The quick cap news
* PCGA continues to oppose naysayers with news that the PC market has grown 20% to $16.2bn in 2010 with no decline in any region.
* Gaijin Games founder Chris Osbourne has left the company behind the Bit.Trip games to found a new indie games company, Tracer. Fortunately, he chose a company name that doesn’t use the word for foreigners in the language of a deeply xenophobic culture.
* No surprises in that Australia has banned the latest Mortal Kombat game. I do wonder where this slack, laid-back stereotype of them came about because all I ever see is near-fascistic levels of censorship and state interference.
* Ubisoft has pleaded with the fans of the first game to “keep the faith” for Beyond Good and Evil 2.
* THQ Australia has announced job cuts. Fourteen members of staff were let go after THQ axed two projects and re-evaluated its kids license business.
* Harmonix pleased that Dance Central has managed to outsell Rock Band 3. This comes after a glut of problems for the musical game genre.
* Minecraft developer Mojang have announced a smaller-scale project, Scrolls. So all those fans annoyed at so little has been done with the Minecraft Beta can now get hating all over again.
* Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions has announced a new game, Trenched. The setting seems a fairly standard mech affair so far so it’ll be interesting to see what Schafer does to make the setting his own.
* Blizzard celebrate their twentieth anniversary yesterday and sent fans a thank you message for all the support over the years.
* Stardock’s Brad Wardell explains why Elemental failed and how they are making it up to fans. Personally, I think a little more polish could make Elemental a good game and Stardock have been great designers in the past, bringing us classics.
MMO fans get a lot of good news this week, first of all there is the fact that Bungie confirmed its new MMO game at GDC. Sphira: Warrior’s Dawn, a promising-looking browser-based MMO, will be coming up in 2011 and is already looking good. Frogster Interactive, who brought Runes of Magic to European audiences, also announced an ambitious new fantasy MMO for 2012 being developed. On the other hand, Panasonic cancelled their recent attempt to get into the gaming market and so we won’t be seeing an MMO-based handheld any time soon. Also, here’s a link to the documentary Gamers, which is available on Hulu and concentrates of the history of MMOs.
Social games were the targets of criticism in GDC 2011. Reports came back of the debates and both sides of the argument and the responses from both sides got a little heated and possibly even irrational. I was particularly impressed by Brenda Braithwaite’s rant and find those, like Jonathan Blow of Braid fame, who rally against the so-called manipulative nature of social games similar to those on the political right who talk as if the working class cannot really be trusted with their own resources. Still, social games must be doing something right as developer Kabam announced 150 new this week.
A good weekend to all. See you next week.