NEXT GEN WARS IN THREE YEARS, PRINCE OVERTAKES RAIDER


WHile the imminent launch of the Kinect and Move in the coming months would undoubtedly breathe new life into the Xbox 360 and PS3, one former Sony executive feels it can only postpone the next console wars for a couple of more years. 

In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, David Reeves, who is now with Capcom, he said a new batch of consoles may emerge as early as 2012 and that the current motion controllers were simply the first step toward a new way to play games. 

“I honestly think in two or three years’ time we’re going to see much more of a breakthrough in terms of the way we control games,” he said, “Much more than Kinect or Move are offering. A lot of people are working on that type of thing in Scandinavia, Japan and the US. How to control games in a much more accurate way. I know from working on Move, which started four or five years ago, when we had a big box in a room to get the whole thing working. It’s come down to something much smaller now,” Reeves says.

Console wars have historically occurred every five years, the same age as Microsoft’s Xbox 360 (the Wii and Playstation 3 are both four). So, while 2012 might just be the right time for their successors, news or even rumors of any new machine have remained very scarce. Instead, Sony and Microsoft have been busy offering updates and introducing new play techniques for their existing consoles. 

This could be attributed to the lingering recession and rising costs of game development. The cost of making games now averages between $20 million and $40 million, with triple A titles like Rockstar’s “Red Dead Redemption” and “GTA IV,” even exceeding $100 million mark. Developing next gen games are likely to cost even more, and a lot of publishers are still struggling to profit from the market. 

The same goes for the console makers. Developing a new system is phenomenally expensive and only Nintendo has been able to sell its hardware for a profit. Sony and Microsoft on the other hand typically had to sell their hardware at a loss during the first two or three years. 

So while next-gen may sound real exciting, it really makes no sense for the companies to hurry up and start the wars anew, and besides, everyone in the industry agrees that they still haven’t gotten close to maximizing the full potential of the current machines. 

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Starbucks chief learned from wow
The next time someone tells you that you won’t learn anything from gaming, you might want to tell them the story of Starbucks Chief Information Officer Stephen Gillett. 

Granted that Gillett does actually have an MBA from San Francisco State, one expert credited Gillett’s time as a guild leader in World of Warcraft for his “meteoric rise.” 

Gillett’s former boss John Hagel 3rd, in an interview with Forbes, said successful guild leaders need “a high degree of influence. You have to be able to influence and persuade people—not order them to do things. 
Ordering people in most of these guilds doesn’t get you far.” Warcraft enthusiasts, conduct extensive after-action reviews of their performances as well as that of the leader.” They’ll also “customize their own game interfaces to offer statistics and rate performance in areas they consider critical to their strategy”—all key skills for any management professional. 

Gillett runs a blog dedicated to Warcraft and running a business and says “what makes a community successful, makes a guild successful,” Gillett writes. “If a guildie loyalty resides in any one individual in the guild, then you have future stress fractures waiting to happen. The goal is to have the loyalty reside with the guild and not specifically to any one person in it.” 

Definitely wise words.

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The prince is king 
Prince of Persia is now the king of the video game box office edging out previous holder Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time earned a domestic gross of around $82 million after four weeks of release but thanks to its international ticket sales, the movie earned over $295 million worldwide making it the highest grossing video game movie of all time. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is now in second place with a worldwide box office of $274 million back in 2001 while Pokemon: The First Movie is in third place with $163. 

Take note, however, that it cost $200 million just to produce Prince of Persia. 

The Tomb Raider game franchise, meanwhile, is about to get a reboot by holiday 2011. The game, tentatively titled Downfall, tells the tale of a young and inexperienced Lara Croft learning her tomb raiding skills in the islands off the coast of Japan. Lara Croft is also set to make her digital debut this year via The Guardian of Light. Crystal Dynamics apparently has two teams: one small group working on the downloadable spin-off Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, with everybody else concentrating on the Tomb Raider game. 

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‘FarmVille’ invades iphone
Bad news for FarmVille addicts. Farmville is now available for the iPhone. So if you were planning to lessen your playing time, tough luck. 

As announced at Apple’s WWDC, Zynga has released a portable version Farmville game coinciding with the launch of the iPhone 4 and will also work on older iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch. 

You don’t even have to worry about starting from scratch as it’ll hook to your Facebook account and access your farm from there. It also seems to work better on the iPhone, and the touch screen controls make it even easier to play. And the best thing about it? Just like on Facebook, you can download FarmVille for free. 

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NEXT GEN WARS IN THREE YEARS, PRINCE OVERTAKES RAIDER

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