Eight news stories 24.4

  • Just recently we have had a small spate of information about the effect that games have, the Byron Review and Grand Theft Childhood, which disprove the alarmist muck raking that we so often experience from ignorant journalists and politicians. Now we have another report. This time a book on gaming and addiction, entitled Video Game Play and Addiction. I happen to think that Addiction to gaming is a far bigger problem than sex and violence in games. But it is not the fault of games. It is just that some people have an addictive personality and can become addicted to anything. Well, that’s my theory, I’ll tell you more when I see the book.
  • The internet gets whipped up into a GTA IV frenzy. This is going to be the new biggest thing ever in video gaming. Comparable with a big blockbuster film, it will probably gross even more because games are a lot more expensive than watching movies. One fly in the ointment is that, as always, the pirates got there first.
  • Jack Thompson is mad. He just sent a letter to the mother of the chairman of Take Two. It starts: “Your son, as you may know (or maybe you don’t know), is Chairman of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., whose most popular video games are the Grand Theft Auto murder simulator games banned in some countries but sold to children here.” And goes on in a similar, ignorant vein. He really needs to read Grand Theft Childhood to realise just how very wrong he is.
  • Electronic Arts isn’t evil.This is good news I am sure. It is also an indicator of how much Electronic Arts has changed, they needed to. This shakeout of opinion has come as a result of the takeover of Take Two soap opera. Now the most astute industry observers are fans of what EA is doing.
  • Sci/Eidos not interested in being taken over.Instead they are to seek new capital from the markets. Good luck to them in this second great industry soap opera. If I were them I would take the best takeover bid and run. They are far too small to succeed as a global videogame publisher.
  • The Daily Mail recycles old alarmist stories whilst ignoring the evidence of all the best experts. This is doubly shoddy journalism. It is repeated and it is inaccurate. The Daily Mail motto is obviously “Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.”
  • Analyst says growth in game industry has peaked (not that the game industry has peaked). Robert Higginbotham of Goldman Sachs downgraded game retailer GameStop Corp. “We see GameStop shares as poised for a pullback as industry growth remains on a path toward deceleration from its current peak.” Personally I would be far more worried about the accelerated decline of traditional retail cardboard and plastic video games. Soon retail video game shops will serve no purpose.
  • The EU commision has been looking at the implementation of the PEGI age rating system across Europe and has recommended that the implementation be strengthened up. This flies completely contra to what the British government is currently proposing. They want to desert PEGI and go it alone with film based ratings.