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New On-Demand Gaming Platform Threatens to Kill Gaming PC Upgrades

We all regard PC games, as an entertainment medium, but spend hundreds to even thousands of Dollars regularly, to keep our PCs up to date, to be able to play the latest PC games. Imagine a medium that rids us of that, and we are able to consume PC gaming like any other content, like the TV or radio. Well, that the potential a new on-demand gaming platform holds - to make you never have to buy/upgrade a gaming PC again.

Called OnLive, the on-demand platform consists of a web service, an internet connection, and a thin-client, called "micro-console" that connects your input (game controllers), and output (monitor/TV/HDTV). You control the game - whichever you're subscribed to and playing - the client relays your input to the OnLive servers, that do the processing, including graphics rendering, and send back output to your client. The client then displays the output. Sounds familiar? Cloud computing? Exactly, but for PC gaming. The platform is conceptualized to be advanced-enough to handle any of today's games, Crysis included. The work-model of this platform is what makes it tick with any game, and is far more future-proof than the present mode of PC gaming (where people own expensive hardware that are in requirement of upgrades, the costs of buying games, buying gaming services separate).

For standard definition television quality, a broadband connection of at least 1.5 megabits per second is required. For HDTV resolution, a connection of at least 5 mbps is needed. The service uses patented algorithms that work to counter lag caused by network constraints. The technology is already gaining attention from major publishers, including EA, THQ, Codemasters, Ubisoft, Atari, Warner Bros., Take-Two, and Epic. People can buy or rent a game to play it, the usage fees are expected not to be much more than the subscription fees for Xbox Live.

BioWare Officially Announces Mass Effect 2 for PC and Xbox 360

Leading video game developer BioWare, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. today officially announced Mass Effect 2, the highly anticipated sequel to the multi award-winning 2007 hit, Mass Effect. The Mass Effect trilogy is a masterful science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life forms and mysterious uncharted planets. In this dark second chapter, Saren's evil army of Geth soldiers has just been defeated, and humans, who are still struggling to make their mark on the galactic stage, are now faced with an even greater peril…

"We're going to surpass the extraordinary gaming experience we brought our fans in Mass Effect by delivering intensified combat and expanded weapon options as well as increased depth of planet exploration, all while delivering a powerful, emotionally engaging story," said Dr. Ray Muzyka, General Manager and CEO, BioWare and General Manager and Vice President, EA. "Mass Effect 2 is shaping up to be an unforgettable RPG-shooter experience, taking players on a non-stop roller-coaster ride filled with stunning plot twists and no-holds-barred action."

Mass Effect 2 is coming to PC and the Xbox 360 video game system in Early 2010. To see the exclusive new Mass Effect 2 teaser trailer check out the website here:

Steam Launches EA Titles Across Europe

Valve today announced Spore, Spore Creepy & Cute Parts Pack, Mass Effect, Need for Speed Undercover and EA SPORTS FIFA Manager 2009 are available now to gamers in most of Europe, 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. For more information, please visit Steam Games.

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

PhysX will Die, Says AMD

In an interview with Godfrey Cheng, Director of Technical Marketing in AMD's Graphics Products Group, has quoted him saying that standards such as PhysX would die due to their proprietary and closed nature. Says Mr. Cheng:
"There is no plan for closed and proprietary standards like PhysX," said Cheng. "As we have emphasised with our support for OpenCL and DX11, closed and proprietary standards will die." interviewed the AMD person to get the company's take on EA and 2K's decision to adopt NVIDIA PhysX across all of their worldwide studios, earlier this week. Interestingly, when asked about how the major publishers such as EA adopting PhysX across all of their studios would impact the propagation of the API, Cheng responded with saying that monetary incentives provided to publishing houses alone won't help a great deal in propagating the API, and that the product (PhysX) must be competitive, and that AMD viewed Havoc and its physics simulation technologies as leaders. "Games developers share this view. We will also invest in technologies and partnerships beyond Havok that enhances gameplay." he added. PhysX is a proprietary physics simulation API created by Ageia technologies, which was acquired and developed by NVIDIA. You can read the full interview with Godfrey Cheng here.

Crysis Warhead is Coming to Steam

Crytek and Valve today announced an agreement to bring Crysis Warhead and Crysis to Steam, a leading platform for the delivery and management of PC games and digital content with over 15 million accounts around the world.

"The millions of gamers logging into Steam every week to play today's best PC games are going to love Crysis Warhead," said Avni Yerli, Managing Director at Crytek. "Crytek Hungary has done a terrific job creating this new experience while optimizing CryEngine 2, and we're looking forward to delivering it and the original Crysis as our first offerings on Steam."

EA and Crytek set Deployment date for Crysis Warhead

Electronic Arts Inc. and Crytek GmbH announced today that Crysis Warhead, the pulse-racing new installment of the Crysis universe, will ship to retail stores in North America on September 16th and in Europe on September 12th. Beginning today, gamers can pre-order Crysis Warhead at the EA Store here for only $24.95; $5 less than the full retail price, or receive $10 off when purchasing both Crysis Warhead and Crysis. Crysis Warhead recently recognized by IGN PC as being the Best First Person Shooter and showcasing the Best Graphics Technology of E3 2008.

"We think Crysis Warhead is going to offer a tremendous experience to a wide range of gamers," said Cevat Yerli, CEO and President of Crytek. "Fans of Crysis are going to enjoy more of the open-ended gameplay, cutting-edge visuals and huge, epic battles from the first game, while also finally finding out what kind of havoc Psycho was wreaking on the other side of the island.

EA Launches Hostile Takeover Bid for Take-Two

Following failed talks with Take-Two's management, games developer Electronic Arts has instead decided to directly approach shareholders with its takeover bid. EA has kept its offer at $26 per share, which would give the deal a total value of around $2 billion. EA's CEO, John Riccitiello, said:
This is a great opportunity for Take-Two shareholders. We believe Take-Two investors will see our tender offer as the best way to maximize the value of their investment in Take-Two. This tender offer provides a clear process to complete the proposed transaction. For EA shareholders, the combination would add additional intellectual properties to our already strong portfolio and welcome Take-Two's talented creative teams to the great development organization we've built at EA.
Take-Two has issued a notice to all of its shareholders urging them not to accept the offer, but EA has set a deadline of 11th April - two weeks before the release of the eagerly awaited Grand Theft Auto IV.

EA Proposing Takeover Bid for Take-Two

Given EA's somewhat criticised reputation for takeovers (Bullfrog and Westwood come to mind), Grand Theft Auto fans may not be best pleased to hear that EA is now making a bid to acquire Take-Two Interactive. Take-Two has a number of major subsidiaries, with some of the best known being developers Rockstar and Firaxis, responsible for the GTA series and Sid Meier's more recent games such as Civilization IV; along with publisher 2K Games. The company is also responsible for other well-known titles such as Manhunt and Bioshock. EA is offering $26 per share, giving the merger an approximate value of $2.5 billion. The full press release can be read here, and you can read on to see a statement posted by EA's CEO, John Riccitiello.

EA Teams With Sports Giant IMG

Electronic Arts has inked a deal with sports and entertainment giant IMG for a number of undisclosed projects. IMG's diverse business incorporates sports and events management, media production, broadcast content and sports training academies. "This is an exciting step in the evolution of EA Sports and our global brand marketing efforts," commented Peter Moore, president of EA Sports. "This partnership further diversifies our business by allowing us to take our brand deeper into the fabric of sports and lifestyle entertainment. In addition to developing the world's top sports videogames, IMG's worldwide licensing and media expertise gives us the opportunity to establish creative new consumer touchpoints with EA Sports, both in games and in other relevant categories." IMG will license and market the EA Sports brand in a variety new product categories, "which could include sports camps, gaming lounges, publishing products, performance apparel and more," said the companies.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Announced

Following the title's unveiling yesterday, publisher Electronic Arts has officially announced Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Developed by EA Los Angeles, the same studio that handled Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, Red Alert 3 will add co-op campaign play, new units, and a new faction to the alternate history strategy series. According to the executive producer Chris Corry, naval combat has been brought "into the heart of the game design." No release estimate was provided, though PC players will be able to gain beta access by purchasing the Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath expansion or the Command & Conquer 3 Limited Collection later this year. Specifics on the beta program are slated to arrive this summer. "The Red Alert games are known for challenging hardcore strategy gamers with depth, variety, and innovative gameplay," said EA LA general manager Mike Verdu. "But they also belong to that rare breed of games that can draw in more casual players with their over-the-top stories, instantly accessible mechanics, and straight-to-the-fun design."

Spore Video Game Gets September Release Date

Electronic Arts has set a launch date for Spore, the anticipated computer and Nintendo DS game from "Sims" creator Will Wright. Spore was first announced a couple years ago, and is the first major project for Wright since his phenomenal success with the Sims franchise. It allows players to create their own creatures, their own environments, and even their own planets. The goal of the game is to successfully manage a universe through five phases of evolution. The game will launch simultaneously on PC, Mac, Nintendo DS, and mobile phone platforms, on September 7. Last year, Electronic Arts announced a partnership with TransGaming to use the Cider Portability Engine as a way to more quickly port PC games to the Mac platform. Since then, EA has released several titles on both formats simultaneously, getting rid of huge delays that previously plagued the Mac community.

Crysis 1.1 Patch Released

The first patch for Crysis has been released, which you can download from here. The changes are as follows:

  • Damage dealt to vehicles when shot by LAW has been made consistent
  • F12 (screenshot) now works in restricted mode as well
  • When player melees during gun raise animation, their gun will not be in a permanently raised position anymore
  • Memory leaks and potential crashes

EA Completes BioWare Pandemic Acquisition

Electronic Arts' acquisition of VG Holding Corporation for $860 million has now been completed, meaning that highly-rated studios BioWare and Pandemic have now officially become part of the EA label. The deal was originally announced last October in an attempt to fill up a gap in EA's RPG, action and adventure genres. BioWare bosses and co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk have been nameds as EA vice presidents and co-general managers. Pandemic's Andrew Goldman and Josh Resnick have each been named vice presidents of EA and co-general managers, while Greg Borrud has been named vice president of EA and chief production officer of Pandemic.

Command & Conquer: Tiberium Officially Announced

Following our C&C recent story, Electronic Arts today officially announced Tiberium, a squad-based first person shooter set in the Command & Conquer world. Set to ship on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 late next year, Tiberium has you playing as Ricardo Vega, a "Forward Battle Commander." As Vega, you take control of multiple infantry, armor, and air squads as you fend off an alien invasion (and presumably the forces of Nod) in single-player as well as multiplayer modes. Executive producer Chris Plummer of developer EA Los Angeles noted, "After two years of pre-production, it is exciting to finally reveal this game and its rich fiction to the world. We've put a lot of effort into evolving the tactical shooter experience by taking core gameplay compulsions like commanding, choice and dominating your enemies and delivering them in first-person. Some of the weapons and mechanics are truly innovative for a first-person game. We're very proud to be part of a project that has the potential to really make a mark on the canon of sci-fi fantasy fiction."

FPS Command & Conquer: Tiberium Revealed

Electronic Arts is taking another stab at the FPS market with Command & Conquer. In the upcoming Command & Conquer: Tiberium FPS you'll play as Ricardo Vega, a GDI field commander dragged out of retirement to stop the latest Nod master plan 11 years after the third Tiberium war. The squad-based action will ship on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Unfortunately, at this stage of development, that's all the information available. Final release date is also unknown.

Electronic Arts Donates SimCity to OLPC Project

Electronic Arts will be giving a lot of disenfranchised children the gift of educational gaming this holiday season. The original SimCity, a game that simulates the construction of a city, will be pre-installed on all versions of the OLPC, at no additional cost to either OLPC or the customer. The request for SimCity came from OLPC itself, and the 1989 version of the classic game will find a way to such countries as Cambodia, Libya, Nigeria (which ordered over a million OLPC laptops), Pakistan, and Peru. This is the first time a major company has "gifted a game to the world" like this, especially a game that has earned 24 awards in the past.

Medal of Honor Heroes 2 Now Gold

EA Canada's upcoming Wii and PSP installment in the Medal of Honor series has gone gold, EA announced today. Medal of Honor Heroes 2 will ship to stores for both platforms on November 13th, a week later than anticipated. Designed from the ground up for each platform, Heroes 2 features unprecedented 32-player multiplayer on both Wii and PSP. The Wii version has support for the Zapper peripheral, and includes a separate on-rails shooter mode to highlight this feature. The screens below are captured from the Wii version of the game.

EA Chicago Game Studio Shutting Down

EA has confirmed that it is shutting down EA Chicago effective immediately as part of the reorganization plan caused by the company's loss of $195 million last quarter. The studio employs roughly 150 people at that location, many of which will be reassigned to other teams across the country. Members of EA Chicago were responsible for the Fight Night series, as well as the Def Jam fighting franchise, the most recent entry of which is Def Jam: Icon fpor PS3 and Xbox 360. The studio was also known to be working on an untitled fighting game featuring Marvel Comic characters, which was planned for release in 2008.
Closing EA Chicago is the toughest decision I've made in my career - one that in no way reflects on the talent and dedication of the people who work there.
said Frank Gibeau, President of EA Games.

Crysis Community Update

This year's most-anticipated PC game Crysis will hit stores worldwide on Tuesday November 13 23:00:00 CST 2007, but you can secure your own copy right away. From now on you can pre-order Crysis from the EA store for $49.95. EA also announced today that you'll get the opportunity to play the single player demo on October 26th. Please visit the Crysis EA Store page for more information.

Need for Speed ProStreet Xbox Live Demo and Pre-order Available

Need for Speed ProStreet demo can now be found on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The 655MB download is available in all Xbox Live territories and includes Grip Racing and Speed Challenge modes, as well as the BMW M3 E92 and Nissan GT-R Proto cars. The full version of Need for Speed ProStreet will be available on November 14th for PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS and PSP. You can also pre-order now the full Xbox 360 game for $59.99 by clicking here.

Electronic Arts Pushing for Single Open Platform for Games

When a gamer is shopping for the proper device to game upon, they get a huge headache. There are no less than four different choices (PC, Xbox360, PS3, Wii), and all of them have their individual set of games at different price points that perform differently. Electronic Arts is getting very tired of coding it's games four times over, and wants there to be one open platform to ease the headaches of both consumer and developer. Unfortunately for EA and gamers, console manufacturers would not get very much profit if they all just surrendered their proprietary stuff and made one big happy open-source console. Analysts predict that if game consoles do fade out in the near future, they will be replaced by terminal servers, so that users can simply plug in with a set-top box.

BioWare Corp and Pandemic Studios Join EA

Electronic Arts Inc. today announced an agreement with Elevation Partners to acquire VG Holding Corp. - the owner of both BioWare Corp. and Pandemic Studios. This acquisition gives EA a strong competitive position in key genres in interactive entertainment: action, adventure and role-playing games. The two studios have been recognized for creating some of the highest-quality games in the industry.

EA Acquires Super Computer International

Electronic Arts has announced the acquisition of Super Computer International. SCI, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is a provider of gaming client applications and software tools for the PC. EA will purchase SCI's technology assets and the SCI development team will join EA's Online Technology Group. Jesper Jensen, SCI's CEO, will continue to lead the team, reporting to Nanea Reeves, EA Vice President and COO for Online. "SCI's development expertise is uniquely suited to our online technology needs," said Reeves. "The team's technical leadership and creative approach is a great fit, and we're thrilled to have them join EA." SCI is the creator of PlayLinc, an online game browsing and messaging platform that includes social networking tools such as IM and VoIP, buddy tracking, player invitations, and team management.

Need for Speed ProStreet in Stores This October

Electronic Arts announced today that Need for Speed ProStreet, the latest version of the blockbuster franchise, will hit stores in North America on October 31 and across Europe on November 1, 2007. In Need for Speed ProStreet, you have to build the ultimate battle machine, take it to multi-disciplinary showdowns and pit your skills and reputation against the world's best street racers. Need for Speed ProStreet will be available for Xbox 360, PLAYSTATION 3, and Nintendo Wii as well as the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo DS, PC and mobile. More information can be found here.
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