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Gaming

Possible Starcraft 2 Beta Key?

By hagrin - Posted on 05 June 2007

Speculation is running rampant as Blizzard announced that they will be giving away a beta key to BlizzCon attendees for "an upcoming Blizzard game". Now, while Blizzard probably has several games in development, I almost guarantee that the beta key will be for Starcraft 2. Why? Most likely because there were early beliefs mentioned by Blizzard that they could get the game out by Christmas 2007 which would meant that they would have to be in beta by August which is exactly when BlizzCon takes place (BlizzCon takes place in early August).

In other Starcraft 2 news, there was an interview with Blizzard's Cinematic Creative Director, Nick Carpenter, where he talks about making cinematic tools used to make certain images available to users with the Starcraft 2 release. I find this pretty interesting and should allow for users to create some pretty nice fan content.

Starcraft 2 Release Date - "Not in 2007"

By hagrin - Posted on 31 May 2007

In an interview with MSNBC, Blizzard's Vice President Rob Pardo announced that Starcraft 2 would not be released in 2007. At first, he stated that some inside Blizzard thought that they could have Starcraft 2 released by Christmas 2007 so I have to imagine that they are pretty deep in the development cycle. When you think about Starcraft 2 and the fact that much of the gameplay and how a unit works, etc. has already been done, most of the work that needed to be done was with the 3D engine and the Battle.Net enhancements.

I admit - I'm crying a little inside right now.

Starcraft 2 Announced

By hagrin - Posted on 20 May 2007

Blizzard announced an early Christmas gift for gamers around the world when they confirmed the existence of Starcraft 2. The Official Starcraft 2 website has launched and actually holds a lot of important information concerning the sequel. Starcraft enthusiasts learned the following pieces of info:

  1. There will be no new 4th race and we will still have the Zerg, Protoss and Terran as the 3 races implemented in Starcraft 2. For years people speculated that there would be a 4th race, but Blizzard has kept the original's integrity and kept the racial balance simple.
  2. While there will be a new 3D engine powering the game's graphics, if one was to look at the screenshots you will see that while units have much greater detail, the engine still remains somewhat simplistic probably to not sacrifice network performance.
  3. Many of the unit names will stay the same; however, from the screenshots, you can see such units as battleships and other air units have been dramatically redesigned.
  4. At this time, I don't see any Brood Wars related units mentioned on the site.
  5. While only the Protoss profile has been completed by Blizzard, you can see the inclusion of new units such as the Immortal, Stalker, Phase Prism and Gateway/Warp Gate.

One note from their site that is slightly disappointing is that Blizzard will be selling a limited edition statue for the whopping price tag of $250 USD. I mean, does Blizzard think that Tychus Findlay is going to be the next ceramic hummel?

Most importantly - there is no scheduled release date for Starcraft 2 at this time. Blizzard has always released quality games and they take their time during the game creation process. Now, from a business perspective, I would guess that Blizzard is going to hold onto Starcraft 2 and release he game as they start to witness the downward decline of World of Warcraft subscriptions. There would be no feasible business reason to encroach on their WoW franchise until absolutely necessary. Therefore, if you're a Starcraft and Blizzard fan, you can put money on the fact that you won't hear anything about a Starcraft 2 release date until WoW has run its finanically successful course.

Starcraft 2 will be the only game I will play in the near future.

Real Life Asheron's Call?

By hagrin - Posted on 26 January 2007

I used to have this video hosted directly on my site until it was linked all over the Internet and ate about 400GBs of bandwith in about 4 days. Thanks to YouTube I can now offer "Real Life Asheron's Call" yet again. Years later I still laugh when I watch this ...

First PS3 Reviews

By hagrin - Posted on 21 November 2006

November 17th, 2006 has come and gone and the PlayStation 3 madness has started.

Ars Technica has posted their PS3 review and I definitely found a lot of their comments very interesting. Primarily, although the PS3 is rather large in size, it's freakishly quiet and definitely outshines the Xbox 360 in this department. Second, there was little innovation in the controller except for a complete Wii ripoff of motion sensing movement and gameplay (which they describe as "gimmicky" at best). Ars sums it all up best by saying "This is starting to be a theme for the PS3: some great features that are hindered by poor software support". Ouch.

Ars ended up giving the PS3 a 6/10 as an overall score.

Other reviews are out there and around, but this is the best review on the entire Internet. Trust me, I read almost all of them. I bet those who paid $3000 for a PS3 on Ebay opening day are wishing they had waited now.

PS3 Pre-Orders Being Cancelled at GameStop

By hagrin - Posted on 13 November 2006

On the heels of my last story, Joystiq is announcing that GameStop has given the bad news that they will not be able to fulfill their Playstation 3 pre-orders. As Joystiq accurately reported, even if you were one of the lucky 8-12 people who had their $100 accepted and received a pre-order receipt for a PS3, GameStop may not be able to honor your PlayStation 3 pre-order due to lower than expected initial unit numbers.

GameStop, in attempts to perform damage control, will call all pre-order holders and for thos unlucky enough to not get a console on release day, they will give you a free game or DVD (less than $20 in value however). Although JoyStiq is unwilling to place the blame (and probably rightly so as we don't have all the facts), I put the blame squarely on Sony overpromising retail stores and then lowering initial release numbers when they realized they couldn't meet their own expectations. Do you really need any more reasons to boycott Sony at this point?

Playstation 3 Shipments Lowered

By hagrin - Posted on 08 November 2006

Initial Playstation 3 shipments are being halved as Sony cannot meet their forceasted shipment predictions. This news comes right before their launch date, right before Thanksgiving and right before the lead-in for the holiday buying season. As Neowin reported, such major retail chains such as Best Buy have had to dramatically shift their marketing strategy to make up for the lack of PS3 inventory by pushing the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii to its customers. As many have heard me say, this announcement comes as no surprise to me as Sony has been disappointing in all business areas this last year - enoughso that I have officially stopped purchasing Sony products.

However, Ebay sellers are rejoicing today. As you can imagine, with shorter supplies higher prices follow and those who have their pre-orders filled will be able to turn around and sell the console for a hefty markup. If you're lucky enough to get a launch date PS3, sell it - you'd be fiscally irresponsible not to sell.

PS3 Pre-Ordering: Round One

By hagrin - Posted on 10 October 2006

If you're looking to pre-order the PS3, I wouldn't bother researching much more at this moment. Gamestop and EB Games announced the following for their first round of PS3 pre-orders:

  • Starting 10/10/2006, pre-orders for the PS3 will be accepted at Gamestop and EB Games stores.
  • Most stores will be limited to eight (8) PS3 systems upon first distribution. Some high traffic stores could receive a double shipment.
  • Store employees are allowed to pre-order up to two (2) systems leaving only 6 for actual customers.
  • Pre-ordering requires a $100 deposit; however this deposit does not guarantee you a system at launch time due to "limited supply".

So, there you have it. Unless you run out tonight (or more like right now) to your local gaming store, chances are you're not getting your launch date PS3. Sony overpromised and underperformed with these launch numbers and many will miss out on obtaining a PS3 for this holiday season.

And we thought that Microsoft had supply issues with the Xbox 360 launch?

Nintendo Wii Knowledge Base

By hagrin - Posted on 03 September 2006

Sorry for the somewhat slow updates, but as I nurse what seems to be a stress fracture in my root foot, I have started a new project - WiiKB.com. WiiKB.com, powered by Wiki technology, will provide the gaming industry the most comprehensive and informative information concerning the Nintendo Wii - my personal pick to come out the "real" winner in the next generation console wars. With superior innovation, a low price, great games and "just enough" computing power, the Nintendo Wii should provide its owners with a unique gaming experience and we're hoping to help owners and potential buyers find the information they need about their system. Although still in the early stages and much of the information mirrors what is already on Wikipedia, WiiKB.com should end up being a valuable resource to the console gaming community. Once we get all the relevant information up and indexed, we'll start working on non-Wiki functionality such as applications (homebrew code), news scraping (because all the cool kids are doing it these days) and building a real Wii community.

First PS3 Review

By hagrin - Posted on 05 August 2006

In one of the first hands-on reviews found on the Internet for the Playstation 3, Kikizo has obtained a highly secretive look at a basically finished Playstation 3. There was much that they could not talk about due to a NDA, but they did reveal the following pieces of information which I'll bulletpoint:

  • From what they had seen, there was no BluRay support to be seen and everything was being written for standard DVD size.
  • The graphics chip used by the PS3 is called the RSX ("Reality Synthesiser"). Initial impressions were that, while although powerful, it doesn't live up to the hype offered by Sony. This is mainly due to the fact that the games are running in 720p and not 1080i.
  • The PS3 showed the potential to handle more simultaneous graphical tasks than the already on the market Xbox 360. However, developers for the PS3 say that they will need additional libraries to be provided by Sony to unlock even more power from the Playstation 3 console.

So, initial impressions don't seem favorable for the PS3. If only Microsoft could figure out their supply problems, they could really dominate the North American market (I think Japan is a lost cause for MSFT still).

Update 11/21/2006: Ars Technica has posted what I consider the best PS3 review on the Internet. Read about their PS3 review here.

Update 11/13/2006: A lot of people are still hitting this post and I want to make sure that readers are actually finding the information that they came here to look for. So, here are some initial retail release reviews (alliteration?) of the PS3 for your pleasure:

Update 10/24/2006: Since this post is still ranking highly for the term "PS3 Review", I wanted to give users looking for good PS3 info all the necessary information they need. Check back frequently as I should be updating this post as it remains useful as a PS3 Review source.