Links of the Day, 10/23/08


The Japanese general trading company Sojitz Corporation announced on Wednesday  that it will dissolve ARM, the subsidiary that promoted anime licensing and distribution in North America, by next February. The move is not expected to affect its licenses with Funimation.

Video Games

Atari, the old console maker, is making a name for itself as a distributor nowadays. The company has signed a deal with CDV Software Entertainment USA to exclusively distribute the publisher's console and handheld titles released under the CDV USA brand in North America.

Another "oops" for a major company: Guitars for Wii music games made by Rage have been found to cause chemical burns because of a circuit board defect that causes the controller's AA batteries to leak if not installed correctly. Given the popularity of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, we're guessing there's more than a few of those out there. However, there's also good news for Nintendo, as it looks like its Wii Fit may bypass Grand Theft Auto as the best-selling game of the year.

Think you're programming games for the stereotypical geek? Think again – a new study shows that gamers are more active, both social- and sports-wise, than non-gamers. Gamers are also shown to be the influencers of their friends and family when it comes to pop-culture trends.


Yet another sad sign of the times: Citing slower gadget sales due to the current state of the economy, Sony is reducing its anticipated income for 2008/09 by 38 percent.

Comcast, which upset a lot of people with its anti-P2P measure, is now offering faster Internet speeds. It remains to be seen whether that will win back some of their lost goodwill.

Samsung is offering streaming Netflix content with the purchase of select Blu-Ray players. This may be the biggest move yet toward bringing streaming video onto televisions and into the mainstream.

Links of the Day, 10/13/08


An Iowa man is being prosecuted for owning allegedly obscene manga showing minors having sex. This case definitely merits keeping an eye on – a guilty verdict may mean American publishers of hentai and yaoi being a lot more cautious about what they bring over.

Video Games

World of Warcraft may be adding some optional features at an additional fee in the future, including character customization. Whether players pony up the extra bucks remains to be seen, but if it works, expect the other online games to follow suit.

The PSP is about to get a software upgrade that will allow it to connect directly to the Playstation Store and download games. Playstation 3 will get a software upgrade at the same time that includes an in-game screencap tool.

Wedbush Morgan analysts have declared the game industry recession-proof, saying it will continue to be profitable during tough economic times.

Atari Inc. has been acquired by Infogrames, a French publisher that was once its majority shareholder. Atari will now be a subsidy of the company.


MySpace is expanding its MyAds service, which allows advertisers to micro-target users for its Google-like ads by parameters such as age, sex and geographical location, combining it with user interest categories including specific keywords within each category.


Long Island, NY tabloid newspaper Newsday, which was acquired by Cablevision in July, has suffered an 11% drop in revenues this year over 2007 figures. And the news continues to be gloomy for the traditional paper industry.


More movies are being released directly on DVD nowadays, and it doesn’t necessarily mean the film is poor quality, according to U.K. paper The Guardian – a lot of it has to do with today’s "carpet bombing" approach to film releases and how a film has to guarantee a large amount of "butts in the seats" on the very first weekend. Interesting especially for what it says about changes in the entertainment industry over the last couple of decades.

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.