Category Archives: Gaming

12GB PlayStation 3 Coming to North America Aug 18 for $199

A 12GB flash-based PlayStation 3 Slim is on its way to the North American continent. Sony already sells this budget version in Europe and now it’s coming to the new world.

PlayStation 3 12GB Packaging

It’s worth noting that there’s no official word on this yet. However, as Engadget reports, a listing for the new 12 GB variant was spotted on Canada’s online marketplace Future Shop (hence removed) for $199.99. Engadget has also received a picture of the new PlayStation 3 12 GB found at a retailer within the US, along with a label that the product mustn’t be revealed before August 18.

So August 18 is about when people within the US can get their hands on the low budget, 12 GB PlayStation Console.

Should you buy the 12 GB version? Doubts over the small HD size? Check out this comprehensive discussion on PlayStation Lifestyle and make up your mind!

Steam Summer Sale 2013 is Live

Gamers rejoice, another mega Steam sale is here. The Steam summer sale kicked off a few minutes ago, and has already knocked down the store, which is unavailable through both the client and the browser. Steam’s mega weeklong sales have become famous for offering incredible deals that gamers around the world eagerly wait for. While Amazon and other third parties like GMG have also started offering offering stunning deals, Steam sales still are a mega event.

Steam-Summer-Sale

To get things started, Steam is offering a flat 50% discount on the universally acclaimed Bioshock Infinite. Endless Space, Left 4 Dead 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and Scribblenauts Unlimited are available for less than half their original price. Other games that are available at half price are Witcher 2, The Walking Dead, and FTL. The recently released Grid 2 is also available at a 40% discounted price.

Head over to store.steampowered.com to check out all the deals, and don’t forget to check back everyday for fresh deals. It is also worth remembering that waiting until the last day for a game to become a featured deal can often help you in getting a better deal.

SimCity for Mac Coming in June; No Repurchase Required

Good news for Mac users who’ve been meaning to play SimCity — EA has announced that the Mac version of SimCity will be released in about 2 months’ time on July 11th, 2013. The Mac version of SimCity was apparently being optimized for the Mac OS X by studio which isn’t Maxis, and will be available as a digital download on Origin.

simcity
The good news is that if you’ve already purchased SimCity, you will be able to download the Mac version of it without having to purchase it again. SimCity will require OS X Lion for you to play the game. The OS requirement might be a bit of problem for some — I know of few acquaintances who haven’t upgraded to Lion.

EA mentions that Retina support is ‘yet to be determined’, and going by the timelines, it’s unlikely that SimCity will have Retina support, at least at launch time. SimCity for Mac will be a digital-download only and you won’t see it on retail stores. And since the cities are saved on EA’s servers, you should be able to pick up your existing cities, regardless of  which platform you’ve been playing on.

Game4u to Hold Crysis 3 Midnight Launch in Mumbai And Gurgaon

About 5 years ago, Cevat Yerli’s team at Crytek introduced Crysis to us and blew our minds and our gaming rigs away with the sheer brilliance that was Crysis’ graphics. Come February 22nd and Crytek is all set to launch Crysis 3 and restart the “But can it run Crysis?” meme, all over again.

Crysis 3 Midnight Launch

Game4u will be conducting a midnight launch party at Mega Mall, Andheri (W) in Mumbai and at MGF Metropolis in Gurgaon. Customers who have pre-ordered are set to get the following goodies:

  • For PC: Hunter Edition + Stalker pack & Brawler Pack DLC + T-shirt + (Crysis 1 digital download for Team Elite Members) + 50% off on Crysis 2, Dead Space 2, Medal of Honor: Warfighter and Mass Effect 3 available in the ‘downloads4u’ catalogue
  • For PS3: Hunter Edition + Stalker & Brawler Pack DLC + T- shirt + (Crysis 1 digital download – for Team Elite Members)
  • For Xbox360: Hunter Edition + T-shirt (plus a yet-to-be-confirmed DLC)

The first customer to pick up a copy of the game will also get a “1st to own” certificate from Game4u.

Game4u Adds Mac Games to downloads4u

Few months ago, Game4u had introduced downloads4u, their digital download service for PC games. Today, Game4u has added several Mac titles available for digital download on downloads4u.

In collaboration with leading Mac games publisher, Aspyr Media, Game4u has introduced several Mac titles including triple A titles such as Borderlands 2, Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 and Call of Duty series with pricing on-par with the local retail prices.

Mac catalogueIf you’re wondering how downloads4u behaves like, check my post on impressions of the service. The Mac games available at downloads4u‘s Mac section – check it out and let me know if your experience is better than mine!

Game4u Announces End of Season Sale

Game4u, India’s leading games retailer has announced the launch of their end of season sale. The end of season sale runs till February 28th, and is valid at all offline Game4u retailers as well as their online store. With over 70 titles up for sale, with discounts ranging from 20% to 50% this is a great time to purchase those games you wanted.

Game4uSome of the most popular games, including Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution, Assassin’s Creed 3, FIFA 13, Borderlands 2 are on sale. Head over to Game4u online, or to your nearest retailer to grab these while the offer is still on.

Blizzard Previews Patch 1.0.7 for Diablo III, Patch to Introduce PvP

Since the launch of Diablo III, fans have been vociferously asking when Diablo III will get Player-versus-Player or PvP combat mechanic. PvP is an integral part of multiplayer RPGs and often the main driving force for player to grind for better items.

 

After much waiting, Blizzard has finally announced that Patch 1.0.7 will bring in the PvP system. The patch is still under development and is yet to hit the Public Test Realm(PTR) indicating that we’re still a few weeks off till it lands in the game. Blizzard, however, has detailed the mechanics of the PvP system, called “Dueling”, in their latest blog post.

Here’s how the Dueling system works:

  • Dueling is completely opt-in. Unlike Diablo 2, for the current Dueling system, there will be a separate area for PvP
  • Players can opt to duel by speaking to Nek the Brawler at the Inn in New Tristram
  • As mentioned above, Dueling will take place in a completely new zone, the “Scorched Chapel”
  • Dueling supports up to four players in a Free-For-All format
  • As of now, there’s scoring or objective system – so it’ll be just a big, fat bash-’em-up area.

Blizzard also mentions that death is not permanent, even for Hardcore characters. While the dueling system is very minimalistic for now, knowing Blizzard and how they’ve built the game mechanics such as the Infernal Machine over the past few patches, I think it’s safe to assume that there are grand plans for Dueling.

Besides dueling, Blizzard’s bringing a bunch of changes for the Wizard and Monk classes

  • Skills like Arcane Orb, Blizzard, Shock Pulse will get a damage buff
  • Monk’s Spirit Spender skills will get a damage buff

From an item hunting/finding point of view, Blizzard will add new set of Rare crafting recipes which will create account-bound items — much like the Hellfire ring. The Monster Power mechanic, introduced in the previous patch also gets a buff with all Monster Powers giving an increased experience percent in Inferno difficulty, up from it’s base limit. In addition, Monster Power can also be applied to public games.

These are just a sampler of the changes that 1.0.7 is set to bring in. I believe 1.0.7 should give many Diablo players who’ve stoped playing an incentive to get back into the game.

Microsoft Gives Us a Glimpse of the Future of Gaming with Its Stunning and Uber-cool Illumiroom Project

Yesterday, during Samsung’s CES keynote, Microsoft’s Eric Rudder made a brief appearance to demonstrate Microsoft’s vision for extending computing interactions. Rudder, who is Microsoft’s Chief Technology Strategy Officer, revealed a Microsoft Research project called Illumiroom that takes advantage of surfaces around your display to augment and enhance your experience.

Illumiroom uses Kinect for Windows camera to scan your environment, and then uses a projector to project an extension of the image being displayed on the screen onto the walls and other surfaces. Illumiroom uses the appearance and the geometry of the room (captured by Kinect) to adapt the projected visuals in real-time without any need to custom pre-process the graphics. The most obvious application of this is gaming. However, this technology could find its way onto a lot of different segments. Microsoft has published a video that shows Illumiroom in action with games like Red Eclipse and Supertuxkart, and the effect is simply stunning. Illumiroom projects your gaming environment onto external surfaces in your room and provides an experience that is both immersive, engrossing, and uber-cool.

Microsoft has already patented the concept behind Illumiroom, and a is promising to publish the research paper at ACM CHI 2013.

A Look at Some of the Top Selling Games in India for 2012

2012 is coming to a close and the New Year will be upon us soon. It’s been a fairly good year for gaming – lots of blockbusters, new IPs, new sequels being released.

game4u logo

Game4u, Milestone’s retail unit for PC and video games, got in touch with me and and sent me the charts for the top selling games of the year on Game4u, and here’s how it looks like.

Platform-wise break up – Top 5 Games

PS2

  1. FIFA 12
  2. FIFA 13
  3. Ra.One
  4. WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2010
  5. God Of War

PS3

  1. FIFA 13
  2. Assassins Creed 3
  3. Call Of Duty Black Ops II
  4. Uncharted 3 Drake’s Deception
  5. Sports Champions

Xbox 360

  1. FIFA 13
  2. Kinect Sports Season 2
  3. Call Of Duty Black Ops II
  4. Assassins Creed 3
  5. Halo 4

Nintendo Wii

  1. Family Party 30 Game
  2. Super Mario Galaxy
  3. FIFA Soccer 12
  4. FIFA Soccer 13
  5. Need For Speed:The Run

PSP

  1. WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2011
  2. GTA Liberty City Stories
  3. Cars 2
  4. FIFA 13
  5. God Of War:Ghost Of Sparta

PS Vita

  1. Uncharted: Golden Abyss
  2. FIFA Football
  3. Assassins Creed 3: Liberation
  4. FIFA 13
  5. Unit 13

PC

  1. FIFA 13
  2. Assassins Creed 3
  3. Max Payne 3
  4. Battlefield 3 (Standard Edition)
  5. Need For Speed:Most Wanted

Overall Top 10 games

  1. FIFA 13
  2. Assassins Creed 3
  3. FIFA 12
  4. Max Payne 3
  5. Call of Duty Black Ops 2
  6. GTA IV: Complete Edition
  7. Need For Speed:Most Wanted
  8. Battlefield 3
  9. Uncharted Drakes Deception
  10. Sports Champions

Top 5 Pre-ordered games

  1. Fifa 13
  2. Assassins Creed 3
  3. COD Black Ops 2
  4. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
  5. Medal of Honor: Warfighter

Thoughts on the list

Looking at the numbers, it’s pretty obvious that FIFA rules the roost, with FIFA 12/13 being on top 3 of most platforms. Need For Speed: Most Wanted failed to make it to the top charts, despite being the #4 pre-ordered game. If you’ve played the game(review here), you’ll know why it’s not in the top selling list.

I was curious on knowing how Game4u’s downloads4u service performed, but Milestone refused to disclose the units sold and all I got was that

Battlefield 3 Premium and Hitman Absolution: Professional Edition were our big sellers

It’ll be interesting to see how the upcoming year will play out – especially with the Digital downloads service.

THQ Comes out with Humble Bundle; Offers 7 Games at Prices You Wish to Pay

Humble Bundles often showcase games by Indie developers. This time however, things have taken a turn with troubled North American games developer/publisher THQ keeping some of their top-hits on sale, with the usual Humble Bundle premise of pay-what-you-want.

The Humble THQ Bundle packs Company of Heroes (and its expansions Opposing Fronts and Tales of Valor), Darksiders, Metro 2033, and Red Faction: Armageddon. If you pay above the average price, you’ll also unlock Saints Row: The Third. Unlike other bundles, the THQ bundle is not DRM-free, Windows only and you get keys for the games which can be activated in Steam. Besides the games, the bundle also packs in soundtracks for each of the games. The amount can be split to be paid to THQ, Charity(Child’s Play/American Red Cross) or the Humble Bundle site maintainers.

Though the lack of cross-platform support and DRM-free games slightly deviates from the Humble Bundle branding, the games included are fantastically awesome and is well worth the purchase. Head over to the site, play what you want and buy the games!

Update: With just under 18 hours remaining for Humble Bundle, THQ has added Titan Quest, Warhammer 40,000:Dawn of War and Path to War DLC for Red Faction: Armageddon since the past few days. If you’ve still haven’t bought it, now would be a good time to get it!

Battle.net outs Blizzard’s Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm Release Date

While Starcraft II fans have been eagerly waiting for the announcement of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm’s Release date, Eurogamer managed to go one step ahead and grab a screenshot of Battle.net offering StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm up for presale.

Starcraft II

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm will be released on March 12, 2013 and you can proceed with pre-ordering either the Standard version or the Digital Deluxe edition right now. Battle.net mentions that grabbing the Digital Deluxe edition gets you the original expansion, Wings of Liberty, along with in-game items for World of Warcraft and Diablo III.

The bonus items include:

  • Three StarCraft II Swarm-themed Battle.net portraits
  • StarCraft II Zerg Ultralisk “Torrasque” skin
  • World of Warcraft Baneling Battle Pet
  • Diablo III “Blade Wings” item – Queen of Blades-styled wings for Diablo III heroes
  • Diablo III Zerg banner sigil

Purchasing the Digital Deluxe lets you use Diablo III and World of Warcraft  in-game items right away, while StarCraft II items will have to wait till the game gets released. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is available for purchase from Battle.net.

DisneyUTV’s Indiagames Giving Away Games for Free This Week

It’s the festive season of Diwali here in India, and to celebrate the season, DisneyUTV’s Indiagames is giving  some of their popular games for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad for free.

Every day, for the next few days, one game will be available for free. The game giveaway schedule is as below:

If you missed grabbing each of these games, the apps will on sale for $0.99 for a week starting from November 23rd to December 28th, 2012.

The other games which will be on sale are

So if you’ve never grabbed these games before, now would be an ideal time to get each of these games for free — or at the sale price of $0.99 from November 23rd to December 28th, 2012.

Preload Need For Speed Most Wanted on Downloads4u

Game4u’s digital downloads service, downloads4u was launched few days ago(read my thoughts on the service here). Close on the heels of the launch, Electronic Arts’ newest game in the Need For Speed franchise, the rebooted Need For Speed Most Wanted is available for preload on downloads4u.

Preloading allows you to download the game before the game’s released. Once released, you’ll get the activation code, allowing you to start playing the game immediately, without having to wait for the physical media to ship over.

I’m a huge proponent of digital downloads & preloading, and it’s good to see more vendors are jumping on to the digital distribution bandwagon. You can buy preload Need For Speed Most Wanted by heading over here and purchasing the game using your credit/debit cards or netbanking. The game’s scheduled for November 2nd release and is priced at Rs 1499. While you wait for the download to complete, here’s live action TV ad and a gameplay video of what you can expect from Need For Speed Most Wanted.

Steam’s Halloween Sale is On!

Halloween is here, and if pumpkin carvings and trick-or-treating wasn’t fun enough, Steam’s enticing you to go online and buy some spooky games.

In typical seasonal fashion, Steam’s Halloween Sale is here. The sale runs till the 1st of November, and has some well known horror games on sale.

Here’s a list of some of the games on sale

These are just a small list of some of the most popular games on sale — head over to Steam to checkout the full list of games on sale.

 

Game4u Launches Downloads4u, A Digital Download Service for PC and Mac Games in India

Game4u, Milestone’s retail unit for PC and video games have introduced a digital download service known as downloads4u. Reporting for MCV India, Sameer mentions that as of now, the games available for download are limited to EA’s titles and few other titles from smaller publishers.

Titled downloads4u, the service allows registered Game4u users to purchase games and download them, much like EA’s Origin or Valve’s Steam. The accepted mode of payments include Net Banking and Credit/Debit cards.

To test out how the service works, I decided to buy Need For Speed:Undercover — for lack  of other better titles I was interested in. The service works, but there are some niggles which detract from the experience.

For starters, there’s no landing page or a prominent link to the downloads4u service. Navigation to the games available on downloads4u is limited by a drop down menu at the sidebar which is pretty easy to ignore and dismiss.

downloads4u location

The search results are pretty poor and there’s no way to filter only the games available for digital download. Once the title is purchased, the interstitial page was a rather bland page with title set as “Insert title here”.

Download4u

The page offers you a direct link to a bootstrappable game executable — there’s no common downloads4u client available, so if you buy multiple games, your hard drive’s bound to be littered with bootstrapper for each game. Though the game downloader doesn’t have a pause/resume button on the UI, thankfully closing the app and then reopening it later does resume the download.

downloads4u client UI

I hope the downloads4u takes some time in improving these. Price wise, there’s no difference between the digital downloads and the retail unit. With Internet bandwidth at premium and ridiculous Fair Usage Plans(FUP) among Internet Service Providers in India, I’m not too sure if the service will take off. Perhaps a discounted approach at the games available might incite the users to try out the service.

Overall, I’m pretty happy that Game4u has started this service — digital distribution in India is still at a very nascent stage and with initiatives such as this and from EA’s Origin, I hope digital distribution becomes more commonplace.