Analyst: Third-Party Console Exclusives Will Wane

Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter has said third-party console exclusives no longer make sense given the shared market between Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and that Gears of War maker Epic Games likely regrets their Xbox exclusivity.  CVG reports on Pachter’s comments made in a video interview with GameTrailers.  Pachter said that Epic is probably itching to bring Gears of War to PS3.   He added that an estimated 11 million PS3 systems in the US represents the potential for the IP to sell as many four million units on the console.  Pachter said that the only games likely to be console-exclusive going forward are first-party fare from Sony and Microsoft given the 20 million addressable market for the two consoles combined.  Read more at CVG.

Virtual Goods Investment Tops $1 billion

Game-focused social media marketer Engage Digital Media has released their 2009 Virtual Goods Investment Report. As reported in Industry Gamers, the firm s research shows investment in virtual goods companies more than tripled from 2008 to reach nearly $1.4 billion last year.  The number of those that attracted investment also spiked from 34 to 87 companies. Engage Digital CEO Christopher Sherman said investment went into game development, virtual currency, payment services and social nets. He added that 18 companies operating in the space were involved in acquisitions. Industry Gamers lists the year s significant transactions, topped by Digital Sky Technologies putting $200 million in Facebook and $180 million in Zynga, and EA s $300 million acquisition of Playfish.

BBC Making A Play For Games

The BBC is making a play to turn its popular TV properties into videogames, reports MCV UK. The outlet broke the story that the UK broadcaster’s BBC Worldwide division is courting both publishers and developers in an all-out effort to turn its IP into online games including Facebook fare, apps for Apple iPhone, and titles for Nintendo Wii and DS. MCV says the company expressed a desire to build gaming brands and not just one-off titles out its IP, mentioning properties fit for games such as Doctor Who and Top Gear. It also said it would push to bring its children s brands to Nintendo consoles while looking to take broader brands to all platforms. BBC’s managing director Neil Ross Russell said the company is second only to Disney in having children’s properties that are recognizable around the world.  MCV says BBC Worldwide hired former EA executive Robert Nashak as part of the move to oversee its digital entertainment division. Read more at MCV UK.

Game Skills Related To Brain Size

MIT researchers have conducted a study showing abilities that translate to better videogame skills are related to brain size, reports Fast Company. The study showed people exhibiting better ability to refine their motor skills, learn new skills, and create strategies in a changing environment had a bigger striatum in their brain. Fast Company says the study adds weight to the role the striatum is believed to play in those functions. The striatum is a part of the cerebral cortex, the heady player in the even headier grey matter that runs high brain functions such as memory, attention, thought and language.


Fast Company briefly describes how MIT researchers conducted the test using the game Space Fortress. Read more at Fast Company.

The World’s Playground

The second trailer for 2K Games Spec Ops: The Line continues where the first left off, painting a promising game with a dramatic premise.  The opening is high drama in-fact, depicting the destruction of Dubai not by speculative development but rather some sand-whipping super weapon. It could be a nuclear explosion stripped of sound and mushroom cloud for effect. Whatever it is, the mood it sets for the whole video is squarely wartime horror, helped along by the contrast of violent battle scenes set to Bjork’s bedroom voice. This is a title that thus far is drawing more from a drama like Apocalypse Now than war adventurism films that seem to feed games of its kind. Framework aside, the videos are hinting to game play mechanics such as environmental hazards and shifting terrain that could add palpable thrills to a standard shooter.


Watch it at Creativity-Online.

You Only Live Thrice

Atlus has released a video from the opening cinematic to their upcoming Sony PSP game Persona 3 Portable. The series is known for its otherworldly premise, and that sets the tone for the video s seemingly random montage. But it stands out for real neat visuals drawing influence from James Bond film intros, along with some pseudo-philosophical text thrown in. Mostly it’s the real neat visuals.


Watch it at GameTrailers.

Pachter’s Podium Touches On EA Buyout, Nintendo Hardware

Industry Gamers is featuring its monthly question-and-answer session with Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter. This go around, Pachter fields questions on the outlook for an EA acquisition, hardware surprises from Nintendo, the state of PC retail and digital distribution, and the potential for cloud-based game services such as OnLive.



Xbox Live Arcade 2009 Analysis

Writing for GamerBytes, Ryan Langley provides in-depth analysis for digital games offered through Xbox Live Arcade.  He breaks down top sellers and most played games for Dec. and the year as a whole, and includes a list of the top 20 downloaded games for 2009.


Check it out at GamerBytes.

Apple Working With EA On Tablet Games

Apple is working with EA on games destined for its tablet computer, shedding light on why the company invited game press outlets to its rumored tablet unveiling later this month. Joystiq posted the news based on a report in the Wall Street Journal that the companies are partnered to show off the tablet’s game capabilities. Joystiq is among game outlets invited to an Apple event taking place Jan. 27 in San Francisco. The event is widely rumored to be the tablet’s official announcement.


Separately, Joystiq reports that EA Mobile is developing apps for Amazon s digital reader Kindle using the just-announced Kindle Development Kit. Read more at Joystiq.

Sega Genesis Coming To IPhone

Sega is launching an app for iPhone and iPod Touch this February that is being called part storefront, part virtual console. As reported in Gizmodo, Sega’s Ultimate Genesis will create a single app for the devices from which users can purchase and launch emulations of Genesis console games. Existing Sega Genesis apps such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Golden Axe, currently on sale separately in the iPhone App Store, will get rolled into Ultimate Genesis once it launches. Gizmodo says the app will be free and includes Space Harrier II as a free game.  Additional titles listed are Ecco the Dolphin and Shining Force, with prices ranging from $3 to $6.  Read more at Gizmodo.