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Gametap Opens Free Ad-Supported Game Site

Posted by Michael Cardiff Categories: Action, Casual, Internet, PC

Gametap Home
Yesterday, Gametap opened up a new component in their online subscription-based gaming service, and it’s worth taking a look at. Gametap’s new service is a FREE (as in beer) ad-supported list of games that you can play through their client. All that’s required is that you register with their site, and you can begin playing games like Street Fighter 2, Metal Slug, and Tomb Raider: Legend for free. In addition, many of the games are upgraded from their original version, including features such as online play in Metal Slug

So what’s the catch? Well, to start with, you have to watch ads at certain points during the game (for example, when a new level is loading, or when the game is first downloading). The other big problem—and one that a lot of sites don’t seem to be mentioning yet—is that the list of free games available rotates on a week-by-week basis. So while you may be able to play Joust for free this week, all your progress might be for nothing next week when they switch over to a NEW list of ad-supported games. This may not be a huge deal for some of the more arcade-y, quick play games like Rampage or Bust a Move, but it’s going to be pretty lame when you get hooked on TR Legend and then can’t play it after a week. Frankly, this all sounds suspiciously like a ploy to get people hooked on their service enough so that they’ll end up becoming paid subscribers to the full library - I can’t see any true gamer being happy with the list of free games changing every week.

Read More | GameTap.com

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Half-Life 2: Black Box Gets The Axe

Gordon Freeman Half-LifeBlack Box, the PC-only package which included Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal has been canned by Valve. The reasoning behind this was not revealed, but it’s likely a move to help promote Steam.

“The Black Box has been cancelled,” said Doug Lombardi, Valve’s director of marketing. “We’re going to have one package, The Orange Box, available on the PC (US$49.99) as well as the 360 and PS3 (US$ 59.99). In addition to the three new products—Portal, Team Fortress 2, and Half-Life: Episode Two—The Orange Box will also contain the full version of Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episode One. Those who purchase the PC version of The Orange Box will get three separate Steam product codes: One for the three new games, one for HL2, and one for Episode One. This way a PC Orange Box owner can give away their Half-Life 2 or Episode One unused Steam product codes if they don’t need a copy of those games. We are excited to deliver the highest value of new gaming content ever offered in one box.”

It sounds like a fair bargain to me – that’s a lot of content for $50 (or $60 if you’re on consoles). Those who wish to save money will be able to download all of the new content directly from Steam – a route which many gamers are likely to take, meaning Steam will see a nice boost in traffic. With more and more games looking to Steam as a viable means of distribution, this increase in download numbers will likely help to coax some naysayers into jumping on the bandwagon.

Read More | IGN UK

Shane Kim Responds To Shadowrun Pricing Structure Questions

Shadowrun PC Xbox 360 boxart

The upcoming Shadowrun has two price points on two different systems. That’s not all that unusual in itself – we’re used to seeing PlayStation 2 versions of games cost less than those on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. But when a game is seeing a simultaneous release on Xbox 360 and PC, and being put in a position to be the flagship cross-platform title, why are owners paying $60 when the game is only $50 on PC?

Newsweek’s N’Gai Croal hunted down Microsoft Game Studios corporate vice president Shane Kim to get an answer.

The $59.99 for Xbox 360 and $49.99 for Windows Vista price points are our standard pricing for each platform. This pricing structure is not uncommon in the multiplayer-only first-person shooter genre, as numerous titles have seen success at this price point and gaming model. I think it’s premature to speak to pricing for all future projects, but as of now this is our pricing structure for our marquee titles like Shadowrun. Additionally, MGS has the same development costs as other developers and publishers out there. One advantage other publishers have that we do not is that they can leverage their marketing and development costs over all platforms, while we are focused on Windows and Xbox 360 as a first party publisher.

That still doesn’t quite answer the question; is it impossible to deviate from the standard pricing scheme? This is the first real Xbox 360/PC cross-platform release, so the standard pricing being referred to is nonsensical. And that’s not to mention, of course, the fact that much of the public is in upheaval over the price already – given that there is no single player and a limited number of maps, paying a “standard” price isn’t what gamers want. The studio manager of Shadowrun developer FASA Studios, Mitch Gitelman has frequently retorted that the game offers an innovative experience that adds “verbs” to the FPS experience. We’ll just have to wait and see how gamers vote with their wallets when the game is released on May 29.

Read More | Level Up

Chat With Guild Wars Developers Today On GameSpy Arcade

Posted by Chris Pereira Categories: MMORPG, PC

Guild Wars Eye of the North

Guild Wars has been a tremendous success since its inception into the realm of online RPGs several years ago. It has spawned two campaigns in addition to the original, but it was recently announced that future GW campaigns were being canned. In their place would be the first expansion in the series, as well as a full-blown sequel. The expansion – titled Eye of the North – will be unlike the previous releases in that it will require you to own at least one Guild Wars title to play.

Today, gamers have the opportunity to take part in a chat with NC Soft, the developers of Guild Wars. Starting at 4:00 p.m. Pacific / 7 p.m. Eastern on May 11, GameSpy Arcade will be home to an NC Soft chat session. You’ll have to head to the GameSpy Arcade LiveWire lobby for the exclusive event about “upcoming developments” in the franchise.

I’m personally a huge fan of Guild Wars, so I’ll be in attendance. The game’s focus on strategy, as opposed to number of hours played, make it attractive to a whole lot of people. And with NC Soft’s promise that future Guild Wars games will continue to be free to play, the MMORPG world and its subscription fees better be worried. ‘sup, World of Warcraft?

Read More | GameSpy Arcade

Hellgate: London Subscription Multiplayer Details Revealed

Hellgate London fight scene

The latest issue of Games for Windows Magazine has revealed all the details pertaining to the subscription service Hellgate: London will be sporting. Luckily, previous statements proved to be true as online multiplayer will be free for all players. Beyond that, there are some perks that may warrant paying the monthly fee of $9.95 to become an ‘Elite’ player, but casual players should find the free game to suffice. If Hellgate turns out to be anything like Diablo, it’s going to suck in a lot of unsuspecting people and get them to fork over that subscription fee.

Read More | Games for Windows Magazine via Voodoo Extreme


Bleeding Edge TV 169: AMD Explains How Quad Core Chips Should Be Made

Okay, we have been hearing a lot about dual core and quad core processors coming out of both the and camps. Now that has released the Octo-core Mac Pro, people are wondering about the benefit of having all these cores at their disposal. In this video, we speak with AMD about what they believe is the fundamental difference between the way they do Quad Core chips as opposed to the way Intel does it. Check out the video to see how AMD feels quad core computing should be done.


Bleeding Edge TV 168: AMD vs. Intel: Chipset War

While hanging out in the AMD Performance Lab, Pat Moorhead sat down with us to give us a head to head look at a basic Intel G965 chipset up against the AMD 690 series chipset, focusing on gaming performance. These are the off-the-shelf computers you would buy at low cost for $500-800 or so, using integrated graphics chips. You gotta see this side-by-side comparison to see just how amazing the results of the AMD-ATi merger are.

Oh, and obviously, these tests were done in an AMD lab. However, just like it was mentioned in the Performance Lab video, if you want the scripts to do any of these tests yourself, all you have to do is ask. Drop an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and they will hook you up.


Bleeding Edge TV 167: Inside AMD’s Performance Testing Lab

While we were out visiting AMD, they gave us the opportunity to enter their Performance Testing Lab, an area guarded by dual steel doors that seemingly required both a key and special knocking code in order to enter. Once inside and sure that our lives were safe, we spoke with Mark Welker about how AMD tests their chip technologies across different platforms, software, and games. He talks to us about benchmarks, what they mean in the real world, and how they can be gamed to show what you want them to show. Even better, Mark gives out his corporate email address and offers to send the performance testing scripts to anyone who asks so that people at home can do it themselves. Just drop him an email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and tell him Gear Live sent you. Check the video for the full scoop.


Bleeding Edge TV 165: AMD LIVE! Digital Home Cinema

We were able to get a first-hand look at the new AMD LIVE! Digital Home Cinema concept while hanging out with the AMD crew. For those who may have missed it at CES, the AMD LIVE! Home Cinema is pretty much a specialized HTPC that aims to replace just about everything in your entertainment center, save for game consoles. It can run Linux or Windows Media Center, and is even a digital cable tuner that is CableCARD compatible. Powered by an AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor, it aims to provide an immersive theater-quality media experience with high-definition video, integrated 100 watt per channel surround sound audio and Internet capability, all in a device fit for your entertainment center. Check the video for a full walk-through.


Devil May Cry 4 No Longer PS3 Exclusive

Devil May Cry 4Capcom today announced that the latest game in their action series, Devil May Cry 4 would no longer be a PlayStation 3 exclusive. The company today announced that the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game will ship simultaneously, with a PC version coming later. The Capcom press release states that each version will be developed specifically to take advantage of each platform’s hardware, but doesn’t list how the feature sets will change. No specific ship date for Japan or America was announced. With this announcement, though, Sony loses yet another exclusive title for the platform. Part of the issue may be the fact that the PlayStation 3 hasn’t yet achieved critical mass for developers; without many consoles sold, it may be hard to justify platform-exclusivity. The larger issue may be that next-generation development costs may simply be too great for third party A-list titles to stay on one platform. Still, this has to be a hard hit for the PlayStation 3.

Read More | Capcom

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