Healthy Holiday Gifts

360 sales reach 17.7 million, Halo 3 surges to 8.1

Late last night, the Xbox 360 marketing team released new sales numbers and factoids prior to the official NPD being released and things are peaches and cream. Peaches and cream with extra sugar.

Microsoft revealed that to date, the Xbox 360 has sold a solid 17.7 million consoles worldwide and it's rumored that December's numbers will eclipse November's sales reaching the 1 million unit mark. But that isn't all. Microsoft also gloated that Mass Effect has now sold 1.6 million copies since its November 20th release and Master Chief's Halo 3 has moved an astonishing 8.1 million copies since September. 8.1 million copies! That means nearly half of ALL Xbox 360 owners have purchased Halo 3. Simply amazing. Now we'll go back to patiently waiting for December's NPD to release. Until then, we'll be eating some peaches and cream in the break room. Holler if you need us.

Takahashi apologizes for his Mass Effect bashing

Last week Dean Takahashi of The Mercury News gave Mass Effect a written review lashing, going as far as to call it "Mass Defect". Takahashi was steadfast in claiming that his Mass Effect experience was lackluster, the game's mechanics were weak and that there really wasn't all that much to enjoy. Overhyped to no end, get the picture? But after a quick replay over the holiday break (and with the help of a few tips), Takahashi retracted his review apologizing to BioWare saying that they made "a better game than I thought" and that it isn't "as flawed as I thought". Interesting stuff.

So why a change of heart so quickly after the replay? Well, Mr. Takahashi admitted that he only put in eight hours for his review and seemingly forgot to upgrade his character along the way. But after giving the upgrading system a chance he soon experienced RPG bliss and everything came full circle. It was like a re-birth of Mass Effect.

Lesson learned kids. Always navigate a games' menus and be sure to upgrade your character whenever possible. Also, it's okay to admit you're wrong. We all make mistakes. Now group hug.

Mass Effect (not BioShock) earns NY Times' GOTY

In video game award news that doesn't involve BioShock taking home every trophy, the NY Times revealed that BioWare's RPG-o-fun Mass Effect earned its Game of the Year vote. Let us repeat that. Mass Effect received GOTY honors from the NY Times and not BioShock. Sounds good, doesn't it? We only tease BioShock, because it has been winning big lately and we wouldn't want to force Mr. Levine to learn carpentry for the sole reason of needing to build a bigger trophy case. Congrats Mass Effect and everyone else (Halo 3 and yes, BioShock) who received shiny awards from the NY Times.

[Via Joystiq]

Mass Effect book sequel announced

Publisher Del-Rey Books has announced that a sequel to the novel Mass Effect: Revelation is in the works. Entitled Mass Effect: Ascension, the novel is set to span the time between the first game and the second (Mass Effect is a trilogy remember). Drew Karpyshyn, writer of both the first Mass Effect novel and game, is also authoring Ascension. At the moment, that's about all we know. No release date or price have been set. If we had to hazard a guess, we'd say it's probably a safe bet that the book will be roughly $10 and release in time for the Mass Effect 2 marketing blitzkrieg.

[Via Joystiq. Thanks to everyone that sent this in]

Pachter: Mass Effect could hit PS3

Appearing on the latest episode of Bonus Round, games industry analyst Michael Pachter stated that BioWare would likely be porting Mass Effect to PS3 now that the company is under the dominion of Electronic Arts. Pachter's comments came in response to whether or not many recent changes of ownership for 360 friendly developers -- like the independence of Bungie, the Activision's acquisition of Bizarre Creations, etc -- would result in said developers moving to cross-platform development. Pachter stated that EA would definitely be leveraging BioWare on multiple platforms, saying that Mass Effect 2 is a PS3 shoo-in, further elaborating, "I wouldn't be shocked if Mass Effect 1 came to PS3." According to Pachter, cross-platform development will be a must for former 360 developers from an economic standpoint. Of course, this is obvious when considering future releases, but with Mass Effect already released -- and published by Microsoft, no less -- we're anxious to see if Pachter is right.

Mass Effect sells 1 million, Halo 3 moves 5 million

It's time to shoot off the confetti cannons and drop the balloons, BioWare's Mass Effect has sold over 1 million copies and Halo 3 is at the 5 million mark!

Corporate Vice President of Xbox 360 Global Marketing and oh so likable Jeff Bell confirmed with GameDaily that Mass Effect's sales have officially eclipsed the 1 million sales mark worldwide after being on the market for only three weeks. And that's good news, seeing that estimates initially slated Mass Effect to move around the 300,000 unit mark. Bell also confirmed that a little game called Halo 3 has sold an amazing 5 million copies worldwide since its release in September. Congrats to both BioWare for delivering a solid RPG and Bungie for making Halo 3 what it is. We love you both so much ... we promised we wouldn't cry. Sniffle.

[Thanks, Charles]

Mass Effect reviews have landed ...

Yesterday, the reviewing gaming media published their reviews for BioWare's RPG adventure of awesomeness Mass Effect and, truth be told, the game is getting a positive reception.

Mass Effect is currently averaging a 92 93 on metacritic with reviews ranging from an 80 low to a perfect 100. Criticisms generally point towards minor glitches and bugs that found their way into the game and a few awkward gameplay sequences too. But most agree that Mass Effect shines at presentation, storytelling and its overall epic scale that'll leave you awestruck. And from reading through a few of the reviews we think hardcore RPG fans will be able to look over its minor issues and find a robust and satisfying RPG experience. Mass Effect seems to be a winner, because a 92 93 just doesn't lie.

Halo 3 & Mass Effect soundtracks release tomorrow

Auditory pleasure. The feeling one gets when listening to music that moves their inner soul and evokes emotions to the highest degree. It's the feeling one gets when listening to the harmonious melodies from Halo 3 or Mass Effect.

Releasing to the retail arena tomorrow, November 20th are both the 31 track Halo 3 soundtrack and (just in time for launch) the 37 track Mass Effect soundtrack too. Both CDs are being released under the Sumthing Distribution label (the folks who put together Gears of War and Halo 2's soundtracks) and should cost around the average CD price of $14 or so. Auditory pleasure, it's what you'll get when you buy either of these musically enjoyable soundtracks.

[Via Game Stooge]

Read - Halo 3 soundtrack
Read - Mass Effect soundtrack

Canada gets in on the Mass Effect LCE fun [update]

Update: BioWare made this announcement a few days ago. And sorry for being so hard on you guys. We're just sensitive to being mislead, because we've been hurt in the past. Thanks, Evan.

Someone over at BioWare must have thought lying to us about the worldwide availability of the Mass Effect Limited Collector's Edition would be funny when they said that the LCE wouldn't be available to Canada. Because it is. Evil Avatar spotted the LCE purchasable exclusively from the Canadian Best Buy and Future Shop websites, which are both firmly rooted in Canada quarantined internet space. So, if you were initially bummed about BioWare's "confirmation" that the Mass Effect's LCE wouldn't make it to Canada, then you can be a happy camper knowing that your LCE love will not be denied.

[Via Evil Avatar]

Read - Purchase at Best Buy Canada
Read - Purchase at Future Shop

Video: Mass Effect launch trailer and more lovin'

We're on a mission to build erroneous amounts of Mass Effect hype before the game launches (like it needs it) and we think the brand-spanking new launch trailer would help accomplish our goal. So, that's exactly what we've embedded above, the new Mass Effect launch trailer in all its epic glory. Watch, get caught up in the moment and try and convince yourself that it's just a game, because we're in love and can't shake it. Oh, and if for some reason you're not impressed, take a look after the break. Maybe an even more intense and sexual Mass Effect love scene will put you over the edge. You dirty dog you.

Continue reading Video: Mass Effect launch trailer and more lovin'

Kmart breaks Mass Effect street date

That silly, bankrupt and out of touch retailer Kmart has pulled a no-no this weekend and has reportedly put copies of Mass Effect onto retail shelves before its scheduled release date. Cheap Ass Gamer and numerous other fanboys are reporting that Kmart stores nationally are selling Mass Effect before the game's November 20th release date and are being bought up as if they were semi-precious gems. And we're sure it was a simple mistake on Kmart's behalf (or a calculated ploy at foiling BioWare's launch plans), but it's one that benefits us so we're fine with it. Mass Effect fanboys run, no sprint to your nearest Kmart and demand an early release copy of Mass Effect. Just be sure to leave out the whole broken street date bit.

[Thanks, NukeAssault]

Video: Mass Effect girl on girl lovin'

Cover your eyes, cover your parents', kids' and even your pets' eyes, because the infamous Mass Effect girl on girl love scene is here. Oh teh noes! But before you get all "excited" and stuff, know that it's just a game kids. You know, computer generated character models in an artistic video game put in scenes to move along a storyline, etc., etc. Yes sir, that's what it is. And even if you were somewhat "excited" to see this, then we must be the bearer of bad news and tell you that the above clip isn't all that mature or PG-13 and actually hovers around the PG spectrum. We wouldn't want an AO now would we? Enough from us, watch it and enjoy the clip in whatever mindset you choose.

Video: How Mass Effect does space combat

There's a new Mass Effect combat video making the internet rounds lately, showing off how Mass Effect does alien killing. In the soldier class video (that we've embedded above) you'll get a taste of the game's targeting system, weapon switching, target painting, aiming and basic cover. You'll also once again see that the game is stunningly beautiful, the combat looks solid and man do we hope that the music isn't reserved just for the video. Their music selection actually makes the combat scenario feel intense and ... well, epic. Oh joy! Give it a watch and put your finely tuned fanboy analysis skills to work.

We got 'em, Mass Effect achievements

Yummy, delicious, enjoyable. All these words can describe the list of achievements for upcoming hit Mass Effect. What's that? You haven't seen the leaked list of achievements? Wow ... poor thing you, we didn't know. Hmm, we should tell you about them.

First off ... WARNING! Spoiler alert! Your treading on spoiler charted waters! The list of achievements available after the jump sort of tell a bit about the Mass Effect story, plot, etc., etc. But, if you are un-phased by such stuff, then click away. Though, In general, the achievements are pretty decent and range from weapon achievements, to story achievement to the Completionist achievement which you can earn for "completing the majority of the game" (nice and vague, we like that). Oh, and be sure to note that there's Gamerscore to be had if you "complete any romance subplot" ... we wonder what that's all about. Risque!

[Thanks, to everyone who sent this in]

No Mass Effect CE for Canada, Australia, Latin America

We have some interesting news for our United States and United Kingdom readers, and we have some bad news for our Canadian, Australian, and Latin American readers. Bad news first: Canada, Australia, and Latin America will not be receiving the Collector's Edition of Mass Effect. Period. This comes directly from BioWare Community Coordinator Chris Priestly. The news gets a little strange in the US and UK. The Collector's Edition will be available in the US, but only at online retailers, though a bonus disc will be available at certain brick and mortar retailers for those that pre-order the title. UK gamers, on the other hand, can get the Collector's Edition at both online and physical retailers, but not the bonus disc. We're not sure what's behind the disparate distribution, but it's definitely a downer for many Mass Effect fans, and a frustrating annoyance for many others.

[Thanks, Martin Zaniewski]

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