Time is running out for UK retailer GAME if you believe this story from MCV, but several companies have quietly approached the troubled retailer about an acquisition according to another MCV report. One of those potential suitors is rumored to be Walmart, which has about 9,000 retail stores nationwide. Why a general goods retailer would want to buy a specialty retailer like games is beyond me.
Joystiq is reporting that Obsidian Entertainment has laid off a number of employees this week, though the exact number of affected employees was not clear as of this writing. The news comes from Obsidian's official forums and an unnamed tipster who sent them the following information:
Despite a YouTube video purporting to show that the Day One DLC for Mass Effect 3 was "already on the Disc," EA is pushing back hard on the story today, saying that the whole idea is preposterous because of how big the DLC is.
According to a report on MCV, UK video game retailer GAME is telling its employees to be prepared for the company to go into administration (bankruptcy). The company's senior staff was told at a meeting with CEO Ian Shepherd earlier in the week that the chain has approximately two weeks to improve its luck and get its affairs in order before administrators are called in. The company is still hoping for a buyout by GameStop or some other investor.
According to a report in the Independent, U.S.-based retailer GameStop has expressed interest in buying trouble UK retailer GAME's Iberian operation. The report makes no mention of GAME's UK operations, but points to its stores in Spain and Portugal. Both companies declined comment.
Investors and directors are not confident in UK games retailer GAME, and one report from The Express this weekend notes that company directors are considering "pulling the plug" on the entire operations rather than lose any more money. Executives at the top of the troubled retail chain are concerned that the retailer is negotiating big titles on a "game by game basis," and some investors could lose patience with that way of doing business.
According to Eurogamer, Hydrophobia developer Dark Energy Digital will enter into administration. Citing an anonymous source - a former employee who claims to represent 18 other employees - Eurogamer reports that the company is in bad shape and a majority of the staff has not been paid in nearly three months. Dark Energy Digital, run by husband and wife Pete and Deborah Jones, released Hydrophobia on Xbox Live. The game was heavily panned.
According to an MCV report that relies on anonymous sources, GameStop is interested in buying troubled UK games retailer GAME, but doesn't want to buy the stores in Australia because it conflicts with the business operations they already have there with EB Games. GameStop runs 6,627 stores in 17 territories, which includes a number of Australian EB Games stores it took over after the 2005 merger with retailer Electronics Boutique.
Activision is not a happy camper today as the name of its next Call of Duty title is leaked by Amazon's French portal, then quickly taken offline. According to the Amazon France page, the name of the next game is "Call of Duty Black Ops 2." The news was first reported by Gameblog.
More than 170 employees have been cut from various THQ studios, including high profile game industry veteran Mark DeLoura (who served as vice president of technology at the company), according to Kevin Dent, chair of the IGDA Mobile SIG. Dent, who is also the CEO of Tiswaz Entertainment and an advisory board member at PlayHaven, said earlier this month that THQ had canceled its entire 2012 line-up. The company vehemently denied that rumor. Yesterday it was revealed that NASDAQ had threatened THQ with being delisted from the U.S.
Nikkei is reporting that Kazuo Hirai will take on a much broader role within the company as its new President. The former President, Howard Stringer will remain as the CEO and chairman of the board, according to the report.
Stringer was named president in 2009 in the hopes that he could turn the company around as its PS3 console battled both the Wii and Xbox 360 for dominance. In 2011 he oversaw the cleanup of one of the biggest security breaches in the company's history.
A TechieBuzz report points out an interesting fact about GoDaddy's initial support of SOPA; that it may have been done as a way to deal with some problems related to some pending legal action against the company by some major Hollywood trade organizations. The report suggests that GoDaddy might have supported the bill to gain immunity from a court-case against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
According to a Digital Factory investigation, the new dashboard update that was supposed to turn the Xbox 360 into a savvy media-friendly device suffers from one serious problem: reduced video playback quality. What's more, Microsoft reportedly knew about it and covered it up, says this C&VG report. Apparently the update forces video content to run at "limited range RGB levels," which results in washed out colors.
Here's a juicy rumor for you: Netflix is reportedly in talks with Verizon to sell its streaming entertainment service to the top phone and broadband provider. Verizon may be preparing to acquire Netflix as a fast way to build its own streaming video service. Verizon wants to buy Netflix because it is hoping to launch its own streaming video service as early as next year, according to anonymous sources close to the deal.
A Siliconera report suggests that the next Dead Rising game is already in the works and will have a serious social issue in the context of its story. Capcom is not commenting on the details of the report, save to say that they have not announced anything about the next Dead Rising game. If the report is true, the next paragraph may contain spoilers that will make you sad in your soul. If you think spoilers are bad, then you might want to stop reading right now.
Update: 1c Ukraine’s Sergey Galenkin confirms that GSC Game World has officially closed - as reported by Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
"GSC is closed, a fact confirmed by all. The team is almost completely dissolved, the state has only a few people," wrote Galenkin on his blog.
Edge Magazine, citing an anonymous source, is reporting that "Xbox 720" development kits will be in the hands of developers by the end of the year. They claim that .developers like Ubisoft Montreal are already using 'target boxes' based on Microsoft's intended and expected specifications for its new console machine. Those that already have them will get new ones by the year's end.
According to a Computer and Video Games report, the next Xbox 360 - which some have been calling the Xbox 720 - is codenamed "Project Ten," will be released during the 2012 holiday shopping season, and will be "going the Apple route." All this comes from technology reporter Paul Thurrott, who says he's been told these things, but doesn't specify any particular source. Thurrott made the claims on the Windows Weekly video show.
While Hewlett Packard's PC division has been saved by returning CEO Meg Whitman, it looks like its tablet OS webOS is dead in the water. While the new CEO says that the company plans to make a decision soon, UK-based paper The Guardian says that the decision has already been made to get rid of the operating system. It will inevitably be replaced by Microsoft's Windows 8 Phone OS.
"We’ll make a decision about the long-term future of webOS within the next couple months," Whitman said during HP’s quarterly earnings call.
Another day, another story about game developer layoffs in Australia. This time it's at the 2K Marin studio in New South Wales. According to a Kotaku report, citing asource who wished to remain anonymous, 15 employees have been laid off from the studio formerly known as 2K Canberra. 2K Marin co-developed BioShock 2, and is reportedly involved in developing a new X-Com project.
According to the International Game Developers Association's (IGDA) Melbourne, Australia chapter, Electronic Arts is set to close the local division of Visceral Games. EA's Visceral Melbourne studio is best known for its work on Dante's Inferno. EA Visceral Melbourne staff will meet with human resources personnel on September 19, to discuss the studio's closure.
"More sad news emerging about #EAVisceral Melbourne studio closure," the IGDA chapter posted on its Twitter account. "Happy to help all affected in any way we can."
According to a Bloomberg report, Sprint will offer the iPhone next month with unlimited data service plans, according to people "familiar with the matter." The country's third-largest carrier (behind AT&T and Verizon) will begin selling the next version of the iPhone, iPhone 5 in mid-October. If the sources cited are correct, Sprint would be the only company in the country to offer iPhone with an unlimited data service for a flat fee. Naturally this would certainly help them draw customers from AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
An interesting story on Bitmob contends that we could see the PlayStation 4 (or whatever Sony plans on calling it) in about 18 months. Citing an anonymous source, who claims to be privy to information from a recent "high-level meeting" at Sony, Bitmob is reporting that the PlayStation 4 will be released in 18 months. Sony gave the usual stock response to the story: "We don't comment on rumors or speculation."
Sydney studio Team Bondi is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy, according to a growing number of online sources. Mostly, the rumors are coming from the Neogaf discussion board, and the claims have not been substantiated by an official representative. While an official "statement is forthcoming," Develop claims that an unnamed company representative declined a request to comment.
Daily Variety, citing unnamed sources at "a few leading European film distributors," is reporting that the popular streaming movie and television subscription service is headed to the United Kingdom and Spain later this year. The report makes logical sense given that Netflix launched in Canada last month, and earlier this month it announced plans to expand into 43 Latin American and the Caribbean countries later this year.
If true, Netflix will enter a market already dominated by several streaming media services such as the Amazon-owned LoveFilm and Mubi. Both are currently available on the PlayStation 3.
One would assume that the service would be available on multiple platforms including Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and 3DS - as well as Internet capable televisions and Blu-Ray players.
We will continue to follow this story as it develops.
As you probably already know, to play a popular Xbox 360 title on the PC you have to hope that the publisher has released a PC version of it and that it supports the use of the Xbox 360 controller. A rumor today - if true - could change all of that. According to an IndustryGamers report, Microsoft is rumored to be working on providing Xbox 360 support to Windows 8 users. The report adds that the system probably won't support cross-platform play between the platforms, and that Xbox Live for PC would probably still require a subscription fee.
On a related note, Engadget has uncovered some Windows 8 source code that references an "Xbox _360_System_Crash." While this proves nothing it probably wouldn't hurt Microsoft to offer that kind of support for Xbox 360 gamers. I know I'd be happy to play some of my favorite 360 games on my PC.
Fallout Online and a number of other lesser titles may not see the light of day if Interplay doesn't get its financial act together. Or at least, that's what a recent SEC filing from the company indicates. A 76-page filing obtained by website Develop paints a grim picture for the company, who says that it has “substantial doubts" over its "ability to continue as a going concern," and has told investors that it has a cash balance below $3000 and a working capital deficit of $3 million.
“The lack of any credit agreement has resulted in a substantial reduction in the cash available to finance our operations,” the company said in a filing.
You may have heard of Microsoft’s new Xbox 360 disc format and an upcoming firmware update to add support for it, but you may be one of those Xbox 360 owners whose system doesn't support it. The new XGD3 disc standard adds an additional 1GB of useable data to 360 DVDs, but a small number of Xbox 360 systems are having trouble supporting it.
According to Kotaku one beta tester owned such a system, and Microsoft rectified the situation by giving him a new system and a year's worth of Xbox Live Gold. Microsoft has not commented on the story, so this generosity could just be an isolated incident.
"Checking my e-mail earlier today I found a rather interesting message from Xbox Customer Support, saying that a software update is stopping some Xbox 360s from reading game discs," said beta tester Avery Penn.
C|Net is reporting that Sony is considering offering a reward for information leading to those hackers responsible for breaking into its PlayStation Network and Sony Online Entertainment networks that lead to both services being taken down nearly two weeks ago. According to the report, the company has been kicking around the idea of a reward for a while, but has not yet come to a final decision on the matter. Apparently, they are still weighing the pros and cons of offering such reward. If they do agree on it, the report claims, it will be brought before the company's top executives for approval.
CNET's report adds that any reward would have to be offered in cooperation with various law enforcement agencies around the world investigating the security breach including the FBI.
Sony has not publicly commented on this story.