The Age of Google Fiber has arrived. Sounds momentous, doesn’t it? Well, if you’re old enough to remember the difference between the days of dial-up and the coming of broadband, you should have some idea of the difference between so-called “high-speed Internet” and Google Fiber. If you’re not old enough for that, maybe you can remember when you upgraded from your 1 Mbit/s DSL connection to a 10 Mbit/s cable ISP. Multiply that difference ten times, and you might start to see what we’re talking about.
The arrival of HBO GO on the Xbox 360 was mostly met with cheers, although Comcast customers were upset when the initial HBO GO launch on the 360 didn’t support their cable providers. Now (after the official launch on Monday), Xfinity subscribers can enjoy the service as well. But what took so long and why are Time Warner subscribers still left in the cold?
Regardless of whether Internet service is wired, wireless, or a mobile broadband, there are numerous reasons why it might not perform as well as it should. You can use services online to perform a broadband speed test to see if your connection is as fast as it should be; if it’s not, there are a number of things you can do to improve it. If you are actually using a computer to access the Internet (instead of a mobile device), one of the first things to do is to “clean up” your computer, for instance by making sure there is no malware running (viruses, adware, trojans, etc.), de-fragmenting the hard drive, and deleting old or unneeded files and applications.
Zipper Interactive, the developer of the upcoming title MAG for the Playstation 3, has announced an open beta for the shooter starting January 4th. To celebrate MAG achieving gold status and being on schedule for its January 26th launch in North American and Asia, January 28 launch in Japan, and January 29 release in Korea, players worldwide will be able to participate in a free open beta for the game.
The survivors from the original Left 4 Dead will finally meet the survivors from Left 4 Dead 2 this spring in the first add-on for Left 4 Dead 2. Players will meet with the original Left 4 Dead survivors in a small town in rural Georgia in a campaign that takes place after the Dead Center chapter. The Passing also promises a new melee weapon, a new firearm, a new uncommon common infected, new arenas for versus, survival, and scavenge mode, and an entirely new co-operative gameplay mode.
Today THQ announced that UFC Undisputed 2010 will be available May 25th for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PSP. I felt that UFC Undisputed 2009 freshened up the stale wrestling game genre, so I’m glad that THQ is getting a chance to expand on the success of the first game.
The overwhelming assumption about Batman: Arkham Asylum before release was that a Batman game couldn’t provide a worthwhile gaming experience. So I wasn’t the only one shocked when the game garnered critical acclaim and positive reviews. The game’s developer, Rocksteady, is hoping to surprise us again with the recently announced sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum.
On December 17th, the optional PlayStation 3 firmware 3.15 update will allow gamers to play PSP Minis on the PS3 console. This is even great news for PSP owners since it removes the need to hook the PSP up to the television for a bigger screen. There are rumors that adjustments are being made to the PSP Minis so they scale better on large screens, but there is no official word on any resolution changes.
A reboot to the Medal of Honor franchise has been rumored for a few months, and today EA made it official by announcing a new Medal of Honor game with a planned fall 2010 release. Players will take control of the Tier 1 Operator, an elite soldier handpicked to face challenges that no other soldier can manage. The game is set in modern day Afghanistan, which probably has nothing at all to do with the success of a modern war game from another publisher.
Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption is set for an April 2010 release for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Redemption is Rockstar’s followup to Red Dead Revolver and promises a dusty Western filled with guns, mustaches, and horses. Personally, I could do with more games featuring mustaches and horses, so I’m pretty excited for Red Dead Redemption.
I avoid going out on Black Friday. My slender figure and frail torso makes me unable to defend the best deals from fierce opponents like small children or middle-aged women in wheelchairs.
But I know a lot of people like to hit the stores early in search of the best deals, so here are some of the hottest prices I could find on HD games and consoles. There’s too much to list everything here, so I’m going to post about the stuff that looks most interesting.
Just Cause 2, the sequel to 2006’s Just Cause, is set for a March 23rd 2010 release in North America, followed by a March 26th release in Europe, Middle East, and Australasia for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. Just Cause is a crazy open world game that was a lot of fun despite some big gameplay flaws. The best part of Just Cause was the stunt mechanic that allowed players to grapple on to moving vehicles, parachute off of tanks, and dive out of airplanes.
This week in HD gaming saw the releases of Left 4 Dead 2 and Assassins Creed II. I haven’t picked up Assassin’s Creed 2 yet as I’ve been too busying assassinating zombies in Left 4 Dead 2. I’m pretty confident that bashing zombies with a variety of melee weapons will keep me entertained for a shocking amount of time.
Other stuff happened this week too:
The original Serious Sam is one of my favorite FPS games. I remember being blown away by the number of enemies Croteam managed to get on the screen simultaneously. Serious Sam: The First Encounter captures the pure joy of shooting crazy enemies with crazy weapons with your crazy friends watching your back. Croteam’s newest game, Serious Sam HD, is a remake of the original Serious Sam rendered in full high definition.
Electronic Arts has good news for gamers who are tired of personal glory, fame, and sole-access to the victory money. This December, a new Team Racing Mode content pack for Need for Speed: Shift drops on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The downloadable content pack is completely free, which should make it easier to share the racing spoils.
IO Interactive has confirmed that Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days is set for a 2010 release date for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. The sequel to 2007’s Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days promises that “every aspect of the game has been designed to deliver a fresh perspective to the words ‘intensity’ and ‘realism’ in video games.”
If you have any money left this week after picking up Assassin’s Creed 2 and Left 4 Dead 2, you could do a lot worse than grabbing Peggle for $9.99 and the Peggle Nights expansion for $4.99 this Thursday from the PlayStation Network. Peggle is what I like to call a “poison ivy” game. Once you stumble across it, you’ll have to scratch the addictive itch for weeks.
Did you have plans for March of next year? I hope you weren’t getting married or anything because Sqaure Enix just announced that Final Fantasy XIII will drop on March 9th for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. I’m sure your fiancee will gladly delay the wedding. Let us know if saying “baby, you know I love you” still works after you’re two weeks deep in the Final Fantasy XIII storyline.
Everyone knew that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 would have a big first day. Several retailers were reporting record-breaking pre-order numbers and people even showed up to the midnight launch at my local Best Buy. I would have interviewed some of those people to get the “word on the street” about the Modern Warfare 2 release, but I avoid talking to people in my neighborhood after 10 pm.