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Today publisher Warner Bros. and developer Turbine announced that their literary MMORPG Lord of the Rings Online will follow in the footsteps of fellow Turbine title Dungeons & Dragons Online by shifting to a free-to-play model this fall. While the basic game will be free, gamers looking for “[e]xpansions, quest packs, items, and account services” will either have to earn them though in-game points or pony up some cash via microtransactions.

Gamers will still be able to subscribe to “VIP” accounts that grant them access to all premium content, however, Warner Bros. has yet to announce the price for these subscriptions. This “VIP” subscription model mirrors Dungeons & Dragons Online‘s, which seems to have been quite the success considering Turbine reported a 40% rise in subscriptions following the free-to-play switch. Read more… »

Today Real-time Strategy giant Relic announced that it will be bringing a free-to-play version of its WW2 title Company of Heroes to PCs this fall. Originally made for Asian markets, the free-to-play version, dubbed Company of Heroes Online,  features eight player multiplayer, “Specialization, commander customization, and persistent progression.”

In this version, each online win you achieve will earn you points. These points then can be used to purchase upgrades and “special units.” For those of you who don’t have the time to rack up enough points, there will also be the option of buying these upgrades and “special units” though microtransactions. Read more… »

Today publisher THQ announced that it has created a new program that allows “select” external developers and publishers to access THQ’s “global retail and online publishing network.” Dubbed “THQ Partners,” this new program seems to imitate Electronic Arts’ “EA Partners” program, which allows developers like Valve to publish retail copies of their games.

THQ Global Publishing executive VP Ian Curran stated: “THQ Partners is charged with maximizing the efficiencies of our global distribution network by enhancing our product offerings with quality games from developers and publishers who don’??t have the benefit of our extensive retail and online sales operations.” Read more… »

Today long time strategy guide producer Prima has launched a new method of distribution that revolves around Valve’s Steam service.

Gamers can now purchase game guides off of the Steam store and access them in-game via the Steam overlay. A major advantages of the digital guide format includes video walkthroughs, which are obviously not possible in print. Read more… »

Remember that Humble Indie Bundle I wrote about a last week? Well it has turned into quite the success. Right before the deal came to a close yesterday, gamers dug deep into their pockets and managed to raise over $1 million.

In celebration of this fantastic achievement, the offer has been extended by four days. This mans that you have until 4pm EDT on May 15 to get in on the action. Also, because the bundle broke the million mark, several of the developers have decided to release the source codes for Lugaru HD, Gish, Aquaria and Penumbra Overture. This means that modders will be able to produce new content for the bundled titles. Read more… »

Today new digital distributor Green Man Gaming has officially launched its service offering gamers an option never seen before in the realm of downloadable titles: a trade-in feature.

Green Man Gaming’s big selling point is that games bought through the site can be traded back in for store credit. To give you an idea how this works, the game VVVVVV is currently for sale at £8.99. If you were to purchase this and decide it’s not for you, you can sell it back for £4.99 of credit at Green Man. Read more… »

Today, in a surprise move, Halo developer Bungie announced that is has partnered up with publisher Activision for an exclusive 10 year deal “to bring Bungie’s next big action game universe to market.”

According to the agreement Activision is granted worldwide publishing and distribution rights for all future Bungie titles based on a new unannounced intellectual property. It is important to note that, while Activision will handle publishing, Bungie will remain independent and will have full control over this illusive IP. Read more… »

After selling over one million copies worldwide, Quantic Dream have produced a new Heavy Rain trailer to commemorate this achievement.

Many feared that the ambitiously unique title would never catch on, but the sales and some rave reviews for the PS3 exclusive would seem to indicate otherwise. To show their gratitude following Heavy Rain‘s surprise success, Quantic Dream’s message is simple: “thanks a million!”


Last night publisher Warner Bros. Interactive announced that it is opening a new studio in Montreal that will focus on comic book based intellectual properties.

The new studio, dubbed WB Games Montreal, will be lead by Martin Tremblay (Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time) and will utilize DC Comics properties. These include Superman, Batman, The Justice League, etc. Read more… »

Sony have announced that the PSN store will be lavished with full HD movie downloads starting from today. The video store previously only offered movies to be purchased in SD and only rented in HD, but from today you will be able to purchase  HD movies from a selection of major movie studios including 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.

They were also keen to point out that they are the first to offer this service and posted a list of some of the movies that will be available upon launch, including 2012, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Inglourious Basterds, Up and District 9.


Today Sony announced that they have acquired LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule and will be integrating it into the Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios family.

While the specific terms of this acquisition are unknown, Sony did state that it was, “a strategic move to continue to secure excellence in game development for current and future PlayStation platforms.” Read more… »

Over the weekend Activision Blizzard stirred up some controversy by sending a cease-and-desist order to a group of fans working on a fan-made King’s Quest sequel dubbed “The Silver Lining.”

It is important to note that this group of fans, working under the name Phoenix Online, has gotten into legal trouble before. Back in 2005, then owner of the King’s Quest franchise Vivendi sent Phoenix Online a cease-and-desist letter. After a few months on negotiating, Vivendi granted Phoenix a non-commercial fan license to use the King’s Quest settings. Read more… »