13/03-20/03/11

A lighthearted look at selected news stories from the week gone by; the odd parts, the important parts, the hilarious parts. Mostly the hilarious parts.


 

Homefront Sells, Shareholders Flee

THQ shareholders ran for cover when review scores averaging out at a paltry 72% began surfacing for Call of Duty-a-like first person shooter Homefront. Share prices plummeted 20% despite news that Homefront had received more pre-orders than any other game published by THQ. Ever. That’s like, guaranteed money, right? Seems like as good a time as any to bail then.

Regardless of review scores and scaredy-cat shareholders, Homefront went on to shift 375,000 units on day 1 in North America alone – impressive figures for new IP. Depressingly, titles like Vanquish have sold only a few more copies than that in the last five months. Ho hum. THQ were obviously happy:

“Homefront’s excellent multiplayer experience, combined with our committment to dedicated servers, makes this a must-have purchase for gamers.

“We are confident that the large-scale multiplayer maps featuring 32 players, vehicles, infantry and drones, will continue to be a major draw for the huge audience of FPS gamers looking for a new experience over the coming months.”

Well bugger that last comment, drones! DRONES! Consider me converted.

 

Angry Birds More Popular Than Oxygen

Rovio recently took the time to rub sales figures of its niche title Angry Birds in the faces of everybody everywhere. The game even your nan adores has now been downloaded 100 million times making Angry Birds more popular than Coca Cola, Justin Bieber and blow jobs. Combined. Wait… weird.

To put those figures into perspective, Xbox Live Arcade runaway hit Trials HD has been downloaded somewhere between 1 and 1.5 million times.

Angry Birds’ unrelenting success has prompted Rovio man Peter Vesterbacka to ring the death knell on consoles. Not sure I’d go that far Peter, remember Angry Birds only costs 59p. What’s that, only £59 million + advertising revenue, expansion packs and future ports. Oh…

What can we expect next from Rovio? Well, probably an Angry Birds breakfast cereal followed by a J-pop group and finally a political movement culminating in a worldwide cult of personality. I for one welcome our new pig-despising leaders.

 

Microsoft Attempts to Justify On Demand Prices. Fails.

Microsoft’s decision to price the On Demand version of Halo: Reach at £49.99 was both hilarious and utterly erroneous. For half of that price Amazon send out physical copies of Reach complete with their own little green home and a book filled with words and pictures. These things cost money. These things do not come with the digital version. So £49.99 is unjustifiable, right? WRONG.

Here’s what Microsoft had to say:

“No one retailer has the lowest pricing for every product, and our program is about giving people 24 x 7 convenience and selection when shopping for Xbox 360 games. We’re incredibly excited about what Games on Demand means for digital distribution, and will continue to evaluate and evolve the service to meet market and consumer demands.”

Uh huh. Yeah. Right. I see. Oh you were finished. Sorry I turned off at “giving”.

There’s a bigger problem than the immediate daylight robbery going on here. It’s within the realms of possibility that one day, in the not-too-distant future, consoles may follow in the footsteps of their PC brethren and begin selling titles as downloadable only products (AAA games, not XBLA). What happens when Microsoft dictates the prices of games? This.

Snack Sized News Bites:

Epic-as-it-is-old RPG Oblivion’s much-loved £2 horse armour is still in vogue according to Bethesda VP Pete Hines. The almost head honcho announced the news in an interview with OXM, swearing there and then that more than one person had paid genuine money for horse armour the day before. The real question here is, should we be surprised? An avatar dog-in-a-bag costs £4, at least a horse-in-armour won’t chew your virtual iPhone and piss on your virtual homework.

Saints Row developer Volition has given the go-ahead to pirate their games. Sort of. Studio manager Eric Barker had this to say: “First and foremost, we want to make sure we’re making a game people would want to pirate.” So no explicit permission then but you could give it a go and see if it stands up in court. Let me know how that goes.

Newly appointed BAFTA fellow Peter Molyneux has announced that his favourite game of the last ten years is (dramatic pause) Minecraft. In a story too heartwarming and verbose to repeat here, the Lionhead chief details the joy he and his son share when playing the indie success story. My favourite game of the last 10 years is Zombie Apocalypse, read why here.

And finally, Ubisoft have been at the forefront of controversy in the past with their attempts to stifle PC piracy using draconian DRM. So what delicious irony we have here: the We Dare developer may be distributing pirated copies of its own music. Reddit user plginger (glorious name) made the startling discovery and the website was all too happy to hurl it on the front page. Read all the juicy details and view photo proof of the comedy of errors here.

 

You can view all previous Yesterday’s News Today features by clicking on the features bar at the top of this page and navigating to the aptly titled “Yesterday’s News Today” menu.

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