SYSTEM UPDATE: The week’s most interesting video game news

"Diablo III" doesn't have a release date yet, but the third iteration of one of PC gaming's most storied franchises does have plenty of buzz, especially since a series of new details have surfaced.

NOT-SO-HOT TICKET

If you have $24.99 to spare, you could buy a budget video game. Or you could take yourself and that special someone to see “Rise of the Planet of the Apes“. Or you could by 25 items off the McDonald’s Dollar Menu.

Or, if you feel like tossing all that money down the toilet without ever walking into the bathroom, you could sign up for EA Sports‘ new Season Ticket, which may be one of the biggest ripoffs in the history of gaming. 

Your hard-earned moolah gets you the rights to four things that are almost an insult to gamers everywhere.

You get to play each new release on a digital copy three days before it arrives. Sounds cool, right? Except when the game actually hits stores, your digital copy expires and becomes useless.

You get a 20% discount on all EA Sports downloadable content. Nifty, right? Except most digital content costs, what, like five bucks? So you get a dollar off that, right? So you’d have to buy a whopping 25 five-dollar digital edition – and spend $100 more of your hard-earned cash – to recoup the whole price of the Season Ticket.

You also get access to “Premium” web content, mostly in the form of extra things you can add in creation modes, but really, shouldn’t all gamers have access to that, anyway? Oh, and you get a badge that tells everyone in an EA multiplayer lobby that you were boneheaded enough to by Season Ticket. Yes, that’s us yawning.

The entire product returns very little value, and most gamers will see that, but that likely won’t stop EA from capitalizing. Expect the gaming giant to start hiding more things behind a paywall; by next year, you may need to have Season Ticket – or pay some extra fee – just to create a player or access a Draft Class.

The idea behind Season Ticket isn’t bad (adding value to sports games), but EA should make it worth people’s while. Don’t rip consumers off. Leave that to games like “Naughty Bear“.

WHAT THE DEVIL?

Diablo III” doesn’t have a release date yet, but the third iteration of one of PC gaming’s most storied franchises does have plenty of buzz, especially since a series of new details have surfaced.

The two biggest came out earlier this week, and one piece of news was innovative while the other was annoying. First off (and we’re going bad news first), developer Blizzard said the game will require a constant internet connection. That’s not exactly a horrible burden, but it does mean you won’t be racking up gold and frying demons while underground on the train.

The conventional wisdom holds that most people have an internet connection. But if you’re anything like yours truly, you spend a fair amount of time traveling. And now, thanks to the beauty of Blizzard, I’ll need to pay that (approximately) $12.95 fee for hotel WiFi. No, I’m not pleased.

On the bright side, gamers may be able to earn some of that dough back in the new auction house. Remember all those special one-of-a-kind items you racked up but never ever used in the last two Diablo games? This time, you can sell them, either for in-game gold or cold hard real cash in one of the game’s two auction houses.

Blizzard will collect a small transaction fee for each item placed in the cold hard cash auction house, but you can still reap the benefits. And anyone who remembers the days when “World of Warcraft” characters were eBay fixtures knows that some virtual weapons can fetch plenty of money.

Blizzard certainly knows that. After all, they stole this idea from all those people who sold “WoW” characters on eBay.

NBA 2K12” GETS MORE OLD-TIMERS

Just a few weeks after announcing that Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson would grace three different box covers for the new game, 2K Sports continued its retro makeover Thursday, introducing the “NBA‘s Greatest” mode.

Really, we kind of all saw this coming. Last year’s Jordan Challenge mode, which tasked users with pulling off 10 great Jordan feats, was a hit, and this is a natural expansion. Instead of merely taking control of His Airness, users will now handle 15 different NBA greats in their signature moments.

The presentation will be even better, 2K marketing VP Jason Argent said.

“Everything will be recreated perfectly for each era,” he told System Update. “Even screen graphics from that era. If we have a game from the black-and-white era, it will be black-and-white.”

Magic, Larry, MJ, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julius Erving have all been confirmed.

TURBO BOOST

Parents interested in actually knowing what their children are playing finally have an option. The ESRB now has a new app available on Windows 7, iOS and Android cellphones  . . . Speaking of kids, 2K Sports is releasing a baseball game that’s suited for them in “Nicktoons MLB” in September . . . Spent some time with Netflix on Nintendo‘s 3DS, and yes, it runs smoothly. Unfortunately, the one thing that would make it stand out, actual 3D movies, hasn’t yet arrived . . . Warner Bros.Lord of the Rings: War of the North” now has a release date: November 1, 2011. Yes, folks, that’s 11-1-11 . . . The strategy RPG that started it all, “Final Fantasy Tactics,” is headed to for the iPhone today. The price ($15.99) is steep, but the game is worth a look . . .

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Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/tech_guide/2011/08/04/2011-08-04_system_update_the_weeks_most_interesting_video_game_news.html#ixzz1VRKiX1WL

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