Eight news stories 29.11

  • UAE government buys into Sony. Another $500 million for the Sony war-chest. Added to money from the recently announced sell offs as they cut back to their core businesses. Sony are gearing up for a serious console war. The next two years are going to be fascinating as they try to claw back the Microsoft lead and make some impact on the runaway train that is Nintendo.
  • Piracy drive threatens Nintendo DS. Like all technology wars this could suddenly take off and in just a month or so decimate software sales. Nintendo could have put more and better protection into the device. This makes your DS behave like an iPod for games.  The good news is that at least Nintendo make a profit on the consoles, unlike the business model of their rivals.
  • New Kuju studio focuses on digital downloads. Regular readers will know that this is exactly the thing to do right now. Distributing games using cardboard and plastic is silly. But digital downloads offer new opportunities so creating a studio to make the best of them makes a lot of sense.
  • DS sets new UK sales record. 191,000 units in one week, more than any other console in history. Maybe it is because the games are free now!! Seriously, it is a great piece of kit with some fantastic games on it. In some sectors of our society it is already almost ubiquitous. American sales of both the DS and the Wii have been equally spectacular. Nintendo have done a superb job all round.
  • MTV’s next game moves to a whole new realm. With $500 million to spend, a hit with Rock Band behind them, a global brand and huge marketing horsepower they are the new nobility in game publishing. The old established publishers should be looking over their shoulders with trepidation because the big media companies are gearing up to overtake them. Now is a good time to sell out or merge.
  • Consoles are a grown ups toy. 42% of 25 to 34 year olds want a console for Christmas compared with just 30% of 16 to 24 year olds.  And still the console manufacturers will not allow adults to have adult games. The Wii is the second most craved after object of desire behind HDTVs. Overall it is amazing how important technology toys have become and how mainstream video gaming now is.
  • Eco warriors in desperate bid for publicity. Greenpeace have no credibility since Brent Spar. Now they put Nintendo at the bottom of their green ranking just because they couldn’t find the information that they wanted. Only the gullible would believe this stuff. The Wii uses less materials in it’s manufacture than it’s competitors and both the DS and the Wii use far less power than their competitors. Which points to greenpeace being wrong once again.
  • Need For Speed not number one shock. Not many would have predicted this. EA’s annual chestnut always enters the charts at the top. More shockingly it is being kept off the pole position by the first iteration of an original IP, Assassin’s Creed. Which even less people would have predicted. Exceptionally well done all round by Ubisoft. This Christmas sees the biggest glut of AAA game titles ever. As a result titles that would have been very good game releases at any other time of year are in serious danger of flopping.