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Microsoft & Conclusion
Microsoft is in position to hurt Sony. The PS3 launch title line-up isn’t stellar, with little in the way of exclusives or even PS3 lead titles (ie, games that will appear on other consoles after some delay). MS definitely stumbled with the delivery problems, but it had a strong showing at this E3 – better than Sony. For starters, Microsoft had a much larger array of games. Secondly, they didn’t have to live up to unrealistic expectations from last E3 in the face of a cynical press. Instead, Microsoft got to compare to its own launch titles, rather than optimistic pre-rendered CGI films. All the sports games, especially the 2K series, look half a generation better than they did the year before.
Furthermore, Microsoft has Halo 3, Gears of War, and Mass Effect lined up as AAA titles exclusive to the 360. On top of that, there are other titles near the top tier, like Too Human, Forza 2, and Ninety-Nine Nights, as well as multi-platform games like Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and the new Splinter Cell. Finally, Microsoft stole a blue chip away from Sony by ensuring that the new GTA game will no longer have a delay for other platforms. This says as much about Microsoft’s bargaining power, as Rockstar’s calculation that Sony will not resume its dominance.
Quite simply, Sony blew it. The PS3 didn’t have a bad outing at E3; in fact, it was quite a good show for a console that’s being hurried into production. Several of the games featured for it, notably Assassin’s Creed, and of course MGS4, garnered considerable attention.
The problem is that Sony needed a killer E3 to get the momentum back on its side. Sony had to overcome media cynicism, the 360’s early launch and growing list of titles, the low pricing of the Wii and its ingenious controller – and they failed. Not only that, the PlayStation took a step back in several departments, notably by losing GTA lead time, and having to answer uncomfortable questions about HDMI and HD content for the lower PS3 model, while at the same time deflecting overall pricing issues.
While Microsoft is in the HD DVD camp, it doesn’t have a major stake in the standard and thus isn’t compelled to push it. Sony, as the big name in Blu-Ray, is in the vanguard and is basically forced to add Blu-Ray to the PS3. If the PS3 didn’t have Blu-Ray, all sorts of questions regarding Sony’s commitment to the format would arise, not least from fellow Blu-Ray investors. However, Blu-Ray is figured to be the primary reason for the PS3’s relatively high cost.
Sony has become increasingly reliant on its computer entertainment division in recent years, it has been the only one that is consistently profitable, its growth has been phenomenal and it more or less subsidizes other operations for the company. Sony needs the PS3 to become a huge success. The PlayStation is Sony’s heart, it is the vanguard of the Blu-Ray offensive, and the PS3 is a huge investment – so it must sell in high volumes over a long time, with many game purchases, to amortize the cost.
Meanwhile, the Xbox division can afford to lose money as long as MS has other gold mines. Nintendo plays cautiously and modest sales will be profitable for the company, while at the same time the possibility of the Wii breaking through is increasing.
Will the PS3 succeed? In some ways, there is no doubt. The PlayStation brand name is the strongest in the world, and sheer momentum from one generation to the next will likely propel it to the top spot. However, it is doubtful that Sony will dominate as thoroughly as it once did – and how it needs to again.
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Preview Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is a standalone expansion pack and follow-up to developer Stardock's previous game in the series, subtitled War of Magic. That 4X strategy game was highly-anticipated and slated to compete with games such as Sid Meier's Civilization V for your turn-based strategy play-time, but was released in an incredibly broken and unfinished state that it never fully recovered from. Lead designer Brad Wardell apologized profusely to fans and set out with his team to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Almost two years later, the result of that proverbial mulligan is currently undergoing closed beta testing. In today's article, Will reports his thoughts on how Fallen Enchantress is shaping up, and will tell you whether or not you should be keeping an eye on it as it nears release later this year.
The Elder Scrolls Online Details Leak - Should Fans Be Excited? The Elder Scrolls Online, long rumored to be in development, was officially announced yesterday. Still in development at Zenimax Online Studios, this MMO aims to combine traditional genre mechanics with the spirit and sensibilities, not to mention setting and lore, of the immensely popular series of single-player RPGs. Though the game is set for a full unveiling in the next issue of Game Informer magazine, what appears to be the entire cover story article has been leaked to the interwebs already. In today's article, you'll find summary and analysis of all the alleged details, as well as feast your eyes on the very first screenshots and concept art from the game. Of course, the burning question now is, should you be excited?
ANNO 2070 Review
The year is 2070. The majority of life on Earth was devastated when global sea levels surged after the melting of the polar ice caps. Swaths of previously habitable land are now deep underwater, and sovereign nations are a relic of the past. But there is still hope...
This city-building RTS/simulation game from Ubisoft tasks you with re-colonizing what little land areas are left on the planet following a global warming apocalypse. Does it have what it takes to be worthy of your time and money, or should it be cast out to sea with the rest of civilization? Find out in today's review!
Hear that? It's the sound of the largest computer chip manufacturer in the world churning out new processors to power your gaming rig. This week, Intel is launching their next generation of Core CPUs, code-named Ivy Bridge. Like last year's Sandy Bridge chips, they're low-power, quad-core powerhouses that also feature integrated graphics processors. Want to find out more? Maybe check out a whole bunch of performance benchmarks on both the CPU and graphics sides of things? Well you can, in today's review!
Intel Z77 Chipset & DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Overview
Looking forward to those new Ivy Bridge CPUs? In anticipation of their release later this month, Intel has already unveiled the new Series 7 chipsets designed especially to take advantage of what will be the 3rd-generation of Core processors. In today's article, we take a look at the architecture of the enthusiast variant, the Z77, and how it's used in the Intel Desktop Extreme DZ77GA-70K motherboard. Even if you're not particularly interested in the motherboard itself, you'll probably want to see some of the new features that come along with it, so read on!
Mass Effect 3 PC Review
This latest release from EA/BioWare is the final entry in their trilogy of sci-fi action RPGs, putting you in a dire situation: rally the troops to save Earth at all costs. There was a lot of hype surrounding the final act of what has been a vast and highly-customizable story-telling experience, and the reception among many hardcore fans has been less than stellar. Even people that haven't played the game have probably heard about all the nerd rage going on over Mass Effect 3's ending...
If you want to cut through all the crap and find out whether or not the rest of ME3 is worth playing, come check out Will's spoiler-free take on the first blockbuster game release of 2012.
Batman: Arkham City PC Review Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to 2009’s smash-hit action game Batman: Arkham Asylum. As the name suggests, you will be reprising your role as the Caped Crusader and going against an even larger 'prison' filled with Gotham's criminals and villains. A textbook example on how to do a proper sequel, Arkham City takes what worked in the original, excised or improved upon what didn’t, and elevated everything to an even greater scope. The PC version suffered from a few months of delay, but in that time, Rocksteady worked closely to NVIDIA to implement some familiar technologies from the last game, such as PhysX and 3D Vision, along with new DirectX 11 optimizations. But how well was the whole package executed? Read on to find out!
Saints Row: The Third PC Review Saints Row is one of most unique series of games to build upon the open-world action template forged by Grand Theft Auto, and has met with plenty of critical and commercial success since it began on consoles back in 2006. This latest iteration, titled Saints Row: The Third promises the most outlandish fun and freedom of customization of them all, and in a much more PC-friendly package than its predecessor. Does it live up to those expectations and, more importantly, is it worth the price of admission? Find out in Will's latest review!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC Review The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is Bethesda Softworks’ latest offering in their series of epic fantasy RPGs, as well as one of the most highly-anticipated PC titles of 2011. As the Dovahkiin, or Dragonborn, prepare to take the fight to the mythical beasts that have returned to the realm after centuries of slumber, all the while exploring a huge and highly-detailed open world.
The PC version of the game promises enhanced graphical fidelity, standard RPG trimmings such as hotkeys and quick-save, as well as unbridled mod support, something we’ll all be thankful for once they release that SDK. Skyrim has already sold millions of copies and set records for play-time on Steam... Find out why in today's review, which happens to be one of the biggest and most in-depth articles on the subject out there!
L.A. Noire Complete Edition PC Review L.A. Noire, as the name clearly states, is a video game built on the tropes of one of the greatest periods of American cinema: film noir. Developed by the now defunct Australian developer Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, this title has been out on consoles for a full six months before finally making its way to the PC. This “Complete Edition” of the game features improved graphics, keyboard/mouse controls, and every bit of previously-released DLC for free. But was it truly worth the wait? Read on and find out!