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Friday, Jul 26, 2013

  

Call of Duty: Black Ops II Double XP Weekend

As noted on One Of Swords, a double experience points weekend is underway for Call of Duty: Black Ops II. This is taking place on all platforms for the military first-person shooter sequel, and Dan puts out a personal challenge tonight to Wii gamers.

The QuakeCon Trials

The Bethesda Blog has details on a new challenge they are rolling out for QuakeCon 2013 called The QuakeCon Trials. They outline a series of scenarios using various games like Oblivion and Dishonored, saying prizes will be awarded at the show for the players who can complete them in the shortest time. Word is: "Across six challenges of varying difficulty, you’ll compete for a share of fortune and glory, with prizes that include: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 graphics cards, raffle cards for a chance to win one of two 2013 Ford Focus ST3s, plus additional prizes from our exhibitors and sponsors. Winners from each of the six trials will also have a chance to win a $2,000 gaming rig from XOTIC PC!"

On Sale

Evening Consolidation

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Happy System Administrator Appreciation Day.

Activision Blizzard Buys Back Stock

Activision Blizzard announces a buyback of its stock from French parent Vivendi for a price tag of $5.83 billion, simultaneously announcing another $2.34 billion in stock is being picked up by a group of investors led by Activision CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelly, who are committing $100 million of their own pocket change to the kitty. This comes shortly after reports that Vivendi was planning on raiding Activision's cash stockpile to pay down some of its own debt. The company will now be publically owned, with a 12% interest remaining with Vivendi. Here's word:

Following the completion of the transaction, Activision Blizzard will be an independent company with the majority of its shares owned by the public. The Company will be led by Bobby Kotick as Chief Executive Officer and Brian Kelly as Chairman. Vivendi will no longer be the majority shareholder, but will retain a stake of 83 million shares or approximately 12%. ASAC II LP—the investor group which, in addition to Kotick and Kelly, includes Davis Advisors, Leonard Green & Partners, L.P., Tencent, as well as one of the largest global institutional investors—will own a stake of approximately 24.9%.

Activision Blizzard expects that its new outstanding share count and capital structure (which will include approximately $1.4 billion of net debt) will result in expected pro forma 2013 earnings-per-share (EPS) accretion of between 18% and 29% on a GAAP basis and between 23% and 33% on a non-GAAP basis.

Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, said, “These transactions together represent a tremendous opportunity for Activision Blizzard and all its shareholders, including Vivendi. We should emerge even stronger—an independent company with a best-in-class franchise portfolio and the focus and flexibility to drive long-term shareholder value and expand our leadership position as one of the world’s most important entertainment companies. The transactions announced today will allow us to take advantage of attractive financing markets while still retaining more than $3 billion cash on hand to preserve financial stability.”

Mr. Kotick continued, “Our successful combination with Blizzard Entertainment five years ago brought together some of the best creative and business talent in the industry and some of the most beloved entertainment franchises in the world, including Call of Duty® and World of Warcraft®. Since that time, we have generated over $5.4 billion in operating cash flow and returned more than $4 billion of that to shareholders via buybacks and dividends. We are grateful for Vivendi’s partnership through this period, and we look forward to their continued support.”

7.7 Million WoW Subs

A note in the announcement of Activision Blizzard's stock buyback from Vivendi offers the latest subscriber numbers for World of Warcraft. The last census for the game put the playerbase at 8.3 million, and word is they have lost about 600K of them since then: "Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft® remained the world’s #1 subscription-based MMORPG, ending the quarter with approximately 7.7 million subscribers."

Ships Ahoy - Citadels

bitComposer announces the release of Citadels, a real-time strategy game based on the legend of King Arthur. The game offers the opportunity to choose sides, allowing the player to choose between good and evil by supporting Arthur or Mordred. Here's word:

Eschborn, July 26, 2013: Citadels invites fans of real-time strategy games and medieval sagas to pick sides: starting today, you decide whether to join the forces of good or evil and rewrite the entire Arthurian legend in the process. The game is available on Steam as a downloadable PC game, and as well as in a boxed retail version for € 39.99, $ 39.99, £ 37.99.

Citadels contains multiple campaigns that put players into one of two roles: either a member of King Arthur's entourage as he enters into the decisive battle against his archenemy, or as a collaborator of Mordred and his allies in their attempts to subjugate the kingdom. The players can take advantage of powerful castles, moats and defensive structures, as well as well-equipped armies and powerful siege weapons. Additional support in battle comes through the historical characters as well: those aligning themselves with King Arthur can secure the aid of Merlin, the legendary magician and royal advisor. He provides a significant starting bonus for any scenario.

Those who cast their lots with Mordred and his allies, by contrast, can earn the services of King Guthrum - a fearsome warrior who supports the troops where the battle rages thickest.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Screenshots

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Today we are enjoying one of the nightmares of home ownership, as we are having our roof replaced. This is costing a small fortune that could be better put to use on things like staving off homelessness or starvation, but apparently it was at the point where it was going to become a problem (as it is, we find random shingles on our lawn on a daily basis). It's just such an unsatisfying expenditure: We have no leaks, and we don't really see the roof in its current state, and will not see it in its new state either, so we just have to take comfort in knowing that it won't be a problem going forward. And that the guy who owns the roofing company is enjoying his swimming pool.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Mine It.
Evoland.
Links: Half-Life 2 Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator Replica.
Stories: Luxury cruise fails surprise health inspection. No surprise. Thanks Boing Boing.
Dogs help soldiers cope with stress of war. Thanks Boing Boing.
Media: Dungeons & Dragons (With Siri).
Bleep Bloop: Playboy Mansion. NSFW.



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