Xbox 360 Has More Than Half-Life Left, Says Microsoft

Microsoft is not looking to launch a new game console anytime soon according to a senior game division executive at the company, reports Guardian UK. Microsoft Xbox senior director David Hufford made statements at the Consumer Electronics Show that the Xbox 360 has a long future and is likely not even at its midway point. He added that the console s shelf-life will be lengthened by the introduction of motion controller Natal, which Guardian says Microsoft has pegged to a holiday 2010 release. Hufford also said that there are no plans for a Blu-ray drive or other upgrade for the console, and that the existing Xbox 360 hardware can support 3D games. Guardian says that the ability of game system manufacturers Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo to overcome the industry’s winner-take-all pattern and all establish viable market share for their consoles in this generation is disincentive to introduce new hardware.

 

Read more at Guardian UK.

THQ, Take-Two Ripe For Asian Buyouts, Says Analyst

Broadpoint AmTech analyst Ben Schachter has said that videogame companies in Asia, and particularly in China are looking to invest large cash balances in Western operations.  He pointed to THQ and Take-Two as two possible targets. Schachter made his comments in an interview with Industry Gamers. He said at least eight Asian companies have gone public in the past ten years, with some of them listing shares on US exchanges. The public offerings have made the companies flush with cash and market caps, making expansion into the US and Europe viable ventures for them. While saying his firm has no specific knowledge of coming deals, Schachter told Industry Gamers James Brightman that THQ and Take-Two represent the most likely public company acquisition targets. He said that THQ has already partnered with Chinese game company Shanda Games to distribute products in Asia. But he added that THQ’s reliance on licensed games brings complexity to a buyout. He thinks Take-Two is the more viable target given its slate of strong IP, including Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne and BioShock, and management who has experience in Japan and seems generally more open to a deal. Scachter added that buyouts of Western social game makers by Asian companies with experience in running browser-based games is another area to watch. Read more at Industry Gamers.

Chaining Old With New

Capcom has put out this trailer to highlight new features in their step-up title Super Street Fighter IV. The title adds features to last year s Street Fighter IV, which marked the debut of the long-running fighting game franchise on current consoles. Besides some great game play footage, the trailer is framed by snippets of eye-catching illustrated transitions that reach back to earlier art styles in the classic series.

 

Watch it at GameTrailers.

GigaOM’s CES Surprises

GigaOM has outlined major developments thus far at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show. Topping their list is Toshiba HDTVs running the company’s PlayStation 3 powering Cell multi-processor array. The sets are capable of up-converting live TV from standard definition to 1080p.

 

Read the rundown at GigaOM.

GameStop Holiday Sales Remain Flat

GameStop says sales for the nine week holiday period ending 2009 remained flat compared to last year, reports Edge-Online. The US game retailer added that 2009 revenues represented the second highest earnings in the company’s history, and that flat growth was in comparison to its record-setting sales in 2008. GameStop chief Daniel DeMatteo said this year’s holiday sales were affected by economic weakness, inclement weather in December, and shortages of key products such as Nintendo Wii and the Wii title New Super Mario Bros. along with Sony PlayStation 3 consoles. The retailer reported category sales increases of four percent for new software, and a ten percent increase for used games that still fell below expectations. It said that hardware sales declined eight percent. Read more at Edge-Online.

Microsoft Expects Big Year For Xbox 360

Microsoft used this week s Consumer Electronics Show to present more highlights from its games business and forecast a big year  ahead for its game console. As reported in Fast Company, Microsoft’s Craig Beilinson, director of marketing for entertainment and devices, said at the show that 2010 will be the biggest year in Xbox s history. The company pointed to one major development in the coming year as the launch of Project Natal powering motion-controlled Xbox 360 games. Microsoft also highlighted Xbox 360 exclusives, saying the expansion pack to Activision blockbuster  Modern Warfare 2 will hit its console first before becoming available on Sony PlayStation 3. Other high profile titles noted as either debuting first or remaining exclusive on Xbox 360 include Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell Conviction, EA’s Mass Effect 2, and Microsoft’s own Halo: Reach and Crackdown 2. Microsoft also called the launch of Xbox Live Game Room as a major development for the console. The Game Room is a 3D avatar-populated environment on Xbox Live where players can browse and access classic arcade games.  Read more at Fast Company.

Goldman Sachs Not Buying 3D TV Hype

Goldman Sachs analyst Ingrid Chung has countered the hype around 3D TV adoption coming from this week s Consumer Electronics Show. As reported in Bloomberg, the analyst has written in her CES preview for the firm that 3D TV will fall short of the hype, citing lack of a standard for the tech and limited programming availability. Her analysis comes as 3D televisions headline CES as one of this year s top tech trends. The Consumer Electronics Association has circulated results from a survey showing that 53 percent of adults want to watch 3D programs at home, and that 25 percent plan on buying a 3D TV in the next three years. The organization estimates that more than 4 million 3D TV sets will be sold this year. Read more at Bloomberg.

Sources Say Call Of Duty Shifting Studios, Wars

Activision studio Infinity Ward will not work on a third installment for Modern Warfare as it pursues development of a completely new game, reports VG247. The game blog cited inside sources in saying that the studio that gave birth to Call of Duty and updated the franchise with Modern Warfare is moving on from the IP. Infinity Ward has said it has not planned out its next game as it continues to support Modern Warfare 2 by developing new downloadable content coming later this year. Activision has not commented on VG247 s report.  The site’s sources added that the next Activision studio in line to develop Call of Duty games could be Sledgehammer Games, which has placed recruitment ads for developers of triple-A caliber shooting games. VG247 also reported a separate rumor that began circulating this week that Treyarch, the Activision studio that had thus far focused on continuing the World War II based Call of Duty games, is working on a Vietnam War title in the series.  Read more at VG247.

EA Sports Active Line To Expand

EA has enlisted several electronics accessory makers to create a line of EA Sports Active branded interactive fitness products, reports Edge-Online. The publisher has partnered with manufacturers Sakar International, Sunflex Europe and Accessories 4 Technology to make and help distribute products in the line for game consoles, PC and mobile platforms.  EA has thus far released two game titles for EA Sports Active, both for Nintendo Wii. Edge says the deal extends from EA’s recent partnership with the licensing division of sports brand management giant IMG. Read more at Edge-Online.