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Battlefield 3

Electronic Arts said Monday that its Battlefield 3 game has sold five million units on a worldwide basis within its first week, the fastest-selling game in EA's history.

The company admitted to some server instability, however, but claimed it was minor: the average service uptime remained at 98.9 percent throughout the weekend, with only some "intermittent disruption of online services due to high volume," according to the developer.

Battlefield 3, the latest wartime first-person shooter title from DICE and Electronic Arts, arrived in stores on October 25th, launching the opening salvo in this fall's FPS conflict. Available for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, Battlefield 3 arrives days before Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which is slated for release on November 8th.

Click to continue reading Battlefield 3 sells 5 million copies in a week

Gallery: Battlefield 3 sells 5 million copies in a week


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Modern Warfare 3 hardened edition

Details are leaking out for the contents of the ultra-deluxe Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 "Hardened Edition," the fancy name for what amounts to the collector's version of the game, which you can pre-order now on Amazon. And the news doesn't come a moment too soon for rabid Call of Duty fans: According to new predictions from publisher Activision-Blizzard, the latest title in the series is expected to sell even more pre-sale copies than its previous versions.

It's not as if Activision-Blizzard has remained blind to the popularity of its first-person-shooter franchise, however. A brand-new subscription service is expected to be released alongside the November launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Dubbed, "Call of Duty: Elite," the service will give gamers the option for signing up for a free account or "premium" access to the service for the cost of $50 a year, or nearly the cash equivalent of one brand-new Call of Duty title.

So what's the point? According to Activision-Blizzard's official announcement for Elite, the online network will contain, "a wide range of state-of-the-art services, exclusive entertainment programming and all-inclusive game content for less than the cost of any comparable online entertainment service currently in the market."

Click to continue reading Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 “Hardened Edition” details leak

Gallery: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 “Hardened Edition” details leak


Modern Warfare 3, the next video game in the enormously popular Call of Duty franchise, is set for a Nov. 8, 2011 release and Activision on Tuesday teased the eagerly awaited title with an action-packed trailer (video below).

Earlier this month, gaming site Kotaku claimed that a leaked audio clip from Modern Warfare 3 contained a reference to SEAL Team Six, the Navy commandoes who took out Osama bin Laden on May 2.

If that reference exists, it wasn't contained in the official trailer, which managed to whet Call of Duty fans' appetites for what looks to be a blockbuster first-person shooter jam-packed with high-stakes action in "the next global conflict."

"It doesn't take the most powerful nations on Earth to create the next global conflict, just the will of a single man," intones a brief spot of narration in the trailer. That conflagration kicks in the streets of New York, presumably following through on a Russian invasion that was imminent at the end of Modern Warfare 2.

The action then moves to England, France, and Germany. Clips of crashing trains, tank battles, tumbling buildings, air strikes, amphibious assaults, and lots and lots of street fighting are interspersed throughout.

Click to continue reading Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 drops November 8

Gallery: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 drops November 8


sony PSN freebies

When Sony started restoring its PlayStation network this weekend, it promised a welcome-back consolation package for users who have been patiently waiting for its return since it went dark on April 20.

This afternoon, the company provided some details on what returning users will receive, including free games, movie rentals, and virtual items.

"We developed the program as an expression of our gratitude for your patience, support and continued loyalty during the service outage. From all of us at PlayStation, thank you and welcome back!" Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications and social media, wrote in a blog post. "This package will be made available to all existing registered PlayStation Network and Qriocity users in North America (US and Canada), and will be made available shortly after we have fully restored the service."

What do you get? All PlayStation Network customers can choose two of five PS3 games: Dead Nation; inFAMOUS; LittleBigPlanet; Super Stardust HD; or Wipeout HD + Fury. PSP owners can select two of four games: LittleBigPlanet; ModNation Racers; Pursuit Force; or Killzone Liberation. All games will be available for 30 days after the store is restored and can be kept forever.

Click to continue reading A look at Sony’s Playstation Network “Welcome Back” freebie package

Gallery: A look at Sony’s Playstation Network “Welcome Back” freebie package


Sony Online Entertainment brought its PlayStation Network back online (after a major security breach took PSN down) in parts of Europe and the U.S. Saturday, but some 12 hours after the announcement many PSN customers were left wondering when it would be their turn.

At about 8:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Sony announced it would begin a "phased" return of PSN services to customers following a three-week outage caused by a hack of the network that forced the company to take it down. But a map of the U.S. that Sony is updating to reflect when its network goes live in individual states was left with numerous states without service in the Midwest, South and Northeast as of about 8 a.m. ET.

Several hours after the initial announcement, readers in Texas, Illinois and other states were complaining that PSN service had not been restored to their areas. Sony had warned that it would "take several hours to restore PSN throughout the entire country."

Meanwhile, PSN customers in Australia and the Caribbean wondered when their areas would go back online. Sony's Saturday announcement only referred to Europe and North America.

The company issued a further notice to PSN customers whose service had been turned on but who still weren't able to access the network:

Click to continue reading Sony Playstation Network back online in most areas

Gallery: Sony Playstation Network back online in most areas


mass effect 3 delay

Gamers hoping to find Mass Effect 3 under the Christmas tree this year are out of luck. The latest installment of BioWare's popular mature-themed sci-fi franchise has been delayed until the first quarter of 2012, the company said Wednesday.

"Mass Effect 3 will be released in the first three months of 2012. The development team is laser-focused on making sure Mass Effect 3 is the biggest, boldest and best game in the series, ensuring that it exceeds everyone's expectations," BioWare executive producer Casey Hudson posted on Facebook.

The follow-up to Mass Effect 2 was originally slated for release in time for the 2011 holiday season, according to various gaming websites, though some have already updated that information to reflect the delayed release of the RPG third-person shooter.

Click to continue reading Mass Effect 3 delayed until 2012

Gallery: Mass Effect 3 delayed until 2012


Playstation network down

Sony said Thursday that its PlayStation Network, the online service that connects Sony's game consoles like the PlayStation 3, may be out for a "full day or two" due to an unexpected and unexplained outage.

Sony first confirmed the outage at 5:50 PM Wednesday night, when Patrick Seybold, the senior director of corporate communications and social media, reported that "We're aware certain functions of PlayStation Network are down," Seybold said. "We will report back here as soon as we can with more information."

At 9:34 AM on Thursday, Seybold added the latest information, which will be grim news for PlayStation players.

"While we are investigating the cause of the Network outage, we wanted to alert you that it may be a full day or two before we're able to get the service completely back up and running," Seybold added. "Thank you very much for your patience while we work to resolve this matter. Please stay tuned to this space for more details, and we'll update you again as soon as we can."

Click to continue reading PlayStation Network down for a “day or two” after outside attack

Gallery: PlayStation Network down for a “day or two” after outside attack


Portal 2 review

Innovation in video games is terrific—sometimes. But with certain ideas and series, particularly the simplest ones, the smartest thing to do can be to just expand and build on the concept but not change it very much. That's the choice Valve Software has made with Portal 2, the ravenously awaited sequel to the addictive and brain-twisting 2007 first-person puzzler. Judging from our initial half-day with the game, Valve has chosen wisely.

The original Portal, first released as part of the Orange Box collection, was maddening because it was so straightforward, and delightful because of its rampant dementedness. As a test subject trapped in the Aperture Science building, you were armed only with a gun that could create up two dimensional portals: shoot a blue one, shoot an orange one, then run through one to emerge from the other. Strategy and physics played key roles as you struggled to discover what happened to the all the office workers, evade turret fire and pits of foul-looking liquid, and determine what the nature was of the teasing and tormenting computer (the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System, or GLaDOS) that made jokes at your expense every 30 seconds.

 

Portal succeeded because its formula was both hard to screw up but easy to love. It was both rigorously adult (some of the levels were hard, and many of the bonus boards all but impossible), and yet faultlessly cute (who can forget the baby-voiced android weapons, or the Weighted Companion Cube emblazoned on all six sides with hearts). This meant that anyone of any age could play it, and because it required just a handful of keys or buttons (far fewer than the average shooter), you didn't even need to be an experienced gamer. As if realizing this, Valve even structured the game to provide to provide its own fully integrated tutorial so you could master tricky concepts without being aware you were learning everything.

In fact, the most commonly cited problem with the game was that it was too short: Nineteen levels and it was done. For years, people have been crying out for more levels and more snappy wit—and with Portal 2, that is what Valve has almost exclusively provided.

Click to continue reading Portal 2 review

Gallery: Portal 2 review


Were only all console games so generous as to award a player $1 million for accomplishing a difficult feat of gaming.

Two entrants have surfaced on YouTube for Take-Two Interactive's million-dollar contest, a challenge that tasks players with throwing a perfect game in the recently released Major League Baseball 2K11 title for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3—the only two consoles allowed to participate in the challenge, we should note.

So what does it take to win a million bucks? In last year's similarly themed contest, 24-year-old Wade McGilberry was able to take home the prize on his sixth attempt—the same day the game was released, mind you. It's taken a little while longer for gamers to accomplish the same feat in MLB 2K11: The game was released on March 8 of this year, but the contest itself didn't start until April 1, and the two YouTube videos in question were posted on April 7 and 8.

The timing is an important distinction, as Michael Manna—otherwise known as professional wrestler Stevie Richards—already uploaded a video to YouTube of the perfect game he threw on the game's release day. But don't assume that throwing a perfect game is just that easy. Not only did he not fall within the correct timeframe to win the prize, but he also allegedly didn't have the game on the correct settings (like All-Star difficulty) to even qualify for the million-dollar award.

Click to continue reading Two entries appear for MLB 2K11’s million-dollar “Perfect Game” challenge

Gallery: Two entries appear for MLB 2K11’s million-dollar “Perfect Game” challenge


We've played "Duke Nukem Forever." We swear we've played it. We've even brought back proof that we played it. And when we played it, Gearbox president Randy Pitchford promised us—promised us!—unequivocally that the game would be released May 3. Today, word has emerged that the game is being delayed until June 14 in the United States and June 10 internationally.

We're crushed, but we suppose we shouldn't be surprised. Duke Nukem Forever is the most-delayed title in the modern history of game development. Originally slated for release in 1997—and that's not a typo—this sequel to 1996's "Duke Nukem 3D" has seen countless changes of hands, vanishing and reappearing developers, lawsuits, and more trade shows than PCMag's intrepid staff. It's even won Wired's Vaporware of the Year of the Award more than once—several times after it received a 2004 lifetime achievement award.

Click to continue reading Duke Nukem Forever delayed. Again.

Gallery: Duke Nukem Forever delayed. Again.


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