Monthly Archives: October 2013

Steam hits 65 million accounts

Valve has just announced today a 30% growth in active accounts during the past 12 months for Steam. This exponential growth of accounts has boosted Valve’s video game distribution service to over 65 million accounts. For those of you who have a dislike for math, that’s nearly 20 million new active accounts in the past year!

Originally built for exclusive Valve games back in 2003, Steam now carries over 3,000 games and software titles from publishers and developers all over the world. Valve has been quite busy with Steam this year as many new features have been announced and some even released, including Steam Trading Cards, Early Access titles, support for Linux titles, Family Sharing, Steam OS, Steam Machines, and the very interesting Steam Controller.

“The main goal of Steam has always been to increase the quality of the user’s experience by reducing the distance between content creators and their audience,” said Gabe Newell, co-founder and president of Valve. “As the platform grows, our job is to adapt to the changing needs of both the development and user communities. In the coming year, we plan to make perhaps our most significant collaborations with both communities through the Steam Dev Days and the Steam Machines beta.”

How to bring more Final Fantasy into FFXIV Content

FFXIV dungeons and content in general are very mechanic based.  Move out of fire, avoid cone attacks, remove a debuff, and DPS before insta-kill move triggers are prevalent.  Although very much a themepark MMO, one of the attributes blatantly missing from FFXIV dungeons is the use of the Final Fantasy theme.

There are tons of great Final Fantasy themed events and dungeons I have rolling around in my head.  Instead of just being about killing trash monsters to get to the next boss, the ‘dungeon’ could be an ‘experience’ to play through. Heck, who’s to say they even have to be like dungeons at all?

FF1 iOSTurn-based Combat
A dungeon, a boss, or simply an event could be played out entirely in turn-based combat just like the traditional Final Fantasy style.  The enemies would be on the left and your party could be staggered on the right.  Each player would take a turn to using abilities.

Random Encounters
Another throwback idea is randomly being jumped by a group of monsters as you make your way through a dungeon.  Maybe mix in the overworld monsters making contact to start battles.  This mechanic can be implemented somehow to be a lot of fun in a upcoming dungeon.

FF TacticsFinal Fantasy Tactics
Tactics uses a movement grid.  Characters take turns moving on the grid and receive bonuses based on where they are positioned (terrain, position, etc).  It’s like traditional FF combat with movement on a grid.

Active Time Battle System
In a ATB system everyone has a gauge and once the gauge fills up.  Once full, it’s your turn.  This could take into affect skill speed and let players strategically have to use their bar. This adds a depth to the turn-based system and could also be a lot of fun.

ff7 chocobo raceChocobo Battle Race
Not every dungeon has to be about traditional combat.  Here’s an idea going outside of the box a bit more.  What if the entire ‘dungeon’ was a race on the back of chocobos.  Players could obtain powerups to fire off at each other and simply have a lot of fun racing at high speeds.  I see it being really similar to Mario Kart.  The winner could get some tokens or something.

Arena Fight
In Final Fantasy 7′s Golden Saucer there’s an arena that players can enter to battle monsters..  Square could always add specific mechanics to the fights like “don’t do X” or “only do Y” to spice things up and make the battles not just normal combat in a confined space. Introduce new mobs every week or month and adding different battle mechanics is a great way to keep simple content like this interesting.  Playing through the different arena battles could give all sorts of prizes ranging for vanity items to tomes.  We know they’re working on adding the Golden Saucer anyway so this is a perfect opportunity.

This is the type of content I would add to FFXIV if I was in charge. Out of the box ideas meant to excite and get players eager to do more than run through dungeons repeatedly.  More ‘Final Fantasy’ and less ‘MMO mechanics’.  Thoughts? Ideas of your own you think would make for great content in FFXIV?

It happened!

It happened! The Male Wii Fit Trainer is in Sakurai’s latest Super Smash Bros. Wii U screenshots. Of course he’s not necessarily a new character—could be a move- or item effect, a stage element or simply an alternate costume—but this does open up whole new possibilities in fan art.

Dayshot is an image-based feature that runs every morning, showcasing some of the prettiest,funniest game-related screenshots and art that we can find. Send us suggestions if you’vegot them.

To contact the author of this post, write to: gergovas@kotaku.com

Proof that Nintendo Still Rules Japan

If there’s ever been any doubt, this should settle it. Over the past decade, Nintendo hasn’t been doing well in Japan – It’s been dominating.

The Wii U is not exactly selling like gangbusters right now, but Nintendo’s probably playing a long game. In this week’s Weekly Famitsu, the magazine took a look at the top 100 selling games in Japan so far in the 21st century. The top 5 selling games? All Nintendo exclusives. In fact 9 out of the top 10 and 18 out of the top 20 selling games over the past 13 years are all Nintendo games.

  • 1: New Super Mario Bros (DS,)
  • 2: Pokemon Diamond/Pearl (DS)
  • 3: Pokemon Black/White (DS)
  • 4: Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire (Gameboy Advance)
  • 5: Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS)
  • 6: Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day! (DS)
  • 7: New Super Mario Bros Wii (Wii)
  • 8: Monster Hunter Portable 3rd (PSP)
  • 9: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS)
  • 10: Mario Kart DS (DS)
  • 11: Pokemon Heart Gold/Soul Silver (DS)
  • 12: Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minues a Day! (DS)
  • 13: Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)
  • 14: Wii Sports (Wii)
  • 15: Friend Collection (DS)
  • 16: Mario Kart Wii (Wii)
  • 17: Wii Fit (Wii)
  • 18: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (PlayStation 2)
  • 19: Wii Sports Resort (Wii)
  • 20: Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green (Gameboy Advance)

While it is worth noting that most of the top selling games are from previous generation consoles like the DS or Gameboy Advance, you can’t deny Nintendo’s ability to consistently make top-selling hits. Overall, 72 of the 100 games listed were for Nintendo consoles.

Weekly Famitsu also compiled a list of the top 10 selling games from last century which was a little more varied, though not all that much.

  • 1: Super Mario Bros (NES)
  • 2: Tetris (Gameboy)
  • 3: Super Mario Land (Gameboy)
  • 4: Dragon Quest VII: Warrior of Eden (PlayStation)
  • 5: Final Fantasy VII (PlayStation)
  • 6: Super Mario Bros 3 (NES)
  • 7: Super Mario Kart (SNES)
  • 8: Dragon Warrior III (NES)
  • 9: Final Fantasy VIII (PlayStation)
  • 10: Super Mario World (SNES)

And people wonder why Nintendo keeps churning out Mario games all the time.

ファミ通.com [ファミ通.com]

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

To contact the author of this post, write to cogitoergonihilATgmail.com or find him on Twitter @tnakamura8.

The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot haunted open house begins

Ubisoft has announced a new Open House event for the upcoming title, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot.

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Starting today and running until November 4, anyone can join in the quest to gain fame and fortune in Opulencia. The Open House gives everyone a sneak peek of The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot while the game is still in closed beta.

To get into the holiday spirit, Halloween-themed castles have been created and Halloween themes and costumes are available for a limited time. Players can customize with new items including a glowing pumpkin head, bat winged headgear, and cool costumes for your looters. The exclusive Bat Wings will be granted to every player joining the Haunted Open House.

Players can sign up or sign in with their existing Uplay account at The Mighty Quest website and will be granted immediate access during the event.

What is EverQuest Next Landmark?

eq next alpha screenshotI find myself still asking the question: What is EverQuest Next Landmark?  I’m one of the biggest EverQuest fans you will ever meet, yet I feel like I can only define EQ Next Landmark as this ethereal ‘thing’ that exists somewhere between a MMO and Minecraft.

I know that EverQuest Next itself is a true ‘traditional’ MMO.  I thought Landmark was originally announced as a world exploration, world builder, tech demo ‘thing’ to build hype.  While it may actually be all of those things, I feel like the EQ team is actually trying to turn this into a full-fledged game meant to be ‘played’.

eq next alpha screenshotA lot of people share my confusion.  I’ve had a dozen people this past week ask me if I have any clue about the game.  I’ve had emails from a few of you asking if this is a sandbox MMO like Vanguar.  My favorite was a question I got in vent: “Wait…Landmark is a GAME?”

Maybe one of the fine folk at SoE who read our blog can chime in and help clarify.

As for how the game looks, I like it.  I really love how EQ Next (Landmark) straddles the line between realistic and stylized visuals.  I like the idea of building things, claiming land, going out to harvest materials, crafting, and now the idea of hunting makes it all sound like Minecraft truly taking on MMO form.

Oddly enough, despite being confused and really unsure what this will turn out to be, I’m dying to get in there and start building a house and gathering materials.  If I can be some kind of Halfling, Dwarf, or Gnome and build a little house, act like a hermit, and hoard things I’ll be happy.

Here’s the number one question I have for SoE: When EverQuest Next launches, what reasons will I have to continue playing Landmark?  That should clear up a few things.

Why Nintendo Had to Kill the Wii

Strange that Nintendo killed the Wii, huh? It just stopped making the console. So sudden! Odder when you consider that the Famicom, released in 1983, was on sale in Japan until 2003.

But the Famicom (NES, in the West) was followed by the Super Nintendo. And the SNES was a smash hit. The Wii, however, is succeeded by the Wii U. The Wii U is not a smash hit.

Nintendo just released its financial earnings for the past six months (April to September). And while I think these statements are usually boring as hell (they are!), this one does have an interesting factoid. And boy, I do like factoids.

From April to September of this year, Nintendo sold 40,000 Wiis in Japan and 280,000 in the Americas. Elsewhere or what Nintendo calls “Other”, the company sold 150,000 Wii consoles. During that same period, Nintendo sold 230,000 Wii U consoles in Japan and 230,000 Wii U consoles in the Americas. Elsewhere, Nintendo sold under 10,000 Wii U consoles. Those numbers are all rounded by Nintendo.

Add all that up—as Nintendo did—and during this six month period, Nintendo sold 470,000 Wii consoles worldwide and 460,000 Wii U consoles. Yes, you read that correctly: the Nintendo Wii outsold the Wii U. And these sales numbers for the Wii aren’t so great! Which means they are truly disappointing for the Wii U. What’s more alarming is that the Wii U is only outselling the Wii in Japan.

These underwhelming numbers are understandable. The past six months haven’t been so great for Wii U owners. There are a bunch of exciting Wii U games around the corner, but these sales numbers either indicate that players are still hesitant about the Wii U, or, heck, maybe they’re confused by the Wii U’s naming.

Whatever the reason is, the Wii had to go. It was just getting in the way. It needed to be killed.

Sorry, Nintendo Wii. It was fun. But your tour number was up.

CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS [Nintendo]

Photo: mjaud / Shutterstock

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Japanese Hotel Rooms Don’t Get Much Cheaper Than This

Traveling to Japan on a budget? Need a place to stay? Don’t mind people having sex all around you? Well, have I got a hotel room for you.

Enter hotel San Patchi. It’s located in Juso, which is a stone’s throw from the bustling Umeda district. It’s not the best of neighborhoods, sure (they filmed part of Black Rain there!). And this hotel isn’t your typical hotel. It’s a love hotel.

But hey, room 212 costs 380 yen a night—which is US$3.87. That’s any night. No wonder San Patchi is calling this the “lucky room.” The hotel’s other rooms are pretty inexpensive, too, and start around US$39 for the night and get more expensive from there depending on the day of the week. This is why San Patchi bills itself as a “gekiyasu (激安) hotel” or “dirt cheap hotel.”

Japanese Hotel Rooms Don't Get Much Cheaper Than This

According to The Tokyo Reporter, the reason for the low price (besides being an obvious publicity stunt) is that love hotels in Osaka are cutting rates. It’s possibly the result of crackdowns on prostitution, which might be impacting a regular flow of customers. Moreover, more businessmen are apparently deciding to stay at love hotels instead of traditional business hotels. This is perhaps because the rooms at love hotels are generally larger; however, no business people I know prefer love hotels to conventional business hotels.

Japanese Hotel Rooms Don't Get Much Cheaper Than This

This certainly seems to be the cheapest hotel room in the country. Previously, the cheapest hotel in Japan (above) was thought to be 500 yen (US$5.09), and that hotel, also located in Osaka, looked like something out of a horror film.

If the whole love hotel thing doesn’t bother you, this could be a viable option. But at this price, no doubt room 212 will be popular. You’ll need to get lucky to snag it, no pun intended.

Osaka love hotels cut rates to bone [The Tokyo Reporter]

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Activision hints at new alien survival mode for Call of Duty: Ghosts

UPDATE: Activision has confirmed Call of Duty: Ghosts Extinction, trailer is posted below!

Original article:
Several pieces of info have emerged suggesting that the upcoming shooter, Call of Duty: Ghosts, will include a new game mode called “Extinction”.

A series of images have been uploaded to imgur revealing, what seems to be, a brand new class-based alien-survival mode. Activision has hinted at the introduction of the new game mode through Twitter, and uploaded a brief teaser video on Instagram.

Make what you will out of the images and video, as no other information regarding the mode has been put out by Activision as of yet.  Whether “Extinction” will replace the highly popular “Zombies” mode found in previous Infinity Ward Call of Duty titles, is yet to be seen.

Call of Duty: Ghosts will be released on November 5th for the PC, Xbox 360, WiiU, and PlayStation 3. It will also be available as a launch title for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

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My Pokemon X In-game Team

I’m about 12 hours into Pokemon X and I finally decided on a team.  I think.  For every hour I’ve put into the game, I’ve probably spent 2 thinking about what team I want to build.  I have weird tastes.  I require the pokemon on my team look cool but also perform extremely well.  I’m also all about trying to build a team that will be balanced.  Oh, and I also do not care at all about anything other than in-game normal play.  I’m not into tournaments or playing against other trainers.

Without further ado… here’s my team.  For now.

chesnaughtChesnaught

I picked Chespin as my starter for one reason: He is by far the cutest pokemon starter.  His final evolution, however, is… bizarre.  I ultimately decided I could keep him in my team because I imagine he’s a little cute guy inside of a suite that looks like it belongs in something like Dawn of War.  Figher/Grass has proven to be a great combo so far, and I hope it continues to perform.

charizard xCharizard

I’m slightly bothered by the overt favoritism Charizard has received.  Squirtle is my favorite original starter pokemon, and when Professor Sycamore offered to give me one of the original starters it was tough to have to choose Charizard… he just looks so dang cool.  To top it all off, in Pokemon X he becomes Dragon/Fire — gotta have that Dragon.

malamarMalamar

Two words: Psychic Dark.  Malamar is also physical and has an amazing ability called Contrary: All effects that lower stats increase them instead.  Using superpower I can attack with Malamar and instead of losing attack and defense I gain it instead.  How ridiculous is that?

AzumarillAzumarill

I was originally against the idea of taking on yet another older pokemon into my team.  I was desperate for a water pokemon, and was actually looking at that new barnacle guy when Graev told me that Azumarill is now a Fairy/Water now — that’s the only Fairy/Water pokemon, and I’m pretty sure he’s physical attack as well.  Stack that with his ability called Huge Power (double attack) and you have the recipe for yet another ability combo.

TyrantrumTyrantrum

He looks cool.  Really, that’s the reason I chose him.  Don’t get me wrong, Rock/Dragon is a cool combo too but just look at him!  I think he gets some nice physical abilities like crunch and dragon claw too.  Honestly, playing in-game only I think I can settle for taking a pokemon based on looks.

That’s my team!  I have one spot left that will probably be used for a slave who will carry all of my HMs.  If I end up wanting a 6th I will take Heliolisk to round it out with eletric.

One of the biggest things I’m excited about in Pokemon X and Y is how accessible the ‘meta game’ is for trainers.  ALl of this EV IV whatever its called is really transparent now with the super training.  I can run each pokemon through a series of minigames and make their stats exactly how I want them.  I’ve never been interested in min/maxing Pokemon — I would rather pretend they are my friends — but given the chance to make them super powerful AND my buddies how can I resist?

Have you decided on your team?