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Sony trademarks ‘From Ashes’ phrase

Playstation 3 on PS3 Image / Screenshot

Playstation 3 Image

Fresh off the idea that Sony is planning a big God of War IV reveal, we've got new reports that suggest Sony is definitely up to something.

What it is, we don't know, but earlier today it was reported that Sony has registered the "From Ashes" trademark.

Despite having the same name as the recently released Mass Effect 3 DLC, it's doubtful that Sony's trademark has anything to do with BioWare's signature title. Rather, it could have something to do with the recently teased image that has stirred rumors of an upcoming God of War sequel.

Hopefully we find out more about this trademark, which was registered by Sony Computer Entertainment America, sometime soon. The image teased earlier pointed towards an April 19th date. We do know that Santa Monica Studios is definitely working on a currently unannounced project. Last year, GoW developer Santa Monica Studio ran job ads seeking several positions for an "unannounced new IP".

Whether it's God of War IV: From Ashes or something else remains to be seen.

[The Sixth Axis]

Tags: Sony

By Matt Liebl

You can help localize Half-Minute Hero 2

Half-Minute Hero on  Image / Screenshot

Half-Minute Hero

Marvelous AQL is considering bringing the second Half-Minute Hero game to the West.

Half-Minute Hero 2 has a new story (though only Hero 30 mode, which was in the first game), a level editor, and more. Marvelous AQL is asking fans to vote on whether they want the game to come to the West.

The first Half-Minute Hero (published by Xseed Games) came to PSP in North America in 2009. The real-time strategy/action-role-playing game/shoot-em-up hybrid is also available on Xbox Live Arcade and Steam as Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax (Ultimate Boy).

Follow @wita on Twitter.

[Siliconera]

Tags: Half-Minute Hero 2, Marvelous AQL

By Stephanie Carmichael

PS3, Vita, and PSP combine for 90 million PSN accounts

Playstation 3 on PS3 Image / Screenshot

Playstation 3 Image

Sony today announced there are about 90 million registered PlayStation Network accounts across all regions.

Speaking at GDC this week, Ted Regulski, manager of SCEA Developer Relations, said the PSN numbers were a combination from PS3, PSP, and PS Vita customers. He didn't, however, say how many of those were actually active accounts.

Regulski didn't stop there. Speaking on what PSN offers developers, Regulski went on to boast Sony is "the only major console publisher to allow self-publishing."

“There are others but they have publishing rules that aren’t much fun,” he added, “and there are no weird limits you have to hit in order for us to pay you”.

Regulski didn't mention any specific figures, but did say PSN offers devs better royalty rates than Nintendo and Microsoft.

[Develop]

Tags: PSN, Sony, PS3

By Matt Liebl

CliffyB suggests ‘lite’ versions of games to undercut used game sales

Gears of War 3 on Xbox 360 Image / Screenshot

Gears of War 3 Image

For years, publishers have been looking for ways to offset the losses caused by used game sales. While no statistics have "officially" been revealed, publishers claim "millions" of dollars are lost each year when consumers purchase used games instead of new. To help make up for these losses, publishers have turned to online passes.

These passes are good for a one-time use only and usually unlock the multiplayer portion, or online portion, of a game. In some cases, as with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, a portion of the singleplayer game was barred with an online pass. Once the player enters the code it is unlocked for their account only, granting them access to the online component. If someone purchases the same game used, they will not be able to access the online component unless they purchase a separate online pass from the publisher.

Though this practice has been argued by consumers, it seems to be the most widely adopted strategy from publishers. Still, publishers complain this isn't enough to make up for the losses. But it's really the only accepted practice that we have in the industry. Until someone comes up with a better idea it looks like we are stuck with online passes.

Recently, developers have begun speaking out about online passes and possible new ideas to combat used game sales. The latest suggestion comes from Epic Games' outspoken design director, Cliff Bleszinski. In a short, but effective series of tweets, CliffyB suggested what he thinks publishers should do to help undercut used game sales. He suggests a "lite" version of games.

"I wonder publishers don't try a "lite" version of a game without an online pass that one could buy brand new for less, undercutting used," Bleszinski suggested.

"Publishers are always eager to make limited and collector's editions, why not a budget, stripped down version to get the lower end customer?"

He explained, "A "lite" version of the game could be just the SP…or just the MP. If you dig what you bought let you expand to full later via digital DL."

Bleszinski's words actually echo what Saber Interactive CEO Matthew Karch suggested to CVG in response to the possibility that Microsoft's next-gen Xbox might not play used games. Similarly, Karch suggested a digital distribution game for an overall lower price, say $30, with the singleplayer and multiplayer components broken into two separate purchases of $15 each.

The big similarity between both Karch's and Bleszinski's theories is an overall lower price for games. The truth is, $60 for a game is a lot of money for consumers to risk on something they aren't 100% sure of. With all of the overhyped duds released, $60 is a lot to gamble on a game that may not be as great as it's marketed.

While I'll never say "never", this idea seems highly unlikely. As much as I love the idea, I just don't see publishers dropping the price of games anytime soon. Then again, I don't actually know the statistics. If publishers are being hurt by used game sales as much as they say they are, then they might do something as drastic as offering the components separately. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Many consumers purchase games strictly for online play. For instance, a lot of people play Battlefield 3 for its online modes. That doesn't make it less of a game, it just makes the focus something else. In fact, I'd bet those who play BF3 get more gameplay time out of it then those who purchase a strict 8-10 hour singleplayer game with no multiplayer component. Most recently, Twisted Metal co-director David Jaffe said most users will spend the majority of gameplay time with online multiplayer, and suggested those looking for story would be better off renting it. How can you expect consumers to pay $60 when even you admit certain areas in the game are lacking?

The bottom line is that the price of games is just too damn high. And until publishers figure out a way to lower them to a more reasonable price, consumers will continue to look towards the used game market.

Tags: Epic Games, Used Games

By Matt Liebl

FIFA 13 sells 353,000 copies in first 24 hours in North America

FIFA 13 on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii Image / Screenshot

FIFA 13 Image

In its first 24 hours on sale in North America,FIFA Soccer 13 sold 353,000 copies which, according to EA Sports, is a 42% increase over last year'sFIFA 12.

With the sales boost, the amount of online games played also increased. In the first 24 hours, 1.4 million online games were played, a 35% year-over-year increase.

The iOS version of the game also performed well, marking the "biggest global launch-day performance of any iOS game in EA history".

The sales performance ofFIFA 13 is more impressive when you take into account that Tuesday's launch was just in North America. The game is set to become available worldwide on Friday, and EA is expecting equally impressive numbers. For the first time in EA Sports' history, over 1.3 million games have been pre-ordered worldwide, which points "toward ahistoric opening when the game launches around the world on Friday."

"We're thrilled that fans throughoutNorth Americahave embracedFIFA Soccer 13in such a big way," said EA Sports Executive Vice President Andrew Wilson. "North Americans appreciate a great-playing game and their level of engagement with our game is helping to drive the sport's popularity in the United States."

FIFA 13 is available for PS3 with PlayStation Move support, Xbox 360 with Kinect, PS Vita, Nintendo Wii, PS2, Nintendo 3DS, and PSP. On November 18 it will release alongside the Wii U console.

Tags: FIFA 13

By Matt Liebl

Fantasy Chronicle is probably the cheapest PSP RPG out there

Article_post_width_news-kemco

Kemco, makers of The Sword of Hope series for Game Boy, is bringing its mobile RPG Fantasy Chronicle to PSP for only 600 yen ($7).

The port, to appear in Japan, features an additional event scene and revised controls. It's uncertain whether Kemco will pursue a release in North America, but an English version does exist for Android and iOS around the same price point.

The company also published the 1989 point-and-click adventure game for NES called Shadowgate and Shadowgate 64: Trials of the Four Towers, along with several Bugs Bunny games, such as The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout.

Follow @wita on Twitter for tales of superheroes, plumbers in overalls, and literary adventures.

[Siliconera]

Tags: Fantasy Chronicle, Kemco

By Stephanie Carmichael

PlayStation Network maintenance will end tonight, says Sony

Playstation 3 on PS3 Image / Screenshot

Playstation 3 Image

***Update***

Sony's maintenance on PSN will continue until early Saturday morning. Here are the exact times.

***Original Story***

The PlayStation Network maintenance which began on Thursday morning was supposed to last just for the day. Unfortunately, it's gone on a little longer and the online service still remains down.Sony has since updated their estimated maintenance timeframe, and expects it to be completed around 9:00pm PDT (12:00am ET).

Usually PSN maintenance isn't a problem as you can typically continue to enjoy online services without interruption — provided you log in to PSN 5 days prior to the start of maintenance. However, Sony indicated that some authenticated users may have lost access during the maintenance and can no longer play games online or enjoy apps such as Netflix, HULU Plus, and Music Unlimited.

It's unclear what is causing the delay, but regardless, there's really nothing any of us can do about it except wait. Thankfully, the wait won't be too much longer.

"We apologize for this inconvenience and are working hard to restore access as soon as possible," Sony said.

Tags: PSN, PS3, PS Vita, PlayStation 3

By Matt Liebl

7.4 million copies of FIFA 13 sold in first four weeks

FIFA 13 on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii Image / Screenshot

FIFA 13 Image

In the first four weeks following its launch,FIFA 13managed to sell 7.4 million copies, making it the "biggest sports launch of all-time". Of that 7.4 million, 4.5 million were sold in just the first five days!

EA revealed the impressive numbers, which exclude mobile downloads, during the company's Q2 2013 financial results report. Additionally,FIFA Online 2 andFIFA World Class Soccer helped contribute to the $115 million digital net revenue generated in the first half of fiscal 13.

Proving it's more than just the "world's" sport,FIFA"debuted as one of the two top-selling titles in September in the Western World," EA revealed. Is soccer finally becoming mainstream here in America?

Tags: FIFA 13

By Matt Liebl

Some weird sexual game is headed to PSP in Japan

Article_post_width_kimi_ga_aruji_de_shitsuji_ga_ore_de

The PSP is alive and kickin'! Well, in Japan … kind of. OK, not really, but Sony's first handheld is definitely getting some love in the land of the rising sun. And when I say "love," I mean, well, an explicit adventure game. Oh, Japan, you're so quirky!

Titled Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de and known in North America as both You Be the Master and I'll be the Servant and They Are My Noble Masters, this PC original will deliver all of the adult anime content that fans over in Japan are looking for.

The game originally launched in 2007, and it was eventually ported to the PlayStation 2 without the adult stuff. Now it's headed to the PSP with brand new content.

Obviously, this game won't be coming to North America, but it's still fun to dig up these wacky Japanese finds.

[Andriasang]

For a bunch of nonsensical gibberish, follow @thesanchezdavid on Twitter.

Tags: Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de, They Are My Noble Masters, Japan, PSP

By David Sanchez

Ghostlight to bring console JRPGs to PC

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable on PSP Image / Screenshot

Ghostlight

Ghostlight, the European publisher of a number of Shin Megami Tensei games, plans to bring Japanese console RPGs to the PC.

In a recent blog post, the UK-based company confirmed that it's talking to contacts in Japan, and fan support has facilitated the process.

“We do already have one or two particular target products in mind, and if they work out then we’d definitely be interested in bringing more products to the PC platform,” Ghostlight’s Ross Brierley wrote.

"While our original plan was for the PC games to be released digitally, after reading the huge amount of feedback from you all, we’re now looking into the added possibility of offering a limited number of physical collector’s editions as well," the post reads. "Where possible, we may also (for gamers who prefer to get their PC games digitally) offer the collector’s edition items separately from the game."

We'll keep an eye on the blog for more news.

Follow @wita on Twitter for tales of superheroes, plumbers in overalls, and literary adventures.

[Siliconera]

Tags: Ghostlight, JRPG

By Stephanie Carmichael