ATVI vs. EA: Does Trash Talking Embarrass the Videogame Biz?

I don’t know about you, but I’m thoroughly entertained by the executive trash talking between Activision and Electronic Arts. Veteran game journalist Chris Morris — former CNN.com editor and current Gamasutra editor-at-large — feels that it’s bad for the gaming business, recently posting an article called “Opinion: Why Activision & EA’s Feud Embarrasses The Game Industry“. Really?!?

Apple and Google have been exchanging barbs for the last year or so. Did that embarrass the tech industry? Former Nokia exec Anssi Vanjoki equated handset makers using Google Android to a kid peeing in his pants to get temporary relief from frigid weather (I love the Finnish sense of humor, btw). Did that embarrass the mobile phone business? In both cases, I don’t think any rational person would think less of either industry and the trash talking got some attention from people that normally don’t care about either field. I believe the children are our future that EA Jeff Brown blasting ATVI Bobby Kotick had the same effect.

That’s just my opinion. What’s yours? Do you think executive trash talking is bad for the business? Do you think it’s good for it? Or are the words just meaningless?

[Confession: I was originally going to call this article “Opinion: Chris Morris is a Pussy”. That would have been way funnier, but some people would have interpreted it as disrespect. I honestly respect Morris’ opinion. I just disagree with his recent editorial. Besides, this is really about ATVI vs. EA.]

Today’s Poll: Which Tablet Computer Are You Interested In?

The tablet computer market is going to be hot in 2011. Thanks to the Apple iPad, the format — once seen as too gimmicky to be entertaining or productive — is here to stay. There are loads of Google Android tablets set for release, HP has promised various Palm WebOS tablets in 2011, and RIM just unveiled the BlackBerry PlayBook. Do any of these products interest you? Kindly take today’s poll and explain your answer in the comments section.

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Sony Adds to PlayStation 3 Greatest Hits $29.99 Library

Sony Computer Entertainment America has announced several additions to its “Greatest Hits” library for PlayStation 3. The following titles will be available in a Greatest Hits box for an MSRP of $29.99:

I’m thrilled that Demon’s Souls is on the list. It gives me warm fuzzies to see an obscure game from a small publisher do well. Go Atlus!

Also, a lot of these games cost less than $29.99 on Amazon. I’m just sayin’.

Any of you going to pick up the latest entries into the venerable Greatest Hits lineup?

NBA Elite 11 Delayed, NBA Jam Standalone Coming in 2010

That bad news is that NBA Elite 11 has been delayed. The good news is that NBA Jam for PS3 and Xbox 360 will be available as standalone products. EA Sports president Peter Moore recently blogged:

NBA Jam will launch on the Wii, as scheduled, on October 5. NBA Jam won recognition this summer as the best sports game at E3 and it’s a blast to play. In addition to the Wii version, we’re going to ship NBA Jam as a standalone product on the Xbox360 and PS3 in time for the holidays. Watch for more news soon on the exact timing of that release.

A lot of my friends are thrilled by this development. They love the arcade-sports style of NBA Jam and don’t give a crap about sports simulation games. I think this is great news too; originally I was going to settle on the Wii version — here’s my NBA Jam E3 2010 preview for Shacknews — but getting the PS3 or Xbox 360 version would be lots of fun to play with you guys online (I hope it supports online play!).

What do you think of the NBA Elite delay and NBA Jam being untethered?

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RIM Announces BlackBerry PlayBook Specs and Availability

RIM has revealed specs for its upcoming tablet computer, the BlackBerry PlayBook. Coming to America (Oha!!!) in early 2011, the device features impressive multimedia capabilities and the tight corporate integration the BlackBerry brand is known for. Here are the specs, followed by a sizzle video:

  • 7” LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
  • 1 GHz dual-core processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording
  • Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
  • Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA
  • HDMI video output
  • Wi-Fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
  • Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java
  • Ultra thin and portable:
  • Measures 5.1”x7.6”x0.4” (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
  • Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)
  • Additional features and specifications of the BlackBerry PlayBook will be shared on or before the date this product is launched in retail outlets.
  • RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future.

The hardware and specs look great, but the software is made by RIM so I’m approaching it with caution. That said, the screens and video of the OS look pretty sharp. I’m more excited by the PlayBook than I thought I’d be. Also, I think WWE Superstar MVP should be required to use one.

What do you think of the BlackBerry PlayBook. Any of you interested?

EA Vice President Rips Activision CEO Bobby Kotick

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick recently took a jab at rival Electronic Arts, accusing the company of killing the unique cultures of the development studios it acquires. EA has responded with some awesomely catty comments. VP of corporate communications Jeff Brown told Gamasutra:

Kotick’s relationship with studio talent is well documented in litigation. His company is based on three game franchises –one is a fantastic persistent world he had nothing to do with; one is in steep decline; and the third is in the process of being destroyed by Kotick’s own hubris.

Man, this is getting good. I’m hoping that the trash talking between Activision and EA will result in a dance competition or an MMA fight between company execs. The event could be held at The ESA’s Nite to Unite charity dinner. It would be the most entertaining event of the year!

What do you think of all the mud slinging between EA and Activision?

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11.6-Inch MacBook Air with Carbon Fiber Body on the Way?

It looks like Apple’s MacBook Air line of thin-and-light laptops will finally be refreshed this year, but this time around it’ll sport an 11.6-inch screen and a carbon fiber chassis. According to Apple Insider, the new MacBook air model will hit before the end of 2010. Here are the details:

In an effort to make the design of the Air more appealing and further differentiate the notebook from the company’s mainstream 13.3-inch MacBook, Apple in 2008 reportedly began experimenting with a partial carbon fiber enclosure that would shave upwards of a 100 grams off its weight.

With plans for such a design failing to materialize over the last two years, it’s believed that Apple returned to the drawing board at some point and began crafting a makeover that would deliver both size and weight reductions, further pushing the envelop of ultra-portable notebook computing.

The first evidence to this end arrived earlier this year when an analyst citing sources in Apple’s Taiwanese component supply chain revealed that the company was placing orders for parts to fit a slimmer and lighter MacBook Air based around an 11.6-inch LED-lit display and Intel Core i-series ultra-low voltage processor.

On Friday, a report put out by Taiwanese rumor site DigiTimes appears to further corroborate such claims, alleging that Apple’s primary notebook manufacturer Quanta has landed orders to produce the first 400,000-500,000 11.6-inch “MacBooks” for delivery to the Mac maker before the end of the 2010 calendar year.

With the rapid advancement of the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the scorching sales of the 9.7-inch iPad, I’ve been wondering about the future of the MacBook Air. I’d love a (relatively) full-featured notebook that weighed less than three pounds. While I’m not thrilled with the screen size, I’m hoping Apple uses some of its fancy display technology to make the new MacBook Air more appealing.

What do you think of the new MacBook Air rumors? Does the device fill a gap between the iPad and the 13-inch Macbook? Are any of you interested in a device like this? Think I could get away with video editing on an Intel CULV (don’t answer that question)?

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Bobby Kotick Strikes Back…Against Double Fine Tim Schafer

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has taken a beating from the enthusiast press, gamers, and several high-profile developers. Last July, Double Fine founder Tim Schafer had some colorful words for the man, calling him a “total prick” and a “dick”. Now it’s Kotick’s turn to strike back! In a recent interview with Edge magazine, Kotick said:

Tim Schafer. The guy comes out and says I’m a prick. I’ve never met him in my life — I’ve never had anything to do with him. I never had any involvement in the Vivendi project that they were doing, Brutal Legend, other than I was in one meeting where the guys looked at it and said, ‘He’s late, he’s missed every milestone, he’s overspent the budget and it doesn’t seem like a good game. We’re going to cancel it.’

And do you know what? That seemed like a sensible thing to do. And it turns out, he was late, he missed every milestone, the game was not a particularly good game.

While I disagree with Kotick’s assessment that Brutal Legend is not a particularly good game, his other points are completely valid. Several of my industry contacts have told me about the game’s numerous delays and overspending. Still, I can’t help but think that these comments will just add to Kotick’s “evil” reputation. Although his argument is legitimate, he’ll still be seen as the big CEO of a huge corporation picking on an independent developer.

Any thought’s on Kotick’s latest?

Source via CVG

This Week’s Videogame Releases

There are lots of great games shipping this week, spanning a variety of genres. Fans of the beautiful game will be able to enjoy FIFA 11 on every platform known to man. If you’d rather kill zombies than play (international) football then there’s Dead Rising 2. Gamers that haven’t had their fill of Guitar Hero will want to check out Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. Nothing calling out to you yet? How about giant robots?!? Get some mech action going with Front Mission Evolved. Last, but not least, is an RPG for PS3 gamers: Atelier Rorona…or as I call it Atelier Reona Rewis.

Any of you picking up new games this week? Kindly let me know what’s on your wish list!