An interesting week in terms of news, and I figure the biggest is worth discussing first…
Of course, EA pursued Take-Two several years ago after Grand Theft Auto IV hit, and whoever ends up with GTA will rocket upwards in the realm of video game publishing. But such an acquisition for Activision would mean one publisher has control of the three largest (numbers-wise) video game franchises in gaming today. To me, that's the issue. I don't think a publisher, even one as large as Activision, has as much control over a developer as many seem to think, and if a designer simply says, "there's no way we can do a quality GTA every year," I do believe Activision – or any publisher, in fact – would be forced to listen. CoD is quite different; let's face it. So the idea that Activision would somehow force Rockstar and other publishers to produce a new GTA, a new Bioshock , or a new Red Dead each and every year doesn't ring true with me.
It's this "cornering the market" philosophy that irritates me a little. I don't know enough about business to be sure about the ramifications of Activision being so powerful, but one has to assume an acquisition like this would have some impact. That impact is yet to be determined but it will have to exist. …and that's the kind of thing that concerns me, even if I can't quite pinpoint my anxiety.
Obviously, gaming is now a human network
In reading Jade Raymond's comments concerning the social elements in gaming, and how what I call "the human network" (sorry, CISCO) is expanding at a very rapid pace, I find myself reflecting and considering. I have never gotten into multiplayer but I can easily understand the lure of playing with other humans; as Raymond says, it's usually more fun than playing with/against AI. However, that being said, I don't agree that it's always preferable, and I believe genre has a lot to do with it. I will never want to play an RPG with other people, even if I can see myself playing any given shooter online (at least for a little while). But what she's talking about is indeed crucial for any developer, because it's all about understanding the constantly changing environment of the industry. I don't know what her new IP is, but I have a feeling it won't really appeal to me…even if it appeals to the rest of the world.
In this way, I feel a little old and behind the times. It can be depressing. Maybe I should talk to Jade about it. Maybe she can make me feel better.
Personal gaming update
I think I've done everything I've wanted to do in GT5; I've done all the A-Spec events expect the Endurance races and the Formula One and NASCAR championships, and I've driven just about every car I want to drive. I've done a lot of the Seasonal Events, too. So I'll just finish up Dead Space 2 this week and get ready for Killzone 3 and Bulletstorm the following week. Also, we won't be ignoring Test Drive Unlimited 2 (review coming Monday, I think) and Knights Contract (I should get it from Namco) just because they're being overshadowed. Oh, and I will have early reviews for the new Ar Tonelico (embargo up on the 21st) and Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (embargo up on the 15th) for the PSP.
I'm most interested in Dragon Age II for next month, primarily because I couldn't get into Fable III and Hyperdimension Neptunia wasn't what I wanted. Two Worlds II is a solid RPG but with BioWare's latest due out in only a few weeks, I just can't see spending time with the lesser product.
Lastly, we should have some really interesting news for everyone soon. It won't be this week, but soon… No comment just yet but let's just say we want PSXE to be in front of a lot more people…