Will You Pay to Play Used Games Online?

Driver: San Francisco

EA, Sony, THQ, Ubisoft, and Warner Bros. Interactive have all announced plans to start charging for “Online Passports,” which will be required purchases for players who want to play with used game discs. Specifically, these $10 passports will be needed to play multiplayer games (like Ubisoft’s Driver: San Francisco, pictured above), but there’s nothing to keep publishers from using the same policy for singleplayer campaigns in the future.

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Scrabble Free for Android Allows Play Versus iPhone

Free Scrabble on Android

Free Scrabble on Android Screenshots

Scrabble is arguably one of the coolest board games in the world. I grew up playing Scrabble (and Boggle!) with the entire family on a regular basis, and even though I haven’t touched a real Scrabble board in ages, the thought of playing the game still fills me with excitement. There is, of course, the option of playing Scrabble on electronic devices such as the iPad, iPhone, and other similar gadgets. However, this option usually does not compare to the experience of the real thing. For one, you normally need two very devices in order to have a fulfilling game. Now what to do if you have an iPhone and your Scrabble-mate has an Android phone?

Videogame giant Electronic Arts (EA) has solved this problem for those of us with these “first world issues” by finally releasing Scrabble Free, an electronic version of the board game that allows interaction between devices running on different operating systems. No doubt about it, iOS and Android are the most used mobile operating systems today, and the release of Scrabble Free only narrows the gap.

Not having an Android phone, I have not tried out the app, but reviews seem rather disappointing, with an average of 3.7 out of 5 in the Android Market. It seems that the main gripe of people is the fact that there are too many in-game ads. Then again, what can you really expect for a free app from EA?

Another downside to Scrabble Free, it seems, is the limitation when it comes to playing single player games. ((Source)) You can play with friends and random opponents, but there is no option to play against the computer. That is something I totally get – while it is fun playing against real people, there are times when it’s just more convenient to play against an opponent that is not limited by time and have tons of distractions that keep them from responding within an appropriate period.

Still, knowing some people using Android who would always be up for a game of Scrabble, I am rather happy with the availability of the app. Any Scrabble fan would feel the same, I reckon. I just don’t know if I will feel the same way after having tried it myself. Has anyone had a go at Scrabble Free yet?

Now if you have an Android phone and haven’t tried Scrabble Free, get it from the Android Market without having to pay a single cent!

Note: I heard from an Android user that the download is only available for US-based users for now. Bah!

E3: EA’s Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, & Old Republic

EA Games didn’t go out of its way to wow E3 attendees with announcements of new titles during its media briefing today, but it showed off plenty of footage and demos that gamers have been salivating to get better glimpses of. Games like Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, FIFA 12, Star Wars: The Old Republic, SSX, Need for Speed: The Run, and more.

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Need for Speed Goes Cross-Country

EA today announced the newest game in the Need for Speed franchise, a title that takes the series into territory it’s never approached before. Need for Speed: The Run will send players on an illegal cross-country race from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to the Empire State Building in New York City. The game’s focus on underground street racing will allow players to race their cars through all sorts of new environments like inclined mountain roads covered in ice, through narrow canyons, and weaving through dense metropolitan traffic — and all at the breakneck speeds that Need for Speed is known for.

The Run uses the cutting-edge Frostbite 2 engine — the same game engine that the much-hyped Battlefield 3 runs on. The new physics and more-detailed-than-ever visuals are allowing game developers at Black Box (aka, EA Canada) to give this Need for Speed an exciting, immersive story. These elements are only hinted at in the teaser trailer above, but it’s a well made trailer that will get your blood pumping. The social competition network Autolog will again be included as well.

Need for Speed: The Run is coming to North America on November 15, Europe on November 17, and the U.K. on November 18th. Versions are being made for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii, and 3DS.

American McGee’s ‘Alice: Madness Returns’

Legendary game maker American McGee has announced his return to Alice in Wonderland territory, with a sequel to his quirky third-person game from 2000. As part of the Tokyo Game Conference, which is going on now, the first details about this sequel have been announced.

After the jump, I’ve got details on the game, a teaser trailer, some screenshots, and some gorgeous pieces of concept art.

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Fight Night Round 4 to ship June 30

One of the games that I’m highly anticipating this year is Fight Night Round 4. There’s a big reason why I love playing boxing games. First, I’m a very busy man that I rarely have the time right now to really sit down and spend more than two hours on an RPG. A boxing game is usually short and sweet. I can boot up my game play one match, win, and then turn it off and go back to work. It really fits my tight schedule at the moment. But more than that, I love to play boxing titles. It’s just really fun to pummel a fighter and try to emulate some of the moves that I see in real boxing matches.

I’ve played Fight Night Round 3 to death so I’m really eager to get my hands on the latest installment of the game. And with EA’s announcement that the game, which will be available on both the Xbox 360 and the PS3, will ship worldwide on June 30, I couldn’t be happier. I am quite intrigued by what EA claims as a ground-up reworking of the whole engine and system. I hope that most of the problems that I encountered in Fight Night Round 3 will be addressed — like the loooong load times, the usual sluggish movements around the ring and the boring corner advice from the trainer. I also hope that during online play players can get to choose if they want to fight with people who will use the buttons or the punch control system (the few times I’ve played online I keep getting beat by players who just continually push the haymaker button).

EA has promised that there will be more than 40 licensed boxers that will appear in the game and there will also be a Legacy mode – which I think is just perfect since It’s just silly that the game actually decides when you retire.