SavyGamer Contests!

These were originally announced in the podcast for last week, but as it snarled itself up and I can't get it together in a timely fashion I'm going to post these here instead.

We have two competitions going this week. One of them is to win a bunch of stuff from Lewie's PAX swag bag! To win, simply fire off an email to him (lewiep -at- savygamer -dot- co -dot- uk) with the subject SWAG CONTEST justifying why you deserve it. Be creative and make us laugh! We'll judge these over the next week or so and announce the winner on Episode 5 of the podcast, available a week on Friday.

The second is for a SOCOM: Confrontation Beta code. The beta lasts until the 5th of October and if you haven't got in on it yet then this could be a rare chance for you. This one also requires a little bit of effort - SOCOM is being bundled with the official PS3 Bluetooth headset. I want you to describe something that happened to you in an online game, either positive or negative, revolving around the use of (or lack of) a headset. Bonus points are given for creativity. Send your entry to my email address (willeth -at- gmail -dot- com) with the subject SOCOM BETA CONTEST. As the beta only lasts until the 5th, I'll decide this one very soon, so get your entries in before Sunday at noon GMT. I'll email the winner their code by Sunday evening and they'll also get a shout-out on the show.

On Friday's episode of the podcast, Episode 4, we'll be giving away a Collector's Edition of the Penny Arcade game - On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode 1. As well as the game (which runs on PC, Mac, and Linux) and a printed manual with the prequel comic within, it contains a keyring, a custom Startling Developments D20, and a Precipice T-shirt. Make sure you listen to Episode 4 on Friday to find out how to enter.

Sorry to anyone who was looking forward to our PAX impressions, but hopefully this week's show will make up for it. See you on Friday!

Assassin's Creed, Xbox 360 - £7.99

Assassin's Creed, Xbox 360 - £7.99 delivered

Halo 3 - Collector's Edition, Xbox 360 - £19.99

Halo 3 - Collector's Edition, Xbox 360 - £19.99 delivered

TimeShift, Xbox 360 - £9.99

TimeShift, Xbox 360 - £9.99 delivered

The Darkness, Xbox 360 - £4.99

The Darkness, Xbox 360 - £4.99 delivered

Sorry about the podcast....

I didn't intentionally mislead you guys. We did record a podcast this week...

..Except technical issues made it completely unlistenable, basically the two sides of the conversation don't match up at all.

So we aren't going to put it up, but we'll record a new one this Friday.

In the meantime, you can listen to the new series of One Life Left, which has just gone live.

If you've not listened to it before, it's really great. The OLL crew definitely don't take themselves to seriously, and it is a lot of fun to listen to. Highly recomended.

If you are a long time fan, or like what you hear just based on episode one of this series, I suggest you vote for them in the GMAs, the game media awards. Just send an email to explaining that you wish to vote for One Life left in the category of “best broadcast”.

It's technically an industry insider only award, so if you can blag that you are somehow involved in the games industry/media that would help (just say your from a blog if you have one.)

So yeah, thanks for your patience, next 'cast will be up on Friday, technology willing.

Ensemble Studios closing...

I've been a big fan of their games over the years, so it cuts me deep to see Microsoft close Ensemble Studios. They were behind the fantastic Age of Empires and Age of Mythology games, and are currently working on the Xbox 360 exclusive Halo RTS "Halo Wars".

Shacknews reports:

Confirming a story broken by Shacknews, Microsoft now says that it will shut down Halo Wars developer Ensemble Studios following the end of work on the company's upcoming RTS.

Microsoft issued a full statement on the news, which follows:
"Microsoft has decided to close Ensemble Studios following the completion of Halo Wars. After the closure, the Ensemble leadership team will form a new studio and has agreed to provide ongoing support for Halo Wars as well as work on other projects with Microsoft Game Studios.

The team at Ensemble has made invaluable contributions to the games industry with their Age of Empires and Age of Mythology games and with the highly anticipated release of Halo Wars. This decision does not reflect at all on Ensembles talent or the quality of Halo Wars. in fact, many people who have had a chance to test drive Halo Wars agree that it is on track to being a fantastic game.

This was a fiscally-rooted decision that keeps MGS on its growth path. While the decision to dissolve Ensemble was not an easy one, Microsoft is working to place as many Ensemble employees who do not move to the newly formed studio into open positions within Microsoft as possible.

As to our overall strategy at MGS, it remains the same. We are committed to growing MGS with world-class talent both internally and with our external partners around the globe. We have recently added some well-known developers to our team and will continue growing the team. Were particularly excited about the titles we have in the pipeline and continue to evaluate additional opportunities to bring incredible games to life with the industries best. Our investment in games has never been greater than it is today."

RIP Ensemble, and good luck to everyone who is going to be loosing their jobs in finding new, and enriching jobs elsewhere.