News Round-up: June 1, 2011

No doubt most people would have heard that the next instalment of StarCraft 2 has been announced, this time featuring our favourite Matriarch of Sharpened Metal. Eurogamer covered the media event. Heart of the Swarm is still evolution rather than revolution, of course, but it’s a crucial step for StarCraft II as a whole. That’s because, while it may be the modern king of the competitive RTS, its rank as a single-player experience is less clear.

Remember Split/Second? Several developers from Black Rock Studios were laid off by their Disney owners, due to Disney’s focus on social gaming. As a result, a number of staff have spun off to form a new studio called Roundcube Entertainment. Split/Second game director Nick Baynes is Roundcube’s studio head, and Ian Monaghan, former Black Rock senior producer, is the new studio’s development director.

As expected, Call of Duty has gone social and subscription-based, and it’s taken the form of Call of Duty Elite. “Call of Duty” is in a unique position to seek a monthly fee from customers. The game’s previous installment, set during the Cold War and called “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” was the best-selling game last year, with global retail sales of more than $1 billion during its first six weeks on shelves.

Riding on the coat tails of the PSN fiasco, hacker group LulzSec threatened that attacks on Sony will continue. That same group said on Twitter this past Friday, “We’re working on another Sony operation. We’ve condensed all our excited tweets into this one: this is the beginning of the end for Sony.”

An online research firm has polled 1,100 Japanese consumers as to why they’re not purchasing a Nintendo 3DS. Hardly surprising that the number one reason would be price related, which is rough, given that the profit margins on these things are razor thin to begin with.

PSN has already been restored in Japan for a couple of days, but here’s a video of Kazuo Hirai welcoming Nippon-located gamers back. However, it looks like other areas are still waiting to be activated? From what I recall, HK and Korea are among some of the countries affected.

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