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Various News Musings

Technically, as a blogger, you aren’t supposed to do this. The idea is to post a lot of quick hitter stories and build up your post count and content rate.

But I feel like hell today so I figured I’d shoot off a rapid fire article with some news industry blurbs in one catch-all post! Convenient, eh?

Truth is, some of this stuff doesn’t need its own story so let’s do some conglomerating.

Leading things off Sony continues to lose money hand over Yen. Its shares have sunk to a 32 year low, and the latest fiscal report points to the reasons why it continues to lose money.

“…the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange rates, the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the floods in Thailand, and deterioration in market conditions in developed countries.”

Translated: not our fault.

Atari is also losing money hand over sawbuck. The company has now officially closed off the Eden Games studio (the Test Drive guys) and is going to refocus its energy on the mobile games market. So going forward you are going to see more mobile and freemium games from the company and fewer retail products.

In better news (well depending on who you are I suppose), the Xbox 360 continues to be the #1 selling console in the US. This has been the case for the past 16 months, which includes the launch of the PS Vita and the Nintendo 3DS. Although NPD analyst Anita Frazier says it’s too early to count the handhelds out:

“One thing to keep in mind is that the 3DS has outsold the DS by about one million units in their respective first 14 months in the market, and the DS went on to become the best-selling gaming hardware system ever.”

The April NPD numbers are out and Prototype 2 leads the way in the US. The mutating, smash ’em up sequel edged out Kinect Star Wars, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and Tiger Woods. (Witcher 2 was #6). The report also shared that overall sales (software, hardware) are down 32% over the same period last year. This is no shock at all because as someone who watches new releases with a pretty close eye the past few months have been painfully slow — I have never seen anything like it. So a drop in sales is no surprise. I’m going to guess that May with its “Diablo 3” will be different.

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Capcom has released a report that is putting a whole mess of eggs into the Resident Evil 6 basket. The company is counting on shipping seven million units of the survival horror sextuplet. As Eurogamer puts it:

To put that into perspective, the expectations put on DmC Devil May Cry (ship 2 million copies) and Dragon’s Dogma (ship 1.5 million units) and Lost Planet 3 (ship 1.4 million units) are much lower.

I think that is definitely safe to say. RE5 to date has sold 5.8 million units so Capcom feels there’s over a million units of meat left on that bone.

And wow that’s a lot of DmC Devil May Cry.

And, finally, Minecraft is popular.

Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

10 thoughts to “Various News Musings”

  1. Wait, how many copies of Lost Planet 2 were sold? I thought that game was a near flop, and now they expect the sequel to sell 1.4 million?

  2. The idea is to post a lot of quick hitter stories and build up your post count and content rate.

    And that’s why I love this site. None of the stupid, “we wrote a list and spread it across 25 pages!” crap. Thanks for being different. I really enjoy what you do here.

  3. No way will DMC sell that many units. It’s a last-gen franchise in a genre that still has fans (like me) but is hardly a highline offering in today’s market. 1 million is probably a lot more realistic.

    Dragon’s Dogma is a wildcard. The demo is really, really cool. But it’s a kind of game that- yet again- I can see people waiting for price drops or renting. It could wind up like Reckoning and exceed expecations…or it could coast in on a 80 Metacritic average and sell 750,000 copies at best.

    It’s interesting that RE is such a perennially successful franchse. Say what you will about it shifting from true survival horror, the series has adapted to its times and by doing so has survived. Operation Racoon City, a game with pitiful reviews, mixed word of mouth, and almost nothing RE about it sold gangbusters. Revelations over-performed as well.

    Capcom, like a lot of other companies in this stage of this generation, is really swimming upstream. Largely because consumer opinion of these companies and their business practices is so low right now, almost to the point where it’s adversarial. Yeah, people will still buy RE6…but there’s so much angst and gnashing of teeth about shit like the RE: Mercenaries “one user” save game and the on-disc SFxT DLC…nobody “likes” Capcom anymore. Or Sony. Or Microsoft. The big, AAA companies and hardware makers are almost universially reviled by the consumers at this point. This could have something to do with flagging sales, coupled with the end of this generation approaching and the continuing encroachment of PC gaming, Kickstarter, IOS, and other alternatives.

    1. The biggest problem with AAA companies is that they treat the consumer like a piece of shit and then get incredulous when we don’t like it. Sony and Microsoft both have needlessly clunky system interfaces, made even more amusing by the fact that MS fucked theirs over so we could watch more ads. Sony at least kept it clean, damn shame they make you download huge goddamn updates to do anything if you aren’t on the system once a week. MS Points, security, system costs, they all suck.

      I hate Capcom’s current business model, but to be fair I am more angry at them for not porting Miles Edgeworth 2 to North America ;).

      Nintendo has its head up its ass, has for years, but I think the reason I end up liking their stuff works out to be two-fold. One, they have no problem recycling the same damn thing if people want it. We talked about the whole comfort food approach before and that describes it best for me. Second, they will admit when they fucked up. Sure they upgrade handhelds way too much, but they took the blame for the 3DS being too expensive and fixed it. More companies should be so transparent.

      1. Maybe I’m a mindless fanboy, but I have liked the 360 UIs so far. I think the current one is pretty much much spot on.

        Yes they have ads. But you can also get to where you want to go super quickly. And while gesturing with the Kinect is a joke, the new interface uses voice commands in a really smart an intuitive way. We end up using them quite a bit, both in the menus and when watching videos via Netflix, Hulu, or Zune Marketplace.

        We have the Kinect set-up where it doesn’t view the room, but can still pick up audio commands.

    2. If AAA companies treated me like a customer instead of criminal or pavlovs dog I’d probably be more willing to buy their shit.

      I don’t know how capcom can feel like they can do some of the stuff they do. It’s not like 15 million people are going to run out and buy any of their games day one. They don’t make CoD, WoW, or Madden. They make games for people who like to play games. I’m sorry to say it but I know Capcom will release a GoTY edition like 6 months after they release something and it will be $15 less. I’ll just wait for that.

  4. Sony is a hardware company. They’ve made a lot of smart moves in terms of purchasing smaller developers, but their corporate masters are crap at understanding the actual gaming market.

    Look at some of their recent moves, and you will see that from on high, Sony’s business model is clearly “do Nintendo better than Nintendo”. Thus, a Sony “Smash Bros” that nobody wants; an even techier 3DS with no games on it; trying to make a Mario Kart with Mod Nation, then trying AGAIN by diverting Media Molecule to make another; the Move (nuff said), removing backwards compatibility in favor of creating a PSOne and PS2 “Virtual Console” on PSN.

    Again, Sony’s development houses have some pretty sharp tacks. But in terms of top-management vision? Not a single new idea in years.

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