Eight news stories 4.9

  • Google launch their Chrome web browser, and pretty good it looks too. However the stand out feature of this and every other Google product launch is just how bad their marketing is. Knol should be setting the world on fire. Lively is mostly misunderstood by the few that know about it. Then there are Orkut, Picasa, Google Health and so many more that are grievously underachieving. Because Google grew organically off product excellence and word of mouth they have never learned to market. It is about time they did if they want their rapidly growing catalogue of products to succeed.
  • Disney to double its game development spend to$350 million per annum and buy another developer. No surprises here then. Interactive entertainment will be bigger than film and TV combined. These big media companies have to invest in games to survive. The commercial shape of the industry is changing very rapidly, let’s hope it keeps a few of its little idiosyncrasies on the way to being totally corporate.
  • Michael Pachter doubles his software sales growth predictions for the year. So he got it wrong again and is patching things up. You have to ask who would want to be an analyst with the market as crazy as it is now. So many things have come together at the same time with sweet serendipity that it is like the perfect storm. The synergies are just compounding each other to spiral the industry upwards. These are amazing times.
  • Microsoft exec says that exclusives are becoming less important. This is one of the most improbable stories that I have ever read in this industry. Microsoft have spent many hundreds of million dollars buying studios, exclusive content, lead platform status and loads of other tactics in their platform war. It has often worked well for them, especially against such a strongly entrenched brand as Playstation. So I don’t see them giving it up any time soon. Perhaps he meant that in mid cycle all platforms have good catalogues so the price of the hardware becomes comparatively more important. That I can agree with.
  • Xbox 360 30% price cut in Japan. This could be called “strike whilst the iron is hot” or “don’t mess with Microsoft”. They have been outselling the Sony PS3 some weeks to the point of totally selling out in Japan. So now they are dropping the price to cheaper than a Wii. When they know that Sony are in big financial poo and can’t follow. With some good exclusive Japanese tiles out and more to come Microsoft are in a position of some strength here. And who thought we would ever hear that about Xbox and Japan. And expect similar price drops in other markets as Microsoft tool up for the holiday season.
  • Epic gives up on the PC for Gears of War 2. Serves the thieving pirates right. If they aren’t prepared to pay for their games then publishers aren’t prepared to pay to develop them. The PC is rapidly heading into being a casual gaming and MMO cul de sac.
  • Sqare Enix bid to buy Tecmo. Industry consolidation can happen so fast that you can miss major events if you blink. Economies of scale are so great in global publishing that only the biggest will survive. And niche players.
  • I had to be sitting down for this one. The Daily Mail has actually said something nice about a video game, in this case Braid. This is as epoch making as man’s first supersonic flight. Whatever next? Maybe Fox News will broadcast live coverage of two of their presenters having a gay wedding.


  1. Word of mouth is Google marketing. It’s nice and cheap, stops them looking like the corporate machine it really is, they haven’t been accused of monopolising the industry yet, and they seem to be doing quite well without marketing.

    As for Gears of War 2, GoW 1 wasn’t going to come out on PC either.

    It did.

    So will GoW2.

  2. Yeah, sure, because the GoW2 is not coming out for the PC because of piracy.

    No, let me rephrase that: yeah, sure, GoW2 won’t come out for PC. Didn’t they say the same about the first one?.

    In any case, if GoW2 for PC is like the first one, nobody should pay for it (nor pirate it!). Loads of bugs, boring, Games for Windows Live, consolized gameplay. There are lots of better games in our little PC “cul-de-sac”.

    Every article I get more amazed at you, Bruce. I don’t know if you are trying to make a point, or you simply can’t see the industry as it is know. I guess if you are going to keep speaking about piracy without even trying to look at the roots like a Republican mumbles talking points, there is no need for me to keep your feed in my reader. Not that you’ll miss many of us, though.

    BTW, that wonderful DRM that made me decide not to buy Spore?. Broken before launch. So, they lost a load of customers for nothing. Another victory for EA and the advocates of DRM.

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