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BioWare Announces Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut

BioWare, a Label of Electronic Arts Inc. announced Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut, a downloadable content pack that will expand upon the events at the end of the critically acclaimed Action RPG. Through additional cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will give fans seeking further clarity to the ending of Mass Effect 3 deeper insights into how their personal journey concludes. Coming this summer, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will be available for download on the Xbox 360 videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and PC for no extra charge (offer expires April 12, 2014).

"We are all incredibly proud of Mass Effect 3 and the work done by Casey Hudson and team," said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder of BioWare and General Manager of EA's BioWare Label. "Since launch, we have had time to listen to the feedback from our most passionate fans and we are responding. With the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut we think we have struck a good balance in delivering the answers players are looking for while maintaining the team's artistic vision for the end of this story arc in the Mass Effect universe."

EA is Consumerist's Worst Company in America for 2012

EA bagged another "achievement", Consumerist's Golden Poo Award for "worst company in America" for 2012. EA managed to beat Bank of America in getting there. Considering BoA has real potential to strip people of their savings, one can understand just how much of an effort EA put in winning this. Some might argue that EA and the video-games industry are too trivial compared to BoA and the finance industry, but this is exactly the argument that allows people to "ignore the complaints as companies like EA to nickel and dime consumers to death," according to Consumerist's consensus. People are particularly distraught with EA's practice of sandbagging game content and later selling it as DLCs that augment the main game, for a fee. Consumerist's "worst company in America" is an annual user-choice award given to companies with the worst business practices.

EA took the pains to respond to its achievement, by taunting The Consumerist for its choice of nominations for people to vote on, in a statement given to Kotaku.
We're sure that British Petroleum, AIG, Philip Morris, and Halliburton are all relieved they weren't nominated this year. We're going to continue making award-winning games and services played by more than 300 million people worldwide.

GAME Files for Administration

UK retail chain GAME, which sells well - games and gaming hardware, with presence in the UK, several European countries, and Australia, filed for administration. The retail chain has been seeing a few harsh months, it was unable to strike distribution deals with Capcom and EA, which contributed to a drop in its share value on the London Stock Exchange.

In a press-release dated today, GAME says "Further to this morning's announcement of the suspension of trading in shares of GAME Group plc, the board has concluded that its discussions with all stakeholders and other parties have not made sufficient progress in the time available to offer a realistic prospect for a solvent solution for the business. The board has therefore today filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator. In the short term the Board's intention is that the business will continue to trade and discussions with lenders and third parties will continue under the protection of the interim moratorium."

EA Launches Legendary Franchise as Free-to-Play Title with C&C Tiberium Alliances

Phenomic, the Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) studio dedicated to developing best-in-class free-to-play games, today announced that Command & Conquer Tiberium Alliances is now in open beta. The latest entry in EA's Play4Free portfolio of games, Command & Conquer Tiberium Alliances is a massively multiplayer online (MMO), browser-based, free-to-play strategy game that delivers a whole new way for players to experience the Command & Conquer Tiberium universe. Players harvest valuable resources, foster strategic alliances and engage in relentless battles as they strive for world domination. With in-game news and status feeds, players get frequent updates, creating a completely interactive and dynamic gameplay experience that has gamers strategizing, reacting, and adapting on the spot. The Open Beta goes live today globally, here.

SEGA to Offer Top Games on Origin

Electronic Arts (EA) Inc. announced today that SEGA will bring its most popular PC game titles to Origin, EA's direct-to-consumer gaming platform. SEGA's Total War Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai is now available for pre-order to PC gamers on Origin.

In addition to SEGA, other new publishers joining Origin today include Team 17 Software Limited, Rebellion, Kalypso Media Digital Ltd. and more, bringing the number of game publishers and developers on Origin to 35 partners. PC downloadable titles from each of these partners will be available on Origin in the coming months.

Court Dismisses Fraud Charges Against Activision by ex-Infinity Ward Employees

Apparently round one goes to Activision in the royal rumble between them and Infinity Ward founders and now ex-employees Jason West and Vincent Zampella over owed royalties. One of the two fraud charges levelled at Activision by former employees and Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vincent Zampella has been dismissed by a US court. The remarkable story of the corporate fallout between Activision and the development pair began in March 2010 when it was revealed that the publisher had both men frog marched out of the Infinity Ward offices. Several employees quit the developer amidst the mud slinging and bitterness of the dispute, with Activision later deciding to sue EA over the whole ordeal. Why EA? Well, claims were made that both West and Zampella were already in bed with Activision's arch rival long before the waters become turbulent. The fact that West and Zampella's new studio, Respawn Entertainment, signed a publishing deal with EA probably didn't help much either.

Once the dust had settled both sides laid bare their claims. Activision argues that the pair had already planned a defection to EA whilst still working on Modern Warfare 2. It currently wants $400m in compensation from EA. West and Zampella, meanwhile, say that they were sacked to save Activision the pain of paying them bonuses and royalties owed to them. Back in the present Activision's success in convincing State Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle to dismiss one of the fraud claims levelled against it is a success, for sure, but it's not enough to stop everyone being dragged into court on May 7th.

Battlefield Evolved and Dark Knight Rises Appear in Retail list

According to MCV a major UK High Street retailer has mentioned two new titles for the first time. Firstly, it suggests that Warner Bros' upcoming summer movie hit The Dark Knight Rises will be accompanied by a video game tie-in. Furthermore, owing to the nature of the in formation MCV obtained, it suggests a physical release rather than a smaller-scale digital title. Also on the list is a game called Battlefield Evolved. No further details are known. With EA planning a big push for Medal of Honor: Warfighter this Q4, a fully-fledged Battlefield release seems unlikely. It may be that the SKU includes Battlefield 3 and all of its DLC. Both games are supposedly scheduled for the autumn.

Portal 2 Bags GDC Honors, Skyrim GOTY, Battlefield 3 Beats Crysis 2 at Technology

Portal 2 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim won big at the Game Developers Choice. Bethesda's smash-hit title bagged the coveted "Game of the Year" (GOTY) title, while Portal 2 bagged three top honors, winning "Best Narrative", "Best Game Design", and "Best Audio".

The year 2011 also saw the raising of the technology bar with two new game engines, CryEngine 3 from Crytek, and Frostbite 2 from EA-DICE. The two were implemented in flagship titles, Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3, respectively; both of which were published by EA. In the end, Battlefield 3 won "Best Technology". "Best Visual Arts", however, went to Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.

A list of top honors follows.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter this October

EA and game developer Danger Close have announced the latest installment of the Medal of Honor franchise will debut this October 23. With a rocking trailer and a few screens the game seems to be going a route similar to a style of the classic Call of Duty games which used various Special Forces operators from multiple countries. The synopsis over at Shacknews had this to say about the game, 'Remember when US Navy SEALs rescued hostages from Somali pirates? How many of you thought "that would be a great level in a game?" Apparently, the team at Danger Close also thought so.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter is the studio's second stab at the rebooted FPS franchise from EA. Whereas the previous game was all about the fight in Afghanistan, Warfighter promises a "global fight," one comprised of real-world events that happen all around the globe. At a Game Developers Conference event in San Francisco last night, Electronic Arts showed off a hands-off demonstration of Warfighter's new direction. The demo level took place in the Philippines, where you were in an assault against Abu Sayyaf in an effort to rescue hostages. This mission isn't inspired by fiction. It happened in real life. "Getting inside this kind of real world event is at the heart of Medal of Honor," executive producer Greg Goodrich told the audience.

New Battlefield 3 DLC Coming in June

DICE has announced three new content packs to be released for Battlefield 3. According to Shacknews, Close Quarters will be the second expansion pack for DICE's shooter, with one week exclusivity on PS3. But what can you expect from it? The infantry-focused add-on will expand the online mode with four new maps and ten more weapons. A first-look at the new content showed an indoor apartment environment and a penthouse suite. The close quarters gameplay did a great job of showing off Frostbite 2's destructive capabilities, as walls were quickly being torn apart by gunfire. But that's not the only piece of DLC EA announced last night. There are two more expansion packs coming. ""Back to Karkand set the bar for what an expansion pack should be," DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson said. "It's so much more than just a new map. We're trying to theme all our expansion packs." Wheres Close Quarters will focus on tight infantry battles, the next add-on will focus on vehicular combat. "Armored Kill" will add new vehicles and boast the "biggest maps DICE has ever created... for a very Battlefield experience." Finally, DICE announced "End Game." Unfortunately, that's all they're saying about the (seemingly) final piece of the Battlefield 3 post-release puzzle. "It's a secret right now," Troedsson teased.

Mass Effect 3 Begins an All-Out Invasion on Retailers across the Galaxy

The first blockbuster game of 2012 has arrived! Mass Effect 3 from BioWare, a Label of Electronic Arts Inc., is now available at retail stores in North America and will be launching in Europe on March 9. The highly anticipated game has been praised by critics for delivering, deep, interactive storytelling and adrenaline-pumping action on a huge scale. Mass Effect 3 has already received perfect scores from a wide variety of outlets around the world, including MSNBC, Game Informer, USA Today, G4 TV, Eurogamer (UK), The Guardian (UK), Official Xbox Magazine (UK), PlayStation Official Magazine (UK), Eurogamer (IT), Game Reactor (Sweden), Atomic Gamer (AUS) and more. Entertainment Weekly declared that "Mass Effect 3 isn't just one of the videogame events of the year. It's one of the pop-culture events of the year."

PlayStation Vita Sales Reach Over 1.2 Million Units Worldwide

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc, today announced that the sales of the PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) portable entertainment system reached over 1.2 million units worldwide as of February 26, 2012. PS Vita experienced an initial burst of momentum when it launched on December 17, 2011 in Japan followed by Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. Newly launched in North and Latin America, Europe and PAL territories as well as in Singapore on February 22, 2012, sales have exceeded expectations surpassing over 1.2 million units worldwide, firmly establishing PS Vita as the must-have portable entertainment device across the world. Software sales across the globe have surpassed 2.0 million units at both retail and on PlayStation Network.

EA DICE Rebuilding Battlefield 3 with Huge Patch

EA DICE is practically tearing apart Battlefield 3 as we know it, and rebuilding it with a huge list of updates, including tweaks in the gameplay mechanics, and its background application itself. The list covers weapon mechanics changes, vehicle mechanics changes, and changes to the way damage is meted out. The patch can be likened to a similar Battlefield 2 patch that radically changed the game, including its resources. Be sure to use auto-scroll with the next part.

Infinity Ward Lawsuit Going to Trial with EA and CoD Creators

Apparently the war between the original creators of the Call of Duty franchise and Activision is going in front of a jury. The big "he said, the monolithic corporation said" video games kerfuffle of 2010, the fallout from Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vincent Zampella leaving Activision then signing up with Electronic Arts, is indeed going to trial. On Wednesday, a California Superior Court judge denied EA's motion for summary judgement on the complex lawsuit, as well as one from West and Zampella, meaning the big Call of Duty mess will go before a jury next year.

Gamers and Publishers Worldwide Log On to Origin

With more than 9.3 million registered users and partnerships now with 21 different publishers, Origin, the direct-to-consumer gaming platform from Electronic Arts (EA) Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) has quickly become one of the industry's leading online game services in just over two quarters since launch.

Origin announced today that seven more publishers have agreed to offer their games for purchase and download. Led by Remedy Entertainment who will bring Alan Wake to Origin, additional publishers include Focus Home Interactive, Iceberg Interactive, Strategy First, Macro Games, Selectsoft and Legendo Entertainment. These publishers join 14 previously announced Origin partners, including Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, THQ, Capcom, Trion Worlds and Robot Entertainment.

Clearwire Unveils New CLEAR Spot Voyager and CLEAR Hub Express Modem/Wireless Router

Clearwire, a leading provider of wireless broadband services, today announced the availability of the CLEAR Spot Voyager, a new personal hotspot that offers super-fast speeds, unlimited* 4G usage plans, and compatibility with millions of mobile devices. The company also announced the availability of the CLEAR Hub Express, a combination 4G modem and wireless router to give your home or office high-speed wireless internet.

The CLEAR Spot Voyager gives users everything they need to create a personal hotspot for up to eight wi-fi-enabled devices, at the same time. The CLEAR Spot Voyager offers consumers a battery life greater than six hours*** and a compact form factor at 2.6 inches square. The CLEAR Hub Express provides users 4G internet and is the only piece of equipment needed to set up a 4G internet hotspot in a home or office. With the device's built-in wireless router, users have an instant wi-fi network with no set-up or installation required.

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Guru3D's Graphics Card Review Killed Off

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Guru3D's Graphics Card Review Killed Off (UPDATED)

Hilbert Hagedoorn of well-known PC tech review site guru3d.com recently bought a copy of Ubisoft's Anno 2070 and wanted to use it in one of his graphics card reviews. However, he became badly unstuck. This game comes on the Steam platform and the store page states: "3rd-party DRM: Solidshield Tages SAS 3 machine activation limit". Unfortunately for Guru3D, they found out exactly what this means, which resulted in just one performance graph, an aborted review, an unplayable game - and bad publicity for Ubisoft once again. They have published an article about their experience, pledging not to use their titles again because of this DRM.

Nintendo, Sony, EA Withdraw Support for SOPA: Too Little Too Late?

Video game industry majors Nintendo, Sony, and EA dropped financial support for the passage of Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), as an increasing number of the bill's proponents are feeling the sting of bad PR as a result of their endorsement of the bill. Last month we've seen domain registrar GoDaddy suffer a mass exodus of tens of thousands of domains to its competitors due to its initial endorsement of SOPA, which it later withdrew seeing the public outcry that has some real implications on its business.

This latest withdrawal from Nintendo, Sony, and EA appears to be similar, a knee-jerk response to the bad PR each of SOPA's endorsers are getting. The updated list of the bill's endorsements (read: here) shows the three companies to be missing from it (they were earlier listed). SOPA has been widely criticized as being overkill, too wide-ranged, and too vaguely written to tackle online piracy. Critics say it is peppered with loopholes that make censorship by corporations and governments easy. Think of it as using a tactical nuclear strike to take down a pillbox. Sure, the pillbox will be obliterated, but you end up destroying everything unrelated to it in a very wide area surrounding it.

Christmas Special: The PC Technology of 2011

Welcome to the TechPowerUp 2011 PC technology Christmas special. We hope that you will enjoy reading it while tucking into your turkey, Christmas presents and a little too much wine... In this article, we go through the technology of 2011 that has had the most significance, the most impact and was generally the most talked about. It's not necessarily the best tech of 2011 which is the most significant though, since lemons can be just as significant as the ground-breakers in how they fail to deliver - and the backlash that goes with it.

January: Intel Sandy Bridge i5 & i7

Released on January 9th, the new Intel Core i5 & i7 processors were based on Intel's second generation Core architecture built on a 32 nm production process (HEXUS review). They included an IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) physically on the same piece of silicon along with HyperThreading. These new dual and quad core processors soundly beat all previous generations of Intel processors in terms of processing performance, heat, power use, features and left AMD in the dust. Therefore, Intel badly needed some competition from AMD and unless you have been living under a rock, you will know how that turned out in October with the launch of Bulldozer. Sandy Bridge was a sound win and is generally considered to be the only architecture worth considering at this point. The i5-2500K is currently at the sweet spot of price/performance. It comes at a stock speed of 3.3 GHz, but typically overclocks to an amazing 4.5 - 5 GHz with a decent air cooler and without too much difficulty in getting there. Models in the budget i3 range were released at various times later. See this Wikipedia article for details.

GameFly Delivers PC Client with 'Unlimited PC Play'

Following in the footsteps of Valve's Steam and EA's Origin, GameFly is now venturing into the world of the online delivery platform. Only GameFlys client brings it with a twist. If you are a subscriber to the GameFly service you will be able to play certain games for as long as you want without actually having to purchase the game.

Gameflys co-founder Sean Spector said "We are thrilled to finally be able to open up the beta so anyone interested in video games can start using the client, and we are hard at work expanding our catalog of PC titles for our users to play for free in the Unlimited PC Play section"

GameFly currently works as the gaming worlds answer to Netflix. Digital content delivery is the next logical step in its evolution. Currently you can download the beta application and give it a try for yourself. At the end of the day Steam may finally have a true competitor on the PC platform. A client with unlimited gameplay for a annual small cost.

EA: New Online Gaming Content Codes Could Expire Before Even Being Used

If you're buying an Electronic Arts game, be prepared for the Online Pass that came with it to have already expired. This was the recent experience of a NeoGAF member who bought a brand new copy of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit from Amazon, only to find that he got an error message saying that the code was either incorrect or no longer valid. Gaming website Joystick picked up on this and asked an EA advisor about this situation. It turns out that it's EA's corporate policy to have some of these codes expire, but that no one should be faced with this, as a rule. However, if they are, then they can get a new one for free, by either downloading it or getting it from EA directly. Checking the EULA shows that at the moment, there is only one game with this restriction. It's only Dragon Age 2 (packaged) which has a time-limited an Online Pass code and that it expires on March 31, 2012:

Battlefield 3: Massive PC Only Update Released

It looks like developer DICE has been doing a lot of listening to its customers, as the large number of complaints over in-game glitches has produced an almighty patch, fixing just about everything, including the kitchen sink, while making lots of little tweaks to improve gameplay and the user interface. On top of that, the patch is PC only for now as the console versions are taking "a bit longer due to [the] console certification process".

Bugfixes include such goodies as a "Black Screen" fix for an issue occurring on some PC Configurations; spawn protection improvements; increasing the damage from the 44 Magnum slightly; sharing your profile and stats with new Battlelog functionality; profile integration with Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and lots more. The full list appears below.

NVIDIA SLI & Intel Core I7 Extreme Ed. CPUs Power World's Fastest Desktop Gaming PCs

NVIDIA today announced that system builders worldwide are now shipping the fastest PC gaming platforms ever built, thanks in part to NVIDIA SLI technology and the just-released Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition processors and X79 chipset-based motherboards.

The combination of NVIDIA SLI technology -- which allows for multiple GPUs to run on a single PC -- and new X79-based motherboards allow gamers to customize their PC experience with up to four NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPUs, including the GeForce GTX 580 and GTX 570, the world's fastest DX11 GPUs. Licensed by the world's leading motherboard manufacturers -- including Intel, ASUS, ASRock, EVGA, Foxconn, Gigabyte and MSI, SLI technology is crucial for playing this year's hottest graphics-intensive games, such as the recently released Battlefield 3 and upcoming Batman: Arkham City with detail, resolution and immersion settings cranked up.

Electronic Arts' Massive 2012 $1.6m Battlefield 3 Tournament: Consoles Yes, PC No

While PC gamers are getting understandably excited about one of the year's biggest releases, which is guaranteed to have standards-setting graphics at least, there's a kick in the teeth waiting just around the corner. EA and Virgin Gaming have teamed up to launch a massive BF3 contest with $1.6m in cash and prizes - for consoles only. Yes, you read that right. And the reason? Consoles are the "gold standard". That's the aging console platforms reported on TechPowerUp a few days ago. GameStop's president Tony Bartel said in an interview with IndustryGamers:
We continue to believe that the console is a strong platform and will continue to be the gold standard.

Razer and EA Announce Battlefield 3 Gamers Gear

Razer, the world's leading high-end precision gaming brand and EA, a leading global interactive entertainment software company, is kicking your explosive war gaming experience up several notches with the exclusive Battlefield 3 co-branded peripherals and gear line. Get total immersion and the technological advantage to win in one of the biggest first person shooter titles from EA to be launched this year.

The Razer Battlefield 3 Collector's Edition Peripherals line includes a Razer BlackWidow Ultimate mechanical keyboard, a Razer Imperator gaming mouse, Razer Scarab hard mouse mat and a Razer Onza Tournament Edition Xbox 360 controller. This suite of Razer gaming weaponry fully equips fans of Battlefield 3 to take on the most intense firefights and emerge victorious. They'll be empowered with competitive gaming features like faster key actuation on the Razer BlackWidow, increased swiping precision with the Razer Imperator, enhanced tracking accuracy with the Razer Scarab and fully customizable controls on the Razer Onza.
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