Articles of Interest

Wow — the universe made up for Monday’s news drought with a severe vengence:

  • MindArk, developer of the MMO Project Entropia, is now issuing real ATM cards, which can be used with Versatel machines internationally. Virtual cash is apparently converted to real local currency automatically via a fixed exchange rate.
  • The ESRB has changed its rating for Oblivion from T (teen) to M (mature), in response to the discovery of a “topless skin” in the game that modders can use to make game characters appear half-nude. We’re going to be feeling the effects of Hot Coffee for a long time, aren’t we?…
  • And speaking of sex-avoidance: it seems that E3 has effectively banned an adult-themed MMO from appearing at the show. Every blogger on the planet has already beaten me to asking “sex is adult content, but killing people isn’t?”
  • Some interesting news tucked away in EA’s quarterly earnings call:
    1. Pogo is being launched on Xbox Live.
    2. R&D spending on console titles will increase 5%-10%, mobile R&D will increase “significantly”, and online gaming R&D will increase by 80%-90%.
    3. Wholly-owned IP targetted to rise “significantly” above the current 40% of total (and, as if to make the poin, they’ve allowed their control of the James Bond franchise to lapse; Activision picked it up.)
    4. Net loss for the quarter was $16M. Net revenues for the year will be significantly below analyst estimates.
    5. The current Xbox 360 hardware to software tie ratio is around four games for each 360 sold,
  • An IGN research study reveals that 36% of IGN users feel an affinity towards the PS3, 28% towards the 360, and 22% towards the Wii. 14% undecided.
  • It’s Activision’s turn to be sued for unpaid overtime.
  • Martin Tremblay, former Ubisoft Montreal exec, is being sued by his former employer for breaking his non-compete agreement by joining Vivendi as president of worldwide studios. Ironically, Tremblay was only recently defending the practice of enforcing non-competes in the courtroom.
  • Majesco is bringing a Japanese cooking game for the DS to the US market. For those who thought Brain Age was an aberration…
  • Atari is taking Alone in the Dark for the Xbox 360 to the episodic extreme; game segments will be just 30-40 minutes in length, and will each conclude with a cliffhanger, teaser, etc. I look forward to seeing how this works out!

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