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Source: A supposed Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 box art photo posted to the unofficial Modern Warfare 3 Twitter account.
What we heard: Gamers will have a new Call of Duty game to play this year. That's a certainty. New evidence today suggests that game will be Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, and will arrive on store shelves on November 13, 2012.
The box art appears to be for a European version of the unannounced game, but if the past serves as precedent, November 13, 2012 is likely an all-regions launch date. The most recent Call of Duty games Modern Warfare 3 and the original Black Ops shipped in most major regions on the same day.
A November 13, 2012 release date for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 wouldn't be a stretch, as new Call of Duty games have shipped on the second Tuesday in November since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
The image is muddied by a lens flare, which blocks out the gun-toting character's face, and the box itself appears to be a standard DVD case instead of the 360's signature green plastic. Additionally, the font for "Call of Duty" appears to be slightly dissimilar to materials used to promote past games.
Over the weekend, Activision updated the Call of Duty website with news that the next Call of Duty title will be revealed on May 1 during the NBA playoffs on TNT. Two Call of Duty titles have been confirmed thus far for release this year: a new console installment and a PlayStation Vita game.
The official story: As of press time, Activision had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment.
Bogus or not bogus?: Looking not bogus. A mid-November 2012 release date for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is a foregone conclusion at this point, with November 13 being a likely candidate for the game's actual ship date.
Source: UK gaming news site Develop reports Blizzard Entertainment is working on a new, unannounced free-to-play game.
What we heard: One reason cited as why Blizzard's World of Warcraft has been shedding subscribers at a steady clip in the last few months is the proliferation of high-quality free-to-play games. Now, if a report from Develop is to be believed, Blizzard is taking the join-them tack with an as-yet-unannounced project.
According to Develop's sources, the game company plans to implement a free-to-play, microtransaction-supported business model into an upcoming project. Develop then suggests that this project could be Blizzard's upcoming massively multiplayer online Project Titan, details for which remain largely under wraps.
The key word in Develop's report is "unannounced," mostly because Blizzard actually has an announced free-to-play project on its hands. At last year's BlizzCon, the company revealed the rebooted Blizzard DOTA, confirming that the title will join many other multiplayer online battle arena games by using a microtransaction-based business model.
So is this what Develop's source was talking about?
Bogus or not bogus: Blizzard's response allows for a bit of wiggle room, but this one's looking bogus.
Source: A report on specialist mobile site InsideMobileApps.com, quoting "a source with knowledge of the company's decision."
What we heard: Since the inception of Xbox Live on the Xbox 360, Microsoft has relied on its custom Microsoft points currency system to be the primary choice for all its online transactions. However, the system hasn't been without its criticisms, with a lawsuit over Microsoft's unused digital currency surfacing just last year.
According to the report, the Microsoft points currency will be phased out over the next few months and completely gone by the end of 2012. In its place, the software and hardware giant will allegedly begin to use real-world currencies around the globe.
The report states the move won't just be restricted to Xbox Live Arcade, with both the Zune and Windows Phone Marketplaces also making the migration over to real-world dollars.
According to the story, Microsoft has already started informing mobile developers of the impending changes to its currency system and warned them to take it into consideration for future products.
The official story: A Microsoft spokesperson told GameSpot AU: "Microsoft doesn't comment on rumors and speculation."
GameSpot AU also contacted a prolific game development studio with numerous games on Microsoft platforms--whose identity has been kept off the record--who reported that it has not heard any reports regarding a change to Microsoft's currency system.
Bogus or not bogus: With the push for companies to develop universal platforms, it would make sense for Microsoft to want to unify its currency system under one umbrella.
If true, the change could be designed to appease mobile users, putting the Windows Phone Marketplace on par with trading practices that both the Apple App Store and Android's Marketplace abide by. Currently, users of Microsoft's mobile platform can use both Microsoft points and real-world money to purchase music and videos but not applications.
Without a doubt, this change would make buying content on Microsoft marketplaces easier to compare and understand.
Source: The Twitter feed of Kevin Dent, head of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Mobile Special Interest Group.
What we heard: Late last year, THQ cut its quarterly sales forecast by one-quarter and laid off 30 employees from its Agoura Hills, California-based Play THQ team, citing weaker-than-expected sales from its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of its uDraw gaming-tablet peripheral.
Now, an industry source is claiming that the publisher has cancelled its entire 2014 lineup, including development on Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online.
Kevin Dent, head of the IGDA Mobile Special Interest Group, first tweeted: "Apparently, The Game Workshops MMO has been cancelled by THQ", before going on to clarify that THQ's entire 2014 lineup has been cancelled because the publisher "needs to preserve cash."
Dent then revealed that THQ has apparently begun to return IP to publishers, tweeting that THQ has returned IP to Disney after paying an advance with no chance of a refund and that they "are offering themselves to Asian firms to increase value."
In a later tweet, Dent clarified his position by saying: "…until THQ says "x," it is all speculation and rumors."
The official story: THQ has replied with a "No comment" response. [Update: see below.]
Bogus or not bogus: It's too early to tell. Dent is well placed as an industry source, but THQ has had a good run in the past 12 months. Saints Row: The Third preorders tracked four times higher than Saints Row 2, with the publisher already announcing a Saints Row 4. This year, THQ is slated to release a new WWE game, Darksiders II, and Metro: Last Light.
UPDATE: THQ has responded with an official comment to the rumor, saying it has not cancelled its 2014 lineup:
"THQ has not cancelled its 2014 lineup and has not made any decisions regarding the planned MMO."
"As part of the ongoing review of our business, we have made decisions to ensure that the company is strategically addressing the most attractive markets. As we have previously announced, we have dramatically reduced our commitment to the kids' boxed games sector, which leads to a significantly more focused release schedule moving forward. Our slate for calendar 2012 and beyond is focused on high-quality core games and continues to build our digital platform and business. We are excited for our pipeline of original and high-quality content along with our relationships with some of the best talent in the industry."
"Additionally, we are thrilled with the great performance of Saints Row: The Third, which on a like for like period in North America has tripled in sell-through from Saints Row 2. In addition, WWE '12's worldwide sell-through sales are up almost 40 percent year-over-year for the same sales period with fewer platforms."
"According to NPD, for the month of December and the 2011 year, THQ was the number five publisher overall, number four third party, with reported sell through growing over 18 percent in a market that was down almost 6 percent. And coming up next, we have two great titles for the first half of the year, including UFC Undisputed 3 and Darksiders 2."
Source: See below.
What we heard: Disney Interactive Studios' Epic Mickey fell short with critics upon its release for the Wii in 2010. Still, the game went on to sell more than 1.3 million units within its first month, and where there are sales, there are sequels.
First, the information. Epic Mickey 2 is reportedly in development for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii, with a targeted release date of fall 2012.
Straightforward enough, right? Unfortunately, it's not that easy, as the source of this information takes as many turns as a Main Street electrical parade. The information entered the news cycle via GameStop-owned Game Informer, which spotted an article that appeared on Disney enthusiast website StitchKingdom.com.
Though Stitch Kingdom's original report has since been pulled, a Google cache-captured version indicates that the information comes via D23, the official Disney Club fan site. However, if the pointed-to article on D23 did indeed have word on Epic Mickey 2, it has since been scrubbed clean. Conveniently, Stitch Kingdom did copy and paste the purported text of the D23 article.
Disney Epic Mickey 2 is the latest game in the critically acclaimed Disney Epic Mickey videogame series. In this all-new action-platforming game available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii, Mickey embarks on an epic journey and is pulled back into a world filled with Disney’s forgotten characters. Players can choose to play single-player as Mickey or for the first time players can also choose 2-player split screen mode.
In the 2 player mode one person can play as Mickey wielding magic paint and paint thinner to dynamically change the world and the second player can play as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit – Walt Disney’s first cartoon star – with the power to fly like a helicopter and use electricity to fight or friend enemies and solve challenges. Team-up and choose your path to save this forgotten world because the choices you make will alter the story and change the end of the game!"
The text did not indicate whether Warren Spector's Junction Point Studios will again be crafting the warped world of Mickey's darker side. Spector is best known for his work bringing the acclaimed Deus Ex franchise to market.
The official story: Disney Interactive Studios had not returned a request for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus: Looking not bogus. Epic Mickey introduced a fresh take on Disney's octogenarian icon, one that consumers showed an interest in. And though the original relied heavily on the Wii Remote for its defining brush mechanic, both Microsoft and Sony have since introduced their own motion control schemes that could cater to Mickey's magic.
Source: Message boards like NeoGAF lit up Thursday afternoon with reports that GameStop had called customers who preordered Sony's The Last Guardian on the PlayStation 3 to tell them the game was canceled.
What we heard: While retailers often inadvertently break news of a game's existence, they are rarely the most reliable source when it comes to a game's cancellation. However, it has been a tumultuous time for The Last Guardian of late, with the departure of Team Ico studio head Fumito Ueda, followed by news that executive producer Yoshifusa Hayama had left as well.
Even though Ueda had reportedly been committed to finish up work on the game on a freelance basis, the game's secretive history and virtual disappearance from the public eye (Sony last showed the game off in March) made a complete collapse and cancellation conceivable.
Although The Last Guardian was shown in trailer form for the first time at the 2009 Tokyo Game Show, Ueda had been working on Team Ico's PlayStation 3 debut since 2005. At the time, he said that the three years it took to make Shadow of the Colossus was too long and that he hoped to release his next game in less time. At the 2010 Tokyo Game Show, a late 2011 release window was attached to The Last Guardian, but that was retracted the following spring.
Fortunately, Sony representatives were quick to address the rumor almost as soon as it sprung up.
The official word: "It's not true. The game is still in development. It hasn't been canceled."--A Sony representative.
Bogus or not bogus: Bogus, thankfully.
Source: Enthusiast gaming site Battlefield 3 Blog.
What we heard: Battlefield 3 has done what Electronic Arts had hoped it would, with COO Peter Moore saying there's no doubt DICE's first-person shooter has taken market share from Call of Duty. EA must now press that advantage, and it appears as if it may do so by returning to its sci-fi spin-off, Battlefield 2142.
As first reported by Battlefield 3 Blog, DICE included a small graffiti tag (pictured) in Battlefield 3's recently released Back to Karkand map pack reading "2143." The tag can be found in the Wake Island map. However, whether or not this figure portends an imminent game announcement or simply a developer teasing its fans remains to be seen.
BF3 Blog argues that DICE has a history of planting Easter Eggs in its add-on packs, most notably Battlefield 2 Armored Fury. In that game, the site notes, the number 2142 was a recurring figure, appearing on the license plate of a car and in a billboard ad.
The site claims these teases predated the announcement of Battlefield 2142. However, the timing on that isn't quite right, as EA officially confirmed Battlefield 2142 in March 2006, but didn't release Battlefield 2 Armored Fury until June 2006.
Still, the number 2143 is tantalizing. In 2009, EA released Battlefield 1943, a stand-alone download-only shooter set a year after the original installment in the franchise. The Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and PC game featured a number of maps first seen in previous Battlefield games. The game proved to be a substantial success for EA, setting then-Xbox Live sales records and going on to sell more than 1.2 million units.
The official story: "We love our fans attention to detail and hunger for more Battlefield but there is no news on this front."--An EA representative.
Bogus or not bogus: Tentative not bogus. If EA is looking to differentiate itself in the current landscape of first-person shooters (as much as one can differentiate itself in the current landscape of first-person shooters), time warping back to the future seems like a smart move. Plus, it seems highly unlikely DICE would include such a loaded number as 2143 without some ulterior motive.
Source: A video of Portal 2 artificial intelligence Wheatley during Saturday's Spike TV Video Game Awards.
What we heard: Tin foil hats were in no short supply this morning, as speculation ran rampant as to whether Valve issued its first tease for Half-Life 3 at the VGAs over the weekend. The particulars of this speculation can be found in a thread on Steam's message boards, with theories heavily relying on a half-speed YouTube video of Wheatley's speech.
The thrust of the speculation surrounds a line of text at the top of the video, which is ostensibly written in Greek. The translation for this text, according to Steam's message boards, is "OBSERVATION SATELLITE "LANTHANUM.'"
Lanthanum in particular has been interpreted as a loaded word. Commenters on the post pointed out that lanthanum comes from a Greek word that translates to "to lie hidden." (Google Translate suggests "latent.") The word is also significant, as it begins with a lambda symbol in Greek. That symbol, of course, is iconic to the Half-Life franchise.
And then there's the science. Lanthanum has an atomic number of 57, a commenter pointed out, and as is well known, this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo falls between June 5 and June 7. What's more, the element is in group three of the periodic table. The number three is also significant when Wheatley reads off his coordinates at the end of the clip: "one, one, one."
The official story: Unfortunately, it would appear as if all of the speculation is for not. When asked by GameSpot whether people were reading too much into the video, a Valve representative responded with a simple, "Yep."
Bogus or not bogus?: Probably bogus, unless Valve is getting very cute with its wording. After all, it could be the case that the Greek teases are correct, but that whole periodic table theory business is nonsense.
Source: Day two of Kotaku's "insider" leaks on EA's upcoming plans.
What we heard: EA's Army of Two franchise says it all in the title: two guys doing the work of an entire army. However, for the next installment in the franchise, EA may be calling in reinforcements, if Kotaku's latest rumor from an "insider" proves true.
Following on from yesterday's alleged leaks concerning Dead Space and Dragon Age, Kotaku's source claims EA will be rebooting its co-op-centric third-person shooter franchise to include four principle characters. The so-called Army of Four is purportedly being developed at EA's Montreal studio, with help from a few members of DICE's Battlefield 3 team.
In addition to four-player co-op gameplay, Kotaku's source said that Army of Four will be powered by DICE's Frostbite 2 game engine. This engine, which has been seen in Battlefield 3 and Need for Speed: The Run, is also said to be powering BioWare's rumored multiplayer Dragon Age effort.
The official story: EA had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus: Looking not bogus. In April, EA job listings indicated that a new Army of Two installment is in development at Visceral Games' Montreal studio, so it's no surprise that this "multimillion-unit-selling" franchise will live on. Whether or not that includes four-player co-op remains to be seen.
As for Army of Two's next installment using the Frostbite 2 engine, there's no real surprise there. EA is clearly looking to get as much use out of DICE's praised proprietary engine as it can, as evidenced by its initially perplexing, but ultimately successful, implementation in the latest Need for Speed.
What we heard: Electronic Arts appears to have a number of big changes in store for its popular Dead Space and Dragon Age franchises, if the Kotaku-powered rumor mill is to be believed.
First, to Visceral Games' Dead Space. Citing an unspecified insider (who may or may not work for EA), Kotaku claims EA brass have given a directive to dramatically expand the Dead Space franchise. This expansion will reportedly take the form of a space-flight title, a first-person shooter, and an action adventure made to feel like Sony's Uncharted series.
According to Kotaku's source, the flight-combat Dead Space game involves players piloting ships. The source also said that the new Dead Space action adventure has yet to enter full production, though it is in the early planning stages.
The source also offered an update on Dead Space 3, which EA has teased but not formally announced. The game was apparently very nearly canceled on the basis that the franchise hasn't performed as well as Uncharted. Having just missed the chopping block, Dead Space 3 will reportedly conclude Isaac's storyline, with the final setting being a blindingly white ice planet. The game will reportedly include a co-op element as well.
Moving on to Dragon Age, Kotaku's source said that BioWare's fantasy role-playing game will be going the way of Mass Effect 3, in that it will include a multiplayer component. The multiplayer mode, which may or may not be a stand-alone product, will reportedly feature cooperative and competitive play.
As an added wrinkle, the source indicated that dragons will be a playable class in Dragon Age's multiplayer mode. Further, the multiplayer component will reportedly run on DICE's well-regarded Frostbite 2 game engine, which is best known for powering Battlefield 3.
The official story: An EA representative declined GameSpot's request for comment.
Bogus or not bogus: Looking mostly not bogus. The Dead Space franchise has done well with critics, but its commercial performance has been somewhat wanting. According to EA, Dead Space 2 shipped 2 million units through the end of June 2011. Therefore, it makes sense that EA will be trying to juice this franchise--and Visceral is hiring for a "bold new IP."
However, it's worth noting that none of these alleged games have been officially announced, so it's entirely possible that if EA is working on them now, it may cancel the games tomorrow.
As for Dragon Age, multiplayer seems to be a lock, given BioWare's decision to include the same in Mass Effect 3. However, given the departure this would mark from the series formula, the developer will likely be exceedingly careful with its implementation, possibly breaking it out into its own product. After all, EA is a big fan of finding ways to expand its franchises into the digital sphere.
What we heard: The reports contain a few interesting pieces of information attributed to development sources, starting with the notion that the next-gen version of the Kinect--dubbed Kinect 2 by Eurogamer--will come with Microsoft's Xbox 360 successor and be able to read lips. The camera will also be able to assess a player's emotional state and determine which direction he or she is facing, according to the report.
The GamesIndustry.biz story also cites an unspecified source with word that the Kinect "is set for a significant upgrade and has a very strong likelihood of ending up bundled with the machine." The story goes on to say that "it's also believed" Microsoft will offer two versions of the hardware at launch: one stripped-down box for the casual market (with a likely emphasis on the Kinect and streaming services like Netflix) and another for core gamers with supposedly extraneous features like an optical disc drive, a hard drive, and backward compatibility.
A new Kinect for the next Xbox should be all but assumed at this point. Microsoft has been placing an emphasis on the peripheral and the casual market it taps into since its launch last year. The software giant is also clearly working on improving the technology behind the Kinect, as evidenced by the upcoming PC version of the hardware, which will be able to keep track of objects just a few feet from the camera.
As for whether or not this new camera would be "so accurate it can lip read," that's a significantly larger leap. Much like voice recognition, the problem of identifying something as subtle and analog as mouth movements and converting them into actual words isn't simply a matter of throwing more hardware power or a higher-resolution camera at the problem. It will also require a number of software hurdles to be cleared. The new Kinect camera may well have a resolution high enough to identify lip movements, but whether it will result in any actual incorporation of lip reading into the console experience is a different matter entirely.
The notion of a two-tiered setup for the next Xbox hardware is likewise uncontroversial, as it's fast becoming an industry standard. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have been offered in multiple SKUs for their entire life spans, and the PS Vita will hit stores in multiple configurations as well. There's considerably more obfuscation as to how those tiers would be set up, and whether or not Microsoft would be willing to completely hobble its casual offering to hit a mass market price point right out of the gate.
The official word: As of press time, Microsoft had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment.
Bogus or not bogus: Not bogus that there will be a Kinect hardware upgrade and multiple SKUs for the next Xbox, but the claims of lip reading and specifics of the SKUs are a bit shakier.
Source: Mostly unknown gaming blog Wii U News.
What we heard: When Nintendo formally unveiled the Wii U at its Electronic Entertainment Expo media briefing this year, EA boss John Riccitiello appeared to extol the potential of the new console. Now, a new rumor suggests that collaboration between Nintendo and EA on the Wii U runs deeper than the typical symbiotic software relationship.
Gaming blog Wii U News reported over the weekend that Nintendo is in negotiations with EA to bring its digital distribution platform Origin to the console. Wii U News, which was founded in September 2010, attributed its information to an intern working at EA, who had reportedly been told of the deal by a network engineer.
According to Wii U News' source, Nintendo would be interested in partnering with EA for its online service because it feels "that only a massive western company such as EA understands what is needed to make an online service attractive to Western gamers."
The source also indicated that Nintendo aims to integrate a more "flexible" online platform into the Wii U. This desire, the source indicates, stems from a survey Nintendo conducted in which many publishers said that while they appreciated Microsoft's Xbox Live platform, they felt confined by its restrictions and guidelines.
Further, it appears as if EA's Origin platform isn't the only one that Nintendo is considering for the Wii U. Nintendo is also apparently in discussion with Valve to bring Steam to the new console, but EA is "aggressively persuading" the company to use Origin exclusively. Notably, Valve cofounder Gabe Newell said in late June that the Wii U "fits better" with its technology.
Launched in June, Origin is a replacement for the EA Store, and it serves as a hub and infrastructure for downloading and playing PC games, as well as ordering boxed products for other platforms. More than 6 million gamers have signed up for the platform, and EA has just begun to offer games from other third-party publishers, such as Warner Bros., THQ, and Capcom.
The official story: EA declined to comment on the rumor. Nintendo had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus?: One of the most requested features for Nintendo's new console is an online service that exceeds that of the Wii and the 3DS. And with both Microsoft and Sony finding significant success with their superior online platforms, it seems unlikely that Nintendo will make the mistake of not providing an adequate online platform for its latest console. From that perspective, this looks not bogus.
That said, the source of this information is about as unreliable as it comes and should be taken as such. Further, as the report notes, even if this deal is being considered, it is anything but signed, sealed, and delivered.
What we heard: Battlefield 3 is barely two weeks old, but Electronic Arts is already thinking about the sequel.
The University of Southern California held a campus event last night that featured a talk from EA president Frank Gibeau. If the Twitter account is accurate, Gibeau addressed the future of the Battlefield franchise, saying, "There is going to be a Battlefield 4."
The notion of another Battlefield game on the way is hardly surprising. Battlefield 3 was EA's biggest launch ever, shipping 10 million copies worldwide for day one. The game was well received by critics and sold through more than 5 million copies in the first week.
While more Battlefield is a foregone conclusion, the bigger question is when EA would release it. Activision gave its own confirmation of the next Call of Duty game yesterday, but unlike EA, the Modern Warfare 3 publisher said that its next military shooter would arrive in 2012.
In August, DICE executive producer Patrick Bach said in an interview that annualizing the Battlefield franchise would "dilute the vision" and "eventually kill the franchise." Battlefield is not quite a yearly franchise for EA, which saw two years pass between the release of 2008's Bad Company and that of last year's Bad Company 2. Battlefield 3 marks the first numbered game in the series since the release of the PC-only Battlefield 2 in 2005.
The official story: EA had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus: Not bogus that Battlefield 4 is coming eventually, but when and how it launches remain to be seen.
Source: Citing a source close to id Software parent Zenimax, Kotaku reported that Doom 4 development has been halted.
What we heard: After launching to less than universal praise, Rage has supposedly caused higher-ups at id Software parent company Zenimax (which also owns Bethesda Softworks) to second-guess the Texas-based studio. The general reaction to the launch of id Software's apocalyptic shooter has reportedly resulted in the publisher feeling "a serious lack of confidence in the project management at id."
Doom 4's existence was first acknowledged in May 2008, when the developer sent out a press release stating that production had begun on the game. At E3 2011, id Software head of technology John Carmack said the core team on Rage would move to Doom 4 development following the release of its latest shooter. He also said a sequel to Rage was planned to launch after Doom 4.
The official story: "Games are done when they are done and no title under development at id has been postponed--indefinitely or otherwise."--A Bethesda representative responding to GameSpot's request for comment.
"Complete bollocks."--Bethesda VP of PR and marketing Pete Hines, on Twitter in response to a post hoping that the rumor of a Doom 4 delay was "bollocks."
Bogus or not bogus: Bogus. Doom 4 may be back-burnered, but Bethesda's unequivocal denial suggests that its development status hasn't changed. As for whether or not the Rage team is being moved onto Doom 4 now as Carmack had suggested it would be, that's another matter entirely.
Source: Ars Technica, reporting on anecdotal evidence of an uptick in hacked Xbox Live accounts.
What we heard: Between Sony's massive data breach in April and the summer-long shenanigans of LulzSec, cyberattacks have been the story of the year in the gaming industry. Now, there's a question as to whether that story is gaining another chapter, as what appears to be an increasing number of Xbox Live users report hacked accounts.
According to Ars Technica's report, EA's FIFA 11 and FIFA 12 soccer sims are two games frequently cited in the hacking incidents that it has been told about. The typical report involves gamers being notified via email that charges have been made to their on-file credit card.
Upon investigating these charges, the hacking victims find that the perpetrator has downloaded a FIFA game, as well as large number of Microsoft points. These points are then spent on Gold Premium Packs and downloadable content for the game.
The official story: "We do not have any evidence the Xbox LIVE service has been compromised," a Microsoft representative told GameSpot. "We take the security of our service seriously and work on an ongoing basis to improve it against evolving threats."
"However, a limited number of members have contacted us regarding unauthorized access to their accounts by outside individuals," the statement continued. "We are working with our impacted members directly to resolve any unauthorized changes to their accounts. As always, we highly recommend our members follow the Xbox LIVE Account Security guidance provided at www.xbox.com/security to protect your account.”
EA had not responded to a request for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus: Not bogus that Xbox Live users have experienced hacked accounts. However, it remains to be seen whether this activity is part of an epidemic or merely a spate of anecdotes receiving more play than they warrant. What is clear is that Xbox Live users shouldn't take their online security for granted.
Source: Gaming blog Just Push Start.
What we heard: At last week's Tokyo Game Show, Sony Computer Entertainment confirmed a December 17 release date for the PlayStation Vita in Japan. The system's North American release date may have arrived in a decidedly less high-profile manner today.
Just Push Start's report indicates the PS Vita will be available in the US on February 28. The information reportedly comes from a PlayStation Blog post that was apparently set live for a few minutes before being pulled.
Unfortunately, JPS doesn't provide much by way of compelling evidence to support its report. The site notes that it "didn't get a chance to take a screen capture of the article," as Sony pulled the post "with their quick reflexes." Also noteworthy, the purported post failed to surface in any RSS feeds for the PlayStation Blog and a telltale Google cache of the page is nonexistent.
Weirdly, in its report of the incident that cites JPS, the news section of UK retailer Shop To claims to have secured the text of Sony's errant post. On top of being unclear where Shop To found the text, its veracity can be further called into question due to its smattering of typos and clumsy verbiage.
"Dear Playstation Nation, It is my pleasure to announce that PS Vita will be launching in North America on February 28, 2012," the post reportedly states. "As it was announced during E3, PS Vita will in two different models: Wifi Only for $249.99 and Wifi+3G for $299.99. This portable powerhouse will take you beyond your imaginations and put you in the ultimate hand held experience."
The official story: Sony was uncharacteristically quick to swat this one away as mere rumor. "We have yet to announce the date for Vita in the US or Europe. Any other suggestions are typical speculation and rumors," a representative told GameSpot.
Bogus or not bogus: Yes, Sony does expect to launch the PS Vita in North America in early 2012. And though the time frame here fits, this report is looking almost certainly bogus.
Source: Kotaku is reporting that Capcom has confirmed the existence of Resident Evil 6 during the Tokyo Game Show via a trailer shown at the publisher's booth on the show floor.
What we heard: In September last year, Capcom managing director Keiji Inafune told Spanish gaming site 3D Juegos that the publisher wanted to release Resident Evil 6 as soon as possible to capitalize on Resident Evil 5's sales success.
It now appears that Capcom may indeed be readying the latest installment in its lucrative Resident Evil series. Kotaku is reporting that a bystander at this year's Tokyo Game Show has captured on film what appears to be a trailer for the new game.
The trailer, which was uploaded to YouTube but has since been taken down (but can be viewed in the Kotaku report), shows a few brief lines of text followed by a title that reads: "Biohazard 6." The Resident Evil series is known as Biohazard in Japan.
The official story: GameSpot has spoken to several Capcom representatives, who have denied any knowledge of the existence of Resident Evil 6. Speaking to GameSpot, a Capcom representative said: "Capcom's official line on this is that we have nothing official to announce about Resident Evil 6."
However, one Capcom representative at the Tokyo Game Show booth told GameSpot that he was under the impression that a logo for Resident Evil 6 had already been shown at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this year (thus unofficially confirming the existence of the game).
At this stage, no one from GameSpot has seen the actual trailer and Capcom representatives are denying that it exists.
Bogus or Not Bogus?: [UPDATE]: Bogus for the moment. GameSpot sat through the entire presentation at the Tokyo Game Show and there was no mention of Biohazard 6. There is, however, a special Biohazard 15th Anniversary presentation being held at the Capcom stage tomorrow at 3:10 p.m. local time, where a "secret guest" has been listed as appearing…
Source: A Bitmob report citing a source present at a "high-level meeting" at Sony.
What we heard: There's not much at the heart of the Bitmob article. The report cites a source with the quote, "PlayStation 4 in 18 months." The source apparently heard the news during "a 'high-level meeting' at Sony."
The next paragraph in the article says it's not clear if what happens in 18 months is supposed to be a launch or an announcement. The one after that emphasizes that the source in question isn't a fake or a show-off, and then the rest of the story is reserved for the writer's analysis of what Sony should put into the PS4 and when it should launch, concluding with a restatement of the 18-month window and a "We'll see."
This is not the first time the PS4 has come up. Beyond mentioning the PS4 numerous times around the 2006 launch of the PlayStation 3, Sony confirmed in May that development work on its next console had already begun. In July, Asia information technology site DigiTimes reported that the system would launch in 2012.
The one thing that is safe to assume about any rumor on the PS4 launch at this point is that no matter where it comes from or who reports it, things are not set in stone. Nothing is certain until Sony announces it, and perhaps not even then. Keep in mind that the PS3 was first announced at E3 2005 with a spring 2006 launch date (that changed), a boomerang-shaped controller (that changed), and two HDMI-out ports (that changed). Later on, Sony announced an outrageous Japanese price for the low-end PS3 of ¥60,000, but that changed to the slightly less outrageous ¥49,980 before the system even launched.
The official word: "We don't comment on speculation or rumors."--A Sony representative.
Bogus or not bogus?: The PlayStation 4 is coming eventually. That's not bogus. But at this point, so far from the thing's actual launch, any details--even ones that come directly from Sony--are unreliable at best.
What we heard: Over the weekend, Fusible caught first sight of Citizen Skywatch, a bare-bones teaser site recently launched by Take-Two Interactive. A quick WhoIs search revealed that the site was registered to a physical address shared by Rockstar Games, sparking speculation among gaming blogs such as Joystiq that Citizen Skywatch could be the name of a new property from the Take-Two subsidiary behind Grand Theft Auto and L.A. Noire.
However, as Take-Two has pushed more content onto the Citizen Skywatch teaser site, it has become apparent that the teaser is in fact for 2K Marin's upcoming first-person shooter XCOM. That fact is clearly evident in message forum links that have appeared on the site that take users to 2K Games' XCOM message boards.
As for the teaser campaign itself, it carries a decidedly conspiratorial flare, offering the general impression of a 1984-esque police state with perhaps a hint of The Prisoner thrown in.
"The invasion has begun," reads the first post on the website. "Our skies are filled with the shadows of an unknown enemy: its origin impenetrable, its purpose inscrutable, its methods--incredible. The truth cannot be denied… yet our defenders deny it. The menace is beyond belief… yet we must believe it. Only those bold enough to face the truth possess the courage to to [sic] stand and fight. Register today so that we may remain in contact as new intel develops. You are the first line in the hidden war. Maintain vigilance and stand by for further orders."
The message is signed by "Citizen One," who is presumably the leader of the alternate reality-style game's populist movement.
The official story: Take-Two had not responded to a request for comment as of press time.
Bogus or not bogus? Bogus that Citizen Skywatch has anything to do with Rockstar Games. Not bogus that 2K Games is promoting XCOM with a hype-building ARG.
Source: A source "close to [Borderlands 2]" speaking with UK gaming website Eurogamer.
What we heard: The Gearbox Software-developed shooter/role-playing game Borderlands was released in 2009 to widespread critical praise. The title has gone on to sell over 4 million units, release a Game of the Year edition, and arrive on the Mac.
Rumors of a sequel to Borderlands began to swell shortly after the original was released, with Gearbox creative director Mikey Neumann saying in November 2009 that Borderlands 2 was a "no-brainer" based on the success of the original.
Then in December 2009, during a financial call, parent publisher Take-Two chairman Strauss Zelnick teased a sequel further, saying Borderlands shows "every sign of becoming an important, long-term franchise."
Now, the rumor mill has churned out more speculation of Borderlands 2. A source close to the game told UK gaming website Eurogamer that the title is currently in development and is scheduled to arrive for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in 2012.
Gearbox president Randy Pitchford followed up with Eurogamer, telling the website that he believes the Borderlands franchise is beloved, but that's there is no official confirmation of Borderlands 2 just yet.
"I can tell you that myself and everyone at Gearbox loves Borderlands, and we have been absolutely thrilled at the reception it's gotten from our customers and the fact that it's sold over 4 million units now," he said.
"So you can see that we supported the game like mad with lots of great DLC, and you can imagine that we're going to want to do a lot of things with Borderlands in the future. But we've only announced what we've announced. If we haven't announced it, it doesn't exist."
Additionally, Eurogamer's source said an announcement from official channels concerning Borderlands 2 will be made "soon."
The official story: As of press time, Gearbox had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment on the matter.
Bogus or not bogus?: Almost assuredly not bogus that Borderlands 2 is in development at Gearbox. Given the critical and financial success of the original, paired with not-too-subtle previous comments by Neumann, Pitchford, and Zelnick, it's unlikely Take-Two would abandon the series. However, whether Borderlands 2 will ship during 2012 remains to be seen.