News of the Day 11-27-2009

Thanksgiving is over, and it's time to get back to the News You Can Use for progeeks, fan-to-pro types, and more.  Today's news includes an economic meltdown, Hulu triumphant, Square Enix thinking ahead, and more of the Harlequin kerfluffle . . .

Big problems in Dubai, which appears to be close to an Argentina-like default, apparently a big part being it's large state-owned corporation Dubai World. More information here and here. This is going to hit stock markets and make people wary again. If we're fortunate, it will also make other governments take the continuing economic problems MORE seriously.

Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes film may be part of a trilogy – I'm mixed on this. Downey Jr. blew me away in Iron Man, but I'm not sure about the Holmes films both from previews and because I'm not sure audience demand is there. I still feel like Hollywood is undermining itself with long-term film plans but no long term retention plans, but at least this shows some long-term planning. (By the way Downey Jr. also apparently helped out the script of Iron Man 2. Which sounds like it was needed).

Social Media:

A look at the issue of constant connection and social media – A good general personal read, but it also has elements to speculate on for the wider meaning and impact of social media.


Chinese web portal company Sina scoops up $180 million in investments. Wow is pretty much all I can say. Not sure how the Chinese tech sector looks to investors, but I suppose this gives me an idea. However I am concerned investors will panic-run to Chinese investments in these uncertain times.

Hulu streaming increases by nearly 50% in October – And we seem to have a winner in the video wars, for now.

Video Games:

Square Enix prepared for the extinction of the console? – Sounds like it. With FFXIII no longer being exclusive, and their Wii/Nintendo oriented Crystal Chronicles games, I think it's obvious SquareEnix has been looking ahead. This is pretty far ahead, but at least they're thinking. Now does this comment pass, or will it get the industry talking more about the future?

Call of Duty is a $3 billion franchise – Modern Warfare 2 helped. No one is surprised.

Harlequin changes it's self-published line name to DelArte – No mention of Harlequin at all. Also, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers have called for Harlequin to completely cut ties with the self-publishing programming – which earns a big WTF from me (unless they're more possessive because of paranormal romance). This firestorm surprised me, and beyond Harlequin's ham-handed handling, it still seems to me some of these pro groups just don't like "amateurs" horning in on their territory. I suspect they don't mind as much, but this represents a big known publisher going into self-publishing. I sense this may not end well, but I think Harlequin holds more of the cards (and their current deals) – since they're working to tap into unpublished talent bases, which tells me in a few years current popular authors may not have as much leverage.

– Steven Savage