The stories for this week:
- November NPD Numbers
- EA Producing Brutal Legend, Out Q3 2009
- Atari Buys Cryptic, Ubisoft Mad
- EA Disappointed with Some Holiday Sales, More Job/Game Cuts Coming
- WSJ Disney Purchase of EA Idea Goes Mainstream This Week
November NPD Numbers
Let’s see: Nintendo sold over double the Wiis this November as it did last, Microsoft sold more 360s in comparison and Sony…well, Sony actually dropped in sales on a year-to-year perspective. Sony didn’t let that bring them down saying that they are gaining “momentum”, what exactly they mean by that I have no clue.
Over on the software side of things, the 360 and Wii reigned supreme with Gears of War 2 selling the most followed by Call of Duty: World at War and list mainstays Wii Play, Wii Fit and Mario Kart Wii following behind. Two PS3 games showed up on the list: Call of Duty: World at War at #6 (579k) and Resistance 2 at #9 (385k). In the case of CoD:WaW the 360 version almost sold double what the PS3 version did. Not good news for Sony.
EA Producing Brutal Legend, Out Q3 2009
Honestly not a huge surprise here with Electronic Arts picking up the production of Tim Schaefer’s Brutal Legend game after Activision Blizzard decided to not continue with producing it as Sierra’s game offerings were picked apart. Whether this is good news for EA or not given the story later on is up for debate. Good news is it has a Q3 2009 release window and one can only hope it will sell better than the fantastic Psychonauts.
Source: Colony of Gamers
Atari Buys Cryptic, Ubisoft Mad
This is two stories in one. The first one is that Atari purchased Cryptic Studios, the makers of the upcoming Champions Online MMO. The second story is that Ubisoft was interested in purchasing Cryptic as well and seem to be steamed that Atari of all companies beat them to the punch. To be perfectly honest, I think Cryptic should have held out for Ubisoft, a far more cash rich company than Atari currently is. This is a major pickup for Atari, let’s just hope the company survives this recession we’re going through.
EA Disappointed With Some Holiday Sales, More Job/Game Cuts Coming
EA had its investor meeting this week and they expressed excitement in the sales of Dead Space and Left 4 Dead, but were disappointed with the sales of Mirror’s Edge and Need for Speed Undercover. They spoke of additional job cuts coming because of this and later on in the week they announced that they will not be building a Vancouver studio as they had originally planned. EA’s stock of course dropped and brought about a resurgence of the last story in our piece that I will get to after I step on my soapbox for a bit.
I’ve always been a big supporter of EA even through the years where they were constantly bombarded with how crappy or minimally updated their lineup was. This was the year of new IPs for EA (Dead Space, Mirror’s Edge and to a lesser extent Boom Blox). However, EA made a grave mistake that cost them dearly in November and they should have been able to avoid it with last minute moves of releases. Dead Space sold well because it came before the avalanche of high-profile games like Fallout 3, Fable 2, Far Cry 2, Gears of War 2, Call of Duty: World at War, etc.
With the economy the way it is, EA should have realized that they were in a serious battle for the gaming buck out there as people picked up less games and were more choosy with their selections of games. I have to believe this is why games like Mirror’s Edge and Need for Speed Undercover sold so poorly. In the case of the former it got pushed off the edge by coming out right after the two top selling games of November, something EA should have been well aware of. In the case of Need for Speed Undercover, usually a top selling game for EA, I think it was a combination of little to no information on the game and the fact that it came out with graphical slowdown that pushed my enjoyment of it to the limit. In both cases EA should have pushed them into the January/February release time that they set Skate 2 in. I think both would have fared better and in the case of NFS it would have given Black Box more time to fine tune the graphics because honestly it is a good game marred by weird graphical glitches, not the least of which is the slowdown.
OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now, but I really think EA should have pushed some of their games into the new year and maybe the sales would have been better instead of fighting tooth and nail for the smaller amount of money out there people have to spend on games.
WSJ Disney Purchase of EA Idea Goes Mainstream This Week
This one is odd because the Wall Street Journal had something back in October I think where they said Disney and EA would be a good fit and basically implored Disney to buy EA. Now all of sudden, Motley Fool has picked it up and Game Politics off of MF. Certainly the drop of EA’s stock price has to have Disney salivating at the prospect. It is a good idea since there is a lot of synergy that could be created in this merger. I just find it funny that it has taken until now for it to start hitting major news sites.
Source: Game Politics