donniebaseball23 writes: While the term 'Xbox' is firmly implanted in every gamer's mind today, when Microsoft first set out to launch a console in 2001, people weren't sure what to expect and Microsoft clearly wasn't sure what approach to take to the market. As Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley explained, "In the early days of Xbox, especially before we had figured out how to get greenlit for the project as a pure game console, everybody and their brother who saw the new project starting tried to come in and say it should be free, say it should be forced to run Windows after some period of time." Blackley added that other ideas were pushed around at Microsoft too, like Microsoft should just gobble up Nintendo. "Just name it, name a bad idea and it was something we had to deal with," he said.
donniebaseball23 writes: In an editorial at GamesIndustry.biz, Brendan Sinclair asks an important question about the game ratings board in America. Should Strauss Zelnick, the CEO of Take-Two, which owns the Grand Theft Auto franchise and has been at the heart of the ESRB's biggest controversies of the last decade, really be serving at its chairman? "No matter how removed from the day-to-day running of the ESRB Zelnick might be, his current role invites accusations of impropriety," he writes. "It's the sort of thing any critic of the games industry can point to as a clear conflict of interest, and many reasonable outsiders would probably look at that as a valid complaint. At least when titans of industry in the US become the head of the regulatory agencies that oversee their former companies, they actually have to leave those companies."
donniebaseball23 writes: Thanks to a glut of titles, hardware and precious little innovation, the Guitar Hero and Rock Band craze all but died out by 2010. Now, however, strong rumors are swirling that one if not both franchises will be making a return on the new consoles. But will players care? And will the market once again support these games? Charles Huang, co-creator of Guitar Hero, weighed in, outlining some of the challenges. "First, the music genre attracts a more casual and female audience versus other genres. But the casual gamer has moved from console to mobile," he warned. "Second, the high price point of a big peripheral bundle might be challenging. Casual gamers have a lot of free-to-play options." That said, there could be room for a much smaller guitar games market now, analyst Michael Pachter noted: "It was a $2 billion market in 2008, so probably a $200 million market now. The games are old enough that they might be ready for a re-fresh, and I would imagine there is room for both to succeed if they don't oversaturate the way they did last time."
donniebaseball23 writes: As CEO of Sega of America in the early 1990s, Tom Kalinske oversaw the company during its glory days, when all eyes in the industry were glued to the titanic struggle for console superiority between the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. Times have changed, to put it mildy, and Sega is now a shell of its former self. Where did things go wrong? According to Kalinske, Sega's downfall was failing to partner with Sony on a new platform, and the bad decisions kept piling on from there. Sega's exit from hardware "could have been avoided if they had made the right decisions going back literally 20 years ago. But they seem to have made the wrong decisions for 20 years."
donniebaseball23 writes: With Eurogamer being the latest popular video games site to ditch review scores, some are discussing just how valuable assigning a score to a game actually is these days. It really depends on whom you ask. "I've always disliked the notion of scores on something as abstract and subjective as games," says Vlambeer co-found Rami Ismail. From the press side, though, former GameSpot editor Justin Calvert still believes in scores. "I've been basing my own game-purchasing decision on reviews ever since I picked up the first issue of Zzap! 64 magazine in the UK almost 30 years ago," he says, while admitting that YouTube is certainly changing the landscape today: "There's something very appealing about watching a game being played and knowing that the footage hasn't been edited in a way that might misrepresent the experience."
donniebaseball23 writes: Sony Online Entertainment is to become Daybreak Game Company and turn its focus to multi-platform gaming. The company been acquired by Columbus Nova and is now an indie studio. "We will continue to focus on delivering exceptional games to players around the world, as well as bringing our portfolio to new platforms, fully embracing the multi-platform world in which we all live," said Daybreak president John Smedley. But why did Sony shed SOE? Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter believes an online gaming company "isn't a great fit, particularly as games are shifting increasingly to a free-to-play mobile model."
donniebaseball23 writes: Sony during the Tokyo Game Show unveiled a new redesign for the PS3, offering a much slimmer hardware casing, but the company failed to lower prices on PS3 and that could come back to haunt Sony during this holiday season, argues Chris Morris. "New form factors are all well and good, but at this point in the game — and in the current economic climate — people are making decisions based on price," he says. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter agrees: "I think they're going to be caught flat footed when Microsoft does something like bundling Kinect with the Xbox for $200."
donniebaseball23 writes: Sony Computer Entertainment America boss Jack Tretton has come out swinging to defend the lackluster response the games industry has seen with the PS Vita. He deemed the sales level for the portable as "acceptable" so far, and he brushed off any notion that social and free-to-play games are putting huge pressure on the portable and dedicated consoles market. "I think the opportunity to be in the console business is greater than ever before," he told GamesIndustry International. "[Social and free-to-play] is a business I think a lot of companies are learning is difficult to sustain for the long term. It's an adjunct or it's an add-on, but it's not where gaming is headed. It's an additive diversion. There's a place for social and freemium, but it's not going to replace the business models that are out there."
donniebaseball23 writes: Video game publisher Electronic Arts has not only had to defend itself against "worst company in America" labels, but GamesIndustry International has revealed that EA's been receiving thousands of letters protesting the inclusion of same-sex relationship content in games like Mass Effect and Star Wars: The Old Republic. The campaign against EA appears to be led by Florida Family Association and the Family Research Council. The letters threaten to boycott purchase of EA games if the company won't remove the LGBT content, and many allege that EA was pressured by LGBT activists to include the content, which they say is forcing LGBT themes on children playing the games. "This isn't about protecting children, it's about political harassment," said Jeff Brown, VP of corporate communications.
donniebaseball23 writes: Microsoft recently confirmed that it's not going to be talking at all about its next Xbox, codenamed Durango, at this year's E3, instead keeping the focus on Xbox 360. Forbes columnist Chris Morris explains that Microsoft likely doesn't have games to show for the system yet, and why should they take the focus off Xbox 360, which has a lot of momentum currently? Ultimately, though, the decision not to show the next system "could have a ripple effect on the rest of the industry," he says. And by pushing Durango's unveiling back a year, "Microsoft could find itself going head to head with Sony in a battle of features, even if the machines don't hit shelves at the same time."
donniebaseball23 writes: Game budgets continue to rise with each successive console generation, and with the Wii U launching later this year, the industry is on the cusp of yet another costly transition. Publishers started regularly charging $60 for games this generation, but that's a model that simply cannot survive, Nexon America CEO Daniel Kim told GamesIndustry International. "I think at some point the console makers have to make a decision about how closed or open they're going to be to the different models that are going to be emerging," Kim remarked. "Today it's free-to-play, and I'm convinced that that one is going to continue to flourish and expand into other genres and other categories, but there may be something else completely and entirely different that comes out that again changes the industry." He cautioned, "If your mind is just set on keeping the current model of buy a game for $60, play for 40 hours, buy another game for $60, play for 40 hours, that model I think is eventually going to change. It's going to have to change."
donniebaseball23 writes: Veteran games journalist Chris Morris returns, following his advice for Xbox 720 and for Sony's PS4, with an in-depth look at Nintendo's position in the marketplace and what strategy the house that Mario built needs to employ to win over both core and casual gaming audiences. Ultimately, Nintendo will need to pursue more than just games. "Bottom line: If the Wii U is to avoid the same dusty fate that many Wiis ultimately suffered, it's going to have to adopt that same Trojan Horse philosophy that has served Microsoft and Sony so well," he said.
donniebaseball23 writes: It's an odd collaboration — KISS and Angry Birds — but according to KISS frontman Gene Simmons, his band is about to complete a deal with the mobile game blockbuster. Speaking to IndustryGamers, Simmons remarked that KISS is also in talks with PlayStation for a game. "We’re talking with Sony games now. We are really trying to take it in areas that haven’t been done before and have stayed out of the marketplace because the ideas simply weren’t exciting enough. So while the gaming world is waiting for the KISS games that are going to explode, we’re busy taking the brand to places where no band has gone before... We’re talking with Angry Birds, KISS and Angry Birds, which will become a deal," he said.
donniebaseball23 writes: As a follow-up to his piece on Xbox 720, veteran games journalist Chris Morris has put together some thoughtful advice on what Sony needs to do (and needs to avoid) to ensure that the next generation PlayStation is a success. In particular, Morris notes that Sony must "look beyond games" to create a fully fledged entertainment hub: "Nintendo has been pretty adamant that it has little interest in content beyond games. Microsoft seems to be rushing to embrace the set top box world. Sony, though, seems a bit confused about what it wants..."
donniebaseball23 writes: A study performed by North Dakota State University (commissioned by PopCap) found that cheating in gaming can result in being 3.5 times more likely to cheat at everyday things in the real world. Polling a total of over 1,200 adults in the US and UK, researchers were able to find that just under half of all cheaters in social gaming admit to cheating at things in the real world. Surprisingly, almost half (49%) of those that admitted to cheating in a game admitted to cheating in a relationship. Other breaches in life included 51% admitting to parking in a handicap space without proper tags, 53% admitting to cheating on tests in school and 43% admitting to taking magazines from waiting rooms.