Bobby gets the blues about Xbox Live

Activision are often seen as a bit of an ogre in the video games industry to the point where they’re doing what they can to appeal more likable to the average gamer. So how does boss Bobby Kotick show he’s all sweetness and nice? By saying he wants more money. Kotick isn’t happy at how Microsoft financially benefit from the 60% of Xbox Live gamers who are only playing Call of Duty games. Talking to The Financial Times (via MCV) he said “We’ve heard that 60 per cent of Microsoft’s subscribers are principally on Live because of Call of Duty. We don’t really participate financially in that income stream. We would really like to be able to provide much more value to those millions of players playing on Live, but it’s not our network.” Kotick previously stated how an online subscription service for Call of Duty would be his only wish so it’s no surprise he’s beginning to get a bit grumpy. “We have always been platform agnostic. Consoles do a very good job of supporting the gamer. If we are going to broaden our audiences, we are going to need to have other devices,” he added, and went on to say how Activision will “very aggressively” support PC manufacturers in an effort to draw gamers away from playing on consoles. It could happen but it’s more likely that gamers will migrate to the other top online experiences like Halo and Gears. And come on Bobby, it’s only money after all.

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New Alan Wake DLC screens

Microsoft have released a selection of screenshots teasing the content for Alan Wake‘s upcoming DLC, The Signal. Picking up right where the games ends, the add-on should provide some closure for the storyline but keep in mind that a second piece of DLC called The Writer is also on its way. Both sets of content will be 560 MS Points (unless you bought the game brand new which allows a free download of The Signal). From the screens – more found after the break – a few things are evident; inanimate objects still don’t like Wake, Barry is back with his fairy light armour and glowy-diver man (I’m trying not to spoil the ending) is on hand to offer his wisdom.

The Signal will be released July 27th via Xbox Live. Read on to see the rest of the screenshots.

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Earthworm Jim HD adds multiplayer

Instead of Earthworm Jim HD being just a visually updated port of the original brilliant SNES/Mega Drive game, Xbox360Achievements (via Gamerbytes) has unearthed two achievements that pretty much confirm online multiplayer. The first is ‘Be No.1 in each Xbox LIVE multiplayer level‘ and the other ‘Complete all the Xbox LIVE multiplayer game levels‘ so neither could have been misinterpreted. The mind boggles as to what kind of multiplayer modes can be tacked onto this retro classic but Gamerbytes suggests maybe a race or two-player snot bungee jump. There’s always the possibility of brand new levels being developed for the XBLA, PSN and WiiWare game which could create interest for a new Earthworm Jim game. That would be groovy!… sorry….

Nintendo’s online gaming? That could cost you.

The famed creator of Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, has stated that Nintendo must decide whether it will continue to offer its online service for free or start charging for the privilege. A tiered subscription model much like Xbox Live is one that could be on the way for Nintendo products: “… Probably the other thing that we are desperate to realise is the core [online] business structure.” Said Miyamoto “Do we need to demand customers pay monthly fees to enjoy online activities? Or give an online subscription that is free of charge, but then offer something extra for people that pay, so that they get some extra value? With these core business strategies I think we are less active than we should be.”

This to me is such a bizarre idea. If like PSN, Nintendo’s online infrastructure was able to rival Xbox Live then it would be more understandable but right now, such an idea is dangerous. What makes Nintendo believe that the audience will be willing to pay when their current platforms lack online games? And the way online is handled on these systems is painfully archaic. Random 16-digit friend codes don’t lend themselves to easy matchmaking. But Miyamoto disagrees: “To be honest, I think it’s rather unfair whenever I hear such comments – that Nintendo isn’t proactive when it comes to its online strategy. The fact of the matter is that we always want all Wii consoles to be connected online, all the time, so Nintendo has never been less than proactive in that kind of endeavour. It is true, though, that Nintendo hasn’t been very proactive in developing such online activities as an MMOG. But when it comes to our endeavours that try to take advantage of internet technology, where we can provide our customers with more fun and entertainment, then I think we can say we have been very, very proactive and well-received. And that attitude won’t be changed at all in the future.”

There is little reason for a Wii to be constantly connected and far too much shovelware plagues both WiiWare and DSiWare services. Sadly Nintendo have been far from proactive with their online space which in itself is so very odd when you think how important the Wii and DS are to the current state of videogames. While Miyamoto didn’t directly state that such a pricing plan would come to the Wii and DS, it also can’t be ruled out but charging dedicated fans of the limited online experiences would be more like a punishment than a reward for owning a Nintendo system.

{Thanks Edge}

Lost Planet 2 demo blowing up Xbox Live now

If you haven’t already started downloading or are indeed playing it, here’s a quick reminder that a new Lost Planet 2 demo is available on Xbox Live now. Even though it’s being promoted as a multiplayer demo allowing up to 15 people to duke it out on the new Turbulent Jungle map, there is also a single player portion to it where you and three computer controlled characters take down one of the large beasties within. I’ve just finished playing said mode and found it to be a tad frustrating but mainly a great deal of fun with some truly epic moments for a 537MB demo.

The full game is released May 11th and PS3 owners are likely to see a demo on PSN tomorrow.

Pac-Man Battle Royale adds a new twist to a classic

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With all the versions of Pac-Man to date – and believe me, that’s a lot – there was always a feeling of solitude. It was you against the deceptively cute ghosts and the only partnerships formed were from spectators willing you on or hoping you fail so they could have a go. However, at this years Amusement Expo 2010, Namco Bandai showed off Pac-Man Battle Royale which lets up to four players duke it out in a familiar illuminated arena, kind of like a violent Pac-Man Championship Edition. The Pac-men can either help each other out or snack on their circular brethren all while collecting those infamous dots and racking up the points. Sounds pretty cool to me! At the moment Pac-Man Battle Royale is only for arcades but it’s a very high probability that we’ll be seeing it on Xbox Live and PSN in the near future.

{Thanks Destructoid}

More Mass Effect 2 DLC in March

Next month will see the release of yet more free DLC for Mass Effect 2 coming straight to a Cerberus Network near you! Consisting of five new missions, the Firewalker pack will add vehicular playability by way of the Hammerhead heavy assault vehicle equipped with guided missiles for all important accuracy. Mako haters fear not, this death-dealing transporter hovers so should be considerably more enjoyable to pilot. Expect to see this float onto Xbox Live and PCs late March. Woot!

{Thanks Kotaku}