Monday 24 May 2010

StarCraft(R) II: Wings of Liberty(TM) in Stores Starting July 27, 2010


 Christo [PCD]    24 May : 20:20
 None    Misc

IRVINE, Calif., May 03, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

IRVINE, Calif., May 03, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. announced today that its highly anticipated real-time strategy game, StarCraft(R) II: Wings of Liberty(TM), will arrive in stores throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau starting on July 27, 2010. Players will also be able to purchase StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty directly from Blizzard Entertainment shortly after the retail launch.

"We've been looking forward to revisiting the StarCraft universe for many years, and we're excited that the time for that is almost here," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "Thanks to our beta testers, we're making great progress on the final stages of development, and we'll be ready to welcome players all over the world to StarCraft II and the new Battle.net(R) in just a few months."

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is the sequel to Blizzard Entertainment's 1998 hit StarCraft, which has been hailed by players and critics worldwide as one of the top real-time strategy games of all time. Sporting a vibrant 3D-graphics engine, StarCraft II will once again center on the clash between the protoss, terrans, and zerg, with each side deploying legions of veteran, upgraded, and new unit types. Unparalleled online play for StarCraft II will be available through a new version of Battle.net, Blizzard Entertainment's world-renowned gaming service. Battle.net has been redesigned from the ground up to be the premier online gaming destination for Blizzard gamers, with several enhancements and new features, such as voice communication, cloud file storage, leagues and ladders, achievements, stat-tracking, and more.

The solo campaign for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will continue the epic saga where it left off in StarCraft: Brood War(R). The story line chronicles the exploits of marshal-turned-rebel-leader Jim Raynor and features both familiar faces and new heroes. Players will be able to tailor the experience, choosing their own mission path and selecting technology and research upgrades to suit their playing style throughout the 29-mission campaign. Several challenge-mode mini-games will also be included, with focused goals designed to ease players into the basics of multiplayer strategies.

For more information on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, visit the official website at www.starcraft2.com.Further details about the game, including the alternative pricing options previously mentioned for certain regions, will be announced in the coming weeks. With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently available -- visit www.blizzard.com/jobs for more information and to learn how to apply.
[Submitted by Synthetic_Darkness]

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Tuesday 06 April 2010

Free-to-play Need for Speed MMO hits open beta


 Christo [PCD]    06 Apr : 20:29
 None    Misc

After 14 installments over the last 15 years, the most ambitious and innovative version of Need for Speed is on the horizon.

After 14 installments over the last 15 years, the most ambitious and innovative version of Need for Speed is on the horizon. EA is working on a free-to-play massively multiplayer online racer, exclusive to the PC. Joystiq notes that an MMO version of the game could be the last Need for Speed title EA will have to make, offering a potential platform for "limitless updates."

Called Need for Speed World, the title has only just reached beta but already boasts over 150 miles of open road. Joystiq says the game follows the arcade-inspired mechanics of previous NFS entries, and should be widely accessible with hardware requirements including a 2.0GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 512MB graphics card.

While Need for Speed World is free to play, dedicated racers can use real money to buy in-game goods, such as improved vehicles and skills. This is only speculation based on Joystiq's article, but it sounds like much of that content is open to anyone willing to grind for it. Regardless, you can't go wrong with a free game, even if you don't spend 30 hours a week playing.

EA will supposedly introduce new areas, driving abilities and more to the game every few months, but it sounds like there's already plenty to see. The game will debut this summer but it's officially in open beta, and you can take it for a spin by applying here. Watch a gameplay video after the break.
[Submitted by Synthetic_Darkness]

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Saturday 09 January 2010

Google or Apple — who’s the smartphone money on?


 MaTiCa    09 Jan : 14:31
 None    Misc

Apple and Google, once the friendliest of Silicon Valley neighbours, have set themselves on a collision course.

Apple and Google, once the friendliest of Silicon Valley neighbours, have set themselves on a collision course.

While Google was driving its tanks into Apple retail territory this week with its new smartphone, Steve Jobs quietly bought a mobile advertising company, potentially pitching the group that he founded into the online ad sales business.

Google’s Nexus One “superphone??? is a direct competitor to Apple’s iPhone and, according to some, a worthy rival. In buying Quattro Wireless for a reported $275 million (£170 million), Apple is following Google’s acquisition of AdMob, a mobile advertising network that competed with Quattro, for $750 million.

The ground they are both trying to conquer is the mobile internet; both see it as essential to growth. Analysts suggest that new internet connections — and web page views and advertising clicks — are much more likely to come from the 4 billion mobile users worldwide than the 1 billion PC users.

The key to that growth is likely to be smartphones, which are set to dominate the way in which we access the web on the move. In the US, for example, smartphone adoption grew from 11 per cent of the mobile market at the end of 2008 to 17 per cent at the end of 2009, according to Forrester Research. Both technology powerhouses want as much control over this new gateway as possible as they move beyond their traditional markets. Rob Enderle, technology analyst of the Enderle Group, the consultancy, said: “I think Google might be more focused on Apple than Microsoft.???

Apple is likely to use Quattro to make the iPhone platform still more attractive to the thousands of software developers who have turned its App Store into such a success. If Apple can offer a way to sell ads in the applications, it can help those developers make more money. Apple is keenly aware that the iPhone’s App Store is a big selling point for consumers; just as Google was launching the Nexus One, Apple put out a press release declaring that more than 3 billion applications had been downloaded for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. Mr Jobs said: “We see no signs of the competition catching up any time soon.???

The iPhone is a goldmine, with more than 30 million handsets sold in the past two and a half years. And demand is still growing, thanks to international launches and carefully planned hardware updates. The device helped to boost Apple’s annual revenue from $24 billion in the 2007 financial year to $36.5 billion in its most recent financial year, which ended in September.

Google’s revenues have also soared, from $1.5 billion in 2003 to more than $22 billion last year, the vast bulk of the money coming from the internet search ad business. Google wants AdMob to help it to dominate mobile search advertising similarly.

But it also wants its Android operating system for mobiles to be used by as many devices as possible. So it has taken the logical step of selling its own phone.

Google is looking to become a big-volume retailer, too, through its phone webstore. At the launch of the Nexus One this week, it said the smartphone was simply the first of many Android handsets that it planned to sell directly online to the public. Even if the Nexus is not an “iPhone killer???, as some had expected before its launch, many see the Android operating system as the only true rival to the dominance of the iPhone.

The Google/Apple collision has been coming for more than a year. It was the potential clash over Google’s increasing mobile ambitions that led last August to the resignation of Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, from the Apple board.

The move came three days after the US Federal Communications Commission, the US industry regulator, said it was looking into why Apple rejected a Google software application for the iPhone. Mr Jobs cited Google’s expansion into “Apple’s core businesses??? as the main reason for the departure.

In the past, the two companies have been close, with Apple board members Bill Campbell and Al Gore, the former US Vice-President, serving as advisers to Google in its early days.

Now Google’s acquisition of AdMob is mired in a regulatory review, though it is expected to be approved. This may explain why Google went out of its way to welcome Apple’s acquisition of Quattro. Paul Feng, Google’s group product manager, wrote that “investments and acquisitions??? ... were “a sign that vigorous growth and competition will continue???. Analysts noted that Google’s warm response may have been motivated by a desire to persuade the authorities that the AdMob deal should go through.

Beyond the politics, both companies know there is much at stake. The business of placing ads on smartphone screens is small but growing fast. Advertisers spent just $416 million on mobile ads last year, compared with $22 billion on websites, according to eMarketer, the research firm. However, the mobile spend is expected to grow to $1.6 billion by 2013 as smartphones and other mobile computing devices become increasingly popular.

In hardware and in software, Google and Apple are set to slug it out.

SOURCE: Times Online

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