Harvest Moon Goes FarmVille Route

Marvelous Entertainment have launched a free web version of their popular Harvest Moon Series. Called Minna de Bokujo Monogatari (Harvest Moon With Everyone) the game is currently available in Japan.

There are many similarities to FarmVille, from the way it looks to the way resources are gathered and players can help others; premium items can also be bought for money. However, players give orders to multiple assistants instead of one avatar, space is limited and there is no social network integration.

Source: 1UP

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit Launch Trailer/DLC Promotion

Developer Criterion has announced a special DLC offer for Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. All fans need to do is watch this launch video a million times.

Lamborghini Murciélago

Bentley Continental

Dodge Viper

“We’re thrilled to see that a lot of you are loving Hot Pursuit as much as we are. We all knew that Autolog was something special, but you guys are proving that it’s going to change racing games forever,” reads the Need for Speed blog. “We actually feel sort of guilty for ruining so many friendships over the last week — with over 3 million challenges exchanged already, it’s clear that all is fair when it comes to the Speedwall. So now we have a challenge for all of you! The dev team has put together a pack of 3 supercar convertibles — the Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible, the Lamborghini Murciélago LP 650-4 Roadster, and the Dodge Viper SRT10 Convertible Final Edition. If we can get the Need for Speed Hot Pursuit launch trailer to 1 million views by December 12, these three amazing rides will be our little holiday gift to all of you playing Hot Pursuit. The race is on!”

 

EA Talks Movie Games ‘Falling Apart’

Making licensed movie games used to be a profitable business for Electronic Arts, but the company has gone away from licenses. EA Games president Frank Gibeau clearly has no remorse about going away from well known brands like James Bond.

We dumped that license because we felt like we needed to own more intellectual property, and we don t like where James Bond is going with all the creative limitations on it, said Gibeau. The percentage royalties you have to pay the licensors are going the wrong way for publishers. The margins are being squeezed. And, to top it all off, the movie-game business is falling apart.

Considering the total amount of money we have to spend on those types of James Bond games, and the total amount of man-hours we had to put into them, we thought; hell, let s work on our own IP, he noted. The guys who made James Bond games for us, well yeah, they went on and made Dead Space. And look where we are now; what would you rather publish, retail and play the latest James Bond or Dead Space 2?

Speaking of Dead Space, Gibeau said, It made money for us, but didn’t hit expectations. We felt like we had an IP that struck a chord, and one that hit quality, but again it missed multiplayer modes. So when we re-worked Dead Space, we looked at how to make it a better idea, how do we make the story more engrossing, how do we build Isaac as a character, how do we make this game a success online.

“But one thing I will say is that we won t give up on those IPs. A new idea obviously has a lot of risk attached to it, but if you get it all right it can be huge.

Source: Develop

PSP2 Dev Kit Images Leaked

Images leaked out today of what is purportedly a development version of the PSP2, featuring forward- and rear-facing cameras and a trackpad on the rear of the unit. The final version of the kit is reportedly not a slide unit like this, in order to deal with some heating problems it was having.

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Source: VG247

Alicia Keys Puts Out Call For ‘Digital Life Sacrifice’

Celebrities such as Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and Usher have joined together in a unique social network charity campaign. On Wednesday, they will sign off of social networks like Facebook and Twitter for Digital Life Sacrifice, where they will also appear in videos in coffins, and will only sign back on when $1 million is raised for Keys’ charity to support AIDS victims in Africa and India.

“It’s so important to shock you to the point of waking up,” Keys said. “It’s not that people don’t care or it’s not that people don’t want to do something, it’s that they never thought of it quite like that.”

Source: AP

Black Friday Returns Encouraging

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, shoppers both online and in stores between Thursday and Sunday jumped 8.7 percent to 212 million. The total spent was around $45 billion, with the average spend rising 6.4 percent to $365.34.

“While Black Friday weekend is not always an indicator of holiday season performance, retailers should be encouraged that a focus on value and discretionary gifts has shoppers in the spirit to spend,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and chief executive officer. “As retailers look ahead to the first few weeks of December, it will be important for them to keep momentum going.”

Meanwhile, ShopperTrak said that sales on Black Friday only rose 0.3 percent to $10.69 billion while traffic increased 2.2 percent. They attribute this to sales and promotions in the first half of November, diminishing the returns for malls during the biggest shopping weekend of the month.

“This means the American shopper has adapted to the economic climate over the last couple of years and is possibly spending more wisely as the holiday season begins,” said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Microsoft Rumored To Be Working On TV Service

According to sources, Microsoft is working on an online subscription service for television content. This service will work with the Xbox 360 and compete with the online TV business with Google, Apple and Netflix.

One proposed service is a substitute for cable with a monthly fee. Other potential options include using the Xbox 360 to authenticate existing cable subscribers and run web content, or perhaps selling individual channels like HBO or Showtime.

Source: Reuters

Id Founder: Digital Publishing ‘The Wave Of The Future For Everything’

The App Store is something both loved and feared in different development circles, owing to its openness and the absolute control that Apple wields over it. Still, id Software founder John Carmack is in love with the platform and thinks it is much more indicative of the future of game publishing that the DS or PSP.

You know, I really, really like the App Store platform as far as being able to remove obstacles to getting your product out, said Carmack. You don t have to cut deals with publishers. It’s almost completely egalitarian on there. It’s great to see all the small teams that wind up making these breakout hit games for the Apple devices. The fact is; on this platform, we can go ahead deal with fifteen-a-day feedback on there and directly interact with the consumers, make changes and get things out.

It is the wave of the future for everything. Everybody knows that eventually will be digital distribution like this it s only a question of time, he added. Clearly, packaged goods sales are still critical on the big platforms at this stage, but that’s all going to go away sooner or later. This is the model of the future.

Source: The Telegraph

Helen Mirren Plugs Wii Fit Plus

What does roughly $800,000 get you Well if you’re Nintendo, it gets Helen Mirren speaking into a camera talking about her casual encounter with Wii Fit Plus for about three minutes.