This Week in Games: May 19, 2012

Diablo III launch problems, the benefits of office fumigation, and Epic's insistence on more powerful next generation consoles. All this, plus 38 Studios' run-in with the government, and the fact that Lara Croft is going to make us all wait for a while.

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Too busy to keep an eye on the big gaming news from the past week? Too preoccupied playing Diablo III, or perhaps Max Payne 3? We know it can be tough to keep up with everything that's going on, so every week we gather together the biggest stories from the past seven days and complement them with the latest episode of our weekly news discussion show; Quoted for Truth. Also making an appearance this week: a pie chart. Glorious.

Diablo Launch Plagued With Issues

The launch of Diablo III, one of the most highly-anticipated games of the year, did not go as smoothly as expected this past Tuesday. First, Battle.net forum users reported being booted from game servers while playing as a Demon Hunter and equipping the game's first NPC sidekick Templar with a shield. Later this game-breaking bug was joined by the widely-ridiculed "Error 37" server problem (and it's sibling, the similarly reviled "Error 3003") which prevented users from logging into their Battle.net account. The problem ultimately took the whole service down for several hours on Tuesday night (Pacific Time) while Blizzard addressed it. Users across the globe were indignant as the issue made the game completely unplayable for the duration of the maintenance, and the entire situation further fueled anger toward the idea of always-online games and the practicality of using the concept as a form of DRM.

Blizzard has since issued an apology to Diablo III players affected by the technical issues. Posting on the game's forums, a company representative said that their preparations for the launch of the game "did not go far enough," and explained, "As many of you are aware, technical issues occurring within hours after the game's launch led to players experiencing error messages and difficulty logging in. These issues cropped up again last night for the Americas and Europe servers. Despite very aggressive projections, our preparations for the launch of the game did not go far enough. To that end, we'd also like to say that we've been humbled by your enthusiasm--and we sincerely regret that your crusade to bring down the Lord of Terror was thwarted not by mobs of demons, but by mortal infrastructure." Clearly.

Since Tuesday night things have remained relatively stable - but the larger issue remains as to how unfriendly the concept of requiring an Internet connection is for a game; particularly one that is predominantly a single-player experience. "We’ve been monitoring the game 24/7 and have applied several optimizations to help our systems better weather the global rush," Blizzard community manager Bashiok posted. "As of…11:50PM PDT on May 15, all systems have been online and running relatively smoothly. We're continuing to monitor performance globally and will be taking further measures as needed to ensure a positive experience for everyone. This includes some maintenance to implement additional improvements for each region."

The issues created another side-effect, too; the delay of the roll-out for the real-money auction house in the game. Blizzard had originally intended to launch the service this coming Tuesday, but has now decide to push this to a later date.

Quoted for Truth

jimmeyburrows: Having read that they spent two years polishing the game… have to find it a little funny. Sorry for everyone suffering problems though.

Activision vs. West and Zampella Gets Kinda Crazy

There was also discussion about obtaining private access to Infinity Ward's space in order to image the contents of West and Zampella's computers by staging a fake fumigation or mock fire drill at the studio.

A number of unsealed documents from the upcoming trial between Activision ex-Infinity Ward developers Jason West and Vince Zampella this week revealed testimony that alleges the publisher launched an internal investigation against the pair. The documents contain the testimony of Activision's former senior director of IT, Thomas Fenady. As reported by Giant Bomb, Fenady alleges that Activision's in-house lawyer, George Rose, asked him to spy on West and Zampella by accessing their work emails, voice mails, and computer files. According to Fenady, who left Activision in 2009, Rose told him the decision to investigate West and Zampella came from Activision CEO Bobby Kotick. The testimony also alleges that the objective--known by the glorious spy-project name of "Project Icebreaker"--was started with the aim of building evidence against the pair, but that efforts to monitor the personal correspondence of the developers were ultimately unsuccessful. To try and accomplish this task, Fenady reportedly contacted Microsoft to help crack West and Zampella's passwords, but the company refused to comply without a court order. Third-party security specialist InGuardians was also contacted, but the vendor "didn't feel comfortable” with the "legal hurdles." There was also discussion about obtaining private access to Infinity Ward's space in order to image the contents of West and Zampella's computers by staging a fake fumigation or mock fire drill at the studio. "I only know it was discussed," said Fenaday in his deposition. "I don't think it was acted upon."

In related news, West and Zampella's new studio, working on an as-yet-unrevealed game for Electronic Arts, will not be showing anything at this year's E3. Speaking to Joystiq, Respawn community manager Abbie Heppe said, "We won't be showing anything or doing any press related to the game" during the annual game expo. Heppe confirmed this statement to GameSpot. This year's E3 will be the second straight that the company has opted out of public activities.

Quoted for Truth

ZabuzaR: Call of Duty: Corporate Warfare.

Lara Will Be Late

The upcoming Tomb Raider title currently in development at Crystal Dynamics has been delayed from Q3 2012 to Q1 2013. "Our priority now is to make sure we fully deliver the very highest-quality game," said Crystal Dynamics studio head Darrell Gallagher. "In order to do this, we have decided to move the game's release date by a few months, from fall 2012 to the first quarter of 2013. We're doing things that are completely new to Tomb Raider in this game, and the additional development time will allow us to put the finishing touches into the game and polish it to a level that you deserve. We believe this is the right choice, and I guarantee it will be worth the wait." Regardless of its final release date, expect to see much more of Lara at E3 in a couple of weeks.

The game generated a lot of buzz when it was shown last year. Are you still excited about it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Quoted for Truth

psycho75: A delay is temporary, a bad game is forever.

Epic Wants More Power

Epic Games wants everyone to use their new Unreal Engine 4 technology on next generation consoles, and thinks that both Microsoft and Sony need to make their new systems even more powerful than currently specified. In an interview published in Wired this week, Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski said the company's proprietary Unreal Engine 4 needs to be at the forefront of next-generation technology. "There is a huge responsibility on the shoulders of our engine team and our studio to drag this industry into the next generation," Bleszinski said. "It is up to Epic, and [CEO] Tim Sweeney in particular, to motivate Sony and Microsoft not to phone in what these next consoles are going to be. It needs to be a quantum leap. They need to damn near render Avatar in real time, because I want it and gamers want it--even if they don't know they want it."

Why should Microsoft and Sony listen to Epic? Sweeney says his company has a more intimate relationship with manufacturers than others do. "We're much more in sync with the console makers than any other developer is," he said. "That means we can give detailed recommendations with a complete understanding of what is going to be commercially possible."

What do you think? Are you ready for next generation graphics yet? Are visuals what's most important to you for differentiating "new" from "old"? Do you really want "Avatar in real time"? To get the ball rolling on further discussion around the topic of next generation systems, we put a survey in front of nearly 3,000 GameSpot readers from around the world last week and asked "which do you think will be the best next generation console?" Fuel for the System Wars forum for sure, but an interesting starting point for further discussion. Here are the results of that…

Given that the Xbox Next eked out a small victory at this early stage, we decided to explore the subject further in a series of articles from Hilary Goldstein that we'll be publishing over the next few weeks. His first piece, an in-depth exploration of what Microsoft needs to be considering for its next console, can be found here. He will be following with pieces on the other platforms.

Quoted for Truth

seanmontela: Instead of pushing console makers they should focus on what is already possible now on the PC. Oh wait, Epic abandoned this platform a long time ago. Well, outdated consoles and Cliffy deserve each other then.

38 Studios Strikes Out

In a bizarre turn of events, and in defiance of realistic expectation, Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee revealed on Friday that the studio's massively multiplayer online game currently codenamed Project Copernicus is scheduled to arrive in June 2013.

The Rhode Island government said this week that developer 38 Studios made an overdue loan payment, but apparently this was at the expense of employees, who would go without pay as a result. According to Providence, Rhode Island-based news outlet WPRI, the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developer submitted a $1.125 million loan payment that it had missed, but told the state's Economic Development Corporation that it was unable to pay its employees as scheduled. The debt in question dates back to 2010, when the EDC secured a controversial $75 million in loans to entice 38 Studios--founded by former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling--to relocate from Massachusetts to the Ocean State. According to the WPRI report, 38 Studios employed 379 employees full-time as of mid-March.

The EDC board held an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss whether to provide additional assistance to the stuido to keep the company in business. While the board made no ruling on the matter, it is expected to consider the topic again on Monday. 38 Studios employees aren't the only ones being hurt by the company's situation. EDC executive director Keith Stokes, who helped structure the $75 million loan, resigned from his post.

In a bizarre turn of events, and in defiance of realistic expectation, Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee revealed on Friday that the studio's massively multiplayer online game currently codenamed Project Copernicus is scheduled to arrive in June 2013. Quite how this could be possible when the group can't even make payroll wasn't made clear. Still, if the governor of your state is making release date announcements on your behalf, you have to obey - right? Particularly when you owe him $75 million. At least we know something exists. This video showed up this week…

Quoted for Truth

sugarboy79: Annnnnd now we watch as a bad situation gets worse. Good luck blasting out a quality MMO in a year's time. I feel bad for the taxpayers of RI and the cogs at 38 Studios but Schilling is just getting what he deserves. From the mouth of the man himself: "What Government run/funded program in this country's history has ever been run with an ounce of financial responsibility, prudence, or with the peoples (sic) best interest at the forefront? None, that's which one." Hypocrite.

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Discussion

134 comments
erozeuz
erozeuz

Why not create a console that can use the computer hardware? Just would have to create a console with its operating system, control ports they're going to use, and the CD ROM with what they have planned to use, and ready. The computer could recognize the console as an entirely different operating system without using Window

 

The console would have no video card, ram or processor would be much cheaper.

aser92
aser92

Epic should optimize their Engine first before pushing the hardware market further, I mean it still has issues till now.

gamerxxx89
gamerxxx89

PC GAMING IS IMMORTAL.....LONG LIVE PC GAMING.

gaming_paradox
gaming_paradox

what I think the next logical step for consoles is to make the hardware customizable mainly the gpu. Sony and Microsoft should release a custome gpu every 2 or 3 years . Also what pc gamers don't realize is that game developers  make games for technology that's made to play games, yes the pc is more powerful but to compute and a console's main focus is games.

shane9494
shane9494

OK guys i hear you guys are going on and on about what is better pc or ps3 or xbox well i am here to tell you that PC is 1st  xbox is second simply because its made by Microsoft and ps3 is third i will tell you why shortly 1st of all i am a pc gamer and pcs can do a lot more then gaming i shore that's what you herd from the other gamers well if you were clever you would know that too 1st of all pcs can put an xbox controller in and play games and i could also put a usb controller in a ps3 or xbox cant put a keyboard in or mouse. pcs won this round ok now the next round pcs have way better graphics than ps3 or xbox well the xbox is nearly as good as pc ps3 runs on an old nvidia 7900 gt for PC you can get the new nvidia geforce gtx 690 with 4 gig video memory ps3 only has 250 MB video memory OK now PC won the second round. pcs also have multi prepossessing units like the I7 like the phenom x6 CPU the ps3 and the xbox only has single core cpus PC won the 4th round . another thing  xbox and ps3 can only do one thing at a time where as computers can do more like the new amd readeon 7970 can put more screens so you can play each game on a different screen so PC won the 5th round. and with the new motherboards supports sli which can combind you graphics power to make your PC more powerful next thing pcs can support up to more ram then xbox or ps3 and support up to more hard drives then ps3 or xbox and by the time the new consoles come out amd and nvidia would have already made the new graphics cards so ya PC is better in all ways 

BarkingSpider81
BarkingSpider81

Can someone answer a question for me without being biased? Why do PC gamers and console gamers hate each other? Is it because of too much time on their hands and they have nothing better to do than bitch and moan, or is it for something deeper? And the better question is: who cares?

KUNG-LO
KUNG-LO

Sign off: "That's gaming for ya!" ;) #GSQFT

hassanem
hassanem

one dose not simply log into Diablo III~~~ f**king awesome~~~ Rolling on the floor!!!

Maelsthur
Maelsthur

no man, first bioshock and now you come here with tomb raider delayed?

smirvane
smirvane

Tomb Raider needs to feel like Uncharted, in fact Tomb Raider should have evolved into something like uncharted, I'm a fan of Tomb Raider Series, and the last Tomb Raiders are good..... but only that..... good; I remember the first time I played the original Tomb Raider it was not good, it was Amazing and I don't feel that any more.

Lazy_Marine
Lazy_Marine

I totally agree with EPIC megagames, PS4 & xboxnext both need a huge leap instead of the current strategy of "baby steps" . PC is already capable of what ps4 & xboxnext are willing to offer 2 years from now. Its about time console makers listened to the developers rather than forcing their ideas down the throats of devs. They need to stay away from useless gimmicks like 3D gaming and things like kinetc or psvita and really focus on creating realism, such as avatar level real time rendering. 

erozeuz
erozeuz

I think the next generation of consoles may not to surpass computers. Moore's Law expired in 2007 the speed with which computers evolve, it is now too fast. A console that comes out today in 18 or 24 months, will be twice as slow as a computer. Currently the computer is much better than the console in graphics and speed. Create a console is much better than a computer graphics would be very expensive, the new console would cost more of 1000, dollars

 

from my point of view I see a very dark future for consoles.

Gamr2723
Gamr2723

Sad to see Tomb Raider delayed, but with Crystal Dynamics wanting to get it right I'll wait.  Nothing more frustrating to buy an new game, and being unable to play it. Remember Angel of Darkness, what a nightmare that was.

tainanlctr
tainanlctr

Estou muito ansisoo para ver as novidade do Tomb Raider na E3 2012

tibbydriver0540
tibbydriver0540

I would love to play games that have a Avatar level of power but for right now im happy with what I have. As it stands I am currently on my 3rd play through of Max Payne 3,and have The First Templar,Dungeon Siege 3,both Dragon Age games sitting in a pile on my tv stand. Not to mention the new Ghost Recon,Dragons Dogma, Far Cry 3, Crysis 3,and Bioshock Infinite are on the horizon. Im fine with current gen consoles for right now.

Gilgamesh89
Gilgamesh89

the pc Has the ability to video games more realistic in terms of physical properties of high-resolution and accuracy a feature lacking ps3 xbox360 wii

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

For once I can agree with what Cliff Bleszinski  says.

fourclawrider
fourclawrider

lots of people pro-PC below here...yall must be shitting money

 

if you buy a brandnew midrange PC at any given time, its very likely you'll have to heavily tune down any new game coming out at that given time to make it run properly. and if you buy a highend PC it'll be midrange again 1 or 2 years after...PC gaming seems too elitist for me.

 

and besides, i like sitting comfortably in my sofa, with an "all buttons in reach of my fingers" compact controller, looking at a big ass telly thats several yards away so it wont f*ck up my eyes. and if i buy a new console game and pop it in it plays instantly no questions asked...

 

PC gaming on the other hand in short: awkward controls, buttons all over the place ->cramp up hands; have to sit at desk or table thingy to make mouse work->not comfortable; bought new game? wait 30 minutes to instal + insert stupid keys and all the other crap

 

nonono am quite happy with my console ;)

Gilgamesh89
Gilgamesh89

I have changed my computer twice for the games, which I love and have cost me a lot of money and now I collect money for the generation they are talking about now

lmaocarrots
lmaocarrots

I'm shocked how many people still have hope in Xbox 360. All my friends have moved to computer and PS3, due to the higher capabilities, long-run money savings, better product quality, and more extensive game libraries. No idea how Xbox Next won the pole when the main thing they're trying to do with it is another Kinect (AKA the most useless gaming accessory since the ROB).

Gilgamesh89
Gilgamesh89

I know that the video game be beautiful if it is very realistic, but I play for the story and not for the realistic portrayal

and this is my Opinion

MVan86
MVan86

Oh brother, a pie-chart of which console is winning the 7th gen war... before a single console has been released.

Gilgamesh89
Gilgamesh89

every day Graphics cards every day a new engine for the manufacture of next-generation games What to do .

 

Perhaps the producers should think about the games that next-generation games that run on computers that expensive that there are people who are not able to purchase these devices and I am one of them.

 

Radoria
Radoria

 @gamerxxx89 Wrong, spending money every 5 or 6 years is likely the same compared with buying a console. And i didn't include money spent on new OS and even having compatibility problem with older games. So no... Almost equal lifespan

oflow
oflow

 @gaming_paradox thats not going to happen they are in the business of selling hardware they wont make it so you can just upgrade your gpu and keep the old hardware.

oflow
oflow

 @shane9494 the thing that pcs dont do is have 4 people sitting on the same couch playing in the same game like on a console so your argument fails.

Gamr2723
Gamr2723

 @BarkingSpider81

  I agree, myself as a PC gamer, (exclusively) its not that we hate console gamers at all, we love the whole of the gaming community, what we hate are the devlopers, who develop for consoles, and port to PC. Years ago, there was a day, where games were always written for PC first, (Amiga, Atari ST, Apple IIGS), then a liltte unknown company came on the scene, Nintendo, and PC gaming has never been the same. A few years later came the Playstation, then Mircosolt released the XBox, (actually a PC in a box) now we have 360's and PS3's, many developers write for them first, then throw us a crumb that barely works.  Also as a PC gamer, (of 29 years) no console game machine can ever compare to the gaming experience a PC can create. 

sachind1231
sachind1231

 @BarkingSpider81 I currently hate console game MAKERS for releasing ports like Max Payne 3 later on PC than on consoles, but no, I don't hate console gamers for that. Most of that conflict is just focused on PC gamers being frustrated that studios aren't developing for the specs-wise superior PC platform and instead just shittily porting over games. If there's one thing Crytek does right, it's code for a spectacular-looking PC game. Meanwhile console gamers are probably pissed at the PC gamers who are dicks about all this. Also cost probably factors in somewhere.

 

And yes, it all really is pointless.

deathblow3
deathblow3

 @Lazy_Marine there is only one problem with that strategy....cost what cliffy wants will put consoles out of reach of most gamers. You know why the Xbox is selling well now it’s the cheapest console. The ps3 troubles started with its price 600 bucks and you don’t even get a game with it. Gamers and parents spoke with their wallets and as soon as the Xbox went lower than the wii  then Xbox started selling more. These guys need to sell console and 6 & 7 hundred dollar price tags isn’t going to do it. I like the idea but the cost will kill us heck the 1 video card that can do the unreal engine 4 is 1200.00 when the 1st demo it Samaritan it was using 4 pc’s to run the demo.

berserkker
berserkker

 @erozeuz the thing is if consoles does not evolve pc games will be stuck with console ports instead of pushing it to the limits.I agree with epic. wee need firepower. and dont get me wrong imo the graphics are not everything but are a great part of the game. and not just the visuals but physics can improve too and that will not only change the visuals but can also open new doors in gameplay. I am a pc gamer and I really wish the consoles take a big step.

smirvane
smirvane

 @Gamr2723 Totally agree with you, Tomb Raider needs to evolve into something better, something new; maybe they are afraid after what happened with Tomb Raider AOD, and they don't want to change it all again and go wrong again, I personally  think the game was fine, but it was a hell to play, and it was delayed more than once, I have said this to much but Tomb Raider should have evolved into something like Uncharted. I can only hope this one gets better.

lmaocarrots
lmaocarrots

 @Gilgamesh89 Though it's true that it has better graphics potential (though you have to dish out tons of money), I'm a PC gamer and I find the whole "accuracy" argument stupid. The mouse is barely any better than an analog stick. On consoles I have no problem aiming, and no game requires you to get your accuracy to the pixel. 

DarkJessie20
DarkJessie20

 @fourclawrider EY yo jerk i have a P4 2gb ram and an nvidia gt210 and i ran BAtman arkham city  on high settings with anti aliasing off on ma 17"inch monitor so Fu****k yea

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

@fourclawrider

"after 1-2 years or so PC probably become obsolete", what???

at least PC does backward compatibility right,, and you think Consoles doesn't become obsolete??because as far as I know all tech in whole world will become obsolete eventually (Cellphone, TVs, etc.) 

 

I study business, and my job is an investor,

and believe me having PC is great investment in the long run, like it or not you just need it,

from day to day basis or simply for games! hating PC is like hating your food,

because you just need it,, and if we need it, then why we love it half-heartedly.

 

and FYI, I sitting comfortably in my sofa while playing my PC-HDTV connected =/ I even use wireless m/k, and wireless xbox 360 controller, then why you can't sit on your sofa while using your PC, does someone threatens you?? or you intentionally make your life miserable??

 

 

 

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @fourclawrider Why are so many people still misinformed about this. My PC is hook up to my 60 inch TV and I play it with my 360 controller from the comfort of my couch. As for upgrading and key codes. I use steam and amazon mostly so I don't worry about those. Upgrading every two years also isn't necessary. This is not the 90's PC are more advance and have options. Besides they do other things besides gaming. If you do things on PC and game regularly. Why wouldn't you combine the two. Keep in mind I use to believe all that nonsense like you. I was a only console gamer just like you. Now I play PC games and consoles games.

NoahRoalson
NoahRoalson

 @fourclawrider Dude, you can buy controllers for PC and hook it up to some TV's... Just letting you know. I own a PC's and several consoles...

lmaocarrots
lmaocarrots

 @fourclawrider I'm a PC/PS3/Xbox/Wii gamer and I agree with this but in parts.

 

I have a very high end PC and it cost about 7 PS3s, and it'll still be obsolete in 2-3 years, though it does do other stuff then gaming, the gaming itself isn't worth that much more.

 

I grew up with consoles and the TV and Controller experience can never leave me. I've gotten used to keyboard controls, but some games aren't mapped out right, and it is true that it's not as convenient as a layout as consoles.

 

Also, the games that are on both PC and consoles are typically more fitted for the TV experience (Rockstar Games, Call of Duty, Arkham Asylum and City, soon to be Dark Souls). The only games I find better on PC are the exclusives (obviously) and Valve games (purely because of the loads of free content). Even Bethesda games are fit better for console, despite the loads of mods.

 

If PC gaming was the same price as consoles, it would definitely be the better choice, but with the price it's not as amazingly better as purely-PC gamers make it out to be.

 

 

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

 @fourclawrider PC gaming isn't expensive. A PC that can run games that look much better than a console can cost you $500. Factor in how much cheaper games are on PC through things like Steam sales. Also that even with a  console you will buy even a crappy laptop so with those two you are paying probably over $500 for console and laptop.

 

As for the controls, many people love them. I know I much prefer them and can play games much better with a mouse and keyboard. I sit very comfortably at my desk with a nice chair. 

 

You talk about how long it takes to install a game which doesn't take long, but I can play any game whenever I want. You don't need to get up and change discs, also I can play games made back in the 90s if I feel the need. Any game made for PC still runs on PC there is no single generation library to choose from. 

 

Everything you said applies only to you and millions of people disagree with you and continue to play on PC, proof from the huge launch of Diablo 3 or even the 15+ million players that play League of Legends alone.

Red_lath
Red_lath

 @fourclawrider You sound like an old cranky gamer! Besides, when you are a PC Gamer one must use the brain and develop others more important skills, like reading :3

 

although, I agree with you about the high-end systems

jojocoolio
jojocoolio

 @fourclawrider no offense but you have no clue what you're on about. PC gaming is nothing like you describe. Besides, pc's do more than run games.

gaming_paradox
gaming_paradox

 @oflow Yes I totally agree, Business tends to slow down progress, I just hope in the future they put customer convenience before financial statistics. But I'm sure they would make more money if they update hardware like an add-on that expands the life of a game.

Abacron
Abacron

there are more then 1 usb port so 4 people can play on the computer too, so i think your argument fails...

DarkJessie20
DarkJessie20

 @lmaocarrots Sooo not true cuz if i want to play lets say a fps i use keyboard + mouse and if i play something like dmc4 street fighter x tekken i use my generic USB joystick + X360ce 

 

soo no matter what the PC iz better than console in every aspect 

oflow
oflow

 @Abacron ya right there arent any pc games that you play co-op on the same rig. stop reaching. 

shane9494
shane9494

 @DarkJessie20 yes it pc is better i am a pc gamer i have a pc that is 10 times as powerful  as ps3 or a xbox and the graphics and the game play are way ahead of ps3 and xbox

lmaocarrots
lmaocarrots

 @DarkJessie20 Not in every aspect. PC is a very personal experience (playing with friends is really only an option online), but on Console its very easy and fun to play with some friends at your house. Some of the greatest gaming experiences I've had have been with friends on consoles, Super Smash Bros Series, Battlefront Series, Taking turns of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls on a big screen tv, etc.