Eight news stories 5.6

  • Phil Harrison makes interesting prediction. In Eurogamer he says: “Alone in the Dark is a beautifully crafted single-player adventure game. I don’t think the industry is going to make many more of those. I just don’t think consumers want to be playing games that don’t have some kind of network connectivity to them, or some kind of community embedded in them, or some kind of extension available through downloadable content.” I happen to think that he is wrong. Video gaming has the enormous advantages of interactivity, connectivity and non linearity. The first of these is compulsory, the other two are optional. Which leaves room for unconnected single player games. Like chess, Tetris and Sudoku. To give an analogy in a book a picture is worth a thousand words, this doesn`t mean that every book has to use pictures.
  • ELSPA and BBFC in tussle. The Byron review of the game industry said that we should enter a consultancy period to consider her proposals. This is good as it is an opportunity to oppose her worst proposal, that the BBFC run game age ratings instead of PEGI. The existing system works so it is stupid to change it for an expensive, bureaucratic system that is UK only. The industry has said as much. But the BBFC is ignoring the consultancy period and implementing Byron as if they have already won. Presumably they expect their implementation to stifle debate. It is nice to see ELSPA standing up for the industry, we don´t need the BBFC. All the BBFC offer the industry is extra work and extra expense with no conceivable advantage to anyone except their own bureaucracy.
  • TV show and MMO to be developed simultaneously and to evolve together. This is excellent and groundbreaking. If they play to the strengths of the two different media they could create an amazing gaming experience. Further proof of how rapidly gaming is evolving as mass entertainment.
  • Netflix and Xbox to team up? This has been on the cards for a while and places movies as an integral, but junior, part of the gaming experience. Which is about right.
  • Ubisoft has $1.2 billion war-chest and is going to use it. The competitive advantages of scale in traditional games publishing are such that they are forced to do this to keep up with EA/Take Two and Viacom/Activision. The industry is distilling down to a handful of giants.
  • Valve announce Steam Cloud. It is amazing the pace at which Steam is being developed, Microsoft could learn a lot for their Xbox Live service here. These latest additions mean that saves and configuration options will become persistent across a user’s Steam account as they are held server side. Also coming are driver auto-updating and a per-game system requirements checker. Great features for the PC gamer.
  • The ESA are in worse trouble than I thought. Now they have gone to war against the Gamepolitics website.This is not something that a trade body should be doing. Saying: “calling GamePolitics a news site is as laughable as saying there’s a Cuban free press”. Is not what they should be doing. Expect this whole ESA situation to get worse before it gets better.
  • Sony stop work on two major first person titles. Eight Days was well into development whilst The Getaway was somewhat earlier in the production cycle. This is a major and surprising move. What are Sony up to?


  1. Of course Phil is wrong. Phil is nearly always wrong.

    What people might finally realise with Phil is that being extremely good at standing in front of a crowd and presenting has very little in common with knowing what you’re talking about. The credibility you may get from standing in front of one of the world’s great electronics companies is kind of gone when it’s just you and David Gardner standing in front of a business even Bruno Bonnell gave up on.

    No sooner is he out of the door than SCE is canning his projects. Did his ‘largest studio operation in the world’ ever do anything good other than Singstar?

    Bye Phil.

  2. I agree that Harrison is wrong. AI is really the sea change battleground of future gaming. I suspect that, within the next decade, single-player games will be populated with such compelling AI characters that the lure of online connectivity (for gameplay purposes, at least) will be greatly reduced.

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