Currents Top Ten I Take2 May Have Taken More Than It Can Handle I Blizzard Hiring for Diablo 1 & 2 Team I Nintendo of Europe Hires New Management I SCEE Founder Joins Codemasters I Stock Ticker
Issue #36 Good Intentions February 11, 2005

Front Page

Another week, another day at the grind. The good news is that I was able to complete Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition, still the top seller this past week, with little trouble this week. The bad news is that I haven't been able to keep out of the sick house. For half the week, I couldn't hear or breathe correctly because of being stopped up. On top of that, three days were spent laying down as my left knee was in horrible pain. It kept me from sitting at the PC for prolonged periods of time; however, I am back and ready to write.

This week we'll take a look at the outlooks of a few more companies based on filings that they have filed recently. The DS appears to be shining brightly in Japan and continuing to slowly pick up in other countries as time moves on. Also, Sony has announced pricing for what the company hopes will be the successor to DVDs, Blu-Ray Disc.

This next week will spell a busy week for me as I shall be picking up Drakengard 2 to review the game for the site. Most of the week shall be passed by with me toiling away, in hopes of a next-weekend review. The search for Elliot's successor is still in progress, and you can rest assured that one will be chosen that will uphold this section with the greatest of quality possible.

 Currents Top Ten

This week saw Capcom's demonic hero continue his dominance with a top place showing once again. Sports titles take up nearly half of the top ten, while Sony continues to hold tough with eight PlayStation 2 titles in the list.

Actvision continues to see high sales numbers for its first-person shooting title, Call of Duty 2 for the Xbox 360 with a top five showing this week. With only one RPG released last week, it seems not many people were interested in purchasing it. Next week looks hopeful, with two Square Enix titles releasing on the same day.

Position Title Publisher Platform
1 Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition Capcom
2 MVP 06 NCAA Baseball EA Sports
3 Madden NFL 06 EA Sports
4 25 to Life Eidos Interactive
5 Call of Duty 2 Activision
6 Need for Speed Most Wanted EA Games
7 NBA Live 06 EA Sports
8 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Rockstar Games
9 WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2006 THQ
10 25 to Life Eidos Interactive

Source: GameSpot

 DS Lite Shows Its True Colors

Take2 Interactive

Take2 Interactive, home to many large franchises including Elder Scrolls and Grand Theft Auto, has released its latest annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In this report, the company reveals that its recent legal trouble is taking them further than most people might have originally believed. They also warn that new cases may be appearing shortly and that the company is still in court with even more cases.

The most recent case appears to accuse of more than just a hot coffee scandal. This suit alleges that executives engaged in insider trading with them selling off $11.8 million amidst a SEC investigation. The suit also points to the shipments of too many games that choked retailers and inflated the sales numbers, boosting them synthetically. They also point at the recent spree of developer purchases to try to dilute the flow of money, making it harder to catch on to illegal practices.

These suits continue to pop up across the nation with the latest being the city of Los Angeles suing over the inclusion of explicit material in GTA: San Andreas without warning to the public. Take-two continues to deal with these suits as an ongoing ordeal, however, these legal troubles have spilled over to investors and shareholders now.

Banc of America Securities has announced that they have downgraded Take-two's stock from "neutral" to "sell," stating the fact that the company was burning cash at an "alarming rate." They also mentioned matter-of-factly that "we do not believe that TTWO is a good acquisition or LBO candidate." This was in regards to comments about a possible acquisition of Take-two by another company. They continued on, stating that "we believe key employee retention, over-dependence on one title, high cost structure, cash burn, and mounting liabilities, are some important reasons why an acquisition of TTWO is highly unlikely."

Take2 seems to be creating its own hot coffee to sit in right now, and only time will tell if they'll be able to get out of the pot before they get burned. At this time, 2K Games' upcoming title, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is on schedule to ship in North America this spring, without any more delay in sight.

Sources: GamesIndustry | GameSpot

 Blizzard Hiring for Diablo 1 & 2 Team


Blizzard has opened some official job listings for the Diablo 1 and 2 teams. The listing states that the positions would be for an unannounced project for the PC. Some of the job listings have a more formal agreement of "future projects" as well.

This, combined with other rumors, have sparked the Diablo community into thinking and hoping that this is for Diablo III, which still hasn't even been mentioned by the developer. You can be sure that we'll have coverage of this new title as soon as it is announced, however.

 Nintendo of Europe Hires New Management


Nintendo has finally announced the replacement for its senior marketing director, Jim Merrick, this week. Laurent Fischer, previously marketing director for Nintendo of France, will be taking over immediately and will be handling the planning and coordination of all future hardware releases including the recently announced Nintendo DS Lite and upcoming console, the Nintendo Revolution.

"Nintendo is moving into a very exciting and innovative time as we expand the definition of gaming and broaden the population of video game players," Fischer commented. "I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Nintendo France for the past seven years and am now looking forward to the new challenge of working for Nintendo at a European level in this particularly significant period."

Achim Schmauss also joins the company as the company's Brand Manager. Schmauss, who brings eight years of marketing experience to the table, will be overseeing the company's Pan-European marketing activities of the Nintendo Revolution as well as the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.


 SCEE Founder Joins Codemasters

Chris Deering, the founding president of Sony Computer Entertinment Europe and former head of Sony Europe's consumer electronics division, has just recently joined Codemasters' board of management as a non-executive chairmember. Chris Deering is best known in Europe for founding SCEE in 1995 and overseeing the launches of both the original PlayStation as well as the PlayStation 2.

Also announced was that Benchmark Capital Europe had increased its 40% ownership of Codemasters by 30%. The CEO of Codemasters mentioned that he had purchased a 1.5% stake in the company at this time as well.


 Stock Ticker

Overall, this was a very bad week for the market with many companies dropping significantly. The only two that gained were Activision with a small 13-cent increase and Sega with a slightly larger 15-cent increase. Nintendo didn't lose and it didn't gain, sitting quietly by itself while Ubisoft had the largest drop, which was a 91-cent loss.

Parentheses denote negative numbers. Prices as of market closing 02.03.2005

Symbol Company Market Standing Change
SNE Sony NYSE 48.69 (0.21)
MSFT Microsoft Nasdaq 27.54 (0.14)
NTDOY Nintendo PNK 17.00 0.00
ERTS Electronic Arts Nasdaq 53.14 (0.44)
SQNXF Square Enix PNK 26.27 (0.24)
KNM Konami NYSE 22.20 (0.20)
ATVI Activision Nasdaq 14.08 0.13
MWY Midway NYSE 12.70 (0.10)
SGAMY Sega PNK 9.45 0.15
UBSFF Ubi Soft PNK 41.41 (0.91)

Source: CNN Money

 Back Page

And there it was, my first day back running Currents while Carlisle is away. This time, he shall not be making a triumphant return. He may, as stated by himself, guest host from time-to-time, but he doesn't have the time required of him to complete this column on a weekly basis any longer. Well, like I said earlier, I have no idea who you shall be greeted with next week, but if we haven't hired and trained anyone new yet, then you can be sure that I'll be back again. Until then, stay real San Diego.... errr.... the internet. My apologies for this being such a short update but it seems there wasn't much to report on that wasn't already covered during the week.

Billy Young

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