Rumor Killers: November 21

The Rumor Killers

Is EGM dying?

It’s been a rough year for publishing mogul Ziff Davis, the company behind the popular gaming magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly. ZD filed for bankruptcy early in the year, and only a few months ago canned Games for Windows Magazine, one of the most popular PC publications out there. Making matters worse, the New York Times is now reporting that PC Magazine, the nearly 30 year-old Ziff Davis flagship, is moving to an online-only format, and it may not be the only one; EGM might soon follow suit.

According to the story, Ziff Davis CEO Jason Young is considering moving EGM to an online-only format, but won’t make any comments until the end of the year. The move seems likely though, as Young has stated that, "The viability for us to continue to publish in print just isn’t there anymore." So it would appear that a gaming mag is about to bite the dust on print journalism’s long, slow death march.

In some respects though, the potential death of EGM won’t be too substantial a blow, largely because of the already robust online features of 1Up.com. EGM and 1Up began sharing editors and pooling resources a long time ago, likely in preparation for this inevitable day. It just appears that now, rather than 1Up acting as a supplement to EGM, it’s going to be the whole show. Still, for purists like myself this is still hard news to swallow, assuming it turns out to be true. There’s something about getting a magazine every month, flipping through the glossy pages and checking out the articles and photos that just gets lost in translation when going online. Perhaps I’m just a nostalgic old fool, but I’ll mourn the death of EGM, will you?

TGR Verdict: Rumor Very Likely

Is Guitar Hero coming to arcades?

Are you the type who loves to go to Best Buy or GameStop simply so you can find the Guitar Hero display and then shred like mad for hours just so you can regale a crowd? Do you find some sort of visceral pleasure in tearing up solos and then looking at the astonished and amazed faces of those around you? If so, your life is about to get a whole lot better, as it would seem we now have official confirmation of Guitar Hero: Arcade.

Speculation began early this week when BeatmaniaStyle got wind that a Guitar Hero arcade game would be on display at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions event in Orlando. Early reports had the game being developed by arcade vets Raw Thrills and published by, of all people, Konami. BeatmaniaStyle stuck with the story, and eventually came through with an update confirming the game’s existence and detailing some of its features.

Essentially, the game will be a moded version of Guitar Hero III running on PC hardware. The controllers appear to be the same as those used on Guitar Hero World Tour, but with sturdier, more durable construction. Finally, there is a plan to include online functionality, though no details are currently available on what form that may take.

Obviously the big question in all this is does this game have a market? The American arcade scene is all but dead, and it’s likely that anyone who wants to play Guitar Hero has already experienced it from the comfort of their own home. There are however, as we mentioned above, those showmen who love the spotlight, so maybe we’ll see this game become a major source of interest in most arcades, the same way DDR always manages to draw a crowd. For now though, we know it’s real, and it sounds like it has some promise.

TGR Verdict: Rumor Confirmed

Has Sony cancelled The Agency?

Those who had added Sony’s upcoming spy-themed MMO The Agency to their GameFly GameQ in anticipation of the game’s release were in for a bit of a shock earlier this week, as the mail-order rental service sent out emails to everyone informing them that the game had been removed from their list due to it being "cancelled by its publisher." This led many to grow concerned that Sony had quietly canned the game, striking another blow against console MMOs (the game is planned for release on both PC and PS3). The fears are unwarranted however, as the game is still most definitely in development and on track for release.

Almost immediately after the original story broke, Sony Online Entertainment sent out a statement reassuring everyone that the game is fine. SOE informed us that, ""The Agency is still in development for release on both the PlayStation 3 and PC platforms. Feel free to add The Agency to your GameQ!" GameFly has also rectified the error, relisting The Agency and pretending this whole thing never happened.

So what was the cause of the GameFly snafu? We may never know as the company has decided not to issue a statement, instead quietly relisting the game and moving on with life. It could be a massive Blizzard-orchestrated conspiracy to make sure no game even remotely threatens the dominance of World of Warcraft, or it may have just been an intern accidentally clicking the wrong box when updating some game info. While the latter is definitely more likely, we really want to believe it was the former, because that would be more in line with what The Agency is all about.

TGR Verdict: Rumor Killed

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