Posts made in October, 2010

How Sega Can Save Sonic, and Itself

How Sega Can Save Sonic, and Itself

The middle of October brought predictably beautiful fall foliage and a less predictable confession from Sega of America, which admitted that it might have oversaturated the games market with Sonic the Hedgehog releases. “We’ve probably been guilty of bringing too many Sonic games to market too quickly,” Alan Pritchard, the head of Sega’s U.S. sales and marketing team, told Joystiq. “If you look at all of the Sonic releases over the...

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Is Guitar Hero Really Singing a New Tune?

Is Guitar Hero Really Singing a New Tune?

When pundits talk about the factors that propelled gaming into the mainstream over the past five years, they always mention Nintendo’s success with the Wii. But Harmonix’s Guitar Hero franchise deserves a big nod as well. Even as the series changed hands to Neversoft and garnered the publishing power of Activsion behind it, whole families and drunken frat boys alike bonded over little plastic guitars and lip-synching muppets. Granted, any publisher will...

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Are NPD Sales Numbers Of Any Use to Games Writers?

Are NPD Sales Numbers Of Any Use to Games Writers?

The NPD consumer market research group announced on October 12 that it’s tightening its monthly reports of game sales data. More specifically, it’ll be eliminating its monthly sales reports for game hardware and software. Instead, anaylst Anita Frazer says she’ll be offering insight concerning games’ sales numbers “at both the SKU and title level.” Reactions in the industry appear to be mixed. As GamesIndustry.biz publisher Phil...

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What Do Pro Voice Actors Bring to Gaming?

What Do Pro Voice Actors Bring to Gaming?

When console games transitioned from cartridges to CDs, video game developers went on a bit of a bender. It’s hard to blame them: CDs offered vast pockets of storage space that were just waiting to be filled with rendered cut scenes and voice acting. But terrible translations of said cut scenes, accompanied by the mediocre quality of writing that narrates a game’s story, combined to make some remarkable audiovisual monsters in the late ’90s. Games...

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How Can Zynga Expand Its Horizons?

How Can Zynga Expand Its Horizons?

It looks like Zynga’s getting a little tired of milking cows, and looking to find ways to do the same with new video game franchises. The creator behind the FarmVille Facebook phenomenon is opening a new studio in L.A. in hopes of mining the vein of digital talent that resides in the area. After all, rumor has it that this new Zynga studio won’t be improving on the nuances of FarmVille; instead, it will roll whole new ideas and products that may well be...

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Is There Life Left in the Wii Vitality Sensor?

Is There Life Left in the Wii Vitality Sensor?

It’s not Nintendo’s style to talk very much about a new game, system, or accessory until it can really demonstrate what its new toy can do. The company has been especially silent about the Wii Vitality Sensor, the little finger-clip accessory that’s supposed to measure the user’s heart rate and other inner beats and bumps. Nintendo might be holding off on revealing its plans for the Vitality Sensor thanks to reactions to the device at E3...

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Is the App Gold Rush Already Over?

Is the App Gold Rush Already Over?

In the mid-19th century, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world traveled great distances and endured unimaginable hardships to get to California and Alaska after hearing about “gold nuggets lying around on the ground for the taking.” Last week, while browsing Barnes & Noble, (the actual store, not the website….that’s right, no Nook), I saw a book entitled “Make Millions Developing iPhone Apps!” Subtitles told me that “very...

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Why the Japanese Game Industry is Dying

Why the Japanese Game Industry is Dying

News stories about the inexorable decline of Japan’s games industry are always hot. They pop up every week. It’s the End. Japan is Doomed. Even Capcom’s head of production, Keiji Inafune, says that Japanese-produced video games are in big trouble. Pretty heavy stuff to come from the mouth of one of Japan’s most respected game developers. The supposed slow death of Japan’s game industry is particularly fascinating to twenty- and-...

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Too Many Sequels: Are They Killing Gaming?

Too Many Sequels: Are They Killing Gaming?

Are too many sequels killing the video game business? It’s a salient question to ask, considering that virtually every new major gaming release this holiday season is a sequel, spin-off or series remake. Rather than simply dismiss the issue and say that there’s no merit to improving upon blockbuster games franchises (hey, if it’s not broke…), we present a thorough taxonomy of the debate in recent CNN article Are Too Many Sequels Killing...

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Top 5 Portable Games: DSi, PSP, etc.

Top 5 Portable Games: DSi, PSP, etc.

Looking for the best new games for your top favorite handheld gaming system, whether it’s the iPhone, iPad, Nintendo DSi or PlayStation Portable (PSP)? Then seek no further: As our CNN column Five Puzzlingly Good Portable Games points out, you don’t have to look far for action, arcade and role-playing titles that challenge your brain matter and puzzle-solving skills as much as your hand-eye coordination. Featuring the likes of Osmos, Angry Birds, Super...

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