Eight news stories 1.11

A week with a lot less going on. Just managed to scrape together the 8 news items.

  • PS2 reaches 7th birthday and 120 million sales. If the PS1 is anything to go by it still has three years left in it. And with all the costs amortized Sony must be really milking it. Many publishers are mad  rushing for the new platform at the transition when the old platform is only half way through it’s life. As an industry we could make a lot more money if we properly supported two overlapping generations of console simultaneously.
  • Sony predict game losses to double. To 100 billion yen ($875 million) for the financial year. When you consider how much profit the PS2 is making, then the PS3 must be doing horrendously for their business. Will we ever see a PS4? By seeing their platform as a strategic Trojan horse for cell and Blu-Ray Sony have lost sight of their customers.
  • Microsoft gaming division makes first quarter’s profit. It has probably taken them far longer and cost far more money than their worst case scenario. Obviously this was achieved with a single title and there isn’t a Halo 3 every quarter. But they have proven it can be done and they will beat Sony this generation. Nintendo is a new and far more complicated target.
  • LucasArts And BioWare Partner For ‘Mystery Project’ . An “interactive entertainment product” to “push the boundaries of the gaming market.” Sounds like an MMO done better. But it does show the growing convergence of film and game. A convergence forced on the film industry because gaming is technically better with it’s interactivity, connectivity, non-linearity etc.. Gaming will be vastly bigger than the film industry so they are hitching on for the ride.
  • Casual games industry grossing $2.25bn.  And growing 20% PA. I brought casual gaming to the attention of Codemasters management several years ago which resulted in the Funsta brand. This is a no brainer as anyone and everyone wants to have a bit of fun and ubiquitous PCs are the tool for the job. This news just reinforces the lessons that the industry is rapidly learning from Nintendo.
  • 40GB PS3s have 65nm Cell processor. And the GPU will make the same transition soon. Just because a platform looks and behaves the same during it’s life doesn’t mean it is the same inside. The manufacturers continually strive to reduce costs. This PS3 update has the added advantage of reducing power consumption, and therefore heat, by about a third. The 360 made the same move earlier and in this case the cooler running is said to have enhanced reliability. Something the 360 needed.
  • Montreal game development workforce grows 177 per cent in two years . On the back of illegal (WTO) handouts. The British government say that they are going to complain. I hope that they do.
  • DS to do more than games. One in six Japanese own a DS. There are already over 4 million in the UK. Certainly it is heading to be the most popular gaming console ever. But it has a feature set that could do so much more. Nintendo would be fools to ignore this and the potential income streams. This and other moves prove that they are doing everything they can strategically to reinforce their number one platform owner position.

Use the comments to say what you think of any of these stories. Or to add any that I have missed.