Eight news stories 10.4


  • Sega problems unfold, as mentioned on here before.  Since then it has shut down its Korean (one of the largest markets in Asia) office, as well as discontinuing the development of its entertainment complex in Japan’s second biggest city, Yokohama. Now they have closed their UK racing studio which developed Sega Rally. It wasn’t too bad a game with a Metacritic in the mid seventies. Presumably launching on the same day as Halo 3 didn’t help sales, but that is hardly the fault of the (now redundant) development staff. Sega must be seriously up for acquisition now, good management could really do amazing things with their storehouse of gaming brands.
  • Toothbrush video game. This is brilliant and further proof that we are still only at the beginning of gaming possibilities. Interactivity can be used for so many things and in so many ways.
  • It has been common knowledge for some time that Microsoft are developing a gesture controller for the Xbox 360. Now some details have leaked out including a sketch and the news that Rare were entrusted with the software side and have run into problems. As ever Microsoft want to get a USP by having better software than their competitors, an admirable policy that will give them huge competetive advantage in the long haul.
  • “Ruthless” EIDOS/SCI taking the scalpel to it’s business. So lots of redundancies, fortunately at a time when there is an industry wide shortage of development staff. That EIDOS/SCI was allowed to become so bloated and inefficient, making many sub standard games, is down to the huge incompetence of the former management. Fortunately as time goes by the less competent management are getting cleared out of our industry. Many publishers have had clear outs at the top. However I could still name quite a few that are in positions well beyond their ability.
  • Molyneux talks rubbish in Gamasutra interview. He says: “Because I wouldn’t say there were exponentially more people playing computer games today than there were when Game Developers Conference first started. Fifteen years ago? Twenty years ago?” Which bears no relationship to reality, with 72% of American now playing games. It is people like Molyneux, developing games for a narrow “hardcore” niche, that have held the industry back. They have failed to capitalise on the mass market possibilities of interactive entertainment. Now Nintendo, MMOs, casual gaming. flash etc are beginning to prove the huge potential that is out there. There may not have been so much growth in the kind of games Molyneux makes, but that is what happens when you develop for a niche.
  • Stephen King talks sense on video games violence. “It was too easy for critics to claim — falsely, it turned out — that Cho Seung-Hui (the Virginia Tech killer) was a fan of Counter-Strike; I just wish to God that legislators were as eager to point out that this nutball had no problem obtaining a 9mm semiautomatic handgun. Cho used it in a rampage that resulted in the murder of 32 people. If he’d been stuck with nothing but a plastic videogame gun, he wouldn’t even have been able to kill himself.”
  • Sony PS3 the best selling console in Europe. Beating Wii, PSP, DS and 360 for one week. (Well, according to VG Chartz). The reason is simple Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (a PS3 exclusive title). So you can imagine what is going to happen to Xbox 360 and Sony PS3 sales when GTA IV comes out. I just hope that there are massive warehouses of stock of these consoles. The demand for them will be far bigger than it was at Christmas.
  • The Grid, 10.000 times faster than broadband. Created to handle the immense quantity of data created by the large hadron collider this technology is trickling down to massively boost the existing internet. Even large games will download in just a few seconds. Cardboard and plastic content distribution will be dead.


  1. Bruce you are AGAIN interpreting figures how you want. The article you link to referring to claims that “72% of Americans have played a videogame”. That basically equates to people who have tried games a minimum of 1 times. This could possibly include years ago down the pizza parlour on a pac man arcade cabinet.

    It DOES NOT mean 72% of America are gamers. I remember reading an article on the escapist a while back by a female gamer who lives in the states, and is still ostracized by family members, work colleagues and parental types because she is a gamer.
    Now, if 72% of Americans are gamers , as your exaggerated estimation claims, I don’t think such social stigma and media stereotyping of games would still exist, do you?

    This echoes the time where you widely exaggerated the figures in regards to Habbo Hotel’s userbase and I called you out on it.

    I’m not a massive fan of Molyneux’s tendancy to hype his own works, and I havn’t had any experience of his games except for ThemePark (Bullfrog produced this, not sure of his extent of involvement with it to be fair), but I know a few of ex-gamers and casual types who have spoke to me about their fondness of Theme Park, Populus and Theme Hospital, so to say he caters to the ‘hardcore niche’ is a little misguided, especially with regards to his ambitions with Fable 2.
    To give him his dues he speaketh truth in that article. I have to agree that Gaming hasn’t grown as exponentially as it could have. Bruce, do you happen to have any anecdotal evidence to back up your claims of him ‘speaking rubbish’ without falling back on your old trick of over-optimistic appraisals of statistics, possibly the least exact science in the world ?
    Or perhaps, it might be yourself, as the kids like to say, “chatting breeze,blood”?

  2. I agree with most of what Lloyd said. I also have something to add.

    We have to choose our side between quality and quantity, here. Nintendo helped develop the “casual” mass market, that’s for sure. But if there hadn’t been people like Peter Molyneux (or Shigeru Miyamoto, or Hideo Kojima, or Eric Chailly, …), this medium would not have grown into something that we today can call “art”. So IMO, and if talking from a “quality” point of view, people like Peter Molyneux do not hold the industry back. On the opposite, they precisely move it forward.

    I think we should sometimes forget about facts and figures and ask ourselves what we want this industry to become…

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