News Snatch : Gaming Grandmas

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The next time you yell obscenities down the mic during Warhawk consider this: You might be shouting at Grandma. A recent survey by TNS Technology shows that two fifths of Britons aged 50 or above frequently play video games and that 42 percent say they spend more time playing games than reading books or magazines. TNS surveyed 13,000 people in six countries to gather data that shows the percentage of older gamers is growing faster than ever before.

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I am looking forward to the first ever Killzone 2 match when our resident heroes from Clan TSA take on Sudbury Women’s Institute in a no holds barred, twenty-minute team death match followed by tea and scones. Round two will be a bake off in which Mrs. Higgins Victoria Sponge is up against Zulers own recipe Organic Carrot cake.

The survey also found that British gamers are the most honest with only 4 percent making illegal copies compared to 11% of gamers in the Netherlands, which neatly brings me on to the next item..

ns7The first ever PS3 Modchip is almost upon us, allegedly. Over the weekend this ‘story’ has been picked up by various news sites, including reputable sources such as CNet, even though it’s nothing more than an unfounded rumour. Perhaps it was a slow news day as the orginal tip off was posted 45 days ago. No other site seems to mention the inherent problem that if you get a chipped PS3 you will also need to copy Blu-ray discs. To copy a CD it takes two clicks of a mouse, to copy a Blu-ray you need to sacrifice a lamb at dawn on the third Sunday of the month, invest in extra hardware (anyone for a 320-gig Blu-ray disk?), learn lots of technical jiggery pokery and have at least 3,000 Tesco Clubcard points. Of course, copying games is illegal so don’t do it kids! How is Bob Kotick going to afford his new swimming pool if you pirate Modern Warfare 2? Talking of which..

ns4Activision have broken their silence over the price hike for Modern Warfare 2 with Activision’s UK managing director Andrew Brown talking to MCV,

“The question is what represents value for money,” he said, “This is an industry where things cost a lot to develop and it’s a risky business. We talk about building franchises; it is very expensive to do this from every respect. What we are finding is that for the right products, if you look at the time someone will spend playing something and compare it to something else, people are saying it’s worth it.”

Somewhere in those befuddled words is a valid argument. A cinema ticket will set you back about £7 for two hours entertainment so using that as benchmark, Modern Warfare 2 should give you at least 7.8 hours entertainment. Due to the online multiplayer aspect of Modern Warfare 2 you should get alot more than eight hours gaming fun so the price does represent good value for money. Another example: I have racked up about 200 hours in Killzone 2 online which works out at a bargin-bin price of twenty pence per hour. However, I think Activision are forgetting £55 is a lot of money to spend in one go; Seven quid here and there for a cinema ticket creates a smaller ‘psychological dent’ in your wallet than forking out a lump sum of £55. As we are on the topic of  our favourite publishers wanting your money…

ns2Activision are hiring for the team for DJ Hero 2, seemingly confident that the as yet unreleased DJ Hero will be a success. This gives me an opportunity to mention who has signed up for the game as playable characters, they are: DJ Z-Trip (U.S. DJ), DJ Shadow (U.S. DJ), Grandmaster Flash (U.S. DJ), DJ Jazzy Jeff (U.S. DJ), DJ AM (Dead U.S. DJ) and Daft Punk (Token nod to European DJs! Hurrah!). If those names mean nothing to you then perhaps the tracklisting might. Queen. Motorhead. David Bowie. Bell Biv Devoe. The Aranbee Pop Symphony Orchestra? All massive, massive tracks played by DJs in the hippest clubs, I’m sure you won’t agree. The tracklisting is ecletic to say the least, with perhaps three tracks you might of heard a DJ spin if you went clubbing this side of the pond. Where are all the big housey club anthems that are the bread and butter of European clubbing? Over to Activision CEO Mike Griffiths,

“DJ Hero is going to be expansive to the franchise” he gushed, “And be particularly exciting for Europe where that genre of music is arguably more important than it is elsewhere.”

Wait. What? How does DJ Hero appeal to Europe where “the genre of music is arguably more important” without any tracks played in our nightclubs? The wouldn’t.. would they? Oh yes they would! Say hello to the first DJ Hero DLC, three tracks from European House maestro David Guetta, namely ‘When Love Takes Over’ featuring Kelly Rowland (the one that rips of ‘Clocks’ by Coldplay), ‘Sexy Bitch’ featuring Akon (the one that rips off ‘Tainted Love’ by Soft Cell) and ‘On The Dance Floor’ featuring the Black Eyed Peas (not heard it but I’m sure it rips off something else). Yes, that’s right, if Europeans want emulate their home grown heroes in a product that in Activisions own words, is “more important in Europe than anywhere else” they are going to have to fork out on extra DLC. Well done Activison. The last word goes to European DJ Hero ambassador, yes, you’ve guessed it, David Guetta,

“DJing has taken me a lifetime to master, but DJ Hero opens the art up to the masses. Players who have never touched decks will be able to easily get the authentic DJ experience and feel the euphoria of playing to an audience.”

It may be a fun game, but it’s about as close to DJ’ing as Guitar Hero is to playing the Guitar.

Note to Activision: Can you do something nice next week? Please? Maybe Bob Kotick can rescue a kitten in distress?

ns8Only in America: John Kennedy from Florida is suing Sony and just for you dear readers, I have just read the entire eighteen-page class action lawsuit. See, it is not all kittens and sarcasm here on the Snatch, this is serious journalism at work! Mr. Kennedy is suing Sony for Breach Of Implied Warranty, Negligence, Negligent Misrepresentation, Unjust Enrichment (huh?), Trespass to Chattels (I had to Google that – the infringing party has intentionally interfered with another person’s lawful possessions), California Unfair Competition Law and Stealing Mr. Kennedy’s Sweeties When He Was A Child. Evil Sony! What have they done?

According to the class action, Mr Kennedy installed Firmware 3.00 and it borked his Blu-ray drive. A number of users reported this fault on the PS blog and firmware 3.01 was meant to fix this. Mr Kennedy’s PS3 is still borked so he is taking action against Sony because it’s his legal right. According to Mr Kennedy, Sony is refusing to fix his borked PS3 unless he hands over $150.

For arguments sake, let us say Sony is evil and are refusing to fix the borked PS3 due to the update. Hidden amongst the inaccuracies of the document (“Sony ‘encourages users to download firmware updates’ – wrong, 99% of them are mandatory) is one short sentence. John Kennedy bought his PS3 in January 2009. It is still under warranty.

ns1And Finally.. what could be better than a nice comfy chair to sit in when playing on your console? How about the Emperor 1210? Just look at that! It looks like a HR Giger Alien has got jiggy with an iPod. It comes with built in sound, monitors, lighting and air conditioning and is fully motorised, rotating and inclining at the press of a button, all for the bargain price of $39,955. Order yours today!

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