Disgaea 3 Trailer : Amazing Japanese Announcer

This is how I want to sound when I learn Japanese. Forget the game, although it does look interesting. But I don’t think I have enough time in my life to play a game with 9,999 levels. Btw, a commenter on the Kotaku post about this game said that the announcer is Norio Wakamoto … don’t know who is that … great voice over though

Bhutto’s death causes wall street confusion

The Dow fell 192.08, or 1.42 percent, to 13,359.61. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index declined 21.39, or 1.43 percent, to 1,476.27, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 47.62, or 1.75 percent, to 2,676.79. Another sign that the US stock market is not in good shape right now. I was going to buy Apple stocks …. something I should have done at $90/share … but now I am holding back. Now here is the thing … I will wait out until the first week of January and buy then. A stock tip for anyone reading, Apple’s stock always goes up after Mac World … ALWAYS

Cryon Physics

Check out this link: http://www.kloonigames.com/crayon

Petri Purho from Finland cranks up new video games every 7 days that add new gameplay elements. This guy is talented and although the ideas behind many of his games, its quite impressive that he is the only one working on these games. Cryon Physics is like a minimal Little Big Planet with a clean and simple interface. Sony Research was working on similar games for PSEye, check here

Some cool stuff!

The one console future

Silicon Knights founder and president Denis Dyack is talking about an open standard for gaming consoles on gamasutra today. EA’s head of international distribution Gerhard Florin told the BBC he wants.

We want an open, standard platform which is much easier than having five which are not compatible. You don’t need an Xbox 360, PS3 or Wii — the consumer won’t even realise the platform it is being played on.

There is already an organization called Gamix, Inc that offers a PC based open platform. I don’t think Gamiz’s approach will ever work. You need to offer the main hardware console makers a reason to believe in this. Sony and Microsoft already own many studios. Why would they ever create games for a PC-only based platform? Microsoft could benefit from this if Windows is used, but then the platform would not be “open” anymore.

So the big question here, how can we consolidate the interests of companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to push to support one standard. A standard that allows a game developer to build once and deploy anywhere. Thats a really hard question. But we can start somewhere. First of all, even though its an open standard, there needs to be room for differentiation. The standard should include a hardware and software spec that manufacturers need to comply with. In terms of Hardware, a multi-core Power PC based architecture is a safe bet since all the consoles use Power PC based processors now. As for Software, an Operating System API is all that is needed. Vendors like Sony and MS can compete by trying to build a better system that complies to the standard.

Network Equipment vendors have been competing in the same way for years. In Networking, you had to comply to a standard, otherwise devices would not be able to talk to each other. Now the same needs to happen in gaming.

A distribution medium like Blu-Ray or HD-DVD will need to be picked for this open standard as well … another big problem!! Hardware distribution will not die anytime soon. Most publishers will try to push their games online. Even if you had a 200GB hard drive, its only got room for 4-7 multi-lingual HD games. So downloading the whole game is just not that sexy yet.

There are several factors that need to be considered in defining this open standard:
1- Timing
2- Publisher and Developer Commitment
3- Manufacturing issues
4- Fairness

Now how can console vendors differentiate their products:
1- Hardware: manufacture your own chip and focus on making certain aspects better than the others.
2- System Software: optimize your OS to be better. Provide an easy to use API. Make it easy for end user to plug in their own applications without sacrificing system integrity. Make it easy for people to use the console for other purposes.
3- Creative input/output devices. The Wii controller is not the end!! There are many other cool ways to interact with games. Look at Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The rumble was considered a next generation input device. What about 3D glasses? Special lighting effects, anything that immerses the gamer in the experience. Whether its a movie or a game.
4- Application Software = Games mostly but just like Sony and MS are doing with the XLive and PSN. Provide a market place and a community (think Home).

There are a lot of things that still can be done. If you compare the quality of offline rendered animations and runtime animations, you will notice that games tech is still lagging behind. Physics has not been really utilized enough in gameplay elements. Open worlds are not so open. Characters are not as responsive as you would want them to be. AI is still progressing and rendering is only getting better. Lighting, textures, and effects are all things that can be improved dramatically.

Hopefully a successful initiative for an open standard console will get started.

Take Two CEO talks about consolidation

Take-Two Interactive CEO Ben Feder says:

Video-game development is not getting any cheaper. It’s a capital-intensive business, and I don’t see that going away. That will drive some of the smaller competitors out.

Take-Two rose 8.7 per cent due to speculations about further consolidations. Its funny that Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello said that he does not expect any more mergers last week.

Is it ripe (for mergers), or has it already been picked? I would argue that it’s been largely picked. That doesn’t mean it’s done. I think there will be more consolidation to come. But let’s just say a lot has already happened,

Lazard Capital Markets’ Colin Sebastian says

For the industry, we believe the acquisition could signal additional consolidation, potentially including other leading publishers such as Electronic Arts, Ubisoft or THQ, while larger media companies such as Disney, Viacom and Time Warner continue to grow their interactive entertainment businesses,

He did not mention SCi Entertainment and Take-Two who have several successful brands under their belt. Actually a more interesting question is, how does this merger affect Asian publishers. Konami, Capcom, Square-Enix, and Namco are trying to expand their market in the west. It would actually make sense for them to acquire talent in the US, Canada, and Europe. Sega has already been doing that. Struggling publishers like Atari and Midway might be a good acquisition target considering their cheap price right now.

Activision and Vivendi

What a huge deal?? I did not see that coming. Interestingly enough, although Vivendi will own 52% of the merged company, the CEO of Activision Robert Kotick will be President and Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard, and Vivendi Games’ Bruce Hack will be CCO of the combined company.

EA recently acquired Bioware and Pandemic and Mythic/Warhammer so they are still bigger. Huge companies with many studios are rising in the industry. Sony is also acquiring studios. Microsoft is also expanding their game studios and trying to offer more exclusives for their systems. Nintendo on the other hand has been laying low in terms of expansion, publishers are choosing to make Wii exclusives based on numbers. Besides, given the Wii’s limited horse power, it can’t handle the same quality expected from next-gen games. It will be very interesting to see what strategy the new Activision Blizzard will take. Personally, I do not think they will change much on the outside. There will be quite a bit of internal structuring. I wonder if we might see the death/rise of a couple of studios.