291w ago - The Agency - the spy-themed massively multiplayer action game being developed for PS3 and PC by Sony Online Entertainment - is to feature officially supported real money trading.
Real money trading is the use of real money to buy in-game assets - items, currency and services - in MMOs. It is a common feature of free-to-play MMOs such as MapleStory, but frowned upon in most subscription games.
The announcement comes as part of a deal between SOE and real money trading specialists Live Gamer. Unsurprisingly, SOE's forthcoming family-friendly, free-to-play MMO Free Realms is also covered by the deal.
SOE has already partnered with Live Gamer in the unusual step of offering a sanctioned real money trading platform for its subscription game, EverQuest II.
SOE has yet to reveal the business model for The Agency. Although EverQuest II proves that real money trading support does not necessarily mean a subscription-free game, the Live Gamer deal will certainly lead to speculation that the promising espionage MMO will go free-to-play.
SOE president John Smedley seemed to hint as much in his comment on the deal. "We are actively exploring free-to-play and other revenue models, and always looking for new ways to engage and entertain gamers," he said. "Live Gamer is a proven partner...
291w ago - If Microsoft follows the same schedule it did last year, the Spring system update for the Xbox 360 should be right around the corner.
Today, an alleged and wholly unconfirmed list of changes included in the "Q2 2008" update was sent to us, supposedly forwarded from an internal source. The full list features about 80 new feature additions, tweaks and changes but was purported to be incomplete and subject to change.
Some are simply interesting as curiosities, such as an option to purchase Xbox Live memberships for charities and the addition of a Media section for audio delivered through feeds, such as podcasts. Others sound more feature robust, such as Windows Live Mail integration and an expanded "Inside Xbox" with news, weather, entertainment, help and community features.
Perhaps the most interesting additions are "Calibration options for motion sensor devices" for the Dashboard and "Support for titles to store installation data on Storage Device for faster loading" for Games. If true, the former would lend further credibility to frequent rumors that Microsoft is planning to introduce a motion controller for the Xbox 360.
The ability to store installation data on a hard drive–as is done with some PlayStation 3 games–would certainly be a welcome option, if that's how the wording...
293w ago - Eagle-eyed reader Byron has pointed us towards a job listing on SCEA's Web site, for an "Online Gameplay Programmer", who will "join the team behind the critically acclaimed AAA titles "God of War" and "God of War II."
Interesting, interesting. That doesn't say online programmer, it says online gameplay programmer.
If this is indeed for GoWIII, and not some other project, anyone for a Kratos v Kratos battle for loin-cloth supremacy? Or perhaps a Kratos & Kratos co-op skip-along?
296w ago - The first open-world title to make it onto store shelves back when the 'current-gen' was still the 'next-gen', Volition Inc.'s Saints Row was a brave step in confronting the juggernaut that is Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto franchise.
Even though GTA IV was still two years away when gamers first started their journey in Stilwater City, the story of the Third Street Saints remained very much in Rockstar's shadow.
A planned PS3 version was later canned to allow the THQ studio to focus on the inevitable follow up, which is now just small number of months away from release.
So as gamers prepare to return to Stilwater, a few months after the imminent return to Liberty City, TVG took time out at THQ's Gamers Day 2008 to speak to Saints Row 2 producer, Greg Donovan...
TVG: What were some of the key weaknesses identified from the original Saints Row, and how have they been rectified for this year's follow up?
We can look at the various improvements on both a micro and macro level. One of the first that jumps out of me right away is the addition of mission checkpoints. Certainly, the introduction of 'cruise control' makes drive-bys a lot easier to handle - those are the two examples of micro level improvements.
Macro scale [improvements] would be technological;...
298w ago - Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi has said in an interview that we can expect vehicle deformation "in the near future, very, very soon."
Apparently manufacturers weren't happy with the idea of vehicle deformation but now they're slowly coming around to it. It is unclear if deformation could make it in a GT 5 Prologue update or if it will appear in the full version of GT 5 which is apparently a year away.
To quote: "We've had a lot of discussions with the manufacturers and, although at the beginning they hated the idea of deformation, now they're slowly coming around to it.
"We've still got a few to convince, but we will. Expect deformation in the very near future: very, very soon," he added.