News Snatch: Goblins & Zombies

News Snatch : Taking an irrelevant and light hearted look at the more obscure stories from the world of gaming, poking them with a big stick and hoping to god they don’t bite back.  Let us know what you think of this feature in the comments, please, as usual.

audi-vertical-runI am not good with motor vehicles, if someone asked what kind of car my partner owns I would say “It’s red and has personal air conditioning for each seat,” and that is about as much information I could give you. The only model of vehicle I have any knowledge about is the ‘car’ I would buy if I ever bothered to pass my driving test – a Dodge Ram SRT 10. It is the size of South Wales, you can park a Range Rover on the flatbed and almost hear the monkeys choking to death in rainforests with its massive nine miles per gallon fuel consumption. My beloved is slightly more practical and has his heart set on an Audi which is a convenient, if slightly long-winded way of linking in to the news that Audi is launching a space in Home. Sony mentioned this at the E3 briefing so presumably it is the US version of Home which is a shame as I have discovered this screenshot lurking in the depths of the internet. It is the new Audi concept car, the “E-tron”, racing around what looks like a Wipeout track hanging from the cityscape from Mirrors Edge. The game is called “Vertical Run” and will feature online leader boards, the best of the best will get an “Audi Apartment”.  Audi – please bring this to Home Europe.

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ns1Mini News: She has had an affair with Goofy and is now divorcing Mickey. In PSP Mini News, you will recall that last week Sony decided that PSP Mini games would not have patches, updates, DLC or wireless multiplayer. They have now backtracked on one of these and games will now feature updates and patches. SCEE’s Eric Lempel also said that both multiplayer and DLC features will be “something [Sony] will consider in the future.”

ns3Twenty-five years ago today something monumental happened in the world of gaming and its name was Elite. For those young whippersnappers who were not even born when Elite originally launched from a spinning wire-frame dodecahedron, the BBC has a great article on the game, including video footage. Some food for thought: The original version of Elite was 22K in size – the picture on the left is 22k.

“The BBC Micro only had 32k of memory, but out of that came the screen and machine use, so Elite had to fit into 22k which is less than most emails these days,” said Mr Braben, “We crafted every single byte and would work for hours just to free up three or four bytes so we could put in a new feature or ability.”

To celebrate, Braben has launched a new site for Elite which seems to be a bit popular as all I am getting is “mysql_pconnect() : Too many connections” but I am sure it is fab. You can also send questions to Braben via the Frontier Twitter Feed for a ‘Live Q&A’ session on 23rd September; you might even win a prize.

ns5Many years ago, Marc Almond sang ”Say Hello, Wave Goodbye”, spookily predicting the state of PS3 MMO’s. The previously announced game – in as much as they said “We’re doing a PS3 MMO” and that is all that was ever heard – from NCSoft, is no more. On the positive side, Turbine (creators of Lord Of The Rings online) are working on a previously unnanounced MMO for both PS3 and Xbox. The unnamed project has been in the works for the last 18 months and has had $20 million thrown at it so far with a release in 2011, possibly as free-to-play so it will not be goblin up your cash.

ns6Three snatches in and this is the first mention of zombies, what is the world coming to? Konami have announced that ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ will be hitting the PSN and XBLA this week in America, so expect it in Europe within the next six months. The second game to feature slightly viewed from the side top down zombie killing action (Burn Zombie Burn being the first), the new game is “an action title where you play a heavily equipped gunslinger on a mission to destroy as many zombies as possible in order save the last remaining human survivors”. Let us hope the innovative weapons such as Rifles (also in Burn Zombie Burn), Flamethrowers (also in Burn Zombie Burn), Chainsaws (also in Burn Zombie Burn) and C4 filled Teddy bears (Not in Burn Zombie Burn. they just had plain old C4 – RESULT!) will set it apart from Burn Zombie Burn.

ns9And Finally.. Bob Kotick. Again. Sorry. The man, the legend, the bloke who doesn’t realise that the internet exists and anything he says can be reported and zipped across the world at the speed of a highly amusing LOLcat. Mr. Kotick, who you may remember likes charging you more for your games because Activision arent making a profit (especially on the PS3), was at a conference in San Francisco recently and said,

“In the last cycle of videogames you spent $50 on a game, played it and took it back to the shop for credit. Today, we’ll sell you for $100 a guitar. You might add a microphone or drums, you might buy two or three expansions packs, different types of music. Over the life of your ownership you’ll probably buy around 25 additional song packs in digital downloads. So, what used to be a $50 sale is a $500 sale today.”

Let’s gloss over the fact that not everyone trades in their games, or that Bob seems a bit smug knowing he’s fleecing us $100 for a plastic guitar that is essentially a $30 Sixaxis controller in a new case. No, the best is yet to come..

“And the best of all margins – the 25 per cent operating margin business – has the potential as we can see with World of Warcraft to be a 50 per cent operating margin business.”

Twenty five percent? Going up to fifty percent margins? Twenty five percent is a huge figure for any business, let alone fifty.

I’m going to be getting Modern Warfare 2, as I suspect most you are, but when I hand over the cash  I’m certainly going to be wondering if that extra tenner is actually going to the hard working team who wrote the game – or paying for Bobs Olympic sized swimming pool.

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