3... 2... 1... Takeoff! November is almost here, and this year's holiday blockbusters are launching. Here at the Weekly Dish, we enjoy watching the insanity. Come along for the ride!
The two biggest launches lately were Batman: Arkham City for consoles (poor PC gamers have to wait until mid-November) and Battlefield 3. Arkham City launched to great success, selling two million copies in the first week. That's units sold, not shipped, something to be wary of when reading early sales stories. A lot of companies report the number of games shipped to stores rather than actually bought by customers, but the Arkham City numbers are legit. There were 4.6 million copies of Arkham City shipped to stores, and considering that Arkham Asylum eventually sold 4.3 million copies, we can expect even greater sales for the well-reviewed sequel.
Although the sales numbers aren't in yet, Battlefield 3 also appears to be having a good launch week. There have been a few bumps in the road—the game required a day one patch and EA asked game journalists not to release a review until after they'd played the patched version. In addition, early reviews remarked that the single-player campaign wasn't as strong as it could have been. Most reviewers, and apparently most players, are more concerned with multiplayer, however, and Battlefield 3 is scoring well in that arena. Only time will tell how the Battlefield 3 experience compares to Modern Warfare 3, but EA should be happy with the game's reception so far.
Doom 4 Doomed? Not Quite.
One game that certainly didn't have a spectacular launch is id's Rage. When the game was released with major video driver problems, about half of PC customers couldn't get it to work at all for about a week. A patch evened things out a bit, but not without giving the veteran development company a black eye, despite the fact that the graphic driver issues were out of id's control. Reviews on all platforms weren't the greatest, either, with the game criticized both for its technical issues and for being repetitive.
Rage's rocky release led to a rumor, started by a supposed company source, that the development of Doom 4 had been indefinitely postponed. This "source" stated that parent companies Zenimax and Bethesda had lost confidence in id's project management team and had put the game on ice. This rumor, however, was quickly put to bed by Bethesda's Pete Hines. While going with the usual public relations proviso that Bethesda doesn't talk about unannounced games, (id's John Carmack has mentioned it being in development, but it hasn't been officially announced) Hines stated that the rumor was completely false. Full stop. No doomed Doom here, folks, move along.
It seems like every MMORPG that doesn't have the words "Warcraft" in the title is going "Free-to-Play" these days. The latest games to do so are NCSoft's City of Heroes and SOE's DC Universe Online. Go ahead, be a superhero—the tights are free!
City of Heroes is an old veteran of the MMORPG scene, and is likely keeping itself relevant with the switchover to FTP. DC Universe Online, on the other hand, just released this year. It hasn't exactly set the world on fire with subscription numbers, and is probably hoping to gain some traction by bringing in the free-with-microtransactions crowd. The harsh truth is that very few people are willing to pay more than one monthly MMORPG subscription at a time, and with most subscriber-types hanging on to WoW or anticipating The Old Republic, other games just aren't fitting into their budgets.
Nintendo Takes a Plunge
The rapid demise of the Wii, less-than-stellar launch of the 3DS, and the strong Yen have played havoc with Nintendo's 2011 financial results. The company is due to post a one hundred billion yen loss (that's a bit over one billion US dollars) for the first half of 2011, much of which can be blamed on exchange rates failing to work in Nintendo's favor. This is shaping up to be the worst year in recent history for Nintendo. But don't worry too much about the company; it has plenty of money saved up from the Wii and DS boom years—real money as opposed to the funny money that is posted as a "loss" on the stock market. It'd be awfully helpful, however, for the 3DS to start taking off in the West and for the Wii U to have a stellar launch. Keep your fingers crossed, Mario fans.
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.*