What People Will Pay For Online

Business Insider reports on a Nielsen study exploring what types of content people are willing to pay for online.  The firm compiled statistics using data from 27,000 consumers worldwide.  For content people have already purchased online, it found leading categories are music, games, movies and magazines.  Its data shows about 10-15 percent have already paid for such fare online.  Combining them with those willing to purchase online content, Nielsen found about half or more would be paying or potential customers for movies, music, games, and non-user, professionally produced videos.  Slightly less than half said they have bought or would buy online magazines.  From there, the firm found a steady decline in purchases and intent to purchase for other categories including online newspapers, digital news outlets, talk or music radio, and user-generated content such as podcasts and blogs.  Business Insider features Nielsen s data as a bar graph.  Check it out at Business Insider {link no longer active}.

‘Missile Command’ The Movie

Atari is shopping its classic videogame property Missile Command as a feature film project, with Twentieth Century Fox showing interest.  As reported in LA Times, Atari is in active discussions on the project with Twentieth Century Fox and a new film production company founded by former Fox president Peter Chernin.  Atari successfully shopped another one of its classic game properties, Asteroids, last summer.  LA Times says that project was eventually optioned by Universal Pictures and film producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, best known for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.   Read more at LA Times {link no longer active}.

Another God Of War, Another Sex Mini-Game

Spoiler alert about God of War III, and overall alert about sexually explicit content.  Industry Gamers reports that the ESRB rating for Sony s anticipated title spills the beans that the game includes a playable sex mini-game, like its predecessors  The listing, which Industry Gamers spotted on a PlayStation blog, describes a sequence where game protagonist Kratos encounters topless female characters.  He can then mingle with them meaningfully if the player so desires, launching a sequence similar to one that appeared in God of War II.   Once the player enters the sex mini-game, the camera moves away from the action and the player is given button prompts, with audio-only erotica signifying what s taking place.  Also like its predecessors, ESRB rates God of War III M for Mature.  Read more at Industry Gamers {link no longer active}.

In A Recycle Bin Far, Far Away

This Switzerland public service announcement proves that a Star Wars tie-in can fit on anything like an old shoe.  It promotes recycling with an off-the-wall recreation of the Skywalker vs. Skywalker faceoff from The Empire Strikes Back.   Notable is how its creators were thoughtful enough to include all of the little memorable moments from the source material.

Watch it at Adverblog.

DICE Summit Presentations

With the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences annual DICE Summit wrapped up for 2010, a couple of presentations stand out, as recapped by news media.

Steve Wadsworth, president of Disney Interactive Media Group, kicked off the summit with his opening keynote discussing Disney s videogame strategies, and in doing so touched on some of challenges facing the console business.  Simon Carless provides a thorough recap of his presentation, which you can read at Gamasutra.

John Schappert, COO of EA, took what VentureBeat describes as a dig at Activision’s Robert Kotick, who had presented the day before.  Schappert said rather than dwell on how great his company is, he wanted to spell out challenges facing EA and the game industry, then offer a way to maneuver around them.  As if channeling survivor men Les Stroud and Bear Grylls, he delivered with a five-step guide to surviving the current harsh game climate.  Dean Takahashi provides a recap, which you can read at VentureBeat {link no longer active}.

‘The English Patient Of Games’

Writing for LA Times, Jamin Brophy-Warren profiles David Cage, founder of developer Quantic Dreams and the creator behind Sony’s just-released Heavy Rain.   Rather than a game review, the piece provides an analysis of Cage s inspiration in pursing the unconventional game and where it fits in videogames evolution into deeper, darker experiences.  Brophy-Warren also talks to analysts about whether the game can make a ripple.  It s a refreshing read, the type of coverage one would expect for an artsy film director on the eve of his first big release.  That tone is perhaps set by Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter when he calls the title the English Patient of games.

Read the article at LA Times.

Shack News Game Releases Feb. 21-27

Shack News lists this week s videogame releases.


Sega s Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is the widest release, coming to every platform with the exception of Sony PSP.  But as far as high-profile releases go, the week belongs to Sony s well-hyped adventure game Heavy Rain for PlayStation 3.  Honorable mention goes to Atlus redux of classic SNK arcade game Metal Slug XX for Sony PSP.


Check out the full list at Shack News.

Activision Sued For False Patent Claims

Activision is being sued for false patent claims on its music games.  As reported in Gamasutra, a non-government affiliated group called the Patent Compliance Group has filed suit against the publisher claiming that it used false patent numbers and patent pending claims on its Hero line of products.  The group said Activision titles Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero, Guitar Hero Smash Hits, and DJ Hero are labeled with patent numbers that don’t cover the products, and that some have patent pending or patent applied for claims that are inaccurate.  The suit asks for $500 for each unit of product sold that falls under the claim, of which the group says half would go to the U.S. Government.  Gamasutra says Patent Compliance Group has been filing patent infringement suits in Texas against other companies using qui tam, a legal action where citizens can sue on behalf of the government and reap any money awarded.  Read more at Gamasutra.

‘Pach-Attack’ Predictions

If anyone has followed GameTrailers Pach-Attack, the online show with Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter, it s taken on a much more subdued approach since the debut.  Gone are the misguided attempts at showmanship, putting the focus where it belongs: on Pachter s proliferative prognostications.  He made a couple of interesting ones in the latest episode {link no longer active} while responding to two reader questions.  Answering a question on what will be the bestselling game of 2010, Pachter picked Microsoft’s Halo: Reach,” forecasting the game to sell around 8-9 million units.  He said he doesn’t see any surprises from Nintendo that might move big units this year.  He added that while Activision may have a Call of Duty on slate it wouldn’t be an Infinity Ward developed title, and likely lack the buzz that drives sales of their Modern Warfare titles.  Pachter then addressed a question on the anticipated price of Microsoft’s Natal.  He said the motion controller for Xbox 360 is nothing more than a three-lens camera that costs around $50 to make.  He said given Microsoft’s strategy of building install base for the hardware versus profiting from its sales, he sees that $50 wholesale cost ending up as the product’s suggested retail price.

‘Uncharted 2’ Wins Writing Honors

Coming off of the heels of nearly sweeping last week s AIAS Interactive Achievement Awards, Sony and developer Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has another trophy for the mantle.  Joystiq reports that the Writers Guild of America has awarded the 2010 WGA Award for Videogame Writing to Naughty Dog’s Amy Hennig.  The title beat out nominees Assassin’s Creed 2 from Ubisoft, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Modern Warfare 2, both from Activision, and WET from Bethesda Softworks.  Read more at Joystiq.