Saturday, October 18, 2008

The week in games October 13-17, 2008

Or a selective summary of what happened in the world of videogames this week, for anyone who doesn't religiously follow the newsfeeds. I've picked out one news story per (working) day, with links to either the original or the most interesting source for further reading.

Monday 13 October
Games to beat the economic downturn
That's according to Michael Pachter, the frequently quoted games business analyst from Wedbush Morgan. Later in the week it was announced that September's sales were down 7 percent from 2007, but Pachter believes this to be a blip caused by the release of Halo 3 last year. It's true that games provide good value entertainment on a per-hour basis, but their initial cost can still feel high. UK retail chain HMV obviously agrees, as it announced earlier this year that it would soon begin selling used games, as specialist games shops already do.

Tuesday 14 October
In-game advertising for Obama's campaign
Barack Obama may not have spoken out against games with the fervour of Hillary Clinton, but there's no denying it's an emotive political issue. All the more surprising then to see EA confirm the rumour that campaign ads for Obama and his voteforchange.com site feature in Burnout Paradise for the Xbox 360. Later in the week, it was revealed that a further 17 games carry the Democratic message.

Wednesday 15 October
Saints Row 2 is apparently "a sin"
Saints Row 2 is shaping up to be a worthy competitor to Grand Theft Auto 4 on more than one front. Today it leaped onto the media controversy bandwagon, horrifying the NYPD, as reported in the city's Daily News under the headline "Letting game players kill cops and smoke drugs, 'Saints Row 2' is a sin". It does put the other side of the argument, if you read far enough, quoting THQ, "Saints Row 2 is not a gang simulation game… It's a tongue-in-cheek game."

Thursday 16 October
WoW vs WOAoR
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning has been heralded as the first MMORPG to present a noticeable threat to Blizzard's World of Warcraft, although no one, least of all developer EA Mythic, expects it to reach WoW's heights of eleven million subscribers. However accomplished it is, abandoning a comfortable, familiar place where your friends also hang out is never easy: according to Blizzard over half those who left for Warhammer have already returned to the WoW fold. It's worth noting that for the Mac-using minority, WoW is still the only place you're welcome.

Friday 17 October
Global recall of system-selling game
One of the year's most anticipated games, British developer Media Molecule's Little Big Planet has been recalled globally by publisher Sony, due to the discovery of some text from the Qur'an being used in a background music track. The game, which Sony are expecting to be a system seller for the PS3 this holiday, was recalled so late that copies in the US have already been shipped in pre-orders.

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