Posts Tagged ‘38 Studios’

What Happened This Week – Naysayers Right and Wrong

News time, everybody! Get it while it’s hot, metaphorically speaking as the transfer of information is not linked to temperature! In tonight’s episode:

  • Zynga’s stock takes a nosedive due to slashed earnings estimates and insiders dumped the stock months ago.  Pardon me, I’ll be over here doing my “I called it” dance.
  • Boston Magazine provides an in-depth postmortem on the many, many warning signs leading up to 38 Studios’ closing.  Short version: Schilling mixed up baseball and business.
  • Key developers come out strongly against Windows 8, with Gabe Newell saying Valve may encourage Linux development as a hedge.  Mr. Newell, hedges are supposed to save money.
  • Crunchyroll breaks down a Japanese poll showing the Japanese are no longer bullish on their own gaming industry.  Clearly, the industry needs more ara ara~
  • Square Enix takes to Twitter to confirm Versus XIII is still alive.  CEO Yoichi Wada has to stop himself from saying it’ll be done “when it’s done.”
  • FFXIV gets rebranded, Irrational Games uses Metacritic as a hiring requirement, OnLive joins up with the Ouya, and more!

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What Happened This Week – Burnout Gives HR Stuff to Do

There are weeks, even single days, that make me want to crawl into a bunker with as much food, games, and quality booze as I can manage, seal that sucker up, and hide there for, I dunno, a year or so. But then I tell myself, “I know life sometimes seems bad, but at least you didn’t sign over the Running Man to MC Hammer.”

Shame, too. It was the freshest move I’d ever seen. But enough of that, let’s get to the news.

  • Yet more insanity is added to the fifty-car pileup that is 38 Studios: RBS Citizen’s Bank is suing Curt Schilling directly, and an anonymous wife of a 38S employee speaks out.
  • Oh, and Rhode Island state police have launched a criminal investigation into 38S.  So has the Massachusetts Attorney General.  And the FBI.
  • ICANN prepares for bidding wars on more top-level domains: .xbox, .sony, .apple, and countless others sure to bring back those timeless dotcom jokes from the late 90s.
  • Sony is still trying to convince people the Vita is doing fine, though salary cuts and returned benefits suggest at least someone is taking this doom thing seriously.
  • EA openly admits it would rather have a higher-price game not sell than sell more copies on discount.  Counterpoint: Syndicate is $59.99 on Origin, and $20 plus S&H on Amazon.
  • Eurogamer interviews Yoshinori Ono, the man behind Street Fighter 4, whom Capcom almost literally worked to death.  Read the whole thing if you’ve got time, it’s… sobering.
  • Dead Space 3 has to sell five million copies, Dragon’s Dogma sells just over half a million, I analyze what these stories have in common (read: the AAA push is killing us) and more!

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What Happened This Week – Endless Online Phenomenon

Say what you will about obscure Korean MMOs, but they come up with some catchy (if unrelated) promo videos. But I digress. News time! Here’s what’s going down:

  • 38 Studios and Big Huge Games got shuttered this week, their staff laid off and Amalur now property of Rhode Island.  Sadly, not too surprising given the money hole they were in.
  • Conflicting sales goals hide the real issue of what those 300+ developers – and their shiny new second mortgages from relocating – are going to do now.
  • Meanwhile, BioWare lays off some of its own people from The Old Republic team.  How’s that $200 million development cost working out, guys?
  • All this prompts Pachter to speculate that MMOs are dooooooomed!  My take: maybe, if everybody keeps trying to imitate/defeat World of Warcraft.  And speaking of which…
  • Diablo III got hacked, with reports of stolen items, money, and even characters.  Getting hacked in a single-player game has got to be some kind of record.
  • The horrible, horrible contract between Activision and Bungie is revealed.  Short version: 5 million sales of a new property in six months, and eight titles in eight years.  Read it and weep.
  • Sony patents a technology to interrupt your game with advertisements, Japan developers alternatives to kompu gacha, and more!

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What Happened This Week – Go Public or Die Trying

“Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.” John Maynard Keynes said that, and I’d wager he knows a little more about the economy than you do, because he invented it! Yeah, the financial world is abuzz over Facebook’s IPO, and we’ve got our own take on that, along with a few other items of interest. Behold:

  • 38 Studios (Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning) owes the state of Rhode Island $75 million in loan payments.  I don’t even have a quip, you have to hear the whole crazy situation to believe it.
  • Facebook, as mentioned, went public, and then immediately flatlined before dropping a few bucks today.  Cue me feeling smug in three… two…
  • Activision drops its suit against EA over the Infinity Ward fiasco, on revelation that they went to absurd lengths to dig up dirt on IW staff.  Bobby Kotick, up to no good?  Pshaw, sirrah.
  • Epic unveils the Unreal 4 engine, prompting a new wave of speculation as to how many shades of brown and grey it can render.
  • CD Projekt’s hiring for a modern IP.  Given their work with fantasy IP, I expect good things.  Difficult things that kill me in the tutorial, but good things all the same.
  • Diablo III goes live, then dies, then lives again, then dies again, and so on.  Who could possibly have forseen difficulties with millions of players going online at once?
  • Square Enix is profitable again, Bamco keeps busy with the Tales series,  and more!

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