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Tuesday, Jul 23, 2013


EA Financial Results

Electronic Arts reports their preliminary Q1 FY2014 financial results, reaffirming their forecasts for the year and offering the following summary of the quarter: "For the quarter, non-GAAP net revenue of $495 million was above our guidance of $450 million. Non-GAAP diluted loss per share of ($0.40) was above our guidance of ($0.62)." Here's their list of highlights:

  • EA was the #1 publisher in Western retail markets in calendar year 2013, and the #1 global publisher in the iOS game market in the June quarter.
  • EA received 116 E3 awards from over 220 industry nominations, including 8 out of 15 awards from the official E3 Game Critics. Battlefield 4™ won a total of 21 awards at E3, including GameSpot’s Best of E3 award, Need for Speed™ Rivals was named Best Racing Game, and NHL® 14 took the honors for Best Sports Game. Titanfall™ from Respawn Entertainment won six major awards, including Best of Show, Best Original Game, Best Console Game, Best PC Game, Best Action Game and Best Online Multiplayer.
  • The Simpsons™: Tapped Out recorded its highest revenue quarter* in Q1 since launching in August 2012.
  • EA’s mobile and handheld digital revenue generated $103 million* in the quarter, a 30% year-over-year increase in digital net revenue.
  • Real Racing™ 3, the #1 racing title on iOS, has generated more than 45 million downloads, and has averaged over 2 million daily active users since launching in March.
  • The Battlefield 3™ Premium community continues to grow with over 4 million members to date.
  • FIFA 13 digital net revenue topped $70 million* in the quarter, a 92% increase versus FIFA 12 in Q1 FY 2013.
  • FIFA Online 3 digital net revenue in grew 88%* in the first quarter compared FIFA Online 2 in the prior year, and was the #1 online sports game in Korea based on revenue and traffic.
  • EA signs publishing agreement with TenCent for FIFA Online 3 in China, with details to be announced in an upcoming joint press release from EA and TenCent.
  • EA’s Origin™ platform for downloading digital games has registered over 50 million users, including 22 million mobile users.
    Trailing twelve-month non-GAAP digital net revenue was up 28% to a record $1.72 billion*.

Eidos Montreal Founder Resigns; Blasts Square Enix

Eidos Montreal founder Stephane D'Astous has resigned his post, telling Polygon he left the company on Friday, and that he is being replaced by David Anfossi, producer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Deus Ex: The Fall. He also talks with Polygon about his departure, and holds no bars in criticizing studio owner Square Enix. Here's a taste: "Since last year's financial short-coming performance of Square Enix Europe, we (HQ London and GM Eidos Montreal) have had growing and divergent opinions on what needed to be done to correct the situation," he said. "The lack of leadership, lack of courage and the lack of communication were so evident, that I wasn't able to conduct my job correctly. I realized that our differences were irreconcilable, and that the best decision was unfortunately to part ways."

Stardock's Star Control Reboot Plans

Stardock sends along their announcement covering the recent news that they have acquired the rights to the Star Control franchise. They say development of their new game in the series will begin later this year, and will use Star Control 2 as its inspiration (there's a discussion on IncGamers about what Stardock did and did not purchase here questioning whether they have rights to use the races and plot points of SC2). Here's word on their plans:

PLYMOUTH, MI – July 23, 2013 – Stardock is pleased to announce that it has secured the rights to the classic PC franchise Star Control with the intent to develop a new Star Control game. Development on the new game will begin this year with a release date to be determined at a later time.

“We expect the new Star Control to come in the form of a reboot, similar to what Firaxis did with the XCOM series last year,” said Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock. "We are looking at Star Control II as a major source of inspiration.”

Entering its 20th year as an independent studio, Stardock remains one of the few development studios solely dedicated to PC gaming. Its critically-acclaimed PC games include the timeless Galactic Civilizations series and the award-winning Real-Time Strategy game (RTS) Sins of a Solar Empire, which has sold more than two million copies worldwide. PC Gamer Magazine recently chose Galactic Civilizations II and Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion for inclusion in the top 100 PC games of all time.

Star Control maintains a cult following as a beloved PC franchise, with the first title including options for melee or strategy gameplay set in a science fiction universe. The sequel—Star Control II—expanded on the Star Control universe as an adventure game and shooter. Star Control II still holds spots on critics’ lists of the best PC games of all time among both new and seasoned PC gamers.

Ships Ahoy - GRID 2 Peak Performance Pack

Codemasters announces that the Peak Performance Pack is now available for GRID 2, a new DLC pack adding new cars to the racing sequel. They offer this trailer to show off the pack, explaining it like so: "To mark the launch of the Peak Performance Pack, Codemasters has released a new video showing the three customized U.S. Muscle cars and three tuned European classics contained in the pack cruising down the California Coast and being put through their paces around the city streets of Miami." Continue here to read the full story.

MechWarrior Online Honors Dead Fan With Charity Mech

Piranha games announces they are now offering sales of Sarah's Mech for MechWarrior Online, a new USD $10.00 ride in the multiplayer mech game to honor a young fan who recently died of cancer, with all proceeds from this mech going to the Canadian Cancer Society. This discussion thread and FAQ have details, and here's the background on this:

The five year old Vancouver native loved piloting the Jenner ‘Mech in MechWarrior Online with her father, Jon Parries. Calling the enemy ‘Mechs “baddies”, she and her father dominated the Inner Sphere on a regular basis in the current Open Beta. Her favorite ‘Mech chassis was the Jenner ‘Mech with streak SRMs, “because she liked to move fast, lock on, and liked using night vision,” according to her father.

“Sarah’s passion for ‘Mechs and her battle with cancer had a profound impact everyone at Piranha,” said Russ Bullock, president of Piranha Games. “She was an inspiration with her passion and energy for the game and our hearts and deepest condolences go out to her family. The outpouring of heartfelt sympathy from the MechWarrior community and the support and encouragement we’ve received to develop this unique ‘Mech has been nothing short of incredible. We have the best fans in the world.”

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Video

Here's a new video from Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag with about 13 minutes of gameplay footage from the game, showing Edward Kenway tooling around a Caribbean seaport, beating people up, taking the schooner out for a spin... the usual stuff. Word is: "From open-ended assassination contracts to boarding and plundering enemy ships, Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag let’s gamers seamlessly explore the Caribbean world from land to sea. This director’s cut of the 13 minute Horizon walkthrough features commentary from Game Director Ashraf Ismail." Continue here to read the full story.

Valve on Greenlight Criticisms

Indie Statik reproduces a quote from Valve's Tom Bui responding to criticisms of the Steam Greenlight program. He acknowledges the system has problems, but they are doing what they can. Here's part: "Until we can ship everything we want, Greenlight is serving the purpose of helping us prioritize what we ship. It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and has a bunch of downsides (even with all its failing, it is much better than our old, opaque system). We are making improvements to Greenlight where we can, but right now we are focusing on what we can do to ship more games." Thanks Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

Evening Patches

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Into the Black

Aliens: Colonial Marines: Stasis Interrupted DLC Released

Steam now offers the rumored but never announced Stasis Interrupted DLC for Aliens: Colonial Marines, proving the report saying this would happen to be accurate. The pack will be the last DLC for Gearbox's FPS and requires the base game to play. It is offered for USD $9.99, though it is free for those who purchased a season pass. Here's word on how this bridges the story of Aliens with the not-masterpiece that was Aliens 3:

'Stasis Interrupted' is the final piece of Aliens™: Colonial Marines DLC telling the story of what happened to Hicks between Aliens™ and Alien³™.

In this new campaign you play as 3 different characters through an interlocking story. Waking up unexpectedly from hypersleep, Lisbeth and others must figure out why the spaceship they are on, the Legato, has been diverted to intercept the Sulaco leaving LV-426's orbit.

Fight your way through the alien infested spaceship, find out what Michael Weyland is after and discover what truly happened to Hicks.

StarCraft II Birthday Party outlines Blizzard's plans to celebrate the third anniversary of the release of StarCraft II on Saturday. They offer a reworked 15th Anniversary ‘line up’ wallpaper and have boosted the experience points doled out by the real-time strategy sequel. Here's word: "For a limited time, we’ve increased the XP gains you get when you play StarCraft II by 25%. It’s the perfect time to log in and play some Multiplayer, or Versus A.I., or Training Mode games. Perhaps you’d like to level up the race you don’t play the least often. Now’s the time!"

The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief Episode 1 Released

Nordic Games announces the release of the first chapter of The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief, a new point-and-click adventure for Windows, OS X, and Linux that's also coming soon to last-generation consoles. The Nordic Games Online Store offers the standard edition and the digital deluxe edition at a 10% discount for a season's pass, which includes two more chapters. Both versions with the same discount are offered on the digital distributors listed on this page, and one of them may be preferable, since Nordic uses Digital River, where they charge an additional €5.00 for two years of guaranteed re-download service (defaulting to Euros will probably be a problem for U.S. users as well). Here's word on the game:

Set across 1960’s Europe, The Raven combines the thrill of the chase ‘whodunit’ with the risk and reward of a heist story where players get to experience both sides of the story as the investigator and the thief. Paying tribute to Agatha Christie’s crime stories and gangster movies from the 60s and 70s, The Raven is set to be a thrilling episodic journey.

StarMade - Minecraft-inspired Space Shooter

The StarMade website offers downloads of StarMade (also variously written as Star Made and Starmade), a Wing Commander-style sandbox space game using Minecraft-inspired voxel graphics for Windows, OS X, and Linux. The game is offered for free from the website and the Indie DB, but the Buy StarMade page offers the "full version" for USD $3.00, and the game is the subject of a current Steam Greenlight campaign, to there are some commercial aspirations behind this. They offer Episode 1 and Episode 2 in a video series on the game's basics, and a screenshot gallery with a look at what can be made in StarMade. Thanks Ant via LinuxGames.

Capcom Announcing 13 New Games Next Week

NeoGAF has a translation of this Japanese announcement saying Capcom plans to announce no fewer than 13 new games on August 1st. The drama and potential appeal of this is diminished by word that these are online, smartphone, and social games, which are so often not Scottish. Here's the NeoGAF translation: "Capcom Online Games will be holding a conference (which will be streamed) on August 1 in Japan to announce 13 brand new online, smartphone, and social game titles. There will also be news updates for Monster Hunter Frontier G and Onimusha Soul." Thanks GamesHQMedia.

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Out of the Blue

Fight Club sequel in the works (thanks Acleacius). Hmmm. A graphic novel is fine I suppose, but I have to strongly echo the sentiment of the author in saying that I don't need a follow-up to one of my favorite movies of all time, so hopefully no film adaptation will come of this.

Adapted Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Dyna Boy.
Stealth Assassin.
Super Rally Challenge.
Links: 5 Incredible Real Video Games (You'll Never Get to Play) -
Stories: Bryan Cranston Secretly Cosplayed As Walter White at Comic-Con. Thanks nin.
Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia, wants to ban oral sex.
Science: Faster Than the Speed of Light? Thanks j.c.f.
New clues illuminate Alzheimer's roots.
Ottawa mother loses 3 limbs after dog bite infection.
Images: 'X-Men' first look- 'Days of Future Past' posters split the difference. Thanks nin.
Media: The Ten Scariest Aircraft Landings Caught On Video. Thanks nin.
Follow-up: Climate change slowdown is due to warming of deep oceans, say scientists.
The Funnies: Brevity.

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