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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare3 for PC: Exclusive Developer Info

callofduty.com has published a blog entry from developer Infinity Ward / Sledgehammer detailing some of the features and improvements that will be in the upcoming MW3, to be released on November 8th:
I'm extremely excited about the PC version of Modern Warfare 3 this year, because we’ve been taking your feedback since Modern Warfare 2,and the franchise as a whole, on what you wanted to see in the PC version of Modern Warfare 3 and the team at Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games has put aton of emphasis on delivering a PC experience that brings in all the great things we added in Modern Warfare 2:
Lobby System, Matchmaking with a Party, Matchmaking for Public Games, Steam Integration (Friends List, Server Browser,Achievements, Join on Friends)
While combining it with your favorite features from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare:
Dedicated Servers (Join your favorite or set up your own,without any 3rd party hosting requirements), In-game Server Browser that allows you to filter by ping, map, gametype, hardcore, voice, password, and more. In addition, we're supporting PC specific features that give you even more control over your experience like RCON, Custom Game Saving, NoGFX / Audio Card Requirement on DS.exe, Voice Chat, and SSAO.

PC Exclusive Game: Gotham City Impostors Beta Begins October 5

The 1UP article is short and sweet, so I'll quote it in full, after the jump. Essentially, Steam activation codes have gone out to invited beta testers. This is a private beta, so testers cannot discuss their experiences with the public unfortunately and it all goes live on October 5. Specs seem quite reasonable too, so the game should play quite smoothly on midrange hardware. This looks like a cool game worth waiting for, so check out the video.

Homefront Sequel to be Given the Crytek High Quality Graphics Treatment

Homefront creator KAOS studios shut its doors in the summer, leaving the sequel without a developer - and players of the cliffhanger ending of the first game well, hanging. However, publisher THQ has hired Crysis 2 developer Crytek to develop the sequel (Homefront 2?) which is expected to be out in 2014 for PC and console platforms. This is perhaps unsurprising, as Crytek recently made a very impressive DX11 upgrade for Crysis 2, as reported by TechPowerUp (with video) so this appointment is likely to make the next Homefront visually exciting at least and will do its bit to help keep up the graphics quality of games written for the PC. I'm looking forward to their high quality DX11 graphics that will push our PC's to the limits and once more give us a reason for upgrading to the latest hardware. They now just need to concentrate on making the gameplay as good as those graphics.

Intel Ships New Tools that Boost Game Performance

Intel Corporation today announced the release of Intel Graphics Performance Analyzers (GPA), a suite of software tools created in support of the Visual Adrenaline developer program.
Offered worldwide, GPA enables PC game developers to analyze and optimize game performance on Intel Integrated Graphics. The Visual Adrenaline program, launched at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco in August 2008, provides tools, resources and information for game developers, artists and animators.

AMD Foundation and Games for Change Unveil Online Toolkit for Social Games

AMD today announced the availability of Let the Games Begin: A Toolkit 4 Making Social Issue Games, which helps nonprofit organizations to create social issue games on such topics as the environment, energy consumption, poverty and health. Produced by Games for Change with support from the AMD Foundation's AMD Changing the Game initiative, the toolkit includes examples of successful games with social content as well as in-depth presentations by key game-design experts. The toolkit is free of charge and available here.

New Warhammer Series Deals Reach Steam

In celebration of THQ and Relic Entertainment's highly anticipated Warhammer 40,000T: Dawn of War II multiplayer beta, Steam is now offering Warhammer 40,000T: Dawn of War - SoulstormT for 75% off the suggested price. Anyone with an electronic or retail copy of Dawn of War - Soulstorm and a valid CD key may register their game with Steam and join the early access to the Dawn of War II beta today.

Also beginning today, the full version of Dawn of War II may be pre-purchased via Steam. And on January 28, the beta is scheduled to open to gamers around the world (free of charge via Steam).

Rep. Baca Introduces Legislation to Make Violent Video Games Sold With Health Warning

Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) introduced legislation that mandates all video games with an Electronics Software Ratings Board (ESRB) rating of Teen (T) or higher be sold with a health warning label. The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009 creates a new rule within the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which forces games with a T rating or higher to be sold with a simple warning label, reading: “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.”

“The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families, and to consumers – to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products,” said Rep. Baca. “They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility. Meanwhile research continues to show a proven link between playing violent games and increased aggression in young people. American families deserve to know the truth about these potentially dangerous products.”

Steam Launches Hit PC Games from EA

Valve today announced Spore, Spore Creepy & Cute Parts Pack, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, Mass Effect, Need for Speed Undercover and EA SPORTS FIFA Manager 2009 are available now to gamers in the United States and Canada via Steam, a leading platform for PC games and digital content with over 15 million accounts around the world.
In the coming weeks, Mirror's Edge, Command & Conquer Red Alert 3, and Dead Space, will be added to the catalog of EA's titles available via Steam.
"EA is one of the industry's largest publishers," said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. "The EA titles coming to Steam this holiday include some this year's top PC titles."
"We are pleased to extend our holiday titles to gamers worldwide via Steam -- a revolutionary technology that is one of the game industry's most successful digital distribution services," said John Pleasants, President, Global Publishing & Chief Operating Officer.
For more information, please visit steamgames.com

November Video Game Sales Up Despite Slumping Economy

Despite many sectors of the economy now formally entering a recession after two quarters of economic downturn video games sales have increased by ten percent. Data from NPD Group showed total video games sales in November were US$2.9 billion, taking year-to-date spending on software and hardware to $16 billion, which is up 22 percent on 2007. NPD Group theorizes that Economic factors are at play given that a video game is a relatively inexpensive form of entertainment for the hours of value it provides.

I-Fluid Now Available on Steam

I-Fluid is now available to gamers around the world via Steam, a leading platform for PC games with over 15 million accounts. I-Fluid allows you to explore the everyday world from a unique perspective, that of a drop of water. The title challenges "drops" to solve physics-based puzzles; avoid evaporation, absorption and thirsty insects as you move about a photo realistic environment. I-Fluid is available via Steam for just $9.99. For more information, visit Steam Games. The Steam page for the game can be found here.

Source: Steam

NZXT Unleashes Avatar High Performance Gaming Mouse

NZXT, a company built on realizing the dreams of gamers worldwide, is proud to announce the Avatar high performance gaming mouse. As with all of NZXT’s PC accessories, Avatar is designed to provide gamers with the ultimate crafted gaming armor to emerge victorious in the gaming arena of choice. Avatar provides extreme enhancements to gameplay with the following breakthrough features…
(Editors note: Check out our review of the mouse.)

Xbox 360 Games Could run off the Hard-drive

Soon, you will be able to slash load-times of Xbox 360 games by a nifty feature update that allows the console to cache the game on to the hard drive. You will need the game disc in the drive to be able to play the game as a counter-piracy measure, just that the console won't read resources from the disc, but instead from the cached data on the hard drive. In a way this also means improved sales for the new 60GB variant, since hard-drive space is 'more-the-merrier' now on, you can cache as many games as your hard drive can take. This was announced by Microsoft during a press-conference at E3.Source: Engadget

Age of Conan MMORPG Attracts 400k Gamers in First Week

It would seem as though World of Warcraft finally has some competition when it comes to the very lucrative and addicting MMORPG enterprise. Since last Tuesday, over 400,000 MMORPG gamers have signed up for Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, nearly half of which come from North America. This is quite significant for a game that's been on "the development backburner" for quite some time now. Even more interesting is that this game is pay-to-play, much like Blizzard competitor World of Warcraft. Whether or not this "savage, sexy and brutal MMO(RPG)" will be a long-term contender is yet to be seen. Whether or not the very strong Age of Conan fanbase comes through with a World of Warcraft killer, only time will tell. We'll keep you posted.Source: Neoseeker

Metal Gear Online Beta Available for Download

Metal Gear Solid fans may be pleased to hear that they can now download the beta version of Konami’s Metal Gear Online via the PlayStation Store on the PS3. The download is free and weighs in at 741MB, although you’ll have to wait until 21st April to play it, with the beta running until 6th May. The final version of Metal Gear Online will be bundled with Metal Gear Solid 4, which is scheduled for release on 12th June this year.
The beta phase features two maps, four gameplay modes, the SOP System that encourages up to 16 players to team up and share information, and deep skill-customization. Also equipped with auto-matching and training modes, the game offers players a sneak peak of this totally new approach to console-based competitive gaming.
Source: Konami

TrackMania Nations Forever Released

Launched two years ago, TrackMania Nations became a true video game phenomenon. The free downloadable racing game attracted an unbelievable number of players around the world who were obsessed with the game's fast cars, spectacular tracks single- and multiplayer play and simple yet powerful tools for creating tracks and race videos. For the past two years, it has been installed more than 30 million times and nearly four million players have created an account to play the game online on the game’s servers.

Its highly awaited sequel, TrackMania Nations Forever, is now available as a free download. TrackMania Nations Forever offers a new complete "Forever" version of the Stadium environment, a complete solo mode and 65 brand new, progressively difficult tracks. TrackMania Nations Forever will unite an even larger number of players thanks to its engaging multiplayer modes, innovative online functions and revolutionary interactivity between players.

Ubisoft Expands Game Catalog on Steam

Ubisoft is delivering a slate of more than 40 action-packed games to Steam, including Assassin’s Creed and the Tom Clancy series. Two fan favorites are now available to customers in Canada and the United States: the acclaimed action shooter, Far Cry, and the debut game in the groundbreaking stealth action series, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. Save 10% on either game when you buy before Tuesday, April 8th.

New GTA IV Trailer Released

Rockstar Games has uploaded what is the be the final trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV before the game’s release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at the end of next month. Titled Good Lord, What Are You Doing? AKA Everyone’s a Rat, you can stream the trailer from RockStar’s website or download the 70MB HD trailer here.

Epic Demonstrates Unreal Engine Improvements on Gears of War 2

Gears of War was among the first games to make use of the Unreal Engine 3, so Epic Games has decided to show-off how much the engine has been improved since then. At a recent press conference the company used Gears of War 2 to demonstrate various improvements such as better lighting, improved efficiency, more realistic water effects, soft body physics and destructible environments. If you want to take a look at the video, which is just over six minutes long, head over to Shacknews.Source: Shacknews

Fallout 3 to Have Over 200 Endings

Game developers have been gradually trying to create more-open games over the past few years, but it looks like Bethesda is planning to take a huge leap forward with its upcoming title Fallout 3, which will feature over 200 different endings to the game. The company’s executive producer, Todd Howard, said:
Being that we are Bethesda, everything gets a bit big, so as of last week we're over 200 endings. That's not an exaggeration.
He explained that small changes and additions to the endings are multiplied by other factors influenced by the player’s choices and decisions in the game, adding:
Fallout is probably twice the size that we originally had on paper. We've definitely gone overboard... It won't end up being as big as Oblivion, but it's approaching that. The game is easily a hundred hours.
Source: Shacknews

Gearbox Signs In-Game Advertising Deal

Gearbox Software has reached a deal with advertising company Double Fusion to bring in-game advertisements to some of its future titles. Double Fusion will be providing the developer with dynamic advertising technology to deliver the ads and integrated sponsorships, although Gearbox has not yet disclosed which games will contain these adverts. The companies commented that they will "work together to ensure that all advertising programs are appropriate and add value to the gamers' experience." In-game ads look set to become more common over the next few years, with big names such as Microsoft and EA already having agreed to similar deals.Source: Shacknews

Acer Not Planning Games Console

It looks like reports that Acer is planning to make its own games console are wrong and simply the result of misinterpreted quotes. A UK spokesperson said:
That was a major misunderstanding as JT [James T Wong, Acer’s senior vice president] was wrongly interpreted. Acer is not going to release any game console but the idea is to develop a high-end PC (so not a console) targeted at the serious gamer.
The original story claimed that Acer was working on an open console format to compete with the proprietary systems from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony.Source: videogaming247

GTA IV Online Modes Detailed

Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto IV is almost certain to become one of the biggest hits of 2008, and now some details about the game’s online capabilities have finally been released. According to Spain’s official PlayStation magazine, the game will support up to 16 players on one server, offering a choice of 15 different game modes. Each of the modes will be set in the single player maps, with options including deathmatches, races, mafia work, turf wars, cops ‘n’ crooks, car jack city, bomb da base II and free mode. GTA IV is scheduled for release on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on 29th April, although the online features may vary on each console. As you would expect, options such as weapon selection, police interference and traffic density can all be modified.Source: Neoseeker

Manhunt 2 to go on Sale in the UK

Following months of disputes between Rockstar Games and the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the Video Appeals Committee has finally given the go-ahead for Manhunt 2 to go on sale in the UK. The BBFC originally refused to give the game an age rating, essentially preventing it from being sold within the UK, feeling it was too gory for children and ‘vulnerable adults’. However, having taken the matter as far as the English High Court, Rockstar has now been given permission to sell the title with an 18 certificate.Source: Reg Hardware
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