Your faithful Weekly Dish curator has had quite a week, having moved to a new house, then discovered that the telephone wires in the basement were a Gordian knot of epic proportions. It took five days and three technician visits to restore phone and DSL service to us, which led to a marathon of news reading in preparation for this column. What have I learned? That the game industry has been busy while I was gone, and that I never want to be without Internet access again.
Gabe Newell Stops, Starts Rumors
After a week of rumors swirling around a meeting between Valve and Apple CEO, Tim Cook, Valve prez Gabe Newell decided to rain on the speculation parade. It turns out that Tim Cook never met with anybody at Valve. Newell joked that he wished such a meeting had taken place, since Valve has a number of suggestions for how Apple could better support gaming.
Lest the merciless squashing of a rumor seem out of character for the puckish Newell, he's continuing to drop hints that remind everyone that Valve is indeed still working on Half-Life 3. In a recent interview, he discussed the fact that Valve doesn't like to talk about projects that are in the works until there's a lot of clarity about the final form of the game. He referred to the game as "Ricochet 2," but onlookers suspect that "Ricochet 2" is code for Half-Life 3. The takeaway message is that Valve isn't going to say anything about Half-Life 3 until it's good and ready.
THQ: Not Dead Yet
It appears that the sales of Saint's Row the Third are going a long way towards rescuing beleaguered publisher THQ. Between that game, Saint's Row-related DLC sales, and better-than-expected sales of UFC Undisputed 3, THQ isn't doing as poorly as it thought it would. The company still needs to recover from a series of poor business decisions, however, and for the money lost by restructuring in order to stop making poor business decisions. I'm personally rooting for THQ, because I think we need to support our mid-range game publishers in order to keep the big guys like EA and Activision honest.
Skype Your Vita
The struggling PS Vita has a new feature that probably won't push sales, but will be nice for existing Vita owners. Skype is now available on both the WiFi and 3G versions of the device. It can even run in the background while playing games, so Vita users can receive Skype calls while playing Ridge Racer.
Nintendo Officially Posts a Loss
We knew it was coming, but now it's official. Nintendo has posted an annual loss for the first time in its long history. Don't worry too much about the Big N, though. The company has enough money saved up to operate at a loss for many years if necessary, and that scenario is unlikely anyway. Due to lowered manufacturing costs, the 3DS will no longer be sold at a loss around August or September of this year, which will help. The company expects to return to being profitable with the release of major software releases such as New Super Mario Brothers 2, Animal Crossing 3DS, and a new Brain Training title. It also expects the end-of-year launch of the Wii U to help. Speaking of the Wii U, we'll be seeing it at E3, but Nintendo won't be giving us a release date or price at that time.
New Play Control Resurfaces
Remember Nintendo's New Play Control! series for the Wii, in which older games were ported to the Wii with motion controls added in? Yeah, not much ever came of NPC once the first few games didn't make much of a splash. That's why it's pretty surprising to see the announcement that Pikmin 2 is coming to North American Wiis as a New Play Control! title this summer. Perhaps Nintendo is hoping to stir up more fan support for the series, in light of Pikmin 3's upcoming arrival on the Wii U. Let's hope the Wiimote interaction is good for this one, since Pikmin 2 is a game that deserves a better control scheme than the GameCube was able to provide.
Nexon Makes a Bid for EA?
Here's a reminder that the world of video games is far larger than what we see here in North America. Electronic Arts stock rose this week following a rumor that Korean free-to-play giant Nexon made a bid for EA. That's right, a Korean microtransaction MMO company has enough money to make a bid for one of the largest publishers in the USA. While it's fairly unlikely that EA's major shareholders are interested in foreign control at the moment, it makes you think, doesn't it? Some recent number-crunching in the gaming community shows that the U.S. is responsible for about a third of the global game industry's market share, so it's no wonder that international interests want a slice of the pie.
Date: April 27, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*