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Prepare for the Mortal Kombat backlash

After focusing their attention on Jonathan Ross, Russell Brand and Jeremy Clarkson over the last few weeks, it seems professional complainers will have a more traditional outlet when Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe hits these shores on November 21.

Controversy is bound to follow Midway's decision to leave in The Joker's gun-toting fatality; a move which has been given more coverage due to the fact that it's been taken out of the US release. The deadly finishing move sees the villain pull a gun and shoot his opponent in the head. We'll get to see the whole bloody thing, while our friends across the pond will have to make do with a toned-down version.

In an interview with Videogamer (http://www.videogamer.com/news/06-11-2008-9867.html), Midway's Hans Lo explained that the game would be given a Teen rating in the States, meaning it can be purchased by younger teens, while in Europe it'll gain itself a higher rating and allow the grim-but-cool fatality (which you can see at the end of this video clip http://www.gametrailers.com/player/38955.html) to remain.

Cue the Daily Mail-brigade getting their knickers in all kinds of knots. First, this obviously "glamorises" gun violence and will make scores of kids hunt out firearms and start shooting. Second, on the back of research which suggests videogames have long-term effects on children's violent behaviour, questions are bound to be asked about the "responsibility" of the videogame industry towards children, despite the fact that, due to the rating, the game shouldn't even be played by kids. Finally, it throws a Glock-shaped cat among the pigeons when it comes to the debate over game rating in this country. The government would like to see more involvement from the BBFC in this matter, but PEGI continues to insist that it can handle game rating, and is pushing to implement a traffic light system. A report is due on the issue the day before MK vs DC hits shops.

Games sales to eclipse music and film

It was bound to happen one day. As the little black (or white) games box moved from kids' bedrooms to the living room and got everyone from your gran to the cat involved, sales of videogames were always going to grow. And quickly. But a report by the group Verdict Research predicts videogame sales will outstrip those of music and movies this year for the first time ever.

Estimates suggest revenue from videogames for 2008 will reach a whopping £4.6billion, up 42 per cent in the past year, compared to £4.5billion for video and music sales combined.

The results come on the back of a massive year for games, with stellar titles such as Grand Theft Auto IV and Wii Fit revitalising the market. But the shift does mark a growing trend in the popularity of games. And it seems the oncoming recession has done little to dampen people's buying habits when it comes to their consoles. When a CD or DVD offers only an hour or two's worth of entertainment, people are prepared to splash out that little bit more on a game which they know will last weeks. Retailers are noticing the trend and devoting more space in their stores to games and less to music.

Some experts blame piracy for the decline in music sales, but the growth in downloads - which gives consumers the chance to buy a single track for pennies as opposed to a whole album for pounds - must have something to do with lost revenue. Meanwhile, in the DVD sector, it seems while actual numbers of DVDs sold continues to grow, discounting and competition between retailers is causing the profits to stagnate.

The votes are in folks.....

The big winners in the Golden Joystick Awards 2008

The votes have been counted, the numbers crunched, the joypads finally put down and the curtains drawn onto a cold autumnal morning, as the results of the Golden Joystick Awards 2008 have been announced with no real shocks, surprises or curve balls being thrown by the gaming public it seems. In fact it's as clear as the aforementioned autumnal morning which game has clearly triumphed across the board this year; Activision-Blizzard's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It scooped the awards for best multiplayer and was the ESA PC Game of the year too with gaming website GamesRadar.com also voting it online game of the year. To round off a great haul of awards, Activision-Blizzard were also voted as the Future UK Publisher of the Year. And it doesn't end there with the Call of Duty series with Play.com nominating the next installment of the series, Call of Duty: World at War as the One to Watch for next year.

In other awards, Rockstar North were voted as the CVG.co.uk UK Developer of the year, an award that went alongside Grand Theft Auto 4's triumph in the awards for the BBC 1Xtra Soundtrack of the Year (remember this the next time you're performing a drive by to the backdrop of Evil Woman by ELO, a stranger juxtaposition I cannot think of....) and also the Arvato Digital Services Xbox Game of the Year. The full round up of the awards presented are show below;

 

Violent games make violent kids

We've all done it. Walked out of a cinema after watching Rambo and started knifing the air/a nearby bollard/your mates. Or, after a hefty stint on Grand Theft Auto, yearned for a world where it was kind of OK to steal someone's car, find a small arsenal of weapons and lay waste to an entire city. But a new study in America has found that playing violent video games not only increases the likelihood of an immediate rise in violent behaviour, it also has an effect in the months to come.

An investigation published this month in the US medical journal Pediatrics set out to see if normal children in both America and Japan grew more violent after playing violent games. They already knew this was the case in the short term, but very few studies had followed up their analysis over months to see the long-term effects. Guess what? Six months down the line, those same kids were still acting more violently than before the test.

Now, one important thing to note is the study's definition of ‘violence'. It's pretty broad. While you or I may think of violent games as those that depict guns, blood, guts and death, the guys at Pediatrics expand the definition to mean any behaviour where an individual inflicts harm on another who presumably doesn't want to be harmed. All those years you were innocently offing Koopa Troopas in Mario by jumping on their heads? Well those guys didn't want to be harmed. You were being violent.

Is this telling us something we already kind of knew? Perhaps. But at least now we've got it in writing from proper science bods. So next time you see a kid playing a game where they are forced to inflict harm on seemingly innocent enemies, it's perhaps best to stay out of their way for a couple of months - or at least make sure they can't get into the knife drawer.

World of Warcraft isn't Going Anywhere

Perhaps the biggest gaming juggernaut of the past decade has just reached its pinnacle of 11 million subscribers. Yes folks, there are 11 million subscriptions to World of Warcraft right now, making Blizzard’s MMO a force to be reckoned with. World of Warcraft is easily the biggest thing to happen to online gaming in a long time, and shows no signs of stopping.

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--> World of Warcraft is currently playable in North America, Europe, Russia, Latin America, China, Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Chile, Argentina, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. It’s available in eight different languages, and continues to grow each day. WoW it’s self was the best selling PC game of both 2005 and 2006, only being beat out in 2007 by its expansion, The Burning Crusade (The Burning Crusade sold about 2.4 million copies worldwide in it’s first 24 hours of release.)

Pre Ordering a Video Game - A Master Class in product launches and marketing?

Christmas is approaching and we're already seeing the launch of a lot of this quarter's big budget, high impact titles. 2007 & 2008 more so than any other year has seen the release of franchise sequals and big launches accompanying the release of certain titles. I'm taking a quick look at some of the things that have been happening in the UK games market place to help the launch of new games and make them stand out from the crowd. These incentives to buy and incentives to pre-order generally fall into 3 categories - 1) exclusive versions of the game or cases/content when it's purchased 2) extra freebies given away with the purchase of the game 3) In game/game perks and bonuses not otherwise available.

Mobile Gaming Set To Boom

One of the biggest potential developments in the gaming industry is that of mobile gaming, eEspecially casual mobile gaming. Boosted by the advent of Smart Phones such as the iphone and the new accessibility of customers to this market with mobile downloads taking off, the industry looks poised to launch. The world's early adopters of technology and trends, the far east seems to be the place where it's growing quickest.

Wii The Biggest US Seller and Motion Plus coming soon.

The US gaming market has a new console leader in the shape of the Nintendo Wii. The NPD Group, who are a market research company for several industries including entertainment and gaming, announced that Nintendo sold over 600,000 wii consoles in June, bringing a running total since it's launch of to over 10 million units.

Games Aid

GamesAid, a charity organisation based around the UK video games industry, was launched on the 16th of May 2008. It was set up primarily as a children and young people's charity and will distribute funds to a diverse range of good causes in this area.

Pc Vs Console Gamine Part 2

PC Vs Console Gaming Part 2