All posts under tagged ‘Business’

Feed for all posts filed under "Business"

Tecmo Koei merger to close by April of 2009


Ninja Gaiden II for Xbox 360First some history. Not even two weeks after the head of Tecmo, Yoshimi Yasuda, stepped down following their star developer Tomonobu Itagaki’s leaving the company, Ninja Gaiden developer Tecmo turned down a buyout offer from RPG powerhouse Square Enix. The reason being that they were already in talks with Dynasty Warriors developer and publisher Koei, who they thought would be a better fit than Square Enix.

A month later, Tecmo and Koie had agreed in principle to form a holding company that would merge the business of the two game companies. And today, Reuters has reported that Tecmo and Koei have announced a more definitive plan to combine their business, which is expected to close by April of 2009.

Dynasty Warriors 6 for PS3As part of the deal, Tecmo shareholders will be offered nine-tenths of a share in Tecmo Koei Holdings for each share they currently own in the independent gamemaker. Koei stock owners will have one share added to each share they currently own, which translates to the gamemaker’s shareholders owning three-quarters of the new company. Reuters reports the deal is valued at ¥20 billion ($207 million).

Reuters reports that Tecmo Koei Holdings is targeting operating profits in excess of ¥16 billion ($166 million) on revenues of ¥70 billion ($725 million) by the fiscal year ending March 2012.

Via GameSpot

Published on November 18th, 2008 under , , , , , , , , ,

Monthly Wii production ramps to 2.4 million


Oompa doompa-dee-do, Nintendo is ramping production for you.

In an interview today with the Los Angeles Times, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime says the company has increased monthly Wii production to 2.4 million units.

He doesn’t name any names, but Fils-Aime also takes a jab at Sony.

“One of our competitors projects they will sell 10 million consoles worldwide this year. For us, that’s three months of production,” says Fils-Aime. “We’re producing an unprecedented level of hardware to try to meet demand.”

Nintendo is producing 33 percent more Wii units per month than last year, when 1.6 million were being made. Despite record production, Fils-Aime won’t promise Wii will be easy to find this holiday season.

“Once you see it on the shelf, you ought to buy it.”

Published on October 27th, 2008 under , , ,

Interview with Conduit developer: If we aren’t listening to the fans, we aren’t doing our jobs


Eric Nofsigner, Chief Creative Officer of High Voltage Software, has long been an advocate of better gaming on the Wii. “Most of the games on the Wii look like crap.” Nofsinger told IGN last April, “We want to change that. …Our goal is to be the most technically innovative Wii developer on the planet.” High Voltage has spent the last year developing The Conduit, the much hyped independent first person shooter that seems to be pushing Wii graphics to the limit.

At Nintendo’s Fall Press Summit, Eric Nofsinger and I talked about how important fan feedback was to the development of The Conduit.  “One of the things we’ve really done at every one of these shows is gotten feedback from folks, from press, from fans, and that’s been awesome.” Nofsinger says, “We write up a list of all the stuff, and we go back to the studio and put it on a punch list – not all of it gets on there, but a lot of it does.” This kind of fan involvement is almost unheard of in the industry, as we approached the demo unit I asked for details. “Can you show me an example?”


“I can point to a lot of things in this build that have changed since the PAX build directly as a result of fan feedback. One of the things that a lot of the fans talked about in the forums was the jaggy textures, they felt like when you got right up on the walls that the texturing was jaggy. So we went back to the studio and asked ‘how do we fix this,’ and sorted out a way to make it happen so you can go right up on a texture and it’s nice and crisp.”

Eric calls the trick “black magic,” explaining how The Conduit displays different textures depending on player distance from a surface. “I’ve not seen this in another Wii title.” he said, “There are other things we’ve incorporated, People came up to us and said ‘it would be nice if your character ran faster,’ or ‘it would be nice if the general turn speed, or cursor speed was more responsive,’ these are all things that we tweak and tweak and tweak, and people come back to the next show, and we have them try it and say ‘how does this feel now? We’re getting in the striking zone, closer and closer to an ideal, that’s something we don’t want to lose.”

Now I was interested!  I’ve seen fan suggestions ignored, ridiculed and dismissed, but never listened to, let alone implemented! As if reading my mind, Nofsinger continued, “I would hope that a couple of the things that we are doing aren’t typical to the developer/publisher mold, and I would hope that our example will help other folks. How many developers do you know at these shows who walk the hall with a notebook and have it filled up with ideas? I’ve written pages of comments directly from people, and I’ve done that at every show we’ve been to. It matters what the fans think. If we are not listening to them and we aren’t actively putting that stuff in there, we aren’t doing our jobs.”

I began to wonder if this philosophy had caused High Voltage any trouble, not all fans agree on what a game should be like. “What do you do when you have one person asking you to do something one way, and another person asking for the opposite?”
“That’s something we encountered very early on,” Eric explained, “even within our own office. You ask people ‘how should you control a first person shooter on the Wii,’ and out of fifty different people you’ll get fifty different responses. ‘Where should your HUD be?’ Everybody tells you something different!” Remembering a conversation from earlier, I had to interject. “Your colleague was telling me about that yesterday, that there is some dispute at the office about what to do with the HUD. He said you were thinking about letting the user decide.”

“Exactly,” Eric started again, “that’s in the next build, you guys will all see. You’ll be able to drag and drop your HUD elements exactly where you want them. If you want to play with no HUD, great – play with no HUD. If you want to play with your health meter right dead center in the middle of the screen? Sure, why should we stop you? We’ve had some dispute about that, ‘Well, then consumers can break it,’ and it’s like, ‘okay, let them break it if that’s what they want!’ Maybe putting the HUD somewhere that blocks your view is more of a challenge for you, maybe you just want to see if you can do it. After that you can throw it on YouTube and say ‘check it out, I beat the game with all the HUD stuff right in the middle of the screen!’”

One of the reasons High Voltage has the freedom to include fans in the development process is due to the fact that until recently, Conduit has been a completely independent title, without a publisher. Even so, their independent approach and revolutionary graphics for the Nintendo console garnered them a lot of attention. “We’ve had many suitors over the last few months; it was just a process of widdling that down to the ones that really made sense, and there is a lot of criteria that went into that. We weren’t just going with whoever was the highest bidder; we wanted to make sure they were somebody who would be a great partner, and that we would be able to continue to make a great game.”

With all the hype surrounding The Conduit, High Voltage’s long list of suitors is no surprise. When the game’s Quantum3 engine was first revealed as a tech demo in April, gamers and publishers alike were blown away by the promise of 60fps at near Xbox 360 quality graphics. Nofsinger explained that companies were inquiring about licensing the engine for their own games right away. “It’s something we’ve been approached a lot about, the initial tech demo that went out, that was really only made for internal and for publisher purposes, it wasn’t really intended for the public but people really grabbed onto it.

“Right now we’re not really looking to license the engine, really we’re focusing more on making a really high quality game than becoming a middleware provider. We’re trying to raise our quality level and raise the quality level of core games on Wii. We do want to make sure that if we were going to sell the engine we’d want to be sure it’s being utilized in interesting ways, as opposed to selling it to anybody with a dollar – because that pulls the whole thing down again.”
Amid all the licensing requests and fan feedback, High Voltage has still found time to pick out a suitor. “We have a publisher now, it’s just we haven’t announced it yet. It’s supposed to be signed, but there is some back and forth. It’s in the hands of the lawyers now.”

High Voltage Software and its new partner are expected to make an announcement sometime within the next two weeks.

Published on October 9th, 2008 under , , , , ,

Wii shipping dates for all those hot titles


Looking for when all those new upcoming Ubisoft Petz titles will be shipping to your local bargain bin? Maybe you are just interested in a quick break down of which company is shipping what and when? Get ready to mark your calanders with exact dates after the jump.

2K Play
Carnival Games: Mini-Golf – Oct. 20
Dora the Explorer: Dora Saves the Snow Princess – Oct. 27
Go, Diego, Go!: Great Dinosaur Rescue
– Oct. 27

2K Sports
MLB Superstars
- Nov. 10

Crash: Mind Over Mutant – Oct. 7
The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon – Oct. 21
Spider-Man™: Web of Shadows – Oct. 21
Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors™ - Nov. 4
Madagascar Escape 2 Africa™ - Nov. 4
Quantum of Solace - Nov. 4

Guitar Hero® World Tour – Oct. 26

Backyard Football®’09 - Oct. 21

Atlus U.S.A., Inc.
Dokapon Kingdom™ - Oct. 14

Bold Games
Fantasy Aquarium - Nov. 11

Conspiracy Entertainment
Ski and Shoot – Nov. 28
Winter Sports 2: The Next Challenge - Nov. 28

Ben 10™ Alien Force - Oct. 28

Candance Cane’s Candy Factory – Oct. 21
North American Hunting Extravaganza - Oct. 21
Iron Chef America™ Supreme Cuisine - Oct. 28
WordJong Party - Nov. 11

Disney Interactive Studios
Bolt – Nov. 18

DreamCatcher Games
Sam & Max: Season One - Oct. 7
Safecracker - Oct. 15
Agatha Christie Evil Under the Sun - Oct. 23

Elastic/ Scholastic Interactive
Goosebumps™ HorrorLand - Oct. 21
Ultimate I SPY™ – Oct. 28

Electronic Arts
MONOPOLY™ - Oct. 7
MySims™ Kingdom - Oct. 28
SimAnimals™ - Jan. 20 2009

TV Show King Party - Nov. 4

Star Wars® The Clone Wars™: Lightsaber Duels™ – Nov. 11

Majesco Entertainment
Jillian Michaels’ Fitness Ultimatum 2009 – Oct. 28
Cake Mania®: In the Mix! – Nov. 18

Deer Drive™ - Dec. 8

Game Party® 2 - Oct. 6

LUXOR 3 – Nov. 4

NAMCO BANDAI Games America
We Cheer™ - Sept. 30
Tales of Symphonia®: Dawn of the New World™ - November

Wii Music - Oct. 20
Animal Crossing™: City Folk - Nov. 16

Sega of America
Nancy Drew®: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek – Dec. 2

SNK Playmore USA
THE KING OF FIGHTERS Collection: The Orochi Saga – Nov. 18
SAMURAI SHODOWN Anthology – Nov. 18

BUILD-A-BEAR Workshop- A Friend Fur All Seasons - Oct. 21

Avatar: The Last Airbender-Into the Inferno - Oct. 13
Bratz Girlz Really Rock - Oct. 13
Tak and the Guardians of Gross – Oct. 13
All Star Cheer Squad – Oct. 20
Rock University™ Presents: The Naked Brothers Band The Video Game – Oct. 20
SpongeBob SquarePants feat. Nicktoons: Globs of Doom – Oct. 20
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 – Nov. 9

TOMY Corporation
Penny Racers™ Party: Turbo Q Speedway - Oct. 7
NARUTO™: Clash of Ninja® Revolution 2 - Oct. 21

Circus Games – Oct. 21
Petz® Rescue Wildlife Vet – Oct. 21
Petz® Horsez Club – Oct. 28
TV Show King Party - Oct. 28
Movie Games - Nov. 4
Petz® Sports - Nov. 4
Imagine™ Party Babyz – Nov. 11
Shaun White Snowboarding :Road Trip - Nov. 16
Petz® Crazy Monkeyz - Nov. 18
Rayman Raving Rabbids® TV Party – Nov. 18
Imagine™ Fashion Party – Dec. 9
My Fitness Coach - Dec. 9

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Guinness World Records : The Videogame – Nov. 11

ZOO Games Inc.
Army Men “Soldiers of Misfortune” - Oct. 7
Jeep® Thrills - Oct. 14
Twin Strike : Operation Thunder – Oct. 14
Bigfoot® : Collision Course – Oct. 28
Skate City Heroes – Oct. 28
Story Hour Adventures – Oct. 28
Story Hour Fairy Tales - Oct. 28
Chrysler Classic Racing - Nov. 4
Yamaha Supercross – Nov. 4
Calvin Tucker’s Redneck Jamboree – Nov. 11
Garfield Gets Real – Nov. 11
M&M’S® Beach Party - Nov. 11
Deal or No Deal™ – Nov. 18
M&M’S® Adventure – Nov. 18

Published on October 2nd, 2008 under , ,

The 16 most ridiculous-looking, cringe-inducing Wii lifestyle photos of all time


The Wii is beloved by many, myself included. And a contributing reason may have been Nintendo’s unprecedented use of lifestyle photos, which turn the camera from televisions onto gamers, showing how much fun can be had playing Wii, as opposed to a screenshot you might not understand.

While nearly all of them do their job, some lifestyle photos look convincing. Most look pretty lame. But the following look flat-out ridiculous — the most-retarded-looking Wii lifestyle photos of all time.

Blue Steel fail

This lifestyle photo is the Two Face of lifestyles. On the left sits a smiley brunet, genuinely thrilled with whatever director notes are being shown. On the right, a fake blond forcefully attempts a Blue Steel, or maybe The Magnum — I can’t remember which. In any case, she looks absurd.

Cheat fail

Dumb. I can only imagine what this would have looked like in the NES days. Being the recipient of the reset button while winning was never this fun. By the way, I also keep my Stratocaster perched next to my living room sofa at all times.

Comic book fail

I understand what Nintendo was trying to do here — I really do. The world had never seen such a capable controller until the Wii remote reared its motion-sensing, force-feedbacking, audible head. But did they really need to go all Batman with the graphics on this one? I suppose comics look “fun,” but seriously.

Creepy European gamer fail

If you’re one of our friendly European readers, feel free to change the above title to “Creepy Xbox Live gamer fail.” Whatever you are, there’s no denying this guy looks like a real douche.

“No, no. Look over here!”

This shot is amazing. Not only does it look preposterous, but the three actors are all looking at different objects. Two different TVs, I suppose, and Mr. Dazed and Confused is looking directly at the camera. What a twit.

Dumb and Dumber fail

Rule #1: Never use an actor that looks like Harry Dunne. Rule #2: See rule #1.

Enjoyment fail

Needs more Pokémon.

Live performance fail

Pictured above is the first live performance Wii lifestyle photo, courtesy of Nintendo’s E3 2008 press conference. A hot and sweaty M. Night Shyamalan lookalike plays Wii Music, and not very good from the sound of it. As one in attendance, I can’t tell you how embarrassingly uncomfortable the moment really was, other than “fail.”

Damsel in distress fail

This lifestyle pic, once used to promote Project H.A.M.M.E.R., displays wonderment never before seen on the face of a gamer. The game appears so “immersive,” in fact, that the player’s love interest must take cover behind her beau’s shield of a body, watching him befell giants like never before. Surly this photo-op alone could have saved the game, right? Nah.

Agoraphobia fail

Is this a JC Penny’s ad or a Wii Sports lifestyle shot? In any case, there is no possible way these youth could play tennis that close together. Hello?! Ever hear of a Wii-injury? Overcrowding for the loss.

Nerd fail

Okay, this isn’t an actual Wii Lifestyle photo, but you can imagine how detrimental it would have been had Nintendo commissioned this goober to appear in an advertisement.

Grampa smells like beef and cheese

Without stating the obvious (pedophilia), this picture makes me uncomfortable.

Plaid fail

Trying a little too hard, are we? It’s virtual golf, not a Caddyshack remake.

Playing Wii is not this tedious, I swear

Don’t worry. You really can play Zelda without looking like a tool. Fail.

Serve fail

I thought the server stood behind his double’s partner in tennis? And you’re suppose to serve the ball, not pitch it! And…, oh, this just looks so staged, it doesn’t even matter.

Grandma fail

Believe it, grandma. The rotund Italian plumber you seen in front of you is actually living in your television set. Crazy, I know.

BONUS: The ideal Wii lifestyle photo

Now if every Wii lifestyle photo looked like this, it would all be gravy. Keep fighting the good fight, Miyamoto (so long as it’s not related to you know what).

TELL US: What’s the most ridiculous-looking lifestyle photo you’ve ever seen?

Published on September 26th, 2008 under , , , , , , ,

Microsoft beats one-week Wii sales in Japan


Microsoft’s Xbox 360 outsold Wii in Japan for the week ending Sept. 14

On the strength of an aggressive price drop and the release of the popular RPG Infinite Undiscovery, Microsoft sold 28,681 Xbox 360 units in Japan, Famitsu reports. These figures were just enough to pass Wii, which sold 27,057 units.

Sony moved 8,050 PS3 units.

Microsoft has struggled to capture a Japanese audience since joining the console business. The company sold 24 million original Xbox units worldwide before discontinuing the system in late 2006, but only 473,000 were purchased in Japan.

Microsoft has sold approximately 720,000 Xbox 360 consoles in Japan since launching in Dec. 2005. By contrast, Sony has sold more than 2.3 million PS3 consoles in Japan since Nov. 2006, and Nintendo has sold more than 6.7 million Wii consoles in Japan since Dec. 2006.

Published on September 18th, 2008 under , , ,

Former Metroid developers go multiplatform


For Armature Studio, the hardware will finally match the vision.

Kotaku is reporting today three former Retro Studios employees have formed a new multiplatform development studio under a publishing deal with Electronic Arts.

The newly formed Armature Studio is headed by Mark Pacini, Todd Keller and Jack Matthews, the former Game Director, Art Director and Principal Technology Engineer of Nintendo’s Metroid Prime series.

According to Pacini, EA approached the three illustrious Metroid alumni with an offer too interesting to refuse.

“EA approached us with this really interesting business model of creating a small studio that is only comprised of industry veterans,” says Pacini. “The goal is to create new IP with a very, very small team and to produce a game without having to grow that team.”

The deal represents an interesting shift within the business philosophy at EA. According to Pacini, the relationship is somewhat experimental; Armature will essentially work on game prototypes, and once an idea is ready for development, it will be shifted to an external team with Armature keeping close tabs on the project.

“We would still be very hands on,” says Pacini. “Our studio is the grand experiment. It’s kind of a really different take on how to make these larger scale games.”

If this experiment is a success, Pacini says it could allow developers and publishers to take greater risks in game design, a potential cure to the industry’s ongoing addiction to safe-bet sequels.

“EA has been very, very supportive of all of our efforts,” says Pacini.

Pacini, Keller and Matthews earned the industry’s admiration for the Metroid Prime series’ outstanding art direction, and the opportunity to work on consoles more powerful than Nintendo’s Wii should give Armature the ability to fully realize their artistic design visions.

“From my stand point, I’ve never worked on any other console,” says Pacini. “I’ve always made games for Nintendo. I’m reinvigorated. I’m really excited about what other opportunities are out there. How can we use Xbox Live? How can we use the power of the PS3?”

“I think it really opens it up,” says Pacini. “I’m not saying it was by any means restrictive working for Nintendo. We had this palette to work on, the Wii and the DS, but now we have everything.”

“That’s just really, really exciting.”

Pacini, Keller and Matthews left Retro Studios in Apr. 2008, and their contract with EA prevents them from developing another Metroid Prime game for Nintendo. But Keller insists his love for Samus is evergreen and won’t close the door on a future Metroid project.

“Personally, I would love to work on another Metroid game,” says Keller. “I have been in love with Metroid for years. We had a chance to recreate a game that was created way back when.”

“That was awesome.”

Published on September 15th, 2008 under , , ,

Wii for Dummies hopes to make you smarter


Kyle Orland, a generous colleague and former blogmate of mine at Joystiq, has released his first book, Wii For Dummies. It’s probably more intended for your mom and grandpa who still don’t know what a Wii Channel is, but informed Wii owners like yourself might still be interested in:

* Ways to prevent damage to — and from — Wii remotes
* How to use the Wii’s full-featured Web browser
* Tips on choosing games
* How to enjoy photos, videos, and slideshows on your Wii
* All about the Wii Message Board
* Five hot Wii-specific Web sites
* How to customize the Channels menu
* Cool Wii games you can download

Jack will have a review posted later this month. You can snag the book from Amazon for $15.

Published on September 4th, 2008 under , , , , ,

Wii to exceed N64 lifetime sales next month


When there aren’t any asses left to kick, why not kick your own?

VGChartz is reporting today the Nintendo Wii has topped 30 million units in worldwide sales. The video games sales-tracking site projects lifetime Wii sales will surpass those of the Nintendo 64 in August.

This projection is based on sell-through data for the week ending July 26, according to which Nintendo has sold 30.01 million Wii consoles worldwide. With the help of hit software like Super Mario 64 and the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the Nintendo 64 sold 32.9 million units worldwide respectively after its release 12 years ago.

VGChartz is also projecting Wii to surpass lifetime Super Nintendo sales — 49.1 million worldwide — by either Jan. or Mar. 2009.

Published on July 29th, 2008 under , , ,

Nintendo is doing very well, thank you


That’s in billions, folks — more than all profitable public publishers combined. It won’t soothe your hardcore-loving, first-party heart, however. Via Edge

Published on July 29th, 2008 under , , , ,

Member of "Hype Media! Network"