Eight news stories 8.11

This weekly roundup thing is getting easier as I get the hang of it. The trick is to find stories that are worthy of a bit of analysis and which might be of interest to industry professionals. The good thing is that our industry is more fascinating, more successful, more diverse and more dynamic than it has ever been before.

  • Harmonix game arrives on iTunes. I have said repeatedly on here that iPod/iPhone is a gaming platform. One with immense potential. And one that is currently under exploited. There is a lot of money to be made here.
  • $11.9 million loss for Atari in Q1. It is amazing that Infogrammes/Atari can make such huge losses over such a protracted period. You would wonder where the money is coming from. In a time of publisher consolidation and tighter money they surely have no future. To keep the interventionist French government happy the obvious suitor for their IP must be Ubisoft.
  • Google announce phone operating system. As if the phone application development world isn’t already sufficiently fragmented. This is yet another linux adaptation. Google have so many balls in the air and keep adding to them that you must start to wonder about their juggling ability.
  • Viral marketing rules tightened up by EU. You can’t pretend to be a customer any more on the internet. More laws to protect people from their own stupidity. Marketeers will just have to be even more devious.
  • Microsoft predict long life for 360. They own more of the IP in the box this time so why not string it out as long as possible to make the most money? Obviously when the next machine is released they will keep the 360 going. The two model overlapping generation model has worked so well for Sony that it is well worth copying.
  • Satoru Iwata says the console cycle is too inflexible. Commentators are reading this to mean that it will be longer before Nintendo bring out another home console. But it could be read that they will launch sooner, after all the Wii is non HDTV and has far less horsepower than the PS3 and 360, which must ultimately find it out. Nintendo could launch something very special that walks on the competition and still keep the Wii as a $99 toy.
  • Wiis sell for premium on ebay. And there is a Wii in stock locator website! This stock shortage will get even tighter in the run up to Christmas and with Wii Fit coming out. The last official Wii production figure was under two million a month but this November Nintendo must be making nearer three million. It is, quite literally, a license to print money and the biggest thing to hit video gaming. Ever.
  • Metal Gear Solid slips to Q2 2008. And by this they don’t mean 1st April. More likely 30th June. A huge blow to Sony. This is probably their first real system seller on PS3. A reason, at last, for buying one. This gives Microsoft another six months to build their lead unchallenged.

Sony, quite rightly, are getting a lot of stick on here. So I promise to write a nice article about them next week!

Please use the comments if you want to add to any of the above.