Here’s a roundup of today’s news found elsewhere on the internet:
Pardo: Blizzard may licence out Battle.net (vg247) - Blizzard EVP of game design Rob Pardo has told The Escapist that while Battle.net will remain with the company for the foreseeable future, he doesn’t rule out licencing it out to third-parties.
Speaking at GDC, Pardo said:
“It’s something that we’ve definitely always talked about. The problem for us is that it takes a lot of work from our other teams.
“Every time we have the discussion, we try to figure out what’s going to happen if let’s say a Blizzard game was coming out and a third-party game was coming out at the same time.
“Could we be agnostic in that way? Could we offer the same level of support that we offer our games to third parties? We just never know. It just seems like a big job for us.”
Pardo also revealed Blizzard was testing out a sort of map marketplace for Starcraft II.
“I think that will be a really good test-bed for us to see how much support we have to give to mapmakers and how well we can do something like that,” he said.
The new version of Battle.net will be released alongside the release of Starcraft II, which is due for the first half of this year.
“More than one” Alan Wake episode this year (vg247) - Remedy’s confirmed that you’re going to get additional Alan Wake content in 2010, following the game’s May release.
“We’re going to have more than one episode come out this year,” Remedy MD Matias Myllyrinne told Joystiq.
The developer boss also reiterated the firm’s plan to stick with a TV-style structure for the game in general.
“I think it’ll depend a lot on the audience, but certainly we want to – if we’re successful – we want to do a large Season 2, if you will, at some point,” he said.
To mere mortals, “Season 2″ means “another game”.
The long-in-development Remedy thriller is due on May 18 in the US and May 21 in the UK.
Microsoft patents online upselling (gamesindustry.biz) - Microsoft has patented a new system of purchasing downloadable content via an automatic prompt, which attempts to ensure all players in the game have the same updates.
Discovered by website Broke My Controller, the "automated directed transaction and delivery system for digital content" (ATDDC) is designed to automatically detect if a player has not installed a particular component necessary to take part in an online game.
Once the content, such as a map or character download, is detected a prompt to the user is automatically generated. This allows them to purchase the extra content and automatically download and install it while remaining in contact with the other players.
The patent application uses a racing game in its example, describing a situation where a game host has a downloadable circuit which another player does not. Rather than having to exit the game and visit the Xbox Live Marketplace the ATDDC system would allow them to purchase and install the content immediately.
As with any patent there is no guarantee that Microsoft will implement the system, although it does have obvious potential for increasing sales of downloadable content.
West and Zampella sign with Hollywood talent agency (gamesindustry.biz) - Vince Zampella and Jason West, the two ex-studio heads at the centre of the controversy between Activision and Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward, have signed with the L.A. based talent agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
The CAA represents a number of high profile sports and media stars, including Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Brad Pitt and George Clooney.
According to a Los Angeles Times report at least one other Hollywood agency was looking to sign the pair, although the CAA has refused to clarify exactly what kind of career move Zampella and West intend to make next.
The pair were sacked by Activision earlier in the month for still unspecified "insubordination". They subsequently filed a $36 million lawsuit against their former publisher for unpaid royalties - arguments over which are implied to be a primary reason for the sacking.
Creative control of Infinity Ward is also at the centre of the row. For years rumours have persisted of a strained relationship between the two companies, with Zampella and West claiming that Activision had reneged on an agreement not to limit in the studio's creative freedom.
Other rumours had suggestion the pair were in contact with other publishers, in particular Electronic Arts, and were discussing the foundation of a new development studio.
Activision has dismissed the lawsuit as "meritless", while the duo's lawyer has hinted that they could block the release of further Modern Warfare content.