Monday, February 15, 2010

Viacom: Never Heard of No Take Backs

After disappointing sales from The Beatles: Rock Band, and from Harmonix products in general, Viacom is filing with the SEC to have some of an "earn-out" bonus paid out to its subsidiary Harmonix at the end of 2008 returned to it. The LA Times Articlegoes into further detail on Viacom's claim. However there are a few quotes that I think are worth highlighting.

"In a research note, media analyst Michael Nathanson of Bernstein Research estimated that the "current trend" of losses for Rock Band has been between $50 million and $100 million per year." - since when does 3 years (since the 2006 release of the original guitar hero) constitute enough data for a trend?


"Activision said it would release just 10 versions of its music games this year, down from 29 in 2009." and "Mike Griffith, head of Activision’s publishing business, summed it up during a conference call with investors by saying, 'In 2010 we’re anticipating further declines in the music genre overall as the casual consumer proves less robust.' "- just 10? What IP do you know that considers 10 releases a year staggering them? Even considering the multiple sub-titles (Guitar Hero/Band Hero/DJ Hero) thats still at least 3 titles in this next year. Maybe its not the casual nature of your consumers that is proving less robust. Maybe its the fact that you're over-saturating the market.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Alleged Video Game Pirate Settles with Nintendo for $1.3 Million

According to the Sydney Morning Herald James Burt, 24, of Sinnamon Park in Queensland Austrailia has settled with Nintendo out of court for $1.6 million Australian (1.5 mill settlement and a 100k in legal fees).

This is because he allegedly leaked the new Super Mario brothers for Wii a week before its release in Australia.

Lets all just take a second, read that over a couple of times, and think about how familiar this type of legal action sounds, and how well it worked out for that sector of the entertainment industry.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Drum Triggers Work with Rock Band

The good news: Omega Music Technology has released a set of drum triggers that allow drummers owners to play their own instrument in Rockband and Guitar Hero games. The bad news: you still need to have the games drum set for it to work. The neutral news: If you don't own a drumset, but want a more enhanced playing experience you can by a trigger/pearl drumset bundle.

Is it worth the $250 price tag? You decide.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shinobi Ninja Makes iPhone Game The New Album

Brooklyn Rock/Rap outfit Shinobi Ninja have released their new iPhone App "Shinobi Ninja Attacks". The game itself is a beat 'em up where you play as the band members journeying through Brooklyn to make it to a show. What's unique about the application is the extent to which it integrates the bands material. Shinobi Ninja's music makes the soundtrack to the game, but fans are also awarded videos and more songs for completing parts of the game and a GPS link in allows the band to give extra material to those with the application that attend a concert. As the bands manager and the games co-creator Stephen Sternschein says "Shinobi Ninja Attacks’ replaces the tangible experience people used to have opening a record sleeve or CD jewel case, poring over the liner notes, and looking over the artwork while listening to the music play. It harkens back to recorded music’s glory days, because it helps music fans recover something that was lost with digital music -- the ability to interact physically with the music product itself."

Check out the promo video below and if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch be sure to download the app here

Monday, February 1, 2010

Music Games Need To Refocus

This one comes to us via Prof. Sam's twitter. Its a very well written and concise editorial article regarding what the music game genre should be focusing on as it moves from infancy amid criticism of waning sales. While I highly recommend reading it in its entirety (its a quick read I promise) he brings up three main points. First, backwards compatibility of peripherals needs to be a given. Secondly developers need to restrain their frequency of releases. And finally finding ways to integrate new gameplay features using what hardware players already have.

But again read the whole article. You're already in class not paying attention so what more would it hurt.