The Week in Review & Rumor Round-up: Microsoft Steps up, Infinity Ward Slips up, and Bungie's Loose Lips

The Week in Review & Rumor Round-up: Microsoft Steps up, Infinity Ward Slips up, and Bungie's Loose Lips


The Week in Review news piece summarizes and highlights the most important gaming related news and rumors over the past week. This weekly article will keep you plugged in and in-tune.

There were a number of rather interesting bits of gaming news that came to light this week. For starters, RockSteady may already be developing the next great Batman title. A PlayStation Magazine interview with RockSteady’s Sefton Hill didn’t confirm but seemed to point toward the fact that such a game was in the works (no surprise there). Whether it will be a true sequel to Arkham Asylum or spill over into Gotham at large is still up in the air.

Microsoft put its foot down last weekend when it canceled Xbox LIVE accounts that were linked to modified consoles capable of playing pirated games. Representatives claimed that modding consoles for such purposes is not only illegal but against the service agreement policy. As such, Microsoft was well within its rights to suspend the accounts.

On a better note, Microsoft also detailed their plans and reward structure for their Xbox LIVE Rewards pilot program. Microsoft will give players substantial MS point rewards for renewing their LIVE Gold subscriptions (60-200 points depending on the length of subscription), subscribing to Netflix (200 points), making your first Marketplace purchase through the program (100 points), and for participating in surveys (100 points each!). Moreover, to reward loyalty, players can accrue point-back monthly bonuses (up to 5%) on total points spent. This percentage will continue to increase until you reach the 5% maximum depending on how long you have remained a LIVE Gold member.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 made lots of controversial headlines this week. For one, a fake ad seemed to poke fun at homosexuals, but it Infinity Ward maintains that it was designed to ridicule homophobes, but it seemed more like a back pedal than true sentiment.

Outside of such controversy, it seems like Modern Warfare 2 is set to sell really well. GameStop’s Executive Vice President for Merchandising and Marketing, Tony Bartel, told USA Today: “By all indicators, we anticipate Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be the biggest entertainment launch of all time. As of today, the number of pre-order reservations we’ve taken for the game is the highest for any title we’ve ever sold in our 6,200 store network.” Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter predicts that this game could sell nearly 10 million copies by the end of the year, grossing over $500 million in sales.

Shigeru Miyamoto, the Nintendo superstar, confirmed that the next Wii version of The Legend of Zelda will use Wii MotionPlus. In a Nintendo Q&A session in Tokyo, Miyamoto stated that “…we’re using MotionPlus to make you feel much more like you’re actually fighting while holding a sword in your hand.” He continued, “In the previous game, you aimed at things by pointing at the screen, but this time we’ll use MotionPlus to create a much more convenient targeting system and a more pleasurable playing experience.”

PS3 owners were treated a nice new feature set this week, that is, for those PS3 owners who subscribe to Netflix and ordered the Blu-ray disc that allows them to stream Netflix content. That’s right; Friday marked the first day Sony fans could start ripping through their queues through their PS3s.

Square Enix chimed in this week with a tidbit of their own. Apparently, international versions of Final Fantasy XIII may be available earlier than expected, as Square Enix plans on shipping the game in Q4 2009 – that’s before March 31, 2010. While this may seem like status quo (it was originally confirmed for a spring 2010 release), expect the game to come out a bit earlier so that sales are reflected in the company’s financials.

While most of us just play games, if you’d like to start creating them, Epic Games has the toolset for you. The Unreal Development Kit (UDK) was launched this week, which gives interested parties free access to a host of important tools – many of which are identical to those found in Unreal 3 engine toolset. Thanks Epic! We’re ready for a whole host of great indie games!

Finally, at the very end of the week, leaked photos of Halo: Reach were posted over on the MLG forums. It’s unknown whether the photos are truly legitimate, but they certainly seem real enough. Click HERE to check them out.

Thanks so much everyone and we will see you next week!

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