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Embracing change: EA’s Hilleman on the real next gen

Monday, 27 February 2012 07:40 GMT By Nathan Grayson

Nathan Grayson speaks to EA CCO Richard Hilleman on everything from social games to the PC revival, through SOPA to new portable hardware – and more.

Richard Hilleman

Joined EA in 1982 as one of its first 20 employees. Now chief creative officer.

Was instrumental in the development of the Madden franchise, and through it, EA Sports.

Member of the board of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.

Seems to be completely awesome.

The phrase “videogame executive” doesn’t exactly conjure up a colorful image. You probably imagine a clean cut business type in a no-frills suit. When their mouth opens, out comes an immaculately harmonized chorus of a thousand PR reps. In all ways, they get the job done – and that’s it.

And then EA chief creative officer Richard Hilleman walks up and – with his mere existence – proves your imagination wrong. Clad in plain attire and sporting long, gray hair that’d look more at home on Gandalf if he were in a ’70s prog rock band, Hilleman immediately comes across as a man who marches to the beat of his own drum. He’s hardly the type you’d expect to emerge after nearly 30 years toiling away under EA’s roof – with credits including, among many other things, catapulting Madden Football to stratospheric levels of success.

And yet, even sitting near the top of one of gaming’s most established companies, Hilleman hasn’t grown complacent. He could easily keep milking the same cash cow, but he continues to search far and wide for greener pastures. For instance, he’s now dabbling in social gaming of all things – a field that only intersects with football when John Madden himself logs in to water his Farmville crops.

So, what do you discuss with someone who’s seen it all? Try everything. During the Games::Business::Law conference at SMU in Dallas, TX, I chatted with Hilleman about the gulf (or lack thereof) between hardcore and social gaming, EA’s renewed interest in PC gaming, the future of dedicated portable gaming, piracy, and much more.

VG247: Social gaming sort of cannon-balled into the center of the industry. Some members of the old guard tried to dive out of the way, others tried to catch it, and others got crushed. Which of those categories would you say EA fell into – at least, initially? Did social gaming’s popularity take you by surprise?

Richard Hilleman: I think we were more aware than almost anybody else. A lot of the early Zynga employees are actually ex-EA employees. In fact, it’s almost disproportionate. It looks like an EA satellite operation sometimes.

What I think we did is we were aware of what they were doing. We were aware of the numbers they were describing. But we, in most cases, could not independently verify any of the things they said. And so we were skeptical until we could independently approve what we saw. I think we were among the first to do that, though. We did some things that allowed us to better understand what their customers were doing. And that led us to understand the value early, which is one of the reasons we made the investment in Playfish that we did. It was a piece of strategic property we could not afford to ignore.

Speaking of, EA’s spent the past couple years putting together quite the dream team in both the social and casual spaces. Last year, of course, you scooped up PopCap, which is pretty much a cherry on top of a sundae that’s on top of an empire. So are you planning to acquire more developers this year, or do you feel like you’re finally in a good place in that respect?

Two years ago, mobile and social were new parts of EA that were doing new things. They operated outside the current console and property oriented teams. What’s changed is that those two platforms are now fundamentally integrated into the way we manage those properties.

So instead of seeing one big group in EA, what you’re seeing is, say, Battlefield has a mobile group and a social group, the BioWare guys have a mobile and a social group, and the sports guys have a mobile and a social group. And what they’re doing is pursuing the products that align with their customers and their product loads. So I’d say what you’ve seen happening in EA is the mainstreaming of social gaming.

“Some of our triple-A customers and some of our mobile customers and some of our social customers were the same person. Just because they have a particular predisposition to play a shooter doesn’t mean they’re not interested in Farmville or vice versa.”

So you have these wildly different versions of a game like Dragon Age – console, mobile, social, etc – and they appeal to different crowds…

I’m gonna question your supposition. One of the things that we discovered pretty early on in our experience in mobile is that some of our triple-A customers and some of our mobile customers and some of our social customers were the same person. Just because they have a particular predisposition to play a shooter doesn’t mean they’re not interested in Farmville or vice versa. Those take place at different places in their lives, different contexts, and with different expectations.

So I question the supposition that they’re different people. They might be the same people living different parts of their lives. We think that distinction is important, because if people are playing many of the same games, that means that it’s possible to better understand what gameplay is available to them next.

A lot of publishers, however, haven’t integrated things quite so well. For instance, THQ took a crack at the casual space with its uDraw tablet, and now there’s a frightening chance that the whole company could be drawn to un-life. Is it discouraging to see some of the industry’s best and brightest get so thoroughly flattened by the giant Indiana Jones boulder that is inevitable change?

Not for me. If anybody at EA should be institutionally oriented to the status quo, it should be someone who’s worked there for 28 years. But I am completely the opposite. The way I describe it is, I’m a mountain man. The minute it gets to civilized, I’m not interested. When something’s new or has the opportunity to produce new options or opportunities, that’s what I’m interested in.

We have an entire industry that was built by people who have remarkably short attention spans. And I’m as guilty as anybody else. If you look at my career, I run Madden for four years and then I get disinterested and do something else. That is the story of my personal career. I think the people who are most successful in this business have the same characteristic. So the fact that THQ isn’t doing well means they don’t have enough [of that]. I mean, it’s gotta be harder for us to change than THQ. It’s gotta be.

Look, I don’t like it when Zynga gets bad press, and I don’t like it when THQ gets bad press. There are folks at EA who think it’s a “they lose, I win” type of thing. I think that’s not true. We are not a business that’s big enough yet where we can afford for people to make our business look bad. Regardless of who they are or what their intentions are. So if somebody writes something about Zynga that’s wrong, I’m as likely to say it’s wrong as anyone else is because I think misconceptions and mis-attributions in our business are just negative. They hurt everybody. They help nobody.

So I don’t view it that way at all. I’m a fierce, fierce competitor, but I get the big picture.

You spent a large portion of your Game::Business::Law panel discussing social gaming’s business-first, game-second mentality.

Design the business first. You cannot retrofit the business in later. Social games are completely backward in almost every way.

Right. So do you think that’s where many of the cries of “exploitationware” come from?

So there are folks who are sensitive to the compulsion and addiction effects. I think the illusion is that videogames do that on accident, while social games do it on purpose. I think some of this, too, is that the core [audience of] 25 or 50 million has gotten used to having this as its exclusive domain and being the pace-makers. They did not participate in this conversation.

So the folks who grow Metacritic and the critical content of this business were not involved and missed the trend completely. By the way, they missed most of mobile too. So the net effect is that they’ve lost their voice of legitimacy for predicting the business. And there are only two answers to that: either you embrace it or you ridicule it. We see people playing both strategies.

“Our PC products of the past five years tended to be derivatives of our console titles. What I think you’re gonna see over the next few years is a change. Reason being, that decision limits you to too small a collection of PCs. So right now, if I try to reproduce my PS3-style gaming experiences, I shut out 95 percent of laptops on the planet. And that’s just unworkable.”

Between Origin, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Battlefield 3, EA’s suddenly re-embraced PC like some sort of long lost love. Other major publishers, though, are definitely inching in that direction – not moving in leaps and bounds. What, exactly, persuaded you to scoff at claims of piracy and give gaming’s favorite slow-mo Transformer of a platform another go?

I’m even gonna fight back and say we never really left it. The fact is, the biggest-selling product in the PC space for the last five years has been The Sims. We have been relentless in our faithfulness to that property, and we will continue to be in the future. The PC will, of course, be a big part of that future.

What we haven’t done is continue to push products that didn’t work. So we built sports games that didn’t necessarily sell on PC, because those customers preferred the console experience most of the time. There were a couple of exceptions. FIFA and Tiger Woods would do some business on PC. But the vast majority of the rest of the stuff didn’t really work, so we didn’t continue to push it.

There are cases now where our ability to integrate social, mobile, console, and PC experiences are bringing us back to the platform. Second of all, things like streaming games aren’t possible unless you have a PC version. So I think what we’ve done is return to the PC because it represents the dominant gaming console in the world, and we can’t ignore it. I think our back-off had more to do with short-term revenue than it did with anything strategic.

Our PC products of the past five years tended to be derivatives of our console titles. What I think you’re gonna see over the next few years is a change. Reason being, that decision limits you to too small a collection of PCs. So right now, if I try to reproduce my PS3-style gaming experiences, I shut out 95 percent of laptops on the planet. And that’s just unworkable. We kind of went too far [in that direction] on The Sims, but luckily, we’re growing back into the market.

But you’re gonna see us embrace machine specs that are further down. The good news is that Sandy Bridge-based Ultrabooks are really capable machines. You can’t run Battlefield 3 on them, but you can run almost everything else. I mean, the new Macbooks Air runs SWTOR like a champ if you put Windows on it. So the answer is, don’t run off to the future again. Don’t raise your specs so high that you’re disconnected from the majority of machines out there – especially laptops.

Which is interesting, because that means all that “PC gaming is dead” talk from back in the day…

…Was correct, but only because people had defined PC gaming so narrowly. PC is the biggest potential gaming platform. [In terms of] total number of people playing on it, it wins. It wins based on China alone. It wins based on one country alone.

Speaking of allegedly “dead” platforms, the vulture-and-hyena-packed peanut gallery was hungrily eying dedicated portables for the majority of last year. Then 3DS had a sales resurgence, and PS Vita started wowing crowds based on design alone – in spite of hilariously high memory card prices. So do you think people jumped the gun on that?

Look, they’re both really good pieces of hardware. They’re both good designs. The issues that are in front of Nintendo and Sony are not issues that they control. So here’s the problem today: the iPod Touch is approximately in the same price range. And if you do the aggregate math, it’s superior.

So I have an 11 year-old and a nine year-old in my house. Between the ages of zero and five, pretty much our entire relationship with those children was dominated by two devices: a DS and a portable DVD player. Our children did not travel anyplace longer than an hour without one or both of those products. Now, as a parent, the single most irritating aspect of both of those products was the amount of lost and damaged software. So I currently have a stack that tall [gestures] of DS cases my children have lost the cartridges to.

For me, that’s less of an issue than it is for some people on this planet, but it’s still fucking irritating. And many of them can’t be replaced – meaning that they lost stuff that isn’t made anymore, so I have to go dig up a used copy. Same thing with DVDs. The number of DVDs that survived more than a year without being scratched beyond the point of usefulness or lost was pretty small.

An iPod Touch gives you the ability to get one dollar games that can’t get lost and rip movies that can’t get lost, which means that this device has turned into all the things I needed to buy for my kid in one package with no incremental investment required afterward. And that’s the problem. That’s the destroyed market value that iOS has done to the handheld market. And I don’t know how to get it back. I don’t personally know how to get it back.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be a market for people who want the best immersive experience. I mean, I have a PSPgo in my bag, because I play driving games, and [iOS] blows for driving games. So I have optimized for the best experience I can get on a portable, but I’m going to be the minority. There’s gonna be five million of me and five hundred million of them.

“I’ve been doing copy protection for 30 years. Nobody hates it more than me. It can’t work, and let me explain why: no matter how much time I spend on it, the community of people who break it far exceeds the amount of time I can put into it. So, it’s one guy on one side of the door and 6,000 on the other. I’m just gonna lose. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.”

Meanwhile, a million miles away from that topic, SOPA/PIPA. The Internet rose up, those went down, and Civil War II: The Warcraft Wars didn’t occur. But piracy’s still alive and well, and – while it’s not sinking the industry – it is putting quite a bit of strain on it. So what’s the next step? And can it get any dumber than horrifically misinformed laws and DRM? Because I want to keep my faith in humanity, but it’s getting kind of hard.

I’ve been doing copy protection for 30 years. Nobody hates it more than me. It can’t work, and let me explain why: no matter how much time I spend on it, the community of people who break it far exceeds the amount of time I can put into it. So, it’s one guy on one side of the door and 6,000 on the other. I’m just gonna lose. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.

What’s changed things – from my perspective – is the degree to which the user wants online play. The minute that the user wants online play, it means that he cares about who he is in that game and what his achievements stand for. Once that’s true, you become the primary defender for my intellectual property. When you have a status in my game, you don’t want someone else to abuse that status and break it. So suddenly, you’ve gone from being my opponent in the piracy contest to being one of my guards. That is the only solution. It’s to give you enough value on the other end of that wire that you want me to know who you are.

So the best answer is to change the piracy dynamic by changing the partnership. So it’s not us against the world; it’s us and our customers against piracy. Suddenly, we outnumber the pirates for a change.

So then, SOPA/PIPA also get a big thumbs down from you?

It gives us some judicial tools to prosecute pirates that we never had before. So just because a law overreached doesn’t mean it wasn’t trying to do something that needs to be done. I would hope that what comes out of this is a re-examination of it.

For instance, John Stewart took the Senate hearings for the bill and showed the parts where they were all saying, “You know what we need here? We need a nerd.” As John Stewart said, “I got a hint for you. They’re called experts.” You call them about everything else.

So the point here is that SOPA as a piece of legislation was incomplete and unfinished. I think it will get fixed. I don’t think that’s such a bad outcome.

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5 Comments

  1. Old MacDonald

    Funny to note how he looks like a healthy counterweight to the suits, but when he opens his mouth you realize the difference is only skin deep.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. DSB

    I don’t think EA would keep a hippie locked away in the closet for 30 years. Of course he’s drunk the kool aid.

    I’m surprised by how close he gets to Gabe Newell when taking about DRM, but whatever capital that builds up is lost talking about SOPA and PIPA. You can’t form a relationship with people while trying to build legislation that will allow for even more ridiculous lawsuits.

    He says he’s a mountain man, but it seems like he’s only going to one mountain, all the time. Maybe I’m too optimistic, but I see a future where people are eventually going to get wise to the fact that overreaching copyright laws are directly detrimental to progress.

    If Apple had had the powers they have today, 30 years ago, we would be so far behind the curve because people couldn’t innovate or iterate without either paying Apple or being sued.

    Today they can patent a fucking method of unlocking your smartphone by sliding your finger across the screen. It’s getting beyond ridiculous.

    In my opinion there’s no point in going to the mountain, if you’re only going to see what you want to see. Think outside the box, see where people are at. Don’t just talk the talk.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. chickenthr33

    What a load of crap. Madden 08 for PC had more features than the current version for PS3. EA cares more about making record profits than satisfying long time customers. They pretend to care, they tell us BF3 will be a “PC first” game, and then after releasing and taking our money, they say oh we had to abandon PC and focus on console for the last few weeks and therefor we get yet another beta version PC game @ full price. 4 months later we are still waiting for fixes for bugs that were in the public beta.

    Fight Night Champion is a buggy joke, killing people’s consoles, freezing during online matches, unbalanced gameplay, lots of things that will never be fixed and they’ve probably already moved on to making the next game to charge $60 for.

    Hilleman is a joke, EA is a joke. Origin is a buggy piece of spyware pretending to be Steam and they will forever be recycling the same crappy sports games for the same low-res consoles and neglecting PC users while raking in record profits.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. chickenthr33

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ycn-10968998

    #4 3 years ago
  5. stealth

    so when he says 5 million

    What does he say to the 16 million+ that have 3ds’s?

    what does he say to the fact that the 3ds is the fastest selling system ever?

    #5 3 years ago

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  • GTA 5 PC official trailer coming next week, 15 new screenshots released

    New PC screenshots of GTA 5 have been released along with word of a new trailer coming on Monday. The screens below are from the PC version and you can view them in 4K glory over on Rockstar Newswire. The PC version of GTA 5 releases on April 14.

  • PSN real-time server status page launching in Europe soon

    PlayStation users in Europe will soon have its own a PSN Service Status Indicator. It was released earlier this month in North America. The indicator makes it easier to check whether PlayStation services are down or running as planned. This includes account management, PlayStation Now, the store, social services, etc. Sony told Eurogamer the service […]

  • Exclusivity contract prevents Bioware from revealing Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC release on PS4

    Bioware is unable to discuss when the Jaws of Hakkon DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition will arrive on platforms other than PC and Xbox One. According to various tweets from executive producer Mark Darrah, due to the exclusivity contract between EA and Microsoft, the studio is unable to announce a release date for PlayStation 3 […]

  • LEGO Batman 3 demo, Namco Museum, more added to North American eShop

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a demo for LEGO Batman 3, Namco Museum on Wii U Virtual Console, and various sales. Below is the full update. Nintendo eShop Dot Arcade – Wii U LEGO Ninjago – 3Ds LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Demo – Wii U Harvest Moon: The […]

  • Square Enix’s Easter Surprise bundle contains five mystery PC games

    Square Enix offering another mystery bundle to customers in the UK, which comes with five mystery PC games for £3.99. As before, customers will be unaware of the games they are purchasing in the mystery bundle, but the bundle contains triple-A titles worth £40 combined. One of Square’s previous mystery bundles contained Tomb Raider, Just […]

  • From Software’s PSone game Shadow Tower coming to PSN

    Shadow Tower, the first-person action-RPG developed for the original PlayStation by From Software, will be released on PlayStation Network. In the 1998 title, players took on the role of a mercenary who has returned home to the Holy Land of Zeptar to find the place has been sucked into the Underworld. He must use the […]

  • PlayStation TV gets price cut in the UK, now £44.99

    PlayStation TV has received a price cut in the UK. After several retailers started offering the console for less than the RRP of £84.99, users on DealSpwn began to wonder whether this is an official price cut, and not just regular deals or stock clearance. Sony later confirmed the new price of £44.99. “Starting from […]

  • Fast & Furious expansion for Forza Horizon 2 is now available, for free

    You can download Forza Horizon 2 expansion Fast & Furious starting right now. Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is available to download now through Xbox Live for Xbox One and Xbox 360. The expansion is standalone, so you don’t need to own Forza Horizon 2 to play it. It’s also free from now […]

  • Fire-based weapons come to PayDay 2 with the Butcher’s BBQ Pack

    The 20th DLC for PayDay 2, the Butcher’s BBQ Pack, is now available on Steam. The DLC will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: Piglet Grenade Launcher, 12G Steakout Shotgun and Mk1 Flamethrower Molotov cocktails and incendiary ammo Four new masks, patterns, materials and achievements The Butcher’s BBQ Pack is another co-development between Overkill and Croatian […]

  • Lords of the Fallen developer offers Hideo Kojima a job

    Amid the current turmoil between Hideo Kojima and publisher Konami, one studio has offered the legendary designer a position. Lords of the Fallen developer Deck 13 took to Twitter to extend a job offer to Hideo Kojima. Dear Mr. @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN In case you are currently searching, we have an open position as Head of Game […]

  • Destiny Xur update: should you buy MIDA Multi Tool?

    The question on every Destiny player’s lips today. And the answer, supplied by resident Destiny expert Paul Davies, is… Yes! We asked Paul whether or not he thought Xur’s Exotic weapon this week was worth the 23 Strange Coins. Here’s what he said: “It was already a great gun to own for PVP owing to […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 has an all-male cast to make it “more approachable”

    According to Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata, the main cast of the game is all-male because it makes the game “more approachable.” Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata spoke to Gamespot about the reason for his choice of making the core cast an all-male affair. “Speaking honestly, an all-male party feels almost more approachable […]

  • Hearthstone Blackrock Mountain is coming April 2

    Blizzard has given Hearthstone expansion Blackrock Mountain a solid release date. Hearthstone’s Blackrock Mountain adventure pack will be released April 2 in the Americas region, and April 3 in Europe, Korea, Taiwan, and China. Blackrock Depths is the first wing to be released, others will follow one week apart. Other than the 31 new cards, […]

  • Bloodborne: if you can’t load your save after installing firmware 2.50, this will help

    If you’re having issues loading your Bloodborne save after applying firmware update 2.50 to your PS4, this should help you out. Reddit user KBALLZZ encountered an issue after installing update 2.50 on his PlayStation 4. Bloodborne started reinstalling the day one patch again and when it was done he couldn’t continue his game or load […]

  • Use this code to get 10% off on PSN purchases

    Sony is offering a 10% discount coupon to anyone looking to buy games on PlayStation Store this weekend. Sony’s latest discount coupon code is here. You’ll receive 10% off your cart total when buying from the PSN Store. The offer is not valid on purchases made on PS Vita, PlayStation TV, PSP, or in-game stores. […]

  • Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin upgrade path announced, system specs revealed

    Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin will offer returning customers a chance to upgrade at a discounted price. Those who already own Dark Souls 2 on Steam and are interested in picking up the Scholar of the First Sin edition will be happy to know that publisher Bandai Namco is offering them an […]

  • Bloodborne: this is what happens when you have 40 Insight

    Insight is one of the currencies in Bloodborne, but it’s also a mechanic that affects the gameplay. There are MASSIVE SPOILERS below, so turn back now or one of Bloodborne’s gameplay mechanics will be SPOILED for you. Just like Blood Echoes in Bloodborne, Insight is used to purchase certain items from vendors in the game. […]

  • Phase two of Xbox One April update brings voice messages, dedicated servers for party chat, more

    The second phase of the April update for Xbox One is now open to members of the Preview programme and and it looks like there are even more features in store. Phase one of Xbox One’s April firmware update started a few days ago with improvements to party chat and achievements notifications. Today, phase two […]

  • GTA 5′s graphical “downgrade” is a bug, will be fixed in upcoming patch

    As of patch 1.8 for GTA 5 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, a few graphical issues have cropped up leading some to believe there has been a stealth downgrade to the game’s overall graphics. Over the past couple of days, Reddit went nuts over a video showing what appears to be a downgrade to […]

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory for March 27, 28 – MIDA Multi-Tool edition

    Xur: Agent of the Nine has arrived at The Tower in Destiny to rid you of your Strange Coins. Xur: Agent of the Nine has once again made it to Destiny’s Tower to sell you Exotic weapons and gear in exchange for Strange Coins and Motes of Light. For this weekend, Xur can be found […]

  • Destiny vault space upgrade will have enough room for every Exotic

    Destiny is finally getting the vault space upgrade players have been begging for almost since launch week. Destiny players can currently use vault space to store 20 pieces of amour, 20 weapons and 20 general item stacks. In the latest Bungle Weekly Update, the developer revealed that as of patch 1.1.2, due before House of […]

  • Half-Life 2: Update mod applies some sparkle to the original title

    Half-Life 2: Update will be available tomorrow, and thanks to the modding community, those who own the vanilla version of the game can apply a visual update to the 2004 title. The comparison video shows you the differences between the original version, and the version with Half-Life 2: Update applied. Here’s what the mod includes: […]

  • Neverwinter MMO can now be pre-downloaded on Xbox One

    You can now pre-download the free-to-play Neverwinter MMO on Xbox One. The game launches on March 31, but you will still need an Xbox Live Gold account to play it. Based on the Dungeons & Dragons franchise, the game can be downloaded from the Xbox Store.

  • Destiny of Spirits will go offline starting next month

    Sony will be ending service for Destiny of Spirits starting next month, Sony has announced. The free-to-play Destiny of Spirits was released in late March 2014 on Vita, and tasked players with collecting supernatural forces appropriate to their geographical location, and then trading them with others online. Gravity Rush spirits were added to the game […]

  • MotoGP 15 is out this spring on PC, last and current-gen consoles

    MotoGP 15 will be released in June on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Milestone has announced. Bike, rider and team customization are part of the latest release in the franchise, along with time-trials and enhanced career options. The game features over 20 bike models divided into three classes: MotoGP, Moto 2 […]

  • Cities: Skylines players should check out Nakatomi Plaza and Wayne Enterprises

    Nakatomi Plaza and Wayne Enterprises can now be yours in Cities: Skylines. Die Hard fans will be familiar with Nakatomi Plaza. Those who have never watched the first film and live in Los Angeles know it by its real-life name, FOX Plaza. It was created by Enos Shenk and is available through Steamworks. Those who […]

  • Call of Duty franchise has sold 175M copies, players have thrown 300B grenades

    With the Call of Duty Championship kicking off tomorrow, Activision has sent over a series infographic full of interesting figures such as the number of copies sold over 10 years and how many grenades players have tossed. According to the stats below, the Call of Duty franchise has sold 175 million copies across all platforms […]

  • Save up to 75% on select SEGA games on Steam this weekend

    SEGA has put many of its games on sale through Steam this weekend and the firm has also announced Eastside Hockey Manager is now available through Early Access. The sale runs through March 30. The entire Total War, Company of Heroes and Dawn of War back catalogs are discounted 75% and all associated DLC is […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight PC confirmed as digital download-only in UK

    Batman: Arkham Knight will indeed be a download-only title on PC in the UK, Warner Bros. has confirmed to VG247. Batman: Arkham Knight will be available as both a physical and digital release for PS4, Xbox One and PC in North America and Europe. Again, in the UK, the PC version will be “available as […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege release date set for October per GameStop Italy – report

    GameStop Italy may have let the release date for Rainbow Six Siege slip if a recent listing is accurate. According to the listing, the game will release on October 16. While this could be a placeholder date, October 16 is a Friday in the UK, the usual day new releases land at retail. The release […]

  • Watch the $1 million Call of Duty Championship right here

    The The Call of Duty Championship takes place this weekend, and you can watch all the action as it unfolds right here. The event takes place in Los Angeles tomorrow March 27 and runs through March 29, and the livestreams are below. 32 teams from five continents and 11 countries will be competing in Call […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: Battlefest kicks off this weekend with Double XP

    A new season of Battlefest kicks off this weekend, and starting today, you will earn Double XP in Battlefield Hardline. Battlefest for Hardline is similar to the event held for Battlefield 4 last year. For the entire month of April and into May, in-game events and competitions will be held by the developers and player […]

  • Don’t forget: the GTA 5 PC pre-order bonus cutoff is March 31

    Just a friendly reminder to those planning on purchasing GTA 5 for PC: you have until March 31 to pre-order if you want all the bonuses on offer. Those who pre-order will be handed $1 million in-game cash plus a bonus $300,000. It is split between GTA 5 and GTA Online: $500,000 for Grand Theft […]

  • Games with Gold offers doubled for April – six games instead of three

    Microsoft’s April Games with Gold collection is being doubled. For the month Xbox Live Gold members will receive six instead of three games free. Here’s what’s on offer: Pool Nation FX: Available all month on Xbox One Child of Light: Available all month on Xbox One Gears of War: Judgment: Available from April 1-15 on […]

  • Pokemon players can grab a code for Shiny Charizard at GAME in April

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire players along with Pokemon X and Y owners can grab a free, rare Shiny Charizard from April 3 at one of GAME’s 320 stores in the UK. The redeemable codes for the character will be made available upon request and no purchase is necessary. Those who pop into one […]

  • F1 2015 will arrive on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in June, includes Mexico circuit

    Codemasters has announced its F1 franchise will make its series debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this June with the release of F1 2015. The game was developed using a new engine and contains improved handling and physics for all vehicles and parts attached. This includes: engine, transmission, aerodynamics, fuel tank, force feedback, suspension […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video confirms Liu Kang as playable character

    Liu Kang has been confirmed as a playable character in Mortal Kombat X in the latest video. You’ll also notice Bo’ Rai Cho in there as well. In the Shaolin trailer above you also get a look at Kung Lao and Kung Jin who is new to the series. Apparently, Raiden’s past champions of the […]

  • Short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront shows the Battle of Hoth

    A short teaser for Star Wars: Battlefront has been posted by EA on Twitter. Well, that speeder isn't going anywhere. Can someone give us a lift to @SW_Celebration http://t.co/srEVrAA0zl #SWCA https://t.co/4W4LG8myke — EAStarWars (@EAStarWars) March 25, 2015 The teaser shows vehicles which we could be using in the game, but it mainly shows the snowy landscape […]

  • Pillars of Eternity releases today – get all the review scores here

    Pillars of Eternity, which still stands as the second most-funded video game on Kickstarter, finally releases today. It’s also getting some rather positive reviews scores, which we’ve rounded up for you. The isometric, party-based RPG from Obsidian Entertainment was one of the first video game projects to take to Kickstarter, and hit its $1.1 million […]

  • Take an in-depth look at Evolve’s Behemoth monster and four new hunters

    Evolve’s fourth monster, the Behemoth, as well as the four new hunters are shown off in new gameplay video. Evolve’s latest gameplay trailer gives everyone a good look at each of the four new hunters and the massive Behemoth monster. The hunters can be bought either separately or though the hunting pass, while the monster […]

  • PS4 firmware update 2.50 causing issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall

    The suspend/resume feature in PlayStation 4′s 2.50 firmware update is causing some issues with Killzone: Shadow Fall. Killzone: Shadow Fall developer Guerrilla has said that the game is experiencing some issues in some instance where the suspend/resume feature is used. The timing of when players put the game in suspend mode does have an effect, […]

  • Bungie on Destiny matchmaking: “We believe there’s no substitute for a pre-made team”

    Crazy though this may seem, it’s possible that Destiny shipped according to plan. History points to community as a crucial component, far from the contingency that many now suspect. Paul Davies spoke to Bungie for clarity. “The community always engineers the best solutions for bringing players together. While Matchmaking is a great resource for introducing […]

  • Bloodborne works with suspend/resume, but only offline

    PlayStation 4′s newly-added suspend/resume feature works with Bloodborne as you’d expect, but only while offline. PlayStation 4 received the long-awaited suspend/resume feature today as part of firmware 2.50, and people are starting to test it out with various games. Bloodborne does work with the feature, but only if you play offline. Playing online is arguably […]

  • This is what Crossy Road looks like in first-person

    Crossy Road is fun and addictive. But in first-person, it’s mostly frightening. YouTube user Andy Front Films likes Crossy Road so much he decided to show off what it would look like in first-person. If crossing roads quickly and watching around for cars and trains, all of this as the camera chases you felt intense […]

  • Take a small behind-the-scenes peek at Mass Effect 4

    BioWare cinematic director Ken Thain has given us a very slim look behind the scenes at some motion capture work from the upcoming Mass Effect game. The upcoming Mass Effect game, whether it ends up being called Mass Effect 4 or not, will most definitely incorporate some form of motion capture work. How do we […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection – 8GB day one patch on PS4, 16GB on Xbox One

    Day one patches for Borderlands: The Handsome Collection are pretty hefty. Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection require players to download lots of gigabytes to make the experience as smooth as possible. The PlayStation 4 version has an 8.31GB day one patch. The Xbox One version however has […]

  • Get a PlayStation 4 with Bloodborne and The Last of Us for $435

    If you’ve been waiting for the perfect game to get to buy a PlayStation 4, there’s no better time than the present. Amazon is offering a good PlayStation 4 bundle at the moment. For $434.99, you get a PlayStation 4 console, The Last of Us, and Bloodborne. The Last of Us is of course the […]

  • Upcoming Battlefield Hardline patch to nerf the K10, buff battle rifles

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch will focus on weapon balance and a few changes have been proposed. Battlefield Hardline lead multiplayer designer Thaddeus Sasser posted a few of the balance changes that the team is considering for the next patch. K10: reduce bullet damage to 33 Saiga and PTR: reduce recoil to bring more in line […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and a new Resident Evil game coming this year, according to research firm

    According to digital games analyst SuperData, a new Resident Evil game is due this fall and that this year’s Call of Duty is Black Ops 3. In its latest report on digital console games, research and analytics firm SuperData revealed that a new Resident Evil is coming this fall. “We anticipate this month’s downturn to […]

  • Bloodborne: you can add gestures to your messages

    As players get deeper into Bloodborne, they keep uncovering so many of its little new additions, including this one. Bloodborne, like all of the Souls games before it, allows players to leave messages for other players. These messages could be used to point players towards impending doom, treasure, or just be sarcastic and witty. What […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 is now live

    PlayStation 4 firmware update version 2.50 has started rolling out. Reports are coming in saying that Yukimura, PlayStation 4′s firmware 2.50 has been made available to download. The update is clocking in at just 245mb, so get downloading. 2.50 brings with it many new additions, including the suspend/resume feature, backup and restore, accessibility options and […]

  • Harley Quinn DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight is a prequel

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is set before the events of the main game, according to Amazon’s description. Today we learned a few details about the pre-order DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, namely the Harley Quinn one. According to the description on Amazon, the DLC takes place in the lead-up to the events […]

  • Bloodborne Vicar Amelia summon mystery solved

    Bloodborne players unable to summon near Vicar Amelia: here’s your solution. Bloodborne’s secrets are unfolding by the hour as clever players piece together From Software’s cunning design. Yesterday we reported problems summoning in the Cathedral Ward, before the Vicar Amelia boss fight. It turns out this isn’t a bug – or if it is, it’s […]

  • Steven Spielberg will direct film adaption of Ready Player One

    Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaption of the sci-fi, virtual world, video game themed novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the film in June 2010 and hired screenwriter Zak Penn to rewrite the previous draft written by Eric Eason, according to Deadline. The book takes place in […]

  • Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets shouldn’t forget about the custom audio

    Here’s a friendly reminder for Bloodborne players with PS4 headsets: be sure to download the Headset Companion App from the PlayStation store if you haven’t already. As previously reported, the game supports a custom Bloodborne audio mode which can be uploaded. It contains custom audio created by developers specifically tuned to enhance the audio. This […]