Dear Software Informer users, welcome to our weekly news column. This week in our digest: unusually frequent game releases of late, fierce rivalry on the Web and fighting giants, web browsers without cluttering elements, and gradual diversion from one of the most popular development platforms.
If you remember, last week we discussed DC Universe Online, a MMORPG that managed to prove successful after lifting the obligatory fee. A different fate has befallen Lego Universe, a MMO game by Warner Bros. The project failed to attract enough users to cover the costs of hardware and support even after it became free to play a couple of months ago, so the developers are planning to close the servers in January 2012. This means they will have to dismiss more than 110 programmers and designers from the Danish and American offices of Play Well Studio.
Nobody knows, however, where this step can lead. Who knows, maybe the project's fans are just as reckless as the guys who have recently robbed a van, stealing 6 thousand copies of the strongly anticipated first-party 3D shooter, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, worth more than $500 thousand? It wasn't the first attempt to worm out the new game either: not too long ago, an employee at Activision, the game's publishing company, broke into the warehouse with game DVDs, made an image of a disc and spread it across the Internet. To avoid losses and to fight piracy, Activision promised to ban all the accounts entering the game world before the official release.
Last week gave start to the sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Here we must admit that this start has certainly proved successful. Moreover, this has turned out the most profitable Activision's campaign since the beginning of times: only during the first day, the company sold 9.3 mln copies of the game; the new shooter has obviously caught the gamers' fancy.
The greatest social network worldwide, Facebook, continues its series of minor acquisitions. This time it was Strobe, an HTML5 developing platform, that became the target. The friendly acquisition may let Facebook speed up the long-planned revolution in the way people interact with their portal.
While marching towards the greatest success ever (among web developers, of course) at a pace worth being envied, the management of the aforementioned giant never loses an opportunity to mock the rivals. Last week, in an interview, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the world's most popular website, refused to admit that it's legitimate to speak about a war between Facebook and Google, and added sarcastically that by developing Google+ the search giant was trying to create a 'smaller version of Facebook'.
Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, in his turn, is trying to at least keep up with the competitors. He has recently closed more than 25 projects, thus evoking a wave of disapproval, and carried out the largest acquisition in the company's history: bought Motorola Mobility and made Google's production more diversified. His policy is fully based on quickly made decisions, and he is afraid that the company's scale will put a damper on the development pace. The time will show whether Google's newly established authoritarian regime will prove successful and allow the company to outstrip the rivals.
Last week, Adobe finally announced spinning off the development of Flash player for mobile platforms. This step was allegedly prompted by the late Steve Jobs in one of his latest interviews, in which he stipulated that iOS would never support Flash. On Wednesday, reliable sources conveyed that Adobe had finally decided to give up the unattractive branch of development in favour of mobile device applications and the HTML5 technology. In the meantime, the company is planning to restructure its departments and reduce the number of working places in the USA and Europe by 750. The changes will require around $90 mln, but are supposed to evoke a 4-6% increase in the next year's turnover.
Mozilla has announced a beta release of Firefox 9 for Windows. The new version enjoys improved compatibility with the modern Web standards, as in HTML5 and MathML, and a significant number of fixed security bugs. The stable release is scheduled for December 20. Meanwhile, a new Alpha is ready for download from the official website. This new release is characterised, first of all, by the eliminated 'Forward' button.
That's all for the week. Stay with us, and be updated!