Currents Top Ten I Take2 May Have Taken More Than It Can Handle I Blizzard Hiring for Diablo 1 & 2 Team I Nintendo of Europe Hires New Management I SCEE Founder Joins Codemasters I Stock Ticker
Issue #35 New Beginnings February 4, 2005

Front Page

Well, this is surely a sad occasion that I bring to you, yet another installment of madhtr's Currents. It was nearly two months ago that I last graced these pages with my typing, mostly the pages making me look more graceful than I really am. Anyway, today is the first issue post-Carlisle and that is indeed the saddest occasion that you readers will have to read in these pages.

Now, once in a blue moon, a company decides to not only re-release a game under the Greatest Hits label, but also to add new content to the game. The latest game I speak of under this description is Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition which will also be at the top of the weekly sales list as you read on. Now, many people can tell you that I am not the greatest action gamer. Well, I had to eventually take the Easy way out in this game, but through mission seven, I am absolutely loving every moment of it. The boss battles are especially well done. Anyway, I won't rattle on about how much I've been playing the game, as it's the reason I'm so late posting updates on this fine Saturday evening.

Well, I can't tell you what the future holds for Currents or who will be posting this lovely guy next week, but I can promise you that this section will not be dropped. Whether it be someone else or myself, this section will continue to live on. Hopefully, whoever does take over has the courtesy to not sweep dust under the rug in the middle of the column.... Seriously Carl, the rug looks like a mountain now. All joking aside, we wish Carlisle the best of luck in his new position over in the Sound Test section, where he shall hopefully pop up in soon.

 Currents Top Ten

Though Sony continues to have a stranglehold on the overall chart, Microsoft does have a few games that are continuing to remain strong this week, and a newcomer as well. For those who missed it in the opening, Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition from Capcom takes the top spot, with three Xbox 360 titles and five Electronic Arts titles sitting in the bottom of the list.

There is absolutely no love for the roleplaying community as people seem to be settling back into a sports and action mood lately. February may change things, with at least one title scheduled for release every week except for the final day of the month.

Position Title Publisher Platform
1 Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition Capcom
2 MVP 06 NCAA Baseball EA Sports
3 25 to Life Eidos Interactive
4 Call of Duty 2 Activision
5 25 to Life Eidos Interactive
6 Madden NFL 06 EA Sports
7 Need for Speed Most Wanted EA Games
8 Dead or Alive 4 Tecmo
9 Madden NFL 06 EA Sports
10 NBA Live 06 EA Sports

Source: GameSpot

 Take2 May Have Taken More Than It Can Handle

Take2 Interactive

Take2 Interactive, home to many large franchises including Elder Scrolls and Grand Theft Auto, has released its latest annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In this report, the company reveals that its recent legal trouble is taking them further than most people might have originally believed. They also warn that new cases may be appearing shortly and that the company is still in court with even more cases.

The most recent case appears to accuse of more than just a hot coffee scandal. This suit alleges that executives engaged in insider trading with them selling off $11.8 million amidst a SEC investigation. The suit also points to the shipments of too many games that choked retailers and inflated the sales numbers, boosting them synthetically. They also point at the recent spree of developer purchases to try to dilute the flow of money, making it harder to catch on to illegal practices.

These suits continue to pop up across the nation with the latest being the city of Los Angeles suing over the inclusion of explicit material in GTA: San Andreas without warning to the public. Take-two continues to deal with these suits as an ongoing ordeal, however, these legal troubles have spilled over to investors and shareholders now.

Banc of America Securities has announced that they have downgraded Take-two's stock from "neutral" to "sell," stating the fact that the company was burning cash at an "alarming rate." They also mentioned matter-of-factly that "we do not believe that TTWO is a good acquisition or LBO candidate." This was in regards to comments about a possible acquisition of Take-two by another company. They continued on, stating that "we believe key employee retention, over-dependence on one title, high cost structure, cash burn, and mounting liabilities, are some important reasons why an acquisition of TTWO is highly unlikely."

Take2 seems to be creating its own hot coffee to sit in right now, and only time will tell if they'll be able to get out of the pot before they get burned. At this time, 2K Games' upcoming title, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is on schedule to ship in North America this spring, without any more delay in sight.

Sources: GamesIndustry | GameSpot

 Blizzard Hiring for Diablo 1 & 2 Team


Blizzard has opened some official job listings for the Diablo 1 and 2 teams. The listing states that the positions would be for an unannounced project for the PC. Some of the job listings have a more formal agreement of "future projects" as well.

This, combined with other rumors, have sparked the Diablo community into thinking and hoping that this is for Diablo III, which still hasn't even been mentioned by the developer. You can be sure that we'll have coverage of this new title as soon as it is announced, however.

 Nintendo of Europe Hires New Management


Nintendo has finally announced the replacement for its senior marketing director, Jim Merrick, this week. Laurent Fischer, previously marketing director for Nintendo of France, will be taking over immediately and will be handling the planning and coordination of all future hardware releases including the recently announced Nintendo DS Lite and upcoming console, the Nintendo Revolution.

"Nintendo is moving into a very exciting and innovative time as we expand the definition of gaming and broaden the population of video game players," Fischer commented. "I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Nintendo France for the past seven years and am now looking forward to the new challenge of working for Nintendo at a European level in this particularly significant period."

Achim Schmauss also joins the company as the company's Brand Manager. Schmauss, who brings eight years of marketing experience to the table, will be overseeing the company's Pan-European marketing activities of the Nintendo Revolution as well as the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.


 SCEE Founder Joins Codemasters

Chris Deering, the founding president of Sony Computer Entertinment Europe and former head of Sony Europe's consumer electronics division, has just recently joined Codemasters' board of management as a non-executive chairmember. Chris Deering is best known in Europe for founding SCEE in 1995 and overseeing the launches of both the original PlayStation as well as the PlayStation 2.

Also announced was that Benchmark Capital Europe had increased its 40% ownership of Codemasters by 30%. The CEO of Codemasters mentioned that he had purchased a 1.5% stake in the company at this time as well.


 Stock Ticker

Overall, this was a very bad week for the market with many companies dropping significantly. The only two that gained were Activision with a small 13-cent increase and Sega with a slightly larger 15-cent increase. Nintendo didn't lose and it didn't gain, sitting quietly by itself while Ubisoft had the largest drop, which was a 91-cent loss.

Parentheses denote negative numbers. Prices as of market closing 02.03.2005

Symbol Company Market Standing Change
SNE Sony NYSE 48.69 (0.21)
MSFT Microsoft Nasdaq 27.54 (0.14)
NTDOY Nintendo PNK 17.00 0.00
ERTS Electronic Arts Nasdaq 53.14 (0.44)
SQNXF Square Enix PNK 26.27 (0.24)
KNM Konami NYSE 22.20 (0.20)
ATVI Activision Nasdaq 14.08 0.13
MWY Midway NYSE 12.70 (0.10)
SGAMY Sega PNK 9.45 0.15
UBSFF Ubi Soft PNK 41.41 (0.91)

Source: CNN Money

 Back Page

And there it was, my first day back running Currents while Carlisle is away. This time, he shall not be making a triumphant return. He may, as stated by himself, guest host from time-to-time, but he doesn't have the time required of him to complete this column on a weekly basis any longer. Well, like I said earlier, I have no idea who you shall be greeted with next week, but if we haven't hired and trained anyone new yet, then you can be sure that I'll be back again. Until then, stay real San Diego.... errr.... the internet. My apologies for this being such a short update but it seems there wasn't much to report on that wasn't already covered during the week.

Billy Young

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