pending litigation." Thanks theAntiELVIS.

Team Fortress 2 and Day of Defeat: Source Patched

A new update is automatically available for Team Fortress 2, announces Stream News. The new version of Valve's multiplayer shooter fixes a missing localization string and addresses an issue where Linux dedicated servers would not automatically retrieve master server addresses. Steam News also announces a new update is automatically available for Day of Defeat: Source. The new version of the World War II shooter fixes a client crash caused by the flashlight as well as that same problem where Linux dedicated servers would not automatically retrieve master server addresses.

Morning Previews

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Metaverse

Safety Dance

Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Well I actually made it out to see Iron Man 2 yesterday, and enjoyed it greatly. A couple of past superhero sequels exceeded their originals, like Spider-Man 2 and The Dark Knight, and while this is not one of them, it was still plenty of fun. Now the pressure is really on to come out with a good third movie, as this has been the real problem area for so many superhero franchises in the past, including Spider-Man, the X-Men, Superman, and the previous Batman series. In fact I'm having a tough time coming up with an example of a superhero property that produced a really good third movie.

Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Secret Exit.
Link: Teddy Bear Equipped For Destruction Of Innocence.
Story: Fire Breaks Out Birthday Party: Dad Saves Cake. Thanks Slashdot.
Science: Your Office Chair Is Killing You. Thanks [H]ard-OCP.
Girl frozen in time may hold key to ageing.
Toward a Hydrogen Economy- Clues from Nature.
Images: Romance Fail.
20 Frighteningly Ugly Dogs. Thanks Digg.
Media: Big Guy Does 6 Meme Videos in 2 Minutes.
MegaMan - Full, fan-made movie.
Batman Press Conference: Sorry I Blew Up The Orphanage. NSFW.
Follow-up: Oil leak is 5 times greater than reported by officials.
Lettuce Recall Widens As FDA Investigates E. Coli Outbreak.



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