Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been quoted as supporting new CEO Satya Nadella if he chose to spin-off Xbox into it's own entity. Speaking with Fox Business, Gates talked about how it may not be so obvious, as Microsoft follows a very unified game program.
"We're taking PC gaming and Xbox gaming and bringing those a lot closer together. The power of the graphics chips means you can do great games there." He goes on to say, "so I'm sure Satya and the team will look at that. It's up to them. We're going to have an overall gaming strategy so it's not as obvious as you might think."
Microsoft has clarified that this quote is Gates supporting the new leader of the company and not insisting that the tech giant split off it's game division.
This is one of those small stories that grows into something big. Though it might be interesting to see what Microsoft would do if it were to spin off the Xbox, it also seems like it wouldn't make too much sense. Microsoft has clearly entwined the brand with Windows and both portions seem to make Microsoft money, so unless the finances required it, there just doesn't seem to be a point. Interesting indeed.
Johnathan Cooper, the former animation director for Assassin's Creed III and lead animator for Mass Effect 1 and 2, has moved to Naughty Dog. Spotted by GameInformer, Cooper has changed his LinkedIn profile to reflect his position at the Sony owned developer as simply an animator.
This is finally some good news for Naughty Dog. The AAA developer has been bleeding personnel left and right, and many people are concerned about the next few games from the popular game studio, so it's good to hear some strong talent finally funneling back in.
Activision is putting a lot of faith in Destiny, to the tune of $500 million. This figure, which comes from CEO Bobby Kotick at last week's Milken conference (via Reuters) makes Destiny possibly the most expensive video game product ever made. What's interesting is that this cost is not just associated with development, but also all of the other costs, including packaging and advertising. Both Activision and Bungie hope to make Destiny into a ten year product, adding content to keep players interested over the years.
This is astounding. Video games are becoming more and more expensive, but I don't think anyone expected this kind of figure to come out of a game anytime soon, even from Bungie. Though this could work out really well for both companies, early indications of the press's take on Destiny is cautiously optimistic, with feelings that the game is rather empty and easy. Hopeful there is more to Destiny and that we will see more as the year goes on.
According to sales figures from Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg, Skylanders: Swap Force has made more money in sales than Call of Duty: Ghosts, despite Call of Duty: Ghosts being the most successful game on Xbox One and PS4. This figure takes into account the toy sales as well, which have reached over 175 million figurines sold. The total sales for the game and toys reaches $2 billion.
This is pretty interesting and crazy. When the move to a more kid-friendly approach with the Spyro franchise, many gamers and people in the industry scoffed at Activision and thought (or hoped) it would fail. Fast forward to today, and Spyro isn't even in the game anymore and the franchise is toppling one of the industry's giant franchises. Very interesting indeed. We know now that this will not be the end of the Skylanders franchise.
The PS Plus version of Drive Club has finally been detailed. Originally announced to launch with the console, the PS Plus version of the game will only include 1 location (India), 11 tracks and 10 cars, though all modes will be accessible. Contrasting this service version, the full game will include 5 locations, 55 tracks and 50 tour events. There is also an option to upgrade from the PS Plus version to the full version for $10 cheaper, but once your Plus subscription is up, you also lose Drive Club, despite putting $50 into it.
This still seems like a weird idea. The decision to strip down Drive Club for PS Plus made perfect sense at launch because you don't want to give a $60 game away for free, but you also want to show off how awesome PS Plus is. However, in October when Drive Club comes out, it makes far less sense. Drive Club seems like the perfect game for Sony to finally kick off full retail games on Plus, especially since many people bought into plus (and possibly the PS4) for the game.
Playing devil's advocate, it would make less sense to release the full game seeing how much time and money went into development, especially after almost a 12 month delay. It's a tough one. We will have to see just how good the game is before rendering judgement, but it is great knowing that all modes will be accessible for all players.
Nintendo will be developing and releasing new consoles in emerging markets. President Satoru Iwata confirmed with Bloomberg that the gaming company will be creating these consoles to release instead of its current consoles, the Wii U and 3DS. These new pieces of hardware will be created with the emerging market in mind, being fine tuned towards the new areas. Says Iwata, "we want to make new things, with new thinking rather than a cheaper version of what we currently have. The product and price balance must be made from scratch."
This is pretty interesting considering the financial constraints Nintendo is feeling right now. Despite having plenty of cash, the company can not seem to get out of the red, reporting a loss for the third year in a row earlier this week. Creating content from scratch will definitely help, especially if Nintendo can grasp what it is that emerging markets like China want. I'm actually kind of jealous that we in the US won't be getting this new hardware.
The inclusion of the light bar on the PS4 controller has finally been revealed. Speaking to TechRadar, SCEE senior designer Jed Ashforth divulged that the light was added for tracking with virtual reality, specifically Project Morpheus. "It was for tracking for VR, and when all these things were coming out six months ago and everyone was going ‘it’s reflecting in my TV,’ we were going ‘oh no’ because we couldn’t tell anyone what it was for."
Finally, we have a real reason for all the confusion revolving around the damn light. Sony has offered excuse after excuse for why it can't be turned off as the complaints started to flood in, so knowing why it's there does help dull the pain, but it still doesn't account for the people who are annoyed with the light and are not going to use Project Morpheus, especially since the product isn't even available to purchase. I wouldn't be surprised to hear Sony finally patches PS4 with an update to turn it off within the next couple of months. Cool stuff, none the less.
Here is a list of some smaller stories that leaked out today. They're pretty self explanatory, but interesting none the less:
- Atlus is teasing a new release on PlayStation today.
- The Last of Us update is live today.
- Ed Boon is hinting at something.
- EA Star Wars: Battlefront 2 will survive GameSpy closing.
- Nintendo still losing money. Only 2.7 million Wii U sold in 12 months.
- Destiny beta in July.
- EA to reveal six new games at E3.
- Titanfall sells nearly 1 million in first 3 weeks.
- Nintendo is remaking Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire for 3DS this November.
- Valiant Hearts will release this June.
- Elder Scrolls Online reportedly delayed on newest consoles.
- Dark Souls 2 and Dead Rising 3 sells 1.2 million.
- Monster Hunter on iOS in Japan.
- Wii U June update shaves 20 seconds off of boot up.
- Nintendo's first phone app will be Mario Kart TV.
- Dying Light delayed into 2015.
- Unreal Tournament announced for PC and Mac. Free to Play and open sourced.