Currents Top Ten I Xbox E3 2005? I Sega Has a Secret I Sony Plays Musical Chairs I Taito Profits Down I Square Enix Shares With Their Holders I A Couple Shorts I Stock Ticker I Back Page
Issue #14 Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. July 09, 2005

Front Page

What a week this has been. Ever since I was fired from my job, things have been hectic with me trying to do as much site work as possible while trying to find a job and still have time for sleep. I realized one thing and that is retail is not the place for me. I was turned down by Target and I was actually happy about it.

Enough of me rambling about my job search, on to bigger and better things. I have been playing Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana and hoo boy am I enjoying it. I just passed through the gates of Henmil and that's all I'll say about that for risk of spoiling anything. I will just say that so far, I am having more fun with this title than I have had with any game since probably Final Fantasy X.

Now, I know this isn't any earlier than last week, but I'm doing my best to get Carlisle back on his Wednesday, weekly schedule. Hopefully I'll have him back on schedule after next week. Anyway, without further ado, I bring to you week two of madhtr's Currents.

 Currents Top Ten

Imagine that, only the second week I'm here and I have seen an RPG in the top ten. Atelier Iris makes it's debut at number six. While it is the only RPG in the list, it warms my heart to know that other people are playing a game that I am really enjoying. "What's that" *looks up to see a rabbit* "We should stay back. That thing looks pretty vicious."

The top four positions remain the same this week, with Conker holding off the alien invaders of Destroy All Humans! Fantastic Four also debuts this week with the Playstation 2 version debuting in slot five and the Xbox version showing up in slot seven. The last three slots are filled with Juiced and Lego Star Wars both for the Playstation 2 and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault for the Xbox closing out the list.

Position Title Publisher Platform
1 Conker: Live and Reloaded Microsoft Game Studios
2 Destroy All Humans! THQ
3 Destroy All Humans! THQ
4 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Rockstar Games
5 Fantastic Four Activision
6 Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana NIS of America
7 Fantastic Four Activision
8 Juiced THQ
9 Lego Star Wars Eidos Interactive
10 Medal of Honor: European Assualt Electronic Arts

Source: GameSpot

 Xbox E3 2005?

Xbox 360

Microsoft has announced that on July 25, they will be holding Xbox Summit 2005 in Tokyo to reveal Japanese release details and unveil new 1st and 3rd party titles. Yoshihiro Maruyama, general manager of Microsoft Japan's Xbox division, has said through past interviews that the company would unveil the Japanese release date for the Xbox 360 during the summer and it appears that this event will be the opportunity.

In an interview with Famitsu Xbox, Maruyama mentioned that the company was planning to make this event "a rollout equivalent to the scale of E3." Microsoft also plans to announce new launch titles for when their next generation console launches this fall. We hope to have full details of this event available for you as soon as they're announced.

Source: Gamespot

 Sega Has a Secret


SEGA of America and SEGA of Europe have announced that they are teaming up with San Fransisco-based developer Secret Level to recreate a classic Sega series for both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. This deal is part of SEGA's on-going plans to recreate their classic series utilizing Western developers to allow for a broader fanbase. Under the terms of the worldwide exclusive deal, SEGA will manage all sales, marketing and distribution activities and work with Secret Level to supervise ongoing game development.

"SEGA will become a leading publisher on the next generation of console hardware by marketing great Western-developed content that includes properties from a rich portfolio of SEGA games," said Simon Jeffery, President and COO, SEGA of America. "The talented design team at Secret Level has demonstrated innovation in game development and has a history of technical achievements that will help SEGA reinvigorate a vintage and highly commercial franchise."

"We are excited to be working with SEGA and honored to bring one of their classic franchises to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360," said Jeremy Gordon, President, Secret Level. "SEGA's strength as a publisher and their history of great iconic franchises make them a perfect partner for a growing independent developer like Secret Level."

Secret Level is known for creating Americas Army: Rise of a Soldier for the Playstation 2 and Xbox, Magic: The Gathering Battlegrounds for the Xbox and PC, Star Wars Jedi Starfighter for the Xbox, and the Unreal Engine for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. At this time time neither company has decided to unveil title, platform, or release details for the title they will be developing.

 Sony Plays Musical Chairs


Sony Computer Entertainment has announced that as of July 1, not only has a few new departments and divisions opened but promotions were handed out. Overall, a total of three new areas are opening with four promotions being handed out.

The first new division that Sony has opened is Sony Computer Entertainment Asia which will be run by current managing director of Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong, Tetsuhiko Yasuda. Not only will he now be in charge of all pan-Asia operations but he will also be a corporate executive within the company.

Phil Harrison, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe executive president, will now also hold the title of chief executive producer for Sony and will oversee game development accross the world. Kazunori Yamauchi, Polyphony Digital president and creator of Gran Turismo, has been promoted to an executive position with Sony and was given the title of corporate executive in charge of Polyphony Digital.

Lastly, Sony Computer Entertainment chief technology officer Masayuki Chatani has been given the added title of deputy chief of the newly created Computer Development Division in the Computer Business Group as well as chief of the Computer Business Group's Architecture Research Division. Chatani will also retain his titles as CTO and as a corporate executive within the company.

Source: GameSpot

 Taito Profits Down


As arcades continue to decline in both size and sales, companies that have large arcade businesses will be hurting. Taito has posted net sales of 84.6 billion yen (USD 754.2 million) for financial year 04-05, an increase of 1.9 per cent. But net profit was down to 1.7 billion yen (USD 15.1 million) from 3.5 billion yen (USD 31.2 million) the previous year.

While Taito blamed poor sales of recent titles on "severe market environment" and "slow growth", they hope that the closure of smaller arcades and the opening of larger ones as well as the summer release of Battle Gear 4 will bolster sales. Hot B, a North American publisher, plans to ship the Taito developed sequel to Magic Pengel, Graffiti Kingdom in North America on July 26.

Source: GamesIndustry

 Square Enix Shares With Their Holders

Square Enix

Square Enix held its annual stockholders meeting a few weeks ago to discuss the sales over the past fiscal year and also to look at its plans for the future including the next generation of consoles. Square Enix mentioned that all three next generation consoles as well as both current handhelds will be online capable and that they plan to enhance their position as a market leader in the worldwide market of online titles. Currently Square Enix holds approximately a 50% market share in Japan with progress being made with the European market. When asked about cooperating with other companies abroad, Youichi Wada responded by pointing to Everquest II, saying the company will remain flexible in that regard.

When it was pointed out that due to recent trends of consolidation that Square Enix could be bought for as little as 200 billion yen (1.84 billion US), Wada was quick to point out that Square Enix has two key assets, users and creators. He went on to say that money could only buy so much and that if you took away the creators which would be the developers, who have stores creative assets in their heads, that the company would no longer be worth anything. When board of directors' external member and president of Inspire Makoto Naruke was asked about what he felt the company could improve upon, he mentioned that he felt the company needed to focus on setting up a multiplatform strategy as well as expand the foreign markets outside of Japan. He also pointed to the company's lack of developers and mentioned that they needed to focus more on education than the government in this case.

The company clarified that they have nothing to do with Hironobu Sakaguchi's fledgling developing studio, Mistwalker. They also mentioned that while they hoped for sales of three or four million copies of Final Fantasy XII when it launches later this year, the title was only assumed under three million in sales in the budget.

Development of approximately half of the company's titles is being outsourced as well as on certain positions of internally developed games. When the long development cycles between Dragon Quest titles were brought up, Youichi Wada replied that Dragon Quest IX won't take another five years to be released. The company is also looking into basing spinoff titles on the world of Dragon Quest VIII which was released in Japan last November and is scheduled for North American release this November.

Source: RPGFan

 A Couple Shorts

  • Sony Computer Entertainment has taken a few precautions with the copyrights for their next generation console in Japan. They tradmarked both "P53" (Pee Fifty-Three) and "PLAYSTATIOn" with the Japan Patent Office, both listed as Playstation 3 logos.

  • Rare has recently listed job openings for artists and programmers for Nintendo DS projects. This marks the first time that the wholly owned Microsoft studio has shown that they'll be supporting Nintendo's Dual-screened handheld.

Source: GameSpot

 Stock Ticker

The market had quite the rise this week with absolutely no weekly drops. Ubi Soft had the largest gain at $2.39 while Konami was the lowest with only a nickel rise.

Overall the market seems to be fluctuating but many of these game stocks seem to moving steadily. Also of note this week is THQ which had some significant gains but is not on our list due to a lack of role playing games on their roster. We'll take another look at this next week and hope that the upwards trend remains in full motion.

Parentheses denote negative numbers. Prices as of market closing 07.08.2005

Symbol Company Market Standing Change
SNE Sony NYSE 34.88 0.35
MSFT Microsoft Nasdaq 25.09 0.38
NTDOY Nintendo PNK 13.30 0.20
ERTS Electronic Arts Nasdaq 57.92 1.71
ENIXF Square Enix PNK 30.42 0.06
KNM Konami NYSE 21.50 0.05
ATVI Activision Nasdaq 17.34 0.94
MWY Midway NYSE 11.96 0.77
SGAMY Sega PNK 15.60 0.20
UBSFF Ubi Soft PNK 52.10 2.39

Source: CNN Money

 Back Page

Well, once again, I'm late on posting my update. I was hoping to have this done earlier in the week but playing Atelier Iris and terrible sleeping habits have left me finishing my column up on Saturday for the second week in a row. I really do hope that I can get my next issue out on Thursday at least. One good thing that has come out of my lack of work is that I have gotten back into gaming big time. This should help me knock a few of the titles on my backlog.

Another issue of madhtr's Currents in my pocket and another issue of tiredness in front of me. Remind me not to stay awake all night to finish my update next week. Hopefully I'll be able to bring some kind of sanity and not ramble so much for you all next week. Until then though, have a good week.

Billy "Insert Witty Title Here" Young

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