Adam Creighton's logo Adam Creighton
Other Blogs:
American McGee
Beautiful Pixels
Hideo Kojima
Hitachi Wasabe's Xbox 360

Xbox 360 Marketplace Updates: (

Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner

Adam Creighton, Computer and Video Gaming (Subscribe)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Microsoft Drops Xbox Live Support for Original Xbox Games


In mid-April, Microsoft's pulling the online rug out from under original Xbox consoles and games, including Xbox games playable on a Xbox 360, and the Xbox Originals they sell in the Xbox Live Games Marketplace.

While it sucks that they're going back on Xbox Live support for the awesome that was the backwards compatible games list [sic], it's surprising they're also yanking network support for their Xbox Originals, which are Xbox v1 games downloadable and playable on 360, that they sell on Xbox Live Marketplace (granted, only like 4 of them support mutliplayer, but hey -- it's the principle).

Bigger, though, is Microsoft calling out that this will also include Halo 2. Now, the cynical savvy side of me says H2 (and maybe other Xbox 1 games) are waaay to popular on Xbox Live, and cannabilizing sales on online play of other 360 (and maybe even, specifically, Halo titles).

This is far from conspiracy theory. Back when Microsoft's resident mouthpiece, Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb (, was actually reporting breakout of Xbox Live activity, Halo 2 was far and away more played than 360 titles. He at one point even briefly removed original Xbox games from his list, until people cried foul, and it went back on the report -- but without the unique user data that was pretty damning for Xbox 360 online titles.

Admittedly, holding on to and supporting older tech can slow down forward movement quite a bit (look at Sony's waffling about PS2 support, first supported with what was basically a physical PS2 inside the PS3, and then later removed from post-launch versions of the console).

Worst case, this reduces cost for Microsoft (which is balls as far as benefits for gamers, since it's not like cost savings will be passed on).

Part of me is hopeful that the upcoming breaking changes that are "incompatible with" original Xbox games will be so compelling that folks don't even miss the dropped support for original Xbox titles.

And honestly, as a guy working in games, I find myself playing fewer and fewer older titles on a recreational basis, since it's kind of like designing the next version of an operating system and using Windows ME as my reference materials.

But, I am concerned Microsoft is making this change "because they can" -- what are gamers going to do?

Anyway, here's the official announcement from Xbox LIVE GM Marc Whitten (Notwen):

A Letter from Marc Whitten: Discontinuation of Xbox LIVE for Original Xbox Games

Dear Xbox LIVE Members,

On April 15 we will discontinue the Xbox LIVE service for original Xbox consoles and games, including Xbox v1 games playable on Xbox 360 and Xbox Originals. I want to start by saying this isn't a decision we made lightly, but after careful consideration, it is clear this will provide the greatest benefit to the Xbox LIVE community.

Seven years ago we laid out our vision for the connected console when we launched Xbox LIVE. We believed then that the power of the Internet to connect people would revolutionize living room entertainment. It started with amazing multiplayer games, and we've since seen that bet pay off again and again with the launches of Xbox 360, Marketplace, Netflix and powerful social features like Facebook, Twitter and None of this would have been possible without the success of LIVE as a multiplayer gaming network.

There’s no greater example of the power of the Xbox LIVE community than the “Halo” franchise. “Halo 2” has had an amazing run on LIVE, with a dedicated community more than five years after launch and well into the next generation of consoles. It has fundamentally changed the way we play video games. And while it’s difficult to see that run come to an end, the “Halo” franchise continues to act as the benchmark for multiplayer gaming in this generation, with “Halo 3,” “Halo 3: ODST” and soon “Halo: Reach” on Xbox 360.

Your Xbox LIVE community has grown to 23 million strong. And as we look down the road, we’ll continue to evolve the service with features and experiences that harness the full power of Xbox 360. To reach our aspiration, we need to make changes to the service that are incompatible with our original Xbox v1 games. We will contact the Xbox LIVE members directly impacted by this change and if this includes you, I encourage you to check your LIVE messages and associated e-mail account over the coming weeks for more details and opportunities. We view you as a partner in this process.

We’ll share more details soon, but in the meantime I want to assure you that the best is yet to come for Xbox LIVE. I believe we’ll look back on 2010 as a landmark year in gaming and home entertainment, and I couldn't be more excited about what we have in store with “Project Natal” and LIVE. The LIVE community is the driving force behind everything we do, and it’s because of the community that ground-breaking experiences on Xbox continue to be possible.

See you on LIVE,

Marc Whitten
Gamertag - Notwen

Labels: , , , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Sony E3 presser

Sony rounded out the big 3 E3 pressers, and while having the benefit of going last, had less than an hour to make any adjustments (if needed) in response to Nintendo's just completed press conference. The "press" crowd in attendance seemed a lot more animated than the other two platform attendees.

Their intro video was pretty slick, both in showcasing titles, and in providing the sub-text of power, growth, expansion, and history ( along with an explicit "One World. One Vision." background vocal riff).

Jack Tretton, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA), lead off, and he was engaging and entertaining, despite a stated admission of nerves.

Tretton said 364 games are coming out on PlayStation platforms (PS3, PS2, and PSP) this year alone, designed to meet "Every taste. Every Budget. And Every Need."

He also made some understandably bold words about 2009 being everything they wanted.

Of the titles he listed out of the gate (Modern Warfare 2, FFXIII, Rock Band: The Beatles, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Ratchet & Clank, and Heavy Rain), only the last two are PS3 exclusives.

Tretton led off with PS2 numbers, and touted it and its 2,0000-game library as the "perfect family console", and continued the party line of PS2 being the gateway drug to PS3 (he used different words).

Sony grew install base by 22 million units over the last year, and has 24 million worldwide PSN accounts, and said there will be more than 35 PlayStation exclusives this year.

On the games front, Tretton led off with Infamous, the PS3 exclusive which is selling and reviewing extremely well. Smart to show current success representative of what the PS3 can do commercially, technically, and critically.

Naughty Dog showed Uncharted 2: Drake's Fortune canned single player gameplay, which looks Assassins Creedish (in a good way) in places, and I like the duck, cover, and related combat and evade mechanics (Naughty Dog, like Sony dev Insomniac knows how to push the hardware). The game launches its multiplayer beta tonight (at least for those that bought Infamous).

MAG (one year later) finally got to show off its live multiplayer gameplay. Zipper Interactive guys brought us Socom, and now they bring us massive online firefights at a whole new level. I like what they've done with things like the player-controlled helicopters with mini-guns bringing in players who have died and respawned. I can't tell if the footage was "live live", or "recorded live". They said "live", but the live narration was a little too matched to events onscreen. The game comes out this fall.

Shifting to the PSP, Tretton gave a brief history of the handheld (hardware and software). The large number of titles he listed for teen and tween girls felt a bit like a bulkhead against the same kind of fare on rival Nintendo's handheld platfroms. But Sony'll be releasing a lavendar PSP.

Kaz Harai, President and CEO Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc., absent at last-year's Sony E3 press event, took the stage to talk about changes to the design and features of the PSP that have built its successor -- the PSP Go. Not meant to be a replacement for the PSP or PSP 3000, per se, it will be marketed alongside those platforms. It will launch October first of this year, and sell for $249 / 259 Euros (the same price as when the PSP first launched).

All PSP titles moving forward will also be available via digital download (in addition to UMD for the non-Go versions of the PSPs).

There was a brief aside that PSP toolkits will drop 80% in cost to developers, which is a smart move in making it easier and lower risk for developers to get content onto Sony's handheld platform, and seemed an unintentional rebuttal to Nintendo's just-previous press conference statement that the Nintendo DS is low-cost platform on which innovative game developers can take risks.

Sony also smartly announced their new "Media Go" initiative / service / technology (I'm not sure the degree of each the "thing" addresses each), which replaces the current media interface. Media Go will make it easier to access media across the PSP, PC, and PS3 platforms, hopefully heading in the direction of a more leverage able media experience for a company that has a massive content library frankly not getting into Sony platform holders hands.

The PlayStation video service will be available natively on the PSP and PSP Go shortly, and Sony is launching new content from a host of content providers, from Showtime to Viz Entertainment.

Kazunouri Yamauchi (Polyphony Digital) annnounced Gran Tourismo PSP, and showed it running on PSP Go -- a launch title running at 60fps, 800 cars, huge number of tracks (and tons of variations on each track). It looks to be the be-all end-all of the full Gran Tourismo experience, and tailored to the unique features fo the PSP platforms (including the networking and social aspects of the platforms).

Harai re-took the stage to introduce Hideo Kojima (Kojima Productions), and he introduced Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker -- a PSP Go game that takes place 10 years after the first Metal Gear as a "true sequel" set in the 1970s. Kojima is deeply involved in writing the script and producing the title, and several Metal Gear Sold 4 devs will be involved in its production. The game will be published by Konami.

Tretton rejoined the stage to announce Resident Evil Portable. He also announced other PSP titles including Little Big Planet, Socom, Jack & Daxter, Motorstorm, Monster Hunter, Harry Potter, Guitar Hero, and more, coming to PSP this fall.

Tretton re-stated PSN has 24 million users (11 million in North America), Sony has seen 150% growth in console install base (I'm assuming that's across all platforms), and more than 90 unique titles this year alone.

He also said more than 50 PSOne titles will launch this year on PSN, starting wtih Final Fantasy VII from the PSOne on PSN today. I know people who's heads just exploded.

PlayStation Home currently has 6.5M users (and Sony wants us to know they have an 85% return rate), and Home Spaces are on the rise. They showed a brief video showing its growth and pervasiveness, but for me I didn't understand the differentiation between it and, say, Second Live branded islands.

Sony showed a really impressive PS3 title sizzle reel. With so many games and no title or developer / publisher text, I struggled to determine what the titles were, how many there were, how many were duped, and which were exclusive.

Agent from Rockstar North was announced as a PS3 exclusive. Rockstar can certainly deliver polished innovative content, and maybe Agent will take them in a direction with as high a caliber, but not the social contention, of the GTA series.

Reps from Ubisoft took the stage to show off Assassin's Creed II, set during the Renaissance, and shifting the story and character development to start with a non-assassin (who will become one). Using Renaissance personalities like inventor Leonardo DaVinci, new game mechanics like flight and the double-handed assassination (which got a great crowd response) are additions over the last game. Thirty total weapons (things like the smoke bomb) are available in the game, plus an additional 6 if you play and unlock them from Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines on the PSP. Both titles will be available holiday 2009.

Tretton used the PSP / PS3 connectivity in Assassin's Creed for what sounded like a launch point for more connectivity discussions, but instead showed new footage for Final Fantasy XIII.

Much bigger, Sony announced PS3-exclusive Final Fantasy XIV Online, I believe slated for 2010.

Tretton then intro'd next-gen successor to the controller / EyeToy synergy -- "true, one-to-one tracking" via the EyeToy and a prototype motion controller (alternately called that, a wand, and I think just an "Eye"). They showed off a variety of tech demos, which were interesting and representive of the functionality. Sony's message is you need both the camera and the controller.

Given the tech demo and the stilted presentation, I wonder if this was originally planned for the Sony presser, or was reactive to Microsoft's Natal announcement Monday.

I liked the RTS tech demo, because it showed a concrete game demo application, as did did the combat demo (sword and shield, throwing stars, and archery). Tretton says the tech will launch Spring 2010, which seems extremely aggressive.

Shifting gears, Sony announced Little Big Planet will be getting a ton of new content. PS3 owners tell me LBP is a console mover for them.

This was an stepping pad to announce another PS3 exclusive from United Front Games / Sony San Diego Studios -- ModNation Races (the next incarnation of the "Play. Create. Share." umbrella that includes Little Big Planet).

This game and customization looked like a ton of fun -- very stylish, and the track editor looks intuitive and powerful (5 minutes to create a brand-new track with variable elevations, levels, mountains and lakes, hills, props, weapons, upgrades, etc.).

Sony announced PS3-exclusive The Last Guardian from Team Ico / Sony Japan Studio. Looks freaky cool (the giant animal looks like a ginormous cross between a coyote puppy, gryphon, and a rat).

There was also a quick tease of Gran Tourismo 5, which I install has a huge install base for the franchise, but it felt really disjoint after the Ico reveal. Not sure why it wasn't used to bridge the conversation from Gra Tourismo PSP to the larger sibling platform. That's how I would have done it.

Finishing off, Sony live demoed God of War III as an appropriate capstone to the PS3 exclusives.

Labels: , , , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Nintendo E3 presser

Nintendo's E3 presser was geared toward toward "innovation and surprises", and "everyone's game".

Cammie Dunaway started the event, and despite using very biz analytic language like "even Mario is not enough to attract all people to our category", she at least did lead with the company's major strengths, intro'ing a brief Mario retrospective, which was a lead-up to a new Super Mario Bros. for Wii. The game has four-player, drop-in co-op (or not, if you're petty), and is is coming Holiday 2009.

Wii Fit Plus -- An updated, configurable version of the company's hugely successful workout and strength training software. It will be will be available this fall, and ship with the Balance Board, or as a stand-alone title for those folks who were able to get their hands on a Balance Board.

Reggie Fils-Aime took the stage to (re-)announce the MotionPlus add-on hardware (he's a very polished, articulate Nintendo advocate). The precision-control nature of the MotionPlus is, I think, going to very much help with fine-grain, core game mechanics, and the cutesy sky diving demo was a very good way to introduce the Wii MotionPlus Resort pack-in (?). The game is a collection of mini games to demonstrate (and get experience with) the new Wii remote add-on.

the Wii MotionPlus Resort demo lagged a bit from sky diving to archery to basketball, but while the banter lagged in the last demo, at least Fils-Aime brought the smack talk to the mini-competition. (I want him to the bring that snark to Microsoft and Nintendo.) Wii MotionPlus Resort launches in July.

In the next few weeks, Electronic Arts is backing the MotionPlus technology with upcoming titles Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and Grand Slam Tennis, and SEGA's Virtual Tennis 2009 will support the tech, as will Red Steel 2 from Ubisoft will only be playable with the Wii MotionPlus.

Square-Enix will be releasing Final Fantasy the Crystal Bearers exclusively for the Wii. They are also releasing an exclusive version of the Kingdom Hearts.

On the DS front, Mario & Luigi Bowser's Inside Story looks like a great RPG, and will finally be out in North America and Europe this fall.

More exciting for me, Nintendo announced Golden Sun is coming back to the DS.

Dunaway came back to the stage to push the low cost of Nintendo DS development, coupled with the the huge install base, as a lower-cost way to take risks. That was a subtle (and I think wise) message to slide in the presser -- "prototype innovative gameplay on the cheap, and if you hit, hit big!"

THQ will be releasing author James Patterson's Women's Murder Club: Games of Passion for the DS. Style looks to smack of the Phoenix Wright franchise, and is obviously going after an exclusive demographic. Interesting.

Ubisoft's Cop: The Recruit looks to be a very slick, stylized GTA China Wars-esque DS offering for core gamers.

There was also a tween / pre-teen girl's game for the DS that I missed, but it plus the THQ and Ubi titles were all about showing the platform demographic and genre diversity. Dunaway kind of hit people over the head with it, but it's a valid differentiator for the handheld.

Dunaway then provided a market update on the Nintendo DSi (surpassing 1M units, plus there were 400,000 DS Lites sold, etc.).

FlipNote -- That user-generated mini movie content software for the DSi -- will be available this summer. I likes.

Mario versus Donkey Kong: Minis March Again (think branded Lemmings) for DS will allow for creating custom , shareable levels, and is available next Monday.

WarioWare DIY -- Glad Cammie told us it was short for "Do It Yourself" :-, is a title that lets you create and share your own games. This one plus FlipNote may make me upgrade to a DSi.

Starting this summer, photos from DSi will let you update photos to Facebook. Facebook is doing well; wonder if they have something to announce with Sony at E3, not that they've covered Nintendo and Microsoft.

Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks -- A DS gift for the franchise lovers and the Nintendo faithful hardcore.

Worldwide president Satoru Iwata took the stage, interestingly, to talk about Nintendo's research and market segmentation. He said Nintendo's research of North America, Japan, and 6 other countries showed an "Active gamers" (across all consoles) addressable market of 395M, and those that "Might Play" number ~149M -- his point being "for every two people actively playing games, there is a third, waiting to play").

Mr. Iwata said he has a goal to provide games that work for experienced and novice players at the same time. Lofty goal. I support it, as long as it doesn't suck for both.

He also announced the Wii Vitality Sensor, to expose "the inner world of your body". Think one of those pulse thingies you see at grocery story blood pressure stations. But, not as shared.

Dunaway re-took that stage to announce a new 3D Mario for the Wii -- Super Mario Galaxy 2 (another gift for the franchise and Nintendo faithful).

Fils-Aime re-took the stage to announce 3 exclusive titles for the Wii that are more targeted to the Core gamer:
  • The Conduit -- A great-looking FPS from one of my personal favorite devs, High Voltage Software (published by SEGA)
  • Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles
  • Dead Space: Extraction -- Zorsis's baby. Which looks super slick and scary.

From Nintendo itself (plus Project M and Team Ninja), came Metroid: Other M -- looks to be a great addition to the franchise (Metroid plus deeper story plus Ninja Gaiden-esque gameplay).

And that finished up the presser.

Labels: , , , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pre-E3 2009

E3 is coming, and hopes to nod more toward its glory days from before the past few years -- and it may just do that.

I'm looking forward to several things, and while there are lot of predictions out there, I'm keeping mine fairly small and fairly me-centric.

And while I'm going to comment on some of the rumors out there, I'm not going to chat up anything I may have knowledge about thanks to my day job -- that would be bad form, and this industry has enough problems with loose lips.

First up and close to home, I'm excited about four titles powered by Gamebryo tech from Emergent Game Technologies that will likely be making a big splash next week. Two will definitely be on the show floor, two are likely, and I'm not going to announce any of them until they make their debut. And we have some long-time and new licensees that will be doing some exciting pitch work at the show, but I won't talk about that, either.

See, I'm starting out as a tease.

Here's the big presser line-up:

  • Microsoft conference – 6/1, 10:30 a.m. Pacific
  • Electronic Arts conference - 6/1, 2 p.m. Pacific
  • Nintendo conference – 6/2, 9 a.m. Pacific
  • Sony conference – 6/2, 11 a.m. Pacific

On the big announcements front, I hope Microsoft or Sony do an announcement similar to Microsoft's disruptive Netflix announcement from last year. I hope Sony doesn't just announce they have Netflix, too -- because that would feel me-too(ish), and not as fun. It would take away from Microsoft's differentiation, though, so that would be a smart business move.

There are all sorts of rumors for peripherals or some other announcement from the Big M, which as a consumer I've been expecting for a while. Have you been paying attention to what feels like really liquid pricing on the current 360 camera, including dirt-cheap pick-ups for in-game bundles of it? Noticed the wireless headsets selling for nearly half of its MSP? Etc.

Maybe Microsoft will do something with convergence -- what can they do to leverage the PC, Console, Zune, and windows mobile platform across each other? We've gotten a bit of this with the announcement of Zune HD and the Zune Store being made available to 360 owners. That's good convergence, and the Zune is seriously under-rated. Maybe there's a Windows Mobile 6.5 or Windows Mobile Microsoft - says - it - doesn't - exist - but - get - real version 7 crossover opportunity? Microsoft's exciting challenge there is to not cannibalize any of those platforms (for example, intro'ing an iPhone competitor would hurt both Zune and Windows Mobile)

But really, I'd like to know: Where the #### is Live Anywhere?

Sony needs to do something. I can't get my head around Microsoft doing so well on the media catalogue / media convergence thing against Sony -- They have a freaking extra-dimensional monster closet vault of music and video, so why aren't they doing something with it? Is there some mistaken notion that it will undercut the value-add of the PS3 as a Blu-ray player?

I'd like to hear some big announcements on Sony convergence, and maybe that'll be PS3 / PSP (or rumored PSP Go) or PS3 / Sony Ericsson phone or -- dare I dream -- an announcement for a massive, unified Sony device synergy that is real and awesome. I don't think the "PS3 Slim" will be there, and I don't think it would be wise -- I think it would hurt PS3 sales, and unless they've done power and heat dissipation magicks, I don't think it would be a full-featured PS3, which could cause consumer confusion (and raise gamer ire).

Nintendo is going to be Nintendo, which you can take as you will. They will be innovative, their handhelds and Wii own the commercial consumer non-core space, and the company is still printing money, if a little slower than they were. I hope they surprise everyone with yet another new peripheral. And by surprise, I mean something that makes people say, "Wii remotes and nunchucks and Balance Boards and MotionPlus and Wii Speak, and everything else -- those are cool, but this, this I must have!"

I do expect some game coolness for Nintendo, but think it may come uncharacteristically from 3rd parties (I'm hoping the High Voltage Software Wii FPS The Conduit does as well as that developer and SEGA hope it does).

Despite a ridiculous amount of pre-E3 leakage, Microsoft is uncharacteristically under wraps, so I'm hoping for bigness, because they're talking a big game.

And I honestly am hoping for a bit of competitive rodeo, because Microsoft's presser goes first this year, and if you're Sony or Nintendo, how do you head off the under-wraps Microsoft?

Traditionally (besides having big stuff of your own) you take away the differentiators -- take away Netflix, or something. Maybe do more with Miis on the Wii than Xbox Avatars are doing -- but watch out, because I don't expect Microsoft to keep those still). Better, leapfrog the differentiators by announcing Netflix, and something like an XM exclusivity.

And someone needs to add a social networking component. (In a way that matters.)

Yeah, but it's all about the games, right?

Right! (I'm lying, but the games are cool.)

What am I stoked about?

Besides the Gamebryo titles I hint at above (and genuinely, as I'm off the clock and out of shill mode), here are some of the titles or rumors I'm looking forward to.

Modern Warfare 2. Infinity War is top-notch. The previous game was fantastic, and this one continues on. And despite the reveal in Game Informer Magazine, they claim "big surprises" are still in store for this title. I hope we learn those at E3.

Crackdown 2. I don't think this is on anyone's radar for E3, but a sequel to one of the better games on the 360, after a premium theme randomly popped up for purchase? C'Mon, show me some super-cop love.

Dead Rising 2. Sure, the games not going to be shown, but the US arm of Capcom will likely be in attendance, so maybe it will. I so dug the first game, despite hating the save and escort mechanics. I really thought it was an indicator of what next-gen gaming could be, and it sounds like the sequel -- as long as gameplay is pushed as hard as raw polys -- could build on and explode that legacy. Plus we should all be practicing for the inevitable.

BioShock 2. If you don't know why, you haven't played the former. Go do that then come back and apologize.

Assassin's Creed 2. Sure, it was a bit of a super-polished more intricate period-piece Crackdown, but it was a rocking super-polished more intricate period-piece Crackdown.

New Splinter Cell. Ironically, wetworks dude Sam Fisher has gone dark in the real world, too. Ubi says he's back, so show him to us, and make us uncomfortable. Very.

God of War III. We need next-gen sacrilege on the PS3. It will move consoles.

Halo ODST will be there (it's not E3 without Halo), but I hope there's more excitement about it then announcing an attractive female actress as part of the voice cast. Maybe also give us an update on the Peter Jackson Halo effort (or tell us it's dead, so the mourning can begin).

Capcom could surprise and delight me with a new Marvel vs. Capcom (it's my fantasy, dammit), I wish Epic would update us on what People Can Fly are doing, they may announce Cliff's horror game (though the rumored PS3-exclusivity seems like an ungrateful thumbing at Microsoft for the the Gears and Gears 2 successes).

I still hold out hope that the 3D Realms is doing a masterful Duke Nukem feint, thought that's feeling less and less likely.

Shooters Singularity and Brink have me intrigued, given Raven's and Bethesda's / Splash Damage's pedigree (respectively).

I'm losing interest in Borderlands, and I want them to change my mind. Lost Planet 2 doesn't have to do much pwn me, because while I can't articulate it, the first game pwned me too.

Aliens vs Predator will be there. And it will rock. I listen to my gut on this one (just before it's used as a footstool for a chestburster).

And while the cinematics and roster aren't as big as the previous title, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 will be in my library, so I'm excited for more info that shows me this is doing comic books right again.

Mini Ninjas from Eidos looks cute and fun.

From EA, I don't think Brütal Legend can fail, so I hope it doesn't. Dante's Inferno is interesting, and I want my spiritual successor Dead Space Extraction to do well. Because I'm that kind of dad. Dragon Age: Origins needs to show me gameplay, I'm fanboy nervous about G.I.Joe, and I'm curious about Spore Hero. I go back and forth on The Saboteur.

I'm hoping Painkiller: Resurrection fits my previous guilty pleasure, but it'll probably make me upgrade my PC to do it.

I want A Boy and His Blob and Flip's Twisted World to be good for Majesco and for platformers.

Maybe the last 4 years have been good to Huxley?

Marvel Super Hero Squad may make me buy a personal Wii this fall. Wish they'd hire me for voice work.

I want Valve to wow me. I've got an itch in the back of my brain about a team that is using their tech that had some promising stuff, and it escapes me now. The itch tells me I'm mildly iterested if it's them.

On the more dark-horse(ish) front, BlActivision's been teasing an "all-new" game -- what if it was exclusive to one console? Square-Enix has teed up new games -- exclusives?

What about a 360 MMO?

And I want Heavy Rain to cross the uncanny valley. And build a bridge so others can follow.

And now I'm rambly.

It's going to be noisy, and I am concerned publishers will try to take advantage of the eyeballs to push everything -- not just their top-tier offerings. Think movie tie-ins, other licensed fare, and non-AAA sequels. That may take away from the good stuff, and the sleepers (who can ill-afford it).

I think E3 still suffers from an identity crisis (is it a consumer or industry show?) but maybe this year will help it suss out what it wants to be when it grows up.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Adam at GDC

I'm getting ready to head out to the Game Developers Conference, arguably the biggest industry trade show of the year.

We'll be launching our new product, Gamebryo LightSpeed, and demonstrating it in some pretty unique ways with a demo we built with the software suite.

I'm the product manager for Gamebryo, and the producer for this year's demo, so I'm pretty stoked for our showing this year. I also did the audio design, mixing, and VO, so if you don't like it, blame me.

If you're at the show, swing by Emergent's booth #5818.

I've said before, folks in the industry are talking about the industry's needs for rapid prototyping and rapid iteration -- but come by our booth so we can show you what it looks like in action.

I've also synched my Brightkite posts to my Twitter account, so if you're in SF and want to catch up, DM me if you're close, and I'll get the message on my phone.

Best of luck to all of us next week.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Competitive Positioning

GDC is next week, we're launching a new product at Emergent, and the competitive positioning and borderline mudslinging is getting hot and heavy.

A lot of the rhetoric over the next few weeks is going to sound the same -- the industry knows a lot of the problems that need to be addressed. And there's a truism that says there are no new software implementations under the sun.

And while I do take issue with that assertion, even if it's true, I genuinely believe that the innovation is in the implementation, and there's plenty of innovation still to be had.

I'm incredibly excited about Gamebryo LightSpeed. Sure, I'm an EGT employee, so I hope I would be; but the truth is, I'm the kind of guy who needs to be passionate about what I'm building, and if I wasn't, I'd be looking for more exciting opps.

But like I said, the competitive positioning is ramping up, and while I hope this post is similar to my friendly back and forth with Brett Seyler over at GarageGames, The recent Gamasutra Terminal Reality / Joe Kreiner positioning interview -- I feel -- creates a good opportunity for me to talk about Emergent's particular business model.

The Gamasutra interview provides launching point fodder anyway, but Mr. Kreiner takes pains to call out EGT, calling some our statements "outrageous".

Oh, no he di'n't!

First, let's get a couple of things out of the way.

I don't know Joe, and so don't really have an opinion about him, per se. He's new to Terminal Reality and (as far as I can tell), direct licensing game development middleware, but seems to have a good (and well thought of) career at companies like Logitech and Cyrix. So he and I share some large-company background.

He also seems to be savvy, articulate, and polished (at least in print). All good things I look for with industry folks.

And outside of Joe, one of the things I'd like to get out of the way is our difference in business models. There are multiple game middleware business models, with the two I care about for purposes of this discussion being "middleware developer that also publishes a game", and "middleware developer that does not".

I think both business models have pros and cons. EGT is very committed to not making games, Primarily because our conviction is we don't want to take resources away from developing our tech for our licensees. That means we have to guard against not getting too distanced from game development, but it's not the all-or-nothing scenario Joe says it is -- and it's certainly not that "Emergent's statements frankly show that they really don't understand game development".

He said we were making some outrageous statements. But I'd call this one of his "ludicrous".

Our employees, besides coming from enterprise backgrounds like me (Visa, IBM, Siebel, etc.), come from the industries that provide our customer base (video games, serious games and visual simulations, academic, and so on). On the games side, just a small sampling of the companies from which our folks come include the likes of Codemasters, The Collective, Criterion, Destineer, Electronic Arts, Hasbro, Microprose, Red Storm, Softimage, Sony, Turbine -- not a bad pedigree for a game industry company to have.

Adding to that, we also partner directly with several of our licensees, where they give us immediate feedback into what works and what features they need (and you're going to be seeing more of this kind of thing).

So that's our business model. Other companies (like Epic and Terminal) include in their business model a studio that make games, in addition to having teams -- smaller than what EGT has -- working on the engine tech.

There are some pros to that. I think the model works better for someone like Epic than Terminal, since Epic owns their IP (Gears is pretty slick), and can give those assets as part of an engine license, as opposed to Terminal needing to "have to remove the talent and any copyrighted items" from the Ghostbusters starter they intend to ship to licensees.

Indulging in some competitive positioning of my own, as a potential licensees of the Infernal engine, I personally would be concerned that Joe says, "we're focused on engine development, but we also have a studio side, so we're not necessarily dependent on that licensing income to improve the engine and survive."

To me, that could derail a company from focusing on creating good, solid, repurpose-able middleware. Which one is Terminal's core competency? Or are they just hedging their bets in a down economy?

Speaking of licensees, Terminal has some good (and personally respected) ones in their initial six. I do think it's important to call out Kreiner is candid these "existing licensees were mostly developers that were familiar with Infernal just from either working at Terminal Reality or with us on other projects". And, almost without exception, these are not licensees exclusive to Terminal as far as middleware engine licensing goes.

And Terminal has six licensees. Emergent is in the hundreds.

Now, I fully expect (and am excited to hear) more announcements from Terminal (and Epic, and Garage, and ...) on the middleware front at GDC this week and next.

You'll certainly be hearing more from us.

I think things are going to get very interesting in this space over the next several months. I, for one, am excited about the challenges, and welcome the competitive motivation.

To be clear, this post isn't at all meant to be a pissing contest (the problem with pissing contests is all parties get wet). This is just a response I felt is warranted by Joe's direct reference to EGT, and what I feel is an inaccurate (but purposefully chosen) characterization of our business model and our claims.

Plus it gave me a good springboard from which to post.

More next week.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Gamebryo LightSpeed

I'm wicked stoked Emergent Game Technologies has finally announced our new product, Gamebryo LightSpeed.
We'll be launching LightSpeed at his year's Game Developer Conference, where you'll likely see me running around like a madman presenting, meeting with partners, and working with Customers.
We'll be unveiling more and more as we drive toward the formal launch in a few weeks, and you'll be getting more and more feature details in various press releases and interviews.
As background information, though, we're trying to offer better tech that makes it easier for people to make their games and other interactive experiences. Building onto (not just "bolting on") the success that is Gamebryo, we've spent the last n years to create tools and technology that let game developers stand up content quickly in a playable form to evaluate technology, assess level and asset look and feel, and gameplay mechanics, and rapidly iterate to change their game without recompiling their assets (art, world, logic, etc.).
And while we've been successful with Gamebryo on the engineering and art pipeline fronts, LightSpeed, in particular, introduces some new functionality and features for game designers of multiple types (gameplay, level, content, technical, and system).
Not only are we introducing new features and functionality, but we're introducing new tools that make it easier to do something with that functionality. So we're not just introducing the shizzle, we're introducing a way to play with the shizzle. (Or something.)
One particular reason I'm excited about this new product (besides finally being able to talk about something that's pretty much consumed me for a while now) is because I made the professional move into the games industry from where I was. I had a good gig, but I wanted to get good tech into game developers hands so they can make great games. I'm an avid gamer, and I wanted to be a contributor, in addition to a consumer (same reason I'm an actor).
Gamebryo enables great game making. Gamebryo LightSpeed does that in spades.
Stated another way, we took the awesome provenness of Gamebryo, and added much more awesomer to it.
More to come.

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Namco Bandai acquiring D3 Publishing

Interesting. Namco Bandai has already reached agreement to get 70%, stake in D3 Publishing, and have made their intentions clear they want the other 30%.

Like Square-Enix, Namco Bandai is looking to expand Westward content, and they get that out of the box (in a compelling way) with a bunch of the D3 commercial and casual franchises (Puzzle Quest, anyone?).

Backing up a bit -- why the acquisition in the first place?

Besides being a good move for Namco Bandai for the stated reason of Westward expansion with development and publishing resources and IP (games catalogue), Namco Bandai is more than just about games, and D3 is more than just about games (though that’s their lion’s share).

Namco Bandai is games, animation, and toys (sister spinoff company Nacmo Ltd. (“Namco 2”) is about arcades, theme parks, and R&D; and there are several other Group Companies; etc.).

D3 is about Games, and Music, and Publications, so it’s a good match as far as diversification goes, but it’s not “too odd”. And since the Music and Publications side aren’t primary for D3, they’re easier to divest or terminate after poaching any resourcing that does contribute positively to the acquisition (making cuts to support core business and/or placate shareholders without negatively impacting core business, etc.).

From the acquisition, Namco Bandai also has a goal of “more innovation and providing more efficiency through shared use of technology such as game engines.”

D3 also owns middleware provider Vicious Cycle Software (Ben 10, the Vicious Engine built in service of the Matt Hazard franchise, , etc.).

For obvious reasons, I'm particularly curious as to what they do with this acquisition offering.

A few scenarios (and they could be either / or, combinational, etc.):
  • Existing titles continue forward – I don’t think Namco Bandai will want to change tech in games in production unless they want to significantly redo their timelines, which -- particularly due to the current economic conditions -- I would think they won't do. They'll either stay on task with potential revenue makers or cancel titles. Like everyone else, they need to desperately accelerate revenue for promising titles (for themselves and for shareholders) and (in this case) shore up acquisition bleed.
  • Vicious Cycle becomes internal tech – Obviously, this acquisition means the Vicious Engine becomes internal tech, which could cause problems with licensing externally in the future, effectively removing them from the middleware playing field (possibly). Witness Electronic Arts's purchase of Criterion's RenderWare (though there's more to that). Or look at Intel's acquisition of the Offset engine (I'm still fascinated to see what comes out of that).
  • Hard times for Vicious? – Keep in mind the acquisition is for D3, the parent company for D3 Publishing, the parent company to D3 Publishing US, the parent company of Vicious Cycle, which has the Vicious Cycle Studio, Monkey Bar Games, Vicious Cycle Engine middleware and licensing division, etc. And the Vicious Engine is already used for only a fraction of the overall parent companies' and subsidiaries' titles.

    Far be it from me to wish ill will on any people, but there is a scenario that says Namco Bandai could spin out different parts of the acquisition that aren't core to Namco Bandai. This could create opportunities or challenges for Vicious, but it would mean they would no longer have the benefits of a parent company for shoring up revenue, a given distribution pipeline, etc. I expect this scenario (if it’s even realized), to be a longer tailing affair.

    And not necessarily related just to Vicious, but if Namco Bandai is not able to get the other 30% stake in the acquisition, I would see them being even more aggressive about the prioritization of their portion of D3’s business affairs.

And if I were running Namco Bandai?

I’d probably split up development resources across other Namco Bandai development projects, seat more Namco Bandai leadership into D3 Namco Bandai Publishing (North America) side of the house, and distribute the Vicious Cycle Engine team (functionally and / or geographically) in support of development projects, and possibly to Namco 2 for R&D.

Oh, and I’d probably try to buy Funimation and Funcom (for both film/commercial animation and game development/publishing). But that's me thinking with my Big Boy World Domination Acquisition pants on.


Labels: , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gamebryo 2.6 Preview?

I've got a new podcast up at my Emergent Game Technologies Product Management podcast / blog site.

This is a "preview" podcast for Gamebryo 2.6, even though 2.6 released last month, and I'm just now getting around to posting the audio for the interview with Dan Amerson, technical director for Gamebryo.

So, in an odd way, I've created a time-traveling blog / podcast, and you get to come along for the surreal ride. Unfortunately, there are not yet any dinosaurs. Not yet.

Or something.

This is what happens when I live head-under-water with video game middleware. But wicked good things are happening on this front. Wicked. Good.

Labels: , , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gamebryo 2.6 is live

I'm stoked to say Gamebryo 2.6 -- the newest version of Emergent's multiplatform game engine -- has gone gold and is shipping. So, it's available now for making game and other 3D interactive awesomeness.

Philosophically, I want to be able to give developers the best tools possible so they can make their games their way. And while we're a multiplatform engine, we're targeted and optimized for each. This 2.6 release is geared toward providing further differentiated platform offerings for each, and introducing tool and workflow improvements for artists and designers.

We're not content to rest on the laurels of our well-received 2.5 release, and with this release we introduce the new version of our Nintendo Wii offering (including an integration with the new Emergent Terrain System introduced in our 2.5 release). Developers can develop for multiple platforms simultaneously, or start on the Wii as their lead SKU, and aim at other platforms later in development, or point their existing projects already developed on PC, 360, and / or PS3 toward the Wii, for more potential commercial return.

We also added optimized D3D 10 rendering support for PC, and for all platforms, a new XSI exporter, huge improvements to our Animation System, Scene Designer enhancements for artists and designers, engine upgrades, and more technology partner integrations (we're not so arrogant as to think we should build everything for everyone).

More details on the release are available from, and from the Gamebryo forums, and see the shipping release notes, and blah blah blah.

Ignoring competitive rhetoric, Gamebryo actually does hit the sweet spot for developing 3D interactive experiences -- of any size or type -- which for me means making sure we make the best tools and tech available to people making all sorts of games with all sorts of time and budget restrictions. Casual games? Check. Serious Games? Check. Triple A? Check. Commercial titles? Check. MMOs? Check. More? Check.

So, less than a year into the new job, two launches out the door, and more to come.

Stay tuned ...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tokyo Game Show 2008

The Tokyo Game Show is in full swing, and other than putting some links over on the left to TGS tags or sections of industry sites (IGN, Joystiq, and Kotaku*), I haven't been able to write much -- though I've been keeping up.

So what's the big news at TGS?

Depends what you like.

If you're of a certain type, maybe it's all about the TGS "companions" and their "outfits".

I'm not writing to your type. Ever.

Industry Happenings:
From a lightweightish touchpoint of the industry perspective, the platform representation is a bit interesting. Not definitive by any means, but the percentage of titles per platform at TGS08 is an interesting indicator of commercial interest (and therefore, addressable market) for those platforms. Obviously, the data slightly skewed due to the regional (and, therefore, regional consumer interest) nature of show.

Unofficial breakout of platforms represented at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show
Attendance is down around 11,000 from last year (continuing a downward trend), probably due to Nintendo's continued absence, and the in-betweenness of big shipping titles and not-yet-playable titles, and/or Microsoft as one of the big publishers still not being the Japan draw that Sony is (or Nintendo would be, if they deigned to show).

But ignoring jaded gaming press's various wailing's about "not much happening" at TGS this year, for gamers who still love games, there's some good stuff, and Saturday's public attendance (from picts) at least looks respectable.

If you're an Xbox 360 fan, there was a lot of good noise on that front. Besides the formal announcement the New Xbox Experience (NXE) coming November 19th, (confirming what we already knew, based on an XBL ad), it sounds like the monolothic, twice-a-year Xbox dashboard updates of the past may give way to more fleet-of-foot updates, which as a gamer, program and former development manager, makes me happy. Plus, the videos of the new dashboard in use is pretty exciting.

And the laggard "Bringing it Home" downloadable content finally showed up (anyone else find it funny that Xbox Live's Major Nelson seemed surprised by the content?). Oh, but good luck finding it in one place on your Xbox, since I have yet to find the TGS08 button there, what with all of the "Shocktober", Quantum of Solace, Gears of War 2, and other noise on the dashboard. (UPDATED: Turns out I got to it by going to Marketplace --> Spotlight --> Games --> Tokyo Game Show 2008 (37 slots down from the top? Seriously?).)

If you're more on the 360 fanboy side, you should take glee in Microsoft's further eroding of the Sony exclusives by taking Tekken 6 (out next year), adding to the usurped Grand Theft Auto and Final Fantasy franchises.

Oh, and Halo junkies? Bungie finally got to make their late- and- undercut announcement of Halo: Recon, a boxed-title expansion pack for Halo 3, that will be a prequel (single player campaign and new multiplayer maps and modes), featuring a playable Orbital Drop Shock Trooper (ODST) marine -- a bad-ass looking character I've been waiting (and I'm pretty sure I've been promised I'd be able) to play since Halo 2. The trailer shows off the repeat top-notch, triple-A, traylor madd skilz we've seen in past Halo universe trailers. Some of the cool stuff is pretty subtle (which makes it cooler).

Of similar interest is the Halo Wars RTS, and I'm hoping it gets the love it needs from Microsoft and Ensemble, given the former's recent shuttering of the latter.

Public service announcement: I still want Otogi 3, but From Software's Ninja Blade will likely fill the gap until someone comes to their senses and makes that other thing happen.

And on the free- publicity- better- than- your- own- game- PR- could- do front, I'm not sure Microsoft could get better than Kotaku calling Banjo Kazooie "More Like LEGO Grand Theft Auto".

Sony folks? Were you bummed like I was that anticipated title White Knight Chronicles -- a game showing up this year -- wasn't playable on the show floor, and its session was a PowerPoint presentation? Hey, at least 4-player co-op news snuck out.

But the Resistence 2 (PS3) and Resistence: Retribution (PSP) interconnectivity sounds nifty (actually the whole "PSP Plus" tie between the PSP and PS3 (including DualShock functionality) feels cool, and I hope devs exploit it).

I'm watching to see if LittleBigPlanet becomes the atypical console mover I think it could be. But the brilliance of leveraging Sony's IP as Sackboys (Kratos from God of War, Nariko from Heavenly Sword, "Old Snake" from Metal Gear Solid 4, Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII), while kind of a "duh" move, showcases the kind of tactical marketing savvy I like to see. Now, if they could only do the same thing with their video and music catalogs on PSN...

On the multiplatform front, Resident Evil 5 is looking grr-eat, and the co-op deets (I'm a co-op bigot) make me happy.

Konami's going to get us a new Xbox 360 and PS3 Castlevania, but other details or neigh non-existent.

Namco Bandai's Afro Samurai? Looks wicked sweet.

And, no, Square Enix didn't announce a date for Final Fantasy XIII. [Sigh]

And this Street Fighter IV trailer? Art. Again. I want the game to look like the ink or watercolors or sand post-processing effect. Please?

Changing Business Models:
On the "changing business models front", Microsoft's NXE goes a long way in that direction, because it will give better access to the wealth of content that's made the 360 a victim of its own success, and it'll be an interesting experience in the "core, non-core, social interaction" realm (a la the avatars and LIVE Party). Sony making all first-party PSP titles downloadable is a very cool, moving- into- the- digital- distro move, and Level 5's surprising ROID digital distro (Steam?) competitor gets props for super sexy packaging, and console- transformer- red- herring tease (but they don't have any PC or mobile games in their portfolio, do they? Hmm.).

As a left-field kind of thing, I really like what I think is an important industry statement from Peter Molyneux (Fable II):

"More and more we are saying these ones here are core games and these one here are casual games. Actually I think that is an incredibly divisive thing and if we're not careful the amount of attention we put into these core games will get less and less because they are so expensive to make."

Show Floor:
Here's an embed of what the Tokyo Game Show floor must be kind of like, from / Kotaku (who, despite my rant below, I think are probably fine folks).

More as I think about it. Maybe.

* (What is up with Kotaku? Much as I like those guys, why the hell do I have to dig through so many fractured tags to get all of my TGS info? ("tokyo game show 2008"? "TGS08"? "Lets TGS" [sic]? WTF? Oh, and there's TGS content not tagged. Nice.)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Leipzig GDC

I've been wicked busy at the video game job, so my coverage of the 2008 Games Convention in Leipzig has been ... non-existent.

You can find tagged GC '08 coverage at Kotaku and IGN:
My too-brief sum-up:
  • Art travesty
  • I'm going to explode waiting for MadWorld and Left 4 Dead
  • I wonder if Heavy Rain will be the system seller for me
  • The inclusion of the Joker and Green Lantern (and associated gameplay mechanics) give me hope MK vs. DCU won't be too derivative
  • Sony is pushing MMO on consoles by adding Free Realms to DC Universe Online and The Agency
  • The PS3 Wireless Keypad looks like a usability mistake (above the gamepad? WTF?)
  • The PSP 3000 (sleeker, brighter screen, microphone (Skype), etc.) could give Sony a decent revenue lift
  • Sony certainly seems to get that making the console the center of the living room takes space, and is meeting that need with a new 160Gb model (though I cry "hypocrite!" at their original public badmouthing of Microsoft's multiple Xbox 360 SKUs)
  • I'm hoping the new 360 game pad with non-crappy D-Pad is not a region-based limited release -- even though that means I'll need to buy 4 new controllers
  • Upcoming Gamebryo-powered PC / 360 action RPGer Divinity 2 -- Ego Draconis showed well and was received well
  • Spider-Man: Web of Shadows may lift the franchise out of its video game doldrums
  • I want to play the likes of Little Big Planet, Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic, and more, but they're not enough for me to buy a PS3 (for reference, if I didn't have one, I probably would have bought a 360 for Braid)
  • I feel like Microsoft's split focus on GC 2008 and X08 has made it hard for me to get first-party coverage on either

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Gamebryo for Casual Games

One of the initiatives I've pushed most recently as the Product Manager for Gamebryo at Emergent Game Technologies is making a bunch of waves in the industry:
Gamebryo Casual.
This is the full version of Gamebryo, targeted toward the real-world constraints of casual development timelines and budgets.

I'm stoked about this offering for a bunch of reasons.

First and foremost, I'm absolutely convinced we need to give developers and publishers the best tools so they can make great titles, and we need to meet teams where they're at with budgets, timelines, and other development restrictions.

Secondly, "Casual" is a bit of a misnomer, but the industry knows what it is. It's all of that stuff outside of "big box" development. It's also not "breezy, jump - in - jump - out - with - no - commitment" gameplay -- that's the player's experience with a lot of these titles.

The developer's experience is more along the lines of "holy - crap - I - have - no - money - and - no - time - and - I - have - to - get - a - high-quality - title - out - the - door - yesterday." There's an urgency and a desperation that requires the right titles to rise to the top to help folks see what the developer has to offer.

Gamebryo does that, and now we're raising awareness for casual game development on the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, and PC.

Lotta info follows below, but I'm trying to do at least two things with the recent push.

First, we're raising awareness of the product we've had, and will continue to have, for casual game developers (or whatever the market segment ends up being called).

Second, by way of short-term promotion, we're making it really easy for folks to do multiplatform casual game development. It's not a one-size fits all promotion ("casual" development isn't "hobbyist"), you have to qualify, pricing isn't public, blah blah blah.

But if you're interested, contact Emergent and see if you qualify for this product and promotion.

Keep in mind, this is the same tech being leveraged for the likes of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, Fallout 3 , and Spatterhouse, and is perfectly suited for developers faced with reduced budgets and development schedules who still want to make high-quality titles. Developers still have access to the same tools as big-box devs (content exporter plug-ins for Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya, and SoftimageXSI, our Scene Designer and Animation tools, the new Emergent Terrain system, etc.).

Gamebryo's flexible and extensible, so devs can leverage the pieces of the product they want, remove unneeded others, and optimize their titles for their distribution and platform needs.

Speaking o' flexible, Gamebryo's geometry system lets developers export their assets to target platforms and balance maximum detail and minimal download size (more objects for a game with a smaller footprint). The new system has the previous runtime efficiencies, and in version 2.5 we added increased load-time efficiencies (makes it faster). Data files are now smaller, and the end memory representation of those data files can be smaller (with pretty much zero perceptible loss to the end of the user).

Hundreds of titles in virtually every genre have used and are using Gamebryo. Casual developers should have the flexibility to build the title they want, in the genre they want, with the gameplay they want (a small sampling can be found at Even better, we're looking for you to create innovative new genres and gameplay models.

Casual titles need to maximize their commercial return. Using Gamebryo, developers can more easily put their same title on multiple platforms, increasing their additional revenue potential without significantly increasing their cash outlay.

And since we do technology integrations with other middleware, developers can leverage other technologies and systems for their use, picking additional tech to meet their game needs and distribution restrictions. Remember this post? Allegorithmic's offering is a great example of Emergent partner tech that meets challenges in the download / digital distro space.

So that's the skinny.

(This has turned out to be a pretty high-profile effort, so I'm curious to see what the competitive reaction is. Lately, other companies have been doing a lot of verbatim lifting of EGT messaging and collateral (which is an Unrealistic way to build credibility, and lacks Vision), so I'm curious to see what "me-tooism" comes in response to Emergent's focused efforts with this offering.)

Labels: , , , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Austin: Emergent Game Technologies is hiring

This is an update to my last post about a Friday (August 22) evening mixer at Dave & Buster's in Austin, TX.

I won't be there, but you should be. Tell 'em I sent you.

The officialness is here, but here's a cut-n-paste of the deets:
We are primarily looking for folks to support our Online Game Server product, but will be taking resumes for other positions as well. We are looking to create a core group of contract developers IN AUSTIN.

We are looking for:
  • Online Service Integration Experts ( XBOX Live, PSN, Wii Online Services)
  • Security and Deployed Testing
  • Networking Experts
  • Distributed Simulation Experience
  • Console Performance Optimization
  • Game Scripting in Python or Lua
Come trade your resume or business card for food and drink and find out more about these opportunities with Emergent.

WHAT: Emergent Meet and Greet Cocktail Hour
WHEN: Friday August 22 5:30PM to 8:30PM
WHERE: Dave & Buster’s
9333 Research Blvd. Suite A600 Austin , TX 78759 512-346-8015

Questions or RSVP to:

kristoffer.singleton[that at sign]emergent[the dot thingy]net
But, really, if you miss the RSVP, don't let that stop you from going. And don't miss the fact that if you've got mad skilz that don't fit in the above buckets, we are still wanting those other mad skilz.

Labels: , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Austin: Emergent is hiring video game professionals

Austin's got a few top-tier video game folks that have recently become available; this message is for them (and anyone else interested in a gig):
Emergent Game Technologies is hiring video game professionals.

Seriously, whether you're technical or art, if you're looking for a gig, we'd like to chat. We even have an event this Friday in Austin, so if you want in on that, you gotta let me know (seriously, it's day after tomorrow).

And, if you're in-between studios, and are blessed with the latitude to take advantage of recent workforce reductions to just hang out and work on that labor of love of yours -- you really should contact me; we've got something special to offer you to help make that happen.


Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Monday, July 28, 2008

EGT podcast

Over at the Unofficial Emergent Game Technologies Website, I've posted the first of (hopefully) many podcasts I'll be doing for EGT.

My guest (Dan Amerson, Technical Director for Gamebryo) and I shoot the breeze over Gamebryo 2.5, the recently released version of our 3D engine.

You can also subscribe to the RSS/Podcast feed here.

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Monday, July 14, 2008

E3 2008: Day 1

I'm tired, but it's been a big day on the announcement front.

You can catch my live tweeting of the Microsoft press conference.

Biggest announcement was Final Fantasy XIII coming to Xbox 360. Other cool stuff includes a NetFlix announcement (download videos via Xbox Marketplace, for the cost of the NetFlix account), Xbox Dashboard redesign this fall (sexy 3D-ish), sequel Portal Still Alive is a 2008 exclusive to the 360, content deals with NBC / Universal, and titles Fallout 3, Fable II, RE:5, and Gears 2 all look fantastic.

Electronic Arts robbed the Activision cradle (?), snagging id Software and Rage, and introduced Nucleus, a system/service that will connect a bunch of their games (29 by end of 2009), and Rupture, an API that "allows anyone to bring data in and out of the Rupture website. The API has two major components, the Rupture Client API and the Rupture API."

Sony's and Nintendo's and pressers are on Tuesday.

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Xbox 360 20Gb drops and deals

Ahead of its E3 keynote, Microsoft has made official the rumored $50 price drop for its 20Gb Xbox 360, ahead of the release of the new, replacement 60Gb version.

Not only can gamers get the 20Gb version starting today at most major retailers, some are doing shopping incentives in addition -- like Target, who's are giving $25 gift cards plus the fifty-buck price drop.

(Dunno if the new 60Gb version will be $300 or $350.)

Full Microsoft press release:
Redmond, Washington—Microsoft is giving consumers more gigabytes for their buck. The company today announced an Xbox 360® console with triple the storage space of the original console, but for the same price of $349 (U.S.) estimated retail price.

Available in retail stores in the U.S. and Canada starting in early August, the upgraded Xbox 360 will include a 60GB hard drive for storing the growing wealth of digital entertainment available for the console, including music, movies, television shows, and game content. In addition, Microsoft today dropped the price of its 20GB Xbox 360 console in the U.S. and Canada to just $299 (U.S.) (ERP) while supplies last, a savings of $50.

"We know consumers need more and more space to store the amazing digital content Xbox 360 offers, and we're giving it to them at no extra charge," said Albert Penello, Xbox director of product management at Microsoft. "No one device offers the depth and breadth of entertainment that Xbox 360 can deliver, and now you'll have three times the storage to manage all that great content."

Xbox 360 is just one of three Xbox 360 gaming and entertainment systems Microsoft offers. Microsoft's Xbox 360 Arcade, which comes with a 256MB memory unit and five Xbox LIVE Arcade games, is a value for the whole family for $279 (U.S.) (ERP), and the premium Xbox 360 Elite console is available with a 120GB hard drive for $449 (U.S.) (ERP).

Labels: , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

E3 links

In preparation for next week, I brought back the "E3" link on the top left side of my page, and added a few of the big dogs that come to mind -- including their scheduled press conferences.

On the console front, only Microsoft seems to have their E3 site up and discoverable, so if you know where Sony's and Nintendo's are, let me know.

Press conferences:
  • Monday (7/14) 10:30 a.m. PDT: Microsoft
  • Tuesday (7/15) 09:00 a.m. PDT: Nintendo
  • Tuesday (7/15) 11:30 a.m. PDT: Sony

Labels: ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Gamebryo 2.5 ships!

Gamebryo 2.5 has shipped -- the newest version of Emergent Game Technologies's game engine and tools (check out the new Terrain System), and my first release since joining the company as Senior Product Manager for the product.

I'm very impressed with the people who made this happen, proud of this release, and wicked stoked for the technology and culture foundation it's built for even bigger stuff coming down the pipe. And I'm a little bruised from the all-out NERF-fueled real-world celebratory team deathmatch that may or may not have involved an alcohol haze for some or many of the participants.

I'm in the throws of physical and digital shipping, forum announcements, and related activities, but expect to see more noise out and about if you're in the industry.

Labels: , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Games are coming, color me stoked ...

The Microsoft Xbox 360 Spring Showcase Round Up and Electronic Arts's Spring Break Games Day are overlapping, and those two events plus some other announcements have me excited. (And thank you,, for giving me an all-in-one link source.)

Labels: ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Kudo Tsunoda goes to Microsoft for next Gears of War

Kudo Tsunoda, former boss of now-defunct Electronic Arts Chicago (shuttered last November), is now over at Microsoft.

Tsunoda, the rock star (both in work output and persona), has Fight Night 2004 under his belt, and was working on the working-titled Marvel Fighting Game (which better see new life, or I'm going to be peeved).

GameTap, who reported the story, even goes so far as to say, "His hire is part of a reporting reorg being implemented by [new Xbox Boss Don] Mattrick, say sources--who also say Tsunoda is project lead on an upcoming Gears of War title."

Dude seems talented, so let's hope his early Midas' touch benefits the Microsoft stable. At the very least, he arguably has a big enough personality to go toe-to-toe with the Gears folks.

Labels: ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Darth Vader and Yoda in Soul Calibur IV

So I'm torn.

I like Star Wars. (Pre-new trilogy.)

I'm also a big Soul Calibur fan.

But putting Darth Vader and Yoda in Soul Calibur IV?

I need to think about this.

Your thoughts?

Labels: ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Activision Blizzard Webcast

I'm online listening to the Activision Blizzard Webcast, and will be sort of live blogging, so refresh often.

This thing has been the works for at least a year.

Blizzard has an revenue of $1.1B, and operating income of $517M (and break even on all other activities).

There are more than 9.3M World of Warcraft, and claims to be the leading Western entertainment franchise in Asia.

Awe, he's saying nice things about Activision brass.

Activision slides aren't advancing.

The merger deal is appealing to respective company's shareholders. Go figure.

Activision is touting their IP pipeline -- Guitar Hero IV, Call of Duty 5, their entry into racing (by acquiring Bizarre), new Tony Hawk, James Bond, new Marvel titles, and new Dreamworks titles.

Activision is spelling out the market growth opportunity for the merger -- "margin expansion opportunities", and "operating models providing more leverage", etc.

Planning to be the "only publisher positioned to capitalize on all online and offline properties" -- there's a nod to leveraging the [expletive] out of mass market IP and sequels.

CFO Thomas Tippl is up to present the transaction structure and terms of the deal.

They're looking at 3-4 points margin expansion over the next two years for each of Sierra's and Blizzard's markets in the next two years.

They're claiming the mantle of "Most valuable Pure Play competitor" in the market -- easily double Electronic Arts.

There is an acknowledgment this merger brings together "the best development resources in the industry".

Now they're opening up to general questions.

(I got distracted after this, so check out Joystiq and Kotaku for summaries. I'm actually curious as to whether there will be any knock-on effects from this merger.)


Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Wanna work in the games industry?

So, I've been a bit cagey about my new gig in the video game biz.

I have my reasons, but I may as well shake things up:

"Hi, my name's Adam Creighton, and I'm a Senior Product Manager for Emergent Game Technologies."

Emergent is an impressive video game middleware and services company. More than a once trick pony, Emergent has a lot of experience and offerings for people making games, and people offering services and looking to partner for new ways to get their products, technologies, and services out there.

They're also one of the few (only?) of the many game companies with whom I've spoken that "get" there's a lot to be learned from the business and technical world from folks outside of the games industry, adn they're actively hiring for it. No, the games industry may not go ITIL or Six Sigma any time soon, but there are a lot of process and technical problems that have already been solved by the tech sector years ago.

So, why break my "never talk about my day job in my blogs" rule?

Because this is a video game blog. And I now work for a video game company.

And they're hiring like crazy.

Whether your technical, business, managerial, artistic, or whatever, check out the available jobs.

Interested? Get a hold of me here, or via LinkedIn or Plaxo Pulse.

And stay tuned -- there's another reason I'm coming clean about me and Emergent.


Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

The Xbox 360 Dashboard Update

(OK, I've had too many requests for this, so here's a shortish version.)

Microsoft is readying its next Dashboard update for December 4th, and it's a doozy.

You can find the straight list of features here, or a slightly differently packaged one here (which worked better for me). And if you want to an in-depth breakdown of video FAQs, go here (DivX, baby!).

There is a ton here. If I had to back up and extract some themes from the bulleted lists, I'd say "Social Growth" (Messenger, friends, etc.); "Increased consistency across Microsoft Products, Services, and Accessories" (XBL, Zune, Big Button, etc.); "Audio Video Performance and Functionality Enhancements" (DivX, media handling and streaming, etc.); and "Usability and Aesthetic Improvements" (a bunch, and some nice touches that could be considered "unnecessary").

The MSDN blog poster "IndieGames" gives some insight into the pretty impressive engineering feat showcased by the Dash update:
"Did you know our system update package is only 7MB in size? Or that the entire 360 O/S resides on a tiny 16MB filesystem and when running it is only given 32MB of system memory?"
As much as I dislike what I belabor as Microsoft's poor corporate decision to not guarantee a hard drive will be present on every console, the mother of necessity has pushed the team to do some cool stuff. And they're not dumping 5GB of game data on your hard drive, a la the PS3. (Allegedly.)

The other thing this got me to thinking about is in the rush to "own the living room", it really struck me that Sony is competing with the O/S, software, and media intersection might of arguably the bar in the industry. Puts a different spin on the competition for me.

Oh, and while I acknowledge the engineering feat here is impressive, I'm going to take quick issue with the MSDN blog poster's statement "Maintaining a twice yearly ship schedule is difficult."

Yeah, and water's wet, so cry me a river. Try maintaining a twice a year ship schedule on a multimillion code line, mainframe and distributed, six thousand concurrent transaction per second system. Or 12 releases of varying sizes across 7 services (my last gig) in less than a year. Or being a doctor. Or a divorce attorney. Or sewer employee. Or ...

Now just bring down the overpriced Xbox 1 games that are going to be available for download, and I'll be happier (and you'll make more money, Microsoft; unless you don't care if the downloads to cannibalize sales from brands you don't own, and won't realize any revenue from, anyway).

Ooh, Crotchety Game Dude is back!

Anyway, good stuff coming, and'll probably get better for gamers everywhere.

Labels: , , , ,

Share: Digg! |! | Reddit! | TinyUrl | Twitter

Contact Adam

     Contribute to 0 comment(s)  |  Review 0 comment(s)

SOURCES:,,,, IGN, GameInformer, Official XBox Magazine, CNN,, and others.

View Adam Creighton's profile on LinkedIn

(More from ...)

(More from ...)

(More from ...)

(More from ...)

(More from ...)

Powered by Blogger