In a move to continue competing against Steam, EA has launched Origin to the Mac today. Mac players will be able to purchase several titles for their platform by installing the client here.

Like Steam, Origin will feature the ability to buy a game once and play it on all compatible platforms. Michael Blank, VP at Origin, said this:
“Our vision with Origin is to connect your gaming universe online, and today we’re taking a major step in expanding our service to reach Mac-based gamers worldwide. In delivering great game content, connecting the Origin service across PC, Mac and iOS devices, and offering great value to gamers with dual-platform play on select EA titles, Origin is making it easier than ever before for gamers to connect and play anytime, anywhere.”

Nintendo is releasing a new bundle Wii U, in North America, that has been popular in the UK. The Wii U ZombiU Deluxe Set comes with a Black Wii U, 32 GB of storage, Nintendoland, ZombiU, the Wii U Gamepad, and a Wii U Pro Controller. The package will be available for $389.99 and offers a savings of $70 if you purchased all items separately.

While I understand Nintendo not wanting to drop the price of the console, it would have been great if they made this the new $349 Deluxe Set to give added value.

GameStop told Bloomberg their thoughts on the rumored Xbox 720 blocking Used Games:
“We know the desire to purchase a next-generation console would be significantly diminished if new consoles were to prohibit playing pre-owned games, limit portability or not play new physical games.”

Translation: Microsoft, we won’t be doing you any favors in the next-generation if you go this route. Prepare to see GameStop become Nintendo and Sony Stop!

Activision released some fairly good numbers despite a sluggish economy. But CEO Bobby Kotick isn’t going to be on Nintendo’s Christmas Card list after he said this:
“As you know, we were somewhat disappointed with the launch of the Wii U, and I think it’s a challenging environment this year. One of the things we are concerned about is what the installed base of hardware will be like for 6- to 11-year-olds. But we have a lot of confidence in the franchise for the long-term.”

Of course, he is trying to sell Skylanders and it isn’t looking like anyone, including kids, are hopping on the Wii U train at the moment.

In other Activision news, World of WarCraft subscribers have been fluctuating from 9 Million to 10 Million and have settled around 9.6 Million. People keep paying for WoW despite the Free to Play options that exist in the MMO space.

Blizzard also sold over 13 million copies of Diablo 3 in 2012. Despite being hated by a mass of players, it sold like crazy! An expansion for Diablo 3 is still in the works.

Finally, on Activision, would you believe that a new Call of Duty title is coming in 2013? I know, shocked! But Activision doesn’t expect this one to sell as well as past titles. Could this be due to the game running on an older engine and needing a complete rewrite? We will probably not see a truly next-generation CoD until 2014.

We spoke last week about Insomniac being a bit frustrated about the lack of Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault on the Vita. Sony has finally revealed that the title will receive its second delay until “Spring 2013” after originally scheduled for release alongside the PS3 version on November 27, 2013.

Greg Phillips, a SCEA Producer said this:
“Our friends at Tin Giant have been working night and day to bring Insomniac’s PS3 game to the PS Vita system and to provide our fans with a great game. While the original delay has helped us make the game better, we still need more time to bring the game up to the standards expected by our fans.”

Sony will give a free download of Ratchet and Clank: Deadlocked, for PS3, to everyone who has purchased Full Frontal Assault. However, the freebie won’t come until the Vita version is released. So keep your fingers crossed that Spring 2013 doesn’t turn into 2014!

Other Vita news isn’t very good. Like the Wii U, the handheld from Sony has struggled to gain traction in the market. Sony has cut their once 15 million sales, to 10 million, and now to 7 million.

During an investor Call, CFO Masaru Kato said:
“One thing is clear for us. In terms of profitibility we have to do a better job of promoting the Vita.”

Hey Sony, here is an idea: How about release software for the platform? Line up your strong development house and pump out content for the handheld. In addition, lower the price of those proprietary memory cards so people will buy them.

Ubisoft Yves Guillemot spoke to investors about several things. On the subject of Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation, he said that 600,000 units have been shipped to retail. Though this doesn’t equate to 600,000 sales, this has to be the biggest selling Vita 3rd party software in the system’s life.

We will also be hearing more about the next generation of Assassn’s Creed as the next version will be introducing a new hero and a new time for the franchise. The new Assassin’s Creed game title will be revealed, at the latest, by E3 2013.

At DICE this week, Gabe Newell talked about the upcoming Steam Boxes and how he feels this will disrupt a the console business with pricing starting at $100 and promising that it could drop to zero dollars at some point. Valve will want to support the Steambox and users having their own high-end PC’s.

Gabe Newell says if they are wrong about the Steambox strategy that:
“If we’re wrong, at least it will be spectacularly entertaining as a failure.”

While I enjoy hearing about the Steambox, I have a message for Mr. Newell:
Hey Gabe, can we get Half Life 3 sometime before I die?

In new game news, the founders of People Can Fly left to form The Astronauts and their first game is The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. People Can Fly are best known for Painkiller, Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment.

Adrian Chielarz, Game Designer at The Astronats, said this about their new game:
“What we care about the most is that the players feel like they’re really there. Immersion is our number one priority. It’s a game about exploration and discovery. We’re not abandoning the gameplay – on the contrary: We’re trying to strip it down to the bone and make sure it’s always meaningful and truly makes the experience better.”

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter runs on Unreal Engine 3 and will be available on PC in 2013. Perhaps we will see more of this title at E3 2013?

Square Enix has revealed a brand new IP called Murdered: Soul Suspect. In the teaser email we received, we were told that players would have to solve “possibly the hardest case of all.”

We aren’t quite sure who is developing the game but it could be Crystal Dynamics or Eidos Montreal. We expect to learn more a about the new title at E3 2013.

By Kaleb Rutherford – 02/08/13

Screenshots for M3: My Morning Musings – Origin on Mac, Gamestop on Used X720 Games, & More