GDC Choice Awards Details Announced

The Game Developers Conference Choice Awards organizers have announced the deadline for submissions and a change to the selection process for 2010.  As reported in Industry Gamers, award organizers will be accepting submissions for consideration through Jan. 4, 2010.  As in years past, category nominees and special award winners are being chosen by an advisory committee made up of industry professionals.  However in a rule change for this year, winners will be selected by the International Choice Awards Network.  The organization is an invitation-only group comprising 500 game makers from around the world.  The 2010 GDC Choice Awards are scheduled to take place March 11 at Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

Read more at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Music Game Market Is Settling, Says Analyst

Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter sees music games taking in about half the revenue in 2009 that they made last year, reports Reuters.  The tanking sales come despite one of the highest-profile releases to-date in the genre in MTV’s The Beatles: Rock Band.   The title has sold about 800,000 units, failing to meet expectations of moving a million or more in its debut months.  Solid fare from Activision’s Hero line such as Guitar Hero 5 and DJ Hero, which broadened the genre into club music, also failed to inspire gamers to pump money into the category.

Pachter predicts that ultimately music game revenues for the year will be around $700 million compared to $1.4 billion in 2008.  He sees part of the problem in the genre’s initially explosive adoption by gamers.  Pachter says poor performance by content as broadly appealing as The Beatles shows consumers might be facing a glut, essentially with more music in the market than they can handle.  He suggests the category is settling into a consistent market of about $500-600 million a year.  Reuters says the decline in music game sales is also being felt in the music industry, where once music tracks featured in games saw sales spikes of their own.  The effect has been much more subdued for tracks included in recent titles.

Read more at Reuters {link no longer active}.

Crispy Gamer Buys GamerDNA

Videogame editorial web site Crispy Gamer has acquired gamer social network GamerDNA, reports VentureBeat.  The deal closed for an undisclosed sum.  Crispy Gamer’s Chris Heldeman said his site will integrate the gamer community and social net features at GamerDNA as quickly as possible.   VentureBeat says the acquisition gives Crispy Gamer s sizable audience of readers social net features that will help it compete with another game editorial-community partnership between GameSpot and Raptr.

 

Read more at VentureBeat.

Sega Wins Appeal For Banned Game In Australia

The Australia Classification Review Board has accepted Sega’s appeal to grant Alien v. Predator a MA 15+ rating without content changes, reports Edge-Online.  In doing so, the rating body has overturned its own decision to refuse the game a rating.

Australia s highest mature-equivalent rating for videogames is for ages 15 and higher, despite having more adult ratings for films.  The country has been in the news lately for refusing rating to games including Sega’s as well as EA’s Left 4 Dead 2.   EA lost its appeal for the latter and was forced to make changes to violent content to release the title in Australia.  The Australian government recently announced an initiative to consider more mature ratings for games, calling on public opinion on the matter.

Read more at Edge-Online {link no longer active}.

The Year In Pictures

Writing for NY Times, Brooks Barnes highlights Hollywood s resilience in making it a near record year at the box office in a tough economic environment.  Solid fare and the return of the cinema spectacle with 3D films drove audiences to theaters, helping the industry reap in revenues from premium priced theater tickets and overcome the drag from dropping DVD sales.  Barnes looks at how each of the studios fared, and which films helped their bottom lines the most.

Read the article at NY Times.

Game Industry Persons Of The Year

Industry Gamers lists their 2009 persons of the year in videogames.  With the exception of one well-deserved zing, it’s recognition for the folks who helped games move forward in year likely to be remembered for the industry financially receding.

Check out the list at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

Facebook’s Dash To Organize Games

Writing for VentureBeat, Dean Takahashi says Facebook’s upcoming Game Dashboard is the social net’s answer to the surging popularity of games on its site, as well as some of the problems that have come with it.  The service is being pitched primarily as a way to introduce ease-of-use features for players such as finding games, managing the ones they’re playing and controlling the way they receive information such as in-game ads.  Facebook is also considering introducing universal currency for use in all games on its social net.  Takahashi breaks down Facebook’s aims with Game Dashboard as well as an Application Dashboard for non-game content, and looks at why some of the planned features have game makers and other third parties waiting nervously.

Read the article at VentureBeat {link no longer active}.

Blomkamp Redux

Following a line similar to Neill Blomkamp s rise to feature film director, a self-funded Sci-Fi short film has netted Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez a hefty Hollywood deal.  The short, titled Ataque de Pánico! ( Panic Attack! ), is reported to have been produced for $300.  It s netted Alvarez a $30 million film deal from Sam Raimi after the buzz took off once it hit YouTube last month.  It has more than 4 million views as of this post.

The short depicts a mysterious otherworldly attack on Montevideo, Uruguay.  Where it s light on setup, it s heavy on visual effects and mostly watchable because of its solid direction.  Alvarez should have friends to thank at professional animation company Aparato, which is credited for creating the visuals for the short film.  If the reported budget is accurate than they did it for a song, and quite possibly a chance of their own at getting Hollywood work.

Watch it at YouTube.

Disney Interactive President To Keynote D.I.C.E.

The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences has announced the opening speaker for the D.I.C.E. 2010 Summit as Steve Wadsworth, president of Disney Interactive.  Wadsworth joins this year’s line-up of speakers including David Gallo, director of special projects at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and member of the team that mapped the Titanic; Richard Lemarchand, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves designer at Naughty Dog; Brian Reynolds, chief creative officer at Zynga; and Mike Yuen, VP content and services at Zeebo.

The AIAS D.I.C.E. Summit 2010 takes place Feb. 17-19 at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas.  Get more information at the D.I.C.E. Summit site {link no longer active}.