This is the week for big developers to take over the small marketplaces. First
EA starts a mobile development studio and now this. Australian Indie game publishers are claiming that Microsoft has started giving more and more of its 35 XBLA game slots to major developers.
WAToday claims that the requirements Microsoft has placed on its acceptance of XBLA games favor big publishers, "with independent games rejected for being too similar to an existing title on the service, yet major publishers were able to flood it with retro remakes."
EA has had a lot of success making iPod Touch-platform games as of late, so it should come as no surprise that they have decided to create a new studio dedicated to nothing but mobile games, called 8lb Gorilla. The goal of the studio is to publish at least one mobile game every month. The first game under their umbrella is
Zombies and Me which has already been released.
Though this might be good for EA, or anyone who owns stock in the company, it is not good for the kids writing the 99cent games in their bedrooms, as EA has now put themselves in direct competition. It certainly has the possibility of being the next Walmart, driving the small business out of the marketplace completely. Expect some unhappy blog posts in the coming months.
The Chinese government has put an end to a very controversial program at a clinic where "video game addicts" are subjected to electroshock "therapy."
China Daily said it best with this synopsis of the situation, saying:
most of Midway was purchased by Warner Brothers and that the rest had to find buyers quickly or be shut down. This week was the deadline for the first studio, Newcastle, is gone. CEO Matt Booty showed up to deliver the news, but it seems that wouldn't really soften the blow.
The loss of parts of Midway is not a surprise as there were no interested buyers, but it is a disappointment for those of us who have been gaming for a long time. San Diego is still on the table, and if it can find a buyer in the next 50 days or so, they will be fine, but it seems they have the same fate just several weeks later.
The president of UFC, Dana White, doesn't like EA, and, honestly, who can blame him? He says of EA, "They wouldn't even take a meeting because mixed martial arts disgusted them. This wasn't a real sport. Boy, they got over that real quick, didn't they?"
He is so committed to keeping his franchise and the EA franchise separate that he has threatened to ban any UFC fighter who appears in EA's MMA. That having been said, if the game is good enough, would it matter if there were real, recognizable fighters to choose from or generic made-up EA characters? Or would it be like Madden vs All Pro Football, where the fun is in playing real teams with real players?
Green Lantern is certainly all over the place right now. We have the Blackest Night comic series, the big screen adaptation coming out Summer 2011 and now a videogame... maybe. Warner Brothers has dismissed the prospect as rumor, but sources inside Double Helix have claimed that the game has been in conception for over a year, but development has actually started moving recently.