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    Developer

    If anything is worth doing, it's worth overdoing.

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  • Hothead Games Interview: Penny Arcade's Episodic Game Series

    Hothead Games Interview: Penny Arcade's Episodic Game Series

    Recently we sad down for an interview with Hothead Games’ Joel DeYoung, producer of the Penny Arcade episodic game series. After the success of Episode One and the recent showing of Episode Two at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) convention, it is time to get more information to wet your whistle.

    read more | digg story
  • Hole in Adobe software allows free movie downloads

    Hole in Adobe software allows free movie downloads

    Hole in Adobe software allows free movie downloads

    Daisuke Wakabayashi, Reuters

    Published: Saturday, September 27, 2008

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - A security hole in Adobe Systems Inc software, used to distribute movies and TV shows over the Internet, is giving users free access to record and copy from Amazon.com Inc's video streaming service.

    The problem exposes online video content to the rampant piracy that plagued the music industry during the Napster era and is undermining efforts by retailers, movie studios and television networks to cash in on a huge Web audience.

    "It's a fundamental flaw in the Adobe design. This was designed stupidly," said Bruce Schneier, a security expert who is also the chief security technology officer at British Telecom.

    The flaw rests in Adobe's Flash video servers that are connected to the company's players installed in nearly all of the world's Web-connected computers.

    The software doesn't encrypt online content, but only orders sent to a video player such as start and stop play. To boost download speeds, Adobe dropped a stringent security feature that protects the connection between the Adobe software and its players.

    "Adobe is committed to the security of all of our products, from our players to our server software. Adobe invests a considerable amount of ongoing effort to help protect users from potential vulnerabilities," it said in a statement.

    Adobe said it issued a security bulletin earlier this month about how best to protect online content and called on its customers to couple its software security with a feature that verifies the validity of its video player.

    An Amazon spokesman said content on the company's Video On Demand service, which offers as many as 40,000 movies and TV shows on its Web site, cannot be pirated using video stream catching software.

    However, in tests by Reuters, at least one program to record online video, the Replay Media Catcher from Applian Technologies, recorded movies from Amazon and other sites that use Adobe's encryption technology together with its video player verification.

    "Adobe's (stream) is not really encrypted," said Applian CEO Bill Dettering. "One of the downfalls with how they have architected the software is that people can capture the streams. I fully expect them to do something more robust in the near future."

    HOW IT WORKS

    The free demo version of Replay Media Catcher allows anyone to watch 75 percent of anything recorded and 100 percent of YouTube videos. For $39, a user can watch everything recorded.

    One Web site -- www.tvadfree.com -- explains step-by-step how to use the video stream catching software.

    Amazon.com's Adobe-powered Video On Demand service allows viewers to watch the first two minutes of a movie or TV show for free. It charges up to $3.99 to rent a movie for 24 hours and up to $14.99 to download a movie permanently.

    Amazon starts to stream the entire movie during the free preview -- even though it pauses the video on the Web browser after the first two minutes -- so that users can start watching the rest of the video right away once they pay.

    click for more...

  • Xbox Live Arcade Sees Summer Sales Spike

    Xbox Live Arcade Sees Summer Sales Spike

    Hot titles like Braid, Castle Crashers have really boosted Microsoft popular Xbox Live Arcade service lately. The monthly revenue high in August was broken by 67%.

    by James Brightman on Friday, September 26, 2008

    Xbox Live Arcade Sees Summer Sales Spike

    Microsoft today highlighted its successful summer for Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) releases. Over roughly five weeks, the so-called "Summer of Arcade" introduced new players to XBLA at a "record pace." Games like Castle Crashers, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, Bionic Commando: Rearmed, Galaga Legions, and the much praised Braid (the No. 1 highest-rated game of all time on XBLA) helped to fuel the "most successful season on record for the downloadable games service," Microsoft boasted.

    During the five-week period, Microsoft said that there was a 58 percent increase in unique members purchasing titles, and in August specifically the monthly revenue high was broken by 67 percent. August also marked the first time that an XBLA game found itself in the top three most-viewed pages on Xbox.com.

    "At E3, we committed to re-focusing the Xbox Live Arcade business, vowing to release bigger and better games while focusing on quality and not quantity," said Marc Whitten, general manager of Xbox LIVE. "The debut of the new strategy proved to be a huge success, with the Summer of Arcade making August the highest grossing month to date. But the focus on quality games doesn't stop with the Summer of Arcade. We have plenty more great titles coming out in the next few months and beyond that we think will continue to fuel this incredible momentum."

    In the coming months, XBLA gamers will see Portal: Still Alive, South Park and R-Type Dimensions, among others. via GameDaily

  • Pachter: Recent Sell-Off of GameStop Shares 'Overdone'

    Pachter: Recent Sell-Off of GameStop Shares 'Overdone'

    Analyst Michael Pachter does not believe that decelerating comp growth indicates slowing earnings growth for GameStop.

    by James Brightman on Monday, September 29, 2008

    Pachter: Recent Sell-Off of GameStop Shares 'Overdone'

    Countering investors' fears, in his latest industry note on leading video games retailer GameStop, Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter has decided to raise his rating on the stock from "Hold" to "Buy" (although he lowered the price target to $43.50) and he stated that the recent sell-off of GameStop shares has been "overdone."

    "The company reported same store sales of 29%, 46%, 17%, 27% and 20% over the last five quarters, and guided for comps of flat to +2% for the October 2008 quarter, due to extraordinary comparisons to October 2007 (46.3%), when the launch of Microsoft's Halo 3 game was accompanied by price cuts for both the PS3 and the Xbox 360, and a dramatic increase in overall hardware sales. This year, software sales growth is expected to be modestly higher, but hardware sales growth is expected to be roughly flat with a slight market share shift to mass merchants. Thus, we believe that GameStop's guidance is credible, although likely somewhat conservative," he said.

    Pachter explained that "concerns about the economy have impacted GameStop shares, as investors appear to fear that consumers will 'roll over' and that video game sales will slow this holiday." He completely disagrees with these concerns, however. Although there may not be any one title on the scale of Halo 3, there is a strong pipeline of titles on its way in the next few months.

    "...hardcore gamers (most of whom have already purchased a console) will line up at GameStop's doors in anticipation of key holiday releases like LittleBigPlanet, Animal Crossing, Gears of War 2, Call of Duty, Guitar Hero World Tour, Quantum of Solace, WWE and Rock Band 2. We think that GameStop remains the destination for new games, and believe that the company will attract trade-ins of used merchandise in order to provide its key constituents (13 – 18 year old boys with limited resources) the currency needed to purchase new games. These trade-ins will, in turn, position the company to deliver higher used game sales going forward, further widening the competitive advantage in software sales that GameStop enjoys over mass merchants," he said.

    Ultimately, Pachter believes GameStop is "well positioned to continue its dramatic earnings growth for at least the next two years." via GameDaily

  • PlayStation Network Cards Coming to Walmart, Best Buy

    PlayStation Network Cards Coming to Walmart, Best Buy

    Starting this fall, PlayStation Network Cards will be available in Walmart, Best Buy, Sam's Club and Barnes & Noble locations.

    by David Radd on Friday, September 26, 2008

    PlayStation Network Cards Coming to Walmart, Best Buy

    Sony Computer Entertainment America today announced that they are expanding the availability of the PlayStation Network Cards. Walmart, Best Buy, and select Sam's Club outlets will start carrying them in October 2008, with Barnes & Noble College Bookstores locations following in November 2008. PlayStation Network Cards, available in $20.00 and $50.00 increments for the purchase of games, movies, TV shows, themes and other content, can be found now at Blockbuster, Pamida, Meijer Superstores and Speedway store locations.

    "The PlayStation Network Cards are an easy way for PSP and PS3 fans to obtain great games, movies, TV shows and other entertainment through PlayStation Network and we are pleased to offer them at major retailers nationwide," said Eric Lempel, director, PlayStation Network Operations, SCEA. "With the holiday season right around the corner, these cards are an ideal gift option for friends and family, whether they are movie aficionados, dedicated gamers or something in between."

  • INgrooves is on Target; Launches Distribution of Content for Universal Music Group

    INgrooves is on Target; Launches Distribution of Content for Universal Music Group

    Less than six months after strategic investment deal,
    INgrooves begins delivering UMG Distributed Label content to online retailers.
    SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 24


    SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- INgrooves, the leading digital
    distributor and label, Universal Music Canada (UMC), and Universal Music Group
    Distribution (UMGD), the award winning sales and marketing division of
    Universal Music Group (UMG), announced the successful launch of INgrooves'
    distribution services on behalf of UMG's U.S. and Canadian Distributed Labels.
    Over the next few months, INgrooves will increase the amount of content
    distributed to all UMG online and mobile partners until all delivery functions
    for UMG's Distributed Labels are handled by INgrooves.

    "Universal is committed to providing our labels, artists and business
    partners with the very best distribution and marketing services in the
    industry," stated Jim Urie, President & CEO of Universal Music Group
    Distribution. "As such, INgrooves enables the kind of flexibility in digital
    delivery and e-commerce that ultimately allows us to offer even more new
    creative outlets for our labels and more value for our business partners."

    "We are thrilled with the early and successful launch of our INgrooves
    partnership. This new alliance is the beginning of an even stronger digital
    future for Universal Music Group," commented Randy Lennox, CEO of Universal
    Music Canada.

    UMG made a strategic investment in INgrooves on March 31st, 2008 with the
    goal of leveraging INgrooves' proprietary software platform to help manage
    digital distribution for UMG's Distributed Labels. UMC and UMGD will continue
    to provide marketing and promotional support for its labels, allowing
    INgrooves to continue to focus on providing similar services to its frontline
    clients.

    "With the unwavering support of our partners at UMG, we were able to
    seamlessly integrate their U.S. and Canadian business partners and content
    into our platform on schedule," commented Robb McDaniels, INgrooves President
    & CEO. "Additionally, our existing independent label clients have already
    begun benefiting from the increased breadth of distribution and functionality
    of the platform that has resulted from this strategic partnership."

    INgrooves is a digital media infrastructure company that provides various
    distribution and marketing services via its INgrooves and ONE Digital
    services. ONE Digital uses the company's proprietary software platform to
    provide distribution and administration to large distributors, record labels
    and film production companies at rates far below the industry standard.
    INgrooves provides clients customized distribution, marketing, promotion,
    synch licensing and administrative support to help maximize the earnings
    potential of specific releases or catalogues. For more information, check out
    http://www.ingrooves.com.

    via EarthTimes
  • GameTap sold to Metaboli

    GameTap sold to Metaboli

    by Blake Ellison Sep 24, 2008 5:20pm CST tags: GameTap
    GameTap, Turner Broadcasting's digital distribution service for PC games, has been sold to Paris-based Metaboli, a European digital distribution service provider.

    Under the agreement, the subscription-based game service will carry on business as usual. In 2009, after "a transition period," Metaboli will take direct control of the GameTap brand. Gamers will experience no interruption to their service.

    "The addition of GameTap provides us a foothold in the U.S. market," said Metaboli CEO Pierre Gaudet in a press release. Turner will still hold a stake in the company.

    The announcement comes less than two months after Turner announced its intention to sell GameTap by taking an $18 million writeoff.

    via shacknews
  • GameTap Partners with Metaboli to Form Global Service

    GameTap Partners with Metaboli to Form Global Service

    Turner will retain the GameTap brand for a little longer, but then Metaboli will take over management of the GameTap business in 2009.

    by James Brightman on Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    GameTap Partners with Metaboli to Form Global Service

    Over the summer, Turner Broadcasting parent Time Warner revealed that the GameTap online game service was up for sale. Rather than being sold off immediately, however, the company has retained the brand and partnered with Metaboli, S.A., a leading games-on-demand service, to create a global online gaming service under the GameTap brand in the U.S. and Metaboli brand in Europe.

    The GameTap business will continue as usual by offering its users arcade, console and PC games from a library of several hundred titles. Now, however, its presence will also be felt on a global basis as Metaboli handles the European side. By early 2009 though, Metaboli will essentially be in complete control of the entire business. The agreement specifies that "Turner Broadcasting will continue to manage GameTap operations and provide technical and migration support through a transition period to conclude in early 2009, at which time Metaboli will assume direct management of the GameTap business and brand. GameTap will continue to be based in Atlanta and Turner will become an equity investor in the combined entity going forward."

    "GameTap is a significant strategic addition to our portfolio of established online gaming services in Europe," said Pierre Gaudet, CEO of Paris-based Metaboli. "The addition of GameTap provides us a foothold in the U.S. market; valuable content and an established brand that integrate well with our existing operations; and a partner with whom we are honored to be in business."

    "Our priority for all of our networks and businesses is growth," said Stuart Snyder, who as president and chief operating officer of Turner Broadcasting's Animation, Young Adult & Kids Media group has overseen GameTap. "Partnering with Metaboli significantly enhances GameTap's growth prospects by leveraging our respective strengths. Metaboli's recognized white label expertise, combined with GameTap's vast game library, publishing agreements and brand equity will now offer turn key solutions to ISPs, Portals, Retailers and Publishers in the United States. There's upside here for everyone, but especially for gaming enthusiasts around the world."

  • What's the Best Video Game Download Service?

    What's the Best Video Game Download Service?

    A review of 5 leading game download services: Steam, Impulse, Direct2Drive, Good Old Games, and WildTangent Orb.

    read more | digg story
  • Trion Raises $70 Million; Server-Based Games Are the Future, says Lars Buttler

    Trion Raises $70 Million; Server-Based Games Are the Future, says Lars Buttler

    Are consoles going bye-bye? Server-based gaming means that ultimately, the devices don't matter. We speak at length with Trion CEO Lars Buttler about the huge funding he received and his vision for the future of games.

    by James Brightman on Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    Trion Raises $70 Million; Server-Based Games Are the Future, says Lars Buttler

    Trion World Network, led by co-founder and CEO Lars Buttler (former vice president for Global Online at Electronic Arts), has yet to launch a product, and yet their vision for server-based gaming has clearly impressed investors. Today, the company has announced that it's raised another $70 million in Series C funding, which incredibly brings the company's funding total to more than $100 million (since 2006).

    The latest round of funding was co-led by a large global financial institution and Act II Capital. Additionally, all previous investors participated in this round, including DCM, Trinity Ventures, Rustic Canyon, Time Warner, Peacock Equity (a joint venture between GE Commercial Finance's Media, Communications & Entertainment business and NBC Universal) and Bertelsmann.

    Investors have cheered the server-based model that Trion believes will drive the future of the games industry.

    "Trion's server-based games model is driving the future of interactive entertainment," said Peter W. Moran, a general partner of DCM. "Trion is liberating games and other forms of digital entertainment by taking them out of the package and putting them online where they constantly evolve for the end-user. Benefits for gamers, developers and publishers are seemingly endless."

    "All the big publishers, including Microsoft, are talking about server-based games as the next big thing."

    "Trion is set to redefine today's electronic entertainment sector through its ability to develop compelling broadband-connected games, innovative entertainment content and strong business relationships like its co-development deal with the SCI FI Channel," added Tom Byrne, managing director and group head, Peacock Equity. "We are focused on gaming as an attractive space and are pleased to deepen our relationship with Trion as they bring together the best of gaming, the Web and television."

    For Buttler, the latest round of funding is not only a huge vote of confidence, but also affirmation that the industry is going to make a fundamental shift away from retail. "This signifies a shift away from static retail products and towards games as dynamic services which will be simulated increasingly 'in the cloud'," he said. "With its industry-defining server-based games platform, worldwide publishing capabilities, an ever-growing network of AAA development studios, unrivaled partnerships in media and technology, and now significant capital in the bank, Trion is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the next cycle of electronic entertainment."

    GameDaily BIZ sat down with Buttler in New York prior to Trion's announcement. We could tell that he was truly ecstatic about his company's strategy and the major funding he'd just received.

    "The market is in this huge transition from the first big business cycle in games – the first 30 years – where you really had games as retail products. It's packaged software; they can't be changed once they're done. [Now] thanks to broadband and connected devices it's become this huge business opportunity called games as a service, or server-based gaming. All the big publishers, including Microsoft, are talking about server-based games as the next big thing," Buttler began.

    One of the reasons investors have give Trion a big vote of confidence is that the company has created the Trion Platform, a large-scale technological architecture that empowers companies to run "super high quality" games server-side. This is not the same thing as streaming the games, said Buttler, but it's very close. All the components that really drive the game – such as physics, transactions, world data, player data, AI, etc. – no longer reside in an individual client, PC or console, but are instead on a server.

    We asked if this should be considered a major threat to retail just as digital distribution could be, but "It's not so black and white," said Buttler. "Whenever you create a new channel, the first thing people do is take their old content and distribute it in the new way – and this is really what game distribution online is all about today. It's still games made for the traditional packaged goods market mainly, but now they are also sold online. ... That's the first step only. It's analogous to when cable TV started – the first thing that happened was NBC and ABC were put on cable. We go much, much further and basically say, 'Content itself and all the business models around it and the development model is changed by broadband – not only distribution.' It doesn't make sense to take games made for a retail environment and just sell them online."

    Continue...

  • EA Sports Embracing Inevitable Digital Distribution Future

    EA Sports Embracing Inevitable Digital Distribution Future

    GameStop must love those big annual Madden sales, but in the not so distant future GameStop might not even be part of the equation. Peter Moore comments on digital distribution and EA Sports...

    by James Brightman on Friday, September 19, 2008

    EA Sports Embracing Inevitable Digital Distribution Future

    GameStop CEO Dan DeMatteo doesn't believe that digital distribution of full-size video games will be a reality for quite some time, but that's not necessarily how the rest of the industry sees it. In fact, EA Sports sees the industry inevitably headed towards an all digital distribution future.

    Speaking in the final (fifth!) part of Guardian's ongoing interview with EA Sports label president Peter Moore, the former Xbox executive talked about EA Sports getting ready to "make some major announcements of licensees that will be taking the EA Sports brand in different places," and he also weighed in on the digital distribution debate.

    "The one thing that will change is whether it's going to be a physical packaged goods model, or whether it's going to be direct to consumer download," he said. "There will be a time when we don't ship it on a physical disc, it's not far away, in fact we're already doing it in Asia, and we might give you the core game for free, but then you start buying downloads, micro-transactions, we'll sponsor some stuff, and start shifting the business model away from 'I need to get your £49 and then say goodbye to you when you walk out of Game', I want to talk to you everyday, I want to give you things everyday that keep you in contact with me, I want a relationship with you as a consumer 365 days a year."

    Referring to the struggles of the music industry and how EA is looking to avoid repeating the music business mistakes, Moore added, "We've gone from connected consumers being the minority to connected consumers being the majority. We need to look three years into the future and say it's going to be a completely different business, because of broadband connections. I am not going to be at the helm of a company that ends up like the music business that refused to stop trying to sell you CDs for £15 because it was a hugely profitable model."

    Ultimately, Moore believes shifting to the digital distribution will be both the biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity for the video game industry.

    "...we're going to evolve, we're going to go faster for the consumer, whatever the consumer wants. So in the future hard drives are going to be bigger, broadband is going to be faster and we're going to look back and laugh at the fact that we used to drive to the store to buy a piece of plastic with data on it. That business model isn't going to exist – I don't know whether it's going to be five years from now or ten years, but it's not going to be around anymore," he said.

  • EA seeks to remedy its 'Spore' DRM mistake

    EA seeks to remedy its 'Spore' DRM mistake

    Applying a Band-Aid to a gaping head wound, Electronic Arts has decided to apply more liberal protections to its hit game Spore. As reported in The Wall Street Journal, the game maker plans to expand the number of machines allowed under its digital righ

    read more | digg story
  • Changing the Digital Distribution Game

    Changing the Digital Distribution Game

    BitRaider today launched its new intelligent streaming technology at the Austin Game Developer Conference. This revolutionary technology promises to change the rules of digital distribution by letting players begin playing games when only ten percent of the installation is complete. Even more important, the player experience continues without noticeable interruption of play or reduced computing performance of the PC by the streaming of the game content in the background.

    "As gamers ourselves we understand that just starting to play quickly isn't the only challenge. We want the experience to be the same as if it were already pre-installed without any hit in performance. For gamers, they just want to play, they really do not want to be involved with how the download is being performed," said Royal O'Brien, Founder and CEO of BitRaider. "Building a technology that is virtually invisible, yet delivers a quality play experience, is what changes the entire download distribution game."

    Whether it's a MMO, FPS, or casual game, the BitRaider technology intuitively knows how to stream and dynamically adapt to the needed assets ahead of the game play. The technology leverages today's multiprocessor / multicore systems by adaptive multithreading and tapping into the systems unused processing power.

    "I believe this technology will create a sea change in the digital distribution of games and massively affect the economics of gaming entertainment," said Jay Moore, BitRaider's Director of Business Development and Founder of The Strategery Group. "I see a very wide variety of exciting new ventures, and I joined this one in a capacity beyond my normal advisory board role because I believe BitRaider will truly change the course of gaming."

    BitRaider technology works without any integration and automatically performs all of the mundane steps of installation by packaging ready to play final game files. BitRaider utilizes a small loader program that locates the needed streaming assets, installs the package, and runs the BitRaider profiled file for the player. It has been tested to work without conflict with all major DRM and virus protection software.

    About BitRaider

    BitRaider, LLC, is a Jacksonville, FL based corporation founded to create a meaningful change in how gaming entertainment is consumed.

    http://www.bitraider.com

    via PRnewsNow

  • Guitar Hero Downloads Subscription Being Considered

    Guitar Hero Downloads Subscription Being Considered

    While not announced yet, Activision said it is looking at possibly offering its customers a subscription option for downloading songs each month.

    by James Brightman on Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Guitar Hero Downloads Subscription Being Considered

    Having already decided to milk the Guitar Hero franchise for all its worth, Activision Blizzard recently commented on the possibility of working with other business models on the downloadable song end of things. For people who purchase a lot of songs in Guitar Hero, a subscription model that allows one to download as much as he/she wants might be a better value proposition – and that's exactly what Activision is evaluating.

    At the recent Activision Blizzard Analyst Day, Activision Publishing CEO Mike Griffith commented, "Looking even further out, we're exploring new models, like an annual pass subscription where players can subscribe and get a certain number of songs downloadable each month."

    He continued, "We've learned that the consumer still has an insatiable appetite for more. Consumers have downloaded over 20 million individual songs for the franchise, and they still tell us they want more."

    Of course, nothing is confirmed just yet, but with these music games being viewed more as a platform rather than standalone product, introducing alternative payment options seems wise.

    Guitar Hero continues to be an incredibly important franchise for Activision and it's no surprise that the company will try to monetize it in any way possible. Griffith also commented on the success of the recent Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, which he said "delivered 10x the revenue compared to Aerosmith's most recently released CD in 2004, when comparing equivalent launch periods."

    Getty
    29 photos
    Previous
    Next
    Delivering the largest on-disc set list in a music-rhythm game to-date, Guitar Hero World Tour is comprised entirely of master recordings from some of the greatest classic and modern rock bands of all-time including Van Halen, Linkin Park, The Eagles, Sublime and many more. Additionally, the game will offer significantly more localized downloadable music than ever before on all of the next-generation consoles. Budding rock stars will also be given creative license to fully customize everything from their characters' appearance and instruments to their band's logo and album covers. Guitar Hero World Tour delivers more ways to play than ever before. Virtual musicians can live out their rock and roll fantasies by playing either a single instrument, or any combination of instruments, in addition to the full band experience. In addition to all of the online gameplay modes from Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Guitar Hero World Tour introduces Battle of the Bands mode which allows eight players to join online and challenge each other band-to-band to determine who is the best of the best. In the Band modes, up to four players can jam together, online or off, as they progress through the game, and in single-player Career Mode, players can jam on any of the instruments in branching venue progression enabling them to rock out in the order of their choice. (Screenshot 1 of 29)
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    Spore Screenshots

      Spore, the highly anticipated game from the creators of The Sims, gives players their own personal universe in a box. Create and evolve life, establish tribes, build civilizations, sculpt entire worlds and explore a universe created by other gamers. Spore gives players a wealth of creative tools to customize nearly every aspect of their universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even UFOs. Players can then seamlessly share their creations with the world or explore infinite new galaxies created by other gamers. (Screenshot 1 of 112)

      Spore, the highly anticipated game from the creators of The Sims, gives players their own personal universe in a box. Create and evolve life, establish tribes, build civilizations, sculpt entire worlds and explore a universe created by other gamers. Spore gives players a wealth of creative tools to customize nearly every aspect of their universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even UFOs. Players can then seamlessly share their creations with the world or explore infinite new galaxies created by other gamers. (Screenshot 2 of 112)

      Spore, the highly anticipated game from the creators of The Sims, gives players their own personal universe in a box. Create and evolve life, establish tribes, build civilizations, sculpt entire worlds and explore a universe created by other gamers. Spore gives players a wealth of creative tools to customize nearly every aspect of their universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even UFOs. Players can then seamlessly share their creations with the world or explore infinite new galaxies created by other gamers. (Screenshot 3 of 112)

      Spore, the highly anticipated game from the creators of The Sims, gives players their own personal universe in a box. Create and evolve life, establish tribes, build civilizations, sculpt entire worlds and explore a universe created by other gamers. Spore gives players a wealth of creative tools to customize nearly every aspect of their universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even UFOs. Players can then seamlessly share their creations with the world or explore infinite new galaxies created by other gamers. (Screenshot 4 of 112)

      Spore, the highly anticipated game from the creators of The Sims, gives players their own personal universe in a box. Create and evolve life, establish tribes, build civilizations, sculpt entire worlds and explore a universe created by other gamers. Spore gives players a wealth of creative tools to customize nearly every aspect of their universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even UFOs. Players can then seamlessly share their creations with the world or explore infinite new galaxies created by other gamers. (Screenshot 5 of 112)

      Spore, the highly anticipated game from the creators of The Sims, gives players their own personal universe in a box. Create and evolve life, establish tribes, build civilizations, sculpt entire worlds and explore a universe created by other gamers. Spore gives players a wealth of creative tools to customize nearly every aspect of their universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even UFOs. Players can then seamlessly share their creations with the world or explore infinite new galaxies created by other gamers. (Screenshot 6 of 112)

      Spore, the highly anticipated game from the creators of The Sims, gives players their own personal universe in a box. Create and evolve life, establish tribes, build civilizations, sculpt entire worlds and explore a universe created by other gamers. Spore gives players a wealth of creative tools to customize nearly every aspect of their universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even UFOs. Players can then seamlessly share their creations with the world or explore infinite new galaxies created by other gamers. (Screenshot 7 of 112)

      Spore, the highly anticipated game from the creators of The Sims, gives players their own personal universe in a box. Create and evolve life, establish tribes, build civilizations, sculpt entire worlds and explore a universe created by other gamers. Spore gives players a wealth of creative tools to customize nearly every aspect of their universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even UFOs. Players can then seamlessly share their creations with the world or explore infinite new galaxies created by other gamers. (Screenshot 8 of 112)

      Spore, the highly anticipated game from the creators of The Sims, gives players their own personal universe in a box. Create and evolve life, establish tribes, build civilizations, sculpt entire worlds and explore a universe created by other gamers. Spore gives players a wealth of creative tools to customize nearly every aspect of their universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even UFOs. Players can then seamlessly share their creations with the world or explore infinite new galaxies created by other gamers. (Screenshot 9 of 112)

      Spore, the highly anticipated game from the creators of The Sims, gives players their own personal universe in a box. Create and evolve life, establish tribes, build civilizations, sculpt entire worlds and explore a universe created by other gamers. Spore gives players a wealth of creative tools to customize nearly every aspect of their universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even UFOs. Players can then seamlessly share their creations with the world or explore infinite new galaxies created by other gamers. (Screenshot 10 of 112)


    Thanks to ShackNews.

    via GameDaily

  • Rumor: Google About to Acquire Valve?

    Rumor: Google About to Acquire Valve?

    “Well placed sources tell us that Google is going to be buying Valve any second now,” reads the report, which goes on to say that Steam, Valve’s digital distribution platform, is the principal reason Google hopes to snap up the Bellevue, Washington-based Half-Life creator.

    read more | digg story
  • Atari to Become a Billion Dollar Distribution Force, says Gardner

    Atari to Become a Billion Dollar Distribution Force, says Gardner

    With an investment from Namco Bandai, Infogrames boss David Gardner believes that his company's distribution business across Europe can become a billion dollar force.

    by James Brightman on Monday, September 15, 2008

    Atari to Become a Billion Dollar Distribution Force, says Gardner

    Last week, Infogrames and Namco Bandai Games revealed a strategic partnership for a new business entity devoted to distribution. Following the news, Infogrames CEO David Gardner explained the business strategy to MCV. Gardner believes Infogrames has a distinct advantage over other top publishers, and he thinks that distribution can be a booming business for his company.

    "I think it's very interesting because thanks to this deal we're creating a PAL market distribution force that's largely independent," he stated. "If you look at Electronic Arts or Activision, they're too busy with their own products to properly take care of third party products."

    "We have the opportunity to show people that there is a high quality pan-European solution. Now we can offer the market one company, not dominated by anyone, that has a management team just focused on distribution – not getting confused by making games or any other conflicting interests. I think if you look at the total European distribution market, EA, Activision and Ubisoft probably have half," he continued. "And you've got the other half of the market trying to figure out how to get to retail – I think that this company should be able to get 25 per cent of that business – it should be able to, over time, become a billion dollar distribution force across Europe and PAL markets." via GameDaily

  • August 2008 game sales In-Depth

    August 2008 game sales In-Depth


    SOFTWARE Top 10

    While Madden dominated four of the top 10 slots this month, there were several other notable games whose sales deserve mention.



    Perhaps the most talked-about game of August was Too Human, developed by Silicon Knights and published by Microsoft Game Studios. With the game's controversial director, Denis Dyack, consistently featured in the press, expectations for the game were varied. Ultimately, consumers purchased 168,200 copies of the game in August, which earned it the #8 spot for the month. That makes it one of the weaker first-month showings for a title published by Microsoft Game Studios.



    Nintendo's Wii Play appears to have secured a near-permanent spot in the monthly top 10 as it completes its 19th month on the chart. With year-to-date sales of nearly 2.5 million units, it will be a top 10 selling title for 2008 just as it was in 2007.

    Also in contention for the annual top 10 list is Nintendo's Wii Fit, which has now topped 1.8 million units, year-to-date. More importantly, sales of Wii Fit have accelerated since the month after its launch. It sold 75,000 units per week in June, 92,000 per week in July, and almost 99,000 per week in August. That kind of post-launch acceleration is unusual, even for Wii titles, and suggests that Nintendo is still fighting to meet demand.

    Finally, Nintendo's Mario Kart continues to deliver and has now reached over 2.7 million units in LTD sales. After reaching a low of 174,000 units in the month of July, Mario Kart rose to over 328,000 units in August, its fifth month in the top 10.

    Some hardcore RPG fans are no doubt interested in Namco-Bandai's Tales of Vesperia, the Xbox 360 exclusive entry in the long-running Tales series. According to data from the NPD Group, Tales of Vesperia ranked #58 for the month with 33,000 units sold during the 4 days after its 26 August launch.
    more @ edge
  • Review: Nike+ iPod Touch Workout App

    Review: Nike+ iPod Touch Workout App

    Despite looking forward to the iPod touch/iPhone integration of the Nike+ running dongle for over a year now, we can't help but feel slightly disappointed at the way this app is executed on the latest iPod touch. The Nike+ iPod software itself looks great—the red and white UI design matches up perfectly with Nike's own workout site—but there's just something missing. First, where's the grandfathered support for iPhone, iPhone 3G and first-gen iPod touch? More importantly, where are the expanded features that make great use of the touch's accelerometer, touchscreen or internet connection? Nowhere.


    The app itself works perfectly. As a longtime sporadic Nike+ iPod user on the old iPod nano, we can say that all those features we expect to be there are ported over with the right amount of care for the larger screen. But there's nothing really all that revolutionary. Custom workouts, where you can pre-set options for time, distance or playlist are a nice addition, and it's nice to look at your workout history in a clearer fashion, but how come we couldn't get charts and graphs like on the Nike site? Something like the chart below, fetched from our own online history, would have been an easy addition to the feature set. And where, my fit readers, is the communication between your iPod touch and your online Nike account?

    Our other complaint is that you're forced to buy the 2nd generation iPod touch in order to take advantage of the app. Plugging in the dongle to your iPhone, iPhone 3G or 1st generation touch isn't even an option. Even with firmware 2.1, you still get the "This accessory is not supported by iPhone" error. Why? The dongle solution works fine on iPod nanos, why couldn't Apple copy over the Nike+ app and make use of the transmitter?

    Despite our gripes about the lack of device support and lack of new features, we still love the app. It's much prettier and readable when running than the version on even the iPod nano 4G (which have the equivalent red and white larger icons), and if you're already a serious Nike+ iPod user, the touch is a slightly better way to do what you're already doing. It's not quite good enough for you to upgrade from your current device, but think of it as an added bonus if you were thinking about getting an iPod touch for yourself so you can pass off your old iPod nano to your spouse so he or she can get into shape too. [Amazon]

    via gizmodo

  • Best Buy buys Napster

    Best Buy buys Napster

    Hey guys, remember when Napster was relevant? You know, when it was the first peer-to-peer program and it changed the internet and music industry forever? Then, later, remember when it was turned into a pay service hoping to piggyback on the popularity of the brand? And everyone just moved on to Kazaa or Limewire or whatever? Well, apparently the Napster name still means something to some people, as Best Buy is purchasing it for a whopping $121 million.

    That insane price includes about $67 million of cash and investments, making the deal actually worth about $54 million, but that's still a lot of money. You've got to wonder what sorts of plans Best Buy has for the beleaguered music store, what with other online options such as iTunes and Amazon doing so much better. But I guess they're trying to make up for the steep drop-off in CD purchases in their stores over the last few years, which has got to have hurt their bottom line. Will they make serious changes to Napster to try to make it relevant again? We'll see. [Reuters]

    via gizmodo

  • Amazon Tries Wine Online...Again

    Amazon Tries Wine Online...Again

    Where are you going to get your wine for this year's holiday season? How about Amazon? That's right, next month the online retail giant will take another step to becoming your one-stop shopping experience when Amazon adds US-made wine to its catalog, according to reports.

    But don't get too excited just yet. Amazon will only be selling wine to customers in 26 states due to the complexity and confusion about online wine sales. Even though the Supreme Court struck down restrictions against out-of-state wine sales in 2005, online retailers are still nervous about the difficulties that come with interstate alcohol sales. To that end, Amazon is teaming up with New Vine Logistics, experts in interstate wine sales who have the ability to ship to about 45 states.

    Americans spent more than 30 billion dollars on wine last year, according to Barbar Insel of the Stonebridge Research Group, so it's no surprise that Amazon would want to tap that market. But Amazon has tried this before. In 1999-2000, the company had a stake in wineshopper.com, which lasted less than a year before it went bust.

    Then in 2005, shortly before the Supreme Court decision to free up interstate sales, Amazon partnered with Wine.com, but that turned into a gift basket business with no wine in sight.

    So will Amazon finally succeed where it has failed before? Possibly. Online retailing is more popular than ever, and online wine sales are taking off. There's no word yet on how Amazon will avoid selling to minors (I'm guessing that a transaction for a bottle of wine and a copy of Metal Gear Solid will set off some alarm bells) or which states will be included in the early-October launch.

    The good news is that wine will qualify for Amazon's discount shipping program, Amazon Prime, according to Terry Hall, who has been setting up workshops for California vintners interested in selling their goods on Amazon. via PC World

  • Atari: 'We'll be a billion dollar distributor'

    Atari: 'We'll be a billion dollar distributor'

    Namco Bandai’s investment in Infogrames’ European and Asian distribution business will create an entirely new spin-off firm that could bring up to a quarter of the European trade’s games to market.That was the message from...

    read more | digg story
  • Amazon sells books, CDs, DVDs, consumer electronics devices and wine!

    Amazon sells books, CDs, DVDs, consumer electronics devices and wine!

    Internet retail giant Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) Latest News about Amazon.com is muscling into the wine industry.

    The company plans to start selling wine from California's Napa Valley and other wine-producing regions in the U.S. later this year.

    Patty Smith, director of corporate communications at Amazon, declined to comment, saying the company "does not comment on rumors and speculation."

    However, Terry Hall, communications director for the Napa Valley Vintners Association, told the E-Commerce Times that Amazon's push into the wine business is already in the works.

    The nonprofit trade group counts 315 of the approximately 400 wineries in Napa as its members.

    The association has already held one workshop for its members to become familiar with selling wine through Amazon's heavily trafficked Web site. Another such workshop is scheduled for Friday.

    "We expect to see about 80 different wineries between the workshop we held on Sept. 4 and the one scheduled for tomorrow," Hall said.

    Good for the Wine Business

    "Amazon isn't the first company to sell wine over the Internet, but they have a lot of pull in the online market as the world's largest online retailer," Hall noted. "That's the exciting part. Consumers will get access to all those wines. It gives consumers a greater choice in what they can purchase, and gives wineries another venue to get their products out to consumers."

    With two-thirds of the wineries in Napa producing fewer than 10,000 cases of wine per year, Hall predicts many of the region's wineries that opt to sell through Amazon will be larger in size.

    That's because much of the inventory at smaller wineries is already committed to restaurants, bars, wine shops and other brick-and-mortar retailers.

    "Whether these small wineries have the wine to fulfill orders through Amazon is an open question," Hall said, "but even the smaller ones could end up putting their rare, hard-to-find wines or their premium wines on Amazon."

    A Tangle of Distribution Laws

    Unlike most of the items available on Amazon, alcohol is strictly regulated by a tangle of state laws, some of which date back to the Prohibition era.

    It won't be easy for Amazon to navigate this system of often arcane laws.

    "The biggest legal challenge Amazon will face is whether they can deliver wine to their customers," Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst with Forrester Research, told the E-Commerce Times. "There are pretty serious restrictions around delivery. You have to have someone sign for it."

    That's one of the reasons that Amazon is working with New Vine Logistics, a Napa, Calif.-based firm that handles wine order fulfillment.

    "Through the New Vine model Amazon is using, the company has distribution into 26 states, so about half of the states will be involved," Hall said. "Internet wine sales are not allowed in all states, and that goes back to alcohol distribution laws that were passed during the Prohibition era."

    First Books, Then DVDs, Now Wine

    Amazon's entry into the wine business comes as no surprise to Forrester's Mulpuru.

    "They're pretty much in every category except selling cars, travel and real estate. Those are the only holdouts I see," she said.

    However, selling wine is not likely to be as big a business for Amazon as selling books, CDs, consumer electronics devices and DVDs.

    "I don't think online wine selling is a huge industry," Mulpuru said. "If Amazon can pick up an additional (US)$20 million to $30 million in sales per year, I don't see much downside to this. I don't see this as a risky proposition."

    Amazon isn't the only player selling wine over the Internet. Wine.com has been doing so for years. In fact, Amazon could end up partnering with sites like Wine.com, suggested Mulpuru.

    "I don't think Amazon is out there to take anyone out of business," she said. "More likely, they look to partner with a lot of these sites. If Amazon could partner with Wine.com and get them to pay for the distribution while they just pay for the marketing Learn how you can enhance your email marketing program today. Free Trial - Click Here., that would be a win-win."

    via ecommercetimes

  • Funcom Solidifies Digital Distribution Deal

    Funcom Solidifies Digital Distribution Deal

    Content delivery software company Solid State Networks has partnered with Age of Conan (pictured) publisher Funcom with the goal of launching new digital distribution systems specifically built to deal with large game-oriented data files.

    Solid State’s first association with Funcom took place during the April beta of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures, where the company managed to deliver two petabytes of data to over 100,000 beta testers in just the span of a few days. The companies have since expanded their relationship; in June, Solid State took on the delivery of Funcom’s Anarchy Online, and now provides a variety of online services for the publisher.

    Solid State’s technology includes the use of a secure peer-to-peer transfer system based on BitTorrent paired with a more traditional content delivery network.

    Trond Ystanes, operations manager at Funcom, said of the company, “Solid State Networks understands gaming and game delivery and they continue to demonstrate their ability to create solutions that help us to overcome the challenges of delivering large games electronically to a global audience. We are extremely excited to announce our partnership because it represents an opportunity to make significant steps in the evolution of game delivery.”

    Solid State CEO Rick Buonincontri added, “We are proud to be playing such a crucial role in delivering Funcom’s games to players around the world and we will continue to strive to deliver the ultimate game acquisition experience as Funcom expands to other platforms and develops future projects.”

    via Edge

  • David Perry: GameStop CEO Spewing 'Nonsense,' Selling Film Cameras in a Digital World

    David Perry: GameStop CEO Spewing 'Nonsense,' Selling Film Cameras in a Digital World

    Yesterday, we covered an interview with GameStop CEO Dan DeMatteo in which he predicted continued shortages for the Nintendo Wii this holiday season. In the same interview, DeMatteo had a few things to say about digital distribution, many of which could be expected of the leader of the gaming world's biggest brick-and-mortar retailer.

    "The first digital distribution was Napster and it was illegal. Let's just start there," he commented, starting a lengthy diatribe in which he credited GameStop's famed used game trade for making "the average value of a current generation game ... about $20" after accounting for GameStop's buy and sell prices for used games.

    David Perry, the founder of now-defunct Shiny Entertainment and CCO of Acclaim Games, felt the need to publicly respond to DeMatteo's treatment of the digital distribution industry, and in so doing wrote an even more lengthy letter to GameDaily. "I'm a major fan of GameStop," he began, "[but] I hate to think someone this powerful can put out this kind of nonsense in an interview and confuse professional investors."

    The entire text of Perry's letter follows:

    Whoa,

    I'd love to publicly respond to the Dan DeMatteo article. (GameStop CEO)

    Firstly, I'm a major fan of GameStop; I've spent thousands of dollars there, so there's no weird grudge. They have made us many millions in previous years.

    That said, I hate to think someone this powerful can put out this kind of nonsense in an interview, and confuse professional investors, that might have been interested in the digitally distributed future of the games business. Some developer (or publisher) pitching a digitally distributed strategy might have just been 'thrown under the bus' today by Mr. DeMatteo.

    Where to start? Sheesh...

    He says we are 12-17 years away from downloading games digitally? I know he's got to pretend that digital distribution isn't relevant (or any kind of threat) to protect his stock price, but I guess Steve Jobs is miles off course then (100,000,000 digital downloads in the first 60 days of opening Apple's 'Digitally Distributed' App Store.) Or that iTunes is now the biggest music retailer in the world. There's tons of games I can download today, digitally, on console and PC. 12-17 years? Try right now.

    What is the Amazon strategy? What is the Netflix strategy? To distribute entertainment digitally.

    This wave will be just like the disruption the camera industry experienced – you can hope "digital" won't show up and keep selling film cameras, or you can embrace the future. Every major camera company alive today embraced the digital future. It's not like he or GameStop has any part in deciding where or when; the consumers will decide. Let's face it, he's running the shop that sells the film.

    The big BOLD part of the article: "I think the argument that [used game sales] competes with the new games is false. Imagine what new car sales would be like if you couldn't trade in your old car." Well that's interesting, as the vast majority of our industry has no issue with people selling their games on as many times as they like (eBay thrives on it.) What we object to is that our key retail PARTNER decides to pitch our consumers with rhetoric like, "You'd be crazy to buy the new copy, when you can buy the used one for less, and we guarantee it will work." Back to your car analogy, try partnering with Ford, doing co-op advertising TOGETHER, have Ford spend even more money dressing up your stores etc., then when a consumer finally walks in to buy a new Ford and says, "I'd like to buy a new Ford please," then your salesman (who is SUPPOSED to be Ford's promotional partner) says, "You'd be crazy to buy a new one, here buy this old Toyota instead, it's great, it's cheaper and we guarantee it will work." You'd be Ford's partner for about 5 seconds. Oh, and yes, if you stopped selling used games, I'd bet NEW game sales would go up. Let's try it!

    In reality, every game that goes "digital" will drop in price for the consumer (when compared to today's system). "Price" will always be a key part of the "buy" decision for consumers, and removing fees for GameStop, Packaging Design, Packaging Materials, Manuals, Shipping, Insurance, Manufacturing, Distribution, In-Store Promotions, Co-Op Advertising, RETURNS etc. will help consumers see attractive price drops. For publishers, removing 1st party fees to make custom expensive Blu-ray discs will be a nice price reduction also. And yes, as an industry we have no problem paying a distribution fee (as we are very used to that due to our relationship with GameStop).

    Mr. DeMatteo talks about downloading 30GB games taking too long? Again, does he really (honestly) think we will force users to download 30GB before they can even start to play a game? Obviously, large data will get streamed as required, as that's how things work in a digital world. How can Apple get an HD movie to play in seconds? No 72 hour download required as he quotes. Also the vast majority of games are nowhere near 30GB anyway, and what about data compression? (Sigh.)

    This statement is tough to swallow also... GameStop will "GIVE" out $1B to their consumers to go and buy new games with. That sounds just fantastic if it were true. Sadly, GameStop's core business is used game sales (see graph [linked], courtesy of Edge.) You have to sell more used games (on a gross revenue basis) to beat the sales revenue on new games; at the same time, used games get a much higher profit margin for GameStop. So it's just too important a revenue stream for them, if they have to tap-dance to explain it, they will. In reality, gamers turn around and spend that money on used games (more than new games as seen in the chart), with 100% of profits (on those used game sales) going to GameStop. So to make the point really clear: We actually don't mind GameStop selling used games, IF, they did it elsewhere, like on eBay or if they started www.BuyUsedGames.com or something like that. We do care when they are our partner, and when we are sending OUR consumers into their stores (especially when we make them special edition builds – as they commonly request), and then they push their used games business. That's where the line gets crossed.

    Finally, he made some crazy reference that "Publishers are afraid to death of piracy." Yet, as we know, piracy (& hacking) can be tamed by server authentication. China is the living proof of this, where they have a non-existent console media business, and a thriving digitally downloaded industry. A digital distribution industry which grew 69.5% last year, dramatically faster than our retail industry.

    So, to turn the tables, I personally feel GameStop are just blindly putting their foot on the gas pedal to speed up digital distribution (thanks to their policies); if they are smart they will be investing very, very heavily in digital distribution. If they want their company to still exist in 12-17 years, I'd go and buy STEAM from Gabe Newell, which technically can't exist yet as Gabe is clearly 12-17 years ahead of the curve.

    David Perry
    CCO Acclaim Games, Inc.
    (Yes, we make our living from Digitally Distributed Games. 100% of our games are profitable.)

    via ShackNews

  • Apple Offers Networks More Price Options for TV Shows

    Apple Offers Networks More Price Options for TV Shows

    Apple likes to remake the world to its own aesthetic, but when parts of the world assert their natural ugliness, Apple will in fact back down. The latest example is the re-emergence of NBC shows on the iTunes store for download.

    Apple and the network broke up a year ago in a dispute over pricing of TV shows sold through iTunes. Apple insisted that all shows should cost $1.99. NBC wanted the flexibility to charge whatever price it saw fit — more for hits and less for older shows.

    According to Jean-Briac Perrette, who runs digital distribution for NBC Universal, Apple has now given the network much of what it wanted. NBC can choose from three price points for shows: 99 cents, $1.99 and $2.99. In his product presentation Tuesday, Steve Jobs mentioned the $2.99 price point would be for high-definition programs. But Mr. Perette said the network could use that price as the base price for certain programs, such as two-hour specials.

    In general, the 99-cent price will be for older programs, such as “Kojak” and “The A-Team”. Moreover, the company has much more flexibility to offer bundles of programs. Now, for example, it is offering season passes at discounts to the single show prices. And it can offer packages of programs bundled with other digital goodies, such as games, photos or whatever.

    Mr. Perrette said that NBC would have liked even more flexibility, but Apple has given the network most of what it wanted.

    “We are pretty comfortable that most of what we are doing will work within those three tiers,” he said. At the same time, the pricing “doesn’t break the simplicity and elegance that Apple stands for,” he said.

    An Apple spokeswoman has yet to return my call and e-mail.

    NBC is also repairing what many have seen as a rash move to pull out of iTunes and forgo the real cash it generates. Before it left, NBC accounted for 40 percent of the iTunes TV show sales. And it’s hard to imagine that sales on Amazon.com and other distributors have made up the gap.

    Apple has been moving to offer more flexibility over the last year. After trying to keep the price of movie downloads low, it now gives studios the freedom to charge prices at or above the price of a DVD. And for full albums, studios can set the price and include digital extras. Songs, to the annoyance of some labels, are still fixed at 99 cents.

    (It’s interesting to note what wasn’t announced Tuesday: more deals with the music labels that would let Apple offer music without digital rights management restrictions, more ringtone choices, or over-the-air downloads of song purchases.)

    I also asked Mr. Perrette about NBC’s plans for free, advertising-supported content on the iPhone and iPod Touch. He said that the network continues to see free streaming video as another viable avenue for digital distribution that will coexist with paid, commercial-free downloads. But for now, any moves to create streaming versions of NBC shows for Apple products will be left to Hulu, the joint venture between NBC and Fox, he said.

    via NewYorkTimes

  • GameStop "Not Afraid" to Compete with Publishers

    GameStop "Not Afraid" to Compete with Publishers

    At the GameStop Expo this week, company execs told Edge that when digital distribution of full-size games arrives on a wide scale, they expect to be kept in the revenue loop.

    "Our position with our vendors has been pretty straight forward. We've been honest with them--we're not afraid to compete with them," said Bob McKenzie, SVP of merchandising at Grapevine, Tex.-based GameStop.

    "All that we ask is that our customers are able to get the product [at traditional retail] at the same time for the same price ... so that the consumer has a choice."

    He said the speed limitations of most broadband solutions would drive consumers to traditional retail.

    "[In that scenario,] we're confident that we're going to win the majority of that business. We're not saying we won't be impacted at all by digital distribution, but the average customer isn't going to have the patience for a 72-hour download for a game on their system," he said.

    McKenzie noted how presently, most console downloadable content is in the form of add-ons and expansions, while relatively few "full-size" games are available on services like Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network.

    Tony Bartel, EVP of merchandising and marketing argued that brick and mortar retail offers something meaningful beyond digital shopping. "We really think we provide a tremendous value to the customer by them coming into our stores. We offer a great experience with the expertise of our staff."

    Bartel also said that he doesn't see the issue of digital distribution as a "publishers vs. retailers" matter. "I don't see it that way at all. The way that I see it is I think we're both after the same goal--to offer customers a great experience. If they want to offer games digitally, we understand. But we sure don't plan on getting in the publishing business--we just want to be great retailers."

    via Edge


  • Spore Ripped on Amazon Over DRM Frustrations

    Spore Ripped on Amazon Over DRM Frustrations

    Spore has been sent back to the stone age with countless 1-star reviews on Amazon.com. Gamers have been reacting to the "draconian" DRM measures EA has taken.

    Spore Ripped on Amazon Over DRM Frustrations

    Will Wright's Spore is receiving mostly positive reviews from critics (it has a GameRankings score of 85.9% currently), but a number of users are furious with publisher Electronic Arts for the company's insistence on using DRM technology SecuROM. The DRM solution has been blamed for utilizing too much RAM, leading to slowdown in the game at times (depending on your PC's configuration of course), and owners don't like the fact that they can only install Spore a maximum of three times – some have said this makes the game more akin to a "rental."

    Users on leading online retailer Amazon.com have lashed out, producing over 1,400 1-star reviews as of this writing.

    "...the game incorporates a draconian DRM system that requires you to activate over the internet, and limits you to a grand total of 3 activations. If you reach that limit, then you'll have to call EA in order to add one extra activation. That's not as simple as it sounds, since when you reach that point EA will assume that you, the paying customer, are a filthy pirating thief," complained one user from Arkansas. "You will need to provide proof of purchase, reasons why the limit was reached, etc, etc (it has all happened before with another recent EA product, Mass Effect). EA, of course, is not obligated to grant you that extra activation or even provide that service. In a couple of years they might very well even shut down the general activation servers, because 'it's not financially feasible' to keep them running. What you will be left with is a nice, colorful $50 coaster. And you will be required to pay for another copy/license if you want to continue playing."

    GameDaily BIZ has contacted EA for comment on the situation and we have yet to hear back. That said, it doesn't look like the publisher has any plans to abandon SecuROM anytime soon. In fact, the upcoming RTS Red Alert 3 will be using the DRM solution as well, but Executive Producer Chris Corry explained on EA's forums that "the copy protection will be configured to be more lenient than we've supported in the past."


    Spore Screens

      Spore gives you a variety of powerful yet easy-to-use creation tools so you can create every aspect of your universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even starships. While Spore is a single-player game, your creations and other players' creations are automatically shared between your galaxy and theirs, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play.

      EA

      Spore gives you a variety of powerful yet easy-to-use creation tools so you can create every aspect of your universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even starships. While Spore is a single-player game, your creations and other players' creations are automatically shared between your galaxy and theirs, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play.

      EA

      Spore gives you a variety of powerful yet easy-to-use creation tools so you can create every aspect of your universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even starships. While Spore is a single-player game, your creations and other players' creations are automatically shared between your galaxy and theirs, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play.

      EA

      Spore gives you a variety of powerful yet easy-to-use creation tools so you can create every aspect of your universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even starships. While Spore is a single-player game, your creations and other players' creations are automatically shared between your galaxy and theirs, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play.

      EA

      Spore gives you a variety of powerful yet easy-to-use creation tools so you can create every aspect of your universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even starships. While Spore is a single-player game, your creations and other players' creations are automatically shared between your galaxy and theirs, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play.

      EA

      Spore gives you a variety of powerful yet easy-to-use creation tools so you can create every aspect of your universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even starships. While Spore is a single-player game, your creations and other players' creations are automatically shared between your galaxy and theirs, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play.

      EA

      Spore gives you a variety of powerful yet easy-to-use creation tools so you can create every aspect of your universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even starships. While Spore is a single-player game, your creations and other players' creations are automatically shared between your galaxy and theirs, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play.

      EA

      Spore gives you a variety of powerful yet easy-to-use creation tools so you can create every aspect of your universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even starships. While Spore is a single-player game, your creations and other players' creations are automatically shared between your galaxy and theirs, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play.

      EA

      Spore gives you a variety of powerful yet easy-to-use creation tools so you can create every aspect of your universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even starships. While Spore is a single-player game, your creations and other players' creations are automatically shared between your galaxy and theirs, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play.

      EA

      Spore gives you a variety of powerful yet easy-to-use creation tools so you can create every aspect of your universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even starships. While Spore is a single-player game, your creations and other players' creations are automatically shared between your galaxy and theirs, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play.

      EA


    Thanks to Destructoid for the tip.

    via GameDaily

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