Monday, January 30, 2012

Pro-Family Group Outraged by Addition of Homosexuality to Star Wars Game

The pro-family group Family Research Council (FRC) is in an uproar over the addition of gay relationships to the massive multi-player game Star Wars: The Old Republic.

FRC is a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that claims that it is "the leading voice for the family in our nation's halls of power." Recently, the group released a statement concerning their concern about Bioware’s addition of homosexuality into its Star Wars game.

Although the addition has not yet been made to the game, Bioware has announced that the ability to have a homosexual relationship with NPC characters in the game, not relationships with other game users, will be coming soon.

"In a galaxy not so far far away, Star Wars gamers have already gone to the dark side. The new video game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, has added a special feature: gay relationships," says Tony Perkins, FRC president, in a statement.

"Since the announcement, homosexuals have been celebrating the news, but parents sure aren't. On the game's website, there are more than 300 pages of comments - a lot of them expressing anger that their kids will be exposed to this Star Warped way of thinking. You can join them by logging on and speaking up. It's time to show companies who the Force is really with," adds Perkins.

There were some issues surrounding homosexuality in The Old Republic that came up in 2009. Users that posted on Bioware’s online forum noticed that words such as “gay,” “lesbian” and “homosexual” were censored any time that they were posted on the forum. When questioned about the censorship, Sean Dahlberg, the Bioware community manager, stated in an April 2009 post, "[Gay and lesbian] are terms that do not exist in Star Wars. Thread closed."

I guess that Bioware has changed its mind slightly about this issue because as of right now, the Old Republic gamers will soon be able to pursue relationships with NPC characters of either gender. According to Bioware, the reason that this ability was not simply included when the game was launched is due to a logistics issue.

"Due to the design constraints of a fully voiced MMO of this scale and size, many choices had to be made as to the launch and post-launch feature set. Same gender romances with companion characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic will be a post-launch feature," reads a statement on Bioware's forums.

"Because The Old Republic is an MMO, the game will live on through content expansions which allow us to include content and features that could not be included at launch, including the addition of more companion characters who will have additional romance options."

Sources: Family Research Council - Washington Watch Daily Radio Commentary and PCMag - Pro-Family Group Speaks Out Against Star Wars Game's Gay Relationships

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rumor: Xbox 720 to be 6x as Powerful as Xbox 360

Xbox 720The next Xbox console, which is being dubbed the Xbox 720 until an official name is announced, has been confirmed for a Fall (October/November) 2013 release date. It is being rumored by sources at IGN that the next model will have approximately six times the processing power of the current Xbox 360.

There have already been reports from SemiAccurate and Fudzilla, two tech blogs, that have confirmed that mass production of the next-gen console's GPU will begin by the end of this year. What was also confirmed was that this new GPU will not be the rumored AMD 7000 Series Southern Islands GPU but will instead be the current-gen AMD 6000 Series. To be more precise, the next-gen Xbox will contain a GPU similar to the Radeon HD 6670. That GPU offers support for DirectX11, multidisplay output, 3D and full 1080p HD.

To put all of this into a number, the new Xbox 720 will be at least six times as powerful as the current Xbox 360 console. In addition to that, the console will have 20% better performance than Nintendo's upcoming Wii U console. It has already been leaked that developers will be receiving development kits based on the console's final configuration in August of this year.

If all of this proves true, you can be sure that Microsoft will unveil the console at this year's E3, or Electronic Entertainment Expo, the biggest gaming convention in the United States. It has already been reported that Sony is definitely not announcing a new console at E3 and Nintendo has already unveiled its new Wii U, so if Microsoft wants to start building hype before the PlayStation 4, then this year's E3 will be the only place to do it.

Source: IGN - Xbox 720 Will Be Six Times as Powerful as Current Gen
SemiAccurate - Exclusive: XBox Next/Xbox 720 chips in production
Fudzilla - Oban initial product run is real: It is SoC strategy for Next Xbox

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Katy Perry-Themed Sims 3 Showtime

Electronic Arts (EA) announced on Wednesday, January 18 that it has sealed a deal with Katy Perry. The incredibly popular singer will be appearing in EA’s popular game franchise The Sims.

EA said in a statement that there will be several games within The Sims series that will feature "special Katy Perry themed in-game content and virtual goods." She will also be making appearances in The Sims marketing and advertising campaigns.

"Katy Perry has been a fan of The Sims for several years, and her Simlish recording of her hit ‘Hot and Cold' featured in The Sims™ 2 series quickly became the most popular Simlish music video to date,” said Steve Schnur, worldwide executive of music for EA. "We couldn't be more excited to work with Katy and bring her distinctive talents, style and personality to the franchise's global fan base. No performer could better represent the humor and fun of The Sims brand."

"I love how you're able to play out different stories through your Sims characters - giving them different careers and watching them succeed," said Perry. "It's cool to see the Sims' stage performances in The Sims 3 Showtime decked out just like my California Dreams Tour — even my cotton candy video screens are in there!”

With EA’s new deal with Perry, there will be a collector’s edition of The Sims 3 Showtime that feature’s Perry-themed content. It is now available for pre-order and will be released in March. In Sims 3 Showtime, users' Sims will be able to "experience the rise to stardom" as either a singer, acrobat, musician or deejay.

The collector’s edition will feature many different Perry-themed items including outfits, a guitar, hairstyles and stage props. There will also be a Katy Perry Sim featured in the game.

"I always like to think of myself as a cartoon, and now I'm a Sim!" Perry said.

Sources: Electronic Arts - Katy Perry Joins Creative Forces With EA's The Sims and PCMag - Katy Perry Moving In With The Sims

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kaz Hirai Squashes Rumors of a PlayStation 4 Reveal at E3 2012

Kaz HiraiE3, otherwise known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is the world's largest convention for video games, consoles and gaming technology and the 2012 event is right around the corner. Last year's E3 saw a few very nice announcements, like Halo 4 and the PS Vita, but the big thing everybody is going to be looking for this year is the next generation of consoles. It's been seven years since we've had a new console debut for any of the top names in the business and many people believe that E3 2012 will show us the "PlayStation 4", "Xbox 720" and whatever boring piece of motion-controlled crap Nintendo decides to pollute the industry with, or will it?

Gaming website MCV launched a story not too long ago rumoring that the PlayStation 4 would see its world premiere on the stage at E3 2012. However, ever since that story dropped, there have been an exorbitant amount of contradictory stories, including one from gaming analyst Michael Pachter, who stated, "there's zero chance of a tease from Sony for PlayStation 4 at E3." But if Pachter's thoughts weren't enough to convince you, maybe news from Sony itself will.

Sony has officially declared that the PlayStation 4 will not premiere at this year's E3 convention. Sony's Kaz Hirai spoke with a roundtable of reporters at CES this week, as the Wall Street Journal reports, and answered a question about the PlayStation 4 debuting at the show set to take place this summer. Hirai stated, "Andy [House] is absolutely right in that we are not making any announcement at E3. I've always said a 10-year life cycle for PS3, and there is no reason to go away with that."

If Hirai and Sony seriously commit to the 10-year life cycle, that means we won't see the PlayStation 4 for another four years in 2016. With this report it seems pretty official that the PS4 won't be popping up its head at E3 anytime soon. However, that still leaves a serious opening for Microsoft and Nintendo to debut new consoles. The only real threat to Sony would be if Microsoft unveiled the Xbox 720 (or whatever they decide to call it) at this year's E3. Getting that big of a jump on the competition could completely obliterate Sony while nobody is really threatened by anything Nintendo could release.

I, for one, am not too hip to the idea of a new console anytime soon. I am deeply in love with my Xbox 360 and I see no real reason to upgrade at the moment. I feel like both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 both have a lot left to offer the gaming community so waiting another four years for a new console is fine by me. What do you think? Are you disappointed in Kaz Hirai's announcement? Do you think it's time for another console war? Sound off in the comment section and tell me what you think.

Source: IGN - Sony Executive Says No PlayStation 4 at E3 2012

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