Eight news stories 19.2


  • Microsoft Jasper motherboard Xbox 360s are now in the shops. These have both a 65nm GPU and a 65nm CPU so they run less warm than the older motherboards. You can identify them because they are rated at a lower 12.1A instead of 14.2A. This should make them yet more reliable and finally consign RRoD to history. Interestingly Microsoft say that when they repair broken Xboxes they upgrade them to later spec components at the same time. So one way of getting a Jasper is to have your Xbox break and then make use of that fantastic 3 year warranty.
  • Microsoft admit (just about) that they are developing a gesture interface. Rare are to “focus on expanding the user base of the Xbox 360” and “help grow the Xbox Live experience”. What more proof do you want?
  • Square Enix to buy EIDOS. Potentially a massive bargain. EIDOS was worth so little because totally inept management totally screwed the company up. But it is worth so much because of its immensely rich storehouse of heritage IP. It was inevitable that someone would have the good sense to snap it up. It is going to take very strong management and a lot of investment to get it working again. But if Square Enix achieve this they could be on the road to being one of the few big global game publishers that are left when the consolidation phase is over.
  • Electronic Arts extend their brand to sporting goods in a deal with Toy Island. This is truly excellent with fantastic synergies. EA have the marketing reach of putting their sporting games into many million homes every year. If well managed this could grow to challenge the big established sports brands, especially as EA can bring innovative technology to the products.
  • GTA “The Lost and Damned” DLC arrives on Xbox 360. At 1.7 GB this is as much content as many full games. At $20 it shows what can be done by getting rid of the old fashioned idea of physical stock. This is a quadruple coup for Microsoft. 1) It will reignite sales of boxed GTA IV on the 360. 2) Xbox Live becomes even more attractive in a high profile, marketing friendly way. 3) The Xbox 360 is further differentiated from the failing Sony PlaystationPS3. 4) Microsoft should make a massive profit on this DLC and all they have needed to do is pay for it to be made then host it on their Live portal.
  • $99 iPhone 3G. OK so it is a refurb and it is the 8 GB model, but it is still $99. And this reduces the barrier of entry to all that lovely stuff on App Store. The razor blade business model is alive and well and as our industry make the blades we are in clover.
  • It looks like Microsoft are buying Israeli 3D motion sensing company 3DV. This is $35 million for camera based technology. Ironically this is a technology that Sony made a complete and total mess of with their Eye Toy, introduced six years ago. Despite not capitalising on the opportunity Sony still managed to sell 10.5 million units, so you can imagine what will happen if Microsoft get this right, something that their Xbox division are developing a fine reputation for in this console generation.
  • ESA report on the apalling state of European online game thieving. With Italy the worst by some margin, no surprise there. Once piracy gets out of hand on any game platform it destroys the business model, reducing or even stopping development on that platform and ultimately punishing the thieves with the lack of new titles to play on their machines.