Posts by Ben Silverman
- Ben Silverman at Games Blog13 hrs ago
They’re already a leading developer of free-to-play online games, but San Francisco-based Kabam Entertainment is hoping to become more of a household name. Especially if your household graduated from the University of California at Berkeley – or just follows college football.
Kabam dropped a whopping $18 million to acquire naming rights to the field at Cal’s famous Memorial Stadium, hereafter known as "Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium," because that really rolls off the tongue.
Paid out over the next 15 years (at $1.2 million per year), the naming rights deal is the largest in the history of college sports.
The exorbitant sum is good news for Cal, which is looking to pay down over $300 million in debts incurred after renovating and retrofitting the 90 year-old stadium in 2012. Three of Kabam’s four founders, including CEO Kevin Chou, are Cal graduates, which might explain why they’d drop so much coin to rename a field for a team currently sporting a 1-11 record (as a Cal alumnus myself, it pained me to write that).
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In1 day ago
Planning to have a video-game themed wedding? Then you’ll need an appropriate cake. And while cakes based on Super Mario, Portal and the PS3 are undoubtedly awesome, they’re not actually much fun to play.
New-Jersey-based Posh Entertainment, however, has upped the wedding cake game by projecting a variety of playable games directly onto the multi-tiered treat. In other words, you're playing video games on a cake:
That’s a fully edible cake there, people, on which you can play Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, Ice Climber, Pac Man, Sonic the Hedgehog and Candy Crush Saga.
The cake itself was made by catering company Meals For Reals, while the projection mapping -- the real key to getting this cake console working -- was handled by both Posh and Invader Visuals. The only problem? When you eat the cake, it's game over. So never eat this cake.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In2 days ago
Your Xbox One is listening. And it’s kind of a prude.
Youtube user FrankP found this out the hard way during a game of NBA 2K14 on the Xbox One. Thanks to the system’s all-seeing, all-hearing Kinect camera, Frank’s use of the F-bomb resulted in what might be the creepiest, most intrusive penalty in the history of video game sports: Warning: lots of adult language (after all, that’s sort of the point):
What Frank didn’t realize is that the Kinect camera, an intrinsic part of the Xbox One hardware ecosystem, is always paying attention unless you specifically tell it to stop listening. Which you might want to do when you play NBA 2K14.
However, the foul-language foul isn’t entirely new to the franchise. Last year’s NBA 2K13 included it as well, though it only cropped up if you happened to have the Xbox 360’s decidedly less awesome Kinect up and running. It also rears its head in FIFA 14, reprimanding one Xbox One user for lobbing obscenities during his soccer career.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In27 days ago
Time to head back to Warcraft?
To kick off their annual BlizzCon convention, Blizzard formally announced World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, the next expansion to their long-running massively-multiplayer game. To the trailer!
Players will get a chance to travel back through time and explore Draenor -- the desolate Orc homeland which was shattered into asteroid-like chunks to become Outland -- as it was before things went all to pieces. The expansion also raises the character level cap to 100, adds “hundreds” of new quests, throws in new dungeons and raids, and allows players to build and upgrade garrisons. You can also boost a character -- any character, even a brand new one -- to level 90 in order to partake in the Draenor shenanigans.
Warlords of Draenor is the fifth expansion for World of Warcraft, which has seen its numbers dwindle significantly over the past year. Some 400,000 more players left the game in the past six months, though with 7.6 million current subscribers, it’s still the largest subscription-based MMO in the world.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In28 days ago
Video game consoles aren’t just nuts and bolts and mainframes and teraflops. They’re made of magic. We know this because it’s the only way to explain how we magically lose an entire weekend to a game like GTA V while swearing we only played for about a half-hour.
If, however, you’re the type who prefers to see exactly how the sausage is made, we’ve got the video for you. Courtesy our pals at Wired comes this mesmerizing video of Sony’s Yasuhiro Ootori methodically unscrewing and taking apart a PlayStation 4:
Every inch of the device is covered, from the optical drive to the heat sink to the Bluetooth antenna. No real bombshells here – we’ve known the specs for a while – but it’s cool seeing proof that you can indeed just swap out that built-in 500 GB hard drive for something bigger (and if you play tons of games, you’ll likely have to do just that).
- Ben Silverman at Games Blog29 days ago
For years, grumpy gamers have complained that Activision’s meganormous Call of Duty franchise lacks innovation. This time, they may have a point.
An eagle-eyed gamer noticed that a cut-scene during the first level in the newly released Call of Duty: Ghosts bore a striking resemblance to the ending sequence from 2009’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, featuring different characters slapped over identical animations. So he captured the two and stuck them side by side. The results are, well, yeah. See for yourself:
Though the environments differ -- in Modern Warfare 2 a character is being dragged to a helicopter, while in Ghosts it's a truck -- it's pretty clear that the motion-captured animations are recycled.
But before you storm the gates of developer Infinity Ward, it’s entirely possible that the remake was an intentional decision, a way to pay homage to a key moment in the game that really served as the inspiration for Ghosts (the controllable dog Riley, for instance, is named after Modern Warfare 2’s Simon ‘Ghost’ Riley). It’s unlikely that a developer as detail-oriented and accomplished as Infinity Ward was just being lazy here.
- Ben Silverman at Games Blog1 mth ago
Arriving November 5 for current consoles and PCs (it’s a launch day release for both the PS4 and Xbox One), Call of Duty: Ghosts is expected to be one of the year’s biggest earners. But you knew that already.
For the past several years, Call of Duty releases have dominated charts while repeatedly breaking their own sales records. That might not come quite as easily this year thanks to the epic performance of Grand Theft Auto V, but it’s a given that Call of Duty: Ghosts will put up one helluva fight.
So what’s new in this year’s model? Here are five things coming to Ghosts that you’ve yet to see in a Call of Duty game.
Soldier’s best friend
Cats might rule the internet, but one very special dog rules Call of Duty: Ghosts. His name is Riley, and he was a star from the moment Activision first showed off the game.
If you’re planning on picking up a PS4 when it hits stores on November 15, you’ll probably want a few games, too.
Sony finally decided which games you’ll have to choose from, tucking away the announcement in a massive FAQ posted to the company’s official PlayStation blog.
Here’s the current list, though Sony notes that any of this can change between now and launch day:
First-party Flower Killzone Shadow Fall Knack Resogun Sound Shapes
Third-party Angry Birds Star Wars Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Call of Duty: Ghosts DC Universe Online FIFA 14 Battlefield 4 Just Dance 2014 Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition Lego Marvel Super Heroes Madden NFL 25 NBA 2K14 Skylanders: Swap Force
Indie Contrast Pinball Arcade Super Motherload Tiny Brains Warframe
Like the game's star criminals, GTA V refuses to slow down.
In their second quarter earnings report on Tuesday, Take-Two Interactive revealed that Grand Theft Auto V has shipped a whopping 29 million units worldwide in the six weeks since its September 17 release. That beats the lifetime shipment numbers of Grand Theft Auto IV, which was released back in 2008.
“The title received stellar reviews, shattered entertainment industry records, and has already sold-in nearly 29 million units to date,” said Strauss Zelnick, Chairman and CEO of Take-Two. “The extraordinary success of Grand Theft Auto V illustrates the positive momentum in our business and consumers’ enduring appetite for the highest-quality interactive entertainment.”
The Miami Heat kicked off the 2013-14 NBA season Tuesday night by trouncing the Chicago Bulls, but they really just played for posterity’s sake, because the season’s already been decided.
By a video game, that is.
The ballers at 2K Sports simulated the entire upcoming season in NBA 2K14, and -- hold on to your overpriced Heat hats -- it turns out the King will retain his crown. LeBron James and the Heat will finish the regular season with a stellar 66-16 record en route to winning their third straight title. James will also nab his fifth MVP award.
It’s probably worth mentioning that LeBron also happens to be the cover athlete for the game, which features a ‘Path to Greatness’ mode that lets gamers guide the reigning MVP through the rest of his career. So no way there’s any bias here. Not a jot.