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Electronic Arts nabs Mass Effect PC publishing rights from Microsoft

Nearly all of BioWare’s recent RPG releases have first hit Microsoft’s console, be it the original Xbox or Xbox 360, only later to make it to the PC. It happened with the two Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games, as well as Jade Empire, and it will happen to Mass Effect.

Electronic Arts and BioWare announced today that Mass Effect, originally released on the Xbox 360 late November 2007, will be hitting the PC in May 2008. Unlike the Xbox 360 version, which was published by Microsoft Games Studios, EA will be handing the publishing duties for the PC port.

Mass Effect serves as a powerful example of video games as an art form, delivering new levels of emotional intensity, realistic characters and a gripping storyline – all set in a compelling new universe,” said Ray Muzyka, General Manager, BioWare and Vice President, Electronic Arts.

Mass Effect for the PC also represents the first sign of the split in publishing agreements for BioWare and Microsoft after EA acquired the Canadian game developer.

Frank Gibeau, President of EA’s Games Label added, “EA has struck an agreement with Microsoft to handle future publishing for Mass Effect. We are looking forward to releasing Mass Effect on the PC this Spring and brand new titles in the future.”

EA said that the PC release will contain several new optimizations specific to the version, such as new control schemes, hot keys, along with new additions in the form of a new decryption mini-game and enhanced GUI system.

BioWare also recently announced new paid DLC for Xbox 360 owners to appear in March. It’s unclear at this time whether or not any of this content will be incorporated into the PC version.



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How about not
By FITCamaro on 2/12/2008 3:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
EA said that the PC release will contain several new optimizations specific to the version, such as new control schemes, hot keys, along with new additions in the form of a new decryption mini-game and enhanced GUI system.


How about you leave the damn game alone and just do a good port instead of adding craptastic EA "flair" to it. Make it work with a 360 controller and a keyboard and mouse. That's all you need to do. The decryption mini-game is fine(omg no! its actually challenging! not that!) as is the GUI.




RE: How about not
By AlphaVirus on 2/12/2008 5:53:24 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Make it work with a 360 controller

Why would they need to do this for a PC port? Sounds kind of ass-backwards.

quote:
EA said that the PC release will contain several new optimizations specific to the version, such as new control schemes, hot keys, along with new additions in the form of a new decryption mini-game and enhanced GUI system.

New control schemes - well this is needed since its going to be on PC and a lot of times people make custom controls.

Hot keys - Once again, Pc gamers have a lot of custom settings especially for RPG style games.

Enhanced GUI system - PC's can handle better graphics than consoles so they will make higher details available for use.


RE: How about not
By FITCamaro on 2/12/2008 6:09:52 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why would they need to do this for a PC port? Sounds kind of ass-backwards.


Because the controller controls are excellent and 360 controllers have full compatibility with the PC.


RE: How about not
By mWMA on 2/12/2008 6:58:09 PM , Rating: 2
I am guessing that they plan to include Live for Windows (Crap ware eating 240MB) and Vista only as the new optimizations.

quote:
Because the controller controls are excellent and 360 controllers have full compatibility with the PC.

The major benefit to having a PC version is to have access to KB/Mouse and not turn it into a another console style controller use gaming.


RE: How about not
By chrnochime on 2/13/2008 12:34:21 PM , Rating: 2
If you want that 360 controller so bad go play it on the 360. What's the point of limiting controls to those few buttons when there are so many more keys to utilize on the keyboard.


RE: How about not
By jvillaro on 2/13/2008 1:39:55 PM , Rating: 2
Who said anything about LIMITING you to only use the Xbox 360 controls?
It's just another option for the PC. The game is made to work for that control so its natural that that will be an option for PC users as well as keyboard and mouse.

I'm sure it will handle these controls because of the "Games for windows" certification, it's requiered as is the Live part.


RE: How about not
By garethcoker on 2/13/2008 9:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
As far as I'm aware - there is a big difference between publishing and developing.

EA also published Crysis - which (for the people who had computers to run it) wasn't exactly cr@ptastic!!


SEXXXPUTER!
By Xodus Maximus on 2/12/2008 2:56:09 PM , Rating: 4
I'm guessing Fox News is disappointed by this, they felt so clever with their SEXXXBOX pun, but SEXXXPUTER doesn't have the same ring.

Anyway it'll be fun to see all the hacks that will come out, I'm betting someone will replace the in-game models with the "nude" ones, and I know that I'll be on the floor laughing during those cutscenes.




RE: SEXXXPUTER!
By mmntech on 2/12/2008 3:53:58 PM , Rating: 2
I thought Sony made the Sexxxbox? (Family Guy reference for those who don't know) My PC is already my Sexxputer without cartoon nudity, unless we're talking that Japanese stuff. lol.

Anyway, I was hoping for this. BioWare has done a good job on past PC ports so I'm not really too worried, even with EA being the publisher now. I'm definitely circling May on my gaming calendar.


RE: SEXXXPUTER!
By helios220 on 2/12/2008 4:44:04 PM , Rating: 2
omgz! pr0nographies on a PCs?

no wai! stop teh pressesesss


yet another money grab
By Screwballl on 2/12/2008 2:34:42 PM , Rating: 1
Sure, they will make money on it but when will EA realize that they need QUALITY games, not quantity before people will start to take interest. I am one of a large group that simply refuses to buy anything from EA until they stop buying up good companies and turning their games or series into crap.




RE: yet another money grab
By Blight AC on 2/12/2008 2:42:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...when will EA realize that they need QUALITY games, not quantity before people will start to take interest.


Yesterday...
http://www.dailytech.com/EA+Regrets+Stifling+Devel...

I'm not saying they'll follow through with it... but they at least stated they are aware their current model isn't working.


By Freddo on 2/12/2008 4:16:53 PM , Rating: 2
Did Microsoft have the PC publishing rights to begin with?

I mean, Jade Empire which was also developed by Bioware was published for Xbox by Microsoft. But the PC version was published by 2K Games.




KOTOR2 was not developed by bioware
By hadifa on 2/12/2008 5:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Nearly all of BioWare ’s recent RPG releases have first hit Microsoft’s console, be it the original Xbox or Xbox 360, only later to make it to the PC. It happened with the two Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games, as well as Jade Empire, and it will happen to Mass Effect.


The second kotor was not developed by Bioware, but rather by Obsidian entertainment.




No reason to own an Xbox360!
By IntelGirl on 2/13/08, Rating: -1
RE: No reason to own an Xbox360!
By DingieM on 2/13/2008 4:19:54 AM , Rating: 1
So long as MS Windows runs on PC's you can kiss "reliability" and "no bugs" and "no slowdowns" goodbye.
And then, if you are lucky in this life, you have enough money to buy an overpriced PC.

For the record, my Xbox360 never gave a RROD.

So stop your ranting.


RE: No reason to own an Xbox360!
By mattclary on 2/13/2008 11:59:55 AM , Rating: 3
As long as code is written by humans, you will have bugs. No matter if it is PC or console.


By Master Kenobi (blog) on 2/12/2008 2:42:42 PM , Rating: 3
Console always gets it many months in advance, and the PC ports generally require some fairly decent hardware to run well. Frankly I'm a PC gamer so this is nice, even if we are playing second fiddle.


RE: So what's the point of owning an Xbox 360 then?
By an0dize on 2/12/2008 2:48:02 PM , Rating: 2
If you think about it, it should be the other way around... Console games require extensive bug testing prior to release because they can't be easily patched... Whereas PC games are often rushed out the door riddled with bugs..


By mcturkey on 2/12/2008 3:01:37 PM , Rating: 4
The bug testing required on a PC is vastly greater than on a console. My 360 has the exact same hardware configuration as my friends' 360s do, and the exact same hardware configuration as the other millions of 360s sold do. PCs have thousands of potential configurations to test against.


RE: So what's the point of owning an Xbox 360 then?
By cyyc009 on 2/12/2008 4:12:02 PM , Rating: 1
Right. There is no point in owning a 360. Seeing as how PCs now use graphics cards (such as the GeForce 8800) that would make the graphics chip in the 360 wet its pants (and NVIDIA hasn't even released their 9800 series yet), the 360 will inevitably get run over by PC hardware sooner or later. The PS3 will get run over too, but probably at a later date than the weaker Xbox 360. So anything the 360 can do, PC can do better...


By FITCamaro on 2/12/2008 4:31:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yes the 360 and PS3 are getting run over by PC gaming. Which is why PC game sales are completely eclipsing console game sales. Wait...no they're not....

I'm all for PC gaming but consoles have their merits. No upgrading till the next generation comes out. PCs have always been more powerful than their console brethern but that doesn't mean they're going to get the better part of the deal. Game developers like consoles. They don't have to worry about programming for a multitude of hardware. And console games don't get pirated as much.

And I like how you're acting as a proponent of the PC while forming an opinion on the 360 vs. the PS3. In terms of power, both consoles are equal. The only advantage as a gaming console the PS3 has over the 360 is that every model has come with a hard drive so they can buffer data on it. An advantage that will be going away since Microsoft has allowed developers to buffer data on the 360s hard drive. All they need to do is lower the cost of the 20GB drive to $30-40 to erase this advantage.


By BladeVenom on 2/12/2008 5:28:20 PM , Rating: 2
10 million subscribers to WoW. 15 million subscribers to Steam. PC gaming is making more money than any individual console.


By daftrok on 2/12/2008 8:04:55 PM , Rating: 3
I wouldn't be so sure about that. PC gaming is getting extremely eclipsed by consoles. You have to realize that there are over 100 million PS2's out there, over 20 million Wiis, nearly 17 million 360s, and 10 million PS3s. On top of that, there are over 67 million DSs and over 31 million PSPs. And on top of that games upon games upon games. Granted WoW and Steam have alot when compared to one console, but are they enough to compete against what the Playstation 2 did? They aren't even close.

One also has to realize that it is much cheaper to buy a console than to build a gaming rig. A good gaming rig (one that outclasses this generation consoles) will run you 800 bucks. And on top of that, you have to make changes and upgrades every several years. Shoot even further into the future and you have to pretty much replace the motherboard, making installation more of a pain.

Long story short, the PC is indeed superior, but it makes the PS3 seem cheap.


By ViperROhb34 on 2/12/2008 9:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The PS3 will get run over too, but probably at a later date than the weaker Xbox 360. So anything the 360 can do, PC can do better...


Its a wash.. The PS3 has a more powerful cpu in the cell, but a weaker gpu then 360, and a slightly slower memory system then 360, plus 360 has the built in ON DIE memory that allows it to cache textures better.

Want an example ? Devil May Cry developed for PS3 originally which is also on 360 now. Both look nearly identical, but when it runs on PS3 in its original planned way - the PS3 memory system takes a big dump and runs like crap. Which prompted them to change it so you'd install a big part of the game on PS3 hardrive just so it would run good so they could cache it off the hardrive. If they didnt do this it wouldnt run well at all on PS3. Now it'll run slightly smoother then 360. Ive read MS is going to begin to allow devs to do the same thing in the future if needed, but in this case they didnt need to for DMC ... It wouldve been good if they could've for Mass Effect - it wouldve helped load times and screens that have huge textures to load..


By DirthNader on 2/13/2008 10:17:37 AM , Rating: 2
That's been going on forever, yet both platforms (PC and console) soldier on.

The VLB card in my 486 did things that my NES couldn't dream of. The Riva 128 I bought a decade ago made my N64 cry. What's different now? Nothing. PC gaming has erased a lot of the "big comfy couch with 5.1" stand against it with the proliferation of HDTVs that work wonderfully as monitors as well, but hardware cycles have also gotten ridiculously short.

I don't see anything different at all.


By dflynchimp on 2/12/2008 2:46:48 PM , Rating: 2
Eh...the 30 costs less, will last you longer without the need to upgrade, and has a multiplayer that is more easily accessible (IMO anyways, with the 4 controller support. Try doing that with your PC and the frame rates will die on you)

It's actually the PC right now that's hurting for more game exclusivity. The PC gaming slump (due to high upgrading costs) is skewing the gaming spectrum more and more towards the consoles. EA's actually doing PC owners a favor porting the game over.

And come on, PC and Xbox are tied and in hand. There;s no reason why Microsoft shouldn't try to expand its customer base by making games for both systems.


RE: So what's the point of owning an Xbox 360 then?
By mWMA on 2/12/2008 7:06:00 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see PC gaming dying ever... why because the company behind Xbox 360 (Microsoft) will need to have its main cash cow (Windows Platform) churning out new stuff.
People don't buy new PC with expensive addons unless the next windows can offer up something other than just the ability to run the next office release. They want Media, Gaming, Internet and everything else.


By dflynchimp on 2/12/2008 11:59:36 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see PC gaming dying either. It's just that consoles are getting to be very competitive in their image quality versus pricing. It's not that PC upgrading has gotten anymore expensive (I still remember when the Radeon 9800 cost $500usd)


By MrBlastman on 2/12/2008 2:55:15 PM , Rating: 2
I spend enough money keeping my PC upgraded as is - I'm glad to see this coming out on the PC :)

I have no reason to spend money on a 360 that I'd barely ever use when I spend 90% of my gaming time on the PC anyways.

Thank you (am I saying thank you to dastardly EA?) for releasing this to us.


By Iger on 2/13/2008 8:24:51 AM , Rating: 2
Aye-aye... I also feel a bit strange feeling <cough> grateful towards EA. But Mass Effect... Thanks, EA! :)


By kamel5547 on 2/12/2008 2:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
Well for one you get to play the game much earlier. FOr another you paid far less than people do for a PC that will run games half way decent.

With how easy it seems to be to port X-Box to PC I'm surprised any of the top games don't make it to PC at some point (well barring the ones with contract restrictions).


By saiga6360 on 2/12/2008 3:18:40 PM , Rating: 2
I agree to an extent. Depends on the type of games you are into. Mass Effect, just like Jade Empire was somewhat expected to get ported over at some point but if you are also into fighting games like Virtual Fighter then your only choice is a console.


By sweetsauce on 2/12/2008 9:44:25 PM , Rating: 1
Only time a game should ever be exclusive is if its made in house. I personally think its great the pc will get mass effect, its a great game that should've sold 5 million copies imo. Too bad they will only sell like 100k, and 10 million pc users, including myself, will have it for free.


By MrBlastman on 2/14/2008 10:50:54 AM , Rating: 2
That is a poor attitude.

I'll gladly shell out cash for a quality game. Without paying for the game, the developers will never have funds to continue developing more games.

There is quite a bit of piracy, yes, but no where near as rampant in the United States as you make it out to be.


Another crappy port
By GhandiInstinct on 2/12/08, Rating: -1
RE: Another crappy port
By FITCamaro on 2/12/2008 3:00:01 PM , Rating: 2
How is Mass Effect buggy on the 360?

I'm a good ways into the game and other than the amount of loading times, the game is flawless. I had one save get corrupted but that was because I accidentally turned off the console before the game was finished saving. My autosave was fine though and luckily I hadn't done anything major between then and the last save.


RE: Another crappy port
By SirLucius on 2/12/2008 4:10:49 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know if I'd call it buggy, but there were definitely flaws. I guess it coincides with the load times, but one of the things I found most annoying was how long it would take for textures to load during cut scenes. There are some where it's halfway through a decent length scene before all the textures finish loading.

I've also had it not load properly a few times, and there were a few instances of my character getting stuck in the world. On some of the side quests where you have to clear those bunker/bases it's possible to get stuck in the indestructible crates. Another minor annoyance was the way the item menu was handled. There was no sorting system at all, and by the end of the game when I had a ton of stuff sorting through it all was tedious at best.

Nothing was a deal breaker, and most problems (aside from the texture load times) were sporadic. But I doubt any of the blips the game has will be addressed in the PC port.


RE: Another crappy port
By FITCamaro on 2/12/2008 4:24:19 PM , Rating: 2
Textures taking a long time to load is not a bug. It's a side effect of not being able to use the hard drive to buffer them.

Yes getting stuck in the world is.

As far as the inventory system, yes it can get a tad cluttered, but I generally empty it out every now and then converting things to omnigel or selling them. I'm currently at a point where I'm at tier V-VI gear. Anything under IV I sell unless its something I haven't been able to replace yet.


RE: Another crappy port
By michal1980 on 2/13/08, Rating: 0
RE: Another crappy port
By Flunk on 2/12/2008 4:07:46 PM , Rating: 5
Console ports are better than not being able to play these games at all. If the choice is to play a great console port or a middling PC exclusive I will take the great game every time.


RE: Another crappy port
By Tuor on 2/12/2008 5:05:40 PM , Rating: 4
Maybe you can share with us the names of all the wonderful, high quality ports we PC gamers have received from the Console world.


RE: Another crappy port
By GhandiInstinct on 2/12/2008 5:12:04 PM , Rating: 1
I like your style Tuor, I like your style.


RE: Another crappy port
By BladeVenom on 2/12/2008 5:23:22 PM , Rating: 2
Knights of the Old Republic: BioWare did it right. Although I can't help but think it would have been released the same time as the Xbox version were it not for Microsoft screwing over PC gamers to get exclusives.


RE: Another crappy port
By FITCamaro on 2/12/2008 10:12:40 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't KOTOR 1 on the PC first? Then I thought KOTOR 2 was out on the Xbox first, followed by the PC version.


RE: Another crappy port
By killerroach on 2/13/2008 8:40:57 AM , Rating: 2
KotOR 1 was on the Xbox first. And no, I wouldn't consider it that great of a port, mainly due to a very console-oriented user interface.


RE: Another crappy port
By encryptkeeper on 2/12/2008 5:15:28 PM , Rating: 1
Console ports are better than not being able to play these games at all. If the choice is to play a great console port or a middling PC exclusive I will take the great game every time.

I'd rather spend money upgrading my PC than buying a new console so I can play a port like Oblivion, or KoTOR. Plus, I'm like a retard trying to do long division when I play a first person shooter on a console. I have to have a KB and mouse. I guess that just works out for me.


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