Eight news stories 3.4


  • There are a lot of ignorant people around and some of them are allowed to write in newspapers. Giles Whittell of the Times doesn’t understand video games and displays his ignorance in public with this article. Doesn’t he realise that he is disadvantaging his kids? Gaming children have been proven to have superior social skills, problem solving ability and hand/eye coordination. Writing off all video games is like writing off all books or all films. They are all just different forms of popular culture. Jenny McCartney is the Telegraph’s ignorant columnist. She really doesn’t have the faintest idea what she is writing about. It is amazing that journalists are allowed to rant on about something that they obviously know nothing about.
  • GTA IV to feature prostitutes, masturbation, fellatio and intercourse. Excellent news, why shouldn’t it? This is adult entertainment and clearly certified and marked as such, why shouldn’t adults be allowed to buy and play it? This is still far milder than any Jackie Collins book. And remember that books don’t carry age ratings.
  • Violent games are good for you. I have long thought that they act as a catharsis to get any pent up emotions out of the system. This view is now supported by psychology researchers at Middlesex University using World of Warcraft and 292 gamers. They found that: “People who play violent games online actually feel more relaxed and less angry after they have played.” I have read elsewhere that violence in films has the opposite effect. Because you are passive and thus impotent to act it has a significant traumatic effect. Really films should be censored more tightly than games, when the reverse is true. 
  • Big increase in Ubisoft’s commercial performance. They now predict 2007/8 turnover at €920 million. This is great news and is a testament both to how well Ubisoft is managed and how healthy the video game industry is. They are still probably too small to survive the current round of consolidation as they are. A merger or takeover of some sort must be on the cards.
  • Keith Vaz misleads the House of Commons again with this early day motion “That this House warmly welcomes the publication of Tanya Byron’s report Safe Children in a Digital World; notes that it accepts that violent video games do have an affect on children and therefore their availability to children need to be properly controlled; considers that it is only through a partnership between parents, retailers and the video games industry that these issues can be addressed and calls on the Government to implement the recommendations in full and immediately.” Presumably he hasn’t read the Byron Review.
  • Ubisoft to put 40 PC titles on Steam. I hope the analysts and the rest of the industry are watching this. Steam is already one of the most important elements of video gaming. It is growing into something truly massive. I even asked them if they wanted help with European marketing but was politely declined.
  • Microsoft Xbox 360 exclusive GTA IV content getting results. They paid $50 million for it and now it has got Sony rattled. My guess is that without the exclusive content deal Sony would have won massively with GTA IV. With the deal I reckon that it will pan out pretty even worldwide. Microsoft, especially with their recent price cut, could seriously outperform Sony in some markets.
  • Bad online behaviour is dramatically reducing game sales. According to former Microsoft game user research head Bill Fulton. He makes a number of extremely valid points. I feel that gamers are just like any community, they need rules and those rules need policing. Layered moderation, a reporting system and a word filter can go a long way to making any online community into a nicer place. I run an online community for artists and this is what we do.


  1. MS recently downplayed the episodic content for their XBox 360 system according to gamesindustry.biz, which I found rather odd considering the money they’ve spent on the exclusive episodic content.

    Rockstar have also confirmed that Sony Playstation 3 users will be able to buy GTA IV content through Sony’s upcoming release HOME. Magazine source.

  2. Ubisoft maybe declined your offer because that Steam deal is for North America only. I am not really a fan of digital distribution (I’d even say it’s the beginning of the end if it would replace boxed retail entirely, especially for PC titles) but such discrimination shouldn’t be tolerated, not even the dollar-euro values are a valid reason for that.

  3. It wasn’t Ubisoft I asked, it was Valve.

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