This week, you’ll be able to try out Square Enix’s latest for free.I think I might be a victim (fortunate or no) of the hype machine given that over the last couple of weeks I’ve gone from mildly curious about Final Fantasy XIII-2 to being actively interested with a hint of anticipation a few weeks out from its January 31st release date. Well, it looks like I’ll be able to temper (or stoke) that excitement next week with a demo for the game hitting XBLA and PSN, according to the Square Enix Members blog.The actual roundup of dates are January 10th for PSN in North America and January 11th for the worldwide XBLA release and on PSN in the EU. The blog post doesn’t note what will actually be contained in the demo but promises details in a later update.Nic Items Followups:
And just like that, it’s over. The settlement between Bethesda Softworks and Interplay in the dispute over Fallout Online, announced last week, immediately returned the rights to develop a Fallout MMO to Bethesda, with all related licenses previously granted to Interplay declared null and void. Bethesda’s parent company, ZeniMax Media, agreed to pay $2 million to Interplay as “consideration” in the settlement, and both companies will pay their own legal costs.
The deal will also see the rights to the other Fallout IPs – Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics – become the property of Bethesda as of December 31, 2013. Bethesda’s original deal to acquire the Fallout franchise from Interplay in 2007 granted merchandising rights to the original Fallout games to Interplay, but under the terms of the settlement those rights will now expire at the end of 2013, at which point Interplay will be fully, finally out of the Fallout game.
Multiverse shuts down: Firefly, Buffy MMOs officially dead
It may be 2012, but 2011 isn’t finished claiming its victims just yet. As discovered by Ten Ton Hammer, the team behind the Multiverse development platform has officially pulled the plug due to lack of funding. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, we’re sure you’ve heard of the two IPs most closely associated with it.
Multiverse was slated to be the engine powering both the Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer MMOs, but as of December 7, 2011, fans will have to look elsewhere for their Whedonverse fix. There is always Firefly Universe Online, but due to the unauthorized nature of the project and the lack of updates, we’re not holding our breath.
BioWare Looks to Bring SWTOR to Mac
BioWare label leads Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk are quite dedicated to their fans. At least that’s a recurring theme for them when talking about their company’s moves in new directions, to which both repeatedly referred during a recent interview in midtown Manhattan. “We know there’s a big Mac audience of BioWare fans … we know that’s an important and large audience. And we want to serve that audience,” Muzyka told me when asked about a potential Mac version of the his company’s latest major release, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
“I’d say ‘not yet,’” Zeschuk assured me when I told him that, as a BioWare fan, I’m unable to play The Old Republic on my less than two-year-old MacBook. Though Muzyka was quick to remind me that I cantechnically play the game on a Windows partition, he also admitted that it wasn’t an ideal situation.
Microsoft to pair DVR with next Xbox?
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the software giant a patent on December 27 for an “integrated gaming and media experience,” in which content could be recorded on a gaming console.
Here’s the essence of patent No. 8,083,593 according to the USPTO abstract:
A digital video recorder (DVR) application running alongside a television client component allows users to record media content on the gaming console. The DVR application also integrates itself with the console menu. Once integrated, users can record media content while playing games. Alternatively, users can record content when the gaming console is turned off. The recorded content can include television programming, gaming experience (whether local or online), music, DVDs, and so on. When in the recording state, users can also switch between various other media modes, whether gaming, television, and so on.
Microsoft has always wanted a beachhead in living rooms around the world, and the patent is the latest evidence that the company is moving toward the goal of getting consumers to fire up their Xbox whenever they flip on their TVs, not just when they want to play a game.
The early success of Bioware and EA’s Star Wars: The Old Republic is an indication of a healthy market for subscription based MMOs, according to analysts monitoring the high-profile release.
Electronic Arts said over the Christmas period that more than one million users had registered for the game, which officially went live on December 20, although it had steadily rolled out early access to the game beginning two weeks before that.
“We view the early success of Star Wars as an indication of a healthy MMO market,” said Baird Equity Research’s Colin Sebastian. “While there is likely some shifting of usage from Activision’s World of Warcraft, we see a viable market for multiple million-user MMOs in the US and Europe.”
Baird Equity estimates that the game has peak concurrent users of roughly 350,000 players.
According to analysts at Cowen and Company the uptake of The Old Republic has had “minimal apparent impact” on Blizzard and Activision’s market-leading World of Warcraft.
But it also noted that it expects a decline in WoW subscriptions the fourth quarter to be higher than 2.5 per cent, following recent trends in the game which have seen players leave the game.
As of December 31, EA has a total of 215 operational Star Wars servers, with 124 in the US and 91 in Europe. Th at compares to 491 European and US servers for World of Warcraft combined.