Electronic Arts dearly wants to unseat Activision's Call of Duty series as the king of first-person shooter sales, but is that likely to happen? The scuttlebutt on the shooter showdown and much much more are just ahead.
Bang! You're Dead!
With all the talk around these two titles, gamers can hardly miss the upcoming releases of EA's Battlefield 3 and Activision's Modern Warfare 3. The two companies have been sniping at each other for months, and the final showdown is nearly upon us. Currently, analysts seem to be predicting that Modern Warfare 3 will outsell Battlefield 3 by a 2:1 margin, but that both games will be selling millions of copies.
In fact, the anticipated sales dominance of these two shooters seems to be casting a frosty shadow over holiday sales for other games. Retailers are apparently ordering fewer copies of other games in anticipation that most holiday sales will be for the two shooters, and perhaps a few other major titles like Uncharted 3. That's a darn shame in my books. Diversity is good; plenty of gamers aren't into multiplayer shooters. And with the shooters being M-rated, shouldn't there be plenty of room in the holiday market for people buying games for kids?
To tie up all this, there was a minor kerfluffle this week in Norway. A major newspaper reported that EA was sending a list of very pointed questions to Norwegian video gaming sites, attempting to ensure that reviewers were familiar with the Battlefield series and not biased towards Call of Duty before sending out a review copy of Battlefield 3. Oddly, though EA apologized for the incident, the two largest video game sites mentioned in the article claim that they didn't receive any questionnaire and had no trouble getting Battlefield 3 review copies. The truth? I suppose it's out there somewhere. In the fjords.
The Future Isn't Now, Just Yet
Rumors of the next generation of Microsoft and Sony consoles just keep coming. The Microsoft rumors currently claim that the "Xbox Next," as they're calling it, is geared to appear at E3 2013 and launch as early as that fall. In the meantime, Sony studios are rumored to be doing preliminary development for PlayStation 4 games. True to the company line, however, we're unlikely to see the PS4 any time soon, almost certainly not before 2014. That's a nice, long generation for both of these console companies, and it gives the Wii U a few years to breathe as well.
The War on Used Games Continues
Two stories this week show how game publishers continue to attempt to grab some money back from used game sales. A co-op multiplayer mode was recently announced for Mass Effect 3, and now the word is that it will be tied to an online pass. The pass will be one-use only and included with new games, meaning that used purchasers of ME 3 will need to buy their own pass in order to access multiplayer.
Batman: Arkham City also surprised gamers this week with news that the Catwoman segments of the game, which were heavily promoted during development, are also "Day 1 DLC" that can be unlocked via a code printed on a card that is included with new copies of the game. That is, if the code works, or exists at all. Many gamers report problems with the code, and some found that the code section of the card in their box was completely blank. Hey, game companies. If you're going to mess with your Day 1 paying customers by making them enter codes and all that stuff, maybe you should at least make sure the stupid codes actually work?
Get a Free Pinball Table Next Week
In a gaming world where the consumer more and more frequently seems to be on the losing end of the deal, here's some nice positive news. Pinball FX2, a great little Xbox Live Arcade game, is offering a free pinball table next week in celebration of its one-year anniversary. For those unfamiliar with Pinball FX2, the base install of the game is free, and tables are purchased in an a la carte system afterward. Between October 26 and November 2, players can download the new Paranormal table for free. If you're anything like me, you'll get hooked on the game and end up buying some other tables too. But hey. It's nice to see a no-strings-attached giveaway like this in an age of endless DLC and monetized Xbox Avatar clothes.
By Becky Cunningham
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*