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Gaming Weekly – Gamescom Greatness, PSVita’s Transitions and Duke Nukem gets some Gears

Sony Convinced PSVita Will Cause Transition of Consumers from Mobile to Handheld Markets

Sony Computer Entertainment America director of hardware marketing John Koller believes so, in response to earlier complaints of the latest Sony handheld isn’t marketable in the current day and age.

“When you look at the type of consumer that’s playing cell phone games currently, it’s someone that enjoys smaller ‘kill time’ gaming and has not gravitated to the larger, richer, deeper experiences that true handheld gaming provides,” he said.

“As we go toward the PlayStation Vita, I can tell you that as we started looking at that product and the market opportunity several years ago, we saw a real strong demographic for those deeper, richer, console-type experiences.

“We had them on PSP, but we’ve taken them to a new level on PS Vita with the entirety of new ways to play,” he added. “That ‘new ways to play’ idea, particularly for Vita, really differentiates from what’s available on mobile phones or tablets and, frankly, what will be available on those platforms over the next three to five years.

“You’re going to see PS Vita expand what a lot of people believe to be true about handheld gaming, and you’re going to see a lot of those current mobile phone and tablet gamers come over to Vita. We’re very convinced of that.”

Recent market speculation has pointed at unstable conditions for the Vita’s launch, with the 3DS price drop in full swing and industry devs prophesising doom for the handheld.

Lyle Hall from Heavy Iron Studios has speculated that current market conditions might prove unhelpful to Sony’s product launch, highlighting competition from Android and iOS platforms, as well as the console’s purported release price, which is currently set close to 300 US dollars.

“If people aren’t willing to pay $249 for a Nintendo 3DS, why would they pay $299 for Vita?” he said. “People don’t want to carry more than one thing in their pocket; that’s why Android and iPhone have done so well. They are the devices of choice; they offer multiple functions outside of gaming.”

“People don’t want it. That’s Nintendo’s huge challenge–how do they add value to that?”

Matthew Seymour meanwhile slammed the console, comparing the launch prospects to a ‘car wreck’. Whether this statement comes from arrogance earned from Seymour’s lengthy career is up for debate, but Matt has been working with developers such as Silent Hill: Downpour studio, Vatra Games, for nearly 20 years, which may pack a punch behind the words.

Lyle Hall meanwhile, after slating the Vita’s market potential, does have a large portion of respect for the device itself; “The technology is sweet; I’m a huge fan of mobile technology, but I just don’t know there’s a market out there anymore for the hardware. I can’t see why you would want to put a device out that only does games.”

From Dust DRM

In a turnaround move from Ubisoft, controversial Digital Rights Management (DRM) software is to be patched out of recent god game addition From Dust, after outcry at the game’s insistence on internet connectivity to be present before the game starts.

A forum post on Ubi forums from the publisher confirmed that the next two weeks will see the DRM patched out of the game, but it will take time to relocate user-created save games from Ubi servers to player’s hard drives before the servers are used for other reasons.

“Once the patch is ready, players who already have the game will automatically receive the update on their next login and subsequent game sessions will be 100 per cent offline,” reads the forum post.

The controversy behind the DRM fiasco stems from another forum entry, posted before the game’s release, where an Ubisoft employee purported the notion that the game’s DRM would still allow offline play. Players then purchased the game through Steam, based on the notion purported in the forum post, but when the game was unplayable offline many sought refunds through Steam’s returns policy.

Ubisoft did not mention the patch’s interaction with the game itself and if it would include bug fixes for crashes, bugs and a lack of graphical options for PC players.

Starcraft/Blizzard DotA Name Change?

WoW masterminds Activision Blizzard reportedly said it would be happier changing the name of upcoming addon/mod Blizzard DotA than facing pc industry giant Valve in legal disputes over their recently trademarked DotA franchise.

Valve released details on their sequel to the popular Warcraft 3 mod Defense of the Ancients last year, along with copyrighting the franchise as a standalone effort.

Blizzard game design EVP Rob Pardo maintains that there was “a little bit of confusion” at Blizzard, based upon the fact that he original DotA was a mod built on Warcraft 3, a property of Blizzard, and that the company themselves had already been planning its own DotA game.

Blizzard VP frank Pierce has stated that while he thinks that it “doesn’t seem the right thing to do” in response to Valve’s actions, he does understand that his company should be prepared to rename their upcoming property rather than see court action based on the name dispute.

“From my perspective, Dota is a genre in this space, at this point, and almost a sub genre of the real-time strategy space,” he argued. “It doesn’t seem like something someone would want to trademark, but the U.S. legal system lets people do just about anything they want to try.”

“I can’t speak to it from a legal perspective,” he continued. “From the development team and the leadership at Blizzard, we want to make great games and we want to get those great games into the hands of our fans.”

“At the end of the day, the name and the label we put on that mod for StarCraft II is not as critical as the gameplay experience we create and deliver to the fans. We will not hold back the experience from the fans because of a naming conflict. We’ll find a way to get it into the hands of our fans either way.”

Gabe Newell, Valve’s benevolent Emperor-like figurehead and boss responded that “The issue with that was, when we were talking with IceFrog [Dota developer] originally, he wanted to build the sequel to Dota. So the reason to call it Dota 2 is it actually does a pretty good job of communicating to gamers what it is the game is going to be.”

“If a gamer looks at this game and you ask them, is that Dota 2? They’re going to say yeah, that makes sense. That’s a good name for it. That’s really what’s driving that.”

Legal issues aside, it’s getting very silly that IP and name disputes based on games are actually allowed to get as far as they do these days. Surely, game developers of such size and monetary wealth as Valve and Blizzard would be able to settle their differences without paying a bunch of snooty lawyers to do it for them.

New Duke from Gearbox?

After the critical slating of Gearbox’s Duke Nukem Forever by fans of the series and customers, Take Two and Gearbox themselves haven’t yet admitted defeat. The Game itself has recently been hailed as a commercial success, bringing in profit to the creators despite critical failure.

The announcement of a second Modern Dukefare title then doesn’t come as a surprise, although this time it’s an origin story based on how the character of Duke Nukem himself came to be, and is titled Duke Begins (Inb4; The Duke Knight, The Duke Knight Rises).

Amongst the paraphernalia of legal action which was left in the wake of Duke Nukem Forever’s departure from 3D Realms was a document revealing a second Duke game was paid for, which has now surfaced as Duke Begins. Gearbox got the right to this title as well, bundled up with the rights for the whole franchise.

Production of Duke Begins was halted in ’09 for some bizarre reason, but now it seems that Duke will well and truly begin anew with this title, an apparent reboot of the franchise as a whole that will start being worked upon post-Aliens: Colonial Marines, i.e. after Gearbox isn’t busy, in summer 2012.

A sly Gearbox will hopefully have learned their lesson based on, well, let’s call it ‘feedback’, from the previous Duke game and hopefully make Duke Begins with those lessons in mind.

And Finally…

Its bee a big week for forthcoming game information as the Annual Gamescom has been taking palce in Cologne, Germany. With tones of gaming news, coverage, press conferences, and details on the hottest video games from the industry’s biggest publishers, including Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, Activision, Microsoft, and Sony

Here are a few of our Favourite Vids:

Battlefield 3: Co-Op Demo
For PS3, PC and Xbox 360

Batman Arkham City: Mr Freeze Trailer
For PS3 and Xbox 360

Fifa 12 – 2011 Trailer
For PS3, PC and Xbox 360

SSX – Gamescom 2011 conference