Links of the Day, 9/12/08

Most of the news today comes from the gaming world, and much of that news comes from one company.


Even hentai is getting mainstream attention nowadays: MSNBC has done an article about how sexy anime and manga have influenced Western culture.

Video Games

Capcom is all over the news today. The company is warning that its catalog of violence-heavy games may be the target of a media smear campaign (alas, in today’s climate, producers of adult-oriented games have to expect that kind of thing). It is refocusing its marketing on European and North American regions, looking to have 80% of its sales come from the West. And the company has said it will no longer do platform-exclusive development, releasing versions of future games for multiple systems. The latter two are definitely smart marketing moves, with video games remaining hot in America despite the sluggish economy, and the console wars heating up with the Xbox 360 price cut.

However, there may be signs that game sales are slowing down a little — the North American game industry grew only 9% year-over-year in August, according to NPD. The top-selling game console in the U.S., by the way, is the Nintendo DS, according to the same survey.

GameStop’s Bob McKenzie is saying digital distribution will be no threat to traditional game sales until 2020. It definitely bears watching to see if his prediction is carried out, given that Wiiware seems to be a rather hot property right now.

Activision has acquired UK publisher FreeStyle Games as part of what it says is its commitment to music gaming. The company is best known for a hip-hop game that, so far, has only been released overseas. It seems that the best way to make it in the video game industry nowadays is to have the next Guitar Hero on your hands.

Microsoft may have pulled the plug on its Ensemble Studios, but the company says Ensemble’s signature title, Age of Empires, is not dead yet. The company has left the door open for the title’s revival in the future — which, hopefully, means they’ll still be retaining the crew that worked on the original.


The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a new bill that would allow the Justice Department to bring civil lawsuits against intellectual property infringers on behalf of content owners. The bill was revised, though, after complaints from consumer groups noted that language in the legislation could, if broadly interpreted, apply to file-sharing services. This may mean that creators of fan products may have to watch their step a bit when distributing their works in public if the bill becomes law.