Friday, December 7, 2007

In a New Merger, Evidence of How Much the Gaming World Has Changed

From The New York Times - As recently as three years ago, if you told a top game industry executive that your favorite genre was online PC games, you would almost invariably provoke a reaction akin to telling a television mogul that your favorite shows explain the migration patterns of obscure African fauna. In other words, you would get the verbal equivalent of a condescending pat on the head — “Oh, that’s nice” — while the executive looked around for someone with something more relevant to say.

And if you had dared suggest that an online fantasy game made by some guys in Orange County, Calif., would become a worldwide phenomenon by attracting more players in China than in the United States, you would have been laughed out of the room.

After all, it was not that long ago that cooperative online games were an afterthought in much of the business, an often-derided pimple on the behemoth that was the industry’s main focus: consoles like the Sony PlayStation 2 and the original Microsoft Xbox. The conventional wisdom was that only hard-core nerds would play online and that the big money was in pumping out sequel after sequel of barely distinguishable console sports games and flashy shoot-’em-up fare. | Read full article

Activision’s Chief Looks for Gaming’s Next Moves

From The New York Times - Guitar Hero III, a video game sweeping the nation like a Top 40 tune, lets players strum along on a toy plastic guitar to rock songs played on a television screen. It is attracting a wide audience: children, teenagers, 40-somethings, even the elderly.

But not the chief executive of Activision, its publisher.

“Someone asked me the other day what my favorite song is,” said Robert A. Kotick, who is 44 and not much of a game player. “I couldn’t think of one.”

Mr. Kotick will certainly have his hands full with other things. On Sunday, Activision announced that it would join forces with the Vivendi Games unit of Vivendi Universal, creating a company that will vie with Electronic Arts to be the largest video game publisher in the world. | Read full article