Undergarden Floats Through PSN

This generation has seen the advent of games that are as much about the mood as they are about gameplay. A good example is this downloadable title Undergarden, described by its creator as part game and part experience, with a little bit of puzzle solving mixed in.

GameStop Enhancing Digital Sales

Increasingly, the gaming industry seems to be headed towards a digital future where purchases are made online for game downloads. In fact, Xbox Live Arcade point cards are one of the biggest sellers at GameStop.

“We . . . have been a huge seller of those points in the marketplace,” said Shawn Freeman, GameStop’s SVP/GM of Digital. “As I understand it, we’re neck and neck, or we sell even more, than they sell directly through Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. Which speaks to our access to gamers who care about playing those games.”

While people can make specific download purchases (like map packs and Xbox Live Arcade games) at GameStop, the plan is to do so much more. “Today you pick the card up off the rack that’s associated with that map pack, we ring it up as part of your transaction in the store, and then we give you the code that allows you go home and [access the content], said Freeman. “Ultimately, we want to reduce even more of that friction, so when you buy that map pack in our store, we’re going to be able to associate your Xbox profile with your GameStop profile, and then automatically push that to your download queue.”

“We’re the ones that do a great job of helping consumers understand what their opportunities and options are for playing games,” added Freeman. “By providing an opportunity for our sales associate to sell the games themselves to consumers, we can drive more of those sales.

Source: Ars Technica


GardenMind Funding World Wildlife Fund

Inspirado Games has announced a partnership with World Wildlife Fund Canada. Their online brain training game GardenMind will let players support real-world conservation initiatives by completing in-game brain game challenges.

“We chose WWF-Canada as our partner because of their incredible dedication to protecting threatened habitats and endangered species as well as the logical fit with the concept of our game,” said Inspirado Games CEO, Rick Davidson. “If a player wants a virtual Tiger for their garden they have to actively protect Tigers in the real world through WWF’s Save The Tiger program.”

GardenMind is free-to-play at www.gardenmind.com or through Facebook at www.facebook.com/gardenmind.

Bloodline Champions Unleashed Online

Funcom and Stunlock Studios have announced that Bloodline Champions has launched. The free-to-play arena PvP game had over 200,000 players during the beta period.

Launching a game is always a special time for us here at Funcom, says Morten Larssen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Funcom. Bloodline Champions is unique in its approach to the PVP genre, and it really shows that it is made by a devoted team with true love for gaming. This game demonstrates the exceptional results you can achieve with a relatively small but dedicated team like the great people working at Stunlock Studios.

We started working on this game as a student project during our time at university, and it is fantastic to sit here today and see our game launching worldwide to the general public, says the CEO of Stunlock Studios, Tau Petersson. We are very proud of what we have achieved, and would not have done so without the support of our brilliant beta testers. The game now stands as a testament to all our hard work and we are very happy with the result. We are very excited to keep supporting and growing the game even further.

IPhone 4 Getting Personal Hotspot With IOS 4.3

The personal hotspot feature for the iPhone was announced during the press conference with Verizon, but the feature will not be limited to Verizon iPhones. All iPhones will reportedly have the feature enabled with the iOS 4.3 update.

We’re sure there will need to be carrier support for this feature, and for AT&T users it is entirely possible we might not see this right away, writes Jonathan Geller. For those of you with more lenient carriers, however, we are sure you will be pleased to learn that you’ll be able to connect up to five devices over Wi-Fi to the iPhone’s cellular data connection. We are told the OS version will be 8F5148b, the baseband will be 04.08.00, and technical acceptance is planned for March.

Source: Boy Genius Report

Mass Effect 2 Downloadable On PSN

It’s been known for a while now that Mass Effect 2 will be releasing on Blu-ray for PS3 on January 18. However, Sony has revealed that the full game will be available as a 12 GB download via PSN on January 18 as well and PlayStation Plus users will get a 60 minute trial on the same day.

PlayStation fans have been asking for Mass Effect for years and we are very pleased to finally be bringing it to a new branch of Mass Effect fans, writes Chris Priestly, Community Coordinator for BioWare. However, what I think Mass Effect fans on the PS3 will be most appreciative of is that this is not a simple port. The Mass Effect team has taken the time to utilize the PS3 hardware to the fullest in order to maximize your gameplay experience. It was also extremely important for the team to make sure playing with the PS3 controller worked and felt good. You will also see that the in-game graphics and cinematics are clearer and more vibrant on the PS3. As an added bonus, the PS3 version includes previously released DLC missions: Overlord, Lair of the Shadow Broker and Kasumi.

Mass Effect 2 on PS3 will also include an interactive comic to substitute for the events in the first Mass Effect and a demo is available now.

Source: PlayStation.Blog

Pokémon Black/White Sells Five Million, Sets Records

Pokemon Black/White has achieved a new sales mark, exceeding five million sold in Japan. Enterbrain and Media Create have confirmed that Japanese sales of the latest Pokémon title reached 5,036,724 units as of January 9.

Pokémon Black/White was already the best selling title of 2010, beating out Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, which sold about 3.5 million copies. Four other DS titles have reached the five million sales mark, but 17 weeks is the fastest the milestone has been reached.

Source: Andriasang

China Original Antagonist In Homefront

North Korea is the main antagonist in Homefront, but that wasn’t always going to be the plan. Originally, the People’s Republic of China was going to perpetrate an invasion of America, but there were problems with that plan.

“They’re just not that scary, said THQ executive Danny Bilson. “China is like America’s factory. Everything you buy is made in China. It’s all friendly. Everything’s made there from games, to every toy to everything. So they’re not that scary.”

There were other, more tangible reasons why North Korea was chosen over China.

“The guys in our Chinese office said: Did you know that everybody on the exec team will be banned from coming into China for the rest of your lives noted Bilson. They were afraid the ministry of culture was going to wipe us out.”

Source: Kotaku