Two big pieces of news today of which one will surely be a sigh of relief for PC gamers and among all of that we have some smaller bits of news to digest too!
Microsoft’s Windows 8 to be at the forefront of a new approach to PC gaming?
It all started with Microsoft’s recent overhaul of the Games for Windows Marketplace and then the announcement of a new Age of Empires, a new Flight Simulator and Fable 3 coming to the PC. It all points to Microsoft taking on a new approach to PC gaming which has just been bolstered once again by the hiring of Voodoo PC founder Rahul Sood as General Manager for System Experience. Rahul has previously been very outspoken about Microsoft’s attitude towards PC gaming when Microsoft cancelled their cross platform plans to connect the Xbox 360 and PC in multiplayer.
So what else? Well a source has told TechRadar that “Windows 8 will represent a real new push into PC gaming” and that “gaming will be a key component for the whole OS.”
The issue here for Microsoft is that their absence in supporting PC gaming has allowed Valve to take control of the majority share in the market with Steam. Any attempts by Microsoft now to get back in via Games for Windows Live are going to take a lot of investment if they once again want to be the market leaders. They need to get rid of the image of Games for Windows Live’s broken image and fix the connection issues and to some extent their overhaul of the Games for Windows Marketplace has shown a new direction for the company. They need to look at providing a reliable service similar to the current provided with friends, achievements etc but throw more weight behind publishers to create and bring more titles to the platform.
However whilst Microsoft have the means to push out tools to developers and the user base to market products to they should by no means underestimate the growing user base of Steam and not to forget that Valve have always stood by PC gaming. In this sense I therefore think it would benefit Microsoft to instead of directly competing with Steam to instead run alongside that service and collaberate more openly. They should be working together and I could go far as to suggest that Microsoft should look at integrating Steam into Windows 8 which would not only benefit sales of the operating system for Microsoft but by working with Valve they can market their games on an existing service. They have access to a userbase of millions of PC gamers and we might finally start to see a more stable partnership in the industry allowing for more developers to take more risks in developing games for our platform.
Activision sues EA:
Do you remember earlier this year in March when Activision filed a lawsuit against former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella? Well now they have included EA in their lawsuit for apparently starting to lure the pair to EA back in July 2009 despite them having two years left on their contracts. It is alleged that EA dispatached a private jet to collect West and Zampella for a secret meeting at the home of John Riccitello, Chief Executive of EA.
It has been revealed that Seamus Blackley helped to lure West and Zampella after being asked by Riccitello to help court the pair. Blackley is head of the games devision of talent group Creative Artists Agency and is one of the founding fathers of the Xbox. Following the request from Riccitello he subsequently met with Zampella in August 2009 following up with an email to him reading:
I’m stoked about your options. JR cooks a mean BBQ. I think we could accomplish some interesting chaos.
There is speculation that the JR refers to John Riccitello.
Activision have also announced for the first time that they are seeking $400 million for their lawsuit. A hefty sum considering West and Zampella only sued Activision for $36 million.
EA’s Jeff Brown released this statement to Activision’s allegations:
This is a PR play filled with pettiness and deliberate misdirection. Activision wants to hide the fact that they have no credible response to the claim of two artists who were fired and now just want to get paid for their work.
Portal 2’s Release Date Confirmed:
Valve have announced that Portal 2 will be released on 21st April 2011 for PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Mac with the retail version being published by EA.
Starcraft 2 Demo:
Blizzard have released massive 1.56GB demo for Starcraft 2 which gives players access to the first three singleplayer missions and access to two skirmish maps to battle against the game’s AI. All you need to do is head to the link at the end of this article and enter in your name, email address and date of birth to download the demo. No downloading of Battle.net is required which is a massive bonus and well worth trying out!
With thanks to PC Gamer