Come one, come all, to the long-awaited 75th edition of RPGamer's Currents column!
Okay, so it hasn't exactly been long-awaited. Still, 75 is kind of a cool number, wouldn't you say? We're three-quarters of the way to reaching our 100th issue, a goal that I fully intend to achieve. If things keep going as they do now, it should take about... six months. Give or take. That would place us around September/October-ish. Not too far off! Bear with me everyone; we're going to make it. On a related note, this happens to be the fourteenth column I've written for the site. However, fourteen is not a cool number by any means, so let us drop this tepid subject and move on.
I have had the misfortune of breaking off a massive chunk of my left front tooth. It literally snapped in half, and the funny thing is that I literally have no idea how it happened. I was sitting in class (my 11:30 AM speech class for those who like details) and I leaned my chin against my hand and gently clenched my teeth together. As soon as I did so, I heard a sickening CRACK come from inside my head, and the next thing I knew, my front tooth was rolling about on my tongue. It was disturbing, to say the least. I took it in stride, of course. I stuck the tooth in my pocket and sat quietly in class, drawing absolutely no attention to myself.
This morning, I visited a dentist in order to get this obvious problem assessed. X-rays were taken, and I was then told that I had likely cracked my tooth some time ago - possibly years - and it's taken until now to snap and fall out of my head. I was also told that the nerve in the tooth was dead, and before a crown could be inserted, a root canal would be necessary. Fun stuff all around, wouldn't you say?
I alleviated the pain of these dark tidings by immediately skipping over to GameStop and purchasing a sexy new PSP Slim along with Crisis Core and Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection. I spent far too much time messing around with cool PSP features like Remote Play and its web browser, and because of that I probably won't even have time to play Crisis Core today. But then, I don't have much time to play anything at all these days, which makes me wonder why I keep BUYING stuff. Seriously, I now have a backlog that consists of nearly a dozen games, all but two of which are entirely untouched. This may sound conservative to many of you, but you have to understand that until recently, it is my policy to NEVER have backlogs under any circumstances. There was a time that I would buy one game, finish it, and only then would I buy another. It was a good habit. I saved money, and I finished games. Somehow, though, it's a habit I've strayed from.
Have any of you been keeping up with Jack Thompson's trial? If not, you're about to get up-to-speed real quick, because today's Currents tells all about it.
Thompson's Show-Cause Trial Ends in Disaster - for him.
Justice is served
You may recall that about a month ago, notorious game-hating lawyer Jack Thompson was issued a show-cause order by the Florida Supreme Court, in which it was demanded that he explain why he shouldn't have his right to file with the court sanctioned. The reasoning the Court gave was that Thompson had submitted "numerous frivolous and inappropriate filings in this Court." The full show-cause text is available for viewing here, and one of Thompson's documents that was particularly offensive to the court can be seen here. (I suggest you take a look, it's quite hilarious and it offers a frightening view into the mind of Jack Thompson).
The trial, as it were, has come and gone. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and spoil the ending of this story: Thompson lost. Badly. And, as it stands now, he can no longer directly submit any filings whatsoever to the Florida Supreme Court. If he wants to file another one of his frivolous and entirely baseless lawsuits against Rockstar or any videogame developer/publisher, he'll have to have another lawyer do it on his behalf. An excerpt from the Court's order is given below:
Thompson's multiple responses are rambling, argumentative, and contemptuous... What we cannot tolerate, however, is Thompson's continued inability to maintain a minimum standard of decorum and respect for the judicial system to which all litigants, and especially attorneys, must adhere...
A thorough review of Thompson's filings lead to one conclusion. He has abused the processes of the Court... Accordingly... the Clerk of this Court is hereby instructed to reject for filing any future pleadings, petitions, motions, documents, or other filings submitted by John Bruce Thompson, unless signed by a member in good standing of The Florida Bar other than himself.
Ouch. No, he hasn't been disbarred, but this a serious detriment to Thompson's effectiveness as a litigator. I personally wonder if he will even be able to find another lawyer of "good standing" that will stoop so low as to sign any filing of his. Seeing how Thompson responds to this kind of punishment will be most interesting indeed. But then, how can he respond? By suing the Florida bar (again)? Or maybe he'll just go try to sue some random videogame developer to let off some steam? Technically, he can still do those things, but he would require the assistance of another lawyer
as insane as he is who shares his views. I predict that after this, Thompson will likely spend some time recuperating in a dark corner; all the while sucking his thumb and muttering broken phrases such as "murder simulators", "counter-strike" and "testicle asphalt."
Want to know a little more about the trial? Read on for a compilation of some of its more memorable moments.
Thompson's Poor Ethics Brought to Light
I always did enjoy a good legal thriller
As you might expect, Jack Thompson's trial was very long, very wordy, and a lot of it was rather boring. However, there are more than a few key segments to it that were not, and some parts of these segments are, simply put, pure gold. Basically, the trial consists of many different people (judges and attorneys) who have had prior contact with Thompson. Each of them have their own tales to tell concerning Thompson and his stupid, annoying, and sometimes even hurtful behaviors. Having read through the entirety of these segments myself, I now bring you a montage of my favorite moments from the trial, and my reactions to them. Enjoy.
Act 1- Thompson and Clatus Junkin
Just to give you a bit of background, Clatus and Jack (that sounds like a bad TV show from the sixties) first met back in 2005. This was when Thompson represented the families of the three Alabama policemen who were murdered by 18 year-old Devin Moore. The case was known as Strickland vs. Sony, and was a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Take-Two, Sony, GameStop, and Wal-Mart, seeking a collective $600 million in damages. However, as you probably remember, Alabama Circuit Court Judge James Moore ended up revoking Thompson's Pro Hac Vice right to practice law in the state of Alabama - essentially removing him from the case. Soon afterwards, Jack Thompson was claiming that Junkin had "fixed" the case before Judge Moore. From the letter he sent to the Alabama's Judicial Inquiry Commission:
...We had heard going into this civil case, before it was even filed, that a particular Western Alabama lawyer had to be part of our litigation team or Judge Moore would not give us a fair hearing... This lawyer himself claims, openly, that 'Judge Moore will not allow you to survive summary judgment if I am not on the case...'
Typical Thompson fare; throwing wild and (probably) entirely baseless accusations into the wind, hoping somebody, somewhere will take note of him. Anyways, this issue of case-fixing was brought up once again in Thompson's show-cause trial. The following are some excerpts from it: (Note: "CJ" stands for Clatus Junkin, while JT stands for Jack Thompson).
JT: Do you have a personal relationship with Judge Moore?
CJ: In a rural circuit, everyone has a personal relationship with the circuit judge. We donít live in a large city... everyone will know everybody...
JT: ...I encouraged you to file a complaint [against me], didnít I?
CJ: ...Iíve never met you... and yet you created more problems for me probably than any other single individual that Iíve ever known about...
Heh... there are a few gamers out there who probably feel about the same. Anyways, moving on:
JT: Do you know how much money I have earned from all these video games cases?
JT: Would it surprise you to know itís zero?
CJ: Well... Donít say youíre doing it for the good of the community.
JT: I shouldnít say that?
CJ: You were very much interested in the amount of money that was going to be collected... because you did not want to retain me for 10 percent... you thought that was an outrageous sum...
What? He means to suggest that Thompson isn't on a holy crusade to protect our children, spread God's word, and end world hunger? But the man is a virtual PARAGON of righteousness!
JT: Do you recall my cursing at you?
CJ: I do not recall you cursing...
JT: In fact, I told you to "go fuck yourself," didn't I?
CJ: You may have...
JT: I can assure you I said that...
CJ: I despise you... You understand that?
JT: Yes, I understand that. Thank you for admitting that, it colors all of your testimony.
It's worth bringing up that, after GamePolitics' coverage of the Clatus Junkin portion of the trial, Thompson threatened legal action against them and their parent company, the ECA. In a nutshell, his beef with them is that they are only printing select portions of the trial, and in doing so are misrepresenting him. Oh, and he seems pissed that they won't let him comment on their site. You can read the letter he sent to them here. (MS Word). GamePolitics essentially told Thompson to go f- er, go jump in a lake. Because of that, we are able to move on to...
Act 2- Thompson and Judge James Moore
Next, we have the testament of the very Judge who revoked Thompson's right to practice law in Alabama, James Moore. I don't believe further introduction is needed, so let us move on. (Note: MOORE stands for James Moore, TUMA stands for prosecutor Shiela Tuma, and DT stands for Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case. JT, of course, stands for Jack Thompson.)
TUMA: Judge Moore, after you [revoked his pro hac vice], did you indicate to Mr. Thompson not to contact you any further since he was out of the case?
MOORE: Yes... Because he was continuously sending documents to my office; three, four, five times a day, easy... plus, when he would send his media alerts out... when he sends them to these media people, then they call my office. We got calls from all over the world about this, and it was extremely disruptive... my staff is one lady. That's it. She's it. We preside over three courts in three counties... it was very disruptive.
TUMA: How would you receive the correspondence?
TUMA: Can you just maybe try to explain briefly why you determined to file the [Bar] complaint...?
MOORE: Because his actions were outrageous...
JT: Excuse me, Your Honor, I move to strike his answer that I was outrageous. Thatís not really responsive.
JT: That's a characterization.
Correction: that's an entirely accurate characterization. OVERRULED! (That must be so fun to say...) Moving on, Judge Moore comments on Thompson's accusations of case-fixing.
TUMA: Judge Moore... Can you tell the court how the receipt of all the documents you received from Mr. Thompson affected you?
JT: Objection; irrelevant.
MOORE: For one, as I testified, it was really disturbing to the operation of my office. That, I think, is the main thing... You know, the other thing, it's just terribly frustrating to me as a Judge in this situation that he can publish these things [concerning the alleged case-fixing] to the press, unfounded, completely untrue, and I believe they are - they are very hurtful and harmful to the Court and the way this Court operates. I can't operate or any judge can't operate until the public has confidence in us and he attacks that confidence and it's just absolutely baseless.
What's exceedingly obvious from reading these hearings is that we gamers aren't the only ones who hate Jack Thompson. In fact, I think it's safe to say that Jack Thompson is hated far more by his own kind than he is by us. Let us move on. Thompson cross-examines Judge James Moore.
Act 3-Thompson cross-examines Judge James Moore.
JT: ...You entered an order, though, saying that I couldnít communicate with you any further.
MOORE: Directly to me or through my fax machine...
JT: Okay, and what was the annoyance that you had with that?
MOORE: Just fax after fax after fax after fax after fax after fax.
JT: Do you ever get communications by fax from other lawyers?
JT: Whatís the cut-off on how many faxes?
MOORE: Oh, I donít know. You reached it, whatever it is.
JT: Anybody else ever reach it?
MOORE: No... Not close... You ruined my fax machine.
JT: I ruined your fax machine?
MOORE: It quit.
JT: Did it.
JT: What kind was it?
MOORE: I donít know. A cheap one.
So Jack Thompson broke Judge Moore's fax machine. As if we didn't have enough reasons to despise the man. Seriously though, how obnoxious can you get? Thompson is obviously of the sort that reeeaally wants himself to be heard, as if you haven't figured THAT one out yet. Makes you wonder how much of that stuff he actually writes himself. Anyways, moving on:
JT: Youíre annoyed with me, aren't you?
MOORE: I'm not really annoyed. I mean, I don't know if thatís the word.
JT: Whatís the word?
MOORE: The word is, you can't comport yourself - I base what everybody else does on what the rules say this is what lawyers are supposed to do: civility, professionalism. That's what I go on. In my opinion based on the evidence, you violated those rules. It's just as simple as that.
JT: I'm not cordial. Is that it?
MOORE: When you tell a female lawyer that her mother would be ashamed of what she was doing and when you call them liars in Court and when you call me corrupt and put that out there to everybody in the world without any factual basis to it at all?
JT: Let me correct you, Judge. I said to [Take Two attorney] Jim Smith that his mother should be embarrassed by his representing these people who are selling pornography to children... do you think their parents would be proud of what they do?
Act 4- Thompson and James Smith
A quick background summary again - James Smith was one of the two Blank Rome attorneys who represented Rockstar and other defendants in the aforementioned $600 million Strickland vs. Sony lawsuit. He also testified against Thompson during his bar trial back in November of 2007. Needless to say, the two of them aren't the greatest of friends. The two of them go back and forth for some time about the minute details surrounding the revocation of Thompson's Pro Hac Vice (visiting) right to practice law in Alabama. Some of the more entertaining segments are given below.
TUMA: Can you explain to the Court what effect Mr. Thompsonís conduct has had on you [Mr. Smith]?
SMITH: Your Honor, I have never experienced anything like this before and I have been in some pretty tough fights... This is so far beyond the pale, it's unimaginable. This man on a routine basis accuses me of participating in fraud, in the mental molestation of minors, in the most offensive, disgusting things that you could possibly imagine, and he does it all with absolute impunity... You can't imagine what it's like - well, I guess you can, because I hear he sued you, too - but it's difficult to imagine that this could go on.
It had nothing to do with the practice of law. It's horrible. It's absolutely horrible. He makes reference to my mother and father. He makes reference to my partners. He just makes baseless, absolutely insane allegations, and he does it continually... We have a filter in our law firm now so that his e-mails only go to certain people.
JT: Your honor, move to strike because he was asked how it has affected him and then he went to using words that I'm insane, that I have sued you, and so forth. So I would ask that you move to strike his non-responsive answer. The question was, how did it affect him.
Be warned! The following segment contains a rather crude... um... acronym! However, I feel I must include it, because to me, this was single most hilarious exchange in the trial by far. At this point, Thompson feels it is necessary to bring up a certain parody website for the PSP game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
JT: This is a letter to the Judge, Judge Moore. "Judge, I told you and I told Mr. Smith weeks ago, that his client, Take Two Rockstar, was and is still targeting me on its official website as supposedly the head of the decency organization called C.U.N.T.F.L.A.P.S., which is an acronym for Citizens United Negating Technology For Life and People's Safety. How clever they are. Pornographers are smarter that the rest of us, far smarter than the people of Alabama, they think." ...Do you have an opinion as to whether or not your client had that posted at its corporate website?
JT: So did they post it?
JT: They didnít have C.U.N.T.F.L.A.P.S.?
/me rolls on the floor laughing.
Oh, wait... we're not in IRC, are we. Shoot.
*@metaridley rolls on the floor laughing
There we go. Anyways, moving on:
SMITH: No, Mr. Thompson, this activity had nothing to do with me certainly, my law firm and certainly my client. I donít know about these websites that you get on and you communicate with people and people communicate with you that go far beyond the control of the people that we were required to control...
JT: Are you telling me that this was not at [Rockstar's official website]?...
SMITH: ...I will tell you that I have no knowledge that our client was involved in it and I have absolute knowledge that neither I nor any member of my law firm had anything to do with... this distasteful, disgusting word or acronym that appears here, despite the fact that you accused me of having been involved in it...
Ha...hahah. Oh my, that was hilarious to me when I first read it. I hadn't actually heard about the website until now, so the acronym alone was enough to make me burst into laughter. The fact that Thompson proceeded to try and make serious conversation while repeatedly using the acronym is beyond hysterical. It represents Thompson's sole tactic (that I can see) throughout the entirety of the trial; and that is to consistently try to portray himself as a victim, as a lone soldier out fighting the good fight while enemies attack him from all sides. Needless to say, his tactic fails. As you're about to see, the closing portion of this multi-part article really isn't funny at all. Rebecca Ward, who represented Take-Two and other defendants in Strickland vs. Sony testifies, and is cross-examined by Thompson. Mrs. Ward spends most of her time reading nasty e-mails from Thompson for the record, which, as you'll soon see, were possibly more hurtful than they were annoying.
ACT 5- Thompson and Rebecca Ward
WARD: ...the one that's dated November 2nd, 2005. It's addressed to me, to Mr. Smith, to Dennis McCauley, who is a journalist - a freelance journalist in Philadelphia who runs the GamePolitics.com website... "Here you are, a woman representing the 'right' of a company to market to children a game in which they can simulate sex with a prostitute and then kill her to get their virtual money back... You disgrace us as lawyers. Shame on you. Shame on you as a woman as well..."
TUMA: Can you tell us for the record what effect did Mr. Thompson's conduct in these type of letters being sent to you, your partners, your clients, have on you?
WARD: ...first, and on a most simple basis, every e-mail that he sends - and he sends numerous ones - they come in a flood, dozens at a time... they are not something we can afford just to ignore... As I said before, when we got the e-mail that was distributed to all the partners of our law firm -
DT: Do you want a tissue?
WARD: No. I'm just very tired. I apologize.
DT: That's okay.
WARD: As I said, there were a lot of difficult discussion that occurred because when they receive these e-mails without any understanding of the context about the sort of person that they're coming from - you know, when you have a large law firm, you take accusations of fraudulent activity very seriously... I'm sorry.
DT: Would you like to take a break?
Thompson seems very intent on acting in ways that not only portray him as an idiot, but an asshole as well, for lack of a better term. He seems to have little to no regard whatsoever for any human being who has the audacity to stand against him, and he runs about making wild accusations with no thought to the effects they may have on the (wrongly) accused. Having your law firm accused of fraudulent activity is an extremely distressing claim, and Thompson has to know this better than most people. Arbitrarily making such serious and potentially hurtful allegations with no basis in fact or truth isn't just idiotic, it's wrong. Simply put, it's wrong. Finally, for the very end portion, let's hear some good, old-fashioned Jack Thompson style videogame hate speech:
JT: Do you know.. if this is a correct characterization? Manhunt 2 is a game that has been banned for sale in the United Kingdom and other European Union countries and yet is being sold by your client to teenagers in this country. Is that right?
TUMA: Objection, Your Honor, of the relevancy of this to this proceeding?
DT: Could you please explain the relevancy?
JT: Oh, sure.
DT: -that she's a lawyer for a corporate client -
JT: They're the one who got into this thing about - and I brought it up in the letters and they want it to be front and center and we took a recess because it was upsetting to Mrs. Ward about my assertions about what her client sells and about what, in my opinion, is a lack of moral circumspection on her part to facilitate that. I want the record to be clear about what these products are that concern me and that I think are inappropriate for any lawyer to facilitate - whether it's a man or a woman - the sale of.
DT: Okay, and this hearing before this Court -
DT: - is not a hearing in which this Court will be making a determination about what constitutes, hypothetically - pornography, what constitutes something of violence. The hearing before this Court has to do with allegations of conduct pursuant to Florida Bar rules.
After some extensive back-and forth over concerning the relevance of bringing up Manhunt 2, Thompson finally says:
JT: Okay. The proffer, so the record is clear, is that Mrs. Ward - which I'm not going to be allowed to ask about regarding Manhunt 2 - represents this client that is selling to teenagers and in fact selling directly to minors from their own websites a game which has been banned for sale to adults, which you drive syringes into people's eyeballs and suffocate them with plastic bags and which has caused an uproar regarding the banning in Europe and the sale of it here in this country. Okay.
There is more to the Jack Thompson trial, but, I feel I must now conclude my little summary. If you wish to read more about it, (and I encourage you to do so) then might I direct you to GamePolitics' wonderful coverage of the entire event? Ah, Jack, you always have been good for a laugh. In case you didn't read the previous story, this trial ended in some heavy sanctions on Thompson's part, and he will no longer be submitting any documents to the Florida Supreme Court directly. So, friends, fellow gamers, rejoice! This is news of the most glorious and uplifting kind, the like of which we may never see again!
Matt Atwood Talks Mass Effect
Will it contain more virtual orgasmic rape?
BioWare's 2007 RPG Mass Effect was an undebatable success, and RPG fans everywhere are awaiting the inevitable sequel. The game has seen some bumpy waters, (of sorts) in the sense that a few select media outlets took it upon themselves to besmirch the game to the best of their ability. However, the game seems largely unscathed, with close to two million copies sold and a PC version on its way.
In a recent interview on GameSpot UK's Start/Select show, BioWare's senior manager Matt Atwood had a few things to say about Mass Effect, as well as its up-and-coming sequel. When talking about some of the controversies surrounding the game's sex scenes, Atwood stated that he believed the scenes were "really tastefully handled." He went on to say that the game's staff were somewhat hurt by the wrongful allegations made about the game. "I think the team was very hurt because some of the people who were talking about it hadn't played it. We believe in integrity and not gratuity, and Mass Effect doesn't have gratuity at all."
When asked what features the team had been unable to include in Mass Effect, Atwood's only response was, "I'm not going to tell you what those things are because we've already announced that Mass Effect is a trilogy, and I imagine you'll be seeing those things in two and three."
Of course, Atwood was confronted with the burning question - when exactly will Mass Effect 2 be released? Two years from now? Four years? Six? Given the amount of time it seems to take for developers to shove anything halfway decent out the door, it's more of a loaded question than you'd think. However, Atwood seemed to be optimistic on the matter - "Well, the first one took three and a half years, but because we've got a lot of the tools and a base level now, it's not going to take that long. I'd say soon, but not real soon." Okay, then. I'm predicting three years and five months.
Atwood also mentioned that a sequel to the 2007 prequel novel Mass Effect: Revelation is in the works.
This would probably be somewhat more interesting to me if I had actually played Mass Effect, which is now occupying a prime position in my aforementioned backlog. I have yet to even remove it from its plastic wrap. Of course, I haven't had a 360 for the past two weeks, (I just got it back) so that may have something to do with it.
Blu-ray's Victory Soured?
Hooray for more lawsuits!
As we all know, Blu-ray has soundly defeated HD-DVD in the next-gen video format wars. Blu-ray is set to be the next DVD, and Sony is rejoicing at the (presumed) increase of sales for their system that will result. However, a recent investigation being performed by the International Trade Commission threatens to put a damper on things.
The investigation is being performed in response to a complaint filed by a woman named Gertrude Neumark Rothschild of Hartsdale, New York. Apparently, she's claiming both ownership and patents of "short-wavelength (e.g., blue, violet) LEDs and laser diodes that are used in products such as hand-held mobile devices, instrument panels, billboards, traffic lights, HD-DVD players (e.g., Blu-ray disc players), and data storage devices." Rothschild happens to be a Professor Emeritus at Columbia University, and has done extensive research into blue and violet LED's. Quite a few big-name companies are named in the investigation, with Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, LG, and Motorola being among them. ITC administrative law judge Paul J. Luckern will be holding an evidentiary hearing for the case, and if it turns out to have any merit, all of these companies will be guilty of copyright infringement, and in violation of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930.
I dunno, this case may have something to it, but I'm guessing not. Of course, this does bring to mind the lawsuit that Immersion filed against Sony a few years back and won, receiving a huge settlement. No doubt about it, when copyright infringement occurs among electronics manufacturers, it's a big deal. But my gut feeling just tells me that this one will end up being pitched out the window and forgotten.
Piece of Gaming Memorabilia Currently Close to $1600
I've long wanted a SNES. A NES too, for that matter. What? No, actually I've never had either one. In fact, I've never even played a NES or SNES. You may ask: how is someone so obviously inexperienced as I employed with RPGamer? Because I kept it a secret. Sssshhhh...
Nah, I jest. It's no secret that I started gaming a little later than most. I've thought about picking up a SNES and on multiple occasions, but in all honesty, I have far too much to spend on this generation to worry about looking back 20 years. However, if I did have a SNES, I would likely treasure it for life, and never even think about selling it, as that is my policy with all videogame systems. (I still have my PS2 and GameCube safely packed away). And furthermore, if my SNES happened to be AUTOGRAPHED BY SHIGERU MIYAMOTO HIMSELF, then I would NEVER PART WITH IT, EVER!
Nathan Smart of Columbus, OH, does not seem to share my views. This is evidenced by the fact that he is currently auctioning a Super Famicom (Japanese SNES) signed by... Shigeru Miyamoto himself. The auction currently stands at $1,575, with 41 total bids and over 21,000 hits. Funnily enough, many of the questions he's received ask him why the hell he would sell such a sacred thing, and his response is a link to his blog, in which he simply states that he has "way too much stuff" and "[not] enough room for it."
Why, man? Why? You would sell something so unique simply because you haven't enough ROOM for it? Get rid of some other, less important stuff! Buy a shelf! Do something, anything other than sell it! The money... it is not worth it! Besides, if you really want money, WAIT ANOTHER TWENTY YEARS! By then it will probably be worth millions! I know it's his stuff and his decision and whatnot, but still, it's difficult for me not to frown upon this.
GameStop Predicts 575-600 New Stores in 2008
Anything you'd like to reserve?
Like the game industry as a whole, GameStop had a heck of a year in 2007. Sales were reportedly up 33% with the year total being a whopping $7.1 billion. It seems that as the gaming industry grows in size, GameStop is simply growing with it; it's becoming more and more of a household name as time goes on.
GameStop has announced that they plan to open between 575-600 new stores in 2008. It's actually a fairly conservative number, considering they opened 586 in 2007. Currently, GameStop has 5,264 locations in 16 countries. Just on a personal note, not one but TWO GameStops recently opened in the Smyrna area, which is in my general vicinity. On another personal note, this news really should have been included in last week's column (which, of course, never came to be) but I deemed it worthy of bringing up today, even if it is somewhat old news.
QUICKIES: In Which I Make Passing Mention of Some Relatively Small, But Inherently Awesome News Stories!
Not PC, But Console Gaming is Going to Die
Or so says Alex St. John, one of the creators of DirectX. He also says that PC's are the most powerful gaming systems, and that digital distribution will boost PC gaming and destroy console gaming at the same time. He even came up with a cute metaphor to illustrate his point:
You can think of it as walking into a grocery store and saying, "Hey, I'm a customer for some chocolate, do you guys have any chocolate?" And the grocery store says, "Yeah, we have 50 pound barrels of it over there. They're a thousand bucks a barrel." You say, "Well I like chocolate, but not that much." The store says, "Well go to hell, that's all we've got. A thousand bucks or no chocolate for you." That's how retail games are sold. And it's an extremely inefficient business model. It's very crude.
Indeed. And I suppose that would be why console gaming brought in close to $18 billion in revenue last year. That's a very profitable crude model, if you ask me. Furthermore, is PC gaming really that much less expensive these days? It seems like you have to own a friggin' supercomputer to play anything other than World of Warcraft, and the games cost just as much. Finally, I dunno wtf he's talking about with the 50-pound chocolate barrels. I would totally buy, like, a dozen of those.
3 Years of PSP
How cool that I should buy a PSP right around its third anniversary. I didn't plan it that way, but that's just how it happened. The PSP really is something to be admired, if only because it's the first handheld system NOT manufactured by Nintendo that's survived the highly competitive gaming market, and managed to carve a little place for itself. The DS's place is certainly bigger, but 30+ million units sold is not something to sneeze at, by any means. PSPfanboy.com has put together a neat little retrospective for the handheld, examining 50 of its biggest moments from its inception until now. It's a pretty cool read, and it's not all that lengthy. I'd suggest you give it a look, unless you happen to be one of those crazy DS fanboys who would spit on a PSP's LCD screen if it was ever placed before them.
Hmmm... what to play tonight. Some Crisis Core? But then, I really should finish Super Metroid. Ah, heck; let's play some Crisis Core. Man, I can't wait for the summer. Maybe then I'll actually have the time to play all these damnable games that I've managed to stockpile.
That's all for this week, folks. Hope you enjoyed it, and I'll (ideally) see you next week with more news.