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Battlefield Hardline Beta Impressions: Inconsistently Underwhelming

Full article available here.

I was bored after nine hours.

There’s a lot of potential in mashing the Battlefield series with the “Hollywood heist” film genre. Hasn’t every little boy played cops & robbers at some point during their childhood? That dream has supposedly graduated from playgrounds and backyards and found its way into the video game industry. Games such as Payday: The Heist and its sequel successfully capitalized on the lack of a true heist video game.

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EA Subscription Service Coming to Xbox One

EA is launching their own version of Playstation Plus. According to a post on their website, EA will be launching a new subscription service for the Xbox One called EA Access. EA Access will be a monthly subscription service, it will cost $5 per month or $30 for one year and will provide Xbox One owners with unlimited access to select EA games.

Full article available here.

Mirror’s Edge 2 to Focus on Combat

As long as I can kick people in the balls, I’m good.

It may be hard to hear for some fans, but Mirror’s Edge 2 will be focusing on combat. In an interview with CVG, DICE General Manager Karl Magnus Troedsson briefly talked about the development team’s plans for the new Mirror’s Edge game. According to the interview, the new game will be focusing on first-person-combat.

Full article available here.

News this week: Sony unveils Virtual Reality headset, EA up for Worst Company in America, again

Sony is throwing its hat into the virtual reality ring. Sony unveiled a virtual reality gaming peripheral named Project Morpheus during their press conference at the Game Developer’s Conference on Tuesday. Project Morpheus will be integrated with the Playstation 4 and will feature a screen with a 90 degree field of view and 1080p resolution.

Project Morpheus - PS4

It looks cool enough but will I get to take a red pill or a blue pill? Image Credit: Playstation Blog.

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Hollywood’s Need for Speed

Hollywood just can’t stay away from the world of video games. Yesterday the first official trailer for Need for Speed hit the internet. The movie is an adaptation of EA’s racing franchise and stars Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul in the lead role. While a behind-the-scenes look was shown at this year’s E3, I don’t ever consider a movie official until a trailer has been released. Now that a Need for Speed movie is official, and set to release on March 14, 2014, it’s become the topic of debate among gamers.

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EA is not evil, just incompetent.

Electronic Arts is probably the most scrutinized company in all of entertainment. As I previously mentioned EA isn’t doing so well right now. For a long time, EA has been reviled and vilified as an evil corporate empire. The more ridiculous claims are that EA has plans to take over the world (of course!). These claims are a little extreme, but there is some logic to these opinions. That being said, I don’t think it makes sense to call EA an evil company. They are not by any means, the only people in the industry concerned primarily with money. EA is not evil, they are just misguided and out of touch.

Much of the hatred of EA comes from the perception that their only goal is to make money regardless of how customers feel. This is based on the fact that not a whole lot of creative content is made by EA. Whether it’s the annual sports games like Madden of Fifa, or sequels to established franchises, most of the gaming world agrees that EA only cares about turning a profit. While it’s true that the most creative video games over the past few years have come from publishers other than EA, this isn’t enough to suggest that they’re evil. It isn’t even enough to suggest that EA only wants money. There are plenty of other reasons for people to hate EA however, and these reasons are much more legitimate.

Internet experts believe this to be the mark of Satan.

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What John Riccitiello’s resignation means for gaming

This past Monday, John Riccitiello the CEO of publisher EA, announced that he was stepping down. This news comes in wake of the disastrous launch of the SimCity reboot which is now being called “the worst video game launch in history.” This is huge news as EA is probably the biggest gaming publisher that doesn’t have a product on the console market. Over the past few years, EA’s reputation has gone from being bitterly received to being outright despised. They are hated so much that last April, EA was voted the worst company in America. One of these days I’ll get around to explaining why EA is hated so much but for now, all you need to know is that EA’s reputation is at an all time low point. It’s easy to forget that back in 2008, EA was actually a respectable company releasing new IPs like Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge. What EA needs more than ever is to rethink their business direction and having a new CEO could be the start of that.

The most notable thing I took away from Riccitiello’s resignation is that I don’t have any idea why he stepped down. Was he fired? Was it to distance himself from EA’s crumbling reputation? Was he just tired of being a wealthy businessman? There are some facts to consider, like the fact that under Riccitiello, EA has struggled financially. They haven’t recovered from the global financial crisis of 2008. Their struggles can be explained with another fact: EA has simply made a lot of bad decisions since 2008. From the release of Spore, to the marketing of Dead Space 2, all the way to today with SimCity’s disastrous launch. All of this controversy had to factor into Riccitiello’s decision. The question of hour is: What is EA going to do in light of this news?

Is it just me, or does he look a bit frightened of that logo in the background?

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The sorry state of Video Game Journalism

Last week VideoGamer.com published an article claiming that the Dead Space franchise had been canned by publisher EA due to poor sales. A mere few hours later  Dino Ignacio, the UI lead at Visceral Games (developer of the Dead Space franchise) sent a tweet denying the story.. Later, a statement EA made a statement claiming that the article was “patently false.” The same day, Peter Moore, Chief Operating Officer of EA commented that the article was an example of “shoddy journalism” and a desperate attempt to earn advertising revenue. In response to this, VideoGamer stated that they took every precaution to verify their source and that they gave EA multiple chances to confirm or deny the story, none of which they took. They claim that EA only commented on the story after it was published. This is an important event, not because one side might be lying but this story is an example of legitimate video game journalism. Something that there isn’t enough of in the industry. Read the rest of this entry

The Failed IP

This past week I’ve thought a lot about new games that don’t sell well, ie; the failed IP (Intellectual Property). I’m talking about the AAA games that were widely marketed, and highly anticipated that seemed destined to turn into franchises, yet failed to meet commercial and critical expectations. Brink, Mirror’s Edge, the 2008 Prince of Persia, and Alan Wake were all heavily marketed, a game that prominent before it’s even released would natrually spawn a sequel yet these games failed to leave an impression. What baffles me is how certain games get a sequel despite these traits. There’s something wrong with the industry when Kane & Lynch gets a sequel, yet Mirror’s Edge doesn’t.

One of the biggest causes of this trend are gamers themselves. Let’s face it, most people who play video games have very specific tastes, some games get around this by adding elements from other genres but this doesn’t work for every game. (Mass Effect and Dead Rising pulled it off but could a cover system in a game like Skyrim?) Some games simply don’t have the genre appeal that others do. Let’s take Mirror’s Edge. For those who aren’t familiar Mirror’s Edge is a stylized first-person parkour-style platformer. How does one market a game like this? It’s not a shooter, but it’s also not a platformer. This unfortunate because Mirror’s Edge is quite unique (something that I don’t say nearly enough about video games), it didn’t sell very well, and that’s not anybody’s fault. It’s not fair to ask a customer to spend $70 on a product they’re not even sure about. The problem is more than just the audience, it’s the very infrastructure of the industry itself.

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