Currents Top Ten I Sony Scraps Playstation 3 Conference I Nintendo President Gives Revolution Details I Midway Signs with Warner Bros. I Capcom Shows Off Latest Sales Data I Konami Mobilizes in China I EA Sued by Shareholders I Stock Ticker
Issue #2 Stolen Championship April 5, 2005

Front Page

After a solid launch last week, Currents comes back with a few tweaks: some based on my personal preferences and others from your suggestions. That's right, I got some great ideas in last week and some of them have made it permanently into the column. Good job everyone, and thanks for the support. Please don't hesitate to keep those ideas flowing -- without them, we have no column.

As some of you may have guessed from this week's title, I am less-than-happy with the outcome of last night's NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game. Though I was a fan of North Carolina long ago, I have since moved to the state of Illinois and currently have friends who attend UIUC. I was very proud of how far the Illini had made it in the March Madness Tournament and was confident of a victory -- my five-dollar pool entry fee said so.

Alas, Illinois lost by five points in a game that had been tied merely two minutes before it ended. Of course, when it comes to basketball, a lot can happen in two minutes and this game proved just that. What's even more frustrating is that this year marked the third consecutive year that I put my money on a team that ended up making it to the championship game only to lose. So much for the old adage, "third time's a charm."

Anyway, back to RPG news. The new addition to the column I mentioned above can be seen just below this Front Page section. It is a weekly RPG sales chart similar to Japandemonium's Dengenki rankings, called Currents Top Ten. The main difference being that the Currents list will only include North American games, rather than Japandemonium's Japanese games. Furthermore, the Stock Ticker chart has a new look to it, so be sure to check that out. This week we also have some PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Revolution tidbits, another lawsuit, a deal involving Midway and Warner Bros., some Capcom sales data, and a glimpse into Konami's mobile future. Enjoy, but not too much -- those withdrawal symptoms can be killer and you have to wait a whole week before you can enjoy again.

 Currents Top Ten

Welcome to the Currents Top Ten, a weekly North American RPG sales chart for your viewing pleasure. As I said in the Front Page section, the format and set-up of this chart is identical to Japandemonium's Dengenki rankings, except this chart will include North American games and ten titles, rather than Japandemonium's Japanese games and only nine titles.

Unfortunately though, locating an accurate source for such a sales list has been difficult on an unprecedented level. Even with the help of fellow RPGamer staffers, an adequate source has yet to be obtained. So for the time being, the information on the charts will display the best-selling video games (non-RPGs included) in February. This is only temporary and will hopefully be changed by the time the next issue rolls around. I apologize for the inconvenience, but thanks for putting up with it.

Position Title Publisher Platform
1 Gran Turismo 4 Sony
2 NBA Street - Vol. 3 Electronic Arts
3 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Take 2
4 MVP Baseball 2005 Electronic Arts
5 The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap Nintendo
6 NBA Street - Vol. 3 Electronic Arts
7 Mercenaries Lucasarts
8 Resident Evil 4 Capcom
9 Champions: Return to Arms SOE
10 Madden NFL 2005 Electronic Arts

Source: NPD Funworld

 Sony Scraps Playstation 3 Conference


A few months ago, Sony Computer Entertainment announced an event to be held in Japan prior to E3 where it would launch the unveiling of its hotly-anticipated next-generation console, the tentatively named PlayStation 3. This premier event was originally scheduled for sometime in March. Apparently though, the month came and went without word of the event and without any sort of invitations being sent out to any members of the Japanese video game industry. Finally last week, Reuters Japan reported that Sony Computer Entertainment had officially canceled the event. The announcement put to rest speculation and rumors that Sony would make a surprise announcement by the last day of March.

According to Reuters, Sony's original plan was to reveal general details about the upcoming console in the canceled March event, and then to unveil the machine itself in May at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Sony explained to Reuters that it canceled the March meeting because it "would pressure game publishers" if it were held that soon; however, Sony didn't completely close itself to the idea of making a pre-E3 announcement or unveiling of some sort sometime between now and mid-May. SCE also made it clear that the cancellation of the PlayStation 3 meeting does not mean that the system is falling behind in development. The company also stated that it still plans to unveil the PS3 machine at E3 or sooner.

Sources: Gamespot

 Nintendo President Gives Revolution Details


Recently, Satoru Iwata sat down with Nikkei Business for an interview concerning Nintendo's next-generation console, the Revolution. In the interview, Iwata touted an easy, developer-friendly interface for the new console and also boasted that it will "allow users to experience games in ways that nobody has yet imagined."

First off, Mr. Iwata noted that since the Game Developers Conference held recently, at which Iwata gave a keynote speech concerning the Revolution, developers have given the console more positive reviews than had been originally anticipated. He pointed out that Nintendo would do all it could to lower the costs of developing games for developers, a strong issue that has come up among developers. Iwata also said that one of the ways Nintendo would achieve this price reduction is by using the same application program interfaces for the Revolution as have been used for the GameCube.

Another step forward Nintendo is making involves the controller and making it more user-friendly for non-gamers. Iwata said he had hopes that such a design would help draw more people into video gaming. The Nintendo president went on to say that "controllers for current consoles have more than doubled [in complexity] from older consoles. They may satisfy the hardcore gamers, but they've become too difficult for more casual gamers," to elaborate upon his reasons for wanting to develop such a controller. "For the next-generation console," he continued, "we plan to introduce a friendly user interface so that, for example, a mother who's watching her child playing a game might say, 'Oh, I'd like to try that too.' However, user interfaces are devices that can be easily imitated by other companies, so I can't reveal any details right now."

Another bit mentioned by Iwata in the interview restated that the Revolution will utilize wireless LAN technology for online play. He said that Nintendo's intentions are to make it so that people don't need to have a technical degree just to be able to set up an internet connection to play games online with. Iwata commented, "the next-generation console will follow along that same line as the DS [for wireless LAN]. The ideal is for users to be able to connect to the Internet without having to think about it."

Sources: Gamespot

 Midway Signs with Warner Bros.

Video game publisher Midway recently acquired the licensing rights to Happy Feet, an as-of-yet-unreleased animated film to be released by Warner Bros. Midway will develop Happy Feet games for consoles and handhelds as well as PCs.

Though no specific information regarding the games was revealed, some insight into the film did make it out. The movie will be directed by Australian film industry veteran George Miller, who is known for covering a multitude of different genres on film. Some of his work includes the Mad Max trilogy and Babe. Happy Feet will be an animated movie about "a singing and dancing emperor penguin." It is scheduled to be released in November of 2006 and will feature the voices of Elijah Wood, Hugh Jackman, and Nicole Kidman.

There is no word yet on whether this deal between Midway and Warner Bros. means any future cooperation between the two companies. Look to RPGamer for such news as it develops.

Sources: Gamespot

 Capcom Shows Off Latest Sales Data


Capcom recently released the cumulative sales data for all of its games. The only game excluded from this list, however, is Resident Evil 4 since the data only includes games released prior to January 1, 2005.

Resident Evil is Capcom's most popular game series. It has sold a total 26 million cumulative units worldwide with 38 released titles in the series

Second to Resident Evil is the Street Fighter series, which includes 53 different titles, has sold 24 million cumulative unit sales. Capcom also recently celebrated the 15th birthday of the Street Fighter series.

The Megaman series takes the third-place podium by selling 22.9 million units cumulatively. The Megaman series includes 95 different titles.

Other series listed in the sales data include the following:

  • Disney series: 33 titles, 13.2 million sales
  • Onimusha series: 10 titles, 6.9 million sales
  • Devil May Cry series: 3 titles, 4.7 million sales
  • Dino Crisis series: 12 titles, 4.4 million sales
  • Ghosts & Goblins series: 13 titles, 4.1 million sales
  • Final Fight series: 8 titles, 3.1 million sales
  • Breath of Fire series: 13 titles, 3.0 million sales
  • 1942 series: 3 titles, 1.2 million sales
  • Commando series: 2 titles, 1.1 million sales

  • Source: Gamespot

     Konami Mobilizes in China


    Konami announced plans this week for releasing as many as 30 game titles per year for the Chinese mobile phone market. As of now, the games are being planned for publishing by Shanghai Mobile.

    The first three games to be released will be classic Konami games from the 1980s. The list includes Contra, Antarctic Adventure, and Life Force. Each game will cost Chinese mobile gamers two yuan, which translates roughly to twenty-four American cents. Konami plans to further increase the Chinese mobile phone market by eventually offering downloadable ringtones and standby screens.

    Konami made the decision to release mobile phone content in China after finding that China has the largest-growing mobile phone market of any other country in the world. China will become the 30th country with mobile phone content provided by Konami. As of now, Konami has no plans to enter the U.S. mobile phone market.

    Source: GAF

     EA Sued by Shareholders

    Electronic Arts

    As though the recent slip of stock prices wasn't bad enough for Electronic Arts, Philadelphia law firm Schiffrin and Barroway, which holds stock in the company, is asking for compensation for fraudulent information that EA released. No information on the amount or form of compensation the law firm is asking for was made available. According to the lawyers of the law firm, though, this information caused the firm to lose money when EA's stock prices dropped. The lawsuit has been filed with the US District Court Northern District of California.

    The claim states that EA did not disclose all of the information regarding their situation. Such information includes market competition, material and capital shortages, and that they were continually hit hard by operating margin compression. As a result, the law firm was shocked when the report released after the market closed showed a stock price drop of 16.88 percent.

    EA has yet to release an official statement regarding the lawsuit. Their options will likely be to either settle out of court or fight the lawsuit to the end.

    Source: GAF

     Stock Ticker

    Check out the Stock Ticker's new look. Pretty awesome, isn't it? Anyway, here we have the latest stock prices for 10 companies in the video game industry. For whatever reason, some of the companies on here have had no change at all since the last Currents update. If this doesn't change by next week, I may have to replace those companies with new ones, or work a little harder at finding a better source. Either way, it looks like every company's stock is either the same or higher than they were at yesterday's closing with the exception of Electronic Arts and Midway, both of which dropped by a few cents.

    Prices as of 1:42pm EST 04.05.2005

    Symbol Company Market Standing Change
    SNE Sony NYSE 39.68 0.42
    MSFT Microsoft Nasdaq 24.41 0.18
    NTDOY.PK Nintendo PNK 13.40 0.00
    ERTS Electronic Arts Nasdaq 52.70 (0.02)
    ENIXF.PK Square Enix PNK 30.50 0.00
    KNM Konami NYSE 22.60 0.00
    NMLTF.PK Namco PNK 13.85 0.00
    MWY Midway NYSE 10.19 (0.13)
    SGAMY.PK Sega PNK 15.50 0.00
    UBSFF.PK Ubi Soft PNK 38.92 0.00

    Source: Yahoo! Finance

     Back Page

    I suppose losing only five bucks in the tournament pool isn't too bad. Although, finally having my team win plus getting an additional thirty bucks sure would have been sweet. Oh well, there's always next year I guess.

    Not to be a total downer throughout the whole column, but I was also little disappointed that this update of Currents didn't land on April Fool's day. I could have cooked up something delicious for you all to devour and then come back and tell you I was kidding. That would have made my week, which could use something fun like that. I guess there's always next year, which makes two things for which to wait impatiently for 365 days to go by.

    Well, I hope the column is shaping up to meet your approval. I'm liking it a lot and I enjoy doing it. Other than the major changes I mentioned earlier, I did make quite a few minor tweaks and adjustments to the format. I'm far from any sort of HTML genius, but I'm surprised at how well it turned out. I'm still looking for suggestions, by the way, so unless you think the column is perfect the way it is, keep sending them in. I should probably wrap this up and go study for the three exams I have to take this week. See you all next week; same time, same website.

    Elliot "Wish me luck on my exams" Guisinger

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