It's definitely been awhile but we're happy to welcome Maggie Reardon, Senior Writer for CNET News.com, back to the show. Today we talk about waiting in line for useless electronics, beer pong video games, the shaky new PS3 firmware, and Maggie enlightens us on some iPhone alternatives and the benefits of switching to Sprint. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY MAGGIE!!!EPISODE 136 Download today's podcast
Sony's President of Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida had the opportunity to discuss his company's gaming division with ThreeSpeech.com recently and although he obviously needs to toe the company line and make sure he says the right thing, what he did say speaks volumes about the state of the gaming industry.
"My role is to run first-party development, and we are always exclusive," he told the publication. "Because, in this generation, it costs much more to develop one product, it's just natural for third-party publishers trying to recoup the investment from multiple platforms. I think that's pure economic pressure, pushing most of the third parties to move from some exclusive titles to more multi-platform titles. Because we know that is the trend, we, as a company, can invest in our first-party studios; in terms of exclusive titles, our role becomes more important."
With third-party developers selling titles for multiple platforms, first-party developers will need to step in and try to create games that matter to people and make them want a console. And although major games like MGS4 are exclusive, they're becoming a rarity and it's quickly becoming apparent that first-party titles are the only games that matter.… Read more
Yes, you read it right. The new game called Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes is for the iPod, not the iPhone. In this role-playing game, you are the protagonist Ziggy who goes on a quest to save his brother from the evil Mechanical Militia. Along the way, warriors created from the songs in your iPod can be summoned to fight your battles.
According to Square Enix's press release, the game is controlled by the click wheel (what else is there, anyway?) and is said to be as easy as selecting music. It's slated for release today at the … Read more
A few months ago we got a preview of Leapfrog's new handheld learning/gaming systems, the Didj ($89.99) and Leapster 2 ($69.99)--and now they're officially available.
LeapFrog doesn't exactly bill the Didj as a Nintendo DS competitor, but the new device is geared toward 6- to 10-year-olds, an age bracket where the DS currently rules. Meanwhile, the Leapster 2 is targeted at even younger children.
The idea behind the Didj is to up the gaming and graphics ante while continuing to integrate the learning stuff that the company's known for. Those educational elements … Read more
Electronic Arts, the video game giant that owns the rights to digital versions of the board game Scrabble, has announced that later this month, it will launch a Facebook application version of the game in conjunction with Hasbro.
Unlike the last time we saw an announcement like this, it actually extends to the United States. (Remember, rights to Scrabble are owned by different companies in the U.S. and abroad--here, it's Hasbro, there, it's Mattel.)
"Scrabble is one of the best social-game brands in existence, and we've worked diligently with the Hasbro team to ensure that … Read more
With Sony releasing version 2.40 of the PlayStation 3 firmware today, it's no surprise that talk about a new Xbox 360 dashboard update has surfaced.
Aside from the normal list of technical updates, this rumored dashboard update will supposedly incorporate an entire new graphical user interface as well. Right now, reports point toward a sort of 3D experience, deviating from the current "blade" system. There's also talk that this alternative GUI will take advantage of some sort of motion-control device yet-to-be-announced by Microsoft.
UPDATED JULY 6, 2008, 7:30pm PST
Due to a version control issue I accidentally deleted the pointer to this list of 29 potential video game monetization methods from Jeremy Liew at Lightspeed VP Blog. This list originally appeared as a guest post on Jeremy's blog. I didn't realize it got botched when I hit publish. Apologies.
Potential Video Game Monetization Methods.
List ? 2008 David Perry. www.dperry.com
1. Retail (bricks & mortar), selling boxed product at places like EBGames, Gamestop or Virgin Megastore. This also includes mom & pop stores, hardcore specialist gamer shops, and online retailers like Amazon.com that ship the product to your door. The gap in this market is "same day" physical delivery of games too big to download or 1st party titles (basically combining online & bricks and mortar in one solution.) The future of this space is pre-paid cards as the consoles will (in the future) go online only, distributing everything directly to the consumer, so retail (to make it worth selling the hardware) will need a cut of the software sales. Hence prepaid cards. The Gamestop tactic of re-selling USED games (to avoid paying for new product) will finally be over. To drive users to retail, the making of special "enhanced" versions just for their retail chain is a common practice.
2. Digital Distribution (direct download, direct to consumer), like the Steam service from Valve Software, the PlayStation Store or Xbox Live Arcade from Microsoft. This also technically includes "unlocking" access to a game already on a service, like the faux install process on Facebook (however the player would have to pay to do this unlock.)
3. In-Game Advertising (either obvious billboards or branded items in the game world, or subtle product placement (certain clothing, sunglasses or vehicles like Gaia Online), or built into story elements (like the hero's girlfriend works for a Neutrogena). Companies like IGA, Massive, Game Jacket, Mochi Media, Google, VideoEgg etc.
4. Around-Game Advertising (basically making money from banner & skyscraper adverts that circle the gameplay window), this is common on flash game aggregator sites, they use services like Google, Commission Junction, personal affiliate deals etc. The revenue comes from CPM (cost per thousand views), CPC (cost per click), CPA (cost per acquisition of a player), CPP (cost for a "real" player who really plays for a certain time, or to a certain level.)… Read more
Update: Sony has suspended the 2.40 upgrade, following reports that it has fouled up some PS3 systems (see Joystiq for more). While the two PS3s we have here at CNET were able to install the update with no adverse effects, it appears that some users were considerable less fortunate.
The 2.40 firmware update for the PlayStation 3 is now available. The free update, which Sony has been talking up for the past several days, adds a smattering of new features, including in-game access to the XMB (Cross Media Bar) home screen, custom soundtracks, a new trophy system, and … Read more
It seems that our friends in the Middle Kingdom are getting some serious Razer love as the peripheral maker has just announced an entry-level gaming keyboard that will be sold only in China.
And don't let the term "entry-level" fool you. The Razer Aurantia is about as functional as one can get, with 104 macro programmable keys, special function buttons for gaming mode, profile switching, and 10 software profiles. The main differences from its more expensive Lycosa brethren are anti-ghosting capabilities and backlight illumination, features that are nice to have but not essential.
Priced at 399 yuan (… Read more
The idea that Microsoft's split loyalties between the PC and its console business isn't new now, nor was it new when we raised the issue a few months back. But we're not sure we've heard a Microsoft representative speak quite so frankly on the topic as in a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz.
In response to the question, "Which format is your priority in Europe," Microsoft's Peter Zetterberg says the following:
On a global scale, the Windows Vista business is as important as our Xbox 360 business. But in Germany, for example, we … Read more