Currents Top Ten I EA Developing Next-Gen Title in Japan I Microsoft Announces X05 I Playstation 3 Won't be a Router I Horii Speaks on RPGs I Japanese Sales up Since NES Era I Stock Ticker I Back Page
Issue #15 Ultimate Destruction July 16, 2005

Front Page

So I sit down to start writing on Wednesday, maybe get my column done on time like I said I would. I'm looking around, picking out my stories..... and then it happens. I was literally attacked by updates. They beat me in my forehead and took away my dignity. And if you've had your dignity taken away, you know it's bad.

Two days later, bloody and what I think used to be a foot in my eye, here I am sitting down to write my column again. Hopefully this time I won't be beaten by my lack of being able to stay on task. Ooooo, a shiny ball!

Anywho, today I bring you the third and final installment of madhtr's Currents. Next week you'll return to your normally broadcasted Currents with your normally insane columnist Elliot Guisinger back at the helm. I hope you enjoyed my time here, I know I did. Without further ado, I bring to you, DESTRUCTION!

 Currents Top Ten

And just like that, we're RPGless once again on our top ten list. Atelier Iris was still sitting in the number eight position in the Playstation 2 section until today, but alas has fallen off the top ten best seller list for the past week. One thing that I will note is that Conker has finally been dethroned. Also, what's up with Lego Star Wars? Do that many people actually enjoy Star Wars enough to keep buying the Lego version?

All the same games seem to remain in the top ten for all too long. The top five consists of the Halo Map Pack in the top slot followed by Fantastic Four and Destroy All Humans! for the PS2, then Conker and San Andreas for the Xbox. The bottom of the top ten has Destroy All Humans! and Fantastic Four for the Xbox, then is closes out with Lego Star Wars, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, and Juiced for the PS2.

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

Source: GameSpot

 EA Developing Next-Gen Title in Japan

Electronic Arts

In an interview with Famitsu, David Gardner, senior vice president of international publishing for Electronic Arts and currently in charge of European and Asian publishing operations, mentioned that they plan to expand operations in Japan to develop games that target the country's gamers. To accomplish this, they have two strategies they intend to employ.

The first strategy is to lower the number of American titles that are localized. Choosing only titles that the company feels will be suitable for Japanese audiences. Currently most American-made titles are a niche market in Japan and by bringing in less titles, EA looks to lose less money on localizations that aren't taken well by Japanese gamers.

The second strategy is to expand Japanese operations to a point where creating a new title there is possible. Over the past year, the company has more than doubled its investment in Japan and continues to upbuild the studio. Gardner unveiled that the Japanese studio is currently developing an undisclosed next generation title. He did mention that the title would be unveiled soon so it's expected that this could be at either the Xbox Summit on July 25 or Sony's Playstation meeting which is to be held on July 21.

Currently EA has planned 25 titles for release on next generation platforms, 26 titles for the PSP and Nintendo DS, 20 to 30 titles for the Playstation 2, and 10 titles for the Xbox and Gamecube. Stay tuned for more details on Electronic Arts' plans in the future.

Source: Gamespot

 Microsoft Announces X05


Microsoft has announced that they will be holding X05 at an undisclosed place in Europe on October 4 and 5. This event is where the company plans to mark the beginning of the next generation of gaming in Europe. While the event will be about Europe, international guests will be welcomed with open arms.

Past X0 events have brought about many major announcements for Europe including Xbox Live in 2001, the aquisition of Rare in 2002, and a partnership with Epic Games as well as the unveiling of a rebranding of the Xbox name in 2003. The event was not held in 2004 for unknown reasons. Past events were held in different portions of Europe. X01 was memorably held in Pierre Cardin's Bubble House in Cannes, La Isla Magica (Seville) was the theme-park location of X02, and X03 hosted guests at an exclusive beach club location in Juan-les-Pins.

Commenting on the announcement, Chris Lewis, regional vice president, Xbox, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and host, said: "We are very excited about X05 and believe this will prove to be a real highlight in the gaming calendar this year. We have a lot to say and even more to show people. Believe me, after X05 there will be no question that Xbox 360 is the next-generation".

More details will most assuredly be announced in the upcoming months before the event. The main event of X05, however, will be the unveiling of the Xbox 360 to the European public. More details on this as it's announced.

 Playstation 3 Won't be a Router

Playstation 3

When Sony originally introduced the Playstation 3 at E3 this year, the system was touted as a multimedia device that would be the center of everyone's home entertainment systems. Ken Kuturagi reportedly told the Japanese publication, Nikkei Electronics, that in order to cut costs, however, that the company would be cutting the console's router abilities.

When originally unveiled, the Playstation 3 had one input ethernet port and two output ethernet ports. While it is possible that these extra ports could be removed, Sony has implied that the ports could be used for some other reason.

Source: GameSpot

 Horii Speaks on RPGs

Dragon Quest VIII

Edge magazine recently had a chance to sit down with Yuji Horii to chat about the gameing industry. On the differences between Japanese and American RPGs: "American RPGs might have a lot of new elements but their biggest problem is that they're very unkind towards the player," he said. "Japanese RPGs are more finely made; delicately made for the user. They are much kinder to the user and not based on just difficulty level, but more ease of understanding and comprehension, knowing what to do to achieve a goal or what the result will be when you do something."

On the move from 2D to 3D in the Dragon Quest world: "I always wanted to have it so that as you get closer and closer to something in the distance you suddenly realise it's a castle and you get that joy of finding a castle out of nowhere. Back in those [2D] days you couldn't do that, but now we can. If you see a mountain in the distance it's not just a graphic; you can actually climb that mountain."

When it was suggested that his puzzles were too difficult, he laughed it off. "What I am making, anyone can understand and solve. The best kind of puzzle is one where the person that solves it thinks, 'I'm the only person that could have solved this'."

On the popular Japanese RPG, Dragon Quest VIII: "20 years ago when I created the first Dragon Quest, this is the kind of game I was trying to make. Of course, the hardware wasn't ready back then, but with the outstanding abilities of Level 5 we were able to bring my dream to reality."

When asked about the partnership with Level 5: "They showed me a prototype of what they could do. I was completely taken aback when I saw the artwork come to life. It blew me away." Currently, Dragon Quest VIII is on schedule for a November release in North America and on par for Winter 2005 in Europe.

Source: GamesIndustry

 Japanese Sales up Since NES Era

The latest sales report from Famitsu publisher Enterbrain shows that the Japanese game market has risen nearly 50 percent since the NES era. This past year saw Japanese sales of hardware and software reach 436.1 billion yen ($3.89 billion) while in 1987, the year Famitsu debuted, saw sales of 300 billion yen ($2.67 billion). This shows a 45% increase in sales during these 18 years since then.

Though sales are up since then, sales have declined 34% since the market's peak in 1997 when sales reached 660.3 billion yen ($5.889 billion). The recent releases of the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, however, have brought about an increase in sales. While hardware sales compared to the same period last year are down 11.5%, software sales are up 50.7%. While this may seem small to some, these sale numbers are expected to continue to rise with the launch of next generation consoles and titles.

Source: GameSpot

 Stock Ticker

First things first, Square Enix has changed their symbol from the old (ENIXF) to the new (SQNXF) but that didn't help as they finished the week down nearly 50 cents. While Square Enix was the biggest loser this week, on the opposite end of the spectrum, Ubi Soft went up 89 cents.

With only Square Enix and Electronic Arts losing ground in the market, overall the trend was towards rise in prices. With over five companies rising more than 50 cents, signs are good that it is currently a seller's market.

Parentheses denote negative numbers. Prices as of market closing 07.15.2005

Symbol Company Market Standing Change
SNE Sony NYSE 35.49 0.61
MSFT Microsoft Nasdaq 25.79 0.70
NTDOY Nintendo PNK 13.50 0.20
ERTS Electronic Arts Nasdaq 57.46 (0.46)
SQNXF Square Enix PNK 29.93 (0.49)
KNM Konami NYSE 21.50 0.00
ATVI Activision Nasdaq 18.06 0.72
MWY Midway NYSE 12.72 0.76
SGAMY Sega PNK 15.75 0.15
UBSFF Ubi Soft PNK 52.99 0.89

Source: CNN Money

 Back Page

This week has been another busy week for me. Either I've been working on updates or I've been having trouble concentrating. Whichever the case, I have re-injured my back during the process and hoo-boy does it suck. Oh well, it'll get better before too long I assume.

Now my tenure here at Currents has come to an end. It was a joy being here and bringing all of you the news you all seem to want. It's always good to be able to see fans from different portions of the site and I see Currents has some wonderful ones. Anywho, in signing off, I bid thee adieu as madhtr's Currents comes to an end.

Elliot "vacation is for the weak... errr... tired" Guisinger

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