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Currents Top Ten I Miyamoto Says Games are Too Long I Sony Sells 90 Million PS2s I Illinois Game Bill Advances I Ubi Soft Opens New Office I PSP Game Sales Drop I Louisiana Passes Pro-Game Bill I Stock Ticker I Close-Up Feature: Video Game Piracy
CURRENTS
Issue #9 Crushed by an Anvil June 4, 2005


Front Page

It's been a while since I last had to deal with packing up a house and moving across the country; I've forgotten how much needs to be done in the little allotted time. From helping with the move, to writing a column, minimizing the number of people mad with me, and figuring out how to put this new feature together, I feel like I've been crushed by an anvil. Thankfully, it'll all be over in two weeks. Hopefully by then I'll be able to shift the focus of my life back to, well, my life.

Anyway, on to business. This week, we have some words from the great Shigeru Miyamoto on what's wrong with today's games. So if you're an aspiring game developer, be sure to whip out that note pad. Furthermore, Sony reaches a sales milestone with the PS2 console, the Illinois game bill gets an update, Ubi Soft builds a new office, and PSP game sales hit some bumps in Japan. It's all just down below, so get comfy, give your mouse wheel a little kick, and stay a while.



 Currents Top Ten

Yes, I know what you're thinking--because I was thinking the same thing when I first saw the list as well. Paper Mario 2? How did this happen? I guess either the game saw a sudden surge in popularity or every other game aside from Star Wars suddenly and drastically decreased in popularity. Either way, this seems like nothing short of a miracle, if such things actually happen. Right when the Top Ten was in dire need of an RPG, one from the somewhat-distant-past shows up to save the day.

Also, another cause for celebration is that Paper Mario 2 is the first GameCube game to make it onto the list since the second issue of Currents way back in the day. Thus, I dub this day, June 4, 2005, Paper Mario 2 day. Every hero deserves a holiday on which to be celebrated and Paper Mario 2, with its heroic saving of the Top Ten, is no exception.


Position Title Publisher Platform
1 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith LucasArts
2 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith LucasArts
3 Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Nintendo
4 Lego Star Wars Eidos Interactive
5 Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition Rockstar Games
6 Forza Motorsport Microsoft Game Studios
7 God of War Sony Computer Entertainment America
8 Hitman: Contracts Eidos Interactive
9 Lego Star Wars Eidos Interactive
10 MVP Baseball 2005 EA Sports


Source: GameSpot



 Miyamoto Says Games are Too Long

Nintendo

Legendary game designer, Shigeru Miyamoto recently sat down with CNN/Money's Chris Morris for a few words about the game industry. Apparently, he's not really liking the latest trends that many games, especially RPGs, are taking.

"There's not a lot I want to play now," complained Miyamoto. "A lot of the games out there are just too long. Of course, there are games, such as Halo or Grand Theft Auto, that are big and expansive. But if you're not interested in spending that time with them, you're not going to play."

Of course, the man who helped make gaming what it is today didn't just sit around and complain during the whole interview. He also took the time he had to get in a few quick jabs at Sony and Microsoft--especially concerning the game demos they had at E3 to show off the power of their respective next-generation consoles. "Most of what you're seeing are not even the first projections of games...They're just shiny computer graphics. They're things anyone using a computer can do."

What's a hard jab at the competition without a good plug for your own company's upcoming product? Miyamoto doesn't know, so naturally he had some nice things to say about the Revolution. "It's how we're going to use the technology that separates us...What we want to do is different--and we're happy with the road we're taking. When you have a Revolution, you're not going to have the same experience as you would with the other home consoles."

Unfortunately though, Miyamoto didn't divulge any new details concerning Nintendo's still-relatively-mysterious next-generation console. He did, however, briefly describe the thought process of the console's designers over at Nintendo. "We asked ourselves 'why would a family need or want to have a gaming console?' The answer is what's driving development of the Revolution."


Source: GameSpot



 Sony Sells 90 Million PS2s

Sony

Sony announced this week that it had recently shipped the 90 millionth unit of its PlayStation 2 console. Splitting the number up into individual global regions, the company has shipped 21.04 million units in Asia since its March 2000 launch in the continent, 36.48 million units in North America since its October 2000 launch, and 32.48 million units in Europe since its November 2000 launch there.

Sony went on to note that the PS2 has reached this milestone of 90 million units more than 2 years and 3 months earlier in its life than its predecessor, the original PlayStation, released in 1995. Sony also stated that it had shipped out 16.17 million new units of the slim line PS2 model to retailers between November 1 and March 31. At this rate, it won't be long before the PS2 outsells the Playstation, which topped out at 100 million units.

With the PS2 being equipped to play original PlayStation games, it has over 5,000 titles currently available for it. Cumulative game shipments are well past the 800 million mark with 252 million of those shipping in the last business year alone.


Source: GameSpot



 Illinois Game Bill Advances

Today's hottest video game topic in the public eye is the banning of the sale of mature games to minors. Several states such as North Carolina and California are currently discussing legislation that would sign such a ban into effect. The state closest to actually achieving this, however, is Illinois, and this week it moved yet another step closer. The Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill that, if signed into law, will prohibit the sale of mature-rated games to minors. The bill's passing in the House comes after its passing in the state's Senate. The results of the vote read: 106 for the ban, and only 6 against it.

Though all games are marked with an ESRB rating tag to help consumers identify the content of the game, it's not against the law for mature games to be sold to minors. As of now, it's up to the personal discretion of the retailer whether to sell such games to children; and in most cases, retailers opt to adhere to the recommendations established by the ESRB on their own.

The Illinois bill will almost certainly by signed into law, as it only has one place left to go -- the governor's desk. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, launched the campaign for the ban last summer after seeing a trailer for a game that puts players in the shoes of Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of assassinating President John Kennedy.

Governor Blagojevich said in a statement, "In today's world, parents face unprecedented challenges in monitoring and protecting their children from harmful influences.... This bill will make their job easier."


Source: GameSpot



 Ubi Soft Opens New Office

Ubi Soft

Ubi Soft, a Canadian-based video game developing and publishing company, has decided to open a new office in Quebec City. It plans to invest $75 million and create 200 news jobs within the next five years with the new studio. Meanwhile, Ubi Soft is currently working on creating 75 new jobs at the last new studio the company opened, located in the Saint-Roch district at 390, Charles East.

"We are in Quebec City for its talent and its dynamic nature. Our objective is to build a studio where creativity and technological know-how will come together to create world class games," said Ubi Soft Canada's president and COO, Martin Tremblay.

Furthermore, Tremblay also announced that Nicolas Rioux had been appointed to the position of vice president and general manager of the new Quebec City studio. "Nicolas is an experienced video game development manager, known for his vision and leadership," said Tremblay, "I'm confident that he'll quickly make our Quebec City studio an international leader, able to take on the most ambitious projects."

"This is the start of an exciting adventure for Ubisoft in Quebec City," said the newly-appointed vice president. "Ubisoft has a reputation for developing high quality, breakthrough games. Our new studio will pursue this same successful approach. Starting right away, we'll work on innovative projects based on strong licenses, using the latest technologies."


Source: GameSpy



 PSP Game Sales Drop

Though Sony's PSP is still a relatively new system in Japan, having been released merely six months ago, the sales numbers for the handheld's games have dropped to a dismal level. For the week of May 23, only four PSP games remained in Dengenki's top 50 sales rankings and none made it into the top 20. The disappointing figures are attributed to the market's lack of major spring releases.

During that same week in May, many hotly anticipated PSP games were released, such as Intelligent License, but the game only made it to 38th place on the Dengenki rankings. Derby Time, Dorasulot: Shuyaku wa Zenigata, and Minna no Golf Portable were the only other games to break into Dengenki's top 50.

On the other side of the handheld war, six Nintendo DS titles broke into Dengenki's top 20 list, although half of them were different editions of the same game--Nintendogs. Two DS games, SD Gundam G-Generation DS and (take a deep breath) Touhoku Daigaku Mirai Kagakugijutsu Kyoudoukenkyuu Center: Kahashima Ryuuta Kyouju no Nou o Kitaeru Otona DS Training, a brainteaser game, actually made it as far as Dengenki's top ten list. For you curious non-Japanese speakers, the title of the latter game roughly translates to Touhoku University's Future Technology Collaborative Research Centre's Professor Ryuuta Kawashima presents: DS Brain Training for Adults. After fitting that onto the box of the game, one can't imagine any sort of art or logo making it on as well.

Currently, Nintendo DS sales are beating out those of the PSP and PS2 in Japan. The PSP has 39 titles out on the Japanese market, 8 of which are first-party games. The Nintendo DS follows closely behind with 37 available titles, 14 of which were developed by Nintendo.


Source: GameSpot



 Louisiana Senate Passes Pro-Game Bill

The Louisiana state Senate unanimously passed Bill 341, a bill that proposes a law to grant game developers tax credits if they relocate their headquarters to the state. Specifically, the bill gives "a 10 percent state-tax income credit to studios that spend $300,000 to $8 million" to get settled in and then stick around for at least a year.

Another bill being considered by the Louisiana state legislature would add game development programs to state universities. If this bill is signed into law, the state will have a readily available pool of people able to work for the game companies that decide to relocate to the state. Both of the bills are being backed by the Louisiana Game Developers Association, a group whose primary mission is to lure game companies to the state.


Source: GameSpot



 Stock Ticker

Ouch. There are a lot of numbers in the red this week. In fact, everyone but Konami, Sega, and Ubi Soft is taking a dive. The few companies that aren't in the red this week are only up by about a dime, so it looks as though the industry has hit a bit of a rough patch. If you're investing in any of these companies, don't freak out just yet. It's fairly likely that the prices will be back on the rise before long. Alternatively, if you're not currently investing, now might be a good time to check out your options. Remember the golden rule of the stock market: buy low, sell high.

Parentheses denote negative numbers. Prices as of market closing 06.03.2005


Symbol Company Market Standing Change
SNE Sony NYSE 36.70 (0.67)
MSFT Microsoft Nasdaq 25.43 (0.36)
NTDOY Nintendo PNK 13.30 (0.15)
ERTS Electronic Arts Nasdaq 52.97 (0.56)
ENIXF Square Enix PNK 28.45 (0.47)
KNM Konami NYSE 20.00 0.10
ATVI Activision Nasdaq 15.61 (0.24)
MWY Midway NYSE 9.25 (0.10)
SGAMY Sega PNK 14.70 0.15
UBSFF Ubi Soft PNK 45.51 0.08

Source: CNN Money




 Back Page

But wait, that's not all. If you act now you can read an entire Close-Up feature. Just scroll up to the link at the top of this page and it's yours. That's right--three easy payments of $0! This is an unlimited time offer folks, so act now. What you'll get is a look into the world of video game piracy, the clarification of some common myths, reasons why you shouldn't do it, and more, more, more! Go pop some popcorn and get the kids, let's make this a family affair. Or not. You can read it alone, I suppose. Either way, it's time for me to sign off. Guisinger out!


Elliot "Happy Paper Mario 2 day" Guisinger


Carlisle@RPGamer.com

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