Morning News Wrap (8 Feb 2013)

Breakfast Wrap 05Wow.  Made it.  Friday.  We’ll stop reminding you of what day it is now.  Enjoy your Friday morning news…

The latest insider report doing the rounds regarding the next-Xbox comes via The Verge.  According to this source, the console will carry a big focus on “greatly improved” speech recognition.  The (let’s call it) Xbox 720 will support wake on voice, natural language controls, and speech-to-text.  Elsewhere, former VP of Windows Sales Joachim Kempin told IGN that he believes the new console will feature a Windows 8 style interface, even suggesting that a touch screen will also make an appearance.

Not planning to be outdone by the whole “next-gen” thing, Ouya will simply release as new console every year.  Suck that Microsoft and Sony…  Speaking to Engadget, Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman said the company’s approach would be similar to the mobile industry. “Our strategy is very much similar to the mobile strategy… There will be a new Ouya every year. There will be an Ouya 2 and an Ouya 3… We’ll take advantage of faster, better processors, take advantage of prices falling. So if we can get more than 8GB of Flash in our box, we will.”

Activision has signed a multi-year deal with Nickelodeon to develop and publish games inspired by the new CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.  Awesome, but can you name them all?

So, do you live in Queensland, Australia?  Pretty beautiful there right?  But you won’t be playing God of War: Ascension sadly.  Being the only state in Australia that didn’t pass the R18+ legislation has meant the game cannot be sold or promoted there and “all game slicks, posters, pamphlets, hand written signage, 2-way units and pre order signage” for the game must be immediately removed – from an internal retailer memo leaked to Kotaku.

Sony has cut its annual sales forecast for the PSP and Vita.  Sony now believes the combined total of sales for the two handhelds will be seven million before business year end on 31 March, a lot lower than its original 16 million estimate.  The figures are attributed to the “slow penetration” of the Vita into the market.  In other words, it didn’t sell very well.

Konami is also revising their outlook for the rest of their financial year.. The publisher has reported a drop in sales and earnings for the nine months ended 31 December 2012, with sales generated falling almost 20 per cent year-on-year to 80.6 billion yen (£550m / $860m).  “Revenue is now expected to come in at 228 billion yen (£1.6b / $2.4b), down 15.6 per cent on previous guidance, while profits are forecast to hit 13.5 billion yen (£92m / $144m), 41.6 per cent lower than previously thought.” [via CVG]

The outlook remains equally as bleak for HMV as for Sony’s sales above.  66 stores will be closing their doors in the UK.  However, there is still a chance that there could be a last minute decision to save some outlets.

Positive financial news now.  Ubisoft has had a pretty good year it seems.  The Sales for the Christmas quarter were up 23 per cent year-on-year to €802 million, while sales for the first nine months of the business year increased 20.1 per cent to €1,081 million.  Big selling games for the publisher have been: Assassin’s Creed 3 (12 million), Far Cry 3 (4.5 million, and an exec has suggested a sequel has already been commisioned) and Just Dance 4 (8 million).

Going down again… World of Warcraft has seen its subcriber numbers drop 400,000 to 9.6 million.  Really not too sure why that’s even news, let alone interesting news.

Continuing with PC news, Diablo III has passed the 12 million mark in worldwide sales.  This is most likely one of the main contributing factors to Activision has reporting ‘record’ revenues for the calendar year 2012 and its fourth-quarter fiscal 2013.  We’re talking figures of 4.86 Billion US Dollars in net revenue.  Yes.  We all wish we could share in a fraction of that.

Ubisoft has also confirmed that Rayman Legends – the previously Wii U exclusive – will be coming to the Xbox 360 and PS3.  You can expect it to arrive in September 2013.

If the picture proves to not be a lie, then Gearbox and Sega will be releasing a mode called ‘Bug Hunt’ for Aliens: Colonial Marines.  Outed by Walmart, the mode appears to be set for release on 19 March and will let you “team up with your friends to take on waves of increasingly difficult enemies in an all new game mode.”

In what sounds like the zombie version of the above, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct comes with pre-order bonus DLC (confirmed for the UK for now).  The ‘Walker Herd Survival Pack’ brings the all-new Herd Mode where you need to fight for survival against endless waves of walkers.  The DLC will also bring new weapons to the story mode, including a survival knife, sawtoothed machete, kukri, reinforced hatchet and advanced machete.

And to end with, some local South African eSports news.  The MSSA has outlined how they will be organising the South African team (team of South Africans?) for their Dota 2 test against Romania.

Click here for the full MSSA statement »

The test match challenge by Romania immediately put the MSSA on the spot. As readers can imagine, there are strict rules for a test match. There are all sorts of requirements. For example, there has to be a single venue from which the team plays, and there has to be an approved umpire who will oversee the event.

Just the above two requirements mean that there are a huge amount of difficulties in choosing a team and getting it together to play the test match.

Many gamers will, no doubt, understand why the MSSA can’t just fly the team up-and-down the country. Obviously any such travelling requires vast finances, and because the team will be expected to play in other on-line test matches as well, such a policy could turn out to be financially ruinous.

Thus the MSSA has put a great deal of thought and has come up with a solution.

The solution is that a Dota 2 on-line competition for Registered Players will be held on  6 April 2013.

From such championships, invites shall be sent out to the Registered Players of the teams that finish in the top three or the top 20% (whichever is greater) as per the Regulations. As per the Regulations all such players who qualify from the genre as a whole shall be invited. However, the Trials shall be held after the championship on 6 April 2013. The Registered Players that enter the Trials shall organise themselves into teams that:

1.    All come from the same area. In other words everybody in the team must reside within 50km’s, as the crow flies, to each other, or
2.    Any team that does not comply with point 1 above, will have to undertake to get the players in their team who are not in the same area to the venue for the test matches at their own expense.

As usual Trials shall be done at a LAN venue, and the team that can best represent South Africa shall then be selected.

So, now everyone should be keen on reading details of the MSSA’s Dota 2 On-line Championships:

Date: 06 April 2013
Venue: On-line
Host: PolarFluke
Status: Provincial
Entry fee: None

Please note that while there is not an entry fee, all entrants must be fully paid-up Registered Players.

About Zombie Dredd

Wannabe gaming journalist. Wannabe zombie. And sometimes clan leader of OAP. Clint O'Shea when in his human disguise.