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news | 11/19/07 | Monica Hafer
E For All made its debut last month, attempting to be the more democratic, "everyman's" convention in the videogame industry. While its stature was smaller than E3 had been in the past, it certainly had a heck of a lot of heart. Monica was our eyes and ears on the scene of what might be the herald of a new focus in the world of game marketing and development.
game: Xbox 360
news | 04/20/07 | Aaron Stanton
There's an interesting article written back in 2006 that asks the question, "Why is Microsoft still in the gaming industry?" After losing $5.4 billion between 2001 and 2006, what incentive does Microsoft have to stay in the home console market? In fact, Microsoft has no incentive, unless you look at what the entertainment division does for Microsoft as a whole. Microsoft wants to keep control of the living room away from companies like Sony and Apple, and uses the Xbox 360 as a strategic tool for a larger company vision independent of its individual profits or losses. Additionally, there's an 800-lb gorilla in the room that keeps getting overlooked: XNA.
game: Xbox 360 Elite
editorial | 04/04/07 | Chris Martin
Microsoft seems to be trying to play catch-up with the wrong gaming company. Instead of chasing the Nintendo Wii as it storms through the gaming industry, Microsoft is introducing features that bring it closer in line with the PS3. The PS3 has Blu-ray; Xbox 360 gets a HD DVD drive. PS3 has HDMI, and now so does the Xbox 360 Elite. Both systems now have price tags approaching half a grand. Standing in the middle between Nintendo and Sony's price tags, Microsoft would be better served introducing a cheaper SKU to compete as a high-end competitor to the Wii, not a low end competitor to the PS3. Yet both Sony and Microsoft seem to be pursuing features that are driven less by consumer demand and more by their own competition for the beefiest console. There's a reason that we don't need the Xbox 360 Elite; it's called the PS3, and not many people are buying that as it is. Why use that as the model for your feature list?
editorial | 10/24/06 | Aaron Stanton
The National Summit on Video Games, Youth and Public Policy took place this weekend. Researchers from around the country attended to discuss everything from violent media to the legality of government regulation of game ratings. It was sponsored by one of the game industry's most politically powerful critics, the National Institute on Media and the Family, which has consistently given the game industry poor marks when it comes to video games and violence. But did anyone from the game media bother to show up? Nope. Aaron Stanton was the lone game journalist at an event that could have real impact on game legislation, and the lack of attention pissed him off. You should read more about it here.
news | 10/11/06 | Aaron Stanton
The National Summit on Video Games, Youth and Policy is being held in Minnesota on October 20th and October 21st. The conference is sponsored by Iowa State University and the National Institute on Media and the Family, a group that's known for being critical of the game industry in the past. Will the event be hostile to pro-game journalists that have actively criticized the research of some of its speakers? Possibly. Are we going anyway? Absolutely. With a issues like The Truth in Video Game Ratings Act in Congress, I can't think of a better place for our industry's attention to fall.
news | 10/06/06 | Chris Martin
It's about damn time the video game industry got a respectable awards ceremony (that's a big f#$%-you to Spike TV, by the way). BAFTA actually has given awards to games that deserve them. To all the development companies out there, who put so much hard work into their games, there's finally a way to give to them the honor and respect they deserve. This is truly a first step to viewing video games as an art form. This year, LocoRoco and Tom Clany's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter get their due, as do Lego Star Wars II: the Original Trilogy, Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old is Your Brain?, and The Movies, among others.
game: Sam and Max
news | 09/18/06 | Aaron Stanton
The advent of services like Xbox Live and the Wii Virtual Console have changed the dynamics of the industry. Suddenly there's a marketplace for less mainstream genres that have a hard time competing against the likes of Halo and Zelda. One such genre: Adventure Games. According to 1up.com, Nintendo has heard fans asking for adventure game content and contacted TellTale games about the possibility of bringing Sam and Max to the Wii. A sure thing? Far from it, but it's nice to know that you can make a difference if you shout loud enough. Good job, guys and gals.
game: Dungeon Siege 2: Broken World
news | 08/16/06 | Aaron Stanton
In-game advertising will have a large impact on the future of the game industry. Not only can it represent another form of post-release content delivery, it helps fund the developers that make the games we love. However, there's bound to be some bad implementations as the technology gets going, where game companies test their boundaries to see what gamers will accept. 2K and Gas Powered Games included a voiced NPC in Dungeon Siege II: Broken World that directly references an upcoming PSP game, and it's sparked a bit of a negative response from gamers. Take a look here for the details.
news | 08/12/06 | Aaron Stanton
Microsoft has announced who will direct the upcoming Halo feature film, and it's a 26-year-old untested short film maker. Neill Blomkamp, tapped to direct the movie based on Microsoft's tremendously successful video game, has never directed a full length feature film, and has most of his industry experience as a 3D animator and visual effects expert. GameVideos.com has managed to find three of the short films he's directed. If you're curious about the direction the Summer, 2008 Halo-release might be taking, take a look at some of the works Blomkamp has done in the past.
news | 08/03/06 | Aaron Stanton
E3 has fundamentally ceased to exist. You've probably heard. Last year, E3 was attended by over 70,000 people. Next year, the ESA estimates attendance will fall somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000, making it smaller PAX. The L.A. Convention Center is a thing of the past, given up in favor of hotels throughout the L.A. area. What does it mean to have the industry's largest event disappear with no warning at all, nearly overnight? Half the industry is breathing a sigh of relief, and the other half has already opened a questing eye looking for the next event to take its place. The opportunity for random discovery has diminished, but the chance to get actual, useful information out of the event has increased immensely. We can only wonder at the consequences. GamesFirst and E3 were started at nearly the same time, within a year of each other, and it's like seeing a brother get married or something. They're still there, but you don't get to hang out with them as much anymore.
editorial | 07/04/06 | Aaron Stanton
Web traffic drops during the summer as gaming news runs dry and warm weather draws people away from their monitors. Fourth of July often represents the summer's ultimate low in traffic, and pretty much everyone in the gaming industry takes the day off. If you haven't had a chance to spend some time outside in the beautiful weather, now is the perfect day to step outside into the cooling evening, put away the games for a moment, and take in a part of life that doesn't run on electricity. Tomorrow we can return to the flash of modern life, but tonight and maybe tomorrow we here at GamesFirst are going to stretch out, light some fireworks, and enjoy a good birthday. We hope you consider doing the same. Happy Fourth of July, everyone.
news | 06/12/06 | Aaron Stanton
Systems like the original Xbox and Sony's PSP are praiseworthy on their own, but they can be made even better through the creative application of homebrew software. Enthusiast developed software has helped shape the console industry
since the days of the Sega Saturn and the original PlayStation. This posting on the DCEmu forums
takes a brief, but informed look at the state of homebrew development on today's and yesterday's systems. Included in the list are common consoles, like the Xbox, as well as older systems, like the DreamCast. It's an interesting read if you've dabbled on the fringe of the community and are curious to hear an overview of how things stand.
editorial | 05/26/06 | RJ Brooks
The overwhelming market domination of the PS2 has been Sony's biggest strength, as well as their chossen ideology in the PS3's console design, specs, and marketing. Ironically, the PS3 is also proving that size is not everything when it goes up against innovation (Nintendo and Microsoft). What has been presented by Sony as "the next generation" begs the question: While the PS3's tag-line reads "Go Beyond" is Sony really taking their own advice? With a system price that exceeds both their competition combined, is Sony prepared to push themselves beyond a game of matching, and truly lead the industry?
news | 05/25/06 | Shawn Rider
Nintendo has (sort of) spilled the beans about the Wii price and their system launch plans in a recent fiscal year 2006 projection report. Nintendo has stated that the Wii system will not exceed $250 in America, or ?25,000 in Japan. They expect to ship six million units for the launch window, and a total of 17 million units during the first year of the Wii's life. These numbers are worldwide, and Nintendo has committed to a worldwide simultaneous launch. Get more details in our report.
feature | 05/18/06 | Aaron Stanton
When you put a keyboard and mouse against a console controller, most people would say that the keyboard and mouse would win. However, most people would be wrong. With the introduction of Live Anywhere, a service that will put Xbox 360 players against PC users in the same games, the game industry has found a new perspective on the old debate. After a few minutes with one of the Shadowrun developers, it became clear that their main problem was not making the 360 controller competitive with the PC, but keeping the PC from getting owned by the Xbox 360. Even against experienced Halo and Counterstrike players, fairly average Xbox players seemed to have an advantage on the battlefield. Sometimes, reality is surprising.
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