games / Columns

Living LIVE News Report 11.22.11

November 22, 2011 | Posted by Trace Aber


I’m not surprised by Modern Warfare 3’s success. However, I’m concerned that Call of Duty is going to be like Guitar Hero if Activison isn’t careful (oversaturation of the series).
Posted By: Guest#0176 (Guest) on November 14, 2011 at 01:19 AM

A lot of people have been worried (or excited) about Call of Duty’s seemingly inevitable point of oversaturation for the last year or so, but based off last week’s numbers we might have a few more games to go before that happens. The saving grace might be the alternating release schedule between studios, which allows for the games to be similar yet different enough for consumers to feel the need to purchase each iteration. One reason for Call of Duty’s continued success is the fact that it’s so popular. Many people I know simply buy the game “because everybody else is,” meaning if you want to play with any of your friends online you better have the newest Call of Duty title. I think we’re a couple of years away from oversaturation even being a problem short of a complete catastrophe of a video game being released.

If the any of those ME3 spoilers are true, then the plot is going to be painful.

Forced drama for the sake of drama. Stupid either-or choices without any option to save both (ie if every single mission had a Kaiden/Ashley choice). Also Bioware has apparently bent over backwards to make sure that any choices the player made are completely irrelevant in the main scheme of things. Have never had my interest sucked out of me for a game I just had to have previously before this.
Posted By: Guest#2739 (Guest) on November 14, 2011 at 05:51 AM

As I said last week, I’m avoiding the Mass Effect 3 spoilers like the plague, but honestly the idea of “forced drama” options doesn’t bother me. Moreso than anything else in the series those are the ones that (seemingly) have the most powerful effects, as something HAS to happen. I have heard a lot of people saying none of the decisions you made in the previous games will matter in the third one, which I find hard to believe. Honestly, the script may have just been the generic, “So you haven’t played any of the games? Here’s our version of the story, then” plot, as opposed to the one that includes all of the player’s choices. I just think it’s ridiculous that leaked, out of date and relatively vague spoilers have ruined this game before anybody has even played it. Not to mention when gameplay video of the leaked beta came out everybody seemed pretty happy with it. Almost as if gameplay can make a game more fun. Who would have guessed?

You can’t play the [Mass Effect 3] beta anymore, they did something to decertify the download so it shows as a corrupt download. You couldn’t get on the servers anymore anyway.
Posted By: lol (Guest) on November 14, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Thanks for the clarification. I guess there’s some silver lining to this whole debacle then – I can only imagine what trouble would have stirred up had people had more time to play the entire thing.

Welcome everyone to another issue of the Living LIVE News Report, and as always, I’m your host for the evening, Trace Aber. I apologize for the delay of the Report, but I have been pretty sick over the last couple of days. Thankfully, I’m feeling well enough to at least write the LLNR, so let’s get underway!

Xbox 720 to be a “True Hybrid” Console
Over the last few months tons of rumors have come out about the next Microsoft system, which people are cleverly calling the “Xbox 720” for the time being. Hell, according to one source, we can expect to purchase the system in late 2012 and that some publishers already have “target boxes,” which are essentially PCs built to the specs of the future console. This allows game companies to start working on new consoles before they’re even finished. Brian Prince from Microsoft even hinted about the next console incorporating cloud functionality, but suddenly couldn’t talk about it past that.

According to an article from Industry Gamers, some analysts are already making some bold predictions. One that should placate the old school fans is that the next console should still retain its physical harddrive, meaning we can still go out and buy physical games. M2 Research analyst Billy Pidgeon feels that “next generation game consoles and dedicated gaming handhelds must link to user accounts stored on servers rather than locking down identity and content ownership at a device level.” That being said, while services such as “Gaikai and OnLive are viable game delivery systems but in the near term cloud gaming services can’t yet allow access on a scale to realize their inherent disruptive potential.”

Still, Pidgeon believes that long term, cloud gaming is the future. As the technology improves, it will become possible to support more and more people in the cloud, and potentially erase the need for physical drives. Until that happens though, we’re still going to see disks. But this may mean that hard drives won’t be needed, since saves and other data could just be stored in the cloud. Then again, this might cause problems for things such as arcade games, DLC, and OnDemand-type games.

Colin Sebastian of RW Baird believes it’s possible that some games will be released cloud-only, while other, more popular games such as the Call of Duty series, may be physical-disk only until network infrastructure can handle such a high demand. “I think that the Xbox 720 should definitely have some sort of access for physical media. The cloud stuff can open up new doors and Microsoft’s strategy is all about delivering services via the box, basically it has been somewhat of a cloud strategy from the beginning.”

Only about 10% of console software revenue comes from digitally downloaded products, meaning companies aren’t ready to embrace a fully digital console just yet. But the hope is that the next generation of consoles will be the “transition” phase, though it’s still up to the consumer in the end.

Jesse Divnich of EEDAR sums it up nicely – “I’d expect the Xbox 720, or whatever they choose to call it, will act as a true hybrid console, supporting both physical and digital media with the long-term hopes that they can provide enough incentive and value to accelerate that transition.”

How do you guys feel about it? Should the next console support more cloud-based gaming and phase out the physical disks, or do you think consumers will accept a fully-digital console? The PSPGo would suggest otherwise, but consoles and handhelds are two different, albeit similar, beasts.

Call of Duty Still Makes a Lot of Money
As reported last week, the latest Call of Duty game, Modern Warfare 3, made a boatload of money in its opening day’s sale. After five days the numbers are even more ridiculous, and we’re going to need more boats to carry the load.

“With $775 million of sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in its first five days, Call of Duty has become the first entertainment property in history to set five-day launch records for three consecutive years across all forms of entertainment,” said Robert Kotick, CEO, Activision Blizzard. “Life-to-date retail sales for the Call of Duty franchise have exceeded $6 billion worldwide, which makes Call of Duty one of the most valuable entertainment properties in the world. “

Holy shit. Six.Billion.Dollars. Say what you want about the games being repetitive or rehashes or whatever, but six billion dollars says otherwise. By the end of the game’s first day over 7 million hours were already logged into the multiplayer, not counting those who decided to try the game’s single player mode first (all ten of them)! That’s a 19% increase over Block Ops first day stats. And, finally, MW3 broke the record for most concurrent players with 3.3 million users on November 8. Pretty crazy.

Those 3.3 million users and millions of hours have also allowed MW3 to take the number one spot for most popular game on Xbox LIVE, taking down previous champion…Call of Duty: Black Ops. Blops outlasted recent releases Gears of War 3 and Battlefield 3.

Despite all of this good news for Activision and Sledgehammer, they did manage to make one snafu. Glen Schofield of Sledgehammer Games noticed the game’s unusually low Metacritic fan score, which is a barometer for uhm, pretty much nobody should listen to given the series’ ability to polarize gamers into those that LOVE the game and those that HATE it. Glen asked his Twitter followers to help the score by voting what they felt was a fair score. I assume that’s ok as long as it’s above a 9.9.

Many people actually got upset at this, including some within the industry. I’m not claiming to be a big time player in this industry of any sort, and am actually quite aware of my very miniscule place in this world. That being said, there is no reason for anybody to get worked up over this. It’s a user score. Now, if Glen went out of his way to get reviewers to rank their game higher than it should be, that’s one thing. But this is a score that anybody is allowed to vote on, and one that many people are going to rate 0 simply because Call of Duty “is teh suxxorz” or whatever. Then again, maybe Schofield should haven’t gotten so worked up in the first place. After all – it’s just a game, right?

Minecraft 360 to Feature New Crafting Interface
While you can view the Minecraft 360 trailer in the Theater section, a new fact sheet from Microsoft gives a few more details on the upcoming port, including those about “an innovative new crafting interface.”

It kind of looks like the old one…just bigger.

According to the sheet, “A streamlined interface opens at the press of a button, and players can choose from several categories of items to create.” It will also give helpful information, such as explaining what the object is and what’s required to build it. This allows for even new players to better understand the Minecraft world and get straight to crafting without reading up on things. This will somehow upset veterans of the game, even though it impacts gameplay in no way, shape, or form.

No official release date has been given, though it is expected to release sometime in 2012 on XBLA. Hopefully the game won’t go past 1200MP, though I could see them releasing it for 1600MP. It would be a dumb move, but, hey. Companies love money.

Assassian’s Creed Revelations DLC Announced
Even though the game just came out, Ubisoft has already announced DLC for Assassin’s Creed Revelations, which features four new multiplayer personas, all of which feature unique weapons, taunts, and assassination moves. The four personas are Privateer, Corsair, Gladiator, and Brigand. These personas are for multiplayer use, obviously.

The Digital Downloads
Arcade Games
Xotic (800MP)
Games on Demand
Dynasty Warrior’s 6 ($29.99)
Backyard Sports: Rookie Rush ($19.99)
Bomberman Act:Zero ($19.99)
Rayman Origins
Your Shape – Fitness Evolved 2012

The Theater

Mass Effect 3 Collector’s Edition Trailer

Minecraft Trailer

Battlefield 3 Back to Karkand Gameplay Trailer

WWE 12 – New Features Trailer

Serious Sam 3 BFE – Blood and Guts Trailer

Halo Anniversary – Living Monument Trailer

411 on Twitter!

Signing Out
That does it for me this week. Be sure to check back next week as we discuss all of the latest Xbox 360 news, including releases, rumors and reviews! Also, don’t forget to bookmark 411Mania! And a note to all of the Indie Game developers out there – if you have an upcoming title that’s going to be released soon drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know. I’ll write a full review of your game to be posted on, which is a great way to get your game promoted!


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Trace Aber
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