A Look Back At The Big Stories Of The Week (April 13, 2013)
Did you miss any of the big stories this week? Want to find out how the pieces fit together? You're in the right place. This is the News Informer Recap.
"Always On" is the latest buzz word in gaming.
Arguably the biggest story of the week was the departure of embattled Microsoft designer Adam Orth. Orth stepped into the spotlight due to impolitic comments regarding rumors that the next Microsoft console would be "always on" (the newest buzz word in the gaming world). While his statements definitely didn't strike the right tone, the bigger surprise was his adamant defense of gaming hardware that is rumored to require a constant internet connection.
The question that has been asked by pundits and consumers alike is simple. "How could Microsoft think that this is a good idea?" The answer is a bit more complex. Any team focused intently on a project is subject to a greater amount of internal communication. The world becomes sealed off, and as the affirmations and reassurances on the inside grow louder, it becomes harder for external voices to be heard.
Everyone looking in from the outside sees the problems, and I've heard it asked why external parties seemingly have better perspective. It's extremely difficult to tell you're in a snow globe when the blizzard is coming down. It takes something of such enormous magnitude to crack the glass.
Given the community outcry to Orth's statements and the threat of relying on internet connections that are spotty even the most urbanized areas of our country, Microsoft might just be rethinking their strategy… if it actually did include "always on," which is still just a rumor.
Also in the realm of speculation is that Microsoft is planning to pull back the curtain on the new hardware at the end of May, and that the new console might integrate directly with televisions and set-top cable boxes.
EA lays off mobile staff at EA Montreal.
Also this week, EA shifted gears in their Montreal operations, laying off a number of employees in their mobile division. This comes after layoffs at Visceral Montreal in February. When those cuts took place, EA claimed that EA Montreal was a "key development studio." Much has taken place since that statement was made, most notably the resignation of CEO John Riccitiello. It wasn't a terribly good few days for EA, who also took home their second consecutive "Worst Company in America" award in Consumerist's annual poll.
Departures at Irrational Games and Twisted Pixel.
A couple of key personnel have left studios this week, with Irrational Games' Rod Fergusson departing now that Bioshock Infinite has been shipped. Just yesterday, Dan Teasdale of Twisted Pixel (and the absurdly amusing Super Drake Tracker 2000 EX Kickstarter campaign) announced that he is moving on to another opportunity.
BioWare Co-Founder Shoulders Responsibility For Creative Output Under EA
In a conversation with GamesIndustry International, Dr. Greg Zeschuk spoke about BioWare's acquisition by EA. One of the most interesting statements was his assertion that the publisher never imposed itself creatively on the studio.
Game Developer Magazine's Last Issue In July
After 19 years of publication, respected trade journal Game Developer Magazine will cease publication. This was the result of reorganization at parent UBM Tech, who also made concurrent changes at Gamasutra.
- Cheetah mode returns to SimCity, and the Mac version of the game has a release date.
- Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar closed out its Kickstarter campaign with over $2 million.
- Blizzard has acquired the technology used in the IGN Pro League. They will not be continuing the competition segment of the business.
- Microtransactions might be coming to the Halo series.
- Starcraft Ghost is still technically in development because it was never really canceled.
- Rockstar has released all of their Grand Theft Auto soundtracks on Spotify.
- Some of Harmonix's Rock Band licenses are expiring soon.
- Nintendo is discontinuing a number of Wii information channels.
- Dark Souls II has a first trailer and a promise that the PC version will be on time and without issue.
Announcements and Release Dates
- Dishonored co-creator Harvey Smith has published a semi-autobiographical novel entitled Big Jack is Dead.
- Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon is real and will be arriving soon. The standalone game will hit Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network on May 1, 2013.
- Namco Bandai's Tales of Xillia is getting a collector's edition. The game arrives on August 6, 2013, for PlayStation 3.
- Shadowrun Returns will arrive in June, with a release on Steam and support for mods via Steam Workshop.
- Insomniac's Fuse will get a demo close to launch.
- Oh, and you may have heard there are a couple of new Batman games coming. If you subscribe to Game Informer, your print issue should be arriving soon. Digital subscribers can get their Dark Knight on right now.