EA has been voted “Worst Company in America” – Again.

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For the second year in a row Electronic Arts has been voted as the worst company in America by the readers of the consumer-watchdog website The Consumerist. This makes them more hated than Bank of America, Comcast and Ticketmaster (of which took second, third, and fouth).

Despite the fierce competition this year they managed to take home the not-very coveted “Golden Poo” award. They won this because of a love of microtransactions, the price of their games and use of DLC as well as the irritating DRM practices. But the spectacular failure of the SimCity launch was a particular sore spot that was poked a few times.

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“EA made a royal mess of the SimCity release by failing to foresee that the people who would buy the game and who would, per the game’s design, be required to connect to the EA servers and might actually want to play at some point in the week after making their purchase…But that’s just the latest in EA’s long history of annoying its customer base with bad support. Customers who paid full price for games, or who spent or saved huge piles of in-game cash in EA’s online products, would suddenly find a problem with their accounts, but attempts to rectify the problem, or even get a response from EA, would go unheeded.” – The Consumerist

EA chief operating officer Peter Moore, in an open letter to gamers last week, admitted the company could do better, but said the label of “worst company” was undeserved:

“Are we really the ‘Worst Company in America? I’ll be the first to admit that we’ve made plenty of mistakes. These include server shut downs too early, games that didn’t meet expectations, missteps on new pricing models and most recently, severely fumbling the launch of SimCity. We owe gamers better performance than this. … But I am damn proud of this company, the people around the globe who work at EA, the games we create and the people that play them.”

No company wants to win an award like this, EA specifically does not need any more bad press like this amongst everything else that is going on with them. They are already dealing with more significant issues such as the CEO John Riccitiello resigning at the end of last month not to mention the fallout of the SimCity ordeal.

With all of this fueling the internet hate-bandwagon I expect to see a slew of new memes being created in regards to this. But will this actually deter anyone from buying any of EA’s new games? Battlefield 4 will be releasing later this year and there is quite a bit of excitement around it and regardless of this news gamers everywhere will be buying and playing on the “broken” servers they complain about.

Call Of Duty Ghosts Will Be Haunting Gamers In November

Activision has officially announced the next installment of Call Of Duty and its name is, Call Of Duty Ghosts. As far as COD reveals go, Ghosts was actually pretty lackluster. A short teaser trailer with a press release stating COD Ghosts is “An All-New World, Story, Characters and Experience, All Powered By A New, Next Gen Call Of Duty Engine from the Developer that started it all, Infinity Ward“.

November 5, 2013 is the release date and COD Ghosts will be available for Xbox 360, PS3, PC and next generation consoles. We will get to see the first gameplay later this month at Microsoft’s event and announcement of their next console, May 21. No word yet if it will appear on Nintendo’s Wii U.

I, like so many assumed Ghosts would have something to do with the character, Simon “Ghost” Riley from Modern Warfare 2. Given the title and the fact that the official Call Of Duty website teased an image of a skull infused balaclava, it was an honest mistake. In a way I’m kind of glad, Ghost belongs to a COD of the past. As far as I’m concerned he died with MW2 as did much of what I loved about COD. Silly Activision, everyone knows the developer who started it all have mostly “Respawned” elsewhere.

I’m still a fan of the franchise, or maybe I’m just a slave to the COD machine but I hope to once again be amazed by it. As we wait for more information, I present you with the teaser trailer followed up by Activision’s official press release.

Activision Announces the Next Generation of Call of Duty with Call of Duty : Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts will set a new Benchmark for the Next Generation
All-New World, Story, Characters and Experience, All Powered by New, Next Gen Call of Duty Engine from the Developer that started it all, Infinity Ward
For an Exclusive First Look at the Game, Tune in to Xbox: The New Generation Revealed, May 21 at 10AM PDT on Xbox.com, Xbox Live or SPIKE TV
Groundbreaking Title Lands on November 5
SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Prepare for the next generation of Call of Duty . The franchise that has defined a generation of gaming is set to raise the bar once again with the all-new Call of Duty : Ghosts. Published by Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI), and developed by Infinity Ward, the studio that created the original Call of Duty and the seminal Call of Duty : Modern Warfare series, Call of Duty: Ghosts ushers in the next generation of the franchise. The new title delivers a riveting all-new gameplay experience built on an entirely new story, setting and cast of characters, all powered by a new, next generation Call of Duty engine that redefines the series for the next generation.
“Infinity Ward set the gold standard for first-person action for a generation, and they’re going to do it again with Call of Duty: Ghosts,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, Inc. “Ghosts delivers an all-new story, all-new characters, an all-new Call of Duty world, all powered by a next generation Call of Duty engine, which is a leap forward for the franchise. Infinity Ward is going all-in to create the next generation of Call of Duty worthy of the world’s greatest fans.”
“Everyone was expecting us to make Modern Warfare 4, which would have been the safe thing to do. But we’re not resting on our laurels,” said Mark Rubin, executive producer of developer Infinity Ward. “We saw the console transition as the perfect opportunity to start a new chapter for Call of Duty. So we’re building a new sub-brand, a new engine, and a lot of new ideas and experiences for our players. We can’t wait to share them with our community.”
To see an exclusive first look at Call of Duty: Ghosts tune in to Xbox: the Next Generation Revealed on May 21 at 10AM PDT on Xbox.com, Xbox LIVE or SPIKE TV for the debut of the all-new game from Infinity Ward.
“We are consistently thrilled with the overwhelming response received from critics and consumers alike to the Call of Duty series, which has firmly established its home on the Xbox 360 with the game’s largest and most engaged community,” said Don Mattrick, president of the interactive entertainment business at Microsoft. “With Call of Duty: Ghosts, we have no doubt that our longtime partners, Activision and Infinity Ward, will raise the bar higher than ever before for this incredible franchise.”
Starting today, fans can begin pre-ordering their copy of Call of Duty: Ghosts at retail outlets worldwide.
“There’s no other video game property like Call of Duty. It’s the biggest game franchise on the planet that has had some of the biggest game entertainment launches in history,” said Tony Bartel, president of GameStop. “We are very excited for the launch of Call of Duty: Ghosts, as we transition to next generation consoles.”
Call of Duty: Ghosts will release on Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system and PC on November 5. Call of Duty: Ghosts will also be available for next generation platforms. For the latest intel, check out: http://www.callofduty.com/ghosts, http://www.facebook.com/CODGhosts, or follow on Twitter @InfinityWard. Call of Duty: Ghosts is not yet rated.
About Activision Publishing, Inc.
Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Publishing, Inc. is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products.
Activision maintains operations in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, South Korea, mainland China and the region of Taiwan. More information about Activision and its products can be found on the company’s website, http://www.activision.com.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Activision Publishing’s expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future, including statements about the expected Call of Duty: Ghosts release date of November 5, 2013, are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause Activision Publishing’s actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include unanticipated product delays and other factors identified in the risk factors sections of Activision Blizzard’s most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Activision Publishing and Activision Blizzard as of the date of this release, and neither Activision Publishing nor Activision Blizzard assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Activision Publishing or Activision Blizzard and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.
ACTIVISION, CALL OF DUTY, CALL OF DUTY MODERN WARFARE and CALL OF DUTY GHOSTS are trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc. Microsoft, Windows, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE are either registered trademarks or trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. All other trademarks and trade names are the properties of their respective owners.

Ahead of I/O, Google triples GMail, Drive storage.

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Let’s be honest, Google has been wicked awesome at the amount of storage they offer us for free. 5 GB to split among GMail, Google Drive and Google+ pics is pretty damn fair compared to the paltry 2 GB Dropbox serves its free users. Google clearly wants to stay waaaaaaaay ahead of the competition as they just tripled the amount of available cloud storage.

15 GB of cloud love is slowly rolling out for all of us that rely on the Google train. What’s even better is you can decide if you want an even split or if you want more space devoted to Google+. Maybe you don’t use Drive that much, you can just adjust the settings so you have more room for your cat photos in G+. Google Apps users are also seeing a bump up – from 25 GB to 30 GB.

Don’t forget, you can also purchase more space if you tend to be a storage hog. $5 a month will score you a 100 GB online storage shed while a Weasly measly 10 smackers a month can rent out a reception hall sized 200 GB.

Makes you wonder way, mere days before Google I/O, they pumped up the storage. Do they have some shenanigans ready for the annual developers conference? Stay tuned geeks, we’ll find out!

The next Xbox is now the Xbox One!

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We finally have an official name for the successor to the Xbox 360 legacy, the Xbox One. Microsoft unveiled the sleek console today during their hour-long press conference in Seattle. The company gave us all a shot of the future and the future looks good.

I’m digging the sexy look of the console, it looks like a modernized companion piece to any living room set up. I wish they would have dropped the piano black finish though, that tends to collect more dust and grime than a matte finish. The new controller is a sexy beast, something that would be imagined for a sci-fi show instead of real life. MS didn’t change the Xbox One controller so much but yet it looks so fresh. They do claim they’ve redesigned the infamous D-pad.

What we know so far about the Xbox One is it has 8GB of RAM, an 8 core custom-built CPU, blu-ray drive, USB 3.0, WiFi Direct, HDMI Kinect 2.0 and happily a 500GB hard drive. No word on if we can swap out bigger drives but I would say it’s a given. Good out of the gate specs for the “future”.

Backwards compatibility is a no go for the Xbox One due to the brand new architecture running the system. The system is powered by three separate operating systems, the new Xbox gaming system, the Windows kernel and a custom-built OS to get those two to play nice. After seeing it run, I’ll gladly lose BC for the features being brought forth. One thing is the deeper integration with the new Kinect sensor. Plop down in front of the One and say “Xbox On” and it instantly starts up for you. Using Kinect to flip channels, switch to different sections of the console was breathtakingly swift.

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We didn’t see much of the games slated for the Xbox One which is sad and makes me feel as if Microsoft is forgetting why they’re #1 right now. We got a glimpse of Forza 5, a new game from Remedy called Quantum Breaker and at the end of the show was a big show off of Call of Duty: Ghosts. The trailers looked amazing but no actual game play. We’re told that we will get more of the games at E3. We do know that achievements will transfer over the One.

Launch is a tentative “this year” and no price is yet set. I expect it to drop at $399 personally. We’ll keep digging up the juice for you geeks so stay tuned!

Steven Spielberg + Halo = Halo: The Television Series.

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Holy geekgasmic! During the Xbox One unveiling, the amazing Steven Spielberg made a cameo to announce he would be working with 343 Industries to bring forth an all new Halo television series!

Spielberg’s role in the project is still unknown, when the series will come out is unknown and even the scope of the series is unknown. So all we really know is that a Halo series is coming and Spielberg will somehow be involved, most likely as a producer.

When we know more, you geeks will know more.

It’s our own fault the Xbox One is so media heavy!

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I’ve complained, many peeps have complained, journalists have complained – the Xbox One event was way too centered on the media aspect of the console versus the gaming side. Not even a handful of games were presented last week but boy did Microsoft go crazy on the TV watching, the NFL happening and the sports playing. Sure we’re angry but we really have only ourselves to blame.

It’s a pretty simple thing, Microsoft is only giving us more of what we’ve been doing. I have a relatively small friends list (I’m pretty anti-social) and do you know what I see 70% of the time? People watching Netflix! Not playing Halo 4 or Skyrim but watching movies on the Netflix app. Watching videos on the dashboard, booting up Xbox video.

When you add up all the people who willingly, myself included, have spent any amount of time using the Xbox 360 for anything other than gaming then it really is no wonder why MS went full tilt on bringing more media options to the table. Major Nelson always has a list ready of the weekly top Live games played but I wonder what it would look like if they tabulated everything used on the 360. I have a feeling Netflix would reign supreme.

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If you want Microsoft to start banking on the games, start playing them more than watching Warehouse 13 on your Xbox. Get some buddies together and go looting in Borderlands 2. Just play some damn games and refocus the console to a gaming machine. Just my 2 .

Twitter account using social media to keep the PS4 DRM free.

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After the muck up Microsoft has done with the antiquated DRM (digital rights management) on the Xbox One, many are now looking to Sony to present a next gen console that is used game friendly.

Twitter is the battleground where the new war is waged and the banners all say #PS4noDRM. Tweets are tagged with the hashtag, retweets are sent. Blows are close to being dealt and arrows are notched. The boiling oil is simmering.

It’s a simple but effective way for consumers to say how they feel and what they want. They want Sony to stick it right in the nose of Microsoft and say “Hey, play all the used games you want. Borrow your friend’s copy of Infamous Second Son. Have fun with your expensive gaming console, we’ll stay out of your way”.

Sony executives have to be listing as the grassroots campaign builds up steam. And listen they should as the console war hinges on which console policies stay consumer friendly. Microsoft has shown so far they would rather make policies that hinder the gaming community, policies that have enraged a large section of the community. MS has made things much, much worse with their “Mums the word” policy on the used games.

Sony has the chance to win back the market share they lost with the bungled PS3 launch. They could should make a single declaration that they won’t ban used games, that renting and borrowing will be a-okay with them. It would be a glorious revival of the brand.

Want to tell Sony that used games should be allowed in the next gen? Start tagging tweets with #PS4noDRM to get it trending. Tell Sony, hell tell Microsoft, that you won’t stand for it. Join the movement.

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