Microsoft has just released firmware version 3.1 for all models of the Zune MP3 player, and an update to the Zune PC software. The updated firmware adds three new games: Checkers; Sudoku; and Space Battle; as well as a new multiplayer mode for the existing Texas Hold 'Em card game. The multiplayer mode takes advantage of the Zune's Wi-Fi, letting players connect to other players with Zunes. The new Zune Checkers game also supports wireless two-player gameplay.
Gamasutra posted an interesting study on video game sales and found that so far this year, four of the top five best selling titles can be found exclusively on the Wii.
According to the publication, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is the top-selling game so far this year with an estimated 3.5 million units sold, followed by Mario Kart Wii, Grand Theft Auto 4 for the Xbox 360, Wii Play, and Wii Fit.
There's no debating that Nintendo is extremely pleased with the results and I'm surprised by just how well the Wii is performing. But can we ignore the fact that every single Wii title mentioned in that survey comes from Nintendo?
To those who only cares about playing games, I'm sure that doesn't even matter. Why should it? To the average person, it doesn't matter who makes the games, as long as the games are worth spending $50 or $60 on.
But from a business standpoint, I can't believe that Nintendo would be too happy about Gamasutra's findings. Sure, the company is reaping all the benefits of providing the top-selling games on its own consoles and that helps the bottom line, but we can't forget that a strong third-party library of games still matters to the success of a video game console.… Read more
Two superstars of the casual gaming world--David Scott, the author of Flash Element TD, and Paul Preece, who wrote Desktop Tower Defense--are collaborating to create a new games company, Casual Collective.
Updated versions of Flash Element and Desktop Tower Defense are among the games offered at the new service, as well as new marquee titles Minions and Desktop Armada. These are multi-player games, and Scott and Preece hope they will bring users back to the games to hang out with (or conquer) their buddies. The games are monetized through in-game ads served by Mochi Media.
While an important key to … Read more
The Social Gaming Network, a company best known for its Facebook Platform apps, has launched a new iPhone app that uses the handset as...a gaming controller.
Called "iFun," the app is a takeoff on the Social Gaming Network's existing sports apps: iGolf, iBowl, iBaseball, and the like. But instead of playing on your iPhone, you use your iPhone or iPod Touch much like the "Wiimote" device for Nintendo's Wii console. (Both gadgets use accelerometer technologies.) It connects via Wi-Fi or cellular network to your PC. You can then play against friends--remotely, and in … Read more
Reuters recently issued a report saying the video game industry may be as "recession-proof" as some in the sector have claimed. So far, sales have been relatively high and it looks like the industry is insulated from some of the problems facing the broader tech field.
"I think it's going to hold up a lot better than other industries," Mindy Mount, chief financial officer of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division told Reuters. "We remain cautiously optimistic."
Nintendo feels the same way. The company's president, Reggie Fils-Aime, told Reuters that as he looks towards the holiday season and the industry's performance, "cautiously optimistic is quite appropriate."
So why all the hope? Because the video game industry is one of the few sectors of the economy that may have the ability to turn the tide and come out on top even though other areas are suffering.
And although the reasons for that forthcoming success can be tied to numerous areas, like the popularity of the Wii and gaming finally competing on the same level with film, I think we miss the core reason for gaming's success today and during the holiday season: children.… Read more
Be sure to check out Friday's episode of The 404 where we welcome pro snowboarder and skateboarder Shaun White to the studio. He talks to us about his new game from Ubisoft coming out on Sunday called Shaun White Snowboarding.
The title will be available for all major gaming platforms and allows you to roam freely on various mountains. Shaun talks to us about his role in the development of the game and what it was like recording voice-overs and motion capture. We talk about his other input on the game, including compiling the title's very respectable soundtrack. … Read more
It's been two months since we mentioned the possibility of winning a PC for Digital Trends' Favorite Gaming Memory contest. The contest is now over and Thomas Anderle of Massapeque Park, NY is now a proud owner of an iBUYPOWER Video Pro System, and a $2,000 American Express gift card.
Thomas' video was chosen from 40 submissions, and over 800 people voted on Digital Trends in just 4 days. In total, the submitted videos generated more than 17,000 views.
Thomas' video Mega Man X Gaming Memory, depicts his and his friend Chris' two-week-long quest to beat Mega … Read more
When Take-Two Interactive Software's executive chairman envisions future revenue for the video game industry, he sees microtransactions and downloadable content as the "biggest opportunity" and calls subscription revenue the "holy grail."
"The holy grail is taking a business, already a very large and successful business that's focused on packaged goods...and turning that into a subscription business or a semi subscription business where we have an ongoing relationship with consumers, giving them products that they want," Strauss Zelnick said Thursday at a BMO Capital Markets' conference in New York. "Who's … Read more
When you've got a game as compelling and competitive as Guitar Hero World Tour, you get it on as many platforms as you can as fast as you can, including the mobile phone. On Thursday, the mobile version of Guitar Hero World Tour became available on AT&T phones. We got to try it out.
On the PlayStation, Wii, and Xbox, this fourth Guitar Hero installment counters Rock Band's drum and vocal tracks, which themselves had one-upped Guitar Hero's original stringed instrument. Vocals aren't practical for the mobile version--which still rocks, by the way--but a drum track is. Activision and game-maker Hands-On Mobile have introduced a drum choice for every song.
There's a lot more news here--the updated game, which has a new look and two fresh game-playing features (can you say "battle mode"?). There are also technical details that could make a difference to how the game looks and sounds on your individual phone. Finally, there's all the practical stuff about when your carrier will stock the game and how much it'll cost you. Let's take one at a time.
Anyone who has played Guitar Hero III Mobile (video review) will feel right at home with Guitar Hero World Tour Mobile, which begins with fifteen new songs for guitar and drums, and which uses the phone's keypad buttons instead of guitar frets. When it comes to customization, you drummers out there are an afterthought--guitarists can choose their instrument, but not you. Also, when you're playing drums, the bottom row of keys (7, 8, 9) stand in for the kick-drum, which is represented in the game by a horizontal purple line that floats at you along with the notes. I played several songs in the drummer's mode, where the kick-drum line helped keep the game interesting.
Also new to the mobile game is the multiplayer battle mode, where Hands-On Mobile has created a good way to pair you up with similar players all over the world. You'll be matched by skill level and by phone type (more on this below.) You'll divvy up picking a song and the instrument, and will have to use your star power strategically (called battle power in this mode) to keep your opponent from scoring. After playing, it'll be easy to track your score from the accompanying Web site (launching Friday). This is neat, but what if you want to play your friend? You should be able to duke it out with personal pals as well as with perfect strangers.… Read more