Archived News:

Friday, Nov 11, 2011 Armistice/Veterans/Remembrance Day

Skyrim Soars

The Steam Game and Player Statistics Page shows The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as the most played game by current player count as of this writing, with more players than all the other games on the list combined. This also show today's peak number of concurrent users for Bethesda's new RPG sequel was 231,593. Thanks Acleacius via FPSWin. And for your tweaking pleasure: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – How To Enable Ambient Occlusion. And for your larcenous side: How to steal in Skyrim.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Stress Test This Month

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Website has word that everyone who applied to beta test BioWare's upcoming Star Wars MMORPG will be invited to a stress test weekend later this month, also offering a list of websites where weekend beta keys will be distributed:
When we started our Beta Testing Weekends, we told you that each weekend would include more testers than the last. We’re excited to announce that later this month we will be conducting our largest Beta Testing Weekend yet, specifically designed to help us stress test our servers in preparation for the launch of Star Wars™: The Old Republic™.

How can you take part in this coming Beta Test Weekend? Well, for starters we are happy to announce that anyone who has signed up for our Game Testing Program prior to today, November 11th, will get invited! Invites will be sent in the coming weeks.
In other The Old Republic news, this trailer kicks off a series of "Choose Your Side" videos on class choices, contrasting the Inquisitor versus the Trooper.

Modern Warfare 3 Sets Sales Record

According to Activision, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has set a sales record, selling 6.5 million units in the U.S. and U.K. in under 24 hours:
Santa Monica, CA - November 11, 2011 - Shattering its own day-one sales records, Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI), announced that its highly-anticipated Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 3 has become the biggest entertainment launch ever with an estimated sell-through of more than $400 million and more than 6.5 million units in North America and the United Kingdom alone in the first 24 hours of its release, according to Charttrack and retail customer sell-through information.

This marks the third consecutive year that the Call of Duty franchise has set day one launch records across all forms of entertainment, something no other entertainment franchise in any medium has ever accomplished. Last year, in North America and the United Kingdom, Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops™ had estimated day-one sell-through of $360 million and in 2009, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, set day-one records with estimated sell through of $310 million, according to Charttrack and retail customer sell-through information.

NPD: October U.S. Retail Video Game Sales Up 1%

The Associated Press reports on NPD Group's reports on retail video game sales in the U.S. for the month of October, saying Battlefield 3 sold just under two million sales amid an overall rise of one percent. They also note how this does not jibe with the dartboards of a couple of analysts:
NEW YORK (AP) — Market researcher NPD Group says U.S. retail sales of video game hardware, software and accessories rose 1 percent to $1.08 billion in October, helped by sales of "Battlefield 3."

Hardware sales, which include game consoles such as the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii, rose 6 percent from October 2010 to $295.6 million.

Sales of software, or the video games themselves, rose 3 percent to $621.3 million.

That's well below the 21 percent increase in software sales that Cowen and Co. analyst Doug Creutz was expecting. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, meanwhile, was forecasting a 14 percent growth.

"Battlefield 3," a military shooter from Electronic Arts Inc., was the month's best-selling game with just under 2 million units sold.

Dungeon Defenders Free CTF & Mod Tools

Steam now offers Dungeon Defenders Development Kit as well as Dungeon Defenders Capture the Flag Pre-Alpha Pass as free DLC for Trendy Entertainment's action/strategy game. This trailer shows off both, and this trailer shows off a first-person mod included as an example with the development kit, and mod support can be found on this page. Here's word:
The Dungeon Defenders Development Kit (found here) is a robust set of tools for players to modify all aspects of Dungeon Defenders and create their own content and games. Packaged with the game’s complete source code and art assets, it is one of the definitive Unreal reference codebases for anyone looking to create their own Unreal games.

This Dungeon Defenders Capture the Flag: Pre-Alpha Pass (found here) grants players early access to Dungeon Defenders’ 16-player Capture the Flag mode. Here they must form 8-man teams and score the most points by killing opponents and holding the flag for the longest time. This mode will be playable online with players’ existing characters, and players can provide feedback to Trendy Entertainment while they flesh out this gameplay mode through their forums here.

Blink Announced

This Kickstarter Page is for Blink, a first-person puzzle game indie developer Blue Void Studios first cooked up for this year's Global Game Jam. Here's word on the UDK-powered project, which is expected for Windows and OS X in March 2102:
Blink is a first-person game crafted with an innovative formula of platforming, puzzles, and mystery. In a surreal world that is both beautiful and lifeless, you find you are somehow able to freely slip between two unique perceptions of the world. Will you come to grips with this strange power, or will you lose your grip on reality?

Narrative without dialogue. The game does have a plot. But rather than use dialogue to guide the player, we chose to use visual and auditory cues. There will be no cinematics or "cut scenes" either. Everything is presented to the player through experience. This way, the player can still be deeply immersed without ever having control taken from them.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Destiny System Explained

A new Inside Reckoning: Destiny and Fate trailer offers a look at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, the upcoming RPG from 38 Studios and Big Hug Games. The clip explains the game's Destiny system, an alternative to traditional class systems. Word is: "Lead Designer Ian Frazier, Systems Designer Will Miller, and Combat & Systems Designer Matt Berner explore the Destiny system, chat about how it came be and what inspired it, and explain how your choices in Reckoning impact what Twists of Fate you earn." Continue here to read the full story.

Saints Row: The Third Steam Preloads

Steam News announces preloads are now underway for Saints Row: The Third for those who have preordered the open world action sequel. The game is due for release next Tuesday in North America and Europe, and in the following days elsewhere.

On Sale

Wal-Mart Black Friday video game offer is big.

  • A Valley Without Wind on Impulse Driven. Save 50%.
  • Codename Panzers - Cold War on Impulse Driven.
  • FINAL FANTASY XI Ultimate Collection - Abyssea Edition on Steam. Save 50%.
  • Mount and Blade + Warband Bundle on Direct2Drive. Save 75%.

Evening Previews

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Subway Ninja. Thanks Ant. Best comment: "He's sonic the hedgehog."

Skyrim Arrives

The Bethesda Blog marks today's release of The Elder Scroll V: Skyrim, the RPG sequel so highly anticipated that they need not even mention its name:
Today’s the big day! To help celebrate the occasion, IGN got artist Bashir Sultani to pay tribute to the game with salt art. Awesome stuff!

From everyone at Bethesda, we hope you enjoy the game as much as we did making it. Have a great weekend playing!
PC Gamer offers a guide on tweaks for the PC edition to improve graphics, disable Vsync, change FOV, and more and HARDOCP has a performance and IQ preview.

Saints Row: The Third Season Pass

The THQ Store now offers preorders of Saints Row: The Third for all three of the target platforms that include free shipping, "Professor Genki's Hyper Ordinary Pre-Order Pack," as well as a season pass that includes three downloadable mission packs and the Nyte Blade DLC pack for the open world action sequel. While you are there, you can also grab a pair of $160.00 USD Saints Row Super Shift Premium sneakers that will make your feet look fashionable sticking out of any locker. Thanks MCV.

Ships Ahoy - LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7

WBIA announces the release of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, the latest of TT Games' LEGO adaptations. The game is available for Windows PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, DS, 3DS,and PSP. Word is:
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is the follow up to the top-selling LEGO® Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and continues the saga of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley™ and Hermione Granger™, in a spell-binding adventure that takes them outside of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry™ for the very first time to all new locations such as Grimmauld Place, Godric’s Hollow and the Ministry of Magic. This time, players will adventure through the stories of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix™, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince™, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™ to experience Harry’s last years at Hogwarts and battle Lord Voldemort™ in the ultimate fight between good and evil.

Guild Wars 2 Details and Trailers

The ArenaNet Blog has a feature on the demo of Guild Wars 2 being shown off at G-Star, the Korean gaming show. The lengthy update includes a new Guild Wars 2 Character Customization Video as well as word on UI improvements and the new skill-acquisition system in the upcoming MMORPG sequel. There's also a new feature on the motion capture and animation of the cinematic conversations in the game. This feature also includes this trailer and this trailer showing a couple of cinematic conversations.

CM: Battle for Normandy Commonwealth Forces Announced announces Commonwealth Forces, a new module for Combat Mission : Battle for Normandy, their World War II tactical simulation. Word is: "The Commonwealth Forces module includes all new, meticulously researched and historically accurate UK, Canadian and Polish units and formations. The full range of Commonwealth weaponry is brought to life with the same amazing level of detail and simulation fidelity found in the previous Combat Mission titles. This module will also bring you new German formations, such as the 'Waffen SS' and the Luftwaffe." "Your customers hate DRM"

"Your customers hate DRM,"'s Guillaume Rambourg explained to the assemblage at the London Games Conference. "DRM is making companies feel safe while they handle some business, they are trying to protect their product and protect their sales, but the reality is very different." This is noted on (registration required), where they note that while The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings sold something around 200,000 units on Steam, CD Projekt RED's action/RPG sequel sold more DRM-free units on than all other digital distributors combined. Here are a few more quotes on the topic:
"The reality is DRM does not protect your content. Every game is pirated within a few hours of release or more often before it's released. DRM is not protecting your product or your sales, it's going to harm your sales in the long run."

"By putting DRM in your games you are working against your consumers, you are harming those you should cherish. It's only hurting your loyal consumers which is counter-productive."

"There is one industry that got everything right - piracy. Piracy quickly understood that digital needs to be simple and easy. That digital consumers are expecting a fast and easy experience. You should treat piracy as competition not as an enemy. If you treat it as an enemy you are blinded and you don't pay attention to what they are doing right."

1M Try F2P DC Universe Online

After previously announcing 120,000 new PC players joined DC Universe Online in under 48 hours after the beginning of the free-to-play era in the superhero MMORPG, SOE announces more than one million new players have checked out the game in the first week since the switch:
"DC Universe Online's transition to free-to-play has been welcomed by the community and gamers with heroic enthusiasm. In just one week alone, 1 million new players have joined DCUO with a 50/50 split between PC and PS3," said Lorin Jameson, Executive Director of Development, SOE Austin. "DCUO now joins the ranks of SOE's other successful free-to-play titles, including Free Realms and Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures."

Jameson added, "Our business model philosophy of Free to Play Your Way makes DCUO accessible to every type of player so they can choose to play the game in a way that suits them best. We have a lot of exciting things coming up for players to enjoy in the game and are thrilled at the initial enthusiasm for the game's free-to-play transition."

New Evochron Mercenary

A new version 1.708 of Evochron Mercenary is now available, offering several changes and fixes for StarWraith 3D Games' indie space combat simulation. As always, the new update serves as a demo, an installer for the full game, or a patch for either. Here's the change list for the new version: Continue here to read the full story.

CrimeCraft Gang Wars Beta

The CrimeCraft Website is accepting beta testers for Gang Wars, the second major expansion for this online life-of-crime game. Word is: "CrimeCraft GangWars, coming in early December, is set in the bloody aftermath of the Bleedout Campaign and the destruction of the Scorpion Chamber, the governing body of Sunrise City. Gangs now fight for control of the city." This post has details on when you can access the expansions new Territory Wars feature tomorrow, Monday, and Wednesday.

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

Out of the Blue

Happy 11/11/11. That's a catchy date, someone should have taken advantage and used that as the release date for a game. On a more serious note, November 11th is Veterans Day here in the U.S., an outgrowth of Armistice Day, which also gave birth to Remembrance Day. Here's a salute to the vets out there.

Veteran Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Asleep Walking.
Stories: Billy Crystal Replaces Eddie Murphy as Academy Awards Host.
Darwen hero parrot helps saves premature pups’ lives. Thanks Neatorama.
Images: Gamer Dad is Doing it Right.
Media: How does one get dragon blood in the family tree, anyway? Uncensored song (NSFW).
Song of Skyrim.
Skyrim Antics of the Day.
Follow-up: Still Alive- Jonathan Coulton with Sara Quin Official Video.
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