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Tuesday, Jan 17, 2012


Star Trek Online F2P Begins

Perfect World Entertainment announces the beginning of the promised free-to-play era for Star Trek Online, the Trekkie MMORPG:

"We couldn't be more excited," said Jack Emmert, CEO, Cryptic Studios, Inc. "Updating Star Trek Online to the popular free-to-play model removes those barriers of entry that previously kept fans and casual gamers away. Anyone can download and play Star Trek Online at no cost. There's no better way to see how sitting in the captain's chair feels."

With the launch of Star Trek Online free-to-play, anyone can download and play the game for free without a retail copy or subscription. All players may enjoy Star Trek Online's many features for free. Players do, however, have the ability to access additional optional features through a virtual store.

In Star Trek Online, the Star Trek universe truly comes to life on a massive scale. Players captain their own starships as part of the Federation or Klingon Empire in a persistent online universe, journey to strange new worlds and take part in epic ground and space missions.

Ubisoft Vancouver Closed

Ubisoft has closed its Vancouver Studio, reports GameInformer. The studio, known as Action Pants before it was acquired by Ubisoft in 2009, primarily created sports games. "Ubisoft confirms that we have made the difficult decision to close its studio in Vancouver," a Ubisoft spokesperson told them. "Unfortunately, we haven’t found the right formula for success for the talented team there. We thank our Vancouver team for their hard work and the projects that they have delivered. Team members will have the opportunity to consider positions in other Ubisoft studios and we will work with each of them to help find the best next step, whether it be within Ubisoft or outside."

Majesco's Financials

Here are Majesco's Q4 Financial results, which are below market expectations, "hurt by higher operating costs," with the publisher also forecasting a weak 2012. Here's word:

Majesco forecast adjusted earnings of 25 cents to 35 cents per share on revenue of $125 million to $140 million for 2012.

Analysts, on an average, are expecting full-year earnings of 46 cents per share on revenue of $141.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company's fourth-quarter loss widened to $3.9 million, or 10 cents per share, from a loss of $1.5 million, or 4 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding items, the company posted a loss of 7 cents per share.

Revenue for the quarter rose 8 percent to $25.1 million.

Analysts were expecting fourth-quarter earnings of 4 cents per share on revenue of $27 million.

New Via Digital Distribution

On Sale

  • Dustforce on Steam. Save 10%.
  • Evochron Mercenary on Steam. Save 20%.
  • Flatout Complete Pack on Steam. Save 66%.
  • Painkiller Complete Pack on Steam. Save 75%.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Metaverse

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Hey, happy 70th birthday to the greatest of all time. Thanks nin.

Link of the Day: If Politicians Ran On Issues the Internet Cares About. Thanks Wookiestick.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Demo

The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Website now offers links to download a playable demo of this upcoming RPG from 38 Studios through either Origin or Steam. Word simply is: "Play the Reckoning demo and experience exciting, visceral combat while exploring the massive world of Amalur on a variety of quests." Thanks Ravener.

Old Republic Update Tomorrow

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Website follows up on the story below by saying the delayed maintenance to update BioWare's MMORPG to version 1.1 is now scheduled for tomorrow, beginning at 3:00 am EST, and running as long as eight hours, though there's a risk this could be extended. Word is: "Game Update 1.1, Rise of the Rakghouls, is the first of what will be many regularly-scheduled content updates for the game. With this update, expect a vast expansion to the Karagga’s Palace Operation, a brand new Flashpoint called “Kaon Under Siege”, and many more changes! For more information, check out our Game Update 1.1 news article." Thanks nin.

Banned BF3 Player Made Moderator?

A thread on the Electronic Arts UK Community forum has links to posts alleging a player who has been banned from Battlefield 3 has gained moderator access, and while some are suggesting this promotion was also hacking, another mod speculates in this thread that he was an actual mod from Russia, though he doesn't know him. If the user's account did at one point show him being a moderator, it no longer does now, and the account looks like its had its stats wiped as well, so it seems this if something was amiss here, it has been dealt with now. Thanks NEIL and joao.

The Old Republic: Rise of the Rakghouls Delayed

The Star Wars: The Old Republic Website has word that today's scheduled maintenance for the Star Wars MMORPG is postponed, and that the promised version 1.1 update, Rise of the Rakghouls, is being delayed "due to issues requiring additional testing that have been discovered with the Game Update 1.1 content on the Public Test Server" (thanks Ant via TheForce.Net). Here's the deal:

These issues were primarily brought to our attention by the diligent players on the Public Test Server Forums. Your participation in testing helps to improve the game as a whole, and we appreciate your discussion and feedback. The bug reports you provide are a valuable part of the development process. Thank you!

We’re working hard to bring you Game Update 1.1: Rise of the Rakghouls and are working hard to ensure your overall experience with Star Wars: The Old Republic is spectacular! The maintenance window for Game Update 1.1 will be rescheduled for some time within the next few days, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. When there’s a definite time, we will post here on the Community Blog as well as on the Official Forums. Please keep your eye out for updates, and we will provide information as soon as it’s available.

Frozen Synapse "Musical" DLC Plans

The Mode 7 Games Blog outlines plans for DLC for Frozen Synapse, indicating this will take the top-down strategy game in a decidedly musical direction (thanks nin). Here's the skinny:

I thought I would clarify / announce what is going to be happening with Frozen Synapse music in the near future.

Many, many people have asked for new music, so part of the first DLC will be musical!

There will be six pieces of music with the first DLC.

Two of these (Complexity and The Fix) were previously available in the Humble Indie Bundle build as a special extra, and four are completely new. I have one finished (but not mixed) and one that is in progress currently.

I was really excited to see the soundtrack featured in Gamespot’s Best of 2011 recently, and the ongoing reaction to the music is one of the most encouraging things that has ever happened to me – seriously!

If you want to hear more about the music and also watch me making some of it on my incredibly infrequent live stream, it’s best to follow @mode7games on twitter.

No PC Syndicate Remake Demo; Original on Thursday

The good old gamers at announce they will release Bullfrog's legendary Syndicate on their DRM-free marketplace on Thursday, saying: "This gritty cyberpunk treasure shows up here with some bonus content: the game manual, dark SF artworks, and avatars." They are celebrating the news with a competition to mobilize fans of their service to help spread the word about and "the DRM-free revolution." On a related note, EA announces a demo will be released later this month for the Syndicate remake that's coming in the form of a first-person shooter. The announcement seems to indicate this will be for consoles only, but EA has not yet responded for our request for clarification of this, so there will be a follow-up to this story if it turns out there will be a PC demo as well. This new trailer promotes the demo, and concludes saying: "4-player co-op demo on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 coming soon." Update: We have confirmed with EA that there are currently no plans for a PC Syndicate demo.

TERA in May

En Masse Entertainment announces a May 1st North American launch date for TERA, Bluehole Studio's upcoming MMORPG, saying the game will be available both at retail and digitally in a choice of Standard or Collector's editions. Word is: "The recipient of multiple industry honors and accolades, including “Best PC Game” and “Best MMO” at last year’s E3 expo, TERA is a new breed of online game that combines all the depth of a traditional MMO with the visceral gratification of an action game. In TERA, players must actively aim, dodge and block, as the game’s real-time combat system takes into account player position and skill, not stats alone."

London 2012 in June

The SEGA Blog announces London 2012, an upcoming tie-in with the summer Olympics due for Windows PC and consoles in June. They announce motion support for the console versions, and more:

In another first for this iteration of the video game, London 2012™ will take the world’s biggest sporting event online in the form of global leaderboards. The leaderboards will track personal medals gained whilst playing online, with each personal medal won added to that nation’s medal table. Every medal won will help to improve a nation’s standing in the leaderboards, creating even more moments of sporting glory and fame across the globe. London 2012™ will contain a number of game modes including single player Olympic Games mode, online and offline multiplayer and party play.

Max Payne 3 in May

Rockstar Games announces new release dates for Max Payne 3, saying the gritty third-person shooter sequel is due for Windows PCs in North America on May 29th and in Europe on June 1st. These will follow the console editions, as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions are due on May 15th in North America and May 18th in Europe. This is the latest setback for a project that's experienced a couple of delays already: Its most recent release date before this was March 2012, which was announced last September. No explanation for the postponement is provided.

Darkness II Specs

Steam page for The Darkness II now offers minimum and recommended system specifications for the Windows PC edition of The Darkness II, Digital Extremes' upcoming first-person shooter sequel (thanks Strategy Informer). On a related note, the Xbox 360 demo for the game is now live for Gold subscribers, and the PC demo is expected next week. Here are the specs: Continue here to read the full story.

Gaming World Record Attempt

Swedish tech-company MuchDifferent announces a scheme they say will result in a gaming world record, as they seek to gather 1000 players to play at once on January 29th at 16.00 CET (noon EST) in Man vs. Machine, a Unity-engine browser-based first-person shooter. While English mountaineer George Mallory sought to summit Everest "because it's there," this endeavor has another element, as they are selling tickets on this site to allow you to reserve a spot in the effort, though it seems that once the reserved spots are taken, the public will be allowed to fill out the rest. The price tag for this is steep: 200 Swedish kronor, which is just under USD $29.00, so if the event sells out, they will gross almost $29,000 for the session. They also explain how they will be able to accommodate so many players at once, claiming this technology can be translated to any game:

MuchDifferent has created a dynamic traffic router/load balancer, PikkoServer, that divides the battlefield between the game servers and glues the result together for the clients, multiple times per second. Although Man vs Machine is based on the Unity Engine, any modern game engine could easily be retrofitted with the technology to create something similar in a few months time.

UFO Online - Fight for Earth Beta Status

gamigo announces today's conclusion of the first beta phase for UFO Online - Fight for Earth, their upcoming browser-based MMO turn-based strategy game. Word is a second phase nears: "The feedback from the community will be implemented into the continued development of the turn-based strategy MMO through developers Funatics. gamigo would like to thank all the testers for participating as well as for the countless suggestions and is looking forward to seeing everyone again in the second phase of beta testing, which will be announced soon."

PROTOTYPE Digital Comics

Radical Entertainment and Dark Horse Comics announce a series of new digital comic books to help bridge the gap between PROTOTYPE and PROTOTYPE 2, the open-world action game and its upcoming sequel. PROTOTYPE 2 is expected on April 24th, and the three-issue comic will begin its fortnightly run on February 15th:

The all-new digital comic series will be broken into three original stories that bridge the gap between the original blockbuster game and the highly anticipated sequel, PROTOTYPE 2. The first entry, “The Anchor,” illustrated by Paco Díaz, continues the story of Alex Mercer, the protagonist from the first game, while the second story, "The Survivors," illustrated by Chris Staggs, follows a small group of residents of New York trying to escape the city after it has been transformed into NYZ with the outbreak of the Blacklight virus. The third and final story, illustrated by Victor Drujiniu, is "The Labyrinth" and provides fans a deeper look into the backstory of PROTOTYPE 2’s new protagonist, Sgt. James Heller. Each comic in the series will be available at every other week beginning February 15, 2012.

Legend of Grimrock Interview

An interview on GameBanshee talks with Petri Häkkinen of Almost Human Games, developer of Legend of Grimrock, the upcoming Eye of the Beholder-inspired dungeon crawler. They discuss the inspirations for the throwback game, their goals for the project, defining the RPG genre, the freedom of being an indie developer, working with publishers, choosing target platforms, and more.

Gaikai Coming to Facebook

Cloud-gaming service Gaikai is coming to Facebook, reports (registration required). "Our next big launch is on Facebook and we've been working with them for some time," said Gaikai founder Dave Perry at Cloud Gaming Europe while demoing Blizzard's World of Warcraft running in the cloud. "Facebook already owns the category of casual gaming, we're going to help them own core games. A click and boom, you're playing World of Warcraft."

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Out of the Blue

With the battle still raging over whether the U.S. will pass its proposed SOPA or PIPA legislation (the former of which seems to have been mortally wounded, but the latter of which is still in play), there is a movement afoot to protest this with a web blackout tomorrow, supported by sites like imgur, reddit, Wikipedia, and more. I can't say I know what such a blackout will accomplish, but I do know the draconian aspects of these bills are unsettling to say the least, so unless something changes drastically in the meantime, my plan is for this site to participate in the blackout. Apologies in advance for the outage should this come to pass.

Black Links: Thanks Ant and Mike Martinez and Acleacius.
Play: Scarlet Stranger.
Island Tribe 2.
Helichopter Flight.
Links: "Resolution" - Zombie graphic novel created reddit's Vidzilla. Thanks Joker961.
Star Wars: A New Hope would have cost $40 million to make today. Thanks TheForce.Net.
Stories: Hamster among bizarre items left behind by Travelodge guests. Thanks Neatorama.
Science: ‘Open Science’ Challenges Journal Tradition With Web Collaboration. Thanks j.c.f.
Europe's 'Big Bang' observatory completes cosmic survey.
Fat and Furious: The Rise of Obesity in the USA.
Media: Portal Basketball.
What The F*** Is That? - Funny Ass Reaction From Gramps. NSFW.
Hello. Thanks dakslf.
Parallel parking Win.
Follow-up: Russia’s Phobos-Grunt Mars Probe Crashes Into Pacific.
Richard Garriott: Man on a Mission.
Ricky Gervais 2012 Golden Globes Highlights.

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