Posts Tagged ‘Bethesda Softworks’

What Happened This Week – The Cold Calculus of Microtransactions

All right, back in business once more.  Hopefully we won’t be hit by another freak storm this weekend, but really it seems like the power dies if someone so much as coughs too loudly.  Let’s get to the news before it happens again.  Here’s what’s going down:

  • Zynga starts getting hit with lawsuits regarding allegations of insider trading, with underwriters paid to help insiders offload stock before it fell.  Also known as “Tuesday on Wall Street.”
  • Not to be outdone, EA has also filed suit that Zynga copied The Sims Social to create The Ville.  Man, who do you root for in that fight?  (The answer is EA, seriously.)
  • Ubisoft’s Uplay exposes players to an exploit that allows websites access to, and control over, a user’s computer.  It’s like they want people to pirate their games.
  • The Old Republic pulls the pin and goes free-to-play.  Should’ve kept the base, BioWare!  And the base I mean your playerbase.  By making KotOR III instead.
  • Sony posts a sizable loss of some $312 million for the first quarter of 2012, including losses in the games division.  Tempting to blame the Vita, but their true problems run deeper.
  • Squenix has an ambitious ten-year plan for Dragon Quest X.  It sounds crazy until you realize they’ve been running Final Fantasy XI for at least that long.
  • Rumors abound regarding Bethesda and the STALKER series, Take Two posts a lower earnings report due to unrealistic expectations, and more!

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What Happened This Week – Capitalism Means Never Saying Sorry

Guess who’s back!  How’s everybody doing?  I spent the weekend watching mutants and mercenaries duke it out in the Capitol building.  And then I came home to play Fallout 3 heyoooooooooo!  Okay, yeah, obvious joke is obvious, but DC is a cool town even if you’re not a political junkie such as myself.  But anyway, it’s good to be back at home base, got my computer a shiny new video card, the Mass Effect 3 review finally done, and ready to get down to business.  So let’s get on it!  In today’s headlines we have:

  • Bethesda announces The Elder Scrolls Online.  I explain why this is not going anywhere profitable, and point to a much more interesting property they’re funding for one Shinji Mikami.
  • A Forbes article breaks down that Zynga, Groupon, and Facebook work with an accounting firm that makes rules up as they go.  I wish I were kidding.
  • Eurogamer runs a lengthy piece on the demise of Free Radical.  Long story short, it took a little more treachery than doped-up marines going “Boosh!”
  • NVidia rolls out a top-of-the-line graphics card for $1000.00.  How else can a month’s salary last until next week when they push the envelope even further?
  • FilePlanet is no longer being updated, thus preparing itself for the annals of Internet history.  Behold, children, the days when patches didn’t download themselves.
  • Electronic Arts rolls out an Indie Bundle, upending basically every sensible definition of the term ‘indie.’  And on Steam, no less, making it all the more confusing.
  • A Chinese company develops a console specifically for pirates China, EA asks for feedback on Origin, I speculate based on Sega-centric Steam deals, and more!

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What Happened This Week – Let the Bio Beware

I know, awful awful pun. I shall punish myself accordingly by eating this blueberry muffin. Anyway, we’ve got us some news!

  • Wasteland 2‘s Kickstarter surpasses all expectations, especially mine.  Let the blood sausage festival commence!
  • Obsidian is forced to lay people off and cancel a next-generation project.  I’d like to blame that Bethesda-New Vegas- Metacritic contract shenanigans, but the reality is slightly more complicated.
  • Through a truly unexpected twist of fate, Giant Bomb winds up back inside the GameSpot offices from whence they came.  Awkwaaaard~
  • Incidentally, GB’s Dave Snider wrote an excellent column about finding work in games media.  Well worth a read for even the most discouraged would-be content creator.
  • Speaking of interesting columns, Joystiq’s Rowan Kaiser breaks down the year that Western RPGs… well, broke down.  Also a fascinating read, even if you disagree about when PC RPGs hit their Golden Age.
  • Mass Effect 3‘s ending makes such a splash that it bypasses traditional spoiler alerts.  While I don’t spoil it myself, I do go over what it means for BioWare if they don’t address the criticism post-haste.
  • Baldur’s Gate gets an enhanced edition, Microsoft gets a new Peter Moore, and more!

 
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What Happened This Week – Is This the 50’s or 1999?

Nothing like a week of updates to make a guy feel like he’s treading old ground, but hey, anything worth talking about is worth talking about again.  Tonight’s discussion topics are as follows:

  • The Bethesda-Interplay legal mess comes to a close, with Zenimax paying $2mil for Interplay to stop harassing Fallout and claiming the MMO’s going to make it.
  • GSC Game World announces on Facebook that development of STALKER 2 is somehow still underway.  Why do all the beautiful things in life have to be undead?
  • Zynga acquires another executive from EA.  Poor Zynga… their stock’s lackluster performance has caused them to mentally regress to last year.
  • BioWare reveals that Mass Effect 3 will require Origin and will not be available on steam.  Also, they broke their arm in a boking accident.
  • Workers at a Foxconn plant in China threaten mass suicide over low pay and poor conditions.  Industry leaders feign shock that they’re still doing business with Foxconn.
  • Ars Technica gets a closer look at the Wii U, and learns surprisingly little.
  • Diablo III gets a console version, a Gaikai rep makes a silly assumption about the Big Three, and more!

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What Happened This Week – Trading Places in Development Hell

It’s just not a week in the industry without some long-forgotten property being dug up, only to be reburied just as abruptly.  Times like these are hell for anybody that was born in time to appreciate the 90s.  In tonight’s episode:

  • Interplay and Bethesda reach some kind of settlement which allows Interplay to continue pretending to develop Fallout Online.  The judge was kind enough to deliver the settlement notice to the cardboard box Interplay is currently working out of.
  • The ESA reaffirms their support of SOPA, whereas Epic Games  – a member of the ESA – actually comes out publicly against it.  It’s… complicated.
  • Vox Media plans to launch a gaming news website, and goes on a talent-poaching spree to staff it.  So how many articles about Japanese dating sims can we expect per month?  This is important.
  • Speaking of Japan, Japanese retailers preempt Sony by offering in-store price cuts on 3G PS Vitas.  Sony, if you’re hiding Monster Hunter on us, now would be a good time to show it.
  • Social game Shenmue Towns is shut down, dashing the hopes of all five people who were aware Shenmue had a social game.
  • By contrast, X-Com makes a surprising comeback in all its brainy, strategic glory as X-Com: Enemy Unknown.  Take that, Shooter Season 2011!
  • Kaz Hirai is announced as Sony’s next president, the iOS gold rush (and pending disappointment) continues, we deal with E3 and 2012 speculation, and more!

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What Happened This Week – Such is Life in the Industry

The news never stops, which in that respect is very much like Skyrim. But I digress. The Spike VGAs have given us plenty of material, and thus tonight’s topics include:

  • The nominees, broken down: Skyrim wins GOTY, Dragon Age 2 somehow got on a ‘best of’ list for RPGs, Witcher 2 is looking mighty snubbed…
  • …although the train of unneeded celebrities, lackluster announcements, and literal on-stage teabagging did a fine job distracting from the awards themselves.  And we wonder why gaming is still seen as immature.
  • Meanwhile, with the VGAs posing as E3 Lite, speculation abounds that the actual E3 could come to an end (as we know it).
  • A team of students at George Washington University use Kinect for other than its intended purpose, netting a $100,000 scholarship.  And they complain about the kids today!
  • Shiggy scares everybody with a Wired interview, saying he’s stepping down, prompting a panic until he can finish the sentence with “to smaller projects.”
  • GSC Game World closes its doors, signalling an end to the eccentric yet beloved S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series.  Let’s drink to them once more.
  • Namco-Bandai wins their suit re: Witcher 2 distribution in Europe, the 3DS sells 3 million units in Japan, Square Enix moves FFXIV to a paid subscription, and more!

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What Happened This Week – Summon Your Accountant

Finally got to upload this, would’ve had it earlier if not for an inopportune (though easily fixed) network hiccup.  Anyway, hope you’re all enjoying the beautiful Labor Day weekend!  It’s time for the news:

  • Famitsu unveiled a cornucopia of Persona news: a Vita port of 4, a fighting game, and a lot of dancing around Persona 5.  So much speculation, so little time.
  • Bethesda does the timed exclusivity song-and-dance with Skyrim DLC, setting a new record by doing so before the game launches.  The power of the money hat is strong.
  • Zeboyd Games gets a crack at Penny Arcade Adventures: Really Long Subtitle: Episode 3.  Don’t underestimate them; Breath of Death VII is deceptively good.
  • Sony plans another head-mounted TV screen monstrosity.  No, Sony, the “3D” part of it doesn’t make it any more likely to succeed than your last attempt.
  • Square Enix plans to boost the staff at Eidos Montreal, Doom‘s 17-year ban in Germany is removed, and more!
  • Plus, a spotlight on the recent financial workings of Zynga, Groupon, and LinkedIn: fuzzy accounting practices, pending market headaches, and the SEC asking pointed questions like “Why do all these numbers have asterisks by them?” and “Why did your accountant introduce himself with air quotes?”

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What Happened This Week – Mr. Keynes’ Wild Ride

Come one, come all, we got all the news you have time for and then some! Well, okay more like all the news I can squeeze into a 15-minute podcast. And, well, actually it’s more like news and analysis and WHATEVER YOU’RE NOT THE POLICE OF ME!

In today’s cavity-fighting* episode:

  • Minecraft studio Mojang, which I took a stab at pronouncing, finds itself sued by ZeniMax over use of the word “Scrolls.”  I wish I were joking, and so does Bethesda.
  • Someone looks to hand Rovio a fat sack of cash for purposes yet unknown.  Who could benefit from Rovio owing them money?  Oh, where to begin.
  • 3DS analysis: Reggie discusses where it stumbled and the plan for going forward.  Yeah, who among us could have predicted that launching without Zelda could be a problem?
  • Meanwhile, Sony refuses to blink in reaction to the 3DS price cut.  All they have to do is not run stupid advertising.  How hard could it be, right?  …guys?
  • Reggie also makes passing mention of “watching what happens in Europe” when asked about Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower.  Deliberate troll or accidental?  You decide!
  • What doesn’t worry me: Lonesome Road‘s delay.  What does: the possibility of being unable to convey my confusion over whatever Ulysses’ deal is.
  • As promised last week, I offer a semi-postmortem on the recent market insanity and what lies in store for us down the road.  Bottom line, brace yourselves and get popcorn.

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