Verizon and Coinstar announced today that they will be teaming up for a new video streaming service in the second half of this year.
Coinstar, the parent company of Redbox, has been saying for some time now that video streaming was a priority for its DVD rental kiosk empire. While other rumors had been going around for a some time now that Verizon was possibly looking to purchase Netflix as it wanted to enter the video streaming market, it seems that Big Red is instead going to go the route of starting something entirely new while helping Redbox out with its dreams.
Details on the new service are very light at this time with the press release only stating that the new service will offer “subscription services and more in an easy-to-use, flexible and affordable service that will allow all consumers across the U.S. to enjoy the new and popular entertainment they want, whenever they choose, using the media and devices they prefer.” Beyond that there is no name as of yet, no clue as to what the cost will be, if any plans will include rentals from kiosks or what content partners they have signed agreements with. Suspicions are running strong that all of that information will be held back until closer to the launch date in the latter half of this year.
The number of streaming options out there is quickly growing with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon already in the marketplace, and with the money behind Verizon and Coinstar now coming into play, it could get very messy, very quickly.
If you’re an Xbox 360 gamer with a Silver account on Xbox LIVE, you now have a brand new reason to download the demo for Mass Effect 3. This demo includes with it a glimpse into both the single player campaign and the multiplayer side of the game.
Normally, Silver members wouldn’t be able to access the multiplayer features on a demo as that’s limited to Gold account levels. However, in order to make the demo fully playable, Microsoft will upgrade any Silver account that downloads the Mass Effect 3 demo to Gold until the game releases on March 6th. The demo releases on February 14th.
So, that means that by downloading and playing the Mass Effect 3 demo on your Xbox 360 with a Silver account, you’ll effectively get almost a full month of Gold access for free.
Gold access will let you play games with friends and give you the chance to use premium apps; Netflix, Hulu Plus, Facebook (does anyone use this on their Xbox 360?) and access to the Deal of the Week (which, right now, is Bastion for half-off its normal price).
The same demo will be made available for both the PlayStation 3 and PC platforms, but nothing special happens upon downloading or playing it with either system. Both platforms offer free ways to play games together, so this whole upgrade business isn’t necessary.
Mass Effect 3′s Multiplayer Gets a Trailer!
Here is the trailer!
Mass Effect 3 will have a cooperative multiplayer element. The mode is called “Galaxy at War,” and what players team up and do within it will actually affect the outcome of the single player campaign. Completing the missions will supposedly give players higher odds of attaining a perfect ending for the game.
It’s not mandatory, but it looks like skipping the multiplayer mode entirely will affect your single player experience. I’m not sure how to feel about that.
You’ll play brand new characters here, as no one from the campaign is playable. Although, as the trailer above shows, at least Commander Shepard will make a cameo in the multiplayer mode.
BioWare’s Patrick Weekes, Senior Writer for Mass Effect 3, wrote up a blog post to accompany the multiplayer trailer. In it, he takes time to lay out a step by step gameplan for playing with a Vanguard on your team. Having one in your party, according to Weekes, dramatically changes the way battle scenarios should be played.
It’s an interesting read that sheds some light on the tactical nature of the multiplayer experience in Mass Effect 3.
You’ll be able to try the multiplayer side of this game when the title’s demo launches on February 14th. Mass Effect 3 will officially drop for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC platforms on March 6th, 2012.
Microsoft may be preparing to discontinue its virtual currency system by the end of the year, according to Inside Mobile Apps. The software giant is reportedly looking to phase out Microsoft Points in favor of real money transactions. After the switch, customers with existing Microsoft Points balances will have them converted into their local currency.
Microsoft is said to have already warned mobile developers to plan their upcoming downloadable content and in-app purchases in accordance with the change. The move isn’t all that surprising; Microsoft has been gradually introducing cash purchases for its full Xbox Live games instead of using the points system, which many have seen as confusing and unnecessary. Microsoft Points are currently used to purchase games and media content on Xbox Live, the Zune Marketplace and Windows Phone, however the system isn’t used universally, with certain features using real money transactions and others using points. Microsoft declined to comment on the story.
What do you think is better? Prepaid or Pay as you go? Let us hear your ideas!
If you played Mass Effect 2 without playing Mass Effect 1 (like me), then you’ll be able to attest to the fact that certain moments in the game simply didn’t make sense. For me, and playing the second without playing the first came down to a matter of free time, reading story summaries and fan wikis didn’t account for every plot detail referenced throughout the sequel’s campaign.
Of course, I never once complained about the references to the original. It was my fault for skipping the first, and I fully welcomed BioWare‘s decision to reward players that completed Mass Effect in its proper order.
For Mass Effect 3, however, BioWare aims to eliminate this problem for brand new gamers. Nick Clifford, who’s responsible for Product Marketing on Mass Effect 3, spoke with IGN about handling new players with the third beat in this trilogy:
“In all honesty, we didn’t do a really good job of new player orientation…If you didn’t play the first game then 2 was pretty jarring for the first half hour…
…If I’m a new player and some guy walks up to me and is like ‘Ohhhh Shepard! Remember that one time?’ I would be like ‘No. I don’t remember that one time’…So we wanted to make sure that there aren’t those moments that the player is like, ‘Who is this? What’s going on? What are they talking about?’”
According to IGN, BioWare will accomplish that by including a “story so far narrative” in the game for those that play without previous Mass Effect save files; they don’t detail the feature much more beyond that.
I will say this: having played the sequel without playing the original, I can’t possibly fathom jumping into the trilogy at its conclusion. So much happens between the first two games that starting off with the third doesn’t make much sense. If money and time are your enemies, then maybe I can see doing it. Otherwise? Play the games.
Mass Effect 3 drops for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on March 6th, 2012.
Irrational Games have announced that BioShock Infinite, the third game below the BioShock series, will have a brand new 1999 mode of play within. This mode will make the choices gamers make permanent, and progress a little more challenging for the campaign in this upcoming title.
The “1999″ bit is a reference to one of Irrational Games‘ earlier works, System Shock 2. 1999 was the year that game released. At the onset of BioShock 2, players had to pick a path and stick with it throughout the game. Even further, every choice in the game was final and had huge impacts on how the player would experience the title.
The 1999 Mode in BioShock Infinite will cash-in on that sense of play, and that’s something that a lot of diehard fans really want. Here’s the message from Ken Levine, Creative Director at Irrational Games, regarding the fan influence in adding this mode:
“I’m an old school gamer. We wanted to make sure we were taking into account the play styles of gamers like me. So we went straight to the horse’s mouth by asking them, on our website, a series of questions about how they play our games. 94.6 percent of respondents indicated that upgrade choices enhanced their BioShock gameplay experience; however, 56.8 percent indicated that being required to make permanent decisions about their character would have made the game even better.”
Where do you stand when it comes to making permanent, game-changing decisions in titles like BioShock?
BioShock Infinite will launch for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC in 2012! Are you as excited to see this game as I am?
EA and BioWare announced today that a Mass Effect 3 demo will be made available on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC platforms on February 14th, 2012.
“The extensive demo will allow players to experience the all-out galactic war against an ancient alien race known as the Reapers from multiple fronts, including the mind-blowing opening attack on Earth that kicks off the single-player campaign. Players will go deeper into the campaign and also get a taste of the franchise’s new co-operative multiplayer mode as they preview the epic story, adrenaline-pumping action and deep customization options that lie ahead when Mass Effect 3 launches on March 6, 2012.” (EA and Bioware press release)
Xbox 360 gamers with the Kinect add-on in operation alongside their console will also be able to sample the voice control features touted back at Microsoft’s E3 conference. Gamers will be able to give voice commands to companions in battle as well as use their voices to select dialogue options when those moments approach.
This is the first pre-launch demo to support full Kinect voice recognition functionality, according to a blip in the release.
Mass Effect 3 will launch for all three platforms on March 6th, less than two months from today and one month from the demo.
Final episode? What do you think we will see in the final game?