• Web-based businesses will be able to make their site addresses more personal than ever before: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a not-for-profit organization that oversees the naming scheme for web sites, has voted to adopt a policy that will allow companies to purchase new top-level domain names ending in almost whatever suffix they choose.
• The ever-booming online music industry is about to become a full-blown battlefield: Three shareholders of Napster are seeking election to the company’s board, claiming Napster has not done enough to hold off rival Apple/iTunes and Internet piracy.
• After holding off a takeover bid by Microsoft, Yahoo is reorganizing with an increased focus on online advertising. Apparently, the trail blazed by Google is the necessary path to any kind of online success nowadays.
• The ongoing drama at LucasArts rolls on: It turns out that many of the people laid off in the company’s recent round of staff cuts were key members of the team developing its highly-anticipated The Force Unleashed game, which has led to renewed speculation about just what is going on at the company. It may be wise not to send your resume there just yet.
• If you think the PSP is an also-ran and not worth programming for, think again: The device is massively popular in Japan, where it was the top-selling game system last week. And, as we all know, where Japan goes, America very often follows . . .
• Game Center CX, a popular Japanese TV show which features comedians attempting to play super-tough retro games, recently debuted at the New York Asian Film Festival and producers are seeking to officially bring it to these shores. If it comes here, it may be an Iron Chef-size cult hit, with related marketing, tie-ins, etc., so this is one to keep an eye on.
•Anime master Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea will make its Japanese debut next month, with an American release planned at a later date. Showing that the film, and anime in general, are being taken very seriously by the American mainstream, the producers include Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy, who worked on several Steven Spielberg projects.
• In a sign of what may be the future of anime distribution on both sides of the pacific, a new mecha-girl anime, Strike Witches, will be distributed online worldwide the same day it airs on TV in Japan.
• Classic mangaka and manga continue to be highly marketable and bankable. Fushigi Yuugi creator Yuu Watase has announced she will work on a new manga with a supernatural theme in addition to continuing the FY spinoff Genbu Kaiden, while the long-running Macross franchise is about to spawn a new sequel manga, Macross Frontier.
Authors may have a harder time getting word out about their works through traditional means in the future: Word has it that book review pages might be an endangered species at Tribune Media papers, which recently announced they would reduce their number of pages.
However, there is good news on the book distribution front: The Southern Independent Booksellers Association is taking its marketing directly to the people, via blogs and an E-mail newsletter.