Posts Tagged ‘Ubisoft’

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 – Weird Acts of Corporate Theater: 2012

Well, E3 has come and gone, the convention center’s been cleared out, and it’s all over but the shouting. Who were the winners? Staggeringly few, it would seem. Who were the losers? All of us. Behold:

  • Microsoft: You kids like Kinect, right?  I hope so, because we don’t have a single new idea on stage today, so here’s a bunch of stuff you already knew was coming…
  • …and also the SmartGlass, designed for people who can’t wait until after the show or game to look up supplementary trivia.
  • Sony: Don’t worry guys, we’ll save E3!  Look, David Cage is making another movie!  And we’ve got Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed 3 DLC, and The Last of Us!
  • The Vita?  What’s that?  Oh… ohhhh, right, we were supposed to market that!  Oh god, we totally forgot!  Quick, throw some Black Ops on there, they won’t know the difference!
  • Nintendo: Pfft, amateurs.  Here’s how you save E3: Pikmin, Mario, more Mario, the balance board, karaoke, and minigames!  Bam, done!  Just hand us your money as you walk out.
  • What do you mean, “Where was the Zelda?”  Look, uh… we’re, um, still working on that.  Maybe there’s a Fire Emblem for the 3DS or something, I really don’t know.  No more questions!
  • Ubisoft: In spite of our utterly unlikeable hosts, we are the only company with a halfway decent gaming roster to show this year.  This, ladies and gents, is the face of despair.
  • My liver will never forgive me for all the drinking I put it through.

 
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What Happened This Week – Capitalism, Ho!

Yes, I’m late to the party on Recettear.  But it’s never too late to make money through overpriced goods!  Anyway, hello everybody!  We’re back from break and ready to tackle the news, and what a couple weeks it has been:

  • Facebook files for its $5 billion IPO, appearing every bit a giant of the tech sector until people start asking how much one would really pay for social networking.
  • In the process we learn that Zynga makes up about 12% of Facebook’s earnings.  As a reminder, Zynga is currently looking for ways to survive without Facebook.  Happy filing, Mr. Zuckerberg!
  • Kazuo Hirai formally assumes his role as President and CEO of Sony, to which his exact words are “Holy s***, now what?”  Truer words have rarely been spoken.
  • Double Fine’s Kickstarter project succeeds far beyond expectations, suggesting a viable path for small-to-midsize developers outside the usual publisher song and dance.  I wouldn’t hold my breath for a rash of publicly-funded games, however.
  • Amazon plans to open a retail store in Seattle, apparently in a bid to corner the market on physical depictions of irony.
  • THQ faces a slew of financial difficulties, from shedding 175 jobs to a potential delisting on the Nasdaq.  They should’ve rolled the North Korean taco truck around some more for Homefront.
  • Square Enix posts a decent profit for 2011, a man named William Fourkiller (OK state rep) wants to tax violent games, Ubisoft’s always-on DRM schemes backfire, and more!

 
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What Happened This Week – Push Button, Receive Social Commentary

While you can’t stop the signal, you can certainly delay it an awful lot by having a wonky, uncooperative internet connection. Yes, at long last that issue’s been resolved and I can get back to updating in a timely fashion, which means more news for you and more chances to posit that Deus Ex is our true Lord and savior. But in the meantime, let’s play catch-up and discuss what happened the past couple weeks:

  • H.R. 3261, the Kill the Internet Stop Online Piracy Act, gains a surprising amount of steam with a who’s who of big-name supporters.  I’m not normally one to pray for Congressional gridlock, but these are hardly normal circumstances.
  • In a related story, I Am Alive‘s creative director cancels the PC version, blaming piracy and accusing PC gamers of bitching…
  • …as Valve, Steam, and Croteam make compelling counterarguments in the form of “make your games less of a hassle to buy and play” and “stop making people hate you.”
  • Bethesda’s probably-not-serious “name your kid Dovahkiin” proposal from a while ago has at last found a taker.  World, meet Dovahkiin Tom Kellermeyer, born 11/11/11.
  • Zynga’s CBO steps down, forfeiting a large chunk of stock while staying on the board in an advisory capacity.  Meanwhile, tech stocks take another brutal dive on Mr. Keynes’ Wild Ride.
  • Meanwhile, Skyrim sets sales records by being awesome.
  • BioWare’s new property might be well outside their comfort zone, Namco-Bandai brings the Tales studio back into the fold, and NPR introduces us all to the mad genius behind Cow Clicker.  Read the whole story if you can, it’s a doozy.

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What Happened This Week – Coercion: Our New Business Strategy

Hello all! Thanks for sticking with us, got some news fresh out of the oven for you fine folks. As an aside, going to be out of town for the week of Thanksgiving so the next episode will be uploaded on the 27th. Enjoy the week, have a happy preemptive Turkey Day, and in the meantime let’s get to tonight’s topics:

  • Zynga is caught forcing employees to either surrender stock or be fired, so they can turn around and use that stock to hire other people. Pretty sure breach-of-contract lawsuits start more or less like this.
  • Steam servers get hacked, and while the damage appears limited Valve kindly reminded people to change passwords and watch credit card activity. See? Was that hard?
  • Meanwhile, CD Projekt reveals digital sales numbers for The Witcher 2, offering a glimpse of the effect the Steam Collective has on the market.
  • A slight error and some carelessness resulted in Japanese MMO M2 being completely deleted, which ironically is the first I’ve ever heard of the game.
  • Sony reveals its complicated UMD conversion process to play PSP games on the Vita. Considering this is currently only in Japan, where the PSP is still an active platform, I can only guess at the the intended audience.
  • Ubisoft says “buy Rayman Origins if you want more Beyond Good and Evil,” armed Frenchmen steal copies of Modern Warfare 3, and more!

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What Happened This Week – This Belongs in a Museum

How’s things, everybody?  It’s that time again, time to pick back up Valkryia Chronicles 2 and prepare my New Vegas dude for the next batch of DLC.  But before we do that, join me as we discuss the news and celebrate my favorite British Let’s Player getting his very own fanart.  In this week’s headlines:

  • Yeah, more lolSony: SOE goes offline, still more personal data is compromised, and congressional testimony reveals uncomfortable information about Sony’s security.
  • Friendly reminder: SOE laid off hundreds back in March, and our poor economy is literally driving people insane.  Just saying.
  • Too Human is still on the agenda for Silicon Knights, and Dyack still blames the mess on Epic.  Technoviking is not convinced.
  • Ubisoft is launching a movie/TV studio.  That faint screaming you hear is me, as the act of typing that made me remember it.
  • The Smithsonian tallies the votes on their Art of Videogames Exhibition.  I give my reactions to some of the picks.  Check out the whole list here.
  • NPD speaks on the mobile games market, 1UP gets picked up by IGN, and I nostalgia like it’s 1993.

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