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CURRENTS
Issue #90
August 1, 2008
The 'Net's a Funny Place
Front Page

7/31 - 12:59 PM
Welcome to the NINETIETH EDITION of RPGamer's Currents column! I'm your host Oliver Motok, here to do as I always do, and bring you some samplings of recent industry news, complete with my personal commentary.

Like my title implies, the internet can be a funny place. Do you remember last week when I supplied a link to the forums on Chapel of Resonance, in which they were bashing me for disliking Symphony of the Night? Well, they caught wind of this, and man, did that little thread explode. I would supply a link to it, but I don't feel the need to give them any more publicity. Suffice to say, they obviously aren't familiar with my brand of humor. They honestly thought I planned on launching some manner of "attack" on their website, which I found positively HILARIOUS. Sadly, a board mod killed the thread when it as at its peak of hilarity. I also found another thread they started a while back, in which they all took turns bashing different reviews and editorials on the site. In particular, they dug up one of my Currents columns from back in May, and then proceeded to insult me for... enjoying Crisis Core. Man, I thought Nintendo fanboys were scary, but these Castlevania people REALLY take the cake.

Still plugging away at Persona 3, but I've actually played some other stuff this week. I went back to Fire Emblem briefly, and I also bought and played Soul Calibur IV! SCIV is VERY good, miles better than III was. I honestly don't know why I didn't like III very much, but in any case, IV is better. Much better. Now if only somebody would get on the damn PSN so I can do some online battling!

And in other news... um... I bought shoes yesterday!

Enough of this, onwards to the NEWS!

PS3, PSP Sales Rise
Man... Q1 is over already?
Title

Quarter 1 of 2008 has already reached its end. Time DOES have a way of passing, I suppose. A few companies have reported their Q1 2008 results, but I've decided only to report on the ones I care about. Sony is one of them, so let us proceed.

Q1 was quite positive for SCE overall, with PS3 and PSP sales both seeing year-on-year increases. In all, Sony's videogame division brought in JPY 229.6 billion, which amounts to USD 2.1 billion. These numbers show a 17 percent increase over Q1 2007's take of JPY 196.6 billion (USD 1.8 billion).

PS3 sales increased dramatically, as Sony sold 1.56 million units of their struggling game console in Q1. This represents a marked improvement over the 700,000 PS3 units sold during the same time last year. The PSP also saw a boost in sales over last year, with 3.72 million units sold, compared to 2.13 million during the same period in 2007.

Unsurprisingly, software sales saw a boost as well, with 22.8 million PS3 games sold, an increase over the 18.1 million sold last year, as well as 11.8 million PSP games sold, an increase of roughly 2 million over last year.

Sony has now sold over 14.4 million PlayStation 3 units. In comparison, Microsoft has sold 20 million Xbox 360s worldwide, and Nintendo reported back in March that they had sold 24.4 million Wiis. Sony claims that they are still on track to sell 10 million PS3s this financial year, and 15 million PSPs.

You know... considering the fact that the PS3 came out a year later, a difference of 6 million units really isn't that impressive.

*Oliver flees*

Sources: GameSpot | 1UP
Profits Up, Sales Down
Excitement...
Title

This one's so short on actual substance, it could have easily fit into a quicky. But it's Square Enix, which means is kinda important, so I'm giving it a story slot.

Anyways, sales for the company were actually down 9.3 percent compared to last year, but profits were up from JPY 2,739 million (USD 25.3 million) to JPY 2,883 million (USD 26.7 million). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Square Enix did not deem it necessary to elaborate any further - that is, they offered no commentary on their best-selling titles, or any other details.

At the least, we know the profits of each "division" as it were. Sales in Square Enix's offline games division fell from JPY 9416 million (USD 87.1 million) to JPY 5082 million (USD 47 million). Online game sales fell as well, from JPY 2778 million (USD 25.7 million) to JPY 2684 million (USD 24.8 million).

Mobile sales fell from JPY 1802 million (USD 16.7 million) in Q1 2007 to JPY 1605 million (USD 14.8 million).

Just to quickly sum up sales by region, (I have no desire to type out every region and every number attached to it) sales in Japan, Europe, and Asia all saw year-on-year decreases, while North America actually rose slightly, from JPY 2571 million (USD 23.8 million) to JPY 2639 million (USD 24.4 million).

And... that's that. A whole bunch of numbers. Not a commentary. Not a software ranking. Nothing. Just a bunch of freaking numbers. BOOOOOOO.

Source: GamaSutra
Developer Hints at New Project
Well, we already know how well he can talk
Title

Trilogies? Pah. Peter Molyneux is NOT the type of man to be bound by social norms such as TRILOGIES. In fact, just to show everyone how cool he is, he's going to make FIVE Fable games - not six, because that might draw paralells to the Star Wars films.

Anyways. Not sure where that came from.

In a recent interview with GameTrailers, Fable creator Peter Molyneux stated that he currently had plans for up to five Fable games. "We've got plans for Fable 3, 4, and 5," he said. "It's a big story arc, and if you play Fable 2, you'll recognize things from Fable 1."

Molyneux also briefy hinted at a new project that Lionhead Studios is working on. "It's kind of the result of an experiment that went incredibly well and we thought 'This has got to be a game'," he said. "I can't say anything about it at all." Well, you just SAID something about it. You stated its existence. But yeah, other than that, he offered no details.

Source: 1UP
Wada: We're Now in the Age of Multiplatform"
Brand loyalty
Title

In a recent interview with GamesIndustry, Square Enix president Yoichi Wada discussed many things, FFXIII being but one of them.

When asked about the importance of his company's relationship with Microsoft, Wada replied:

We're now in the age of the multi-platform, but depending on age and territory, users have different tastes. Therefore it's very difficult to just deal with one company or one hardware platform - in order to offer our product to the vast majority of gamers we need to deal with multiple companies and platforms.

In North America Microsoft is doing very well with its hardware, and for that reason it's a very important partner for us.

Wada went on to emphasize the fact that Square Enix is not partnering exclusively with any company. "I just want to make sure that we're neutral about dealing with companies," he said.

Nothing too shocking here. Just the Squeenix prez stating, in so many words, that they'll go wherever the profit is. I suppose they never had any sense of "platform loyalty," per ce, but to my knowledge, this is the first generation in which Square Enix is publishing games for every system on the market. We were all in a tizzy when they announced Crystal Chronicles for the GameCube a few years back... and look at them now!

Source: GamesIndustry
Nintendo, Square Enix, Namco Bandai All on List
BLOODY PIRATES
Title

Piracy is a bad, bad thing. You should not do it, ever, and I say that with all seriousness. You want to show your support for this industry? Pay money for your games.

Think I've got some righteous anger going? Well, how do you think the companies who make these games feel? Angrier, obviously, as they've gone to the trouble of filing a lawsuit in the Tokyo District Court, attempting prevent businesses from marketing, selling, and importing Nintendo DS flashcards that allow for software piracy. Think of the R4 chip, and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Cards like the R4 chip can be popped into the DS's game card slot, and feature an adaptor that allows for the insertion of MicroSD cards. As you can imagine, these cards can hold just about anything - including pirated games. According to Nintendo, these cards are "causing severe damage to our company and software makers, and this is something that we cannot possibly overlook."

Nintendo is joined by 54 companies in this venture, including well-known publishers and developers such as Square Enix, Capcom, Namco Bandai, and Level 5. As this suit was filed in Japan, it has no effect on North American software pirates, but chances are that it's coming. At least, I certainly hope it is. For years now, my mind has boggled at just how passive the videogame industry has been towards piracy. It's about time that changed.

Source: 1UP
QUICKIES: In Which I Make Passing Mention of Some Relatively Small, But Inherently Awesome News Stories!
I guess X-Men 3 wasn't THAT bad...
  • Famitsu Reviews Fire Emblem DS, Tales of Vesperia
    Damn those Japanese, getting their hands on two of my most anticipated games before me! Ah well, such is life as an RPGamer. In any case, judging from what popular Japanese gaming mag Famitsu thought of the games, it seems we have much to look forward to. Fire Emblem: Shin Ankoku Ryu to Hikari no Ken received a 34/40. The reviewers praised the use of the dual-screens, calling it "incredibly convenient" to have both the map and unit information displayed at once. Oh, and the game reportedly features "save points" on maps. Tales of Vesperia fared even better, scoring 35/40. The reviewers unanimously agreed that it was the best game in the series thus far. And I didn't think it was possible to get any more excited.

  • Devil May Cry, Resident Evil to Receive Comic Adaptations
    Here's something interesting to me in particular, being a fan of comic books. DC comics has recently announced that they will be partnering with Capcom to create two new comic book series' based on the Devil May Cry and Resident Evil videogames. DC also currently holds the rights to publish comic books based on the Gears of War, Prototype, and Mirror's Edge games. Like those titles, the DMC and RE books will be published under DC Comics' WildStorm banner.

  • Brett Ratner to Direct God of War Film
    Well, here's something that will put the fans in an uproar. Brett Ratner, known best for films such as Rush Hour, Red Dragon, and (unfortunately) X-Men: The Last Stand will reportedly be directing the God of War film. Oh, dear. I suppose it's best to remain positive until we see the final product.

  • Too Human Goes Gold
    Dennis Dyack is a happy man these days, I'm sure. Too Human has a release date. The XBL demo has been downloaded over 900,000 times. And now, finally, the game has garnered enough pre-orders to go gold. I still have not played the demo. I need to do that sometime soon. I'm just afraid that if I do, I'll be stricken with an urge to buy the game. And once those urges come along, they do not leave until the game is purchased and sitting in my collection.
Sources: GameSpot | 1UP

FINISHED!

Q&A will go up up, but it might be a bit later than usual. The reason? Work, of course.

My goodness... is it August already? Time does have a way of flying now doesn't it. And since we have reached August, I fear the time has come for an announcement, of sorts.

On Monday, August 25, the Fall semester begins. At this time, it will no longer be possible for me to produce both Currents and Q&A on a weekly basis. Which one will be dropped? Well... I'm not really sure right now! I'd love to keep doing them both, but I just won't have the time once classes start.

I should also take this opportunity to mention that the week running August 11-17, I will not be posting Currents OR Q&A. Why? I'm moving! It will be taking up a fair amount of time, needless to say, so I'll be forced to take a break from my RPGamer duties.

Sorry to lay all of that on you, but I had to do it sooner or later! Don't worry, I'll be around!

Oliver Motok
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