Snackbar Speculator: Well…ESPN360 is taken.

February 1, 2010

We’ve finally got some results on some of the rumors we’ve posted in previous editions, so before getting to this week’s rumors we’ll give you a rundown of the results along with our hits or misses.

Current score

Andrew Passafiume: +5

Graham Russell: +5

Shawn Vermette: +40


Xbox 360 exclusivity for GTA4 expansions to end

Take Two announced Friday that Episodes from Liberty City would be available for the PS3 and PC at the end of March. This ends the timed exclusivity that Microsoft reportedly paid $50 million for prior to the release of GTA4.

Andrew 90% = +40

Graham 55% = +5

Shawn 85% = +35


ESPN to start streaming sporting events over the 360

Microsoft seems to be getting into the business of making the 360 do ‘everything’ lately. The newest rumor of multimedia to join the 360 slate is ESPN. Rumor has it that they’ll start streaming sporting events over the 360. No word yet whether this proposed service would be available to Silver and Gold members or exclusively for Gold members, though recent history would seem to suggest that it would only be available for Gold members.

Andrew: This is definitely something I see becoming a possible new (and popular) service on the Xbox 360. Microsoft wants to capture gamers and non-gamers alike, and I think they have done fairly well by offering services that generally are not video game related with things like Netflix and 85%

Graham: I can’t say I’d be surprised if this happened. ESPN already has a deal with EA to stream ESPN Radio in its games. Plus I’d watch it. They’ve mastered video streaming with Netflix, so it’s not a technical hurdle, and with all the Madden players, we know there’s an audience for ESPN’s content. Should it happen? Yes. Of course, things that should happen don’t always happen. 85%

Shawn: Considering how much extraneous stuff Microsoft keeps adding to the feature list for the 360(and how much of it is Gold only recently). I actually think this rumor stands a fairly good chance of being true. Sports are more popular than ever in the US, and finding new ways to watch them seems to be the order of the day over at ESPN(they’ve already announced an iPad app to watch their station on the go), so why not add the 360 to the list for ESPN. 80%

Valve to skip Half Life 2: Episode 3 in favor of Half Life 3

No one would debate that the episodic content thing hasn’t really worked out for Valve. Since Half Life 2 came out in 2005, they’ve released only two of the three proposed episodes that were originally scheduled to come out every six months. Now rumor has it that not only is Episode 3 not scheduled to come out in 2010, but Valve is considering skipping it altogether and simply starting the story again with Half Life 3 in a few years.

Andrew: With all of the delays that Episode Three has suffered, something like this wouldn’t surprise me. But I’m still on the fence. They are considering “starting the story again”? I don’t think Valve would leave things that happened at the end of Episode Two that way without having some kind of continuation or conclusion. I’m sure Gordon Freeman will still be the protagonist either way, but starting again is kind of referring to the way Half-Life 2 began after the events of the first game. I’m not entirely convinced on this one. 60%

Graham: Will Valve abandon the story? No. I think it’s possible for them to call the next game “Half-Life 3” or something, but it has to continue and complete the Half-Life story or fans will be furious. They might as well just call it Episode 3, as we know the advances in E2 were big enough that the new installment can be more visually impressive.  This is all semantics. 40%

Shawn: This honestly wouldn’t surprise me. The whole episodic thing really doesn’t work for Valve so I wouldn’t be surprised if they just gave up on the whole thing and started from scratch with a new graphics engine and a new full-sized game. Time will tell, but I think if they are going to continue with Episode 3, it really needs to come out this year. 70%

Elder Scrolls to have an MMORPG released for it in 2011

Bethesda has been quietly developing an MMORPG for a couple years now, and until now there were just two franchises that gamers felt it could possibly be- Fallout or Elder Scrolls. However, thanks to the ongoing legal spat between Interplay and Bethesda over Fallout, it has become clear that Fallout is not the focus of this MMORPG. Thus, rumor has it that Elder Scrolls is the series that is becoming an MMORPG.

Andrew: This could either be Elder Scrolls or an entire new franchise/universe created specifically for an MMO. I think we may still see Elder Scrolls V in some form or another, and there definitely is a good chance of it being an MMO, but it’s always hard to tell with Bethesda. They are generally very secretive about their projects until they are officially announced, but I can see it happening. 70%

Graham: MMOs are risky propositions. Besides World of Warcraft, there isn’t much success in the industry, and Bethesda’s franchises are too critically acclaimed to try that. There’s room for this, though, in the Guild Wars model: sell games, expansions and DLC, but don’t charge a monthly fee. That, with a solid offline single-player component, could very well be the model for a new Elder Scrolls. Still…the series dominates its genre, and making a jump would be unwise. 60% 

Shawn: Unfortunately, this rumor doesn’t surprise me either. It seems every franchise with a strong history and story is being outfitted with an MMO these days. I honestly just don’t see the point of such rampant MMO building. Almost anyone who is willing to pay $10-15 per month to play a game is already playing WOW, and you’ll end up alienating most of your normal fan base with such a move. I personally know anyone that would be willing to pay to play a Fallout or Elder Scrolls MMO despite knowing a great deal of people who love both series. On the other hand, Bethesda is definitely making an MMO…and I don’t know of any other series Bethesda holds the rights to that would be worth such an investment. The only thing keeping me from giving this a 100% likely is the timeline, so I’ll reluctantly say I expect this to be true. 75%