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E3 2009

UPDATE: We've chopped the massive video into four parts, which should all work now. Be sure to watch them if your video died before.

While it brought tears to our eyes that E3 2009 was coming to a close, we found a fitting way to end the show. Round #2 of G4 vs. 1UP brought ListenUP! to the G4 stage for one epic broadcast. 1UP’s Garnett Lee hosted a show that included such industry luminaries as Todd Howard, Pete Wanat, and James Stevenson. Journalists rounding out the show were Billy Berghammer, Adam Sessler, Sterling McGarvey, Raymond Padilla, Brian Leahy, Christian Nutt, Andrew Pfister, Mark MacDonald, and Patrick Klepek.

Watch the SD and HD versions of the broadcast below, and to download the audio version of the ListenUP podcast, click here.

G4 Vs. 1UP: The Listen UP! E3 2009 Podcast Video Part 1 of 4

G4 Vs. 1UP: The Listen UP! E3 2009 Podcast Video Part 1 »


Click through for the rest of the video. We cut it up so it should all work now!

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Xbox LIVE Logo

Unfortunately, Stephen Johnson might have jumped the gun a bit yesterday, when he applauded Microsoft (and rightly so!) for introducing real-money transactions for Xbox Live's upcoming "Games on Demand" service. The E3-announced feature allows users to purchase Xbox 360 games straight to their hard drive with a credit or debit card without Microsoft Points. Microsoft has since clarified to me that we shouldn't necessarily be taking that as a sign real-money transactions will be extended to the rest of Xbox Live.

"We're happy to offer our community the convenience of using either Microsoft Points, direct debit or credit card when purchasing full Xbox 360 titles through Games on Demand," said a Microsoft spokesperson in an e-mailed statement to me. "Other content on Xbox LIVE Marketplace, such as Game Add-ons, movies and music videos, will continue to be sold with Microsoft Points and we have no further announcements at this time."

There might be some hope for Stephen's joyous exclamations, though. Microsoft made sure to include "we have no further announcements at this time." Clearly, if users respond to the ability to pay without using points, Microsoft reserves the right to make it a service-wide feature.

You know, a feature that should have been there years ago.

E3 2009 EA Press Conference: EA Tiburon Working On New Mixed Martial Arts Game, EA Sports MMAElectronic Arts announced its newest sports franchise, EA Sports MMA, at E3 2009 last week, and so far, details about the game are practically nonexistent. However, EA Sports head Peter Moore has revealed some strategic business information about the game. Three cheers for strategic business info!

Moore told Kotaku that MMA is actually part of a long-term plan to bring gamers a new EA fighting game every year. EA’s one-two punch will consist of a Fight Night game one year and an MMA game the next. And with Fight Night Round 4 coming out this month, and MMA expected sometime next year, EA seems on track to put up one hell of a fight over the coming years.

After all, Fight Night is the dominant force in boxing games, and with the skyrocketing popularity of mixed-martial arts, EA will most likely be standing over its competitors, angrily ordering them to get up and fight, once MMA enters the ring next year. In the meantime though, EA will have to find an MMA group (or groups?) of its own to base its game around, assuming THQ’s UFC license extends beyond MMA’s development cycle.

What would you like to see EA bring to the table with MMA?

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Xbox 360

It’s been just a week since Microsoft executive Shane Kim remarked to VentureBeat that his company believes the Xbox 360 has a 10-year lifecycle (thanks in large part to whatever Project Natal will eventually turn into). And yet today, we’re hearing something quite different from a major third-party player. Now, far be it from me to pontificate on the technological potentiality of the 360 over the next several years, so I’ll let senior vice president of EA Games Europe, Patrick Soderlund, do it for me.

During an E3 2009 interview, Soderlund told Official Xbox Magazine:

"Sony has a lot of good games this year. If you go to their booth, there's a very consistent, high quality product line-up and that will help them. I do think that we'll see developers inside the organization getting to understand the PS3 better and I think that we're getting more power out of PS3 right now... I think that we've maxed out the 360 but we haven't maxed out the PS3."

Rah! Rah! Flame bait! Flame bait! Yeah, I get it. Soderlund also said that the 360 is his favorite console, and that, “If I was Sony, I would have a headache,” so simmer down people. And just because Soderlund believes the 360’s technology can’t be pushed any more (which is a major accusation that would require hard data to prove, which Soderlund does not provide) doesn’t preclude the 360 from being capable of churning out quality titles for years to come, as shown by the perennial success of Sony's second console offering, the PlayStation 2.

But enough of my ramblings, what do you think about the Xbox 360 apparently topping out in its just its fourth year on the market?

Source. Source.


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Welcome to the future with CellFactor: Psychokinetic Wars, an FPS action game from Ubisoft where humans have unlocked the full potential of their brains, giving us superhuman telekinectic fighting and flying abilities.

Check out the trailer for the game, which is available both on XBox Live Arcade and PSN.

My only question is...were those robot nipples really necessary?

CellFactor: Psychokinetic Wars Launch Trailer »


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Each year, E3 is a grueling gauntlet of new titles and technologies, all poised to change the way we think about gaming. This year was no exception. Now that we've had time to sit back, piece back together our tattered physical beings and meditate for awhile, we're ready to share the things blew our minds at this year's show.

Tonight, X-Play held their Best of E3 09 awards and recognized achievement in several different categories. Check out some of the winners below, but for a full list, plus an extended edition of web only Best of E3 09 awards, click here!

Best Original Game

Scribblenauts for the Nintendo DS

Winner: 
Scribblenauts

Nominees: 
Alan Wake
Borderlands
Brutal Legend
Split/Second
Heavy Rain

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Tags: E3, E3 2009, G4, Videogames

Fans are mixed on their opinions about the upcoming Gears of War 2: All Fronts Collection that features both already released DLC and new material, but I'm just excited to hear the sweet, sweet voices of Marcus and Dom again. They may be gruff and burly on the outside, but we all know they both share a warm, big heart inside all that dinged up armor.

Here's the gameplay trailer for Dark Corners, which features 7 new multiplayer maps and Road to Ruin, the new campaign chapter where the two besties head back down to the Locust Hollow for some fun. These maps will be available as standalone DLC or as part of the Gears of War 2 All Fronts Collection coming out July 28th. 

Check out the video below! 

Gears of War 2: Dark Corners DLC Gameplay Trailer »

 

Microsoft Discusses Hulu On 360 Possibilities And Last.fm's Xbox Live Gold Exclusivity (Why?!)

There were several social and media partnerships announced at Microsoft's pre-E3 press conference last week, including Facebook, Twitter and music streaming service Last.fm. Most cynics expected Microsoft to adopt their already available Zune Marketplace into Xbox Live; instead, they're adding a way to listen to music at no cost. Well, that's not totally true -- it's no cost if you're already an Xbox Live gold member.

I quizzed Xbox exec. and corporate VP John Schappert last week about providing Xbox Live Silver users, can purchase content but locked out of multiplayer, the ability to purchase specific services. If Xbox 360 is moving towards becoming a multimedia device, do users really need to pay $49.99 a year just to access, say, Last.fm? Schappert's answer was cagey.

"There's more details to come on Last.fm," he said, pausing, "but what we did announce today was it will be free for Xbox Live [Gold] members in multiple countries coming this fall."

Could more customization for Xbox Live users be coming in the future? Schappert answer seems to suggest there's no reason to rule it out.

I couldn't leave our interview without asking the elephant in the room, though: Hulu. Rumors of a native Hulu application for the iPhone have lingered, and with Hulu launching a full-featured desktop application on PC and Mac, it's clear the networks are interesting in expanding where, when and how people access Hulu content. So, Hulu on Xbox 360?

"I will say that we are always -- I think as evidenced by our partnerships that we've announced -- we're always looking at new opportunities," said Schappert. "We want to offer the best entertainment on Xbox Live in as many countries as we can. But it takes a while to get these deals done, it takes a while to form these relationships, form these partnerships and find a great experience for [all] of our partners. Suffice to say, I don't think the Facebook, Twitter, Skye partnerships are gonna be the last ones we're going to announce, but nothing new beyond that."

That seems to be a clever way of saying Microsoft's looking into it.



Let's be honest: this trailer for The Legendary Starfy does not do the underwater adventure of a star shaped prince justice. In this latest chapter, Starfy must traverse the dangerous sea, change shapes to fight giant squid and more, all to help his new friend, an astronaut-suit wearing bunny named Bunston, recover his lost memory. Yeah.

Listen. It makes more sense when you play the actual game. And come on, this is straight from Japan where cuddly yellow cartoon characters who can only squeal adorable phrases were basically invented. So rescuing astronaut bunnies underwater is like no big deal.

Check out the trailer for The Legendary Starfy from E3 2009 below.

The Legendary Starfy E3 2009 Preview Trailer »








Written by Rhianna Pratchett (Mirror's Edge, Prince of Persia), Overlord II features an improved army of minions wrecking havoc around a whole new regime. It's time to turn evil...again.

Check out the trailer for Overlord II below.

Overlord II E3 2009 A Career in Overlording Trailer »


During E3 2009, I had the chance to sit down with some reps from peripheral manufacturer Nyko and check out some of the company’s upcoming products for the PSP Nintendo DSi and Wii.


E3 2009 Preview Of Nyko's New Gaming Peripherals

The first product I saw was the new Charge Grip Flex for the PSP 2000 and 3000. In addition to featuring a built-in rechargeable battery with 1.5 times more charge time, the coolest additions are the swivel hand grips, which unfold to make the PSP look and feel like a console controller. When the pads are folded under, you still have a much more solid grip than normal, but when you unfold the pads, the difference is very noticeable, and will no doubt make marathon PSP sessions much easier on your hands.

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Bobby KotickAlthough there was a veritable avalanche of exciting announcements at E3 2009, there was one thing that no one announced: A console price-cut. One industry big-wig, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, was disappointed that all the major platforms are holding prices steady.

"I was disappointed not to see any sort of aggressive price cutting," Kotick said to Bloomberg. "Of all the things that the hardware companies need to be doing right now, it's recognizing the difficulties of the economy and pricing their hardware appropriately."

If you've been following the game behind the video game game, you already know that a price cut is being called for, predicted, and expected from all corners of the industry, particularly for the Sony PlayStation 3, but as yet, the company has not bowed to the pressure of the calls. Here are just some of the people who have called for or predicted a price cut in the last few months: Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey, Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg, Wedbush Morgan Securities video game analyst Michael Pachter, some guy I met on a train, Electronic Arts CFO Eric Brown,  Media Molecule co-founder Alex Evans and many others.

But what do you think? Is the hardware for the PS3, 360 and Wii too expensive? Or is this a case of Activision's interests being served by console price-cuts at the expensive of hardware manufacturers?

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Jumpgate: Evolution E3 2009 Preview

The one word that I could not help uttering almost constantly during my eyes-on time with NetDevil’s space-based MMO Jumpgate Evolution (PC) during E3 2009 was "Wow." NetDevil president Scott Brown demoed a few levels for me, and only gave me the briefest of views of a few battle scenarios and settings, and yet for as little as I saw, I found myself grinning and shaking my head in awe throughout the entire presentation.

Brown reinforced at several points during the demo that Jumpgate is a full-blown MMO in every capacity, and yet, it's also designed for traditionally action-minded players. This is most apparent in the game's combat system, which is based on skill as opposed to statistical probabilities. Also, rather than forcing players to grind away for dozens upon dozens of hours in order to reach the point where combat, and the game in general, is satisfying and enjoyable, ranking up in skill level happens quickly. This ensures that the game's barrier to entry is substantially lower than your typical massively-multiplayer online game.

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Godfather II

If you're waiting for the next Godfather game, it might never happen for you. EA, makers of The Godfather: The Game  and Godfather II, says they will not be returning to make another game based off the famous gangster movies.

In an interview at E3 with the L.A. Times, president of the EA Games Frank Gibeau, label, said "We're not going to do another one," and that EA has no Godfather titles scheduled for production in the next three years.

Paramount pictures, who own the rights to the brand, was not so certain, however.  "Plans for the next Godfather game have not been decided," a Paramount spokesperson told The Times.

EA then back-pedaled faster than a hipster on fixed-gear messenger bike, with a spokesperson telling The Times, "We do not currently have a Godfather game in development...Nothing has been decided as to future sequels. Paramount is a great partner."

As for why this decision was either made or not made, as you'd expect, it might have to do with relatively disappointing sales for The Godfather 2. I have a feeling if the game had been a blockbuster, they'd be making the next one... either that, or the fact that the third Godfather movie wouldn't even provided enough quality drama for a movie tie-in video game.

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Xbox Live Allowing Puchases In Money

Microsoft has (finally) announced plans to let gamers buy content on Xbox Live with actual currency as opposed to Microsoft Points. Live is also rolling out a community rating system, so gamers will be able to offer their option, in star-form, on every piece of content the service offers, as well as a new avatar award system.

The actual currency purchases will launch with Microsoft's new Games on Demand service announced at the company's E3 press conference. The service allows the purchase of full-size, AAA games through download. So there is no real reason to ever leave your couch again. If, for some reason, you like paying in points instead of money, that option will still be there for you to enjoy.

Microsoft is also rolling out a new marketplace for avatars, in case you want to spend real money on fake clothing and accessories. Along with the purchasable avatar good, a new avatar award system is coming, where players will be given avatar-related rewards for in-game actions. This is totally separate from Xbox Live's achievement system, in case you were wondering. Way to increase the fake self-esteem with even more useless indicators of gaming prowess, Microsoft!

I've hated Microsoft Points since the launch of the system. We already have a system of "points" for determining the worth of goods and services: It's called "money." I'm glad that Microsoft is finally telling us what things are actually worth, so we don't have to convert an imaginary currency just to buy a damn game. As for the download of full-games: Love it. But yo know who hates it? Traditional, walk-into-the-store retailers!

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