3D Bigger Than Motion Controls At E3?

While certain people have been talking about various types of motion controls and how important they will be at E3, 3D might have a bigger impact. With Nintendo to reveal details on the 3DS, Sony looking to make 3D related PS3 announcements and other publishers likely to have revelations of their own, the corner could turn on 3D technology and games.

“What we are trying to do in the 3D space is part of a cross-Sony initiative,” said SCEE CEO and president Andrew House. “We’ve realized, particularly for a younger audience, that games can be an easier way for people to engage with 3D than movies. This will be on the cutting edge of gaming for the next year or two. If Avatar taught us one thing in an age of globalization, it s that when consumers embrace something it moves quickly. This is definitely a wave of the future and one that we intend to ride.”

“Natal and Move are two new tools, but I don t think either are the next revolution of games,” says Namco Bandai Partners chief Olivier Comte. “I believe the next revolution will be 3D. I have tested some 3D games and I think it is a big change.”

TV broadcasters and movie makers have already benefited from the 3D wave sweeping entertainment. Still, not every publisher is quite so bullish about the technology.

“We are looking at 3D but there are challenges,” said EA Sports president Peter Moore. “I’ve seen a number of our games running in 3D, and we re learning that we can t take the existing camera angles. You have to get lower and have depth of field to actually see it. You ve got to look at things differently than just porting to 3D, because 50 per cent of what you are seeing you can t even tell it s 3D. I m not sure it adds value to the experience.”

“The use of 3D needs to be meaningful to the gamer and publishers will need to ask questions,” said Take-Two CEO Ben Feder. “Will it draw players further into my world? Will it change how they interact with the game? Will it make the title more fun and keep the player engaged? The answers need to be yes for them to fit into our strategy of being a leader in innovation and quality.”

Source: MCV

Super Mario Galaxy 2 Launch Event With Charles Martinet

Nintendo of Europe today announced that they will be holding a special launch event at the Game Store in Oxford St, London for Super Mario Galaxy 2. The event on Thursday June 10, 2010 will be attended by the voice of Mario himself Charles Martinet, who will be available for pictures and autographs, with a goody bag given to the first 50 attendees.

There will also be other launch events around stores in the U.K., including places like Leeds, Birmingham, Glasgow and Dublin from June 11 13. Sadly, these events will not feature Martinet.

Feature: Peeking Into The Secret World

While Funcom is no stranger to making MMO titles between Anarchy Online and Age of Conan, there’s something unconventional about the company’s latest, The Secret World. Built in a modern setting and not a medieval one, and with mythology based on conspiracy theories and not magical deities, The Secret World has a different sort of aesthetic compared to the World of Warcrafts out there. This is all fine by Morten Larssen, VP of Sales & Marketing for Funcom.

“In a market where most of the competitors are wearing shining armor, spiky shields and pointy ears it certainly won’t hurt to differentiate a bit,” says Larssen. “We think that the world and setting Producer/Director Ragnar Tornquist and his team have created has a very broad appeal, and that the gameplay and systems they’re building will work very well in this setting. If you look at single-player games there are several major blockbusters set in the ‘real world’, and I definitely think that it works equally well for a full-blown MMO. It will also allow us to do some very cool PR and marketing initiatives as we move towards launch, which I know my team is looking forward to executing on.”

While The Secret World isn’t quite like anything Funcom has done in the past, it’s been percolating in the mind of Tornquist for a while and is reflective of the company’s past efforts. “The whole backstory for the game and the many-layered world it’s set in have been brewing in the back of the mind of Tornquist for quite a while,” described Larssen. “There is so much texture and possibility there that we all found it to be an immensely interesting setting for a full MMO. The real world setting combined with the backdrop of secret societies, urban legends and lot’s of surprises yet to come is something we believe will have a very wide appeal.”

“We’ve had very positive reactions from the fan community, which consists of two major segments,” added Larssen. “There are the traditional MMO gamers which we’ve interacted with through Anarchy Online and Age of Conan, and it’s the long-time fans of Ragnar’s previous award-winning adventure games, The Longest Journey and Dreamfall. Both of these segments are very active in the community and have responded very well to the info and details we’ve revealed so far.”

Some players are still going to want to have many of the standard MMORPG conventions available, and Funcom is aware of that. The Secret World will still be a fully fleshed out RPG along with all of its unique backstory and the like.

“The game has a richly detailed RPG system and all the key drivers that you’ve come to expect from a major MMO, as well as several ‘secret ingredients’ that we’re looking forward to revealing more details on at a later stage,” says Larssen. “I’m having a lot of fun playing in the latest build, solving missions, discovering new areas, fighting baddies and finding cool loot all the while trying to unravel more on what the other secret societies are up to. I would highly recommend to join the TSW community for updated info directly from Ragnar and his team on what to expect in the game.”

Not your average MMORPG group…

Of course, being set in the modern world helps the team and fans with marketing. Certain viral and social efforts mesh more properly between the real world and the game world and Funcom is looking to take advantage of that.

“Through the release of two previous MMOs we’ve definitely seen that it’s important to start building a solid and vibrant community early on,” said Larssen. “The setting of The Secret World is perfect for using a lot of new ways to do this, through the use of ARGs, social media and other relevant methods of engaging the consumers in interesting ways. The three major secret societies in the game are also integral to this, and the community has very quickly found their personal ‘favorites’ and are using this affiliation actively both within the TSW community and through their regular social media. We launched a personality test to help you decide on your secret society affiliation at PAX last year, and it has proven to be very popular.”

“The most important thing is to start early, and to take your community seriously from day one. Having our community team and development team working closely together is one of the keys to success, as it’s not only our reveals that are important, but equally valid is the input and sentiment of the community on those reveals. Working with MMOs is a combination of a marathon and a sprint in that you’ve got to pace yourself for several years as you do the build-up, but then you have a sprint in the classic release escalation in the run-up. Followed by a few more marathons as the game goes live… Not for the faint-of-heart, but quite a lot of fun!” he concluded.

Ballmer Bullish On PC

Steve Jobs recently made the prediction that the world is moving away from PC usage in favor of other devices. Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, which is highly dependent on traditional PCs for their revenue, unsurprisingly disagreed and said that the form of PCs would change to have both large, small, portable and keyboardless forms.

“I think people are going to be using PCs in greater and greater numbers for years to come,” said Ballmer during D8. “The PC as we know it will continue to morph. The real question is what are you going to push.”

Ballmer did acknowledge that things were shifting towards a cloud computing atmosphere, but added, “There is nothing bad for us in the trend. But it is a transition. Transitions are times of potential tumult. We need to work smarter, work harder and be more vigilant. Absolutely.”

Source: New York Times

New Assassin’s Creed Teased By Ubisoft?

While Ubisoft only recently teased Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood before announcing it officially, it would appear that they’re doing it again. Using one of the company’s official Twitter accounts, they included a link to an image for a “completely different project.”

 

The poster added after including the link, “Oh, and before you ask, this has nothing to do with Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood.”

Source: http://twitter.com/UbiWorkshop

Verizon Testing iPads On Network, Says Report

According to sources, Verizon is testing out iPads on their network. The device being used is apparently CDMA-compatible, a standard that Verizon is one of the few networks to use.

Currently, AT&T is the only wireless operator in the U.S. to offer 3G service for the iPad using its GSM technology. While this isn’t a confirmation that Verizon compatible iPads are coming, it’s one of the strongest hints so far.

Source: Boy Genius Report

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11: All About Team

EA Sports today announced details of their ad campaign for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. The emphasis of the ads will be on the Ryder Cup and Team Golf with professionals like Rickie Fowler, Ian Poulter, Edoardo Molinari and, of course, Tiger Woods.

Additionally, EA Sports will be releasing a series of online videos called Team Sports Meets Golf. These videos will show off Tiger Woods and other golf professionals playing in team sports environments like basketball, hockey, football, soccer and even curling.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 will release on all major platforms on June 8.

iPad: Games Still Waiting For Magic

The iPad clearly has its fans for its common computer uses, and there’s been a lot of discussion about that, but what about for games While the large touch screen would seem to be perfect for gaming, very few games have had much buzz on the iPad so far.

One reason for this is the number of iPad games that are simply iPhone games adapted to the bigger screen. Still, the size of the screen is already a boon for those games, and could hint at greater things to come.

“I think the iPad has the potential to change gaming,” says Tony Leamer, VP of Marketing at I-play, noting that, “we’re still in the early days.”

Indeed, the system only just launched internationally and has sold 2 million worldwide compared to 85 million for the iPhone.  The installed base needs to grow, and for now most games are going to be ports of mobile or PC games until the number increases.

“There’s a good reason for this and the reason is, there simply aren’t that many iPads out there yet,” says Steve Palley, editor-in-chief and founder of Padvance.com and SlideToPlay.com . “The install base just isn t where it needs to be for people to start making original iPad games and making money at it.”

“The primary difficulty is not knowing a ton about the audience yet,” says Leamer. “The question is: Who is using the iPad and what does that demographic look like? All we have are early adopter numbers and we have to see how that matures and changes.”

Creating a game from scratch is not a trivial task, Leamer adds. “We want to make sure that when we do that and it is when not if  we want to know very clearly who we re making these games for and what they re interested in seeing and how we can translate those things into great experiences on the device.”

When a platform first comes out a lot of the development communities are learning what works and what doesn’t work,” says Travis Boatman, vice president of worldwide development for Electronic Arts Mobile. “The more time you have, the more time you have to experiment and to improve. I think you re going to see a lot of great improvements coming into the market down the line.”

Source: MSNBC

Steve Jobs Talks Microsoft, iPad And Post-PC World

Apple CEO Steve Jobs was as lively as ever at a recent discussion at the D8: All Things Digital conference. One of his first questions was about Apple surpassing Microsoft in market capitalization.

“For those of us who have been in the industry a long time, it’s surreal,” Jobs said. “But it doesn’t matter very much; it’s not what’s important. … It’s not why any of our customers buy our products. So I think it’s good for us to keep that in mind.”

Jobs was asked about the decision to exclude Flash from the iPhone, and he stated that HTML5 was on the rise to replace Flash. “Sometimes when we get rid of things like the floppy-disc drive in the first iMac, people call us crazy,” Jobs said.

When asked about the platform war with Microsoft, Jobs had an interesting response. “We never saw ourselves in a platform war with Microsoft,” he said. “Maybe that’s why we lost we saw ourselves building the best computers we could build.”

Jobs’ response to why he liked the consumer market over the business-enterprise market apparently amused some. “What I love about the consumer market and I always hated about the enterprise market is we come up with a product, we try to tell everybody about it and every person votes for it themselves. They vote yes or no,” said Jobs. “The enterprise market, it’s not so simple the people that use the product don’t decide for themselves. The people that make those decisions sometimes are confused.”

The way Jobs tells it, the iPad was actually conceived before the iPhone, when he wanted to make a display he could type on, and seeing it working made him think, “My God, we can build a phone out of this.”

“When we got our wind back and thought we could take on something next, [we] pulled the tablet off the shelf, took everything we learned from the phone and went to work on the tablet,” he said.

Boldly, Jobs predicted that PCs are going to be phased out by other computing devices, but didn’t go so far as to predict what device. “Is it the iPad Who knows Will it happen five years or seven years from now, who knows ” said Jobs. “But I think we’re headed in that direction.”

Source: Seattle Times

Michael Jordan’s Back For NBA 2K11

2K Sports today announced that Michael Jordan will grace the cover of NBA 2K11, confirming recent rumors. The current Charlotte Bobcats owner won six championships and six NBA Finals MVP awards while with the Chicago Bulls during the ’90s, and continues to be a global marketing icon.

“We’ve made a lot of progress over the past 10 years, but we know we have the best NBA video game ever made here,” said Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports. “So we thought to ourselves how can we embody that and there was only one person on that list who we wanted to have and that was Michael Jordan. Actually getting this done is the most ridiculous win of all-time.”

“Michael’s last appearance in a video game was in 2004 and over that time the video game industry had continued to grow,” said Estee Portnoy, Jordan s business manager. “We had been hearing that there was demand from the gamers to have him in the game and this came along and made a lot of sense.”

Jordan’s appearance in the game is being kept a secret for now. Argent predicted that NBA 2K11 will be the best selling game in the franchise’s ten-year history.

“It’s an honor to be featured on the cover of NBA 2K11,” Jordan said, in a statement. “I have no doubt that NBA 2K11 will be a big hit with gamers and basketball fans alike. I m looking forward to getting back out on the court, virtually.”

Source: CNBC