NPD offers a preliminary estimate of 2010 consumer spending "on gaming content via all monetization methods, including new physical video and PC games, used games, game rentals, subscriptions, digital full-game downloads, social network games, downloadable content, and mobile game apps," saying this is between $15.4 and $15.6 billion, and this represents sales that are flat or down by as much as 1 percent compared with 2009. They go on to say: "Based on this estimate, spending on new physical content at retail continues to account for the majority of the total consumer spend on games content. U.S. retail sales of new physical video game content, which includes portable, console and PC game software, generated revenues of $10.1 billion, a 5 percent decline over the $10.6 billion generated in 2009." They point to PC game sales as one of the bright spots in the study:
Bright spots came from PC games new physical retail software, which was up 3 percent in 2010, as well as increases in the consumer spend on used games sales, full-game digital downloads and downloadable content, mobile gaming apps, and social network gaming, which offset declines in console and portable new physical game sales, rentals, and subscriptions.
The Bloodline Champions Website has word that Funcom's and Stunlock Studios' free-to-play arena PvP game is now out of beta and live. "Launching a game is always a special time for us here at Funcom," says Morten Larssen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "'Bloodline Champions' is unique in its approach to the PVP genre, and it really shows that it is made by a devoted team with true love for gaming. This game demonstrates the exceptional results you can achieve with a relatively small but dedicated team like the great people working at Stunlock Studios."
Jonathan Coulton tweets that following his triumphant huge success with Still Alive, the theme from Portal, he is also supplying a song for Portal 2, though his airplane flight today put his work on the platformer sequel in jeopardy: "If this plane goes down, the Portal 2 song goes with it. It is in my pocket..." He later followed up with word that no tragedies ensued: "Good news, I did not crash. Christmas is saved." Thanks Eurogamer.
The first developer diary is now available for Might and Magic Heroes 6 offers a look at the Stronghold faction in the upcoming turn-based strategy prequel. Here's the description of the orc forces in this faction: "At the time of the Second Eclipse, the Orcs have gained their freedom but there are still those who prefer them in chains. Orcs are strong warriors and shamans with access to only certain types of magic - essentially either 'blood magic', which is chaotic in nature and linked to their demonic origins, or simple shamanistic spells." Below is the embedded version of the diary. Continue here to read the full story.
The Din's Curse Patches Page now offers another new beta patch for Din's Curse, this time updating Soldak Entertainment's action/RPG to version 1.014. The changes page outlines what's new, and here's an abstract: "This patch fixes a bunch of small bugs, balances some things, tweaks the UI, improves some of the graphics, and even adds a new Less Stress world setup option."
The Good Old Games interview on Obsolete Gamer chats with Lukasz Kukawski from GOG.com, talking about this marketplace for DRM-free Good Old Games. They discuss the idea behind the service and its origins, sales numbers, how they select their games, another defense of their ill-advised (to everyone but them, at least) shutdown stunt, their site redesign, and more.
A new trailer from Shift 2 Unleashed is now available, showing off the next installment in the Need for Speed series of racing games. Along with a look at gameplay, the new clip also offers a new release date for the game, concluding with word to expect its release on March 24, 2011. The 24th is a Thursday, so that's a European release date, and it's likely the North American release will be March 22 or March 29. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.
A new Darkspore trailer offers the first hero reveal from the Spore-based action/RPG in development at EA's Maxis studio. The new clip introduces Zrin the Sun Fist, a Plasma Sentinel, described as "one of the more than 25 heroes that gamers will be able to customize and tweak into the perfect Darkspore warrior." Here's the embedded version. Continue here to read the full story.
A Last Call Trailer from Bulletstorm parodies the Halo 3 diorama trailer, adding a touch of vomit and a little gameplay from People Can Fly's upcoming first-person shooter for contrast with the original. The embedded version follows. Continue here to read the full story.
A revamped Cryptic Studios Website is now online as an updated home to their upcoming projects. It seems one of these is not yet announced, as their products section has an area labeled In Development that mentions a "top secret" project. Word is: "In addition to developing Neverwinter and supporting both Champions Online and Star Trek Online with new content, Cryptic Studios is working on at least one top secret project for Atari. We're very excited about what we're working on. Like Neverwinter, our Top Secret work represents our continued commitment to diversify and reach beyond the boundaries of traditional MMORPG gaming. We can't wait to show you more!" Thanks Massively.
A Sledgehammer Games Job Listing for a Community Manager indicates the company is working on "the next" Call of Duty game, saying: "Would you like the chance to build and drive the studio community management effort for Sledgehammer and the next Call of Duty game? If so then we want to hear from you!" This past summer it was indicated Sledgehammer was working on one of three upcoming CoD games, and this seems to indicate theirs will be the next one released. Thanks VG247.
Zombie Cow Studios announces the cancellation of Revenge of the Balloon-Headed Mexican, the third Dan and Ben point-and-click game, saying they've Ben There, Dan That: "Writing Revenge of the Balloon-Headed Mexican, it felt like we were going over old, worn ground. Again and again. We’ve done all this. We’ve seen it all before. There’s nothing fresh or new and exciting about it – it’s Dan and Ben using items and collecting things and being wry and cutting about them. It felt a little like making Revenge of the Balloon-Headed Mexican would only wind up diminishing the impact and memory of the first two games, and no one wants that. Least of all us." Thanks Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
Matrix Games is offering a new patch for Distant Worlds - Return of the Shakturi, bringing this 4X space strategy game to version 1.501. The patch is available on this page, where word is: "The comprehensive 1.501 update includes a handful of bug fixes, some additional modding support including more editing options in the Game Editor, a few interface improvements like a mass-fighter upgrade button for your entire empire, and some performance optimizations on multi-core machines."
A new community-developed patch is now available for Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, bringing the homebrew support for this action/RPG to version 7.3. The unofficial patch is available on its official home at The Patches Scrolls. Here's the change list. Continue here to read the full story.
PopMatters - 'One Chance': Playing with the Notion of Irreversible Consequences. Thanks Mike Martinez via Slashdot. Grief itself is a difficult process to conceptualize by digital means, where failure and bad outcomes are so easily undone. More than any passive storytelling form, interactivity empowers the player to choose whether a result is acceptable and that may include anything from modifying the game to taking his hands off the controller entirely and walking away.
GameFront - We, The Spoiled Gamers. There are those who hate the state of the modern games industry, and these chaps too are part of the spoiled generation. I mean, really? Life was better back when music had to cut out to make way for sound effects? When challenge in games consisted of throwing endless waves of enemies at you because anything approaching workable AI didn’t exist and titles were too small for complex strategies? We live in an age of high-definition videogames, where technological innovation has allowed for sound effects and music to pipe in through all corners of our living rooms, and games are longer, bigger, more ambitious, and more complicated than ever before.
We actually went on a rare foray to see a movie in the theater last night when we set out to see True Grit. Then it turns out the start time I found listed online was incorrect, and we arrived late (d'oh!). We plan to try this again, but we're not very good at this, so I hope we'll be able to pull this off once again in such a short period.