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."
April Fool's Day is upon us, and that means that you can never be too sure if anything you read today is true or bogus. Everyone from Google and Hulu to Funny or Die and Groupon have come up with their own gags, and here's a look at some of the ones circulating this morning. If you see any other notable April Fool's Day jokes, let us know in the comments.
Chromercise: In a throw-back to Jane Fonda and the Jazzercise era, Google is helping you get your fingers limbered up for some searching with Chromercise. Strap on your most flattering 80s fingerwarmers and Google-fied headbands, and feel the burn.
YouTube: While you might think that YouTube was founded in the last decade, it actually dates back to 1911, when videos of horse and buggy crashes and pre-talkie fruit conversations dominated the airwaves. And of course, pets were still able to play instruments with ease; trumpet cat ftw.
Autocompleter: You thought those auto-completes on Google were done by an algorithm? Nah, it's just Michael, an auto-completer at Google. He started out as a spell checker, but now provides users with suggestions as they type. Michael averages about 34,000 words per minute and goes through a keyboard every eight days.
Comic Sans for Everyone: As we all know, comic sans is everyone's favorite font. As a result, Google will roll it out as its default fonts across all Google products, effective April 4. It's live for a few lucky people in the Google Labs Trusted Tester Beta Preview Sandbox program, so check it out.
Gmail Motion: Typing and using a mouse to write emails? Blech. With Gmail Motion, you can use your Webcam and simple movements to tell Gmail what to write. To open an email, move your hands like your opening an envelope. To reply, point your thumb behind you; use both hands to reply all.
Microsoft Kinect allows you to maneuver your character and navigate compatible games simply by using hand gestures and body movements – at least that’s how Microsoft intended it to be. Researcher Evan Suma and his team at University of Southern California, have found a way to use Kinect is a somewhat unusual way. OpenNI, hacked programs (FAAST), and some tech voodoo, have allowed this team of masterminds to plug in Kinect to their computer’s USB port, and use it to play World of Warcraft. The software translates real-world gestures into in-game commands that allows for the player to level-grind with their fists.
Read More | Game Life
While other developers and publishers are diving into the burgeoning Facebook and smartphone App markets, Activision would rather not waste their time.
“We don’t view the App Store as a really big opportunity for dedicated games,” said Kotick at the Reuters’ Global Media Summit.
Bold words from Activision, but then again, Call of Duty: Black Ops did rake in enough money to run a small country - $650 million in its first five days.
“It’s a different question assessing it as a business opportunity,” said Kotick. “Right now we don’t see an opportunity for us to participate in that market.”
One can only wonder how much longer their Call of Duty and World of Warcraft cash cows can be milked before they have to start looking into newer ways to generate revenue amongst a shifting gaming community.
Read More | Finger Gaming
For fans of WarCraft, StarCraft but not Arts ‘n Crafts, Blizzard Entertainment has now released their StarCraft II Ghost Messenger Bag. This way, not only can you spend hours and hours playing games online but when you do unplug you can rest assured that this bag will let everyone know that in the fake, make-believe world in your bedroom you are a man to be reckoned with, to be feared; nay, worshiped! There is a limit to two per person, so you can only get one for you and one for your girlfriend in Half-Life 2; them’s the breaks. Now where did I put my Skull and Crossbones footie pajamas?
Read More | Blizzard
Gaming headphones are getting very popular with the MMO crowd, so it stands to reason that Creative, creators of much great technology including the S2, has given us the Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset. They will be the first of its type to feature THX TruStudio PC sound. For purists, no worries - they’ll also be available in a wired model as well.
Read More | Soundblaster
Blizzard and SteelSeries have created a gaming mouse specifically for WoW. With features like 15 programmable buttons, 130 pre-defined commands for drag and drop macro creation, 16 million illumination choices and 3 intensity and pulsation levels, it will be more difficult than ever to stop the addiction. Not to mention that it looks pretty hot. The MMO Gaming Mouse can handle up to 160 macros and comes with a price of $99.99.
Read More | SteelSeries
World of Warcraft players, make sure you’re prepared for the next expansion – Wrath of the Lich King will contain the Northrend continent, but you’ll need to be at least level 68 to venture there. 1UP has tons of details, as the upcoming issue of Games for Windows: The Official Magazine has a cover story with tons of details.
Among what we know is that the new level cap will be 80 and there’s a new class – the Death Knight, a Hero Class character. But there won’t be any new content for newcomers to WoW, or those that aren’t fairly high-end – the original world won’t be seeing many changes.
Read More | 1UP
Here’s a quick rundown of what we learned about Hellgate: London as I got a tour of a few levels with Tyler Thompson, Flagship Studio’s director of technology.
Release date: Still shooting for summer 2007 - which, let’s face it, is right now. According to Tyler, “We’re still working for that. If it takes a little bit longer, then we’ll let it take a little bit longer.” In industry speak that means, “If you don’t see it by August, you’ll see it for the holidays.”
Look: Flagship Studios, at its top levels, is populated by ex-Blizzard brains, including Diablo creators Erich Schaefer and David Brevik (and don’t forget Bill Roper, who played an integral role in the Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo series). So, think Diablo, but much, much better looking. Tyler told me that the game is in the alpha stage. I’m used to seeing games in alpha looking a bit rough around the edges. This game was, in the levels he toured me, free of jaggies and visual glitches. The word that comes to mind is “shiny.” I found it to be very reminiscent of Diablo in look and feel. Of course, bear in mind the tour was guided, which means I only got to see the best looking areas.
The biggest improvement in look, and, ultimately, playability, is the improved camera from Diablo 2. Gone is the fixed, third-person isometric camera in favor of 360-degree, fully rotational viewing.
More after the break.
Legendary Pictures’ website has listed Diablo as a title under their “In Development” section. The same guys who brought you 300 and are also working on a big-screen adaptation of World of Warcraft are apparently set to send you to Hell.
We’re praying that this isn’t going to be based directly upon either of the Diablo games, which – when you really look at what they boil down to – essentially offer up the gameplay equivalent of Windows. Now don’t get me wrong – I spent thousands of hours playing Diablo II, taking part in more Baal runs than I wish to recall. But it’s just not the sort of thing that you make a movie out of.
But at least there’s more promise for a real plot here than there is in the WoW movie – there’s quite a lot of Diablo backstory, and a number of novels out there based upon the games (which, sadly, one of which I have actually read. While it hasn’t been revealed, WoW is an open-world game, whereas Diablo follows a tight narrative. Regardless, hopefully these monster series of Blizzard’s are done justice. Just keep Uwe Boll far away, and they’ve got a shot.