Eight new stories 23.10

  • Xbox fanboys run amok. I have written on here before about fanboys and their uncontrolled and childish online behaviour. Now they are targeting Metacritic. LittleBigPlanet has a Metacritic of 95% after 28 reviews. The Xbox fanboys obviously see this as a threat because 2194 user scores are currently coming to an average of 6.3 out of ten. And it isn’t even available to play yet!!
  • Atari president Phil Harrison has told GamesIndustry.biz  that he believes Sony took “absolutely the right decision” in recalling LittleBigPlanet over the controversial references made to the Qur’an.” Which makes me even more convinced that they should not have withdrawn it.
  • Midway in poo. A year ago its share price was low but it has slipped 67% since despite a much needed management shake up. You wonder how they are still in business with $580 million in losses since 1999 (estimated). Surely in this current climate they have to be prime takeover material? It just cannot go on like this.
  • Wii Fit on track to outsell GTA IV this year. And it cost far less to develop. And makes far more profit per unit. If they haven’t already, everyone in the industry should now realise that we have a new paradigm. Games are entertainment (and more) for everyone now. The old certainties are gone.
  • If you still needed evidence of the move towards MMOs then here it is. Electronic Arts have just invested a massive fortune in Warhammer Online and already it is doing well. And now they have announced that they have had another MMO under development, this time Star Wars : The Old Republic from Blizzard. These things cost huge amounts to develop and run. Which is more than matched by the immense profits they can make when they succeed commercially. But there is a high failure rate. This may explain why Electronics Arts have chosen to use other people’s existing IP for both of these games. It may reduce profitability and prevent them building value in their own brand, but this has always been the EA way.
  • Following from the above story Electronic Arts now say that they are looking to put both of these games onto consoles. For them to admit to this they must be more than looking.  Makes mind numbingly obvious sense. MMOs are not on consoles because of a lack of enterprise. Something EA are well equipped to correct.
  • Gamasutra-exclusive market analysis examines how major console exclusives negatively impact the weekly hardware sales of the platforms that lack them. Next they will be exclusively revealing that bears poo in the woods. This is a major leg of Microsoft’s incredibly successful strategy to beat PS3 with their Xbox 360. They have spent hundreds of millions on it. Unfortunately, whilst they have succeeded in beating Sony, they did not have sufficient foresight to predict what the Wii would do to the market. But then nobody else did either.
  • Sudden boom in Xbox 360 piracy. Microsoft need to get their finger out here. The main rationale for the existence of consoles is that they act as anti piracy dongles. And when a console fails in this function it is no longer worth developing for. Just look at the PSP. A console can go from having a valid business model for a publisher to being a waste of time in just a few weeks once the piracy genie is out of the bottle. This happened at the end of the PSX/PS1 cycle and wreaked havoc on publishers because they had nowhere else to go. Now the market provides many alternative platforms so all that publishers do is to switch resources away from pirated platforms. This is what has happened to the PC. And it will happen to the Xbox 360 if piracy isn’t checked.


  1. First of all …it would really help if they would crack down on the leaks in the first place. Piracy is bad enough, but being able to get the game before it is even released is way worse because you don’t even get the first day take up of a game.

    There isn’t really much that microsoft can do about 360 piracy. By the sounds of it the modchips avoid any software focusing purely on the dvd drive (don’t quote me, I’ve not really researched it apart from looking at one advert before posting this), so even firmware updates and live probably can’t stop it. Even if that could happen, it would just be a delaying tactic.

    The only thing that can really be done is adding lots of multiplayer and online features, just like the PCs are doing, but online isn’t as widely used on the 360 as the PC so a lot of people will be left out in the cold.

    So yeah, nothing can be done …the only saving grace for MS is that everything else will eventually be cracked too. Until then PS3 will probably suffer more because 360 will be taken up faster since its cheaper and can be modded.

    As I’ve said before, I think piracy is something that should be fought to curb it, but accepted as a common practice that can’t be avoided. As long as they don’t go about punishing their paying customers like DRMs on PC do they should still make plenty of sales.

    70% of a lot vs. 100% of little

  2. I’m quite taken aback that Bruce sees fit to mention piracy on handhelds and yet fails to mention the situation concerning the DS in favour of mentioning the PSP.

    In this instance Bruce, I think you’ve said more by what you chose *not* to say than by what you did.

    Bruce, you make many empassioned statements regarding piracy situation. Could you enlighten some of your readers as to the situation on PS3? Blu-ray being a new format must be both momentary sanctuary for developers and an irresistible challenge to pirates.

  3. The new Lite-On drives are a step in the right direction. Although i expect them to be fully hacked in 2009 (currently, people have to swap the drives out for older toshiba and samsung models – a tricky option, and dangerous as these drives are far less reliable and it also makes them more prone to being detected on LIVE). I think the intrinsic reliability of the LIVE service itsel fhas put alot of people off taking the piracy route. One perosn i know who has his 360 “flashed” never goes online with a pirated disc in his machine for fear of being caught one day wiht the “ban hammer”. However, games like Oblivion and Mass Effect need authentication online at least once in order to use the added DLC (Which isnt just a shiny new sword or gun, but increased gameplay). I perosnally wouldn’t want to risk it for that reason, that and the fact the developemt costs of games like Mass Effect and Fallout3 are just horrific, and the developers deserve financial renumeration for their hard-work. Look at the PC . . . . . If you dont like MMO’s, theres nothing really worth playing on it right now.

    Another reason why the digital distribution route will one day become a mainstay . . . . . . .

  4. Wow I always wondered how games like gears of war got such high and mostly perfect scores and then suddenly fell. Sounds like the same is happening to PS3 now. I’m not sure about the game(LBP) not being released. Because I see way to many people on other sites claiming to have the game in the UK a day before it was recalled. Maybe all those people are pirates? But I would wonder how many xbox fanboys would be burning a pirate game of a system they dislike. I have seen people reviewing saying blue dragon has no summon spells in meta reviews (it does have them) and dog the game for being a action rpg (it is not) and generally smell of ps3fan boys. So I would not dought it happening the other way around. Can we just grow up!

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