|Rockstar News | Rockstar Announce Social Club
Rockstar have just issued a press release regarding the pending launch of
Social Club'. Rather than explain the ins-and-outs of it all, here is the
press release in its entirety.
On April 29th Rockstar Games will release the most anticipated game of 2008,
Grand Theft Auto IV. In addition to the game, the company is launching the
Rockstar Social Club, a new website that will extend your experience of Grand
Theft Auto IV and all future Rockstar Games titles.
The Rockstar Social Club is more than just a standard gaming site. It features
all of the statistical leaderboards that gamers have come to expect, and combines
them with performance-based competitions and awards.
Registration for the Rockstar Social Club begins on April 15th and anyone
can sign up with their Xbox Gamertag and/or a PlayStation Network ID.
GTA IV, the first game featured on the Rockstar Social Club, has exciting
features beyond multiplayer leaderboards, including:
* LCPD Police Blotter — A virtual map and tracker of single-player
criminal activity logged in Liberty City from the aggregated data of millions
of connected players - showing the most dangerous areas of town, most commonly
used weapons and more.
* The Story Gang — This special single-player leaderboard recognizes
players who complete Niko Bellic's main story arc of Grand Theft Auto IV -
The leaderboard ranks players according to the total amount of playing time
it's taken to complete the story, as well as a historical rank by who has
completed it first. Members of this club will receive special online widgets
and merit badges marking all of their in-game accomplishments.
* The 100% Club — Watch to see who will be the first to complete 100%
of the game. The first ten people to be identified on the Social Club as reaching
100% will be sent an ultra-rare commemorative 'key to the city' to mark their
accomplishment. In the future, the 100% Club will then carry a historical
leaderboard showing rankings of who has completed 100% of a game in the shortest
span of playing hours.
* The Hall of Fame — This area will dynamically recognize those singularly
elite players who have reached the top of the hill on various statistical
leaderboards, and will also contain a personal awards display of special in-game
landmarks and successes in Social Club competitions.
* The Liberty City Marathon — A ranking of special physical milestones
achieved in the game - from the amount of miles walked, driven, or swam -
to the number of bullets fired and stunt-jumps jumped. There will be additional
special marathon-based competitions in the future from this area as well.
The Rockstar Social Club doesn't stop there. With special competitions, leaderboards
and challenges rolling out regularly in the weeks and months following the
game's release, this is just the beginning of an on-going Liberty City experience
and is a small taste of what's to come from Rockstar Games for GTAIV and beyond...
Sounds pretty cool, the 'key to the city' in particular sounds nifty. Anyone
here going to step up to that challenge?
Posted on: Mar 28 12:32 am 2008 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Kent MP Slams BBFC over Manhunt 2 Release
Online is reporting that Julian Brazier, a Kent MP, has blasted the BBFC
over the announcement that Manhunt 2 will be released in the UK.
This shows once again that the BBFC and its appeals system do not meet the
concerns of the public. The public wants a significant tightening up in this
vital area.We need a consensus that videos and video games involving extreme
violence are extremely anti-social.Watching these things happen does affect
people’s behaviour.We’ve got to recognise that there’s a
strong link between what people watch and what they do.
Today also saw the release of the Byron Review which was commissioned by Prime
Minister, Gordon Brown late last year. As expected the results of which were
in favour of single age rating system for games, the BBFC will be rating all
games that fall under the 12, 15 and 18 categories, previously they dealt with
games that fall under the 15 or 18 categories. Games rated for below the age
of 12 will continue to be rated by PEGI.
Anyone in the UK that has turned a news channel on today has likely seen just
how much coverage this issue has been getting, for those that are unable to
view these broadcasts you can rest assured that Manhunt, Manhunt 2 and Grand
Theft Auto: Vice City have been the games primarily shown while discussing the
issue. They do not mention the games directly but they continue to air the trailers
for the games. My favourite of them all though has to be the ITV broadcasts
that show some kids playing Bioshock on the Nintendo Wii, I had no idea it was
out for the Wii…
As a reminder, tonight will also see the release of the fourth Grand Theft
Auto IV trailer by Rockstar
Games. Titled 'Good Lord, What Are You Doing?' AKA 'Everyone's a Rat’;
this will be the last trailer before the launch of the game at the end of April.
Posted on: Mar 27 05:58 pm 2008 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Chances of EA Publishing Manhunt 2 / GTA IV?
has asked a few videogame industry analysts about the chances of Manhunt 2 or
Grand Theft Auto IV being released as an EA published game rather than Take-Two.
The analysts appear to be in conflict over the chances of the games being released
by EA with Nicholas Lovell and Nick Parker believing it is a possibility while
David Cole, Colin Sebastian and the seemingly to-go-to man when it concerns
commenting on the current state of Take-Two Michael Pachter believing that there
simply isn't enough time for them to be released under the EA banner.
Lodestar freelance analyst Nicholas Lovell:
I do believe GTA IV will be an EA game. Whether it is the same game that
it would have been under Take Two remains to be seen.
I could also imagine EA trying to keep the Rockstar brand as an edgier label,
in the same way that wholesome, family-friendly Disney released films like
Pulp Fiction or Gangs of New York under the Miramax label.
Parker Consulting’s Nick Parker:
The timing is crucial – hostile bids can take a long time to resolve
and who knows T2 may be successful in defending it. If EA succeeds, it should
benefit from some of the GTAIV revenues although the reason to buy T2 should
be based on longer term potential of all IPs, not just on this year’s
Wedbush Morgan’s Michael Pachter:
The deal won't close for two or three months, so neither GTA IV nor Manhunt
2 will be released under EA's watch (unless, of course, one or the other is
DFC Intelligence president David Cole:
A takeover like this will take some time. For one it has to get regulatory
approval. I don’t think there is any way GTAIV would be an EA game before
Lazard Capital Markets’ Colin Sebastian:
I doubt that EA could close a transaction so quickly, but clearly they would
like to capture as much GTA revenue as possible this year.
For those that haven’t been keeping up to date with these events, the
bid by EA to buyout Take-Two Interactive has recently turned into a hostile
takeover attempt, whereby EA is attempting to purchase the company through shares
and against the board of directors at Take-Two' own will. A move that has been
most hostile in history’.
Personally I don’t see either Manhunt 2 or Grand Theft Auto IV being
published by EA, for one the move would be disruptive to the release of both
games and two, as mentioned by some of the analysts there simply is not enough
time left before these games are released to make this possible.
The only thing that is for sure is that EA have their focus set on acquiring
Take-Two, a move which will become more difficult after the release of Grand
Theft Auto IV. With any luck Take-Two will be able to stall the process, the
company appears to have a strong line-up of games in the pipeline through until
the end of 2009, if all the games hit their mark then they should be able to
prevent the takeover.
Posted on: Mar 22 09:37 pm 2008 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | Manhunt 2 To Cost BBFC Credibility?
has posted an interesting article, whereby they speculate that the BBFC may
have blown any credibility they have in the rating videogames over their conduct
regarding Manhunt 2.
The editor of BBC News technology, Darren Waters, comments:
The grudging nature of the BBFC’s statement, that it now has “no
alternative” but to grant the title a certificate, coupled with the
fact the body went to the High Court, twice rejected the game itself and tried
to overturn the original judgment of the VAC leaves the organisation with
its credibility bruised.
More crucially, the BBFC’s role as a body which classifies games is
now under scrutiny.
There has been confusion among consumers as to why there are often two certificates
on UK games, from the BBFC and European body PEGI.
Dr Tanya Byron is expected to deliver her report into video games, violence
and children later this month and I understand she favours handing the job
to PEGI. The BBFC’s dogged fight to ban Manhunt 2, even though industry
figures lined up to defend the title, might come back to haunt it.
TechDigest’s Jonathan Weinberg echoes the comments of Darren Waters:
The argument here is not whether Manhunt 2 is bloody, brutal, sick or whatever
superlative people want to choose. What it shows is that the current certification
system the Government can’t wait to get involved in is not worth the
paper it is written on.
The Government sanctioned report into violence in videogames by Dr. Tanya Byron
is due for release next Thursday, March 27. The report is speculated to be in
favour of one ratings body for the UK.
Posted on: Mar 22 12:17 am 2008 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | VAC/BBFC News Roundup
Radar have an exclusive running which names the 7 members on the Manhunt
2 Video Appeals Committee, they have said that the BBFC gave them the names
after they sent emails asking for information but the BBFC did not say who voted
in favour and who didn't, these are the seven people involved:
John Wood - VAC president, former director of serious fraud
Biddy Baxter - TV producer
Barry Davies - former deputy director of social services
and chair of area child protection committee
Pauline Grey – district chairman of the tribunal service
and member of the gender recognition panel
Prof John Last – former lay member of the press council,
lay member of bar standards board, visiting professor at City University
Dr. Neville March-Hunnings - lawyer, author of ‘Film
Censors and the Law’
Dr. Sara Levene - Paediatric safety consultant.
Tech Radar have said that they intend to speak to as many of the seven people
as they possibly can in an effort to find out their thoughts on Manhunt 2, video
classification and the forthcoming Byron review, they also promise regular updates
on what information they receive back.
Also on Tech
Radar by way of an exclusive, they have been in contact with Rockstar's
lawyer Lawrence Abramson who has made comments on both the BBFC and VAC saying
that appeals are flawed because of a lack of game players, here is what Mr,
Abramson had to say:
The problem as I see it with the current system of classification is that
the members of the Video Appeals Committee do not as a general rule play games.
Games are becoming more and more complicated and difficult to play; the experience
one gets from playing a game is very different to the experience one gets
from watching somebody else play it.
And so we find ourselves in the position on appeals that the body charged
with determining the appeal are incapable of replicating the experience on
which they are supposed to be sitting in judgment. I understand that Tanya
Byron is expected to recommend that the regulation of games is taken outside
of the BBFC/VAC procedure altogether and that instead the role of PEGI should
Does anyone think that PEGI will be able to rate all games in the UK at some
point? It would save any rejected games bouncing back and forth between the
BBFC and the VAC and then the high courts. If the past 9 months or so with Manhunt
2 is to be any indication then things need to change in regards to how the system
works so that a rejected game can not only be appealed quicker but that the
people who review the appeal have the final say since at the moment the BBFC
can appeal an appeal decision by the VAC which doesn't make much sense.
Posted on: Mar 19 08:09 pm 2008 by: lazlow
|Manhunt 2 News | UK Government Stand by Manhunt 2 Release
has received word from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that it will
not intervene in the release of Manhunt 2 in the United Kingdom and that the
issue is a matter of discussion between the BBFC and VAC. The DCM&S is sanctioned
by the government in the United Kingdom to handle the responsibility of culture
The classification of Manhunt 2 is a matter for the BBFC and the Video Appeals
Committee. It is important to note that there is no conclusive evidence of
any link between playing computer games and violent behaviour in real life.
Our concern is to make sure that inappropriate material is kept away from
The Prime Minister asked Dr Tanya Byron to lead a review to assess the effectiveness
and adequacy of existing measures to help prevent children from being exposed
to harmful or inappropriate material in videogames and on the internet, and
to make recommendations for improvements or additional action.
Dr Byron's review will be published shortly and Ministers will give careful
consideration to any recommendations then.
I am sure someone else will complain about the game being released and likely
sooner rather than later.
Posted on: Mar 16 09:14 pm 2008 by: pogo
|Site News & Updates | Forum Upgrade
As you might have noticed over the past few hours the forum has been down
so that we could do some maintenance. We have upgraded the forum to the latest
version of phpBB and over the next few days we will be working on sorting issues
that have come up due to the upgrade. The forum is online so head over there
now and see what you think, don't worry you don't have to sign up again.
Posted on: Mar 14 11:31 pm 2008 by: lazlow
|Manhunt 2 News | Manhunt 2 Finally Granted UK Release!!!!
have said via a press release that the Video Appeals Committee have announced
the results of their reconsideration of Manhunt 2 and with a majority vote of
four to three VAC have decided for the second time that Manhunt 2 deserves an
18 certificate. In the press release the BBFC have said that in light of this
they have no other alternative but to issue the game a rating of 18, Director
of the BBFC David Cooke made the following statement:
As I have said previously, we never take rejection decisions lightly, and
they always involve a complex balance of considerations. We twice rejected
Manhunt 2, and then pursued a judicial review challenge, because we considered,
after exceptionally thorough examination, that it posed a real potential harm
risk. However, the Video Appeals Committee has again exercised its independent
scrutiny. It is now clear, in the light of this decision, and our legal advice,
that we have no alternative but to issue an ‘18’ certificate to
Rockstar Games have also issued the following statement regarding the news:
We are pleased that the VAC has reaffirmed its decision recognizing that
Manhunt 2 is well within the bounds established by other 18+ rated entertainment.
Rockstar Games is committed to making great interactive entertainment, while
also marketing our products responsibly and supporting an effective rating
Finally, it has took awhile but the BBFC have backed down, I am thinking the
game could now have a possible May release although it could be earlier with
GTA IV coming out at the end of April, hopefully we receive some news on a release
date from Rockstar shortly. Before I forget the decision is for the edited version
of the game that came out in North America and not the original version that
some had suspected was going through the appeals process.
Posted on: Mar 14 06:09 pm 2008 by: lazlow
|Rockstar News | Take2 Issues Press Release Regarding EA
have issued a press release that advises shareholders to take no action in response
to the tender offer put forward by EA earlier today. Take-Two have announced
that they will review the offer and get back to shareholders within 10 business
days of their position on the offer and the reason for it. Here is the press
release in full:
New York, NY - March 13, 2008 -The Board of Directors of Take-Two Interactive
Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTWO) today recommended that Take-Two stockholders
take no action at this time in response to the announcement by Electronic
Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) that it has made an unsolicited conditional tender
offer to acquire all of Take-Two's outstanding shares of common stock for
$26 per share in cash.
Consistent with its fiduciary duties, and in consultation with its independent
financial and legal advisors, Take-Two's Board will review and consider EA's
offer, and within 10 business days, will advise Take-Two's stockholders of
the Board's position regarding the offer as well as its reasons for that position
Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers are acting as financial advisors to Take-Two
and Proskauer Rose LLP is acting as legal advisor.
Should be interesting to see what happens in regards to what Take-Two have
to say about this, hopefully shareholders agree to wait the 10 days to at least
hear them out.
Posted on: Mar 14 05:05 am 2008 by: lazlow
|Rockstar News | EA Make Tender Offer to T2 Shareholders
The official EATake2
site set up by EA is offering Take-Two shareholders the chance to cash in shares
at the same $26 price that Take Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick originally rejected
when it was offered by EA, they have posted the following to shareholders:
Offer to Purchase for Cash All Outstanding Shares of Common Stock of Take-Two
Interactive Software, Inc. at $26.00 Net Per Share by EA08 Acquisition Corp.,
a wholly-owned subsidiary of Electronic Arts Inc. THE OFFER AND WITHDRAWAL
RIGHTS EXPIRE AT 12:00 MIDNIGHT,NEW YORK CITY TIME, ON FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2008,
UNLESS THE OFFER IS EXTENDED.
They also have a PDF file which you can view here
for all the information on what this offer entails. If everything was to go
to plan EA could effectively buy controlling interest in the company. In a press
release on the EATake2 website, EA Chief Executive Officer John Riccitiello
had the following to say about the proposed tender offer:
This is a great opportunity for Take-Two shareholders. We believe Take-Two
investors will see our tender offer as the best way to maximize the value
of their investment in Take-Two. This tender offer provides a clear process
to complete the proposed transaction. For EA shareholders, the combination
would add additional intellectual properties to our already strong portfolio
and welcome Take-Two’s talented creative teams to the great development
organization we’ve built at EA.
For the full press release head over to the EATake2
press releases page. The thing about this being, some major shareholders in
Take-Two have already reduced their positions in the company by selling their
shares at the $26 price, the question is will the rest now follow?
Posted on: Mar 13 09:13 pm 2008 by: lazlow
|Rockstar News | Take-Two First Quarter 08 Results
Take-Two Interactive released their first quarter 2008 fiscal and financial
results yesterday, the quarter runs from November 1st 2007 - January 31st 2008.
During the conference call they revealed the sales for some of their game, amongst
them was Manhunt.
Unfortunately it isn’t entirely clear if they are counting the cumulative
sales of both of the Manhunt titles released thus far or just the original game
in the series. Initially Take-Two chairman, Strauss Zelnick, was issuing the
sales numbers for games as a 'brand' as in the entire back catalogue of each
franchise, of which he issued the sales of the likes of Grand Theft Auto and
Midnight Club. He then moved over to addressing the sales of the 'initial' games
in brands such as Red Dead Revolver, in which he says Manhunt has sold in excess
of 1.5 million units. I may be picking it up wrong, but I believe that Mr. Zelnick
was only addressing the original Manhunt, which also echoes the rough estimate
I was given several months before the release of Manhunt 2.
Although they didn't make any profit in the quarter they say that they out
performed their initial guidance for the third quarter in a row and that they
were pleased with their current standings.
They say they primarily benefited from sales of the Bioshock, Carnival Games
and Manhunt 2. To put this in perspective Bioshock has sold around 2 million
units and Carnival Games is in the region of 1 million, all being in line then
it can be presumed that the sales of Manhunt 2 are in the least satisfactory.
With that said, later in the conference call it is mentioned that partial net
loss was due to the 'reduced sales of a specific title', looking at the games
released around that time I have got to wonder if they are meaning Manhunt 2.
I am basing this on absolutely nothing so take it for what it is worth; an assumption.
The reasons for me assuming this is that the game has not seen a release outside
of North America, which would reduce the overall potential sales of the game,
but does not mean it underperformed in its area of release. The only other game
I can think of is Table Tennis on the Wii, which I think is actually doing ok
as it does appear to be sitting in a chart position.
Forward thinking they say that there are 'sequels to some of Rockstar's triple
A titles' and that the company (Take-Two) currently has 35 titles in development
across the board. Of which I have got to believe that Red Dead Revolver 2 is
one, there is also a PS3 exclusive in the works, but I believe that is an all
new franchise they are creating for that system and who could forget Max Payne
3. There are a lot of rumours about that game, remember that one developer that
was working on the sequel to Manhunt a few years back? Who also ported Max Payne
to the Xbox and Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne to the PlayStation 2 and
Xbox but are now closed, just saying is all. Back then it was for the Xbox 360,
I am sure it will be headed to the PlayStation 3 too. Remedy and 3D Realms are
out of the picture and the Max Payne brand is now owned by Take-Two, but I guess
they could still outsource the game, if they wished.
They also announced Bioshock 2 for release in 2009, Carnival Games Mini Golf
for the Nintendo Wii and Carnival Games on the Nintendo DS. I just thought I
would point out that two of the three new titles to drive their revenue in recent
months have now got a confirmed continuation of their brand, I wonder if the
third does to.
Posted on: Mar 12 11:32 pm 2008 by: pogo
|Manhunt 2 News | A Shareholder Sues Take Two
have an article up which states that Take Two are being sued by a shareholder
for aledgedly keeping EA's buyout offer a secret from shareholders while they
made themselves a better deal. From the article:
The suit spotlights the board’s decision Feb. 15 to increase ZelnickMedia’s
management fees and bonuses to what it calls “an exorbitant” $16.5
million, from $3.8 million, in the event the company were sold. The suit also
questions a provision… that would grant ZelnickMedia 780,000 shares
if the company were sold before March 31, 2009, and 1.5 million shares if
it were sold after that date. At $26 a share, that stock grant would be worth
$20 million to $39 million, depending on when the transaction closed….
What that means, if true, is they have increased the compensation that they
would receive if the takeover were to become a reality. Also mentioned in an
article on the same subject by Nytimes.com
is an indication of what Take Two would offer employees who lose their jobs
if the buyout took place anytime soon, from the article:
Meanwhile, an S.E.C. filing Monday revealed that Take-Two had adopted a severance
plan for employees who lose their jobs because of a takeover by another firm,
ostensibly to keep crucial workers from looking for more secure jobs elsewhere.
According to S.E.C. documents, filed late Friday, some Take-Two employees
would receive as much as 1.5 times their salary and bonus for 18 months if
fired because of a change in control.
This was put in place so that employees would "remain fully focused"
on their work. Interesting if this becomes true, that would indicate that they
fully intend to sell the company within the next year if the price is right.
Take Two might not respond to this publicly but if they do I will update this
Posted on: Mar 12 03:39 am 2008 by: lazlow
|Manhunt News | Manhunt Murder Accusations Continue Part 2
Online are reporting that the meeting between UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown,
Giselle Pakeerah, Julian Brazier and Keith Vaz has taken place. It was to discuss
concerns over the sale of adult orientated movies and videogames in Britain,
it is reported in the article that Mr Brazier was disappointed that his bill
was blocked when it was read out during his time in the Commons. Keith Vaz and
Giselle Pakeerah were at the meeting in order to give support one of the reasons
being the fact that Mr Brazier brings up the death of Stefan Pakeerah, Giselle's
son which she blamed on the original Manhunt way back in 2004 in his Private
Members Bill. They have several quotes from Mr Brazier:
He seemed to be concerned and was taking notes during our meeting, which
is always a good sign. I was sad that the Government chose to block my bill,
but I think there’s some chance that we’ll make some solid progress
on this matter.
reports that the main things Mr Brazier hopes to get out of this bill are the
He wants Parliament to choose the four main officers of the BBFC. At present
the BBFC makes all it appointments internally. He believes Parliament should
have powers to force the BBFC to tighten its guidelines. He wants MPs to have
the right to appeal against a classification. At present only the industry
can appeal a decision - either to restore cut material or to lower a classification,
but not to raise it or to have it banned.
I don't think a decision has been made one way or the other but I can't see
it being a good thing if this is allowed to go through we could see many violent
films and videogames for that matter being appealed by MP's like Keith Vaz and
perhaps being blocked from release until things are removed.
Posted on: Mar 08 09:35 pm 2008 by: lazlow
|Manhunt News | Manhunt Murder Accusations Continue
Mercury is reporting that UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown is to meet with
the mother of Stefan Pakeerah, Giselle Pakeerah to discuss concerns over the
sale of adult orientated videogames in Britain. For those unfamiliar with the
name, Stefan Pakeerah’s death was blamed on the original Manhunt way back
in 2004, the killer Warren LeBlanc was initially said to have been ‘inspired’
by Manhunt. It was shortly thereafter that it was revealed that it was actually
14 year old Stefan Pakeerah that owned the game and not the then 17 year old
MP’s Julian Brazier and Keith Vaz are also said to be meeting with the
Prime Minister in order to discuss the issue. The later of which said the following:
Stefan was a young, innocent boy with a promising future. This was snatched
from him in a gruesome and horrific attack.
I want to discuss with the Prime Minister what can be done to stop these
games being sold.
I also want to remind everyone of the release of ‘Columbine Simulator’,
sorry I mean Bully: Scholarship Edition for the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360. The
game is currently available in North America and is due for release in Europe
this coming Friday. Having finished the PlayStation 2 version of the game I
would highly recommend that those that have yet to experience the game to pick
it up, the newly added content and improved graphics look as though they may
be worth taking a double-dip for those that already own it on the PS2.
Posted on: Mar 05 11:19 pm 2008 by: pogo